From Ian:

German judge rules: Anti-Zionism is code for anti-Semitism

The wheels of justice move slowly, but they are inching forward in Germany. In a unprecedented case heard half a year after these violent anti-Israel demonstrations, last week in Essen, German Judge Gauri Sastry convicted 24-year-old Taylan Can for incitement against an ethnic minority for events at a July 18, 2014, anti-Israel demonstration in the town.
Eyewitness accounts report hostile anti-Israel chants and stones thrown from the anti-Israel camp to the smaller group of Israel supporters. According to the Anti-Defamation League, a breakaway group headed toward a local synagogue, intending to attack it.
A YouTube video of the demonstration shows fields of Palestinian flags and Turkish flags, and a motley group of young men running and chanting “Adolf Hitler” and “Death to the Jews.” In the video, popular Essen Muslim rapper Sinan-G speaks to the camera explaining this is a counter-demonstration against the Jews. “The Jews insulted us, man, this is crazy stuff,” he said.
Despite the large police presence, the crowd was clearly out of control. According to Die Welt, police arrested 49 protesters. Forty-five cases were dismissed in December.
Born in Germany to a Turkish family, Can is well-known for his anti-Israel activism. According to Die Welt, Can was caught on tape at a Copenhagen protest shouting into a borrowed police megaphone, “Death to the Jews,” “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas chamber.”
At his Essen hearing this winter Can was prosecuted for his use of the term “Zionist” as incitement against a minority.
During the hearing, Can claimed he was not an anti-Semite and had nothing against the Jewish people but only against the Zionist state. In response, Judge Sastry is quoted by Die Welt saying, “‘Zionist’ is the language of anti-Semites, the code for ‘Jew.'”
Getting Anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations

You have to hand it to the United Nations, I guess. It’s hard to think of another body that would organize a special meeting on the subject of rising anti-Semitism with anti-Semites not just in attendance, but making speeches as well.
For good measure, Levy also expertly dispensed with some of the myths that surround the current debate on anti-Semitism, notably the contention that Jew-hatred would go away if only the Palestinians had a state of their own. “Even if the Palestinians had a state, as is their right—even then, alas, this enigmatic and old hatred would not dissipate one iota,” Levy declared, as the assembled delegates scratched their heads in puzzlement and, one might add, a degree of nervousness.
But did Levy’s message—essentially, that anti-Zionism, the denial of the right of national self-determination to the Jewish people, is the principal pillar upon which today’s anti-Semitism rests—get through?
Sadly, it didn’t. After Levy left the podium, we were treated to a seemingly endless stream of anodyne statements from the various delegations, with a couple of noble exceptions—Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor, who had the guts to say that anti-Semitism “can even be found in the halls of U.N., disguised as humanitarian concern,” and American Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, who reminded those delegates sitting in the General Assembly that Holocaust denial remains a staple of official media across the Middle East and North Africa.
The lasting impression, however, was left by Arab and Muslim delegates, most of whom pushed the insidious—and deeply stupid—myth that because the Palestinians are “Semites,” they cannot be anti-Semitic. As far as I’m aware, no one countered these remarks by pointing out that first, there is no such nationality or ethnicity as a “Semite,” and second, that the term “anti-Semitism” was devised by anti-Semites to give their loathing of the Jews scientific respectability.
NGO Monitor: NGO Monitor to UN "Schabas Commission": Adhere to Fact-Finding Standards

In a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict ("the COI"), NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute, warned the COI of the implications of failing to apply the principles of objectivity, non-selectivity, balance, and universality, and the history of the HRC's disregard for legal and ethical standards. The submission also noted that the UN projected a $3 million budget for the politically motivated investigation of Israel. William Schabas, the head of the Commission, in alliance with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Palestinian Authority, seek to use the CIO as part of the campaign seeking to exploit the International Criminal Court (ICC) for "lawfare" attacks against Israel.
"While the Government of Israel has justifiably decided not to participate in another biased UN pseudo-investigation, as members of Israeli civil society we have a duty to communicate our concerns to the UN," said Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor's Legal Advisor. "Our submission is a forceful reminder to the Schabas Commission: In order to avoid the abject failures of the past, particularly the 2009 Goldstone Report, the principles of impartiality, objectivity, and transparency must be applied. Unfortunately, we have no evidence or reason to expect that this COI will be any different from its predecessors in these core dimensions."
NGO Monitor's 79-page analysis documents numerous violations by NGOs and UN bodies of fact-finding standards and best practices. By design, UNHRC missions almost exclusively focus on the actions of Israel, while repeated and major violations committed by Palestinian actors or against Israeli citizens are all but ignored. Moreover, few, if any, mechanisms exist within the HRC (and the other UN) frameworks to verify and evaluate the allegations proffered by participating NGOs, resulting in a contravention of impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity.

