Daily TIP

Iranians burn American, Israeli flags at rallies marking anniversary of Iranian Revolution

Posted by Tip Staff - February 10, 2017
Flag burning. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians attended rallies to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, and marked the occasion by burning American and Israeli flags. Many of the participants carried banners reading “Death to America.” The Associated Press reported, “Printed U.S. flags and pictures of current and former U.S. presidents were scattered on the streets – so they could be trampled by the marchers.” The AP continued, “In Tehran, some of the demonstrators threw balls and darts targeting pictures of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” The semi-official Fars News Agency reported, “The demonstrators further voiced support for the Palestinian cause” and condemned what they called “the aggressive policies of the racist regime of the Zionists.”

Such anti-American and anti-Israel themes are prevalent in Iranian state celebrations. This past November, thousands of Iranians gathered in Tehran to celebrate the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in 1979 – they also burned Israeli and American flags on that occasion, as well as Saudi ones. In July of last year, at an event called Al-Quds Day, an anti-Israel celebration, tens of thousands of people chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and also burned the two countries’ flags.

Freedom of the press. In its latest crackdown on freedom of the press, the Palestinian Authority has banned 29-year-old author Abbad Yahya and issued a warrant for his arrest. He is currently stranded in Qatar. Yahya's book was banned for criticizing the Palestinian Authority and religious extremism. There are also sexual references which were deemed unruly – including highlighting the struggle of a gay youth.

The PA’s record on human rights and freedom of expression has frequently been criticized by international observers. Human Rights Watch condemned the treatment of journalists by both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, stating that their tactics led to a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression in the Palestinian territories. “Both Palestinian governments, operating independently, have apparently arrived at similar methods of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse of anyone who dares criticize them,” Sari Bashi, HRW’s Israel/Palestine director, said last summer.

A survey released by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms in 2014 found that “80% of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza practice self-censorship of their writing.” A poll published that same year by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 70 percent of Palestinians did not feel that they could criticize the PA.

Leading the world. The founder of two Israel-oriented exchange-traded funds (ETFs) argued that “cutting-edge” Israeli companies that are “leading the world in some of the most transformative technologies” remain “underowned and underdiscovered,” in an interview Thursday.

Steven Schoenfeld, founder of Blue Star Indexes and creator of BIGI and BIGITech stock indexes, told ETF.com that contrary to popular belief, Israel’s economic fortunes are not tied to the risks inherent in being located in the Middle East. However, he pointed out other factors that prevent Israeli companies from getting their due from investors.

“The big moves—up or down—in the Israeli market are global economic,” Schoenfeld said. “The tech meltdown in 2000/2001 affected Israel a lot more than the Gulf War of 2003. When you had the global financial crisis in 2008/09, that affected Israel more than the war with Hamas in 2008/09.” Israeli tech companies are generally immune to uncertainties in the Middle East, he added, because “Israel’s tech sector exports by basically clicking a mouse.”

However, some of Israel’s top tech companies still remain surprisingly unrecognized by investors. Schoenfeld suggested that the problem stems from the fact that these cutting-edge Israeli tech firms are “‘Israel inside.'” “For example, people talk about autonomous vehicles, and those cars will be BMW, Volkswagen; they’ll be the name brands we know. But what’s the technology that’s going to be inside? It’s going to be Mobileye. And many people may not know the Mobileye name, but it’s there,” he explained.

As computer devices and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity continue to break new boundaries and create changes to our lifestyle, new cybersecurity technologies to defend our tech-savvy lives are crucial. “Not many years ago, computers were far away. Then they came to our desktops, then to our laptops, and then to our pockets; now they’re in our clothes and, for some, in our body — medical devices. All this needs to be defended,” Erez Kreiner, CEO of Cyber-Rider and former director of Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority, told a press gathering at this week’s Cybertech 2017 conference in Tel Aviv. He noted that Israel is the place to find many of the best cybersecurity products. Last year saw 65 startups created in Israel’s cyber space, according to Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization. Altogether, the country boasts about 450 companies specializing in cyber, according to a Reuters report. (via Israel21c)

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