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Robert S. Wistrich, one of the worlds foremost scholars of anti-Semitism, died late Tuesday evening after suffering a heart attack in Rome, where he was due to address the Italian Senate about rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

Wistrich, 70, was the Neuburger Professor of European and Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the head of the Universitys Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.

Over the course of his career, Wistrich edited and published dozens of books about the fate of Jews and their treatment by other nations.

Among his notable works was the 1989 book The Jews of Vienna in the age of Franz Joseph, which won the Austrian State Prize in History. Two years later he published Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred, which later served as the basis for a three-hour British-American television documentary on anti-Semitism.

His book A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism From Antiquity to the Global Jihad, published in 2010, was awarded the Best Book of the Year Prize by the New-York based Journal for the Study of Antisemitism.

In 2014, Wistrich authored an exhibition titled The 3,500 year relationship of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel, which was scheduled for display at UNESCO headquarters in Paris but was canceled amid pressure from Arab nations.

At the time, Wistrich said that the cancellation completely destroyed any claim that UNESCO could possibly have to be representing the universal values of toleration, mutual understanding, respect for the other and narratives that are different, engaging with civil society organizations and the importance of education. Because theres one standard for Jews, and theres another standard for non-Jews, especially if theyre Arabs, but not only.

The exhibit eventually reopened six months later after the phrase Land of Israel in the title was replaced with Holy Land.

Robert Wistrich (photo credit: courtesy)

In July 2014 Wistrich was invited to address an emergency Knesset meeting on rising violent anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities in Europe, during which he warned that we have entered a new, very difficult era in all of Europe.

More here:
Anti-Semitism scholar Robert S. Wistrich dies at 70 | The …


Working for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip is challenging and rewarding. The security environment and the Israeli-imposed restrictions make specific demands on international staff. The Agency has an impressive record on protecting the security of international staff.

General

The Gaza Strip takes its name from Gaza, its main city. The territory has about 1.4 million Palestinian residents.

Location and geography

The Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt at the south-west and Israel to the north and east. It is about 41km long, and between 6km and 12km wide, with a total area of 360 square kilometres. The border with Israel is 51km; with Egypt, 11km. The Mediterranean coastline is 40km. The terrain is flat to rolling with a sand- and dune-covered coastal plain.

Climate

The Gaza Strip has a temperate climate, with mild winters, and dry, hot summers subject to drought.

People

The principal ethnic majority are the Palestinian Arabs, who account for 99 per cent of the population. The people of Gaza are welcoming and warm to visitors.

Religion

Originally posted here:
Working in the Gaza Strip | UNRWA


The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; Arabic: as-Sula al-Waanya al-Filasnya) was the interim self-government body[4] established to govern Areas A and B of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a consequence of the 1993 Oslo Accords.[5][6] Following elections in 2006 and the subsequent Gaza conflict between the Fatah and Hamas parties, its authority had extended only as far as the West Bank. Since January 2013, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority rebranded itself as the State of Palestine in official documents,[7][8][9] after the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member UN observer state.[10][11][12]

The Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel, as a five-year interim body. Further negotiations were then meant to take place between the two parties regarding its final status. As of 2013[update], more than eighteen years following the formulation of the Authority, this status has yet to be reached.[citation needed]

According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was designated to have exclusive control over both security-related and civilian issues in Palestinian urban areas (referred to as “Area A”) and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas (“Area B”). The remainder of the territories, including Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley region and bypass roads between Palestinian communities, were to remain under Israeli control (“Area C”). East Jerusalem was excluded from the Accords. Over time, political change has meant that the areas governed by the Authority have also changed. Negotiations with several Israeli governments had resulted in the Authority gaining further control of some areas, but control was then lost in some areas when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retook several strategic positions during the Second (“Al-Aqsa”) Intifada. In 2005, after the Second Intifada, Israel withdrew unilaterally from its settlements in the Gaza Strip, thereby expanding Palestinian Authority control to the entire strip.[clarification needed]

In the Palestinian legislative elections on 25 January 2006, Hamas emerged victorious and nominated Ismail Haniyeh as the Authority’s Prime Minister. However, the national unity Palestinian government effectively collapsed when a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah erupted, mainly in the Gaza Strip. After the Gaza Strip was taken over by Hamas on 14 June 2007, the Authority’s Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and appointed Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister.

