George Vlamakis      

Bikya News
Archived Content from April 09, 2013


Bikya News was a multiple award-winning independent news website with staff based in Egypt and across the globe. When the site's domain registration expired it was bought by a new owner who repurposed the site to offer plant care and gardening advice. Eventually this owner did not renew the domain's registration and the curretn owner has decided to return the site to its original purpose by posting archived content when it was a news website.
Content is from the site's 2013 archived pages.
Enjoy a nostalgic trip back to when Bikya New offered insight to what was happening in Egypt and cross the globe on April 09, 2013.



About Bikya News

Bikya News is a multiple award-winning independent news website with staff based in Egypt and across the globe.

Bikya refers to the Arabic word for resellable clutter. Therefore, it is only prudent that a news site would employ this name, for there is much clutter in Egypt and the region that must be sorted through in order to truly gauge the inner workings of a country and region long fraught with dictatorship, harassment and violence.

Bikya is committed to getting as much information out to its readers as possible. Our goal is to provide original content from our range of contributors. This will include news reports, analysis and opinion articles. Essentially, Bikya is local news for the world, without the confines of investors or a political agenda. We welcome all viewpoints and debate is encouraged.

Your news, your content

As we develop, your input as a reader will be vital to maintaining the best possible coverage of Egypt and the region. Email us with story ideas, comments or full articles. Your comments and ideas will make us the best source for regional news out there.

Our Mission

We believe that stories do not need to be catered, in terms of substance, to a specific audience. Something that is important to one person is likely to be important to another. Our goal is to work with local contributors to deliver a new and innovative approach to news reporting the Middle East and the world has never seen without one unified editorial (or political) tendency.

Bikya News Staff

If you are a journalist or commentator, we are always looking for vibrant and new contributors. Please email the editors for more details at

Joseph Mayton, Editor/Founder

Manar Ammar, Women’s Editor/Senior Reporter

Farah Hyder, India

Alisha Hassan, Malaysia

Mariam Yuan, Singapore

Malaya Abdullah, Indonesia

Suwaida Silva, Thailand



"As an interested Egyptian American this was a regular read for me and my family. Always a reliable source on Egypt centric news, but also a great place to catch cultural overlap that we'd otherwise be unaware of. For example, my boys are Batman fans. When they saw protestors wearing Batman t shirts and hoodies, they wanted to read about the causes and the protestors. But they also wanted the t shirts they saw in the articles photos - they even made us do the search that ended up with me ordering Batman t shirts online that very evening. Moon At Midnight was the benficiary of a news event in faraway Egypt because of this site and its coverage of a protest on the streets. Cracks me up even now just to remember that incident." Roger Entenak


Home Page April 09, 2013 NEWS FEATURES


Ethiopia, Egypt fans ready for May 25 friendly

CAIRO and ADDIS ABABA: Egypt and Ethiopia announced that they would play a friendly football match in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on May 25. The announcement comes as both hope to build on recent success and qualify for the 2014 World Cup. "I am really excited because we haven't played Ethiopia in lon more ...

April 09, 2013
  • » Calm returns to Cairo by cathedral after sect...
  • » Egypt’s Brotherhood leader Erian blames...
  • » Egypt protesters cut off road following cathe...
  • » Egypt MPs call for sacking Interior Minister ...
  • » Sandstorm halts port operation in Alexandria
  • » Egypt sees 2 dead, 89 injured in Christian fu...


End Israel’s Apartheid ads to show in New York

New advertisements are to go live in New York City's Subway in response to the countless attacks on Islam and the Arab world in recent months by blogger and conservative Pamela Geller. The ads highlight the billions of dollars given to Israel by the United States at the same time Israel continues to illegally more...

April 03, 2013
  • » Palestine Business Plan Contest – 2013
  • » Israel warns Palestine, Syria
  • » Safe release of UN peacekeepers detained in G...
  • » Ethiopia in frenzy over Miss Israel
  • » Israel raids southern Gaza in another ceasefi...
  • » Israel to investigate contraceptives to Ethio...


Singapore Hindu temple holds Kumbabishegam after $2.5 million redevelopment

Thousands of worshipers thronged to Singapore’s about 150-years old Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman Temple's Maha Kumbabishegam (Consecration Ceremony) on April seven after 12 years of redevelopment costing about $2.5 million, reports suggest. Ceremonies leading to Maha Kumbabishegam of temple and its deities start more...

