The argument against Scarlett Johansson doing Super Bowl ads for SodaStream [pdf] This report provides an extensive analysis of SodaStream (Soda Club), a manufacturer of home carbonating devices whose main factory is in the industrial park of Mishor Edomim in the West Bank, territory occupied by Israel. Using SodaStream as a case study for corporate activity in the illegal settlements, the report explores the concept of industrial production in settlements....Examining the performance of this company is important in order to understand how its success is based, at least in part, on the structural advantages that production in Israeli settlements enjoys. Settlement production benefits from low rent, special tax incentives, lax enforcement of environmental and labor protection laws, as well as additional governmental support. Summary
: Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl Ad Becomes An International Controversy. More
, from Baltimore Jewish Life: SodaStream Boss Admits West Bank Plant Is 'a Pain.' [more inside]
Beautiful early Zionist propaganda posters
, courtesy of the Swann Galleries. The first 73 items in this large batch
of vintage posters
up for auction are related to Israel
. [via Paperholic]
Challenging Christian Zionism
"We are a group of evangelical pastors, academics and mission executives who have been disturbed by the growing influence of Christian Zionism on the political scene in America..." Detailed critique of the Christian Zionist movement
includes a look at Hal Lindsey
, "the Father of Apocalyptic Christian Zionism
Pariah dogs of the Middle East
No, not these two
jokers, but the real thing
: Canaan dogs
. Like the more refined Saluki
, Afghan Hound
and "barkless" Basenji
(among many others
), Canaan dogs have been known for thousands of years. They guard herds for modern Bedouins
like they did for ancient Israelites. During the 1930s, when traditional "war dogs" were having trouble adapting to Palestine, Zionists carefully redomesticated
the semi-wild animals, turning them into seeing eye dogs
and guards for isolated settlements
. Canaan dogs became one of the first breeds trained to detect mines effectively, although their use for bomb-sniffing remains a touchy subject
[LAT, reg'n]. You also might enjoy pondering the provocative question raised by this detailed essay: Why have all three major monotheistic religions considered dogs "a threat to the authority of the clergy"
The Best Investigative Reporter You've Never Heard Of
died Wednesday from a rare blood disease
he picked up reporting in the slums of Bombay. Robert Friedman was beaten by religious zealots after writing about Rabbi Meir Kahane, had a contract taken out on his life after writing about "The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World"
and got a Valentine's card threatening rape and murder
after writing about Russian organized crime links to the NHL. This December article about the Israel/Palestine situation
, which may be the last piece he wrote, is detailed, balanced and yet pulls no punches -- a good example of his hard-hitting style. His death leaves a gaping hole in journalism.
Non-religious Israeli settlers are financially trapped,
argues a sympathetic Tel Aviv University professor. He slams Ha'aretz Daily
for constantly urging Jewish settlers to just move out
, "as if people who somehow managed to buy a cheap housing unit in a settlement could simply leave it behind and buy another house somewhere else." Seems that for a lot of settlers, financial benefits
like reduced income taxes and generous loans are more important enticements than appeals
to biblical righteousness
. Too bad the "doubly cheated" and heavily villified settlers can't get any financial help
when they decide to move back. The solution? "Jews in America and world-wide should therefore use their money to support settlers who wish to leave the occupied territories and return to Israel."
Can gay sex succeed where Colin Powell failed?
Great story about Jerusalem's first gay pride parade, planned for June 7. Orthodox deputy mayor Shmuel Shkedi is incensed: "The very existence of these people is a provocation, their existence is uncivilized...This thing must be condemned." Meanwhile, the organization behind the march, Jerusalem Open House
, continues to host meetings of Israeli and Palestinian gays and lesbians on the same street where suicide bombers killed 11 and injured 188 last Dec. And here's a report of Arik Sharon telling g/l leaders, "I think everybody should live their lives as they choose to"
at a Feb. 26 meeting -- the first-ever between an Israeli Prime Minister and representatives of the lesbian/gay/bi/transgender community. Commence group hugging now. (more links inside)
Did Arafat actually finance suicide bombers?
Media gadfly Ali Abunimah has posted a dissection of the document produced by Sharon: "On initial inspection, at least five of the names...were not suicide bombers, but rather people assassinated by Israeli death squads."
The alleged smoking gun hasn't been independently corroborated, but commentators like Chris Matthews uncritically accept its validity and state the connection as fact
: "[Arafat] pays for the dynamite and the bullets and relief benefits for their families."
Does the mainstream media check its skepticism at the door when it comes to statements by Israeli government officials or what?