Thursday, October 30, 2014

Starvation in Gaza? No, Obesity in Gaza.

One of the most enduring myths of the struggle in the Middle East is that Israel is starving Gaza, or that "Israel has put Gaza on a diet". This lie is perpetuated by extremist groups like JVP that offer flyers for download on their website accusing Israel of “slowly starving” the people of Gaza.

JVP Lies

 It is also perpetuated by individuals such as Norwegian Doctor Mads Gilbert who knowingly promote falsified statistics

The reality is something very different. Its been well documented in peer reviewed medical journals.

There is an avoidable public health crisis in Gaza.  Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease are increasing dramatically. This is all associated with Western levels of obesity in the Gaza Strip. Obesity is also at epidemic levels in the West bank

A recent article Obesity and overweight: prevalence and associated socio demographic factors among mothers in three different areas in the Gaza Strip-Palestine: a cross-sectional study from BMC  Obesity  aimed at determining the prevalence of obesity and overweight cases among mothers aged 18–50 years in  Gaza from June 2012 to September 2012. Obesity and overweight rates in urban areas, refugee camps, and rural areas were found to be 57.0%, 66.8%, and 67.5%, respectively. The results showed that obesity and being overweight were highly prevalent among women, with  independent predictors of obesity in the population studied including increasing age, high income, and not working outside the home.
A paper, Overweight and Obesity among Palestinian Adults: Analyses of the Anthropometric Data from the First National Health and Nutrition Survey published in the Journal of Obesity  documented that over  sixty percent of the Palestinian population between 18 and 64 years old were overweight (38.0%) or obese (24.4%), but did not differentiate between  the population in Gaza and the West bank.

The paper speculated

It is probable that the high consumption of foods rich in fats and calories and the sedentary lifestyle among most communities in this Region played an important role in the rise of obesity. This is particularly salient with regard to the shift from traditional foods to more westernized foods, which are characterized by high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium, and low fibre

Just some food for thought, for the next time someone tells you about "starving" Gaza.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Israel water-use experts offering help to drought devastated California

Don Ford reports this as  "an unusual meeting in an unusual place"

Israel, a tiny desert nation has a great deal to teach California about water recycling. According to water expert Eilon Adar from Israel's Ben Gurion University California currently recycles less than 10 % of its sewage.  Israel, the world leader in water-reclaiming, reuses  83.5%.

From Wikipedia:

As of 2010, Israel leads the world in the proportion of water it recycles.Israel treats 80% of its sewage (400 billion liters a year), and 100% of the sewage from the Tel Aviv metropolitan area is treated and reused as irrigation water for agriculture and public works. The remaining sludge is currently pumped into the Mediterranean, however a new bill has passed stating a conversion to treating the sludge to be used as manure. Only 20% of the treated water is lost (due to evaporation, leaks, overflows and seeping). The recycled water allows farmers to plan ahead and not be limited by water shortages. There are many levels of treatment, and many different ways of treating the water—which leads to a big difference in the quality of the end product. The best quality of reclaimed sewage water comes from adding a gravitational filtering step, after the chemical and biological cleansing. This method uses small ponds in which the water seeps through the sand into the aquifer in about 400 days, then is pumped out as clear purified water.

Currently, a  delegation from Israel is touring the Delta Diablo Sanitation plant in Antioch, to compare what the two countries can learn from each other regarding  recycling water.Both California and Israel are currently in serious drought conditions.

Watch it here

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oakland Block the Boat misses the boat, again

There was another anti-Israel promenade across the Oakland docks on Sunday.  It was a picture perfect day by the bay, and yes, it was a lovely day for a walk.  Holding signs calling for the destruction of Israel, 150 activists walked from West Oakland BART to the docks, aiming to stop a boat that wasn't even coming. (How could they fail?)  What was particularly strange about this particular  "block the boat protest" is that the anti-Israel activists were protesting the Zim Beijing, a ship heading due west, that was well over a thousand miles away.

Perhaps they hadn't bothered to check the schedule at Zim's website?

As part of Zim's restructuring, they will be consolidating  their shipping, and relying more on subcontractors. Economies of scale are particularly important in container shipping and this current strategy may enable them to survive the economic downturn within the shipping industry.

Expect the BDS'ers to distort this routine business decision beyond recognition and call it a "victory" for their cause.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yawn. #‎OpOrwahHammad‬ Another hackathon directed towards Israel

More puffery from Anonymous.

They write:

#‎OpOrwahHammad‬ has officially kicked-off now, and Israeli government websites are feeling it. Anonymous is targeting Israeli government websites in protest of the killing of young Orwah Hammad and many Palestinians alike. The world will not stand by such brutality. Israeli Government beware for you should have Expected Us.

Incidentally, a spot check of these sites shows they are working fine

Some of the Israeli government websites hit today include the following: – Ministry of Industry and Trade – Public Works Department – Israel Economic and Tourism – domains – Israel Government ISP – Embassy of Israel to the United States – Merkava – ministry of Finance – Israeli Defense Forces – Israel Police Department – Ministry of Defense – Ministry of Finance – Economic Mission U.S. – State of Israel – eGovernment – Galil Development Authority – Domain Internet Ltd. – Integrated Foreign Trade System – Israel Institute of Productivity – Israeli Immigration – Office of the Prime Minister – State of Israel Mail – The Government of Israel – Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Israel Information Technology – Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Foreign Affairs Ministry – The Israeli Antitrust Authority – Israeli Government CERT – Shifra Har – IDF – Israel Defense Forces – Bank of Israel – Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Israel Government Printing Office – State of Israel-Ministry of Finance – Slum Rehabilitation Authority. – Water Preservation – Shalom civil service reform-Minister Michael Eitan – Israel Securities Authority – Israel Government ISP – Ministry of Regional Cooperation – Nativ Project – PMO – National Insurance of Israel – Ministry of Finance 1 Kaplan Street – Ministry of Industry and Trade

BDS: Failing for 13 years.

Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) have been a failing tactic since it was first introduced at Durban in 2001. By any objective measure, the economy of Israel is booming.  Investment in Israel flourishes. Israeli bond ratings remain high   A-list entertainers have continued to visit Israel,  both for personal travel and to perform before appreciative crowds.

If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.  Israel has consistently built a better mousetrap, and innovations in water saving technology,  defense technology, medicine and cyber-security  will keep the Israeli economy robust for years to come.

"Then why", the BDs'ers ask, "Why do you fight us if we are not a threat?"

I'd answer simply, in the words of  Thomas Paine's "It is an  affront to truth to treat falsehood with complaisance"

But our friends at Divest this! have a much better answer. In the comments section of the post  the Israeli Economy-Security Dialectic , the blogger is also asked (Why) " If BDS is almost constantly failing, that we should therefore concern ourselves with it?"

The response  nails it:

You’re not the first person to ask why we should concerns ourselves with BDS given that, as you point out, I spend so much time documenting is failures. To which I’ve responded: 

(1) BDS (as we’ve seen) can make progress if enough good people don’t stand up to fight against it (which is why I spend time helping those engaged with this fight);

(2) The goal of the BDS propaganda campaign is to convince others that the Israel = Apartheid propaganda message is embraced by broad swaths of society (especially progressive society) rather than being the opinion of a tiny, unrepresentative fringe. So, by that very formula, highlighting when they get rejected by progressive individuals and organizations diminishes their message and effectiveness; and

(3) Of all the de-legitimization activity going on in the world, BDS is one of the few areas we civilians can have an impact. Most of us are not in the position to affect how nation states or international organizations behave (even if we can communicate their failings). But we can protect the civil society in which we live from being infected by the BDS virus. And any failure BDS experiences rebounds against the anti-Israel de-legitimization project as a whole.

Congressman Mike Honda did what? J Street did what?

Attention California Voters:

East Coast Blogger Elder of Ziyon reveals some startling information about J street-endorsed Congressional candidate Mike Honda, who represents the 17th Congressional district .

In 2010 , the San Jose Peace and Justice Center presented its Gertrude Welch Peace and Justice award to Hamas shills Paul Larudee, Kathy Sheetz , Greta Berlin for their work in the anti-Israel Free Gaza Movement

Paul Larudee with Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh
From the Elder:

Concurrent with this presentation, Congressman Mike Honda sent Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition to each of these terror supporters as well as a letter of commendation recognizing the award recipients for their "peace" work in campaigning tirelessly against Israel.

Guess who wants you to give money to Mike Honda's campaign?

Yes, that "pro-Israel, pro-peace" group J-Street

Reports from Jerusalem attack highlight bias in mainstream media

This was a bad week for those who cherish freedom. The cold blooded murder in Canada, and the attack on Canadian symbols of democracy was a jarring reminder of of the vigilance required to keep terror at bay.  Wednesday's senseless terror attack on innocent bystanders waiting for the Jerusalem light rail served as a reminder that Israel has been the ground zero in the fight against  terror, since its very beginning.

On October 22, a  car plowed through a Jerusalem light rail station, killing a 3 month old infant, and wounding 8 others. The driver attempted to flee the scene but was gunned down by Israeli police.

The reaction of the mainstream media was shocking.

The Associated press reported the incident "Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem"

If not for a swift reaction by shocked commenters on media watchdog sites and social media, the deliberately  biased and misleading headline might still remain

‘Bias on Steroids’: This AP Headline Explains Why So Many Complain About Media Coverage of Israel

Little Baby Murdered And The Associated Press Goes Full Evil

A Case Study in Media Bias: Today’s Jerusalem Terror Attack

 Associated Press Assailed for Headline ‘Israeli Police Shoot Man in East Jerusalem’ Following Infant’s Death in Terror Attack 

After Suspected Terror Attack Against Israelis, Early AP Headline Reported: "Israeli Police Shoot Man in East Jerusalem." 

From Commentary Magazine:

Indeed. CAMERA went on to note that about an hour later, the AP re-released the story with the following headline: “Car slams into east Jerusalem train station.” You’ll notice that this, too, is repellant behavior by the AP. Many others noticed as well, and said so. To say getting the truth from the AP on Israel is like pulling teeth would be an understatement. But finally, the truth appeared; the headline currently on the story is: “Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station.”

But the AP wasn’t alone. Scanning the BBC, I had noticed their initial headline (since changed as well): “Nine hurt as car hits pedestrians at Jerusalem station.” As the Jerusalem Post’s Seth Frantzman pointed out, the headline on the version he saw, and took a screenshot of, was “Car hits people at Jerusalem station.” Either the BBC was deliberately downplaying the story, or the editor in charge thought he was posting a story about an evil car magically becoming sentient only to lash out, like Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, at the humans around him.

