Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tel Aviv #1 Destination for Vegan food

Tel Aviv in Israel  has been ranked by The Daily Meal as the Top Vegan Destination in the World 

From the Daily Meal

The first hint of a vegan craze in Tel Aviv was spotted in 2012 by Tablet Magazine, but a few years later, Tel Aviv’s vegan scene is as robust as ever. “Almost one in 20 Israelis describes themselves as vegan, a number that feels much higher in the country’s second city,” writes Hardeep Singh Kohi in High Life, British Airways’ in-flight magazine. Even Domino’s in Tel Aviv serves vegan pizza. You’ll find many bearded hipsters enjoying the simple fare at Port Said, and the Georgian restaurant Nanuchka has a fresh take on meat-heavy Eastern European food. Of course, the vegan staple of falafel can be found virtually everywhere, but you can even get vegetarian shawarma at a restaurant appropriately named  the Veg Shawarma.

YNET  calls Israel a "Mecca" for Vegan food, with hundreds of restaurants certified as "Vegan friendly"

Israeli army has started offering vegan meals on its bases and supplies vegan soldiers with leather-less boots and wool-free berets.

A study prepared for the Globes newspaper and Channel Two found five percent of Israelis identify as vegan and 8 percent as vegetarian while 13 percent are weighing going vegan or vegetarian. In 2010 just 2.6 percent were vegetarian or vegan.

This compares with an estimated 2 percent of the U.S. and UK populations being vegan and just 1 percent in German.

The only Vegan Domino's Pizza in the world in Tel Aviv has sold over a half million pizza's in the last year.

Cue the claims of tofu-washing in 3...2...1....

Berkeley Women in Black: Lying to Students at UC Berkeley

"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. ” 
Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Brothers Karamazov

From Emunah:

Every Friday, for years,  a group of anti-Israel activists have held court at the corner of Bancroft and Telegraph in Berkeley, calling themselves "Berkeley Women in Black"  Its a particularly vile group. They are countered each week by a pro-Israel, pro-Peace group

This month two of the regulars, Berkeley Professor Andrew Guiterrez and his wife, Marina are commemorating the anniversary of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza with...wait for it... photos from Syria.

Prof. Andrew Guiterrez displaying photos from Syria
Evidence was presented to Prof. Guiterrez that at least one of the photos in question predated the Gaza defensive by at least a year, and was in fact from Syria.

His response?

He called the police.

Marina and Andrew Gutierrez in Operation: Annoy the Zionists 
It takes a special kind of evil to knowingly spread falsehood. Its particularly egregious when the person in question is a University professor at one of the finest schools on the West coast.. Andrew Guiterrez provides us with yet another example of how truth is often the first causality of an extremist ideology.

Arabs desecrate the Al Aqsa Mosque

Tisha B'Av marks the destruction of our first and second temple and is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar. Jews flock to the old city of Jerusalem in pilgrimage to pray at our holy sites.

With the intention of attacking Jewish  worshipers coming to the old City to pray on Tisha B'Av., Palestinians stockpiled rocks and firebombs within the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. 

Is this any way to treat a holy site, and a place of worship?

Palestinians desecrating Al Aqsa

Police on the scene were attacked  with a shower of rocks, fire bombs and iron bars. Four officers were lightly injured. Police released this video, showing the attack
From within Al Aqsa, a clip of rock throwing

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dinosaur City Opens in Gaza

More Dispatches from Prison Camp Gaza

Gaza has a new theme park. Opening last month, Dinosaur city is part of Sharm park, located just south of Gaza city.  Life-like animatronic dinosaurs that move and growl fill the park to the delight of the children of Gaza. There are already plans to expand the park.
Dinosaur City in Gaza

Dinosaur City In Gaza

From Al-Monitor:

Abdallah Joudeh, the park’s manager and guide, told Al-Monitor that the main purpose of building the theme park was to establish a link between what students learn in school and an entertaining experience. He said that Dinosaur City was developed after a number of engineers saw similar projects around the world. The dinosaurs were designed in Gaza and ordered from China. 

Adults pay seven shekels (around $2) and children pay three shekels (around $1) to enter the park.

The 25 mile long coastal enclave already boasts two other theme parks- Asdaa City and Kids Land  

Dinosaur city in Gaza

For more information:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Family moves from Canada to Gaza. You'll never guess why

The hyperbole predominates the media,  and is meant to perpetuate the myth of the eternal victimhood of the Palestinian people.  Gaza is an "open-air prison". Gaza is a  "concentration camp". 

