UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Sunday, February 2 2014:
**It was reported yesterday, to the utter dismay of those attempting to boycott Israel, that the country chalked up record exports in 2013 to the tune of $90,000,000,000 dollars. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel exported 32% of its products to Europe, 25% of its products to Asia, and 21% of its products to the U.S.
The countries receiving the most Israeli exports were: the U.S. 18.8 billion dollars worth, China 8.6 billion, Belgium 3.1 billion, India 2.3 billion, Germany 1.8 billion, France 1.5 billion, Switzerland 1.4 billion, Spain 1.3 billion, Italy 1.1 billion, Russia 1 billion, and Malaysia 1 billion. If Belgium seems out of this place in this list, it belongs there because of the Israel-Belgium diamond trade.
**After the long fight to become accredited as the eighth Israeli university, the Ariel University Center of Samaria is rapidly expanding with a new Department of Nursing and new graduate classes now being offered in biology, chemistry, and cyber-terrorism. A large new library is under construction.
According to the chancellor of Ariel, Yigal Cohen-Orgad, the university is working steadily toward reaching its goal of 25,000 students, but what has been the most astonishing has been the explosion in partnerships with “hundreds of researchers around the world.”
**While Israeli students are hard at work on their academic courses, Palestinian students are thoroughly engaged in something else. Check out the following picture (picture source: Alpert) taken at Al-Quds University yesterday of students studying “Hamas”:
And lest you think, dear reader, that yesterday’s Hamas “studies” are something new, here is an older picture from Al-Quds:
It is hard to believe that such displays are countenanced right in the middle of Jerusalem.
The firestorm created by John Kerry’s comments in Munich (reported on israelstreet yesterday) continues to burn. Kerry, you may recall, engaged in this bullying intimidation amidst a long rant against Israel and Israelis:
“The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott and other things.”
Israel Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz responded this morning: “You can’t force the State of Israel to negotiate with a gun to our heads while we are discussing the most critical of our national security interests.”
Even PM Netanyahu deviated from his usual kowtowing at this morning’s cabinet meeting: “The attempts to boycott the State of Israel are not moral or justified. Moreover, they will not achieve their purpose. Firstly, they only serve to make the Palestinians become more entrenched in their stance of refusal. Secondly, no pressure will make me abandon the State of Israel’s vital interests, of which security of the civilian population is foremost.”
But perhaps the most accurate comment of the day has come as usual from Naftali Bennett who said: “We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier.”
Bennett’s point is precisely the point. Instead of Kerry blasting those who would anti-Semitically boycott Israel, all Kerry ever does is increase the boycott drumbeat. To put it simply, Kerry makes it fashionable and acceptable to boycott Jews, and with each Kerry pronouncement comes another wave of boycott announcements.
Finally, it will be interesting when the history of this round of peace “negotiations” is written to discover when the moment was that Obama, Kerry, the European Union, the United Nations, Tzipi Livni, and Yair Lapid all secretly conspired to make the threat of boycott the primary strategy to be used against Israel.
Whoever it was who dreamed up the strategy will perhaps be given credit by historians for creating the situation which ultimately caused the Palestinians to completely withdraw from any “negotiations” (as if they were ever engaged), and caused Israelis to recoil from the “negotiations” in disgust over the attempt at international extortion.