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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

From Ian:

Intellectual Antisemites and the Left
A recent example shows just how this works. (There are plenty of others, like professors Puar of Rutgers and Karega of Oberlin, but I’ll focus on a less widely reported example.)
An April article in Tablet tells of a Stanford University professor of Comparative Literature, David Palumbo-Liu. Comparative Literature is a very high-brow field. A generation ago the deconstructionist gospel, inculcating a sophisticated nihilism with leftist inflections, was received there first and remains alive and well. From Stanford’s heights, Professor Palumbo-Liu looked down upon mainstream media’s coverage of Israel and lo, it was not good. He thus told his readers to direct their attention to more reliable sites. “Look at Mondoweiss, the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the American Friends Service Committee, Electronic Intifada, If Americans Knew,” he wrote.
Okay, let’s look. The first three are fiercely anti-Israel voices of what I guess one must still call the Left. The Electronic Intifada is a straightforward Palestinian propaganda site. But If Americans Knew is something entirely different, namely an “anti-Zionist” website run by a woman named Alison Weir. Weir, as the Tablet Magazine piece explains, is in fact a classic Jew-hater, who even spreads the modern blood libel canards. Palumbo-Liu, soon realizing his tactical error in citing the site, quickly backtracked: “While the organization If Americans Knew, which was previously listed here, provides much useful information from reliable, neutral sources, I disagree with many of the public comments of its director. I have removed the original reference to prevent any confusion.”
Too late, Professor. As always, the gaffe is in telling the truth. This high-brow Stanford professor takes his “reliable information” from a Jew-hating blood-libeler.
Too late, too, it turns out, for Jewish Voice for Peace. In 2015 they published an open letter claiming to dissociate themselves from If Americans Knew, citing good evidence of Weir’s outright antisemitism. But, six months later, as chronicled on the blog Legal Insurrection, JVP cohosted a talk by Weir in Cleveland. So much for the dissociation.
Mondoweiss, for its part, hosted a round-table with various opinions about whether Weir is antisemitic and if so, whether that matters. That roundtable reveals wonderfully how the process of assimilation of Jew-hatred works. Thus, Susan Landau (who proclaims herself vigilantly against antisemitism) still thinks that “Differences within our movement exist; we stifle them to our peril.” And Russ Greenleaf defends Weir outright: when she appears with right-wing antisemites she is only trying to educate them, of course.
For such people, in a word, there’s really no reason not to associate with antisemites.

IsraellyCool: WATCH: Sign The Petition For Speakers Trust
Here’s the introductory video for a petition that has been started over the Leanne Mohamad, Wanstead High School hate speech video.
I know the outcry we’ve started over this 3 minute video is going to mean it’s seen by many more people than would otherwise have seen it. We may end up turning Leanne Mohamad into some sort of minor child star like Shirley Temper. I’m willing to accept that.
The reason I’m doing this and keeping the pressure on is that I see it as a test case. Her 3 minute video contains no new claims. Lies like that are repeated ad-nauseum any time two or three Jew hating BDSHoles are gathered together. Her video was short and to the point and it was delivered by a child, to children with the connivance of a multitude of adults. That’s why it represents a test.
If we can’t make reasonable un-aligned people in the UK understand why this video is so bad, then the UK will continue to become increasingly toxic for Jews. Jews will be forced not just to keep quiet about Israel but to outright denounce the Jewish State over and over again.
We’re fighting a cognitive war to get the truth to displace their lies.

Martin Kramer: The Return of Bernard Lewis
Forty years ago, nobody foresaw the rise of radical Islam—except for the preeminent historian who both predicted and explained it, and much else besides.
As the year 1976 opened, the Middle East hardly seem poised for a great transformation. The shah of Iran remained firmly seated on his peacock throne. Off in Iraqi exile, an elderly Iranian cleric named Ayatollah Khomeini nursed his grievances in obscurity. Anwar Sadat, Egypt’s confident president, had the country under his thumb; the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots languished in ineffectual opposition. In Saudi Arabia, a young man named Osama bin Laden finished his education in an elite high school, where he had worn a tie and blazer. Since the previous summer, Lebanon had been roiled by battles, according to Western reportage, between “leftists” and “rightists.” A key player there was the Palestine Liberation Organization under Yasir Arafat, darling of the international left and champion of a “democratic, secular state” in Palestine.
