Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meet Irena Wachendorff. Another Schivone Jew?

FringeGroups said it best, in the post Rise of the Schivone Jews

"Mr. Gabriel Matthew Schivone is one of the very few people in human history whose very name appears destined to become a description of a phenomenon, in this case the Schivone Jew. Previous examples of persons who have given their names to phenomena include Vidkun Quisling, the Earl of Sandwich, and only very few others."

Gabriel Matthew Schivone isn't unique pretending to be Jewish in an effort to shield himself from accusations of anti-Semitism, as he fights against Jewish values and ideals. He's in some pretty bad company. Meet Irena Wachendorff, the newest "Schivone Jew". Irena has also claimed that she served in the IDF that her father is Jewish and her mother survived Auschwitz. But none of it is true.

From the J POST

A German poet and anti-Israel activist has acknowledged that she fabricated her supposed service in the IDF during the First Lebanon war.

“I said I was in the IDF,” but “it was a lie,” Irena Wachendorff, 51, told The Jerusalem Post, in a telephone interview on Friday."

An investigative reporter Jennifer Pyka in Munich uncovered the story. According to Pyka’s research, there is no documentation supporting Wachendorff’s assertions that she is Jewish or a member of a German Jewish community.

"According to Pyka’s investigative essay, Wachendorff’s father, Raymund, served in the German Army during the Third Reich and her mother, Barbara, denies being incarcerated in Auschwitz."

Pyka sharply criticized Wachendorff for having traded on the tragedy of the Holocaust for personal and commercial gain. It is “perverse and brazen that Wachendorff presents herself as a Jew and the daughter of Holocaust survivors and engages in educational work in schools about anti-Semitism and Jewish life in the Third Reich,” she said.

“Six million dead Jews serve her own publicity and at the same time she undertakes a perfidious victim-perpetrator inversion to damage Israel and all Jews,” the journalist said."

(Thank you to those who emailed in reminders)
Other anti-Israel activists who have lied about being Jewish:

Edith Lutz - one of the Gaza flotidiots,

Andrew Paul Gutierrez, a BDS'er and UC Berkeley Professor

Hassan Fouda

Wasn't it Yasser Arafat who said "If I'd kill for my cause, don't you think I'd lie for my cause?"

Did JVP lie About TIAA-CREF?

Did JVP lie about TIAA-CREF's divestment from Caterpillar? Did JVP lie about their "huge" victory?

An email from Adalah NY certainly implies that the victory may not have been quite as "huge" as JVP originally claimed. Once again TIAA-CREF is being targeted for not doing what JVP claimed they already did. Can't keep up with the lies? Don't worry. None of us can. Incidentally, Adalah NY has been involved with the JVP campaign since the very beginning- Adalah members attended Rebecca Vilkommerson's campaign launch 2 years ago. With $900 million remaining in Caterpillar stock, I'd be willing to venture that TIAA-CREF's "divestment" wasn't quite as "huge" a victory as JVP originally claimed

Be afraid, TIAA-CREF. Be very afraid. Adalah is going to SING. And DANCE. And CHANT. That'll show you.


Adalah NY's email:

Tell TIAA-CREF, Divest from the Israeli Occupation!

What: A street action with songs, music, dancing, and chants calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli occupation of Palestine
When: Tuesday, July 17, 12:30 - 2:30 PM
Where: TIAA-CREF headquarters in New York - 730 3rd Ave (between 45th and 46th Sts)

Why: TIAA-CREF has made a historic decision to divest $72.9 million of Caterpillar stock from their Social Choice fund. But this is only the beginning! TIAA-CREF still invests over $900 million in Caterpillar in other portfolios. In addition, its Social Choice fund contains investments in Motorola Solutions, which developed the surveillance and communications systems for use in illegal Israeli settlements and the apartheid wall, and Hewlett-Packard, which owns the biometric monitoring system used in Israeli military checkpoints, provides data storage solutions for illegal Israeli settlements, and coordinates information technology for the Israeli Navy. TIAA-CREF also continues to hold onto its investments in Elbit, Veolia, Northrup Grumman, and Africa Israel, all of which are complicit in the illegal Israel occupation of Palestine.

Join us on July 17 during the TIAA-CREF shareholders' meeting to demand that TIAA-CREF live up to its motto "For the Greater Good" and divest from all its holdings in companies profiting from the violation of international law and Palestinian human rights.


For more information on the campaign, visit our TIAA-CREF campaign page and

Organized by Adalah-NY. Endorsed by Brooklyn For Peace; Jewish Voice for Peace - NY; Jews Say No!; Siegebusters; Queers Against Israeli Apartheid; International Socialist Organization; Jewish Voice for Peace - Westchester; WESPAC Foundation; Women in Black, Union Square (list in formation).

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
c/o WESPAC Foundation
52 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

Friday, June 29, 2012

Anti- Israel Lobbyists descend on the Presbyterian General Assembly.

The anti-Israel lobbyists have descended upon the Presbyterian General assembly, anxious to push their narrative. Note the use of ubiquitous and widely discredited 4 part map.

"Jewish" voice for "peace", perhaps you'd like to show the Presbyterians what Israeli prime Minister Olmert offered for peace

Interestingly enough, one of the "activists" lobbying the Presbyterians is none other than BDS'er Bekah Wolf. Bekah's husband Mousa entertained Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan shortly after his release from Israeli prison.

Why would anyone who considers themselves a "peace activist" want to break bread with this man? Who would invite this creature into their family home?

Khader Adnan; "Who among you will carry the next explosive belt? Who among you will fire the next bullets? Who among you will have his body part blown all over?"

I can't help but wonder if you'll be showing this clip to the Presbyterians at their annual convention, Bekah?

Fighting the Scourge of Canadian Imperialism. Eh?

Because you can never really trust our neighbors to the north. They have imperialist designs on Maine. I just know it.

I saw this baffling event announcement warning us against the scourge of jack-booted Canadian imperialism. We are urged- URGED- to build a united front against Canadian imperialism. Don't say you didn't know. The Canadians are clearly up to something.

Thursday, July 12 – 6:30-9:00pm
Room 5-250, O.I.S.E. – 252 Bloor St. W., Toronto
Martha Roberts & Aiyanas Ormond of Alliance for People’s Health

Yeah, there's something about Gaza and the Phillipines, too, but isn't there always????


We now have empirical evidence of Canada's dastardly scheme. You've been warned.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brian Maissy: Ten tips for Zionist activists

From our friend Brian Maissy, a UC Berkeley graduate and leader of Tikvah students for Israel. Brian will be making aliyah and will soon be a lone soldier in the IDF. I know the Bay Area activist community is proud of the accomplishments of Tikvah, both individually and collectively. Yascher Koach, Brian.

10 Tips for Zionist Activists

I'd like to leave a few pieces of advice, in the hope that others can learn from my experience and my mistakes:

1. Know the difference between being Zionist and pro-Israel. Israel is a state, with all the realities and complexities that come with it. Zionism is an idea: pure, simple, and beautiful. Zionism is a movement of national liberation and national renaissance, the idea that the Jewish people should live as a sovereign nation in their homeland. Zionism is the real message; supporting the state of Israel is a natural conclusion of Zionism.

2. Stay focused on the message of Zionism. The peace process, territorial compromise, democracy, cell phones, and terrorism all have their place in the discussion, but without the foundation of Zionism, none of it will make sense. Explain why Israel is important in the first place, and only then explain the situation and threats it faces. Sometimes the best message is the simple line of Hatikvah: "to be a free people in our land."

3. Educate yourselves, and educate your peers. Read books, read the Israeli news, discuss and debate issues among yourselves. Know when to use the sound bites, but understand that they are not enough. You will be respected by your audience for your erudition.

4. Being intellectually honest requires constantly questioning your own beliefs. This is a strength, not a weakness, because the truth is on our side. If you are diligent, educated, and intellectually honest, you will find truth and you will find confidence in your conclusions.