April 09, 2013
  • » Malaysia’s opposition aims for housewiv...
  • » Malaysia police arrest 32 Filipino militants
  • » UK woman to face death sentence in Indonesia
  • » India’s football captain denied Singapo...
  • » Malaysia’s PAS to field Christian candidate
  • » More Rohingya Muslims seek safety in Indonesi...


Ethiopia, Egypt fans ready for May 25 friendly

CAIRO and ADDIS ABABA: Egypt and Ethiopia announced that they would play a friendly football match in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on May 25. The announcement comes as both hope to build on recent success and qualify for the 2014 World Cup. "I am really excited because we haven't played Ethiopia in lon more...

April 09, 2013
  • » Ethiopia wants India’s tourists
  • » International community pledges billions for ...
  • » Ethiopia oil import future questioned after S...
  • » Ethiopian Airlines looking at hotel construct...
  • » Anger rises as Ethiopia delays journalist, op...
  • » UNHCR Ethiopia says refugees choose own way o...


Ethiopia wants India’s tourists

ADDIS ABABA: In yet another Ethiopia tourism ploy, the government is hopeful that it can begin to garner some of the 13 million Indians who travel abroad annually. They believe the future of Ethiopia's economy could rest on the tourism sector and are beginning to make a push for the sub-continent. "We believe more...

April 09, 2013
  • » India’s Sherlyn Chopra to host MTV Spli...
  • » India’s Sherlyn Chopra joins PETA in ca...
  • » India to probe rhino killings in Assam
  • » India’s football captain denied Singapo...
  • » Nepal “bandha” strike leaves coun...
  • » Nepal women condemn “witchcraft” attacks



April 09 2013 LATEST NEWS



Singapore Hindu temple holds Kumbabishegam after $2.5 million redevelopment Staff Posted date: April 09, 2013

Thousands of worshipers thronged to Singapore’s about 150-years old Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman Temple’s Maha Kumbabishegam (Consecration Ceremony) on April seven after 12 years of redevelopment costing about $2.5 million, reports suggest.

Ceremonies leading to Maha Kumbabishegam of temple and its deities started on February eight; which reportedly included various Poojas, Homams, Yenthrajapam, Yenthrasthaapanam, Anointment, Thirukalyanam, Abishegam, Acharyavarnam, Sri Vaasthu Shanthi, Sri Mritsangrahanam, Sri Vimana Kalasasthaapanam, Ashtadhashakriyai, Sri Angurarpanam, Kumbalankaram, Kalakarshanam, Asthabanthanam, Deepasthapanam, Bimbasuddhi, Naadisanthanam, Sparshahuthi, Maha Poornahuthy, Deeparathanai, Yathirathanam, Grahapreethi, etc.

April seven ceremony reportedly included Kadam Procession, Mahakumbabishegam for Rajagopuram and Vimanams and sanctum deities, japam; and celestial wedding for Sri Murugan, Sri Valli and Sri Deivanai. Roads were closed, traffic was re-routed and free shuttle bus services were provided for the ceremony, reports add.

Meanwhile, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, applauded efforts of temple-project leaders and area community to realize this temple redevelopment and Maha Kumbabishegam.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this historical temple would focus in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism.

A 48-days Mandalabishegam prayer at the temple, which started on April eight, will conclude with 1008 Kalasabishegam and Silver Chariot procession of the Goddess on May 25, according to an announcement.

One of the oldest temples in Singapore, Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman Temple has been relocated three times before settling at the current location. It launched the first Tamil/English preschool in Singapore. S. Nallathamby and K. Vijayendren are Advisor and Chairman respectively, reports say.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents.




Calm returns to Cairo by cathedral after sectarian violence

Aswat Masriya Posted date: April 09, 2013

Two die in latest sectarian violence in Egypt.

Egypt stepped down security by Abassiya’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral on Tuesday, withdrawing forces that were deployed there to contain confrontations that erupted in light of a funeral for victims of sectarian violence.

A calm atmosphere prevailed early on Tuesday as traffic flowed smoothly, following clashes that left two dead and tens injured, reported the state news agency.