The role of Islam in politics? There wasn’t any to speak of.
Imagine, then, the surprise of the readers of Commentary magazine when the January issue landed in their mailboxes bearing these words on the bright yellow cover: “The Return of Islam.” The byline beneath that sensational headline did not belong to a roving journalist or a think-tank pundit but to Bernard Lewis, the eminent British historian of the Middle East, just recently transplanted to America. Thus did the West receive its very first warning that a new era was beginning in the Middle East—one that would produce a tide of revolution, assassination, and terrorism, conceived and executed explicitly in the name of Islam.

On the Road in Israel
When I was twenty-four years old, I moved to Jerusalem. It was basically my junior year abroad, only three years after my actual junior year. I took some Hebrew, began Arabic lessons, and enrolled in a few graduate level classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but I did not take these studies very seriously. I spent weekends in Tel Aviv, south Sinai, and the Galilee. I also hung out in East Jerusalem—where I discovered what real hummus tastes like; sorry, Israelis—and ventured into the West Bank any number of times. By the standards set by the second intifada, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians at the time was fairly tame. The first Palestinian uprising was winding down before I even arrived in Israel. Once I got to know the city pretty well, I would walk from the university through Sheikh Jarrah and from there to Damascus Gate for the above referenced hummus. I’d ride the 29 (or was it the 23?) Aleph bus through East Jerusalem just to see if it would get stoned—this was a few years before Palestinian suicide-bombers began blowing up buses. I do not actually remember much in the way of bloodshed during my year living on French Hill, though I am sure there was violence.
I have been back sporadically over the years, most recently last week after my travels in Tunisia and Egypt. It had been eight years since my last visit. There is nothing like some ground truth for much-needed perspective. The debates that occupy us in Washington, and the West more generally, about Israel, its conflict with the Palestinians, and the country’s role in the world seem, well, either small, divorced from reality, or both when confronted with the actual experience of contemporary Israel. Here is what I learned:
The Israelis feel vindicated and they have a point. For as long as anyone can remember, Israelis and their supporters around the world have been arguing that the conflict with the Palestinians is not the cause of the Middle East’s various problems. It did not matter because the world insisted on “linkage”—after Operation Desert Storm in 1991, there was a big push to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the final report of the Iraq Study Group (released in December 2006) called on the Bush administration to pursue peace; and, recently, King Abdullah II of Jordan as well as the Swedish foreign minister suggested that resolving the Palestinian issue will somehow make the self-declared Islamic State go away. It is obvious that the combination of dispossession and occupation has radicalized the Palestinian political arena, offered various extremist groups rhetorical justification for bloodshed, and provided an endless trough of fodder for Arab intellectuals and their fellow travelers. That said, the linkage argument that reduced almost anything and everything to “the conflict” was always weak. Now, with Syria consumed by violence, Iraq struggling with the political forces that have been pulling it apart since the U.S. invasion in 2003, Yemen failing, Libya fragmenting, and Egypt lurching from crisis to crisis, the Israelis say, “You see, none of this has anything to do with us or the Palestinians.” They are correct.
Why BDS is antisemitic
BDS is a global campaign against Israel and only Israel. It seeks to foment sufficient emotional anger with Israel, and with only Israel, so that people around the world will want to punish Israel, and only Israel.
We are free to criticize whoever we want to criticize and people attracted by BDS are critical about other human rights abuses too; but this specific punishment, exclusion from the global community, is proposed only against Israel. BDS cannot be defended as free speech; it goes beyond speech into action. See this debate for more on the issues of singling out Israel; the debate continues here.
BDS says that it seeks to punish only Israeli institutions and not to silence or exclude Israeli individuals. This is not true. Israeli individuals, academics, athletes, artists, actors, film-makers, work inside Israeli institutions; where else could they work? If BDS demands that Israelis should not be part of institutions then it puts an eccentric demand on Israelis. Follow this link for what happened when the BDS movement tried to disrupt a Hebrew production of Merchant of Venice in London.
The BDS demand that for Israelis to be accepted in the global community they have to emigrate, and so not be part of Israeli institutions, is a claim about the essential illegitimacy of the Israeli state. See ‘The Myth of the Institutional Boycott‘ for more on this.
