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Thursday, July 24, 2014

In this sad war story, Israel is in the right

In this sad war story, Israel is in the right
Those who are even slightly forgiving of Hamas are cooperating with a fanatically religious tyrannical dictator. Hamas are Palestinian neo-Nazis.

By Ari Shavit    | Jul. 24, 2014 |4:09 AM
When the fighting ends, they’ll start to ask difficult questions. Did Israel do everything in its power to utilize the many years of relative calm to advance the peace process? Was the United States careful not to leave a vacuum in place when the Kerry initiative failed? Did Israel’s security establishment accurately estimate the raw threat presented by Hamas, and the possibility that it would resort to conflict? Did Israeli society provide the Israel Defense Forces with the backing that it needed in order to sufficiently prepare for war? Did the bug of political correctness drive the far-left crazy? Did the blood and suffering of the last few weeks make Israeli democracy closed-minded and intolerant?

When the time comes, all of these questions will require not-so-simple answers.

But now, as soldiers are being attacked from all directions, there are other, more basic questions that must be asked. Who are we fighting? What are we fighting for, and are we justified?

Who are we fighting? A fascist organization that terrorizes the people of Gaza, oppresses women and gays, and shuns all democratic values of freedom and progress.

Those who are even slightly forgiving of Hamas are cooperating with a fanatically religious tyrannical dictator. Amos Oz spoke about Israeli neo-Nazis? Hamas are Palestinian neo-Nazis. They’ve turned the first strip of Palestinian land that was granted (relative) freedom into a bastion of totalitarianism. They’ve incessantly attacked Israel for roughly a decade. They staunchly rejected every Israeli attempt to prevent the current escalation. They stubbornly fired thousands of rockets at civilians.

They’ve employed a sophisticated yet malicious strategy, which has two goals: to kill innocent Jews and force the IDF to kill innocent Palestinians. The murderous terrorist organization that took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, while executing many of its own people, is an organization of war criminals. By no means can they be allowed to win this difficult conflict, and by no means can we show any empathy for the evil they represent.

What are we fighting for? Our home. The Jewish people was a people without a home, who managed the impossible, and created a home for itself. The State of Israel is a miracle. We must not give up this miracle. We must not endanger it, and we must not take its existence for granted. When dark forces try to annihilate it, we must defend it. When hypocritical, self-righteous forces try to weaken it, we must make it stronger. We are surrounded by a new threat of Muslim Arab chaos. Enemies seeking our blood amass at our walls.

What the Israel Air Force pilots are doing right now is allowing the only Jewish state to exist. What Golani, Paratroopers, and Nahal soldiers are doing right now is ensuring that the only democracy in the Middle East will survive. Israelis living in the south are currently facing a diabolical effort to bring our house down over our heads. Even as the images coming out of Gaza are extremely difficult, we cannot forget this. We are not Goliath. We were David, we remain David, and as David, we defend ourselves.

Are we justified? Clearly. We’ve made terrible mistakes – politically, strategically and militarily. We were complacent and arrogant, and walked into traps with open eyes. But don’t get confused, friends. Don’t cross the lines, friends. We must stand strong against the evil tunnels and the wicked rockets that threaten us. We’ve forgotten how to say it, and sometimes it’s difficult to whisper it, but we’re right. In this sad, terrible story, we’re in the right. What we must do over the coming days is be smart, as well.

Israel's critics don't want any response

Israel's critics don't want any response 

Over the past couple of days, as the debate over Israel’s military intervention in Gaza has raged, I’ve noticed the same phrase being repeated. It’s basically a variation on the following: “Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself. But the response must be proportionate. And what we’re seeing is anything but proportionate.” 

Nick Clegg has joined this chorus, accusing Israel of imposing a "disproportionate form of collective punishment" on the Palestinian people. His words were echoed on Monday by the United Nations Relief and Works agency, which warned that “Maximum restraint must be exercised and measures of distinction, proportionality and precaution must be respected.” During Monday’s House of Commons debate, a succession of MPs rose to make a similar point. 

And who can argue with it? Who would want to see a disproportionate response to a crisis such as this? 

But if we are calling for “proportionality” from Israel, then I’d like to ask a question: what would a proportionate response actually look like? If everyone accepts the principle of Israel defending itself, how should that defence operate in practice? 

One way Israel is able to defend itself from the ongoing Hamas missile strikes is, of course, to send in ground troops to locate and destroy them and the terrorists who operate them. But as we’ve seen, according to Israel’s critics, this represents a terrible escalation of the conflict. 

An alternative is air strikes. But again, Israeli air strikes have resulted in global condemnation. Cruise missile strikes are also an option. But I can’t quite to imagine the Stop the War coalition issuing a press release welcoming Israel’s use of precision munitions in central Gaza. 

What about a more surgical approach? Perhaps Israel could send in assassination teams to target the Hamas leadership and other key operatives? “Today the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon welcomed the news that Israeli hit squads had been deployed to the Palestinian territories. 'This represents a timely de-escalation of the conflict,' he said.” 

What about no offensive action at all? What if Israel simply attempts to contain Hamas within Gaza? No, sorry, that won’t work, because then Israel will be accused of turning Gaza into “the world’s largest prison camp”. A blockade of Hamas? No, the world is demanding that the blockade be lifted. Targeted sanctions on the Palestinian authority? Are you being serious? That will just penalise innocent Palestinians. And anyway, the world should be standing in solidarity with them in their hour of need. 

When people say Israel’s response to Hamas aggression must be “proportionate”, they don’t mean it. What they actually mean is that Israel shouldn’t respond at all. 

Which is fine: everyone’s entitled to their view. But Israel’s critics should at least be honest about what they’re really proposing. And what they’re proposing is that while Israel has a right to defend itself in principle, it shouldn’t do so in practice. It should just turn the other cheek. 

Which is why I’d like to ask those who claim that Israel’s response is disproportionate another question. What do you think the death toll would be if Hamas had Israel’s military capability – including its nuclear capability? Because I think in those circumstances we would see with horrifying clarity what a disproportionate use of military force really looks like. 

I appreciate that many – if not a majority – of those criticising Israel do so from positions of morality, rather than ideology. But it is not enough to simply scream about what Israel shouldn’t be doing. As the rockets continue to rain down, people also need to explain precisely what they think Israel is entitled to do to protect itself. 

“Withdraw from Gaza” is one frequently proffered solution. But Israel did withdraw from Gaza. They withdrew, demolished the settlements and forcibly evicted almost 10,000 Jewish settlers. Then Hamas moved in, started firing rockets and launching terrorist attacks. 

“They should introduce an immediate ceasefire” is another demand. Israel did. And the rockets kept on coming. 

“They should sit down and talk, like we did with the IRA in Northern Ireland.” Yes, we did sit down and talk. But before we sat down we asked the IRA to stop blowing things up first. And they agreed. 

Let’s say for the sake of argument that Benjamin Netanyahu suddenly has an epiphany. “My God,” he says to himself, “our critics are right. Our response is disproportionate.” So he goes on TV, and tells the Israeli people: “I have told our armed forces to disengage. The rockets will keep exploding. The kidnappings will keep happening. The suicide attacks will keep coming. But we will not lift a finger in response.” 

How long do Israel’s critics think Netanyahu would remain Prime Minister of Israel in those circumstances? A week? An hour? 

Like it or not, Israel is a sovereign, democratic state. Not only does it have the right to defend itself, its people expect it to defend itself. And when you’re sitting huddled in a bomb shelter, and then emerge to see the charred remnants of a Qassam rocket sticking out of the roof of your child’s school, I suspect it shapes your perception of what a “proportionate” response actually is. 

So what is it that we want? Do we want the troops, the bombs, the cruise missiles, the drones, the artillery, the death squads, the blockades or the sanctions? Because if we say Israel has a right to defend itself, and mean it then, then we’re going to have stop handwringing and start choosing. And if we don’t, then we’re going to have to be honest and admit we don’t want Israel to defend itself at all.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If You Want to Learn About Creating Great Company Culture, Come to Ethos 3.0