Though the PA claims authority over all Palestinian territories, Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip means its authority is de facto limited to the West Bank. The Authority’s budget derives mainly from various aid programs and the Arab League, while the Hamas government in Gaza was mostly dependent on Iran until the onset of the Arab Spring.[clarification needed]

Since 2007, the Palestinian Authority has continued to oversee the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, while the Hamas government has continued to control the Gaza Strip. A reconciliation agreement to unite their governments, signed in Cairo in 2011, was ratified by the 2012 HamasFatah Doha agreement. Renewed tensions between them, however, plus the effects of the Arab Spring (especially the crisis in Syria) have postponed its implementation. In 2011, representatives of the Authority failed to have their United Nations (UN) status upgraded, although their UNESCO status was upgraded to state representation. In July 2012, the Hamas government in Gaza was reported as considering a declaration of the independence of the Gaza Strip, with the support of neighboring Egypt.[13]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is an interim administrative body established in accordance with the GazaJericho Agreement[14] after the Oslo Accords to assume the responsibilities of the Israeli military administration in populated Palestinian centers (Area A) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip until final status negotiations with Israel are concluded.[15][16] The administrative responsibilities accorded to the PA are limited to civil matters and internal security and do not include external security or foreign affairs.[16] Palestinians in the diaspora and inside Israel do not vote in elections for the offices of the Palestinian Authority.[17] The PA should not be confused with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who continues to enjoy international recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, representing them at the United Nations under the name “Palestine”.[18][19]

The PA has received financial assistance from the European Union and the United States (approximately US$1 billion combined in 2005). All direct aid was suspended on 7 April 2006 as a result of the Hamas victory in parliamentary elections.[20][21] Shortly thereafter, aid payments resumed, but were channeled directly to the offices of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.[22]Conflict between Hamas and Fatah later in 2006 resulted in Hamas taking exclusive control over the administration of all PA institutions in the Gaza Strip. Since 9 January 2009, when Mahmoud Abbas’ term as President was supposed to have ended and elections were to have been called, Hamas supporters and many in the Gaza Strip have withdrawn recognition for his Presidency and instead consider Aziz Dweik, who served as the speaker of the house in the Palestinian Legislative Council, to be the acting President until new elections can be held.[23][24] No Western financial assistance is given to the PA authorities in Gaza and Western governments do not recognize anyone but Abbas to be the President.

The Gaza International Airport was built by the PA in the city of Rafah, but operated for only a brief period before being destroyed by Israel following the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000. A sea port was also being constructed in Gaza but was never completed (see below).

The creation of a Palestinian police force was called for under the Oslo Accords.[16] The first Palestinian police force of 9,000 was deployed in Jericho in 1994, and later in Gaza.[16] These forces initially struggled to control security in the areas in which it had partial controlled and because of this Israel delayed expansion of the area to be administered by the PA.[16] By 1996, the PA security forces were estimated to include anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 recruits.[25] PA security forces employ some armored cars, and a limited number carry automatic weapons.[26] Some Palestinians opposed to or critical of the peace process perceive the Palestinian security forces to be little more than a proxy of the State of Israel.[16]

Originally posted here:
Palestinian National Authority – Wikipedia, the free …

Written on May 22nd, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Nicols Fox moved to the Radio Quiet Zone to escape electromagnetic forces

Courtesy of Christine Fitzpatrick

You can turn your phone on in Green Bank, W.Va., but you wont get a trace of a signal. If you hit scan on your cars radio, itll cycle through the dial endlessly, never pausing on a station. This remote mountainous town is inside the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000square-mile area where most types of electromagnetic radiation on the radio spectrum (which includes radio and TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, cell signals, Bluetooth, and the signals used by virtually every other wireless device) are banned to minimize disturbance around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, home to the worlds largest steerable radio telescope.