Later in the day, after executives at the BBC located a shred of integrity hidden somewhere in the sofa cushions, that was changed as well. It now reads: “Jerusalem car ‘attack’ kills baby at rail station.” I say “a shred of integrity” because the BBC still saw fit to wrap “attack” in scare quotes. What are the options, here? Was it a car “love tap”? It was a terrorist attack, perpetrated by a member of a terrorist organization. 

The murderer of 3 month old Chaya Zissel Braun, has been identified as Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi . He has previously served time in jail and is the nephew of Hamas's late chief bombmaker, Mohiyedine Sharif.

Fatah has also glorified this heinous act and praised this as an act of "martyrdom'.  Another example of the new "unity" government at work


Monday, October 20, 2014

Israel: Supplying Aid to the Besieged Kurds

Since 2001 the non-profit, non-governmental organization IsraAID has been first on the front lines of nearly every major humanitarian  disaster in the 21st century, mobilizing  medics, search & rescue squads, post-trauma experts and disaster relief supplies to the worlds most vulnerable people.

IsraAID has
-Responded to crises in 25 countries
-Reached over 1,000,000 people
-Distributed over 1,000 tons of relief and medical supplies
-Trained more than 5,000 local professionals
-Mobilized over 800 staff, volunteers, and professionals (among them 200 doctors / nurses and 125 therapists and social workers).
Ad now, IsraAid is helping the Kurds as they fight for their survival, supplying beds, blankets and food to over 1,000 Kurdish families in the city of Duhok.

From Israel National News
The emergency supplies could not have come soon enough. Many of those at the camp arrived with only the clothes on their back and are living in nothing more than tents or makeshift huts. As winter approaches their misery has increased still further, with recent rainstorms and cold weather just a harbinger of worse to come: some parts of the region receive a meter of snow on average amid subzero temperatures.

IsraAID's Founding Director Shahar Zahavi told Arutz Sheva that the Israeli team were warmly received by the Kurdish residents of the camp.

"They were aware that we were Israel, and they received us very well. The Kurdish people really love Israel," he said.

Indeed, the Jewish state has good - if somewhat covert - relations with the Kurdish Regional Government in particular, and many Kurds and Israelis see eye-to-eye on crucial issues such as the wave of Islamic fundamentalism sweeping the Middle East, which threatens both nations.

IsraAID has provided aid to disaster zones across the world, from Haiti to Japan, and from the Philipines to South Sudan. But Zahavi explained that the mission to help Kurdish victims of ISIS resonated particularly strongly with them. As the Middle East's only full democracy, Israel has a special duty to aid the Kurds - who are the largest stateless nation in the region - in their struggle for freedom against Islamist forces, Zahavi said.

The mission - which was the first of its kind by an Israeli aid agency - went smoothly enough, and was coordinated with the KRG. But aid workers soon witnessed the extreme conditions faced by refugee when a massive storm tore through the camp, flooding the entire area and destroying many of the tents.

Duhok is part of the autonomous Kurdish region run by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), where nearly two million refugees - including Christians and Yazidis - have fled ISIS's genocidal military campaign. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BDS fail. Apartheid fail. Hamas leaders daughter in Israel for medical treatment

Like a true member of the  ruling elite,  Gaza's Ismail Haniyeh only wants the best for himself and his family. When his daughter was in need of medical treatment, where did she go?

She went to Israel.

From the J Post

Haniyeh's daughter was admitted for emergency medical treatment after she suffered complications from a routine procedure, two sources familiar with the case said.

Haniyeh, who has 13 children, is the leader of the Islamist group in Gaza and one of its most senior figures overall, serving as a deputy to Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile.

Two sources - one Palestinian and the other a foreign diplomat with knowledge of the case - declined to name the daughter and, out of respect for her privacy, asked that details of her condition not be published.

Representatives from Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv confirmed it treated Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's daughter, adding that she was only one of over a thousand Gazans that the hospital treats every year. 

Haniyeh's granddaughter and his mother-in-law  have both sought care in Israeli hospitals in the past.


Pallywood on the Temple Mount

Yascher koach to our friends at Israellycool and Elder of Zion.

This photo has been making the rounds on social media.  Its been spread by the likes of Max Blumenthal, ostensibly to show the dignified steadfast Palestinians vs the irrational hateful Jews., er, "settlers".

Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Via Israellycool:

What would an Arab woman be doing with a book of Psalms? One could assume she stole it from the Jewish man, which could explain his angry demeanor.

Both the Elder of Ziyon website, and Israellycool have video clips showing the theft, and the subsequent reaction. Check it out, and  remember never to take anything tweeted out by Max Blumenthal at face value.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Google Tel Aviv: One of the coolest offices of 2014

The creative energy in Tel Aviv is palpable. Youthful. Exuberant. Playful  Combine that with the innovation that Google brings, and you know you are in for something very special.

From Inc. The Coolest offices of 2014. an article by 
Google Tel Aviv, designed by: Camenzind Evolution: Honoring Cultural Identity Through Design
PHOTO: Peter Wurmli
Google is known for its highly stylized, playful offices, but this newly opened local headquarters spanning seven floors of a Tel Aviv high-rise takes the cake for meshing high-concept design with relevant, useful space. (Although it does so with a sense of humor.) As a starting point, architecture firm Camenzind Evolution interviewed Google employees in Israel about their identity as a company--and a culture. The firm came up with an array of themes, including family, optimism, and heritage, and decided to devote a floor to expressing each of these subjects. "We went to the secondhand market to buy objects for the heritage floor," (shown here) says Stefan Camenzind, partner and executive director of the firm, which created the space alongside two other architecture firms.

