Monday, April 24, 2017

Holy Land Principles. Gateway Drug to Full BDS ?

Yet one more reason you shouldn't ignore the proxy statements that show up in your mail.

 Marriott International  has more than 6000 properties in over 122 countries and territories around the world. Next month at their annual shareholder meeting, they are slated to vote on a shareholder proposal urging the adoption of the  "Holy land Principles". The principles add  burdensome layers of restrictions, oversight and bureaucracy to the 2 Marriott properties in Israel.  The Marriott Board opposes this proposal and recommends a vote AGAINST it.

What are the Holy land Principles? Their website bills them as a "corporate code of conduct" that are applicable only to businesses within Israel.

From their Website: The 8 Holy Land Principles

The Holy Land Principles call on American companies conducting business in The Holy Land to:

Principle #1
Adhere to equal and fair employment practices in hiring, compensation, training, professional education, advancement and governance without discrimination based on national, racial, ethnic or religious identity.

Principle #2

Identify underrepresented employee groups and initiate active recruitment efforts to increase the number of underrepresented employees.

Principle #3

Develop training programs that will prepare substantial numbers of current minority employees for skilled jobs, including the expansion of existing programs and the creation of new programs to train, upgrade, and improve the skills of minority employees.

Principle #4

Maintain a work environment that is respectful of all national, racial, ethnic and religious groups.

Principle #5

Ensure that layoff, recall and termination procedures do not favor a particular national, racial, ethnic or religious group.

Principle #6

Not make military service a precondition or qualification for employment for any position, other than those positions that specifically require such experience, for the fulfillment of an employee’s particular responsibilities.

Principle #7
Not accept subsidies, tax incentives or other benefits that lead to the direct advantage of one national, racial, ethnic or religious group over another.

Principle #8

Appoint staff to monitor, oversee, set timetables, and publicly report on their progress in implementing the Holy Land Principles.

Marriott  has a labor relations code of principles and practices in place and already aligns with Israel's strict labor and employment laws. From their Proxy handbook:

Marriott’s practices align with the Principles included in the Proposal. Given our Global Employment Principles, Policies and Practices, Marriott’s practices at our two managed hotels in Israel align with the Principles included in the Proposal. In addition, the Israeli Equal Opportunity Law, which applies to our managed and franchised hotels in Israel, forbids discrimination in hiring, promoting, work conditions, training or termination of work. As a result, we believe that formal adoption of the Holy Land Principles is not necessary nor incrementally valuable to our business interests nor citizenship commitment. Given our portfolio of over 6,000 hotels globally in 122 countries and territories, our policies need to be applied consistently worldwide thus making a country-by country-approach inefficient and unduly burdensome. For these reasons, the Board opposes this proposal and recommends a vote AGAINST the proposal.

While the Marriott chain has 2 facilities in Israel, you'd never know it by looking at their website.
With 18 states enacting anti-BDS legislation, the "Holy land Principles"  provides a foot in the door and a nose under the tent for the "Israel is always wrong" crowd to demonize and delegitimize Israel outside the rubric of BDS.

Always open and read  your proxy statements, and Marriott shareholders- vote No on this resolution.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

BDS advocates again prove that they can't win on a level playing field

By most accounts, 2017 has been a bad year for BDS

From Jonathan Marks, writing at Commentary

... the campus BDS movement this year, until recently, had notched wins solely at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, which has been passing divestment resolutions with wearying regularity since 2004, and the University of California-Riverside, where a symbolic and ineffectual blow against Sabra Hummus was struck. Meanwhile, BDS  activists lost at Ohio State (for a third time), University of Illinois-Urbana, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Columbia University.

But recently, two universities Student Councils, in an effort to push through resolutions when the Jewish students were otherwise occupied chose to have their votes during Passover week. Tufts University announced the vote 4 days in advance, and scheduled it for the day before Passover. Pitzer College held their vote during Passover, with no advance notice.

They resorted to underhanded tactics because they knew they could not win on a level playing field. They resorted to underhanded tactics because they wanted to silence opposition. They resorted to underhanded tactics to insure that their voices alone were heard.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League recently accepted an honor from Tufts, and took his alma mater to task for the vote, writing 

I find the BDS resolution passed by the TCU Senate deeply disturbing from all of my personal perspectives: as an alumnus who cares about Tufts; as a nonprofit executive who cares about justice and fair treatment; and as a Jew who cares about the fate of his people....