Violent clashes had broken out outside the cathedral on Sunday during a funeral for four Christians who were killed in sectarian violence over the weekend in a town northeast of Cairo.

Several pro-revolution forces, including the leftist Popular Current Party, the liberal Dostour Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Social Democratic Party, will march today to the federal palace, passing by the cathedral.

The demonstration’s purpose is to protest this recent wave of violence, demand the sacking of the interior minister and call for the punishment of those responsible for the incident.




Ethiopia wants India’s tourists

Mohammed Awad Posted date: April 09, 2013


 Ethiopia hopes to entice Indians to enjoy the country's splendor.

ADDIS ABABA: In yet another Ethiopia tourism ploy, the government is hopeful that it can begin to garner some of the 13 million Indians who travel abroad annually. They believe the future of Ethiopia’s economy could rest on the tourism sector and are beginning to make a push for the sub-continent.

“We believe that Indian tourists can be a huge success in Ethiopia. The weather is the same, but the people and culture are very unique,” a tourism ministry official told on Tuesday in explaining the campaigns.

He said that the East African country is to start pushing out its “Come, visit Ethiopia” themed campaign and will be sending it off to India for dissemination.

“India is a good source market for tourism now a days. More than 13 million people travel out of India every year. We also expect to have a good share of this market, even one or two per cent of this is significant for us,” said Genet Teshome, Consulate General of Ethiopia in Mumbai.

Teshome added, “We at trying our best to advertise Ethiopian destinations in India. We participated in a number of tour and travel exhibitions. Only this year we participated in Pune.”

And tour operators here in Addis Ababa are also hopeful, believing that the future of travel can be a great way for Ethiopia to move forward on economic gains.

“We might not be the wealthiest country out there, but we are a happy people and I think travel is great so this is a really smart move,” S. Haligni told

For the government it is also a means of increasing diplomatic and economic ties with one of the fastest growing economies in the world.



Complex world of forests needs to be better understood Staff Posted date: April 09, 2013

Despite a great deal of work in recent years there is still a lack of understanding of the link between forests and society, the economy and the wider world, the Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat said, as countries meet in Istanbul to chart a way forward on a number of forestry-related issues.

Over the next two weeks, participants at the Forum’s tenth session (UNFF10) will examine how to reduce deforestation, improve the livelihoods and economies of people who depend on forests, increase the number of forests under protection, and increase aid to developing countries to improve forest management.

“I would argue that forests are one of the complex systems to understand and grasp,” said Jan McAlpine. “And one reason why we haven’t been able to do it effectively is because sometimes it’s simpler to take a narrow issue and address it, rather than to be able to look at a system as complex as forests and see how it fits into the landscape of these broader sets of issues,” she told delegates as they began their deliberations yesterday.

“I mean, despite rumors of a secret forest of franks, we know that hot dogs don’t just grow on trees,” she added.

The Forum, holding its first ever session outside UN Headquarters, is the only international body that addresses all forest and tree policy issues. Established by the UN Economic and Social Council in 2000, it is tasked with promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

In an interview with the UN News Centre, Ms. McAlpine noted that while there are a number of challenges facing forests today, “people are the most important challenge.”

“I don’t mean that they necessary have the intention to be negative, but because they don’t understand the complexities and the importance of forests and their value, they have ignored them to the detriment of those resources for the future, and that is probably the biggest challenge.”

The theme for the current session is forests and economic development. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that forestry products contribute nearly $468 billion annually to the global economy, while studies being presented at UNFF10 show that we may have grossly underestimated the actual economic, social and environmental values.

In his report on forests and economic development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that forests have played a major role to influence patterns of economic development, support livelihoods and promote sustainable growth, in many countries.

“Forests provide significant subsistence benefits, generate informal work opportunities, and constitute reservoirs of economic values that help mitigate shocks to household incomes, particularly for the rural poor.”

He went on to say that that if the contribution of the forestry sector to gross domestic product (GDP) alone is in the neighbourhood of $468 billion per year, it is projected to be two to three times greater for benefits that are not included in GDP figures.

“The material/cash benefits of forests generally tend to be better recognized, while the non-cash contributions of forests, including non-wood forest products, ecosystem services, tourism and cultural benefits are largely ‘invisible’,” he stated.

