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Archive for May 2018


The Farhud

Why International Farhud Day Stymies Invented Palestinian History

May 31st 2018

Farhud book

When International Farhud Day was proclaimed at a conference convened at the United Nations headquarters on June 1, 2015, its proponents wanted to achieve more than merely establish a commemoration of the ghastly 1941 Arab-Nazi pogrom in Baghdad that killed and injured hundreds of Iraqi Jews. Farhud means violent dispossession. The Farhud was but the first bloody step along the tormented path to the ultimate expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from across the Arab world. That systematic expulsion ended centuries of Jewish existence and stature in those lands.

 

Jews had thrived in Iraq for 2,700 years, a thousand years before Mohammad. But all that came to end when the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, led the broad Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust that produced a military, economic, political, and ideological common cause with Hitler. Although Husseini spearheaded an international pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish Islamic movement from India to Central Europe to the Middle East, it was in Baghdad—a 1,000-kilometer drive from Jerusalem— that he launched his robust coordination with the Third Reich. Read more ..


Hotel News

Dan Hotels Opens New Tel Aviv Link

May 24th 2018

Israel-Center

Dan Hotels, Israel has announced the opening of a new business property in the center of Tel Aviv. At an investment of NIS 40 million, this new hotel is aimed at the new generation of business traveler and tourists, offering a concept of "connecting" contemporary design, Tel Aviv’s vibrant social scene, street art and advanced technology. Located on Shaul Ha’melech Boulevard, it is close to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Opera House; Cameri Theatre; Rabin Square and the popular Sarona Market and conveniently situated for two railway stations.

The eight-floor hotel with 94 guestrooms, and meeting rooms of various sizes is part of a new brand to be launched by Dan Hotels which will offer an urban atmosphere, relaxed and attractive surroundings as well as comfortable work space. The Hub section is situated on the lower level of the building with 700m2 of space, including the Kitchen & Bar, nine meeting rooms, shared worktables, electronic and board games and a 9ft Pool Table. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Bernard Lewis: 100 Years in the Making

May 22nd 2018

Books

As three commercial airliners crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on the orders of Osama bin Laden, Lewis’s What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East was in galleys, almost ready for press. It became a major best seller.

With the publication the next year of The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Lewis had two number-one best sellers on the New York Times nonfiction list — one in hardcover and one in paperback.

“My historical studies suddenly became relevant,” he writes in his 2012 memoir, Notes on a Century. He was interviewed endlessly, and was invited to Washington, D.C., to educate politicians and to lecture at think tanks.

Even more than his vast erudition and capacious memory, it is his unparalleled ability to fit things together that has made Lewis one of the best-known public intellectuals of our time. It is not the historian’s task to predict the future, according to Lewis. “He can discern trends. He can look at what has been happening and what is happening and see change developing. From this he can formulate, I will not say predictions, but possibilities, alternative possibilities.” Long before 9/11, Bernard Lewis had been doing that as well as anyone in the world.

In 1976, he published an article in Commentary, “The Return of Islam,” that broke with the prevailing orthodoxy that the Middle East was rapidly headed toward a future of secular revolutionary movements. Read more ..


The Hillary Investigation

Long-awaited OIG report Recommends Criminal Prosecution of FBI and DOJ Figures

May 19th 2018

Capitol Hill

The long-expected report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has moved into its final phase. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found, according to the Wall Street Journal, "reasonable grounds" to believe that federal laws were broken by the FBI and DOJ it their probes of Hillary Clinton. Horowitz has referred findings of possible criminal misconduct to John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor who was paired with Horowitz by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

Horowitz has also forwarded copies of the draft report to the FBI and DOJ for their review by the end of this week. The OIG report will then go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress and  Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and is expected within weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Horowitz will then respond within a “few days.”  Read more ..


Book Review

Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel: New book Gives Context to Trump's Move on Jerusalem

May 18th 2018

Judaism Zionism and the Land of Israel

Rabbi Yotav Eliach’s new book, Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel, is the fruit of a lifetime of study and teaching, which seeks to frame the emergence of the modern state of Israel in a Biblical and historical reference. Rabbi Eliach has been a teacher for decades and is currently the esteemed principal of Rambam Mesivta High School in Long Island, New York. Bringing together his scholarship and spiritual leanings, he has produced a massive volume that bridges the gaps between the many elements of Jewish history, tradition and faith, in addition to the political and military history of the wider world.

Rabbi Eliach has written a work that begins with the Patriarch Abraham of some 4,000 years ago, continuing through the establishment of Jewish kingdoms under Solomon and David and to the times of occupations by Persian, Greek, Roman, Muslim, and British authorities to the foundation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. The relationship between God and His chosen people is woven throughout the book. Throughout the centuries after their dispersal from the land of Israel by the Romans during the First Century A.D., the Jewish people prayed to return to the land of the Promise. Rabbi Eliach also includes hard facts about the dispossession, marginalization and anti-Semitism that marked those centuries and that gave increasing impetus over nearly two thousand years to Zionism -- Jewish nationalism -- that brought to fruition the prayers and sacrifices of a people who had been far too long abused.

For Rabbi Eliach, the presence of God as a guiding force in the destiny of the Jewish people and the land that they claim is not to be dismissed. He writes: “The Israelites’ relationship to Hashem was based on a covenant binding God and Israel through a series of obligations.” As an eloquent and frank believer, Rabbi Eliach pays tribute in his book to the divine illumination that has aided theorists, diplomats, and warriors who sacrificed to make modern Israel a reality. Read more ..


The Hillary Investigation

Long-awaited OIG Report Recommends Criminal Prosecution of FBI and DOJ

May 18th 2018

Supreme Court Lady Justice

The long-expected report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has moved into its final phase. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found, according to the Wall Street Journal, "reasonable grounds" to believe that federal laws were broken by the FBI and DOJ it their probes of Hillary Clinton. Horowitz has referred findings of possible criminal misconduct to John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor who was paired with Horowitz by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

Horowitz has also forwarded copies of the draft report to the FBI and DOJ for their review by the end of this week. The OIG report will then go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress and  Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and is expected within weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Horowitz will then respond within a “few days.” 

Read more ..

Significant Lives

Remembering Leslie Rudd (1941-2018) Co-Founder, Covenant Winery

May 17th 2018

walking-cane

A lot has already been written about the passing of my friend, business partner and Covenant Winery co-founder Leslie Rudd. He died on May 3 at the age of 76 following a courageous battle with cancer. I’d like to share a few personal thoughts about this most exceptional individual.

If you didn’t know Leslie, I’m sorry you’ll never have that opportunity. He was complex, caring, cutthroat, creative and inspiring. He was also one hell of a mensch, the guy who could bring people together and light up the room—then disappear and let those same people build something unique and outstanding together. Les built community wherever he went.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Leslie was the consummate businessman. As a young man, he transformed his small, family-owned liquor distributorship into the largest in the state. Then, he forged a second empire based on astute real estate and restaurant investments.

An interest in wine and history led him first to France and then to Napa Valley, where he built his impressive eponymous winery—Rudd Estate—in 1996. Many people don’t realize that Leslie also owned some 30 other wineries and wine brands through Vintage Wine Estates, which he founded with his friend and partner (and my former boss at Dean & Deluca 18 years ago) Pat Roney. Read more ..


The Digital Age

8 Gigabit Data Connection to Aircraft Successfully Tested

May 17th 2018

airplanes shadows

Internet access in passenger airplanes today is expensive and not really high-performance. Really fast Internet for passenger is available nowhere yet; passengers can only dream of accessing online videos and music streams. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded for the first time in establishing a data link to an 8 GB/s aircraft. Is the fast Internet for airplane passengers coming now?

The researchers achieved the data rate of 8 GB/s by using the frequency range between 71 and 76 GHz for an air-to-ground radio link. In this frequency range, large bandwidths are available to achieve multi-gigabit data rates, and this frequency band has recently been released by the authorities for such purposes. With the technology developed, both broadband Internet and video-on-demand could be available in passenger aircraft in the future.

Read more ..

Broken Borders

Mexican National Indicted for Impersonating American Citizen and Voting

May 17th 2018

Vote Buttons

Laura Janeth Garza, 38, was indicted last week in Harris County, Texas, on two counts of illegal voting. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Monday that his office will prosecute Garza, who is a Mexican national. Houston is located in Harris County.

The Texas attorney general’s office alleges that Garza (a.k.a. Angie Yadira Zamora)  illegally registered to vote in Harris County after stealing the identity of a U.S. citizen. Garza was found out by authorities when the victim of the identity theft applied for a U.S. passport and discovered that one had been issued in her name to another person.

According to Paxton’s office, Garza voted in 2004, 2012 and 2016. Garza stands charged with ineligible voting and voter impersonation in the November 2016 election. Under federal law, she could be deported for either charge. On Monday, Garza was being held at the Montgomery County jail with bail set at $150,000. Garza could get 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

On Facebook: Gaza Protestors Instructed ‘Bring a Knife, Dagger, Handgun,’ Kidnap Israelis, Murder Soldiers

May 17th 2018

Nakba day protests 2011

Two Palestinian Facebook pages and a forum directing rioters in Gaza gave explicit instructions to murder and kidnap Israelis on May 14, the day the U.S. embassy opened in Jerusalem, as well as suggestions on how to accomplish this goal.
 
It is not clear if Hamas itself was the group sending these messages. What is critical is that Gazans were encouraged to bring weapons to the demonstrations and use these weapons to either murder or capture Israelis. Israeli soldiers may have been facing Palestinians who were using the cover of demonstrating civilians to attempt to break through the border with the goal of murdering and kidnapping Israelis.
The following are the instructions to bring weapons, murder “soldiers and settlers,” and kidnap Israeli citizens for use as bargaining chips to impose conditions on Israel:
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Nikki Haley Blames Hamas for Violence in Gaza

May 15th 2018

Hamas head

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday that the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was not to blame for deadly violence that erupted along the Gaza border, casting blame instead on Hamas and its backers in the Iranian government.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council, Haley said Hamas, the group that controls Gaza and is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S., was behind the clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces that left at least 60 people dead. She bemoaned the “double standard” that she said exists at the U.N. under which Israel shoulders the blame for violence she said was spurred by Hamas and Iran. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Tom Wolfe-- Journalist and Author of Bonfire of the Vanities, dies aged 88

May 15th 2018

Books

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe
journalist and novelist, born March 1930
died 14 May 2018

The writer Tom Wolfe, who has died aged 88, was a great dandy, both in his elaborate dress and his neon-lit prose. Although he was in his late 50s when he became a bestselling novelist, with The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), some 30 years before that he was already famous as a journalist, was indeed that extremely rare thing, the journalist as international celebrity.

It was a part Wolfe played up to, wearing showy tailor-made white suits, summer and winter, as well as fancy headgear and shirts with detachable collars. The overall impression was of a fashionplate from a bygone age. The sartorial fireworks fitted in very well with the highly eccentric literary style Wolfe used and which made such a name for him when he published The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965), which brought the world the first news of the 1960s counterculture in California.

The curious style came about by chance. In 1963, commissioned to write about custom cars for Esquire magazine, Wolfe got as far as writing hurried notes and told his editor, Byron Dobell, to give them to someone else because he could not produce the finished piece. Dobell read the notes and printed them as they were.

The peculiar style, full of exclamation marks, words elongated for special effect, and words in capital letters, gave the impression of news that was too hot for the simple declarative sentence; also that it was highly complicated to explain but that Wolfe himself knew all there was to know about it, and from the inside. As the news was from the counterculture or, later on, from the world of the New York new rich, the prose seemed to fit the passion. Read more ..


Israel and Jerusalem

Trump's Jerusalem Embassy Move Validates 3,500 Years of Jewish History

May 15th 2018

Jerusalem flags

I was grateful for the White House invitation to witness the historic opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Truth be told, I believe that every Jew in attendance was thinking of a father, a grandmother, a sibling wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust or any of the millions of Jews, who over two millennia were scattered to the four winds of exile—and on whose shoulders we stand today. For it was they, from Baghdad to Moscow, from New Delhi to New York, from Warsaw to Waukegan who down through the centuries--against all odds-- dared to dream that someday, somehow, their offspring would return home to Zion, to Jerusalem. Read more ..


The Edge of Hate

Bigoted Democrat in NY State Senate Deserves Censure

May 15th 2018

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew

Brad Hoylman (D), a New York State Senator, has posted an anti-Catholic tweet that cannot go unchallenged. His colleagues should condemn his bigotry without delay. In addition, he should recuse himself from voting on any measure dealing with the sexual abuse of minors. The subject of Hoylman's tweet is a new bill that was introduced in Albany that would provide restitution to minors who were sexually abused, regardless of where the offense took place. The funds to be distributed, $300 million, would come from state assets controlled by the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

Hoylman is a sponsor of the Child Victims Act, a bill that addresses the same issue, though it would not draw on public funds. He does not support the new bill, introduced by Sen. Catherine M. Young. That is his prerogative. But he has no right to make anti-Catholic remarks. Here is his tweet:
 
"It's an outrage to suggest using public money to cover for
institutions that have harbored child sex predators. Like robbing
Peter to pay John Paul II."
Read more ..


Israel and Jerusalem

No Democrats at U.S. Embassy Event in Jerusalem

May 15th 2018

Jerusalem wide

Observers at the ceremony in Israel that marked the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem noted that not a single elected Democrat was there to celebrate. On hand at the ceremony, however, were Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to represent President Donald Trump, in addition to numerous other dignitaries from the United States besides Israeli representatives. 

Conservative activist Candace Owens tweeted from Jerusalem, “Amazingly, not a single elected Democrat is here to celebrate this historic event in Jerusalem, a bonafide signal that they do not stand with Israel. This snub will not soon be forgotten—not in America or abroad.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, “Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises. Thank you, President Trump for making the alliance between Israel and the United States stronger than ever.” Read more ..