5. Know when to make compromises and when to stand fast to your beliefs: there is a time for war and a time for peace. Sometimes a compromise is worthwhile to maintain an ally, but if the compromise requested is too great, that alliance is probably not worthwhile anyway.

6. Remember that most importantly of all, Jews are your target audience. This is true for its own sake, and also because where there is a strong Jewish pro-Israel community, others will hear your message louder.

7. Sometimes the Jewish establishment makes mistakes. When it does, you must not follow it blindly but you must not give up on it. It is better at fundraising than fighting, and shies away from controversy; don't expect it ever to be good at activism.

8. Know what works for you. The atmosphere, interests, and values of each campus or community are different. Break out of the mold of middle aged white Jewish men lecturing about the danger from Israel's enemies. Be creative, try new things, and learn from experience.

9. For those of you on college campuses, four years is a short period of time, and allows for little institutional memory. Discuss what works and what doesn't, and write down the lessons learned. Educate, inspire, and equip younger activists to take your place when you leave.

10. Remember that what you do is about your personal growth and the growth of your community as much or more as it is about convincing the outside world.

Good luck and success in all of your endeavors.

לחרות ציון
For the freedom of Zion,
Brian Maissy

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are coming to Israel!

From the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

"I would like to announce our huge JOY and PLEASURE and Excitement and the THRILL we have to come to Israel for the very first time."

BDS fail. BDS fail. BDS fail. BDS fail.

"We've always had a great love for Israel"

BDS fail. Threats fail. Intimidation fail

WE'RE COMING TO TEL-AVIV!! from shuki weiss on Vimeo.

The BDS cru put a huge amount of pressure on the Chili Peppers, but the group did not waver. Anti-Israel lobbyists desperately spammed their message of hate across list serves, facebook and Twitter, urging people to bombard the Chili peppers. The haters were even provided with per-packaged tweets and messages:

"Will you tell The Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel their trip to Israel?

We are asking BDS supporters to get the word out and tell Anthony, Flea, Chad and Josh of The Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel their September 10, 2012 performance in Israel! See the letter urging them to respect Palestinian rights and not cross the international picket line:

Tweet the BDS message or post it to their facebook page,
Read Boycott From Within’s Tali Shapiro’s personal appeal for cancellation here.
Use the sample tweets below or write your own.
Click “tweet now!” below the samples for automatic tweeting.
Dont entertain Israeli oppression @chilipeppers cancel ur gig & stand up for human rights #BDS #Palestine
tweet now!
Join AliceWalker, ElvisCostello, AngelaDavis, RogerWaters & more on the right side of history @chilipeppers #BDS
tweet now!
Denied the right to travel to Tel Aviv, Palestinians cant be “Standing in line to see the show tonight” @chilipeppers #BDS
tweet now!
How long, how long will they slide? #Israel Walls&Settlements separate the WestBank side @chilipeppers Cancel ur gig on the Otherside #BDS tweet now!
We cant fly away on your Zephyr bc #Israel controls all Palestinian movement. Take a stand for EQUAL rights! @chilipeppers #BDS
tweet now!"

Incidentally, Hillel Slovak the original guitarist and founding member of the band was born in Haifa, Israel.

Kairos USA document bears "False Witness"

The Jewish community has reacted strongly to the shockingly atavistic Kairos USA Document, released as part of the anti-Israel lobby's pressure campaign against US Churches.

From the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

"The Jewish Council for Public Affairs expressed its shock at the extreme rhetoric of a recently released document, "Call to Action: U.S. Response to the Kairos Palestine Document," produced by a group of American Christians.

“The Kairos USA document, signed by American pro-Palestinian Christian activists in response to the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, is deeply disturbing. If embraced, it would set back the clock on peacemaking even further,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “It is appalling to think that religious leaders would sign a document that places 100% of the blame for the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict on one party – faulting Israel even for the terror used against it. This document offers no support for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. It compares those who challenge Israel to those who fought the Nazis. It is a pathetic manifesto for the delegitimization of Israel.”

“Kairos USA misdiagnoses the conflict as one of Israeli ‘state violence’ with no recognition of the threats to Israel,” continued Gutow. “There are over 8,000 words in the document purportedly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; not one of them is ‘terror’ and not one of them is ‘Hamas.’ That makes this document nothing less than a false witness. The Christians who composed and who sign this document are accepting carte blanche the ‘Kairos Palestine’ document which said ‘if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance.’ Had any of these authors or signatories read the Hamas charter—which promotes a jihad to wipe Israel off the map - they may not have been so naïve.

“The Kairos USA document sets up a straw conflict between Israelis and Palestinian Christians,” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold. “Israel takes defensive measures in response to genuine threats, not to harm individuals. Israel’s defensive measures exist to save lives. Contrary to the author’s claims, there would be no need for security measures were there no violence against Israel. It is outrageous that this reality is excluded from the Kairos narrative. We also reject the document’s false dichotomy between fighting anti-Semitism and working for justice for Israelis and Palestinians; we reject the specious claim that Americans have tried to ‘foment panic’ about rising levels of anti-Semitism. Kairos-USA attempts to silence the voice of Jews who are concerned about terrorist attacks against Israel – this is not a message of peace and reconciliation, but of partisan politics. We think true peacemakers are committed to hearing the voices and ending the suffering of those on all sides.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gad Beck z"l. A Life of Pride and Resistance

Gad Beck, an anti-Nazi Zionist resistance fighter and last known gay Jewish survivor of the Holocaust died this week just days before his 89th birthday.

Beck’s father was an Austrian Jew and his mother was a convert to Judaism. Beck was classified as a mischling (half-breed)under the Nazi racial laws. In 1943, he and his father were sent to a holding compound in Berlin until massive protests by non-Jewish wives convinced the Nazis to release the prisoners. There were “thousands of women who stood for days... my aunts demanded ‘give us our children and men,’” he later wrote.

“The Rosenstrasse event made one thing absolutely clear to me: I won’t wait until we get deported,” said Beck.

Following his release, Beck joined Chug Chaluzi, an underground Zionist resistance group, which played a key role in ensuring the survival of Jews and gays in Berlin. According to the entry about him at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, he noted that “as a homosexual, I was able to turn to my trusted non-Jewish, homosexual acquaintances to help supply food and hiding places.”

In his autobiography, Beck describes wearing a Hitler Youth uniform and entering the pre-deportation camp where his boyfriend, Manfred Lewin was being held. He asked the commanding officer for Lewin’s release for use in a construction project. Permission was granted. When outside the building, however, the boy declined, saying, "Gad, I can't go with you. My family needs me. If I abandon them now, I could never be free." "In those seconds, watching him go," Gad recalls, "I grew up." Lewin and his entire family were murdered at Auschwitz

After the defeat of Nazi Germany, Beck continued his Zionist work and helped Jewish survivors emigrate to Palestine. He remained in Israel between 1947 and 1979.Beck returned to Berlin in 1979 where he was the director of the Jewish Adult Education Center

Beck is survived by his partner of 35 years, Julius Laufer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How many Refugees?

Under UNRWA’s operational definition, "Palestine refugees are people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict." The Palestinians are the only group of people in the world whose status is defined this way.

From an article by Elliott Abrams
How many Refugees?

"Today the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (or PCBS) commemorated World Refugee Day by releasing new statistics on Palestinian refugees. Therein lies a tale.

The PCBS reported that there are now 5.1 million Palestinian refugees. Here is what it said about their age:

The Palestinian Refugees are characterized as young population where 41.7% of them are under the age of 15 years for Palestinian refugees in Palestinian territory, 35.9% of Palestinian refugees in Jordan in 2007, and 33.1% for Palestinian refugees in Syria in 2009, while 30.4% for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in 2010.
This means, for example, that more than a third of Palestinian “refugees” in Jordan were born after 1997. That is either thirty years (if after the 1967 war) or almost fifty years (if they fled when Israel was established in 1948) after their parents or more likely grandparents arrived in Jordan. Those in Jordan have full Jordanian citizenship and vote in Jordan, which means this: a young Jordanian of Palestinian origin, whose family has lived in Jordan for thirty years and who has himself or herself always lived in Jordan, is still considered a “refugee.”