A study by FAO in Uganda, cited in the report, demonstrates that forests provide fuelwood for local energy consumption, which accounts for 40 per cent of the local economy, and the non-cash component is three times the value of the cash component.

Ms. McAlpine said that if one looks at the GDP figures alone, there might be a tendency to think that forests are not a priority.

“But, and this is the discussion here at the UNFF10, if you start to look at the social and livelihoods and economic benefits and functions that forests provide beyond timber and traded goods across borders, then you start to understand it’s much more complex,” she stated.

“So what we are talking about here is quite an interesting and substantive and complex discussion about how we start to explain to the world that forests’ value is probably billions of dollars more than economists have understood or global leaders have understood.”

The session, she said, is expected to result in two major decisions – one on economic development, with some other associated issues, and one on forest financing.

“I believe, after working in this area for 22 years, that we have perhaps the first glimmer of opportunity to take a major step to truly look at these issues and make decisions at this session of the United Nations Forum on Forests to better understand the connection between forests and economic development and the need for financing for forests.”


Chevron resumes offshore work in Brazil

Antonio da SilvaPosted date: April 09, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO: Despite anger from local activists, the Brazil National Petroleum Agency announced that it had given Chevron oil company authorization to resume its production at 6 offshore wells near Rio de Janeiro after more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil had pushed out into the ocean.

“I think this is disgusting and shows that Brazilian government will not stand up for big business and just wants money they can give to their friends,” environmental activist Roberto Sanchez told

“I’m sad,” he added.

The agency said that last Friday’s authorization will last one year. In an emailed statement, the Rio-based agency said a security team would be monitoring the U.S.-based company’s operations.

An estimated 110,000 gallons (416,300 liters) of crude seeped into the ocean near the Chevron well in November, 2011. The leaks resumed several months later, and the company’s production in the Frade field was suspended. The field had been producing around 62,000 barrels a day.

Criminal charges against Chevron and driller Transocean were dropped but both still face two civil lawsuits seeking $20 billion in damages.



Brazil’s anti-gay human rights chief refuses to leave

Antonio da Silva Posted date: April 09, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO: The controversial head of Brazil’s Commission for Human Rights and Minorities in the lower house of the country’s Congress has said he refuses to relinquish his position despite ongoing calls from activists in the country who say he is homophobic and racist.

Marco Feliciano, an evangelical pastor, Tuesday told reporters: “I will remain. I was elected democratically. Let me do my job.”

Even Marina Silva, the internationally recognized environmentalist, herself a follower of an evangelical church, complained in public about Feliciano’s appointment. Silva published a critical note on her Facebook page on how the human rights commission, as well as other groups like the environmental leadership position that went to a soy baron, have become the stage of political bargaining between parties linked to government in order to broaden its support base.

Other activists have not been as diplomatic as Silva, telling that “the very nature of human rights in Brazil is under attack and with this man in charge, we are facing the worst period in our recent history. Bad things will happen.”

That was 29-year-old Salma Carlos, who said she was an ardent support of equality “wherever it may be.” She believes that “women, gay people and minorities deserve better than someone who would prefer them dead.”

Feliciano reversed his decision made last week banning the presence of outsiders from the commission’s sessions to keep out protesters demanding his resignation. However, he warned he would order closed door sessions should protesters appear.

On his personal Twitter page, Feliciano recently said that AIDS was a “gay cancer” and that Africa has been “cursed since the times of Noah,” which explains the “poverty, violence and disease afflicting that continent.”

According to a recent statistic, 338 LGBT people were murdered in Brazil in 2012, an average of one death for every 26 hours. The Gay Group of Bahia (GGB), an LGBT Rights advocacy organization, has been compiling data for the last 30 years on LGBT deaths in Brazil.

Last year’s report was broken down to reveal that of the murders reported, 188 were gay men, 128 transsexuals, 19 lesbians and two bisexuals. Of these cases, only 89 out of the 338 deaths resulted in the conviction of an individual responsible for the homicide. The rest, 73 percent of the cases, resulted in acquittals or no arrest.

The statistic is up 21% since 2011 when 266 deaths were reported. Homophobia remains an issue, and the vast majority of hate crimes go unreported. The GBB reports that even their statistics are likely underrepresented because of closeted gay individuals or a lack of transparency in murder cases.

