Archive | November 20th, 2013

Police drop sex abuse probe of prominent London rabbi



A police investigation into sex abuse allegations against a prominent London rabbi has been dropped.

The Metropolitan Police said Friday that the Crown Prosecution Service would not bring charges against a 54-year-old man regarding allegations of sexual assault, The Jewish Chronicle of London reported on its website.

Several London rabbis have confirmed to JTA in the past that the 54-year-old man in question is Rabbi Chaim Halpern.

The report said that officers from the London borough of Barnet’s sexual offenses, exploitation and child abuse command had fully investigated all the allegations.

Halpern, who heads the Divrei Chaim synagogue in the heavily Jewish Golders Green area of the British capital, was arrested in February and denied any wrongdoing.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations must decide whether to reconvene a special rabbinical court to examine his conduct, the Chronicle reported. The court had been suspended during the police inquiries.

Police added: “Anyone who believes they have been a victim of crime should report this to police.”



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Al-Qaida-linked group claims responsibility for deadly Beirut attack



Lebanese officials say cultural attache at the Iranian embassy is among the 23 dead. Al-Qaida affiliate Abdullah Azzam Brigades says it carried out the attack.


An Al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings that struck outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on Tuesday, killing 23 people, including an Iranian diplomat.

The obscure Abdullah Azzam Brigades said it carried out the midmorning bombings in a southern Beirut Hezbollah stronghold — the latest strike in the proxy battles that have played out in the region for decades and now intensified with the civil war next door in Syria. Attacks have targeted Hezbollah strongholds in recent months in what many see as retaliation by Sunni extremists for the Shiite group’s role in the fighting in Syria, now in its third year.

The authenticity of the claim could not be independently verified but it was posted on a militant website and on the Twitter account of Sirajuddin Zurayqat, a prominent Islamic militant leader.

The group said it will continue with such attacks until the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group withdraws its forces from Syria, where the group is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces against the mostly Sunni rebels seeking to topple him.

A Lebanese security official said the first suicide attacker was on a motorcycle that carried two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of explosives. He blew himself up at the large black main gate of the Iranian mission, damaging the three-story facility, the official said.

Less than two minutes later, a second suicide attacker driving a car rigged with 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of explosives struck about 10 meters (yards) away, the official said. He spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Shiite Iran has long played a central role in Syria as the main Mideast backer of President Bashar Assad’s government, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters have aided Assad’s forces in battling the largely Sunni rebels seeking to topple him. Sunni Gulf Arab powers Saudi Arabia and Qatar are chief backers of the insurgency in Syria.

Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi identified the dead diplomat as Sheik Ibrahim Ansari. Speaking to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV from inside the embassy compound, he said Ansari took his post in Lebanon a month ago and was overseeing all regional cultural activities. Al-Manar reported that the street targeted by the suicide bombers includes a building where some of the Iranian diplomats and their families live.

An unidentified Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman blamed Israel for the attacks while Hezbollah and Syrian officials indirectly blamed Saudi Arabia.

“Each of the terrorist attacks that strike in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq reek of petrodollars,” a Syrian government statement said, in a clear reference to oil-rich Gulf Arab countries that have sided with the Syrian rebels.

At the scene, puddles of blood stained the ground, amid broken branches scattered from the blasts’ force. A woman in a black robe and headscarf, unable to stand, clutched a man, pleading with security forces for help.

“Nader,” she wailed, crying out a man’s name. “Nader is missing.” Another man ran from the area, carrying a South Asian migrant worker limp in his arms.

“People aren’t sacred anymore. We aren’t safe,” said a mechanic whose store windows were shattered by the blasts. He declined to be identified because he did not want to be seen as involved in sectarian tensions that have split the Lebanese over Syria’s conflict.

“People fight outside (Lebanon), but send their messages through Lebanon. With bombs. It’s their SMS service,” he added.

Lebanese Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said the twin explosions killed 23 people and wounded 146.

