Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Did you know - Animal testing banned in Israel

A fact I did not know, via Israel in New Zealand and Israel21c - Testing on animals has been banned since 2007

Now, all imports which have been tested on animals are banned.
A new Israeli law has made animal welfare a top priority by officially banning the import, marketing and sale of any toiletries, detergents or cosmetics whose manufacturing process involves animal testing. The new regulations took effect January 1, 2013.
“Animal testing in the Cosmetics Industry inflicts horrific suffering on these animals. Each product requires between 2,000-3,000 tests, and animals die in agony,” said MK Eitan Cabel.In 2007, Israel banned animal testing for cosmetics and other products. This new law focuses on products that are imported from other countries.“The end of animal testing for cosmetics has come a step closer today,” Troy Seidle, director of research & toxicology for Humane Society International, told Care2. “Whilst we commend Israel for taking this truly historic action, strict enforcement of the law alongside active assistance from cosmetic companies, will now be vital.”

This means a few things:

1) Israel is leading the way in strides against animal cruelty
2) This contradicts what SAFE had to say about Kosher Meat
3) If Israeli imports are blocked, you may be increasing cruelty against animals

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mohammad Morsi: "The Jews distorted by Anti-Semitic comments"

This is the kind of stuff you can't make up.  From Honest Reporting:  Mohammad Morsi blames the Jews for distorting his Anti-Semitic comments

At first, the Egyptian president defended himself by saying he did not harbor negative feelings about Judaism or Jewish people.
He then launched a diatribe about Israeli policies against the Palestinians, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) told Foreign Policy. “He was attempting to explain himself … then he said, ‘Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces and they don’t view me favorably,’” Coons told the magazine’s The Cable blog.
Asked if Morsi specifically named the Jews as the forces that control the American media, Coons replied that all the senators believed the implication was obvious. “He did not say [the Jews], but I watched as the other senators physically recoiled, as did I,” Coons said. “I thought it was impossible to draw any other conclusion.”
So let’s get this straight. According to Morsi, the Jews distorted his anti-Semitic comments.


Ahmed Meligy has been freed

It appears that after a mysterious abduction by the Egyptian government, Ahmed Meligy has been freed. 

He is also writing a good opinion piece on his detention with more to come

I know that all of you are very anxious to know the details and the day to day experiences of my detention. InshaAllah I will write all about it and publish it someday.  In the meantime, I am asking you please be patient because I need time to gather my thoughts and recover from the experience.
All I can say right now that during my detention there was a very strong quotation by Martin Niemoller that kept my sanity intact and pushed away any doubts or regrets about choosing this path of mine.
I really wish that Mursi and his regime would understand why we activists will never be silenced no matter what they do to us.
There is now a strong pro democracy movement in Egypt.  So much for Arab spring - it appears to have made things worse!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Israeli Election Results

What a close call!  This was much closer than any previous predictions or polls (exit or otherwise)

In order of seats counted

  • Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu  31 seats

  • Yesh Atid 19

  • Labor 15

  • Shas 11

  • Habayit Hayehudi 11

  • United Torah Judaism 7

  • Hatnuah 6

  • Meretz 6

  • United Arab List-Ta’al 5

  • Balad 3

  • Kadima 2

The Right vs Left Bloc shows as 60:60, although this includes the Ultra Religious and the Arab Parties. 

Now come the coalition negotiations.  Shas is likely to be on the outer, especially after their accusation against Habayit Hayehudi are against the Torah.  HH are likely partners for Likud.  This leaves Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, as a seemingly good fit.

This demonstrates an obvious move to the Left, mainly a desire for change, and a new leadership style.  Bibi should retain power, but this will be a much different coalition, I would expect.

Labour have continued to be self defeatist, and the Arab parties negotiated a larger than expected turnout.  Tzipi Livni returns, even after most polls suggested she wouldn't

Monday, January 21, 2013

Arab Spring and the Israeli Enemy

This opinion piece (in Arab News) was written by an Arab.  Can you imagine the reaction if written by an Israeli?

An excerpt:
The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.
Hard not to agree with that

The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.
 Hear hear

Which Freedom Index is correct?

Last week the Fraser Institute reported a Freedom Index.  Israel ranked 105th

Now the Freedom House ranks them as the most free in the region.

Something is wrong in one of these!  It looks like the Fraser institute is including the Palestinian Authority and Territory in its scoring. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Where do you sit on the Israeli Parliament spectrum?

This is interesting, you can sit a test to see where you compare on a scale to the Israeli Political parties.