Over 1000 Academics Sign Anti-BDS Petition
Faculty associations have been a focus of anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activity.
Unlike at universities, where there are counter-balancing constituencies, such associations can be hijacked by relatively small percentages of the membership, who take over committees and national councils. This allows the agenda to turn away fein the academic purposes of the organization, and instead, to turn the organizations into anti-Israel activist platforms.
We have seen that play out at the American Studies Association and some smaller associations. The American Anthropological Association just finished membership voting on a BDS resolution, but the results have not been announced.
The faculty association warfare on Israel is getting very personal:
The Academic Council for Israel, a relatively new group, has issued a press release announcing that over 1000 Academics have signed an anti-BDS Petition (I was a signatory):

Israel's UN envoy: BDS is the true face of modern anti-Semitism
Over 2,000 students filled the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday for a conference sponsored by the Israeli mission on how best to combat a movement on many U.S. campuses calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.
Taking place in the same hall where, 40 years ago, 72 nations voted to equate Zionism with racism, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon called the conference a "historic" event.
Separately, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the conference as "no big deal."
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement seeks to ostracize Israel by lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state. Supporters say the boycott is aimed at furthering Palestinian independence, and they have modeled their efforts on an earlier campaign against apartheid South Africa. Critics say the campaign is aimed at delegitimizing Israel itself.
"BDS is not about helping the Palestinians or bringing peace. Their only goal is to bring an end to the Jewish state. This is the reality and we won't be afraid to say it out loud, everywhere. BDS is the true face of modern anti-Semitism," Danon said in his opening remarks.
Why I Am Standing for Israel at the UN
For decades, the State of Israel has been battling bullets and bombs. Now, a new weapon is being used against our most cherished ally – a weapon that poses grave danger.
The rise of anti-Israel sentiments is apparent in this country and worldwide. A product of that hatred is the BDS Movement. BDS – Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions – a long-term global effort created by enemies of Israel to delegitimize the State of Israel.
Make no mistake about it: The unambiguous goal of the international BDS Movement is the elimination of the State of Israel.
The BDS Movement is a serious new threat designed to cripple Israel economically and politically.
The fact is that activities and events fostering an environment of intimidation and marginalization of Jewish citizens have seen a marked upswing on college and university campuses around the country, but the issue is not limited to the academic arena.
'Son of Hamas' attends anti-BDS conference
Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of one Hamas founder Hassan Yousef who in the past served as an undercover agent for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), attended the Building Bridges Not Boycotts international summit at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York Tuesday, an event against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Yousef, whose code name was “The Green Prince”, risked his life working undercover for the Shin Bet, and during that time he supplied information that prevented dozens of suicide attacks and assassinations of Israelis and exposed numerous Hamas terrorist cells.
He ultimately converted to Christianity and fled to the United States where he was granted political asylum.
At the conference, Yousef was seen with several armed bodyguards - apparently out of concern that an Islamist organization would try to assassinate him.

SodaStream CEO: To Improve Your Company’s Sales, Get Attacked by BDS Movement
While the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aims to hurt Israeli companies, the movement’s actions have actually had the opposite effect, the head of a major Israeli company told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Ambassadors Against BDS International Summit at the United Nations, Daniel Birnbaum, the CEO of popular home soda-maker SodaStream, said that when people ask him whether there is a correlation between BDS and his company’s profits, his answer is always yes.
“The more active the BDS movement was in a certain market of ours, the more successful we have been,” he said. “In the course of the last six to seven years, when BDS was attacking SodaStream, we grew from a $90 million revenue company to more than $400 million. I encourage any company that wants to grow its sales to be attacked by the BDS movement.”
SodaStream made headlines in January 2014 when Hollywood actress and company spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson was harshly criticized by the BDS movement for a Super Bowl commercial endorsing the product. At the time, SodaStream operated one of its factories in the Mishor Adumim industrial park in the West Bank. It has since shut the plant down and moved inside the Green Line to a larger facility, which, Birnbaum said, was not done “because of BDS.”
SodaStream launches home-made beer system
The Israeli home drinks maker saw its share price soar after the announcement.
Israeli home water maker SodaStream international (TASE: SODA; Nasdaq: SODA) has launched its new home beer system, the Beer Bar. The brand allows consumers to make quality home-crafted beer using sparkling water and a unique beer concentrate.
