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grossproffit's Journal
grossproffit's Journal
December 15, 2015

Haaretz Forum Removes Israeli Flag for Palestinian Official's Address

[quote]The organizers of the “HaaretzQ with New Israel Fund” conference in New York City removed the Israeli flag from the stage ahead of chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erekat’s speech on Sunday, sparking harsh criticism.

Many participants called the decision was “miserable” and “unfortunate.” In an official statement, Haaretz said, “Mr. Erekat’s team requested he not be made to speak next to the Israeli flag, and we honored his wishes.”

Speaking with Army Radio on Monday, Haaretz Publisher Amos Schocken said, “Haaretz doesn’t hold conferences against the backdrop of the Israeli flag….We did not place a Palestinian flag on the stage during Erekat’s speech. We had no intention of placing any flag on the stage. We placed it on stage at President [Reuven] Rivlin’s request, and removed it at Erekat’s request.”

While on stage, Erekat insisted that the PA “has recognized Israel’s existence and its right to peacefully exist within the 1967 lines.” He accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “destroying the two-state solution and promoting apartheid.”

Israeli Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) said the flag incident “proves, yet again, that the problem we have with the Palestinian leadership is not a territorial dispute, but it lies with their inability to recognize a Jewish state within any lines.”

Elkin said the incident “disgraced Haaretz, which defines itself as an Israeli newspaper and is willing to champion any right — except the right to place the Israeli flag on its stage.”[/quote]


December 12, 2015

How a gay Iranian poet fleeing persecution ‘fell in love’ with Israel


[quote] Payam Feili fled his native Iran last year because of the persecution he faced over his sexuality. Now, the gay poet has made a years-long dream come true — he is visiting Israel, Iran’s archenemy and a country known for its tolerance toward gays.

But the 30-year-old Feili stands out not only because of his arrival in a country so at odds with his own, but because of his professed adoration for the state some Iranian leaders have dubbed a cancer and have called to be wiped off the map.

“I still can’t believe I am here,” the soft-spoken Feili said in Farsi, speaking through his translator and the friend who brought him to Israel, Adi Liberman.

“All the stupid and ridiculous threats the regime issues against Israel have never influenced me and will never influence me,” he said.

Feili, who has written nine books, many of them openly discussing homosexuality, escaped to Turkey last year when the Iranian government’s threats against him and his family became unbearable.

He is in Israel to see his latest novella, “I Will Grow, I Will Bear Fruit … Figs,” staged as a play in Hebrew in a Tel Aviv theater. While his always supportive family remains in Iran, he said he hopes to stay in Israel permanently.

Feili has nurtured a fascination with Israel since he was a youngster, when he began watching films about the Holocaust and started learning about the Torah. He has a coin-sized Star of David tattoo on his neck.

“I grew closer and closer to Israel and I fell in love with it,” he said.[/quote]


December 11, 2015

Israeli breakthrough helped cure Jimmy Carter’s cancer

[quote] An Israeli-tested drug that tackles cancer through sophisticated manipulations of the body’s natural immune system was key in helping rid former US president Jimmy Carter of life-threatening tumors that developed after he was diagnosed with melanoma earlier this year.

Researched in Israel by Professor Jacob Schachter of the Ella Institute for melanoma treatment and research at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Keytruda is part of a promising new class of drugs called immunotherapies, which harness the body’s immune system to help fight cancer.

The US-based Merck pharmaceutical company’s injectable biotech drug works by blocking a protein found in certain tumors called PD-1, which inhibits the body’s natural response to cancer cells.

Carter, 91, announced Sunday that doctors found no evidence of the four lesions discovered on his brain this summer and no signs of new cancer growth. He revealed in August that he had been diagnosed with melanoma and had begun treatment, including surgery to remove part of his liver, targeted radiation therapy and doses of a recently approved drug to help his immune system seek out any new cancer cells.[/quote]



December 10, 2015

Muslim store owner in tears after he’s beaten by New York man on mission to ‘kill Muslims’


[quote]A Muslim store owner in Queens reported that he was attacked over the weekend by a man who said that he wanted to “kill Muslims.”

Fatima Food Mart owner Sarker Haque told WPIX that the man came into his store on Saturday and began punching him.

“He punched me here,” Haque recalled, motioning toward an ice cream cooler. “I fell down here… I say, ‘What the hell you doing? What’s wrong with you?’ [The attacker] said, ‘I kill Muslims.'”

“He punched me as much as he can with his left hand,” the store owner added, choking back tears. “He grabbed me here. Then he punched me here.”