This vote intentionally was timed right before Passover in order to reduce the ability of all the interested Jewish students from participating in the debate. This meant that a number of individuals were forced to choose between practicing their faith and defending their people. This was a shameful tactic designed to silence the voices of Jewish students and the pro-Israel community at Tufts.

The university administration of Tufts issued a bland critique of  the resolution, saying

We have made clear in the past our opposition to calls to boycott Israeli academic institutions.  While members of our community vigorously debate international politics, Tufts University does not adopt institutional positions with respect to specific geo-political issues.

Ever immune to criticism, the  Students for Justice in Palestine, and their fan-boys at the Electronic Intifada nonetheless declared victory.

Jonathan Greenblatt concludes, with an appeal to Tufts for concrete action to address this incident, and insure that it never happens again:

I appeal to you to organize a task force that convenes alumni and administrators to review how this transpired and recommend steps to ensure it is not repeated.

And I advocate that you consider introducing a code of ethics — call it acovenant of active citizenship — for student leaders, one that demands ethical behavior, that upholds democratic processes and that creates accountability for those who fall short of these basic standards.

Now, I realize that it may seem odd for an alumnus to criticize his alma mater on the very day when I am receiving an honor from this institution.

But, from what I learned at Tufts, this is exactly what you taught me to do.

To take responsibility. To speak out. To defend free speech. To demand fair play. To make arguments respectfully and forcefully but also factually and rationally. And to defend and support the university that I so deeply love.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Israeli Economy Ranked 3rd Most Stable in the World

How that BDS working for you?

After 16 years of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions directed towards the only democracy in the Middle East, you'd think you'd be seeing some concrete results.

Ummmm. No.

Israel's low unemployment rate, low inflation rate and reputation for innovation have earned it the rank of third most stable economy in the world by the Bloomberg Finance. Only Hong Kong and South Korea ranked higher.

Imagine if all that wasted energy directed towards bringing the Israeli economy to its knees was channeled instead towards building a real and lasting peace?

Read more about the abject failure of BDS here:

Bloomberg ranks Israel with third most stable economy in 2016

The Israeli Economy’s Got Intel Inside

Israeli Economy Ranked 3rd Most Stable in the World for 2016

Why Israel still needs checkpoints.

Two sisters from Gaza were arrested today after they were stopped at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza.  They were caught smuggling explosives for Hamas in medical supplies. One of the sisters was receiving medical treatment for cancer in Israel, and the explosives were found hidden inside tubes labelled "medical materials"

According to the Shin bet, Hamas was behind the attempt and the explosives were to be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices for attacks within Israel .

“This is a continuation of the attempts by terrorist organizations in Gaza, mainly Hamas, to abuse the humanitarian channel and the medical aid Israel provides to Gaza residents to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel,” the Shin Bet said.


Data gathered by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) indicates that since the beginning of 2015 and mid-2016, more than 360,000 Palestinians entered Israel for humanitarian needs and approximately 1,000 Palestinian physicians received medical training in Israel or abroad. The Civil Administration says, "We see medical care as the highest priority and there is no compromise on the subject; we're doing whatever it takes to save a life.”

If only Hamas felt the same way.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Berkeley Police facilitate virtue signalling

Oh, Berkeley.
Enabling the ultimate in virtue signalling.

Upon request, and with prior arrangement, the Berkeley  Police Department will "symbolically" arrest you, allowing the ultimate in virtue signalling, without any real risk. Now you too can appear cool and edgy, and earn bragging rights, simply by filling out the proper forms!

From the Berkeley Police Departments Event Planning Checklist:  

The Berkeley Police and City of Berkeley want to facilitate the safe expression of constitutionally protected speech.  We want to work in partnership with you to hold a safe and peaceful event.  The following items are things that we recommend you do to ensure a safe event.
Go to City of Berkeley Website
  • Download and complete forms
  • File them at the Recreation Department
Contact the Police Department and Provide:
  • Purpose of protest
  • Date(s) and time of event
  • Location(s)
  • Route of march, if planned
  • Estimated attendance
  • Organizing person or group
  • Number of organizers
  • How to identify and contact organizers/monitors at the event (hats, shirts, armbands)
  • What will they be wearing?
  • Will they have mobile phones?
  • Do you want symbolic arrests?
  • If so, where and when?
When advertising on social media
  • Inform people of date, time and location
  • Encourage peaceful expression and lawful behavior by attendees
  • Discourage certain items from being brought to the event
During the Event
  • Make organizers/monitors visible through clearly identifiable clothing
  • Coordinate at the event with uniformed bicycle officers, they will help facilitate the event
  • Stay on your planned march route, if applicable
  • Maintain communication with officers throughout the event and notify them of any change in plans