I sat it, to those who call me right wing, you will see I am very much a run of the mill centrist, if not slightly to the left.

I figure that most people in Israel are fairly centric, which is why it is such a pity that the political system is so pathetic.

The Proportional Representation system has such a low threshold, that the parties often tend to cater towards the minorites, rather than the centric majorities.

It also means that the politics are heavily based around personalities - Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid etc.  One of the questions of the survey was electoral reform.  I stated that I strongly agreed!

The Jew from Kuwait has a great article - "The Jew from Kuwait"

The story of a young man who grew up in Kuwait, but then discovered his grandmother was Jewish

I grew up being told that Israelis and Jews were the lowest type of creature in existence, put on Earth only to kill us Arabs. In math class the teacher would say, “If one rocket killed X number of Jews, how many would six rockets kill?”
My father was rabidly anti-Israel. He was a product of Nasser's school of thought: secular from a Muslim point of view, yet deeply dedicated to the idea of pan-Arab unity. Israel, he believed, was an American proxy in the post-colonial Middle East.
Scary stuff

I beat around the bush a bit – after all, she’d been denying it for the past 50 years – and then finally blurted out, “Grandma, are you Jewish?”
She didn’t answer the question directly, but she started crying and spoke about the years of Arab-Israeli conflict. She told me how her brother Zaki had been killed in Jerusalem before the rebirth of the State. To me that was sufficient confirmation of her Jewishness and I decided to leave it at that.
I've heard of similar stories to this previously, but this is amazing.  An actual find

It often seems like the Arab-Israeli conflict is intractable. Yet I believe in today’s world, there is a real opportunity for a breakthrough. Arabs today have a more universal education, which makes them more open and curious. Also they are meeting Israelis and Jews in their travels around the world, which breaks down misconceptions. And as we saw during the recent protests in Iran, many young people in the Muslim world are yearning for reform. On top of all this, they have high-speed Internet access which opens up all kinds of new avenues of communication, and the possibility of forming new friendships unrestricted by borders or political agendas. Perhaps this can be the basis of a grassroots movement to mend relations and hopefully one day achieve peace.
A great attitude to take

All my relatives know that I’m practicing Judaism, and for the most part they’re accepting. I can talk to them about Judaism and they’re politely interested. We love and respect each other. My father is resistant, however, given that secularism and war against Israel are the two ideological pillars of his life. When I first became interested in Judaism, I didn’t tell him straight out. We were having a political discussion and I mentioned that I support the State of Israel. That ignited a big clash and I’ve learned to only discuss these matters with him in an indirect way. I always know when I’ve crossed the line; he gets angry and calls me a “Zionist.”
It's great that they are still talking.

A great article, however, one of the comments (written anonymously) is telling:
I hope Allah has mercy upon you, you are lucky your father has not disowned you
Hang on, don't we all worship the same God?

Merciful Jews forgive Nazi Grave vandal - no word on SA

A very heartening article, and a move I support

The Jewish community has taken pity on one of the youths who desecrated graves at a cemetery in Auckland with Nazi symbols - causing worldwide outrage - and is even offering to pay his university tuition fees so he can turn his life around.
What an amazingly positive step.  I always felt that the perpetrators would be young and stupid, rather than evil.  This is a great show of compassion.

Meanwhile, Socialist Aotearoa still continue to support murder.  Sigh.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Isi Leibler on Liberal Jews

JWire has a very good opinion piece by Isi Leibler on Liberal Jews

I must confess to a rising sense of frustration and rage when observing the increasing number of ill-informed and fallacious critiques of Israel by liberal Diaspora Jews…
This is not in reference to the loathsome so-called anti-Zionist Jews who call for boycotts of Israel. Nor even to jaundiced far-Left Jewish groups like J Street, that inflict considerable damage on the Jewish state by calling on the US government to pressure Israel, or orchestrate petitions such as those recently circulated among liberal Jewish clergy demanding that Israel cancel plans for residential construction in Jerusalem’s Jewish suburbs and the E-1 area.
I refer to those Jews who, when it was fashionable, were enthusiastic supporters of Israel. But the estrangement of many of their liberal non-Jewish friends from the Jewish state encouraged them to also assume politically correct attitudes, even adopting an “anti-Zionist chic.” Some were swept up in the tide of post-modernism with its often espoused view that Israel was born in sin and represents one of the last bastions of colonialism.
I'm not sure if it's a fashion thing.  I think it is more an issue that Israel was incredibly poor at communicating and connecting with people for about 10 years.  Only now is it getting better.  I see that people who did not get information, started accepting the lies from various media sources, predominantly on the left. 

