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May 26, 2016 / 18 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Beware the Echo Chamber, Fear the Media Savvy Left, Stick to the Truth

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I’m not sure which is more worrisome: the ease with which the media, politicians and public opinion were manipulated by the White House and by Ben Rhodes and his associates, or the fact that Ben Rhodes and his associates not only do not care care that their methods have been exposed, they are openly proud of how they did it and are apparently just waiting for the next opportunity and client, so they can do it again.

The Ploughshares Fund was one of the most egregious abusers of the public’s right to receive good, unbiased information, when, during the critical period leading up to the Senate vote on the Iran nuclear deal, suddenly new organizations and experts began popping up out of nowhere, filling up the internet and social media with their distorted information.

Ploughshares used their money to network and amplify the voices of 86 organizations and 200 individuals during the Iran Debate, creating, what Ben Rhodes described as an “echo chamber” effect, where it looked and sounded like the voices on their side of the public debate were the overwhelming majority, always making a point to be there to oppose any conflicting opinion.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this technique being used.

Remember V15 in Israel? A previously unknown group which popped out of nowhere during the 2015 elections and tried to oust PM Netanyahu, claiming to be a “grassroots” organization, yet flush with suspiciously copious funds, enough to make a lot of noise. Now we know V15 was connected to OneVoice, which had received a $233,500 grant from the US State Department in 2013, according to NGO-Monitor, and, by their own admission, other money from overseas Jews, including S. Daniel Abraham (Founder of Center for Middle East Peace) and Daniel Lubetzky (Founder of PeaceWorks, which created OneVoice Movement). They also hired Jeremy Bird, President Obama’s 2012 campaign director, to help in their anti-Bibi campaign.

Then there’s that multi-headed hydra, The New Israel Fund, with the multiple NGOs they fund.

The Left’s war for the public’s votes and opinions isn’t being fought based on issues or values. Its operation is based on confusing the message and tricking the public, overwhelming them with variations of the same message over and over, simultaneously hitting them from different sources from every direction, having them think that support for one side of the debate is overwhelming larger than it is, trying to give credibility to radical ideas simply through constant repetition — when in fact those who support it may be minuscule in numbers and in some cases dangerously on the fringe.

I expect that the reporters who thought they were actually in tight with President Obama and then discovered they were being proactively manipulated will let it happen to them again, despite whatever anger and embarrassment they feel right now. And who in the public is going to remember Ploughshares, V15 and NIF’s manipulations come the next event or policy they want to manipulate?

The question is, how do we fight it?

Do we immitate them and duplicate their media manipulations — fighting fire with fire, to the point where no one has credibility any more, and it comes down to who can slam you harder and more often with his message?

Or do we stick to the truth and hope that by pointing out how easily they were fooled last time, this time they won’t let it happen — praying that even that message doesn’t get overwhelmed by the next Ben Rhodes’ “hammer and ploughshare” campaign?

I don’t have the answer. I don’t believe that those on our side of the political spectrum even comprehend the scale and deviousness of the media and public opinion manipulations of the Left.

But if we don’t learn, if we don’t try and if the financial backers on our side ignore these lessons, whatever the solution, then our message, our truth, our way of life will simply be drowned in the Left-generated echo chambers of social media and lies.

JoeSettler

In New US – PA Talks on Recovering Debt Ridden Economy, Fingers Point at Israel

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Palestinian Authority Economy Minister Abeer Odeh and US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin will meet Sunday in Ramallah for talks on developing the PA’s economy. At this point, the PA simply cannot pay its bills and is facing serious problems paying its government employees, from teachers to security forces. According to Trading Economics, in 2014 the PA recorded a Government Debt to GDP rate of 17.30% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Government Debt to GDP in the PA has averaged 18.92% from 1995 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 26.36% in 2007 and a record low of 2.93% in 1995.

The economies of the PA and Gaza strongly depend on their relationship with Israel, so that when the Israelis feel safe to permit documented (and many undocumented) Arab workers into their country, the Arab economy improves. And when there’s a war or an intifada, the Arabs go without.

The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) most recent report, from 2014, shows high and rising levels of unemployment, which continued to be one of the main challenges to the economy. In 2014, it rose to 26.9%, compared to 23.4% in 2013. A main contributor was an exceptionally expanding rate in Gaza Strip, where unemployment reached 43.9%, compared to 32.6 percent in 2013, while the same rate declined in the PA from 18.6% to 17.7% during the same period. This rise in unemployment did not stop nominal daily wages from rising across different regions. Yet contradictory inflation trends have created discrepancies in real wage growth, as while real average daily wage for workers in the PA, and Israel and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria improved by 0.9% and 5.6% respectively, real wages in Gaza declined by 1.5% during 2014.

