Former U.S. Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton delivered remarks at AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference on Monday, asserting that the U.S. and Israel “must be closer than ever, stronger than ever and more determined than ever to prevail against our common adversaries and to advance our shared values.” On the current wave of stabbings in Israel, Clinton pronounced, “These attacks must end immediately. And Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence, stop celebrating terrorists as martyrs and stop paying rewards to their families.” She praised the U.S.-Israel joint anti-missile system, the Iron Dome, and said the U.S. should provide Israel “with the most sophisticated defense technology so it can deter and stop any threats.” She went on to say that, if she were president, she would “make a firm commitment to ensure Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.” Clinton also advocated for expanding cooperation beyond security to areas such as high-tech. On Iran, Clinton said that the nuclear deal must come with “a broader strategy to confront Iran's aggression across the region.” She condemned Iran’s recent ballistic missiles launches and said more sanctions should be imposed. She made the case for enforcing existing sanctions but also for imposing “additional sanctions as needed on Iran and the Revolutionary Guard for their sponsorship of terrorism, illegal arms transfers, human rights violations and other illicit behaviors like cyber attacks.” On peace between Israel and the Palestinians, she said that as president, “I would continue the pursuit of direct negotiations. And let me be clear, I would vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council.” She closed by heralding the shared democratic values of equality, tolerance, and pluralism, remarking, “At our best, both Israel and America are seen as a light unto the nations because of those values.”
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also appeared together at the conference for a segment highlighting the bipartisan nature of U.S. support for Israel. Rep. Hoyer stated, “Israel is unique, and the commitment to Israel I think is unique, and it bonds both Republicans and Democrats in common cause. And I think that that was true yesterday. It's true today and will be true tomorrow.”
On Monday evening, all three remaining Republican presidential contenders, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio), and Donald Trump, are scheduled to address the conference.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is planning to build a statue commemorating its January capture of ten American sailors, Stars and Stripes reported on Monday. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called the U.S. service members’ detainment and treatment by Iran “outrageous” and “inconsistent with international law” last week.
“There are very many photographs of the major incident of arresting U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf in the media, and we intend to build a symbol out of them inside one of our naval monuments,” said Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the IRGC navy, according to Iranian media.
The American sailors were aboard two riverine patrol boats that reportedly experienced mechanical failure when they strayed into Iranian waters on January 12. IRGC naval forces boarded the vessels, captured the sailors, took them to a port facility at gunpoint, and then broadcast their images on state television. The Americans were released after being held overnight.
At the time, Lee Smith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, described the sailors’ detention as the most recent “hostile act” against the U.S. by Iran. Smith also pointed out that broadcasting images of captured military personnel likely violated the Geneva Conventions, which require that “prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”
Immediately after the seizure, Sen. John McCain (R – Ariz.) released a statement calling it a breach of naval and legal norms.
Currently the world’s sixth largest flavors and fine ingredients house, Frutarom averaged one acquisition per month in 2015 and is keeping up that pace in 2016 as it announced its biggest deal yet: the $130 million purchase of Wiberg of Austria, a major provider of savory flavor solutions. Frutarom Group President and CEO Ori Yehudai tells ISRAEL21c that the rapid growth — 52 acquisitions over the last 20 years, 29 of them over the last five years — is not about putting Frutarom in the No. 1 global slot but “to differentiate us from competitors and bring value to our customers, shareholders and employees.” The company went public in 1996, but if it were private, one could call it a “unicorn” (valued at $1 billion or more) as its current valuation is about $2.9 billion. The company’s sales rose 6.5 percent in 2015 to a record $873 million. Yehudai, sometimes dubbed “the Warren Buffett of flavors” for his extraordinary management success, came to Frutarom 30 years ago when sales were a modest $3.5 million. This year, sales are expected to reach $1 billion. Profits, rather than investments, fuel its acquisitions. “It has been much easier for us to grow from $150 million to $1 billion than our earlier growth from $10 million to $100 million, and it will be even easier to grow from $1 billion to $2 billion by 2020,” notes Yehudai, who calls himself an “industrial Zionist.” About 70% of Frutarom’s business is sweet and savory flavor solutions for beverages, dairy, meat, bakery and other processed foods. The rest consists of “fine ingredients” such as natural flavor extracts, functional food ingredients, natural pharmaceutical/nutraceutical extracts, specialty essential oils, citrus products, aromas and natural food protection and preservation. “We identified the trend of consumers preferring natural ingredients before most of our competitors did,” Yehudai says. “We decided to focus on more natural products that would be tastier and healthier, knowing that if we could generate those ingredients in an affordable way it would be very interesting for consumers.” (via Israel21c)
How does a person decide to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel? As someone who understands the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, supporting Israel seems to be the natural position to take. Shared values of democracy, freedom, and tolerance make backing Israel an easy decision. And yet, we now see ostensibly freedom-loving movements throughout the West turn their backs on the only state in the Middle East where the existence of these very movements is tolerated.
It is true that there are issues of democracy and freedom between Israel and the Arabs. It is possible to argue that refugees exist in squalor, that Palestinian children have died, that the conflict seems endless, and that Israel is the stronger party. But none of these suggest that Israel is the causeof the conflict, nor that it is in Israel’s hands to provide a solution. In fact, as a democratic state with a market economy that seeks foreign investment, Israel has strong motivation to avoid conflict and war. History has taught us that such nations tend to seek peace at almost any cost.
But this means nothing to supporters of BDS, because the movement is entirely based on the manipulation and distortion of the truth. If you engage with BDS supporters and directly challenge them, their response is usually little more than an illogical pack of lies. If someone you know is thinking about supporting BDS, why is it so hard to “show them the truth”?
The simple answer is that BDS is a movement that has reached its verdict beforehand. It does not ask if Israel is guilty. Instead, it seeks to determine the correct punishment for a “criminal” that is already condemned. So when you respond to a potential BDS supporter with facts, you are simply irrelevant to them. It is like bringing evidence to a sentencing hearing that should have been presented during the trial itself. You are simply too late.
Recently, I have heard more than my fair share of lies about Jews and lies about Israel. However, what is different about the recent events I have witnessed is that I have seen how these lies are created.
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