bans

DANISH PENSION FUND BANS FOUR FIRMS OVER WEST BANK SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY

 

One of Denmark’s largest pension funds announced that it will bar investment in four companies that operate in West Bank settlements.

Sampension – with some $46.1 billion (290b. Danish kroner) under management – announced the blacklist in a press release last week, which excludes Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, along with Israeli telecom giant Bezeq and German- based Heidelberg Cement.

The Danish public-employee pension fund is divesting from the four companies due to their role in “the financing of settlements, the extraction of natural resources and [the] establishment of infrastructure for telecommunications in occupied territory.”

Heidelberg Cement is barred because its subsidiary, Hanson Ltd., operates an asphalt factory and quarry in the West Bank .

In addition to these four companies, Sampension said that it was talking with six other multinational corporations about how their economic activity in settlements may violate “international principles.”

It is unclear how Sampension’s decision to divest will affect the excluded firms. For example, the Danish pension fund is not currently invested in Bank Hapoalim.

 

“We don’t know of any significant investment of the pension fund in the bank. We don’t see any investment in the bank currently,” one source in the capital markets told The Jerusalem Post.

Bezeq and Heidelberg Cement declined to comment, while Bank Leumi and the Economy Ministry could not be reached by press time.

Sampension’s blacklist includes dozens of companies previously excluded from the fund. Other Israeli companies that are barred include munitions manufacturer Aryt Industries and defense contractor Elbit Systems, along with American aerospace firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

To defend its move, Sampension cited an investigative report by leftist investigative site Danwatch, which looked at how Danish pension funds are connected to businesses in Israeli settlements.

It is possible that the fund’s US business ties could take a hit, as many American municipalities and states require public pension funds to dump their stakes in companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

One analyst dismissed concern over the blacklist, saying that the pension fund’s decision likely poses little threat to the Israeli economy.

“I don’t think it’s such a big deal. From time to time, there’s a pension fund that’s deciding to sell Israeli stocks, and it’s not a big amount. It’s a declaration by them that they won’t invest in Israeli banks. It’s no news in my opinion,” said Alon Glazer, a banking analyst at Leader Capital Markets. “Most foreign investors don’t care about the boycott.”

A few European pension funds and financial institutions have previously blacklisted Israeli companies due to their financing of settlement construction, including Europe’s third-largest pension fund, the Dutch PFZW, which divested from Israel’s five main banks in 2014.

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AIRBNB BANS WHITE SUPREMACIST RALLY ATTENDEES

 

http://www.jpost.com/Not-Just-News/Airbnb-bans-white-supremacist-rally-attendees-501892

 

Ahead of a massive white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, Airbnb has begun cancelling the accounts of users who have booked properties they intend to use for gatherings for the event.

The “Unite the Right” rally, which will feature prominent neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer and Baked Alaska, is being billed as a “free speech rally” and the biggest event of its nature in the millennium.

 

According to the event’s Facebook page, the rally “seeks to unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Community crackdown” and to “affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests just like any other group is able to do, free of persecution.”

Airbnb says that its users who plan to attend the rally and use their rented spaces to host gatherings for it are in violation of the company’s Community Commitment, by which all users must abide. The commitment states that users must ”accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age.” Those users who do not comply with the commitment are subject to account deletion by the company.

Airbnb confirmed to Buzzfeed News that it was removing users who were using their service to host events related to the rally.

One of the event’s organizers, Jason Kessler – a former reporter for The Daily Caller who was fired for his white supremacist activism – has said that the rally is in support of the Confederate movement, which advocates a white, Christian America. Kessler has made controversial statements in the past on the subject of American demographics; in a press conference last month advertising the event, he said “nothing against any other group of people – against Muslims, against blacks, whomever – but, they have entire continents in which they can inhabit.”

As many Airbnb users link their accounts on the site to their Facebook accounts, Airbnb has been able to track which of its users have RSVP’d to the rally and similar events in Charlottesville.

Kessler, along with many event attendees, have taken to Twitter to express their distaste for Airbnb’s decision to delete user accounts.

 

While the organizers had originally been given a permit to hold the event in one of Charlottesville’s parks, the permit has reportedly been revoked, according to the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website. The paper also stated that the “insane Jewish system is doing all it can to shut us down,” likely a reference to Michael Signer, the Jewish mayor of Charlottesville.

