Video Dispatch 33: Bernie Sanders slams BDS on Al Jazeera (& Are you afraid of flying?) (& Yiddish in Mongolia)

May 09, 2017

Western UN and NGO delegates being treated to Saudi generosity at Riyadh’s luxurious Four Seasons Hotel last week, while Saudi human rights activists are held and tortured in nearby prisons

This is another in a series of “Video dispatches”.



1. Are you afraid of flying?
2. Bernie Sanders slams BDS and the UN treatment of Israel, on Al Jazeera
3. Traditional Yiddish song a hit on Mongolian national TV
4. Footage show hunger strike leader Barghouti secretly eating in his cell
5. Boko Haram releases some of its kidnapped schoolgirls
6. UN and NGOs celebrate in Saudi Arabia ignoring Raif Badawi and other political prisoners


[Notes below by Tom Gross]


This new one-minute by Jordanian Airways makes an important point.



In a significant and perhaps surprising rebuke to the so-called progressive movement in the U.S. (of which he is a leading star) Senator Bernie Sanders gave an interview last Wednesday to Al Jazeera television, in which he defended Israel’s right to exist, criticized the United Nations for singling out Israel from among all the world’s countries, and criticized the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Sanders, who was narrowly defeated in last year’s Democratic presidential primaries by Hillary Clinton, remains an important figure on the American left.

In a separate interview last year on MSNBC, Sanders said that anti-Semitism was a factor behind the BDS movement.

Among previous dispatches on Bernie Sanders:

How Bernie Sanders’ socialist ideas were developed on the kibbutz (February 11, 2016)

Among previous dispatches with items concerning BDS:

* BDS activists put severed pig’s head in Kosher section (& Iran hangs rape victim) (October 26, 2014)

* Film, pop and TV stars dismiss Israel boycott calls (& Saudi journalist: attack Iran, open Israeli Embassy in Riyadh) (June 17, 2015)

* So why did Stephen Hawking think it was ok to visit Iran and China? (May 9, 2013)



Now something more fun…

Last week, Amalia Rubin, an American Jew who works as an English teacher in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, received a robust round of applause when she sung Moishe Nadir’s 1927 Yiddish classic, “The Rebbe Elimelech,” live on one of Mongolian TVs most popular programs, the Mongolian equivalent of American Idol.

Rubin also sings in both Mongolian and Tibetan and she is popular the Tibetan Diaspora for being one of the few westerners to promotes traditional Tibetan songs long repressed by China.

In another surprise, in March Mexico also held a Yiddish-language American idol-type competition.


Among related “video dispatches” please see: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal



This is a follow-up to another recent dispatch concerning convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti (The “activist” who organized a restaurant attack and the murder of girls at a bat mitzvah), who the New York Times refers to an “activist”. Barghouti was invited to print what turned out to be multiple lies in his Times op-ed last month, in another example of what is being referred to as “New York Times fake news”.

Barghouti, one of the leaders of the current hunger strike, is serving multiple life sentences for murder.

The Israel Prison Service has released footage of him eating in his cell on May 5. Video below. He was also caught eating on April 27.

The footage shows him removing cookies from a hiding place in his bathroom, before eating them.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan commented: “As we’ve said all along, the terrorists’ hunger strike isn’t about their prison conditions, which are good by international standards, but only about Barghouti’s desire to bolster his status in preparation for the day after Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]. Barghouti is cynically exploiting the terrorists for a hunger strike for which they are paying, while he himself can’t restrain his own appetites.”

Among other Palestinian security prisoners on hunger strike, now in its 20th day, is Abbas al-Sayed, who planned the terror attack on a Jewish Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002 that killed 31 elderly people, including two Auschwitz survivors.



Between 60 and 82 (reports vary) of the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram Islamist militia just over three years ago in the Nigerian village of Chibok have been released. They were swapped as part of an exchange for five Boko Haram leaders being held by the Nigerian government.

