Thursday, April 30, 2015

Are Arabs the Indigenous People of Palestine?

One of the reoccurring themes in the propaganda war against Israel is that the Palestinians are the indigenous people and that they are resisting a Jewish European colonial invasion.   Its part of an effort to frame the conflict in a way that presents the Palestinians as the victims, rather than the perpetrators of this conflict.

This myth flies in the face of the historic, linguistic and archaeological record. Although some Palestinian Arab families can trace their lineage back hundreds of years, the vast majority are recent economic migrants who arrived in pre-state Israel in recent years.

Our friend Daniel Grynglas  answers the question “Are Arabs the Indigenous People of Palestine?” in the Jewish Press. He highlights the fact that much of the Arab immigration to the Holy land was recent. Rather than  being the indigenous inhabitant of the land, the Arabs migrated to this land to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by the Jewish population.

“The Arab population shows a remarkable increase ….. partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the [Jewish] National Home..” The (Peel Commission Report – 1937)

“ the Jewish settlement Rishon l’Tsion founded in 1882, by the year 1889, the forty Jewish families settled there,  had attracted more than four hundred Arab families….  Many other Arab villages had sprouted in the same fashion.” (Joan Peters – From Time Immemorial p. 252 – referenced further as: FTI)

British PM Winston Churchill said in 1939: “.. far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country [Palestine]..”

 A young journalist reporting for the Boston Post from 1948 Palestine, also highlighted the influx of Arab immigration, writing,

The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs in the 12 years between 1932 and 1944, came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state. This is the only country in the Near and Middle East where an Arab middle class is in existence.

Read all of Robert F Kennedys' reports from Palestine here 

Arab immigration to pre-state Israel during the British Mandate period has also been well documented in the "Rape of Palestine" (1938) by William Ziff, who has written:

"We should expect to find an exodus of Arabs from lands where Jews are settled. But exactly the opposite is true: it is precisely in the vicinity of those Jewish villages that Arab development is most marked. Arab Haifa, profiting from the Jewish boom grew from 1922 to 1936 by 130%, Jaffa by 80% and Jerusalem by 55%...In the vicinity of the Jewish villages Arab workers earn twice the wage paid in other parts of Palestine.

Once the poorest , sorriest population in this whole section of poverty stricken masses, the Arabs of Palestine are now the richest per capita of their race"


Soon at Petach Tikvah a thriving agricultural colony was established. Jewish resettlement had begun in dead earnest. By 1883, three thousand of these hardy dreamers had landed in Jaffa .

Progress continued quietly and steadily. Arabs attracted by the magnetizing vitality of the returning Jew began to drift in from impoverished Syria , from Egypt , and from the desert wastes. Palestine was making enormous strides.”

Although there are some Arab families that can trace their history back for hundreds of years, the vast majority of the ancestors of today’s Palestinians were immigrants to pre-state Israel in recent historic times. 

Read Daniel's article in its entirety here.

For more information on Arab immigration to pre-state Israel, see

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nepal: The Jewish World Responds

Here are some opportunities to support the work of Jewish and Israeli organizations helping to meet the needs of those most severely affected by the recent earthquakes:
  • AJWS – With its long-standing commitment to disaster relief in the developing world, AJWS has set up an Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Cadena – The humanitarian aid organization of the Jewish community in Mexico
  • Chabad – Hundreds of Israeli backpackers and tourists are taking refuge at the Chabad center in Kathmandu.
  • IsraAID – IsraAID has a disaster team en route to Nepal.
  • JDC – JDC has set up an emergency campaign to provide urgent assistance, in particular medical relief and supplies in the hardest-hit areas.
  • Magen David Adom – the first Israeli relief group on the ground in Kathmandu.
  • Tevel – Having worked in Nepal for the last 8 years, Tevel already has 47 Israeli staff and volunteers and 55 Nepali staff and fellows currently on the ground in Kathmandu and the surrounding villages, who are redirecting their work from year-round community development to immediate disaster relief efforts. Tevel is also looking for Israel-based volunteers to help manage relief efforts from their office in Jerusalem.
  • United Hatzalah of Israel – Based in Kathmandu, their rescue units will primarily focus on searching for and providing lifesaving medical treatment to survivors.
  • World Jewish Relief – The British Jewish communities response to international disasters.
  • Zaka – Israel’s major non-governmental lifesaving, rescue and recovery organization.

JCPA: The Gaza War 2014

The Gaza War 2014: The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted is a researched and documented narrative that relates the truth as it happened. Israel was the target of thousands of rockets and mortar attacks against its civilian population, with some Israeli areas targeted that had three times the population density of Gaza. Israel clearly acted out of self-defense.

Though the images of the moment may have reflected massive damage in Gaza, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, announced on November 6, 2014, that Israel had gone to “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and prevent civilian casualties in the Gaza conflict.” A team of senior U.S. officers was sent to learn from Israel’s tactics. An analysis of UN satellite photos taken during the war shows that 72 percent of all damaged areas in Gaza were “within two miles of the Israeli border.”

