Energiya Global were involved in the building of this massive solar field in Rwanda
The announcement was made at a meeting of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) that took place this month in Liberia. The meeting was also noteworthy because it was addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, marking the first time ever that ECOWAS has been addressed by a Prime Minister of a non-ECOWAS member.
Energiya Global are involved in major projects in Rwanda and Burundi, and this new agreement will bring even more solar energy to even more people. Yosef Abramowitz, the CEO of Energiya Global is becoming somewhat of a celebrity, having met with Bono at one of the Rwandan solar fields, and even having run for President of the State of Israel. Israeli technology and innovation are combining with its desire to change the world, resulting in the improvement to the lives of millions and millions of people.
Many people around the world read Ha’aretz, the left-leaning Israeli newspaper, to remain informed about Israel. But often Ha’aretz goes well beyond what is acceptable criticism of Israel, crossing red lines in its coverage of Israel’s actions. Some of the stories in the paper contain an unholy trinity of lies, exaggerations and spinning a narrative, which combine to blacken Israel’s image. A recent article gave a perfect example of this phenomenon, and the end of this article will show that it is not an isolated incident.
On June 4th 2017, Haaretz’s Gideon Levy wrote an article entitled “Die, Suffer, You Kahba (whore)”. The article is about what happened when Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian girl, who approached their checkpoint with a knife.
Levy opens with an emotive paragraph – “A horrific incident took place in the occupied territories last Thursday…..Watching the video clip that documented the event turns one’s stomach. Its revolting and infuriating, yet no media outlet in Israel paid any attention to it, reflecting the depth of apathy to which we have sunk.”
He then describes what happened: after the girl had been shot, a group of soldiers stood around her, letting her die – “no-one even thought of offering her medical aid,” he wrote. To make things worse, the soldiers “competed with each other to see who could curse with more vile language.” Levy concludes his story with some damning sentences: “These are your soldiers Israel, this is their language, these are their values and standards… fifty years of occupation have brought us to this.”
Here we have your classic anti-Israel article – an emotionally presented story of horrific Israeli brutality, framed at the beginning and end with terms showing how the story is just symbolic of a broader pattern of evil that runs through Israeli society at large.
The one problem is, it’s total nonsense. As CAMERA researchers showed, the actual story is a far cry from what Levy describes. In a video obtained by CAMERA, one clearly sees that the IDF soldiers indeed do call for medical help for the girl – in the opening seconds of the video, one soldier shouts “Call the medical team!” and another responds, “I called, they are on their way.”
So far from watching her die, they are indeed doing exactly what they should do, to call for help to ensure life is not unnecessarily lost. The “competition of insults” is also a complete fiction – there are seven soldiers who are in the video, none of whom shout any insults at her. One person, and one person only, who is not in the shot, can be heard shouting insults at her – and there is no way of knowing if they are a soldier or not.
So what actually happened is the following: A terrorist attempted to stab IDF soldiers, who then shoot her. The soldiers call for medical help, and an individual bystander/soldier shouts insults at the injured terrorist. Yet Gideon Levy, contorts it into something else entirely. He lies, by saying the soldiers don’t call for medical help, exaggerates, by saying a competition of insults took place, and then spins a narrative, by using emotive language (“stomach-churning,” “horrific”) and saying this story was symbolic of a broader picture story of Israeli evil (“These are your soldiers, Israel.”) Levy has demonized Israel, giving readers a picture that these soldiers specifically, and Israel in general, are unspeakably awful, when it is simply baseless and untrue.
This unholy trinity of lies, exaggeration and spinning a narrative is not a one off. Another example – Haaretz’s Rogel Alpher recently wrote a sensationalist article titled “Boycott the Maccabiah”, in which he says that “The Maccabiah Games is a racist event that makes the 1936 Olympic Games look liberal,” because only Jewish athletes are allowed to compete. One wonders whether Alpher would make such a ridiculous statement about the Islamic Solidarity Games; seemingly, its only the Jews who are not allowed to express their national and religious identity, because it makes them Nazis.
