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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Jewish crafts sought after in Yemen

 Jewellery made by Jewish craftsmen from Yemen

This article admits that the departure of skilled Jewish craftsmen and silversmiths from Yemen was a grievous loss to the economy. Ironically enough, objects bearing the Star of David, a badge of quality, are highly sought after today, according to National Yemen:

For thousands of years, Jews in Yemen excelled in the manufacture of silver, old wooden windows, doors and boxes, as well as in carving the walls of houses, mosques, and schools, which are considered today relics and historical places.
Jews were keen to sculpt the Star of David, a Jewish symbol, in all their works. At the same time, people were also keen to buy things that had the Star of David because it indicated quality Jewish work.

However, because of spreading sectarianism, racism, and hatred between peoples, non-Jews in general avoid things with the Star of David because of its association with Israel.

Whether people today love the Star of David or not, it is sculpted in many old doors, walls, and jewelry in old Sana’a. Tourists and businessmen pay thousands of riyals to buy jewelry and other works by the Jews.

Ahmed, 47 and a craftsman in old Sana’a, said that anything in a Jewish craftsperson’s hand was transformed into a masterpiece, especially silver and gold pieces, textiles, and architecture.

“In addition, Jews were responsible and accurate in their time with customers. Despite people at time considering craftsmen from the lower class, many preferred Jewish works and praised their performances. They were called Industry Men in Yemen,” he added.

According to Ahmed, until recently when most Jews left Yemen, craftsmen were sculpting the Star of David or any symbols in order to convince people their work was Jewish.

He explained that the traditional industries of Yemen’s Jews developed with time and place where they inherited their jobs for each other and watched modern industries that were brought from abroad through Aden and the Turks.

“All this creativity and magnificent sense came from the Jews under difficult circumstances faced by Yemen economically, politically, and socially before the revolution,” said Ahmed.

According to old families in Sana’a, any village or neighborhood inhabited by Jews was turned into workshops for industries and crafts of all kinds.

The emigration of Jews from Yemen led to the deterioration of the Yemeni economy and the extinction of many crafts.

RIBA Council discards BDS

“RIBA Council has an important role to play in engaging with difficult and controversial issues. However it is a widely held view that the resolution passed in March concerning the Israeli Association of United Architects did not make a constructive contribution to the current situation. While there should be no doubt concerning the seriousness of the issues facing communities in Israel and the West Bank, the Task Group has established that the resolution was not in furtherance of the charitable objects of the RIBA and should not have been placed before Council. For the Institute to have engaged in this issue in a confrontational way - by seeking suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects from the UIA - was wrong. These recommendations supersede the previous Council resolution of 19 March 2014 and as a result that policy is now rescinded.

“We are strengthening  our governance procedures and will put in place measures to ensure that RIBA Council is able to have informed debates with due consideration of the issues involved and within the parameters of our Charter and Charity Commission guidance.

RIBA President Stephen Hodder.

Anti BDS Petition

Please sign this petition and forward this request to all your contacts. You might also like to invite them to join with Scottish Friends of Israel.
Stanley Grossman

Israel’s Arab parties form joint Knesset slate

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The Israeli Arab Knesset factions have formed a joint slate ahead of Israel’s March 17 elections.

The united list, formed Friday, includes representatives from the secular Balad and Ta’al parties, the Islamic Movement and the Arab-Jewish socialist Hadash party, according to Israeli reports. It will be led by Haifa attorney Ayman Odeh, a Hadash member who has never served in Knesset.

The parties joined together following the passage last year of an Israeli law that requires parties to gain 3.25 percent of the vote in order to enter Knesset, up from 2 percent. The parties feared that, running individually, they could all fall short of the raised threshold.

Hadash and Ra’am-Ta’al, a joint list, each currently hold four seats, and Balad holds three, for a total of 11 seats. Polls show the united slate gaining as many as 12 seats in the March election. Hadash lawmaker Dov Khenin, who will be in the list’s eighth spot, will likely be the only Jewish member of the slate to enter Knesset.