 While this was a war Israel did not want, it was a war that inadvertently preempted a terrorist massacre inside Israel’s heartland, principally through a network of sophisticated tunnels built deep under the border, and intended to stream hundreds, if not thousands, of dedicated terrorists, many on suicide missions, in the quiet of night, to destinations where they could kill as many innocent people as possible and leave Israel mauled as never before. This was potentially Hamas’ terrorist version of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli forces in Sinai and the Golan Heights.

Israel suffered 74 dead in the war. Had the Iron Dome system not intercepted 735 rockets fired from Gaza, the Israeli casualty count would have been incalculably higher. Had Hamas accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal of July 15, as did Israel, Palestinian wartime fatalities would have numbered less than 200, as opposed to more than 2,100 who died by the time Hamas agreed to a final ceasefire on August 27. Thus, Hamas was fully responsible for more than 1,800 Palestinian deaths.

 Moreover, while UN and Palestinian sources claimed that 72 to 84 percent of Palestinians in Gaza killed during the war were civilians, there are strong reasons to argue that the percentage of civilian casualties was less than 50 percent, a low one-to-one combatant-to-civilian ratio that is unprecedented in modern-day warfare. In addition, we don’t know how many Palestinians in Gaza died as human shields or of natural causes during the 50 days of war, or how many were casualties of the 875 Palestinian rockets known to have landed inside Gaza.

Yet many in the international community uncritically accepted the narrative about the war advanced by Hamas and its allies. A discerning look at the facts of what happened, however, would lead to the conclusion that it is Hamas, not Israel, which should be in the dock for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Read the full report here

Stanford Campus Defaced with Swastikas

This weekend,  several residential facilities on the Stanford campus were defaced with swastikas. The vandalism was condemned widely as a hate crime, by student groups, religious leaders and university administrators. Stanford police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime under its Acts of Intolerance Protocol.

Stanford President John Hennessy has condemned the early Sunday morning vandalism of swastikas spray-painted around student residences as an act of hate "that has no place at Stanford..."

"I am deeply troubled by the act of vandalism, including symbols of hate, that has marred our campus," Hennessy said Sunday. "The university will not tolerate hate crimes and this incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university under our Acts of Intolerance Protocol. This level of incivility has no place at Stanford. I ask everyone in the university community to stand together against intolerance and hate, and to affirm our commitment to a campus community where discourse is civil, where we value differences, and where every individual is respected."

Later, hundreds attended a Stand in Solidarity against AntiSemitism Vigil in White plaza organized by Jewish groups on campus.

According to the Stanford review, 

Similar Neo-Nazi graffiti incidents have occurred on many college campuses. UC Berkeley, UCDavis, Harvard, Yale, George Washington University — to name a few —  have all had reported incidents of anti-semitic graffiti.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From Israel to Nepal. With love.

From the lowest place on earth, to the highest place on earth. Israel is there for Nepal.

As the impoverished nation of Nepal reels from the effect of the 7.8 earthquake and unrelenting aftershocks, Israeli teams have arrived, and are contributing with search and rescue teams, medical assistance and 95 tons of equipment. A field hospital has been set up in Kathmandu with 60 beds, two operating rooms, an X-ray and ultrasound room, labs for blood tests, two incubators  and eight intensive care beds.  122 doctors and nurses will be on duty between 7 A.M. and 11 P.M. 

Israel has more volunteers in Nepal than the US, China or the UK. 

At the time of the earthquake, there were 650 Israelis in Nepal, with 250 of them in Kathmandu. Many have been sheltering at Chabad House and the Israeli Embassy. Others have already been evacuated.

How can you help?

The Jewish Federations of North America have set up a Nepal Relief Fund
To pay by check, please make checks payable to The Jewish Federations of North America with “Nepal Relief Fund” in the memo field. All checks can be sent to:

The Jewish Federations of North America 
Wall Street Station 
PO Box 157 
New York, NY 10268
You can donate by credit card here

Action needed: Call State Education Committee Senate re: Concurrent Resolution No. 35—Relative to Anti-Semitism.

Call members of the California State Education Committee today (tomorrow is too late) and urge them to pass Senate Concurrent Resolution #35, taking a firm stand against anti-Semitism on campus

Introduced by Senator Stone

(Coauthors: Senators Anderson, Bates, Berryhill, Block, Gaines, Mitchell, Roth, Vidak, and Wolk)

March 26, 2015

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 35—Relative to Anti-Semitism.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST SCR 35, as introduced, Stone. Anti-Semitism.This measure would urge each University of California campus to adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and racism, and would condemn any act of anti-Semitism augmenting education programs at all publicly funded schools in the State of California.

