ADVOCACY UPDATE
In This Issue
Israel gets some comfort from Montrealers
Building peace and green architects
White House Announces $400 Million in Gaza Aid
Rex Murphy: UN condemns Israel first
Women's national football team snags silver in Germany
BAD HIPSTERS...Pixies call off Israel gig over Navy raid
Hebrew is making its rounds among American TV shows and movies
David Frum: Turkey wins, Hamas loses from flotilla
True 3D play is only months away
49th Annual Israel Festival Features 100 Performers
Stop the hypocrisy about Israel
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas quits at 89 after Israel outburst
RANT ON
 
Israel gets some comfort from Montrealers


Several hundred people gathered on the plaza of Westmount Square at lunch yesterday to show solidarity with Israel in light of recent condemnations.

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Schindler museum opens
 
Schindler museum materials are being finalized for exhibition. (Patti McCracken)
 
KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) -- In January 1994, an American tourist stepped out of a taxi into a cold, drizzling rain and entered the Jarden Jewish Bookshop at the far end of the square in the Jewish quarter of Krakow.

On the counter he splayed a weeks-old copy of The New York Times before bookshop owner Les Zdzislaw.

"The man was pointing to photos of sites that were in 'Schindler's List' and demanded to know where they were," Zdzislaw recalls. "But what he didn't understand is that the movie had not yet premiered in Europe. We ourselves didn't know where many of these locations were."

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Building peace and green architects 
 
Despite recent troubles, an Israeli-Greek architect is organizing an important new sustainable building workshop for Palestinian and Israeli architecture students.

Despite recent troubles over the Gaza flotilla raid, Palestinian architecture students will be joining their counterparts in Israel for a one-week workshop this summer designed to introduce them to green building practices.

The six-day workshop, from July 25 until August 1, is being organized by the Greek-founded NGO Ecoweek, and run by Israeli-Greek green architect, Elias Messinas. It includes seminars and practice sessions with some of the world's hottest green architecture experts, and promises to put the Levant region - of Israel and the Palestinian Authority - on the green building map.

Green architecture is playing an increasingly significant role in the Middle East. In Israel a handful of architects already work solely as green architects, including Geotectura. In the Palestinian-Authority run West Bank, green training for the new generation is still very limited.

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White House Announces $400 Million in Gaza Aid

President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that the American government will commit to $400 million in aid to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The announcement comes after a tense 10 day period of international attention on Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

The money was announced during a meeting in Washington DC between Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was visiting to give his take on the progress of indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the current situation in Gaza.

The majority of current US aid is allocated for the West Bank. This is primarily due to the international community's attempts in the last few years to strengthen the stature of Abbas, seen as a moderate, in the West Bank. Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since it violently took over the territory in 2007, is widely considered a terrorist organization by Canada, the US, the European Union and others.

 

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Rex Murphy: UN condemns Israel first, investigates later

 

I don't suppose the world needs to remember Rwanda to note how sluggish in the face of imminent horror the United Nations is and can be. If that is not a sufficient cue, we could bring in other examples of areas of great threat or immiseration or both: Darfur, Tibet, Chechnya, North Korea, Zimbabwe, the Congo or Iran. On these the UN has the patience of a stone but only some of its energy.

But torpid as is its nature, and comatose as are its eternal deliberations, on one subject, and toward one state, the United Nations acquires a strange and uniquely transformative power. Bring Israel under its gaze and the diplomatic sloths at UN headquarters morph into the swiftest of gazelles. From lotus-eaters to adrenalin junkies in the twinkling of an eye. Quite amazing, really.

 

Source Flotilla for Gaza 

 
 
Women's national football team snags silver in Germany  
 
 
Another strong international performance for the Israeli women's national flag football team saw it finish in second place over the weekend at Big Bowl IV in Walldorf, Germany.

While Yonah Mishaan's squad was unable to successfully defend the title it captured for the third time in 2009, the Israeli stars - backed once again by Myra Kraft - finished the three-day tournament with an overall record of 5-2.

Both defeats came at the hands of the Austrian national team, which took home the gold after a super-tight 7-0 conquest of the blue-and-white in a thrilling defensive final.

Even with the second-place finish, Israel reinforced the belief among the global football community that it will be a force to be reckoned with at August's World Championships in Ottawa, Canada.

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BAD HIPSTERS...Pixies call off Israel gig over Navy raid
 
American rock band the Pixies, which was scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this Wednesday, has called off its concert following the deadly Navy raid on a Gaza-bound vessel and the international criticism sparked by the incident.
 
The concert's producers in Israel received the following message from the band's management on Sunday morning: "The decision was not reached easily, and we all know well the Israeli fans have been waiting for this visit for far too long.
 
 

Hebrew is making its rounds among American TV shows and movies, but it turns out this has been going on for years
 
David Frum: Turkey wins, Hamas loses from flotilla fiasco
 
Palestinian and Turkish flag in Lebanon


There are winners from the Gaza flotilla and losers. In human terms, the losses begin with the battered and injured IDF soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara. One may wonder if we should not tally as winners the nine militant blockade runners who gained the martyrdom they sought.

But there is a geopolitical scorecard too, and here is a first estimate:

Major loser: Hamas. Hamas tried to break the Israeli blockade and failed. You hear tough talk of a second try. It will not happen. Already, the sponsors of the next would-be blockade-runner, an Irish-backed ship named the "Rachel Corrie," have agreed to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod and submit to a security inspection.

 
True 3D play is only months away
 
Microsoft's newest XBox video game console is generating excitement among gamers worldwide. Its core component - a radical new 3D sensoring technology - was developed by Israel's PrimeSense.

Video games aren't just for kids. Gaming is a $20 billion annual business in the US alone, having long ago surpassed sales in the music industry. And Israeli companies - chief among them Tel Aviv-based PrimeSense - are at the heart of the latest developments sweeping the industry. Thanks to the company's 3D sensing technology, set to become the central feature of Microsoft's latest XBox video game consoles, true 3D play is just months away.

PrimeSense and several other Israeli companies have been quietly developing hardware and software for a new iteration of the XBox gaming system, codenamed Project Natal, which was announced in 2009.

Last year, Microsoft acquired Israeli company 3DV, which many industry observers believed was connected to the development of Project Natal. Meanwhile, last month SanDisk based in Kfar Saba in central Israel, began shipping its Xbox 360 USB Flash Drive, designed to enable gamers to easily move their avatars and game stats between XBox machines.

 
 
49th Annual Israel Festival Features 100 Performers
 
 

The 49th annual Israel Festival kicked off on Tuesday, setting the stage for an 18-day extravaganza featuring around 100 local and international performers.

Artists from Israel, the United States, Britain, Argentina, Georgia, Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, France, Korea, Iceland, Poland, India and Japan will be in attendance. Events include dance, theatre, circus, classical music, Israeli music, and more, as well as shows for children and a wine and jazz expo for adults.

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Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas quits at 89 after Israel outburst

It is always dangerous for a reporter to become the story. For Helen Thomas, two months before her 90th birthday, it has meant the end of her career.

The daughter of Lebanese immigrants who could neither read nor write, Ms Thomas was covering the White House 11 years before its current spokesman was born. Yesterday she resigned in disgrace after telling a Jewish online news service that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home".

In the final outburst of a career spanning seven decades and ten presidents, Ms Thomas appeared not to know, or not to care, that she was talking to a rabbi on the day of the White House's official celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month last week.

"Any comments on Israel?" she was asked. "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she replied.

Prompted to say something more positive in the spirit of the occasion, the 89 year-old dean of the White House Press Corps said: "Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germans'. It's not Poland's." 

 
 
 

 
 


 
RANT

First off, sorry that you have not been able to hear my thoughts on the BP oil spill sooner. I wanted to write about it but, you know, oil on animals kinda makes trivial things like a rant just seem so... ummm...trivial!

Today I went to court. I fought a speeding ticket and justice was served. I was found guilty for which I clearly was. I actually smiled a little bit walking out of court (OK... I was mumbling obscenities under my breath but for the purpose of this rant and to make a point, I was smiling!). I was smiling because maybe the guilty do get what they deserve... Or don't they? Cuz if that's true, then why isn't BP being prosecuted? What's going on right now is a tragedy that will shift the world geographically. What's even more unnerving is the fact that BP is refusing help from certain people claiming they got it under control. NO! Control would've been not causing that spill to begin with.  Hey BP... you know the sign you and other gas stations hang by the pumps... the one that reads something like "Don't leave your pump unattended. You are responsible for spills"? Maybe you should hang that sign in the office of the executives!

But in all this time, BP execs must've said something of substance or reassurance to the public right? Let's think... there was the one when BP called on Twitter to shut down the fake BP account mocking the company. How about you shut down the leak ruining our oceans buddy! Oh no wait... the BP President did say something. He reassured us. He said that the company will survive this! Great news! Can you give me insight on whether all the ocean life that is being destroyed will survive? The company will be ok... Ha! That's like me running over your dog and saying "I'm sorry but don't worry... my car will be ok!"

The world is in a fragile state now, with oil spills and hypocrisy. We have seen the world become a joke. Now more than ever we need our generation to stand up and take control. Let's fix the world... We are not alone. We can make a difference in the world. Hey... is there an app for that?

- The Advocate