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February 6, 2016 / 27 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

MK Michael Oren Visits Gush Etzion Startup Hub that Combines Business with Zionism [video]

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Hub Etzion is a new, vibrant and exciting coworking space located in the burgeoning “Industrial Park” nestled in the Gush Etzion hills just across from the town of Efrat, and 5 minutes from almost every community in Gush Etzion. As coworking hubs go, Hub Etzion is pretty standard – even modest. At 3000 sq. feet, it’s quite small compared to the 15000+ sq. feet WeWork locations in Tel Aviv and Herzliyah.

Yet in the mere two months since opening, Hub Etzion has been receiving national – and international attention. Including, a special visit today from MK and Former Israel Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.

Why such inordinate attention? As any real estate agent will tell you, the answer is location, location, location.

While Gush Etzion has been in the news lately as the address for increased terror attacks, and notably the vicious murder of American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, z”l one month ago, it is also the home to a large, independent-minded community of Olim, many of whom live in Israel while owning or consulting for companies overseas, from the comfort, or shall we say, the discomfort of home.

Hub Etzion aims to meet this strong and current market need, providing a sophisticated, professional space in which to work for those who telecommute, run their own businesses, work from home or all of the above.

At the same time, the founders of Hub Etzion perceive their business as a response to the ongoing terror attempts – and to BDS.

“Yesterday, I went to a memorial ceremony at Oz V’Gaon Park in memory of Ezra Schwartz, z”l” Hub Etzion co-owner and founder Rachel Moore told JewishPress.com. “Racheli Fraenkel [JP: mother of Naftali Fraenkel one of the three boys kidnapped and murdered last year] spoke and tried to give comfort to Ezra’s family, who had flown in from the US to be with us, here, in Gush Etzion. She spoke about how the Jewish people respond to a culture of death and destruction by celebrating life and rebuilding. We at Hub Etzion believe that the response to BDS is the same; rather than divestment and negative attacks, we need to build up and ‘INvest’; in people, in enterprise, in technology and advancements for all of the residents of Gush Etzion. That is the only way to bring about progress and solutions. We face the current situation – and our ongoing situation by increasing prosperity and success – locally and proudly.”

This approach to the current attacks on Israel, from terrorism to the rhetoric on campuses and in cities around the world, seems to resonate a great deal with thought leaders.

During today’s visit, it was clear that MK Oren already understood the Hub culture, and the need for a coworking space in Gush Etzion.

But what he wanted to talk about was the decision of the Hub – and more importantly the businesses that reside there – to remain in Gush Etzion, clearly, unapologetically.

As the coworkers gathered for a photo opportunity with Oren, he addressed the crowd and said (in Hebrew) “People have been trying to remove the Jewish presence from this area throughout the history of Israel. Those of you working here, this amazing place, Hub Etzion, is as important to the long term success here as the soldiers out there working hard at the junction and checkpoints, protecting us”

Hub Etzion was also called out recently at a new Lobby at the Knesset for Startups and Hubs, started by MKs Yoav Kish and Yoel Hasson. MK Kish, of the Likud Party, specifically mentioned Hub Etzion as an example of the “need for more Hubs and tech eco-systems outside of the mercaz [Tel Aviv] and in the rest of the country.”

Alan Weinkrantz, “Product Ambassador” from Rackspace, the world’s largest provider of managed cloud storage, has also brought international attention to Hub Etzion. In a recent post, he wrote that “It’s interesting to see workspaces and hubs like…Hub Etzion that are no more than 30 minutes from Jerusalem, and dot landscape and the periphery of the Nation’s Capital. These communities and workspaces are sort of like being in Fairfax, VA or Chevy Chase, MD, but with a slightly longer time line that go back to the cradle of civilization.”

Coinciding with MK Michael Oren’s visit, Weinkrantz came to Hub Etzion today for a day of consultations and help for the co-working /start-up community of Gush Etzion. He had an opportunity to personally present MK Oren with a Rackspace poster that points an arrow at Israel as “The Five-Thousand Year Old Startup”.

