Sunday, February 28, 2016

Roseanne Barr in Oakland: another Jewish woman who will not be silenced

The social hall at Oakland's Congregation Beth Abraham was filled last night with people who had gathered to hear the story of comedienne Roseanne Barr's dramatic transformation into an active supporter of the state of Israel.

Roseanne Barr interviewed by Dr. Lenny Kristal 
Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein's attempt to organize a protest fell flat and the program went on without a hitch. Good to see that no one outside of Press TV takes him too seriously.

Rabbi Bloom touched upon the controversy surrounding his guest speaker by reading an email he had received, signed by a handful of people.

"You will see the attached that over 70 individuals signed a petition urging you to reconsider your ill-advised decision to host Roseanne Barr on February 27th.

It is clear now that no reconsideration will happen, and the event will go on as planned.

You have the freedom to stand by a person that has a history of “voicing any thought that comes to mind”.  No matter how hateful. No matter the hurt in causes the human community. We do not find this anything to celebrate. Like the many places of worship that have in the past (and the present) used their freedom to host those that  denigrated Black people, Jewish people, immigrants, Muslims, you have chosen to sully your reputation and debase your sanctuary with hate and extremism. You have chosen narrow devotion to a nation-state rather than choosing justice, mercy and compassion. It is not the first time such a thing has happened.

We will continue to speak of the traditional values of love, compassion, universalism of human rights, justice. We will not be deterred by the rants of a few that seek mass destruction. We hope at some time you can join us."

The gathered crowd collapsed into laughter.

The local "outrage as a lifestyle choice" folk  (thank you, Howard Jacobson, for that) immediately began spreading lies about Barr's talk.

Rabbi Lynn Gottleib of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinic Council  jumped at the opportunity to bear false witness, accusing Roseanne of spreading anti-Muslim vitriol, "at a synagogue, no less"

JVP Rabbi Lynn Gottleib bears false witness

The reality was very different.  Roseanne discussed growing up Jewish in Salt Lake city. She discussed her socialist orientation, and she discussed her fascination with the story of Purim, and with Queen Esther, another Jewish woman who would not be silenced.    Roseanne Barr used the talk at Congregation Beth Abraham to express her desire for peaceful co-existence in the region, stating,  

"If I could get one Palestinian grandmother to join me, me and her – I would be the representative of the Jewish people and she would be of the Palestinians – we would sit down and hammer out a peace agreement and hand it to the people in power. I don't see why that can't happen. Last time I was in Israel, I sought out Palestinian women and had wonderful conversations with them, and I will probably seek them out again." 

Crowd filters in to hear Roseann Barr at Congregation Beth Abraham

Friday, February 26, 2016

Roseanne Barr in Oakland: The Selective Outrage of the Morally bankrupt Part 2

Its deja vu. All over again

Controversial comedienne Roseanne Barr will be speaking at Oakland's Congregation Beth Abraham February 27.

From Haaretz:

No one is quite sure what happened to Roseanne Barr when it comes to Israel. In 2013, the outspoken, outrageous and very political comedian made an utter about-face, morphing from a fierce critic who called Israel a “Nazi state” into a die-hard supporter, attacking those who criticize the Jewish State with the same angry obscenities she once hurled at the country itself.

The conversion occurred seemingly overnight.

But she has promised to explain it all publicly in the coming days. Barr will address the shift in her activism on February 27 at a reception held by the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, California, where she will be in conversation with Israel advocate Lenny Kristal.

We wrote about her last scheduled trip to the Bay Area here

Roseanne Barr: Is consistency the hobgoblin of small minds?

And here

Roseanne Barr in Berkeley: The Selective Outrage of the Morally bankrupt.

A campaign to discredit her and pressure the sponsoring organizations into canceling has been instituted and has failed. Disgraced blogger Richard Silverstein flooded the local community with letters. And there was a petition. There's always a petition.

Interestingly enough, this call for "civility" was penned by Jim Harris, a local anti-Israel activist with a history of some very uncivil behavior.  He's a self proclaimed member of the International Solidarity Movement, which prides itself on providing human shields for terror groups.  He organized a protest at a local AIPAC dinner  that spiraled out of control, leading to 7 arrests. 

