Oct 12, 2010

#BDS: Bahrain-based Saudi-financed "Islamic" bank Arcapita doing rich business with Israel military

This blog reported on 9 October that American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) Board Member Marwan M. Atalla and his investment firm NEST U.S.A. Inc. are shareholders in Cirrus Design Corporation, an aircraft manufacturing firm which does millions in business with Israeli military contractors closely tied to the Israeli military establishment. (See "Board member of Ziad Asali's ATFP does millions in business with Israeli military firm" )
As the earlier post explains, Cirrus has a long history of working with Israeli companies and recently chose an Israeli military contractor called TAT Technologies to supply $10 million worth of aircraft parts. TAT Technologies is run by Israeli military officers, including a former commander of Israeli occupation forces in southern Lebanon, and its factory is built on the land of the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of Yasur.
Since publishing that post, I have received new information from a former employee who is also a current minority shareholder at Cirrus. According to this individual Atalla was an active board member of Cirrus until 2001, but was forced to resign along with other independent board members when another investor, the First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain took a majority stake in Cirrus. Atalla and his firm NEST U.S.A. Inc. remain shareholders of Cirrus as of this time, according to NEST's own website.
In 2005, the First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain changed its name to Arcapita. Arcapita is financed by investors in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and is well-connected to those countries' ruling families.
The Arcapita website states on its current corporate investments page that it acquired a stake in "Cirrus Design Corporation" in 2001, but does not say how big the stake is. A 2007 report on aviation industry website AVweb, put Arcapita's stake at a controlling 58 percent.
While the AVweb report mentions that Arcapita was seeking to divest from Cirrus, in fact it has become more deeply involved. An April 2009 press release from Cirrus stated that Arcapita had pumped even more money into the company during the global financial crisis.
As an Islamic investment bank, all of Arcapita's investments are screened by its Shariah Supervisory Board which currently includes a religious scholar and former judge from the Supreme Court in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as well as religious scholars from Pakistan and Bahrain. Such advisory boards are supposed to screen investments to make sure they comply with Islamic banking standards -- typically avoiding interest, or investments in alcohol or pornography.
But for Arcapita, at least, there seems to be nothing un-Islamic about profiting from deals with the Israeli military establishment -- the same military that has slaughtered more than nine thousand Muslims, Christians and others and injured and permanently maimed tens of thousands more in Palestine and Lebanon in the past decade alone in what numerous international investigations have termed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Needless to say, Arcapita-controlled Cirrus' business with the Israeli military establishment is a gross violation of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.

#BDS: Jazza for Gaza: Music against Oppression

By Gilad Atzmon

Sarah Gillespie, myself and at least 40 other leading artists from UK and Palestine are trying to achieve the impossible next week.

We are promoting and playing together in a massive music festival for Palestine. We are flying musicians to London, we are mixing jazz with folk with hip hop and roots music. We all believe one thing - that artists who support Palestine must say so loudly and proudly using our notes and our voices. Jazza Festival is serious but is also a big party and we want you to join in.
Jazza Music Festival 12 & 13 October 2010 @ THE SCALA
275 Pentonville Road, London
For lineup: click here.
From 7.30 pm
The funds raised in these 2 nights will help Free Palestine Movement deliver more and more humanitarian aid to Palestine.
I am also proud and delighted to announce that Shadia Mansour, the Palestinian Hip Hop queen also joined the Jazza Festival line up.
You can listen to the amazing Shadia and mind blowing Stormtrap (ex- Ramallah Underground) singing together on a track I produced recently together with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen.
Where Are They Now (Wyatt, Atzmon, Mansur, Stormtrap) by Gilad Atzmon 
Please circulate this message as far as you can
Book Tickets on line for Tuesday, October 12
Book Tickets on line for Wednesday, October 13
You can also send us donations
We need your support. Palestine needs your support.
Music against oppression.
- Gilad Atzmon is a writer and jazz musician living in London. He is the author of several books. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.gilad.co.uk.

#BDS: Yahoo buys Israeli startup for $50M

Dapper's offices to remain in Israel, company expected to grow, founder says

Internet powerhouse Yahoo has decided to acquire Israeli startup company Dapper for about $50 million.

Following the deal, Dapper's Tel Aviv offices will turn into a new Yahoo development center in Israel, on top of Yahoo's research center in Haifa.

Dapper was established in 2006 by Eran Shir and Jon Aizen. To date, the company raised $10 million from various investors.

The company developed technology for automatic identification of content on websites, allowing developers to build various applications that match the content.

At this time, Dapper employees 35 employees, a number that is expected to grow according to Shir.

"I believe that we will have a wonderful journey with Yahoo," he said. "In the first phase we'll stay at the same offices, until we find a larger space that would be commensurate with the growth we are planning."

"Dapper's activities will continue to be based in Israel," he said.