For most people, this restriction is a nuisance. But a few dozen people have moved to Green Bank (population: 147) specifically because of it. They say they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHSa disease not recognized by the scientific community in which these frequencies can trigger acute symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rashes, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and chest pains. Diane Schou came here with her husband in 2007 because radio-frequency exposure anywhere else she went gave her constant headaches. Life isnt perfect here. Theres no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby, she told me when I visited her house last month. But here, at least, I’m healthy. I can do things. I’m not in bed with a headache all the time.

The idea that radio frequencies can cause harm to the human body isnt entirely absurd. Some research has suggested that long-term exposure to power lines and cellphones is associated with an increased chance of cancer, although most evidence says otherwise. But what these people claimthat exposure to electromagnetic frequencies can immediately cause pain and ill healthis relatively novel, has little medical research to support it, and is treated with deep skepticism by the scientific mainstream.

That hasnt stopped them from seeking to publicize the dangers of wireless technology. One of the most prominent activists in the field, Arthur Firstenberg, gained notoriety in 2010 for suing his Santa Fe neighbor for the effects of her Wi-Fi network. But he began organizing EHS-sufferers way back in 1996when digital cellular networks were initially installed across the countryforming the Cellular Phone Task Force and publishing Microwaving Our Planet, one of the first books on the topic. In the years since, a fringe movement has grown around the idea, with some 30 support groups worldwide for those affected by radiation. The purported epidemic is particularly concentrated in the United Kingdom and Sweden, where surveys have found that 1 to 4 percent of the population believes theyre affected.

Here in the United States, West Virginias Radio Quiet Zone has become a gathering place for the hypersensitive since the mid-2000s, when they first began arriving. Most find out about the area through EHS groups, at conferences, or by reading about it in the handful of news reports published over the last few years. Diane Schou estimates that, so far, 36 people like her have settled in and around the tiny town to escape radiation.

When you walk in the Schous two-story brick house, 4 miles up a forested road from the Green Bank post office, the first item you see might be a radiation meter they keep in their living room. She and her husband, Bert, moved here from Cedar Falls, Iowa, because they believe Diane is sensitive to very specific radio frequencies. She first began noticing her sensitivity in 2002, she says, when U.S. Cellular, a wireless provider based in the Midwest, built a tower near their farm. I was extremely tired, but I couldn’t sleep at night, she said. I got a rash, I had hair loss, my skin was wrinkled, and I just thought it was something I ate, or getting older.” After she started getting severe headaches, she heard about EHS from a friend and did some reading online, and eventually came to believe the tower had triggered her latent sensitivity. She went for a consultation at the Mayo Clinic, but doctors refused to consider the possibility, and when she wrote to the FCC complaining about the tower, they simply replied by saying it was safe.

Over the next four years, she repeatedly left the farm to search for a safe place, traveling through Scandinavia (where their son was studying abroad) and logging more than 75,000 miles driving across the United States in their RV. Shed find relatively safe spots but still got pounding headaches and chest pains from a range of triggers: if someone nearby turned on his phone, if she drove past a signal tower, if a neighbor next door used a coffee maker. It would be like a sledgehammer on top of my head, she said. Initially, only U.S. Cellular phones had harmed her, but eventually, being near any electrical device was a risk. (Virtually all devices that use electricity, even if they dont rely on wireless signals, emit a low level of radiation.)

Then, in 2007, she learned about the Radio Quiet Zone. When she visited, she finally started to feel better. She and Bert sold half of their Iowa farmland and bought the house in West Virginia, unfinished, and have since installed wiring with thick insulation to reduce radiation. (Bertwho gets much milder symptoms of EHS, including tinnitusstill goes back to their farm every summer to conduct corn research.) Over time, living without exposure reduced Dianes sensitivity, and she can now tolerate many devices without pain. The Schous use a landline and an Internet-connected computer (without Wi-Fi). But they still havent found a refrigerator with low enough radiation emissions, so Diane manually fills an icebox with ice each day. Even now, if she leaves the Radio Quiet Zone, exposure can set her off: I’ll say, Oh, I have a headache, and then someone’s cellphone will ring, she said. This happens time and time again.

