Saturday, May 28, 2016

Patriarchal, Theocratic, Apartheid Fail. Israel holds first Trans-beauty Contest

Hows that patriarchal theocratic apartheid state working for you, Israel?

To mark the beginning of pride month, Israel just held it first Trans-beauty contest. Ta'alin abu Hanna, 21, a Christian Arab-Israeli from Northern Israel was crowned the winner at  the Habima national theater and will represent Israel at the Miss Trans Star International pageant in Barcelona in September.

CREDIT: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

CREDIT: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
From Reuters:
Abu Hanna, 21, told journalists. "Our country allowed me, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, to end the war between my soul and my body. So if it made peace for me, our country is only a country of peace..."

Carolin Khoury, a Muslim contestant, said she hoped Friday's contest would "send a message to the Arab communities in Israel or abroad, to accept the other".

More photos at CBS News

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Israel fights back against BDS. JVP fights back against Israel

Having failed to destroy Israel through conventional warfare or with acts of terror, the outrage as a lifestyle choice folk now use BDS as their weapon of choice. Their hope is that boycotts divestment and sanctions   (BDS) will achieve the goals of demonizing Israel in the court of public opinion, eroding support for the Jewish state and eventually lead to the elimination of Israel.

Its been a long time in coming, but the forces of light are finally mobilizing.
On May 31st  Israel’s Mission to the UN will host 1500 students, organizations, and agencies from around the world at a summit aimed at training young people with practical advice and the resources to take on the toxic atmosphere created by BDS.
In an interview Monday with The Jewish Press, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon outlined a plan of action aimed at leveling the playing field against the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.
“The goal of the event is to empower students from around the world – not just from the US – by giving them the tools they need to fight back. By doing it at the United Nations, in the General Assembly, we send a clear message that we will not be silent. We are a strong nation and we will overcome this wave of incitement against the State of Israel,” explained Danon, “We can win, but in order to win, we – the State of Israel and world Jewish communities – have to work together in order to be strong and effective…”
Representatives from several Ministries will be arriving from Israel to take part in the May 31st event. The day will open with a plenary session in the UN General Assembly Hall and be followed by a series of professional panels, where experts from fields such as law and public diplomacy will work with students to hammer out guidelines and provide them with “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits to help implement a new cohesive plan of action.
BDS has been operating for almost 11 years. Its attempts to delegitimize Israel by pressuring businesses, intimidating academics, bullying artists, and the spreading of lies and messages of hate against Jews and Israel on college campuses, have seen more success than previous boycott attempts due to their centralized organization. “I see the work being done by the other side, the way they are organized on college campuses. I know that we can, and we must, be united as well. It’s crucial to understand that this needs to be a joint effort in order to be effective”.
Rabbi David Mivasair, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council responded to this news in a very un-rabbinic way.
On his Twitter account, Rabbi David Mivasair promoted sabotaging the registration process.

JVP Rabbinical council member Rabbi David Mivasair 
You might expect this sort of childish, immature act from self proclaimed anarchist or a high school activist, but not from a rabbi entrusted in providing spiritual guidance to international organization
Rabbi David Mivasair, I'd suggest you brush up on your Jewish readings. Start with Psalm 15: 
A Psalm of David. O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?  He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.…
Rabbi David Mivasair joins JVP Rabbinical council member Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg as Rabbis most in need of spiritual guidance.

 JVP Rabbinical council member Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A bad week for Church Divest

Its an even numbered year, and that can only mean, one, well, two things. The San Francisco Giants will win the World Series and the Mainline Protestant Churches will vote on divestment from Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East

The United Methodist Church has convened a two week conference in Portland, and from the posts on social media, there is much prayer and soul searching going on. 864 delegates are considering nearly a thousand resolutions on a wide variety of issues.

