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Thursday, February 04, 2016

China and Japan leading Asian charge toward Israeli high tech

Greetings from a British Airways lounge at London - Heathrow. I'm on my way home.

Israel's high tech has gotten so good and the communist economies have so completely collapsed (will Bernie lead the US in the same direction) that Israel is now the dominant tech power in Asia. Here's a report from Legal Insurrection on just how well-entrenched Israeli high tech has become in China, Japan and other Asian tech powerhouses.
Countries like India, China and Japan; which in past have been hesitant of openly engaging with Israel — to avoid offend oil-supplying Arab countries — are changing their long-held adverse stance and strengthening commercial and diplomatic ties with the Jewish State. Leading technology news website TechCrunch reports:
China and Japan are forging deeper ties with Israel’s burgeoning tech industry. While China has been active in the Israeli market for some time, Japan, too, has launched a series of efforts to court the Israeli tech scene.

The signs of warming ties between Israel and Japan can perhaps be traced to 2014 when Rakuten, the largest e-commerce platform in Japan acquired Israel-based messaging app provider Viber Media for $900 million.
On January 26, Sony announced its intention to acquire Israel-based Altair Semiconductor for $212 million and during the same week, Honda — eyeing Israel’s vehicle intelligence technologies, apps and software — flew in a group of executives and engineers from Japan and North America to attend the equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd’s annual summit in Jerusalem. (…)
Japan’s presence was also notable at Cybertech 2016 in Tel Aviv where the country was looking to forge closer ties with Israeli cybersecurity companies and technology ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the dismantling of the biggest pressure group shaping government policy and intellectual attitudes across Asia and Africa hostile towards Israel. Today, Israel’s advancements in technology are swaying previously adversarial countries to a greater partnership. Israel’s technological edge in field of agriculture, water treatment, renewable energies, IT, telecommunications and healthcare is of great interest to the developing nations of Asia and Africa.
Israel’s annual trade with China has crossed over $10 billion, and trade with India is pegged at just below $5 billion each year. These numbers are significant, considering Israel’s bilateral trade with China and India during early 1990s was just around $50 million and $200 million respectively. With focusing on technology-driven sectors and by negotiating bilateral trade agreements, Israel hopes to double its annual trade with both Asian giants, home to more than one-third of the world population.
While thugs of the anti-Israel boycott campaign might be busy strong-arming some lone investment banker in Scandinavia to divest his grandmother’s pension fund, Israel is forging trade and technology ties with the emerging economies of Asia.

If you scroll down to the video at the end, you will see Jon Medved, the founder of OurCrowd, an Israeli early-stage technology funding portal that recently opened up to non-Israeli companies. On Monday of last week, I attended OurCrowd's annual investor summit (in my professional capacity and not as a blogger), along with over 2,000 other people. It's amazing how much is going on in Israeli technology.

If you're interested in investing in Israeli high tech, I can help you. Please send an email to IsraelMatzav@gmail.com.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

It's official: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) endorses Marco Rubio

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the first black Republican Senator in the deep South since reconstruction, has endorsed Senator Marco Rubio (Florida) for the Republican nomination for President. This came to me by email today.


Our nation’s future is on the line this election. We must nominate a strong conservative leader who will fight at all costs for our country and put our citizen’s needs before their own.  

And Israel, we need the person that can defeat Hillary Clinton next fall to be our nominee.

That’s why today, three weeks before the all-important primary in South Carolina, I’m standing up for and endorsing Marco Rubio.

Israel, I spent a lot of time thinking and praying over this decision. This is an important election, and I did not take this decision lightly.

There are a number of good candidates on our side, but I am voting for Marco Rubio as our next president because he will not only restore our great nation -- he will take us into a New American Century.

I’m proud to stand with Marco as part of the next generation of conservatives. Marco has a proven conservative record of standing up to the Washington establishment and pursuing conservative solutions for the 21st Century. And that’s exactly the type of leader we need in the White House next year.

Marco needs our help to win. His campaign is fueled by supporters like you. He needs voters like yourself to chip in and stand with him right now.

With three weeks until the South Carolina Primary, Marco has the momentum to win big, but he cannot do it without your support. Israel, will you join me in supporting Marco Rubio by chipping in $15 right now?

Let’s support our next president of the United States: Marco Rubio.

Tim Scott
Republican Senator from South Carolina

P.S. We need someone we can count on to always do what’s right even if it isn’t easy or popular. We need a leader for the 21st Century, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting Marco right now, Israel!
In my not so humble opinion, Marco Rubio is one of the two best candidates for Israel in this election (Ted Cruz is the other).


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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The war against the 'settlements' comes to TripAdvisor

Sorry for not posting for a couple of days - I've been swamped with work.