But Alpher’s claim isn’t even true – Israeli Arabs take part in the Maccabiah Games as well. When this was pointed out by Presspectiva, CAMERA’s Israeli media department, Haaretz then undertook a most absurd editorial maneuver, adding in a sentence into the article which totally destroyed the article’s thesis, without changing anything else. The absurdity is clear from this actual quote from the article:
Only Jews take part in the Maccabiah. Not the best athletes from around the world, but only Jewish athletes. Some Israeli Arab athletes have taken part in the Maccabiah Games over the years, but that doesn’t change the event’s nature as the “Jewish Olympics.”
Unperturbed by the fact it isn’t true, the corrected article still says that the Jews are like the Nazis of 1936, concluding that “in the Maccabiah the participants come from many states, but all belong to a single, supreme race.” Never let some facts harm a good, unbalanced demonization of Israel.
Once again lies (“Only Jews participate”), exaggeration (“The Maccabiah is a victory for Aryan Race theory”) and spinning a narrative (“The fact that Israel never stopped holding the Maccabiah prove that racism and ultra-nationalism was always part of the state.”) are what has made a cultural event on the Jewish calendar into something that is pure evil.
The sensationalism in their reporting is endless: In reporting about the recent decision by Netanyahu to renege on the Kotel compromise deal, Haaretz ran the headline: “Netanyahu to American Jews; Drop Dead” Imagine every time a head of state made a decision that harmed an interest group it was reported like that. Last July, Gideon Levy wrote that Israel is “Evil. Pure evil. Sadistic evil. Evil for evil’s sake.” And of course, there was the infamous cartoon in 2014, were Haaretz printed this, to show what they thought Netanyahu was doing for Israel’s foreign relations with America.
I will conclude with one final example of Haaretz’s exaggerated sensationalism for the purpose of this article, though there are links to more examples below. A frequent theme that Haaretz spouts is the erosion of Israeli democracy. In January of this year, Presspectiva counted no fewer than 22 times that the newspaper referred to this “erosion” in the month of January. Then, at the end of the January, the British magazine the Economist published their Democracy Index for 2016 – and lo and behold, Israeli democracy strengthened in 2016, and was at basically the same level as France and the USA. Haaretz see worrying evidence of Israeli flaws at every turn, even though the facts say otherwise.
The Economist Democracy Index (graph created by Guy Bechor)
In his book The Prime Ministers, Yehuda Avner writes of his realization that discussions about Israel are often disproportionately emotional, and got people very worked up.
For a paper whose slogan is “For Thinking People,” Haaretz is a very emotive newspaper. It is a paper where latent fury at Israel is always bubbling, just waiting for the incident, or non-incident as it may be, to unleash it. Until Haaretz’s coverage calms down, and treats Israel as any country should be treated – fairly, critically, in a measured and balanced way – Ha’aretz will be part of the problem, not part of any solution.
Over the Spring, Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian activist and representative of the progressive left, was invited to speak at UMass Amherst by several faculty departments and student organizations. Her lecture focused on what the United States must do to better protect and support the minorities of this nation.
Much of her talk was rooted in history, where she lectured on Japanese internment camps and the harm they did to both the Japanese and the United States as a whole during World War II. She used that focal point in history to talk about her ethnic experience in America. Sarsour argued that President Trump has Islamophobic tendencies, using his attempt to exclude people from seven middle-eastern countries, and cited the various consequences minorities will continue to face if all faiths are not treated equally.
Sarsour mainly focused on the work the progressive left has done and needs to continue in order to keep up this level of resistance. However, following her talk, she took a question from a student who identified herself as a progressive Zionist regarding how Jews and pro Israel students can feel unwelcome when championing other causes they feel passionate about such as Black Lives Matter (BLM). This concern is due to the fact that BLM’s platform officially endorses boycotting only one country, Israel. Sarsour argued that “if you want to work on pro-Israel stuff please do it. But you can’t come to Black Lives Matter and say you have to recognize the state of Israel”. Actually, it’s the other way around. Pro-Israel students never believed that the struggle for black lives mirrors the events of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is therefore fair criticism for pro-Israel students to ask why Israel is belittled and not recognized considering that BLM has gone out of its way to incorporate the conflict as part of their platform.
