Jul 2, 2016 - Opinion    1 Comment

A Candle for Hallel

Single-Candle

By Lilian Bosboom ~T4P Editor

Today, lighting the Shabbat candles tears ran down my face. I could not stop them from falling as I thought of the beautiful girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, an Israeli-American who liked to dance. I thought of her mother burying a 13-year-old daughter and suffering. I thought about her sisters waking up terrified, seeing the bed and floor soaked with blood. I can only imagine the trauma they will suffer from the rest of their lives seeing their dying sister. They were all sleeping in the same room but the terrorist chose Hallel. In the images that quickly ran through the internet, the blood was everywhere. On a bloodstained bed, a teddy bear shows a caring and happy childhood. Only the night before Hallel had danced in a school presentation. The next image I see are the paramedics fighting for her life as it was vanishing from the brutal blows of knife, sharpen by hatred. Hallel probably never carried hate in her heart against any young Palestinian. In the last image her mother cries goodbye. And as Shabbat begins in faraway Brazil, I am sending my prayers and tears of solidarity to her and her family.

Israeli children are not taught to hate. On the contrary, they are well cared for, educated, loved and grow up with a strong sense of protection and security. They learn the art of cooperation, how to be supportive of each other, and to value life. They learn these values in childhood. They are not abstract concepts. These ideas extend into the cooperative actions within their communities and neighborhoods. Hallel was one of many Israeli kids with a bright future in their country and possibly the world. A life interrupted by a Palestinian leader’s casual encouragement to its young people to kill Jews. Telling young terrorists to attack women and children with knives because they are easy prey. Leaders who publicly celebrate terrorist attacks by giving candy to children on the streets. Leaders who financially reward the families of terrorists for their actions.

This killer, who cut the throat of the girl as she slept, was incited to act by his school, by his parents, by false heroes, by his society and by the current Palestinian government every day of his life. This murder was the result of a cruel brainwashing, brutally applied since early childhood. Israel is their mortal enemy and the Jews have once again been stripped of their humanity. Thus, they can be killed without mercy. The stabbing performed by this young man was the result of this indoctrination.

Blaming Israel is a simplistic response to this murder. It is insane to think that the suffering of the Palestinian people is the sole responsibility of Israel. This can only be believed if you exclude all the history of the region for the past 100 years. It only perpetuates the collective blindness of a people abused by their own leaders. To the world, the life of a Jew has never been worth much; but under Palestinian leadership, the life of a Jew is worth nothing. To the world, Israeli assassinations are not terrorist acts. And to the Palestinian leadership, this fatally flawed young man graduated from the school of Martyrs.

Israel has long been painted in the media as a violent country, a land usurper and constantly at war. But that’s not the reality. On the contrary …. Israel is a peaceful country, its existence is as legitimate as its right to defend its own people.

While we cry and pray for Hallel, the mother of the terrorist celebrates the glorious death of her martyr son. As Golda Meir said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”

May 22, 2016 - Opinion, POV    No Comments

Combating Anti-Israelism and Boycotts

Who Should Do What?

aBDS

by Malcolm Lowe at Gatestone Institute ~T4P Editor

An earlier article defined and classified various strategies for combating both boycotts directed against Israel other kinds of hostile activity. Not discussed, however, were questions about who or what bodies should be implementing which strategies.

Such questions have become more acute, now that the Israeli government has designated substantial means for defending Israel from boycotts. We shall consider these questions after briefly reviewing the range of available strategies.

Kinds of Strategy

Up to now, most of the anti-boycott activity has been basically defensive. It assumes that Israel can be vindicated by providing relevant information. Either one complains that the anti-Israel activists are misrepresenting reality, by lying or omitting relevant facts or whatever. Or one complains that there are other countries that obviously deserve to be targeted in the alleged respects, but Israel alone is picked out for criticism and attack. Both strategies fall under the rubric “It’s not fair!” They are so familiar as to need no further elaboration here.

Unfortunately, such strategies are of limited utility: they work only with institutions that are obliged to be fair. Thus misleading reports in foreign media can be combated if those media are committed to standards of fair reporting. Likewise, foreign governments and parliaments can be held to standards laid down in their own legislation. Much excellent work is being done in both regards, often by organizations making the most of limited means (see the list in the earlier article). This sort of work is also essential for keeping Israel’s friends on board, reassuring them that the accusations against Israel are undeserved.

Regarding the anti-Israel activists themselves, however, defensive strategies are ineffective. These people have no intention whatsoever to be fair; they treat information offered on behalf of Israel with derision. To deter them and drive them off, one must use strategies that fall under the rubric “This is going to hurt you more than us!” There are at least five ways of making such people feel uncomfortable and even miserable, as we shall see. Four of those strategies were already detailed in the previous article and here we shall add a fifth: Delegitimization. Let us review them, each in turn.

  1. Lawfare. We are all familiar with Lawfare as misuse of the law to attack Israel, such as attempts to ambush Israeli officials with lawsuits in foreign countries. However, the pioneer in the study of Lawfare, Charles Dunlap (2001) insisted correctly that the term has to be defined more generally as “the use of the law in the pursuit of war.” That is, Lawfare has its proper uses as well as its anti-Israel abuses. France, despite its complicated relationship to Israel, deserves credit for introducing anti-boycott legislation already in 2003, under which various assaults on Israel and Israeli products have been prosecuted successfully. Now the United States, including many individual states, and the United Kingdom have followed suit. But even without laws specifically banning boycotts, existing laws in many countries provide opportunities to punish anti-Israel activists, as the Israeli organization Shurat HaDin has shown.

  2. Counter-Boycotts. The previous article gave examples of how boycotters were quickly defeated by a boycott directed against them (as, for instance, by customers of a Swedishsupermarket chain that decided no longer to stock Israeli products). Most conveniently, many boycott initiatives include the publication of comprehensive lists of people who have signed on to the boycott, telling us all whom to retaliate against. Regarding anti-Israel activities on campus, there is an organization, Canary Mission, that is patiently compiling a prosopography (a comparative biography) of those activists – whether teachers or students – on campus after campus. Canary Mission does not overtly call to make the lives of such people difficult, but it certainly facilitates counter-boycotts. It has noted with satisfaction cases where students decided to leave anti-Israel groups and delete all reference to them from their résumés, for fear of harming their prospects of employment.

  3. Delegitimization. Why just complain about the unfair delegitimization of Israel and Israelis? The offenders, too, can be targets of delegitimization. Indeed, this is one offensive strategy that has frequently been used. For instance, a list of filmmakers calling for boycotts of Israel was widely derided as consisting mainly of obscure backstage technicians and only two well-known names. (The list was, on the other hand, most useful for counter-boycott purposes, as every film today ends with scores of credits in which all those obscure individuals are included.) Academics can be derided if – as is often the case – they belong to low-level institutions that issue degrees with comical titles; unfavourable reviews of their publications can be sought out and made widely known. When some performer calls for a cultural boycott of Israel, a list of far more famous performers who have appeared in Israel can be produced, letting one deride the obnoxious individual as a second-rate sideman or has-been who is desperate for publicity. And so on.

  4. Digging up Dirt. Just as antisemitism is a symptom of sick individuals, anti-Israelism is frequently a symptom of institutions that are infected by corruption or even in a state of terminal decline. So one strategy, when an institution goes on an anti-Israeli track, is to start investigating what else is wrong with the institution and attack it from that angle. If this is done often enough, moreover, institutions will get wary and hesitate to become anti-Israel in the first place, for fear of attracting unwelcome attention.

  5. Self-Harming. Anti-Israelism is not just a symptom of declining institutions, it can also accelerate the decline. Consider those churches, like the PCUSA, the United Church of Christ and the British Methodists, whose foolish leadership has endorsed boycotts directed at Israel. They were already losing membership year in, year out. There were already frictions between individual parishes and the haughty hierarchy. Instead of begging their leaders to leave Israel alone, they can be told: “Your agitation about Palestine brings the Palestinians no benefits and leaves Israelis unaffected; you merely increase dissention in your parishes and encourage fresh defections. You are engaged in pure self-harming.

Who Should Do What?

Until recently, the greater part of anti-boycott activity was carried out by private initiatives whose scarcity of funds was matched by tireless devotion to the cause. This author recently visited one of those organizations, which has created a valuable archive on the internet and whose interventions have had a real impact in foreign countries. When he expressed appreciation of so much achieved in such small premises, he was told: “We could move to a larger office, but we prefer to use the money on an extra researcher.”

All this could be changed by the Israeli government decision (June 2015) to allocate 100 million shekels to combating boycotts. The private organization just mentioned, for example, could do fresh wonders with a small fraction of that sum.

So there are two principal questions. What activities are best carried out by government itself and what are best delegated to private organizations? And should organizations specialize in particular strategies or can a given single organization draw upon all the available strategies?

