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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

BGU Researchers Say Oxytocin May Promote ‘Lying for Your Team’

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A team of researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev have discovered that the hormone oxytocin can promote “group-serving dishonesty.”

According to findings published today (Monday) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), participants receiving oxytocin “lied more to benefit their groups, did so quicker, and did so without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group members. A control setting ruled out that oxytocin drives self-serving dishonesty.”

The team, led by Dr. Shaul Shalvi at the university’s Department of Psychology, worked in cooperation with Carsten K.W. De Dreu of the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Psychology.

Shalvi is director of BGU’s Center for Decision Making and Economic Psychology (DMEP). He noted, “Our results suggest people are willing to bend ethical rules to help the people close to us, like our team or family. This raises an interesting although perhaps more philosophical question: Are all lies immoral?”

Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and functions as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter to create bonding between couples and between mothers and babies. It also stimulates social interactions.

Researchers have found a correlation between increased oxytocin and greater empathy, lower social anxiety, more pro-social choice in anonymous games, reduction in fear response, cooperation in single-shot anonymous games and trust in interpersonal exchange. It also stimulates defense-related aggression.

The study was funded in part by the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program under a Research Executive Agency Grant Agreement and by the Netherlands Science Foundation.

European Double-Talk on the Funding of PA Terrorism

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Over at the ParliamentToday.com update service (“operated by Parliamentary News Services, Press Gallery, House of Commons”) they posted the following exchange today to their subscribers, one of whom (H/T Michael H.) kindly forwarded it along to us.

E-001778/2014 | Monday, 3 March 2014 Question for written answer to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative) Rule 117: Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR) VP/HR — Salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons

It is a well-known fact that the Palestinian Authority proudly owns up to illegally spending over 6% of its budget — donated by, among others, the EU, where funding terrorism is against the law — on salaries for terrorists in Israeli prisons and pensions for the families of suicide bombers. The Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister, Issa Qarake, has admitted on television that the salaries are directly proportional to the terrorists’ sentences and the number of Jews they have killed. 1. What information can the EEAS provide concerning this case? 2. What is the Commission’s strategy to stop EU funds being used to pay salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons? As the last known case of paying money for killing Jews was in Nazi Germany, will the EU High Representative condemn this practice?

Answer given by Mr Füle on behalf of the Commission

The EU is aware that the Palestinian Authority has a system of allowances in place for Palestinian prisoners, their families and ex-detainees. This scheme is not and has never been financed by the EU. All the funds the EU allocates to the Palestinian Authority for salaries, pensions and social allocations, are subject to rigorous ex ante and ex post verification procedures, notably including a specific check against a recognised data base of individuals listed as having a connection with terrorism of any sort. Any name which is signalled by the check is automatically deleted from the list of beneficiaries. The Commission would also refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E-14320/2013

Anyone who has reviewed the tragic history of EC double-talk around the subject of money – generously but ignorantly provided by unwitting European taxpayers via their representatives in Brussels – handed over to the Palestinian Arabs, knows that it is rich in language like what’s on display here. Don’t blame us; we didn’t do anything wrong; we have rigorous ex ante and ex post verification procedures, and so on.

This sand-in-your-eyes resort to self-parodying language is calculated to do precisely what it achieves: to conceal far more than it reveals.

Some might be interested to know that we wrote about this phenomenon in the Wall Street Journal Europe as far back as September 2003: see “Blood, Money and Education“. The issue was by no means new or unknown even then.

In fact, from personal knowledge, there has been an inside understanding among the civil servants of the EC and their political masters [9-Sep-13: Snouts and troughs"] since at least 2003 to do whatever it takes to hide the truly hideous things that everyone knows are done with those European funds that go to Ramallah.

In all those years during which torrents of European funding, amounting to billions of Euros, were channeled, first, to the blood-drenched Arafat regime, and then to the corrupt and insider-controlled regime of Mahmoud Abbas, those oh-so-careful Eureaucrats managed to avoid carrying out even one financial audit, until the one published this past December [full text here]. All of this while the the EU “provides 20% of the direct financial support for the PA“, making it “the biggest multilateral donor to the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

And what did that audit find?

• EU aid to the Palestinian Authority worth billions of euros needs an “overhaul” and major changes in some areas, the bloc’s Court of Auditors said… If the circumstances are difficult, there are still “a number of aspects of the current approach in need of an overhaul,” said Hans Gustaf Wessberg, who wrote the report for the court. “There is a need for major revisions such as encouraging the PA to undertake more reforms” [EUbusiness, December 12, 2013]

• “The EU should stop paying the salaries of thousands of Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip who are not going to work… They called for a major review, saying money spent on civil servants there should go to the West Bank instead.”BBC, December 11, 2013

• “It is difficult to ensure that EU money is not misused or does not become a drip-feed, it said… The PA is not undertaking all the reforms that the EU would like. At every turn there are political causes and factors. The audit is therefore a political minefield.” [European Voice, December 12, 2013] (It’s worth noting that a Times of London journalist who saw the pre-publication version of the audit report in October 2014 wrote an article then that went further, summing up what the pre-publication version of the report he saw was going to say: “Billions of euros in European aid to the Palestinians may have been misspent, squandered or lost to corruption, according to a damning report by the European Court of Auditors...” Our sense is that the report went through a sanitization process after his article appeared and before the public saw it.)

