SPECIAL “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP— AND THE GLOBAL “MARCH OF FOLLY” TO JERUSALEM, ISRAEL
Volume XI, No. 2,793 • March 29, 2012
Media-ocrities of the Week
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space.… This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”—US President Barack Obama, caught on an open mic assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will be less constrained after the US election in November to accommodate Vladimir Putin’s demands on proposed ballistic missile defenses in Europe. (ABC News, March 26.)
“To those siding w/Assad: he cannot deliver stability, protection of minorities, or resistance to Israel. He is a killer w/o legitimacy.”—Dalia Mogahed, a Muslim adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, in a post on Twitter, describing Syrian President Bashar Assad as illegitimate due to insufficient opposition to Israel. (Israel National News, March 18.)
“The government and people of Turkey have, in a transparent manner, always supported [Iran’s] nuclear energy stances and will seriously pursue the same policy in the future.”—Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a meeting in Tehran with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reaffirming Turkey’s steadfast support for Iran’s nuclear program. For his part, Ahmadinejad praised the long-standing cooperation between the two countries and their joint efforts to counter “the arrogance of the Western countries.” (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)
“It is essential that President Assad put those commitments into immediate effect. The world is waiting for commitments to be translated into action. The key here is implementation, there is no time to waste.”—United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at an Arab League Summit in Baghdad, calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to implement the terms of a UN-backed peace plan he accepted earlier this week. The plan calls for a UN-supervised halt to fighting, the withdrawal of government troops and heavy weaponry from cities, a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire and access to all areas affected by Assad’s crackdown. At least 22 people were killed on Thursday by Syrian forces. (Gazette, March 27 & Jerusalem Post, March 29.)
“It is the Palestinian people’s right to oppose the occupation in all means, and the resistance must be focused on the 1967 territories.”—Former Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail, in remarks ahead of Friday’s Global March to Jerusalem, urging Palestinians to launch widespread resistance against Israel. Barghouti also called on the Palestinian Authority to “stop all coordination with Israel”; “work toward reconciliation [with Hamas];” and “turn to the UN General Assembly and the rest of its agencies.” (Haaretz, March 27.)
“The council’s new fact-finding mission on settlements—whose co-sponsors include Syria and Iran—is a fraud, with the guilty verdict determined in advance. The egregiously one-sided resolution omits any mention of officially sanctioned Palestinian terrorism, rocket fire targeting civilians and incitement to hatred, anti-Semitism and genocide. The Palestinian Authority and the Arab and Islamic states sponsoring the text know full well that Israel will not legitimize this latest kangaroo court, and are therefore acting with the intent to subvert, rather than advance, any prospect of a bilateral negotiated peace agreement and mutual reconciliation.”—UN Watch executive director, Hillel Neuer, strongly denouncing the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to dispatch a fact-finding mission to “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” In addition, the council also expressed “grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel”; condemned Israeli control over the Golan Heights; and called for an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. (National Post, March 23.)
“It was not a topic. I did not cite it is as a theme. The voters know I am Jewish. Period!”—Peter Feldmann, after becoming the first German Jew to be elected mayor of Frankfurt since the Holocaust. (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)
“One of the most alarming signs of the eclipse of reason in our world is the eagerness of our University students (usually abetted by faculty) to join up to the very latest campaign of vilification and demonization of Israel. The anti-historical narrative and even the symbolics that underlie this present exercise…come ultimately from the mind and heart of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Ahmadinejad’s Iran. The cartoon maps of ‘Palestine’ serve to proclaim that Israelis, indeed all Jews, must be made to vanish from the Middle East. If any Canadian imagines that this could be accomplished short of physical liquidation of every living Jew in the vicinity, he has not been paying attention to the Hitlerite rhetoric of these Islamist champions. Has it not occurred to these spokespersons for the student body of this Canadian University that when Israel disappears from the map there will disappear with it the only polity in the Middle East in which democracy has ever taken hold…[and] the only Middle Eastern community in which exists freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression, toleration for critical learning and advancement of the scientific sprit? This Boycott and Divestment campaign is ultimately an exercise in self-loathing, into which these privileged beneficiaries of the Canadian way of life have been lured by the mad desire to appear in solidarity with the most irreconcilable enemies of learning. The fact that it is taking place in a Canadian University must set off alarm bells in the Canadian public.”—Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Canada and History Professor Emeritus at Ottawa’s Carleton University, Dr. Paul C. Merkley, condemning the University of Regina’s Student Union for passing a resolution to boycott Israeli academics and businesses. (ICEJ Website, March 26.)
