Sunday, October 5, 2014

Top Israeli Judge: Free Pollard

Israel erred, concedes Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, but convicted spy has served 29 years and 'that's enough'
Israel's Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein has called for the US administration to pardon Jonathan Pollard, the American jailed since 1985 for spying on Israel's behalf.

Mistakes were made, mainly by the Israelis, but by the Americans as well, and 29 years was enough, said Rubinstein at a lecture last week at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His remarks were reported Sunday by Haaretz correspondent and analyst Amir Oren.

Rubinstein is expected to be named deputy chief justice of the high court next year.

Supreme Court justices rarely offer their views on current events, let alone comment about the decisions of foreign powers.

The lecture was delivered in memory of a former US ambassador to Israel, Sam Lewis, who died earlier this year.

Pollard was arrested at the end of Lewis’ term in Israel, when Rubinstein was acting ambassador in Washington. On November 21, 1985, Pollard tried to drive into the Israeli Embassy parking lot, was turned back by Israeli guards and arrested by FBI agents.

Rubinstein did not know that Pollard was being operated as a spy.

As Israeli attorney general in later years, Rubinstein was active in pushing for Pollard's release. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly raised the issue once again at his meeting Wednesday with President Barack Obama.

In his lecture, Rubinstein said he believed that Lewis also supported Pollard’s release.

Pollard's possible release was brought up earlier this year in efforts led by Secretary of State John Kerry to bring about a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. One proposal floated at the time called for Pollard to be freed in return for Israel's agreement to free Palestinians accused of terrorism.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PM Addresses Ban Ki-Moon

The terrorists of Hamas used  UN facilities over the summer to attack Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took the bitter criticism he leveled against the UN Human Rights Council in the UN General Assembly on Monday directly into the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, saying the forum was badly stacked against Israel and defended Hamas.

Netanyahu, according to a statement issued from his office, complained to Ban that the council was focusing its investigation on Israel, rather than on Hamas which used UN facilities over the summer to attack Israel.

Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, will fight against this.

The prime minister stressed, as he did in his speech, that Israel did not intentionally target Palestinian civilians, and was sorry for every civilian casualty. He said that Hamas has taken the local population hostage, and compared the organization to Islamic State. He repeated his position that Hamas carried out a double war crime over the summer: firing on Israeli civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.

“I will not apologize for Israel having the Iron Dome to protect its citizens,” he said.

Netanyahu also complained that Israel was held to different standards from all other countries in the world. While some 200,000 people have been killed in Syria, he said, there is no proportionality between how much time the UN spends on Israel and on Syria.

Netanyahu was accompanied in the meeting by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Regarding the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu -- who did not mention support for a Palestinian state in his address on Monday -- said that there was no change in his position regarding acceptance of a demilitarized Palestinian state that will recognize Israel as the Jewish state, as long as security safeguards were in place that would enable Israel to defend itself against any threat.

He also stressed to Ban, who condemns every instance of Jewish building beyond the 1967 lines, that the conflict with the Palestinians is not over the settlements, but rather over Israel’s right to exist in the region as a Jewish state.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"I love Israel" says Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga: World is wrong about Israel
"Tel Aviv was magnificent, star singer says in interview, and its people are ‘in good spirits’

BY LAZAR BERMAN September 28, 2014, 7:09 pm 81

Lady Gaga in Tel Aviv

Pop star Lady Gaga says the world’s image of Israel is inaccurate, calling the country “a beautiful place.”

“Oh it was fantastic!” said Lady Gaga in an interview published Friday by The Independent, talking about her September 13 performance in Tel Aviv. “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The world view of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.”
"I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful,” she said.

The 28-year-old singer also said her duet at the Tel Aviv show with famed crooner Tony Bennett was not planned, but was rather his idea.

“And I was very overwhelmed when Tony surprised me there. I knew he was coming in [to Tel Aviv] for a show, but he came a day early and he said: ‘Hey, you wanna sing “Anything But Love” at the ArtRave?’ And I thought: ‘Gosh, how magnificent! To bridge the jazz and the pop world at the same time.’ And at that show there were 25,000 people singing every word.”

On September 19, she released an album, “Cheek to Cheek,” with the singer.

Gaga told AP in a recent interview that she “felt a beautiful energy” in Tel Aviv, prompting The Times of Israel’s editor, David Horovitz, to publish a paean to her.

Gaga, the multi-platinum, multi-hued, multi-talented artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta, was the first big-name star to confirm a show in Israel after this summer’s 50-day war with Hamas forced the cancellations or postponement of shows by Neil Young, The Backstreet Boys and Lana Del Rey, among others.

Lady Gaga in Tel Aviv, Sept. 13, 2014 (photo by Shooka Cohen)

Gaga, who last played Tel Aviv six years ago, put on a show that was so big and bright, it almost made up for those cancellations.

Sauntering on stage at 9:40 p.m., in the first of several blonde wigs and sequined, space-age like bodysuits, she launched into “ArtPop,” her world tour’s signature track, before belting out “G.U.Y. (Girl Under You),” as a bevy of bare-chested male dancers gyrated and convulsed around her.

Like many of this summer’s pre-war musical acts, including The Rolling Stones and Justin Timberlake, Gaga sprinkled bits of Hebrew into her show, opening her performance by telling the crowd “Ani ohevet et’chem” (I love you) and closing off several of songs with the words “Todah Rabah” (thank you very much).

“Put your hands up and cheer for yourselves,” she told the crowd. “You are strong, you are brave, you are confident, and I f*cking love you, Israel.”

Debra Kamin and AP contributed to this report.


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