Good news items from Israel:
The Israeli company Ayala Water and Ecology utilizes plants to purify waste water. Its phytoremediation systems are built into landscaping at hundreds of industrial, residential, agricultural and recreational sites in Israel, India, Chile, Mexico, France, Germany, Greece, Singapore, the United States and Canada.
Explains Ayala CEO Eli Cohen: “We call it ‘active landscaping.’ You can treat your own sewage in the park or garden and use the purified water to irrigate. You can produce high-quality water from nature if you create the right environment of plants, gravel and soil, and special natural additives for specific problems such as heavy metals and radioactive elements. If you do it in a natural way, it can last forever.”
Cohen says interest in these systems is growing because of water shortages, and this ties in with what I wrote about last regarding Israel as a water super-power.
And speaking of water:
“Jerusalem-based startup Lishtot won a place on CNBC’s list of the 20 hottest startups of 2015 for its inexpensive, reusable green light/red light device that takes about two seconds to tell you if water is pure or contaminated.
“’Lishtot products identify changes in water electromagnetic properties resulting from the presence of problematic materials in drinking water. Its TeStraw is a personal water-testing device that will allow anybody, from Manhattan to Kathmandu, to check their water for drinkability,’ reads the entry.”
These good news items will continue. What is more, it gave me great delight to be able to share hopeful news on a broader scale in my last posting. I truly believe that the dynamic is shifting for Israel in some very positive ways.
However, we cannot allow ourselves to adopt a “Pollyanna” mindset, and so I believe it is critically important to shift gears here and look at some of the immense problems that continue to surround us.
Focus on Europe:
On November 11, the European Commission announced guidelines to its member states regarding the labeling of products that come from “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights – to be identified as “settlement products.”
The EU claimed that this outrageous decision was purely bureaucratic and did not constitute a boycott, since potential purchasers of such products could still buy them.
This, of course, was not the case, as the very act of labeling serves to discourage purchasing; what is more, there are BDS activists who promote this move as the first step towards a full boycott. See the picture following of a demonstration in Paris two months ago.
Credit: AFP Photo/Matthieu Alexandre
There is a great deal more wrong with this action, as well:
 It selects out Israel – which it charges is an “occupier” in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Golan (a highly politicized and dubious charge) – while it takes no similar action in other instances in which occupation is clearly the prevailing condition. This is the typical double standard that is so often applied to Israel. The EU is requiring no labeling for products from Northern Cyprus (occupied by Turkey), Western Sahara (occupied by Morocco) or Catalonia (occupied by Spain).
 While the EU claims to support negotiations per Oslo, what this set of guidelines does is make inappropriate presumptions about outcome. Even many who support a “two state solution” accept that there are blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that would unquestionably remain under Israeli control after a “Palestinian state” were established. Key among these blocs is Gush Etzion, which has a Jewish history that extends back to before modern Israel was established. And yet the products of Jewish communities in Gush Etzion and other blocs of communities are to be labeled according to the EU guidelines, i.e., identified as “occupied” and belonging to the Palestinian Arabs.
 Many Palestinian Arabs secure employment in Jewish industries in Judea and Samaria, and they will be hurt if business diminishes in these industries as the result of the labeling – some will lose their jobs.
When all is said and done, this is an anti-Semitic/anti-Israel action that is reminiscent of the labeling of Jewish goods by the Nazis.
A furious Netanyahu, on November 29, ordered the “suspension of diplomatic contacts with the institutions of the European Union” on the issue of the peace process, pending a “reassessment” of the situation.
It was made clear that this did not affect Israel’s relationship with individual EU states. Said Netanyahu:
“It is unthinkable that Israel will hold discussions with EU institutions on how to move the diplomatic process forward, at the same time as it initiates steps against Israel.” (Emphasis added)
Sounds pretty clear to me. However, a spokeswoman for the EU chose to spin it otherwise:
The EU, she said, would continue its work on the matter in the Quartet, with its Arab partners (what does this mean?) and with both parties.
This is a defiantly illogical statement: Israel, you say you won’t have any discussions with us, but we intend to continue to work with you anyway. So there!
The spokeswoman also pointed out that the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini had spoken with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the climate conference in Paris.
However, a spokesman for Netanyahu clarified that the meeting consisted of Mogherini approaching Netanyahu in the hall and shaking his hand.
What self-important fools these people are. Netanyahu, for his part, is cultivating relationships with nations outside the sphere of the EU.
I must note that Hungary stands out in opposition to the EU stance on this issue as well as others. Visiting here two weeks ago, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told the Israel Council on Foreign Relations that Hungary – a member of the EU – would not be affixing labels to goods from Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan. He characterized the European Union’s decision to do so as “irrational.”
Bravo! I’ll have more to say about Hungary in due course.
And Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest and activist for Christian Arab integration into Israeli society, spoke yesterday at a symposium of the European Parliament.
He strongly condemned the labeling:
“Labeling Israeli produce [from the settlements] is another betrayal of Christian values in Europe, and another weakening of the Christian spirit in Europe,”
Calling the decision to label “a racist, anti-Semitic decision, stupid,” he clarified that:
“In the Middle East today there is only one state where Christians live in security, prosperity, where they have freedom of expression, freedom of religion and worship, where they can vote and be elected to parliament, where they have democratic rights and where their population is increasing.
“This is the Jewish state, the State of Israel, this is what we must protect, we have to protect our freedom, protect our state, our democracy which has proven itself, and protect the Holy Land, the cradle of Christianity.”
This is a courageous and special man.
With regard to Europe, the issues of over-riding importance are terrorism, and the refugees/immigrants already within its borders and those yet on their way. The two, of course, are intrinsically connected.
There had been a fair amount of enthusiasm (if that is the correct term) about France’s apparent toughness with ISIS following the attack in Paris on November 13. Toughness in terms of statements made (“We are at war!”), and the massive bombing done in Syria.
But I am overwhelmingly pessimistic about France’s (and more generally) Europe’s chances for “defeating terrorism.” Please, follow me as I track analyses step-by-step and a larger picture comes clear.
What was immediately obvious after the attack was that the French were severely ill-prepared. Yoav Limor wrote (emphasis added):
“What happened in Paris…can only be described as a resounding security failure, on intelligence, operational, and perceptual levels.
“From an intelligence standpoint, this was a multi-pronged attack involving several terrorists. They would have had to scout the venues, gather intelligence, coordinate their actions, and obtain weapons — all steps that can be detected and thwarted.
“…A group of terrorists uses communication devices that can be tracked and therefore their plan can be foiled. If that does not happen it signals an intelligence failure, especially since the perpetrators were quite obviously radical Islamists, and it is likely some of them were familiar to law enforcement agencies in their respective countries.”
This did not inspire confidence. Especially as there had been a two-pronged attack less than a year prior, and security/intelligence forces should have been vigilant in the extreme.
What further undermined confidence was the news, which broke after the attack, that a day before it took place Iraq intelligence had warned France of the imminence of an ISIS attack.
Were the French totally asleep at the wheel?
Apparently (reasons why this was so below), and there is really no reason to believe French intelligence/security officials can get their act together sufficiently to do the momentous job that has to be done – there is too much working against them.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, long time analyst on European security issues, wrote about the major obstacles to France’s success on this front in “How serious is France in the war against Muslim terror?” (emphasis added):
“…France…has to assess the battlefield. In a post-modern society this is radically different from classic warfare, as it is not limited to a geographically defined area. The battlefield includes a disparate collection of many individuals with seditious intentions. Radical Muslim ideology is widespread in France and elsewhere in Western Europe. The Islamic State variant is just one among several others.
“…instituting permanent border controls is a prerequisite in any effective fight against radicalized Muslims. Such a measure will inevitably undermine the Schengen open borders agreement, one of the major achievements of the EU.
“…It is probable that only a small percentage of the anti-democrats among the Muslims in France currently harbor terrorist intentions. However, many more are susceptible to radicalization, and therefore must be seen as potential terrorists…The real postmodern war against violent and other antidemocratic Muslims requires a master plan that goes far beyond interim measures such as the closure of radical mosques.
“This means reclaiming the lost territories in French cities and society, a move tantamount to the elimination of defined urban areas currently ruled, to all intents and purposes, by Sharia law, where French law has been marginalized. It would mean the end of ‘no go zones’ where the police can only enter in large numbers on an ‘ad hoc’ basis.
“To state explicitly that government control would have to be restored in self-contained Muslim enclaves would verge on the sacrilegious for a socialist politician in France. This is not the result of a conspiracy of silence on the part of the government and politically correct media. Such avoidance has its origins in something more insidious: a sanitation of public expression encouraged by the establishment’s main actors, both social and political.”
Gerstenfeld wrote the above article over two weeks ago. But before we close on the subject we need to read what Guy Millière wrote in a piece that just came out yesterday, “The New French Résistence”:
“Several weeks have passed since Islamist attackers bloodied Paris. France’s President François Hollande is describing the killers as just ‘a horde of murderers’ acting in the name of a ‘mad cause.’ He adds that ‘France has no enemy.’ He never uses the word ‘terrorism.’ He no longer says the word ‘war.’
“…From the beginning, pacifism and appeasement filled the air. A German pianist came to play John Lennon’s Imagine in front of the Bataclan Theater; since then, other pianists have come. On the Place de la République, people assemble every evening to sing more songs by the Beatles: All You Need Is Love; Love Me Do. Candles are lit, and banners deployed, calling for ‘universal brotherhood.’
“Those invited to speak on TV about what happened allude to ‘senseless acts.’ They do not blame anyone…
“…In a widely circulated video, a man tries to reassure his child. ‘They have guns,’ he mutters, ‘but we have flowers.’
“Heart-shaped stickers are posted on mosques. Words such as ‘We love you’ and ‘We share your pain’ are written on the hearts.
“A man who lost his wife in the Bataclan massacre said on a talk show that he would live in the future as he did before; that he had no hatred at all against the murderers, just compassion…
“If some French think otherwise, they are silent.
“…Almost no one mentions radical Islam. Those who do, prefer the word ‘jihadism,’ and rush to emphasize that ‘jihadism’ is ‘not related to Islam.’
“Hollande, when he still spoke of war, said that France had ‘an enemy.’ He avoided the word ‘Islamic,’ instead referring to the Islamic State by its Arabic acronym, ‘Daesh’…
“He knew that ‘Daesh’ could not be defeated without an American intervention that would not take place…
“He also seems to know that the main enemy of France is not in Syria or Iraq, but inside the country: France already finds herself defeated…
“Over 750 no-go zones — autonomous areas ruled by radical imams and Muslim gangs — exist in France.
“Radical imams and Muslim gangs also control most of France’s prisons…
“More than 1000 French Muslims have left France to fight for the Islamic State. At least 400 have returned without being stopped or vetted at a border…
“More than 10,000 French Muslims are classified as extremely dangerous by the police and are linked to ‘jihadist activities.’ They are registered in what the French government calls ‘S files,’ but there is no way to monitor their whereabouts. Placing them all in detention centers would involve a complete break with what is left of the rule of law in France.
“All of the French Muslims who participated in the November 13 attacks were registered in ‘S files,’ but that did not change anything. They were free to act, and they did…”
So here we have it.
The breadth and depth of this suicidal, politically correct, left wing perversity makes the head spin.
We will look at the issue of refugees/immigrants another day.
But here’s an upbeat complexity for ending this post. I have been writing about Putin’s positive predisposition to Israel these days. This is a 2011 video of a performance of Hebrew music on a Russian stage – apparently not a rarity in Russia. The performers’ Hebrew is Russian accented, but Hebrew they sing. Are they Jewish? Have no idea – but they are entertainers and there is no reason to think so. (Although it certainly seems that members of the audience who sing along must be.) Do the entertainers know what they are saying when they refer to Jewish themes? No clue. But I thought it lively fun. Hope you agree.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.