Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gas from Israeli ‘Tamar’ field starts flowing

Aerial view of Israeli gas drilling field 'Tamar'

Production could save Israel billions of dollars in annual costs and eventually turn country into an energy exporter.

The Qataris hoovering up London


God is an Englishman,’ declares Irvine Sellar, as he strides on to the newly opened 69th-floor observation deck of the Shard, the skyscraper he developed. Looking out of the vast floor-to-ceiling windows, it is tempting to agree. There’s the Shard itself; the jagged steel and glass tip of the £1.5 billion, 1,016ft tower seems to pierce the sky. To the east, the Olympic Stadium rises like a giant crown. To the north lies Camden Lock, where teenage tourists and ageing punks shop, and just across the Thames there’s a bigger market, for everyone except teenagers and punks: the London Stock Exchange. Squint through the telescope and you can make out the eagle that flies above the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square. A mile to the west, the lights of Harrods are reflected in the bulletproof glass of the £1 billion One Hyde Park, the most expensive apartment building in the world. In the distance, you can make out the glow of Heathrow’s new Terminal 2.

But while God might have provided the inspiration for the new glittering monuments to London’s prosperity, he didn’t pay the bill. A single investor has stumped up for almost all of it. This man has bought up the Shard, part of the Olympics site and Canary Wharf, a chunk of Camden Lock, One Hyde Park (in conjunction with his cousin), Harrods and ten per cent of Heathrow. He also owns Chelsea Barracks, the W Hotel in Leicester Square, and has big stakes in companies whose names are emblazoned across the capital: Barclays Bank, the London Stock Exchange, Sainsbury’s, Santander bank, even luxury handbag brand Anya Hindmarch.

The new landlord of London is the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who rules a scalding, pancake-flat Arabian peninsula the size of Yorkshire, with a native population smaller than Bradford. Londoners are used to oil- and gas-rich gazillionaires and their wives flocking to London to party and to buy things in Harrods, but not the entire store. Why is the emir playing real-life Monopoly?

Saudi Arabian cleric declares babies should wear burkas


Sheikh Abdullah Daoud said all female newborns should wear a full face veil in an interview with an Islamic television station.

He told al-Majd TV that wearing a burka would stop incidents of sexual attacks on babies.

REMINDER: Arabs Have Black Slaves – Today

Israel Apartheid Week has come and gone this year on many American campuses. It was, of course, a hoax: However much one says that Arabs in Israel suffer, and whoever is to blame for that alleged suffering, there is no apartheid in Israel.

Meanwhile, however, in Sudan and Mauritania, racist Arab societies enslave blacks. Today. Most of the slaves are African Muslims. Yet there is no Arab Apartheid Week on American campuses. Why not?

One might think American student activists would be upset about Mauritania, the West African country with the largest population of black slaves in the world – estimates range from 100,000 to more than a half-million. In Mauritania, slaves are used for labor, sex and breeding. The wholly owned property of their masters, they are passed down through generations, given as wedding gifts or exchanged for camels, trucks, guns or money.

‘Jew in the box’


Nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, there is no more sensitive an issue in German life as the role of Jews.

With fewer than 200,000 Jews among Germany’s 82 million people, few Germans born after World War II know any Jews or much about them.

To help educate postwar generations, an exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Berlin features a Jewish man or woman seated inside a glass box for two hours a day through August to answer visitors’ questions about Jews and Jewish life.

The base of the box asks: ‘Are there still Jews in Germany?’

‘A lot of our visitors don’t know any Jews and have questions they want to ask,’ museum official Tina Luedecke said. ‘With this exhibition we offer an opportunity for those people to know more about Jews and Jewish life.’

But not everybody thinks putting a Jew on display is the best way to build understanding and mutual respect.

Since the exhibit The Whole Truth, everything you wanted to know about Jews opened this month, the ‘Jew in the Box,’ as it is popularly known, has drawn sharp criticism within the Jewish community – especially in the city where the Nazis orchestrated the slaughter of 6 million Jews until Adolf Hitler’s defeat in 1945.

‘Why don’t they give him a banana and a glass of water, turn up the heat and make the Jew feel really cosy in his glass box,’ prominent Berlin Jewish community figure Stephan Kramer told The Associated Press. ‘They actually asked me if I wanted to participate. But I told them I’m not available.’

The exhibit is reminiscent of Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann sitting in a glass booth at the 1961 trial in Israel which led to his execution. And it’s certainly more provocative than British actress Tilda Swinton sleeping in a glass box at a recent performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Eran Levy, an Israeli who has lived in Berlin for years, was horrified by the idea of presenting a Jew as a museum piece, even if to answer Germans’ questions about Jewish life.

‘It’s a horrible thing to do – completely degrading and not helpful,’ he said. ‘The Jewish Museum absolutely missed the point if they wanted to do anything to improve the relations between Germans and Jews.’

But several of the volunteers, including both German Jews and Israelis living in Berlin, said the experience in the box is little different from what they go through as Jews living in the country that produced the Nazis.

‘With so few of us, you almost inevitably feel like an exhibition piece,’ volunteer Leeor Englander said.



During Passover, the Jewish population of Israel has passed the symbolic 6 million mark – the same number of Jews who were believed to have been killed during the Nazi Holocaust.

Musical Interlude

Video: Attempted Jew massacre of the day

The IDF released a video Thursday featuring two Tanzim members as they open fire at cars traveling in the West Bank.

Feminism Or Islamism: Which Side Are You On?

No group is better than liberal academics at illustrating how racist anti-racism has become. As liberals, they ought to respect individual rights and oppose reactionary attempts to corral and control. As academics, they ought to look for evidence that shakes comfortable opinions. As it is, they do neither.

In human rights organisations, leftish political parties, liberal newspapers and, above all, in the universities, committed and morally earnest people would rather die than admit that radical Islam is a murderous and oppressive movement. The effect of their evasion is to promote the racism they say they oppose, while denying their supposed allies in “Muslim lands” and immigrant communities the same rights as they enjoy. Hypocrisy is too meagre a word to cover their behaviour.

Here we go: Attack on Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights

It was not immediately clear whether Israel held Syrian troops or rebels responsible for what a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had been a deliberate attack on Israeli patrols in the occupied territory.

Israeli forces “destroyed a Syrian machine gun nest that fired twice in the last 24 hours on Israeli patrols operating to safeguard the border”.

US unblocks $500 million in aid to Palestinians

The Obama administration has been pushing for release of Congressional aid funds for some time, and it was unclear if any conditions were placed on the PA in exchange for delivery.

In a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in Ramallah, however, Obama reportedly asked the Palestinian leader to refrain from turning to the International Criminal Court “for any reason,” including settlement expansion. The PA has consistently threatened to address its grievances against Israel at the Hague in recent months.

Canada worst human rights violator in world: Iran lawmaker

“The Canadian government has long been among the so-called Western advocates of human rights. Nevertheless, it tops the list of human rights violators,” he stated.

Musical Interlude

Protecting a holy site


The Mount of Olives was already consecrated as a grave site for Jerusalem’s Jews in pre-First Temple days 3,000 years ago. It still serves that purpose.

The only break was during the 19 years of Jordanian rule between 1948 and 1967.

Not only were Jews barred entry then (in brazen contravention of armistice treaty obligations), but ancient, irreplaceable tombstones were ripped out and used for the construction of roads, army barracks and – underscoring the intent to defile, desecrate and humiliate – as walls and floors of public latrines.

The Jewish return to an indisputably Jewish site – the final resting place for a veritable pantheon of spiritual, cultural and national paragons – is what world opinion and the Arabs now deem as “occupation.”

But the Jewish state must not subscribe to inimical distortion.

Mourners should not fear for their lives at any cemetery anywhere in Israel, but all the more so at the oldest continuously used burial ground on earth.


The pink police


Campus Pride week may have come and gone at the University of Ottawa, but for Cody Boast, a third-year political science student, the incident that occurred on March 4 left him feeling little pride in his campus community.

Boast attended a karaoke night at campus bar 1848 in support of his LGBTQ friends and was allegedly targeted for wearing too much pink. According to Boast, Amy Hammett, who has held several positions in student government including a position as the 2011-2012 vp student affairs at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), asked Boast to change because the clothes he had on were deemed offensive.

“I brought some friends with me and I thought I’d go to the very first [event] and I’d crush out wearing pink to support the cause and show some spirit,” said Boast.

“I [was dressed] in all pink; I had on pink shorts, a pink shirt, and a pink hat. As we entered 1848, before we even sat down—we went to the bar to get a beer—and as we were ordering, Amy Hammett approached [us] and said that I was wearing too much pink.”

Boast, who identifies as heterosexual, says he was there only to show support for the LGBTQ community, and was surprised that the incident occurred; nonetheless, he heeded Hammett’s orders.

“I didn’t want to fight with her, so I changed,” said Boast.

“[She told me] it’s like dressing up like Bob Marley at a Black History Month event,” he continued.

Boast isn’t the only one angered by what occurred. Riyadh Nazerally, a friend of Boast and vp info anglo at the Communication Student Association, spoke to the Fulcrum and said he feels the SFUO is becoming too politicized.

“This is just another example of the SFUO being hyper-political for basically no reason. And the reason that I complained about it in the first place is [because] too much political correctness kind of fuels the controversy you’re trying to defeat,” said Nazerally.

“The fact that we have a governing body that decides what we should be angry about is the part that upsets me,” he continued.

Rules of Joking in Islam

“Nowadays, although the ummah needs to increase the love between its individual members and to relieve itself of boredom, it has gone too far with regard to relaxation, laughter and jokes. This has become a habit which fills their gatherings and wastes their time, so their lives are wasted and their newspapers are filled with jokes and trivia.”

United Church of Canada’s latest Jew hating initiative

“Over 2013 and 2014, The United Church of Canada is encouraging United Church members and others to become involved in the search for a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis. A Take Action has been initiated, encouraging United Church people to write to the Foreign Affairs Minister supporting the letter of the General Secretary asking for proper identification of Israeli settlement products in Canadian stores and an end to tax exemptions for products from the settlements.

A new section of the website, Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel, has also been launched. On these webpages we invite you to learn more about some of the issues related to the injustice and conflicts in the region, and things you can do to contribute to justice and peace. We will be adding new content and action possibilities throughout the campaign; currently, there is information about Israeli settlements, how those settlements affect Palestinians, and an overview of global church actions on settlement product boycott.”


Iraqi Sunnis await a Baghdad spring

United by a common foe, former insurgents and allies have now won support from the Gulf in hope of ousting Shia government.

TDSB sics police on sarcastic blogger


“In what can be described as more TDSB theatre of the absurd, an obscure six-week-old blog comment resulted in police visiting his home like one might see back in the day of the Stasi in communist East Germany

Al Jazeera Audience Declines in Egypt and Tunisia

Although Al Jazeera has prominently covered the past and ongoing uprisings in the Arab world, it has recently lost its grip over viewers in two “Arab Spring” countries: Egypt and Tunisia.

A report by market research company Sigma Conseil shows that the percentage of Al Jazeera viewers out of the total television audience in Tunisia decreased from 10.7% in 2011 to 4.8% in 2012. The same report also points out that Al Jazeera is not among the 10 most watched channels in Egypt.

Another similar report published by Tunisian 3C showed that only Al Jazeera Sports placed (fourth) among the five most watched channels by Tunisians in the month of January, while the others were Tunisian channels – Attounissia, Hannibal, and Al Wataniya 1 placing first, second, and third respectively.

The decrease in the number of viewers has been accompanied by growing criticism directed toward the channel, as many Tunisians believe that Al Jazeera promotes a Qatari agenda in the region.

Bad news: Headchopper shortage in Saudi Arabia

Saudi news outlets said Sunday a ministerial committee is looking into formally dropping public beheadings as a method of execution in the oil-rich kingdom due to shortages in government swordsmen.

The authoritative daily Al-Watan said in its Sunday edition that the ministerial committee is considering fatal shootings as an alternative.

Musical Interlude

The Iran Lobby Buys a Friendly Face for Despotism

The funding of a significant pro-Iran lobby that funnels money to American universities was disclosed to the wider public for the first time during the U.S. Senate’s recent confirmation battle over Chuck Hagel’s successful nomination as secretary of defense. By far the largest grantor is the Alavi Foundation, now under federal investigation, which has given Harvard University $345,000 over nine years ending in 2011. Other institutions in the U.S. and Canada have also benefited from Iranian largesse.

Hagel, who represented Nebraska as a Republican U.S. Senator from 1997 to 2009, has long advocated a soft line toward the brutal theocratic regime, as exemplified by his call in 2007 for “direct, unconditional and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.”

He has participated in at least one Middle East Studies event organized by Tehran’s tenured apologists and subsidized by the Iranian regime. As described by Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, Hagel addressed a March 2007 conference at Rutgers University co-sponsored by the school’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and the shadowy group that, as pointed out by the WSJ’s Stephens and others, helped pay for the Rutgers AIC event: the Alavi Foundation.

Alavi is an arm of the Tehran government that has granted substantial sums to American and Canadian universities.

J Street, Liberal Pro-Israel Group, Claims Big Win on Chuck Hagel

J Street, a liberal Jewish-American lobbying group barely five years old and once shunned by top Israeli officials, is claiming as a victory the fact that Chuck Hagel was confirmed as defense secretary despite opposition from more conservative Jewish groups.

In the week when the most influential Jewish-American group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, held its annual conference in Washington, J Street has been touting its role in securing Hagel’s nomination, which supporters say shows its growing clout.

Boycott this: Israeli researchers develop new radiation therapy

It’s long been known that radiation therapy is good news and bad news: It cannot discriminate between cancer cells and healthy surrounding cells. Lung tissue in particular is vulnerable to damage from x-rays.

Could a different kind of radiation produce a better result for lung cancer patients?

That was the question asked by a group of Israeli researchers a few years ago. Recently they shared their surprising conclusions at the third International IEEE Conference on Microwaves, Communications, Antennas and Electronic Systems held in Tel-Aviv, and won funding from a European source to continue their studies.

According to the researchers, a newly available type of radiation appears to disable cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

Envoys work to end UN’s Palestinian refugee status

Prosor sees UNRWA policy to allow Palestinians to “transfer their refugee mileage to their children” as misguided.

42% of Austrians think Hitler rule wasn’t all bad

Poll finds that 54% think neo-Nazi groups could be successful in Austrian elections if there wasn’t a law banning them.

Video: “I’m satisfied with what Hitler did to the Jews”

Now Al-Qaida Wants to Torch Your Car and Snarl Your Commute

Once they turned hijacked airplanes into missiles. Now al-Qaida is encouraging jihadist wannabes to set your car on fire and blow out your tires on the highway.

That’s the advice from the DIY jihad section in the latest issue of al-Qaida’s English-language web magazine, Inspire. The new “Open Source Jihad” (.pdf) is all about vehicular vandalism.

One suggestion, penned by “Ibnul Irhab” in the new issue of Inspire, is to run up on parked cars with gas cans and a matchstick. “How safe will the West feel when parking their cars, knowing they’re up for a TORCHING,” Irhab writes. His helpful tips: avoid CCTV cameras; hide the gas in an apple juice bottle; and, importantly, “don’t get petrol on yourself.” This is what Open Source Jihad bills as “America’s worst nightmare.”

Nor is it safe to drive to the store or the office. Inspire encourages the inspired to smear “lubricative oil” on roadways right before sharp blind turns to cause a traffic accident. (“Demolition Derby Style,” it promises.) If that doesn’t sound terrorist-y enough, another tip is to hammer nails into a pegboard painted black so oncoming cars blow out their tires. There’s even a chart explaining the physics behind car crashes for Inspire’s slower readers.

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking


THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.

What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.

The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington.

“The numbers are so much higher than what we originally thought,” Hartmut Berghoff, director of the institute, said in an interview after learning of the new data.

“We knew before how horrible life in the camps and ghettos was,” he said, “but the numbers are unbelievable.”

The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Auschwitz and a handful of other concentration camps have come to symbolize the Nazi killing machine in the public consciousness. Likewise, the Nazi system for imprisoning Jewish families in hometown ghettos has become associated with a single site — the Warsaw Ghetto, famous for the 1943 uprising. But these sites, infamous though they are, represent only a minuscule fraction of the entire German network, the new research makes painfully clear.

Seized Chinese Weapons Raise Concerns on Iran


An Iranian dhow seized off the Yemeni coast was carrying sophisticated Chinese antiaircraft missiles, a development that could signal an escalation of Iran’s support to its Middle Eastern proxies, alarming other countries in the region and renewing a diplomatic challenge to the United States.

Among the items aboard the dhow, according to a review of factory markings on weapons and their packing crates, were 10 Chinese heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles, most of them manufactured in 2005.

The missiles were labeled QW-1M and bore stencils suggesting that they had been assembled at a factory represented by the state-owned China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation, sanctioned by the United States for transfers of missile technology to Pakistan and Iran.

The Chinese missiles were part of a larger shipment interdicted by American and Yemeni forces in January, which American and Yemeni officials say was intended for the Houthi rebels in northwestern Yemen. But the presence of the missiles in the seized contraband complicates an already politically delicate case.


Palestinians Exporting Terrorists to Syria

The Palestinian men who are heading to Syria belong to Salafi and other radical Islamist groups that have been operating in the Gaza Strip over the past few years. Some are also former Hamas members who broke away from the Islamist movement under the pretext that it was too ‘moderate.’

UPDATE:  Palestinians suspected of aiding Syria regime ‘hanged’

Syrian rebels on Saturday hanged two Palestinians at a refugee camp in Damascus on suspicion of aiding the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a rights watchdog said.

“Rebels in the Yarmuk camp executed two men accused of cooperating with the regime by identifying targets that were bombed last week,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“They were hanged from trees in the camp.”

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground to collect information, provided a picture illustrating the hangings.

In it, two men are seen hanging from trees next to buildings as a crowd of people surrounds them, some taking pictures of the scene.

It was not possible to immediately verify the authenticity of the picture.

The Observatory says hangings of people suspected of working for the regime have been reported in Hama and Aleppo, but this was the first time that such an execution was announced along with a picture.

The Yarmuk camp housing tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees is a regular site of clashes between pro- and anti-regime supporters.