Saturday, March 24, 2012

Top 5 reasons segregation in Jerusalem is not like the Old South

By Sharon Altshul of the Real Jerusalem Streets

The first month of Israel Apartheid Week has ended (that is not a typo) and a new threat of the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) is looming. The comparison of the Arab situation in Jerusalem to that of the blacks in the southern United States is now becoming the most dangerous Israel de-legitimization technique. It is a slur much more subtle than apartheid and BDS, so easier to promote. It firmly sets the Israelis as “white, colonial occupiers” over the “oppressed, black underclass” in the minds of the masses.

Black slavery in the United States ended in 1865 after the Civil War; however, the Civil Rights Act, which guaranteed equal rights, was only passed into law in 1964, almost 100 years later. The real Freedom Riders, civil rights activists (including blacks and Jews), rode the interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961. Martin Luther King Jr. led his famous March on Washington in 1963. I do not vividly recall those events, but I grew up in the South as segregation was ending and I want to share with y’all five reasons why segregation in Jerusalem is not the same. Please see for yourself.

True story: In the 1950s a New York man traveling with his business group checked into a motel for the night in a small Alabama town. In the middle of the night someone began pounding on the door. It was the proprietor of the establishment who called out a very Jewish- sounding name. “Yes, that is me”, the surprised man answered. “Well,” said the owner, “didn’t you see the sign, ‘No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs?’ Get your things and get out!” The man’s widow does not know if he got his money back, but he did change his name to a less Jewish-sounding one before his next trip south.

In Jerusalem there are signs on some stores that say “MEN” and some store signs say “WOMEN.”

However, the sign at the entrance of the old Hadassah Hospital is written in stone:

In English, Hebrew and Arabic, “FOR ALL RACES AND CREEDS.”

Today there is no sign needed at Shaare Zedek Hospital or any other
Israeli hospital. There is no sign of segregation in staff or with patients.

In the Old South, blacks had to sit in the back of the bus by law.

Arab women in Jerusalem today seem to prefer to sit in the front of bus, and they do so on a regular basis, for there are no “white-only” buses.

There may be plenty of problems with the new Jerusalem light rail trains and system, but they are certainly not segregated.

Public places and parks are not segregated like in the Old South.

The public toilets in the parks are not segregated either, but they are difficult for the disabled to use and definitely could use improvement.

In the Old South, blacks were not allowed to eat in a white eating establishment. You could never expect to see a black person sitting at a street cafe, girls at lunch a table in a large public place.

We may not live in the Utopian world the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development strives to promote. But to compare Israel to the Old South is a dangerous distortion that must be strongly refuted and now.

Original Article can be found here.
To visit the Real Jerusalem Streets please visit here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Arab media conflicted over Toulouse attack

Mohammed Merah's murderous shooting on Ozar Hatorah Jewish School in France on Monday has sparked controversy on the Arab media. Many reporters and bloggers have voiced their opinion about the deadly attack, and while some strongly condemn it, others draw comparisons between Toulouse and Gaza.

In the article, he wondered why the world was enraged by the murder of the four Israelis is Toulouse, while the incident in which three French soldiers were killed in southern France was put on the backburner. He claimed that it was because two of the soldiers were Muslim of Moroccan decent and the third from Antilles.

One Algerian journalists, known for his anti-Israel rhetoric, wrote an article titled: "Israeli blood is always worth more."

He went on to criticize the global attitude towards Israeli Air Force strikes on Gaza Strip compared with the shooting in Toulouse, slamming global media for neglecting to cover the "barbaric" death of dozens of Palestinian victims in Gaza, including children.

The writer mentioned the American soldier who shot and killed 16 Afghan citizens last week, saying that Washington made do with a laconic message calling the incident "unfortunate."

According to the Algerian reporter, "The Zionist lobby's influence managed to buy the protection of senior politicians and media figures across the world. They began to see things only from the point of view of Tel Aviv and its ally Washington, in accordance to the logic of 'Israel's security,' 'anti-Semitism' and 'Islamic terrorism.'"