WHEREAS, The United States Department of State defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”; and
WHEREAS, There is clear evidence of increasing and alarming incidents and expressions of anti-Semitism throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, From sea to shining sea one can witness the proliferation of anti-Semitic activity; and
WHEREAS, In February of 2015, the California Legislature’s Jewish Caucus held a press conference addressing anti-Semitic acts and in the same week an estimated 500 people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to protest the recent rise in anti-Semitic acts occurring across the nation, including the display of the Nazi swastika symbol superimposed on to an American flag that was hung in the front of a private home in Sacramento’s River Park neighborhood, which tarnished the reputation of the Golden State; and
WHEREAS, Swastikas and other anti-Semitic sentiments have increased in recent months on college campuses across the country and around the world; and
WHEREAS, In 2014, the kinds of recorded anti-Semitic acts committed in the United States and around the world included murders; violent attacks, and death threats against Jews; arson, graffiti and property desecration; and murders at Jewish cemeteries, places of worship, schools, and community events; and
WHEREAS, These types of anti-Semitic acts also extended to soccer stadiums, the internet, editorial cartoons, and the use of Nazi salutes, leading many Jewish individuals to conceal their religious and ethnic identity; and
WHEREAS, In April of 2014, the United States Department of State released the International Religious Freedom Report recognizing that anti-Semitism continues to be internationally prevalent; and
WHEREAS, The governments of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, the four countries where the majority of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in Europe, have strongly condemned anti-Semitism as unacceptable in European society and have all made clear statements that such attacks on their Jewish communities are intolerable; and
WHEREAS, The State of California actively promotes tolerance to all faiths and religions; and
WHEREAS, The United States government has played an essential role in counteracting the resurgence of anti-Semitism worldwide and has consistently supported efforts to address the rise in anti-Semitism through its bilateral relationships and participation in international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Organization of American States; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature joins with people everywhere in unequivocally condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and rejecting attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby urges each University of California campus to adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and racism, including Islamophobia; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature condemns any act of anti-Semitism augmenting education programs at all publicly funded schools in the State of California in order to promote tolerance and acceptance of all religious beliefs in accordance with the rights afforded to each person by the Founding Fathers of this nation and the authors of the United States Constitution; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Harvard Hosts the Economic Prosperity for Peace Conference

The goal of the BDS movement has never been to build a Palestinian state- the goal to destroy the Jewish one. Joint economic ventures and coexistence projects were discounted and rejected as “normalization”.  The economic health  of the Palestinian people was regarded as collateral damage towards that ultimate goal. 

There is another way.

There is a growing segment of the peace camp that believes the road to a lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israeli people is mutual respect and recognition, co-existence and co-operation.

Harvard Business School is hosting the Economic Prosperity for Peace Conference, organized by a group of  Arab, Israeli, and American students from Harvard and MIT Sloan School of Management who seek prosperity and peace for all the people of the region

From their website:

The idea behind the conference is to explore the role that the private sector can play in building and promoting economic prosperity for Arabs and Israelis alike as a catalyst for regional stability and cooperation. The conference will take place over one day and through addresses from keynote speakers and several different panels, explore how entrepreneurship, infrastructure development, skills-based training and education can play an important role in laying the groundwork for an eventual and sustainable peace in the region.

For more information about the Economic Prosperity for Peace Conference see:

As You Were Saying...Prosperity key to Mideast peace

Harvard Students Seek Middle East Peace Through Economic Prosperity

Harvard conference on Middle East economic collaboration: A critical win against BDS

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Bay Celebrates Israel

Via Emunah:

Photos from the Facebook page of Israel in San Francisco

Consul general  Dr. Andy David was invited to raise the Israel flag over San Francisco City hall in honor of Israel's 67th birthday.

If I knew there was going to be cookies, I would have come.

Yascher Koach, Israel and San Francisco. May you continue to go from strength to strength.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Happy: Israel 11th Happiest Nation

The World Happiness Report is a survey of global societal well-being that ranks 158 countries by happiness levels.

The six factors are GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble), trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (as measured by recent donations, adjusted for differences in income).

For the second year in a row,  Israel is ranked as the 11th happiest country in the world.

"As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens," said Professor John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia and editor of the report. "We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises."  

Top 20 Happiest countries in the world

A Rising Tide Raises All Ships. Block the Boat Irrelevant

The international shipping industry did not fare well during the global economic downturn. After years of losses, shipping firms were struggling. Global shipper TMT Group filed for bankruptcy protection last June.  South Korea's STX Pan Ocean filed for court receivership.  PT Berlian Laju Tanker of Indonesia narrowly avoided bankruptcy. Zim shipping underwent re-organization and restructuring.

In the face of these formidable financial struggles, last summer’s anti-Israel protests at the West coast docks, attracting anywhere from a half dozen to several hundred people  hardly registered a blip on the radar screen. Nonetheless, anti-Israel activists under the moniker “Block the boat’ happily took credit for Zim’s reorganization and consolidation.

Last June, Zim abandoned its Asia-North America trade route, after accumulating over 450 million in loses from 2011-2013.  Block the boat activist  tooted their “direct action” as the catalyst for this routine business decision that was years in the making,

But a rising tide raises all ships.

According to Reuters,

The shipping industry is poised to emerge from its longest downturn in three decades, buoyed by an end to years of overcapacity that have depressed freight rates since the end of a shipping boom in 2008.

