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Volume X1, No. 4,255 • Mar. 9, 2018 • March 9, 2018

PEACE PROCESS | More About: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, AIPAC, Trump

The Empty Talk of Two States: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Mar. 6, 2018 — Time was, the endorsement of a two-state solution by the executive director of AIPAC wouldn’t have been news.

The Prime Minister's Speech: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 9, 2018 — The Arab press has evinced an inordinate interest in the future of Binyamin Netanyahu over the past few weeks…

The Price for Trump’s Peace Plan Is Too High: Stephen M. Flatow, Algemeiner, Mar. 6, 2018 — A Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard, international control over Jerusalem’s Old City and the mass expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews from Judea and Samaria…

Moral Clarity on Israel Means Admitting that Jerusalem is its Capital: John Robson, National Post, Mar. 6, 2018— So when would be a good time to move our embassy to Jerusalem?


On Topic Links


WATCH: Can Israel Live with Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’?: World Israel News, Mar. 5, 2018

AIPAC Throws Israel Under the Bus: Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2018

US Embassy in Jerusalem Enhances US Interests: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Feb. 26, 2018

The Ties that Bind Jerusalem: Matti Friedman, Globe & Mail, Dec. 15, 2017




Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, Mar. 6, 2018


Time was, the endorsement of a two-state solution by the executive director of AIPAC wouldn’t have been news. But when Howard Kohr told those who gathered for the group’s annual conference on Monday that the organization still believes in a vision of two states for two peoples, it was considered significant. Kohr understood that affirming the pro-Israel lobby’s stance in favor of what has long been considered the only rational solution to the conflict makes sense even if there is little reason to believe in the peace process right now.


While AIPAC had good reason to take this position, no one should think this is about any more than a matter of smart politics for a group that desperately wants to keep disgruntled liberals inside the big pro-Israel tent. Nor should U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s statement—in which he expressed the Trump administration’s willingness to consider endorsing two states if the parties should choose such a solution—be seen as an indication that the administration intends to go down that path if it announces its own peace plan in the coming months.


Perhaps some true believers hold on to hope that this formula can be revived in the near future if either, or both, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas step down from power. At the moment, however, talk about two states is nothing but posturing.


AIPAC’s motivation for reiterating a position that it has endorsed many times in the past is obvious. Giving lip service to two states is the price the group must pay in order to hold together a loose coalition of pro-Israel activists that includes Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. Jews who are most inclined to be steadfast supporters of Israel these days are more likely to be found on the political right and among the Orthodox. But AIPAC can’t afford to write off the vast majority of American Jews who are liberals and who demand, at the very least, that the lobby must support the concept of two states, even if no one thinks anything resembling peace is likely to happen soon. That means they must adopt the pose that Netanyahu used during most of the Obama administration when he stated his theoretical willingness to live with a Palestinian state, while at the same time making it clear that he didn’t think it was a realistic option.


It bears remembering that Netanyahu endorsed a two-state solution during a speech in 2009, shortly after he returned to the prime minister’s office. But in recent years, he hasn’t felt the need even to nod at such an eventuality. The reason for this has partly been to keep his right-wing coalition partners happy and partly a simple acknowledgement of reality. Nor is he alone in this stance. Even the two men who are his most credible challengers in the next election—assuming, that is, that Netanyahu makes it to the next election due to the flurry of corruption charges lodged against him—are also not sanguine about peace breaking out anytime soon. Both Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid and the Zionist Union/Labor’s Avi Gabbay have policies towards the Palestinians that aren’t much different from Netanyahu’s.


In a perfect world, the two-state solution is the most rational approach to solving the conflict between Jews and Palestinians over the small piece of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. If the Palestinians were prepared to admit defeat in their century-old war on Zionism—and accept the permanence and legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders were drawn—they would find most Israelis ready to make drastic concessions.


But as Kohr correctly pointed out, the reason why peace hasn’t come isn’t due to Netanyahu’s intransigence, or because—as former President Obama disingenuously asserted—Israelis haven’t yet found the courage to take risks for peace. It’s because even the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority is dedicated to perpetuating the conflict. Rejection of Israel and Jewish rights over any part of the country isn’t as much a strategy as it is an integral part of the Palestinian identity. Abbas’s efforts to keep his grip on power are rooted in fomenting hatred for Jews and Israel so as to successfully compete with the Islamists of Hamas.