In a video posted on his Twitter, Kessler said the event would go on regardless of the permit’s cancellation. He said that the event will be held in what was once called Lee Park, originally named for Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general. A statue of Lee in the park – which has been renamed Emancipation Park by the city council – generated controversy this year as a high school student in Charlottesville petitioned to have it removed. In May, a judge ruled the statue would remain in the park.

 

In light of accusations against Airbnb for its handling of reported racism by users, the company updated its community guidelines last year. Previous complaints regarding racism were so numerous that Twitter users adopted the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack. Three weeks ago, Airbnb fined one of its hosts $5,000 and ordered them to take a course on Asian-American studies after the user cancelled the reservation of a guest because of her Asian heritage. The would-be host texted the guest ”Wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth. One word says it all: Asian.”

Canada bans ‘Product of Israel’ labels for West Bank wines

Canadian food inspectors have ordered liquor stores to stop selling wines made in the West Bank, saying their label identifying them as Israeli contravenes Ottawa’s policy on the territory.

Settlers and at least one Canadian Jewish advocacy group reacted with anger to the ruling, which singles out the Psagot and Shiloh wineries, made in settlements outside Ramallah.

News of the order emerged with the issue of a letter Tuesday from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to liquor vendors, detailing the ruling by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency a week earlier “that ‘Product of Israel’ would not be an acceptable country of origin declaration for wine products that have been made from grapes that are grown, fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory.”

The ruling extended to wines from “any other territory occupied by Israel in 1967” that carried such a label, which would be “considered misleading,” specifically mentioning the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as the West Bank.

The CFIA is a government body that controls all marketing and sales of wine in Canada.

Jewish winemaker David Ventura from the West Bank settlement of Ofra checks the sugar level in grapes at his vineyard on September 18, 2011. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

“I request that all vendors discontinue any importations or sales of products labeled as ‘Products of Israel’ from the wineries named above (or others located in the same regions) until further notice,” the LCBO letter says.

“We are currently seeking clarifications from the CFIA on how such wines should be labeled in order to comply with the Food and Drugs Act.”

In a statement Thursday, B’nai Brith Canada said that it “is expecting that the [CFIA] will soon rescind its recent decision to order the removal of certain Israeli wines from store shelves.“

“B’nai Brith has received a lot of information on this matter from multiple sources and officials during the past 24 hours as we were advocating on behalf of the community,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “We can say now that we are expecting this disturbing decision to be corrected in short order.”

Settlement wineries have boomed in the past decade or so. According to a 2011 report, West Bank settlements are home to 29 of the more than 150 wineries in Israel and its territories, compared to 14 in the famed Golan Heights wine country.

Several West Bank settlement winery owners reported exponential increases in production since the early 2000s, with most of their wines being sold in Israel. Yaakov Berg, Ceo of Psagot Winery, said his operation produced about 300,000 bottles of wine last year and sold about 65 percent of them locally — a hundredfold increase since it opened in 2003.

As one of the most prominent exported products from West Bank settlements and the Golan Heights, wines have been at the forefront of a battle between Israel and the European Union over product labeling.

In 2015, Israel reacted angrily after German department store KeDeWe stopped stocking Golan wines to comply with the labeling rules, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the move amounted to a boycott of the Jewish state.

Yaakov Berg, Psagot Winery’s CEO, said Thursday he was “amazed” at Canada’s decision.

Yaakov Berg posing at his Psagot Winery in the West Bank, June 21, 2017. (Andrew Tobin/JTA)

“We are living in Judea and Samaria by historic right. Canada, of all places, which was established and developed on basis of occupying and sacrificing the homeland of another people and which has no roots or historical validity to its existence there, doesn’t recognize the right of a Jew to live and cultivate vines on land inherited from his forefathers?” he said in a statement.

WHEN CHICAGO DYKE MARCH BANS A JEWISH PRIDE FLAG, JEWS SHOULD FEEL UNSAFE

 

During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”

“It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag,” said ejected participant Laurel Grauer to the Windy City Times.

The paper also reported that “one Dyke March collective member asked by Windy City Times for a response, said the women were told to leave because the flags ‘made people feel unsafe,’ that the march was ‘anti-Zionist’ and ‘pro-Palestinian.’” So much for inclusion.

Eleanor Shoshany Anderson, another one of the ejected participants, lamented, “I felt that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.” She’s right. Jews are not welcome among progressives, liberals, and leftists. In the near future, this will become increasingly perceptible, and for a very good reason.