NGO Monitor: Emotion, Not Law: A Critical Reading of B’Tselem’s “Black Flag” Report

Conclusion: Giving Hamas a Free Pass
In its zeal to blame Israel and senior Israeli government officials, B’Tselem absolves Hamas of any responsibility for its actions in endangering the civilian populations of both Gaza and Israel. This is completely inconsistent with the group’s claims of promoting human rights and combating impunity.
B’Tselem’s irresponsible reporting and failure to hold Hamas to account will only further endanger civilians in Gaza and Israel. The absurd argument that Israel cannot target Hamas fighters at home will only encourage terrorists to store more weapons, launch more rockets, and conduct more military operations from within homes and mosques, knowing that B’Tselem and other NGOs will help in its propaganda efforts to blame Israel for the consequences of any resulting civilian casualties.
Im Tirtzu: B’Tselem Report on IDF 'Crimes' Funded from Ramallah

The Zionist group says that its report brings up serious questions regarding the relationship between Israeli organizations and Palestinian funds that sponsor terrorism and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as the “enormous amount” of European money that they receive to portray Israel as a perpetrator of war crimes and to delegitimize Israel.
“Israeli citizens and the international community who will read B’Tselem’s report have a right to know that this report does not represent an objective investigation of truth with justice as its guiding principle,” explained Im Tirtzu. “Rather, this is the result of a political agenda and the negative attitude toward Israel. The investigation was biased from the start with a political agenda and negative attitude to distort the facts.
“Even as Operation Protective Edge was ongoing, B’Tselem falsely accused the IDF and the State of Israel from all possible platforms both in Israel and on the world stage in order to create international pressure against Israel, in spite of Israel’s valiant effort to act according to the law and avoid civilian casualties.”
NGO Monitor: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Gaza Mission: No Independence, No Facts, No Evidence

Despite drawing legal conclusions and providing interpretations of international law in its publications, PHR-I does not possess expertise in these issues.
One example is PHR-I’s accusation that Israel failed to provide “precautions to protect civilians, including the absence of effective warnings.” PHR-I even cited to the discredited Goldstone Report in an attempt to bolster its allegations that Israel’s warnings were insufficient, if not themselves violations of international law.
The fact that in some cases warnings were not 100% effective does not indicate any violation of law; there is no requirement under international law to provide 100% effective warnings. In fact, under IHL, Israel is only required to give general warnings to the extent they are feasible and only when doing so would not hamper Israel’s chance of success in military operations or compromise the element of surprise. Nevertheless, Israel’s warning procedure far exceeds the legal requirements and is more extensive than that of any other army. In many instances, Hamas directed the civilian population to disregard warnings and even directed people to return to targeted sites as human shields.
BBC News does its convincing impression of HRW PR department yet again

No attempt is made by Schick to properly explain the subject of SUNDS or to clarify to readers that absent from McGeehan’s CV is evidence of any medical training which would put him in the position of being able to make professional statements on that condition, which is also found among young men of South East Asian descent in other countries. As blogger Elder of Ziyon has already pointed out, HRW’s report includes some very questionable pseudo-medical allegations, which the report’s author has further amplified on social media.
Camilla Schick shows no interest in carrying out any serious journalistic investigation of the allegations made by HRW and in fact her entire report is nothing more than an embellished amplification that NGO’s claims which once again highlights the cosy, symbiotic relationship between the media and politically motivated ‘human rights’ organisations – as portrayed in the tweet below from the author of the HRW report and contributor to Schick’s article.
When a BBC article is based on unchallenged repetition of a HRW report and includes input from its author, it is of course to be entirely expected that such ‘journalism’ can be no more than an echo chamber giving publicity to the “same problems”. McGeehan knows that. Schick and the BBC know that. And yet audiences are being led to believe that this is independently sourced impartial news.
CAMERA: The AMIA Attack: Terrorism, Cover-Up and the Implications for Iran

The U.S. Department of State's annual terrorism reports have designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984, and, for the last two years, note a marked resurgence in its terrorist-related activities throughout the world. In 2013, the U.S. Committee on Homeland Security issued statements warning against Iran's encroaching influence in the Western Hemisphere and the dangers it presents to American security. Yet, some counterterrorism experts are still questioning whether the current U.S. administration may be downplaying the threats from Iranian agents in Latin America, on America's doorstep.
Those engaged in the debate that is underway on how to approach Iran's regime, whether through additional sanctions or polical rapprochement, would be well served to re-examine the AMIA case and its surrounding turmoil.
Will Argentina’s Jews Be Scapegoated?