BAKU GRANTS ISRAEL USE OF ITS AIR BASES—(Jerusalem) According to a Foreign Policy report, Azerbaijan’s decision to grant Israel access to airbases in its territory along Iran’s northern border has angered the Obama administration. Citing US intelligence officials, the report claims that US President Barack Obama believes the Jerusalem-Baku relationship is raising the risk of an Israeli strike on Iran. “We’re watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it,” one official said. Earlier this month, Azerbaijani police arrested 22 people connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards suspected of plotting attacks against US and Israeli targets across the country. (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)
POLL: MOST JEWISH ISRAELIS SAY IRAN STRIKE LESS RISKY THAN NUCLEAR THREAT—(Jerusalem) According to a new poll conducted for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program would be less harmful to Israel than living under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb. The study, conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs, showed that 65 percent of respondents agreed that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would pose a greater risk than a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Only 26 percent disagreed, with nine percent saying they were unsure. Sixty percent also agreed that only military action could stop Iran’s nuclear program. (Haaretz, March 26.)
TOULOUSE SCHOOL GETTING HATE MAIL SINCE ATTACK—(New York) According to French news agency AFP, the Jewish school in France where Mohamed Merah killed three children and a teacher has received a rash of anti-Semitic phone calls as well as emails calling for the murder of Jews since the attack. In response, the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse reportedly forwarded an official complaint to local prosecutor Michel Valet, who in turn ordered a police investigation into the incidents. Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two young sons, as well as the 8-year-old daughter of the school’s principal, were murdered in the March 21 attack. (JTA, March 28.)
FRENCH GUNMAN SENT FOOTAGE TO AL JAZEERA—(Paris) According to French police, video filmed by gunman Mohamed Merah during his terror attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse has been sent to the Al Jazeera television network in Paris. Al Jazeera allegedly received a computer memory drive containing a montage of footage accompanied by Islamist war songs, before forwarding the package on to the authorities. The package was dated Wednesday, March 21, the day that police surrounded Merah in his apartment in the southern city of Toulouse after a massive manhunt. Investigators are trying to find out whether the letter was posted Tuesday night by Merah himself or by an accomplice Wednesday morning. Mohamed Merah’s brother, Abdelkader, has already been charged with complicity in the attacks. (Reuters & Gazette, March 26.)
MOFAZ TROUNCES LIVNI, WINS KADIMA LEADERSHIP—(Jerusalem) Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman, Shaul Mofaz, has defeated incumbent Tzipi Livni in Kadima’s leadership race. According to official numbers, Mofaz received 61.89 percent of the votes to Livni’s 37.11%. “From tonight, Kadima is one,” Mofaz told a crowd during his victory speech. Mofaz also vowed to do everything possible to bring down the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which he said had failed. Mofaz will officially be declared new opposition leader in a mid-recess Knesset meeting next Monday. (Jerusalem Post, March 29.)
ISRAEL TO CUT OFF CONTACTS WITH UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL—(Jerusalem) Israel’s Foreign Ministry has decided to cut off all contact with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), following the recent decision by the council to send a fact-finding mission to the West Bank to probe the impact of the settlements on Palestinian human rights. Moving forward, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, will not appear before the council, answer any phone calls from the council, or cooperate with it in any way. Prosor will not be withdrawn from Geneva, however, as Israel will continue to fully cooperate with other UN subsidiary organizations. No decision has yet been made on what sanctions to take against the Palestinian Authority, which initiated the action at the UN body. There is speculation that Israel may once again cut off monthly tax revenues that it transfers to the PA, as it did following UNESCO’s decision to accept “Palestine” into the organization in November. (Jerusalem Post, March 26.)
EGYPT’S ISLAMISTS SET TO DOMINATE NEW CONSTITUTION—(Cairo) Islamist politicians are set to dominate a committee charged with drafting Egypt’s first post-revolutionary constitution. According to the results of a vote by both houses of Egypt’s new parliament, members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Nour Party will comprise at least two-thirds of the 100-member panel tasked with drafting the new document. In response, at least eight self-identified liberal parliamentarians announced their withdrawal from the constituent assembly in protest over the overwhelming presence of Islamist politicians who they fear will infuse the constitution with Islamic rules. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood revealed earlier this month its intent to nominate one of its members for president, despite previous assurances to the contrary. (Wall Street Journal, March 25.)
GERMAN CHANCELLOR HOPEFUL: ISRAEL IS ‘APARTHEID’—(Berlin) Sigmar Gabriel, the head of Germany’s Social Democratic Party and a possible candidate for the Chancellorship, has described Israel on his Facebook site as an “Apartheid-Regime.” After a wave of protest notes appeared on his page, Gabriel, who was visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories at the time, not only defended his terminology but also reiterated, “This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification.” During his trip, the Social Democratic chairman also sought to meet with Hamas, saying he would welcome the inclusion of terrorist group as partner in the peace process. (Jerusalem Post, March 15.)