More photos of the Google Tel Aviv offices can be found here

Eldridge Cleaver, Zionist

From our friends at the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (Like them on Facebook)

"But it seems to me that the Western democracies, the United States above all, are so guilt-ridden because of their past history as colonizers that they now swallow, hook, line, and sinker, every half-baked argument emanating from the wise men of the (UN) General Assembly."

Former Black Panther turned Zionist, Eldridge Cleaver after the UN passed Resolution 3379 (Zionism is Racism)

Post Hoc Fallacy: Zim Shipping Restructures

In their frantic effort to achieve some sort of tangible victory,  BDS'ers often resort to wild abandonment of logic, cause and effect, and truth.

We're about to see it again.

The economic downturn of the last few years has left many of the container carriers floundering. New ships ordered before the financial crisis have flooded the market, and this overcapacity is directly influencing the profitability of many shipping lines.

That Sinking Feeling: Global Crisis Hits Shipping Industry Hard

Maersk Line sees shipping overcapacity for five years
The Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Shipping Industry and Trade Consequences

Zim Shipping  has also been struggling for some time.   Its 2nd quarter 2014 results were less than stellar.
In January, restructuring plans had been announced with Israel Corp handing control of two-thirds of Zim  to creditors . The final details of the restructuring were announced this week:

From Reuters 

Israel Corp, one of Israel's largest conglomerates, has planned to split into two companies for more than a year in an attempt to boost the value of its core businesses and attract a broader range of investors.

Under its plan, Israel Corp will continue to hold two of its most lucrative and stable companies -- potash and speciality chemicals maker Israel Chemicals (ICL) and Oil Refineries, Israel's biggest refinery.

On Monday, it detailed plans for the spin-off company, Singapore-incorporated Kenon Holdings. It will transfer to Kenon its holdings in five units: chipmaker TowerJazz, shipping line Zim, Qoros Automotive -- a joint venture between Israel Corp and China's Chery Automobile -- IC Power and IC Green Energy.

Among the expected changes for Zim Shipping is a consolidation of ports of call.
Although this is the culmination of events beginning in 2008, already the anti-Israel cru is declaring this a victory for BDS. In the Copernican world of  Palestinian activism, the entire universe orbits around BDS. There are no routine business decisions as far as the BDS'ers are concerned. Its all about them-  their "power", their "momentum".

Since the summer, attempts have been made in Vancouver, Tampa, Tampa and Long Beach and Oakland to block Zim ships. Outside of Oakland,  there has been resounding failure.

In spite of this, expect to see BDS'ers crowing victory as  further details of the restructuring become public.

To them, all I can say is  Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apartheid fail: Israeli Druze to head Ziv Medical Center

From Israel's Medical Support to Victims of the Civil War in Syria, published in the Israel Medical Association Journal, February 2014, written by Col. Dr. Salman Zarka:

As expressed in the IDF-MC  oath, “To extend a helping hand to any who is injured or ill, be they lowly or venerable, friend or foe – to any fellow man,” the State of Israel, since its establishment in 1948, adopted a strategy to provide humanitarian aid to people in need all over the world. Indeed, s uch missions were previously launched by the IDF-MC in Armenia, Turkey, Macedonia, Haiti, Japan, the Philippines and others, following natural disasters  Now, for the first time, such large-scale humanitarian aid is delivered not thousands of miles away, but right on our borders to citizens of a hostile country....

Encountering the Syrian patients and hearing their personal stories touched us on several levels – as medical professionals, as Israelis, and first and foremost as fellow human beings. We were dismayed to learn that prior to this encounter many of our Syrian patients considered us “evil” or “devils,” but we were encouraged that after meeting us in person and witnessing our hands outstretched in benevolence and goodwill many reconsidered their judgment. We also learned that word of the humanitarian and medical aid extended on the Israeli side of the border had spread widely among locals. We were especially moved to hear the story of a young mother whose two children were admitted to our field hospital. She told us that when her home was shelled and her children injured, villagers insisted that she “take them west” – to the Israeli border. “In the west the Israelis have set up a hospital to save us,” they told her. “They will take care of your children, and once they have recovered, you will be able to return home.”

Today, it was announced that Col. Dr. Salman Zarka, head of the Israel Defense Forces’ health services, has been named director-general of Safed’s Ziv Medical CenterHe is the first Druze Israeli to head an Israeli hospital

Its yet another in a series of apartheid fails from Israel

From the Jerusalem Post:

Born in Peki’in in the Upper Galilee into a large Druse family, he is married and the father of three. He studied medicine at the Technion’s Rappoport Medical Faculty as part of the IDF’s academic program and then went directly into the Medical Corps, with special expertise in public health and medical administration.

He has also lectured in University of Haifa's Welfare and Health Faculty, and Hebrew University’s special military medicine program in Jerusalem. He is the author of many medical journal articles.

Zarka is a graduate of the National Security College, where he earned a master’s degree (summa cum laude) in political science and national security. He also received a master’s of public health degree from the Hebrew University’s Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

His last position in the IDF was as head of the medical services center and the department of health services. For the last 18 months, he has run the humanitarian hospital in the Golan Heights. He planned and established the field hospital on the Syrian border to provide medical services for Syrians who have been wounded in the civil war there.