An “Oddball” Among the Nations

Antisemitism does not appear out of the blue. It has followed our nation since its inception and is tied directly to our common vocation.

From the very beginning, our nation has been an “oddball” among the nations. In fact, we were not only odd, but usually at odds with those around us, often with the people closest to us. Abraham was at odds with his father, who had him tried and sentenced to death by Nimrod, King of Babylon. Isaac and Jacob were at odds with their brothers, and Joseph was at odds with his brothers, too. Moses was in agreement with his family, but for the most part, at odds with the rest of the nation.

After the nation was established, its members were still often at odds with each other, but now also at odds with the rest of the world. Wherever we went, our hosts hated, tormented, and finally expelled us, if not altogether exterminated us. Even countries that initially welcomed us into their midst ended up ruthlessly expelling us.

Today, hatred toward the Jewish people and its nation state, Israel, is once again increasing. If, until today, Jews on the left side of the political map could tell themselves that their progressive views and support of Israel’s enemies would spare them the vitriol slung toward the Jewish state, I hope that the event at Chicago Dyke March will be the beginning of the realization that the entire Jewish people is in peril today.

How Judaism Began and How Its Downfall Created Antisemitism

When Abraham—the inquisitive elder son of an esteemed statue maker in Ur of the Chaldeans, Babylon, who occasionally stood in for his father at the shop—noticed that people at Ur were growing unhappy, it troubled him. According to various sources such as Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah and Midrash Rabbah, Abraham began walking around the city and the country trying to understand why people were miserable.

After many sleepless nights, and many days observing nature, he realized that all of reality maintains its stability through the balance between two opposite elements: giving and receiving, altruism and egoism. But what was true of all of reality, was not true of humans. People, so he learned, are selfish to the core. Some three centuries later, Moses captured the essence of Abraham’s insights concerning human nature through such verses as “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21), “Sin crouches at the door” (Genesis 4:7), and “Great is man’s evil in the land; all the inclination of the thought of his heart is only evil the whole day” (Genesis 6:5).

Abraham did not keep his discoveries to himself. As soon as he realized the selfishness of human nature, he began to develop a correction method that would enable people to rise above their hatred and thereby install the positive element that exists everywhere except among humans. According to Maimonides, King Nimrod persecuted and finally expelled Abraham from Babylon precisely because he wished to share his ideas, which seemed to threaten the hegemony of the king. Yet, as Abraham wandered toward what was to become the Land of Israel, he wrote books about his method, and he and Sarah taught every person who wanted to learn the method of unity.

Although Abraham intended to share his method with all the Babylonians, because he was expelled from his homeland, he had to settle for teaching only those who followed him, leaving the rest of what we now call “the cradle of civilization” to wallow in self-centeredness and hatred until their empire crumbled and they dispersed.

The book Pirkei De Rabbi Eliezer (Chapter 24) describes the situation in Babylon in its depiction of the alienation among the builders of the Tower of Babel. “If a man fell and died, they would not pay him any mind,” the book writes. “But if a brick fell, they would sit and wail, ‘Woe unto us; when will another come in its place?’” As their alienation escalated into hatred, they “wanted to speak to one another but did not know each other’s language. What did they do? Each took his sword and they fought each other to the death. Indeed, half the world was slaughtered there, and from there they scattered all over the world.”

Mishneh Torah writes that Abraham bequeathed his knowledge to his disciples and to his son, Isaac, who then bequeathed it to Jacob. Jacob, in turn, taught his son, Joseph, who wished to unite his brothers. Despite the initial rejection he had suffered from his brothers, Joseph eventually united them around him and they flourished in the land of Egypt.

Yet, as soon as Joseph died, the Hebrews wanted to abandon the method of correction of the ego and assimilate among the Egyptians. “When Joseph died,” writes the Midrash, Shemot Rabbah, the Hebrews said, “Let us be as the Egyptians. Because they did so, the Lord turned the love that the Egyptians held for them into hatred, as it was said (Psalms 105), ‘He turned their hearts to hate His people, to abuse His servants.’” The enslavement and persecution of the Hebrews in Egypt was perhaps the first case of distinct antisemitism. The events that followed are written in the Torah and have become the symbol of man’s struggle for freedom.

Yet, initially, the Egyptians gave Israel the best land and royalty treatment. So it is vital to remember that their persecution of the Jews began not because the Egyptians suddenly became Jew-haters. It happened because the Jews themselves had begun to reject the way of unity and strove to become like the Egyptians: egoists and self-centered.