The Beer Bar was unveiled with a light beer called Blondie that the company claims has a smooth authentic taste, and a hop filled aroma. The Beer Bar enables consumers to concoct crafted beer in seconds by adding Blondie concentrate to Sparkling Water. Blondie contains 4.5% alcohol by volume, the average level found in most global beer brands. A one liter Blondie bottle yields approximately three liters of beer
"We are excited to launch a brand dedicated to serving the global growing trend of home crafted beer," says Daniel Birnbaum, Chief Executive Officer of SodaStream. "Our core carbonation technology and distribution infrastructure provide a great platform for us to extend our business into this emerging category, and we choose to do so with a dedicated beer brand."
SodaStream -Island of Peace #StopBDS

4 alternative arguments against BDS
The typical anti-BDS argument usually goes something along the lines of this:
“Well if you boycott Israel and then you would be boycotting the place that gave you your cell phone technology, disk drives and Waze! And do you really want to boycott the only democracy in the Middle East? Israel is a beacon of hope in a sea of chaos and authoritarianism.”
I’ve gotten quite sick of hearing this argument, even though the facts in it are true. There’s something about it that doesn’t appeal to the senses, combined with the fact that it’s repeated over and over again by StandWithUs and like organizations.
On May 31, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations hosted an anti-BDS conference titled “Building Bridges, Not Boycotts” at the United Nations in New York City, one of the largest anti-BDS gatherings of its kind. In honor of this event, I’ve decided to put together a list of underappreciated, humanistic reasons why the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is not the path toward peace:
1. BDS disincentivizes diplomacy
2. It’s not being used in the same context as the U.S. Civil Rights or Indian Independence Movements.
3. Omar Barghouti
4. Even PA President Mahmoud Abbas doesn’t support a full-fledged boycott of Israel
'A constant barrage of anti-Israeli propaganda at UCLA'
Oleg Ivanov, a member of the diplomacy and public policy group Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps), spoke to Arutz Sheva about his organization's struggle against the BDS boycott movement targeting Israel, and about rising anti-Semitism on college campuses.
Ivanov is a student at UCLA, where the BDS movement has a particularly strong presence.
He noted on a rising trend on campus since 2014 Operation Protective Edge, by which Zionist and Jewish students in general have faced an anti-Semitic backlash of having their loyalty questioned.
Ivanov revealed he now has to work to defend from these anti-Semitic accusations in ways that he didn't have to before.
Among the key anti-Israel groups on campus are Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association, which "go out of their way to single out Israel specifically as being the great pariah state, not just in the Middle East but in the world."
Student Body Poised to Embrace BDS at Portland State University
On June 6, the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) will vote on a resolution recommending that the university rescind all connections with Israeli companies that ASPSU says “have been found to profit from human rights violations against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli government.”
The resolution singles out four companies that help “deny Palestinians basic civil rights;” they are G4S PLC, HP, Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar. A preliminary debate took place on May 23, which led some students to believe that the measure has the support to pass. Although this will be Portland State University (PSU)’s first time voting on BDS, the students seem to be well acquainted with the claim that Israel is an apartheid state and human rights violator.
In a recent video, Ami Horowitz visited PSU to see how many students would give money to Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and uses its own people as human shields.
Anti-Israel UC Irvine Students Peacefully Scare the Crap Out of Jewish Students (satire)
The UC Irvine chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) disrupted a showing of the Israeli film “Beneath the Helmet” by yelling obscenities, physically blocking students, and attempting to force their way into the room where the event was being held.
When asked for comment, SJP President Celine Qussiny expressed pride over how the organization peacefully physically intimidated the participating students. She also maintained there is nothing wrong with the situation escalated to the point where police had to escort fearful Jewish attendees. “I think it’s great! Including law enforcement increases the diversity of the people involved in this Middle East debate and ushers in fresh ideas and discussion.”
She also wanted to make very clear that the organization differentiates between the Zionists they target and the Jewish students. “We don’t accept anti-Semitism, but we are indeed anti-Zionists. If it was up to me I would eliminate all the Zionists from campus. Although Zionists are mostly Jews, so odds are if you’re a Jew there is a good chance you are a Zionist. We only rough-up these coupon herders because we want to end the Israeli occupation. Anyway, what was the question again?”