This is bizarre, and the new statistics are a reminder of the unique definition applied to Palestinian “refugees.” For every other category of refugees in the world, the 1951 UN Convention on the status of refugees clearly applies to the refugee only and not subsequent generations. This is the definition used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees today. Only in the Palestinian case does a separate organization, the UN Relief and Works Agency, count not only those who actually left their homes but those in succeeding generations, presumably forever, and regardless of whether those progeny were born and are settled elsewhere with full citizenship.

So a young American boy of, say, ten years of age born in Chicago to American parents, but whose grandparents were Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948, is counted by UNRWA as a “Palestinian refugee.”

It is not surprising that the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Senate on May 31 adopted an amendment defining Palestinian “refugees” the way all other refugees are defined, and rejecting the definition that produces the number 5.1 million today and who knows how many more millions as the years roll by. What’s surprising is that this effort, led by Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois–who would represent the young boy in my illustration, and his parents–was widely held to be controversial. It is common sense."

The Campaign to Destroy Israel

From Haaretz, written by Gerald Steinberg and Yitzhak Santis of NGO Monitor. I've re-posted it in its entirety- Haaretz does not yet have an English version on-line

"A decade-long global political war is being waged against Israel, aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy. Its fundamental goal: to deny to the Jewish people the right to sovereign equality. Given the scale of this drive, the Jewish people continue to face a very difficult challenge.

The opening event was the 2001 UN-led Durban Conference on Racism, when some 1,500 self-proclaimed human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) adopted a strategy to isolate Israel internationally. The “Durban Strategy” seeks to portray Israel as an “apartheid”, “racist” and “colonial” state, so “criminal” that it is beyond rehabilitation. The purpose is to create a moral atmosphere that is conducive to the notion that Israel has no right to exist.

The main tactics are based on boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as the means to the complete isolation of Israel and its supporters. Since Israel’s primary advocate is Diaspora Jewry, this Durban Strategy to delegitimize Israel also de facto targets the Jewish people.

The Durban Strategy is being deployed by activists in numerous arenas: labor unions, churches, local and national governments, sports, culture, etc. In many places, fringe anti-Israel groups with “Jewish” in their names have taken it upon themselves to be a “Jewish shield” for some of the more extreme anti-Israel campaigners, including those using anti-Semitic rhetoric, with the aim of weakening pro-Israel support from within.

This international campaign is massively funded, with hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade – from both European governments and private donors -- flowing to more than one hundred NGOs.

In the intense “soft power” warfare, Israel has not yet developed a successful counter-strategy. While local events, such as “Israel Apartheid Week” and other BDS efforts, get little or no traction in the U.S. and elsewere, on the wider front, the results are not good. The false allegations of the Durban Strategy are repeated frequently, and responses are often slow and inadequate.

On June 6, for example, Amnesty International launched another such attack in a publication focusing on administrative detention in Israel. Although the claims were entirely unsubstantiated, based on unverifiable information, and consisted largely of a one-sided Palestinian narrative, they were immediately repeated in the international media. This was not a surprise attacked – Amnesty circulated pre-release summaries, and sent the Israeli government pro-forma letters with some details. But government officials and major pro-Israeli organizations were not prepared to counter the entirely predictable media coverage.

The need for a coherent pro-active game-plan to attack the engines driving this strategy has been clear, from Durban in 2001 to the repudiated Goldstone report on the Gaza war. Now is the time to expose the farcical nature of the UN Human Rights Council, which has been dominated by the most oppressive and violent regimes in the world, including Ghaddafi and Assad. In parallel, the NGOs that are closely allied with the UN|HRC -- Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and their many counterparts -- have been shown (largely by NGO Monitor – full disclosure) to be far from the knowledgeable and impartial arbiters of international morality, law and human rights.

Of course, not every criticism of Israel is part of the BDS campaign, nor is every critic of Israeli policy involved in delegitimization. Unfortunately, many critical of Israeli policies who do not support Israel’s elimination have been co-opted by the Durban Strategy’s proponents. Separating responsible critics from the delegitimizers should be central to our approach.

Instead of waiting for, more NGO assaults, we must effectively and pro-actively challenge the BDS movement and their funders in every arena. There is too much at stake to do anything less."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Billboard wars. Redux

The opponents of Israel in America are minuscule in number, but they make up for it in sheer noise. 40 Cal professors sign a petition- the press release screams “Cal Professors Support Divestment”. 12 rabbis and a handful of Rabbinic students sign a letter- the press release screams “Rabbis support Divestment”. Its all about leverage. Its all about taking a respected community institution- a union, a co-op, a religious denomination- and using it to push a narrowly focused politic agenda. We’ve seen this time and time again.

This time they tried to co-opt a respectable local business. And the business said no.

Clearly the enemies of Israel are extremely well highly financed. In the los Angeles area 23 billboards were rented and scheduled to run for 4 weeks, calling for an end to aid for Israel. Its interesting that they’d spent their money on anti-Israel billboards, rather than trying to ameliorate the tremendous “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. Being pro-Palestinians isn’t exactly the same as being anti-Israel, and all but the densest hate Israel cru realize the cats out of the bag on the old “starving Palestinian “ meme

The organizers of the billboard campaign began implying that CBS Outdoors endorsed their message. And CBS Outdoors fought back. They were not going to allow their name and their reputation to be sullied in that manner.

From the Standwithus press release


"June 25, 2012 (Los Angeles) - Once again, anti-Israel groups have exposed their lack of credibility, not just on facts about Israel but also on facts about their own alleged successes. This time, fortunately, their distortions were caught by CBS Outdoor, the billboard company.

A coalition of anti-Israel activists that calls for ending U.S. aid to Israel, Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, has run billboard campaigns in several American cities to spread its message. On June 11 it entered the Los Angeles area, setting up 23 billboards, which were scheduled to run for four weeks, with more billboards to follow. Instead of maintaining a strictly business relationship with CBS Outdoor, it implied through its literature and fundraising appeals that CBS Outdoor actually supported its anti-Israel cause. Its petition of thanks to CBS Outdoor read, in part, "By contracting with the grassroots, nonprofit Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, this billboard company is demonstrating its support for the basic American tradition of free speech.”

A coalition member’s article (yeah- it was Mondoweiss, again - sorry- we don't link to hate sites) celebrating the Los Angeles campaign was entitled "Billboard campaign to end U.S. aid to Israel hits LA - thanks to CBS."

CBS responded almost immediately. In a curt e-mail note, it informed the coalition that the billboards would be taken down and the money refunded because "your organization has used the 'CBS Outdoor' name without permission" in e-mail messages and petitions. CBS Outdoor removed the billboards after they were up for only one week. "

In the absense of truth and history, the hate Israel cru resort to hoaxes,distortions and downright lies . The press release continues:

"These kinds of factual distortions characterize the anti-Israel campaigners. They misrepresent facts about Israel. For example, the $30 billion in U.S. aid is not a lump sum for one year, but rather is to be spread over the next 10 years. Nor do they let the public know how much U.S. aid to Israel benefits America and the American economy because 75 percent of it must be spent in this country. They also mislead the public about who supports their movement, as they did with CBS Outdoor. Why? Probably because they hope to persuade well-meaning people that their cause is respectable and mainstream, when in fact it is a fringe, extremist movement that seeks to harm the U.S. and one of our most valuable allies, Israel. They can't make that case without distorting the facts," explained Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. "

Anti-Israel billboard Before:

Anti-Israel billboard After:


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pinkwash this! Tel Aviv Vibe at San Francisco Pride Parade

Spotted at San Francisco Pride June 24, 2012- a colorful float highlighting Israel's LGBT record, keeping with this years theme "Global Equality". Check out the Tel Aviv Vibe.

Allison Deger of Mondofront has been duly impressed with the plethora of activities in the Bay area, celebrating Israel. Here's one more item you can add to your list, Allison. Tel Aviv Vibe. San francisco Pride parade. And yes, the crowd went wild.