And, yes, the same Jim Harris who cries crocodile tears over "hateful words sure to incite bigotry" had no crisis of conscience when he attended a talk at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists  featuring notorious holocaust denier and  antisemite Gilad Atzmon  

As of now, Jim Harris's petition is signed by people from such diverse locales as Queen Charlotte, Canada and  Lupsingen, Switzerland. Not a single congregant from Beth Abraham has signed it.

Just another example of the selective moral outrage of the anti-Israel community.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Oh, Canada! Canada overwhelmingly condemns BDS

By a vote of 229-51, Canada's Parliament passed an historic motion condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.  Both Liberals and Conservatives supported the measure and called on the Canadian government to "condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad." The motion also noted Canada and Israel’s “long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations.”

From CIJ News:

On February 18, during the debate on the motion urging the House to reject BDS, Michael Levitt, Liberal candidate for the riding of York Centre, pointed out that “BDS is about intolerance. It’s a broader movement to demonize and delegitimize Israel, and to collectively punish all Israelis by holding Israel alone responsible for the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

“Whereas anti-Semites have long targeted Jews throughout the world as the root of all society’s ills, this new form of anti-Semitism targets Israel as the Jew among the nations, singling out the Jewish State as the root of all ills in the world”, he continued.

Levitt also called attention to the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism, passed by the previous Conservative government in 2010, which recognized anti-Semitism as a pernicious evil and a global threat against the Jewish people, the State of Israel and free, democratic countries everywhere. Levitt said the Protocol is instructive in identifying anti-Semitism that is pervasive within the BDS movement. “Denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, for example, by claiming that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavour – that is anti-Semitism. Applying double standards by requiring of Israel behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation – that is anti-Semitism. Using the symbols or images of classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis – that is anti-Semitism. Drawing comparison of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis – that is anti-Semitism. Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the government of Israel – that is anti-Semitism.” 

Expecting a "Even when we lose, we win" statement from Team BDS any minute now.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

BDS Fail. Gaza style

Not a single Israeli is left in Gaza, and by any legally accepted definition, there is no "occupation." The unilateral withdrawal of over 9,000 Israelis a decade ago has brought us no closer to peace.

But being a good anti-Israel activist means never looking inward, not when you can find a way to blame Israel.

The current buzzword is "siege".

Gaza may not be "occupied" but its under "siege".

What does this "siege" look like?

Anti-Israel activists want you to believe that the population of Gaza is suffering and in despair, deprived of all but their most basic needs. Its not true.

Like many shops, the Metro market,  a Gaza grocery store, advertises its weekly sales on its Facebook page.

If Gaza is suffering from a shortage of consumer goods because of the Israeli naval blockade, there's no indication of it at the Gaza Metro Market.

Products from Israel are readily available in Gaza, and are proudly advertised on the Metro market facebook page.

If the Hamas terror state of Gaza does not boycott Israeli products,  why should the Methodists? Or the Presbyterians? Or your school?

BDS fail. The Gaza edition.

Backlash: American Colleges Fight back against the Ugliness of BDS

In spite of the BDS movement, or perhaps in part because of it, US and Israeli schools are forging close and lasting academic and research ties.
Some example via the AIPAC NewsHub:  U.S. College Campuses Forge Close Ties with Israel
Cornell University: In 2011, Cornell University and The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, announced a new partnership to create a world-class applied science and engineering campus in New York City. 

“By joining forces in this groundbreaking venture, our two great universities will employ our demonstrated expertise, experience and track record of transforming new ideas into solutions to create the global avenues of economic opportunity and tech leadership,” said Cornell President David Skorton.

Today, the Jacobs Institute builds on the shared strengths of the two institutions in research, entrepreneurialism, intellectual rigor and drive. Joint activities include dual master’s degree programs and faculty, graduate student and industry interactions.

University of Chicago: In 2013, the University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev signed an agreement to begin exploring a research partnership that would create new water production and purification technologies for deployment in regions of the globe where fresh water resources are scarce. 