The PA Arabs’ dependence of Israel was made all too clear this past winter, when The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) announced the PA and individual Arab municipalities have racked up a debt of close to half a billion dollars which the company could no longer absorb. The debt was split about $400 million to $80 million between the PA and the cities respectively.

In April, the IEC reached a temporary agreement with the PA to put an end to the temporary power cuts it had been imposing on a succession of municipalities, in exchange for paying off a small portion of the overall debt. Meanwhile, the Arab-run Jerusalem District Electricity Company, which owes the IEC $371 million out of the debt, sued the IEC in Israel’s High Court last April, saying the IEC’s behavior constituted “collective and disproportionate punishment” and showed “blatant and harmful disregard for a public that pays its electricity bills regularly.” It also suggested the IEC’s power cuts compromised basic consumer rights to access an essential resource.

“I don’t know of any company that would agree to do nothing about a 1.74 billion shekel ($450 million) debt owed by another company,” IEC chairman Yiftah Ron Tal said at the time. “We weren’t left with any choice. We’re limiting electricity in a proportionate way.”

But the High Court of Justice paid no attention to the complaints of the Israeli CEO, and issued an interim injunction on prohibiting service cuts to the eastern Jerusalem Arab power company.

IEC responded to the ruling with an angry statement: “The Israel Electric Corporation respects the High Court ruling but demands the issue over the growing debts of JDECO which reach 1.4 billion shekel ($360 million) be resolved quickly. JDECO debts continue to grow to an astronomic figure; like any other business, it is the legitimate right and the responsibility of IEC to take the necessary measures to resolve a problematic debt which has been a burden for all Israeli electricity consumers.”

Israel’s ambivalence about collecting the debt from the Arabs in both Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and Gaza has produced a reluctant and ineffective method of getting the money from the taxes and VAT Israel collects on Arab wages and products. As a result, Israel was rebuked this month by the World Bank for ruining the PA economy by, essentially, withholding money Israel is rightfully due.

The new World Bank report estimates that the Palestinian Authority is losing $285 million in revenues annually under the current economic arrangements with the Government of Israel. The report states that these revenues could significantly ease the Authority’s fiscal stress. As was to be expected, there is no mention in the condemning report of the half billion dollars in free power Israel has poured into the PA.

“If revenue losses are mitigated, this can reduce the 2016 fiscal deficit to below $1 billion, and narrow the expected financing gap by more than 50 percent,” Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza said in a press statement.

In other words, if only Israel agreed to take the half billion dollars from Israeli power consumers and let the PA Arabs continue to receive free electricity, an Arab economic miracle would be just a matter of time.

The report also cites irregularities on Israel’s part in conducting revenues clearance, which have not been systematically implemented. The revenue sharing arrangements, outlined by the 1994 Paris Protocol, through which the Government of Israel collects VAT, import taxes and other revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and shares them on a monthly basis, have not been systematically implemented.

The majority of the estimated fiscal loss results from tax leakages on bilateral trade with Israel, and undervaluation of PA imports from third countries. In other words, the Israelis have been running a messy tax and payment system, as well as a messy debt collection system.

JNi.Media

Turkey’s President Erdogan ‘Waiting for Israel’ to Respond on Gaza

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is waiting for Israel to grant permission for Turkey to construct energy and water transfer infrastructure in Gaza, according to a report published Saturday (May 21) in the Hurriyet Daily News, quoting an earlier broadcast.

“I expect that something will happen this month. It’s my wish that we’ll reach a conclusion in a short time,” Erdogan told a news broadcast by A Haber on May 19.

“In regards to [lifting] the embargo, they say, ‘We are open to allowing goods into Gaza through Turkey, but we are not open to those coming from places other than Turkey.’ But the problem is not only this. We have some other demands,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader said Ankara has demanded that Israel allow provision of continuous energy to Gaza, “as the enclave has only three to four hours of electricity per day,” Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey’s proposal to provide electricity to Gaza through a naval vessel was rejected by Israel.

“But they proposed something else: We told them that we are ready to construct all the infrastructure [of energy]. They viewed the proposal positively,” Erdogan said.

The second demand, he said, was that Turkey be allowed to provide water to Gaza either by desalinating the sea water or by drilling wells. “There are positive developments with regard to this issue as well,” he said.