Facebook, Twitter Pledge to Take Down Hate Speech in 24 Hours or Less
In partnership with the European Union, social media giants Facebook, Twitter, along with Google and Microsoft, have all pledged to stop online hate speech in less than 24 hours.
A new code of conduct would act to "quickly and efficiently" remove any message that singles out a person's or group's race, religion, nationality, etc. Though pitched as a way to stop the spread of terrorism online in the wake of the ISIS attacks in Paris and Brussels, the speech code would include anything considered racist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic by the companies.
A statement by Karen White, Twitter's head of public policy for Europe, said:
We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.
Facebook's head of global policy management Monika Bicker said:
With a global community of 1.6 billion people we work hard to balance giving people the power to express themselves whilst ensuring we provide a respectful environment. There’s no place for hate speech on Facebook.
Speaking on behalf of the EU was Commissioner Vera Jourova, in charge of justice, consumers and gender equality, said there's "no place online" for hate speech.
Jewish groups welcome FB, Twitter pledge to crack down on hate speech
Jewish groups welcomed a pledge by four internet giants to crack down on online hate speech, though some questioned the firms’ commitment to act.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft on Tuesday signed a code of conduct with the European Commission that requires them to delete the majority of reported illegal hate speech within 24 hours, The Telegraph reported.
The European Jewish Congress offered an “enthusiastic welcome” to the code of conduct in a statement Tuesday, but the World Jewish Congress reacted more coolly in a statement the same day, voicing “skepticism about the commitment of these firms to effectively police their respective platforms.”
YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and others “already have clear guidelines in place aimed at preventing the spread of offensive content, yet they have so far utterly failed to properly implement their own rules,” the CEO of the World Jewish Congress, Robert Singer, said in the statement.
“Tens of thousands of despicable video clips continue to be made available although their existence has been reported to YouTube and despite the fact that they are in clear violation of the platform’s own guidelines prohibiting racist hate speech. … Nonetheless, YouTube gives the impression that it has been cracking down on such content. Alas, the reality is that so far it hasn’t.”
Israeli Lawfare Warrior: Facebook Lip Service to European ‘Code of Conduct’ Won’t Stop Online Incitement Leading to Murder in Streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
The problem that Facebook, Twitter and other social-media outlets need to tackle is not merely hate speech, but incitement that leads to murder in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, an Israeli lawfare warrior told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder and chairwoman of Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center, was responding to the release of a “Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online,” a document produced by the European Commission (EC) and signed by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.
The social-media giants in question, said Darshan-Leitner, who is in the midst of conducting a class-action suit against Facebook in the United States, “have to do something real, not just pay lip service to the European Commission. In order to put a stop to incitement, they have to be vigilant about locating, monitoring and removing it. Signing a document and patting themselves on the back for doing so has no meaning whatsoever.”
As Darshan-Leitner — listed last year by both Forbes and Israeli financial newspaper Globes as among Israel’s 50 most influential women – told The Algemeiner last October, “Though freedom of expression is a democratic ideal, both morally and legally, it cannot be without limits.”
At the time, she also scoffed at the notion that the massive traffic on social media makes combating incitement and antisemitism almost impossible.
“It is ridiculous to say that Facebook cannot monitor these things,” she said. “Notice its millions of algorithms that know exactly what you like to wear and eat, who your friends are, what music you’re interested in, etc. How else do ads aimed specifically at you mysteriously appear in your feed and on the side of the page? If it’s got algorithms for consumer purposes, it can have algorithms for other purposes, as well.”
Rachel Shabi gets it wrong on Lieberman and two states
An op-ed by Rachel Shabi (a frequent Guardian contributor) published in the Independent on May 30th included the following claim concerning the position of Israel’s new defense minister Avigdor Lieberman on the issue of the two-state solution.
“The man now in charge of the Israeli army and the military occupation of Palestinians in the West Bank…has vowed there will never be a Palestinian state,
However, the claim that Lieberman vowed “there will never be a Palestinian state” ignores positions he’s taken consistently since 2009 – covered widely in the media – that he supports the creation of a Palestinian state.
He wrote, in a letter to the New York Jewish Week in early 2009, that he “advocates the creation of a viable Palestinian state.” A month later, he told Time Magazine that he would evacuate his own home in the settlement of Nokdim if a peace agreement with the Palestinians is reached.