Check out that ruach, Allison.

Caterpillar Dealership in Ramallah and in Gaza Another BDS fail

And in the latest BDS fail, there's a Caterpillar dealership in Ramallah, and one in Gaza. Don't those silly Palestinians know there's a vendetta, er boycott against Caterpillar?

"Palestinian Tractor is a truly Palestinian enterprise and is set to play a leading role in the country's economic and industrial development, as well as training and development to its Palestinian staff.

Palestinian Tractor and Equipment Co. Ltd. was established in 1995 as a sister company to Jordan Tractor and Equipment Co. and as an affiliate Company to M.E. JALLAD the dealer of Caterpillar Inc. in Lebanon and Syria since 1929. It is a part of Caterpillar dealers network established all over the world. "

Maybe someone should mention this to JVP.

Check out the Palestinian tractor website

If the Palestinians don't boycott Caterpillar, why should Tiaa-Cref?
If the Palestinians don't boycott Caterpillar, why should the Methodists?
If the Palestinians don't boycott Caterpillar, why should the Presbyterians?

If the Palestinians don't boycott Caterpillar, why should anyone who claims to be acting in their interest boycott Caterpillar?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Join the East Bay Jewish community in Israel

I feel like a kid in a candy store. Look at these choices! The East Bay Jewish Community is planning a party and we're all invited. From April 10-April 19 2013, there will be a communal trip to Israel.

Excursion Highlights

Choose from one of five customized excursions each day:

Geopolitical Landscape
•Participate in “Two Kinds of Reality,” a walk through the streets of South Tel Aviv with an Israeli activist to gain a deeper understanding of the complex reality of a thriving economy.
•Meet Amotz Asael, one of Israel’s leading economic journalists.
•Hear social commentator Hirsch Goodman and journalists from The Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz.

Innovations: Green and Hi-tech
•Take a guided tour of the Tel-Aviv Hub—Israel’s incubator for social and environmental entrepreneurs.
•Dialogue with start-up entrepreneur Jonathan Medved about Israel’s economic and hi-tech revolution.
•Explore the Alexander River Project for a glimpse of one of Israel’s great environmental success stories.

Arts and Culture
•Participate in a workshop with world-reknowned artist David Moss.
•Join critic Vardit Gross on a guided tour of contemporary Israeli art and see the latest in Israeli fashion.
•Visit the Umm El Fahem Art Gallery and meet with its founder Said Abu Shukra.

Social Action
•Work harvesting fruit and vegetables for those in need.
•Visit Friends by Nature to learn about Ethiopian Israelis working to create a new vision for Israeli society.
•Hear the sounds of Acco’s emerging young musicians and learn about Israel’s educational kibbutzim.

Historic Israel
•Take a guided visit to recently excavated sites in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter.
•Celebrate Israel’s Independence Day with a bike ride to the Yarkon River or a jeep ride on the “Burma Road.”
•Visit the remains of an ancient Canaanite city for a glimpse into the world that greeted Abraham and Sarah.
•Explore Masada, Herod’s palace near the Dead Sea and the site of the Jewish Zealots’ last stand against the Roman Legionnaires.

Presented by the Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay.

Registration begins July 1, 2012. For more information: 510.318.6453 or email israel2013 (at)

Will QUIT silence Palestinian Queer voices?

Rumors abound that extremists from QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terror) are planning on disrupting tonight's showing of "The Invisible men" at the Frameline LGBT film festival. Premiered at the Amnesty International Film Festival (Movies that Matter) this film won the special jury award at the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival.

QUIT, along with the Arab Resource Organizing Center has picketed the film festival before, because they dare show Israeli films, and take support from the Israeli consulate to facilitate this. After several years of having their picket lines ignored by theater go-ers, QUIT organizers discussed ratcheting the pressure up a notch- by entering the theater and disrupting the film. They've already expressed their disdain for Frameline by vandalizing posters promoting the festival.

Just what are they blindly protesting against?

From the Times of Israel

The Invisible Men’presents the untold narratives of Louie, 32 years old, a gay Palestinian who has been hiding in Tel Aviv for the past 8 years; Abdu, 24 years old, who was exposed as gay in Ramallah and then accused of espionage and tortured by Palestinian security forces; and Faris, 23 years old, who escaped to Tel Aviv from the West Bank after his family tried to kill him.”

Asked about allegations of "pinkwashing" Yariv Mozer narrator, writer and film producer of the "Invisible men" replied

"I just don’t see the connection between gay rights and the occupation. The facts are that Israel is undoubtedly much more tolerant towards gay rights and against homophobia incomparably to the situation in the Palestinian occupied territories, as in the whole Arab world. Unfortunately, the Palestinian conservative society does not respect human rights in general, and that includes for example women rights and of course gay rights.

Another undeniable fact is that Palestinian people are still under the occupation in all of its faults.

I don’t think that there is an official Israeli policy to highlight gay rights in order to undermine the occupation and its consequences.

Abdu said a smart thing during one of our last screenings: the day the Palestinian people will liberate themselves, they will be liberated from the Occupation.

It’s a radical thing for a Palestinian to say, but it’s the smartest conception of the conflict."

Queers Undermining Israeli Terror haven't quite made the intellectual leap that there's a big difference between being pro-Palestinian and being anti-Israel. Will QUIT firmly establish itself as a hate group in the Bay area by silencing the already marginilized voices of Palestinian queers? Or will they ultimately chose to open their hearts and minds and actually listen to the stories of those they claim to support? We will find out this evening.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Southern Israel under Seige. Again.

Its been a bad week. The latest escalation of attacks from Gaza began Monday with more than 150 rockets and missiles fired into Israel- an average of 20 a day.

Its looking like the begining of a bad weekend, too. A volley of rockets from Gaza slammed into Southern Israel just minutes ago. At least 15 rockets struck near Sderot, with one exploding in the city’s industrial zone and injuring a man.

The 50-year-old man was hit in the neck by shrapnel from the explosion. Several other Sderot residents were treated for shock.

Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor filed a complaint with the UN declaring that “the lives of about a million Israelis are paralyzed” by these attacks. adding “as long as Israel’s southern communities will not know quiet, it will not be quiet in Gaza.”

In spite of the attacks on Israel, last week 1,243 truckloads (34,062 tons) of aid were delivered to Gaza.

Jewish Voice for Peace, TIAA - CREF and Caterpillar: The Newest BDS hoax?

Its beginning to look a lot like a BDS hoax- as ubiquitous as kitten pictures and porn on the web. All the signs were there from the very beginning. Sweeping proclamations from the anti-Israel lobby, spammed and tweeted with no confirmation from any neutral source, and no coverage in the mainstream media. The Forward briefly ran an article based on the JVP press release, quickly realized they'd been had, and quietly removed it. Oops.

From Divest This- the web's single most reliable site on BDS:

"To begin with, the story is not accompanied by any statement from TIAA-CREF itself that it has taken any action that could be described as political in nature. Which makes sense once you realize that CREF is still heavily invested in the company the boycotters are claiming as a divestment win (the long suffering Caterpillar Corporation).

In fact, if you dig a little deeper it looks like CREF did not make any politically related investment or divestment decision at all, but rather that one of its funds (one targeting social investors) was following the lead of an independent research firm (MSCI) which generates an index which many “Social Responsibility” investment funds use to determine what will and will not be included in their portfolios.

Now earlier this year, MSCI downgraded and eventually removed Caterpillar from their index, which means that CREF was just following along with a decision made by an independent researcher, not making a judgment regarding Caterpillar on its own (as reflected by the fact that other funds managed by CREF still hold millions in Caterpillar stock).

Which brings us to the question of why did MSCI (an organization none of us – including the BDSers – ever noticed or mentioned until just this week) made the decision they did regarding Caterpillar?

BDS press releases do a masterful job of claiming victory while never citing a single quote (or anything specific) that would indicate that this decision was based on their effort – or anything having to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict for that matter. (As usual, Jewish Voice for Peace goes to the furthest rhetorical extreme, claiming that TIAA CREF not only made a specific decision to divest from Israel, but did so in defiance of a US Congressman - with no evidence supporting either contention/invention, of course.)

Might MSCI have taken into account some of the faux controversy the BDSers themselves have generated in judging whether Caterpillar was in or out? Or might some of the union issues the company has been facing been a deciding factor?

We don’t know (but many of us are trying to find out). But given the total lack of evidence those touting the “BDS victory” narrative have produced, I think it’s safe to say that we’re looking at another situation where a business decision with no specifically known motivation is being sold by the boycotters as a result of their work. And given the boycotter’s track record for fraudulently trying to pass off similar stories in the past, I think it’s safe to ignore any BDS bombast until they can produce for us a quote from TIAA-CREF itself (the company they are claiming to have done the BDSers’ bidding) confirming the story."

In spite of JVP's laughable flash mobs and petitioning, TIAA CREF has held firm regarding divestment , stating in an open letter:

"While TIAA-CREF acknowledges participants’ varying views on Israeli and Palestinian policies and the Gaza Strip and West Bank, we are unable to alter our investment policy in accordance with those views. Our responsibility to earn a competitive financial return on the retirement savings entrusted to us by 3.7 million participants obliges us to invest in a diverse line-up of companies across all sectors of the global economy."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Crusade Against Caterpillar: A JVP kind of "Victory"

JVP has made an announcement regarding Tiaa Cref. Its "Huge", they screamed "HUGE". Frankly, its hard to take them seriously- they've been caught manipulating the truth so many times.

From the very beginning, the crusade against Caterpillar was fraught with manipulation and deception. In late 2009, the UC campaign to end Israeli occupation send out an email, urging anti-Israel activists (sit down for this one) to buy Caterpillar stock.

Hello all,
If you were at our annual Organizers' Conference last September, you already know that we're asking supporters of the Stop Caterkiller campaign to each purchase one share of Caterpillar stock before the end of the year.
While it may seem odd for a group pushing for divestment to encourage purchasing Caterpillar stock, there is a method to our madness. The real point of shareholder divestment is to pressure the corporation to divest of it's activities in the area of concern. With this in mind, once you become a Caterpillar shareholder you can 1) vote in favor of our resolution at the shareholder meeting and 2) support our protest activities inside the meeting by either attending yourself or designating a proxy. The reason we would like more turnout from our supporters at the shareholder meeting is that this has been the area where we've had the most success garnering media attention. The annual shareholder meeting is Caterpillar's day in the media's sun and if we can turn the attention from Cat's finances to their activities in Israel/Palestine it is a win for our campaign.

National Organizer US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Katherine M. Fuchs went on to explain her "inside strategy"

"Three important things to keep in mind as you purchase stock and encourage friends to do the same:
Our purchasing of Cat stock should be kept quite for now. If Caterpillar learns of this strategy they may change the rules of the meeting to require more than one share for entry.
Time is of the essence. The cut-off date for shareholders receiving invitations to the meeting is fast approaching; I believe that this cut-off date is the end of the calendar year, so act now!
Let us know when you've confirmed your stock purchase so we can be in contact with you about shareholder meeting plans. You can email me at or call our office at 202-332-0994."

Ms Fuchs adds detailed instruction on just how to buy the stock (and which brokerage to use!) She reminds her followers that they can purchase one share of Caterpillar stock for approximately $58.00. As of today, one share of Caterpillar stock sells for $84.98. This gives you an idea of just how successful the Caterpillar crusade has been.

Katherine's "Inside strategy" fell flat on its face. At this time Tiaa Cref became targeted by the BDS'ers leading to yet another BDS hoax, chronicled at Divest this:

"To give you an idea of how powerful and effective the divestment project has become, they now have the ability to get companies to act on their demands four months before those demands are even made!"

By 2010, Jewish Voice for Peace was entrusted with the Caterpillar Crusade by their handlers at the US Campaign. They launched their crusade in June of 2010 in New York City, with the goal of urging Tiaa Cref to divest from 6 companies: Veolia, Elbit, Northrop Grumann, Caterpillar, Motorola and Alon USA. For Rebecca Vilkomerson, it was important to consider Tiaa-Cref divestment a long term campaign. She whined piteously "If we had a flotilla a week it can be much faster."

Two full years after JVP took the reins, what do we know? We know JVP and their allies are crowing victory all over the web, because Caterpillar no longer trades in the "Socially Conscience" Funds through Tiaa Cref. Was it a political decision? Was it economic? Did it have the least bit to do with JVP's bullying, flash mobs and petitioning? Tiaa Cref continues to hold millions of dollars of shares of Caterpillar. Thats not divestment. We also know that the other 5 companies weren't even on the drawing board.

What kind of huge victory divestment victory leaves millions invested? What kind of huge divestment victory leaves 5 out of 6 companies untouched? A JVP kind of victory.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Life in Gaza. Were you Expecting Hummers and Porsches?

“We used to blame outside foes for the closure, but after five years we feel the government is also to blame”
Wesam Afifa, editor of Al-Resalah, in Gaza

From The Economist

"Hamas has begun to regenerate Gaza, transforming security bases into schools, turning training grounds into public parks, and levelling the Saraya, the Gaza City fortress from which the enclave’s past rulers had governed, instead erecting a commercial complex. A host of new tourist resorts line the beach front. A corniche is being built which, say hopeful officials, will rival Tel Aviv’s...

In the meantime, Hamas leaders seem increasingly content to enjoy the fruits of splendid isolation. The parliamentary car park, full of rickety bangers when Hamas first took office, now gleams with flash new models hauled through the tunnels under the Egyptian border. Two Hummer H3s and a golden Porsche were recently spotted cruising the streets. Ministers and members of parliament seem unbothered by the lack of accountability as well as reports of money-laundering. “We’re hunted and targeted,” explains a self-pitying MP on Hamas’s parliamentary ethics committee, who recently spent $28,000 on a new car with the help of a $12,000 loan from the movement."

Gaza by the numbers 2012

Population growth rate:
3.108% (2012 est.)
Gaza has the 7th fastest population growth rate in the world. So much for the "slow motion genocide" we keep hearing about.

Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.55 deaths/1,000 live births
(Lower than Saudi Arabia, Mexico , Vietnam and the Phillipines)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.16 years
Higher than Venezuela, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Turkey

Are the attacks on Israeli Consulate support of the Frameline film Festival anti-Semitic?

All human institutions are inherently flawed. Nation states- as human institutions, are also inherently flawed. But according to the hate Israel cru-only the nation-state of Israel and Israel alone has flaws so deep, so all encompassing, so born of original sin, that these flaws invalidate her very existence of 64 years. To these haters, everything Israel has ever done, everything Israel will ever do, must be looked at through the prism of those flaws.

Natan Sharansky's famous 3 D's definition of anti-Semitism summarizes it best.

The first "D" is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel's actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz -this is anti- Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.
The second "D" is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross - this is anti-Semitism.
The third "D" is the test of delegitimization: when Israel's fundamental right to exist is denied - alone among all peoples in the world - this too is anti-Semitism.

Are the attacks on the Israelis consulate support of the Frameline Film festival in San Francisco anti-Semitic? They certainly represent a Double standard.

After all, promoting a countries cultural resources is an accepted and expected role of Consular services:

From the French consulate
"French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) was created to strengthen cultural ties between France and U.S. in all areas of innovation, whether artistic or educational. Hosted by the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in New York, FACE supports several initiatives and events in collaboration with other French agencies of the United States. Missions and objectives Support the efforts of Franco-American, as well as exchanges in the fields of creation, art or education, Develop and bring together professionals and artists with French or American institutions, Combine the mutual efforts of France and the United States to create a dynamic and joint projects between our two countries"

From the Switzerland Consulate
"The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has an annual budget of CHF 1.5 million available for the implementation of cultural projects abroad. The budget is administered by the Cultural Foreign Policy Centre (CCC), which functions as a link between the cultural milieu in Switzerland and the Swiss representations around the world... The FDFA’s cultural activities are meant to showcase the values of Swiss foreign policy. In this way, they promote Switzerland’s image abroad and form the basis of an ongoing dialogue with other countries. For the FDFA, culture is a fundamental tool in advocating the interests of Switzerland."

From the Belgium consulate
"The Consulate plays an active role in promoting Belgian films, in close co-operation with Flanders Image ( and Wallonie Bruxelles Images (".

No one calls this into question. No one questions the right of the Swiss or the French or the Flemish to promote their culture. But when Israel's consulate supports its cultural institutions by promoting them in America and throughout the world, it’s a symptom of some nefarious plot. Yes, it’s a double standard representing nothing more than a new look for a very old hatred.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

QUIT: The new face of Intolerance

Imagine if the Westboro Baptist Church vandalized an ad for an LGBT film festival? Imagine if the if tea partiers disrupted a LGBT movie? We'd all be appalled and angry at this hateful and intolerant act.

Now imagine if QUIT did.

Its not going to be too hard. Here's a peek at their handiwork from BART:

QUIT- Queers for Undermining Israeli terror is not stopping at simply vandalism- they're plotting to interrupt Israeli films at the Frameline film festival in San Francisco.

How is their hatred and their intolerance any different from that of the Westboro baptist church? How is their hatred any different from the forces that left Matthew Shepard tied to a fence post in Laramie? Kate. Jack. Zac. What gives you the right to decide whose voice get heard? What gives you the right to silence the voices of those who disagree with you?

QUIT is planning on interrupting a Frameline showing of the Invisible Men, and silencing the story of a young gay Palestinian man. Why? Simply because the man you gave him a voice was an Israeli- director Yariv Mozer

From the Frameline website:

"In a tumultuous region fraught with religious, cultural and political tribulations, simply being oneself is a luxury that gay Palestinians cannot afford. Threatened with violence and death by the their families, outed gay men such as 32-year-old Louie have fled Palestine for Tel Aviv. But while the Israeli urban center may arguably be the most LGBT friendly city in the Middle East, it is still a space where gay Palestinians have a very tough time living legally and getting by.

His face scarred by his father’s blade, pensive Louie has been hiding in Tel Aviv for almost ten years, eluding police who knock on his door, and living a life with no passport, no bank account, and a cloud of fear following him.Though asylum in a third country is his only legal option, Louie is reluctant to move: the Middle East is, quite simply, his home. While other refugees such as 24-year-old Abdu, who was tortured, has no such qualms about moving to Europe, Louie is torn: he can be in Europe and be free to love, or he can be in the only land he has ever known. He can never have both.

Examining the multiple layers of identity that add up to make a person, award-winning director Yariv Moser’s intimate film sheds light on a world where one cannot be gay in Palestine, or a Palestinian in Israel. In this world, they truly are The Invisible Men."

QUIT's vendetta against the dastardly Israelis who dare accept people regardless of their sexual identity isn't stopping here.

Social media is supposed to be organic and spontaneous- yet QUIT and the hate Israel team continue to manipulate it for their own narrow aims. Local haters have been called to twitter bomb the local LGBT film festival with anti-Israel messages, and to inundate Frameline's management with emails.

What are people of conscience going to do about this? Nothing. We're going to let them hate. We're going to let their frothing at the mouth intolerance be exposed for the world to see. We know sunlight is the best disinfectant.

We also know this: Out of Zion comes pride

Monday, June 18, 2012

Google chairman Eric Schmidt "We love Israel" Pssst. BDS fail

Are you keeping score? In the world of BDS success stories, apparently a cafe that never sold Israel products has decided never to carry Israeli products. This baffling development is from the Flaming Eggplant, a tiny establishment located near good old Evergreen College, Alma mater of the ISM's sacrificial lamb, Rachel Corrie. And in the BDS fail column, Google chairman Eric Schmidt speaking in Tel Aviv praised Israel's engineers and development centers, effusively declaring " We love Israel".

Google vs The Flaming Eggplant. This is roughly the state of the BDS movement today.

From Haaretz:

"Google chairman Eric Schmidt said on Monday that the company's development centers in Israel are among the company's most efficient and that Google is constantly expanding them.

Speaking at a Tel Aviv conference called "Big Tent," Schmidt said that the quality of Israel's engineers is very high, not least due to the country's universities and the training acquired in the army. He also praised local salespeople as among the best in the world, saying they continue to contribute to the company's profits.

"We love Israel," Schmidt said, drawing applause from the crowd."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Frameline Film festival and the Israeli consulate.

Earlier I wrote a bit about the relationship between the Israeli consulate and the Frameline film festival. There is nothing unusual or nefarious about a cultural attache promoting its nation's culture. (I can't help but notice that there arent 24 page memos regarding Switzerland's participation in Frameline. Imagine that.) And a film festival that employs open and active anti-Israel activists can hardly be considered "biased" towards Israel.

But there are other issues. Three blogs reported on this, with varying degrees of inaccuracies. Interestingly enough, they aren't accepting comments that correct what they've written.

From Velvet Park Media:

"The leaked emails show conversations between Frameline and Jewish Federation staff about trying to get pro-boycott ads taken down from bus shelters."

From PrettyQueer

"Frameline’s efforts included encouraging a vigorous public relations campaign and Mr. Price’s personal attempts to censor MUNI advertisements purchased by QUIT to raise public awareness about the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and Frameline’s complicity."

And yes, the usual team of haters at "Mondofront" also wrote about this (No- I don't link to hate sites.)

These blogs miss a crucial point. Was this a deliberate ommission? We'll never know, because my comments haven't appeared on the websites. These were not paid ads. Bus shelters were vandalized. Paid ads were removed from the bus shelter and "plop art"- propaganda was placed in.

It was vandalism, pure and simple. There was no "censorship".

Switzerland is also a sponsor of the Frameline film festival. From the website of the Swiss Consulate:

"The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has an annual budget of CHF 1.5 million available for the implementation of cultural projects abroad. The budget is administered by the Cultural Foreign Policy Centre (CCC), which functions as a link between the cultural milieu in Switzerland and the Swiss representations around the world."

Switzerlands' commitment to using its Consular services to spread its culture is never once called into question. Once again, Israel is held to different standard than the other nations of the world.

Boycotting Jews. Boycotting the state of the Jewish people. Its just a new look veiling an ancient hate.

Frameline LGBT fim festival: Pride in Israel

There’s good reason for the LGBT community to feel pride in Israel:

LGBT Rights in Israel:

* Gays have had full civil rights since 1992
* Gays have full rights to serve in the military
* Gays have partner adoption rights
* Gays have partner benefits for governmental employees
* Same gender marriages preformed abroad are recognized.

LGBT Pride in Israel

* The first transgender person to win the Eurovison contest was Israeli Dana International with her song "Diva".
* Openly gay singer Ivri Lidder is one of Israel's most popular entertainers.
* Openly gay movie producer Eytan Fox has created such popular movies Yossi and Jagger, Walk on Water and The Bubble
* Openly gay politicians have served in the Kenneset and on many local councils.
* Tel Aviv was voted Best Gay city in 2011

From the Huffington post

"Israel's enemies recognized how favorable this record was for Israel, and that it threatened their efforts to demonize the Jewish state, so they shrewdly maneuvered to use it against her, linking promotion of Israel's LGBT record to the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza -- even though there is no connection. The idea that the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs' campaign is part of a diabolical scheme to cover up abuses of the "occupation" is completely the invention of anti-Israel queer activists; it is their great lie.

Beginning in Toronto in 2008, and later in San Francisco and New York, LGBT anti-Israel groups formed and sought to make being anti-Israel a queer value..."

How could anti-Israel activists rationalize their , well irrational hatred of Israel, one of the most progressive nations in the world when it comes to LGBT rights?

Enter "pinkwashing"

From Divest this

"The “Pinkwashing” accusation claims that any mention of the yawning chasm between Israel’s positive record on gay rights and the appalling condition of gays elsewhere in the Middle East is not really about concern over gay individuals, but is actually part of a nefarious propaganda plot by Israel supporters who just want to score points and don’t really give a fig about actual gays people or genuine gay issues.

Ignored in this faux controversy over a manufactured term is that regardless of whether or not the gay issue might be manipulated cynically by some of Israel’s defenders (a dubious proposition, at least when applied universally), there is no question regarding the truth of Israel’s superior record on this issue of importance to progressively minded audiences."

Here's where Frameline comes in .

Frameline is our local LGBT film festival- a respected and treasured institution in San Francisco. The list of sponsors reflects the diversity of the Bay area- from corporate sponsors like ATT and HBO- to local institutions such as the Rainbow grocery. The Israeli consulate and the nation of Switzerland are also sponsors. The current controversary stems from 2010 when the Israeli consulate gave money to Frameline to fly in famed Israeli filmmaker and social activist Yair Qedar. Qedar, whose film was being screened as part of the festival is also a founding editor of Pink Time, Israel's first Gay, lesbian and transgender newspaper

Several articles in a variety of fringe blogs have implied that there is something nefarious about this relationship.

From Velvet park media

"Throughout the years of protests, the festival seemed to be taking a stance of official neutrality. In a June 2010 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, K.C. Price, Executive Director of Frameline, is quoted as saying, "We understand this is a very sensitive subject for both sides. As an arts and cultural organization, we try to stay nonpartisan." In an article from the Bay Area Reporter in June 2011, Price continues: "Frameline is an arts and culture organization, and we don't take political points of view."

From PrettyQueer:

"A leaked internal report regarding the protests targetting Frameline has exposed clandestine arrangements between the film festival management and Israeli government officials. The report includes a series of emails that show Executive Director Kenneth C. Price colluding with Israeli consul general Akiva Tor to counter protests by anti-occupation activists targeting the 35-year old film festival."

Its hard to imagine whats "clandestine" about a relationship that proudly appears on all programming material, as well as on the Frameline Webpage.

Yet none of these articles mention a rather important fact- the Community Engagement & Communications Coordinator of Frameline for several years was Harris Kornstein - a notorious local anti-Israel activist.

Harris has organized boycotts of local stores that carry Israeli products. He protested an appearance of the Israeli Philharmonic at Davies hall. His organization (the IJAN) sponsored anti-semitic Indian activist Feroze Mithaborwala in a panel discussion in San Francisco. In an act of unbelievable arrogance and intolerance Harris Kornstein participated in the disruption of classes held at the San Francisco Jewish Community center. Harris was arrested for his role in this egregious act.

Its hard to re-construct Harris's relationship with this issue. Did he infiltrate Frameline simply to push his own peculiar brand of bigotry? What role did he play in leaking private information regarding the festival? It also begs the question- If Frameline's Executive Director Kenneth C. Price was less than neutral on this issue- would he have even employed such a vocal anti-Israel bigot as Harris Kornstein?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rachel Roberts of CAIR: Denying the Principal of charity once again

What do we know about Rachel Roberts?

Using her own words, from her Twitter account we can learn that she considers New York's Celebrate Israel parade "the most horrible day of the year".

We know she considers vandalism an appropriate response to a message she doesn't agree with.

We know she rejects a 2 state solution.

And we know she's obsessed by the "Jewish question"

And we know she has an almost juvenile assessment of the situation in the Middle East- regarding it as a zero sum game where there can only be one "winner". (and apparently "victory" is measured by the number of bumper stickers you have supporting your side.)

We also know that Rachel Roberts, working for CAIR wrote an op-ed in the Oakland Tribune, libeling a local human rights activist, and distorting the dialog regarding Palestinian Cultural Day in Alameda County.

Let me digress for a moment.

Our friend Jon from the Divest this! blog has written an excellent series on rhetorical techniques that dominate the Israel Palestine issue. Read his post Rhetoric- Avoidance and see how the CAIR op-ed has strategically bypassed the message of activists opposed to the wording- not to the principle- of a Palestinian Cultural day resolution- wording that specifically reduced the Jewish people to a religion, denying them peoplehood and a connection to their ancient homeland.

"This avoidance of debate works in direct opposition to one of the most important notions behind sound argumentation: the Principle of Charity. This principle says that in any debate you are better off engaging with your opponent’s strongest points, rather than just pouncing on his or her weakest...

This choice to “engage” only with someone who could be characterized in negative terms while pretending that this was the only criticism they received was no oversight, but instead represents a BDS rhetorical strategy we see time and time again.

We see it whenever the boycotters studiously ignore all criticism until someone finally accuses them of anti-Semitism (an accusation for which they have a ready store of answers) which causes the boycotters to rise in indignant attack mode, insisting that any and all criticism they ever receive consist of nothing but similar accusations. This has become such a well-worn strategy that even if someone doesn’t make such an accusation, the boycotters will still argue as though this was the only criticism they have ever heard.

If the Principle of Charity requires you to engage your opponents at their strongest, what are we to make of a movement that will do everything in its power to wait for, ferret out or (if need be) make up talking points for their opponents that consist of arguments they do feel comfortable answering, and then pretending these is the only challenges they ever face?"

In her op-ed, co-written by Sameena Usman, also of CAIR, Rachel ignores the Principal of Charity and hurls out spurious charges of Islamophobia and prejudice, all the time ignoring the arguments of those opposed to the resolution- which addressed the Jewish people solely as a faith, and denied their history and cultural ties to the land of Israel. Never once does the CAIR op-ed address the stated concerns of the activists towards the language of the proclamation. Rather than work with the Alameda Board of Supervisors to rework the proclamation, removing the offensive wording, CAIR has chosen instead to embrace the cult of victimhood. Its not about achieving a solution- its about licking their wounds and crying victim.

Anti-Semitism at San Francisco Jewish Community Celebration Protest

Both the EU's working definiton of anti-Semitism, and the US State departments definition echo the same theme "Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" can be considered anti-Semitism.

From the weblog of Norm Geras:

"these Nazi-analogy critics don't generally apply their favoured analogy elsewhere than in the Israeli case, they don't often use potentially apt comparisons between Israel and other cases that would be less hateful to Jews, and they use the analogy precisely to magnify the parallels and minimize the discrepancies between Israel and Nazism. I submit, therefore, that there are strong grounds for seeing a certain malice in use of the analogy, and as this malice is aimed specifically, aimed by the very particularity of its shape, at Jews, it is hard to know what else to call it but anti-Semitism."


On June 10, 15,000 people joined together for our Jewish community celebration, Israel in the Gardens. Men, women and children waited in long humiliating "checkpoints" to get in to the festivities, and found themselves subject to invasive dehumanizing searches, all in the name of security. No one complained.

Bay Area Zionists waiting at a security checkpoint

And yes, a few dozen aging activists decided to protest. From their "free speech zone", located appropriately enough in the gutter, once again, as they do every year, the "peace activists" crossed the line into anti-Semitism

And again, we need to ask the question. Why do these so-called "peace activists" proudly proclaim their Judaism (even when they aren't) while they continue enable, encourage and tolerate anti-Semitism at their events?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flotilla organizers linked to Al Qaeda

Still think the Gaza flotillas were created to deliver essential humanitarian aid?

Turkish media reported Friday that Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) director Bulent Yildirim has allegedly been transferring funds to al-Qaeda through his organization.

From the J Post

"Turkish legal authorities are investigating allegations that one of the key figures behind the May 2010 Gaza flotilla, Bülent Yildirim, was involved in transferring funds to al-Qaida, Turkish daily Habertürk reported on Friday.

Bülent Yildirim is the president of the IHH, a Turkish charity that was one of the main planners of the Gaza flotilla. On May 31, 2010, IDF commandos raided one of the flotilla vessels attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Mavi Marmara, killing nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists. While Turkey has accused Israel of unprovoked aggression and demanded an apology for the deaths, Israel maintains that the commandos were confronted by violent IHH terrorists when they boarded the vessel and acted in self defense.