 Zim’s financials have also rebounded dramatically since their restructuring

From JOC

“There will be a positive bottom line this year,” says Rafi Danieli, CEO of Zim Integrated Shipping Services, the Israeli ocean carrier that is finally emerging from seven straight years of mounting losses and a multibillion-dollar restructuring that saved it from bankruptcy.

In an interview with in London, the 37-year Zim veteran exudes confidence that the Haifa-based carrier will be among the most profitable in the industry within four years.

Zim’s trajectory changed dramatically following a hard-fought $3.4 billion restructuring struck last July, including a $1.4 billion debt-for-equity swap that halved its interest payments and paved the way for a return to profitability.

The deal also left Zim in the control of its creditors of banks, bond holders and charter ship owners who now own 62 percent of the company, with the balance held by the former owner Israel Corp.
The company downsized dramatically during the drawn-out restructuring negotiations in a bid to cut losses that have ballooned to $1.5 billion in the past four years.

The slimmed-down, financially revamped “new” Zim can finally focus fully on operational targets of boosting efficiency, finessing customer service and relationships, sharpening its sales efforts and expanding the cargo base on core routes, according to Danieli.

Zim is targeting growth in the Asia-North and Central America market, which already accounts for some 40 percent of its revenue, and in the fast-growing and profitable intra-Asia market.

Don't bother the Free Palestine Movement with the facts of their own irrelevancy, though. They have joined forces with  the  International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza to present a workshop on stopping Zim ships at the World Social Forum in Tunis.

We suspect they'll be as successful with this as they've been with their other ventures.

A rising tide raises all ships. Block the Boat and the Free Palestine movement are equally irrelevant to Zim's failures, and to Zim's successes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Armenian Holocaust Denial from the US Council of Muslim Organizations

It is estimated that one and a half million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923, at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, in a genocide (yes, genocide)that is not widely acknowledged even today.  
On the 100th anniversary of this tragedy, the  US Council of Muslim Organization, an "umbrella" institution that includes CAIR and American Muslims for Palestine in its ranks has issued a press release denying the Armenian genocide, out of fear of alienating Turkey, a "key ally". The US Council  calls the Armenian claims "one-sided" , saying that "proper investigation" is needed, adding that any acknowledgment must also recognize "Turkish and Muslim suffering". 
The press release issued by Oussama Jammal, Secretary General of USCMO
is reprinted in its entirety below.
Washington, DC, April 19, 2015) — The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) the largest umbrella group of mainstream Muslim American organizations is aware of the painful history of over 30 nations fighting for over 4 years and the loss of over 37 million lives in World War I, including those of the Armenians.
As April 24 comes near, we share the pain suffered by Armenians during this period. We also believe that any acknowledgment by religious or political leaders of the tragedy that befell Armenians should be balanced, constructive and must also recognize Turkish and Muslim suffering.
In this respect, characterizing the events of 1915 as genocide without proper investigation of these events by independent historians will not only jeopardize the establishment of a just memory pertaining to these events, but will also damage the efforts aimed at achieving reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.
As Americans, we are concerned about alienating a key ally, Turkey, through one-sided declarations that political and religious leaders have made on this subject. The events of 100 years ago should be based on a consensus among historians and academicians with access to archives and documents from that era.
As the only Muslim-majority member of NATO and current President of the G-20 Summit, Turkey has taken on a unique regional and global leadership role in ensuring peace and prosperity for all. Our government has been closely cooperating with the Turkish government on defeating ISIS while also alleviating the suffering of Syrian refugees.
While Muslim Americans sympathize deeply with the loss of Armenian lives in 1915, we also believe that reconciliation must take into honest account the broader human tragedy of World War I. Muslim Americans expect our leaders to act accordingly to ensure that American-Turkish strategic relations are not damaged by a one-sided interpretation of the 1915 events.
Founding members of USCMO: American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed).

Pope Francis in a Mass last week in an Armenian Rite mass  in St. Peter's Basilica described the massacre of the Armenians the "first genocide of the 20th century, " adding "Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it."  

Rather than take the lead towards healing by acknowledging this painful event,  the US Council of Muslim Organizations is allowing this wound to fester.

For Bay Area events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide go to the website  Remember and Demand .  Adolf Hitler, in planning his reign of terror declared "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"  We must. It  is a moral imperative of Jewish and Zionist groups to formally recognize this atrocity. Silence begets silence.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lancet accused of editorial misconduct

On March 31  2015, hundreds of physicians  from across the globe submitted a complaint to the Senior Management and Board of Reed Elsevier concerning “egregious editorial misconduct at The Lancet that is unacceptable in general and also gravely violates your own published Editorial Policies”.

The signatories include 5 Nobel laureates, 4 knights and a Lord.