Jews are paying the price for what should be a simple issue. If any other building had been targeted by terrorists and 85 people had been killed, it would not have taken 20 years to investigate – especially if a terrorist-linked country like Iran was suspected. Only because it was the Jewish community.
The investigation into Nisman’s death has become a source of media interest around the world. When Kirchner spoke at the UN in September of 2014, few listened carefully to her speech. She claimed that because she signed the memorandum of understanding with Iran “domestic and external demons had been set loose. The Jewish institutions that had accompanied us every year suddenly turned against us.”
She compared the role of Argentinian Jews to the “vulture funds who lobbied before the U.S. Congress.” Vultures? Demons? Instead of being viewed as victims, Argentinian Jews are viewed as a problem. They are blamed for “harming” Argentina’s relations with Iran, accused of being behind “right wing coup plots”or “dual loyalties,” and bashed for being “obsessed” and “infected” with wanting to know the truth about who murdered so many of them in 1994.
The case of Argentina shows how anti-Semites blame Jews for being victims; how the far-right persecuted them and the left blamed them; and that no matter what they do, they will continually be attacked unless they just remain silent.
'Saudi Arabia says 'I am Charlie' but it is not': Charlie Hebdo cartoonist attacks hypocrisy of leaders who marched in name of free speech but censor their press

A cartoonist who survived the Charlie Hebdo massacre has attacked the hypocrisy of world leaders who march in the name of free speech but censor their press.
The cartoonist Renald 'Luz' Luzier has given his first on-camera interview about the day of the massacre, how he missed death by minutes and criticised world leaders for hypocrisy over press freedoms.
Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence that began on January 7 when militants burst into Charlie Hebdo's office during a regular editorial meeting and shot dead five of its leading cartoonists.
The filmed interview took place in his sniper-proof flat in Paris, and throughout the interview Luz becomes visibly more and more distressed.
Interviewed for Vice by reporter Milene Larsson, he said : 'There are cartoonists in France who say "we can no longer draw things that could offend someone elsewhere in the world" - but if we take into account the positions and opinions of the whole world, we might as well tear up our drawings. It is over.'
Exclusive Interview with 'Charlie Hebdo' Cartoonist Luz

‘Charlie Hebdo’ Puts Newspaper on Hold as Employees Recover

The publishers of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo announced on Saturday that it would put its next issue on hold while its employees recover after losing 12 co-workers to a terror attack early in January.
The newspaper’s post attack issue sold nearly seven million copies as people the world over rushed to newsstands to support the paper after two Islamists broke into its Paris headquarters on January 7 and murdered 12 employees.
Charlie Hebdo spokesman Michel Salion promised that “there will be a future” for the newspaper but noted that colleagues needed to recover from the shock of the murders.
The murders spawned supporters all across the globe to adopt the slogan “I Am Charlie.”
Guardian ignores the Zionist conspiracy theory in the room

So, the headline and accompanying photo tell us two things:
First, Muslims in the Philippines burned a Charlie Hebdo poster in protest of the decision, by surviving editors of the satirical magazine, to depict the prophet Muhammad on their cover a week following the jihadist massacre.
Second, the Philippine protesters are evidently alleging that the decision by Charlie Hebdo to ‘mock’ the prophet Muhammad represents a ‘Zionist Conspiracy’.
However, in over 600 words of text, Penketh and Weaver completely fail to mention that the bizarre Zionist conspiracy allegation played a role in the protest in the Philippine town of Marawi – despite the fact that the photo used to illustrate story makes this fact perfectly clear. (The Guardian photo caption does note that the Israeli Prime Minister is on the poster, but doesn’t mention the ‘Zionist Conspiracy’)
Of course, other journalists may have decided to contextualize the photo by explaining to readers that such antisemitic conspiracy theories - which attempt to explain the “real cause” of terror attacks around the world – are quite common throughout the Arab and Muslim world, and certainly within the anti-Israel “activist” community.
StandWithUs: Supporting Israel Around the World