Thursday, April 6, 2017

JCRC Deeply Concerned about Climate at SF State University for Jewish and Pro-Israel Students

Statement from the Jewish Community Relations Council on this weeks events at San Francisco State University

JCRC Deeply Concerned about Climate at SF State University for Jewish and Pro-Israel Students

JCRC is deeply disappointed by the events which led to the cancellation yesterday of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s speaking engagement at San Francisco State University (SFSU). The opportunity to welcome Mayor Barkat back to campus was especially important given that his speech last year was disrupted by protesters.

Mayor Barkat requested that his April 6 scheduled appearance be a fully accessible public forum for "the kind of healing needed after the assault on free speech last year." We believe that this request was very important given the intention of disrupters to prevent the normalization of Jewish and pro-Israel voices on campus. The university should have been able to provide such a forum and also done more to assure the event was widely promoted. Instead, the university's insistence that this be a ticketed, limited event and lack of publicity communicated that it will go to lengths to prevent students from engaging in important conversations rather than advancing its purpose of fostering civil discourse and promoting the free exchange of ideas.

JCRC is deeply troubled by a pattern of marginalization at SFSU of Jewish students, and anyone else who supports Israel's right to exist. The university claims a commitment to creating opportunities for “each student to discover his or her unique path in life,” but the voices of Jewish students, particularly those in support of Israel, are limited. For the past year, we have been in constant discussions with university administration about how to correct this and improve campus climate, and this week’s cancellation represents a major failure in advancing the principles for which we believe this university stands.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat cancels visit to SFSU

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has canceled a scheduled visit to San Francisco State University, accusing the university of failing to adequately prepare for his visit.

“By failing to provide the necessary public forum and properly publicize my lecture, the University has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state,” Barkat declared, adding “If I were a representative of any other country, no institution of higher learning would have allowed my speech to be drowned out by protesters inciting violence and then bring me back to campus in a limited, secluded way,”

The visit was scheduled for Thursday, a full year after his talk at SFSU was interrupted by anti-Israel activists.  A subsequent investigation found that SFSU failed to properly handle the protest, yet the participants faced no actual consequences. San Francisco State University is regularly listed as one of the most difficult campuses for Jewish students.

Mayor Nir Barkat planned to visit the campus exactly a year to the day after students with the General Union of Palestine Students group interrupted his on-campus speech with chants of "Intifada, Intifada", terrorizing the Jewish students and community members attending the event.

“Dozens of anti-Israel protesters disrupted my public lecture through intimidation and provocation, vulgarities and incitement that bordered on the anti-Semitic,” Barkat said

Barakat’s speech was scheduled to take place Thursday  at the Seven Hills Conference Center. The venue quickly sold  out.

Bay area Anti- Israel activists had already begun to mobilize for the event, distributing a rambling, incoherent diatribe emphasizing  their personal and collective victimhood, and demanding Wong cancel the appearance.

Instead, Barakat will be speaking a private venue.

Mayor Barkat's full statement follows:

"At San Francisco State last April, dozens of anti-Israel protesters disrupted my public lecture through intimidation and provocation, vulgarities and incitement that bordered on the anti-Semitic.

Following the incident, President Wong invited me back to the University to provide students the opportunity to learn that they were denied last spring. I felt a moral obligation to return to San Francisco State and share Jerusalem’s progress, challenges, and opportunities.

Unfortunately, the University did not offer the lecture that would provide the kind of healing needed after the assault on free speech last year. Instead, the University offered a ticketed, limited event, and no legitimate effort was made on the part of the University to publicize the lecture. I have decided not to participate.

By failing to provide the necessary public forum and properly publicize my lecture, the University has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state. If I were a representative of any other country, no institution of higher learning would have allowed my speech to be drowned out by protestors inciting violence and then bring me back to campus in a limited, secluded way.

Mostly importantly, the University's proposed framework is nothing short of a double standard. The University has demonstrated that they will protect the rights of anti-Israel students to drown out diverse voices through violent incitement, while they will not protect the rights of the students to engage in open, robust dialogue."

Rachel Greenspan
Deputy Advisor, Foreign Affairs and International Media
Office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat"