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Canadians ban Gaza’s treat

Hamas gorges huge amounts of product daily, but Canada’s IAW wants it banned from campus

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ANT KATZ

While pro-Palestinian students at a Canadian university launched a campaign to boycott a brand of hummus partially owned by an Israeli company, Israeli brands of chickpea spread were reported to be among many Israeli-made items in demand by Gaza consumers.

THE BLAZE.com reports that the University of Ottawa’s student newspaper the Fulcrum had reported last week that pro-Palestinian student groups on campus ran a campaign to ban hummus made by Sabra, owned in part by an Israeli company, from campus dining halls.

In a somewhat ironic twist, however, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday on the popularity of Israeli food products among Palestinian consumers: “Cookies, coffee, soap and even hummus – these are just some of the Israeli products one can find on the grocery stores’ shelves in Gaza, written in Hebrew just like the ones in the nearby Israeli retail chains.”

While Palestinians are reportedly purchasing Israeli food products, Assma Basmalah of the University of Ottawa’s Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights told the student newspaper, “We will be raising awareness amongst the student population, collecting signatures for a petition, and encouraging students to individually boycott the [hummus] product.”

Though the latest effort was spearheaded in Canada, similar efforts have been seen on U.S. campuses to boycott Sabra, including at Princeton University.

Like on American campuses, some professors support the anti-Israel effort. Susan Spronk, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies told the student paper that she supports the pro-Palestinian student group because “the struggle to liberate Palestine is this generation’s struggle against apartheid.”

They had theirs last week

“Israel Apartheid Week” was staged in North America last week. The programme there, as here, aims to compare Israel with apartheid-era SA though an examination of the facts on the ground in Israel might belie that comparison. Arab citizens of Israel elect representatives to the parliament and are high-ranking military officials, diplomats and winners of beauty contests and reality television shows.

Despite those facts, in its reporting on the hummus boycott effort, the Ottawa student newspaper did not qualify the phrase “Israeli apartheid” in the lead of its article, writing: “Students at the University of Ottawa launched a campaign to have Sabra hummus banned from campus because of its alleged connection with the Israel apartheid.”

Health and price the only priorities

A university spokeswoman said healthy food and fair prices are the priorities for the university’s food services.

“The purchasing policy of our service provider is apolitical,” said Caroline Milliard, the University of Ottawa’s manager of media relations.

The pro-boycott students cited a 2010 article in the New York Times which alleged that the Strauss Group, which partially owns Sabra along with PepsiCo, had contributed to the Israel Defence Forces’ Golani brigade that the students allege to have carried out human rights violations.

A spokeswoman for the US-based Sabra told the Times in 2010 that the company had never contributed “hummus or anything else” to the IDF.

Meanwhile in Gaza, a local importer of products made by the large Israeli food manufacturer Tnuva said it moves 200 tons of products to the Palestinian market in Gaza every day, which are then sold at 1,700 stores around the Hamas-run territory.

Despite the popularity of Israeli products in Gaza, Gaza manufacturers have been limited in their ability to sell their products to Israel. But, reported Ynet, “despite the challenges to Israeli-Palestinian business relations, Israel has invited Palestinian farmers for agricultural training in Israel.

“Our interest is to export Israel our products, we focus on the business benefits, and not politics,” the head of the Gaza City Agricultural Association Ahmed Shafi told Ynet.

Jamal Abu Najar who heads Gaza’s Khan Yunis City Agricultural Association also emphasized the importance of Israeli-Palestinian business relations.

“Israel and the West Bank are the most important markets for the farmers in Gaza as Israel’s high GNP drives the Israeli consumer to pay more for the product, and the manufacturers and marketers to pay less – saving money on shipping and handling as ships and planes are not needed due to the geographical proximity,” Abu Najar said.

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New York Times rebuked

Paper’s public editor rebukes The New York Times reporter for asking PhD candidate David McCleary, pic. ‘demeaning’ questions as he didn’t look Jewish

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ANT KATZ

A reporter for the New York Times came under fire for asking a Jewish Ph.D. candidate “insulting and demeaning” questions for an article on the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on college campuses across the US.

The questions that were asked of University of California, Berkeley candidate David McCleary, included whether he “looked Jewish” given his apparently non-Jewish sounding last name and whether he had had a barmitzvah.