The war against the 'settlements' has come to AirBnB and to TripAdvisor. The Washington Post's William Booth reports that the 'Palestinians' are protesting the offering of rooms in 'settlements' on the popular Bed and Breakfast site, and that the result has been a rush by 'settlers' to list more homes (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The Airbnb host said that once his guests see the view, “nobody wants to talk politics.” Igal Canaan, a Jewish settler, threw open the doors of his designer apartment to reveal a jaw-dropping panorama of blue sky and Judean wilderness.
“In the morning, you can see shepherds with their flocks,” said Canaan, pointing out a distant village often associated with the birth of the prophet Jeremiah. “The view is totally biblical.”
All this, plus swimming pool, kitchenette, fast WiFi and maybe a “welcome” bottle of wine, just 20 minutes from Jerusalem, for about $80 per night.
The guest reviews call it awesome — but according to the Palestinians, it is also very wrong.
That's about what Mrs. Carl and I pay for the zimmer we occasionally rent in the Galilee (which includes a jacuzzi but not a swimming pool) and it's a heck of a lot closer to our Jerusalem home. Hmmm. 
A few weeks ago, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, sent a terse letter to Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky in San Francisco, warning that his company was “effectively promoting the illegal Israeli colonization of occupied land.”
Airbnb said in a statement to the Associated Press that it “follows law and regulations where it can do business.”
Indeed they do. And the government of Israel certainly has no problem with 'settlers' revenants renting out their homes. And perhaps Saeb - the 'Palestinians' perennial chief negotiator bottle washer should have kept his mouth shut.
So what did some Jewish settlers with an extra bedroom do?
“Ever since the Palestinians started complaining, our people took this as a challenge and have been rushing to Airbnb to list their properties,” said Miri Maoz-Ovadia, a spokeswoman for the Binyamin Regional Council.

Read the whole thing

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hamas continues to tunnel into Israel from Gaza

Based on a Friday night news report....

And now they'll have another $1.7 billion with which to dig tunnels.


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America's chicken liberal Jewish leaders

NGO Monitor's Professor Gerald Steinberg blasts America's liberal Jewish 'leadership' in this week's Jewish Week.
In blaming Israeli policy for the fact that on many U.S. campuses, the classmates of Jewish students “shun them for identifying with Israel at all,” perhaps American Jewish leaders are overlooking the failures at home, particularly among liberal progressive diaspora Jewish leaders. Many Jewish students are stuck entirely in an American bubble, with no understanding of the centrality of Jewish self-determination (i.e., Zionism) to our survival as a people. So how can they even begin to understand Israel, let alone give us advice?
For two decades, too many American Jews have ignored or downplayed the gratuitous post-colonial Israel-bashing from the supposedly liberal bastions such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and which are echoed in the mainstream media. When Israeli soldiers are repeatedly and falsely accused of being child murderers and war criminals, where is the outrage from the mainstream American Jewish establishment? A couple of years ago, the federations finally established a fund to fight boycotts, but this group is also largely invisible and very timid.
Instead, fringe Israeli voices that polarize and demonize our society under the façade of human rights, democracy and peace are given legitimacy and resources in America, and the Jewish leadership is silent or in some cases complicit. Much of the BDS war — and make no mistake, the goal is the elimination of Israel — involves bogus peace NGOs that received their initial funds and public relations boost via U.S.-based Jewish groups who thought they knew better than the Israeli public. Such groups include the Coalition of Women for Peace, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, Breaking the Silence, Jewish Voice for Peace, and many others.
And now, when the Israeli public finally demands an effective response to the NGOs that lead to this demonization, the American Jewish leadership condemns Israel, repeating liberal pieties about free speech, but without addressing the real issues. In all of the criticisms of the proposed new NGO funding transparency laws, I have yet to see any serious understanding of the threat or alternative strategies. On this, as on so many issues, criticizing Israel from a distance is far too easy.
When crying out for an Israeli peace plan, “any plan,” your interlocutor makes it seem so simple. Like most Israelis, I also hope for a peace plan, but not any plan, and certainly not one that will bring us yet another disaster when it fails.  The reality that I see not far from the windows in my Jerusalem home includes Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Assad, Iran and others. Our only “peace partners,” led by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah group, are corrupt and stuck in the rejectionist dead-end of 1948. So no, “any plan” that helps Israel’s PR among liberal students, but makes our security situation even worse, is not better than the status quo.
On this and many other issues, I understand why American Jewish leaders want us in Israel to take risks, and probably think that this is for our own good. But we do not see many American Jewish leaders taking many risks in terms of criticizing President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry when they put all of the blame and responsibility on Israel, and patronizingly give the Palestinians a free pass. And where are your tough decisions to exclude BDS groups and Israel bashers from the big “Jewish tent?”
So it is not only “that Israel’s leadership is moving in a direction at odds with the next generation of Americans,” but that America’s liberal Jewish leadership is moving in a direction at odds with Israel and our realities.