As in past years, the conference is filled with anti-Israel activists, pushing divestment from companies that do business in Israel.  This year, it appears, the organization is pushing back 

From a Press release from the Institute on Religion & Democracy 

May 17, 2016

“Activists who seek to enroll the church in demonizing Israel serve neither peace nor justice for anybody”
-UM Action Director John Lomperis
United Methodists have voted to encourage church boards and agencies to end their affiliation with an organization that promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Delegates from across the 12.1 million-member denomination adopted a proposal asking to conclude agency affiliation with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on a vote of 478 to 319 (60 percent to 40 percent) during their quadrennial General Conference meeting in Portland, Oregon.
The United Methodist Church previously rejected divestment in 2008 and 2012 while the Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ have both adopted divestment policies .
And this week, the United Church of Christ is learning that their choices have consequences.

"The Church by the Sea hereby unequivocally repudiates and rejects the Resolutions call to boycott and divest". Additionally the Church “has also withdrawn all of its investment funds (almost $3M) from the United Church of Christ. Its a brave and principled stand to go against their denomination- a stand I hope is repeated by other churches in the coming months.

To read more about BDS in the pews

United Methodist Church Rejects Four Anti-Israel Boycott Resolutions

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Paul Larudee: The $10,000 Nakba Road Trip Fail

Paul Larudee has been on the outs of the social justice warrior club for quite a while. Even the regressive left knows to keep their distance from the piano tuner from El Cerrito. His  ties to the Iranian mullahs, his support of the Syrian  butcher Assad,  and his endorsements of notorious anti-Semites have contributed to his persona non grata status in the local activist community.

The failure of his Nakba tour surprises nobody. Paul took his show on the road, and  it was not a success.

A plea for money from terror apologist Paul Larudee :

Paul Larudee in happier times. Photo from Contra Costa Times
“You mean they will actually pay us to come and speak?” This was Amena’s reaction when I told her that the North America Nakba Tour would be self funding. In the Middle East and often in Europe, speakers are usually funded by philanthropists or institutions with deep pockets. We had no such backing, but plunged ahead, anyway.

We planned in reverse. How much can we raise? An honorarium of $500 plus travel expenses is quite reasonable, but we decided on $500 for two speakers from overseas, and we figured that we could make the travel fit into that. Next, we decided on our itinerary and filled in the events afterward. Finally, we decided on the expenses.

OK, not a perfect fit, but Allah Kareem (God is Benevolent), as they say. Someone will rescue us.
We were hoping to raise at least $17,500 (35 events x $500), and hopefully more from generous audiences. The reality is that although the scheduling was successful, two were canceled (one allowing us to keep the deposit), and five gave no more than half the requested amount. Fortunately, others exceeded the requirement, so that we expect to raise $15-16K.

Unfortunately, our expenses didn’t stick to the plan, and we have a roughly $10,000 deficit, as you can see in chart below. Can you help us? We would like to repeat this tour, with improvements, but if we can’t recover our costs, there’s little hope of this...
Expense (actual or estimated)
Visas (US & Canadian + second try on US)
$   1436
Airfare (speakers, with upgraded transatlantic, coordinator, attempts to bring Canadian visas)
Vehicle purchase + tax, less estimated resale
Extended warrantee
Used luggage rack + lock
Auto Insurance
Car maintenance
Health insurance for speakers
Gasoline (estimated for 12,000 miles @ $.15/mi.)
Tolls & parking
Travel equipment
Speaker travel per diem
Road service
Gifts for homestay hosts
Telephone and mobile internet for speakers
Food, lodging, supplies on the road
Entrance to parks and monuments
Driver compensation
$  25938

Sorry, Paul. Failure to plan on your part does not  constitute an emergency on anyones part.

Incidentally, Paul's "nonprofit "Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees  EIN 20-5516191 reported  over $166,000  in contributions last year.  Where could all that money be vanishing to?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

San Francisco Bay Area Stands with Israel

The San Francisco Bay area knows how to party. And the San Francisco Bay area stands with Israel.

The Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations began with a symbolic flag raising over San Francisco's City hall

photo from Israel in San Francisco
It continued into the night with a standing room only celebration at San Francisco's venerable Congregation Emanu-El.

