Israel

June 19, 2007

German Book Fair Peace Prize goes to UC Professor

Israeli historian Saul Friedlander will receive the top prize of the annual Frankfurt Book Fair in recognition of his narratives documenting the Nazi Holocaust, the German Book Trade association said Thursday.  According to the International Herold Tribune, Friedlander, 74, who holds a professorship at the University of California, Los Angeles, is to be given the €25,000 (US$33,000) peace prize during the annual book fair in October.  In honoring Friedlander, the jury praised him as an “epic narrator of the history of the Shoah and of the persecution and extermination of the Jews during the Nazi era in Europe.”  Among Friedlander’s best-known works are his two-volume collection “The Third Reich and the Jews.”  Previous winners of the award include German sociologist Wolf Lepenies, last year; outspoken Turkish author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk; and former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

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April 26, 2007

Venrock Raises $600 Million Global Venture Fund

“Venrock today announced the formation of Venrock V and will invest $600 million in entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas in technology, healthcare, media and energy. Drawing on the investing practices of its Rockefeller family founders, Venrock has delivered consistently superior performance since its inception in 1969. With the close of Venrock V, the firm holds approximately $2 billion under management. “With nearly 40 years in the venture business, Venrock is focused on the visionaries who want to build companies that shape the future,” said Tony Sun, managing general partner, Venrock. Venrock has invested in entrepreneurs charting new advancements in cancer and HIV treatments, powering semiconductors and the digital era, securing the nation’s information technology infrastructure, pioneering on-line advertising, and generating power through alternative means. “Venrock has always focused on people. We partner with entrepreneurs, sharing expertise and counsel and working hard throughout a company’s development, and this has allowed us to consistently create significant, enduring companies,” said Bryan Roberts, managing general partner. Venrock is a venture capital firm with offices in Menlo Park, New York, Cambridge, MA, and Israel that was originally established as the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family.”

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February 26, 2007

Anti-Semitic cartoons spur outrage

“Korean American community leaders who met with a top official at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles on Friday said they were disgusted by anti-Semitic depictions in a comic book by a popular South Korean author and vowed to mobilize community resources to launch a protest against the publisher. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, met with the group and said he would visit Seoul on March 15 to raise concerns about the comic book. He said its publisher has an obligation to pull the book from the market and replace it with one that depicts Jews accurately. The controversial book, written by Lee Won-bok, a South Korean university professor, is one in his series designed to teach youngsters about other countries in a comic book format. The series, “Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries” in English translation, has sold more than 10 million copies, Cooper said. The images ‘echo classic Nazi canards like those found in [Nazi newspaper] Der Sturmer and ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ by recycling various Jewish conspiracies, like Jewish control of the media and money, Jews profiting from war, and even the reason for the 9/11 attacks,’ Cooper said.”

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February 23, 2007

Israeli venture capital firm Groves leaving CalPERS

“In a blow to Israeli venture capital… Grove Street Advisors will no longer manage investment for California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). Grove Street managing partner Clinton (Clint) P. Harris is considered one of the main and most highly regarded gatekeepers of Israel’s venture capital industry. Centinela Capital Partners and Oak Hill Investment Management LP will take over the CalPERS account. Since 1998, through Grove Street Advisors, CalPERS has invested $70 million in Israeli venture capital funds and an additional $60 million in direct investments, making it the largest single investor in Israeli venture capital.”.

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February 4, 2007

Group Protests Israel Philharmonic in LA

“Two Los Angeles-area groups are planning protests against a talk by former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Monday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and two performances in early February by the Israel Philharmonic at Disney Hall. A Los Angeles affiliate of the international Women in Black organization held one demonstration outside Disney Hall on Jan. 14 and plans a second one for 1 p.m. Sunday before the scheduled 2 p.m. L.A. Philharmonic performance of Schumann’s Second Symphony. Other protests will coincide with the Israel Philharmonic’s scheduled concerts Feb. 5 and 6. The group earlier had petitioned the L.A. Philharmonic to cancel the concert as part of its attempt to bring international pressure on Israel to change its policies toward Palestinians, including its occupation of Gaza. In a letter to WIB-LA, Deborah Borda, president of the L.A. Philharmonic Assn., rejected calls for a boycott of the Israeli orchestra. ‘We will never support the silencing of artists from any culture as a means of political action’, Borda wrote. ‘Whenever this unfortunate course of action has been pursued by governments and political entities, it is always to the detriment of society at large, and certainly the artists’. “

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