SAUDI GRAND MUFTI CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF MIDDLE EAST CHURCHES—(Berlin) Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has issued a religious fatwa saying it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula.” In response, Christian bishops in Germany, Austria and Russia sharply criticized the mufti. Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, an expert on Christians in the Middle East, described the edict as “astonishing” and “horrible”, saying it was “amazing that the most important Muslim cleric in the land that gave birth to Islam can call for the destruction of churches.” Roughly 3.5 million Christians live in the Gulf Arab region. (Jerusalem Post, March 24.)
THE GLOBAL MARCH FOR JERUSALEM
Weekly Standard, March 27, 2012
The first flotilla in 2010 ended in a bloodbath on the high seas, when the Israeli navy intercepted Islamists and activists seeking to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. The second flotilla fizzled, when international lawyers prevented a second round of boats from embarking on another ill-fated mission in 2011.
Now, after two by sea, there will be one by land. The Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), slated for March 30 (Land Day for the Palestinians), is a coordinated attempt to breach Israel’s borders from surrounding Arab states—Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Participants are planning to arrive from around the globe—Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and even America. Their goal is to ensure that as many as one million people overwhelm Israeli border security and march to Jerusalem, where they will assert Muslim rights to the holy city.…
Should the organizers have their way, this will be a messy affair.… On May 15 and June 5 of last year, activists marched on Israel’s borders. When Israeli officials could not contain them, both incidents turned violent, resulting in dozens of deaths and many more injured.…
As the group’s website claims, “We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol Jerusalem.” A brief survey of the sponsors should dispel any doubt surrounding the intentions of this movement. Participants and funding can be traced back to a pastiche of traditional anti-Israel groups like the International Solidarity Movement, but it is the other organizers that should be cause for concern.
UK-based Mohamed Sawalha is a former Hamas commander who played an integral role in the first flotilla. Ashraf Abu Zayed, who does public relations work for Hamas in Gaza, now sits on the GMJ central committee, as does Hamas parliamentarian Ahmad Abo Halabiya. In December, Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh announced the march, calling for the establishment of “the ‘Army of Jerusalem’…in order to take action to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.”
Hamas is coordinating its efforts with other regional terrorist groups. On March 14, a Hamas delegation headed by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk met with Hezbollah figurehead Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. According to Hezbollah media outlets, the GMJ was one of their agenda items.
Iran is a sponsor, too. The government-run FARS news agency reported in February that regime loyalist Hossein Shaikhol-Eslam was named secretary of the board for the GMJ.… The Muslim Brotherhood alone has representatives from Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, Egypt, and Turkey.…
The [Middle East] is already on tilt, thanks to multiple Arab protest movements, and ongoing tensions over the Iranian nuclear program. The last thing we need now is a new conflict.… A new uprising would…create untold unrest in a region that already has its fair share.
(Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research
at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.)
BEWARE LAND DAY
Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2012
An international array of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, rogue states such as Iran and radical left-wing organizations such as Code Pink have joined forces to make the 36th Land Day potentially the biggest—and most violent—ever.…
This year, there will be demonstrations in the unrecognized Negev village of Wadi al-Na’am against the relocation of Beduin under the auspices of the government-approved Prawer Plan. And on Shabbat there will be a march in Jaffa against efforts to increase the Jewish population there. There will also be demonstrations in Hamas-controlled Gaza, including attempts to overrun the border with Israel.
But an additional dimension will be added to the protests against Israel’s “expropriation” of Arab Israeli land. Called the Global March to Jerusalem, or the catchier “GM2J,” this year’s demonstrations will also rally against what is being called by organizers the “Judaization” of Jerusalem.
By making Jerusalem, or Al-Quds, the centerpiece, organizers of the event have managed to turn this into an international affair with solidarity demonstrations expected in Egypt, Jordan, Iran and elsewhere. No demonstrations are expected in Syria, where people are busy fighting a civil war. And despite pressure from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Army and the Lebanese government wish to avoid a rerun of the events of last May, when hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria, commemorating Israel’s Independence Day (“Nakba” or “catastrophe” Day for Arabs), rushed the border with Israel. Ten were killed by the IDF and Lebanese forces. Lebanon has, therefore, forbidden demonstrations south of the Litani River…and just 5,000 are expected to gather at Beaufort Castle in Nabatiya.
