Five for Friday

Living outside of Israel, one of the issues facing observant Jews is the two day yomtov. One of the advantages of making aliyah, is that you can put that behind you (except for Rosh Hashanah, which is two days everywhere in the world). But every so often, the calendar conspires to combine and remind you what it’s like to endure the two day yomtov. Like this weekend: we have Shabbat, then immediately after, Shavuoth. In short (ha!) a two day yomtov. Not my favorite experience.

Meantime, here are the regular weekly set of links for you. Enjoy.

Shabbat Shalom! Chag Sameach!

A is for antisemitism – B is for blind

The Elder of Ziyon reports (here) on another – and it is one of many – dose of antisemitic poison from PA TV. This one includes such classics as:

“They [the Jews] are usurers. See, the usury money and usurer banks, those who control the money in the world can be counted on one hand – a few individuals – and all of them belong to the Jewish world. They control the media, the money, the press, the resources, the plans.”

As many others have stated, this continual hate is a major obstacle to any progress in this part of the world.

It’s also an incitement whose ripple effects can fairly be said to cause everything from antisemitic graffiti to verbal abuse to physical assault to murder. The build up of hate needs an outlet, and woe betide the poor Jews who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But it’s the role – the passive, turn a blind eye role – of virtually the entire western media which is also a scandal.

Most of them see it as appropriate to intermittently mention the “a” word, and may even go so far as to endorse the latest campaign by NGO or government that might attempt to tackle the subject.

But in between?

They ignore the poison from the PA. They take the same approach to the antisemitic drivel coming out of any and all the Arab states. They positively bend over backward to excuse the Iranian version as being political and anti-Zionist in nature. Sometimes, you get the impression that people who only get their media fix from these sources must wonder what this antisemitism is that is being talked about. After all, their media sources do not report much, so there cannot be anything serious, can there?

And then there are variations on a theme, of which the Willcox Gambit is a recent version. As BBC Watch puts it:

“In other words, Willcox falsely implied that – like Jews in France – Palestinians are targets because of their religion and/or ethnicity and that European Jews can be held collectively responsible for the perceived actions of Israel.”

Antisemitism? It’s understandable and it’s Israel’s fault and Jews’ responsibility. What a toxic cocktail. And, as you will see from the BBC Watch report, they just do not get it. Either through ignorance or willful pretense, they do not get it.

Given the abundance of hard evidence, the objective observer will surely conclude that the western media is mostly blind to antisemitism. But why?

Standing idle

Here’s the starting point:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Now, let’s talk about Qatar. Not about the terrible treatment of the migrant (World Cup) workers there. Nor about the strange attitude they have to press freedom. Nor about their acquisition of some famous western assets.

Instead, let’s talk about terrorism, dead kids, and turning a blind eye.

Qatar looks to me like a totalitarian state that wants to be loved. So, it backs certain initiatives. In the western world, it sponsors football teams, and promotes its airline. Elsewhere, it has funded the terrorists of Hamas, and given these heroes cover, comfort, and safe harbor protection. And still the west, largely, turns a Nelsonian eye. It’s almost as if the media were aware of an organized crime family, but hesitated to say a word, for fear of retribution.

That all sounds so clinical.

Want a change of perspective?

How about noting that Qatar has hosted a television show episode for terrorists to revel in their murder of innocents; their murder of Jewish kids? Don’t believe me? Try this:

“For the record, our daughter’s murderer had no difficulty going to Qatar in 2013 from her home base in Jordan and basing herself and her team there to film an episode of her weekly television show – the one that exists to rejoice in the killing of Jewish children and the ‘heroism’ of her fellow terrorist savages. Click on this YouTube clip to watch as she giggles and beams her way through an hour of interviews with other freed Shalit Deal murderers living in Qatar with their new, young families.”

[I removed the link to YouTube. I do not want to generate any traffic for that video.]

You can read the whole post, which among other achievements, points the finger at one terrorist enabler who remains free as the rest of the world ignores him, here. All credit to the Roths for their continuing struggle in the ongoing war. They are doing something. More good people need to act.

Are you listening Obama?

Pirates oy vey!

No matter how much history you read, there is always something new to be discovered. Like this:

Believe it or not, Jewish pirates were powerful allies in the Ottoman wars against Spain, which had expelled and dispossessed them in 1492. They were also pioneers in discovering the New World, a new exhibition explains.