Stephen Sizer in Tehran

Last year the disgraced Church of England vicar Stephen Sizer attended an ugly conference in Iran.
The “New Horizon” conference featured notorious 9/11 truthers and a whole session dedicated to “Mossad’s Role in the 9/11 Coup d’Etat”.
You can see Sizer’s speech in Tehran here. It’s just the usual rant about Zionism. The regime will have been comforted, not challenged.
The Church of England really should announce that Sizer will never again represent it in Iran.
Actually he shouldn’t represent the Church anywhere in the world.
If the Church does keep him in its ranks, the darkest of conclusions should be drawn.
Why I Went Public About The Ban On Mentioning Israel At Ireland’s Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day soon came under the auspices of HETI – Holocaust Education Trust Ireland, and I was MC of the annual event for the next eleven years.
Days before the 2014 event, I received a verbal ultimatum from HETI: if I insisted on mentioning Israel or the Jewish state, I would be replaced as MC. HETI was referring to my closing remarks: “We must rededicate ourselves to preventing the memory of the Shoah being cynically trivialized and distorted by a vicious campaign that seeks to deny the Jewish people and the Jewish state their past and their future.” The words “and the Jewish state” were highlighted with a red marker. These words were deemed as “politicising” the event.
HETI’s ultimatum was not completely out of character. Two years earlier, my personal intervention was needed to prevent the Israeli Embassy from boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day, after HETI at first refused to allow the Ambassador to speak.
I responded to the ultimatum by pointing out the obvious connectivity between the Holocaust and Israel. As the judges said at the Eichmann trial in 1961: to argue that there was no connection between Jews in Israel and Jews murdered by the Nazis “is like cutting away the roots and branches of a tree and saying to its trunk: I have not hurt you.”
Report: Anti-Israel activists endangered 3-year old girl in San Mateo Bridge blockade

We have reported extensively on the dangerous tactic of blockading the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge, including abandoning cars and draping a Palestinian flag across the roadway at the highest span point.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of motorists were trapped on the bridge, with no way out and no way for emergency vehicles to exit.
The University received an email shortly after the Silicon Shutdown protest on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, “expressing concern and threatening to file a lawsuit,” according to an email to The Daily from Brad Hayward, senior director of strategic communications for the University….
According to a source familiar with the content of the email, the email was written by an attorney on behalf of a family that was on the bridge at the time. A 3-year-old girl was allegedly experiencing medical distress, and the protest blocked the family’s route to the hospital.
At publication time, the University had not been served with any such lawsuit.
University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin wrote in an email to The Daily that the University had also received other complaints from motorists and the general public regarding the protest.
“The protest was not a University sanctioned event, and the Silicon Shutdown group is not a University organization or recognized student group,” Lapin wrote. “The case of the Silicon Shutdown participants is a matter being investigated and prosecuted by the CHP and the San Mateo County District Attorney.”
Upcoming fundraiser for convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh at DePaul Univ.

Paul Miller writes that there may be a reaction on campus to the fundraiser:
The February 3, 2015 event is being touted as “a fundraiser to celebrate the resilience of Rasmea Odeh.” But some Blue Demon students believe this gathering serves as an indictment of SJP and their support of terrorism, not peace.
“While we’ve seen SJP use a variety of underhanded tactics on campuses across the country, this is a new level of extreme,” Mick Silverman, VP Students Supporting Israel at DePaul, told the Salomon Center. “It just goes to show that this is an organization that has no interest in a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but only seeks to continue to destabilize that situation by allying with convicted terrorists.”
We’ll keep following the Rasmea story; it epitomizes at so many levels the false victimization narrative of the anti-Israel movement
Why Hitler Wished He Was Muslim

