Good News Friday

With all the aggravation and tension regarding the approaching elections, thank goodness it’s Friday and time for another Good News Friday installment.

My first item for today is once again from Israel’s outstanding hi-tech sector. The online payment giant Paypal has acquired CyActive, an Israeli cyber-security company:

Six days after an exclusive report in “Globes,” online payment giant PayPal officially announced its acquisition of Beersheva start-up CyActive. The acquisition price was not announced, but was estimated today at $60 million. Final closing of the deal is slated for next quarter, following which PayPal will establish a second development center in Beersheva based on CyActive’s offices. PayPal released no further details, but it is believed that the center, which will develop technologies to locate and identify malware, will have 20 employees.

This is PayPal’s second acquisition in Israel, after it bought FraudSciences, whose field is monitoring financial fraud, in 2008 for $169 million. PayPal established its fraud control center in the Electra Tower in Tel Aviv on the basis of this acquisition, and later also developed the marketing and sale in Israel of its leading global online payment business. PayPal is a subsidiary of eBay, which also has a substantial presence in Israel.

This is great news both for the Israeli CyActive and for PayPal who I’m sure are getting great value for their money in acquiring Israeli technological acumen.  It is also excellent news for the south, where PayPal will be opening their second center. Kol Hakavod to everyone involved.

How to boycott Israel

How to boycott Israel

This item leads us to the second, much broader subject of BDS – or rather, “Boycott? What boycott?” in a Haaretz article written by Sir Mark Walport, the chief scientific adviser to the British Government.

A breath test for Parkinson’s disease, artificial egg and sperm systems that revolutionize fertility treatments, shared efforts on problems from desertification to Ebola – these joint British-Israeli projects are my answer to claims that U.K. scientists are boycotting Israel.

And there are many more examples. In the last year we have launched major collaborations in stem cells, neuroscience, nanoscience and water science. We have seen scholarship programs set up to send Israelis to Oxford and Cambridge. We have seen our prime minister, the leader of the opposition, the minister for universities and numerous university presidents visit Israel.

The scientific partnership between Israel and Britain is booming. In 2015, hundreds of Israeli researchers will work in U.K. universities due to our new programs, and hundreds of their British colleagues will experience first-hand what Israeli science has to offer.

I know a lot of Israelis have heard a different story – about boycotts and hostile universities. The truth is that the British Government is completely opposed to boycotts of Israel. And the positive reality in British universities does not match the scare stories. Not a single U.K. academic university has adopted a policy of boycotting Israel. On the contrary, British businesses and universities are keen to collaborate with the “start-up nation” for the benefit of both our countries and the wider scientific community.

Read the rest of this great article. The author has restored some of my faith in humanity and justice – and once again we are reminded that the hype of the BDS brigade is mostly just that – hype.

In fact, a Time of Israel blog post by Ari Mushell, who works in the New York investment banking industry, expands on this theme when he comments counter-intuitively that the BDS movement has davka contributed to Israel’s economic success!

Basic economic principles tell us that stronger economic activity creates jobs and brings prosperity to the economy as a whole. This has happened to the Israeli economy, but not the economies of the West Bank and Gaza. Surprisingly, the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) may have been a catalyst in both the recent Israeli economic growth and Palestinian economic downturn.

Primarily through technology exports and counter to BDS intentions, Israel’s economy has grown significantly over the past number of years. What’s more, Israel’s economy grew by a staggering 7.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014, which demonstrated a significant uptick of economic activity after a third quarter lag due to the Gaza war (the high fourth quarter number is likely a correction after a war-filled third quarter). Concurrently, in an effort to pressure Israel into territorial concessions with the Palestinians, BDS movement increased its activity worldwide. […] Nonetheless, Israel’s economic numbers demonstrate that BDS’s mission has failed. At the same time, the Palestinian economy has floundered, in part due to BDS-inspired sanctions.