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Friends don't spy on friends?

Shavua tov, and a good week to everyone from Boston.

If you think friends don't spy on friends, you're wrong. Of course, when the friends are doing the spying on behalf of Israel, they end up in jail for 30 years and then cannot leave the United States once they are released. But it's perfectly okay for the United States and Britain to spy on Israel.
The United States and Britain have monitored secret sorties and communications by Israel's air force in a hacking operation dating back to 1998, according to documents attributed to leaks by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Israel voiced disappointment at the disclosures, published on Friday in at least two media outlets and which might further strains ties with Washington after years of feuding over strategies on Iran and the Palestinians.
Israel's best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said the U.S. National Security Agency, which specialises in electronic surveillance, and its British counterpart GCHQ spied on Israeli air force missions against Gaza, Syria and Iran.
The spy operation, codenamed "Anarchist", was run out of a Cyprus base and targeted other Middle East states too, Yedioth said.

Online publication The Intercept, which lists Snowden confidant Glenn Greenwald among its associates, ran a similar report, with what it said were hacked pictures of armed Israeli drones taken from cameras aboard the aircraft.
Yedioth said German news-magazine Der Spiegel, whose publication day is Saturday, also planned to run an article based on Snowden's leak.
[Energy Minister Yuval] Steinitz said Israel was "not surprised" by the hacking described in the latest Snowden leak.
"We know that the Americans spy on the whole world, and also on us, also on their friends," he said. "But still, it is disappointing, inter alia because, going back decades already, we have not spied nor collected intelligence nor hacked encryptions in the United States."
Hey Yuval - are you sure they're our friends? After all, they've been telling us for 30 years that friends don't spy on friends.


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Friday, January 29, 2016

'Most pro-Israel administration evah' issues executive order calling for labeling of 'West Bank' products

Greetings to all of you from Boston.

Just last night, we had reports of a 'thaw' in Israel's relations with the 'most pro-Israel administration evah.'

I'm sorry to report that the 'thaw' has once again become a freeze. The Obama administration has issued an executive order calling for the labeling of products made in the West Bank Judea and Samaria as not having been made in Israel.
The Jan. 23 directive states that it is “not acceptable” to label goods coming from Israeli companies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as having been produced in “Israel.”
The order comes amid an effort by the European Union to label Israeli-made goods, a move the Israeli government called anti-Israel and that prominent anti-Semitism watchdog groups have condemned as among the worst incidents of anti-Semitism in 2015.
This is a shift from the administration’s previous position. A State Department spokesman told reporters in November that such labeling could be perceived as “a step on the way to a boycott” and said boycotts would be opposed by the administration.
But earlier this month, senior Obama administration officials defended the EU’s move and reaffirmed its position against “Israeli settlement activity.”
The new guidance references a decades-old administrative directive that sought to promote the import of Palestinian goods produced in the West Bank. The Obama administration is facing criticism for reinterpreting it and enforcing it to punish Israeli businesses.
The new memo, issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is meant to “provide guidance to the trade community regarding the country of origin marking requirements for goods that are manufactured in the West Bank.”
Good produced in these areas are not to be labeled “with the words ‘Israel,’” according to the memo, which warns that inappropriate labeling will subject the products to “enforcement action” by Customs and Border Protection.
“Goods produced in the West Bank or Gaza Strip shall be marked as originating from ‘West Bank,’ ‘Gaza,’ ‘Gaza Strip,’ ‘West Bank/Gaza,’ ‘West Bank/Gaza Strip,’ ‘West Bank and Gaza,’ or ‘West Bank and Gaza Strip,’” according to the directive.
“It is not acceptable to mark the aforementioned goods with the words ‘Israel,’’ ‘Made in Israel,’ ‘Occupied Territories-Israel,’ or any variation thereof,” it states.
Goods that are erroneously marked as products of Israel will be subject to an enforcement action carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” the memo states. “Goods entering the United States must conform to the U.S. marking statute and regulations promulgated thereunder.”
The Obama administration has reacted by claiming that nothing has changed.
A State Department official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday said that the department is aware of the new memo but does not view it as a shift in longstanding policy.
“We are aware that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection re-issued guidance on their marking requirements,” the official said. “There has been no change in policy or in our approach to enforcement of marking requirements.”
The latest guidance stands as a “restatement of previous requirements,” the official added. “CBP has made clear that it in no way supersedes prior rulings or regulations, nor does it impose additional requirements with respect to merchandise imported from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, or Israel.”
“Longstanding U.S. guidelines, dating to 1995, on country of origin product marking requires that products produced in the West Bank be marked as products of the West Bank, and products of Israel be marked as products of Israel,” the official explained.
Except that for 20 years, no one bothered to label products that way and no one noticed.


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