NYT rebuked


RIGHT: The New York Times Editor weighs in on ‘demeaning’ questions to Jewish PhD student.


McCleary promptly wrote to the office of the New York Times’ public editor, whose job it is to respond to questions of the newspaper’s integrity.

He said he was “displeased” that his remarks were withheld from the ultimate publication of the story and that no Jewish student who supports the BDS movement on campuses was quoted.

McCleary’s complaint to the Times’ public editor, Margaret Sullivan, who in the end agreed that such questioning was “unprofessional and unacceptable,” underlined the brouhaha around an article published by the newspaper last Saturday about the BDS movement and its consequences on college campuses.

Responding to Sullivan’s admission, McCleary told the Algemeiner: “While the Jewish litmus test I received was offensive, it isn’t nearly as offensive as the New York Times ignoring my voice and thousands like me who are Jewish students in favour of BDS for Israel.”

Piece didn’t provide evidence 

Critics of the story have argued that the piece itself did not provide much evidence to back the complaint of its headline, which states that the BDS issue “drives a wedge” between Jews and minority groups on campus.

“To make this into a ‘Minority vs Jewish’ question, without supplying evidence, is to distort the issue,” said David Nasaw, the Arthur M Schlesinger Junior professor of history at Graduate Centre, City University of New York.

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Unique baby names @ just $31k

Expectant parents who are struggling to find a unique name for their baby are in luck. JTA reports this Swiss company will do it for you, for just $31,000!

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ANT KATZ

Expectant parents, if you’re paging through baby name pages looking for a unique name to no avail (have you checked ours yet?), you’re in luck. Erfolgswelle – a Swiss firm that specialises in naming babies – will happily volunteer its 32 person staff to spend 100 hours searching for unique, copyright-free names for your child.

All for the tune of $31,000, because who needs a college fund really? Squares, that’s who, and you’ll be damned if your kid becomes anything less than the uniquely-shaped polygon he or she was born to be.

But, writes Suzanne Samin on JTA’s KVELLER, “in all seriousness, I totally get wanting a special name for your kid. I just don’t get spending an arm and leg for it by contracting out a service like this one. But, to each his or her own, and if you’re really into the idea of hiring out a monolith to name your child, they’re offering to reimburse the full charge for the first couple to report their new baby name to the media within two weeks of receiving it.”

WIZOChristianZionistspic1
How cute is this? Not $31,000 – that’s for sure!

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Darth Zeder & a wonky knee

Special needs self-styled “passenger from hell” on ElAl couldn’t match his needs with his budget.

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STAFF REPORTER

Will I fly ElAl again next time? Hell yeh! Not only were they great at what they do, they and came through with ‘flying’ colours!

In a recent BLOG BY ANT KATZ, SAJR Online’s editor asks: “What is it with SA Jewry and ElAl?” Ant says that “SA Jewry fall into the pro- or anti-ElAl camp,” and then proceeds to give an account of his own experience of flying with the airline last month.

In the blog entitled: “Facts, fun and fallacies about ElAl,” Katz says that it was “the hapstance of timing” that had resulted in his flying on the Airline. “As it happened, on the week I was travelling, ElAl offered the lowest price, most suitable times for me, and, what’s more, the only non-stop route which was important as embarking and disembarking was going to be difficult for me at the time.

Passenger from hell

“You see,” says Ant Katz, “on this trip, I was the customer from hell! I was a special-needs passenger who could not match his needs with his budget. I needed wheelchair assistance to board and disembark, a seat with extra legroom and a 110 or 220v electric plug” at his seat.

“Suffice it to say, in a very Jewish and/or Israeli way, one way or another, my needs were met completely, against ElAl policies and despite all the naysayers” in the community, blogs Ant. “Here’s the thing… the one simple fact: In so many ways, ElAl was incredible.”

He proceeds to share his tale about ElAl policies being the most stringent he has ever encountered, and accuses the ‘serial complainers’ in the community of having “groomed” him to expect otherwise.

As it turned out, ElAl moved heaven and earth to accommodate him – even sending a technical team to modify a plane close to midnight at Ben Gurion airport. 

READ THE FULL BLOG

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