This was not Germany’s first case of Türkenfieber, or Turk fever. Turkey had slid into World War I not by accident but because Germany had greased the tracks: training officers, supplying weapons, and drawing the country away from Britain and France. Hitler wanted to repeat the Kaiser ’s experiment in search of a better result. By 1936, Germany supplied half of Turkey’s imports and bought half of Turkey’s exports, notably chromite, vital for steel production. But Atatürk, Mr. Ihrig writes, hedged his bets and dodged a “decisive friendship.” After Atatürk’s death in 1938, his successor, Ismet Inönü, tacked between the powers. In 1939, Turkey signed a treaty of mutual defense with Britain, but in 1941 Turkey agreed to a Treaty of Friendship with Germany, securing Hitler’s southern flank before he invaded Russia. Inönü hinted that Turkey would join the fight if Germany could conquer the Caucasus.
As David Motadel writes in “Islam and Nazi Germany’s War,” Muslims fought on both sides in World War II. But only Nazis and Islamists had a political-spiritual romance. Both groups hated Jews, Bolsheviks and liberal democracy. Both sought what Michel Foucault, praising the Iranian Revolution in 1979, would later call the spiritual-political “transfiguration of the world” by “combat.” The caliph, the Islamist Zaki Ali explained, was the “führer of the believers.” “Made by Jews, led by Jews—therewith Bolshevism is the natural enemy of Islam,” wrote Mahomed Sabry, a Berlin-based propagandist for the Muslim Brotherhood in “Islam, Judaism, Bolshevism,” a book that the Reich’s propaganda ministry recommended to journalists.
By late 1941, Germany controlled large Muslim populations in southeastern Europe and North Africa. Nazi policy extended the grand schemes of imperial Germany toward madly modern ends. To aid the “liberation struggle of Islam,” the propaganda ministry told journalists to praise “the Islamic world as a cultural factor,” avoid criticism of Islam, and substitute “anti-Jewish” for “anti-Semitic.” In April 1942, Hitler became the first European leader to declare that Islam was “incapable of terrorism.” As usual, it is hard to tell if the Führer set the tone or merely amplified his people’s obsessions.
BBC denies hiding names of ‘hundreds’ of Nazi guards

The British Broadcasting Corporation has denied it barred researchers working on an Auschwitz documentary from turning over the names of “hundreds” of living Nazi workers at the concentration camp to prosecutors.
The allegations that the BBC had prevented its employees from reporting its sources emerged in a Fox News report on Monday, which cited a 2006 email from one of the documentary’s leading researchers — a statement the researcher later retracted.
The network and researchers involved in the 2005 “Auschwitz: The Nazis and ‘The Final Solution'” mini-series maintained that the names of Auschwitz employees were culled from German records and were well-known to the local authorities, the report said. Meanwhile, the Nazi hunters of the Simon Wiesenthal Center castigated the researchers for failing to pass on the list of names so that they could pursue further investigations.
“Unfortunately, I cannot pass on data of my research work,” researcher Frank Stucke wrote in 2006. “It would be against BBC policy to give away names of witnesses, because then we would never get any interviewees anymore.”
Stucke later denied the BBC had ever held him back from reporting the information, while others pointed out that the Nazi sources were located using German files, which attested to a greater, institutional failure on the part of the German government to crack down on Auschwitz workers.
UK Jews outraged over Cornwall ‘Hitler’ park

The park in Mevagissey was named for a local politician in the 1930’s, nicknamed “Hitler” for his dictatorial manner, according to BBC.
The sign in the park was removed in 2005 by a now defunct local body after receiving a number of complaints, but the Mevagissey Parish Council recently decided to reinstate it, prompting a furious response from the Jewish community.
Jewish community leader Harvey Kurzfield said the move was “outrageous and completely unfeeling,” and called for a boycott.
“It is unbelievable to stoop to doing something like that,” he said. “I would urge Jewish people to boycott the village
Auschwitz guard charged with 300,000 counts of accessory to murder

A 93-year-old former Auschwitz death camp officer will go on trial in Germany in April charged with at least 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, a court said Monday.
The German defendant, Oskar Groening, will face charges over the 425,000 people believed to have been deported to the camp in occupied Poland between May and July 1944, at least 300,000 of whom were killed in the gas chambers.
The regional court in the northern city of Lueneburg said the trial, expected to be one of the last of its kind, would start on April 21.
Fifty-five co-plaintiffs, mainly survivors and victims’ relatives, will be represented at the trial.
Groening, then a member of the Nazi Waffen-SS, was tasked with counting the banknotes gathered from prisoners’ luggage and passing them on to the SS authorities in Berlin, prosecutors in the northern city of Hanover said when he was charged in September.
New Greek finance minister accused of anti-Semitism

In 2005, Yanis Varoufakis was suspended from a radio show for what the station called the promotion of anti-Jewish stereotypes. Varoufakis, who at the time was an economics professor at the University of Athens, defended himself a few years later by stating that in his criticism of Israeli policies he was merely basing himself on reports in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
During his weekly broadcast at the Australian state-owned radio station SBS on August 29, 2005, Varoufakis had claimed that Israel used the blockade of Gaza as part of “a strategy for retaining a large part of the West Bank” and called the West Bank security fence a “concrete monster,” according to his blog.
“The fact that my comments were supported by reports in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz was not deemed a sufficient defense against the charge of anti-Semitism,” he wrote in December 2010 about the incident.”
At the time, SBS said Varoufakis was a worthy commentator on economic issues but that he was no expert on Middle East politics and should therefore refrain from presenting one-sided analyses of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The “particular anti-lsraeli line of his commentary could be reasonably held to have assisted in the promotion of negative stereotypes about Jews and more particularly Israeli Jews,” the radio station stated at the time.
Polish strongmen partner with group moving Jewish headstones

A Polish federation of strongmen announced its partnership with an organization whose work includes moving and preserving Jewish headstones.
The cooperation between the From the Depths commemoration group and the Polish Strongman Federation began last year, when two of the sport club’s athletes helped move two headstones from the garden of a resident of Warsaw, the two groups said in a statement issued Sunday.
“We knew immediately that we wanted to be involved and help however we can,” said Tomasz Kowal, former champion of the Polish Strongman Cup who participated in the removal of the two 550-pound headstones last year.
The partnership means that “all of our strongmen from around Poland will be ready at a moment’s call to help From The Depths and their holy work,” added Kowal, who weighs 286 pounds and can lift 859 pounds.
German president who pushed country to face Nazi past dies

In October 1985, Weizsaecker made the first visit to Israel by a West German head of state. Israeli counterpart Chaim Herzog in 1987 reciprocated with the first visit by an Israeli president to West Germany and praised Weizsaecker for his “positive stand” toward Israel and the Jewish people.
The 1985 speech “had an impact on an entire generation and has shaped Germany’s image as an integrating force in the middle of our continent,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission. It gave Weizsaecker “political authority far beyond Germany’s borders,” he added.
Weizsaecker’s comment on the “day of liberation” was “a necessary, clear statement that was significant for our German self-image,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“The death of Richard von Weizsaecker is a great loss for Germany,” she said.
Noble Energy team in Egypt for talks on importing Israeli gas

Representatives of the Noble Energy team were in Egypt on Sunday for talks on gas imports from Israel’s offshore fields, Reuters reported Sunday, citing sources in Egypt’s airport and oil ministry.
“Negotiations are under way about the amount of gas that can be imported,” a source in the oil ministry was quoted as saying. A source at the Cairo airport confirmed that a delegation had arrived for several hours for negotiations.
The meeting came several weeks after Israel’s anti-trust authority moved to void the agreement that allows US-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group to develop the Leviathan and Tamar gas sites in the Mediterranean.
However, despite the ongoing legal battle over the fields, the Delek group said Sunday that if a deal was reached, Israel could begin supplying gas to Egypt by 2017.
Why does Super Bowl champion Tom Brady keep a menorah in his house?

In a New York Times profile published Monday, Mark Leibovich writes that he noticed a Jewish candelabra standing in Brady’s house:
He marched me back into the house, through the kitchen and past a shelf that displayed a large glass menorah. “We’re not Jewish,” Brady said when I asked him about this. “But I think we’re into everything. … I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”
Have there been other Jewish clues in Brady’s past that might explain this intriguing find? Leibovich goes on to explain that Brady was sent several Bibles in 2005 after he said “God, [there’s] got to be more than this” on “60 Minutes” in reference to winning his third Super Bowl. Brady was raised Catholic, and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, is a sixth-generation non-Jewish Brazilian.
Maybe he was inspired by Cameron Diaz’s decision to have a Jewish wedding? Or perhaps he is hoping a menorah will bring him some old-fashioned mazel for the big game on Sunday?
Your guess is as good as ours.
2014 was best-ever year for Israeli start-ups

