Bibi Takes Ma’ariv and Channel 10 News to Court

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu filed a lawsuit with the Jerusalem Magistrates Court against Hebrew daily “Ma’ariv” and Channel 10 News on Tuesday, over an investigative report by Raviv Drucker about Netanyahu’s donors in the 2005 Likud primaries. He is insisting on NIS 1 million from each, in damages.

The Channel 10 report claimed the Prime Minister spent more than $50,000 while on a six-day public relations tour during the 2006 Lebanon invasion. The tab included staying with his wife at the Connaught Hotel – among London’s finest – bar bills, first class airfare, meals, dry cleaning and $3,170 for theater tickets.

Netanyahu’s statement said:

“The mention of the prime minister in the mendacious article is contemptuous and very hurtful. It creates a negative image and presents him as a criminal in a way that humiliates in the eyes of society and to make him a target of ridicule and mockery for alleged acts which have no factual basis.”

The statement said Channel 10 and Drucker published the article :

“Maliciously and in bad faith, as part of a witch-hunt against Netanyahu. The blood of the prime minister will not be spilled with impunity. There is no place to allow a witch-hunt of the prime minister when there is not an iota of truth in the facts.”

The libel suit against “Ma’ariv” is based on the report, Netanyahu claims “gives the reader the erroneous impression that the value of dinner eaten by Netanyahu and his wife is NIS 60,000, and that similar dinners were part of their ostensible ‘spendthrift travels’.”

The Prime Minister’s attorney said Bibi and his wife “never ate a dinner whose cost approaches the value stated in the article’s headline and the impression obtained from reading the article and the subhead is erroneous and misleading.”

Song of a Prisoner

Alan GrossLast month, Alan Gross, a 61 year-old US aid contractor was sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison for crimes against the state. After a two-day trial, a panel of judges accused the American Jew of being involved in a US-funded “subversive project” to “topple the Revolution.” Actually, Gross was working for the Bethesda, Maryland-based Development Alternatives, Inc. on a USAID-backed democracy-building project. He was hired under an $8.6 million contract.

Bonnie Goldstein of PoliticsDaily.com, wrote last year, of the project, from the American perspective:

“Since 1996, a small effort to stick our thumb in the island’s eye developed with the formation of a “Cuba democracy program” within USAID to deliver “humanitarian aid” and “information” to “human rights and political activists” and families of dissidents. For years the democracy program’s budget, about $2 million to start with, was funneled into grants to Cuban American groups in Miami that ostensibly used the money to somehow promote freedoms for Cubans still on the island.”

Unfortunately, program funds were misused. A 2006 audit and investigation by the GAO highlighted taxpayer monies used to purchase Godiva chocolates, Nintendo GameBoys and cashmere sweaters. An alleged embezzlement scheme by another grantee was discovered in 2008, leading a member of the House to challenge USAID’s annual program allocation, which had by then grown to $45 million per year. The agency agreed to more closely monitor its contractors, and soon after Alan Gross was hired via DAI to travel to Cuba.

He was convicted of “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state” for setting up covert Internet networks for Cuba dissidents utilizing “sophisticated” communications technology. The prosecutors sought a 20-year sentence for the worker, who has been jailed since his Havana arrest on December 3, 2009.

Immediately, the United States, who contended Gross was only setting up Internet access for the island’s Jewish community, came to his defense.

CubaThis week, former US President, Jimmy Carter, (famous for criticizing Israeli policy) is scheduled to meet with Jewish leaders in Cuba concerning Gross. According to the agenda, Carter is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega before leaving on Wednesday.

The trip is under the aegis of the Carter Center, who insist the trip’s aim is to discuss economic policies and improve relations between the US and Cuba.

US officials insist that the 15-year sentence imposed on Gross is a “stumbling block to any rapprochement…” between the nations.