The IHH is widely considered a terrorist organization by a number of bodies - including the Israeli government, and has been accused of maintaining ties with a number of terror organizations.

According to the Habertürk report, special prosecutors in both Istranbul and Diyarbakir are conducting separate investigations into claims that Yildirim has been secretly "providing financial aid to al-Qaida via his foundation."

The IHH, short for the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (Insani Yardim Vakfi), is an Islamic charity that was founded in the mid-90s to provide aid to Bosnia Muslims. Since then, it has been involved in charity operations in a number of Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and aid missions to the Palestinian territories.

According to the Israeli NGO The Intelligence and Information Center, the IHH is affiliated with Hamas and the Union of the Good, an Islamic umbrella affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

UNESCO rejection of Palestinian claim "a spectacle as rare as Halley’s Comet”

From J Post

"The secretariat of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has come out against a bid by the Palestinian Authority to use an emergency procedure to register Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity under the country of “Palestine” as a World Heritage site.

“At the UN, where the General Assembly each year adopts more resolutions criticizing Israel than on the rest of the world combined, this is a spectacle as rare as Halley’s Comet,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said.

“This is the first time in recent memory that a draft resolution circulated by the United Nations – let alone by UNESCO, which recently elected Assad’s Syria to its human rights committee – openly rejected a Palestinian claim or position,” Neuer said. His Geneva-based nonprofit group monitors UN activity."

From UN Watch:

"The United Nations circulated a draft resolution that would reject a Palestinian bid to list the birthplace of Jesus as an endangered World Heritage site, citing a report by international experts who investigated and dismissed claims that the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem was under any specific danger.

The draft resolution will be considered by UNESCO's 21-nation World Heritage Committee at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, later this month.

The committee — which includes Algeria, Cambodia, Iraq, Malaysia, Mali, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates — has the power to overturn the expert-drafted text, but insiders say that Arab states may not win the required two-thirds majority, noting that several states, including Russia, the host country, may be hesitant to upset an objective evaluation submitted by UN professionals...

The reason for the extraordinary occurrence is very simple: the Palestinians have just been admitted to UNESCO as a member state, and this is their first time taking advantage of the World Heritage procedure, which is governed in its initial stages by experts who are non-political -- instead of by the very political 195 governments, most of whom join the automatic UN majority that rubber-stamps Arab resolutions...

a comprehensive investigation and report by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) – a Paris-based entity that advises the World Heritage Committee on which nominated properties to list — said the very opposite.

“[T]he Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route in Bethlehem, Palestine should not be inscribed on the World Heritage List on an emergency basis," said the experts.

"ICOMOS does not consider that the conditions required by paragraph 161 of the Operational Guidelines are fully met, concerning damage or serious and specific dangers to the Church of the Nativity that make its condition an emergency that needs to be addressed by the World Heritage Committee with immediate action necessary for the survival of the property.”

ICOMOS found that, contrary to the Palestinian submission now before the UNESCO committee, the Church of the Nativity was neither “severely damaged,” nor “under imminent threat”.

There was no “immediate action… necessary for the survival of the property”. Despite the Palestinian claims, Israel was not found to be a major obstacle to the preservation of the Church of the Nativity.

In fact, the report pointed out that the church’s roof – said to be at greatest risk – was repaired “most recently in 1990, when works were implemented by the Israeli military authorities.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another BDS Fail - Tourism to Israel at Record High

Over 1.4 million visitors arrived in Israel in January-May 2012, 6% more than the same period in 2011, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday.

Tourism Ministry: Incoming Tourism Record Highs for January-May 2012

From Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov: "The consistent increase in incoming tourism and the new record highs prove that the investment in the industry contributes to increased income for the economy and creates tens of thousands of new jobs. Against the background of the ongoing global economic crisis, the importance of investment in engines for growth becomes sharper and tourism is a central player in maintaining the robust Israeli economy."

Based on the Central Bureau of Statistics data released today, 1.4 million
visitors arrived in the months January – May 2012, 6% more than the same
period in 2011 and 4% more than 2010, which was a record year. Of these, 1.2
million were tourists, 3% more than the same period last year.

Increased tourism to Israel: another in a series of colossal BDS failures.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why does California Attorney General Kamala Harris enable anti-Jewish biogtry?

From the Fousesquawk Website. Originally published by the Amcha Initiative

Action Alert: Ask the Attorney General to explain why she permits CSUN professor to use public funds to promote anti-Jewish bigotry

In March, the Global Frontier Justice Center sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, urging her to investigate whether CSU Northridge Prof. David Klein's University-hosted "Boycott Israel Resources" web page constituted misuse of public resources and a violation of state law. In May, the Attorney General's office responded with a disappointing letter stating that no state laws had been violated, but providing no further explanation.

Last week, after the appearance of an article in the Electronic Intifada celebrating the Attorney General's letter and encouraging other professors to use their University websites to promote the boycott of Israel, AMCHA co-founders Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith sent a letter to the Attorney General, which appears below. In their letter, Tammi and Leila challenge the Attorney General's conclusion, arguing that Klein had indeed broken state laws, and they ask her to explain her legal reasoning.

We believe California tax payers deserve to know why the state's Attorney General believes there is nothing wrong with using the website of a taxpayer-funded state university to spew hatred of Israel and Jews.

Please consider writing your own respectful letter to the Attorney General expressing your distress over her determination that Professor Klein's hateful university-hosted website is an acceptable use of public resources, and urging her to explain on what grounds she came to that conclusion.

You can send your letters to:
California Attorney General Kamala Harris -
California Deputy Attorney General Stepan Haytayan -
For a list of CSU and state officials that you may wish to copy on your letter, see HERE.
Thank you!

Letter from AMCHA Co-Founders to California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Deputy Attorney General Stepan Haytayan

Sent - June 7, 2012 3:48 PM PDT

Dear Attorney General Harris and Deputy Attorney General Haytayan:
We would like to bring to your attention an article that recently appeared in the Electronic Intifada, an online publication that promotes calls for the boycott of Israel. The article, entitled "In blow to Zionist censors, California backs professor's right to call for Israel boycott on state university website," celebrates your apparent refusal to prosecute CSU Northridge Professor David Klein for alleged misuse of state resources by posting his webpage promoting the boycott of Israel on the CSUN web server.

In the article, Klein is quoted as saying of your decision: "I hope that it is a source of encouragement to other faculty members to do similar things, to go ahead and take a public stand against apartheid in Israel and ethnic cleansing, and all the injustices there."

Please understand that there are many California taxpayers, including ourselves and the group of concerned citizens we represent, who are deeply troubled by your decision and its impact on the Jewish community, particularly on Jewish students. As you may be aware, the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism has declared that the academic boycott of Israel, which is prominently promoted on Klein's website, is anti-Semitic. In addition, the Jewish community recognizes campaigns to boycott Israel as deliberate assaults on the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum have vigorously condemned these campaigns.

In our opinion, we believe that Prof. Klein's calls for the boycott of Israel on his CSUN-hosted "Boycott Israel Resource" web page are in violation of the following California statutes:

• California Education Code 89005.5, which provides that no one shall use the name of any California State University campus for political activity, including "boycott."
• California Government Code 8314, which states that it is unlawful for any state employee to use public resources for "personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law."
Indeed, since you provide no explanation in your letter, we are puzzled as to why you concluded that Klein's explicit and numerous calls for the boycott of Israel on his University-hosted website are not a violation of California law.

Therefore, in addition to our previous query requesting you to determine whether the personal attacks against us and our organization by Prof. Klein and Interim President Hellenbrand on their CSUN-hosted webpages constitute misuse of public resources, we, and many in the California Jewish community, would like to know the following: on what basis did you conclude that Prof. Klein's University-hosted "Boycott Israel Resource" page was not a violation of state law?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative
Leila Beckwith
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative