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WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

Volume X1, No. 4,030 • April 19, 2017

Jewish World

 

On Topic Links

 

Turkey’s Road to Serfdom: Wall Street Journal, Apr. 14, 2017

General Mattis and the Fatah Tautology: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2017

Marwan Barghouti’s Great Gamble: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2017

Charles Murray’s ‘Provocative’ Talk: Wendy M. Williams & Stephen J. Ceci, New York Times, Apr. 15, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“I read, on Sunday, the article in the New York Times that presents arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a ‘parliamentarian and leader.’ The paper recanted after we pointed it out to them. Calling Barghouti a ‘political leader’ is like calling Assad a ‘pediatrician.’ They are murderers and terrorists. We will never lose our sense of clarity because we are on the side of justice and they are on the side that is neither just nor moral.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli officials blasted The New York Times for publishing an Op-Ed by Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti and not indicating that he is serving five life terms for the murder of Israelis. Barghouti, whose Op-Ed marked the beginning of a hunger strike by hundreds of Palestinians jailed in Israel, was identified at the end of his article simply as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” Nearly a day later, an editor’s note was added, saying: “This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.” (JTA, Apr. 18, 2017)

 

“The crusader mentality in the West and its servants at home have attacked us… We neither see, hear, nor acknowledge the political reports you’ll prepare…We’ll continue on our path. Talk to the hand. This country has carried out the most democratic elections, not seen anywhere in the West.” — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. A defiant Erdogan denounced the West’s “crusader mentality” after European monitors criticized a referendum in which he won sweeping new powers. Erdogan, whose narrow victory laid bare the nation’s divisions, told supporters that foreign election observers should “know their place” and Turkey did not “see, hear or acknowledge” criticism that the vote did not live up to international standards. Observers from the 47-member Council of Europe said the referendum was an uneven contest. Support for “Yes” dominated campaign coverage, and the arrests of journalists and closure of media outlets silenced other views, the monitors said.  (Globe & Mail, Apr. 17, 2017)

 

“How could you permit Americans to bomb your country with a device equal to an atom bomb?...If the government has permitted them to do this, that was wrong and it has committed a national treason…Every Afghan has the right to speak their mind. This is a country of free speech…This bomb wasn’t only a violation of our sovereignty and a disrespect to our soil and environment, but will have bad effects for years.” — Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Karzai accused his successor of committing treason by allowing the U.S. to drop the largest conventional bomb ever used in combat during an operation against I.S. in Afghanistan. Afghan defense officials have said the 21,600-pound GBU-43, dropped in the province of Nangarhar, had killed nearly 100 suspected militants, though they acknowledged this was an estimate. (New York Post, Apr. 15, 2017)

 

“This was the right weapon against the right target…It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield…Let me be clear -- we will not relent in our mission to fight alongside our Afghan comrades to destroy ISIS-K in 2017." — Gen. John Nicholson, commander for US forces in Afghanistan, referring to the terror group's regional branch. The US military defended its decision to drop its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on I.S. positions in Afghanistan, describing it as a "tactical" move. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB, was dropped on a network of fortified underground tunnels that I.S. had been using to stage attacks on government forces. I.S. denied that any of its fighters were killed or injured. (CNN, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

“If the US is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear preemptive strike by our own style and method…We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.” — North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol. Han also thumbed his nose at US demands that his country stop testing long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles, adding that an “all-out war” would result if the US were “reckless enough to use military means,” the same day Trump warned the rogue nation it’s “gotta behave.” On Saturday, North Korea held a military parade, showing off its new ICBMs, and that evening launched a test missile that fizzled. During a trip to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea earlier Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said America’s “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over. (New York Post, Apr. 17, 2017)

 

“Regardless of whether Mr. Trump was moved by the horrifying footage of lifeless Syrian babies or the advice of his foreign-policy inner circle – or most likely both – the air strike demonstrated that even a 70-year-old man of neither much learning nor a natural inclination for it, can indeed learn. Thank God the man is not stubborn. Stubbornness led his predecessor, former president Barack Obama, to spurn the advice of almost everyone on his own foreign-policy team by reneging on his threat of military action against Mr. al-Assad after the so-called “Butcher of Damascus” used chemical weapons on his own people in 2014. Millions of Syrians have paid the price for that inaction ever since…Still, it’s good to know that U.S. foreign-policy making is now back in adult hands; that Mr. Bannon has been sidelined; that the Secretary of State has the number of Mr. Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, instead of being played for a fool by both, as was John Kerry who, echoing his boss at the time, bragged that “we got 100 per cent of the chemical weapons out” of Syria.” — Konrad Yakabuski. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 13, 2017)

