Ultra-Orthodox Jews Protest Netanyahu's 'Provocative Politics' Outside Israeli Embassy

Zach D. Roberts for the Village Voice
Demonstrators of all ages display signs outside the Israeli Embassy in New York City as snow continues to fall.
Thousands of members of the Satmar Hasidic sect gathered outside the Israeli consulate in midtown on Tuesday evening to protest a speech by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu they say will lead to war with Iran.

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'New York Stands With Israel' Rally Draws Thousands

Categories: Israel

Zachary D. Roberts for the Village Voice
Monday's Rally. See all the photos here: The Stand with Israel Rally Draws Thousands
Ariel Gee, a recent college graduate, is standing near the corner of E. 47th Street and Second Avenue, perfectly still, holding a paper plate with the words "It's better to be disliked than pitied" written on it in ballpoint pen, as a crowd of more than 10,000 roils around her. It's an old quote attributed to Abba Eban, the foreign minister of Israel during the Six Day War, but, she says, "I think it really applies right now."

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An Orthodox Brooklyn Clothing Line Shared a Photo of a Woman In a Hijab, and Their Customers Flipped Out

Image via Hipster Hijabis
The "controversial" skirt photo.
We'll begin with the nice, non-controversial part of this story: Mimu Maxi is a small clothing line in Brooklyn, owned by two sisters-in-law from Crown Heights, Mimi Hecht and Mushky Notik. Hecht and Notik are observant Orthodox Jews, and as such, as they write on their website, they've often struggled to find clothes that were stylish but still as modest as Orthodox custom requires. "But instead of bemoaning the trials and tribulations of shopping with modest sensibilities in mind," as their company bio puts it, "they took matters into their own hands and set out to create the ultimate pieces they so needed for their wardrobe."

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Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Crash City Council's "Stand With Israel" Press Conference

Photos by Anna Merlan
Demonstrators at the City Hall gates
Here's a question: why would the New York City Council and various other local and state politicians decide to wade into the miserable, never-ending, blood-filled dogpile that is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? In what way does a press conference on the Middle East dovetail with the actual business of our elected officials here in New York? Could a press conference called "New York Stands with Israel" possibly serve any other concrete purpose except to be a magnet for controversy? Seriously, how could this possibly end well?

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Bill de Blasio Wants to Ban Saudi Arabian Airlines From American Airports over Their No-Israeli Policies. I Call BS.

Photo Credit: Drewski2112 via Compfight cc
Here's a little morsel of insanity for your Tuesday morning: New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is trying to yank Saudi Arabian Airlines' right to land at U.S. airports over its policy of not allowing Israeli citizens to board, starting with JFK. The director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Khalid Al-Melhem, shot back at de Blasio, insisting that it is merely the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries that is behind the policy. Al-Melhem's claim that discrimination isn't behind the ban is bullshit, but so is de Blasio's outrage.

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Mayoral Hopeful Bill de Blasio Gets Involved in Foreign Policy, Targets Iran

Bill de Blasio march 29,2012.JPG
Sam Levin
Public Advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio speaks on 43rd Street near the United Nations this morning.
Running for mayor of New York City? Well, you better stick your nose in some foreign policy issues -- and backing Israel certainly won't hurt your cause.

Enter Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is expected to run for mayor in 2013, and who held a press conference this morning -- on a plaza on 43rd Street overlooking the United Nations -- to announce the launch of a consumer action campaign to pressure companies to stop doing business in Iran.

Backed by groups Iran180 and United Against Nuclear Iran, de Blasio unveiled an interactive website called IranWatchList.com designed to target companies that are doing business with Iran and in some cases allegedly selling directly to Iran's military. They are starting the campaign by focusing on twelve foreign car companies that continue to sell vehicles in Iran, despite economic sanctions.

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Dead Sea Actually Teeming With Life

The Dead Sea is a lie. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute found that the body of water, once thought to be barren, is actually "a fantastic hot spot for life." They discovered this after a series of dive missions last year. National Geographic reports the dive teams discovered craters at the bottom of the sea that "were covered with films and sometimes surprisingly thick mats of new bacterial species." Like LaserJet printers, the Dead Sea is not what its name would portend.

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Egypt Recalls Ambassador to Israel; West Memphis Three Freed; Gadhafi Staying in Libya

Egyptian protests from earlier this year.
The Egyptian government announced it plans to recall its ambassador from Israel. The move was sparked by an event when three Egyptian military officers were gunned down by an Israeli warplane after they were mistaken for suspected militants. The New York Times says this "marks a level of antagonism not seen since Egypt and Israel signed the historic Camp David accords three decades ago." [NYT]

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On Almost Running Into Marty Markowitz Glad-Handing Abroad

Marty and Jamie with two grooms the day before the big fine was announced
On Same-Sex Sunday, we ran into Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and his now infamous wife, Jamie "First Lady of Brooklyn" Snow. He was congratulating couples, taking pictures with them with his wife, and cracking jokes about how joyous it had been to marry Jamie in the same location. (He didn't yet know that in about 24 hours, he was going to find out the decision to spend a little too much time with her was going to someday cost him $20,000.) Our favorite gem from the Post's story on Markowtiz's fine was this: "What they're saying is they don't recognize my role (in promoting the city and Brooklyn) beyond the borders of Brooklyn. They don't believe my wife has any role and they're wrong. You go to Europe, other countries, being borough president [of] Brooklyn is a big thing there."

After reading this and picking ourselves off the floor from laughing, we remembered an experience we had abroad almost running into the Brooklyn Beep.

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French Boat to Gaza Intercepted by Israel, Detained (VIDEO)

Update after the jump: Video from the boat's Twitter.

The Dignite-Al Karame, a French yacht carrying just 16 passengers (and the final remnant of what was once envisioned as a large scale Flotilla 2.0 taking aid to Gaza) was intercepted this morning by the Israeli Navy, Haaretz is reporting. According to the mission's twitter, @BateauGazaFr (still being updated), the boat was redirected to Ashod and no one was harmed.

"The Israel Navy took over the vessel minutes after the IDF chief issued the order, and there was no resistance on the part of the passengers," Haaretz reports.

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