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Green Bank, W.V., where the electrosensitive can escape …

Written on May 22nd, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

University of West Florida (UWF), one of twelve accredited Florida universities located in America’s oldest settlement, Pensacola, on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast

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Main | University of West Florida


Two major Jewish institutions have stepped in to provide a home for the art and artifacts of the Bnai Brith Klutznick National Jewish Museum.

Bnai Brith International and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will display the Klutznick collection at the HUC-JIRs Skirball Museum, located on the colleges campus in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Klutznicks sacred and secular fine and decorative arts and social documents will be exhibited in galleries designated as the Bnai Brith Klutznick Collection. In addition, a select group of Klutznick artifacts will be loaned to the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington to be displayed in its new building, slated for opening in 2020, according to a statement issued by the two institutions.

The Skirball was Americas first officially established Jewish museum, originally named the Union Museum. The museum will collaborate with Bnai Brith through online exhibitions and links disseminating information about the collection with other organizations, and the sponsoring of special programs and lectures.

Bnai Brith transferred its archives to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, also located on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR.

The acquisition of this historic collection creates unprecedented opportunities for community engagement on local, regional, national and international platforms. Integrating this collection and making it accessible through digital technology will be a priority, as the Skirball positions itself as a center of Jewish art and culture, Skirball Museum Director Abby Schwartz said in a statement.

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B’nai B’rith Museum Trove Will Go Public in Cincinnati …


Twelveperformances ofThe Diary of Anne Frankcometo the Lab Theater onApril 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26 (which is a 2 p.m. matinee performance)and 30, and on May 1 and 2, 2015. Set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam and depictinga family and acquaintances hidden in the sealed-offupper rooms of an office building, thisis Anne Franks story of captivity,fear, andthe burgeoning of a hopeful and beautiful spirit. In the indomitable words of Anne Frank, I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. In this section, you will find articles about the play, playwright, director and upcoming production of the show at the Laboratory Theater of Florida (posted in date order from oldest to latest).

Tickets are available from the theaters website,www.LaboratoryTheaterFlorida.com, or by calling 239.218.0481. There will also be an opening night reception, starting at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $12 for students and $22 for adults at the door. The theater also offers Thursday night discounts to seniors and military, at $18.50 per ticket. Seating is limited.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Front of House Manager Mike Dinko plays role of Mr. Kraler in Diary of Anne Frank (04-29-15)

The Diary of Anne Frank enters its last weekend at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Mike Dinko plays the role of Mr. Kraler in this groundbreaking play.

Lab Theater patrons know Dinko as the person who normally greets them at the ticket counter, but he is no stranger to the Lab Theater play. This is Mikes seventh show at Lab Theater. He was last seen in last Decembers Scrooge TV. He has also had roles in the world premier of The Second Book of Ruth, playing three roles as Ruths current or soon to be Jewish husbands. Other Lab appearances include Glengarry Glen Ross, The Rimers of Eldritch, On Golden Pond and Othello.

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The Diary of Anne Frank | ArtSWFL.com

Written on May 20th, 2015 & filed under Anne Frank Tags: , , , , , , ,

West Bank harvesters: Economic reforms and donor support will help sow the seeds of West Bank and Gazas future growth (photo: Mohamed Torokman/Reuters)

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

IMF Survey

May 19, 2015

The West Bank and Gaza will need policy discipline and donor support in the short run, but a new financing model will be essential over the medium term for sustained private-sector-led growth, the IMF says.

The Gazan economy is struggling to rebuild in the wake of the violent conflict last summer that resulted in losses of over $4 billion. The war also affected confidence in the West Bank, where Israeli restrictions on the movement of labor, access to resources, and trade continue to undermine growth prospects.

The IMF has issued its latest report on the economy of the West Bank and Gaza in advance of the May 27 meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, a coordination mechanism chaired by Norway for development assistance to the Palestinian people.

IMF mission chief Christoph Duenwald spoke to the IMF Survey about the reports findings, outlining what the Palestinian Authority can do to turn the economy around and how the international community can assist.