Repeated rejections of peace offers, added to a continued incitement and funding for terrorists on the part of the P.A., have soured the overwhelming majority of Israelis on the concept of two states. Most think that a Palestinian people still in thrall to a violent political culture rooted in rejection of Zionism couldn’t keep even a theoretical cold peace. They view the notion of a withdrawal from the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem as a repeat of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disastrous experiment in Gaza, when he pulled every settler, settlement and soldier out of the strip. Israelis would probably still be willing to trade land for peace, but understandably, they have no desire to trade more land for more terror…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    






Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Arutz Sheva, Mar. 9, 2018


The Arab press has evinced an inordinate interest in the future of Binyamin Netanyahu over the past few weeks, due to the various ongoing investigations against him and against several people who held key positions in his entourage. Arab interest is motivated by hopes for the prime minister's downfall and a resulting disintegration of Israel's Rightist camp, leading to the Left's assuming the leadership of the Jewish State. The Left, after all, has proven time and time again that it is willing to pay a higher price than Netanyahu for a piece of paper on which the word "peace" appears.


Netanyahu's speech at the AIPAC Conference last Tuesday awakened much interest in the Arab media, some of whose outlets actually sent photo teams to the event. It was clear to all of them even before the speech, that it would be mostly about the Iranian problem and Israel's efforts to get the USA to assume more inflexible positions on the issue – including general sanctions, military action against the Iranian forces in Syria and most crucial of all, rewriting  the Iranian nuclear agreement.


The Arab spokespersons and commentators listened carefully to Netanyahu's speech in an effort to discover three things: 1. Is Netanyahu speaking with from a position of stable power or have the investigations affected his self confidence? 2. How powerful is the relationship between Trump and Netanyahu, and how much support does the present US government have for the steps Israel is taking? 3. When and how will Netanyahu relate to the Palestinian Arab issue?


The answer to the first question is clear. All through the speech, Netanyahu radiated stability, speaking as if  there were no investigations, not of  him nor of his close associates.  In the first of the three parts of his speech, he spoke of Israel's accomplishments in hi-tech, agriculture, water conservation, diplomacy and military power. He spoke of Israel's contributions to world security, on tens of intended terror incidents around the world that Israel helped thwart due to its superior Intelligence system and its willingness to share the fruits of that superiority with other countries. It was clear to everyone that Netanyahu was referring to Islamic terror, and placing Israel in the forefront of the fight against the Islamic terror causing concern to so many people all over the world.


The Arab media pundits, however, see Netanyahu's effusive self confidence as chutzpah, insolence, arrogance and boastfulness.  They are incapable of accepting Jews in a way that differs from that of Islamic tradition in which Jews must be at the mercy of Islam as "dhimmis", humiliated and in possession of only partial rights – while Netanyahu comes across as a person whose freedom they will be unable to subjugate to their will.


Mustafa Barghouti, head  of the Palestinian Initiative Movement, told the media that Netanyahu's speech was filled with hubris and chutzpah, sounding as though the Israeli Prime Minister thinks he runs the world.  In their view, Netanyahu spreads lies about the Palestinian Authority leadership and Palestinian Arab "militants" (read that "terrorists"), governs over an occupying racist Apartheid state, while the only thing behind his actions is the personal fear of the criminal mess and acts of corruption of which he is accused.


Another Palestinian Arab spokesperson and member of the PLO Directorate, Dimitri Diliani, fumed at Netanyahu's attempt to divert the world's attention from "the biggest problem of the Arab world" which is, of course, Israel, to the Iranian issue, which Diliani sees as being of marginal, minimal and negligible interest. His response stems from the fact that Netanyahu expended little time on the Palestinian Arab question, while he spoke about Iran for close to half the length of his speech.


Egypt's Al Ghad Al Arabi Channel representative at the Conference reported that "AIPAC is  the most powerful organization in the United States, and  that Netanyahu wished to present himself as the Israel's savior so as to cleanse his name in the eyes of the Israeli public by means of his demonstrative thank you to Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the embassy to that city. "  The reporter interviewed Dr. Ahmad Abed Alhadi on the streets of Washington, calling him an "expert on American issues" and  Amad said that  "the speech was  in the main propaganda and rhetoric. He praised a good many people, including the former Canadian Prime Minister who was in the audience at the time and is one of Israel's greatest supporters."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                






Stephen M. Flatow

Algemeiner, Mar. 6, 2018


A Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard, international control over Jerusalem’s Old City and the mass expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews from Judea and Samaria: Is this the “price” that President Donald Trump recently hinted Israel would have to pay?