Debris was scattered on the street and cars were on fire as people ran away from the chaotic scene. AP video showed firefighters extinguishing flames from vehicles, blood-spattered streets and bodies covered with sheets on the ground. A charred motorcycle stood outside the embassy gate.

An armed guard at the embassy told AP that the first blast was believed to have been carried out by a suicide attacker who rode a motorcycle and blew himself up outside the gate. The guard, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media, said the other explosion, which caused much more damage, was likely a car bomb.

Lebanese security officials confirmed the two bombings were both suicide attacks. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

“We tell those who carried out the attack, you will not be able to break us,” Hezbollah lawmaker Ali Mikdad told Al-Mayadeen TV. “We got the message and we know who sent it and we know how to retaliate.”

Hezbollah’s Al-Rasoul al-Azam hospital called on people to donate blood, saying they need all blood types.

Iran has been one of Assad’s strongest supporters, supplying him with money and weapons since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011.

Previous large-scale attacks targeting Hezbollah strongholds include an Aug. 15 car bombing in the southern Beirut suburbs that killed 27 people and wounded more than 300. A less powerful car bomb targeted the same area on July 9, wounding more than 50 people.

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Zio-Nazi settlers set Palestinian home on fire after soldier stabbing


A Palestinian shows damages inside a house that was fired overnight by suspected Jewish extremists in an apparent revenge attack on November 14, 2013 in Sinjil, a village in the West Bank, northeast of Ramallah. (Photo: AFP – Abbas Momani)

Published Thursday, November 14, 2013

Israeli forces Thursday arrested two Palestinians linked to a teenager suspected of killing an Israeli soldier, as five Palestinian children suffered from smoke inhalation when suspected Jewish extremists set fire to their West Bank home on Thursday in an apparent “price tag” attack.

The attackers torched the front of the Dar Khalil family’s home in Sinjil, a village northeast of Ramallah, and spray-painted the words “Regards from Eden, Revenge!” in Hebrew in blue on a wall outside the house.

“Eden” is an apparent reference to Eden Atias, a soldier who was killed on Wednesday by a 16-year-old Palestinian on a bus in northern Occupied Palestine.

On Thursday, Israeli troops detained the brother and a friend of the stabbing suspect, relatives told Ma’an news agency.

A large Israeli military force raided the home of Hussein Sharif Ghawadra after midnight, damaging the main gate of the property and releasing sound bombs, Ghawadra’s father said.

“The Israeli army treated all of us in an aggressive way, and wreaked havoc in the house. They destroyed the windows and the doors. They removed the water tanks, and detained my son Mutasem, who is a university student. They also detained Hussein’s friend, Jamil Mohammad Ghawadra and assaulted my wife, my son Tawfiq, and I.”

Israeli forces also threatened to demolish the home, according to Ghawadra’s father, and asked the family to remove all of their furniture from the house.

Ghawadra allegedly told Israeli police that he had killed the soldier in retaliation for the imprisonment of numerous relatives. Four of his cousins are serving life sentences in Israeli prisons.

The Dar Khalil family who was attacked by settlers had no apparent connection to the Palestinian attacker.

“I woke up at 2:00 am, and four or five people came out of a white car and started breaking windows, then poured gasoline, then threw fire into the house,” Ruweida Dar Khalil told AFP.

“My kids were sleeping, I was scared to death, my kids almost died, I couldn’t even touch the doorknob, it was so hot.”

Dar Khalil said the children, the eldest aged seven, were returned home after being taken to hospital.

“I need protection,” she said. “I’m scared to sleep inside my home.”

An Israeli police spokesman said an investigation had been opened.

The attack is the latest “price tag” incident, a term used by Jewish extremists carried out in pursuit of their hardline agenda.

Such attacks initially targeted Palestinians in retaliation for Israeli moves to dismantle unauthorized settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank. But they later spread to include a broader range of racist and xenophobic attacks.

Settler attacks against Palestinians and their property are routine and rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

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Zio-Nazi forces destroy water tank, agricultural facility in West Bank village


Israeli forces demolished a water tank and an agricultural structure in a West Bank village near Nablus on Wednesday, a local official said.

