Saturday, February 08, 2014

Iran's Silent Executions

Mitra Pourshajari

"It is the other prisoners who should be upset that they are housed with your father." — Iranian judge, speaking of political prisoner Pourshajari.
Right then and there, right in front of me, he sentenced some people to death.
Sadly many who call themselves human rights advocates, who should be defending every innocent person, regardless of his beliefs, only defend those with similar beliefs; they think my father's situation, and others like him, are not their business.
Excerpts from a January 20, 2014 interview with Mitra Pourshajari, courtesy of Reza Parchizade.
After I did not hear from my father, Mohammad-Reza Pourshajari, for a few days, the police broke the lock and entered his house. The place was ransacked; there was no sign of my father.
It did not look like a robbery; the only items missing were books, my father's writings, his computer, our family albums and the satellite receiver. They had taken these things in such an aggressive way that they had left their footprints all over the furniture. Yet this happened so quietly that none of the neighbors heard anything-- or maybe they did and were just too afraid to speak up.

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Daily TIP: Calls grow for strong Congressional voice in shaping Iran deal‏

Ongoing technical issues delayed timely distribution of Thursday's DailyTIP. TIP is working to bolster its digital infrastructure. We apologize for any inconvenience. 
  • Calls grow for strong Congressional voice in shaping Iran deal
  • Former U.S. Ambassador: Turkey ignored calls made at "highest levels" to assist in counter-terrorism, blocking Al Qaeda
  • Dutch pension fund brushes off calls to cut off Israeli banks, undermines "increasing public perception that Israel is on the verge of wholesale boycotts": reports
  • Concerns grow that Israel losing U.S.-backed Qualitative Military Edge in Middle East

    • Senators from across the political spectrum, including some who have largely stayed on the sidelines during recent debates revolving around Iran, on Thursday called on the White House to ensure that Congress is given a significant voice is shaping a comprehensive nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. Politico conveyed a letter to White House and State Department officials from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) - who the outlet noted "has declined to antagonize the president legislatively on" Iran - to demand that "any further agreement... that lifts statutory sanctions on Iran should require approval by the Congress before taking effect."
  • Why they don't want you to know Arabic

    Gonen Ginat
    Education Minister Shay Piron doesn't want school kids to learn Arabic. Of course, he doesn't say this out loud, and if he is asked about it, not only would he not deny it, but he would also pratter on about how important it is to speak Arabic and how learning the language would serve as a cultural bridge and blah, blah, blah, just like the minister knows how to do.
    In practice, though, he doesn't want us to learn Arabic. He wants Arabic studies to last no longer than three years so that he could slash the budgets allocated to teaching the language.
    Could this reform be part of the new policy introduced recently by the Education Ministry, which seems to be encouraging kids towards ignorance while teaching them a whole lot of nothing? At the same time, it is worth wondering whether there is anything special about learning Arabic.
    It appears that there is. Whoever knows Arabic is likely to listen to Arab news media, surf Palestinian websites, and read Arabic newspapers. Then they are likely to discover the truth: the other side is awash with such a virulent stream of anti-Semitic racism that all talk of peace here is delusional.
    The party to which the education minister belongs is entrenched firmly in what is inexplicably referred to as "the peace camp." Knowing the Arabic language is anathema to this camp. The more Arab-language speakers there are, the less supporters.
    Thus spake Abu Mazen
    "The woman known as 'the Maiden of Ludmir,' Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, who became famous because of her outstanding studiousness and her becoming the only female rebbe in the history of the Hasidic movement, was, of course, a Palestinian."
    (Mahmoud Abbas, a doctor in history, from his book "How the Palestinians Created the World")

    The Enduring Requirements of Deterrence: Principals to Keeping the Peace

    On November 8, 2013, Franklin Miller, Principal in the Scowcroft Group, underscored in his remarks, at the  Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, entitled "Sustaining the Triad: The Enduring Requirements of Deterrence in the 21st Century," that the current radical campaign of Global Zero to undo the deterrent principals of the past three-quarters century was largely based on faulty assumptions and dangerous recommendations. Miller noted that the deterrent equation of the 21st century may indeed have to resemble that of the 20th century, not because anyone wants to return to the "Cold War", but because those deterrent qualities worked and preserved the peace between the nuclear armed powers of the globe. Global war which had engulfed humankind twice in the first half of the 20th century was avoided. Remarkably as well, the average number of deaths from warfare dropped significantly from 2% of the world's population per year to less than .2%, a drop of 90%, a not inconsequential achievement, a point made by the former Commander of the US Strategic Command, Admiral Ed Mies. Here are Franklin Miller's remarks.

    New Policy Could Allow in Syrians with "Limited" Terror Ties

    IPT News

    As many as 3,000 Syrian refugees may qualify for asylum in the United States even if they have provided support to terrorists, Politico reports.
    That's because the Obama administration filed two exemptions to immigration laws that won't automatically reject applicants "who provided 'insignificant' or 'limited' material support for terror groups, the report says.
    A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman defined that as "insignificant in amount or provided incidentally in the course of everyday social, commercial, family or humanitarian interactions, or under significant pressure."
    She offered hypotheticals involving support for relatives who were part of terrorist groups or business owners who serve militants.
    The change should not affect people considered to be a threat, a DHS official told Fox News.

    The Hijab has Nothing To Do with Modesty

    Robert Spencer has replied at great length and depth to Robert P. George of First Things and Michael Potemra of the National Review here, but I just want to zero in on one issue.

    George writes, “I admire Muslim women and all women who practice the virtue of modesty, whether they choose to cover their hair or not. There are many ways to honor modesty and practices vary culturally in perfectly legitimate ways.”
    Unfortunately he is operating under a misapprehension. The Hijab and the Burka and variations of mandatory female coverings have nothing to do with modesty.
    The Koranic verse that mandates covering states, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies that they may thus be distinguished and not molested” (Koran 33:59)

    13,000 teens complete Hamas training camps to emulate ‘suicide martyrs’

    Elhanan Miller

    The Hamas government in Gaza celebrated the graduation on Monday of paramilitary camps geared at training high-school children “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.”

    The camps, titled “the pioneers of liberation,” are run by Hamas’s ministries of education and interior. Some 13,000 students in grades 10-12 participated in the one-week training camps this year, compared to 5,000 last year when the program was launched, Israeli sources with knowledge of the program said.

    The corps of instructors consists mainly of active members of Hamas’s security forces, and the curriculum includes weapons training, first aid, self defense, marching exercises and “security awareness” classes on identifying Israeli spies.

    Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Interior Minister Fathi Hammad and Education Minister Usama Mzeini attended the graduation ceremony on Monday, each delivering fiery speeches stressing the importance of military training in developing a new generation of Palestinian combatants.

    Aren’t we being led down the most dangerous path ever?

    Or does HwDmbCnWeB  simply override good sense?  Don
    ·          Top Iranian officials this week reemphasized Tehran's stance - articulated recently by among others President Hassan RouhaniForeign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and former top nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian - that the Islamic republic refuses to dismantle even minimal elements of its nuclear infrastructure in the context of a comprehensive nuclear agreement between the country and the international community. Zarif on Wednesday again rejected Western demands that Iran take apart uranium enrichment and plutonium producing equipment, declaring that "Iran's nuclear technology is non-negotiable and comments about Iran's nuclear facilities are worthless and there is no need to negotiate or hold talks about them." 

    Thursday, February 06, 2014

    Is there no way out?

     February 6, 2014 | Eli E. Hertz

    The weight of the evidence
    of so many scholars, observers, pollsters and monitors make it almost impossible to mitigate, not to mention ignore the enormity of finding a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    When one grasps the duration of the conflict and its roots, when one fully faces the depth of animosity towards Israel and the antisemitism that permeates the Arab world from the political, religious and intellectual elites down to the grass roots, the sheer magnitude of the challenge for peacemakers becomes painfully apparent.
    When one admits the implications of Palestinian society’s behavior – the repetitive pattern of over 90 years of rejectionism on the diplomatic front and a penchant for terrorism against civilians, the ‘readiness’ of Arabs for co-existence and the chances of a breakthrough assume their true proportions.
    The unwillingness to accept Israel as a legitimate non-Muslim political entity is epitomized by the Palestinians asymmetrical demands for the Right of Return of all Palestinian refugees to the Jewish state coupled with a demand that the West Bank and Gaza be cleansed of all Jews.
    So, where do we go from here?  Is there no way out?

    Muslim persecution of Christians rose sharply worldwide in 2013; 2014 likely to be worse
    Not to worry. The “Muslim-Christian dialogue” will solve this in a jiffy. “Rise of radical Islam made life worse for Christians in 2013, with more to come in 2014,” by Ashe Schow for the Washington Examiner, February 2:
    Persecution of Christians continues to worsen, fueled in part by the “Arab Spring,” which not only unleashed a wave of Islamist radicalism across the Arab world but also left Christians holding the blame for many of the uprisings that removed Arab leaders from power.
    In 2013, 2,123 Christians were killed in persecution around the world, up from 1,201 in 2012.
    In countries across the Middle East, North Africa and south Asia, Christians are murdered or imprisoned, their homes and businesses destroyed and their rights removed. This area represents just four percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians, but the treatment they receive is nothing short of horrific.
    “It is not an accident, the persecution and mass murder of Christians by Muslims,” said Lee Habeeb, a Lebanese Christian and vice president of content at Salem Radio Network. “It is not episodic. It is by design. It is part of a plan to destroy any competing narrative about God. To bully, threaten, and intimidate Christians into submission, or mass evacuation.”

    Report: Netanyahu Willing to Concede 90% of Judea, Samaria

    PM reportedly willing to turn most of Judea, Samaria over to PA, expelling roughly 90,000 Jews from the region.

    By Maayana Miskin
    First Publish: 2/6/2014

    Jewish farmer in Samaria (Shomron) Jewish community of Havat Gilad
    Jewish farmer in Samaria (Shomron) Jewish community of Havat Gilad
    Flash 90
    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered to give the Palestinian Authority full control over 90% of Judea and Samaria, Walla! news reports. The report is based on testimony from sources close to the secret Israel-PA talks.
    Netanyahu’s reported offer still falls short of the PA’s demand to receive at least 97% of territory in the region.

    Wednesday, February 05, 2014

    "Teach your children... there is a seed in the soil if you water it with blood, it will sprout a revolution"

    by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

    Fatah actively teaches children that death is needed for what it calls the "revolution." It wrote on its Facebook "Main Page": "There is a seed in the soil; if you water it with blood, it will sprout a revolution." The statement was accompanied by a photo of a man in military uniform holding a rifle and standing next to the Palestinian flag, overlooking a large gathering:

    "Teach your children to love the soil.
    Teach them that we live in misery.
    Teach them that there is a seed in the soil;
    if you water it with blood,
    it will sprout a revolution."
    [Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page," Jan. 6, 2014, accessed Feb. 5, 2014]
    Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has posted similar statements in the past, promoting murder and Martyrdom:

    "Machine gun, wake up the sleeping and tell them
    [Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page," Aug. 11, 2013, accessed Feb. 5, 2014]

    "My homeland taught me that it is the blood of Martyrs (Shahids)

    How JNF 'plants' water in Israel

    The Jewish National Fund isn’t only about planting forests. Some of its newest water-tech projects were recently showcased in Israel.
    The hills leading up to Jerusalem. Most of the trees in Israel today were planted by the Jewish National Fund. Photo by Flash90

    The hills leading up to Jerusalem. Most of the trees in Israel today were planted by the Jewish National Fund. Photo by Flash90

    Exciting fact about Israel’s land use, as the world experiences massive deforestation: Israel is the only country in the world to have a net gain of trees in the last 100 years.
    This is thanks to a non-profit and visionary non-governmental organization, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) –– or Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael –– set up in 1901 in Israel to develop the land.
    Under Ottoman rule at the time, Israel was neglected and considered a backwater state infested with malaria. There was a genuine need for a long-term plan to turn things around.
    Using donations from generations of Jews in the Diaspora, some 240 million trees have been planted in Israel by JNF over the last 11 decades, including a few by the Kennedys.

    The World through Arab Eyes

     Shibley Telhami
    New York: Basic Books, 2013. 240 pp. $27.99

    Reviewed by David Pollock

    Middle East Quarterly
    Winter 2014


    A Skewed Look at Arab Hearts and Minds

    Telhami offers in The World through Arab Eyes a valuable if unavoidably imperfect attempt at illuminating the hearts and minds of the Arab world as revealed through public opinion polling. His book contains useful broad generalizations, revealing new data and intriguing ambiguities. But it also suffers from occasional problems: methodological flaws, unsupported or questionable single-sourced assertions, and strained interpretations that go beyond the available evidence. Arab public opinion polling as well as the analysis and policy debate surrounding it needs to be taken with a proverbial shaker of salt, a seasoning the author does not always apply.
    Egyptians window shop in Cairo. Arabs' popular dislike of the United States derives mostly from a rejection of its policies rather than its values—and, more surprisingly, this dislike actually has very little effect on Arab consumer preferences or behavior.
    On the positive side, the book provides interesting and well-organized survey data on certain broad major topics. Moreover, the author acknowledges the evidence that Arab public opinion has turned inward, toward domestic issues such as political freedoms and social justice. He also makes due allowances for the significant differences among and within diverse Arab publics.

    “More Dangerous Nonsense”

    Before I get to the nonsense, which increases daily, I note with sadness the untimely passing yesterday of commentator, writer, and author Barry Rubin, who served as director of GLORIA (Global Research in International Affairs).  He succumbed after a long battle with cancer, at the age of 64.  Enormously astute in his analysis, he will be sorely missed.  As the JPost described him: “one of the most important, indefatigable, and prolific commentators on Middle East politics, international affairs and world history.”
    May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

    Credit: pjmedia
    Then I ask, please, that if you have not yet visited the Levy Report/Legal Grounds Facebook page, you do so, and “like” the page:
    As well, please ask others to do the same; post the URL on your Facebook and website pages.  Thank you.  In the face of the awfulness of the current situation, our work becomes ever more important.
    There is so much to write about, but I will begin with the dangerous nonsense with regard to “peace negotiations” and the US guidelines that are supposed to be released soon.  I am sooo tired of the rumors, the charges, and the countercharges.  So much that is ridiculous is being said. It is ludicrous that Kerry says he expects to forge a “peace agreement” within this environment.
    That he is having trouble even forging a “framework” agreement, never mind a final peace deal, became readily apparent with today’s news: He doesn’t have the “framework” together yet, and needs more time.  Are we surprised?  As to that nine-month deadline for negotiations (scheduled to end on April 29), a state department spokesperson says there is still time but that the date, as set, is “artificial.”

    Tuesday, February 04, 2014

    Barry Rubin, my friend, was a Mensch

    BRUCE KESLER February 3, 2014
    barry Rubin _ large
    Mensch is a Yiddish word that means "a person of integrity." A mensch is someone who is responsible, has a high sense of right and wrong and lives that way, and is the sort of person other people look up to. It is one of the very highest compliments that can be said about someone.
    My friend, US born and raised Barry Rubin, who passed away yesterday, was a mensch.  Barry Rubin for decades was a leading scholar on the Middle East, former professor, widely published in major newspaper and blog columns, author of many books, leader of research institutes, and counselor to others around the world. Indeed, on this last point, the extent of his secret and frank communications with people in Moslem countries whose views varied from Barry's is an important indicator of how well respected he was as well as the depth of the well from which he drew his insights.

    PA will Never Recognize Israel

    The Palestinians are not willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. But why? The US Secretary of State spent a good chunk of his recent visit to Jordan and Saudi Arabia encouraging their leaders to push PA president Mahmoud Abbas to agree to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
    By doing this, Kerry reportedly said, he will be able to pressure Israel to make other concessions such as agreeing that the pre-1967 lines will be the basis for negotiations.
    "Ultimately the Palestinians have never publicly said they're willing to accept a Jewish state in any borders and without such acceptance you don't really have an end of conflict," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev...
    "If the Palestinians don't recognize Israel as a Jewish state, they could try to transform it into a second Palestinian state, by demanding that Israel absorb millions of Palestinian refugees," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Media Line.

    Monday, February 03, 2014

    Palestine's Peace Bomb

    Steven J. Rosen
    Foreign Policy

    One of the key arguments of Israel's "peace camp" is that, without a two-state solution, the state faces a "demographic time-bomb." The contention is that perpetuating Israeli control over the growing Arab population of the West Bank will dilute Israel's Jewish majority, until it is a de facto bi-national state. Therefore, proponents of this line of thinking argue, Secretary of State John Kerry's push for a two-state solution is imperative if Israel hopes to remain both Jewish and democratic.
    Some Israeli policymakers have bought into the threat of a ticking demographic time bomb. In 2007, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned the Knesset of "a demographic battle" if a Palestinian state is not created. Similarly, the current government's chief peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni, argued that "time works to our disadvantage" because of "demographic numbers...[and] a higher Palestinian birth rate that could mean the end of a Jewish majority."
    But Israelis on the right see a different demographic time bomb -- one that Kerry's plan will produce, rather than prevent. By opening the West Bank to a flood of refugees from the neighboring Arab countries, Kerry's plan could throw the Palestinian territories into chaos and sow the seeds for the rise of further extremism and terrorism on Israel's borders.
    This arch in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem features a giant key, symbolizing keys kept as mementos by many of the Palestinians who left their homes in 1948. (Image source: Reham Alhelsi/Flickr)
    "Imagine an independent Palestinian state that does not need to ask our consent to absorb Palestinian refugees," Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Jan. 5. "Will the economy in Judea and Samaria, which is not the economy of Norway or Switzerland, be able to absorb 3 million additional Palestinians?...Where will they live?...Where will they work?"

    The Israeli Left’s distorted mindset

    Zvi November
    For over one hundred years there has been an ongoing conflict between Moslem Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. The Arabs are the aggressors and the Jews are on the defensive. Before Israel was re-established in 1948, Jews living in the British mandate organized self-defense units and kibbutz settlements still have protective fences around them.

    Throughout this long century the Arab battle tactic has been primarily based on terror: the 1929 Hebron massacre, the 1936-39 uprisings that targeted Jews, plane hijackings, the 2000-2005 Intifada bus and market bombings, frequent murders such as the Fogel family slaughter in Itamar and the continuing indiscriminant rocket bombardment of southern Israel from Gaza that aims at the civilian population. These attacks are all war crimes but Israel spokesmen rarely if ever describe these atrocities as such.

    John Kerry’s Blackmail

    17763891American Secretary of State John Kerry continued the Obama Administration’s record of bullying, saying on Saturday, “for Israel there is an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it, there is talk of boycott and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?” Kerry is pressuring Israel to make very difficult compromises, claiming if not there will be a “high risk” of increased boycotts, and a higher likelihood of international isolation for Israel. This, in English would be called blackmail. 
    This administration has repeatedly pushed through controversial, executive action policies that the majority of Americans oppose – and the Middle East is no different. Instead of standing with America’s closest ally, Kerry spent the weekend threatening violence and boycotts against Israel if the Jewish State doesn’t make sacrifices to placate the Palestinian Arabs. Despicable incitement which provides moral encouragement to those who seek to kill Jews and are also enemies of the West.

    Why haven’t the Palestinians been threatened if peace talks break down? As a fellow Front Page Mag columnist previously noted, Palestinians cheer while America mourns. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Palestinians in Gaza cheered, “danced in the streets and handed out candy and sweets to motorists and pedestrians alike.” “Similarly, after the 9-11 attacks that killed 3,000 people, the Palestinian response was quite similar. Old women were seen shrieking in jubilation while children passed out sweets and men cheered approvingly.”  And these are the people American officials support?

    Lest one forget, there were mass protests against America amongst Palestinian Arabs during President Barack Obama’s visit to the region.  Palestinians are no friends of the Christians, and stand as allies of Arab fundamentalists who are also anti-American.  Israel remains the only place in the Middle East where American flags aren’t burnt.

    Sunday, February 02, 2014

    What SodaStream's Palestinian Employees Think About Scarlett Johansson

    Josh Mitnick 
    What SodaStream's Palestinian Employees Think About Scarlett Johansson1SEXPAND
    Scarlett Johansson, Oxfam, SodaStream, and Israel/Palestine Explained
    Bombshell actress and Obama campaigner Scarlett Johansson surprised plenty of people today by parting with the social justice charity Oxfam over her… Read…
    MA'ALEH ADUMIM, WEST BANK – Scarlett Johansson's decision to part ways with international anti-poverty outfit Oxfam so she can keep her endorsement deal with Israeli fizz-maker SodaStream hasintensified the global controversy over businesses that operate in the occupied Palestinian territories. But the Palestinian employees here basically have no idea who she is.
    "Maybe if they saw her, they would know who she is,'' shrugged Wassim Siam, a 26-year-old quality-control employee approached by a reporter outside the plant just as he was arriving for his Friday shift.
    He might be more clued in if someone bothered to come here and screen the commercial that was produced for millions to see on Super Bowl Sunday about the at-home carbonated drink machines that he and 1,300 others—500 Palestinian Arabs from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, 450 Arab Israelis, and 350 Jewish Israelis—assemble and package in the West Bank.

    Kerry's own undoing

    Following the destruction of the Kovno Ghetto, my father, may he rest in peace, was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp, where he was ultimately liberated from the horrors of the Holocaust. Dachau is very close to the city of Munich, where an international security conference is currently being held. My father and his friends, bereaved, battered in spirit and body, vowed "never again."
    Across Europe's mourning and bloody roads, they made their way to Israel, so that no one in the world would be able to raise their hands against Jews again. The dream of generations materialized in the form of the Jewish state, a country with a strong army and citizens determined to realize the full extent of their liberty and independence.
    How disconcerting and saddening that in Munich, of all places, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chose to threaten the state of Israel and tried convincing its citizens that their sense of security is an illusion, and that a severe economic boycott was in store for them if their government did not acquiesce to the pressures imposed by the international community. As Jews, we are all too familiar with the age-old trope that we only care about our money.

    PM: Anti-Israel boycott efforts 'immoral and unjustified'

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Boycott campaign will not succeed, no pressure will make me concede Israel's vital interests • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at Munich Security Conference: Status quo cannot be maintained, it's not sustainable.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Anti-Israel boycott efforts are "immoral and unjust"
    Photo credit: AFP

    “Dangerous Nonsense”

    Ah that there would be six more hours in the day. Then I would be posting as often as I ideally would like to.  But as this is not the case, in the last several days I’ve had to focus first on the Levy Report/Legal Grounds Campaign that I am so involved with. This situation is likely to persist for a while.
    Here I begin by sharing an article of mine that came out in Front Page Magazine on Friday.  Please, read it and share it with others.  It makes points that need to be heard without further delay.
    As to the dangerous nonsense: Sometimes I assess the situation in this part of the world, as it is reported, and shake my head in bewilderment. 
    I have in mind, first, a position espoused by Netanyahu just about a week ago.  He declared – in what seemed at the time a bid to reassure the political right – that “I have no intention of evacuating any settlement or uprooting any Israelis.”
    He said this at the Davos economic conference, in Hebrew, to Israeli journalists he was briefing.  Sounded good at the time. There has been so much talk about dismantling of “settlements” as part of an agreement. 

    Danish bank boycotts Bank Hapoalim, Swedish bank asks for clarification on settlements


    Bennett thanks NY lawmaker for sponsoring bill that would deprive funds to schools boycotting Israel; cancelled ministerial meeting on boycotts not yet rescheduled.

    Bank Hapoalim
    Bank Hapoalim Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
    A canceled meeting of key cabinet ministers called last week to discuss the creeping boycott of Israeli companies and banks has not been rescheduled, even as two major European banks recently decided on actions against their Israeli counterparts.

    Sweden’s Nordea Bank and Denmark’s Danske Bank have both taken steps against Israeli banks involved in construction in the settlements, Walla reported on Saturday.

    Danske bank, the largest in Denmark, recently said on its website that it was boycotting Bank Hapoalim for “legal and ethical” reasons. And Nordea Bank, the largest in Scandinavia, has asked for clarifications from Bank Leumi and Mizrahi- Tefahot Bank regarding their activities beyond the Green Line.

    The ministerial meeting to discuss the boycotts was canceled last week, because of tension between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

    The two men are scheduled to meet at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meetings for the first time since Bennett’s sharp criticism last week of Netanyahu for entertaining the idea that settlements might come under Palestinian rule in a future agreement. Threatened with being fired from the cabinet, Bennett issued an apology of sorts to defuse a coalition crisis.