The letter protests "the grossly irresponsible and damaging editorial misuse of The Lancet for political purposes" as well as the "abject failure of the owner/publisher, Reed Elsevier, to enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship.", citing as examples, the publication of the fraudulent MMR vaccine article, as well as last years "Open Letter to Gaza"

The Lancet, owned by Reed Elsevier, is one of the major general medical journals. It has been misused by its editor-in-chief, Dr Richard Horton, as a vehicle for his own eclectic personal and political agenda, at times characterized by flagrantly irresponsible publications. The worst examples of this are the MMR vaccine scare of 1998 and “An open letter for the people in Gaza” by Manduca et al published on July 22, 2014.

There's been more.

In 1998, it was revealed that scientists received $156,000 from the tobacco industry to write letters disputing the carcinogenicity of second-hand smoke  The Lancet published one of these letters in 1993. Gio Batta Gori was paid $4,000 by the tobacco industry to criticize the EPA report on second hand smoke- his letter was published in the April 10, 1993 Lancet,  with no disclosure of his industry ties.

Other sources reported that there were representatives from the tobacco industry employed by the Lancet. From the Daily Telegraph, May 14 1998

Concerned Academics for editorial Ethics describes how the Lancet

...has become a vehicle for publication of deliberately false material which deepens polarisation between Israelis and Palestinians, and does nothing to promote either global health or the health of those involved in this conflict.

The most recent example of such a diatribe, “An open letter for the people in Gaza” by Manduca et al contains false assertions, unverifiable dishonest ‘facts’, many of them libellous, and glaring omissions while deliberately concealing the grossest possible conflicts of interest of its authors, as acknowledged by The Lancet’s Ombudsman.

Two of the authors (Manduca and Swee Ang) promoted an anti-Semitic video by American white supremacist David Duke. Chalmers, another co-author, has publicly spoken of how “Zionists” have “control in so many different domains.” These blatant anti-Semitic messages and speeches are well documented and readily accessible.

Concerned Academics have asked Reed Elsevier to behave ethically by retracting the Manduca letter, apologizing for its publication and ensuring that any further editorial malpractice at The Lancet is prevented.

Read the full text of the Open Letter to the Lancet here   Read an evidence-based analysis of the nature and impact of Israeli public health policies practices in the West Bank and Gaza here.

Israel Soldiers Stories: Northern California Tour

Via Dr. Mike Harris at San Francisco Voice for Israel
Every spring, StandWithUs brings Israel Defense Forces veterans on tour throughout the United States. This program features reserve duty Israeli college students who talk about the Israeli-Arab conflict, giving a human face to the IDF uniform. In addition to IDF service, they are graduates of the StandWithUs Israel Fellowship, a unique public diplomacy program that selects and trains 150 student leaders each year from six Israeli universities. The soldiers speak in a number of cities across North America, in venues including university campuses, schools, synagogues, and churches. Our soldiers share their personal experiences with tens of thousands of students and community members each year.

This year's soldiers, Kokit and Tslil, will be in Northern California next week. Kokit was born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel with her family as an infant. Kokit served in the IDF for seven years as the lead officer for the Department of Basic Training, a Safety and Training Officer at the pilot cadet course, and finally serving as a training officer at the Aerospace Defense headquarters. In March 2014, Kokit participated in a delegation that traveled to South Africa to help combat “Israel Apartheid Week,” where she spoke to students about her experiences as a black Jewish woman living in Israel. Kokit is currently studying law and government at IDC Herzliya. She enjoys reading and is addicted to shopping.

Tslil was born in Kibbutz Regavim in northern Israel and is currently living in Tel- Aviv. Tslil served four years in the IDF, during the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Gilad Shalit`s abduction and the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Operation Cast Lead in 2008, and Operations Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Protective Edge in 2014, as a Captain Reserve in the Maglan Unit. Tslil earned his B.A. in Political Science and Communications from Tel Aviv University and is a graduate of the Koteret School of Journalism. Tslil worked as a spokesperson for the Vice Speaker of the Knesset, MP Pnina Tamano Shata of the “Yesh- Atid” Party. As an alumnus of StandWithUs` 2012 Israel Fellowship, Tslil is currently working as a digital media consultant for a firm which provides public relation services and strategic media consulting. Tslil is now a volunteer spokesperson for One Day Social Volunteering Israel.

Monday 4/20
6:00pm at Silicon Valley Hillel, San Jose
Tuesday 4/21
1:00pm at University of California Santa Cruz
Wednesday 4/22
8:30am at The San Francisco Jewish Community Federation
Thursday 4/23
10:30am at Congregation Shomrei Torah, Sonoma
7:00pm at Chico State University
Friday 4/24
1:00pm at California Capitol Building, Sacramento
Saturday 4/25
10:00am at Mosaic Law Synagogue, Sacramento
Sunday 4/26
6:00pm at Convergence House of Prayer, Fremont

Celebrate Israel at 67 in the Bay Area

The Bay Area celebrates Israel's re-birthday with opportunities to learn and to dance and sing, throughout our community. 

Here's a sample of what's offered.  Let us know if you have anything to add.

Wednesday April 22
 “Between Honor and Authenticity: Zionism as Theodor Herzl’s Life Project.” Presentation by Oxford University professor Derek Penslar. At Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Studies, 295 Boalt Hall, U.C. Berkeley. 5 p.m. Free, but RSVP requested.