Its never been true.

In November, 2008, the al-Aloul family left Gaza and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Last fall, they moved back.

KPBS tells their story: Gaza to Canada And Back To Gaza: Why A Family Chose to Return

For those of you who still buy into the "Open air prison" meme- Ihab al-Aloul, his wife Somaya and  their six children moved to Gaza to improve and upgrade their standard of living.

One benefit for the al-Alouls in Gaza is a private swimming pool. On a recent afternoon, workers installed a new lawn around the pool patio. The squares of grass were grown on a local sod farm. One drawback: the irrigation water is salty - much of the tap water in Gaza is brackish. Aloul says it's not the best for the grass but "it's not killing that much."

In Canada, the family's apartment had no yard, let alone a pool.

The pool is part of what is essentially a weekend home for Aloul. His father bought the land, and Aloul built the home and pool more than a decade ago.

Below the flat rooftop, the Mediterranean sparkles blue, just a few blocks away. Bright café umbrellas line the beach and a Ferris wheel rises high.
Photo by Emily Harris, NPR
Beach homes.  Private pools. Amusement park rides.  This is a snapshot of Gaza you'll seldom see.

Canary Mission. Is it helping?

From Emunah:

In the Bay area, we’ve experienced firsthand the smug hypocrisy of the hard left and witnessed the indignities they've committed in the name of “justice". They’ve repeatedly blurred the lines between private and public. More than once we’ve seen groups like Code Pink take their protests to their opponents homes.   Family and neighbors of their target are dismissed as collateral damages.  From the protests at Berkeley Professor John Yoo’s home, to the aborted invasion of the home of the Israeli general consul, being a self-righteous activist means never having to say you’re sorry.

When has justice has ever been achieved using unjust means?

On many occasions we’ve experienced the shrill expression of their “right to free speech”, over the rights of others.  Synagogue and Jewish community events have been disrupted, virtually without consequence. 

Canary Mission is a consequence.

No, we don’t know who is behind it, and no, its not us. (and you can stop asking, now)  But after watching our activists threatened and attacked, and seeing our institutions defiled and vandalized by the same handful of extremists,  its clear there needs to be a consequence. The  “catch and release” policies of municipal law enforcement have been useless up to now. The organized Jewish community lacks an effective strategy.

There's a thoughtful discussion taking place at Divest this  (the lawful good branch of the Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy) about the efficacy of the Canary Mission "naming and shaming" tactic, examining it from both an ethical and a practical perspective.

I find myself dissenting.  Canary Mission functions as a distiller of information, profiling anti-Israel activists' own words, gathered from youtube, social media and the mainstream press. It fills a need.

Kinneret Israel 
Several years ago, an anti-Israel activist and Al-Awda volunteer , Kinneret Israel bluffed her way into a job at several local Hebrew High schools, and proceeded to hijack a curriculum on Jewish identity with her special brand of Israel-hate.  Baffled (and bored) students complained to their parents. Parents complained to the schools. Kinneret was eventually  "let go". Predictably, there was nothing on her resume regarding her anti-Israel activism when she applied for the position.

If a quick google search of her name had brought up her history of anti-Israel agitation, Kinneret's malignant disregard for community values would have been obvious, and she simply never would have been hired.

If Canary Mission continues to meticulously and cautiously source and document their work, they can become a valued asset to the community.

 Remembering the words of the great Albus Dumbledore:

“The truth." Dumbledore sighed. "It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.” 

To JVP: Jewish Lives Matter, too

On August 22, 2014, a mortar shell fired from Gaza exploded, filling the Tragerman home in Nahal Oz with shrapnel. Four year old Daniel Tragerman was killed

To Jewish Voice for Peace: Why doesn't the life of  4 year old Daniel Tragerman matter to you? Why don't the lives of Jews in Israel matter to you?

Since 2001,  nearly 16,000 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza  have targeted Israel, terrorizing the Israeli people. Of those, roughly 10% have fallen short of their target and have fallen within Gaza, endangering the Palestinian people. Hamas has fired long range rockets at cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Twice since 2005, the IDF has been forced to launch operations in response to heavy rocket fire on Israel’s civilians. Its been a full year since the last  devastating war in Gaza, begun after relentless rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

In response to these rocket attacks, the IDF struck over 1,474 terror targets in Gaza.