The event, attended by 1,600 of our closest friends featured spoken word (68 years in 68 words), a reading of the megillat Yom Ha'Atzmaut and an acoustic set by Mattisayhu.

Blue and White was the order of the day, from the Reform Congregation Emanu'el in San Francisco 

To the Orthodox Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley

Tonight, the festivities continue in Palo Alto with an Israel street party.

Israel at 68.  May she go from strength to strength

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Happy 68th birthday, Israel. May you go from Strength to Strength

From the Wall Street Journal - a profile of Israel at 68. Resilient. Strong. Happy.

The World Happiness Report 2016 Update ranks Israel (Jews and Arabs) 11th of 158 countries evaluated for the United Nations. Israel also shines as No. 5 of the 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries on the OECD’s Life Satisfaction Index—ahead of the U.S., the U.K. and France.
How can this be so? Israelis live in a hostile and volatile neighborhood, engaged in an endless conflict with the Palestinians and under the threat of nuclear annihilation by Iran
Whats the secret?
Israelis take comfort in looking back and savoring how much has been achieved, how sovereignty over the land of their forefathers was reclaimed. At least 60% of the Israeli population, now eight million, are Jewish immigrants or their children. Jews from more than 90 countries, of all colors and walks of life, are united in one society. They cherish the sense of self-determination.
And it isn’t just Jews. Go to any beach or shopping mall and—despite the frictions—you will see Jews and Arabs peacefully coexisting. They all can take pride in their country’s accomplishments, as when Israel faced a water crisis a decade ago and launched a desalination project that is now the envy of the world.

Happy 68th birthday, Israel. May you continue to go from strength to strength
Read the whole article here: The Improbable Happiness of Israelis

SFSU: The battle cry of the coward is "But I'm the victim".

Its enough to make George Orwell spin in his grave.  In a move so cynically twisted and morally bankrupt it nearly defies description, anti-Israel students at  SFSU  who disrupted a speech by the mayor of Jerusalem are claiming the mantle of victimhood.

Yes, really.

At an April 6 talk sponsored by San Francisco State University Hillel  Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat  was prevented from speaking by an unruly crowd, to the intense frustration of those who had gathered to hear him speak. University officials stood by and did nothing.

From Aaron Parker, who was at the aborted talk:
The administrators’ and police’s high profile inaction emboldened the mob, which consequently grew louder and more brazen.  We waited and waited for the disruptors to be removed so the event could proceed, but it never happened.  Eventually, Mayor Barkat asked us to huddle around him so he could speak to us over the mob’s chants, but it was a lost cause.
“Get the fuck off our campus, get the fuck off our campus,” the mob yelled at us with bullhorns, indoors, over and over.  “Get the fuck off our campus.”
Students at SFSU described their frustration at the course of events:

From the Golden Gate Xpress, the SFSU school newspaper

“We have a right to hear what (Barkat) has to say, and we can’t hear it with all that,” physiology major Sarah Herman said, gesturing to the protestors...

“I think it’s really unfortunate that we’re not allowed an environment where we can have an open dialogue,” political science major Antonia Ford said. “I have no issue with having different opinions and being angry, but they’re not here to talk, they’re here to yell, and that will never achieve anything.”

The latest development in this ongoing saga? From the website of the anti-Israel group US Campaign - a petition urging SFSU President Wong not to investigate the incident.

The text of the petition follows:

Dear SFSU President Leslie Wong,

I am writing to you to express my deep concerns over the recent backlash against students who participated in the April 6th 2016 protest to the visit to SF State by the Mayor of occupied Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. Barkat has promoted and orchestrated ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Jerusalem. SFSU is a public educational institution with a long history of promoting social justice and centering the narratives of injustice the world over, including Indigenous communities, communities of color and other marginalized and colonized communities. The students who protested were standing up for those very values. 

I am also concerned about the impact of the recent backlash, which has included online bullying, smearing, in person harassment, sexual harassment, and even death threats, especially in an already pervasive climate of anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia. 