Deputy mayor of Aqraba Bilal Abdul-Hadi told Ma’an news agency that three bulldozers escorted by seven military vehicles stormed the neighborhood of al-Taweel and began demolishing the structures, claiming they were built without authorization.

Shaddad Attili, who heads the Palestinian Water Authority, said the World Bank, the United Nations and other international organizations have issued reports condemning Israel’s attacks on Palestinian water rights.

“Israel controls all the water resources in the occupied West Bank. It exploits these resources for near exclusive Israeli use, allocating a mere fraction of the available water supply to Palestinians,” Ma’an quoted Attili as saying. “While Israelis enjoy some of the highest water consumption rates in the world, Palestinians continue to face a series of crippling water shortages artificially engineered by Israel as a matter of policy.”

The official added that Israel used water to target vulnerable Palestinian communities.

Israel has destroyed more than 558 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, displacing 919 people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Between 2009 and 2011, Israel’s military destroyed 173 water, sanitation and hygiene structures in the West Bank including 40 wells, 57 rainwater collection cisterns and at least 20 toilets and sinks, OCHA reported.

2012 report by the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene groupslammed Israel’s policies towards water and sanitation facilities in the West Bank, saying their extensive destruction was in contravention of international law.

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BOYCOTT ZIO-NAZI’S IN KUWAIT ” 3 ” : The Long Way Back


Kuwaiti MP Saleh Shour (R) and MP Mohammed al-Mutar (L) attend a parliament session at the National Assembly in Kuwait City on May 3, 2012 where the MPs passed a bill stipulating the death penalty for Muslims who curse God, the Muslim holy book, all prophets and the wives of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. (Photo: AFP – Yasser Al-Zayyat)

By: Yazan al-Saadi

Published Friday, May 4, 2012

As the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel continues to grow internationally, it is lagging in the Arab World – particularly within Gulf monarchies, where boycotting Israel is muddled by these monarchies’ close relationship with the United States and its allies.

In March, a bell pepper with a label indicating that it originated from Israel was found in one of Kuwait’s largest retail stores. Ironically, the pepper was bought by a volunteer for pro-Palestinian group Kuwaitis for Jerusalem.

Immediately a photograph of the pepper, with its label, was passed around social hubs such as Twitter, Facebook, and others forums, triggering debates regarding the nature and efficiency the Israel boycott.

This incident was not the first of its kind in Kuwait. Sporadically, an Israeli product or a product with Hebrew markings is found, and the local mediastirs to attention. These cases are usually swiftly dealt with by the authorities and forgotten until the next incident rears its head.

Boycotting Israel in Kuwait is a very delicate issue in comparison to other Arab countries. It is not quite like Syria, in which Israeli goods and products are strictly unwelcome nor is it as open as Jordan or Qatar, where direct political and economic relations with Israel are active.

The Current Climate of Boycotting Israel

“The 1990s were the worst in terms of boycotting Israel. If you visit the head [Arab League Boycott] office in Damascus, you’ll see that they are very demoralized. Everybody ignored them after Oslo,” said a prominent Palestinian historian residing in Kuwait, who requested anonymity.“The boycott in Kuwait is [currently] very loose; we hear in the newspapers that so and so was discovered here or there. They report this all the time. But there is no official or popular follow-up. People are demoralized after Oslo and Jordan [1994 peace deal],” he added.

An official within the Arab League dealing with Palestinian Affairs, and who also requested anonymity, echoed the sentiments of the historian in regards to the deterioration of Arab boycott efforts against Israel.

The Arab League boycott laws are still in place, he noted, and every six months a black list is revised, pointing to the current debates regarding Adidas as a recent example.

The official stressed that despite these laws, obstacles to an efficient boycott have been added by Arab states’ acceptance of American contentions of “peace” as well as concerns that any act sanctioning or boycotting Israel will be labeled as provocation and incitement.