According to reports, 936 of the 2,125 Palestinians killed during Operation Protective Edge, or 48.7 %, have been identified as militants. More that two thirds of those militants were affiliated with Hamas, while 201 (or 22%) belonged to the Islamic Jihad. Over 100 (or 11%) were affiliated with other factions.

From British military expert Col. Richard Kemp:

“The actions taken by the IDF were necessary to defend the people of Israel from the ongoing, intensive and lethal attacks by Hamas and other groups in Gaza. It is the inalienable duty of every government to use its armed forces to protect its citizens and its terrain from external attack.”

Tomorrow, the fringe group, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) will be commemorating the Palestinian dead at Civic Center Park in Berkeley, in what they have the audacity to call "Kaddish". They have deliberately excluded the Jewish dead from their commemoration. To JVP,  Hamas terrorists are to be mourned, while the Jewish dead, including 4 year old Daniel Tragerman are ignored.

This isn't the first time JVP has exploited Jewish culture and traditions.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

Monday, July 20, 2015

San Francisco rethinks its partnership with extremist AROC

In May, the San Francisco Board of Education passed a resolution for the Unified School District to begin Arabic- and Vietnamese-language and cultural classes for the 2017 school year. Sponsored by board members Sandra Fewer, Matt Haney and Shamann Walton, the resolution was passed unanimously on May 26.

The resolution called for the district to work with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) to develop “culturally appropriate professional development opportunities” for the language programs.

Why would the School District even consider a partnership with this extremist group?

The San Francisco based AROC has been widely condemned for its extremist rhetoric, and for the open support of terror at its events. At the AROC sponsored "Block the Boat"  rally in Oakland last year, Hamas flags were flown, and signage that glorified  gun violence were displayed.   AROC co-sponsored the now infamous rally at San Francisco State University that featured the theme “My heroes have always killed colonizers”. They’ve distributed handouts glorifying the Intifada- the campaign of terror that left thousands of Israelis and Palestinians dead.
AROC tabling
Just last year, in a panel discussion at UC Berkeley, the executive director of AROC, Lara Kiswani told a tearful Jewish student pleading for co-existence “As long as you continue to be on that side [of Zionism] I’m going to continue to hate you.”

Responding to requests from the Jewish community , the seven-member Board is reviewing the resolution.

From the San Francisco Examiner:

“We fully support implementing language pathways in Vietnamese and Arabic. [The opposition] is of this group that has been named in the resolution [and] made these really ugly and divisive statements,” said Jeremy Russell, a spokesman for the Jewish council.

District officials have not confirmed whether the Arab group will remain listed as a resource in the resolution, and the Board of Education in the coming weeks intends to collectively respond to community concerns regarding the resolution.

AROC has responded, with (yawn) a petition.

For more information, see:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Berkeley's Israel Innovations Fair

There is so much we can learn from Israel, the "start-up nation". Until the recent discovery of natural gas this tiny nation was without appreciable natural resources for most its 67 years. Yet through the tenacity, creativity and drive of its people, Israel has accomplished much.

On Sunday, August 30, an Israel Innovations Fair will be held at the David Brower center in Berkeley, showcasing some of the new technologies that have emerged from this "start-up nation". Sponsors include AFMDA, Contra Costa Bridges to Israel, Israel Ideas, The Arava Institute, StandWithUs, American Technion Society and the Jewish National Fund.

From the Israel Innovations Fairs' website

The Israel Innovations Fair brings together high-tech companies with residents in greater San Francisco Bay Area interested in the latest developments in technology, including solar, medicine, software architecture and environmental conservation. The Fair will also provide college students and recent graduates with the opportunity to share their resumes with companies and to learn more about job, internship and volunteer positions. The event will showcase the real core of Israeli society, its innovative spirit, creative energy and compassion. 

The Fair includes exhibitions, interactive displays and video presentations from more than fifteen Israeli high-tech companies and institutions and environmental experts. The Fair also features award-winning start-ups Sesame Enable and Voiceitt, which developed life-transforming mobile applications for people with disabilities. 

One of the afternoon’s keynote speakers will be Mohammed Atwa, a Palestinian who grew up in Gaza and later made a life-transforming decision to study at the Arava Institute. As a result of his stay at this innovative graduate program where students learn about sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and water conservation, Atwa has become a champion for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. 

See you at the fair!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

BDS threats force Cancellation of Irish Dance Competition

Its a new low for the BDS holes- terrorizing little children and their families. Again, it has become apparent the "B" in the BDS Movement stands for bullying.