Jewish pirates? Next thing I expect to hear is that they kept Shabbat.

Funny you should say that…

See the story, here.

Media matters

Israel’s Channel 10 Television outfit has had its end predicted dead on more than one occasion, burdened by high debt and costs, and labelled as a resolute foe of Bibi. But, despite the predictions, it has lasted. Until now.

It needs money. It needs a new owner. The ostensible public ownership it presently has, is administered by the government in – by some – in a cack-handed fashion.

The last dirty deed by the government was to set the price for the sale of Channel 10. And, so far as I can tell, the assessment of debt (and so, the price) as fixed by the relevant ministry, was NIS 5 million. This would clear the accounts.

Then, in one of the last acts of the previous administration, Bibi stepped in and set the price at NIS 16.8 million.

At this point, you take sides. Either Bibi is trying to kill off Channel 10 by frightening away buyers, or Bibi better understands the price (and so the value) of such media, thus enriching the public purse.

The state of affairs has now generated some legal activity, as reported on here by Globes.

This close to the action, I doubt the picture (ahem) will be clear unless Moshe Kahlon indeed steps in and sorts things out. For sure he would not hesitate to change the price if he felt it were wrong – if he can be persuaded to intervene. He may feel he already has enough on his hands.However, there’s little doubt, Bibi could care less if Channel 10 goes away.

On the whole, a murky affair.

Artists on the front line

Some of you may remember the effective ousting of some Israeli art performances at the Edinburgh Festival last year. This story from the Scotsman suggests an improved situation where all is sweetness and light:

Fringe artists bid to quell Middle East tensions

PERFORMERS from across the Middle East, including Israelis and Palestinians, will appear on stage together at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe in response to the cultural boycott and last-minute cancellation of two shows that marred last year’s event.

A late-night political cabaret show, featuring artists from across the region, is being set up by one of the leading Fringe venues in response to the events that unfolded last summer when protesters targeted two arts companies understood to have received funding from the Israeli government.

Northern Stage, one of the Fringe’s theatrical powerhouses, has programmed the nightly event, which will see Middle Eastern artists perform new specially commissioned plays, songs, music and poems.

Inspired by a late-night Fringe cabaret created two years ago by Northern Stage to tackle the Scottish independence debate, the company says the show will use human stories to look at the “past, present and possible futures of a region of incredible complexity and diversity”. 
A revolving cast will take to the stage at Summerhall for the work in the show entitled Here Is The News From Over There (Over There Is The News From Here).

Twitter will be used to ensure the pieces reach a wider audience during the run of the show but also to inspire artists in the Middle East to create new work.

Sounds hopeful, doesn’t it?

Now some detail:

“Northern Stage is joining forces on the project with one of Scotland’s leading playwrights, David Greig…”

Who is David Greig?

The British Council says this:

“David Greig has been described in the Daily Telegraph as ‘one of the most interesting and adventurous British dramatists of his generation’. He is also one of Britain’s most prolific modern playwrights.”

And Wikipedia says this:

“David Greig (born 1969) is a Scottish playwright and theatre director. His work has been performed at all of the major theatres in Britain, including the Traverse Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and been produced around the world.”

And the Scotsman article says this:

“…[he] ran a crowdfunding campaign last year to enable Palestinian and Israeli artists to be represented at the Fringe without reliance on Israeli government funding.”

And, crucially:

“Greig, who was one of those to support the cultural boycott…”

So, not an Israel supporter.

When it is reported that:

“We are still putting the line-up of performers together, but there will absolutely be a representation of Israeli voices in there. There are two Israeli companies performing in the Summerhall programme.”

That does not fill me with enthusiasm. It does not make me confident about what type of message these artists will deliver. Indeed, reading the complete article again in light of that last comment, it becomes clear that this is a nasty development. Apparently free speech is not open to those who take money from Israel. (Because Israel is so uniquely nasty and evil, you know…) The Israeli national theater cannot take part. The kids at the local school cannot take part. Way to go, guys. Another Israel bashing event. What a great contribution to peace and harmony that will be.

Note that Greig is somewhat hypocritical. He seems to take a stance against Israel, but not against the UK. It’s OK in his eyes to take money from the UK government, (as seen by his plays being put on at these at least partially state funded venues mentioned above) because it’s never done anything wrong, of course.

