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House moves to block Boeing sale of planes to Iran Air

Posted by Albert Gersh - July 08, 2016

 

The House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday evening that would block Boeing's planned sale of aircraft to Iran Air -- a transaction that has drawn sharp criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), joined by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), pushed for two amendments to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, one to block the Boeing sale and the other to prevent any American bank from financing it. Both amendments passed by voice vote, which, according to Roskam’s office, indicates “overwhelming, bipartisan support.”

Democratic lawmakers have become increasingly critical of the sale. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said, “I do have concerns about facilitation of commerce with Iran as they are still violating ballistic missiles and doing other things…It’s a private decision made by a U.S. company, and they have the right to do it, but it does give me some concern.” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) stated, “I’m sure that Boeing is happy to sell airplanes to anybody…I’m concerned about [the] support that Iran has for anybody that wants to do harm to America, or Israel, or any of us.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) also added his concerns, pointing out that “[y]ou can’t assure that [the planes] won’t be used for terrorism. There would be consequences if there were. Selling anything to Iran, I think, raises questions and challenges.” Coons did add, however, that he expected Boeing to conduct proper research on Iran Air. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Rep. Sherman wrote, “Iran Air’s aircraft will undoubtedly be used in the future to continue to funnel lethal assistance to Assad, to Hezbollah, and to other terrorist entities.” Speaking at a hearing at the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday, Sherman added, “We’re being asked to transfer planes to a company, Iran Air that has served as an air force for terrorism.”

Iran Air was designated by the U.S. Treasury in 2011 for terrorism-related purposes. Just last month, the airline flew resupply routes to Syria three times, and continues to shuttle weapons, supplies, and personnel to the Assad regime. Since 2011, Iran has used civilian airlines in this manner to reinforce the Syrian army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah.

 

Famed American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino received an honor for his contribution to cinema at the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival on Thursday.

“Wow, sababa,” Tarantino said, offering some Hebrew slang (meaning “cool”) to the audience upon accepting the lifetime achievement award, the Times of Israel reported. “There is something special about receiving this prize here in Jerusalem, at the foot of the Old City, in the open air. God bless you all.”

“Thank you very, very much for making me feel so well at home, and I am having a fantastic time, may God bless you all,” he added toward the end of his speech.

While this was Tarantino’s first visit to the festival, it was his second trip to Israel. Tarantino visited the Jewish state in 2009 to promote the fictionalized Nazi dramaInglorious Bastards. “I didn’t know that every young person has to go into the army,” Tarantino said after his visit. “The concept behind that I thought was awesome. To me, what it said was, ‘You will never catch us unaware again. Never.’”

The 10-day Jerusalem Film Festival will run through July 17, with screenings throughout the day at several movie theaters in the city. Special guests including noted Icelandic director Grímur Hákonarson, renowned experimental video artist Laurie Anderson, Sony Pictures Classics vice president Dylan Leiner, and ARTE France vice president Rémi Burah will offer film master classes and workshops. (via TheTower.org)

 
Israel has 261 startup accelerators as of late June 2016, according to the IVC Research Center in Tel Aviv, a private research firm that tracks trends in Israeli high-tech, venture capital and private equity. By the time you read that sentence, the number is sure to be higher. Only last October, IVC reported that Israel had 207 accelerators. The first accelerator in Israel was Genesis Partners’ The Junction in Tel Aviv, which launched in March 2011. So it’s no exaggeration to say that the growth of accelerators in Israel is extraordinary. Tel Aviv alone hosts 50 accelerators as of June 2016, reflecting a growth rate of 137 percent since 2012. As their name indicates, accelerators help early-stage companies scale up. They enable angels and VCs to invest small amounts of money in many startups at once, and to identify the most promising ventures. The Seed Accelerators Ranking Project at MIT defines an accelerator as a fixed-term, cohort-based program that includes educational and mentorship components and culminates in a public pitch event or “demo day.” This year, it identified 150 US accelerators fitting that definition. By contrast, incubators help entrepreneurs build business plans from raw innovative ideas. Incubators are also plentiful in the startup nation, but their number is perhaps half that of accelerators — although there is some overlap. (via Israel21)
 


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