Read it all here

JVP and SJP. Peas in a pod.

Students for Justice in Palestine has been called "Hamas on Campus". It was  founded by radical Islamic leader Hatem Bazian, who once infamously called for an "Intifada" in America.

In UCLA the membership of Jewish Voice for Peace overlaps that of Students for Justice in Palestine enough, that SJP promotes JVP meetings.

Jewish Voice for Peace has described itself as the "Jewish" wing of the Palestinian solidarity movement, after all, and claims it is guided by "Jewish" values.

Hamas kills suspected collaborators

These are not "Jewish Values".

Enough said.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy Simchat Torah

Happy Simchat Torah via The Jewish Standard

What do the most hardened members of Israel's security forces do when a new Torah scroll arrives at their base?

Israeli Border Police Goes WILD When New Torah Scroll Arrives

The chorus of the song means: "Someone that believes is unafraid."

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Jesuit University of New York should do better.

At Tablet magazine, Professor of History at Fordham University, Doron Ben-Atar documents  the Kafka-esque ordeal he endured at Fordham University, because he dared take a stand for academic freedom.  By taking a courageous and public stand against bigotry and anti-Semitism on campus, he found himself at the center of an academic witch hunt

He writes:

The decision of the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities in December 2013 had upset me. I wrote emails, circulated articles, and was pleased that my university president quickly declared his opposition to the measure. I joined a national steering committee that set out to fight the boycott and participated in the drafting of a few statements. As an American historian who delivered in 1987 his first paper at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association and served on the executive committee of Fordham’s American Studies program, I wanted Fordham’s program to sever official ties with the national organization until it rescinded the measure. Other programs have taken this courageous symbolic step, and I thought it proper for the Jesuit university of New York to take the moral stand against what most scholars of anti-Semitism consider anti-Semitic bigotry.

It was this stand that led Fordham’s Title IX officer to launch the proceedings. During an emotional meeting convened to discuss the appropriate response to the measure, I stated that should Fordham’s program fail to distance itself from the boycott, I will resign from the program and fight against it until it took a firm stand against bigotry. The program’s director, Michelle McGee, in turn filed a complaint against me with the Title IX office, charging that I threatened to destroy the program. (As if I could? And what does this have to do with Title IX?) This spurious complaint (the meeting’s minutes demonstrated that I did not make such a threat) ushered me into a bruising summer that taught me much about my colleagues, the university, and the price I must be willing to pay for taking on the rising tide of anti-Zionism on American campuses.

Ultimately Prof. Ben-Atar is cleared of the spurious charges, writing:

It was a sobering summer. I have had to defend my reputation against baseless, ever-evolving charges, ranging from sex discrimination to religious discrimination. I went through a Kafkaesque process in which I was never told exactly what I supposedly did wrong, nor was I ever shown anything in writing. Eventually I learned that the charge was religious discrimination born of my opposition to anti-Semitism. The implication is that anti-Semitism needs to be tolerated at Fordham, and that those who dare to fight it run afoul of university rules.

Administrators and colleagues failed to protect my First Amendment rights, and fed the assault on my character. A person utterly unqualified to understand anti-Semitism sat in judgment of a scholar who publishes on and teaches the subject. A report has been issued without letting me even defend myself. My choice to have legal representation has been cited as proof of my guilt. Most painful was realizing that my commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, so central to who I am, has been used against me in a most unethical manner not only by the member of the faculty who filed the baseless charge, but also by the office of the University Counsel.

Read the entire article here

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Richard Silverstein Exposed. Again

Seattle Blogger Richard Silverstein is enough of a running joke, that assorted bloggers keep a running tally on how many times he has made a fool of himself.  We've got one more to add to the list.

This might be the most complete tally:.From IsraellyCool, a selection  of links pointing to Richard Silverstein’s
  • Unreliability, whether it be lies or lack of factchecking
  • Defence of Hamas and palestinian terrorists, or otherwise explaining away their crimes
  • Ignorance of Israel and Judaism, despite his claims of expertise
  • Hypocrisy
  • Possible crimes
  • Following by antisemites
Lets chalk this latest one up to unreliability, with a  hefty sprinkling of hypocrisy.  Richard Silverstein has accused  Israeli doctors of killing " tens of thousands of Arab children", by irradiating them as part of the treatment for  Tinea capitis; ringworm, a very common and very contagious fungal infection

Silverstein is a bit late jumping on the demonization bandwagon for this one.  This antisemitic meme  drifted through the Bay area in 2008, and was soundly rebuked on the hard left's own agitprop site, Indybay 

According to a commenter on the site, the standard treatment for ringworm at the time was  radiation. This was an article from a 1949 California medical journal

Calif Med. 1949 March; 70(3): 189–193.
M. E. Mottram and Harold A. Hill

A recent epidemic of tinea capitis in children  has revived a considerable interest in the methods of treatment of this disease. The most efficacious form of therapy for M. audouini infections is roentgen epilation. Cure was effected by this method in all of a group of 125 cases.

Yes, Silverstein is condemning Israeli doctors for treating patients with radiation, which was considered the state of the art treatment at the time.

Wait, Wait! There's more.  Silverstein's headline reads "When Israeli Doctors killed Tens of Thousands of Arab Children" , prompting one of this followers to respond  "Genocide".