According to Arab diplomats cited by the London newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, the Trump plan for the Middle East, soon to be unveiled, includes “US recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital”; the imposition of “international protection” over Jerusalem’s Old City; and the expulsion of many Jews from the territories. Plus, the Palestinian Authority would be given another $40 billion in aid. The Palestinian state would not be precisely along the 1967 lines, but it would be close enough — much too close for comfort. Palestinian terrorists would be within easy striking range of Ben-Gurion Airport and downtown Jerusalem. Israel would be dangerously narrow at its midsection.


Jewish residents of the territories near the old 1967 lines would be allowed to stay, according to the plan. But tens of thousands of others would be forcibly expelled. Apparently, it’s a given that the “State of Palestine” could not bear to have any Jews on its soil. There would be no “Palestinian right of return” under Trump’s plan. But that’s not some big concession to Israel; obviously, the Israelis never would have accepted the idea of millions of Arabs flooding into the Jewish state. Giving up on something you never would have gotten anyway is not giving up on anything.


The Trump administration has not yet publicly confirmed that the Asharq al-Awsat report is accurate. But the reported details of the plan do seem to dovetail with recent statements by the president and his spokespeople. First, there was Trump’s statement at his February 15, 2017, press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying: “I would like you to hold back on settlements for a little bit” — as if Jews living in their historical homeland are somehow an obstacle to peace.


Then came the president’s statement in his February 9, 2017, interview with Israel Hayom: “The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements.” Another troubling sign was the president’s January 2, 2018 tweet: “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.” Similarly, he told reporters in Davos on January 25: “I helped it because by taking it off the table — that was the toughest issue — and Israel will pay for that. You won one point, and you’ll give up some points later on in negotiations, if it ever takes place.”


The Trump administration has also started using the kind of reprehensible “both sides” rhetoric that was typical of the Obama administration. In his Israel Hayom interview, President Trump said: “I think that both sides will have to make significant compromises in order for achieving a peace deal to be possible. … Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace; they are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace.” Then The Jerusalem Post reported, on Febrary 20, that Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt said of the forthcoming Trump plan that “both sides are going to love some of it and hate some of it.” Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, used almost identical language at a February 22 speech in Chicago: “The plan won’t be loved by either side. And it won’t be hated by either side.”


The United States should not be treating Israel and the Palestinian Authority as if they are morally equivalent. Israel is America’s democratic ally. The PA is a terror-sponsoring, America-hating totalitarian regime. Israel has spent 70 years surrendering territory, tearing down Jewish communities, releasing dangerous terrorists and stopping military operations prematurely. It should not be expected to make any more concessions. And what ever happened to all those statements by President Trump and other administration spokesmen that the United States will support whatever solution the Israelis and the PA both want? Why should America now present a plan of its own? The only conceivable purpose of such a plan would be to embarrass Israel into accepting it. That’s no way to treat an ally.


It’s remarkable that the administration would consider proposing a plan that even remotely resembles what has been reported, since the Palestinians have consistently rejected much more generous offers many times in the past. Whether it was the 1947 plan that would have internationalized Jerusalem and given the Arabs large parts of what is Israel today (including much of the Negev and the Galilee), to the reported offers by Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak to give them a Palestinian state close to the 1967 lines, the Palestinians have always responded with “no.”


Be that as it may, there is good reason to fear that the Trump administration intends to forge ahead. Friends of Israel need to act now, before the plan is publicly announced and set in stone. American Jewish leaders need to make it clear to the Trump administration that any international control over any part of Jerusalem is unacceptable; that the mass expulsion of Jews from their homes is immoral; and that the creation of a Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard would pose a mortal threat to the Jewish state.          







John Robson

National Post, Mar. 6, 2018


So when would be a good time to move our embassy to Jerusalem? If not now, is never good for you? Because it’s not for me. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced last week that as prime minister he would indeed move it, prompting my colleague Kelly McParland to question his timing. But now is usually the right time to do the right thing, especially given what happens if you start hedging.