Furthermore, If BLM were to take a different position on the the Arab-Israeli conflict, would Sarsour, who has continuously spoken up against Israel, continue her support for the organization? In addition to the position of BLM, what if Human Rights Watch or other social justice organizations began focusing on Palestinian incitement against Jews in the region, would Sarsour stand by her beliefs of fighting injustice or would she distance herself? Sarsour loves to talk about the money raised for a Jewish cemetery in Saint Louis, but ignores the safety of Jews in Israel in the face of Palestinian incitement and terrorism. Sarsour, fails to understand why pro-Israel students are insisting on the acknowledgment of such a simple truth.
Pro-Israel students like myself would be the first to acknowledge the stark differences between BLM and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The organizations behave in different ways and forward different causes. It is therefore incredibly bizarre that the two organizations have merged together, fighting under one banner of human rights. Black Lives Matter is an organization that is upfront about forwarding and promoting the positive development of black lives. Where is the intersectional overlap with SJP? Knowing this, how does SJP further the values of BLM? The forced connection between the two causes pushed by anti-Israel activists emerged following the death of Michael Brown where SJP protesters were found holding signs and waving flags that said, “From Ferguson to Palestine.” SJP’s decision to coalition with BLM seems more about teaming up against Israel and less about social justice.
SJP at Vassar College sold this T Shirt justifying the actions of terrorist, Leila Khalid
Furthermore, after beginning the question and answer portion of the lecture, Sarsour insinuated that Jews have a history of not supporting causes that do not directly affect their own people. She accused Jews of making their personal activism about them. When a student asked about the possible intersectional overlap between Zionism and progressive movements, Sarsour said, “sometimes we have to show up in a space that is not about us…(after referencing her fundraising efforts for the desecrated Jewish cemetery in Saint Louis) are the people who are buried in that cemetery, are they Zionist, are they pro-Israel, I just want to get the politics, right?” Sarsour was absolving herself from preconditions, saying she helps those regardless of their political ideology. She continues, “when I show up at a space for black lives, I don’t stop people and say, ‘before we organize on the sanctity of black lives I just want to know where you lie on Palestine..because in that moment it’s not about me.” Sarsour was referring to the false notion that the Jews need to be at the center of the cause for whom people are fighting.
Such a statement is not only ahistorical but also incredibly bizarre.There is a long history of individuals lashing out at Jews, arguing that it is not only about them. Perhaps it is fair to say that Sarsour has followed suit in similar fashion.
What Sarsour is perhaps most effective at, is forwarding the traditional anti-Israel narrative and creating discourse that aligns more with ideology and less with reality. Moreover, the subject of Sarsour’s speech could have been given at any point during this semester, yet she came right after “colonial apartheid week” at UMass. Sarsour noticeably decided to not express her support for Sharia Law in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated as second class citizens and banned from driving, and where the punishment for homosexuality is death. She also could have spoken about her condemnation of human rights activist and female genital mutilation victim, Ayyan Hirsi Ali. Instead, she poked fun at the ideals of Zionism.
Following the event, some went up and thanked her personally while others talked amongst their friends. But whether it be intersectional overlap or a selective application of facts that are ahistorical, both Sarsour and SJP provided plans for exclusion under the large umbrella of human rights and justice for all.
This month is the holiest month of the Muslim Calendar, Ramadan. In honor of this month, here are some statistics on the Muslim population of Israel. These statistics largely come from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
1. In the year 2015, there were 1.48 million Muslims living in Israel, 18% of the population of Israel. The fertility rate of Muslims in Israel (3.3) is higher than that of Saudi Arabia (3), Turkey (2.1) or Lebanon (1.5).
2. In the academic year 2014/15, 5,300 Muslim students received university degrees from Israeli universities.
3. In Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, there are 120 Members of Parliament. Currently, 15 of them are Muslim.
4. There are certain industries where Muslims are disproportionately represented, such as the medical field. Statistics are available for Israeli Arabs in general rather than Muslims specifically (so include Christians, Bahai etc.), but 38% of those working in pharmaceuticals in Israel are Arab. Incredibly, in the Superpharm chain, one of the major chain of chemists in Israel, 62% of pharmacists are Arab.
5. Muslims in Israel have freedom of worship and practice. Last Friday, 250,000 Muslims visited the Al Aqsa Mosque for Ramadan prayers. 150,000 of them were from Gaza or the West Bank.
We sincerely apologize to anyone who finds that these statistics don’t fit their narrative of Israel.
