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July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

Orange to Pay ‘Partner’ $50 million for Studying Damage from BDS Fiasco

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The French-based Orange telecom company has agreed to pay Israeli-based Partner Communications $45 million for a study of damage caused by the fiasco two months ago caused by Orange CEO’s comments that he would like to get rid of Partner.

The agreement also allows Orange to terminate the Brand Licensing Agreement during a one-year period if Partner does not cut off ties first in the 12 months beforehand. If Partner exercises its right to end the connection, it will cost the company an additional $56 million.

The funding for the study also covers expenses Partner incurred to deal with the fallout from Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s remarks in Cairo, where he said:

Believe me I would cancel the contract tomorrow if I could… I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt … We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.

Previous protests by the BDS movement have tried to pressure Orange to cut its ties with Israel. There always is the possibility that a company is faking reasons its pull out of Israel or Judea and Samaria. BDS charges Partner with the sin of erecting approximately 100 antennas on “Palestinian land.”

Everyone has jumped to conclusions that Richard was succumbing to BDS, and even the new agreement has been met with suspicions that Orange simply is trying to diplomatically cooperate with BDS under the cover of deal that seems to be “strictly business.”

It delights the media, left-wing and right-wing alike, to celebrate or bemoan a BDS victory, but sometimes it is poppycock.

Richard, despite his remarks that obviously pander to Arabs, has claimed there is a legitimate business reason for wanting to end the arrangement with Partner. Israel is the only country in the world where a local company uses the Orange brand but is not part of the French conglomerate. Partner reportedly simply pays Orange approximately $4 million for the right use the Orange name. It is a tiny sum for the French conglomerate.

The new agreement and funding by Orange gives the Partner to examine how much damage, if any, was caused by the blow-up following Richard’s remarks and what would be involved in trying to come up with a brand name instead of Orange.

Richard’s comments provoked so much excitement that Richard even flew into Israel, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed his love for Israel and said he opposed boycotts.

The fact is that Orange is invested in Israel and operates a technological hothouse.

In addition, Partner told The JewishPress.com that when the Israel firm started its own innovations laboratory two years ago, Orange asked to participate. it was rejected because the Partner investment recruited people to participate but did not take any outside funding. However, the Orange’s interest spurred it to start up its own independent research lab.

Despite the plain wording of today’s press release in the new Partner-Orange arrangement, several media outlets mis-reported that “Orange, Partner Communications sign deal to end brand agreement” (Indian Times”) and that “Orange to end license deal with Partners Comms.” (CBS Marketwatch).

Unless the whole arrangement is an expensive ruse to bury BDS, which is quite fanciful, BDS can crawl back into its hole.

This is not the first time a company has moved operations due to business considerations but allegedly because of BDS.

SodaStream pulled out of Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, this year after completion of its new and more modern factory in the Negev, five minutes from the new extension of the high-speed Highway 6 (Kvish) highway that makes it a lot closer to Ben Gurion Airport.

Hillel Rabbi Proud Drexel Honored Anti-Israel, Anti-America Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania bestowed an honorary degree on one of the U.S.’s most infamous anti-Israel, anti-American public figures this month. And on her Facebook page, the Hillel rabbi at Drexel posted a picture of herself with Chomsky and Drexel’s president at the ceremony.

“A representative of the Jewish community should probably not be in a photo op with him,” said one former Hillel student. “It is a bit disturbing that a figurehead of the Jewish community would allow herself to be next to him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some students felt alienated and more hesitant to be involved in the organization after seeing such a photo.”

Drexel awarded 14 honorary degrees this year. The recipients of seven, including Chomsky, spoke at various graduation ceremonies.

Chomsky is one of the best known and most outspoken American critics of Israel. He has called the Jewish State such a consistent and extreme violator of human rights “that you hardly have to argue about it.” For that reason, he claims, U.S. military aid to Israel is in direct violation of U.S. Law. He also contends that peace proposals made by Hamas have been more “forthcoming” and sound than any proposed by Israel.

At least Chomsky rejects (sometimes) the claim that Israel is an Apartheid state. But that’s because he thinks Apartheid is too gentle a term for Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs.

“To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse,” Chomsky said in an interview last year. Chomsky said that the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is totally different than that of South African whites to blacks. He said that the “South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.”

Although he is distressed that the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement has not yet been successful, he is very supportive of it.

Perhaps that is why it was so extraordinary to see a Hillel rabbi providing what would appear to be tantamount official support for Drexel’s decision to honor Chomsky.

Isabel de Koninck is Drexel Hillel’s executive director and campus rabbi.

A 2004 graduate of Brandeis University, de Koninck was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College from which she also completed a graduate certificate in Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies. Dee Koninck is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and serves on the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

At the ceremony at which Chomsky received his honorary degree, de Koninck, wearing an academic gown, posed with Chomsky and Drexel President John A. Fry. De Koninck’s official status as Hillel director and rabbi could be seen by the university as the official Jewish imprimatur for its awarding the honor to Chomsky.

De Koninck posted the picture on her Facebook page, underneath which she wrote: “That’s me with Chomsky and President Fry!”

In addition to being virulently opposed to Israel, Chomsky is also extremely harsh in his denunciations of the United States. For example, he publicly stated that the 9/11 attacks on America were not any worse than President Clinton’s use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for bombings in Nairobi.

Chomsky also denied there was proof of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and said the U.S. attack on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan would justify a retaliation scenario in which “Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.”

AntiSemitic Experiences of American Jewish College Students Chronicled Online

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An organization has set up a webpage which catalogues, by university, testimony by Jewish students who have experienced antisemitism on their campuses.

The AMCHA Initiative, which monitors, investigates and fights against antisemitism at institutions of higher learning in America, set up the webpage a year and a half ago.

Called “Student Voices,” the webpage reveals experiences of Jewish students on America’s campuses who have been targeted, intimidated and/or frightened because they are Jewish.

AMCHA reports that it has collected testimonials from more than 100 students, located at 47 different schools, in 20 states.

“Campus antisemitism is widespread and it’s escalating at an alarming rate,” said AMCHA director and cofounder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin.  “Students should know they are not alone.  We hope the compilation of concerns shared by brave Jewish students over the past year-and-a-half will help university leaders and elected officials understand the breadth of the problem and take action.”

TESTIMONIALS

All of the personal declarations on the AMCHA webpage, “Student Voices” were stated publicly at student government meetings or quoted in news stories, and the testimonials include links to those sources.

Here are just some examples:

♦ The Jewish flag was ripped off the dorm door and the mezuzah was torn off the doorway of a Jewish student at Claremont-McKenna College in California.

♦ Swastikas were spray painted on the walls of the Jewish fraternity at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

♦ At Loyola University in Chicago, Jewish students reported being “peppered with hostile questions such as “How does it feel to be an occupier?” and “How does it feel to be guilty of ethnic cleansing?” One member is worried about attending future Hillel events for fear of being attacked.”

♦ Mock eviction notices were shoved under the dorm room doors of a predominantly Jewish dorm while students slept at New York University.

♦ A Northeastern University (Boston) professor, “demonizes Israel, delegitimizes Jewish history and infringes on his student’s free speech by shutting down any differing views.”

♦ A Jewish student at Northwestern University in Chicago described being “terrified knowing I may not be able to discuss my Judaism without taunts, or worse, violence,” and that she is “told when I try to talk about anti-Semitism in the West to “check my privilege,” or that we are part of the machine fueling inequality.”

♦ A student at San Diego State University said that as a “Jewish student on this campus, and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I was disgusted and horrified by the anti-Semitic comments.”

♦ There are students who tuck their Star of David necklaces inside their shirts to hide that they are Jewish, according to a Jewish student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

♦ Stanford University’s Hillel staff reported hearing from Jewish students that they no longer feel safe at Stanford, that they feel ostracized and targeted, and are unable to express their identities and opinions in the dorms and around campus.

♦ Students with a clear Zionist perspective are labeled and excluded from the discussion at Swarthmore University in Pennsylvania, a Jewish student explained. “We have been told we do not belong at this school, that our voices do not belong in the dialogue. We have been accused of supporting apartheid and of being racist.”

♦ A student at UCLA said, “Jewish students are being attacked — not because they are Jewish but because the Jewish state is Jewish, and they as Jews, have somehow become extensions of the Jewish state and its policies.”

♦ About the University of California, Davis, one student said, ““It’s an absurd reality that many Jewish college students have to question: is my college safe for me?”

New York State Assembly Passes Anti-BDS Resolution

Friday, June 19th, 2015

The New York State Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, becoming the latest state government to do so.

The resolution, introduced by Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Brooklyn) and co-sponsored by 74 other members, rejects BDS activities that “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”

The resolution states:

This Legislative Body is concerned that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its agenda are damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.

The resolution also recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and says the U.S. and Israel share “a common bond rooted in the values of freedom, democracy, and equal rights.”

The New York resolution follows anti-BDS measures in several other states, most recently in Illinois, which prohibited state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in the BDS movement. State legislatures in Indiana and Tennessee also recently passed resolutions condemning BDS, but those measures were non-binding, as opposed to the Illinois bill’s specific economic action.

Coca-Cola Exec Deployed to Quell BDS PR Disaster Seemingly Anti-Israel

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Earlier this week we learned that the CEO of the Cola-Cola franchise in the Palestinian Authority, Zahi Khouri, has publicly called for a boycott of Israel, in violation of Coca-Cola’s policy and recent Congressional amendments to trade laws.

While the JewishPress.com expected the response from Coke would be to encourage Khouri to put a lid on it, the company’s response was somewhat different.

In response to complaints lodged by outraged consumers that Coca-Cola’s Arab-American-Palestinian partner supports the economic and legal warfare method of BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement, Coca-Cola deployed an executive to defuse the situation.

But a little research revealed that the Coke executive who responded, Michael Goltzman, is himself harshly and outspokenly critical of Israel. And not only that, but his response belies actions taken by Coca-Cola on Khouri’s divisiveness.

First, in response to an email sent by a consumer deeply distressed over what she referred to as the “toxicity” of Coca-Cola’s Palestinian Arab bottling partner, the following email was sent:

From: Michael Goltzman Subject: FW: Dear Mr Kent – Khouri is toxicr` Date: June 17, 2015 at 4:22:43 PM EDT To: “*@#!#$@&%$@gmail.com” Cc: Susan Gambardella , Clyde Tuggle , Hamish Banks , “Ann L. Moore”

Ms. *@#!#$@&%$ Via email: *@#!#$@&%$

Dear Ms. $*#,

Thank you for your email to Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, regarding a media article about Zahi Khouri, the Coca-Cola Palestinian bottler.

Please understand that Mr. Khouri’s comments represent his own personal opinions, and they do not in any way reflect the views of The Coca-Cola Company. The Company does not have any preference for, favor or fund any religious or political causes.

Thanks to our local production with local employees, local ingredients and a local distribution system, we are pleased to have our beverages refreshing communities in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. And since 1966, we have been proud to have the Central Bottling Company as the Company’s Israeli partner.

If I can answer any further questions for you, please do not hesitate to contact me at mgoltzman@coca-cola.com or 404-661-9075 (mobile).

Thank you, Michael Goltzman

Michael Goltzman Vice President, International Government Relations & Public Affairs The Coca-Cola Company Email: mgoltzman@coca-cola.com

Goltzman retweeted and favorited tweets that were highly critical of Israel, such as this one:

Goltzmanfavandretweet

In addition, in a video created by Coca-Cola, Mr. Khouri, Coke’s Palestinian Arab-American partner, admits to having a bottling plant which proudly practices Apartheid:

We must be, I can imagine, the only bottling company – maybe in the world – which has only one nationality among its staff, and, uh, that we are all Palestinians.

Israel Beats BDS in Sweden

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Efforts by Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden have paid off with the removal of a boycott of Israeli goods sold in at least three stores of a huge supermarket chain.

The COOP Forum stores in the northern city of Varberg voted nearly three months ago for the boycott, which affected products from all of Israel, not just from Judea and Samara. The chain has 644 outlets, and if the boycott had spread, it could have been a catalyst for a wider embargo in Europe on items from Israel.

Ambassador to Sweden Yitzchak Bachman swung into action immediately after the boycott was approved and went high-profile, giving interviews and arguing that the discrimination violates the concept of free trade.