The answer to the second question is a simple one: organizations have to specialize because certain combinations of strategies cannot be pursued without embarrassment. In particular, one and the same organization can hardly both plead the unfairness of boycotts and simultaneously pursue counter-boycotts; these tasks have to be separated.

Thus, in particular, government officials should rarely be involved in counter-boycotts at all. Of course, they are entitled to refuse to meet people involved in anti-Israel activity and, if the case is persuasive enough, to refuse them entry to the country. But these are rights of the government officials anywhere.

This does not mean, however, that government cannot foster counter-boycotts indirectly. For instance, government can compile and publish accurate data on who is involved in boycotts, leaving it to others to use the data as they please. In the case of the Swedish supermarkets, as the earlier article noted, the Ambassador of Israel merely informed all the locals on his mailing list, who then took the matter into their own hands. This case provides the model.

Government can also take a lesson from several European governments, which allocate funds to church-based and humanitarian organizations that, according to their names, are engaged in relieving worldwide famine, poverty and disease. These organizations, as NGO Monitor has widely documented, then pass on immense sums to NGOs that have nothing to do with those noble aims but are agitating politically on behalf of the Palestinians. Likewise, Israeli government money could trickle through one or more cut-outs to organizations that do what government must abstain from.

Digging up Dirt is basically a similar case. An exception might be if personnel within the hostile entity volunteered to supply information to government representatives. Yet in this case, too, government may be on firmer ground if it passes the information on to others who know how to exploit it. It can also find ways to finance those who are engaged in researching the inner workings of hostile entities, as any such project may require a year or more in order to figure out what is going on.

Self-Harming, on the other hand, is a strategy that purports to rescue a hostile entity from self-destruction by weaning it off its anti-Israel agenda. So anyone can use it and those public officials who are well-trained in adopting hypocritical stances might be as good at it as anybody else.

Delegitimization permits greater flexibility. That a person maligned responds by attacking the credentials of the maligners is often regarded as only natural. The same indulgence is accorded to the official representatives of a maligned country.

The most important point about Lawfare is that it is necessarily expensive. Cases may go to appeal and thence to a Supreme Court, so they can go on for years with expenses piling up. They may be won, but without refund of costs. Or they may be lost on a technicality, with costs awarded to the accused. Lawfare is thus eminently a matter for government finance, since government can afford to take losses that would bankrupt private organizations.

Still, the pursuit of justice in the courts of a foreign country is rarely appropriate for government itself. Perhaps the way is for government to support the general budget of relevant private organizations on such conditions as: an organization must have a proven record of success and it should consult government lawyers before pursuing individual cases.

The author would welcome suggestions about strategies that he may have overlooked. But even if there be more, the above discussion may provide sufficient guidelines for discerning how and by whom they would best be employed.

Malcolm Lowe is a Welsh scholar specialized in Greek philosophy, the New Testament and interfaith relations.

Apr 29, 2016 - Science    No Comments

Israeli Researchers Develop Anti-Bacterial Coating for Medical Devices to Prevent Infections

bacteria

By Israel 21C at TheTower.org ~T4P Editor

Bacterial adherence to medical implants and surgical equipment is a known cause of infections. Now, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed an innovative anti-biofilm coating, which has significant anti-adhesive potential for a variety of medical and industrial applications.

And that could mean far fewer infections following medical implants.

“Our solution addresses a pervasive need to design environmentally friendly materials to impede dangerous surface bacteria growth,” write the BGU researchers from the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering. “This holds tremendous potential for averting biofilm formed by surface-anchored bacteria and could have a tremendous impact.”

According to the research published in Advanced Materials Interfaces, anti-adhesive patches that are developed from naturally occurring biomaterials can prevent destructive bacterial biofilm from forming on metal surfaces when they are immersed in water and other damp environments.

The BGU anti-adhesive nano coating could be used on medical implants, devices and surgical equipment thus stopping bacteria from contributing to chronic diseases or resisting antibiotic treatment.

It can also be used in preventing aquatic biofouling on ships and bridges.

The BGU researchers who participated in the study from the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering are Dr. Karina Goldberg, Prof. Noa Emuna, Prof. Dorit van Moppes, Prof. T. P. Vinod, Prof. Robert Marks, Prof. Ariel Kushmaro, and Prof. Shoshana Malis Arad. Marks and Kushmaro are members of BGU’s Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, and are also visiting researchers at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The work was supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under the CREATE program: Nanomaterials for Energy and Water Management; a Levi Eshkol scholarship from the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology, and by a Shimona Geresh award.

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