However the journalist did admit that the Arabs are somewhat to blame for their situation: "The last comment, sadly, is the disintegration of the spiritual unity of the Arabs and Muslims after their interests started to collide, and their patrons continue to grow in numbers. Eventually, we'll see that we are the reason for the cheapening of the Arab and Muslim blood," he wrote

There were, however, others who offered their condolences for the terrible events in France. One Algerian blogger published a picture of the Jewish victims and wrote: "The young rabbi was murdered with his two small children and another girl, in a crime that has all the elements of hate and anti-Semitism. God bless their souls."

the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, published an article called "The massacre in Toulouse," clearly stating that "if this is the action of a right-wing man with a Nazi orientation, then it’s a crazy act that shouldn't be called 'an anti-Semitic act' but 'an act against humanity.'

"If the killer is a violent Muslim extremist, then it's a crime against humanity and not just against the Jews, but also against Islam and Christians and against all the religions in the world," the piece noted.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Post Photos wearing our Israel Military Gear!

Do you want to show off your new t-shirt, cap, hooded sweatshirt, boots or any other IMP gear?

Starting now until April 30th we are asking you to post any photos of you wearing Israel Military Products Gear. The photos can be old or recent. All entries, pending our approval, will be posted on this very blog where hundreds of daily visitors will see them. Photos may also be posted on other social media platforms.

Enjoying your new shirt? Send us a photo. Love your new boots? Send us a photo.

At Israel Military Products we take pride in all our products.

Any questions please contact us on our Facebook page.

Wear Israel. Wear It Proud.

Israel Military Products

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Israelis, Iranians Agree Via Facebook: 'We Don't Want War'

By Golnaz Esfandiari
Amid the drumbeat of war between Iran and Israel, an Israeli couple has launched an online peace campaign in an effort to reach out to Iranians and say no to a military conflict.

Forty-one-year-old graphic designer Ronny Edry and his partner, 36-year-old Michal Tamir, launched the initiative last week by posting pictures of themselves with their children on a Facebook page with a simple message: "Iranians, we love you. We don't want to bomb your country."

Edry wrote, "To the Iranian people, to all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers, and sisters. For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other. We must hate. I'm not afraid of you. I don't hate you. I don't even know you. No Iranian ever did me harm."

When he sometimes sees "an Iranian" on television talking about war, he wrote, "I'm sure he does not represent all the people of Iran… If you see someone on your TV talking about bombing you… be sure he does not represent all of us. To all those who feel the same, share this message and help it reach the Iranian people."

Virtual 'Boxing Ring'

In an interview with RFE/RL, the couple said their idea was to create a virtual "boxing ring" where, instead of fighting, one opponent would reach out with both hands to "the other side."

Tamir said it didn't take long for the other side to respond with "moving" messages that made her cry.

"In the last 24 hours, Iranians from inside Iran have been posting on the [Facebook page] pictures of their faces, sometimes half a face and sometimes their reflection through mirrors," Tamir says. "They don't want to be exposed. They...upload in the same format, which is: 'Israelis, we will never bomb your country. We love you.' "

​​Facebook users inside Iran are afraid that any open contact with the Jewish state could result in spying charges against them. Iran does not recognize Israel and Iranian citizens are banned from traveling to Israel.

Some of the pictures posted by Iranians appear to be from those living outside the country who are not afraid of reprisal.

The couple, who have since begun a new Facebook page called "Israel Loves Iran," have also launched a blog and say they have received many private messages from Iranians who have asked them not to make their names or profiles public.

'Reunion Of Brothers And Sisters'

One message from a person in Tehran that the couple posted anonymously reads, "Some people said this is start of a friendship between two countries but I say (based on the two countries' history) this is reunion of brothers and sisters who lost each other over time and finally find each other."

Another Iranian woman wrote that she wanted to ensure Israelis that Iranians just want "peace and beauty on the Earth."