“BGU has been at the forefront of advanced basic and applied water-related research for more than four decades and has developed a number of innovative technologies in the field,” said Ben-Gurion President Rivka Carmi. “The collaboration with UChicago will result in the development of new technologies for the benefit of people all over the world.”

“Such large-scale problems must be met by solutions developed from a comprehensive and integrated science and technology base of the type we will establish between the University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer.

Among a range of activities, today Ben-Gurion’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research benefits from researchers from both institutions who carry out interdisciplinary, cutting-edge research in hydrology and water engineering.

University of California, Irvine: In 2013, UC Irvine strengthened ties with Israel through agreements of collaboration with some of Israel’s most prestigious universities. Memoranda of understanding or agreement were signed with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Tel Aviv University.

The Israeli universities were referred to by Chancellor Michael Drake as “natural partners” with UC Irvine because of cultural and demographic similarities, and their well-respected science programs.

Texas A & M University: In 2013, Texas A & M reached an agreement with the Israeli government for the creation of a satellite campus known as ‘Texas A & M University at Nazareth – Peace Campus.’ The signed agreement called for a campus that enrolls a mixture of Jewish, Arab and international students. The announcement was made at the residence of then President of Israel, Shimon Peres, along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.

Read it all here

Israel Cultural Boycott fail

One visit to beautiful, diverse Israel and you know the rhetoric is a lie. Jews, Muslims and Christians eat together in the same restaurants, go to the same movies together, and wait in the same interminably long lines at the post office together.  There is no "separation" and there is no apartheid.

To perpetuate the lie, its important to keep people from seeing the truth themselves. To this end, the cultural boycott of Israel politicizes art and music , and anti-Israel activists expend considerable resources spamming and the social media accounts of performers scheduled to play in Israel.

Hows that cultural boycott going?

Scheduled to perform in Israel in the coming months

Julio Iglesias Concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. May 7, 2016
Enrico Macias in Tel Aviv, Israel. May 17, 2016
Deep Purple in Tel Aviv, Israel. May 22, 2016
The musical, Thriller Live in Tel Aviv, Israel. May 19-24, 2016
Elton John to Perform in Tel Aviv, Israel. May 26, 2016
Brian Wilson in Tel Aviv, Israel. June 8, 2016
Simply Red in Tel Aviv, Israel. June 14, 2016
Foreigner Concerts in Caesarea, Israel. June 14 & 15, 2016
Megadeth in Tel Aviv, Israel. July 2, 2016
Tame Impala in Tel Aviv, Israel. July 11, 2016
The Scorpions Concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. July 14, 2016
Mercury Rev in Tel Aviv, Israel. July 20, 2016
Enrique Iglesias in Tel Aviv, Israel. December 16 & 22, 2015

Bon Jovi.  Jennifer Lopez. Bruce Springsteen.  Beyonce and Kanye West are also expected in Israel later this year.

Sounds like a great big BDS fail to me.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kuwaiti Columnist: Israel Has Outdone Us In Everything – We Must Learn From It

From MEMRI- the Middle East Media Research Institute

On February 1, 2016, Ahmad Al-Sarraf, wrote in his column in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas about Israel's advantages over the Arabs in a wide variety of fields – democracy, military, science and technology, human rights and freedom of worship, and economics. He called on the Arabs to look at the reasons for Israel's success and superiority, instead of viewing it as a political-religious foe about which they know nothing at all.

The following are excerpts from his article:

"As for Israel, many [of us] view it as a political-religious foe, as opposed to a cultural danger, and this is a serious mistake. Even though our conflict with it has never ceased, we have remained ignorant regarding everything it represents, and for 70 years we have lacked, and continue to lack, all knowledge about it, and have learned nothing from it.
"Israel has outdone us in all fields – military, scientific, and cultural – but despite this we have refused to consider the reason for its obvious superiority to us, and have never stopped calling it 'the monstrous entity'...
"Since its founding, Israel has been committed to democracy, while we refuse to even speak of it [i.e. democracy], let alone adopt it...
"Israel has given its minorities rights that most citizens in most Arab countries do not even dream of. Furthermore, the freedom of worship there exceeds that in any Arab or Islamic country.
"Israel has focused its attention on science, spending large sums on research, while we are still focused on whether drinking camel urine or using it medicinally is actually helpful.
"Israel has managed to unite people emigrating to it from 50 countries, and to forge a single people from them, while we have not managed [even] to create a [joint] army out of the [Arab] people, with its deep historical roots.
"Israel has known law and order since its first day, while we still try to comprehend the meaning of both these words. Two of [Israel's] senior leaders went to prison for corruption, while we still argue over how to convict the master thieves in our midst.
"Israel has developed its technologies and developed its agriculture, industry, and military, becoming an advanced and respected country, while we currently occupy the bottom slot in every field.
"Israel has managed to get its companies traded on the international stock market, while we consider liquidating our assets after nearing bankruptcy.
"The list is long, and the sorrow that accompanies it persists."

Read it all here

Sinkholes Appear in Gaza. Is Hamas tunneling to blame?

The Rafah Municipality has documented the appearance of multiple sinkholes and fissures appearing in Gaza.

They blame Egypt. They blame Israel,  deliberately overlooking the tremendous damage the Hamas tunnels have done to the local ecosystem.

The Hamas terrorist cartel that controls Gaza is more than willing to sacrifice both Gaza's people and its land in its efforts to destroy Israel.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

University of Illinois at Chicago votes to divest from Chicago?

On Monday night, February 15, 2016, the student council at the University of Illinois, Chicago unanimously passed a divestment resolution requesting that the University of Illinois at Chicago Board of Trustees divest from companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law including in but not limited to Palestine, Syria, China, United Kingdom, US-Mexico border, and Chicago.

The resolution was endorsed by a coalition of student groups including

Students for Justice in Palestine.
Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago 
Students for the Advancement of Freedom, Equality & Human Rights 
United Students Against Sweatshops 
Black Student Union 
Fearless Undocumented Alliance 
Mexican Students de Aztlan 
Pakistani Student Organization 
Union for Puerto Rican Students 
Political Science Student Union
Hindu Student Council 
United Muslim Relief 
Amnesty International 
Muslim Student Association .
Palestine Children's Relief Fund 
Powerlifting and Body Building 
MEDLife .
Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects 
Delta Epsilon Mu-Psi Fraternity 
Delta Xi Phi Sorority 
Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement 
Quality Rights Chicago 
Feminists United

The resolution that passed replaced a BDS resolution focusing solely on Israel.

That didn't keep JVP's Liza Behrendt from doing a victory dance

From Legal Insurrection

But passage of the resolution isn’t the real story. The real story is that the resolution that passed did not single out Israel, and applied to any and all alleged human rights abuses anywhere in the world, specifically also mentioning the United States, China, Britain and other countries. As such, the watered-down resolution amounted to a universal statement of principles, not a condemnation of Israel....

They wanted Israel singled out, demonized and dehumanized. But that effort was recognized as discriminatory, and SJP was compelled to negotiate a watered-down, generalized statement which included Israel, but other countries and even the City of Chicago.

Considering that the deck was stacked against Israel, this has to be viewed as a victory and may serve as a model for opposing BDS at similar campuses where an outright defeat of any anti-Israel resolution is unlikely.

The divestment effort at UIC was purely symbolic. Student government, and indeed the administration, have no control over University investment strategy.

Nonetheless, symbolism matters. As demonstrated, anti-Israel activists declare victory even when they outright or effectively lose. And so long as they can single out and demonize Israel, they consider the effort worth it.

The Achilles Heel of the campus BDS movement is that they refuse to live by their own rules. If they believe in intersectionality, then they equally have to boycott their own universities and country.  They either have to expand their resolutions to the point of absurdity, or they have to be revealed for what they really are.

Read more about it:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein calls for protest at an Oakland synagogue

Seattle blogger Richard Silverstein has called for protest at  an Oakland synagogue, and has led a letter writing campaign directed towards local community leaders. Why he thinks our local community is his business is a mystery. He is spurred on, no doubt, by little more than his own elevated sense of self-importance and his own humorless existence.