Uproar over Jewish Candidate’s Refusal to Shake Hands with Women

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

An Orthodox Jewish candidate for the European Parliament has caused an uproar in Britain by refusing to shake women’s hands.

Shneur Odze told the members of the right-wing populist UK Independence Party, or UKIP, that he will not shake women’s hands due to his religious beliefs, which proscribe physical contact with any woman other than his wife. Some party activists told the Times of London that they are offended by Odze’s stance and say it will alienate half the electorate.

Senior party officials have called the activists “rude” and “wrong” for not respecting Odze’s beliefs.

Ozde, 31, is fourth on the UKIP’s candidate’s list for member of the European Parliament from the North West of England. The Europe-wide election to the parliament is scheduled for late May.

A party regional organizer, Fred McGlade, resigned from his position with the party to protest the decision to include Odze on the list. He warned Crowther that he would stand down if Odze was chosen by the party because of his attitude towards women

That is how an ignorant person, Jewish or not, judges an Orthodox Jew. He assumes that a Jew thinks women are second-class citizens since a religious man won’t shake her hand. Jews, especially those whose understanding of Jewish law is not even on the level, so to speak, of Reform Judaism, often think the same of Orthodox Jews for not praying together with women.

The nose-in-the-air Jews like to think that when a Jewish man thanks God that he was not created a woman, the man couldn’t possibly be thinking of all the mitzvahs he would not be able to perform if he were a women. He obviously is a sexist who considers women to be the scum of the earth.

If that is the way the snobs look at others, perhaps it is they are sexist for even thinking like that.

Perhaps they are the sexists for not having marital relations according to Jewish law, which protects the woman from lust. Consult your synagogue’s Code of Jewish Law for details.

Perhaps it is the better-than-thou men, and women, who seem to think that “equality” means “sameness.” God must have made a mistake by not allowing men to give birth. On the other hand, as most wives know, if men were to give birth, the world would have ended after the first birth because he wouldn’t go through the pains of labor a second time around.

And it’s the same crowd of people who, when visiting a mosque, are the first to wear proper dress and take off their shoes, but wouldn’t dare cover their shorts in order to respect the customs of Haredi orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

If Ozde does get elected, it certainly won’t be with vote of those who encourage the Women of the Wall to practice secular coercion on the majority Orthodox Jewish population at the Wall.

But there are some, hopefully a majority, in Britain who are not so ignorant. UKIP chairman Steve Crowther told the London newspaper, “We have a policy of tolerance for and acceptance of people’s own religious observance. We do not consider it grounds for complaint. It harms no one.”

In a tweet on Monday, Ozde said, “Thanks for all the supportive emails, calls, texts, its been rather heartwarming Recon it’s had the reverse effect?”

A supporter also tweeted, referring to former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: “Pretty standard among very Orthodox Jews. The Chief Rabbi didn’t shake Queen’s hand when he became a Lord.”

The Queen seems to have gotten over it.

JTA contributed to this report.

PA Pays Terrorists on Time but in Debt to Gas Stations

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Arab gas stations in Judea and Samaria have refused to fill tanks of Palestinian Authority security vehicles because of six months of unpaid bills, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

The accumulated bill for unpaid fuel now stands at nearly $16 million, according to an official of the union of gas station owners,

The union said the Palestinian Authority Finance Ministry has ignored a warning of two weeks ago that gas stations would stop pumping gas for security vehicles as of this past Saturday.

However, the regime in Ramallah continues to pay terrorists their monthly “salaries” for being arrested for terror and serving time in Israelis jails.

And the European Union, some of whose member countries are suffering bloated debts and near-bankrupt economies, continues to pay the Palestinian Authority, despites its priorities.

Scotland the Next Victim of EU Repression

Monday, February 17th, 2014

We tend to think of the European Union as a kind of continental USA, America with a better cuisine: a loosely united group of individual states who continue to run their internal business, but collaborate on issues concerning their neighbors.

But the last few years in which the EU’s less robust economies, such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, to name a few, have experienced a terrifying upheaval whose end is not yet in sight, taught all of us a lesson in freedom of choice a la Union Européenne. Those economies have had to tow the line and impose austerity on their own people, or risk the economic wrath of the big states, most notably Germany.