To triumph over the Egyptians, Moses did not incite the Hebrews toward violent rebellion. All he asked of Pharaoh was a chance to be together, the entire people. Once they escaped from Egypt, Moses turned the Hebrews into a nation by their pledge to unite “as one man with one heart.” And to make certain that they did not forget that they must convey the method of correction to the entire world, the newly emergent Hebrew nation was immediately tasked with being “a light unto nations.”

Since that day, the world has been ambivalent toward the Jewish nation. We are always held to a higher standard than the rest of the world. At the same time, we are accused of every blow that strikes the nations. What we call antisemitism is actually the nations’ accusation that we are not carrying out our vocation of showing the world the road to unity. By avoiding it, we are causing them to keep hating each other, hatred that is the source of every pain and suffering since the dawn of history.

Just this weekend, another antisemitic act reminded us of the nature of the nations’ blame as vandals covered a Holocaust memorial site with a sheet carrying the inscription, “Hebrews will not divide us.”

The most notorious antisemite in American history, Henry Ford, recognized the role of the Jews toward society in his book The International Jew—The World’s Foremost Problem: “It is not forgotten that certain promises were made to them regarding their position in the world, and it is held that these prophecies will be fulfilled. The future of the Jew is intimately bound up with the future of this planet.”

After their commitment to unity and the inception of the nation, the Jews experienced numerous conflicts and reconciliations. However, they were all part of learning to balance the ego with altruism. The Book of Zohar writes about it (portion, Beshalach): “All the wars in the Torah are for peace and love.” This method is why Jews conceived such sublime concepts and as charity, mutual responsibility, and concern for the stranger long before any other nation developed any tendency toward compassion and consideration.

Until approximately the ruin of the Second Temple, we (more or less) held on to the method of correction. But around that time, the hatred between us overtook the nation and separated us entirely. This is why our sages point not to an external enemy as the cause of our exile and the destruction of the Temple, but to unfounded hatred among us.

Since then, we have been growing increasingly alienated and hateful toward one another until today the entire world cannot stand us. As individuals, people may not dislike Jews. There are decent people among us just as there are decent people everywhere. But as a nation, the stark contrast between the unity that we are meant to project and the abhorrence for each other that we are projecting de facto is the cause of the nations’ hatred of the Jewish nation and the Jewish state.

Even Adolf Hitler did not hate all the Jews. His company commander during World War I was a Jew named Ernest Hess, and Hitler instructed Himmler to protect him. As a result, in August 27, 1941, Himmler instructed the secret police to grant Hess “the relief and the protection as per the Fuhrer’s wishes.” Yet, this did not help the Jews as a nation whatsoever once Hitler had determined to execute the Final Solution.

Looking for a United Society

In search of a remedy for the ills of society, humanity has adopted and abandoned almost every ideology and every form of governance. Yet, all have failed because in order for society to maintain stability, we must first balance our egoism with unity. Until we achieve this, eventually the ego will always take over, and every governance and ideology are bound to decline into fascism or Nazism, or both.

Keenly aware of the faults of society, Henry Ford sought answers from the Jews. When he could not find them in present day Judaism, he searched and found them in our past. “Modern reformers, who are constructing model social systems, would do well to look into the social system under which the early Jews were organized,” he wrote. At the same time, he detested present-day American Jewry, which is fraught with divisiveness and egoism.

For lack of unity, people conceive all sorts of notions, such as intersectionality. They hold marches that celebrate inclusion, but they exclude the Jews from them because the division among Jews is the reason why they cannot stand each other in the first place. Subconsciously, they are telling the Jews: “Leave us and unite among yourselves! This is what we need from you!”

In his book The Jews in Weimar Germany, Donald L. Niewyk writes that in 1929, Dr. Kurt Fleischer, leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, pointed out the connection between antisemitism and Jewish disunity: “Anti-Semitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together,” he noted. How tragic it is that the Jews back then did not follow through on this observation.

In the wake of the reignited dispute around the Kotel [Wailing Wall] prayer areas, David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, made a strong appeal for unity among us. Yet, as Caroline Glick noted in her column, “The real problem here is that while everyone involved speaks of the need for Jewish unity, no one involved in the conversation seems to be motivated to work toward that goal.”

Today, I think we must unite regardless. Of course we are not motivated. How can any reasonable person want to unite with a person he or she hates? Yet, it should now be clear to us that our hatred of each other is inciting the world against us.

Midrash Rabbah writes, “This nation, world peace lies within it” (Beresheet Rabbah, Chapter 66). But if there is no peace among us, how can there be peace in the world? In his book Orot (Lights), the Rav Kook wrote, “The construction of the world, which is currently crumbled by the dreadful storms of a blood-filled sword, requires the construction of the Israeli nation. The construction of the nation and the revealing of its spirit [of unity] are one and the same, and it is one with the construction of the world, which is crumbling in anticipation for a force full of unity and sublimity.”

Indeed, we cannot say that we did not know: Our safety and acceptance among the nations depend entirely on our willingness to be a light of unity unto all nations.

Michael Laitman has a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah and an MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. He and was the prime disciple of Kabbalist Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag (the RABASH). Laitman has written over 40 books, which have been translated into dozens of languages. Click Here to visit his author page.

Tunisian court bans showing of ‘Wonder Woman’ over Gal Gadot’s IDF service

(JTA) — A Tunisian court has banned the showing of “Wonder Woman” because star actress Gal Gadot served in the Israel Defense Forces.

Tunisia joins Lebanon, which banned the screening of the film as part of its ban on all Israeli products. Jordan also is considering a ban on the film due to Gadot’s Israeli military service, and has temporarily banned screening until its culture review committee makes a final decision.

The Tunisian court ruled last week that the screening of the film should be temporarily banned, pending a final decision. It was responding to a petition filed by the secular People’s Movement Party, which called Gadot was “a partner to the latest Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.”

The Tunisian Ministry of Culture had initially planned to allow the movie to be screened.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian movie theater in Ramallah, Palestine Towers Cinema, has decided not to show the movie for “political reasons related to the Israeli occupation and the Israeli actress starring the film,” the Times of Israel reported, citing local Ramallah newspaper al-Hadath.

Gadot, 32, does not shy away from touting her Israeli heritage. She praised the Israeli military in a widely shared Facebook post during the 2014 Gaza War.

China bans Ramadan observance in Muslim region

Authorities in China’s predominantly Muslim province have enacted a series of measures to prevent observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with one official saying that those caught fasting “will be dealt with.”

An official government notice stated that the region has adopted many measures to “ensure social peace and harmony,” including ordering all restaurants to remain open for Ramadan, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) website reported on Monday.

An official from the Zawa township, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying that teachers, public servants and employees in the service sector are “not allowed to fast” during Ramadan.

“It is strictly prohibited and if they are found fasting during this period, they will be dealt with,” he said.

Communist China has tried for decades to replace religious observance with allegiance to the party, particularly among the Uyghur people, most of whom are Muslim, and who live in the Xinjiang province of northwest China.
The region also borders several Muslim-majority countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan where Islamic terrorist groups have strongholds. Islamic State have recruited terrorists from within the Chinese province.

The “2017 Work Conclusion on the Stability Maintenance of Xinjiang during the Ramadan Period” notice warns that the Industrial and Commercial Bureau of Aksu which regulates business and alcohol licenses for restaurants, will “strengthen leadership,” “control,” and “inspection” in the county, and “widen the scope of propaganda [to] focus on prevention,” the site reported.

In addition, the authorities are forcing party activists to do marathon shifts, requiring them to “stand on 24-hour uninterrupted guard,” making fasting all but impossible.

In the neighboring Hotan county, students will gather on Fridays, the day when many Muslims attend prayer services in the mosque, and will “collectively study, watch red [communist propaganda] films, and conduct sports activities” in a way to “enrich their social life during the summer vacation,” according to the notice.

An official refused to answer whether the measures were specifically targeting Muslims observing Ramadan. “I cannot give you any details on this matter,” the official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “You’d better inquire about it with the public security sectors.”

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam during which Muslims are supposed to devote themselves to praying, giving to charity and fasting from dawn to dusk.

It is sacred because tradition says the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during that month.

Ramadan is a month generally marked by piety and sacrifice, and during which Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk.

‘Resisting’ Israeli star, Lebanon bans Wonder Woman movie

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese authorities banned the new “Wonder Woman” movie Wednesday hours before it was due to premiere in the capital and following a campaign against its star, Israeli actress Gal Gadot, a security official and activists said.

Cinemas in Beirut began removing the movie posters and cinema executives said the movie will not be shown because of the ban.

The ban is in accordance with a decades-old law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling to Israel or having contacts with Israelis. The official said the ban issued by the minister of interior Wednesday had been relayed to the distribution company, which in turn have to inform the theaters planning to show the movie.

A premiere later Wednesday in Beirut was cancelled. An executive at the Grand Cinema chain said the company was planning to show the movie in 16 out of its 18 theaters around the country, but it would now be removed.

A woman waves for taxi, as she stands in front of a digital billboard promoting the 2017 Wonder Woman movie, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The security official said violators of the ban will have to face legal consequences, but he didn’t specify. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been published.

A campaigner against the movie, Rania Masri, hailed the decision to ban “Wonder Woman,” saying it signaled respect for the law. She said there was much anticipation as the decision was last minute, just before the official launch of the movie.

“Still, it was a joyous moment the minute the law was implemented,” Masri, of the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon said.

A similar campaign against another movie where Gadot played the role of Wonder Woman last year, “Batman v Superman,” never turned into an outright ban. Masri said it was “different” this time because of a major media campaign against the movie that has helped push for the ban.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot, star of the new 'Wonder Woman' movie. (Clay Enos/DC Comics, via JTA)

On its front page Wednesday, the leading al-Akhbar newspaper had a column titled: “The Israeli soldier. She has no place in Lebanon.” The column featured a picture of Gadot, who served in the IDF, carrying her Wonder Woman shield.

On her Facebook page, Gadot had expressed solidarity with Israeli soldiers during the 2014 war against Hamas in Gaza, sending prayers to soldiers “who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas.”

Economy Ministry official Alia Abbas told the Associated Press that her department, which is responsible for enforcing the boycott of Israel, had delivered a request to ban “Batman v Superman” last year. But the ban didn’t come together. This time they presented their petition to the security agencies on Monday, she said.

Masri said the campaign to boycott is about “self-respect” and “resisting” normalizing relations with a state that is at war with Lebanon. “First and foremost she is Israeli. We don’t distinguish between a good Israeli and a bad Israeli,” Masri said of the boycott campaign.

Warner Bros., which has released the film, declined comment on the ban.

The movie, based on the DC Comics character, has earned acclaim for Gadot for landing a rare leading role for a woman in a super hero movie.

Even though Lebanon enjoys a greater margin of freedom of expression than other countries in the region, prior censorship remains in place, particularly with content relating to Israel, religion and homosexuality.

Some in Lebanon criticized the call for the ban, but their voices were faint compared to the boycott campaign that featured in primetime television in Lebanon.

“We sold many tickets and we had to cancel now,” said Isaac Fahed, sales and distribution manager for Grand Cinemas, the company which had the movie scheduled for 16 of its 18 movie houses. He said his company would abide by the law, despite the losses it would suffer. “We have to respect that, but we have few questions.”

Fahed said previous movies with Gadot were shown in Lebanese theaters and her new film will be viewed online and sold on DVD.

“The end result will only… affect the cinemas,” Fahed said.

Russia Bans Jehovah’s Witnesses, Calling It an Extremist Group

MOSCOW — Russia’s Supreme Court on Thursday declared Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that rejects violence, an extremist organization, banning the group from operating on Russian territory and putting its more than 170,000 Russian worshipers in the same category as Islamic State militants.

The ruling, which confirmed an order last month by the Justice Ministry that the denomination be “liquidated” — essentially eliminated or disbanded — had been widely expected. Russian courts rarely challenge government decisions, no matter what the evidence.

Viktor Zhenkov, a lawyer for the denomination, said Jehovah’s Witnesses would appeal the ruling. He said it had focused on the activities of the organization’s so-called administrative center, a complex of offices outside St. Petersburg, but also branded all of its nearly 400 regional branches as extremist.

“We consider this decision an act of political repression that is impermissible in contemporary Russia,” Mr. Zhenkov said in a telephone interview. “We will, of course, appeal.”

An initial appeal will be made to the Supreme Court’s appellate division, Mr. Zhenkov said, and if that fails, Jehovah’s Witnesses will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France.

Hard-line followers of Russia’s dominant faith, the Orthodox Church, have lobbied for years to have Jehovah’s Witnesses outlawed or at least curbed as a heretical sect, but the main impetus for the current campaign to crush a Christian group active in Russia for more than a century seems to have come from the country’s increasingly assertive security apparatus.

Founded in the United States in the 19th century, Jehovah’s Witnesses has its worldwide headquarters in the United States and, along with all foreign-led groups outside the control of the state, is viewed with deep suspicion by Russia’s post-Soviet version of the KGB: the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B.

Summing up the Justice Ministry’s case against the denomination, the ministry’s representative, Svetlana Borisova, told the Supreme Court on Thursday that Jehovah’s Witnesses had shown “signs of extremist activity that represent a threat to the rights of citizens, social order and the security of society.”

During six days of hearings over two weeks, lawyers and witnesses for the religious group repeatedly dismissed the extremist allegation as absurd, arguing that reading the Bible and promoting its nonviolent message could in no way be construed as extremist.

Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued in Moscow, condemned the court ruling as “a serious breach of Russia’s obligations to respect and protect religious freedom.”

Rachel Denber, the human rights group’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, said the decision delivered “a terrible blow to freedom of religion and association in Russia.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses shuns political activity and has no record of even peaceful — never mind violent — hostility to the Russian authorities. But it has faced growing hostility from the state since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia began his third term in 2012 and put the Orthodox Church at the center of his push to assert Russia as a great military and moral power.

The denomination suffered relentless persecution by the KGB during the Soviet era, and after more than a decade of relative peace following the collapse of Communism in 1991, it again became a target for official harassment under a 2002 anti-extremism law. That law makes it illegal for any group, other than the Orthodox Church and other traditional religious institutions, to proclaim itself as offering a true path to religious or political salvation.

NY bans school project asking students to argue in favor of Holocaust

A homework assignment that asked students in an upstate New York school district to argue for or against the Final Solution, from the perspective of a Nazi official, was withdrawn and will not be assigned again.

High school students in an advanced class in Oswego County were given a project to pretend they were members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party in order to argue for or against the Holocaust’s Final Solution.

“This is an exercise on expanding your point of view by going outside your comfort zone and training your brain to find the evidence necessary to prove a point, even if it is existentially and philosophically against what you believe,” the instructions for the assignment said.

Two students who complained about the exercise were given an alternative task.

But the students, Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April, took their complaint further and called for the teacher to apologize and for the school district to permanently ban the assignment, the Syracuse.com website reported. Neither of the students, both 17, is Jewish.

On Monday, New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the assignment has been permanently scratched.

“Since first learning of the assignment, I’ve done my homework to determine the facts in this situation,” Elia said in a statement. “I spoke with district officials about this serious matter. We agree the assignment should not have been given. The teacher apologized and the assignment will not be used in the future.”

Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s New York regional director, praised the district and Elia after saying in a statement, “There is no assignment that could ever be given to students that even hints at a balanced perspective to the horrors of Nazi actions during the Holocaust….

“The notion that students were asked to engage in such thinking trivializes the horrific experiences of the victims and we are pleased that it will no longer be part of the curriculum,” he added.

But State Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn called for Elia’s resignation, noting that last week, she defended the assignment as “critical thinking,” according to the New York Daily News.

Zionist Occupied Government of Germany Bans Free Speech

Angela Merkel has previously said that Germany values free expression. If that is really the case why is it that the government wants to fine websites over $50 million because for user posts containing mean words? Seems like quite the contradiction here.

From AP:

Germany’s justice minister is proposing fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million) for social networking sites that fail to swiftly remove illegal content, such as hate speech or defamatory “fake news.”
The plan proposed Tuesday marks a further step in Germany’s attempt to impose its strict domestic laws against incitement on the free-wheeling world of online chatter.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party, said social media companies had already taken voluntary steps to crack down on hate crimes that have resulted in improvements.
“This isn’t sufficient yet,” Maas said, citing research that he said showed Twitter deletes just 1 percent of illegal content flagged by users, while Facebook deletes 39 percent.

 

The proposal would require companies to provide a round-the-clock service for users to flag illegal content, which would have to be removed by the site within seven days. All copies of the content would also have to be deleted and social media companies would need to publish a quarterly report detailing how they have dealt with such material.

These proposals are so extreme that even websites like Facebook and Twitter which censor the shit out of material won’t be able to comply. It just isn’t possible for them to do this.
It should be obvious that Germany is one of the most tyrannical governments in the world today.

They put people in prison for having beliefs about fake historical events like the Jew Holocaust or for saying mean things about foreign invaders who are raping and killing people in the streets. This is the furthest thing from free expression.

There is very little difference between the current German government and what George Orwell depicted in his book 1984. Germany needs a revolution and they need one fast!