In his cross-hairs is comedienne Roseanne Barr, who is scheduled to appear at Congregation Beth Abraham later this month.

Such criticism is particularly  rich coming from Richard Silverstein who openly shills for the terror-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

Roseanne Barr's long journey of self discovery has led her back to Judaism and Israel.   We wrote about it last year, before an earlier Bay area appearance was cancelled

How seriously should we take Roseanne's Twitter outbursts? Roseanne Barr is a public figure, but she is not an academic or a journalist. She's a comedienne- essentially a shock jock who uses the literary tools of exaggeration and hyperbole to drive home her points

Does it make us uncomfortable? Yes- but its meant to....

What can we, as a community, learn from Roseanne Barr's personal journey?   One thing is certain. Human beings are capable of much more nuance and subtlety when not restricted to 140 characters or less.

Famed Palestinian entertainer DJ Khaled endorses Sabra for an epic BDS fail

With Super Bowl fever gripping the Bay Area, a colossally smooth and creamy BDS fail almost went unnoticed.

Although Sabra is made in America, its been an object of hate for the BDS holes for years, because of its Israeli roots 

Palestinian record producer and personality DJ Khaled  was in the Bay Area at a variety of Super Bowl events,  sponsored by Sabra, the "official dip of Super Bowl 50".  Khaled has over 2.7 million followers on Twitter, all of whom were able to watch his repeated shout out to Sabra on social media and in local meet-ups.

Did DJ Khaled knowingly and deliberately violate the Palestinian civil society call to boycott anything that kinda sorta reminds them of Israel?   The regressive left certainly thought so.

Social justice warriors responded furiously to this slight on social media, vacillating on whether they should consider DJ Khaled  a sellout or an exploited victim.

Ignoring the controversy of his initial appearance at San Francisco's Super Bowl City,   he gave another Sabra-sponsored free concert in Palo Alto. DJ Khaled ,  the "King of snapchat" shared the secret location with his social media fans who joined him at the free concert.  Thousands showed up.

Palestinian entertainer DJ Khaled endorses Sabra products.  Tastes like BDS fail to me.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Grape Expectations. BDS Wine club

This will have the BDS holes ...whining....

In fighting boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel,  truth and history are the most important weapons in our arsenal. The Buycott is also a hugely effective technique- the collective economic power of the pro-Israel community  made short work of the campaign against Trader Joes, and the specialty grocer was never bothered again.

Buycotts empower consumers, and enable us to support our families and friends in Israel, without resorting to the ugliness of our opponents tactics.

In that spirit, check out the BDS Wine Club, featuring fine wines from the biblical heartland of Israel- Judea and Samaria. In spite of the BDS battle cry of "Occupation", Jews have been making wine in this area for thousands of years.  Regardless of your feelings regarding "settlements", the issue is a red herring. The organizers of the BDS movement have repeated admitted that they will not accept a Jewish state within any borders.

Order now and have your wines delivered before Pesach. Like 'em on Facebook

Online Guide to BDS

Planning on boycotting the worlds only Jewish state?  If you are going to boycott Israel, do it right. Check out the new online BDS Guide- just not on Google Chrome

Don't use Facebook, either.

Are you using Google or Bing for your searches? Stop that right now.

Be sure to take the BDS quiz. Just how much do you know about BDS?

My score ?

Your Ranking: BDS IQ: Amazing

Friday, February 12, 2016

JVP: Climate Change? Its Israel's fault

Great find from Rabbi Danny Gordis:

Jewish Voice for Peace has just come out and blamed Israel for climate change.

Speechless. Just speechless.

UPDATE: (from the Elder of Ziyon)

Actually, note the subtle cynicism: they aren't saying directly that Israel is responsible for climate change - they are saying that they made that absurd connection during a "Tu B'shevat seder" so that th
e idiots that attend their events would draw that conclusion. 

Because if climate change - like racism, homophobia, and genocide - is bad, then the Jewish state must be blamed for it!

And it is more cynical that that. This one paragraph proves that to the haters at "Jewish Voice for Peace," Jewish ritual - indeed, Judaism itself -  is meaningless except as an excuse to attack the Jewish state.