04/04 Links Pt2: Eugene Kontorovich challenges EU envoy to debate; French court upholds BDS is racist ruling
Legal expert challenges EU envoy to debate on Judea and Samaria
The EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, participated last week in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper’s anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference where he reiterated the EU’s stance that Israeli “settlements” are “illegal under international law” and are “a hindrance to the peace process.”
Faaborg-Andersen additionally termed the 1949 armistice line an “internationally recognized border” even though the 1949 line is neither internationally recognized, nor is it a border.
Legal Grounds, a grassroots initiative established to inform about and promote Israel’s legal land rights, called on the Ambassador to publicly debate Professor Eugene Kontorovich, a renowned expert on international law at Northwestern University and senior legal think tank fellow in Israel.
Legal Grounds claim the EU’s stance contravenes the officially recognized rightful presence of the State of Israel in Judea and Samaria according to international law: “These rights were recognized unequivocally by the League of Nations, and reaffirmed in Chapter 80 of the UN Charter. Moreover, the EU stance runs contrary to its previous commitment implicit in its having witnessed and signed Oslo II, an agreement based on stipulations by UN resolutions 242 and 338 that Israel is entitled to ‘secure and recognized’ borders.”
Legal Grounds believe that Faaborg-Andersen should be held accountable for his inaccurate statement regarding legal facts. (h/t Yenta Press)
The end of UK government funding for a radical anti-Israel group and accompanying disclosures of antisemitism at its events highlight the urgent need for due diligence, transparency and accountability in all NGO funding frameworks, stated NGO Monitor. According to media reports, War on Want, which is leader of boycott campaigns against Israel and companies that do business with the Jewish state, is no longer being funded by the British government.
“This is an important, albeit belated, step by the British government,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Other institutional donors, in particular the European Union, should follow suit and immediately end their funding for this anti-human right organization.”
NGO Monitor research shows that the British government, via the Department of International Development, had provided War on Want with almost £500,000 in 2012-2015. The EU provided an additional £211,000.
For more than a decade, NGO Monitor has been tracking the crude anti-Israel campaigns of War on Want, in direct violation of requirements for a UK-registered charity. Documentation containing such information was submitted to the DFID and presented to Members of Parliament.
Edgar Davidson: Story that Government has stopped funding War on Want is a lie*
I am sorry to have to break this news to everybody celebrating the Telegraph story that the Government has stopped funding the antisemitic ‘charity’ War on Jews Want as a result of its anti-Israel incitement. The above is a screenshot from War on Want’s website today, which gives you a pretty good indication of how un-bothered they are by the Telegraph story (War on Want essentially does nothing other than campaign against Israel so, as far as they are concerned, the Telegraph is simply advertising what they do best). The Press release from War on Want that is referred to in the highlighted section is reproduced below. They claim they have not been criticised by the Government and that they have not sought Government support for years.
For once War on Want is more or less telling the truth (it’s incredible how many Jews continue to delude themselves that David Cameron’s government would ever actually take real action against Israel haters). War on Want no longer asks for direct funding from the British government** for the simple reason that it gets it indirectly from the EU and Comic Relief (which of course is run by the government funded BBC). As I pointed out only last month, Comic Relief recently awarded War on Want its largest grant ever £590,719 (in 2013 it got £139,407 from Comic Relief and in 2014 it only got £27,790). But it is the EU that continues to be their main financier** – which, of course, is also partly funded by British taxpayers.
As my many previous reports on War on Want confirm, Cameron’s government and the Charities Commission know all about War on Want’s activities and refused to do anything about it – publicly at least. Maybe behind the scenes they were sufficiently embarrassed to suggest discreetly to War on Want that they should stop applying for direct Government funding. Either way, Gilligan’s Telegraph report will make no difference at all except almost certainly lead to increased funding from Comic Relief and the EU and some additional Israel haters who have now been alerted to what they do.