IMF Survey: The Gaza-Israel conflict dealt a harsh blow to the Palestinians in the summer of 2014. What was the impact on the economy of West Bank and Gaza?

Duenwald: Gaza, where the war played out, saw real GDP decline by 15 percent last year. According to official estimates, the losses from the war are over $4 billion, about 35 percent of West Bank and Gazas GDP. Tens of thousands of homes and enterprises were destroyed or damaged, businesses shut down, and utilities and infrastructure were severely damaged.

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Donor Support Crucial to West Bank and Gazas Recovery

Written on May 20th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The definition of anti-Semitism was at the center of a battle of words Monday involving campus protests about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This comes as some Jewish students say that protests against Israels occupation of the West Bank have had anti-Semitic overtones that they contend makes some American universities, including UC campuses, a hostile environment. Meanwhile, activists against Israeli policies, including some Jewish faculty and students, say such claims of anti-Semitism are an attempt to squelch any criticism of Israel.

The debate focused specifically on the U.S. State Departments definition of anti-Semitism. That definition defines more general ethnic and religious hatred against Jews but also declares that it is anti-Semitic to demonize Israel, deny Israels right to exist, liken Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and blame Israel for all inter-religious tensions.

On Monday, 57 rabbis from California and 104 University of California faculty members called on UC administrators to adopt that State Department definition when dealing with protests and potential discipline for anti-Semitic statements. They said they did not aim to silence free speech, but they contend that too often protests against Israel have turned into inciting anti-Jewish attitudes.

In a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC regents, the rabbis urged that campus leaders be trained in using the State Department definition to identify anti-Semitic behavior and to address it with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic and gender bigotry and discrimination.

In contrast, an open letter signed by more than 250 members of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council asked the U.S. State Department to revise its definition of anti-Semitism to prevent it from being used to silence critics of Israel. The interfaith group that supports calls for peace talks between Palestinians and Israel, an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and security for both sides said that it is important to distinguish criticism of Israel from real anti-Semitism. The letter also said the State Department should drop the definitions references to demonizing Israel and applying double standards to its policies.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support organization and the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report that said that more student activists are being wrongly described as anti-Semitic for their support of Palestinian rights. The groups said that they have received many requests from students and faculty in California and around the country who contend they have been identified as terrorists or terrorism supporters for speaking out against Israels treatment of Palestinians.

Napolitano and other UC leaders in March issued a statement condemning anti-Semitic incidents on UC campuses, as have student governments at UCLA and UC Berkeley recently. UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said it was too early to say whether the regents would adopt the State Department definition but that several people from the public are expected to speak on the matter at the regents meeting in San Francisco this week.

Follow me @larrygordonlat.

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Definition of anti-Semitism provokes campus debates – LA Times


Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell apologized Friday for inappropriate tweets, including a link to a Holocaust denial video.

The apology was made in a joint statement by the CFL Players Association and Bnai Brith Canada.

I wholeheartedly apologize to all those who I know I let down by posting those videos, especially those who look up to me as a professional athlete, Mitchell said. I fell into a trap by watching that video and I hope others can learn from my very public mistake.

This is a learning moment for me.

Mitchell agreed to work with Bnai Brith, a Jewish human rights organization, to educate myself about this and other human rights matters.

The Virginia Beach, Va., native had talks with Bnai Brith chief executive officer Michael Mostyn as well as with the CFL, the CFLPA and the Alouettes after news broke Thursday of a series of posts on Twitter dealing with Israel, including one with a link to a video called The Greatest Lie Ever Told, the Holocaust.

I have come to see that he is a very genuine individual who truly did not comprehend the deceptive nature of this vile video, said Mostyn.

CFLPA president Scott Flory added: We hope that people will accept his apology and we support him on his journey to become a positive force.

Mitchell was fined undisclosed amounts by the CFL and the Alouettes for violating the leagues social media policy. Flory said the league fine will be donated to a charity of the players choice.

The six-foot-six lineman signed with Montreal last season from the B.C. Lions. He was a CFL all-star in 2011.

Original post:
Alouettes lineman Khalif Mitchell apologizes for Holocaust …


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