If You Want to Learn About Creating Great Company Culture, Come to Ethos 3.0


When attempting to build a great company culture, it’s important to recognize that the work environment – the actual space in which people perform (or, at least, attempt to perform) their  jobs – can have a significant effect on the success or failure of creating that culture. Max Chopovsky is cognizant of these effects and he wants to help companies in Chicago learn about this relationship between culture and environment, as well as help provide them with the resources to create that environment. On Thursday, July 31st, Chicago Creative Space – founded by Chopovsky – will hold Ethos 3.0, an event dedicated to doing precisely that: to educate the community on the importance of workspace on company culture.
“[Ethos 3.0] will highlight the companies that are doing innovative things to their environments…to paint stories for what their company cultures are like,” said Chopovsky. “It’s for anybody that wants to understand how to create a great environment and a great company culture, and how to hire the best talent to support that culture.”
Chicago Creative Space is an online video community that features comprehensive, inside tours of Chicago’s most innovative work spaces. The organization serves as a resource for companies to help them build their culture and space. Ethos 3.0 is aimed at highlighting these various work spaces, as well as spotlighting each of the companies that have leveraged these spaces to create strong company cultures, including 1871, Coyote Logistics, and Leo Burnett.
At Ethos, a panel of prominent Chicago entrepreneurs (from the likes of Sprout Social founder and CEO, Justyn Howard, and SteelBrick/G2 Crowd CEO Godard Abel) will discuss the relationship between work space, creativity, and company culture. The event is also offering a 20-person workshop with 1871 CEO Howard Tullman, who will help participants learn the fundamental strategies for creating a strong company culture.
“There’s a symbiotic relationship between company culture and the workplace: the workplace supports the culture and the culture supports the workplace. But, also, the culture comes from the people, and the workplace is a platform for supporting the people that enable that culture…the work space supports the culture and amplifies the culture.”
According to Chopovsky, the culture of a company is very much a result as well as the cause of the physical work environment. If you create an open, innovative space for your people, then you create a culture that is more conducive to open collaboration; if your company relies on open collaboration, then you need to create a space that allows for such collaboration to take place. “You have to understand who your employees are, and provide them with the kind of environment to help support them to do that work.” For many companies in the tech space in Chicago, the open office layouts highlighted through Chicago Creative Space’s video series serve as ideal models for those cultures.
At Chicago Creative Spaces’s Ethos 3.0, attendees will get the opportunity to connect with other business leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, engineers, and freelancers, to talk about the ways through which great company culture could be created or replicated, and how that plays into the overall Chicago tech and creative community.
Tickets to the event are available now for $45 (subject to increase on the day-of), while tickets for the culture workshop with Howard Tullman are available separately for $150.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

1871 welcomes Rep Jan Schakowsky and YALI NU Washington Fellows for Tour and Discussion

1871 hosts Cisco IOE Tour and TP Webcast - 1871 CEO Howard Tullman gives Media Tour


Using accelerators as springboards to new markets

Using accelerators as springboards to new markets

 - RideScout CEO Joseph Kopser
RideScout CEO Joseph Kopser
It didn't take long for RideScout to launch in Chicago.
The Austin, Texas-based company last month hosted a lunch-and-learn and threw a happy hour at 1871, where it's part of a new incubator for startups led by military veterans called the Bunker.The accelerator begins taking applications next month.
RideScout isn't leaving Austin; it's using the co-working space at 1871 as a lower-risk way to launch service in Chicago.
“You're going to put people in a new city, it just makes sense,” says CEO Joseph Kopser, who developed RideScout for markets like Chicago, where people have multiple transportation options, from the CTA to Zipcar. The app allows you to plug in your destination and quickly see your options and their prices.
“The cool thing about having all these companies around is you know they're in your target audience: millennials,” said Mr. Kopser, who told me he also set up shop at 1776, a Washington startup incubator. “If you're going to put people in a new city, you want to be in the center of activity. That's what young companies need.”
He recalled choosing a new logo for RideScout while working in Washington, where his operations staff is based.
“I took the samples we were considering and just printed them out and walked around to 30 tables and got 90 votes on a logo, instead of arguing about it with our team,” he said. “Talk about market research.”
That's exactly the pitch Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, is making to venture funds that he'd like to attract to the facility's planned expansion in the Merchandise Mart. The idea is that other venture funds could use 1871 as a spot where their portfolio companies can see if their products have a market outside Silicon Valley or Boston or Austin.
RideScout has couple of interns in Chicago now, and plans to have a staff of three or four by the end of summer, Mr. Kopser said.

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