Over the past eight years, Boko Haram has burned mainly Christian villages, killed tens of thousands of people and kidnapped thousands of others in the name of radical Islam, both in Nigeria and in neighboring West African countries. Millions of people have fled for their lives as a result.

Boko Haram has previously posted in a statement that it has sold other kidnapped girls aged 8 and 9 in the market and “given their hands in marriage because they are our slaves.”

“We would marry them out at the age of 9,” boasted the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a statement.

Until last weekend’s release, only 22 of the Chibok girls have reportedly been found, escaped or been released. Some of the released girls said others from among the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls have died in childbirth or in military raids.

Pregnant young women, a woman with a baby on her back and even children as young as 7 or 8 have been used as suicide bombers by the group.

Last year I interviewed one of the girls who was the first to escape shortly after her kidnapping. Video here:



The UN global forum for non-governmental organizations held a lavish gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh last week, which, according to UNESCO, was attended by more than 400 NGOs and 2,100 delegates from over 70 countries. The Saudis paid for the conference, the title of which was “Youth and their Social Impact.”

In the meantime, young liberal Saudi human rights activists, held in harsh conditions in solidarity confinement for demanding the most basic freedoms, were ignored.

Most prominent among them is Raif Badawi, the exiled wife of whom I interviewed at the Geneva Human Rights Summit last year.

Among those speaking at last week’s forum in Riyadh were Irina Bokova, the head of the UN agency for education, science, and culture (UNESCO), and Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, I would respectfully invite them instead to speak on behalf of the Canadian-based Raif Badawi Foundation.

Saudi Arabia itself, of course, prohibits truly independent NGOs.

The independent NGO “UN Watch” called upon UNESCO chief Irina Bokova “to apologize to the family of Raif Badawi and other Saudi political prisoners.”


* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook

Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:

* Video dispatch 1: The Lady In Number 6

* Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad

* Video dispatch 3: Vladimir Putin sings “Blueberry Hill” (& opera in the mall)

* Video dispatch 4: While some choose boycotts, others choose “Life”

* Video dispatch 5: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal

* Video dispatch 6: Carrying out acts of terror is nothing new for the Assad family

* Video dispatch 7: A brave woman stands up to the Imam (& Cheering Bin Laden in London)

* Video dispatch 8: Syrians burn Iranian and Russian Flags (not Israeli and U.S. ones)

* Video Dispatch 9: “The one state solution for a better Middle East...”

* Video dispatch 10: British TV discovers the next revolutionary wave of Israeli technology

* Video dispatch 11: “Freedom, Freedom!” How some foreign media are reporting the truth about Syria

* Video dispatch 12: All I want for Christmas is...

* Video dispatch 13: “Amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

* Video dispatch 14: Jon Stewart under fire in Egypt (& Kid President meets Real President)

* Video dispatch 15: A rare 1945 BBC recording: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

* Video dispatch 16: Joshua Prager: “In search for the man who broke my neck”

* Video dispatch 17: Pushback against the “dictator Erdogan” - Videos from the “Turkish summer”

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

* Video dispatch 19: An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

* Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

* Video dispatch 21: Al-Jazeera: Why can’t Arab armies be more humane like Israel’s?

* Video dispatch 22: Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Happy.

* Video dispatch 23: A nice moment in the afternoon

* Video dispatch 24: How The Simpsons were behind the Arab Spring

* Video dispatch 25: Iranians and Israelis enjoy World Cup love-in (& U.S. Soccer Guide)

* Video dispatch 26: Intensifying conflict as more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

* Video dispatch 27: Debating the media coverage of the current Hamas-Israel conflict

* Video dispatch 28: CNN asks Hamas: “Do you really believe Jews slaughter Christians?” (& other items)

* Video dispatch 29: “Fighting terror by day, supermodels by night” (& Sign of the times)

* Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

* Video dispatch 31: Incitement to kill

* Video Dispatch 32: Bibi to BBC: “Are we living on the same planet?” (& other videos)

* Video Dispatch 33: Bernie Sanders slams BDS on Al Jazeera (& Are you afraid of flying?) (& Yiddish in Mongolia)

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.