Turkey’s third demand from Israel, said Erdogan, was regarding construction projects in Gaza.

“Our third offer is about building schools and hospitals. The construction of a hospital has been completed and necessary equipment is being provided. ‘These must be done,’ we told them. ‘If these would be done, then we’ll immediately appoint ambassadors and improve our relations in the right direction.’”

According to the report, Israeli and Turkish diplomats are expected to meet in the near future to finalize an agreement between the two countries.

But it’s impossible to know what the final outcome will be: Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is set to meet at a nationwide Congress on May 22 to choose a new prime minister.

Incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hand-picked by Erdogan, resigned his position earlier this month.

Hana Levi Julian

Singaporean Who Defied Boycott on Israel Visits the Holy Land

Friday, May 20th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Over 40 years after breaking the local boycott against Israel and offering to house a makeshift Israeli embassy on his personal property, Singaporean businessman Seow Kee Quek visited the Jewish state for the first time this week.

“I am now 70 years old. It took me about 41 years to get to the place that I gave a small help to,” Quek told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

The ‘small help’ refers to Quek’s bold decision to rent space in the 1970s to the Israeli government on the 4th floor of the Oversea Union Bank building, owned by the Quek family – a prominent family in the island city-state. As a landlord, Quek even took a loss in forgoing “high returns” on the rent, he told TPS.

“None of the major property owners wanted to permit a space and every single one was afraid of local terrorism and backlash by the Muslim community,” explained Rodney Rahmani, a Jewish American friend and business partner of Quek who joined him on his visit to Israel.

“Mr. Seow Kee Quek personally stepped up and against the entire old money establishment in Singapore, made his opinion known that it is the duty and obligation of all Christians and moral people of the world to stand with Israel,” Rahmani added.

“I was frankly a little bit worried,” Quek told TPS. “But I knew that with God’s help nothing bad would happen.”

The building at 15 Scotts Road was chosen for the new Israeli contingent, Quek explained, because it housed “a bank and a vault underneath, and it was secure.”

Quek, a member of Singapore’s Christian minority, described the tumultuous period of conflict after Singapore’s founding in 1965 amid violence with the country’s Muslim neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“There was bombing at the time in Singapore,” Quek said. “We had lots of trouble, and Israel was in the center of it, actually.”

The founding prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, revealed in his autobiography how Israel had been instrumental in creating the Singapore Armed Forces. Following its independence in November 1965, Singapore turned to several countries with a request for military consultants and material aid, including India, Egypt, and the United Kingdom. However, only Israel consented to help the newly formed nation, wrote Lee Kuan Yew.

At the time, however, the Israeli involvement was a closely guarded secret. Quek recalled with a chuckle how the founding prime minister spoke in interviews of “Mexicans” providing the young country – when in fact the help was coming from Israel.

“He couldn’t say Israelis because we are completely surrounded by Muslims countries, and it was very sensitive,” Quek told TPS.

Things have changed since then, as evidenced by last month’s visit to Israel by Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, son of the founding prime minister.

During his trip this week, Quek visited Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem – where he met with Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan. Quek professed that he was “very surprised” to meet the rabbinically bearded Ben-Dahan.

“As a rabbi, I could hardly picture how he could be in the position of deputy defense minister,” Quek told TPS. “He looks to me like Santa Clause – he’s so saintly and so sweet and smiley. How can a man like that be put in such a serious position?” Quek wondered.

On the subject of security, Quek was quick to say that he found Israel to be a thriving and secure country. Yet he also had some words of encouragement for the Middle East’s embattled democracy in its conflict with the Palestinians.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel Among Top Five Countries on WHO 2015 Life Expectancy Chart

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Only 22 countries around the globe have reached an average life expectancy at birth greater than 80 years, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, which would suggest that if one is planning to retire abroad, one should consider those countries most seriously.

Life expectancy at birth reflects the overall mortality level of a population. It summarizes the mortality pattern that prevails across all age groups in a given year – children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), ranging from 60.0 years in the WHO African Region to 76.8 years in the WHO European Region, giving a ratio of 1.3 between the two regions. Women live longer than men all around the world. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes was 4.5 years in 1990 and had remained almost the same by 2015 (4.6).

Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 2000-2015 increase was greatest in the WHO African Region, where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.

As to the friendly global race of whose citizens get to live longer, the top countries are, in descending order: Japan – 83.7, Switzerland – 83.4, Singapore – 83.1, Italy – 82.7, and Israel – 82.5. The US did not make the 80+ club in 2015, with only 79.3 years’ life expectancy. Neither did the Russian Federation – 70.5.

