Young children in Gaza perform a play glorifying the murder of Jews. It was shown on Hamas television (which is also broadcast in the West Bank) as part of the “Palestine Festival for Children and Education”. In one scene, a boy dressed as a masked Palestinian sniper shoots an Israeli dead while the children sing “Rejoice!” as celebratory music plays in the background. Despite daily incitement to murder Jews and promote anti-Semitic blood libels in the media of both Hamas and of the US- and EU-funded Fatah media, and despite the fact that Western media such as the BBC and New York Times devote incredible amounts of coverage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reporting about this daily diet of Palestinian incitement – a key impediment to peace – is almost nowhere to be found. -- Tom Gross
1. Khamenei marks Shakespeare anniversary by praising “Merchant of Venice” – follows Holocaust denial tweets
2. Israelis among first to help Ecuador’s earthquake victims
3. Revolutionary Israeli 4-minute malaria detection kit brought to India
4. Fitch upgrades Israel’s economic outlook, following positive ratings by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s
5. Vogue latest international glossy to recommend Israel as top tourist destination
6. Israel rated fourth best country to raise a family; US and UK don’t make top 20
7. Freedom House decision against Israel is absurd
8. Did anti-Israel bias stop France from getting anti-terror tech before Paris attacks?
9. Bernie Sanders skewers truth about West Bank to criticize poverty in Baltimore
10. Terror victim’s son asks to address Palestinian schoolchildren
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
KHAMENEI MARKS SHAKESPEARE ANNIVERSARY BY PRAISING “MERCHANT OF VENICE” – FOLLOWS HOLOCAUST DENIAL TWEETS
In a Twitter post to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Monday tweeted that he particularly likes “The Merchant of Venice” as a play “being in accordance with Western values.”
“The Merchant of Venice” is, of course, infamous for its portrayal of the greedy and scheming fictional Jewish character Shylock.
Khamenei has a long record of making anti-Semitic statements. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this year on January 28, he uploaded a video to his official website questioning the truth of the Holocaust. He also sent out by twitter a 9-point plan to destroy Israel. In June, Iran will host another international Holocaust denial cartoon contest.
Incidentally, my late father John Gross wrote a fascinating book on the uses and misuses of the character Shylock.
The book discusses reactions to and writings on Shylock from people as diverse as Heine, Proust, Joyce, Marx, Freud and the Nazis – who made great use of the play, staging grotesque performances in Germany and Austria to whip up anti-Semitism.
ISRAELIS AMONG FIRST TO HELP ECUADOR’S EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
Not for the first time, the small state of Israel is at the forefront of international disaster relief efforts. IsraAid (which is partly funded by the Israeli government) was one of the first to send a disaster relief team and set up a field hospital to help survivors of last week’s devastating earthquake in Ecuador.
In addition to providing emergency medical treatment and psychological counseling, the Israeli team has also brought toys and clowns to help cheer up injured children.
IsraAID said it had used private planes to reach the affected region, since much of the land infrastructure in the area has been destroyed.
As I have reported previously on this list, Israel provided substantial help after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka the huge 2007 earthquake in Peru and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, among others. They have also provided substantial assistance to help rescue Syrian refugees last year off the coast of Greece.
REVOLUTIONARY ISRAELI 4-MINUTE MALARIA DETECTION KIT BROUGHT TO INDIA
A revolutionary malaria detection method developed by Israel’s Sight Diagnostics Ltd., which will make a diagnosis in just four minutes, is to be delivered to India to help millions of Indians.
“Sight Diagnostics has developed a novel computer vision platform for blood analysis, the SightDX Parasight Malaria Detection Platform. It combines innovative software algorithms, specialized optics and a quicker sample preparation method. The instrument automatically analyses the sample and provides a diagnostic result within four minutes,” reports Viswanath Pilla in Live Mint-India.
The device also provides information on the species of the infecting malarial parasites and information that can be used by clinicians to determine the severity of the illness.
In 2013, 880,000 cases of malaria were reported in India with over 128 million tests performed.
FITCH UPGRADES ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC OUTLOOK, FOLLOWING POSITIVE RATINGS BY MOODY’S AND STANDARD & POOR’S
The Fitch Ratings agency has affirmed Israel’s A rating and upgraded the country’s long-term outlook from “stable” to “positive.”
“The current account surplus expanded to 4.6% of GDP and the Bank of Israel stock of foreign reserves climbed to $90.6 billion,” an all-time high, Fitch said.
Fitch is the latest credit rating agency to raise or confirm Israel’s high rating. Earlier this month, the U.S.-based Moody’s confirmed Israel’s A1 stable rating, and in February Standard & Poor’s affirmed Israel’s A+ stable credit rating.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said Fitch’s decision was another “vote of confidence in the Israeli economy.”
VOGUE LATEST INTERNATIONAL GLOSSY TO RECOMMEND ISRAEL AS TOP TOURIST DESTINATION
While supposedly progressive media such as the BBC and The New York Times continue to denigrate Israel, Vogue, the world’s leading fashion magazine, becomes the latest glossy magazine to notice that Israel is actually a great place to visit, in an article titled:
Among past related dispatches:
* Travel articles in London Times, Daily Telegraph, compare Tel Aviv to Miami and say it’s better than New York, Berlin and Madrid
ISRAEL RATED FOURTH BEST COUNTRY TO RAISE A FAMILY; US AND UK DON’T MAKE TOP 20
For all those in left-wing media and academic circles (including within Israel itself) who keep on trying to picture Israel as some kind of hell hole, they might want to take a look at this survey – Israel comes fourth in the world for “the best place to raise a family” in the Family Life Index poll, published by InterNations.