In 2014, Israeli startups enjoyed exits (i.e., acquisitions and IPOs) worth about $15 billion, an all-time record, up from $7.6 billion in 2013 and $5.5 billion in 2012. Eighteen Israeli companies went public (13 in the U.S. and five in the U.K.) in 2014, raising a total of $9.8 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in 2013. Fifty-two startups were sold in 2014 for a total of $5 billion, down from $6.5 billion in 2013, a decline that is explained by the increase in the number of IPOs in 2014 and the acquisition of Waze for $966 million in 2013. Israeli startups were acquired at a faster pace than ever, within an average of 3.95 years, compared to a period of 5.5 years before acquisition in 2013 and 8.59 years in 2009.
The 18 startups that went public in 2014, compared to only three in 2013, changed the conversation from criticism of the eagerness of Israeli startups to “sell out” quickly to talk of the startup sector’s newfound “maturity.“ MobilEye (camera-based technology that alerts drivers of potential collisions and accidents), was the largest IPO of 2014 and the largest-ever IPO of an Israeli company, listing on the NYSE and raising slightly over $1 billion at a valuation of $7.5 billion. The second largest IPO in 2014 was made by SafeCharge (payment solutions) on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), raising $125 million at a valuation of $400 million.
Netafim signs $60 million contract in India

Netafim, the global leader in irrigation, has been chosen to participate in a $60 million project in India. The company is also marking its 50th anniversary throughout 2015 under the theme “50 Years of Shaping the Future.”
Through its Indian subsidiary, Netafim JV, the company will take part in the world’s largest integrated micro-irrigation project in the country. The value of the deal for Netafim JV is $60 million, which covers nearly 30,000 acres of farmland and about 6,700 farmers located in the South Indian state of Karnataka. The farmers are mostly smallholders from 22 villages, and the project will improve their productivity and livelihood, while saving about 50 percent in water.
The drip irrigation pioneer and market leader since its founding in 1965, Netafim develops innovative irrigation solutions that have helped farmers worldwide grow more with less for 50 years.
China’s Emergence as a Middle Eastern Power and Israel’s Opportunity

China’s “New Silk Road” is Beijing’s latest project aimed at creating a belt of railroads, highways, pipelines and broadband communications stretching through China to the West, and a “maritime Silk Road” combining sea routes with port infrastructure from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. This project comes at a point where the role of the US in the Middle East is declining, and it is likely that China will aspire to adopt a larger role in the region. Israel’s geographical position and technological advances makes it possible for Israel to play a bridgehead role in the project, and the opportunity to shape Chinese thinking and strategy in the region for decades to come.
China’s “New Silk Road” might become history’s most ambitious investment in infrastructure. Some Chinese strategists predict an Israeli role in the project on par with, or possibly even more important, than that of Turkey. China calls the project “One Belt and One Road,” referring to a belt of railroads, highways, pipelines and broadband communications stretching through China to the West, and a “maritime Silk Road” combining sea routes with port infrastructure from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.
Israel’s location makes it possible for the Jewish state to “play the role of bridgehead for ‘One Belt and One Road’ with the completion of the ‘Red-Med’ rail project,” said Dr. Liu Zongyi at a November seminar at Remnin University. Dr. Liu based at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, spoke of a $2 billion, 300 km rail line linking Ashkelon with the Red Sea. The “Red-Med” project is usually presented in more modest terms, as a way of absorbing excess traffic from the Suez Canal, or an alternative route in the event of political disruption.
Israel 5th in Bloomberg tech ranking, ahead of US, UK

Israel did especially well in the R&D category, with the country ranking second in GDP expenditure on research, as well as on the percentage of the labor force with advanced degrees and the number of research professionals per million population. Israel ranked fourth overall in both those categories.
The study measured country rankings in six areas: R&D, manufacturing, the number of high-tech companies located in each country (the total number, not adjusted for population size), the number of students enrolled in post-secondary education programs, the number of PhDs working in R&D, and the number of patents per capita.
With its fifth place overall ranking, Israel bested France, Singapore, and the UK, as well as the US, which came in sixth overall. Taking the number one spot in overall innovation, as well as in R&D and education, was South Korea, followed by Japan, Germany, and Finland. China, recently touted by some as posing an R&D challenge to Israel, came in 18th in that category, and 23rd overall. India, another supposed challenger, did not make the top fifty in any of the metrics.
Christian Knesset candidate: Arab parties do not represent me

An Israeli Christian, Capt. (res.) Shadi Halul, who is placed in the unrealistic 15th spot in Yisrael Beytenu’s list for the upcoming elections, told an Israeli-Arab publication that Arab parties do not represent him.
“The Arab parties do not represent me, they do not represent any Christian citizen,” Halul, the Christian IDF Officers Forum leader, told the Panet website on Saturday.
Halul and his wife, from Gush Halav in the Galilee, made news back in October when they changed their child’s registry in the Interior Ministry from Arab to Christian Aramean.

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