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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘US’

BDS Tries to Keep Israel’s SodaStream Out of Super Bowl

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

As cheerleaders shake their pom poms, top-dollar players hone their victory dances, and marketers prepare to rake in the dough raised through advertising and sales, Super Bowl XLVII will not just showcase a rivalry between this year’s best winningest football teams, but stands to highlight a burgeoning campaign against Israeli life in the biblical heartland.

SodaStream, an Israeli maker of home soda machines, aims to place its first advertisements in the US during the upcoming Super Bowl, according to an article by the Associated Press.  Aiming to make it big in the United States, SodaStream – the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of home beverage coronation systems – seems to be a natural choice for Americans who want easy convenience, lower costs, and an effortless way to take part in protecting the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles produced to hold their drinks.  The company is willing to stake a lot of money on that possibility – $3.5 million, the amount it takes to purchase just 30 seconds of advertising time during the Super Bowl.

And while simple consumerism might assure SodaStream a steady stream of sales, pro-Palestinian activists are working to ensure that SodaStream fizzles out.

Soda Stream is produced in Mishor Adumim, according to the AP, an industrial zone adjacent to Maale Adumim, a Jewish community in the Judean desert which has gained notoriety recently for its proximity to Israel’s latest building project, E-1.

“The new SodaStream publicity blitz has given the US boycott, divestment, sanctions movement a marvelous opportunity to bring our campaigns targeting settlement products to a new, unprecedented level of visibility and success,” said Anna Baltzer, an organizer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in the AP report.

Though Israeli products enjoy success in the US and Europe, the massive international campaign encouraging governments, companies, and private citizens to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel has enjoyed limited success, winning an EU case stopping products made in Judea and Samaria from enjoying the same duty free status as products made in other parts of Israel, and convincing the United Kingdom to ban a SodaStream TV ad on the pretense that it disparaged other soda manufacturers.

For his part, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum says he’s “got to laugh” thinking he’s a target of pro-Palestinian activists, telling the AP that his company provides jobs and economic benefits to many Palestinians workers.

Malkah Fleisher

US: Syrian Chem Weapons ‘Locked and Loaded’ on Rockets

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

According to several American television networks, U.S. officials have revealed that the Syrian military is just waiting for the “go” order from the embattled President Bashar Al-Assad.  When Assad’s order comes, aerial warheads which some say have already been locked and loaded with deadly sarin gas will be dropped on the Syrian opposition from dozens of fighter bombers.

Sarin, a colorless and odorless gas, is one of the most lethal chemical weapons.  It is capable of killing thousands of people across a wide swath of land. The gas paralyzes the central nervous system; victims suffocate because their lungs are paralyzed.  Just one drop of sarin can kill a person within minutes.

Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, December 5, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said,”Ultimately, what we should be thinking about is a political transition in Syria and one that should start as soon as possible.”  She added, “we believe their fall is inevitable. It is just a question of how many people have to die before that occurs.”

Nearly 40,000 have died in the civil war in the 18 month-long Syrian civil war, and 400,000 have fled as refugees.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Suicide Attack Outside US Base in Afghanistan (Updated)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Bodies in Afghan police and military uniforms littered the entrance of an airfield outside a major US base in Afghanistan Sunday, killed in an apparent suicide attack by the Taliban.

The attack occurred in the city of Jalalabad – two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a car, and another seven were killed in a gun fight with Afghan and coalition forces.  Several coalition troops were wounded, according to reports, and US helicopters circled above the fight.

Suicide attackers detonated bombs and fired rockets outside a major U.S. base in Afghanistan on Sunday, killing five people in a brazen operation that highlighted the country’s security challenges ahead of the 2014 NATO combat troop pullout.

“There were multiple suicide bombers involved,” said Major Martyn Crighton, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), adding that several coalition troops were wounded.

Afghanistan’s defense ministry spokesman said there were rocket attacks at the Jalalabad base before the suicide bombings.

In a text message, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said : “This morning at 6 a.m. a number of our devotees attacked the major U.S. Base in Jalalabad city and so far have brought heavy casualties to the enemy.”

The US and NATO are set to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.  Afghan officials are concerned that the forces will not leave the country stable enough to prevent a civil war or Taliban overthrow.

Malkah Fleisher

Magic Wand Works

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

A joint US-Israel anti-missile system called Magic Wand successfully intercepted a missile in a test on Sunday. The anti-missile system is also called David’s Sling in Israel.

Magic Wand is being jointly developed by Rafael in Israel, and Raytheon in the US. It’s primary target are missiles with ranges of at least 70 kilometers, such as ballistic missiles and long range rockets.

The goal is for Magic Wand to be operational by 2014.

It’s estimated that each missile costs 1 million dollars.

Jewish Press News Briefs

There’s a New Pharaoh in Town

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Eyes on the ball, folks.  In strategic terms, the most important thing that has happened in the last 10 days is that Mohammed Morsi has assumed dictatorial powers in Egypt.  Courageous Egyptians are protesting that move, but Morsi has less compunction than Mubarak did, and we can expect the protests to be dealt with effectively.

So, those of us who said Morsi was an Islamist extremist who would quickly reestablish authoritarianism in Egypt – with a sharia flavor – were right.  Those who said Morsi was a moderate were wrong.

And his Napoleonic self-crowning event changes the calculus for Gaza and Hamas, among other things.  The universal interpretation of the ceasefire brokered by Egypt this week puts the responsibility for preventing attacks by Hamas against Israel squarely on the Morsi government.  (Not all analyses refer to “frantic” diplomacy on the part of the United States.)  Far from making Egypt anyone’s partner in repressing Hamas, this move effectively hands Hamas over to Morsi – and with Hamas, the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is a terrorist group whose independence of him is an inconvenience for Morsi.  Hamas is the finger of Iran in the Levantine “pie” situated on Morsi’s northeastern border.  Hamas lies between Morsi and Jerusalem.  Morsi is not going to “work with” Hamas; he is going to give Hamas the choice to work with him, or be rendered insignificant.