Israel’s neighbors are definitely not ideal locations for retirement: Egypt – 70.9, Jordan – 74.1, Lebanon – 74.9, and Syria – 64.5 (if you’re lucky). Nigeria stands out with 54.5 life expectancy, along with Angola – 52.4, Burkina Faso – 59.9, Burundi – 59.6, Cameroon – 57.3, Central African Republic – 52.5, Chad – 53.1, Guinea – 59, and Guinea-Bissau – 58.9.

So, here is the list of world countries where you’ll get to grow older than 80, barring unexpected circumstances:

Japan – 83.7
Switzerland – 83.4
Singapore – 83.1
Italy – 82.7
Israel – 82.5
France – 82.4
Sweden – 82.4
Canada – 82.2
Luxembourg – 82
Netherlands – 81.9
Norway – 81.8
Malta – 81.7
New Zealand – 81.6
Austria – 81.5
Belgium – 81.1
Finland – 81.1
Germany – 81
Denmark – 80.6
Chile – 80.5
Cyprus – 80.5

JNi.Media

Catch The Jew!

Friday, May 20th, 2016

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Author and undercover reporter Tuvia Tenenbom joins Yishai to tell the tale of his very serious, but very funny infiltration into the heart of the anti-Israel propaganda machine. Guess what? It’s not only the Jihad, its also mainstream Europe that is complicit with the Israel delegitimization campaign. Then, Rabbi Mike joins Yishai on Spiritual Cafe to discuss Biblical economics and the brotherhood of the Jewish people that can only come about in the Land of Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

After Failed Maneuver, Deep Fractures Show in Israel’s Labor Party

Friday, May 20th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli Labor party is showing signs of internal fracture on Thursday as several party members called on chairman Isaac Herzog to resign following a failed maneuver to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government the previous day – a move that ended with the appointment of right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman as incoming defense minister.

Herzog’s public negotiations with Netanyahu drew the ire of many MKs – most notably of previous party leader MK Shelly Yachimovich – in the historically left-wing Labor party, which governed the country from its founding in 1948 until 1977.

“Now that Netanyahu and Liberman are shaking hands, does Herzog realize what he has done to his party and to our values?” wrote Yachimovich on her Facebook account. “Herzog is responsible for this embarrassing farce. With him the whole Zionist Union party has suffered a major blow,” she charged, referring to the joint list created by Labor and MK Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party.

A faction of Labor MKs galvanized by Yachimovich – including Stav Shaffir, Erel Margelit, and Mickey Rosenthal – called for Herzog to resign.

Herzog fired back in a press conference Wednesday night boasting of sweeping oral commitments he had received from Netanyahu – which Herzog rejected, he said, because Netanyahu refused to commit them to writing – and blasting Yachimovich for sabotaging him.

“She rudely and violently undermined [me], and was ready to sacrifice a bold, groundbreaking political maneuver backed by powerful international forces,” Herzog said, alluding to an international initiative to forge a regional peace as expressed in a Tuesday speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fateh al-Sisi.

Herzog blamed Yachimovich’s “extreme, radical leftist views” for pushing away public support from the party. “She will have signed on the bottom of Liberman’s appointment as defense minister and she is responsible for the consequences of his appointment.”

As the war of words threatens to escalate into a party schism – a popular Israeli satire show featured Yachimovich beheading Herzog ISIS-style on Thursday night – some voices in the Labor party and the Zionist Union attempted to ease the tensions by shifting criticism toward Netanyahu.

“History will not forgive Netanyahu for the damage he is doing to Israel, and our children will not forgive us if we engage now in personal matters and infighting,” wrote Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni in a Facebook post. “This is exactly the time to go into battle together over the identity and future of Israel.”

“Our moral duty now, facing the insanity taking place, is to fight for our positions, not to flinch and not be victims and create for ourselves a strong and determined opposing camp.”

Labor MK Nachman Shai also defended Herzog and directed his criticism at the Israeli prime minister.

“Herzog is not a sucker,” said Shai. “He conducted responsible negotiations that led the prime minister to a series of concessions.”

Nonetheless, Shai also directed some criticism at the party chairman.

“Herzog made a mistake by attacking Shelly Yachimovich last night,” argued Shai. “He should have focused on attacking the bad government that we have here.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/after-failed-maneuver-deep-fractures-show-in-israels-labor-party/2016/05/20/

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