Yves Archambault owns a shoe store called Le Marcheur on St. Denis Street in Le Plateau, a hip neighbourhood in Montreal.
For the last 25 years, he's been selling shoes from all over the world.
On Oct. 2, Archambault received a formal demand from a radical left-leaning organization threatening to picket in front of his shop to "make St. Denis an Israeli Apartheid Free Zone".
These extremists did not want to see shoes made in Israel sold on the Plateau. More than that, they wanted a great purge of all products from the Jewish state.
Even though he is not Jewish and the Israeli shoes in his store represent less than 2% of his sales, Archambault refused to give in to this blackmail. He has been selling these quality shoes for over 15 years. Apolitical, he simply refused to accept a handful of ideologues dictating to him what to sell and not to sell.
Every Saturday since the beginning of October, in the best trading hours, a dozen activists have blocked the entrance of his store with anti-Israel signs and distribute tracts calling for the boycott of his store, harassing his clients.
On Dec. 11, a local Member of the National Assembly (MNA), Amir Khadir, joined the protesters with well-known communist leaders.
This elected official, paid by taxpayers, set about to harm a small storekeeper in his constituency who sells a legal product coming from a country with which Canada has a free-trade agreement.
Amir Khadir s'est distingué à l'Assemblée nationale par quelques interventions pertinentes et bien documentées. Hélas, sa vraie nature - celle du radical fanatique qui voyait un complot américain dans les attentats du 11 septembre - vient une fois de plus de remonter à la surface.
Un député qui encourage le boycottage d'un petit commerce de son propre comté, c'était du jamais vu. Cela a scandalisé nombre de gens.
«Honte à vous de vous en prendre à un petit commerçant!», écrit M. Durand. «Quand allez-vous badigeonner ses vitrines d'une étoile jaune?»
L'antisionisme obsessionnel de M. Khadir l'a poussé à aller manifester le 11 décembre dernier devant la boutique Le Marcheur que tient depuis 25 ans la famille Archambeault, de concert avec quelques camarades du Parti communiste et du PAJU, une organisation dont l'unique vocation est de diaboliser Israël.
U.S.: Iran offer for nuclear site visits is a 'magical mystery tour'
Ahead of talks in Turkey, Iran has invited Russia, China and the EU, but not the U.S., to view its nuclear facilities.
The State Department is belittling Iran's offer to let some countries - but not the U.S. - visit its nuclear facilities, calling the offer a "magical mystery tour."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Tuesday that the offer is no substitute for Iran fully cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to prove that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes and not to build a bomb.
Technicians measuring parts of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in this undated photo.
Reporters asked Crowley how the U.S. felt about Iran's decision not to include the U.S. in the countries invited to tour a nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz and other facilities. Crowley responded sarcastically, saying, "We're just crushed."
A massive offshore natural gas reserve is poised to give Israel energy security, freeing the desert nation from the threat of boycotts and reshaping the political dynamics of the Middle East.
Estimated to contain 16 trillion cubic feet of gas - equivalent to more than a quarter of Canada's proven reserves and enough to meet Israel's domestic demand for 100 years - the Leviathan field is believed to be the largest such deepwater gas discovery in a decade.
Vulture in Saudi Custody Suspected as Mossad Agent
Saudi Arabian security forces have captured a vulture that was carrying a global positioning satellite (GPS) transmitter and a ring etched with the words "Tel Aviv University." They suspect the bird of spying for Israel, Maariv-NRG reported Tuesday. The GPS and ring were connected to the bird as part of an long-term project by Israeli scientists that follows vultures' location and altitude for research purposes.
The arrest of the vulture - whose identification code is R65 - comes several weeks after an Egyptian official voiced the suspicion that a shark that attacked tourists off the Sinai shore was also acting on behalf of Mossad. The incidents may reflect a growing irrational hysteria among Arabs surrounding Israel's military prowess and the efficacy of its intelligence services, possibly fueled by the Stuxnet virus' success..
Maariv said that the R65 was caught near the home of a sheikh in the community of Hayel in Saudi Arabia. The words "Tel Aviv University" etched in English on a ring clasped to its leg, and especially the transmitter, caused the finders to suspect espionage and alert the security forces.
Ohad Hatzofe, bird ecologist for the Nature and Parks Authority, said that the vulture story has been making the rounds in Arabic internet sites, including Al-Jazeera forums and Arabic military forums. "The subject is receiving great publicity and it is important that Saudi authorities understand that it is not true. There is also an international treaty of nature protection professionals, that forbids doing things like this," he added.
A new study shows that corporate brands like Nike, Apple or Gap take the place of religious symbols like a crucifix or Star of David for people who aren't deeply religious.
It seems that the more religious you are, the less likely you are to define yourself or seek self-worth through your choice of consumer brands whether its Nike, Gap, or Apple. In fact, new research from Israel suggests that as consumers, our religiosity has a large impact on our choice of a particular brand and whether or not we remain loyal to it.
Tel Aviv UniversityProf. Ron Shachar advises marketing professionals to consider consumers' religious beliefs when crafting their advertising strategies, if they hope to achieve their goal to connect between consumers and the products they represent by creating strong brand identities.
Shachar, of the Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration, says that a consumer's religiosity has a large impact on the likelihood that he or she will choose particular brands. He asserts that consumers who are deeply religious are less likely to display an explicit preference for a particular brand, while more secular populations are more prone to define their self-worth through loyalty to corporate brands rather than religious denominations.
Shabbat in Liverpool: New CD adapts Beatles' tunes for services
The album cover of Shlock Rock's "Shabbat in Liverpool," which features Beatles' songs set to Sabbath prayers and replicates the Fab Four's famed "Abbey Road" album, was released in December 2010. (Shlock Rock)
STAMFORD, Conn. (JTA) -- When is it kosher to listen to the Beatles on the Sabbath?
When your chazan adapts the Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night service to the melodies of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Lenny Solomon, the founder of the song-parody group Shlock Rock, employed "nusach Liverpool" for a service in late December at the Young Israel of Hollywood, an Orthodox synagogue in South Florida.
"I've never had more pride in anything else that I have ever performed," said Solomon, who has been in the Jewish music business for 25 years. "I had created something new that could be sung in the shul. This is something that I had never done, and I was beaming by the time the services ended."
The service was the culmination of a years-long project for Solomon that has included the release of a CD with 21 Beatles' songs set to various parts of Shabbat services and liturgy.
On the CD, "Shalom Aleichem" is sung to the tune of "With a Little Help from My Friends"; the "V'Shamru" portion of kiddush is set to "The Long and Winding Road"; "Ein Keloheinu" sounds like "Let it Be"; and the Havdalah service is set to "Imagine."
Famed Italian tenor to take part in one time performance in June. All proceeds dedicated to support of Galilee, Negev residents
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has accepted an invitation from the Israeli Opera to come to Israel in June for a unique concert which will be held at the foothills of the famous Masada landmark. The concert will mark the closing of the Opera Festival which will include performances of "Aida" at the Masada and Jerusalem at the Sultan's Pool.
Proceeds from the concert, which will be held June 12 in cooperation with the Or Association, will be dedicated to the support of residents of the Negev and the Galilee.
On the night of May 7, 2004, silence reigned in the small, old auditorium of the Friends School in El Bireh. Daniel Barenboim, one of the greatest conductors of his generation, was about to raise his baton before the newly minted Palestine Youth Orchestra. Before the first chord was struck there was a sense of historic import - and the memory of a similar defining moment came to mind.
Seven decades earlier, in 1936, people in Tel Aviv - another remote town in the midst of national self-identification, and aspiring to independence - fixed their gaze on the greatest conductor of the day, Arturo Toscanini, as he raised his baton over an orchestra on its maiden performance: the Palestine Orchestra, now called the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Israel's cover girl for composting isn't just a pretty face atop a garbage truck. She's a pretty face who has spent her career committed to advancing environmentalism.
"I'm very proud to be the dumb blonde who models garbage," declares Atar Friedman. Friedman, the face of the local authorities' garbage sorting project, is a far cry from the stereotypical hard-knock, sweaty and exhausted garbageman. The photographs of her, showing her searching in garbage cans or riding on the back of a garbage truck, are part of the glamorous image now being associated with recycling and modeling and that have already earned her the name, "the garbage model."
At no point during the conversation with her is it clear where Friedman ends and the garbage begins and vice versa. For her, everything is interconnected, cleaning is the beginning of garbage and vice versa, nothing is as it appears; the disgusting and the revolting, the tempting and the provocative, are one entity.
She is 33. At the age of 5, she and her family were evacuated from Yamit in the Sinai.
She grew up in Hofit, flunked out of an Air Force training course, got a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in ecology, both with honors, and now lives in Tel Aviv's Neveh Tzedek quarter and is in a relationship with a female partner.
As this is the first Update of 2011, I thought it would be fitting to share a year in review, written by a former Hillel Montreal board member, an advisor still and a great educator. The following piece was published on JPost.com by Professor Gil Troy.
The Israel Rorschach test: Real democracy or bogeyman?
From Israel's perspective, 2010 ended as it began, with much of the world spending far too much time obsessing about it, failing the Israel Rorschach test. Despite being a democracy, Israel, like all other collective human endeavors called countries, is imperfect. Some view its missteps in that context, understanding that liberal democracies are better than dictatorships not only because they give their citizens freedoms and dignity but because those freedoms sharpen their government's and society's self-correcting mechanisms. Too many others treat Israel as the international bogeyman, a monster nation, wherein each misstep proves its illegitimacy.
THE YEAR began with Israel still smarting from the Goldstone Report's censure of its war of selfdefense against Hamas rockets in Gaza. In many ways, it was nothing new. Only one nation is regularly censured by the UN's so-called Human Rights Council. And only one country has its right to selfdefense so scrutinized and constricted by the international community.