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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘sanctions’

Controversy Bubbles Up in SodaStream Bid to Leave Samaria

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.

The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.

That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.

But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.

With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.

One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.

But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”

The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.

But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.

But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.

Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.

Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.

Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.

Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.

News for Israel: Boeing Sells Data, Drawings to Iran

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Boeing Aerospace and Defense has made a sale to Iran.

The Chicago-based firm announced sales of some $120,000 to Iran that included aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts and data.

The items were sold to Iran Air, allegedly to “help improve the safety of Iran’s civil aviation industry,” according to Reuters.

The fact that any American aerospace and defense firm is being allowed to do business with Iran signals a sea change in the United States attitude that does not bode well for the Middle East.

According to the report, both Boeing and General Electric were given permission in April of this year by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to export parts for commercial aircraft to Iran, under a temporary sanctions relief deal.

Boeing did not indicate whether it had sold parts prior to the current sale, nor whether it planned to sell parts in the future, and declined further comment, the news agency said.

The firm made a net profit of approximately $12,000 in the third quarter on the sale to Iran. Boeing’s total sales for the quarter were reported at $23.7 billion.

Prior U.S. administrations worked tirelessly to persuade the international community to impose heavy sanctions on Iran to force Tehran to curtail its nuclear development activities.

There have been updated, repeated reports from Israeli intelligence warning that Iran is rapidly approaching the nuclear threshold, where a small step will take Tehran into the world of weapons of mass destruction. Alongside those warnings, the Iranian regime itself has stated firmly that it has no intention of slowing down – let alone stopping – its nuclear development program.

And in past years Iranian leaders have made it equally clear they have placed Israel squarely in the cross-hairs for future annihilation.

So what conclusions should Israel’s government draw from Boeing’s latest announcement?

SWIFT Refuses to Suspend Israel, Russia

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has announced it will not buckle to pressure to disconnect Israel – or for that matter, Russia – from its international transaction system.

“SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world. As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.

“SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure,” the communique said.

The international Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has been trying to pressure the system – as well as numerous corporations and other systems – to boycott Israel in an attempt to destroy its economy. BDS supporters are hoping that through economic destruction, Israel will be forced to withdraw from territory it won in the defensive war forced upon it by Arab nations in 1967 – including numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods restored to the Israeli capital since that time.

Disconnecting Israel from SWIFT would isolate its economy from international trade. However, the Brussels-based SWIFT is incorporated under Belgium law, the system noted, blocking it from making such unilateral decisions.

“Any decision to impose sanctions on countries or individual entities rests solely with the competent government bodies and applicable legislators. Being EU-based, SWIFT complies fully with all applicable European law,” the statement said.

Last month, the SWIFT system transmitted more than 21 million financial messages per day between more than 10,500 financial institutions and corporations, in 215 countries, according to the RT news site.

Over the summer there were discussions among EU leaders on whether to consider disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system as means of pressuring Moscow into backing away from the Ukraine conflict.

Netanyahu Insists Military Force Needed to Stop Nuclear Iran

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

“A diplomatic solution is better than a military option but a military option is necessary for diplomacy to succeed” to prevent Iran from obtaining access to a nuclear weapon, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a Washington think tank.

Netanyahu spoke to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

He added that he agreed with President Barack Obama’s preference for a diplomatic solution but that it will not work without a “credible military threat,” according to AFP.

Although a “threat” is not direct military force, it is difficult to infer that the Prime Minister meant anything other than the use of force since the radical Muslim world’s understanding of the word is inability or fear of using force.

The United States signed on with other Western powers in Geneva last November for a six-month deal, extended until this coming November, that provides that Iran would freeze or curtail some, but not all, of its nuclear development and that international sanctions would be eased.

“Steps must be taken to prevent further erosion of the sanctions because ultimately the sanctions remain an essential element of the international effort to compel Iran to dismantle its nuclear military infrastructure, to take apart all its centrifuges,” N Netanyahu said.

Iran now is again pulling out it latest trick from up its sleeve to buy off the West.

The Islamic Republic, whose stated goal is to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East, including Israel, will be happy to help the United States fight Islamic State insurgents in Iraq if the Obama administration simply would lift “all the sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear activities,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif this week.

BDS Agitators Fail in ‘Rachel Corrie Country’

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

It’s been a rough day for Palestinian supporters: Yet another unversity-based divestment attempt failed dismally at the University of Washington at the same time as an Israeli court was set to rule on the latest appeal in the decade-long legal saga of local girl Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old activist who was crushed by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 when she made the mistake of standing in front of it.