To close, I cannot resist quoting (Scotsman website) commenter Lobey Dosser:

“This is such exciting news! I can’t wait to read the endorsements from last year’s Hezbollah-supporting demonstrators. But I can’t help thinking, should it be discovered that any of the budding Israeli thespians have pocket-money from uncle Bibi, David Greig will revert to type and the deal will be off!”

With a BDS proponent like Greig at the helm, there’s bound to be a healthy dose of antisemitism anti-Zionism on show.

Facebook has no body and soul

Advocate Guy Ophir has come up with an interesting tactic in the legal battle he is conducting against Facebook for certain clients.

From Globes:

Facebook Israel CEO asks court to gag lawyer

Yes, you read that correctly. Curious? Here’s more:

Facebook Israel CEO Adi Soffer-Teeni today filed a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv District Court asking for a restraining order barring Adv. Guy Ophir “from revealing to the public every personal particular relating to the claimant without her consent or permission, including the publication of information about the claimant’s ID, private address, home telephone number, and any other information possessed by the respondent.”

Soffer-Teeni’s petition follows a demand by Ophir, who petitioned Facebook a week ago, protesting the absence of a proper response to an urgent and immediate request.

In his letter, Ophir asserted that Facebook was refraining from publishing ways to contact the company on the Internet, thereby preventing him from making contact with the company for the purpose of urgent and immediate treatment in various cases. Ophir has represented several clients in cases of Facebook bullying.

“As a remedy for the behavior of Facebook, and as a public service,” Ophir wrote, “I intend to publish the particulars of how to make contact with the Facebook Israel CEO, the leading Facebook officer, within 72 hours, in order to allow Mrs. Soffer-Teeni to prepare accordingly.”

Without knowing the full background, it’s impossible to comment authoritatively on the merits of the matter. However, it is possible to note the storm of publicity generated. A cynic might suggest that Guy Ophir harbored a hope that prodding the Facebook monolith might be worthy of publicity. On the other hand, it may be that outsiders with a less than favorable attitude towards Facebook, will see the potential leaking of Adi Soffer-Teeni’s personal details as somewhat ironical given the company’s less than stellar record on privacy.

Incidentally, the title of this post comes from this part of the Globes article, quoting Ophir:

“The global Facebook corporation and/or the Israeli Facebook has no body and no soul that can be pressured. It is an artificial construct composed and managed by human beings, one of whom is Soffer-Teeni. Soffer-Teeni is CEO of Facebook Israel. She is the manager, and she is responsible for its activity.

I have no doubt that the protest I’m conducting against Facebook and against Soffer-Teeni is causing her discomfort, but the decision not to publish the telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address of Facebook Israel is her decision, and all she has to do is change her decision, in which case there will be no need to reveal how to make personal contact with her.”

Read it all, here.

How to manipulate photos to tell an anti-Israel story

The incomparable Elder of Ziyon posted the story (here) of how Ma’an was presenting a false narrative to its audience. More in hope than expectation, I posted a comment at the Ma’an site; they published it.


It’s not quite as good as having the journalistic integrity to admit their error, but it is something. And my comment was not the only one pointing out the truth of the situation.

Five for Friday

A change of routine this weekend, as I creaked out of bed early this morning to get out on my bike. Then, a surprise shakshuka breakfast courtesy of Susan and Lori, a trip to the shops at Petach Tikvah, a pit stop to see Sarah-Lee and Tomer, then back home. I’m ready for Shabbat to start right now!

But first, as usual, I offer a selection of links for your information, entertainment, enjoyment, and rumination. Here they are:

Shabbat Shalom!

Internet mystery solved

Up till now, it’s been a puzzle: why is it, in a country so bursting with high tech and innovation, that internet shopping is a minority pursuit? Today, I discovered the answer.

People do not shop on the internet – especially for their supermarket shopping – just in case they are not in their home when the delivery man calls. Because, if you are not in, this is the type of thing you can return home to find:

"Let's see them try and open their front door, now!"

“Let’s see them try and open their front door, now!”

You can just see and hear the delivery man, panting after doing all that schlepping, saying:

“I’ll teach these people not to be in. Wait till they try and open their front door!”

As i said, problem solved.

It may be some time before Susan does another internet supermarket shop…