Caroline Glick as LIkud MK, Muzzled Window-Dressing‏

Batya Medad

Caroline Glick

As a long-time political observer and pundit based here in the Heartland of the Jewish Nation, there are a few unpleasant things I’ve learned about Israeli Government/politics:

  • Knesset Members have very little actual power.
  • Government Coalition members have even less power.
  • Coalition and Party Discipline can be very effective muzzles.
  • Actual Government policy is made by the Prime Minister and his/her “Kitchen Cabinet.”
  • The Israeli Supreme Court considers itself well above the Government and makes decisions that effectively cancel legal laws.
Caroline Glick is certainly one of the most brilliant and bold political pundits/journalists in Israel. It’s very rare that I have disagreed with her articles. If Caroline Glick was to be appointed to an actual policy making position in government, I’d be overjoyed, but that isn’t the story. It has been “leaked” by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s staff that he is seriously thinking of offering her one of his choice spots on the Likud list.
Many, many Israelis and pro-Israelis are overjoyed at the thought of Caroline Glick being in the Knesset. They envision her hard-hitting opinions being broadcast far and wide from the Knesset. They envision the initiator of Latma to be in a policy making position. They dream that Glick’s policies will be the Israeli ones, rather than the weak Centrist-Left that have been endangering us.

But that’s not how it works.

Israelis will vote for Caroline Glick, but we’ll still get the same Center-Left Bibi we’ve had now for years. Bibi runs a tight ship. He’s not going to give her any freedom of expression. Caroline Glick won’t be in a policy-making position. She’ll just be Right window dressing.

It’s because I agree with and respect Caroline Glick that I want her to stay on the outside where she won’t be muzzled and disciplined. We need an “untied” Caroline Glick!!

Scottish Parliament motions Anti-Semitism Motion

S4M-12100 John Mason: Anti-Semitism—That the Parliament expresses its concern regarding the recent rise in anti-Semitism across Europe and considers that this antipathy toward Europe’s Jewish community has sadly been a recurrent theme for hundreds of years; notes Scotland’s traditionally positive relationship with its Jewish population; strongly asserts Scotland’s warm desire that Jewish people living in Scotland should feel safe, completely at home and a key part of the multicultural Scottish community, and believes that Jews, Muslims, Christians, people of other religions and people of no religion should all be treated equally and should all be able to live here free from the threat of violence or other discrimination.

Supported by: Kenneth Gibson, Malcolm Chisholm, Patricia Ferguson, Joan McAlpine, Bill Kidd, Anne McTaggart, Kenny MacAskill, Ken Macintosh, Murdo Fraser, Mike MacKenzie, Richard Lyle, Rob Gibson, Neil Findlay, Alison McInnes, Hugh Henry, Stewart Maxwell, Adam Ingram, Elaine Smith, Drew Smith, Jim Hume, Jackie Baillie, John Wilson, Roderick Campbell, Jean Urquhart, Angus MacDonald, Gil Paterson, John Finnie, David Torrance, Clare Adamson, Alex Fergusson, Dave Thompson*, James Dornan*

S4M-11995# Stewart Maxwell: Holocaust Memorial Day 2015(lodged on 07 January 2015)That the Parliament notes that 27 January 2015 marks Holocaust Memorial Day, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and an opportunity for schools, colleges, faith groups and communities across Scotland to remember the six million men, women and children murdered by the Nazi regime in occupied Europe; acknowledges that this year marks perhaps the last significant anniversary that will be marked with the Holocaust in living memory; further notes that the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 is Keep the Memory Alive; values the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project, which gives two post-16 students from every school and college in Scotland the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; applauds Lucy Paterson and Kieran Smyth, two students from St Andrew’s RC Secondary in Glasgow, who took part in the project and will deliver the Parliament’s Time for Reflection message on 27 January; celebrates the Holocaust survivors who have enriched Scotland as a nation, and recommits to ensuring that racism, sectarianism and bigotry are never allowed to go unchallenged in Scotland.

Supported by: Gordon MacDonald, Roderick Campbell, Kenny MacAskill, Alex Fergusson, Michael McMahon, John Lamont, Neil Findlay, Murdo Fraser, Jackie Baillie, Elaine Murray, Cameron Buchanan, Clare Adamson, Michael Russell*, Richard Simpson*

Is Iran Behind the Murder of Alberto Nisman?

Argentine prosecutor’s findings implicated Tehran in 1994 JCC bombing
A man adds a sign that reads 'Nisman' to a list of victims of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. (ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images)

After publicly speculating about what drives a man to kill himself, Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner now says that Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor into the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds, didn’t commit suicide after all.