Please  take the following steps:
1. Immediately stop the administrative investigation to punish students’ speech activity, and instead protect students’ safety, rights, and ability to continue to participate in their educational pursuits. 
2. Condemn the bullying, smearing, sexual harassment and death threats that are targeting student protesters and investigate the organizations attacking these students, and the relationship between members of the administration, and the University. 
3. Implement training for faculty and administrators on Islamophobia and the proper enforcement of Title VI protections against anti-Muslim and anti-Arab discrimination, including that experienced on the SFSU campus.

The General Union of Palestinian Students at SFSU define cowardice.

They lacked the intellectual discipline to question Nir Barkat.  They lacked the moral backbone to defend their position. They lacked the courage to face the consequences of their very public tantrum, instead whining "But I'm the victim".  It remains to be seen if San Francisco State University president Les Wong will capitulate to this perverse moral inversion.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Israel foils smuggling attempt into Gaza

A massive shipment of ammonium chloride used for long-range rockets has been intercepted before it reached Gaza.  Security services became suspicious after a large quantity of salt was ordered by an Gaza importer with ties to Hamas.  Four tons of the chemical were found hidden in the salt.

Customs inspectors at the Nitzana Crossing, in cooperation with the ISA, prior to the Passover holiday, foiled an attempt to smuggle four tons of ammonium chloride – hidden in a shipment of salt – into the Gaza Strip. Ammonium chloride is used in the production of long-range rockets; four tons would have enabled the manufacture of hundreds of such rockets.
Approximately one week before the holiday, a shipment – purportedly containing 40 tons of salt – destined for Gaza reached the Nitzana Crossing, which is used for the transfer of goods between Egypt and Israel and the Palestinian Authority. A comprehensive inspection by customs personnel revealed that sacks of ammonium chloride were hidden within the salt. The sacks were found to weigh four tons. Ammonium chloride is defined as a dual use substance and its passage into the Gaza Strip requires a permit since it is liable to be used by Gaza-based terrorist organizations – such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad – in the production of long-range rockets. The ISA became suspicious that, given the large quantity of salt that had been ordered for the Gaza Strip, salt shipments were being used to smuggle in chemicals for use in manufacturing facilities in the Strip, especially the manufacture of rockets.
The ISA suspects that in this smuggling attempt the importer, a resident of the Gaza Strip with ties to the Hamas military wing, sought to bring the material into the Strip for use in Hamas' production facilities. This case underscores the activity of Gaza-based terrorist organizations in smuggling dual-use materials disguised as goods destined for the civilian population and reconstruction projects.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NGO Monitor Uncovers Jewish Voice for Peace's Hidden Financial Network

Ever wonder who would support this?

Thanks to NGO Monitor, now we have an answer. (And no, for the most part, its not the Jewish community)

In mapping JVP's funder/enablers, NGO Monitor accessed financial information
available through public IRS documents, as well as independent research into
individual foundations. NGO Monitor was able to identify the origins of much
of JVP's budget ($1.4 million in 2014); the rest remains secret.

"JVP's funders enable a variety of publicity stunts and counterproductive
campaigns, with the goal of provoking the American Jewish community,
immorally demonizing Israel, and shielding BDS groups from criticism,"
stated Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "While some of
JVP's donors clearly know what they are supporting, others, it appears, do
not understand the damaging impact of their donations."

NGO Monitor's research showed that Rockefeller Brothers Fund ($140,000 in
2015) and Firedoll Foudation ($25,000 in 2014) were among the largest
donors, as were a number of public charities, including the Schwab
Charitable Foundation ($158,800 in 2014), and the Tides Foundation ($49,477
in 2014).

Some of these donors also support other groups leading the political warfare
against Israel.

In 2015, Rockefeller Brothers Fund funded American Friends Service
Committee - AFSC ($50,000), Middle East Policy Network (Al-Shabaka)
($100,000 for 2 years) and Grassroots Jerusalem ($50,000), all of which
promote anti-peace BDS campaigns. RBF also funds Zochrot ($20,000 in 2015),
an Israeli NGO that calls for a "de-Zionized" one-state formula, effectively
dismantling the Jewish State.

Read the whole report here