The best thing one can do, he suggested, is to activate popular action, encouraging the greater public to complain to retailers, policy makers, and the press whenever an Israeli product is found. The public at large should bear the burden of overseeing the market if boycott violation occurs.

The Resurgence of Kuwaiti Popular Action

In Kuwait, support for Palestinians is typically articulated by Islamic organizations and charities, as the Palestinian historian pointed out.

Kuwaitis for Jerusalem, established in 1987-88 during the First Intifada, have been heavily involved in a number of campaigns, from raising awareness to music events in support of the Palestinian cause. Through this organization, members and volunteers have begun work to establish a BDS Chapter in Kuwait.

Hania al-Ariqy, a member of Kuwaitis for Jerusalem and one of the driving forces behind initiating a BDS Chapter, spoke briefly with Al-Akhbar.

Ariqy pointed out that the general BDS movement in the Arab region is severely lacking. “Where is it? In the Gulf region, it is virtually nonexistent. In Egypt, they just started. The only country that is actively doing it is Lebanon – because the political situation in the country and the continuous Israeli aggression, especially in 2006, kept the issue alive for the public.”

She said that the organization has faced no obstacles from the government so far, though that they have not officially launched yet. Nevertheless, she expects no restrictions from the authorities.

“The environment in Kuwait is much more welcoming to boycotting Israel than it is in other Gulf countries…You should consider that on the political level, there is no parliament [in other Gulf states],” she said.

She added that because of the parliament’s current composition, it would be publicly difficult for them to take a stance against the Palestinian cause.

Considering any lingering hostility towards Palestinians from the Kuwaiti public due to support of the Iraqi invasion from Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian political figures, she said, “I think it’s a thing of the past. I’m a member of Kuwaitis for Jerusalem and we started in 1988, during the First Intifada. When the Iraqi invasion happened, we halted our activities completely. It took us a long time to restart again, until 2000 – 10 years.”Optimism on the Power of Boycott

Currently, the BDS chapter in Kuwait is to looking into reports regarding various Israeli products making their way into the country, particularly the recent Israeli bell pepper incident.

When it was discovered, the volunteers of the BDS chapter contacted the retailer to find out how this product, with its label clearly stating its Israeli origins, ended up on the shelves.

According to the volunteers, the retailer claimed that it was merely a mistake and that the illicit product was removed. Despite these assurances, the volunteers are concerned that the retailer simply changed the packaging and kept the product, although they do not have any conclusive proof.

At the same time, BDS members began researching which governing authority is responsible for ensuring the boycott against Israel. With some effort they discovered the Customs Office for Boycotting Israeli Goods.

When the volunteers spoke with employees from the office, they assured them that only few products were smuggled in and that they were serious about maintaining the boycott. According to Ariqy, the office was even willing to create a hot-line with the organization in order to coordinate efforts. It was these officials’ first meeting with members of the public in over ten years.

For Ariqy and other volunteers, the main goal currently is to bring back the secondary sanctions and boycott laws, particularly in regards to companies like Veolia Transport and Alstom, who the authorities do not blacklist despite their work within Israeli settlements across the occupied territories. The Kuwait BDS also aims to modernize the laws regarding boycotting Israel in Kuwait.

“The problem with the Office of Boycotting Israel is that it is tied in with the decrees and policies of the Arab League, and the law in regards to boycotting Israel was made in 1964. It still has not been modified or developed further to meet the current challenges,” she said.Ultimately, Ariqy is optimistic about the future and the growth of the BDS movement, and other similar non-violent campaigns that could play a dramatic role in changing the region.

“I’m optimistic because the movement is still young, and we in the Arab region may still not feel the major changes because the movement isn’t as well developed here. But changes do happen. The people in general are not aware of the importance and influence they wield. An Arab person may still feel helpless or feel that such actions are futile, but I think this viewpoint is changing.”

The Mercurial Kuwaiti-Palestinian History

Kuwait’s boycott system, with its virtues and vices, arises from its ever-changing foreign policy and its historical relations with Palestinians.