Remembering the Fallen. Celebrating the People of Israel at 67.
We join together as a community to remember those who gave their lives in defense of Israel. Following our ceremony, we will celebrate Israel's 67th year of independence with a sing-a-long with the Lamah Lo Trio. Our program includes our local Israeli Scouts, the Jewish Community High School choir, informational booths, Israeli refreshments and Israeli folk dancing.
Admission is free.
7:30 - 9:30 Lafayette Veterans Center, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Lafayette, CA 94549

Sonoma County Celebrates ISRAEL at 67 !
6:00 PM  Congregation Shomrei Torah, Santa Rosa 2600 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Join the family-friendly community celebration of Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's
Independence Day, with dinner (falafel, pita, Israeli salad, etc) ,singing, Israeli dancing, and Israel-related kids activities. And, birthday cake, of course!

San Francisco Premiere of Body and Soul
7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Congregation Adath Israel -- Modern Orthodox Shul
1851 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122

Thursday April 23 

Israeli soldiers tell their stories. Visiting reserve-duty Israel Defense Force soldiers discuss Israeli-Arab conflict. Sponsored by Congregation Shomrei Torah, StandWithUs and Hillel of Sonoma County. At Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 10:30 a.m. Free.

Israel in Color
3:30-7PM Festivities, 7-10PM Program for Adults
 Enjoy Israeli music, children’s activities, artists, great food and a wonderful Israeli-style atmosphere.This year’s theme: Israel in Color - come and experience the colorful, fun, cool and hip Israel!
Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Atlo 94303

Israel: Independent and Proud
 7- 10 Arttitud  art & design gallery, 1121 Howard St. at 7th St. SF 94103

Monday April 27
Blue and White Monday
Party! (Donation requested)
6:00 -9:00
The Brickyard, 1787 Union St, SF, CA 94123
Register here:

Thursday April 30
“Answering Tough Questions About Israel.” Israel Education Committee program with speaker Jonathan Carey of the Israeli advocacy group BlueStar. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 7:30 p.m. Free.

Sunday May 3
Celebrate Israel's Independence Day at UC Berkeley
Memorial Stadium
Berkeley's Jewish Student Union is proud to present Israel’s  Independence Day 2015! Join us on Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 11am - 2pm for a barbecue, Israeli music, watermelon eating contests, and much much
more! The FREE event will be at the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza at  California Memorial Stadium and is open to all U.C. Berkeley students and the community at large.

UC Santa Barbara: The repugnant anti-Semitism at the heart of the Campus Divest Movement

This week students at the University of California Santa Barbara defeated a BDS resolution  for the 3rd year in a row. The debate featured the divisive and shocking rhetoric we've come to associate with the BDS movement.   In a effort to further marginalize Jewish voices on campus, the debate was scheduled for Yom Hashoah.

Margaux Gundzik, a student at UCSB has written to the school run newspaper "The Bottom line", highlighting the rotten core at the very heart of the BDS movement.

She writes:

After eight hours of public forum, 12 senators voted to pass the resolution, 12 voted not to pass it, and one abstained. It was only due to the chair’s tie-breaking vote that the resolution did not pass. Despite the end result, I do not consider last night’s meeting a victory. I am disturbed that half of my student representatives felt it right to pass a resolution that countless Jewish students vocalized as being offensive, threatening, and blatantly anti-Semitic.          

Margaux calls out BDS for what it is- a movement that denies the Jewish people the right to self determination

Because of its linkage to BDS as well as its denial of the Jewish race’s right to self-determination, I—as a Jewish student—was threatened by the resolution, as were many members of the Jewish community. We attended last night’s senate meeting and spoke at public forum, begging our senators not to pass this resolution that perpetuated hate towards our specific minority group. Similarly, many students in favor of the resolution attended the meeting to oppose my community and press for the passing of this resolution.

Margaux documents the a repugnant rhetoric at the hearing that clearly crossed the line into anti-Semitism

Furthermore, I am disgusted by the normalization of anti-Semitic language so casually thrown around at the meeting. In those eight hours, I was told that Jews control the government, that all Jews are rich, that Zionism is racism, that the marginalization of Jewish students is justified because it prevents the marginalization of other minority groups, that Israel sterilizes its Ethiopian women (this is obviously not true), and that Palestinians in America who speak out against Israel are sought out by the IDF and denied entrance into Israel (also a ridiculous conspiracy theory). I heard a senator—someone who is supposed to be my representative—say that people were only voting against this resolution because they were afraid of losing “Jew support.” I heard my peers laugh at the mention of terrorists hurling stones at the heads of Israeli civilians intending to kill them. I saw students smile and cheer enthusiastically as a woman stood up and said the words, “I am ashamed to be a Jew.” The rhetoric I heard from students opposing Israel at this meeting could easily be equated to arguments that I have only seen in quotes at museums or mentioned in textbooks for their use in the justification of historical persecution of the Jewish race.

Read  Margaux Gundzik's letter in its entirety here.

The Campus divestment movement - the effort by anti-Israel activists to steamroll toothless BDS resolution through their school government. has long been characterized by a willingness to abandon truth  and to sacrifice campus climate to achieve their political goal. The UCSB Gauchos United for Israel have done a remarkable job of speaking truth to power under very challenging circumstances.       

Friday, April 17, 2015

Down on the Farm. Another BDS fail

While anti-Israel activists chortled over their short-lived BDS  paper "victory" at Stanford, the Board of Trustees was gathering information to formally denounce it, and Hillel was preparing the last laugh

On April 7, the Graduate School of Business  hosted its third annual Israeli Entrepreneurship Fair, an event for Israeli companies from Silicon Valley.   This  event was a collaboration between Hillel at Stanford University and the Israeli students of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and featured 15 companies involved with social media, crowd funding, cyber-security and  bio-tech 

Over 300 students attended,  meeting representatives from the various companies,  listening to presentations and watching demos of new products.

From the Stanford Daily:
“When you look at the education backgrounds of all the [GSB] professors, the most overrepresented university outside the U.S. is Hebrew [University],” said Ophir Samson, a first year graduate student at the GSB and one of the organizers of the fair. Tal Briller, who works in tech in Silicon Valley, and Yaron Fishelson, a staff member at Hillel, also organized the fair.
Samson added that the link between Stanford and Israel extends beyond its faculty. He explained that Israel, like Silicon Valley, has a culture that is well disposed to startups and tech companies.
“There’s more venture capital per head [in Israel] than any other place in the world; there are more startups per capita than any [other] place in the world; and The Economist recently voted it the second-best place in the world to be an entrepreneur, after Silicon Valley,” Samson said. “So naturally there are strong links between Silicon Valley and Israel. And the [GSB] has a very… important role in nurturing that.”
Samson was excited by the turnout, explaining that many of the companies represented at the fair are “some of the top Israeli entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.”

If you are looking for more opportunities to learn from the Start-up nation, consider a week or more at the Innovnation Summer Program, studying with leading Israeli entrepreneurs while earning academic credits  at Hebrew University's Rothberg International School.

To SJP and the BDS cru- how does it feel to be irrelevant?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Misleading Report on Palestinian Child Labor

Human Rights Watch (HRW) latest report "Ripe For Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank" reflects the organization’s obsession with Israel, as well as its sloppy and distorted research.

Illustrated by a  deliberately misleading 2010 photo of a Palestinian child working on a Palestinian farm, widespread exposure in social media have already forced HRW to issue a correction.
Fraudulent cover  from Human Rights Watch Report

Low-Hanging Fruit: Human Rights Watch and Palestinian Child Laborers

UK Media Watch prompts Telegraph correction to misleading photo illustrating HRW child labor report

HRW bias shines through in report on Arab child laborers

Ripe for Exploitation: HRW's Israel Obsession and Allegations of Child Labor

Rife with error,  the report's accompanying publicity video featured  HRW researcher Bill Van Esveld asserting blatant falsehood-  that Palestinian children "have no option to work on Palestinian farms. Most of them don't exist anymore."


But this claim is belied by the facts. The Palestinian date sector has enjoyed significant growth in recent years. According to a report published by Paltrade and the Ministry of National Economy, among others ("The State of Palestine National Export Strategy 2014-2018"):

Palestinian fresh fruit exports have grown at a rate of 52%, compared to global import growth of 21% over the same time period.

The main fruit exports from the State of Palestine are nuts, dates, grapes, strawberries and almonds. The bulk of export growth for the sector has been driven by a rise of exports of dates. Palestinian exports of dates have risen from US$324,000 in 2007 to US$1.2 million in 2010, reflecting an absolute growth of over 250%.

Indeed, Nakheel Palestine for Agricultural Investment, located in the Jordan Valley, "cultivates a total of six Date Palm farms in Jericho, on the Palestinian side of the Jordan Valley, with a total number of 20,000 trees stretched along an area of 3000 Dunums."

CAMERA has asked HRW to correct Van Esveld's erroneous assertions that Palestinian children have no choice but to work in Israeli settlements and that "most" Palestinian farms "don't exist anymore" and to explain why Palestinian children would choose to work in Israeli settlement farms when Palestinian farms are situated nearby.

David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley regional council, denied HRW's allegations, and has stated “there were no children among the 6,000 Palestinians" employed by the regional council.

Human Rights Watch, recipient of a $100 million dollar donation by George Soros  has long been accused of  having bigoted agenda against Israel. "Ripe For Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank"  is just the latest in a series of biased, and disproportionate attack pieces on Israel.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stanford Board of Trustees rejects BDS

The Stanford Board of Trustees concurs with what we've seen all along.  BDS causes "deep divisions" in the University community and unfavorably impacts campus climate.