Israel comes behind Austria, Finland and Sweden (which occupy the top three spots), but ahead of much-praised countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Canada and Norway.
America and Britain don’t make the top twenty.
FREEDOM HOUSE DECISION AGAINST ISRAEL IS ABSURD
Freedom House, the influential American organization that claims to rate press and other freedoms around the world, will today, as part of its annual report on freedom of the press, downgrade Israel from “free” to “partly free.”
The decision is absurd. There is no country in the world with a more vigorous and critical press than the state of Israel. One need only compare Haaretz to, for example, the New York Times or Britain’s Guardian and BBC – all of which barely mention the daily killings and maiming of people (including many civilians and children) in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere by the U.S. and British militaries, while many in the Israeli media relentlessly criticize their own country.
It seems that the researchers at Freedom House have bought in to many of the lies propagated by extreme anti-Zionist NGOs funded by European governments.
DID ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS STOP FRANCE FROM GETTING ANTI-TERROR TECH BEFORE PARIS ATTACKS?
Fox News correspondent Hollie McKay reports that anti-Israel bias among government circles in France may have stopped the deadly Paris terror attacks from being prevented.
Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, and nearly a year before terrorists killed 130 in coordinated strikes in the French capital last November, “French security officials rejected an Israeli company’s offer of terrorist-tracking software that could have helped them flag the deadly terror cell,” reports Fox News.
The offer of data-mining technology that would allow French authorities to “connect all the dots” in the Islamist extremist community was made to the Directorate-General for Internal Security, France’s main intelligence agency. It is used to analyze and match up fragmented intelligence reports from several national and international databases, giving counter-terrorism agents the most up-to-date information on potential terrorists available.
The overture was rejected. “French authorities liked it, but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology.”
A political desire among many Europeans to boycott the Jewish State is suspected, reports Fox.
Belgian politicians were also reluctant to seek Israeli help, but less than a week after the attacks in Brussels last month, Belgian law enforcement asked for advanced surveillance and rapid view technology from the Israeli company BriefCam. The Israeli technology is already used to protect the Statue of Liberty and various American airports. Israel is regarded as the world leader in counter-terrorism technology.
BERNIE SANDERS SKEWERS TRUTH ABOUT WEST BANK TO CRITICIZE POVERTY IN BALTIMORE
There is dismay among many Jewish Democrats and others at the gratuitous slights American presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been making against Israel in recent weeks.
For example, campaigning last weekend in Baltimore ahead of yesterday’s primary in Maryland, Sanders invoked the West Bank to make a point about poverty in Baltimore:
The influential news site RealClearPolitics reports:
Sanders said that poverty in the worst areas of Baltimore rivaled conditions in “The West Bank in Palestine,” “North Korea,” and “distressed cities in Nigeria, India, China, and South Africa.”
“Poverty in Baltimore, and around this country, is a death sentence,” Sanders said.
“People don’t know this. If you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, your life expectancy is almost twenty years shorter than if you are born in a wealthier neighborhood. Fifteen neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea,” he continued, drawing shocked boos from the crowd. “Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than the West Bank in Palestine. Baltimore teenagers between the ages of fifteen and nineteen face poorer health conditions and a worse economic outlook than those in distressed cities in Nigeria, India, China and South Africa.”
But critics say the West Bank should not be used as a negative benchmark for infant mortality since (largely thanks to Israeli healthcare) it has one of the better infant mortality rates in the developing world, and scores better than powerhouse economies such as Turkey, Malaysia and Brazil, or wealthy Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia.
The left-leaning JTA correspondent Ron Kampeas says he has asked the Sanders campaign “why Sanders included the West Bank on a list that referenced North Korea, Nigeria, India, China and South Africa, each a nation that connotes, in our popular culture, repression, violence and poverty” -- but that the Sanders campaign has not responded.
The American Jewish Committee said in a statement: “What do the serious issues Baltimore’s leadership and population are confronting have to do with daily Palestinian life in the West Bank? Inserting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into unrelated American political discourse serves only one purpose, to encourage those who are narrowly focused on assailing Israel for any shortcomings or failings by the Palestinian Authority.”
As the JTA points out, Israel has an estimated 3.55 deaths per 1,000 live births whereas the United States has 5.87.
Tom Gross adds:
83 senators – representing over four-fifths of the U.S. senate – have signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to increase defense aid to Israel as result of the increased military threats Israel now faces from Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Islamic State. But noticeable among those senators who refused to sign is Bernie Sanders
TERROR VICTIM’S SON ASKS TO ADDRESS PALESTINIAN SCHOOLCHILDREN
The son of the American-Israeli peace activist and terror victim Richard Lakin has asked to speak at the same Palestinian school that recently hosted the killer’s family.
Michah Lakin Avni, whose father was murdered in an attack on a Jerusalem bus last October, says he wished to spread the message of peace and coexistence to East Jerusalem schoolchildren that for years his murdered father Richard Lakin had tried to promote.
Both Richard and Michah Lakin are close friends of subscribers to this list.
Micah Lakin has not yet received a reply from the Jabel Mukaber elementary school, which hosted the parents of the terrorist who murdered his father, and who praised their son’s actions in murdering Lakin.
Richard Lakin, 76, was viciously hacked to death along with two other Israelis (Haviv Haim, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51) in the coordinated attack on bus passengers.
For more on the activities of Richard Lakin to promote peace, please scroll down here.
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