Norway has reinstated its 2010 boycott of two Israeli companies because their operations included activities in Judea and Samaria, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The Finance Ministry of Norway also said it secluded an Indian copper and metal producer due to “an unacceptable risk of serious environmental damage and serious violations of human rights.”
The Israeli firms that won’t be included in the government’s $812 billion fund are Africa Israel Investments Ltd., part of Lev Leviev’s empire, and Danya Cebus.
Norway said the companies contributed to “serious violations of individuals’ rights “because they are involved with building homes for Jews in parts of Jerusalem where Norway the United Nations considers them “illegal settlers.”
The fund had excluded both companies from 2010 until last August, when they were put back on the “okay” list after African Israel said it had no plans to build more homes in Judea and Samaria or areas in Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority.
However, Danya Cebus later confirmed it indeed was building in “eastern” Jerusalem
The nationalist Legal Grounds organization in Israeli has applauded actress Scarlett Johansson for standing up for Israeli-based SodaStream and invited her to Israel as their guest “to see for herself the benefits that SodaStream and other Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria provide to people of all religions and ethnicities.”
SodaStream recently signed on Johansson as its world ambassador, including an appearance in a commercial to be telecast during the Super Bowl game on Sunday. The company also is on the Boycott Israel target list because one of its 20 factories in the world is located east of Jerusalem, in the Judean Desert that the Palestinian Authority claims is its territory.
Johansson issued a statement earlier this week that SodaStream’s policy of hiring Palestinian Authority workers and giving them equal opportunity and benefits with Jews represents the road to peace.
She stated that she supports “neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’alah Adumim factory every working day.” The factory is located in the city’s Mishor Adumim industrial park.
“We would like to recognize Scarlett Johansson for standing up to the anti-Israel BDS movement,” said the Legal Grounds Committee. At a time when there are those who seek to force their agenda through threats of boycotts and increased isolation, it is refreshing to see a public figure who does not just accept the false narrative of ‘illegal settlements’ and ‘occupation’ but understands the subtleties of the issues.”
“We encouraged our followers on Facebook to support Scarlett,” it added. We also applaud SodaStream for serving as such a fine example of the practical application of our Legal Grounds in Judea and Samaria.”
Legendary folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger, who died on Monday in New York City at the age of 94, left behind a complicated if not questionable legacy when it came to Israel.
Famous for 1960s hits like “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” Seeger was also well known for speaking out for worker’s rights and participating in the civil rights movement.
He drew headlines in 2011 for coming out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, expressing support for the BDS group Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
According to an ICAHD press release, Seeger had donated portions of the royalties from his 1960s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the group.
On the other hand, Seeger participated in an online peace rally for the Arava Institute, an environmental academic program in Israel, in 2010. However, after discovering that Arava had ties to the Jewish National Fund, Seeger said, “I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”
The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg has given a suspended sentence of a one-year ouster to 11 students charged with disrupting a concert last march by Israeli-born pianist Yosef Reshef on the university campus.
The students and other Muslims and BDS extremists broke into the auditorium and forced the cancellation of a performance the world-renowned Reshef before a full house.
Ten students were found guilty of misconduct for disrupting or inciting others to disrupt the piano recital. The order to exclude them from the university was suspended on condition that the students are not found guilty of any other form of misconduct for a period of two years.
They also will not be allowed to hold any office in any student governance structure for a period of one year and will each have to perform 80 hours of community service. One student was found guilty of not obeying a lawful instruction issued by a University employee, and will be required to perform an additional 50 hours of community service for this offence.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) commented, “This is a small but important victory over the BDS extremist in South Africa. Hopefully, it will deter future violent protests that attempt to bar Jewish artists from performing there.”
Israel was officially admitted as full member of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in a ceremony in Geneva Wednesday. Israel is the 21st member state of CERN and the only country outside Europe to have achieved full membership.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman represented Israel at the ceremony held at the CERN Globe of Science and Innovation, at the end of which the Israeli flag was added to the line of flags representing the member states of the organization.
Lieberman said that the admission of Israel as a full member of the organization is a recognition of the high level and quality of scientific research in Israel and its contribution to the world.
