This week’s news isn’t all gloomy! But . . .

Weekend News for March 14-16, 2014 

What Others Are Saying

Think again about travelling to the Maldives for your vacation.  Female Genital Mutilation being considered.

Maldives children. Photo credit: MMPRC

Quilliam is a “counter-extremism think tank standing for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy.” They report they are, “extremely concerned by recent calls to introduce FGM in the Maldives on religious grounds. Dr. Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef, Vice President of the influential Fiqh Academy of the Maldives, who is also a candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Adhaalath Party, has led these calls and offered theological justifications for his actions. These calls are symptomatic of a wider lurch towards an archaic form of religious conservatism that is currently taking place in the country, threatening to undermine fundamental human rights. Quilliam’s Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies, Dr Usama Hasan, said: ‘FGM has no Islamic sanction – there are just two traditions on the subject, both of which are strongly disputed, with many jurists throughout history discounting them as having nothing to do with the Prophet of Islam, but, like the blasphemy and apostasy laws of medieval Islam, FGM became a theoretical juristic position even though it was rarely practiced. Contemporary Muslim scholars are increasingly opposed to and dismissive of FGM’”.

Norwegian Cruise Line Dropping Tunisia After Discrimination

Cruise Critic reports: Norwegian Cruise Line has dropped Tunisia from its itineraries and will not return after the country refused Israeli citizens to disembark this weekend. The event happened Sunday on Norwegian Jade when the ship stopped in La Goulette, the country’s main cruise port in its capital, Tunis. According to the Jerusalem Post, about 20 Israeli tourists were told by staff during the day-long stop that the government would not allow them to get off. Jewish passengers that were not Israeli were permitted to leave, the story says. “We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests,” Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO said in a press release issued Tuesday. Norwegian Jade had been stopping in Tunisia every three weeks during the winter and had been scheduled to stop for the season on April 20 before resuming in November.

Canada: Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois defends PQ candidate accused of antisemitic beliefs

The Globe and Mail, Canada reports: The Parti Québécois is under fire for the second time in a week over a candidate with controversial views on the province’s religious minorities. Louise Mailloux, a prominent Quebec feminist and philosopher, said this week she stands by her belief that circumcision and baptism are similar to rape and that kosher and halal certification is a tax that goes toward funding religious wars and lining the pockets of religious leaders. Ms. Mailloux, a staunch supporter of the PQ’s proposed Charter of Values which would impose a dress code banning most religious symbols from the public service, was confronted over her past positions by La Presse. She refused to elaborate but said she “absolutely” stands by her views. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on the PQ to debunk the “urban legend of the kosher tax,” saying Ms. Mailloux is echoing a conspiracy created by the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups.

Former Turkish minister apologises for anti-Jewish comments

European Jewish Congress reports: Former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çaglayan apologised on Monday to the Turkish Jewish community after denigrating “Jews, Zoroastrians and atheists” in a speech last week.  The apology follows a protest against the remarks by the country’s chief rabbinate. Turkey’s Jewish newspaper, Salom, on Monday published Çağlayan’s apology that if he “unwillingly caused resentment, I express my sorrow.”  On Saturday, Çağlayan, who stepped down from the government in December because of allegations against him of corruption, was at a political rally, where he tried to intellectualise about why a Muslim would attack his party. “This nation is aware what kind of a mentality we are struggling with,” he said, according to Hurriyet. “I have many things to tell you. But if Jews, Zoroastrians or atheists do this to us, I would understand it. But if the one who does these [against us] is passing himself off as a Muslim, shame on him.”

Abbas lashes out at rival as political tensions flare

Gulf Times, Qatar reports: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused one of his main rivals, Mohamed Dahlan, of involvement in six murders, hinting that he might also be behind the death of former leader Yasser Arafat. Dahlan, who lives in exile in the Gulf, denied the allegations of his arch foe Abbas, their bitter row now playing out publicly across the Palestinian media and on social media. Once a prominent official in Abbas’s Western-backed Fatah movement, Dahlan was ousted from the group in 2011 following accusations of corruption. He denied the charges and remains a powerful figure on the sidelines, forging ties with numerous Arab leaders and maintaining links with the splintered Fatah. Abbas lashed out at Dahlan, who is regularly cited as a possible future president, during a Fatah meeting earlier this week, with his comments later released to the press.  Abbas said an investigation was carried out into Dahlan, for years Fatah’s strongman in the Gaza Strip, during the rule of former president Arafat. “It was found out that six people were killed by orders from Dahlan,” the president said. He added that Arafat had decided not to release the report.

The life expectancy of Israeli Arabs is 79 years…one year more than that of Americans. This is also almost ten years longer…than the life expectancy of the Arab world as whole, and longer than for any individual Arab country except Lebanon

Tel Aviv, Arab schools partner with Jewish schools for two-day workshops in order to develop a deeper understanding of one another, share interests and ideas U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

Tel Aviv, Arab schools partner with Jewish schools for two-day workshops in order to develop a deeper understanding of one another, share interests and ideas
U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

Fathom Journal reports: Israeli Apartheid Week is looming on campuses worldwide. In fact, as this edited extract from a new ebook shows, Israel has done better in evening out the differences between its Jewish and Arab citizens than most countries encompassing sharply diverse nationalities. . . A half century ago, Arabs everywhere in the Middle East had very little education, whether due to values in their own culture or to the contemptuous treatment they received at the hands of colonial rulers. Significant gains have been recorded throughout the region, and those in Israel are especially impressive. According to the Israel Democracy Institute, ‘between 1961 and 2007, the average numbers of years of schooling [of Israeli Arabs] rose from 1.2 to 11.3, which signifies a more than nine fold increase.’8 How many countries or groups anywhere have recorded such dramatic progress? The IDI paper did not give a figure for Israeli Jews for comparison, but [other] data show that the overall mean for Israel rose from 7.3 to 11.9. This means that the gains among Israel’s Jewish population were far smaller than among its Arabs.

Majority of the Canadian Media Are Controlled by Zionists

Fars News Agency, Iran reports: A veteran Canadian author and editor says that Canada is home to one of the largest Israeli lobbies in the West, and there are numerous Jewish advocacy organizations that pursue the interests of the Israeli regime and have long launched a massive campaign against freedom of speech in the name of combating “anti-Semitism”. According to Arthur Topham, the major mission of these organizations is to advocate for any and all things Jewish and anything connected with Israel and with maintaining the status quo mindset which includes ongoing propaganda and advocacy related to the Holocaust Myth, pushing the whole “anti-Semitism” and “racism” issues in order to gain political points with whatever government is in power and also a strong focus on maintaining and strengthening Canada’s “hate crime” laws which act as a major defense against the Canadians who try to expose the crimes of Israel against the Palestinian people and who criticize the Zionist ideology and all the related issues connected with Jewish financial and media and corporate power around the world.” Arthur Topham is a 67-year-old writer and gold miner and publisher of the Radical Press . . . Since 2007, Topham has been accused by the Canadian government of spreading anti-Semitic sentiments and promoting hatred against “people of the Jewish religion or ethnic group.” He has been arrested and jailed once for publishing materials which were critical of the Israeli regime’s treatment of the Palestinian people. He is currently being investigated in a court and if found guilty, he could receive a two-year jail sentence and be prohibited from publishing.

Jerusalem Mayor Launches Academic Center for Arab Girls. More than 300 girls have already registered for courses

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with Arab teachers at new school in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. (Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with Arab teachers at new school in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. (Photo: Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

United With Israel reports: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in February inaugurated the “Center for Excellence You-niversity” in Beit Hanina, an Arab neighborhood in the eastern part of the city. The Center was established in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality and the World ORT Kadima Mada (Science Journey). The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on February 18, at the Beit Hanina Municipal School for Girls. Moshe Kinley Turpaz, director of education for the Jerusalem Municipality, and Avi Ganon, CEO of World ORT Kadima Mada, attended the event, which also included a chemistry presentation and the traditional Dabke Arab folk dance. The new center will focus on providing numerous science and technology-enrichment courses to female middle-school students from eastern neighborhoods of the city. The subjects to be taught include physics, medicine, robotics, engineering and astronomy, among others.  Moti Dotan, head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council and member of the World ORT Board of Trustees, said: “We are pleased to open the Center of Excellence You-niversity and to make studies in science, medicine and high technology more accessible to students in east Jerusalem. We will continue to encourage the study of science among children and youth in order to enrich the world, increasing the percentage of male and female students of Science and Technology and opening the gate to higher studies in whichever field they choose.” Although the center has not yet officially opened, more than 300 girls have already registered for courses. The center for science will be housed in the newly built Beit Hanina Municipal School for Girls. The new school has 24 classrooms, laboratories, computer rooms and sports fields and will instruct up to 1,000 students.

Israel army: Israel bombs Hezbollah site in southern Lebanon

Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem reports: Israeli forces bombed a target in southern Lebanon on Friday hours after an explosive device was detonated on the border, the Israeli military said. Israeli forces reported that they fired towards Hezbollah “terror infrastructure” in southern Lebanon and confirmed a hit on Friday around 8 pm. The strike comes just over an hour after Israeli forces said a “concealed explosive device” was activated against Israeli forces who were on the border. It was not immediately clear why Israeli soldiers had approached the border fence. Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese television channel Al-Manar reported that Israeli shells had hit an area near Shuva village in southern Lebanon, while Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar cited a Lebanese security source as saying that 10 shells had hit Lebanon.

Syrian father asks Israeli doctors to save his son

’K’ with two of Rambam’s senior neurosurgeons, Dr. Joseph Juilburd (left) and Dr. Sergey Abeshaus (right). (Pioter Fliter

’K’ with two of Rambam’s senior neurosurgeons, Dr. Joseph Juilburd (left) and Dr. Sergey Abeshaus (right). (Pioter Fliter

Israel 21c reports: Six-year-old boy with severe intracranial pressure nursed back to life at Rambam Health Care Campus. Six-year-old K, a Syrian boy, arrived in Israel on a stretcher with severe swelling of his brain, comatose and almost dead. He recently left the Northern Israel hospital on his own two feet. K’s story is just one of many Syrian patients – who are caught in the crossfire of civil war in their country – who come to Israel for medical care. “When the child came to Rambam he was comatose and almost dead,” says Dr. Sergey Abeshaus, a Senior Neurosurgeon at Rambam who performed surgery on K. “I remember I met with ‘K’s’ father before surgery and he said to us, ‘Do all you can to save him, he is all I have left.’”A month and a half ago, a devastating explosion destroyed K’s Syrian home and killed his mother and sister upon impact. K and his father survived while his brother died en route to the Israeli border. The force of the explosion had caused severe swelling of K’s brain, leading to severe intracranial pressure. Doctors had to remove parts of his skull bone to make room for K’s swollen brain and allow it to heal. K then underwent more surgeries to reattach the bones in his skull. “As the only Level 1 trauma center for Northern Israel, and one of the largest hospitals in the country, Rambam has a lot of experience dealing with these types of injuries,” Dr. Abeshaus says. “Unfortunately we treat a lot of children with head injuries as the result of traumatic accidents such as falling from great heights. In this case, we used our experience to save a little boy who came from a war zone when he was hovering between life and death. Like all the families of the children we treat, we parted from K’s father as good friends. Eventually we did exactly as he had asked—we did all we could do to save K. We hope he has a very long and happy life.”

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