In a statement welcoming Carter’s mission, Gross’s wife, Judy, said:

“If he is able to help Alan in any way while he is there, we will be extraordinarily grateful,” she said in the emailed statement. “Our family is desperate for Alan to return home, after nearly 16 months in prison. We continue to hope and pray that the Cuban authorities will release him immediately on humanitarian grounds.”

Last month, the Reverend Jesse Jackson also complained to Cuba concerning the situation; saying “granting him freedom on humanitarian grounds could open the door for better relations.”

He said:

“I am not making a legal case. I am making a humanitarian plea, a moral appeal…I hope that Raul [Castro] and the governing officials see the advantage of letting him go. Every time a prisoner is let go, it opens the door for increased dialogue and possibilities.”

TJC’s Jewish News Week in Review: March 25, 2011

newsdesk.tjctv.com This week’s top stories from the Jewish world: The new head of the Reform movement; a former-Israeli President heads to jail; how the American Jewish community is memorializing the victims of the Itamar massacre, and more.

TJC’s Jewish News Week in Review: March 25, 2011

newsdesk.tjctv.com This week’s top stories from the Jewish world: The new head of the Reform movement; a former-Israeli President heads to jail; how the American Jewish community is memorializing the victims of the Itamar massacre, and more.

Rumble in the Strip

The Obama administration commended the progress of Palestinian security services.
In a statement last Sunday, the U.S. State Department said:

“The program has witnessed increased coordination of activities amongst international donors, and is achieving notable progress on security, justice, corrections, and other new fronts…”

The statement marked a visit to the Middle East, last week by William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state, responsible for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the American department running the training program for Palestinian Authority police.

Obama has been urging Israel to cede more authority to the Palestinian security services, in that it would boost Palestinian confidence, pushing the peace process into progress.

Meanwhile, Israel is pressing the United States as well as certain governments in Europe to pressure Mahmoud Abbas not to establish a unity government with Hamas, who is centered in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas is calling for new Palestinian elections within six months, though he says they cannot be held unless residents in the Gaza Strip participate. Hamas declines to hold elections in Gaza unless there is a reconciliation deal.

Meanwhile, on earth, Israel thwarted an attempt by Gazans to launch an anti-tank missile at an IDF force in northern Gaza. Also on Tuesday, a Kassam was fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Last week Israel suffered the worst rain of mortars fired from the strip in two years – upwards of fifty mortar shells landed.

The IDF responded with an attack causing three or four unfortunate casualties and successfully hitting all targets. Two terror tunnels, two weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, and two additional sites.

TJC’s The Salon Episode 11 Promo NEW

www.tjctv.com/tjc-original-programming/the-salon Author Kay Hymowitz visits The Salon to discuss her controversial new book, “Manning Up: Why the Rise Of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys.” Also: is Congress endangering women’s health, the Mike Huckabee – Natalie Portman debate, and more! With philanthropist Barbara Dobkin and journalist Elissa Strauss. Hosted by Forward editor Jane Eisner, with Mediaite.com’s Rachel Sklar.

This Week Around the World

Jews in Danger

Last week in London, two men were arrested by the police when a pro-Israel protester, standing outside the School of Oriental and African studies was bitten on the cheek and subsequently taken to the hospital.

Four members of the organization, Stand With Us, decided to go to SOAS after
learning that a Celebrate Palestine event was going down – part of Israel Apartheid Week. Two of these Jewish gentlemen, Tony Coren and Gili Brenner, went into the university and held a conversation with the student
participants.

Palestinian child

“We had placards and some information packs, and we had some very interesting and civilised discussions,” said Mr. Coren. However, the situation quickly, unexpectedly turned antagonistic, “About four or five people were standing around Gili, Ro’i Goldman, and the fourth member of our group, Dean Gold. One man
began to say some extremely unpleasant things about Jews. He said that
the best thing the Jews had ever done was to go into the gas chambers.
Dean asked if he could film him. The man said yes, adding that ‘these
things should be heard
.’”