 

“The world admires Canada as a rich, generous, well-governed country, receptive to immigrants, which has only participated in a few wars, all of them just, victorious, and where we acquitted ourselves admirably. But we are almost entirely dependent on the United States for our own defence…Since the Mulroney era, we have just been freeloaders. If we want to be taken seriously, we have to make a difference in the Western alliance, which the Trump administration has set out to revitalize. As I have written here before, a defence build-up: high-tech, increased numbers, and adult education, is a win-double, an added cubit to our national stature influence (and pride), and the best possible form of public-sector economic stimulus. It is frustrating that successive governments of both major parties have not seen these obvious truths. Strength, not amiable piety, creates national influence.” — Conrad Black. (National Post, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

“What ends in law often begins in academia. And the Berkeley (academic conferences on Islamophobia) are ground zero in North America for hardline theories around Islamophobia. This cadre does not shy away from definitions of Islamophobia, unlike those who promoted and voted for Motion 103, championed by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid and recently passed by Canada’s Parliament…It takes a certain chutzpah to hold that Islam, given its history of conquest of indigenous peoples, sexism, homophobia and violence against Christians and Jews, is equal in victim status — given their respective histories — to blacks, native Americans, gays and Jews. Yet that is the basic narrative thrust…of all the “scholars” promoting the Islamophobia blasphemy-law agenda. Their guru is Hatem Bazian, faculty sponsor, IRDP creator and effective leader of the Berkeley conference. Founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, Bazian is also a former fundraising speaker for the anti-Israel organization KindHearts, shut down by the U.S. government in 2006 for its alleged ties to Hamas.” — Barbara Kay. (National Post, Apr. 18, 2017)

 

“Our Wellesley community will not stand for hate speech, and will call it out when possible. . . .We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way. It is vital that we encourage people to correct and learn from their mistakes rather than berate them for a lack of education they could not control. While it is expected that these lessons will be difficult and often personal, holding difficult conversations for the sake of educating is very different from shaming on the basis of ignorance. This being said, if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted. If people continue to support racist politicians or pay for speakers that prop up speech that will lead to the harm of others, then it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions. It is important to note that our preference for education over beration regards students who may have not been given the chance to learn. Rather, we are not referring to those who have already had the incentive to learn and should have taken the opportunities to do so. Paid professional lecturers and politicians are among those who should know better.” — unsigned editorial “Free Speech Is Not Violated at Wellesley,” in the Wellesley News, a student newspaper. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

MORE THAN 100 TRANSFERRED SHIITES KILLED IN ALEPPO CAR EXPLOSION (Aleppo) — More than 100 Syrian Shiites were killed when a car exploded near a convoy of evacuation buses on Saturday, in Rashidin, west of Aleppo, according to local rescue services. 75 buses and 20 ambulances were transporting 5,000 Shiites from the towns of Kefraya and al-Foua to Aleppo on Friday, as per an agreement to evacuate them from their rebel-besieged towns. More than 100 were killed and scores more were injured in the car bomb attack in Rashidin. Many women and children were among the victims, as well as 20 rebel fighters who were there to secure the population exchange. (Jewish Press, Apr. 15, 2017)

 

CANADA SANCTIONS 27 TOP SYRIAN OFFICIALS (Ottawa) — Canada has announced sanctions against 27 high-ranking officials in the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that those people are now subject to an asset freeze and dealings prohibition. Freeland said adding their names to the sanctions list is part of international pressure on the Assad regime to end indiscriminate violence against its own people, like this month’s chemical weapons attack, and engage in meaningful negotiations. Canada has committed $1.6 billion to efforts in the region to provide humanitarian, security, stabilization and development assistance, in addition to having welcomed more than 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 14, 217)

 

BRITISH TOURIST MURDERED IN TERROR STABBING IN JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — A British student-tourist from the UK, Hanna Blandon, 21, a Birmingham University exchange student studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was stabbed and critically wounded by an Arab terrorist in Jerusalem. The young woman was stabbed while riding on the light rail near Kikar Tzahal (IDF Square) in Jerusalem. The Arab terrorist was captured and arrested, and taken by the Shin Bet for interrogation. The terrorist was from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, age 57. (Jewish Press, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

