Israel News Briefs

Billboards in Zurich recently went up calling for the boycott of Israel. The signs, using the slogan “It’s Kosher to Boycott Israeli Goods,” are part of a campaign started by Verena Tobler, a Swiss sociologist. Organizers have alleged that Israel is breaking international law and human rights when it comes to the Palestinians. The Jewish community, as well as Israeli diplomats, have condemned the campaign’s message and have stressed that a boycott will not further peace. In 2009, anti-Israel posters were hung up in the central train station of Zurich. Although authorities were quick to pull them down, a 2012 court decision ruled the posters were a legitimate form of expression.

SodaStream Sponsorship Is Criticized. Anti-Israel organizations have recently criticized SodaStream’s sponsorship of the American Pavilion at this month’s Cannes International Film Festival in France. The festival reviews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world. The President of the Jury this year will be Steven Spielberg. Pro-Palestinian groups have noted that Israel-based SodaStream produces its products in post-1967 liberated territory, which in their view is in “occupied Palestinian West Bank in violation of international law, and in opposition to U.S. government policy going back decades.” Donna Hicks of the Interfaith Boycott Coalition added that they “appreciate American Pavilion’s desire to be more environmentally friendly and socially responsible by avoiding the wasteful use of cans, [however] these efforts are completely negated and overshadowed by accepting sponsorship from a company like SodaStream, which is complicit in serious human rights abuse.” Protesters have also alleged that the Israeli company “contributes to the pollution of Palestinian land and water.” Their letter ends with a call for “industry professionals attending Cannes to boycott the SodaStream bar at the American Pavilion, and [for] the general public to ask retailers to remove SodaStream products from their stores.” Among the groups endorsing this anti-Israel message are National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Subcommittee and CodePink Women for Peace.

New England Students Push Divestment. Students at a Vermont liberal arts college recently built a checkpoint outside their dining hall to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel.” The group, made up of Palestinian and Jewish students, is seeking to add to their divestment demands from arms and fossil fuels. According to anti-Israel students, Middlebury College currently invests $6 million in US arms manufacturers which provide a bulk of the weapons used by the Israeli military to fight terrorism.

At a midnight breakfast event, students were “greeted in the dark with barricades blocking the entrance to the dining hall and flashlights from full uniformed soldiers asking for identification cards.” After college authorities were notified, the performance was broken up by campus safety.

Former EU Official Calls for Soccer Boycott. A former vice president of the European parliament has recently called on UEFA to move its planned Under 21 Championship from Israel. In a letter to the organization’s president, Michel Platini, Luisa Morgantini alleged that for 46 years “the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza have been living under military occupation. No generation born after that date has ever lived in freedom. Every day they suffer under the violence of military occupation. Every day land cultivated with difficulty is stolen to be transformed into settlements.” Morgantini added that she believed Palestinian football players have been “arrested and held in administrative detention” and that “stadiums [have been] destroyed in Gaza.” The letter ends that if the tournament is held in Israel, she wishes UEFA not “remain silent. Speak out with clarity on June 5, the anniversary of the Israeli military occupation, reminding all that the Palestinian people have every right to live in freedom.” (Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center) v

Hezbollah Spreads

Syrian Unrest

While tensions in the region remained high due to the Syrian civil war, residents of Metula in northern Israel said they heard a blast late Sunday night that reportedly came from a rocket fired from Lebanon.

The rocket was launched at Israel from the area of Marjayoun, a Lebanese town situated about six miles from the Israeli border, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen media network reported.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon on Sunday, a pair of rockets hit a car dealership and a residential building in Hezbollah strongholds in south Beirut. The attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon may be the result of spillover from the Syrian civil war. Hezbollah’s fighters have been increasingly involved in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fight against the rebels.

Last week, speaking on the anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah attempted to link his group’s involvement in Syria to defending Lebanon. “If Syria falls into the hands of America, Israel, and takfiris [Muslims accused by other Muslims of apostasy], the resistance [Hezbollah] will be besieged and Israel will enter Lebanon and impose its will,” Nasrallah said, as reported by Israel Hayom.

Nasrallah added that if Syria falls, “Palestine will be lost” and “the people of our region and its nations will enter a bad and dark period.”

In response, Syrian rebel leaders accused Hezbollah of aiding the Syrian government and vowed attacks against the terrorist group. “We used to say before, ‘We are coming, Bashar.’ Now we say, ‘We are coming, Bashar, and we are coming, Hassan Nasrallah,’” said Col. Abdul-Jabbar al-Aqidi, commander of the Syrian rebels’ Military Council in Aleppo, according to the Associated Press.

Average Palestinian Attacker Just

12—14 Years Old,

IDF Colonel Says

IDF Colonel Yaniv Alaluf said that the average Palestinian attacker behind recent rock and firebomb attacks on Israeli drivers is only “12-14 years-old,” Israel National News reported.

At a meeting in the Etzion region in Judea and Samaria, Alaluf met with residents to address concerns over the increase in rock and firebomb attacks on drivers in the region.

A report from Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, revealed there were 90 attacks on Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria in April, up slightly from 101 in March. Most of these attacks were firebombs or the planting of roadside bombs, Haaretz reported.

Alaluf said many people beg soldiers not to arrest the teenage attackers “because they have tests in school the next day.” ( v


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