“We are a private enterprise that is focused on empowering the people and businesses of Gush Etzion and Efrat to thrive and grow.” co-owner Amy Shuter told JewishPress.com. “We have so much more to do. We know that as long as our region is an area of controversy we will garner attention to what we are doing. But we are going to help the next huge idea turn into the next huge startup, right out of our modest Hub. This is only the beginning. We hope that the international attention continues, but for the benefit of the businesses we serve. “

Below is a short excerpt (in English) from what MK Michael Oren said during his visit to Hub Etzion.


Video courtesy: Alan Weinkrantz

Israel’s Wine Guide Boycotts Judea and Samaria Wineries

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) When Vered Ben Saadon, owner of the Tura winery in Rehelim, Samaria, approached the editors of The New Israeli Wine Guide, the Israeli wine lovers’ bible with reviews of more than 90 wines by 40 different wineries, she was told her wines would not be included, for political reasons, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Tuesday.

According to Channel 2, a Guide co-editor told Ben Saadon, “Look, I hate to tell you this, but our policy has not changed since last year.”

She said, “Which basically means that because we’re, like, from this region [Judea and Samaria], then it won’t work?” The co-editor confirmed. She asked, “By the way, the Golan Heights is inside?” and was told, “The Golan Heights is inside.”

Of course, if the guide were to exclude the Golan wineries it would have been a very thin book, without industry stars like Yarden and Gamla.

“In other words, only Judea and Samaria is out?” Ben Saadon insisted, and the co-editor confirmed.

The wine industry is flourishing in Judea and Samaria, where many wineries have started up. The area is considered ideal for growing grapes and area vineyards have been awarded prestigious prizes in international competitions.

Ben Saadoun established the Tura winery together with her husband 13 years ago. Since then, their wines have won numerous awards in Israel and abroad, but they find it difficult to reach new customers in Israel because of discrimination—their winery is located on the wrong side the 1949 armistice line, a.k.a. the green line.

Tura is not the only winery boycotted by the guide. Another vintner, from Ofra, who spoke to one of the co-editors, received the same response: “Unfortunately we are not tasting in wineries across the green line.”

The co-editors of The New Israeli Wine Guide are sommelier Gal Zohar and Yair Gath, the wine critic of Israel Hayom, which is considered a right-leaning newspaper. They told Channel 2 News they have no doubt about the high quality of Judea and Samaria wines, they just don’t wish to include them.

One co-editor told Vered Ben Saadon, “These wines are excellent and it’s a wonderful area and you do great work and everything, but you know, with everything around, it puts us in a problematic situation.”

Ben Saadon said, “I understand. And there’s no chance of that if we meet it would change anything?”

The co-editor said, “I don’t believe it would.”

Ben Saadon told Channel 2 News, “I’m, like, upset because we’re like beyond the green line it disqualifies us from entering the book.”

One of the editors, Yair Gath, told Channel 2 News, “This is a personal project, not funded by anybody, and it’s our full right to choose who will participate in it and who will not, and we chose not to take in wines from the territories. Why? Because we think it’s wrong.”

Roger Waters, Aggressive BDS Advocate, at Haaretz NY Conference

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Roger Waters, former frontman for the 70’s rock band Pink Floyd and current number one international Israel-hater and aggressive advocate for boycotts of all things Israel, showed up at the New York City conference put together by Israeli newspaper Haaretz in coordination with the far-left New Israel Fund. Waters was treated like a…well, a celebrity.

Why Waters would show up at a conference put on by an Israeli newspaper is only confusing if you think of Haaretz as a newspaper which is anything but also aggressively focused, like Waters, on revealing and repeatedly emphasizing the most egregious accusations aimed against Israel.

First, a reminder of how much Waters hates Israel. A constant refrain of his is to compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, facts – like Arab members of the Knesset, an Arab member of the Supreme Court – be damned.

In 2012, Waters spoke at the United Nations, condemning Israel as an Apartheid state, and blaming Israel for denying the “Palestinian” people their “inalienable right” to “self-determination.” That same year he was a leader of the effort to get Carnegie Hall to cancel the scheduled appearance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and he helped convince Stevie Wonder not to appear at a benefit in Los Angeles for the Friends of the IDF.