I.S. CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR SINAI MONASTERY ATTACK (Cairo) — I.S. has claimed responsibility for an attack on an Egyptian police checkpoint near the Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai Tuesday, which killed one policeman and wounded four. The I.S.-affiliated Amaq announced that the group carried out the attack. The attack comes shortly before a planned visit by Pope Francis to Egypt next week. The attack on the 6th century monastery comes just over a week after suicide bombers attacked two churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and Alexandria, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. Egypt's Sinai-based I.S. affiliate claimed responsibility for those attacks. The Palm Sunday attack prompted President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency. (Ynet, Apr. 19, 2017)

 

SUSPECT IN STOCKHOLM ATTACK WAS REPORTEDLY I.S. RECRUIT (Stockholm) — The Uzbek man who is suspected of steering a hijacked beer truck into a crowd of shoppers in central Stockholm last week had been recruited by I.S., and had encouraged other Uzbeks to travel to Syria to fight for the group, Uzbekistan’s foreign minister said. The suspect, Rakhmat Akilov, 39, was arrested a few hours after the April 7 attack that left four people dead and 15 others wounded. It was Sweden’s worst terrorist assault in decades. Akilov’s lawyer said that his client planned to plead guilty. I.S. has not claimed responsibility for the attack. (New York Times, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

IRAN SHOWS OFF NEW AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS, DECLARES ‘DEATH TO ISRAEL’ (Tehran) — At an annual military parade in Tehran on Tuesday, Iran showed off its new S-300 air defense missile system and other weapons, many displayed under banners calling for Israel’s demise. The military parade showcased the Iranian-made Sayyad-3 anti-aircraft missile for the first time, its Russian-made S-300 system and a slew of other military equipment. Some of the trucks carrying weapons were adorned with banners showing a fist punching through a blue Star of David and the slogan “Death to Israel” in Persian. The Sayyad-3 is an Iranian-made high-altitude long-range anti-aircraft missile. At the beginning of March Iran announced that the S-300 system was operational. (Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2017)

 

PA TEXTBOOKS ‘TEACH STUDENTS TO BE MARTYRS’ (Jerusalem) — The Palestinian Authority’s new textbooks for first to fourth grades demonize Israel and glorify “martyrdom,” a report claims, citing an “alarming deterioration” since a previous study. The report, by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, says that the elementary curriculum “teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel, and focuses on a ‘return’ to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.” Among the materials cited are maps that don’t show Israel and passages that appear to glorify attackers. Israeli cities such as Haifa and Jaffa are described as Palestinian, a frequently documented phenomenon in PA teaching materials. (Times of Israel, Apr. 3, 2017)

 

UNRWA WON’T BE CHANGING SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS AND CURRICULUM (Jerusalem) —Following the exposure of incitement and antisemitism at UNRWA schools, there was pressure on UNWRA to clean up the books and the curriculum. Khaled Abu Toameh reports that it won’t be happening. “UNRWA says it has no intention to change textbooks and will continue to teach according to Palestinian Authority curriculum,” he said. The decision was made by The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl. The announcement came after threats by Hamas and the PA who said the planned changes were “unacceptable”. During the last Gaza war, it was discovered that UNRWA schools were used for store missiles and weapons. (Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2017)

 

MATTIS IN ISRAEL DURING MIDDLE EAST TRIP (Washington) — US Secretary of Defense James Mattis stopped in Israel during a week-long trip to the Middle East. During his visit — Mattis’ first to Israel since taking over at the Pentagon — the retired Marine general met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Mattis has already met with Lieberman twice. Other destinations on Mattis’ itinerary for his trip include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Djibouti. The purpose of the trip, according to the Department of Defense — is to “reaffirm key US military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa, and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations.” (Algemeiner, Apr. 16, 2017)

 

U.S. SOLDIERS DEPLOYED TO POLAND'S BORDER WITH RUSSIA (Warsaw) — The first U.S. soldiers arrived in Poland as part of NATO's international initiative to secure Europe's borders with Russia amid recent escalations between the West and Moscow. The NATO battalion consisted of more than 1,100 soldiers with 900 coming from the U.S., 150 from the U.K. and 120 from Romania. Upon their arrival in Orzysz, only 35 miles south of Russia's militarized Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, Polish President Andrzej Duda greeted the troops and praised NATO's efforts to bolster the nation's defenses. Duda said the event was a "historic moment" that would answer Warsaw's recent calls for greater security in light of Moscow's expanding political influence in the region. (Newsweek, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

TURKEY INVESTIGATING AMERICANS ACCUSED IN FAILED COUP (Ankara) — A Turkish prosecutor has opened an investigation into 17 people accused of fomenting last year’s failed coup, including many prominent American officials, academics and politicians. Among those placed under investigation by the chief prosecutor in Istanbul are John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. chief; Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York; Preet Bharara, the former United States attorney for the Southern District of New York; and David Cohen, who at the time of the coup was the deputy director of the C.I.A. The investigation was announced just a day before a national referendum to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leading to speculation that the two events were linked.