He appealed to the management of the stores in Varberg, and officials issued as statement saying they oppose boycotts. The ambassador also posted online the phone numbers and e-mail address of COOP’s management, which was bombarded with protests.

It was the second recent victory for Israel. Last week, the Orange company embarrassed itself when its CEO said in Cairo that he would prefer not having anything to do with the company’s Israeli franchise.

Drowning in a sea of fierce criticism from Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Orange CEO made a 180-degree, and that was the end of the boycott that never was.

Bachman said after the latest victory over BDS:

The thing to do about boycotts is oppose them for what they are, without trying to decide whether we are right or the Palestinians are right. The support we were able to gain among Swedish citizens was essential, as the chain realized it couldn’t fight the will of the people.

Finland’s Anti-Israel Disgrace Spawns New Activist Group

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Sometimes horrendous actions spawn unintended positive results. Like when a grossly anti-Israel, baseless singling out of Israel for humiliating exclusion from an ostensibly open international festival inspires a new pro-Israel organization that is eager to stand up for Israel.

Take Finland. Please.

Every year for the past 15 years Finland hosts an event they call a “World Village Festival.” Think World’s Fair on a smaller scale. There is always a theme for the year’s event. In 2015, the focus was on development in Africa and the Middle East. The festival took place the third weekend in May.

KEPA, which is the acronym for the Finnish word that translates to Service Centre for Development Cooperation, is the organizer of the event. KEPA services Finland’s NGOs, and while politically and ideologically independent, it operates with funding from Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

KEPA describes its World Village Festival as being “open to all and a meeting place offering tastes of different cultures and surprises from all over the world.”

The Jewish National Fund (the Keren Kajemet LeIsraeli’in, or KKL in Hebrew) which has an active presence in Finland, signed up to participate in this year’s World Village Festival, just as it has done for the past two years.

But this year a virulently anti-Israel organization, ICAHD, noticed JNF’s requested presence at the WVF and complained that such an organization which engages in “ethnic cleansing,” is an Apartheid supporter and engages in “greenwashing.”

ICAHD stands for Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions. Just a few points about ICAHD: one, it apparently does not even have a presence in Israel any longer, according to NGO-Monitor, and its primary activity appears to be championing the BDS movement.

ICAHD, according to the pro-Israel Finnish website Tundra Tabloids, pressured KEPA into disinviting the JNF. The WVF organizers then informed JNF it could not participate “due to questions about the legality of its activities,” which included the various outrageously false claims promoted by ICAHD, which were given the imprimatur of the academy, by Hannu Juusola, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Helsinki.

The head of the Finnish branch of ICAHD, Skysy Räsänen, crowed that banning the JNF was “a victory for the BDS movement.”

KEPA also pointed to testimonies by, amongst others, Rabbis for Human Rights, as justification for banning the JNF.

While the JNF was mild in its response, there were some who were less so.

One organization, a brand new pro-Israel group that calls itself VOIS – Voice of Israel in Scandinavia, is a spin-off from a larger pro-Israel organization.

VOIS at WVF

VOIS was galvanized by the rejection of JNF from the Festival. It set up a presence outside the gates to the Festival, and handed out pro-Israel literature, engaged with those entering the Village, and directly challenged the organizers of the event on the JNF ban.

One member of the group marched into the Village and spoke directly to Jonas Bistrom, KEPA’s development policy specialist. This VOIS member, Kenneth Sikorski, sought to engage Bistrom about the exclusion of the JNF from the Festival. Specifically, as Sikorski told the JewishPress.com, Bistrom was asked whether the WVF asked the JNF for a response to the allegations leveled against it, before the decision was made to exclude the pro-Israel organization. Sikorski also pressed Bistrom on whom KEPA had relied in making the exclusion determination.

Although Bistrom would not answer Sikorski’s queries, by the time the VOIS member returned to his encampment outside of the Village, KEPA’s executive director Timo Lappalainen had already been there and confirmed to the folks staffing their booth that Juusola, the professor from Helsinki University, a “respected academic” encouraged JNF’s banning because it “supports Israeli Apartheid “and “engages in ethnic cleansing.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/finlands-anti-israel-disgrace-spawns-new-activist-group/2015/06/12/

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