Falafel, Shwarma, Jaffa oranges – there are many foods that we associate with Israel, but maybe none more than Hummus. The dish is thousands of years old, and no Israeli meal is complete without it. At Queens College, CAMERA-supported group Israel Student Association ran a cultural event entirely surrounding the theme of Hummus.
Queens students with their Hummus!
The event was run in the style of Masterchef – there were five teams of contestants, each of whom had to make the best Hummus they could. They were given many ingredients – the traditional chickpeas and spices, plus some very un-Middle Eastern ingredients, such as chocolate syrup!
Hard at work making Hummus…..
The event also served as good publicity ahead of the group’s Israel Fest a few weeks later, on Israel’s Independence Day. It clearly paid off, as the major Israel Fest event was a huge success, with over 350 people taking part!
Think of Black Friday, but just for books. That’s what happens in Israel this week, for Israel’s National Book Week, one of the major events in Israel’s cultural calendar. These ten days in June are also a good opportunity to examine an aspect of Israel that is often overlooked – the culture of knowledge that exists within Israel.
Israelis browsing the books at book week
During Book Week, there are book related sales and events all over Israel. Bookstores slash their prices (one academic publisher, Shalem Press, offers a buy one, get two free offer on its books), and portable bookstores pop up everywhere. There is a central Book Fair in Jerusalem, featuring hundreds of events, lectures, discussions, and of course, book signings, and hundreds of similar events around the country. There are also book parties for children, encouraging children to come and read (and convince their parents to buy them some books as well!) The home video below captures the atmosphere at an event in the Yarkon Park, the largest park in Tel Aviv.
This celebration of books fits well with a general culture in Israel that celebrates reading, learning and knowledge, and this culture begins from childhood. In Israel, September 1st, the first day of the school year, has a festive atmosphere to it. Every major politician, from across the political spectrum will make sure to go to visit a school, to welcome in the new cohort to the school.
But there is a culture of life long education as well. In Israel, it is cool, or definitely not odd, to go to a lecture in the evening. In Tel Aviv, there was recently a series “Science at the Bar” where bars around the city hosted professors to talk about their field. Similar events have taken place in Jerusalem as well. On billboards in both cities, there are regular advertisements for lectures, public debates and book releases. And one can link this modern Israeli phenomenon to the long lasting Jewish tradition and veneration of learning. It seems that the Jews in modern Israel are very much still the people of the book.
An archaeology lecture in a Tel Aviv bar. The lecture focused on the history of Jerusalem, in honor of Jerusalem day.
It is also worth noting that Israel does somewhat stand out from its neighbors in the field of book publishing and distribution. It is hard to find statistics on book publishing in the Arab world, so I will focus on ones that are available for 2008. In that year, across the Arab world, 7560 new books were published (actually a slightly lower figure than previous years, when it was around 8,500). In Israel alone, in 2008, 7400 books were published. According to the International Federation of Libraries Associations, Israel has 870 public libraries. The United Arab Emirates, a country with an equivalent population to Israel, has 20.
Israel’s culture of knowledge is something that is celebrated this week. And maybe a better future awaits all the citizens of the Middle East if that culture of knowledge was copied in other countries.
SodaStream had always prided itself on hiring both Israelis and Palestinians at its factories. Despite the fact that SodaStream is an island of peace and co-existence, this did not stop the radical BDS campaigners trying to get SodaStream’s West Bank factory shut. Last February, BDS scored a “victory”, when they managed to get the factory closed, causing 350 Israeli Jews, 450 Israel Arabs and 500 Palestinians to lose their jobs.
At that stage, one would have thought that Western supporters of BDS might start asking themselves some hard questions. How does causing 1,500 Jews and Arabs who work together to lose their jobs make peace more likely? Isn’t a factory where Muslims and Jews work together, form friendships, and contributing to the common good of the world, what we should be striving for? And by what merit do you in the west have the right to decide that these people should “make the sacrifice” and lose their jobs, as part of the “struggle for Palestine”?