Toufic Haddad, writing for the Palestine Chronicle, noted that the history of Palestinian-Kuwaiti relations, which is deep, complex, and intersects much of the pivotal points of the Palestinian experience, is one of the most under-studied topics in contemporary Arab history.

After the 1947-48 ethnic cleansing by Zionist forces, a large number of Palestinians found themselves, at some point, living or working in Kuwait, including iconic figures such as Yasser Arafat and Naji al-Ali.

In reflection, Kuwaiti society and policy from 1948 to 1990 was much more pan-Arab and pro-Palestinian than other Gulf monarchies, although the Kuwaiti authorities maintained a tight grip on Palestinian activities.

During the four-year reign of Sheikh Abdullah al-Salam al-Sabah, the first emir of Kuwait, an emiri decree established Law 21 of 1964 that outlined how Israel was to be boycotted. It was part of a collective Arab League effort to sanction Israel and its allies.

All forms of trade, commercial and financial transactions with Israel, and ownership of Israeli goods and goods that include Israeli components, were forbidden. This included countries and companies that were doing business with Israel or were aiding the Zionist state in any form.Punishment for violating this boycott resulted in a sentence of three to ten years hard labor and a fine. Subsequently, the Office for Boycotting Israeli Goods within the Customs Department was established to oversee this law.

The Arab collective boycott effort faced its first major blow in 1978 when Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel. But it was during the post-Oslo period when much of the general Arab boycott system significantly deteriorated.

For Kuwait in particular, the 1990 Iraqi invasion was a defining factor. Yasser Arafat’s apparent support of Saddam Hussein was grossly detrimental for Palestinians living in Kuwait. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were deported by Kuwaiti authorities, regardless of whether they opposed the invasion and occupation.

In August 1991, Kuwait announced an ease of its boycott of non-Israeli companies, particularly British and French, which were actively doing business with Israel under the justification of rapid postwar reconstruction. Two years later, the secondary Kuwaiti boycott on all non-Israeli companies working with Israel was lifted. In addition, aid to the Palestine Liberation Organization was drastically cut.

Relations only began to soften because of the Second Intifada in 2000. With each intensifying Israeli aggression against the Palestinians over the years, Kuwaiti political and social sentiments gradually swayed back and became much more supportive.

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BOYCOTT ZIO-NAZI ART ” 2 ”: Designer Dupe: I$raHell Start-Up Seeks Beirut Trendsetters


Lebanon is one of the few countries in the region that still stringently maintains a strict boycott of products and relations with Israel. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)

By: Yazan al-Saadi

Published Friday, November 1, 2013

Last week, two major Israeli publications profiled a start-up company that curates fashion and art products online, called ArtSetters, bragging about doing business in Beirut.

Artsetters began about four months ago and was officially launched on October 21 by two young entrepreneurs, Lee Rotenberg and Alex Schinasi, in order to “penetrate creative circles in cities that are often inaccessible and elevate young artists to the international scene.”

On the face of it, ArtSetters presents itself as an uncontroversial platform to help market and sell a designer’s brand on a global stage. Rotenberg and Schinasi get a 20 percent cut of any sale, which seemed like “a pretty good deal” as one Beirut-based designer, who was formerly involved, called it.

Unbeknownst to the Lebanese designers who were recruited, the company and the duo seemingly have ties with an enemy state, a fact that only became apparent after the Israeli press covered the opening of ArtSetters’ temporary pop-up store in the Brown Urban Hotel in Tel Aviv.

The Unpublicized Israeli Link

Artsetters’ website describes the group as “an American company registered in the State of Delaware,” adding, “Our team is made up of a passionate group of creative art lovers hailing from the likes of Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Canada and the United States.”

When not approaching designers directly in cities, ArtSetters relies on “ambassadors” who watch out for new brands and trends to eventually showcase. In the case of Beirut, their “ambassador” is 28-year-old fashion promoter Hazem Haddad. Haddad described himself as having a “big background in fashion-creative direction and branding.” Haddad had met the two through a fashion designer he was working with in Europe, and became involved with ArtSetters in Beirut in August.