Roger Waters assailed actress Scarlett Johansson for working with SodaStream and musician Neil Young for his planned performance in Israel in 2014. In an open letter to Johannson, Waters called her choice to continue representing SodaStream and stepping down as a representative of Oxfam “an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.”

For years Waters has been bullying other celebrities, seeking to intimidate them into canceling any planned visits to Israel. This past fall, Waters went after Jon Bon Jovi who was scheduled to perform with his band in Israel. Bon Jovi snubbed Waters and performed in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on Oct. 3. The lead singer even told Israelis, to great applause, they should adopt his song, “We Don’t Run.”

The Haaretz/NIF conference was described in its promotional literature as “an opportunity for our community – those of us who care about Israel and about democratic values – to get together, to ask the hard questions, and to drive our movement forward.”

At the Haartz/New Israel Fund conference, dozens of hard-left Israeli Israel-bashers appeared, alongside such luminaries as Saeb Erekat, perennial spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority, Peter Beinart, an American Jewish pro-BDS advocate, Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the faux pro-Israel J Street, newly-appointed by President Obama ISIS czar Rob Malley, and many, many others who share a goal to publicly humiliate Israel through the pages of such media handmaidens as Haaretz.

Others were also slated as speakers at the conference, such as Israel’s president Ruvi Rivlin and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

But what was Waters doing there? He had on an official name tag, but he wasn’t a speaker (or singer). Maybe he had simply signed up to attend. For this he was  willing to put aside his hatred and refusal to be associated with, or allow anyone else to be associated with, anything Israeli, if the Israeli item is just as virulently anti-Israel as is he.

Haaretz writer and U.S. editor Chemi Shalev was apparently thrilled to be shown in a picture with Israel-hater Waters. He tweeted a picture of the two of them with the (untrue) caption, “Boycott/shmoycott, no Pink Floyd addict can resist the thrill of meeting Roger Waters at #HaaretzQ.”

Jimmy Carter’s Cancer NOT Treated by Israeli Drug (Plus, it isn’t Cured)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

When the news broke on Monday, Dec. 7 that Jimmy Carter, who recently disclosed he had a serious and likely-fatal form of cancer, suddenly had ‘no evidence of cancer,’ Carter-watchers went a little crazy.

Some people, of course, were thrilled to hear that the former U.S. president was no longer at death’s door.

Others, especially strong pro-Israel activists were aghast when they read in a widely-circulated news article, that Keytruda, the drug credited for Carter’s health turnaround, was developed in Israel. Carter is widely-reviled as a virulent and relentless basher of Israel.

A 2014 article in YNet described Keytruda as an “Israeli breakthrough.”

Some people were outraged that Carter, a supporter of the BDS movement to boycott Israeli goods, was cured of cancer by a drug he would encourage others to boycott.

That drug, Keytruda, is indeed a breakthrough drug, but it was not developed in Israel.

This new drug, distributed by the American drug company Merck and developed by Nanostring Technologies, based in Seattle, Washington, became widely available last year, although it has been used in clinical trials for a number of years, according to Dr. Rene Rothstein Rubin, the director of the Cancer Center at Hahnemann University Hospital, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Rubin explained that Keytruda is a form of immune therapy, and is a “program cell death” inhibitor. It works by “inhibiting the cancer cells from proliferating, and by kickstarting the body’s immune response to fight the cancer cells.”

It does that by enabling the body’s immune system to break down the “protective coating” which encase cancer cells. Cancer cells don’t know when to stop reproducing.

Rubin explained: “if you have a cut on your hand, your skin cells reproduce until the two cut sides meet. Cancer cells don’t get the signal to ‘turn off.’ The immune therapy utilized in Keytruda allows the body’s immune cells to block the cancer cells from continuing to reproduce.”

Rubin described Keytruda and the immune therapy approach to cancers as “very exciting. It works by using the power of our own immune system to kill the cancer cells.”