Over in Israel we’ve observed the bullying methods being employed as we speak by the EU, to produce an outcome palatable to them in a dispute between Jews and Arabs. The kind of relentless, aggressive pressure these Europeans have been using, threatening an academic boycott, a scientific boycott, boycotts on goods, boycotts on tourism – that we know these are not nice people.

But did you know whose neck really gets to be directly under the European Union’s boot, which presses down metaphorically with the same zeal and determination as those great soldiers of the Fatherland used to do? The Europeans themselves. Or rather, the Europeans who wish to change the status quo.

Scotland is about to vote, this coming September 18, on a referendum on whether it should become an independent country. As a result of an agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK, the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, was passed by the Scottish Parliament on November 14, 2013, and received Royal Assent in December (the equivalent of the president signing a new law). The Scottish parliament wants the referendum question to be: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The main issues Scotland would have to deal with should it become independent are the economy, defense, relations with the rest of the UK, and membership of supranational organizations, especially the EU and NATO.

I would think that this would be viewed by any democratically minded person with admiration: a substantial sector within a democratic state wishes to disengage and the process is being handled without bloodshed, through legal channels, with everyone’s rights (well, most everyone) being observed.

Over in Brussels they’re not nearly as excited about the whole thing.

An independent Scotland would find it “difficult, if not impossible” to gain EU membership and obtain the acceptance of other EU member states, declared European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Barroso said, “In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state, it will have to apply and… the application and the accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all the other member states of the European Union.”

Seriously? It’s not majority rule, but unanimous now? Is he going royal all of a sudden?

Imagine, a people have decided to change their political direction, and they’ve gone about doing it in the most civilized manner – and this Portuguese bureaucrat says they’ll be boycotted, unless every last member approves their acceptance into the EU. And we know how he’s going to vote.

There’s a good reason why the oligarchs in Brussels don’t want to let Scotland be free, even if the UK accepts it. It’s called Catalonia, an autonomous community at the north-eastern corner of Spain, designated a “nationality” by its own Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia is by far the most economically dynamic region of Spain, and, listen to this: the Catalan government has announced its intention to hold a referendum on possible independence from Spain this year.

State Dept. Official Curses EU over Ukraine

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

An Assistant Secretary of State, who last year was the Department’s spokeswoman, has been caught using the unprintable four-word expletive in connection with the European Union virtually the same day Washington complained about Israel officials’ unflattering language towards Kerry.

A YouTube has been posted with the audio of a conversation which apparently took place between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. If it was not those two people, someone is doing a great impersonation.

The Kyiv Post reported the conversation, which was about American efforts to mediate a deal between the Ukrainian government and the opposition.

Pyatt and Nuland, or someone sounding like them, sound frustrated over the European Union’s lack of action to solve the political crisis in Ukraine.

Nuland told Pyatt, according to the audio on the YouTube, that Vice President Joe Biden would be brought into the mediation “to help glue this thing and to have the U.N. help glue it.”

She then said, “And you know, [expletive] the EU.” Click here for the YouTube phone conversation.

EU Setting New World Record for Corruption (Video)

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

This report is a gift from God. While our dubious representatives at the negotiations with the PLO are running around like chickens sand the heads warning about the terrible things that would happen to us if we’re dropped from the EU list of good Jews you can trade with – it’s looking like the entire EU itself is up for a major reupholstering, and maybe, just maybe, some of the folks making the loudest threats will see the inside of a barred cell.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it appears the European Union, the one with the charter on what’s legal and decent, is one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet.

There, I said it.

How corrupt id the European Union? Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for home affairs, says it’s losing at least 120 billion euros a year to corruption.

The EU Anti-Corruption Report warns that “Corruption seriously harms the economy and society as a whole. Many countries around the world suffer from deep-rooted corruption that hampers economic development, undermines democracy, and damages social justice and the rule of law. The Member States of the EU are not immune to this reality.”

Malmstrom said the commission’s estimate that corruption costs Europe €120 billion, or roughly $162 billion, annually was almost certainly too conservative. The figure is equivalent to about 1 percent of the €11.7 trillion gross domestic product of the 28-nation European Union.



Are you not surprised? Me neither. The intro to the report continues: “Corruption varies in nature and extent from one country to another, but it affects all Member States. It impinges on good governance, sound management of public money, and competitive markets. In extreme cases, it undermines the trust of citizens in democratic institutions and processes.”

You know what this means, right? It means that every decision, every effort, every suggestion coming out of the EU is suspected of having a hidden agenda, and a nefarious one at that.

Do you want these people helping us strike a peace deal with our neighbors?

Most Businesses believe EU corruption is widespread and that the only way to succeed in business is through political connections and almost half of the companies doing business in Europe say corruption is a problem for them.