Silverstein, knows that the vast majority of internet users, and certainly his intellectually sub-par followers never read beyond the headline.  The  "Arab" children were actually Jews, entering Israel after their expulsion from Arab lands and he is attempting to conceal that fact from the majority of his followers. Its a deliberate, malicious attempt to mislead  his readers, and one of them called him out on it

In just one post we have both shoddy, incomplete research and deliberately misleading use of language, with the specific purpose of demonizing Israel. Could we expect anything different  from Richard Silverstein?

On his website, Silverstein asserts, incorrectly

"At that time, many children developed ringworm, a non-lethal condition of fungal origin which affected the scalp. Unlike in other countries, 100,000 Jewish (and Palestinian) Arab children were irradiated in order to treat the condition. While medical protocol of the day directed that no technician receive a dose higher than .5 Roentgen, those treated could received  (sic) a higher dose. A lethal dose was considered 200 Roentgen (R). The children treated received individual doses of 350R. Sometimes they received two doses (for a total of 600R). 6,000 of the victims died within the first year or so after treatment. To this day, many of the remaining victims suffer cancers, epilepsy, infertility and other brain disorders. Even their children have been impacted through genetic abnormalities passed on from one generation to the next."

According to the British Journal of Medicine:
In 1948, the state of the art was  400 r over 5 fields   (No, Richard, this was not considered a “lethal dose”)


Br Med J. 1948 Apr 17;1(4554):723-6.
BRAIN RT, CROW K, et al.

A year after,  the recommended dose was 500  r (over 4 fields)

Br Med J. 1949 Mar 26;1(4603):523.

Silverstein’s medical research ranks about par with his historic research.  Psst. Richard, one more thing.  Only germline mutations are inherited, not somatic ones 


How typical of Richard Silverstein to publish first, and then ask questions

Plancks Constant has an excellent response to the spurious allegations of the film, The Ringworm Children  here

George Deek: My family's story in 1948 - fleeing Jaffa, building a future in Israel

George Deek, a Christian Arab from Jaffa is now Israel's deputy consul to Norway. The Deeks are one of the oldest families in the ancient city of Jaffa and have lived there for 400 years. Their  extraordinary story is well worth hearing.

In 1948, the Deek family fled their homes, along with 711,000 others, urged on by the Arab leadership than had promised to swiftly defeat the Jews in the nascent state of Israel  Yet that victory never happened, and the Deeks  remained scattered. That scattering is known as the "Nakba"

From George Deek:

"The Nakba has been transformed from a humanitarian disaster to a political offensive. The commemoration of the Nakba is no longer about remembering what happened but about resenting the mere existence  of the state of Israel... They do not mourn the fact that my cousins are Jordanians. They mourn the fact that I am Israeli. By doing so, the Palestinians have become slaves to the past. "

He asks, "Why is it that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the Gulf countries who have been born there are and know no other home are still considered refugees? Clearly the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere....Israel was one of the few countries that automatically gave full citizenship and equality for all the Palestinians in it after 1948 and we see the results. Despite all the challenges the Arab citizens of Israel built a future. Israeli Arabs are the most educated in the world with the best living standards and opportunities in the region."

Georges' grandparents arrived in Lebanon,  and soon realized they had been lied to. The Arabs had not won the war, but neither had they been slaughtered by the victorious Jews.  Grandfather George had  worked with many Jews, and even spoke Yiddish. He was able to return to Israel to his old job. Today, among the Deek descendants in Israel there are accountants, teachers,  high tech engineers, university professors, diplomats and doctors

Listen to the story of the Deek family. Its worth hearing, and worth sharing.

He concludes with a vision of tolerance and reconciliation for both people

"Jews and Palestinians. We might not be brothers in faith, but we are certainly brothers in fate making the right choices and choosing to focus on our future we can redeem our past"

A full transcript of George Deek's speech is available here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Israel: The Vegan Nation?

Move over, Start-up nation.  Is Israel becoming the first vegan nation?  Israel has the largest percentage of vegans per capita in the world – nearly four percent of the population, or about 300,000  with another 560,000 identifying as vegetarians.

Even the rather pedestrian pizza chain, Domino's has added a vegan pizza to their Israeli menu. 

From the Washington Times:

“Israel is leading the vegan revolution around the world, and this is another indication,” said Vegan Friendly Director Omri Paz.

The new product by Domino's will use a soy-based topping with vegetables instead of typical dairy cheese.

Yossi Elbaz, the CEO of the Israeli franchise, said it took six months to develop the new pizza, Haaretz reported.

On  October 13, 15,000 vegans will descend on  Park Leumi in Ramat Gan as Israel host's the world's largest vegan festival. The festival promises "Food, music and fun" and features 100 food stalls, top musicians, celebrity guests and a variety of speakers.

Omri Paz  organized Israel’s first Festival for Animals and meat-free Independence Day barbecue last year, with over 10,000 attending.

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook , the first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel described vegetarianism as the ideal kosher practice. A compilation of R av Kook's essays, published by his student Rabbi David Cohen can be found here:  "A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace", translated with additional notes by Jonathan Rubenstein.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Palestinian paper lauds working conditions in Israel

BDS is a movement meant to hurt Israel.  To the BDSers, helping the Palestinians is irrelevant. If Palestinian are also hurt, well, thats just collateral damages.  A recent article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the  Palestinian Authority's official daily highlights the advantages of working in Israel, and it begs the question,  if the Palestinian aren’t boycotting  Israel, why should any of us?