Through Haddad, Rotenberg and Schinasi contacted various designers and artists in Lebanon to join. They also approached the Lebanese fashion blog Plush Beirut for further contacts. In the end, five Lebanese designers, ranging from jewelery to clothing to furniture, were brought in and had their products curated and marketed on the website. 

According to the first profile piece of the company, published on October 24 by the Israeli newspaperHa’artez, Rotenberg’s grandfather was a major artist in Israel who has a painting hanging in the Israeli Knesset. The Ha’aretz article noted that Rotenberg herself has been living in Tel Aviv since 2010, while Schinasi arrived in Israel in 2011 to work on a film and decided to stay.

Ha’aretz recently amended parts of the article, spurred perhaps by the recent investigations of Al-Akhbar.

The article originally stated:

“We are very big in Beirut,” says Schinasi. This is thanks to Hazem Haddad, a fashion promoter who connected the two with several trendsetters in Beirut such as Plush Beirut, the winner of the best fashion blog in Lebanon. She adds that, through this connection, someone in Beirut bought a piece of art from Tel Aviv – only possible because the art is shipped from the company’s base in the United States.”

The amended Ha’aretz article makes no mention of Plush Beirut or Haddad’s role with ArtSetters. Rather it currently states:

“We are very big in Beirut,” says Schinasi. She says that through their connections, someone in Beirut bought a piece of art from Tel Aviv – only possible because the art is shipped from the company’s base in the United States.

Lebanon is one of the few countries in the region that still stringently maintains a strict boycott of products and relations with Israel. The 1955 Lebanese Boycott Law prohibits all manners of contact, direct or indirect, and those who do so in any way could be susceptible to strict punishment. The juncture of politics, law, and art are inescapable in this context, particularly as Lebanon continues to face daily Israeli military aggression on its territory.

Another profile of ArtSetters, published four days later by The Times of Israel, reported that the two were able to establish the company through the help of the Tel Aviv Municipality, “which offered them workspace in their start-up incubator at the city’s Mazeh 9 building, as well as a website designer willing on spec.”

The Times of Israel also remarked that Schinasi herself was a “new immigrant to Israel.”

The Times of Israel highlighted Schinasi’s claim of how they were able to ship their Israeli-made clothing line, Pilpeled, to Lebanon through America by cutting all the Israel labels off.

“But they know it’s from Israel, and they tell us they love it,” Schinasi had said to the Israeli publication, adding, “That’s what makes it cool. That is a trend. A trendsetter in Beirut is someone walking down the street in an Israeli-designed shirt because no one else has it and very few people can access it.”

Al-Akhbar contacted the five designers, as well as Haddad and Plush Beirut, to inquire about their level of involvement with ArtSetters.

Of the five Lebanese designers contacted by Al-Akhbar, four responded. Of those, three expressed surprise and concern regarding the Israeli connection, and have stated they were immediately pulling their products from the site.


“They contacted me directly and sent a presentation for their website. I’m a new brand and wanted any kind of exposure. It seemed like a good deal. They introduced themselves as living in Brooklyn, so I thought they were in the New York scene. They never introduced themselves as Israelis or mentioned anything about Israel,” one of the Beirut-based designers told Al-Akhbar

Indeed, there is no mention of any Israeli ties on the website – other than the fact that Tel Aviv is one of the cities highlighted– nor on the promotional PDF sent to various designers about the initiative.

Presently, the main Beirut page on the ArtSetters website has been taken down, although a banner and a profile page for Beirut’s “ambassador” Haddad is still online at the time of this writing.

Deema al-Saidi, editor of Plush Beirut, wrote to Al-Akhbar:

“Given the secretive nature of ArtSellers concerning their location when they requested contact details for designers in parallel to their recent claims in the media, I am inclined to believe that their purpose in contacting me was not only to enter Lebanon but also to infiltrate and poison a strong, key communication point of the Lebanese fashion scene – Plush Beirut. It is not favorable to certain Israeli interests for Lebanon to receive positive media recognition in many domains – fashion, entertainment, and art included.”

