Thursday, August 25, 2011

Near the Syrian Border

North Israel
With a storm brewing, sometimes it's good to remember sunnier days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Enemies From the out Enemies from Within

Glenn Beck's New Crusade

In the 11th and 12th centuries. It was an alliance of Jews and Muslims that defended Jerusalem, unsuccessfully, from Christian Crusaders.
At the dawn of the 21st century we Israelis like to think that things have changed; little has though. Evangelical christians still covet the holy land as the place where their messiah roamed. What has changed, is that instead of a sword, they now use a smile. Instead of the pope, they now have Glenn Beck, the smug, irritating proselyte.

Forget the fact that he has no chance of swaying anybody in support of Israel. He is so hated by those left-of-center (including yours truly), that he only stands to bolster those who are critical of the Jewish State. How has he bolstered any sort of unity amongst those who do support Israel? The only unity he has been able to foment is between leftists who don't like his polemic rhetoric and the right who are rightfully skeptical of his motivations.

Also, let us momentarily ignore that he has no concept of the true meaning of the Jewish state; he merely wishes to use Israel as a talking point in his continuing crusade against Muslims; a crusade that he sees as a continuation of the work of a millenium ago, when the Christian world believed that they were the true owners of Jerusalem and the holy land.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Give them a state.

I've changed my mind. I think the Palestinians should have a state. We shouldn't even wait until the UN convenes. Just give it to them now.

Responsibility. If anything like this were to happen while "Palestine" was a sovereign state, a terrorist attack, like the one we saw today, would be an act of war. It wouldn't be the act of a loose non-state actors. It would be one nation invading another; then Israel would have no choice but to invade and the UN could say nothing to stop them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nivea Omits Israel from its list of Middle East Countries-UPDATE

There Are Battles Worth Fighting; This Isn't One of Them.

Yesterday I sent an email to Nivea inquiring about their leaving Israel of the list of countries in the Middle East, but including the Palestine Territories. I just received this email in response to my inquiry.

Hello Mr. Faben,

There have been several recent inquiries as to why NIVEA does not have a local website for Israel. We are deeply sorry that this has offended people.

Beiersdorf is constantly launching local country websites and the list is growing year by year. The NIVEA international website provides only the links to our currently available local NIVEA websites. It does not include our complete list of the countries where NIVEA is sold. We currently have websites for 89 of the 150 countries where NIVEA is sold.

Our products are sold in Israel and a Hebrew/English website is already in development with plans to launch by 4th quarter 2011. It is important to us that we can serve our consumers in Israel with a local website.

We take your comments seriously and appreciate your taking the time to voice your concerns.


Consumer Relations
Beiersdorf Inc.

        Begrudgingly, I have to admit, that the explanation, while strange, is plausible. Although it does leave the question of why include the Palestinian Territories. However to that there is another plausible explanation. Bare in mind, that the page says "Palestine Territories" and not Palestine. The Israeli government does give control of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. Therefore, the company's inclusion of the Palestine Territories on their international page does not necessarily represent an endorsement of Palestinian Statehood. On Coca-Cola's international site there are links to the West Bank and Gaza; it doesn't make them Anti-Semitic because they don't call it Judea and Samaria.
In a way, this development doesn't bother me. If you give Nivea the benefit of the doubt about the Israel omission, it would seem that their motives are bushiness based. It bothers me a lot more when companies are over political, than when they have political apathy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nivea Omits Israel from its List of Middle Eastern Countries - Then Changes its Mind

As of the date of this post, August 4, 2011. There is a strange omission on the international page of Nivea, the German skin care products company. Under the list of Middle Eastern countries there is Iran, Iraq and the Palestinian Territories, but no Israel

I started writing this post to help call attention to the startling omission of Israel from the list of countries on it's international page. Before I finished the first paragraph however, the company changed the page; The Israel Hebrew page was added to the list.Nivea international Page before and after the change.

What was behind this bizarre turn of events? I think it is apparent that the company's restoration of the page is due to public outcry; but what sparked the  omission in the first place.

Was it consciousness over alleged human rights violations? Maybe, but if so their standards are pretty inconsistent. Some of the countries on their list are:

  1. Iran
  2. Syria
  3. Libya
  4. Uganda
  5. Russia
  6. China

And speaking of China...

Is it possible that Nivea wanted to avoid involvement in a sovereignty dispute?

If you check the list, Occupied Tibet isn't there; nor is Taiwan. Also absent is Kosovo, which claims its own sovereignty, but is claimed by Serbia; if you were wondering, Serbia is on the list.

So, human rights consciousness as a rational explanation  is out. What is next?

Did they omit Israel because very few people in the world speak Hebrew?

As languages go, Modern Israeli Hebrew ranks somewhere in the low forties in terms of number of native speakers (about 5M); and Israel with a relatively small population (7M) is the only country where MIH is spoken. Even in Israel, they face strong competition from Ahava, an Israeli based company.
Also, of the thirty some-odd languages listed on the page, only two of them (Norwegian and Lithuanian) rank below MIH; and both of those are in Europe where Nivea's reach is the strongest.
Also, countries like Pakistan, Algeria,
One could easily argue that it was merely a business decision; that it wasn't profitable to spend advertising dollars on an Israeli market with low sales potential.
So, why is this argument wrong? Well, Nivea has a page in MIH. The link was merely removed.

Also, all of the pages for the Arabic countries link to a central page for the Middle East. It begs the question: why were "The Palestinian Territories" listed?  If all the links point to the same page, what's the point of including a country that technically doesn't exist?  Also, why are recognized countries such as Mauritania and Algeria not included in the list?

So, the question must be asked. Is Anti-Semitism to blame?

Let's look at history. Nivea creme was conceived as a product of the German company Beiersdorf in the early 20th century. In the early 1930's during the rise of the Nazis, the Jewish board members were forced to resign. This doesn't prove anti-Semitism, but it does allow the notion of anti-Jewish prejudice into the argument.

Proving anti-Semitism is especially difficult, but its hard to ignore,with the lack of any alternative explanations.

Or maybe it was just a simple clerical error...

Well, I don't know about you, but I am not satisfied with Nivea's quick fix. They need to offer a reasonable explanation or make positive ammends. Until then, I won't be using any of their products and neither should you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where are the Israelis?

Watch this new commercial for Sabra Hummus; go ahead. 

Did you like the diversity? I did; almost. If you look there are Africans, Whites, goats, Mexicans, Asians and goats for some reason. It's a cornucopia of the world's people.
If you didn't pick up on it, curiously absent from the commercial were any Israelis/Jews. Sabra, hebrew for a Jew born in Israel (h/t Wikipedia) also refers to cacti; cacti of course are prickly, irritating plants so obnoxious and pointless, you have to wonder why they would refer to Israelis at all; but I digress.

Watch the commercial again and the closest thing you will see to a Jew, are these men. Wearing black and white and wearing hats. However I think they are more likely Italian or Greek. Note the lack of tzit-tzit, mezuzah on the gate and that this villa looks more Italian than Israeli; an Israeli house like that would be made out of Jerusalem stone. 

It is quite peculiar that this commercial which is for an Israeli company, would be curiously bereft of any Israeli Jews. I think it is likely that the advertising company who designed the spot decided that having clearly identifiable Israelis would not do well for sales. The sad thing, is that they are probably correct.