“In a time of appalling economic and financial crisis, recovering for the legal economy the money deviated by defrauders is of utmost importance; those funds are very much needed to foster growth and jobs,” said Spain’s Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who chairs the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

Someone should tell Aguilar that almost all firms in Greece, Spain and Italy believe corruption is widespread.

Construction companies, which often tender for government contracts, are the most affected. Almost eight in ten of those questioned had complaints about corruption. The NY Times reported that a 2013 study for European Union anti-fraud authorities described a case in which an unnamed government entity invited companies to bid on a contract to build two buildings. The winning bid was €600,000, even though other companies had offered to do the work for €400,000.

Somebody pocketed that €200,000.

So, I say, don’t buy stuff from these people, you just don’t know where it’s been. Boycott the European Union because they’re gonnifs.

The key findings at European level are:

  • The majority (76%) of Europeans think that corruption is widespread in their own country.
  • Countries where respondents are most likely to think so are: Greece (99%), Italy (97%), Lithuania, Spain and the Czech Republic (all 95%), Croatia (94%), Romania (93%), Slovenia (91%), Portugal and Slovakia (both 90%). The Nordic countries are the only Member States where the majority think corruption is rare – Denmark (75%), Finland (64%) and Sweden (54%).
  • More than half of Europeans (56%) think the level of corruption in their country has increased over the past three years (a surge compared to a previous study in 2011, when 47% perceived corruption to have risen over the same period of time).
  • Spain (77%), Slovenia, the Czech Republic (both 76%), Italy (74%) and Portugal (72%) are amongst countries where respondents are most likely to think corruption has increased.
  • 23% of Europeans think that their government’s efforts are effective in tackling corruption; 26% that there are enough successful prosecutions in their country to deter people from corrupt practices.
  • 81% of Europeans think that too-close links between business and politics in their country lead to corruption; 69% that favouritism and corruption hinder business competition; 67% that corruption is part of the business culture in their country; and more than half (56%) that the only way to succeed in business in their country is through political connections.
  • Around one in twelve Europeans (8%) say they have experienced or witnessed a case of corruption in the past 12 months. Yet only 12% of those who have encountered corruption say that they reported it.
  • Respondents are most likely to say they have experienced or witnessed corruption in Lithuania (25 %), Slovakia (21 %) and Poland (16 %) and least likely to do so in Finland and Denmark (3 % in each), Malta and the UK (4 % in each).

Abandonment and Boycotts – How We Should Respond

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Here are some initial thoughts on, and responses to the challenges facing us is Eretz Yisrael.

The Boycott Threat It’s no secret that John Kerry is pushing the Europeans, behind the scenes, to threaten Israel with their boycott threats.

It seems to me that if Israel is under boycott, the first thing Israel should do is threaten to cancel the F-35 deal, and say we won’t be forced into buying technology which we don’t want. And then find a friendlier country willing to build a new fighter plane for us, according to our specs (assuming we can’t do it ourselves). I hear China and India would love to get their hands on that Israeli project.

In addition, as you probably heard, Israel is close to finding yet another cure to yet another disease.

Any country who boycotts Israel will not be allowed to use our medicine and our technology without paying the boycott tax, which will be set at 1000% of the products price.

True, these European countries will try to smuggle our technology and cures in, but that would breaking international law, wouldn’t it?

Abandoning Israelis to Wild Netanyahu’s threatened to abandon (at least) 20% of its citizens to Palestinian rule.

No problem. The first thing we’re going to do is declare every area abandoned by the State of Israel, as now being under the sovereignty of the State of Judea.

There will be a moment of legal vacuum between the end of the IDF martial law and the emergence of a Palestinian State. At that moment, each person living in these ungoverned areas will have the right, anchored in international law, to declare self rule. Anyone looking to take over these self-ruled areas will be breaking international law.

Here are some of the benefits of living in the State of Judea:

  • Government will be a loose confederation of towns, cities and cantons, and not centralized the way it currently is in Israel.
  • Each member town-state will be able to decide its own local laws.
  • There will be direct elections for all representatives, no voting for parties.
  • Judges will be elected locally and directly by the people, and have term limits.
  • Education, police, and construction will be run and managed on the local level, and not by a central government.
  • The federal government will be kept small and limited – by law.
  • Taxes will capped, and not be at the insane levels they are now in Israel. VAT tax will be cancelled. Taxes will first go to local needs, before federal.
  • Every citizen of the State of Judea will receive a plot of land.
  • Every adult citizen of the State of Judea, of sane mind, will have the right bear arms, and may be part of the Judean Armed Forces, or to their local town-state’s militia.
  • The State of Judea will have a zero-tolerance policy for acts of terrorism.

So, if the Israeli government wants to abandon its citizens to the terrorists, the abandoned citizens will take up the challenge, and set things up the way they should have been in the first place.

More to come on these topics in the near future. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/abandonment-and-boycotts-how-we-should-respond/2014/02/02/

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