The attacker was identified by police as Piro Kolvani. Investigators believe that Kolvani punched Haque multiple times before a Latino customer intervened.

“A person came [by]… He knows me,” Haque said. “I’m bleeding [at] this time so he [took] hold of [the attacker].”

“It doesn’t matter what color or nationality you are,” he pointed out. “We are in America. Everybody came from somewhere.”

Officials said that the attack on Haque was being investigated as a hate crime.[/quote]


December 7, 2015

Muslim Reform Movement decries radical Islam, calls for equality

It takes courage to stand up publicly to radical Islam, even if you’re Muslim. Maybe especially if you’re Muslim.

Ask Asra Nomani. On Friday she and a dozen of her fellow Muslims went to the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., and posted a declaration on the door denouncing violent jihad, rejecting Islamic statism and opposing the “ideology of violent Islamic extremism.”

The declaration announced the formation of the Muslim Reform Movement, an international organization aimed at countering the beliefs of Middle East terrorist groups like Islamic State in what the document describes as a “battle for the soul of Islam.”

Was Ms. Nomani nervous? No doubt. But the recent bloodshed in Paris and San Bernardino, California, spurred by radical Islam has convinced her the Muslim community needs to confront frankly the connection between terrorism and religion, not deny that it exists.

Ultimately, the reason why we, as Muslims, stood on Friday and went to the mosque and took the risks on our own lives, is because we’ve had enough,” Ms. Nomani said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think the world has had enough.”


The Muslim Reform Movement’s declaration calls for equal rights for women, an end to institutionalized Shariah law, a separation between “mosque and state” and an end to bigotry based on a list of traits, including “sexual orientation and gender expression.”

We stand for a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam,” the declaration says. “We are in a battle for the soul of Islam, and an Islamic renewal must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate.”[/quote]


Facebook page [url]https://www.facebook.com/Muslim-Reform-Movement-462078103964443/[/url]

December 1, 2015

Swastika is a symbol of peace, elite school tells sixth-graders

[quote]Sixth-graders at an elite Bronx private school have been caught drawing swastikas in art class, so administrators met with the kids — talking mainly about how the symbols represent peace in some cultures.

One parent who wishes not to be named said Jewish students have felt unsafe since the images began popping up three weeks ago at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, where tuition costs $45,100 a year.

In addition to the swastikas, a notebook was found at the middle school campus with the words “Hitler Rocks!” scrawled on the front, the parent said.

Administrators decided to address the apparent anti-Semitism by holding a grade-wide meeting.

Parents say teachers spent nearly 12 of the 15 minutes on a PowerPoint presentation on how the swastika was still considered a sacred symbol — while only briefly mentioning how the Nazis had adopted it in the 1920s.

Despite parents’ allegations that at least eight of the Nazi symbols had been seen on campus, school spokeswoman Meredith Halpern would confirm only that one had been drawn in art class.

But she refused to call it a swastika — and instead said that the student “drew a symbol that represents peace.”[/quote]


November 28, 2015

In diplomatic first, Israel to open mission in Abu Dhabi

[quote]Israel is set to open its first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates.

The mission will not be a diplomatic representation to Abu Dhabi or the UAE, but to the UN’s International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is headquartered in the Gulf emirate, Haaretz reported on Friday.

Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold was in the UAE this week to attend an IRENA gathering, but remained three days in the country to meet with IRENA director Adnan Amin and finalize the details of the new mission.

The Israeli diplomat who will hold the new post, Rami Hatan, is preparing to leave for Abu Dhabi in the coming weeks, a ministry source told Haaretz. Offices for the new mission have already been chosen.

Israel’s mission to IRENA will be the only one among the agency’s 145 member states with a diplomatic presence in Abu Dhabi formally defined as a mission to IRENA alone, and not to the emirate or UAE. Sources suggest the Israeli mission will serve the latter role informally.

The Foreign Ministry decided to open the special mission to IRENA because it meant having a public, official diplomatic presence in an Arab state without formal diplomatic relations with Israel. One official described it as a “diplomatic breakthrough.”

In January 2009, Israel cast its vote for Abu Dhabi as the site of IRENA’s headquarters (over rival contender Germany) with the explicit condition that IRENA’s presence in the Gulf state would allow Israel to open an official, publicly acknowledged diplomatic office there.[/quote]



November 26, 2015

New Canadian PM Trudeau Votes No on 16 Anti-Israel U.N. Resolutions


[quote]Of the 16 No votes on anti-Israel texts so far this year, one took place on November 2nd, still under the Harper government. The rest were decided by the new Trudeau government.