From The Creative Community for Peace

The first ever Irish dance competition in Israel has been canceled due to threats by supporters of the cultural boycott campaign.

Sadly, they are not the only ones to receive threats. Salif Keita, Macy Gray, Eric Burdon, and Paul McCartney have also noted receiving threatening messages from boycott supporters.

This could have been a beautiful event, providing a space for the people of Ireland and Israel to learn about one another and to learn from one another. While we certainly appreciate that the safety of their dancers is their foremost concern, we hope the Carey Irish Dance Academy will see through the threat tactics, and reconsider their decision to cancel, instead standing up for artistic freedom and against cultural boycotts.

Read more about the bullying tactics of the BDS Movement here:
Threatening Messages to Teachers, Parents and Students Force Cancellation of Irish Dance Groups Trip to Israel

Irish Dance Festival in Israel Canceled After Palestinians Threaten Dancers, Teachers

The Facebook page of the distraught  Irish Feis posted this announcement:

How can you help?

Sign the CCP  Anti-Boycott Petition and tell artists around the world you support their performances in Israel:

Friday, July 10, 2015

Urge the UC regents to Adopt the State Department Definiton of Anti-Semitism

Our friend J.J. Surbeck has sent around a reminder for Californians to sign petition urging the UC Regents to adopt the State Department definition of anti-semitism (found here)

If you have not signed one of the three petitions listed below (depending on which category you belong to), PLEASE do so now! They were prepared by Tammi Benjamin and we need to have many more signatures before the UC Board of Regents meets in two weeks to discuss the adoption of the State Department definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism. 

PLEASE, take the short time needed for you to figure out in which of the three categories below you belong, and if it turns out that you are neither UC student or administration, UC faculty, or an attorney, that means that you belong to the first category (UC Stakeholders) as a community member. Sign the petition and send this message to everyone you know, asking them to do the same. Thank you!

And please read this excellent article by Leila Beckwith, co-founder with Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative  that explains why the adoption of this definition is so important.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

United Church of Christ: Searching for relevancy in all the wrong places

At the time of its formation, the United Church of Christ  (UCC) had over 2 million members in nearly 7,000 churches. Today, the United Church of Christ has just under 1 million members in 5,100 congregations. From 2000 to 2010 alone, the UCC encountered a net loss of 696 congregations and 318,897 members.

Earlier this month the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) voted  to divest from companies conducting business in “Israel-occupied Palestinian territories” and boycott products made in those territories.

Members of extremist groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Al Awda, and other members of the
 U. S. Campaign - a consortium of anti-Israel groups- maintained a steady presence at the Cleveland synod in an effort to pressure the church group to divest.

After the vote,  Jewish Voice for Peace’s Campus coordinator Ben Lorber let the mask slip just a bit, issuing a triumphant declaration, “UCC has divested from Israel”.

Abbas Hamideh, chairman of Al-Awda, a group that touts the mythical  Palestinian “right to return” shown here with Anna Baltzer of the US Campaign (aka Anna Piller, aka Anna Nardie) was among those lobbying for the divestment resolution.

How  “beyond the pale” is Abbas Hamideh?

He was recently suspended from Facebook for posts exalting Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

“Hezbollah is an openly and proudly anti-Semitic movement. Indeed, the movement goes out of its way to stress that its animosity toward Jews does not derive from its opposition to Zionism,” Dr. Jonathan Spyer.a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya has told the J Post

Nasrallah has been widely condemned for his statement:

“If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say the Israeli.”\

Why has the United Church of Christ, in their search for relevancy, found common cause with anti-Semites and the enablers of anti-Semites?

From Mark Tooley, President of the  Institute on Religion and Democracy
June 30, 2015

“This divestment action will contribute nothing to peace or reconciliation. To the extent it is heeded at all, it will encourage radical enemies of peace to believe that Israel’s Christian friends will turn against Israel. They will be greatly mistaken.”

“The UCC joins the also fast declining Presbyterian Church (USA) in endorsing anti-Israel divestment. Perhaps dying denominations make opposition to the Jewish state their lodestar. More spiritually vibrant Christian churches will have very different opinions on Israel.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Journalistic Malpractice from Lyse Doucet of the BBC

The BBC's anti-Israel bias is well documented- with an entire blog devoted to fact-checking the network for "accuracy and impartiality"

Of the 1,086 words making up that article, two hundred and thirty-six can be categorized as background information. The Israeli children’s side of the story is told in two hundred and sixty words and five hundred and ninety words are devoted to the stories of Palestinian children. One can only hope that the upcoming programme itself will show better balance.