Right now Keytruda is approved for melanoma and lung cancer. Carter has stage 4 melanoma — the most serious stage. Keytruda is also now in clinical trials, in the pipeline to be approved for renal cell cancer. Clinical trials for Keytruda were carried out at Tel Aviv’s Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer Medical Center in Israel, as well as in other places. That is where the confusion arose about the drug having been developed in Israel.

Rubin said the advance made with the perfection of immune therapy is huge, and has energized the oncologic community. Further advances in immune therapy are expected to eventually provide a huge breakthrough for genetically-transmitted cancers, like certain kinds of breast cancer, such as the BRAC1 and BRAC2 breast cancers.

Another benefit of the immune therapy approach, as opposed to chemotherapy, is that the side effects are relatively minor, compared to those with chemotherapy. “In fact,” Rubin explains, “the immune therapy works in the exact opposite way, and so has the opposite effects, including side effects, from chemotherapy, which suppresses the body’s immune system.”

But as enthusiastic as Rubin was about Keytruda, she repeatedly cautioned “it is not a cure. Instead, what looks like a cure simply means there is no discernible evidence of the disease right now.”

So, although test results for Jimmy Carter reveal that right now he is cancer free, he has not been cured. And the drug that did not cure him? It was tested, but not developed, in Israel.

Elton John to Perform in Israel and BDS Can Go Fly a Kite [video]

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

His gift is his song and his one is for Israel.

British rock icon Elton John will return to Israel next for his fourth performance, the Boycott Israel-BDS Movement notwithstanding.

Yediot Acharonot, which reported the news Thursday, did not give an exact date.

He first appeared in Israel in 1979, when he told reporters:

In all of my performances throughout the world, I have seen an audience that participated so actively. Everyone joined in to sing with all their hearts, and I only am sorry that because of the lighting, I was not able to see these warm people.

He added that he decided to play in Israel because he wanted “a place a bit different.”

Elton John also performed in Israel in 1980, 1993, 2010.

One of his visits was very problematic after “Paparazzi” tangled with his guards at his hotel, resulting in a cancellation of his scheduled performance the next day. However, he returned to two days later to entertain thousands of fans.

In his 2012 performance in Tel Aviv, Elton John said on stage:

Shalom! We’re so happy to be back here. Ain’t nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby.

UPDATE: German Store Sells ‘Made in Israeli’ Goods from Settlements

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Galeria Kaufhof, one of Germany’s largest department store chains, says it will continue to sell Israeli “settlement” products even if they do not have the new required label “Made in Settlements.”

The store reiterated a statement last week that it is the importers’ responsibility to follow the new European Union requirement that all products from the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria be labeled without indicating that they are made in Israel.

Product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)’ or ‘Product from West Bank (Israeli settlement).’

An earlier report carried here quoted Channel 10 as saying that Galeria Kaufhof, which operates more than 100 stores in Germany, is removing “settlement” products from its shelves. The company vehemently denied the report, which also quoted a store manager as saying:

The EU is waging a religious war against Israel. It is one big political madness.

Galeria Kaufhof firmly stated today, as reported by Globes:

Our company has not removed any of those products from the shelves. We import the goods via European importers who are responsible for correct declaration. We do not get involved in politics with our assortment. Our core customer’s demands set the standards for the products we sell.

The company stand is directly opposite that of the large KaDeWe supermarket chain that yanked Golan Heights wines, Ahava cosmetics and other goods from its shelves.

KaDeWe later said the merchandise would be returned after being labeled according to the new EU regulations.

Under the new rules, products are from Arab areas will carry labels declaring: “Product from West Bank (product from Palestine), “Product from West Bank (Palestinian product),” “Product from Gaza (Palestinian product)” or “(product from Palestine).”

However, the EU says the labeling is not intended to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a country.