Israel and Jerusalem

After 40 Years in Tel Aviv, Guatemalan President Hails Embassy Move Back to Jerusalem

May 13th 2018

Jerusalem Dome close up

Following the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem this coming Monday, Guatemala is planning to make a similar move on Wednesday and open its own new embassy in Jerusalem’s Malha Technological Park.

“Historically, we believe this is the right step and the right thing to do,” Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told Israel Hayom in an exclusive interview.

The embassy move comes on a particularly hectic week: In a downpour of diplomatic and security events, Israel will hold Jerusalem Day celebrations on Sunday, the Palestinians will commemorate “Nakba Day” on Monday (Nakba meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic, refers to the calamity that befell the Palestinians with the establishment of Israel), and Muslims will mark the start of Ramadan on Wednesday. Read more ..


The Edge of Food

Does Wine Get Better With Age?

May 6th 2018

Taittinger 2002

I was sitting in a fabulous sea-side Tel Aviv restaurant the other day where a friend is the wine buyer. He asked me, “Jeff, can you taste this 1996 Krug Champagne that I just opened?” (Krug is one of the greatest names in bubbly, renowned for being ageworthy.)

“Twist my arm,” I joked. Rarely do I get to taste 22-year-old Krug, which was priced at 3000 shekels (about $800) on the wine list.

It was as good as I imagined it would be. The rich, nutty aroma that comes with age in older Champagnes was followed up by a creamy but still fresh texture in the mouth. The bubbles were quite small, however. This is what happens to Champagne over time as the carbon dioxide gas (which creates the bubbles) dissipates. It’s perfectly normal, as long as some effervescence remains. I personally prefer smaller bubbles anyway. Big bubbles are distracting. Read more ..


Inside Books

Why New Book, Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel, Fills a Void

May 5th 2018

Judaism Zionism and the Land of Israel

For decades, Rabbi Yotav Eliach, esteemed principal of Rambam Mesivta High School in Long Island, has accumulated his teachings, writings, and those of many other scholars and rabbinical authorities, tracking the history of Israel. His mission was not just to chronicle the dispossession and repossession of a people, as Walter Laqueur did in A History of Zionism, but to go beyond. Rabbi Eliach completes the circle and ties in the religious component— spiritual Judaism itself. The result is a massive and incisive tome, Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel. It is designed to bridge the intellectual space between Israel’s cultural, political, intellectual, diplomatic, juridical, and historical pillars. Skillfully and doggedly, Rabbi Eliach weaves in the Biblical and Talmudic quintessence that laces it all together.

Buy
Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel

The work spans the millennia between Abraham’s covenant with God right through the fiery twentieth century and into the modern, post-Oslo Accords era. In this compilation, God is an acknowledged factor as much as turning-point wars, crumbling international agreements, and fractious diplomacy. On an early page, Rabbi Eliach writes, “The Israelites’ relationship to Hashem was based on a covenant binding God and Israel through a series of obligations.” God is written about as a real and all permeating force, an ipso facto that functions as the alpha and omega of the story—dwelling above all events.
The Divine is a part of the Israel equation that many modern commentators do not emphasize. But Rabbi Eliach magnifies the role of the Lord, intertwined with those of skillful diplomats and brave warriors, from the perspective of a believer, as one who walks in the aura of understanding that too many analysts in the secular world circumvent. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Jay Bushinsky, Veteran Journalist and War Reporter, Dies at 85

May 3rd 2018

Newspapers

Veteran prizewinning journalist Jay Bushinsky died on Wednesday at his home in Savyon. He was 85. Bushinsky covered the Middle East for American and Canadian newspapers, radio stations and television networks, and occasionally wrote for The Jerusalem Post as well.

He was the Israel bureau chief, columnist or correspondent, or a combination of all three for several prestige media outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Times and The Atlanta Constitution.

He also opened the Jerusalem bureau of CNN in June 1980.

An op-ed piece that he published in the Post in 2012 focused on war correspondents. He wrote there that they should not take unnecessary risks, and that their host countries should do everything possible to ensure their safety. Read more ..


Financing the Flames

New Bill Aims to Cancel All Government Cooperation with The New Israel Fund

May 1st 2018

Money Bands=Happiness

A new bill aims to cut all governmental cooperation with the New Israel Fund and other foreign bodies in Israel that support organizations funded by foreign governments.

Get Financing the Flames and read the original Edwin Black investigation on the topic

The legislation, proposed by Knesset member Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu), comes days following a campaign conducted by the Zionist organization against the New Israel Fund, in which Im Tirtzu called on the government to cut all ties with the U.S.-based organization.

The New Israel Fund is the largest financer of Israel’s left-wing civil society and funds highly controversial NGOs, including “Breaking the Silence,” “B’Tselem” and “Adalah.” As many organizations funded by the NIF also receive extensive funding from foreign governments, the fund would fall under the law’s purview. Read more ..


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