During the course of Al-Akhbar‘s brief investigations, Rotenberg and Schinasi were notified and sought to downplay the matter to the Beirut designers. An email was sent by Rotenberg, which was passed on to Al-Akhbar by one of the designers. Rotenberg wrote:

“It’s been brought to our attention that there’s inaccurate rumors of us being an Israeli company and thus we decided to take the proactive step of reaching out to our lovely Beirut ArtSetters and clarifying details.

ArtSetters is an American company that’s registered in Delaware – we’ll happily send you a copy of our incorporation documents to whoever requests them. We pay taxes to the United States, never Israel. Neither of us is Israeli and we’re not even residents of this country, we’re merely here for the 6-week pop-up shop. With that said, the idea of ArtSetters did come from our time spent here in Tel Aviv, hence the reason we decided to have our first of many pop-ups there. Our next pop-up shop is in Berlin, and who knows maybe after that we’ll go to Beirut or Brooklyn!

Our site is comprised of 19 different cities and growing. It’s unfortunate that a single city is spotlighted when it’s just one of the 19 and we’re so much more than that. We truly hope that one day creativity will overshadow politics, as politics really has no place in what’s trendy & cool.”

The assertions made by Rotenberg in the email contradicted the reports of Ha’aretz and TheTimes of Israel, not to mention comments made by Haddad to Al-Akhbar when he was interviewed.

When asked about ArtSetters’ Israeli links, Haddad stated, “Usually when I try to link an artist from here, I would definitely tell them [ArtSetters] are Israeli, and I respected if [Lebanese designers] didn’t want to work with them. It’s a free world.”

Later in the interview, he said, “I didn’t overthink it or plan for it. I liked what they are doing and how they were bringing in new talent and trying to make them known all around the world. I did not take it from a political point of view at all. It was easy and straight to the point. They live in London and the US. And they just happened to make a start-up in Tel Aviv.”

It’s All About Art?

“I don’t think art should be intertwined with politics or religion. Art should bring people together and celebrate life and beauty. I don’t know why we are going back to the Israeli-Lebanese conflict again. This is all about art,” Haddad argued as a justification for working with ArtSetters. It echoes the final line of Rotenberg’s email to the designers.


The reasoning that art must inherently be separated from politics is a common theme that arises in the debate regarding the boycott of cultural sectors related to the Zionist state. 

“One cannot isolate art, literature, or any of the human sciences from politics and society in general,” Samah Idriss, an activists for the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon, told Al-Akhbar during a phone conversation.

“This is exactly what Zionists want – to distinguish between art and politics. This is the raison d’être for the cultural boycott, to stress the point that these issues cannot be separated because art, literature, music, tourism, and the rest are made to white-wash Israeli crimes. Israel wants to think that business can go on as usual while massacres, racism, apartheid [against Palestinians] are taking place,” he added.

Additionally, Haddad stressed the fact that ArtSetters was a registered American company.

“Regardless of its registration elsewhere, any cooperation with an Israeli state or institution, even with Israeli people who are not officially and vocally against the state of Israel is subject to boycott,” Idriss said in response to this point.

In unsolicited emails to Al-Akhbar, Rotenberg claimed that the Israeli media and Al-Akhbar have “twisted the facts for a good story.” She insisted that neither her or Schinasi were Israeli and that the company was not strictly “operating” out of Tel Aviv as stated by TheTimes of Israel.

She also wrote that the “real story” was that “Beirut trendsetters are finally getting elevated to the same level as those in Moscow, LA, San Francisco, Istanbul, Belgium, Geneva and so on.”

However, instead of benevolently “elevating” the designers in Beirut, the duo’s actions could have potentially resulted in getting these designers prosecuted – a fact that Rotenberg and Schinasi may have not considered in their quest for “global” trendsetters.