A recent example was the condemnation by the North American Board of the Union of Reform Judaism of housing construction in the exclusively Jewish suburbs of east Jerusalem and E-1. This undermined a central Israeli policy, endorsed by the vast majority of Israelis.
Were the Reform Jewish leaders not aware that this area had always been designated to remain within Israel and that the Bush administration even acknowledged this in a letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon in the wake of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the forcible uprooting of Jewish settlements?
Were they unaware that the uproar instigated by the Palestinians over residential construction is a ploy to undermine our vital interests in areas which until now were never in dispute? That they are seeking to impose upon us, as an opening benchmark to negotiations, indefensible borders based on the 1949 armistice lines? That this formula would deem the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem occupied territories?
I think that sharing information about E-1 is a perfect example.  This is great information, but why is it only now getting out there.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Morsi: Jews are "descendants of apes and pigs"

It didn't get much media attention, but Mohammad Morsi, now President of Egypt (Oh, Yay for Arab Spring), called Jews "descendents of apes and pigs".

OK, so maybe he'll come out and say he meant Zionists and not Jews!  Right.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fun with Premier Dead Sea in Palmerston North

On Thursday I was in the Palmerston North Plaza.  I needed to get to JB Hi Fi, and on the way out, I got offered some hand cream by the Premier Dead Sea people.

Well, of course I had to try it.  They are great products after all!

I got a chance to ask my my #1 question, what are nice Israeli people doing here in remote Palmerston North?  It turns out that they are young Israelis, having finished army duty, on working visas.  What a great opportunity to work and travel at the same time.

I had so much fun with them.  They would get me to try some skin product.  It would be great.  I would then ask the price - $150.  "No, too much", I would say.  "Is that your best price?".  Always they would say.  "Yes.  That's the best price....  But just for you, we can do a deal".  Of course.
"Too much" I would keep saying.  "$30?".
"No.  $150.  But I'll give you this for free.."
"Too much".  Then she got out the calculator, divided it by 12.  "Look, it lasts the whole year ... only $12 a month"
"But I could buy my wife flowers each month for that."  I am cheeky.
All the time I kept asking about what they thought of New Zealand, and relating my stories of Israel, Melbourne, the Souk and more.

In the end I didn't buy anything, but I had a lot of fun.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My letter in Manawatu Standard

This was my letter that was published on the 7th Jan regarding the Evans cartoon.  They gave it the headline "Evans' cartoon overstepped mark"

I am writing in response to Malcolm Evans' cartoon that was published in the Manawatu Standard on January 3.  I believe this cartoon is offensive and has overstepped the boundaries of decency.
For a political cartoon, the reference to "Hannukah" [sic] is appalling.  Channukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, does not celebrate a military victory, but a miracle where a single day's sacred oil was able to provide light for eight days until more could be produced.  It is a symbol of light and hope.
The "lighter" that Netanyahu is holding is also offensive as a crude suggestion that Israel is in control of the US to "light the bombs".
Sadly, the timing seems wrong, as Channukah finished some weeks ago.  It begs the question as to which events Evans is referring to.  The recent Gaza uprising already had a ceasefire in place well before Channukah.  Why produce this cartoon now?  What are the bombs supposed to represent?
In Gaza, Hamas rocket fire placed millions of innocent Israeli civilians in danger, forcing children to hide in bomb shelters.  Evans could also mention Hamas' cynical firing from within civilian areas, or the dragging of the bodies of their own people through Gaza streets.
It's a pity that you have chosen to publish such a polarising cartoon.  Irrespective of the unnecessary religious references and incorrect scheduling, it is time to stop taking sides and get both parties back to the negotiating table. 
It also turns out that Evans has some history of controversy on this topic.  The following cartoon was published in the New Zealand Herald, and received complaints.  Evans maintained that it was supposed to "stimulate discussion", but as a result he and the NZ Herald "parted company".  He now produces cartoons for the Manawatu Standard and the Evening Post.  A big step down, if you ask me.

I also received a response to my letter.  The following letter from Alan Ireland was published on 10th January.
I write in response to Tim Goodman's criticism of your cartoonist, Malcolm Evans (Letters, January 7).
Evans is one of the few cartoonists who understand that the Palestinians are, in reality, a captive, powerless and oppressed people.
Calling for "neogtiations" between Israel and the Palestinians is like calling for negotiations between a lion and a one-legged lamb over what to have for dinner.
Having already eaten three of the lamb's legs, and found them very much to his liking, the lion can't wait to devour the rest of the poor animal.
The only problem is: How to hoodwink the world into believing the lion is the champion of righteousness, while the lamb is a dirty rat that richly deserves its fate.
That's where the Orwellian Zionist propaganda machine steps in.
Now, this letter is clearly from someone who is somewhat deranged.  I mean, firstly it completely ignores all the points that I made in my letter.  It then has some weird analogy to Lions and Lambs which aren't even coherent.  It seems to be advocating Palestinian violence as the answer rather than talking to each other.  It finishes with a reference to George Orwell, presumably because the author sees Israel (i.e. the Jews) as some kind of "Big Brother".

