UK sides with Arab boycotters

Dismay at Globe invitation to Israeli theatre

The guardian, Thursday 29 March 2012

Open Letter by Members of the U.K.’s Theater and Film Industries: "We notice with dismay and regret that Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London has invited Israel’s National Theatre, Habima, to perform The Merchant of Venice in its Globe to Globe festival this coming May. The general manager of Habima has declared the invitation "an honourable accomplishment for the State of Israel." But Habima has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory."

To the Members of the U.K.’s Theater and Film Industries

Eli E. Hertz | April 2, 2012

Writing this letter is a good way for me to discuss your denial of facts and the disrespect that you bestow on your British people’s history.

Did you know that your government was the leading force among the fifty-one member countries – the entire League of Nations – that unanimously declared on July 24, 1922:

"Recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish People with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstructing their National Home in that country."

Did you know that Britain as Mandatory became the official administrator and mentor over Jewish Palestine, the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, where the "Mandate for Palestine" clearly stated as follow:

Article 5: "The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign power." The territory of Palestine was exclusively assigned for the Jewish National Home.

Article 6: "The administration of Palestine … shall encourageclose settlement by Jews on the land, including State land and waste land not required for public purpose."

Jewish settlements are legal, and there are no "Occupied Palestinian Territories."

Did you know that your country’s hero Sir Winston Churchill had that to say about Jewish "Occupation" of Palestine:

"When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride."

My friend, the British world of culture: It is not "The settlements" nor is it the "Occupation" that Arabs reject. They reject the internationally recognized lawful right of Israel to exist as a legitimate, secured, Jewish political entity – But you choose to collaborate with Arabs that deliberately and systematically call for the destruction of Israel.

Palestinian Arabs have underscored their rejectionism to peace with wave after wave of terrorism at every juncture – that is, before the 1967 Six-Day War and even prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and this too is being ignored by you.

If we talk culture, you would be most interested to know how the [British] Palestine Royal Commission described Jewish culture’s achievement after their visit to Jewish Palestine in 1937:

"With every year that passes, the contrast between this intensely democratic and highly organized modern [Jewish] community and the old-fashioned Arab world around it grows sharper, and in nothing, perhaps, more markedly than on its cultural side. The literary output of the [Jewish] National Home is out of all proportion to its size. … But perhaps the most striking aspect of the culture of the [Jewish] National Home is its love of music.

"All in all, the cultural achievement of this little [Jewish] community of 400,000 people is one of the most remarkable features of the [Jewish] National Home."

In fact, the term "Palestine" applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before the state’s independence. Take for example today’s Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1936 by Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, was originally called the "Palestine Symphony Orchestra composed of some 70 Palestinian Jews."

My British friends, if you are indeed aware that the path you have embarked on leads to hate and destruction, and if you have freely chosen to walk in that direction, please think it over.

Eli E. Hertz, New York.

Israel’s Golden Age

By David Siegel | Thursday, 29 March 2012

Photo Credit: Michael Kovac

The fact that "Footnote," the remarkable film by Israeli director Joseph Cedar, spectacularly brought to life by Israeli actors and crew, did not win this year’s Oscar for best foreign language film, is almost beside the point. Israel, which has earned four Academy Award nominations in the last five years, has already won. Tiny Israel of 7.5 million people, comparable to the size of Rhode Island, is breaking ground in so many areas these days, and the world is finally starting to take notice.

Whether it’s Israel’s 10th Nobel Prize; Israeli wines winning global awards; Apple opening its first-ever R&D center outside California; 162 other U.S. high-tech R&D centers in Israel; or the Technion together with Cornell winning an international bid to build a super science center in New York — this is the Israel that people may not know, but will, very soon.
This is the message that I so strongly believe in sharing as Israel’s consul general to the Southwestern United States.
Every community I meet — whether Jewish, Latino or African-American; business, academic or political — is eager to learn about this side of Israel, which many have not yet encountered due to the crush of hyped headlines aimed at selling conflict and conflict alone. With Iran dominating the headlines, let’s face it, good news doesn’t sell. Or does it?
"Start-Up Nation," the global best seller about Israel’s high-tech miracle, has been translated into 16 languages, and tops business lists around the world, most intriguingly, in Asia. The world is addicted to innovation, and everyone is trying to emulate the Israeli model.
Consider this: Israel is one of the only knowledge-based economies in the world, measured by the high percentage of high-tech exports — similar, in fact, to California. Experts on international economic affairs say Israel is actually forging a unique path, distinct from other highly developed countries, due to its extraordinary ability to innovate across so many fields.
Parallel to its high-tech endeavors, Israel is becoming a force in the creative industry as well. Have you enjoyed watching "Homeland" or "In Treatment"? Both are Israeli shows, imported and adapted to the United States. At least 11 Israeli formats have been sold to Hollywood thus far, with several more likely coming to your TV screen soon.
Israel’s creativity is matched by its environmental innovations. Israeli water companies are exporting their technologies around the world. Southern California may well be facing severe water challenges in the years ahead, and water recycling is one solution that Israel can share with California, since Israel recycles far more water (over 80 percent) than any other nation in the world.
It’s all connected. This trend is taking place because there is so much creativity and innovation in Israel today; it is literally spilling over and being embraced around the world. As Israel’s leading author Amos Oz recently noted, this is the Golden Age of Israeli and Jewish creativity.
Another reality of Israel that is largely unknown is Israeli community and social activism as well as tikkun olam (building a better world). While the world watches the horrors unfolding in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, Israelis are busy saving lives.
Recall the images of Israeli volunteers landing first in Haiti, literally on the other side of the world. Quietly, long after the cameras left, Israelis are still there in Haiti, post-tsunami Japan and Turkey, where our volunteers just dedicated a post-earthquake housing project.
This is the Israel I am so proud to represent and am committed to sharing with the communities I serve during my tenure as consul.
In February, the consulate played an instrumental role in the visit of a high-profile delegation from the University of Southern California (USC) to Israel. Led by USC’s President C. L. Max Nikias, the high-level group met with their counterparts at various Israeli institutions and forged plans for future cooperation. Other universities will soon follow suit. We are also working to reinstate study-abroad programs in Israel at California universities.
In April, the consulate will highlight the work of an incredible Israeli NGO, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), which has performed thousands of free, life-saving open heart surgeries on children from 42 countries, mainly from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. SACH’s surgeons and representatives will join us during the week of Israel’s Independence Day celebrations to share with Los Angeles the important lifesaving work the organization does around the world.
At the same time, the consulate will feature Idan Raichel, one of Israel’s leading musicians, who has perfected the fusion of Israeli and African musical traditions, and who promotes multiculturalism and tolerance. He has done tremendous work with the Ethiopian community in Israel and frequently partners with SACH.
We are excited to share some of these experiences during Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations, including the Celebrate Israel festival at Rancho Park on April 29.
While my family misses Israel in our hearts, we have been so warmly welcomed by the community here in Los Angeles and across the Southwest. The community doesn’t fail to surprise us. I have never seen such activism and commitment, including in Hollywood, where some of our new friends give tirelessly of their time and passion for Israel.
In six short months, I’ve learned so much and have been inspired by so many aspects of the community here. I hope to return the favor by educating and inspiring about the real Israel.

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