McParland brought up Joe Clark’s hapless 1979 pledge to move the embassy followed by panicky backtracking. But arguably the latter was the crucial blunder. McParland also suggested the timing of Scheer’s pledge risked deflecting attention from Trudeau’s Indian costume party debacle. Which might have some small tactical merit although Scheer’s announcement apparently attracted too little attention to matter. Besides, if we want more focus on principle and less on gotcha we should be happy when we see it, even if Trudeau’s India mission is a noteworthy indication of his narcissistic vacuity as well as a comedic goldmine. Finally, McParland contrasted Harper, a staunch Israel supporter who didn’t promise to move the embassy and served nine years as PM, with Clark, who did, buckled and lasted nine months. But how might a prime minister fare who made and kept the promise, or more broadly refused to put electoral prospects ahead of geopolitical or moral considerations?


Lately I’ve been reading Natan Sharansky’s book The Case for Democracy and this Soviet political prisoner turned Israeli statesman makes some compelling comments about morality in public affairs, including that his experiences taught him “a critical difference between the world of fear and the world of freedom. In the former, the primary challenge is finding the inner strength to confront evil. In the latter, the primary challenge is finding the moral clarity to see evil.” If we can manage the latter on the Middle East, we see that the determination of Israel’s neighbours to wipe it and its inhabitants off the map is evil. And then we need only ask what to do about it.


McParland wonders “why would another young and untried Conservative leader elect to emulate Clark’s effort, which, if Scheer were elected, would fall 40 years after Clark’s rookie mistake? It’s not as if the situation in the Middle East is any more peaceful or clear-cut than it was in 1979.” But the Middle Eastern “situation” is neither more peaceful nor more clear-cut precisely because generations of Western politicians and pundits have pretended not to see what is happening, rewarded belligerence, and allowed Israel’s most obnoxious critics to define the limits of the possible.


Is there any other country whose declared capital we do not recognize? Then why this one? What has the world gained by denying, ignoring or minimizing Israel’s connection with Jerusalem, including the egregious 2017 UN Resolution denying any historical connection between Israel and “East Jerusalem” and, hence, any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall? Only six countries actively opposed that resolution including, I’m proud to say, Canada, because on such deliberate and wicked lies silence is complicity. Setting the record straight on Israel is why I’ve launched a new documentary project “Israel for Canadians”. And it’s why I ask again: when would be a good time to move our embassy to Jerusalem?


If your answer is never, have the courage and decency to say so plainly. Another possible response is once Israel’s enemies make peace. But they do not make peace or even try, partly because their malevolence is given a cloak of legitimacy by people’s unwillingness to call them out on their lies. So a third answer is that it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing. If I asked when slavery should have been ended in the United States, from the first shipload of slaves in 1619 through the Revolution, Constitution, Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850 and on, I think every hand in the room would go up to say the right answer had always been immediately if not sooner. Who today would argue for the various “pragmatic,” moderate, tactical delays actually adopted that quickly and disastrously turned into “nevers”?


On the question of Jerusalem, before us now, it is the capital of Israel. Always was, always will be. And if tyrannical corrupt anti-Semitic regimes and their enablers lie about it, joining in that lie, loudly and forthrightly or quietly and pragmatically, won’t advance the “Middle East peace process” or make us better people. As Sharansky wrote “We must understand the difference between fear societies and free societies … We must understand the link between democracy and peace and between human rights and security. Above all, we must bring back moral clarity … ” Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And “now” will always be the right answer to when to say it.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


WATCH: Can Israel Live with Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’?: World Israel News, Mar. 5, 2018 —WIN’s Steve Leibowitz speaks with Ambassador Yoram Ettinger about the Trump Peace Plan and whether it could be something that Israel can and should accept.

AIPAC Throws Israel Under the Bus: Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2018—Each year, thousands of pro-Israel activists gather in Washington for the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference. Like a mini-Zionist amusement park, it offers attendees lots of thrills, hustle and bustle as well as the opportunity to have an immersive and enjoyable experience.

US Embassy in Jerusalem Enhances US Interests: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Feb. 26, 2018—The US decision to comply with the law of the land – the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the US Embassy there, enhances the US posture of deterrence, in defiance of threats and pressure, while walking against the grain.

The Ties that Bind Jerusalem: Matti Friedman, Globe & Mail, Dec. 15, 2017—Different religions have their own holy sites in Jerusalem, the city where I've spent my entire adult life.






Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Prof. Harold Waller Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)

Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)

Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research) Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

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