Now this poorly argued response is not worth my time, and the people of Palmerston North hardly need to be subjected to any more.  However a quick search on Alan Ireland finds that he is a retired journalist from the Manawatu Standard.  Also he writes some pretty wacky poltical stuff on his blog.  He even suggests that the Jews are the devil.  In regard to Tom Scott's cartoon he writes:

 I do, however, appreciate the number — 766 — on the tail of the Israeli jet. Just change the seven to a six, and you get the biblical “Number of the Beast”. Very appropriate!
It also turns out he is a 9/11 Truther 

I’m collecting documentaries on 9/11 and 7/7, in an attempt to find out/work out what really happened on those days.
Or this:

Both 9/11 and 7/7 were “inside jobs”. The only question is: Who, exactly, were the insiders? 

OK, so a nut.  Its actually good when they try to tell you you're wrong as you don't really want people with such warped perceptions of reality supporting you.  It's a bit concerning that he was a Journalist for so long!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Israel bans skinny models

In a world first, Israel has banned skinny models

Israel now has a law setting minimum model body mass index for advertisements and requiring that fashion magazines disclose Photoshopping that cuts pounds off of models in editorial spreads.
I think this is a great initiative, although there is sure to be a backlash in the fashion community.  Personally, I think that body shape should not be a pre-cursor to wearing well designed clothing, or for our ideals of beauty.  Also images should not be altered to unrealistic proportions.

Meanwhile, lets see where the Arab world is at.  Many still have medieval class for women.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Malcolm Evans anti-Israel cartoon

The following cartoon was published in yesterday's Manawatu Standard.

I thought this was quite offensive.  For a start, it has no relevance now.  Is it referring to Gaza? Iran?  Channukah finished quite some time ago, and the recent Gaza events had a ceasefire before then.

The use of the "USA" lighter evokes familiar anti-semitic themes.  Themes such as the Jews or Israel controlling the USA or world media.

I took the time today to review other cartoons by Evans from the Operation Pillar of Defense.  Whilst I didn't agree with them, I was not offended by them, as I was this one.

I felt strongly enough to ring and talk to the editor of the Standard.  Hopefully they will publish my letter next week.  I will also write to Malcolm Evans.  If you feel strongly, you can also write to him:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top ten worst decisions at UN for 2012

UN Watch has a great article - the Top ten worst decisions for 2012 at the UN

1. Electing genocidal Sudan to ECOSOC, a top U.N. council overseeing human rights bodies.
2. Adopting Cuba’s “Right to Peace” resolution, which endorsed terrorism, at the same time as the Castro regime was backing Assad’s murderous Syrian forces.
3. Keeping Richard Falk as U.N. investigator of “Israel’s violations,” even after he was removed from Human Rights Watch in wake of protests over his support for Hamas, 9/11 conspiracy theories and promotion of antisemitism.
4. Praising the Qaddafi regime's human rights record.
5. Electing the Venezuelan dictatorship of Hugo Chavez to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
6. Adopting 22 resolutions attacking Israel in the U.N. General Assembly -- compared to 4 on the rest of the world combined.
7. Adopting 0 U.N. resolutions for victims of systematic human rights abuse in China, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, and many other non-democracies.
8. Appointing a top official to the U.N. Human Rights Council who is a hero to Holocaust deniers and defends Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “right to nuclear energy.”
9. Celebrating a new “State of Palestine” days after Palestinians in Gaza committed armed aggression by attacking Israel with hundreds of rockets, and while the PA fails to exercise effective control over any part of Gaza or in much of the West Bank.
10. Deciding to keep Syria’s Assad regime as a full member on UNESCO’s human rights committee.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Free Ahmed Meligy

Ahmed Meligy who is a PEACE Activist and secular pro democracy Blogger from Egypt and a friend of mine got arrested today by the Egyptian authorities, seemingly with no reason. 

There is now a Facebook Page - It would be good if this could get picked up by some of those groups shouting "Yay for Arab Spring", like Amnesty international and the Greens.