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The Daily TIP: Major Arab States Cut Ties With Qatar Over Support of Terror, Iran

Posted by Tip Staff - June 05, 2017

Major Arab States Cut Ties With Qatar Over Support of Terror, Iran
Israeli Leaders Express Solidarity with UK over London Attack
Radiohead's Thom Yorke: Israel Boycotters Are "Offensive" and "Patronizing"
Israeli Researchers Develop New Therapy for Lou Gehrig's Disease

Major Arab States Cut Ties With Qatar Over Support of Terror, Iran

Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states have severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar as a result of its support for Islamist groups, deepening the split between Gulf nations.

Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined Saudi Arabia in the announcement that involves withdrawing all diplomatic staff from Qatar.

Saudi Arabia has closed its border with Qatar and suspended all flights. All Qatari citizens residing in Saudi Arabia have been told they must leave within 14 days. It will also remove Qatar from the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen.

The synchronized attempt to isolate Qatar followed a report published by the UAE which noted that Qatar “funds and supports terror and extremist organizations." Qatar has been criticized for some time by its Arab neighbors for supporting Islamist groups, as well as its closeness to Iran and sponsorship of Al-Jazeera.

Arab intelligence sources said the announcement by Saudi Arabia was coordinated with the Trump administration following the U.S. president’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he endorsed the Saudi campaign to challenge Iranian interference in the Arab world.

(via BICOM)

Israeli Leaders Express Solidarity with UK over London Attack

Israeli leaders have expressed solidarity with the UK following the terrorist attack in London on Saturday night.

Seven people were killed and over 50 injured when a vehicle mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before the same group of men with large knives stabbed passersby at nearby Borough Market, in an attack that was claimed by the terrorist organization Islamic State.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu learned of the attack after landing in Liberia for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit. “And in recent hours, another terrible attack was launched on innocent people in the heart of London. We condemn it. We send our condolences to the British people and we pledge our commitment to fight this scourge – this scourge that knows no bounds,” Netanyahu said during his keynote address to the summit.

“These terrorists worship death. They murder indiscriminately, but they will not frighten us. They will not terrorize us. They will only harden our resolve to defeat them. And together, together here in Africa, in the Middle East, in Europe, everywhere – together, we will defeat them faster,” the Prime Minister added.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said: “The wave of terror that has struck the UK is all too familiar to us. We stand together for our values and our freedom.”

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, echoed the President in a letter sent to London mayor Sadiq Khan. “On behalf of all the residents of Jerusalem, I am writing to express our deepest condolences to the residents of London. We stand by your side during this difficult time.”

“Terror is terror – anywhere in the world – and the free world must come together to fight evil. An attack in London is an attack against the values of freedom and democracy around the world,” the letter said.

Some Israeli lawmakers suggested that the wave of terrorist attacks in the UK has led to a “greater understanding” of Israel’s experiences with Palestinian terrorism. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio “there is much greater understanding today that the terror Israel has experienced … is not much different from the motives of extremist Islam that causes these attacks [in London].”

Radiohead's Thom Yorke: Israel Boycotters Are "Offensive" and "Patronizing"

The leader of the band Radiohead, which is scheduled to make its ninth trip to Israel next month, blasted proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign as "offensive" and "patronizing in the extreme" in an interview published Friday in Rolling Stone magazine.

"I'll be totally honest with you: this has been extremely upsetting," Thom Yorke said of calls from former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters and others to boycott Israel. "There's an awful lot of people who don't agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don't agree with the cultural ban at all, along with J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and a long list of others."

"There are people I admire [who have been critical of the concert] like [English film director] Ken Loach, who I would never dream of telling where to work or what to do or think," Yorke continued. "The kind of dialogue that they want to engage in is one that's black or white. I have a problem with that. It's deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw s*** at us in public. It's deeply disrespectful to assume that we're either being misinformed or that we're so retarded we can't make these decisions ourselves. I thought it was patronizing in the extreme. It's offensive and I just can't understand why going to play a rock show or going to lecture at a university [is a problem to them]."

Yorke also pointed out that the band's guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, "has both Palestinian and Israeli friends and a wife who's an Arab Jew."

"All these people to stand there at a distance throwing stuff at us, waving flags, saying, 'You don’t know anything about it!' Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny," he observed. "And imagine how upsetting that it's been to have this out there. Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word 'apartheid' around and think that's enough."

"But at the same time," Yorke said, "if you want me to be honest, yeah, it's really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years. They talk down to us and I just find it mind-boggling that they think they have the right to do that. It's extraordinary."

The argument that supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel are "patronizing" in assuming that members of Radiohead don't know anything about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While the Rolling Stone article claimed some artists have heeded the BDS call to boycott Israel, "many others have ignored it." Most popular acts, including the likes of Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi, have performed in Israel despite the efforts of the BDS campaign. Even The Pixies, who were long said to be boycotting Israel, performed in Tel Aviv in 2014.

Israeli Researchers Develop New Therapy for Lou Gehrig's Disease

It’s not a cure, but a new therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is being hailed as a breakthrough that can extend the life expectancy of those suffering from ALS.

Developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the therapy may come to market much faster than typical treatments because it is based on an existing FDA-approved drug called MabThera, which is used to treat certain autoimmune diseases and cancers.

Dr. Rachel Lichtenstein of the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering at BGU redesigned a portion of MabThera into a new molecule to treat ALS.

“Since the drug is already approved, we believe that we will need only limited preclinical testing to reach the clinical phase,” Lichtenstein said. The drug has been tested so far with mice, which “showed a significant increase in life expectancy.”

Part of the progression of ALS results from increased activity of glial cells, a type of immune cell that damages and kills the body’s motor neuron cells and decreases their ability to cleanse the central nervous system (CNS). MabThera restores the immune defenses of the central nervous system.

Lichtenstein realized that MabThera could work its magic with ALS, as well. “We found a way to thwart the glial cells from attacking and killing healthy brain cells,” she explained.

Lichtenstein added that the new molecule she designed “meets the conditions for patenting for the treatment of ALS” – a potential commercial boon for BGU. The researchers are seeking a pharmaceutical company partner and recently participated in the 16th National Life Sciences & Technology Week in Tel Aviv.

ALS, a lethal, progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leads to atrophy, paralysis and eventually death due to failure of the respiratory muscles. The only drugs available currently are Reluzole, which helps extend life by only three to six months, and Edaravone, which has demonstrated relatively modest success.

(via Israel21c)

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