Despite the opposition of Canada, the U.S., and Australia, the UN General Assembly yesterday adopted six non-binding resolutions singling out and criticizing Israel, without any of mention of the spate of Palestinian knife attacks, shooting, car-rammings, and incitement,nor were any resolutions adopted on Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or any other human rights situation.

Surreal barely captures the scene: the world is under assault by terrorists killing in the name of Islam and martyrdom — as Palestinians did this week while stabbing Israeli Jews — and the UN’s response is to reflexively condemn Israel in six separate resolutions, all of which are one-sided.

One resolution condemned the Jewish state for retaining the Golan Heights, demanding Israel hand the land and its people to Syria.

It’s astonishing. At a time when the Syrian regime is massacring its own people, how can the U.N. call for more people to be subject to Assad’s rule? The timing is morally galling and logically absurd. [/quote]

Astonishing, is right.

November 24, 2015

Kerry in Jerusalem: Israel has right, obligation to defend itself

Kerry, who came to Israel after visiting the United Arab Emirates, said his arrival comes at a “very troubled” time.

“Clearly, no people anywhere should live with daily violence; with attacks in the streets, with knives or scissors or cars. It is very clear to us that the terrorism, these acts of terrorism, which have been taking place deserve the condemnation that they are receiving. And today I express complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation,” Kerry stated.

“Israel has every right in the world to defend itself. It has an obligation to defend itself. And it will and it is.”

Washington’s top diplomat, a former senator from Massachusetts, mentioned that “regrettably, several Americans” were killed in the recent violence, paying tribute to Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old from Sharon, Massachusetts, who was gunned down Thursday in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem.

“A young man who came here out of high school, ready to go to college, excited about his future,” Kerry said. “And yesterday his family was sitting shiva and I talked to them and heard their feelings, the feelings of any parent for the loss of a child.” [/quote]


November 23, 2015

Shocker: Avis Car Rental Bars Israeli Executive from Renting. BDS OR JUST BS?

[quote]On Saturday evening, Dov Bergwerk arrived at the Avis branch on West 76th Street and Broadway. Accompanied by his wife Ruth, the Bergwerks were planning to join friends for dinner in Westchester. Mr. Bergwerk, a senior vice president and general corporate counsel at the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, got out his driver’s license, reservation number and “Wizard” loyalty card – he’s rented from Avis dozens of times before – and anticipated the usual smooth transition into a nondescript mid-sized sedan.

That’s when the trouble started.

A reservation agent named Angelline declined to honor Mr. Bergwerk’s reservation, saying that it was company policy not to recognize Israeli documents. Stunned, Mr. Bergwerk explained that he had rented from Avis many times, including a car from that very same office on Thursday, November 19 – only two days earlier.

Mr. Bergwerk asked Angelline to access the profile attached to his Wizard card, which shows that he is an executive at a giant multinational company who has no regulatory issues and has rented from Avis, including at that very branch, many times without incident. She refused. They argued.

Eventually, a manager was called. Shamoura took the side of her reservation agent, also refusing to honor Mr. Bergwerk’s reservation or recognize his documents. Stunned and stranded on a Saturday night in New York, Mr. Bergwerk called the Avis main number and got through to customer service. The representative confirmed to him that the Israeli license was an acceptable form of ID and also mentioned that he could show his passport to ameliorate any ID concerns the on-site employees had. Mr. Bergwerk put the customer service representative on the phone with Shamoura, the branch manager, and at this point the story evolved. She now claimed that she was declining to rent the Bergwerks a car not because of the insufficient documents but because Mr. Bergwerk had “argued about the way I was being treated in front of other customers,” according to Mr. Bergwerk.

Avis reservation agent Angelline (white shirt) and her manager Shamoura declined to rent a car to an Israeli executive. Both refused to provide their last names.
The Observer asked Mr. Bergwerk if he felt that, in the heart of Manhattan’s progressive activist community, he was being singled out for being an Israeli.

“While no direct reference was made to being anti Israel, that was my impression almost from the initial moment I presented my license and credit card as I have done over 15 years of business and leisure travel without ever being challenged. The agent stated that the Israeli license did not have the required info in English. I tried to demonstrate that the license had all the required info but she and the manager had no interest. Similarly, the fact that I have had many rentals at Avis and at this location was dismissed as having been ‘done by new employees.'”[quote]


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