Palestinian Media Watch translated the September 21 article in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida , which stated “whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers – for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.”

The paper interviewed a group of Palestinian workers and found that those employed by Palestinians did not have medical insurance or vacation time. Salaries in Israel were reported to be twice as high as those in the territories.

Wael Nazif, CEO of the Jericho district Union of Palestinian Workers’ Organizations said it was “inconceivable that the Palestinian worker should receive his full rights from the Israeli employers but not from the Palestinian ones.”

Read the full translation here

This is what solidarity looks like: East Bay Federation Trip to Israel

 This what solidarity looks like.

The 2015 East bay Federation trip to Israel is sponsored by Beth Chaim Congregation, Beth Jacob Congregation, Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Emek, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Sholom, Congregation B’nai Shalom, Congregation B’nai Tikvah, Congregation Netivot Shalom, JCC of the East Bay, Temple Beth Abraham, Temple Beth Hillel, Temple Beth Sholom, Temple Isaiah, Temple Israel.

Two Jews, three opinions? Not this time.

The Federation  trip can be customized, with opportunities for social action, learning, and hands on activities.  You can mix and match classes in Israel innovation, historic Israel, arts and culture, social action and Jewish learning

Registration begins October 13 for the April 19-28, 2015 trip.

The 2013 trip was a resounding success, with 142 people from the East Bay Jewish community attending. Read about it here

For more information visit Alight Israel

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

More Shameless Israeli Water- washing

South by South West Eco 2014   (SXSW Eco)  features three days of informative panels and workshops, inspirational speakers, intensive mentor and coaching programs, workshops, networking events, and much more. Visualize our local Green festival,  but without the irritating politics we’ve come to expect from any Global Exchange- sponsored venture.

Arie Brish, Brewster McCracken, Kevin Wagner, Michael Ben-Eli, Michael Webber spoke on Lessons from the Negev: Allaying Water Scarcity at  the Austin Convention Center as part of the SXSW Eco festival . Tiny Israel is the world’s leading water recycler- reusing nearly all of its grey water.  As we enter our fourth year of drought, California ought to pay close attention.

From the Program announcement:
Ambassador Meir Shlomo, Ph.D., Consul General of Israel to the Southwest of the U.S., will give opening remarks for this session. Impending water shortages affect not just agriculture, but the comforts and lifestyles many Americans have become accustomed to. Since its existence, Israel has found innovative ways to make the most of its small water resources. Because Israel and Texas share similar climatic conditions they face similar water challenges. As a result, collaborative relationships and discussions are underway to address shared water scarcity issues. These relationships coupled with evolving solutions can serve as a basis for innovative approaches elsewhere. The panel will discuss specific research, technologies and practices from several Israeli and Texas based projects and companies, as well as entities such as Mekorot, Israel's national water carrier. By considering new technologies, project based experimentation, tax incentives, market based strategies, public-private partnerships and philanthropy, a framework for enhancing collaboration and providing solutions for water scarcity will emerge. 

From Yahoo News

Israel is a desert country suffering through a devastating drought. And it has so much water it’s considering exporting the excess.

How Israel went from being chronically water stressed to banking water surpluses offers lessons for the United States and other drought-stricken regions of the world.

“Israel has been in drought since forever,” Arie Brish, a consultant to Israeli water authorities, said at a presentation at the SXSW Eco conference on Monday. “Today, most people in Israel, when they start their shower, there’s a pot to collect water and they use that water to water plants at home. It’s showers to flowers.”

The country also uses drip irrigation to send water directly to the roots of crops rather than spray water on the surface, where it evaporates. Nearly all the country’s gray water—from dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets—is recycled for irrigation.

(Texas, in contrast, only drip-irrigates about 3 percent of its crops, according to Kevin Wagner, associate director of the Texas Water Resource Institute, a state-chartered organization.)

Conservation may be ingrained in Israelis from childhood, but the construction of five massive desalinization plants since 2008 has allowed the country to become water-secure, according to Brish.

“Israel is now talking about exporting water to Turkey,” he said.

Read it all here.

Top UC Administrator Addresses Jewish Concerns; Protects Jewish Students

From the AMCHA Initiative,  indefatigable advocates for Jewish students on campus:  Proof that advocacy can make a difference.

Top UC Administrator Addresses Jewish Concerns; Protects Jewish Students

Provost Dorr Affirms that UC Policy Prohibits Graduate Student Instructors From Bringing Hateful Antisemitic Propaganda or the Boycott of Israel Into the Classroom

AMCHA Initiative was joined by 11 Jewish advocacy groups in applauding University of California (UC) Provost Aimee Dorr and UC administrators for protecting the well-being of Jewish students by affirming that, according to University policies, graduate student instructors may not bring political propaganda and advocacy, including the promotion of a boycott of Israel, into UC classrooms. This is the first time that University administrators have publicly acknowledged such policies and their intention to enforce them!

The groups had written to UC President Janet Napolitano in August after the 83-member joint council of UAW 2865, representing all the graduate student instructors, tutors and readers at the 9 teaching campuses of the University of California, issued a statement outlining the union’s intent to support the anti-Israel and antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to seek a full-membership vote. The groups wrote to Napolitano that while supporting the free speech of members outside of an instructional setting, they were jointly concerned that the union members would bring unscholarly, politically-motivated and antisemitic propaganda and advocacy into UC classrooms, where it does not belong.