“In Argentina, as in all places, not everything is what it appears to be, and vice versa,”. Kirchner said in a statement posted on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. According to Kirchner, the 51-year-old Nisman, who was found Sunday evening in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, was killed to make her look bad. The way she sees it, his investigation into the AMIA case wrongly implicated her in a cover-up to protect the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his murder just as wrongly implicates her as part of a larger conspiracy to silence him. 

Maybe Kirchner did have something to do with Nisman’s murder, maybe it was a faction in the Argentine intelligence community that his investigation also pointed at. But there’s another player here that shouldn’t be overlooked—Iran.

Nisman’s investigation concluded that Tehran was responsible for both the 1994 bombing and the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people and wounded 242. Analysts, journalists, and Western intelligence services have long believed that Iran was behind the two bombings. However, what distinguished Nisman’s investigation was the motive he attributed to the Iranians—to punish Buenos Aires for first stalling and then canceling bilateral agreements on nuclear technology.

Nisman’s interpretation went against the standard understanding of the two attacks. Most observers argued that the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy came in retaliation for Israel’s assassination of Hezbollah’s then-General Secretary Abbas Mussawi; the 1994 AMIA bombing was simply a follow-on of the 1992 attack.

However, as Nisman explained to me several years ago in Washington, D.C., the Iranian networks were not set up for rapid response. According to Nisman, the March 17 attack on the embassy had been planned well before the February 16 assassination of Mussawi—even the car used in the bombing had been prepared earlier in the winter.

Further, it’s worth remembering that the Iranians are not in the habit of using their painstakingly established networks to retaliate when their Arab assets, like Hezbollah, are exterminated. If the Arabs want to take revenge themselves, to get Israel back, for instance, for killing Imad Mughniyeh, mastermind of the Argentinian operations, in Damascus 2007, that’s fine, so long as they do it on their own time. Iranian terrorist operations are waged only for the purpose of advancing Tehran’s strategic interests.

Argentina’s then-President Carlos Menem wanted better relations with the West, particularly his large neighbor to the north. According to Nisman, it’s when Menem succumbed to the Clinton White House’s pressure that Tehran opted to pressure Buenos Aires in its own fashion—with spectacular acts of terror.

Why, I asked Nisman, did the Iranians target Jews, first the Israeli embassy and then AMIA, when they were sending a message to the Argentine government? Nisman, a non-observant Jew, said the Jews were a convenient target. Why not attack a successful small community and send the warning that next time it might be a community Argentines really care about?

When the Kirchner government announced two years ago that it was establishing an independent “truth commission” to investigate the attacks with the prime suspect—Iran—the country’s Jewish community was up in arms, as was Israel. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon likened it to “inviting the murderer to participate in the murder investigation.”

It seems that the point of the truth commission was to further muddy the waters, and eventually help clear Iran of any responsibility for the attacks. Nisman found evidence that high-level Argentine officials, including Kirchner, participated in the whitewash. In return for exculpating Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, and others, including “cultural” attache Mohsen Rabbani, believed to be responsible for planning the worst terrorist attacks in Argentina’s history, Argentine agricultural products would have access to Iranian markets, and Tehran would send cheap oil to Argentina.

Cristina Kirchner and many officials in her government clearly had an interest in silencing Nisman. But there are others who have a very powerful motive. If, in Nisman’s understanding, the purpose of the 1992 and 1994 attacks was to punish Argentina for reconsidering its bilateral relationship with Iran on its nuclear file, then killing the special prosecutor into the two bombings simply underscores that Tehran considers its nuclear program as a vital interest.

With the world’s attention turned to Geneva, where Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif are negotiating a permanent agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran shifted the focus to a bathroom in an apartment in Buenos Aires, where a man of courage and integrity was murdered earlier this week. Whether or not it was Iran that killed Alberto Nisman Monday, his life work was to prove that it pulled the trigger in 1992 and 1994. His assassination reminds us of what the Iranians are capable of doing.

Previous: Prosecutor Who Accused Argentina of Covering Up Jewish Center Bombing Found Dead
Related: Something Is Rotten in Argentina
Iran to Investigate JCC Bombing