“I’m shocked about these [Israeli reports],” said one of the Beirut designers. “This is not a game. I have a business and a brand on the line.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, LebanonComments Off on BOYCOTT ZIO-NAZI ART ” 2 ”: Designer Dupe: I$raHell Start-Up Seeks Beirut Trendsetters

BOYCOO ZIO-NAZI PRODUCT$ ” 1 ” : I$raHell Seeks to Tap Arab Markets With Made-in-Jordan Label


Palestinian militants of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, flank a model of a Gaza Strip made M75 rocket during an anti-Israel parade as part of the celebrations marking the first anniversary of an Israeli army operation, on November 13, 2013 in Gaza City. (Photo: AFP – Mahmud Hams)

By: Mohamad Bdeir


Cross-border projects are materializing, but not between Arab countries – as Arabs would have hoped – but between Israel and Jordan. A joint industrial park is to be established along the Israeli-Jordanian border, giving Israeli companies the ability to tap into Arab markets, as their products will bear the misleading label “Made in Jordan.”

The Israeli press reports that the industrial zone – the brainchild of Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom – will be submitted to the Israeli government for approval next week. The industrial park will consist of a section near Kibbutz Tirat Zvi on the Israeli side, which will be linked via bridge over the Jordan River to the Jordanian section.

On the Jordanian side, industrial facilities will be built by Israeli and Jordanian firms, and are expected to employ up to 2,000 Jordanian workers, while administration, logistics, and marketing facilities will operate on the Israeli side.

The estimated cost of the project, dubbed Sha’ar Hayarden, meaning Jordan Gate, will be around 180 million shekels (about $50 million).

According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Jordan will benefit from the increased job opportunities while Israel will stand to benefit from huge savings in labor costs by paying workers relatively low wages (no more than $500 per month on the Jordanian side).In addition, the factories will be “close to home,” helping Israeli companies save on logistical costs and have more effective control over the production process. But more importantly, the products manufactured in this zone will be stamped with the label “Made in Jordan,” allowing Israeli companies to market their products in Arab countries.

Yedioth Ahronoth also noted that the project, which is considered a historic move between Israel and Jordan, will be overseen by a government agency attached to the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, which will collaborate with the ministries of economy, foreign affairs, defense and transportation.

The newspaper quoted Silvan Shalom as saying, “Sha’ar Hayarden represents a real breakthrough. The project will help strengthen relations between Israel and Jordan, and boost economic growth in the region through the establishment of new factories and joint ventures and job creation. We will continue to take the initiative and press forward with such projects.”

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Redneck Christian Zionist preacher David Barton: Old Testament will ‘get rid of’ PTSD if soldiers are ‘God’s warriors’


David Barton speaks to Glenn Beck

A spokesperson from the Southern Baptist Convention lashed out at a so-called “historian” who radio host Glenn Beck hired to teach at his online university after he interpreted a Bible passage to mean that members of the armed forces who were fighting on the side of God could not suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In a Veteran’s Day appearance on Believer’s Voice of Victory, televangelist Kenneth Copeland told “historian” David Barton that Numbers 32 said that soldiers “shall return and be guiltless before the Lord” and that meant that they wouldn’t have PTSD.

“You don’t take drugs to get rid of it, it doesn’t take psychology; that promise right there will get rid of it,” he said, pointing at the Bible.

“What we’re talking about, getting rid of the PTSD, guys who have been through battle, they need to understand that soldier’s promise, you come back guiltless before God and the nation,” Barton agreed.

“You’re on an elevated platform up here, you’re a hero, you’re put in the faith hall of fame if you take this [Bible],” he added. “We used to in the pulpit understand the difference between a just war and an unjust war. And there’s a biblical difference, and when you do it God’s way, not only are you guiltless for having done that, you’re esteemed.”

Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission spokesperson Joe Carter told Religion News Service this week that Barton and Copeland had a track record of being “profoundly ignorant about theology and history.”

“But for them to denigrate the suffering of men and women traumatized by war — and to claim biblical support for their callow and doltish views — is both shocking and unconscionable,” Carter insisted. “Rather than downplaying the pain of PTSD, they should be asking God to heal our brothers and sisters.”

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