 

ISLAMIST AND ANTISEMITIC REFERENCES HIDDEN IN AN X-MEN COMIC BOOK (Jakarta) — Marvel Comics says it is taking "disciplinary action" against one of its artists, who inserted Islamist and antisemitic references into a comic book. Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf says he drew the character Colossus with a T-shirt that says “QS 5:51” — a reference to a Quranic verse that prohibits Muslims from electing a Christian or Jewish leader. In another scene, the Jewish character Kitty Pryde is also drawn together with a sign reading "Jewelry," her head next to the part of the sign that reads "Jew." In the same scene, the number "51" appears, referring to a massive Islamist demonstration that took place in Jakarta on Dec. 12. (Time, Apr. 9, 2017)

 

NIGERIA MARKS THREE YEARS SINCE MASS ABDUCTION OF SCHOOLGIRLS (Abuja) — Nigerians marked three years since the mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram extremists amid anger that government efforts to negotiate their freedom appear to have stalled. Activists rallied to urge President Buhari’s government to do more to free the nearly 200 schoolgirls who remain captive. After a few of the girls escaped on their own, Nigeria announced the release of 21 of the schoolgirls after negotiations with the group. No one has been freed since then. The schoolgirls from Chibok village are among thousands of people abducted by Boko Haram as it continues to threaten parts of the northeast and has spread into neighbouring countries. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 14, 2017)

 

ALLIES KNEW OF HOLOCAUST IN 1942, 2 YEARS BEFORE PREVIOUSLY ASSUMED (London) — Recently released documents show that the Allied forces were aware of the scale of the Holocaust some two years earlier than previously assumed. The unsealed UN files show that the US, UK and Russia knew as early as December 1942 that two million Jews had been massacred and millions more were at risk of being killed, Britain’s Independent reported. Despite that knowledge, the Allies did not accept refugees or take action to prevent the slaughter. (Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2017)

 

LAST PASSOVER CELEBRATION AT JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER IN UMEA (Stockholm) — This week's Passover celebration will be the last for the Jewish community center of Umea, Sweden. The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the Swedish authorities’s failure to provide security to its Jewish citizens after Members of the Jewish Association of Umea, a city in the north of Sweden, decided to close the doors of their community center following a series of antisemitic incidents and threats to members of the community. Swedish media reported that the Umea community center was vandalized with swastikas and the message, “We know where you live,” in addition to being targeted by threatening emails. Around 50 Jews live in the city. (EJP, Apr. 4, 2017)

 

RABBI HIER TO BE FIRST NON-CITIZEN HONORED ON ISRAEL’S INDEPENDENCE DAY (Jerusalem) — Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is slated to become the first non-Israeli to light a torch during Israel’s main Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem. Hier, who delivered a prayer during the inauguration of President Trump, is one of three individuals selected for the honor. Hier founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1977 as an organization devoted to fighting antisemitism, bringing Nazis to justice and promoting tolerance through the Museum of Tolerance. Another honoree this year at the ceremony is said to be Amnon Shashua, a computer science professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and co-founder of the Mobileye and OrCam startups. Yehoram Gaon, a Jerusalem-born singer and actor, reportedly is the third honoree. (Jerusalem Post, Apr 16, 2017)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Turkey’s Road to Serfdom: Wall Street Journal, Apr. 14, 2017—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent the past few years laying the groundwork for authoritarian rule shaded by Islamism. With Sunday’s constitutional referendum, he seeks to ratify his gains and sweep away the remnants of Turkey’s once-liberal democracy.

General Mattis and the Fatah Tautology: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2017—On Friday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will visit Israel as part of a tour of the region that will bring him to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Djibouti. The declared purpose of Mattis’s trip is to “reaffirm key US military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa, and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations.”

Marwan Barghouti’s Great Gamble: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Apr. 18, 2017—At least 1,187 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons began an open-ended hunger strike on Monday. At the same time, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in demonstrations proclaiming solidarity with the strikers, sparking clashes with Israeli security forces in some places.

Charles Murray’s ‘Provocative’ Talk: Wendy M. Williams & Stephen J. Ceci, New York Times, Apr. 15, 2017 —The talk that the political scientist Charles Murray attempted to deliver last month at Middlebury College in Vermont must have been quite provocative — perhaps even offensive or an instance of hate speech. How else to explain the vehement opposition to it?

 

 

 

 

EDITORIAL BOARD

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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