In fact, even the Independent, in a July 17, 2012 report by Catrina Stewart (Could corruption trial stop the rise of the black sheep of Israeli politics?), acknowledged that Lieberman supports a two-state solution.
Golden Dawn lawmaker says Israel ‘eternal enemy’ of Greeks, Christians
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos called on the Justice Ministry to take action against a neo-Nazi lawmaker after he made anti-Israel comments in parliament.
Speaking during a debate in parliament on Monday, Christos Pappas, from the Golden Dawn party, called Israel an “eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy.”
Pappas was speaking during a debate on the ratification of Greece’s international agreements with other countries.
“The state of Israel implements genocidal methods and is a regional troublemaker,” he said, according to the Kathemirini newspaper, asking how “a state like Israel could possibly have relations with Greece, which is the cradle of civilization and humanism.”
Defense Minister Kammenos, a member of the nationalist Independent Greeks party, called Pappas’ remarks racist and xenophobic and called on the justice ministry to take action against him.
Kammenos has himself in the past been criticized for anti-Semitic comments, after claiming in 2014 that Greek Jews paid fewer taxes than other Greeks, but since taking up the position as defense minister has overseen increasingly warm ties with Israel.
Teen arrested for allegedly smashing Holocaust memorial in Poland
A teenager in Poland was arrested for allegedly smashing a Holocaust monument and scrawling anti-Semitic slogans and a neo-Nazi symbol on it.
The 16-year-old had escaped from a state juvenile care center, the PAP news agency reported Tuesday, quoting a police spokeswoman. The teenager did not say why he smashed the Star of David on the monument in Rajgrod, in northeast Poland, the spokeswoman said.
Police said the boy last week spray-painted offensive slogans and Odin’s cross, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbol, on the monument. The slogans were “Send you the gas” and “F— the whores,” according to police.
The monument in Rajgord, 130 miles from Warsaw, was previously vandalized in 2015, some six months after its unveiling.
“We welcome the news that the alleged perpetrator has been arrested,” said Gideon Taylor, chair of operations of The World Jewish Restitution Organization.
Europe backs employers' right to ban kippot, head coverings
The European Union's senior legal advisor has declared that employers are within their rights to forbid workers from wearing religious articles, including kippot, headscarves and crucifixes.
The issue arose when security company G4S fired a Muslim receptionist in Belgium, after she refused to remove her head covering. Lawyers representing the receptionist claimed that the move violated the EU's anti-discrimination laws.
Juliane Kokott, the advocate general at the European Court of Justice, says that G4S is allowed to set a "policy of strict religious and ideological neutrality" by banning garments representing all religions equally.
"There is nothing in the present case to indicate that an individual was ‘treated less favorably,'" she wrote. "While an employee cannot 'leave' his sex, skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability 'at the door,' he may be expected to moderate the exercise of religion in the workplace.
Airport Executives from 40 Countries to Visit Israel for Security Lessons
With concern rising after a string of terror attacks, airport representatives from 40 countries will visit Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport next month to learn about Ben-Gurion’s innovative security procedures.
Ben-Gurion is one of the world’s safest airports—no flight departing Israel has ever been hijacked, and there hasn’t been a terrorist attack at Ben-Gurion since 1972. The layers of security are largely unnoticed by the more than 16 million passengers who arrive and embark there annually.
The first layer occurs in Ben-Gurion’s Airport Security Operations Center, which monitors every flight in the area and conducts background checks on every passenger and flight crew scheduled to pass through Israeli airspace. Around ten flights per day are flagged for security irregularities and checked further, Dvir Rubinshtein, operations center manager for the Israeli Ministry of Transportation, explained to CNN. “There is, every day, a situation where we have such concerns [about a flight],” he said, “and we check that and verify that everything is security cleared.”
Because of its record, other nations are looking into adopting Israeli security methods for their airports. “Most of the countries are actually coming here often to see how Israel is dealing with security aviation and the threats from terror aviation,” Rubinshtein said.
Aviation security expert Shalom Dolev told CNN that “some [of Ben-Gurion’s] fundamental principles and some best practices can be deployed in other parts of the world,” but because of its relatively smaller size, “it’s not a copy and paste because it’s not a situation where one size fits all.”