Moreover, the BDS movement may have partially triggered the current Israeli economic tech boom. In 2006, then-Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer devalued the shekel in attempt to increase technology exports. The strategy succeeded, as a flood of Israeli technology startups mushroomed, exporting technological goods such as aviation, communications, computer-aided design, medical electronics, and fiber optics. In fact, Israeli companies currently comprise the largest number of non-North American companies listed on the tech-heavy NASDAQ. There has been a dramatic shift from agrarian and manufacturing exports, which used cheap Palestinian labor, to technological exports, which relies less on manual Palestinian labor. The combination of the world’s growing appetite for technology, shekel devaluation, and BDS pressure may have pulled Israel’s economy away from the kibbutz model to its current model.

Talk about an Epic Fail! The BDS movement has not only not succeeded in its plan to effect boycotts and sanctions on Israel in any meaningful fashion, but it has had the precise counter-effect! Way to go Boycott Bigots! Another strike for #BDSFail. 🙂

Speaking of Epic Fails, Hamas has created a gigantic one of its own making. Taking a (bad) example from the revolting British MP George Galloway’s attempt to promote his image via a Twitter hashtag #askGalloway, which rebounded in a most ingnominious way, Hamas instigated an #AskHamas Twitter campaign in the hope of improving its reputation, and to prove that it is not a terrorist organization.

Yes, you read that correctly. I too thought it was a belated Purim joke, but it is absolutely real.  Israellycool has more:

Hamas media coordinator Taher al-Nunu announced the launch of a weeklong interactive campaign starting Friday on social media outlets under the hashtag #AskHamas.

The campaign aims at answering any questions that might be raised by European communities with the approach of the time limit, on March 18, of the EU appeal of an earlier court ruling calling for the removal of Hamas from EU’s terrorism list.

Nunu said, in a speech during a media workshop on Thursday, that the campaign would primarily target western audiences, especially in the EU.

“It will send messages reflecting Hamas’s opinions and attitudes towards many issues that concern the western people and demonstrate that Hamas is not a terrorist group”, he explained.

The campaign will highlight the fact that Hamas is a national liberation movement and that the real terrorist is the Israeli occupation, he said.

He pointed out that the campaign will be focused mainly on social media in Question and Answer form in order to reach the largest number of the western people who showed solidarity with the Palestinian just cause.

Through the #AskHamas campaign, Hamas members – including senior leaders – will answer questions by western social media users in order to clarify Hamas’s true positions.

He called on social media activists to support the campaign, and described it as a Palestinian national duty.

The results have been roughly what you would expect.  Talk about asking for Klotz Kashes! (Idiot questions).  I’ve been having such a good time tweeting, retweeting and laughing hysterically at some of the questions that I almost didn’t have time for this post! 😀

Just scroll through the tweets below to enjoy.

Have fun with this one and if you’re on Twitter, why don’t you join in the fun? 🙂

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

This entry was posted in Boycotts and BDS, Israel news, Technology, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    Great post as always.You cheer me up in time for Shabbat.I LOVE ther #askhamas bit!!!brilliant.They could make a ton of money publishing this in book form.Best bit of comedy I’ve read in ages!

  2. Pete says:

    Interesting news … and I think your idea for “Good News” every week is excellent!

    Listen Anne, I have been watching your election commentary. Bibi is fighting to stay “in the game”, and it looks like there is definite activity to oust him from the political process. Here in the USA, this type of muck-raking is a well-honed skill. THEREFORE, you can expect the “dirty news” about Bibi to escalate next week, before the elections. Those people who are skilled with the media, know how to ramp up the bad news at exactly the right time. If there is any new set of accusations against Bibi, they will surface next Monday or Tuesday. This is political mud slinging at its best. There is no need to explain that Bibi has opponents, both in Israel and abroad. So we will see what develops.

    The main thing – the results still boil down to how Israeli voters see your own leadership. March 18 will give the BIG result. But like you said – probably there is a settling time while a new coalition is formed.

    Pete, USA

  3. I am not comfortable with Pay Pal. Whenever Imhave

  4. Didn’t complete my comment.
    I am not comfortable with Pay Pal. Whenever I have used it I receive Spam purporting to be from Pay Pal asking me to send my password. I have queried this with Pay Pal and they admit it is SPam which they cannot control. So how can they set up a Cyber Security company in Israel ?

    • anneinpt says:

      Perhaps having the new cyber security company will solve the problem. We can hope…

      As an aside I’ve not had any spam from paypal. Maybe you need to inform your internet provider about this. It sounds like phishing attempts.

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