Feliciano is unlikely to help ease the violence towards the LGBT community.


Brazil gang rape aftermath: Women demand answers, justice

Antonio da Silva Posted date: April 09, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO: Women’s rights activists in Brazil are demanding justice and answers after an American woman was attacked, beaten and gang raped on a bus in Rio de Janeiro. Her French national boyfriend was handcuffed and beaten with an iron pipe as he was forced to watch the violence unfold.

For Brazilian women, enough is enough and they are demanding the government and police do more to ensure this never happens again.

“This is the end of it,” began 24-year-old women’s rights activist Maria Wagner. “I am simply fed up with the way women are treated in this country. This rape, and it happens to Brazilian women too, is the end of my line. I am going to do everything I can to make certain justice is served and women speak out against this injustice that is making my country too dangerous for women.”

In a 6-month period last year, from January through June, over 5,000 cases of sexual violence were reported in Brazil, showing just how bad the situation has become for women.

“And I won’t allow people and police to say this is a safe country because it is not,” added Wagner.

Incidents like this continue raise new questions about security in Rio, which has won kudos for its crackdown on once-endemic drug violence in preparation for hosting next year’s football World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic games.

The city also will be playing host to World Youth Day, a Roman Catholic pilgrimage that will be attended by Pope Francis and is expected to draw some 2 million people in late July.

“The victims described everything in great detail, mostly the sexual violence,” police officer Rodrigo Brant told the Globo TV network. “Just how they described the facts was shocking — the violence and brutality. It surprised even us, who work in security and are used to hearing such things.”

Wagner and other women say the police are “lying” and that they “have experienced this with Brazilian women as victims, but they do nothing. I am scared for people and there will be a revolution by women if this violence continues.”

The attack drew comparisons with the fatal December beating and gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in which six men beset a 23-year-old university student and male friend after they boarded a private bus. That attack touched off a wave of protests across India demanding stronger protection for women. Officials there say tourism has dropped in the country following the attacks.

But Brazil’s police attempted to dispel fears from foreigners, saying this attack was “rare” even as women like Wagner detailed at least 7 similar attacks against Brazilian women in the city.

“These type of crimes committed against foreign tourists are very uncommon,” said Alexandre Braga, the police officer leading the investigation.

BN calls for pet food executives to eat their own food Staff Posted date: April 09, 2013

The Pet360 team recently traveled to the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida and put representatives from major pet food manufacturers to the test. Spokespersons from 12 pet food companies were asked to eat their company’s pet food live on camera, and each one graciously accepted the challenge.

These videos are the first in’s ongoing “Eat Your Food” series which will continue to put pet food brands to the test.

“For the longest time, the biggest decision regarding pet foodwas whether to purchase wet or dry,” explains Jon Roska Jr., VP of Merchandising at Pet360.

“Now-a-days, pet owners are faced with a multitude of decisions, and there are a variety of gourmet options to choose from. We want to give brands the opportunity to prove that their food is the highest quality option for our customers’ pets, and what better way is there to do that than by consuming the food themselves?”

Designed to highlight many of the most popular pet food brands, the “Eat Your Food” series also provides manufacturers the opportunity to promote the nutritional benefits of their pet food formulas.


Conservative Glenn Beck says gay marriage already won Staff Posted date: April 09, 2013

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck in discussing marriage equality on Monday, claimed that the left wing has already won regarding the issue.

“Why have we been arguing about marriage? We have been so foolish … it is not about gays, it is not about homosexuals, it is not about any of them,” said Beck, his underpants unfastened as he nibbled on a 7-11 hot dog, relish on his pursed lips. “It is about freedom and the reason why they have won is because they have made it about freedom! And freedom, everyone basically understands freedom.”

Beck concedes that same-sex marriage advocates have made the argument one of basic human rights that are hard to contradict.

“So the argument has been ‘Who are you to tell me what I can and can not do?’ And by saying ‘Well because it always is! What’s happened?,’ you’ve lost,” said Beck.

“By not turning to it soon enough, what’s happened is you’ve been painted into a corner of a bigot!”

Ultimately, Beck admits that it is about the principle of the idea, a basic American notion of equality.

“That’s why they have won, because the principle of it is right,” he said.

“The principle is easy to understand. Who are you to say?”

Beck was not endorsing marriage equality per se; he was simply stating why the conservative party is losing the argument.

Beck has previously commented on marriage equality, saying that he doesn’t care one way or another, as long as it doesn’t “destroy my marriage.”

Beck has also made comments saying he has gay friends and employees, but has yet to publicly or fully endorse marriage equality.




Ethiopia, Egypt fans ready for May 25 friendly

Robert Gordon Posted date: April 09, 2013 

CAIRO and ADDIS ABABA: Egypt and Ethiopia announced that they would play a friendly football match in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on May 25. The announcement comes as both hope to build on recent success and qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

“I am really excited because we haven’t played Ethiopia in long time so this should be a good test for us because they have recently done decently, making the African Cup,” said Samir Radwan, a 25-year-old waiter at a local coffeehouse.

“It will be good for Egypt too because we are still facing so much problems and football is good to help calm people,” he told

The game with Egypt will be warm up for the Ethiopian team who will play against Botswana, South Africa and Centeral African Republic for the 2014  World Cup qualifier.

In preparation for the matches to Zimbabwe and Mozambique on June 7 and 14 next qualifier 2014 World Cup, showed American Bob Bradley head coach of Egypt national team agreed to play a friendly match despite the absence of professional players Europe and the Gulf, especially as the Pharaohs camp will start on May 23 in Cairo the presence of all the local players.

The technical staff confirmed that the meeting Ethiopia provides an opportunity for the adoption of the main body of the team in the presence of players Ahly and Zamalek and the rest of the clubs, and the opportunity for a test a number of elements and new faces, until the arrival of professional ahead Zimbabwe week.

And Ethiopian fans are also excited anytime the 7-time African champions are coming to town.

“It’s always a positive to see and play against Africa’s best. It will only make us better,” Des, a fishermen, told on Tuesday as he enjoyed a coffee after a long day on the Nile.




End Israel’s Apartheid ads to show in New York

Joseph Mayton Posted date: April 09, 2013

New advertisements are to go live in New York City’s Subway in response to the countless attacks on Islam and the Arab world in recent months by blogger and conservative Pamela Geller.

The ads highlight the billions of dollars given to Israel by the United States at the same time Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestinian territory and build settlements against international law and norms. The Israeli government’s actions have been described by activists, commentators and former South African government officials as “genocide” and “Apartheid.”

The advertisements come after Geller herself posted inflammatory ads on the sides of buses and subway cars, reading “19,757 Deadly Islamic Attacks Since 9/11/01. It’s Not Islamophobia, It’s Islamorealism. This Ad Paid For By The American Freedom Defense Initiative.”

The ads began on Monday, coinciding with the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Paid for by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the ads depict the silhouette of a defenseless Palestinian child who is taken hostage by a large Israeli soldier – even though the scene takes place on Palestinian ground. The organization said this image is based on an actual photograph.

In blood-red sky that also makes up part of the Palestinian flag is a quote by Nobel Piece Prize winning South African activist, Desmond Tutu.

“I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land,” the quote reads. “It reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”

By comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa, the ad has outraged both US and foreign-based Jewish groups who feel offended by the harsh accusations and outraged that they were posted on Passover.

“While Americans certainly have a right to free speech and advocacy, the abhorrent allegation of apartheid is both factually incorrect and morally reprehensible,” Geri Palast, managing director of the Israel Action Network, told the Jerusalem Post. “Israel is a democracy that includes rights for all citizens from all origins.”

However, activists and academics who witnessed what happened in South Africa and what is happening in Palestine have been clear that if Israel wants to not be compared to South Africa, they should “stop acting like” South Africa.

Muslim- and Arab-Americans in New York told they are proud that finally someone is speaking out on their behalf, but warned that if the media looks at these ads as anti-Semitic and racist, they should rethink their sanity.

“I think the issue here is quite clear,” said Anwar Hamed, a 29-year-old New York medical intern of Libyan ancestry. He argued to that “these ads are not even claiming anything beyond actual facts and are not saying that Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’ but that Palestinians deserve a right to live in freedom in their own country.”

He and others said that Geller’s advertisement makes statistics that are not true, “but here we have an ad that is backed up by people who lived through South Africa’s Apartheid and say this is similar, if not worse, and we are the villains. Stupidity runs far.”