Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: TIP CEO: Senate Bill Passed Last Week "Will Make America Stronger and the World Safer"

Posted by Tip Staff - February 11, 2019

TIP CEO: Senate Bill Passed Last Week "Will Make America Stronger and the World Safer" Democrats, Republicans Blast Congresswoman for Saying Jewish Money Buys Support for Israel
HRW's Whitson Once Again Crosses into Anti-Semitic Territory
Israel's National Library Releases App Making Nation's Historical Music Available to All


TIP CEO: Senate Bill Passed Last Week "Will Make America Stronger and the World Safer"

The passing of the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act in the Senate on Tuesday “will make America and the world safer,” Josh Block, CEO and President of The Israel Project, said in an op-ed published in The Hill on Saturday.

Block argued that the bipartisan nature of the bill and the widespread support that it had received meant “there remains an unshakable commitment at the heart of American democracy to strengthen our allies and defend U.S. interests in the Middle East.”

The Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, known as S.1, was approved in Congress’s upper chamber by a vote of 77-21.

The legislation includes provisions — supported by both Republicans and Democrats — to impose new sanctions on the Assad regime in Syria and guarantee security assistance to Israel and Jordan. The bills also include the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the Combating BDS Act, legislation that are both supported by most major Jewish organizations.

To become law, the legislation would need to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, where it is likely to face significant opposition due to concerns that the BDS bills could stifle free speech in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Block, however, observed that, “Rather than being a vehicle to infringe on First Amendment rights, it is a tool against hate and intolerance that has no place in America. It is still legal for individuals to boycott anything they like, just as no one is prevented from criticizing Israel.”

Instead of watering down legislation to confront anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate, Block said Congress should “pass legislation codifying the working definition of anti-Semitism, which 31 countries, including the United States, have been employing since 2016 through the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.”

Block also charged that the legislation “was more than just an act of solidarity with Israel.” Instead, he said, the bills will strengthen Arab allies in the Middle East and target the criminal regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Read more at The Tower.



Democrats, Republicans Blast Congresswoman for Saying Jewish Money Buys Support for Israel

Adding to her anti-Israel portfolio, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was slammed on Sunday by members of both parties for suggesting that Jewish money was behind American elected officials’ support for Israel, The Times of Israel reported.

Omar, who serves on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee, was responding on Twitter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said he would “take action” against her and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib over allegedly anti-Semitic remarks. Both women support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar charged, referring to Benjamin Franklin, whose image appears on $100 bills.

Omar was responding to a Twitter post by prominent conspiracy activist Glenn Greenwald, who said it was “stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans,” referring to McCarthy’s pledge.

McCarthy told reporters on Friday that, “when they stay silent, they are just as guilty ... I think this will not be the end of this, and if they do not take action then I think you will see action from myself. It’s unacceptable in this country, especially when you sit back and think about and listen to what this country went through in World War II."

"@IlhanMN 's outrageous comments equating politicians' support for Israel with being bought off by American Jewish money are a vile anti-Semitic trope," Dan Shapiro, the Obama administration's ambassador to Israel tweeted. "They need to be condemned by all in our party."

Shapiro followed up with a series of tweets, including the observation that Omar had, by promoting "her extreme view," isolated herself politically. He wrote that she will "have much of DC, many in her own party, much of the Jewish community, &plenty of others turning against her."

Read more at The Tower.



HRW's Whitson Once Again Crosses into Anti-Semitic Territory

Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is back to business as usual when it comes to bashing Israel.

First, a little background is in order. Ten years ago, Whitson traveled to Saudi Arabia to raise money for HRW. Speaking nary a word about the Saudis’ brutal oppression of women, non-Muslims, or political opposition, Whitson instead condemned “pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations.” Arguably, she facilitated the efforts of Saudi Arabia’s repressive regime to “interfere” in the democratic politics of the US, EU, and Israel by purchasing the services of an all-too-willing HRW.

Whitson was not alone in expressing HRW’s obsessive-compulsive criticism of Israel. So over-the-top had the organization’s Israel-bashing become that in October 2009, its own founder, Robert L. Bernstein, rebuked HRW in a New York Times op-ed:

The plight of their citizens [of Arab and Iranian regimes] who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere…

Yet Israel, the repeated victim of aggression, faces the brunt of Human Rights Watch’s criticism.

Bernstein’s piece concluded by cautioning HRW that its actions seriously undermined its credibility and mission.

Thereafter, HRW made some reform gestures, such as issuing a few press releases and dispatches about human rights violations in the rest of the Middle East, like Saudi oppression of women and Iranian repression of political activists.

To read the complete essay, please click here.



Israel's National Library Releases App Making Nation's Historical Music Available to All

Sing out! In the same spirit that only a few weeks ago launched a thousand images documenting Israel’s history for free use, the National Library of Israel, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Sport, and the Digital Finjan project, have announced the release of Shiri, a mobile phone app for Israeli music.

Music lovers can access some 400,000 songs crossing all Israeli music genres, and featuring artists from decades past through the present day.

Shiri (“my song” in Hebrew) offers music by beloved Israeli musicians like Arik Einstein, Aviv Geffen, Berry Sakharof, Chava Alberstein, Dana International, HaDag Nahash, Hanan Ben Ari, Itzik Kala, Marina Maximilian Blumin, Netta Barzilai, Rita, Ronit Shachar, Shalom Hanoch, Shlomo Artzi, Shoshana Damari, Tea-Packs (Tippex), Yaffa Yarkoni, Yehudit Ravitz, Yonatan Razel and Zohar Argov, along with hundreds of others.

There are also old-timey tracks salvaged from the dustbins of Israeli audio history: kibbutz choirs, army entertainment troupes, musical numbers, children’s songs and more.

Within 48 hours of its February 4 release, the free and ad-free app had already been downloaded 34,000 times, and ranked first on both Google Play and App Store, ahead of music app titans Spotify, Shazam and SoundCloud.

According to youth entertainment website Frogi, “The State of Israel is actually trying to preserve Israeli music among the younger generation and not let it sink into the sea of foreign music. You can hear the artists you already know, and sometimes even new and young artists, to expand your horizons in Israeli music.”

The app is the brainchild of musician and producer Ariel Horowitz, who heads the Digital Finjan project. He also happens to be the son of celebrated national songwriter Naomi Shemer.

Three and a half years ago, Horowitz became concerned that her legacy, along with others of that founding generation, could be forgotten. The solution would be an app for Israeli music.

As luck would have it, a historic agreement had recently been signed between Israel’s record companies and the National Library, allowing the library to use the companies’ Israeli repertoire for preservation and accessibility purposes in return for a symbolic royalty fee on copyright-protected content.

(via Israel21c)


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