“Another man then came forward and told the abusive man that he did not
have to be filmed or interviewed. Despite the abusive man agreeing to be
filmed, Mr Coren said, the second man, who was “big and burly and of
Middle East appearance,” allegedly launched himself at Dean, grabbing at his
camera, punching him and then biting him on the cheek….There was a struggle and the university security guards came out. A number of other people then began to say we shouldn’t be there. The president of the union came out and said we had made our point. A policeman strongly advised us to leave.”

Jenni Frazer, of the Jewish Chronicle Online, reported:

“Ro’i Goldman, who plans to study in the UK next year, said he was very shocked by the experience. But Tony Coren said he was not shocked, but was angry that the university authorities had indicated that by their very presence, the Stand With Us
protesters had possibly provoked the attack.”

Meanwhile, an IDF officer suffered slight injuries on Yom Purim during a scuffle on Yehuda Hayamit Street in Jaffa. A captain in the Armored Corps, the officer was attacked from behind by an unidentified assailant while sitting on a bench. The assailant stabbed him once in the chest and snatched his rifle.

The officer was evacuated to the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

Beyond the Palin

Meanwhile, 2008 vice Presidential nominee, former Alaskan governor, and American Republican Party mogul, Sarah Palin visited the Kotel on Purim. She is scheduled to have dinner with Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife on Monday. Reuters reported that she said Israel is “too apologetic.”

Reuters Has the Scoop

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Hamas men broke into a Reuters office in Gaza and assaulted one journalist, clobbering him with a metal pole and breaking his arm.

Hamas is divided over Mahmoud Abbas’ offer to visit Gaza and conduct conference with Hamas leaders about the formation of a Palestinian Unity government.

Tragedy in Japan Threatens Sushi Supply

In the aftermath of the devastation in Japan Israelis fear a shortage in the ingredients of Sushi.

Dudi Afriat of the Rakuto Kasei company:

“There may be a shortage of sushi components, but we are still studying the situation… We’ll be wiser once the situation in Japan stabilizes and the reconstruction begins…I assume we’ll know if there is going to be a shortage in the coming week. The main fear is of a shortage of the Kikkoman soy sauce. One Kikkoman factory in Japan was damaged and there have been delays in the supply, but we hope it won’t stop the regular chain of supply.”

“Most of the containers arrive in Israel from the US, but the entire management is in Japan…At the moment, it’s very difficult communicating with them. There are a lot of disruptions. Yesterday I spoke with our contact in Japan, and he said it took him 10 hours to get to the office from home…So at the moment the situation is unclear, and it all depends on the Japanese. I trust them, because they love the soy sauce more than we do. My only fear is that they’ll have to import Kikkoman from the US, and that will affect the imports to Israel…About 85% of the soy sauce used in Israel is Kikkoman. This is a very unusual figure in the world…Israeli chefs feel very connected to this product. After the tsunami I received phone calls from hysterical people fearing a shortage of Kikkoman.”

Other products that could be affected due to problems in importing or damaged factories are miso (traditional Japanese seasoning), pickled Japanese pumpkin and cabbage, and certain kinds of seaweed. A deficiency could also be felt in the wasabi supply.

Afriat said:

“The Japanese food unit in Israel has grown by some 800% in the past five or six years…Five years ago, there were up to 20 sushi restaurants in Tel Aviv. Today there are more than 130. A survey we conducted recently revealed that sushi is the No. 2 take away food in Israel…Kikkoman, the world’s biggest commercial brand, has an amazing infiltration level. It can be found in one-third of Israeli households, and it’s clearly a Japanese product. Surprisingly, we bring real naturally fermented soy sauce, which costs much more than other types of soy available in stores, and Israelis still appreciate and purchase it…We import 900 kilograms (1,984pounds) of Kikkoman bottles a year, and 54 tons of rice for sushi a month. It’s an amazing amount. Tel Aviv is the fifth city in the world in the consumption of sushi per capita, and fourth in the world in the number of sushi restaurants per capita.”