Corrie, a member of the radical, terror-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was killed while serving as a human shield in a closed military area in the Gaza Strip, near the border with Egypt.  She refused to comply with IDF instructions to vacate the area, and was then crushed to death by a military bulldozer in Gaza  because the soldier driving the bulldozer could not see her from where he was seated, high up in the cab.

For the past eleven years, her parents have pursued a lawsuit in Israel’s courts to have her death declared a murder, something Israeli courts have repeatedly refused to do. Today (Wednesday) the Supreme Court will rule on the family’s  appeal of a lower court ruling absolving the IDF of culpability for the incident.

IN 2011 a lower court ruled the IDF was not negligent, nor was it responsible for Corrie’s death. Moreover, the court ruled the IDF had fully and credibly investigated the circumstances surrounding the incident. By entering a closed military zone, and attempting to block the work of military bulldozers, Corrie was responsible for her own death, the court ruled.

BDS keeps on kicking, despite rejections

Sources on campus described the UW boycott issue as one of the most heated campus debates in recent memory, with furious comments both for and against the resolution in the university’s Slog news website. “Intentional or not, BDS [movement] singles out Jews for treatment that no one else gets, even countries that behave far worse. You don’t think it would be practical to aim against Syria (hmm, when was the last time Israel gassed its own citizens?)?” responded one writer.

Ironically, the University of Washington is located not far from Rachel Corrie’s hometown of Olympia, Wash.

Following the UW campaign, The Jewish Press has learned that students at the University of South Florida are also pressuring the school’s foundation to divest from companies linked to Israeli companies based in Judea and Samaria. Students this month presented a petition with 10,000 signatures to the school’s foundation urging the school to divest from corporations such as Motorola, HP and Caterpillar.

Boycott supporters have not indicated whether-or-not they will stop using cellphone, computer and internet technologies, all of which were developed in Israel, to protest the “brutal oppression” of the world’s only “apartheid” victims with the right to vote, run for office and full access to Israel’s Supreme Court.

Canadian Politician Irwin Cotler ‘Honored’ to be Banned by Russia

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Irwin Cotler, a veteran human rights activist and member of Canada’s parliament,  says being banned from Russia is an “honor.”

When Russia issued its blacklist of 13 Canadians on Monday, Cotler was quick to express his pleasure at being included. ”I wear my exclusion from Russia as a badge of honor and am proud to be in such distinguished company,” he said in a statement. “I have no intention of visiting Siberia. I have no investments in Sochi. I have no desire to visit Moscow.”

This is not the first time Cotler, renowned for representing Jewish refuseniks from the Soviet era, has been banned from Russian soil.

He was expelled from the Soviet Union and then banned in 1979 while advocating on behalf of political prisoners, including Natan Sharansky. “I was arrested and accused of consorting with ‘criminals,’ among them the great Soviet human rights dissident, Andrei Sakharov,” Cotler wrote on his website. “These acts did not stop my human rights advocacy. Indeed, [Monday's] announcement only inspires me to redouble my efforts to advance the cause of human rights for all.

“I stand in solidarity with the Russian people and those fighting for human rights and democracy. Their day will come and [President Vladimir] Putin will be no more.”

This time, Cotler suspects his banishment is because he introduced a bill regarding Sergei Magnitsky. The Huffington Post reported that Magnitsky was an accountant and auditor in Moscow who uncovered a corruption scheme and testified against several senior Russian officials. He was subsequently imprisoned and died in jail in 2009 at the age of 37. Cotler chairs an intra-parliamentary group on Magnitsky, and he said that is like a “red flag” to Russia.

“My sense is that’s probably the retaliatory reason in my case,” according to Cotler.

He said some of the Americans banned by Russia were people who had worked on the Magnitsky file. Cotler added he does not need to go to Russia to advocate for Magnitsky.

“Our intra-parliamentary group for Sergei Magnitsky is international. It contains parliamentarians from over 20 countries.”

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Putin’s Advisers

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Obama administration imposed sanctions on seven Russians and four Ukrainians in retaliation on Monday in response to the apparently imminent annexation by Russia of the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine.

Among those sanctioned were advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin and parliament members in and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The European Union has frozen assers of 13 Russian leaders and eight others in Crimea and has alaso placed a travel ban on them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/u-s-imposes-sanctions-on-putins-advisers/2014/03/17/

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