Approximately 350 Dutch Christian activists demonstrated early Monday in front of the headquarters of PGGM, manager of the largest pension fund in Holland, to protest its recent decision to pull out its investments in five Israeli banks, the European Jewish Press reported (EJP).
PGGM said it got rid of shares in Bank HaPoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank because they are involved in financing in Judea and Samaria, or what it called “occupied Palestinian territories.’’
.The protesters, members of the Christian Foundation for Israel, held Israeli flags and banners reading ’’Stop the Boycott of Israel’’ while distributing pamphlets to the PGGM employees. They were accompanied by Holland’s Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, who denounced the fact that Israel is always singled out while PGGM ‘’should stop invest in many countries.’’
’We want PGGM to reconsider its decision,’’ Roger van Oordt, director of the Christian Foundation for Israel. ‘’
The pension group manages more than ($208 billion) in funds and has more than $150 million worth of investments in Israel.
PGGM’s move is the third high-profile divestment in Holland in recent months, according to EJP. In December, state-owned water company Vitens broke off its alliance with Israeli water group Mekorot, and earlier civil engineering group HaskoningDHV pulled out of a project to develop a waste water treatment plant in Jerusalem after the Dutch foreign ministry said it could conflict with international law.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the divestment decision was a “sanctimonious move intended to pander to a certain nefarious trend in public opinion.”
Last week, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador in Israel, Caspar Veldkamp, for a clarification on the PGGM decision to divest from Israel. ‘’This decision is unacceptable and relies on false pretense,’’ the Ministry’s Deputy Director General of the MFA for European Affairs, Raphael Schutz, told the Dutch Ambassador.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans declared last week that his country opposes a boycott of Israel.
The Israel-based SodaStream is returning to the Super Bowl this with a sure-fire successful commercial starring Scarlett Johansson, billed as the world’s sexiest woman.
SodaStream won more publicity that it figured at last year’s Super Bowl when CBS rejected its scheduled commercial because it showed the environmental advantages of its product for making soda at home while crossing CBS’ red line by making fun of market monsters Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.
A tamer commercial was broadcast during the Super Bowl, but SodaStream gained no less publicity from CBS’ surrender to the beverage giants.
The commercial and publicity helped out SodaStream all over the map, but this year’s plan is a blockbuster.
Johansson will show off herself and SodaStream in the fourth quarter of the Feb. 2 Super Bowl on Fox TV. Instead of putting down Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, this year’s commercial is supposed “to demonstrate how easy it is, how sexy it is, to make your own soda,” Daniel Birnbaum, chief executive at SodaStream International, told The New York Times.
“It’s more of a love story between a brand with a purpose and a passionate user,” he said, explaining that Johansson has been using SodaStream at home for several years.
SodaStream also is known for something else besides its product – it operates a manufacturing plant near Maaleh Adumim, which the Boycott Israel movement considers the dreaded Occupied West Bank.
It has placed SodaStream on its black list, for whatever that is worth. And now that Johansson, who by the way is Jewish even if from a “Multi-cultural family” that celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah, is sipping SodaStream in front of millions of people, let’s see if the boycotters will be intellectually honest.
Will they demand that people not see Johansson’s “Her” movie? Will the ASA folks stop going to see her movies?
Sexiest woman alive or not, Johansson now is SodaStream’s first-ever ambassador, having signed a contract covering several years.
Unknowingly, she might be one of Israel’s best ambassadors for a Jewish presence in Judea, where SodaStream employees both Palestinian Authority and Israel workers with equal rights and conditions.
Maybe Johansson will even visit Israel and the Judean Desert factory one day.
Greece’s Ambassador to Israel Ambassador Spyridon Lampridis said Wednesday that the European Union is a friend of Israel and that Greece will make sure the EU does not boycott or isolate the country, despite differences of opinion.
He told Israel radio that Greece will do everything it can to prevent a diplomatic fight between Israel and the European Union with weapons such as labeling products with a stamp that make Israel look illegitimate.
“We give 100 percent seaport to the initiative of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and do not see any confrontation on the horizon,” he stated.
The remarks from an official from Greece, a close friend of Israel, normally could be discarded as being insignificant except that Greece for the next six months is the rotational president of the European Union.
Israeli media reported on Tuesday that Kerry is behind efforts to boycott Israel, a weapon that could be unleashed if Israel does not accept his demands for creating the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country.