The Palestinian workers who lost their jobs at Sodastream were devastated
But there was some good news this week – 74 of the Palestinian workers who lost their jobs then received their permits to be able to work in the Sodastream factory in southern Israel. The workers are delighted – Ali Jafar, one of the workers at the facility, told the Jerusalem Post that “Sodastream is our second home.” Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said that “We are delighted to welcome back our 74 devoted Palestinian employees, who are able to join their 1,500 friends at our Rahat facility in the Negev.” One third of the employees at the Rahat facility are themselves Israeli Bedouin Arabs.
Though it sounds ridiculous, the BDS campaigners are probably upset that Palestinians have gone back to work. There, in a line, is everything you need to know about this radical movement, that seeks to divide, rather than to unite, Palestinians and Israelis.
Everyone has seen videos from AJ+ popping up on their Facebook feed – but this week gave us a reminder of just who AJ+, who are a subsidiary of the Qatari government news channel Al Jazeera, really are.
Firstly, on Saturday, Al Jazeera English, tweeted one of the most disgraceful pieces of anti-Semitism in recent memory. In response to President Trump leaving the Paris Accord on climate change, they tweeted this.
This is every anti-Semitic trope possible, mixed into one hyper anti-Semitic tweet. The hooked nose Jew controls the President of the United States, and uses him to further his own Talmudic plan for world domination at the expense of everyone else. It is pure hatred, with absolutely no basis in fact (what exactly have Jews got to do with Trump’s decision?). If they had tweeted anything remotely as bad as this about African Americans, Latinos or any other minority group, there would be national outrage (they have now at least removed the tweet). The next time you see AJ+ make a heart-rending video about social justice, ask yourself this simple question – how can one claim to be a fighter for social justice and equality when they tweet this about Jews?
There are many other issues in Qatar. AJ+ will make videos defending women’s rights in America, but in Qatar, women don’t even have the right to vote. But actually, there is gender equality on that issue, because men can’t vote either – Qatar is not a democracy, so nobody votes there. There is also the issue of the shocking treatment of foreign workers in Qatar. Workers, many of whom are building the stadiums for the 2022 soccer World Cup, often have their passports confiscated, and live and work in terrible conditions. According to the report below, over 360 workers have died in Qatar due to the terrible conditions they live in.
This week, Al Jazeera’s outrageous anti-Semitism and focus returning to Qatar’s terror links have reminded us of the problems in Qatar, and the issues with the people behind AJ+. AJ+ try to sell themselves as a liberal, progressive voice – but the real picture is that they are the exact opposite.
Professor Dershowitz recently spoke to around 200 students at Harvard Law School, at an event sponsored by CAMERA-supported group, HLS Alliance for Israel. His talk took the form of a conversation with Professor Gideon Palte, and this style of session lead to a more informal feel to the event.
Professor Dershowitz speaking at the Alliance For Israel event
He covered a number of topics – his defense of Israel, the campaign for Soviet Jewry, and his experience as a proudly Jewish professor at a time when universities were not as accepting of Jews as they are today. There was also time for questions for students, and combined with the informal style of the talk, this meant students got to feel that Professor Dershowitz was not merely lecturing them, but he was guiding them as they begin their journey’s, as professionals, as Jews, and as supporters of Israel.
One of the companies that raised $10 million is Softwheel, an incredible company that is revolutionizing one of the main pieces of equipment to help the disabled – the wheelchair. By changing the way suspension is used in the wheels of the chair, Softwheel is creating a wheelchair that can easily navigate steps and more difficult terrain, increasing the mobility and freedom of wheelchair users.
“It’s difficult and painful to use a wheelchair to cross the street,” said Daniel Barel, CEO of SoftWheel, “with the chair’s rider feeling the strong impact of a chair going off the sidewalk and onto a curb. With a SoftWheel-equipped chair, a wheelchair user can cross streets or go down steps without feeling the impact.”
But the SoftWheel technology, which relies on a revolutionary system of in-wheel suspensions, has even more potential. SoftWheel are also looking to revolutionize not only wheelchairs, but the wheels used in other settings as well. The SoftWheel suspension system can be used in cars, bikes and planes, to save wasted energy, increase speed, and reduce costs.
SoftWheel has signed a deal with American company NuMotion, enabling this revolutionary technology to help improve lives around the world. And SoftWheel is just one of Israel’s many medical technology start-ups; the country has over 700 in the field. The Start-Up Nation is bettering the lives of people around the world, one innovation at a time.