Hamas can be useful to Morsi, if that’s what its leaders choose to do.  There may or may not be a “break” with Iran; it would probably be better from Morsi’s perspective to keep Iran on a string with Hamas, and prevent a divergence of objectives – i.e., between Egypt and Iran – for as long as possible.

But do not be deceived.

Iran has just taken a big strategic hit from the terms of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.  Iran may still have Qods Force operatives in the area, but Morsi has established a veto over Iran’s activities there.  There may be a few more attempts by Hamas at independence from Morsi – although frankly, I doubt it – but the die is cast: what happens from now on will happen on Morsi’s timeline and his say-so.

That, at least, is what he intends.  He has been rather transparent in the last few days.  Immediately upon getting the ceasefire on terms advantageous for his intentions, he declared himself all-powerful in Egypt.  This was not a coincidence.  His pursuit of the ceasefire was part and parcel of his overall planning.  He was happy to accept the vaguest of commitments on Israel’s side, as long as the understanding was that Egypt would guarantee Hamas’s behavior.

That was the prize Morsi sought.

Now he has started clearing the way to make good use of that prize.  Morsi is on the move.  He is moving very quickly to consolidate power, and position Egypt as a force to be reckoned with in the “race to Jerusalem.”  No longer a sleepy, despotic backwater, Egypt is now ready to play on the same field as Iran and Turkey.  We can expect Morsi to play off Turkey and Iran, remaining on good terms with both as he will seek to do with the US and Europe.  It won’t be time for a “break” with anyone until Morsi has acquired an advantageous position for inducing the fall of Jerusalem – the denouement sought eagerly by the Muslim Brotherhood, and hollered about often by Morsi himself.

In the near future, Morsi may well be able to keep Hamas in check in Gaza, a condition that might make some Israelis and Americans complacent about the turn of events.  I think we’ll know in the next month whether Hamas and Iran will try to restore the status quo ante, by recovering strategic independence from Egypt.  If they wait longer than that, their opportunity will have passed them by.  My guess is that they won’t make the attempt, however, and that Morsi has established himself as a new fact of the geopolitical landscape.

This will not have the effect of making him more moderate or conventional.  It can be said, meanwhile, that his ascent could not have happened, and certainly not so quickly, without the assistance of the United States.  At each step along the way, the US could have shown the kinds of useful leadership that we simply have not shown since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

J. E. Dyer

US Blocks UN Security Council Statement Condemning Israel

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The United States on Tuesday blocked a U.N. Security Council statement condemning violence between Israel and Gaza, calling the statement a “fail[ure] to address the root cause” of the battle, namely missile attacks by Hamas.

Reuters reported that Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the UN said the statement would not assist the “de-escalation of violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities.”  She expressed US concern that “by failing to call for the immediate and permanent halt to rocket launches from Gaza into Israel, this press statement failed to contribute constructively to those goals,” and that  “as such, we could not agree to this statement.”

Russia has responded by vowing to push through a resolution rather than a statement, though the US would be expected to veto the move.

Malkah Fleisher

Guardian Staff Perplexed by US, UK Support for Israel

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Western government support for Israel’s right to defend it’s citizens against Hamas really infuriates some people.

Those who routinely demonize the Jewish state and parrot the most ludicrous claims about Israeli villainy – and excuse or ignore the racism, incitement and violence of Islamist extremists in the region – simply can’t wrap their mind around the fact their anti-Zionist view is extremely marginal.

The mind of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell was evidently ready to explode upon hearing the expressions of support for Israel by British foreign secretary William Hague and former PM Tony Blair. So, Bell expressed, in cartoon form, his belief that the only possible explanation for this maddening political dynamic is the puppeteer like control exercised over the subservient British leaders by Israel’s Prime Minister.

Another ‘anti-Zionist head-exploding’ moment occurred when the U.S. House and Senate overwhelmingly passed non-binding resolutions backing “Israel’s right to self-defense.”

There’s nothing unusual about such a resolution, as popular support for Israel in America, based on polling by Gallup over the last 45 years, has been consistent and overwhelming – a fact which CiF contributor Glenn Greenwald, whose fear of powerful Jewish forces in the U.S. borders on the conspiratorial, simply can’t fathom.

He expressed his frustration today, thus:

Poor Glenn. The Congressional resolutions, which audaciously affirmed that “no nation”, including Israel, “can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population”, actually passed unanimously.

In his essay on Nov. 2011, on ‘averting accusations of antisemitism‘, Guardian readers editor Chris Elliott warned Guardian journalists and commentators to avoid “antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control.”

Elliott also noted that “three times” he had “upheld complaints against language within articles [which] could be read as antisemitic”, such as his decision to delete the term “slavish” (to describe the US relationship with Israel) from a report by Chris McGreal.

Glenn Greenwald’s characterization of the democratically elected U.S. legislative body as “subservient” to Israel (and/or the Jewish lobby) similarly contains antisemitic undertones, but also represents, to quote Walter Russel Mead, a sign that the ‘Comment is Free’ contributor is among those who are “baffled, frustrated and the bewildered” and therefore “seek[s] a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.”

“Anti-Semitism”, wrote Mead, “is one of the glittering frauds that attract the overwhelmed and the uncomprehending.”

The anti-Zionist left is increasingly defined as much by their intellectual laziness as they are by their blind subservience to the logic of historically right-wing Judeophobic narratives regarding the dangers of Jewish control.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Adam Levick

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/guardian-staff-perplexed-by-us-uk-support-for-israel/2012/11/18/

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