Yet what the  Jewish Chronicle Online has discovered is tantamount to journalistic malpractice, and deliberately obscures and provides covers for anti-Semitism in Gaza.

A BBC documentary has substituted the word "Israelis" for "Jews" in its translation of interviews with Palestinians, its maker has admitted.

Lyse Doucet has stood by the decision to translate "yahud" as "Israeli" in subtitles on her hour-long documentary Children of the Gaza War, which airs on BBC Two tonight.

The correct translation for "yahud" from Arabic to English is "Jew".

The BBC's chief international correspondent said that Gazan translators had advised her that Palestinian children interviewed on the programme who refer to "the Jews" actually meant Israelis.

In one instance, a Gazan child says the "yahud" are massacring Palestinians. However the subtitles read: "Israel is massacring us".

Sunday, July 5, 2015

London Neo-Nazi rally features Palestinian, Confederate flags

A  neo-Nazi rally held July 4th in London to protest the "Jewification" of London featured an interesting alliance of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Palestinian activists.

Observers reported 2 dozen haters , hundreds of counter-protesters and scores of police.
Read about it here:
London neo-Nazis outnumbered by counter-protesters
Neo-Nazi protest dwarfed by huge counter-demonstration in central London

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Max Blumenthal Comes to Berkeley

Via Emunah:

On July 1, Max Blumenthal brought his travelling hate show to Berkeley.

Hate speech should never go unchallenged and community members, organized by San Francisco Voice for Israel held a vigil in front of the First Congregational Church.  Organizers of the vigil issued guidelines regarding signage, reminding participants not to stoop to the hateful  level of Blumenthal's supporters.  Max Blumenthal's writing is so beyond the pale that it has earned the endorsement of the extremist group Stormfront and former KKK president David Duke.

Max derided the organizers  for their anti-racism stand, on Twitter.

Mona Holland, a self described  "civil liberties extremist" and " hasbara debunker" responded  by saying  "I can't imagine "our side" having 2 issue "don't condemn all the Jews" guidelines.

Mona lacks imagination.

Mona- have you ever seen the signage from San Francisco anti-Israel rallies?

Is this acceptable to you, Mona?

"Its the Jews, Stupid"
Any feelings about this one, Mona?
Jews are Terroist
Is there ever a time when the messaging "Kill Jews" is acceptable, Mona?
Kill Jews
The vigil in front of the First Congregational Church in Berkeley was largely uneventful. Flyers documenting Blumenthals' extremism were distributed.  Conversations were held with anyone who'd listen.

UC Berkeley grad student and SJP member David McCleary came over to chat

Even Max Blumenthal came out to take photos with the group

Pinkwash this. Palestinians Whitewash LGBT flag

Pinkwash this.

Palestinians have white-washed a rainbow flag painted on  Palestinian side of the security barrier.

Can't show tolerance. No. Not that.

The painter of the flag, Khaled Jarrar, told the Associated Press that the destruction “reflects the absence of tolerance and freedoms in the Palestinian society.”
One man said he helped whitewash the flag because “we cannot promote gay rights.” According to the  Pew research center , 93% of Palestinians believe homosexuality should not be accepted in society.
From Haaretz:
The artwork ignited angry responses among Palestinians and activists whitewashed the flag on Monday night, just a few hours after it was painted on the best known section of Israel's graffiti-covered barrier, next to a portrait of Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders.
Jarrar, 39, who has exhibited in Europe and the United States, told The Associated Press that the destruction "reflects the absence of tolerance, and freedoms in the Palestinian society."
"People don't accept different thinking in our society," he said, adding he drew the rainbow flag on the barrier to put a spotlight on Palestinian issues.
On the Israeli side of the security barrier, nearly 180,000 people participated in the 17th annual Tel Aviv Pride Festival and Parade , the largest LGBT event in the Middle East.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gaza Freedom Flotilla carried "essential humanitarian supplies"

A glimpse at the "essential humanitarian supplies" and "medial aid" carried by the Gaza Flotilla.

The flotilla secured funding and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to deliver 2 cardboard boxes to Gaza.

Parcel post would have been cheaper.

Incidentally, on an average day over 500 trucks enter Gaza from Israel, carrying over 15,000 tons of goods.