Stanford Report, April 14, 2015  Statement of the Stanford Board of Trustees on divestment

For the last several months, Stanford has been evaluating a request submitted by Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine that it divest its endowment holdings of certain companies that do business in Israel. The Board concluded that the university's mission and its responsibility to support and encourage diverse opinions would be compromised by endorsing an institutional position on either side of an issue as complex as the Israel-Palestine conflict. Therefore the Board will not be taking action on this request, nor will it consider this request further.

In coming to this decision, the Board has observed the campus discussion surrounding the issue and received input from the Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing (APIRL). In its deliberations, the Board reflected on the fact that the Stanford community is diverse, with many groups and individuals – faculty, staff, students and alumni – highly engaged on all sides of this issue and other important issues of our time. A diversity of viewpoints and Stanford's commitment to open, thoughtful and civil debate are critical to the educational mission of the university.

The request from the Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine asserted that Stanford should divest its holdings in certain companies that they claim profit from human rights abuses and violations of international law in Israel/Palestine. Neither the APIRL nor the Board sought to determine the veracity of those claims, or to disprove them.

Rather than explore such issues, the Board focused on the questions of divisiveness and negative impact on its mission as contained in the Statement on Investment Responsibility. The Statement provides that if the Trustees conclude that a specific Trustee action "is likely to impair the capacity of the University to carry out its educational mission (for example, by causing significant adverse action on the part of governmental or other external agencies or groups, or by causing deep divisions within the University community), then the Trustees need not take such action." The Board concluded that any action on this issue would clearly have such an impact.

The Executive Director of Stanford Hillel Rabbi Serena Eisenberg responded:

Hillel applauds the Board of Trustees for this statement which makes clear that  the campaign to single out Israel and isolate specific communities at Stanford based on ethnic, religious, or cultural identity, is harmful to the campus environment and the university's reputation as a world-class educational institution. We steadfastly support the administration's broader efforts to promote debate in a strong intellectual climate, while ensuring that students uphold a civil campus environment.

We are proud of the extraordinarily robust opportunities for Jewish students to explore and develop positive Jewish identities during their college years, through a myriad of Hillel programs, Jewish Studies courses, Israel trips and many other offerings that comprise our flourishing Jewish community on campus...

Monday, April 13, 2015

A dozen protest Idan Raichel at New York's Beacon theater. BDS fail

Phyllis Chessler described it as  "Probably the most insane leftist protest ever".

Thats arguable. 

After all,  in the Bay area we've experienced the  Code Pink 2 hour "hunger strike".  We've witnessed "Mimes for Gaza".  We've seen queer groups protest the venerable Frameline LGBT film festival for the unforgivable offense of daring to show films about the struggle for equality - in Israel

Only in San Francisco. Mimes for Gaza
New York can't hold a candle to the Bay in terms of sheer, unbridled insanity.

On the evening of April 12th, at New Yorks beautiful Beacon Theater, members of anti-Israel groups including  Adalah-NY, the BDS National Committee,  the Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No gathered to protest popular Israeli Singer Idan Raichel.

The press release from Adalah claims 40 people showed up- contradicted  by eyewitness reports that only 12 showed up , and were completely overwhelmed by over 200 pro-Israel supporters.

Phyllis Chessler, writing in Arutz Sheva, described the scene

On the side for Israel: A woman with a bright, fierce countenance told me she was a ninety-year-old Holocaust survivor. She said: “I will never stop fighting for Israel.” Her sign read: “Boycotting Israel is Racist.”

I love her.

And then there was the woman whom I asked to estimate for me how many pro-Israel demonstrators she thought were there. She said: “Six hundred thousand. Everyone who left Egypt is here today.”

I love her too.

For Israel. There they stood: One Asian woman, one Black woman, several Mizrachi and Arab-looking women and men. People of all ages, including children and teenagers (at least five), but mainly fifty and older were there.

The irony of the so-called "progressive" left protesting Idan Raichel was not lost on Phyllis Chessler, who wrote:

My friends--welcome to Upside-Down Land.

The musician these groups tried to boycott is none other than Idan Raichel, one of Israel’s most popular musicians, and the one most responsible for introducing black and “ethnic” (including Ethiopian, Yemenite, Arab, and Sudanese) music into Israel, and for supporting it globally. I have been told that Reichel used to wear the longest Rastafarian dreadlocks. He is responsible for fusing electronics, Hebrew texts, Arab, and Ethiopian music; he welcomed non-Jewish refugee musicians, including Cabra Casey, from a refugee camp in Sudan.

Anti-Israel activists view the world through a prism of darkness, unable to see the light.  The rest of us know better.

Last year Idan Raichel won the distinguished MTV Role Model Award .

Following his winning the award, Keys surprised Raichel with a wonderful 'mazel tov' video, which was screened at the MTV Israel Award Ceremony at the Theater Club in Jaffa, where she lauded her "friend Idan" for "all the incredible work that you do."
"This is an amazing, amazing award," Keys said to Raichel in the video, "which is what you are. But really what you are is just an incredible human being who bridges cultures and promotes tolerance, which there's nothing more important than you and your mission and your work. So congratulations because you inspire me all the time."