Many AMCHA supporters also wrote letters to President Napolitano, urging her to provide public assurance that graduate student instructors would not be allowed to promote hateful antisemitic propaganda or the boycott of Israel as part of their teaching responsibilities. Your letters had an impact!

In response to our letters, Provost Dorr, on behalf of Napolitano, affirmed that the University’s Policy on Course Content and other UC policies prohibit academic student employees (ASEs) from engaging in such actions, and she assured us that all ASEs would be reminded of these policies and their obligation to adhere to them. Dorr also wrote to all Chancellors notifying them of the UC policies which prohibit ASEs from using their instructional positions to promote political propaganda or advocacy, including the promotion of a boycott of Israel.

In Dorr’s letter to all Chancellors she explicitly stated, "Attached is a letter from Tammi Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative, raising concerns about academic student employees (ASE) supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in classrooms. In the last several weeks, we have received over a hundred emails similar to Ms. Benjamin's. You may have received such inquiries as well."

Your activism helped Provost Dorr take the appropriate steps necessary to protect Jewish students on UC campuses. Thank you for your time, passion, and actions that greatly contributed to these positive results!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Can you dig it? Volunteer Archeological Opportunities in Israel

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists opportunities for lay people to participate in archeological digs in Israel  

From the MFA website (More information on the nature of the excavations is also available through the MFA)

 The excavation details have been published by the archaeologists in charge of the individual expeditions. This is a preliminary list. Additional digs will be added as the information becomes available.

Cleaning the mosaic floor in the prayer hall of a Byzantine monastery in the northern Negev
  Cleaning the mosaic floor in the prayer hall of a Byzantine monastery in the northern Negev
Copyright: Assaf Peretz, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

This list of archaeological expeditions which accept volunteers is compiled by the Israel Foreign Ministry as a service to the public, and is not an endorsement of any of the projects listed. The excavation details below been published by the archaeologists in charge of the individual expeditions, who bear responsibility for their contents.

NOTE: Any questions, comments or requests for additional information must be directed to the contact person indicated for each project, and not to the Israel Foreign Ministry.

Many archaeologists enlist volunteer help on their digs, as volunteers are highly motivated and wish to learn and gain experience, although the work is often difficult and tedious. Usually, no previous experience is necessary. The work includes digging, shovelling, hauling baskets of earth and sherds, cleaning pottery sherds and more. Volunteers are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Israel.
Accommodations for volunteers can range from sleeping bags in the field, to rooms in hostels or kibbutzim, to 3-star hotels near a site. Each expedition has its own accommodation arrangements.
There is usually a charge for food and lodging, although on some excavations these are free. Volunteers who require kosher food should inquire in advance. Excavations conducted in or near a city often require volunteers to find their own accommodations.
Volunteers should have comfortable, sturdy clothes for heavy work. Sunhats are absolutely compulsory in summer; warm clothing is suggested for summer evenings as the weather can be cool. Winters are wet and cold; warm clothes and water-proof boots are necessary.
Equipment that may be useful - depending on the conditions at the site and the type of accommodation available - includes work-gloves, sleeping bag, canteen, towels and sunscreen lotion.
The work schedule at an excavation is organized according to the conditions at the site. A day on an average dig begins before dawn and ends after noon. There is normally a rest period after lunch. The afternoons and early evenings may be devoted to lectures, additional excavation work, cleaning and sorting of pottery and other finds, or they may be free.
Some expeditions offer credit courses from sponsoring institutions. Details concering subjects, conditions and cost may be obtained by contacting the expedition director.
Most expedition directors (or other staff members) offer informal lectures covering the history and archaeology of the site and discussion of the type of work involved. Volunteers should feel free to request information regarding an excavation in order to be able to appreciate all aspects of the work.
Recreational facilities (swimming pools, beaches and sporting grounds) may be available, depending on the location of the site. Most expeditions organize sightseeing and field trips to sites in the area and to neighboring museums.
In most cases, volunteers must arrange for medical and accident insurance in advance. Even in instances when accident insurance is provided, it is strongly advised that volunteers come fully insured as the insurance offered is minimal.
When applying to the director of an excavation you should indicate any previous studies you may have in archaeology or related fields, such as anthropology, architecture, geography, surveying, graphic arts; or experience in excavation work, pottery restoration or photography.
For registration, please contact the persons listed in the individual entries. Please note that a registration fee is often required.
Note: Israel Ministry of Interior regulations require that passports of all volunteers (other than Israeli) be stamped with a volunteer visa (B4). This request should be made by the volunteer at the point of entry into Israel.


(Listed by starting date)
This is a preliminary list. Additional digs will be added as the information becomes available.
Central Timna Valley Feb 1-13
Khirbet el-Maqatir May 24 - June 13
Gezer Water System Expedition May 24 - June 12
Beshsaida May 25 - June 6
Tel Burna June 7 - July 3
Tel Hazor June 21 - July 31
Tel Kabri June 21 - July 31
Tell es-Safi/Gath June 28 - July 24
Hippos - Sussita July 19 - Aug 13
Ashdod-Yam July 19 - Aug 22
Ashkelon TBA