Clinton Confidante’s Son: Palestinians Recover Their ‘Dignity’ In Violence Against Israelis
Everyone knows that American Jews and Israel are drifting apart—and everyone is confident of the reasons why. Israel, it is said, has become increasingly nationalistic and right-wing; “the occupation” violates liberal values; and the American Jewish “establishment,” with its old familiar defense organizations and their old familiar apologetics, has lost touch with young American Jews who are put off by outdated Zionist slogans and hoary appeals for communal solidarity. In brief, the fundamental problem resides in the nature of the Israeli polity and the policies of the Israeli government, which together account for the growing misfit between Israelis and their American Jewish cousins.
This, at least, is the new conventional wisdom. It is wrong—but the precise ways in which it is wrong, and by means of which it mistakes and overlooks deeper realities, are worth examining.
Two new books by political scientists try to do just that: The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews by Michael Barnett of George Washington University and Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel by Dov Waxman of Northeastern. The two books are being published almost simultaneously by Princeton University Press, presumably in the belief that the topic is not only intrinsically significant but should be of import and interest to experts and the wider public alike. And so it should.
On March 27, speaking to the Sunday Times, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressed his concern at rising levels of anti-Semitism on British university campuses. There are, he said, “worrying echoes” of Germany in the 1930s. Two days later, in The Times, Chris Bryant, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and a senior member of the British Labour party, warned that the political left was increasingly questioning the right of the state of Israel to exist, a view he called a “not too subtle form of anti-Semitism.”
Across Europe, Jews are leaving. A survey in 2013 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe’s Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism, with numbers as high as 46 percent in France and 48 percent in Hungary.
Nor is this a problem in Europe alone. A 2015 survey of North American Jewish college students by Brandeis University found that three-quarters of respondents had been exposed to anti-Semitic rhetoric. One third had reported incidents of harassment because they were Jewish. Much of the intimidation on campus is stirred by “Israel Apartheid” weeks and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel. These have become what Easter was in the Middle Ages, a time for attacks against Jews.
Something is clearly happening, but what? Many on the left argue that they are being wrongly accused. They are not against Jews, they say, only opposed to the policies of the state of Israel. Here one must state the obvious. Criticism of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitic. Nor is the BDS movement inherently anti-Semitic. Many of its supporters have a genuine concern for human rights. It is, though, a front for the new anti-Semitism, an unholy alliance of radical Islamism and the political left.
A French appeals court has upheld the hate crime convictions of activists who called for a boycott of Israel during a 2010 demonstration.
The ruling delivered last week by the French Cassation Court concerned seven activists whom a criminal appeals court in Caen in southern France slapped with a $1,000 fine each and a conviction for calling for discriminatory acts during the demonstration outside a supermarket that sold Israeli goods.
The seven activists from Caen were prosecuted following the final filing of criminal complaints against them by the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, and two other nonprofits: Alliance France Israel and Lawyers Without Borders, BNVCA wrote on its website.
In a statement about the March 30 ruling, BNVCA called it “a new victory over the illegal BDS movement.”
On Friday, a Palestinian NGO, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, held a tree planting ceremony honoring 209 “Martyrs of the popular uprising.” Among these “Martyrs” are numerous Palestinian terrorists and murderers, who have murdered and attempted to murder Israelis during the wave of terror attacks that since September 2015 has included numerous stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks, killing 34 and wounding over 400 Israelis.
Several foreign governments and international organizations, including UNRWA, UNDP, the governments of Australia, Spain, Netherlands and Japan, as well as numerous NGOs are listed as donors of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. [UAWC website, list of “doners” (misspelled), accessed April 4, 2016]
Their funding of the UAWC implicates all these institutions and organizations in the act of honoring murderers of Israelis.
Yesterday, Palestinian Media Watch exposed a similar case of UN bodies and European governments honoring murderers by way of the organizations they support. UNDP, UNFPA, FAO, the Spanish government, the Dutch government and European NGOs all support the Palestinian NGO Rural Women’s Development Society that organized a chain of readers in honor of terrorist Baha Alyan, who murdered 3.
In a bid to sway the world’s opinion on Israel, the Foreign Ministry on Monday launched an international competition for video shorts promoting the Jewish state.
Creators of the two winning videos will receive a cash prize, and their submissions will be used as official Foreign Ministry advocacy materials.
In announcing the competition, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the advocacy, or hasbara, initiative sought to shift the approach of Israeli public diplomacy from the defensive to the offensive.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Israelis and others around the world who love Israel and who want to contribute their talents to changing public discourse and improving Israel’s standing,” she said in a statement.
Submissions are to deal with specific issues, including the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian media “propaganda,” Hotovely said.
The competition will include two categories — one for Israelis only; the other open to any individual or company that wishes to participate.
A “landmark” first step was taken by the University of California system this week to combat anti-Semitism on campus. The Regents’ statement of principles condemns “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism” and declares that such behaviors “have no place in the University of California.”
“There is absolutely no doubt that anti-Zionism is the driving force behind the alarming rise in anti-Semitism at UC and at schools across the country,” says Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the UC Santa Cruz faculty member who heads the AMCHA Initiative that tracks on-campus anti-Semitism.
But much of mainstream reporting on the Regents’ statement erases this link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Headlines refer to anti-Semitism but not to anti-Zionism and reporting suggests that there is no real need for the Regents’ statement or that free speech is at risk.
The LA Times made its position explicit in an editorial: “In reality, it is perfectly possible to oppose Zionism—or advocate for a secular state in what is now Israel and the West Bank—without being anti-Jewish.”
The Forward recently asked college students “to tell us about a college experience that had shaped their Jewish identity in some way.”
Of the six students whose responses it published, five attend American universities. Of those, two are members of Students for Justice in Palestine, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and rejects Zionism – or what one of the students, Ben Berman of Clark University, calls “the settler-colonial project of Zionism.” A third declares he has “no connection with Israel.”
The remaining two are proudly pro-Israel. One belongs to the campus chapter of Students Supporting Israel, a group that takes a mostly uncritical view of Israel. The other counters the pro-Palestinian propaganda she hears with references to Michael Oren, an Israeli centrist, and Caroline Glick, a journalist on the far-right band of the Israeli political spectrum.
It’s impossible to say whether this small sample is representative of anything, but one thing is conspicuous: There is no pro-Israel left. To engage with Israel, according to these students, means to defend it uncritically or join those who, according to the anti-Zionist principles of SJP, seek an “end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.” To be a Jew means either to stand with Israel or, as Berman puts it, “stand against injustice – especially when it’s being committed by some of our own.”
Although university gathering brings together business minds from both sides of the divide, some on campus condemn event for advancing ‘occupation’ and ‘daily humiliation of Palestinians’
Economic prosperity for Palestinians is necessary, but not sufficient, to bring about sustainable peace, according to the graduate student organizers of Harvard University’s second “Economic Prosperity for Peace” gathering, held Sunday in a snowy Cambridge.
Outside conference walls, several campus groups denounced any approach that normalizes or expands relations with Israel, while other groups boycotted the conference “passively,” according to organizers. Despite a general avoidance of politics during the program, opening keynote speaker Ala Sader pointed to “the occupation” several times in discussing obstacles facing the Palestinian economy.
The precious wildflowers of UC Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine had originally planned a “die-in” for Israeli Apartheid Week, but postponed it because of the weather.
The pursuit of lofty goals such as justice are best left for sunshine and clear skies, after all. You might get dirty, otherwise.
On Thursday, March 31, a handful of Berkeley SJP students, accompanied by a few community activists took to the streets of Berkeley to block traffic and shout vague platitudes at pedestrians and passing vehicles.
Students for Justice in Palestine is unsurprisingly at home in both the physical and the metaphorical gutter.
Tikvah, Students for Israel at UC Berkeley was ready for them.
Baboun, who lectures at the Vatican-founded Bethlehem University in the West Bank, recently appeared in Ireland and gave a talk at an event organized by the Irish chapter of Friends of Bethlehem University.
Her talk was covered in the Feb. 15, 2016 issue of the Irish Times. The article, reads in part, as follows:
“The situation is really difficult,” she said. Israeli visa restrictions mean international students cannot attend the university, cutting off one likely stream of revenue. Only three-month tourist visas were available to such students.
The complaint is that Israeli policy makes it impossible for international students to attend Bethlehem University.
This is not true.
How do we know?
The school where Baboun lectures has webpages devoted to serving the needs of international students.
Some familiar and not so familiar faces in this video outside Arsenal’s football ground before the Arsenal/Watford match on 2 April.
There’s quite a bit of hustle and bustle in this footage by BDSer Alex Seymour, and two youngsters bubble with enthusiasm for the anti-“apartheid” cause. The goal (no pun intended) here is to expel Israel from the sport’s governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).
The “singer” may be considered to provide comic relief, but stick with the video until the end to learn the burden of the song: “The Zionist losers and their friends the abusers/They’ve all got it coming/They’ll soon be running/ ‘Cos this land belongs to Palestine…” Makes a change from the usual Israel-hating chants, I suppose.
An additional ‘witness’ on the programme was Inayat Bunglawala who, interestingly, also appeared on a previous edition of Moral Maze just after the terror attacks in Paris last November. In among his predictable statements, at 30:50 Bunglawala came out with the following:
“I’m sure you would never…ahm…say that because Israel carries out acts of mass murder against Palestinians and is engaged in the theft of their land that we should somehow look for a problem of genocidal Judaism.”
Remarkably, Michael Buerk did not find it necessary to correct the misleading impression given to listeners by the broadcast of that claim.
Among the proposals included in BBC Watch’s submission to the DCMS public consultation on the renewal of the BBC’s charter was the following:
“The need for the BBC to work according to an accepted definition of antisemitism in order to ensure that complaints are handled uniformly, objectively and accountably is obvious. In addition the absence of adoption of an accepted definition of antisemitism means that – as in the case above – public funding is likely to be wasted on dealing with complaints from the general public which, if a definition were available, might not have been submitted.
Clearly the compilation of such a definition is neither within the role nor the expertise of the BBC and common sense would dictate that the definition adopted by Britain’s public broadcaster should be the one already used by the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism and the College of Policing Hate Crime Operational Guidance (2014) – i.e. the EUMC Working Definition. That definition was also recommended to media organisations as an industry standard by the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in May 2015.”
Last week Sir Eric Pickles MP wrote an article addressing the issue of a definition of antisemitism within the framework of the UK government’s efforts to tackle that particular form of racism. The example he provided was the one used by the UK’s College of Policing – i.e. the EUMC Working Definition.
The efforts being made to counter antisemitism in the UK must clearly include the country’s media. It is abundantly obvious that the definition of antisemitism used by the British Police Force and cited by a senior UK government official is equally suitable for use by Britain’s publicly funded broadcaster. All that remains is for that requirement to be included in the terms of the new BBC charter.
The 435-year-old Golden Rose Synagogue in Lviv, Ukraine, was ruined by the Nazis in 1943 and remains in its destroyed state as a testament to the dangers of anti-Semitism.
Some, however, seem to have missed the significance of the lesson. A restaurant called Pid Zolotoju Rozoju (“At the Golden Rose”) now lies next to the synagogue and markets itself using the same anti-Semitic caricatures that the Nazis championed, JTA reports.
At first glance, the non-kosher restaurant seems elegantly decorated with Yiddish posters and Judaica, while a television shows pictures of the city’s thriving Jewish community prior to the arrival of the Nazis.
But any pretense of respect quickly gives way to stereotypes and slurs. The JTA reporter described being served by a waiter wearing a black hat and fake peyot (long sidelocks), who introduced himself as “Moishe,” though he soon admitted that his real name is Vlodymir.
Anti-Semitism strikes in Australia as vandals painted swastikas on Maroubra Synagogue in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The rabbi of the synagogue, Rabbi Yossi Friedman, was furious over the incident and described the graffiti as an “assault on the Jewish People.”
Apart from desecrating his synagogue, Rabbi Friedman said that a nearby bus stop was also covered with Nazi-style graffiti.
“I can NOT be silent. What would drive a person to such deplorable action? Why such hatred?” said the Rabbi in a statement on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
He explained how synagogues are symbols of peace and a place reflection, prayer, meditation and could not understand why people would deface them.
The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland will visit Frampol, Poland on Tuesday to lend show his support to the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (EJCI) which works to protect Jewish burial grounds in Central and Eastern Europe.
Frampol is a small town in Lublin province, in south-eastern Poland. Prior to World War II, it had a large Jewish population. Frampol, or a fictional version thereof, is the setting of many stories of famous Jewish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer. In September 1939, the German Luftwaffe destroyed almost the entire town in an air raid. Around a thousand local Jews were shot by the Nazi occupiers and buried in a mass grave at the cemetery site.
According to the European Jewish Press, Jagland – who will be joined by former Israeli minister Yossi Beilin – will engage with pupils from Frampol’s school who have helped in the protection of the local Jewish cemetery, a site owned by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ), which is the Polish partner of the ESJF.
Jagland will explain to them the value of cultural heritage prior to a visit and ceremony at the Frampol Jewish cemetery.
Thirteen location across the city of Laval, Quebec in Canada were struck with anti-Semitic vandalism, reports CTV News.
According to local police, swastikas were drawn on houses, cars, park benches and a park chalet, alongside other white power symbols, as well as a giant Star of David with an ‘X’ over it.
In an interview, Corey Fleischer, who owns his own power washing company, told CTV he sees a lot of hateful tagging, but this was the worst act of vandalism he’s seen.
“The sort of a thing that I saw today happens to be the worst attack that I’ve come across since I started doing this in the city,” he said.
Fleischer said it bothered him that the tags were left up so long, so after four days of the swastikas remaining in place on city property, he decided to clean the buildings himself at his own cost.
In wake of the recent terror attack in Brussels, and due to concerns over similar attacks occurring in the United States, the New York Police department prepare to protect Jews and synagogues during the upcoming Passover holiday.
Following a gathering of religious leaders and representatives of Brooklyn’s Shomrim Patrol, the NYPD and US security officials assured the Jewish community that it will be able to handle any potential threat.
In previous years, the NYPD heightened security only during the eight-day holiday. However, the department has now decided to beef up security throughout the entire month leading up to the holiday.
Captain Kenneth Quick, Commanding Officer of the 66th Precinct that encompasses the largest Jewish neighborhood in New York City, explained that police were collecting accurate data regarding the times of prayer and gatherings in the synagogues and yeshivas throughout New York.
In Serbia, some buildings will not be given back because they have been privatized or now house public institutions such as schools or hospitals — hence the state’s extra financial support to the Jewish community.
“We have identified more than 3,000 buildings seized during World War II by Germans,” said Fuks, adding that the properties listed so far were in Belgrade, central Serbia and a small part of northern Vojvodina province.
In other parts of Vojvodina which were occupied by Nazi-allied Hungarians or Croatians, seized Jewish property is yet to be tracked down and listed.
One of these areas, Backa, was once home to half of all the Jews in Serbia, Fuks said, hinting that the final amount of property due to be returned is likely to be much higher.
Fuks said the new law offered a chance to commemorate properly those who were killed and to fight against the intolerance that almost destroyed the community.
It also means Holocaust survivors can “live with fewer worries in the last years of their lives, after the horrible personal experiences they have been through”, he said.
A Venetian Jewish woman who lived in London and spoke Hebrew is the actual author behind William Shakespeare, a leading expert claims in a book newly released in paperback.
Exactly 400 years since his death, the English playwright’s mysterious identity still stirs its fair share of rumors, including ones that he was Jewish, and the newest theory is relatively elaborate.
Shakespeare’s Dark Lady by John Hudson claims Amelia Bassano, a Marrano born in 1569 to a family of Venetian Jews who were court musicians to Queen Elizabeth I, wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare, according to a Daily Mail review on Sunday.
Bassano has been known as the first woman to have published a book of poetry in 1611 (Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum), and is said to be a solid candidate for the “dark lady” referred to in Shakespeare’s famous sonnets.
Israel last year recorded stable economic growth of 2.5 percent and its lowest unemployment rate in three decades, the central bank announced Sunday.
Israel’s economic growth was hampered in part by a decline in exports due to the faltering global economy and its strengthening currency, the shekel, the Bank of Israel said.
At the same time, the drop in unemployment to 5.3 percent was attributed to an increase in “employment-intensive commerce and business services” and a boost in public service jobs in the country of eight million people.
The unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in 2014 and has declined for the past five years, resulting in 2015 in the lowest figure since the mid-1980s.
Hafthór “Thor” Björnsson, better known to Game of Thrones fans as psychopathic giant Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, teamed up with SodaStream to create an April Fools’ Day advertisement for the Israeli company.
A video released March 31 shows Björnsson, a professional strongman, attributing his great strength to a new brand of sparkling water called “Heavy Bubbles,” which is sold in dumbbell-shaped bottles. He then directs viewers to the website heavybubbles.com.
But anyone trying to purchase the water through the website is greeted by the full ad, in which Björnsson reveals that there’s no such thing as “Heavy Bubbles” water.
“Why do you believe such a thing? It makes no sense,” he says. “With SodaStream you don’t carry plastic bottles. You don’t sweat and you make sparkling water from normal water. At home, like me.”
Accidental finds are not at all rare in Israel, where archeological treasures lurk in abundance underground and underwater.
“Israel is a very small country, intensively settled over thousands of years, and there are 37,000 registered archeological sites, so almost everywhere you have the potential to find things,” says Yardenna Alexandre, an IAA research and field archaeologist stationed in the Jezreel Valley.
But it seems the random discoveries have been coming fast and thick lately.
In February, six friends on a recreational dive in the Mediterranean coast off Caesarea chanced upon a trove of nearly 2,000 gold coins from the 10th century Fatimid Caliphate. The IAA stated that it is the largest cache of old coins ever discovered, and praised the divers for having “a heart of gold that loves the country and its history.”
The following month, kibbutznik Laurie Rimon was hiking in the North when she happened upon an extremely rare gold coin minted by Roman Emperor Trajan in 107 CE.
“There does seem to be a concentration of finding things over the past year,” Alexandre tells ISRAEL21c. “There may be several reasons aside from coincidence.”
While rumor has been rife that it was Israeli security firm Cellebrite that helped the FBI unlock the cellphone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farouk, an observant Twitter user has uncovered a piece of evidence that makes it almost certain that the Petah Tikva-based firm was behind the hack.
A search of the General Services Administration website — which lists all public expenditures in the US — indicates that the FBI signed a contract with Cellebrite in late March for “information technology software services,” at a cost of $15,278.02 to the federal government.
How did the FBI get to Cellebrite? Very possibly by reading the Israeli firm’s website, which plainly states that the company is able to do exactly what the US agency was seeking to accomplish.
“Cellebrite’s Advanced Investigative Services (CAIS) offers global law enforcement agencies a breakthrough service to unlock Apple devices running iOS 8.x,” says the site. “This unique capability is the first of its kind — unlocking Apple devices running iOS 8.x in a forensically sound manner and without any hardware intervention or risk of device wipe.”
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