Nevertheless, there is a very real chance of a major flare-up. Just this week, Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for the murder of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox priest, called on Palestinians to launch a “large-scale popular resistance.” The former head of the Tanzim—one of Fatah’s armed wings—enjoys broad support among Palestinians and has been visited by prominent left-wing figures such as novelist Amos Oz, Meretz’s former MK Haim Oron and Labor’s MK Amir Peretz.…
The increasing radicalization of the Arab Israeli leadership can also increase the chances for violence. Israelis such as Muhammad Zeidan, chairman of the Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arab Leadership, who was on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, and who call for a binational state and demand that millions of Palestinian “refugees” be given the right to “return” to towns inside the Green Line, are involved in organizing this weekend’s demonstrations. Zeidan said that he has warned Israeli security forces to distance themselves from the processions in order to avoid violence.
We can only hope that the IDF, the police and other security personnel have taken the necessary precautions to avoid as best as possible violent clashes that could ignite an already tense situation. And we can only lament the fact that Arab Israelis and Palestinians are so radicalized that they have no qualms in joining forces with the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran rather than reconciling themselves to the existence of a Jewish state and learning to live in peace.
A MARCH OF FOLLY TO JERUSALEM
Jerusalem Post, March 29, 2012
On Friday, some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, tyrants and radicals are organizing a mass attempt to violate Israel’s sovereignty, calling it a “Global March to Jerusalem.” They will march to the tune of revisionist history not seen since the pages of George Orwell’s 1984, accusing Israel of “Judaizing Jerusalem.” These accusations come about 3,000 years too late.
Ever since King David laid the cornerstone for his palace in the 10th century BCE, Jerusalem has served as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. While Jews were once forcibly removed from the city, they restored a clear cut majority in the mid-19th century and have maintained that position ever since.
In other corners of the world, such an event would draw laughter instead of participants. Can you imagine a march on Capitol Hill to accuse Congress of Americanizing Washington? Or a campaign to stop the ‘Indianization’ of the Taj Mahal?
Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are bankrolling the event and taking part in preparations. To bring maximum media attention, these groups will likely induce the March’s participants to instigate violence.
It is not the first dangerous publicity stunt that has been staged on Israel’s borders. In 2011, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad paid off so-called “activists” to force their way into Israeli territory from the Golan Heights. The goal was clear: Incite violence in Israel to divert the global spotlight from massacres in Syria. It is the bread and butter of the desperate dictator’s playbook.
Friday will be just another act in a much larger drama. Last month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made another stop on his extended vacation from peace negotiations with Israel, traveling with other Arab leaders to Doha for a conference on the so-called “Defense of Jerusalem.” The Conference was a tour de force of all the major motifs of incitement against Israel. In his keynote address, Abbas declared that the narrative of Jewish history could not be proven, especially the existence of “what [the Jewish people] call the Temple.”
Speakers lined up in Doha to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, even though the percentage of Arab residents in the city has grown from 26 percent to 35% since 1967. While the world puts a magnifying glass over every “Jewish” apartment block built, 2,500 homes in Arab areas of the city have recently been approved in addition to community centers and hotels. Meanwhile, the PA continues to encourage and entice Arab residents to build illegally, in the hope of creating a media frenzy when illegal structures are removed.
The truth is that under Israeli rule, Jerusalem has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and equal rights for all of its inhabitants. Since its unification by Israel in 1967, the city has thrived under the values of tolerance and freedom. For the first time in centuries, holy sites that were once sealed off along religious lines are now permanently open for worship by all peoples, a principle that is cemented in Israeli law.
Friday’s march is likely to not only harm lives and property, but also the prospects for peace. By trying to erase the Jewish people’s connection to their ancient homeland, Arab leaders are undermining the foundation for future coexistence. Unfortunately, these destructive messages are a permanent fixture in their mosques, schools and media. Across the Middle East, the seeds of intolerance are being planted in the next generation.
Trying to change the history books will bring nothing but more chapters of conflict and violence. Jerusalem’s winding streets and rolling hills are the home of Judaism’s most sacred memories and the cornerstone of our thriving democracy. This holy city is, always has been and always will be the heart of the Jewish faith. As long as much of the Arab world lingers in the Orwellian world of a distorted past, the promise of a peaceful future between Israelis and Palestinians will remain a distant dream.
(Ron Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
He will be the keynote speaker at CIJR’s 12 June 2012 Gala.)
National Post, March 28, 2012
Hateful ignorance on Parade
FrontPage, March 28, 2012
The Global March to Jerusalem
New York Sun, March 26, 2012
Jerusalem in Court
Contentions , March 27, 2012
The Courts and Jerusalem
Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)
Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)
Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)
Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)
Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)