"We hate war and slaughter. We all are the parts of one body and it hurts when you see a human suffering, since she or he is a part of your soul," she wrote.

'Say It Out Loud'

Tamil says the page has brought down "a wall" and now people from both sides can communicate directly and bypass politicians.

​​She says social media has empowered people like her and allowed her to raise her voice against "a war no one wants."

The couple plans to try and raise money to take the campaign beyond Facebook, possibly onto billboards so it can reach a wider audience.

Edry says he hopes it will eventually impact decisionmakers.

"It's our duty as the people to change the minds, to say out loud that we don't want it," Edry says. "For so many years, we are so afraid of just talking and they are saying the war is coming and the Iranians are going to bomb us and the Israelis are going to bomb back and everybody is afraid and waiting and no one says [anything].

"We just have to say it out loud: We don't want this war. Israelis and Iranians we have no beef one with each other."

What do you think of this initiative? Post your comments below.

Original Source:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tsunami survivors learn to cope with tragedy through help of IsraAID

Tears run down the face of Kohata Yuriko as she recalls the events of March 11 last year, when a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Japan in the early afternoon.

Shopping for groceries in the small fishing town of Iwanuma, she heard the tsunami sirens.

Realizing she had little time, Yuriko collected her son and 93-year-old father and fled. As her foot hit the gas pedal, she could hear the horrible noise of the wave as it came crashing through the neighborhood.

Later that day, Yuriko learned that a grandmother and her grandson, a good friend of her son’s, perished in the neighboring house as the tsunami smashed into it. Upon hearing the news, her son started to cry.

“Thank you mom,” he said again and again. “Thank you for coming back for me.”

Through an interpreter, Yuriko says she still cries all the time when she’s alone.

“I’m so stressed and nervous that I can hardly breathe,” she says.

But with the assistance of volunteers and post-trauma experts from the Israeli nongovernmental organization IsraAID, she is beginning to learn to cope with the tragedy.

Yuriko is sitting on the floor of a caravan converted into a community center in one of the temporary housing sites built to accommodate the tens of thousands of tsunami survivors who lost their homes to the wave. Helped by the aid workers she dances, bangs on drums, laughs and smiles — and then, asked to choose from a pile of special cards used as psychotherapeutic tools, she begins to cry.

It is the first time since the disaster that she has cried in front of someone, and Yuriko is apologetic. She has been unemployed for nearly a year, shares a cramped temporary housing unit with her father, husband and son, and constantly feels like she is about to faint from anxiety.

“It’s OK to cry,” says Judy Spanglet, an Orthodox Israeli social worker and family therapist who has worked with trauma victims all over the world. “It’s perfectly normal. Let it out. You have been so busy worrying for and taking care of other people that you have forgotten to think of yourself.”

Yuriko lets out a big smile; suddenly she seems relieved.

“Thank you for listening,” she says, sighing. “Until now I didn’t really have anyone I could speak to.”

The Japanese government has worked to clean up the material damage from the tsunami and find housing for those it left homeless. The government has been less determined in providing survivors with needed psychological support. A number of volunteer groups, most of them Japanese, have worked to fill that hole, running community-based support programs focused mainly on fun activities for children and the elderly. A few, however, have dug in deeper.

IsraAID, a humanitarian organization funded by a number of North American Jewish federations, is one of them. Arriving in Japan shortly after the disaster, IsraAID’s small team of volunteers has supplied medical relief items, provided training to handle post-traumatic stress disorder and organized art, music, movement and drama therapy sessions for residents of the many small towns devastated by the tsunami.

‘The main idea behind our activities is to supply the Japanese with the therapeutic tools and the know-how to help them deal with the trauma themselves’

The sessions, which utilize a mostly nonverbal approach to help people express their feelings, have been so successful that IsraAID is now planning to operate a training center for at least another year and a half. The NGO was honored for its work recently by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in New York. - Headlines