For $20M, These Israeli Hackers Will Spy On Any Phone On The Planet
With just a few million dollars and a phone number, you can snoop on any call or text that phone makes – no matter where you are or where the device is located.
That’s the bold claim of Israel’s Ability Inc, which offers its set of bleeding-edge spy tools to governments the world over. And it’s plotting to flog its kit to American cops in the coming months.
Unlimited spying
Ability’s most startling product, from both technical and price perspectives, is the Unlimited Interception System (ULIN). Launched in November last year, it can cost as much as $20 million, depending on how many targets the customer wants to surveil. All a ULIN customer requires is the target’s phone number or the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), the unique identifier for an individual mobile device. Got those? Then boom – you can spy on a target’s location, calls and texts.
This capability is far more advanced than that of IMSI-catchers (widely known as StingRays), currently used by police departments in the United States. IMSI-catchers can help acquire a target’s IMSI number, as well as snoop on mobiles, but only if the target is within range.
ULIN has no such geographic limitation. A quarterly update document posted only on May 2, spells out the tech’s power: “ULIN enables interception of voice calls, SMS messages and call-related information of GSM/UMTS/LTE phones, without the need to be close to the intercepted phone and without the consent of mobile network operators and requires only the mobile device’s phone number or IMSI. Customers can use ULIN to intercept calls, and gather other information, from anywhere in the world.”
Ultimate family bike maker raises $1 million in one day
The Taga Ultimate Family Bicycle raised more than $1 million in its first 24 hours on Kickstarter, making the Israeli design and engineering firm behind the campaign the undisputed kings of May crowdfunding campaigns.
“WOW. We’re overwhelmed. We’ve reached our goal in 8 minutes and a million dollars in under 24h. This is crazy. The support we’re getting from you is unbelievable. Thank you!! We will not rest until each and every one of you is super happy. Scout’s honor,” writes the Taga team to supporters.
The Taga 2.0 family bike is actually the second in a series. The idea for the Taga Bike first came about in 2007. By 2008, a production line in Taiwan was inaugurated and by the following year the Taga 1.0 convertible bike-stroller was selling in more than 40 countries.
In 2014, the Taga team created new plans for the Taga 2.0 and launched it on Kickstarter in May. Two versions — standard and electric — have add-on features including a sun hood, headrests, accessory bar and cargo holds.
Support for same-sex unions in Israel soars
Support for gay civil unions or marriage has sharply risen among Israelis to a strong majority over the past year, according to a poll released on Wednesday.
According to the poll, conducted by the Israeli civil equality advocacy group Hiddush, 76 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative to the question: “In your opinion, should civil marriage/civil partnerships be available for same-sex couples?”
In 2009, only a slim majority of Jewish Israelis said “yes” to the above question. In 2015 public support rose to 64%.
The poll, which was conducted via telephone on May 24-25 among 500 people, surveyed the Israeli public across religious and political lines.
In Israel, though same-sex marriage is not technically illegal, there is no institution authorized to carry it out. In a system inherited from Ottoman times, people can only marry in Israel through their religious institutions: Jewish couples must marry through the Chief Rabbinate, and Christians, Druze and Muslims all marry through their own state-sanctioned and publicly funded religious systems.
‘Orange is New Black’ star: Israel has no ugly women
On her first visit to Israel and its main gay pride parade, “Orange is the New Black” star Lea DeLaria said the Jewish state seems to have no unattractive women.
“There are apparently no ugly women in Israel,” DeLaria, a lesbian who plays the character of a butch lesbian prison inmate on the hit television comedy series, told Ynet in jest during an interview Tuesday upon her arrival in the country as a guest of Israel’s Tourism Ministry.
“I’ve not seen one ugly woman yet, but I can’t figure it out because I’ve seen, I’ve definitely seen ugly men here.”
The 2013 debut of “Orange Is the New Black” garnered 16 Emmy Award nominations, winning four awards and set viewership records, according to Netflix, the online streaming television giant that produced the series. Netflix does not publish the specifics of its viewership statistics, but DeLaria told Ynet the series had reached more than 80 million viewers worldwide.
The series follows an upper-class woman’s trials in federal prison, including the strains it places on her Jewish life partner. Lesbian sex is a constant theme in the series, including in the life of the protagonist.

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