 

Lawyers Called Upon to Use Their Legal Skills to Fight for Israel

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Terror is now an everyday occurrence – in Israel and all around the world. An unprecedented wave of murderous and barbaric terrorist violence in Israeli cities has commenced. Social media is being used to escalate that terror on a frightening scale. Global attacks against Israel are escalating. At the same time the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has moved into high gear, threatening to delegitimize the Jewish State.  Jewish communities worldwide report daily attacks menacing their security.    In response to these dangerous challenges, the Tel-Aviv based civil rights non-profit, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, is organizing attorneys and other supporters of Israel around the world to fight back. The group’s second annual “Activist Lawyer’s Training Seminar”, is to be held March 6 to March 13 in Jerusalem and offers attorneys at least 15 continuing legal education (“CLE”) credits. The Lawyer’s Seminar will be an intensive week-long training course designed to give attorneys the opportunity to learn skills and strategies to combat Israel’s enemies on the new emerging battlefields being utilized by terrorists and the hate groups. It will mix dynamic lectures and legal workshops with cutting edge field trips to the frontline of Israel’s conflict with neighboring enemies. The kosher Lawyer’s Seminar program will provide five star Israeli hotel accommodations and local cuisine.     

According to Shurat HaDin director Nissan Darshan-Leitner, “We decided to initiate the Activist Lawyer’s Training Seminar to teach attorneys how they can use their legal skills to help defend the Jewish State. The Israeli government alone can no longer fend off all the vicious threats to our existence and the private sector, especially lawyers, need to get involved and join the battle. We are bringing in some of the best attorneys, professors and officials involved in confronting Israel’s enemies globally to teach the participants the skills they need to play a vital role.”  

Last year’s Lawyer’s Seminar participants have already joined Shurat HaDin in the trenches. They have organized rallies and speakers. They participate in a group chat that actively discusses problems facing Israel and the Jewish people and proposes action. They have drafted and published articles and papers on such topics as BDS under US law and a legal summary of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And, one Lawyer’s Seminar participant drafted and filed with Shurat HaDin a National Labor Relations Board complaint accusing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) of violating the US National Labor Relations Act when it endorsed a BDS resolution in mid-August.

Shurat HaDin is uniquely qualified to host the summer’s training course for lawyers. For the past twelve years, the law center has become known for its use of innovative legal strategies utilized to combat global terror financing and to seek justice for terror victims in courtrooms around the world. Shurat HaDin has made a reputation using creative legal tactics to staunchly defend the State of Israel and the world Jewish communities against the growing tide of anti-Israel activism and anti-Semitism through calls for boycotts by the BDS movement.  The group has taken the lead in by going on the offensive to defend IDF officers and Israeli officials against accusations of war crimes in different international tribunals. The Lawyer’s Seminar was specially crafted to meet the needs of lawyers from around an international array of countries who have expressed an interest in learning about Shurat HaDin’s work and methods and getting involved as legal activists on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Over the years, Shurat HaDin has developed expertise in developing quality and fun educational programs through its highly successful “Ultimate Missions to Israel,” which the group has been running since 2003, and its summer and winter internship program for law students. 

Now Shurat HaDin also directs its educational programming to practicing lawyers. The Lawyer’s Seminar offers an incredible program filled with lectures and intensive workshops by renowned attorneys and Israeli officials, including Canadian MP Irwin Cotler an Israeli Supreme Court Justice and field trips to Israeli agencies and institutions that are inaccessible rarely by the general public, including the military courts, Israeli security agencies, IDF bases and border crossings. In addition to the opportunity to travel in and enjoy Israel, participants will receive practical training in advocacy on Israel’s behalf on issues such as terror victim litigation, Israel in international law, the anti-Israel BDS movement and lawfare.

Darshan-Leitner stated: “This is a wonderful opportunity for concerned lawyers to learn about the up to the minute human rights and legal challenges facing Israel while networking with other likeminded professionals and earning CLE credits in their jurisdictions – all at the same time. It will help harness all this passionate concern and commitment so many attorneys have expressed to us about wanting to fight on Israel’s behalf. We envision that the ALTS will be an important new resource and legal network to combat Israel’s enemies.”   

The Seminar will be held on March 7 to March 13 in Jerusalem and Northern Israel. Registration has already begun. 

More information about Shurat HaDin and The Activist Lawyers Training Seminar is available here.

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