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WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

Volume X1, No. 4,050 • May 17, 2017

Jewish World

On Topic Links

 

White House Clarifies Western Wall Position: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, May 16, 2017

NATO Puts Out Call For Troops In Afganistan: David Pugliese, National Post, May 12, 2017

Italy Expels Tunisian With Ties To Berlin Attacker: Associated Press, May 13, 2017

A Long, Slow Homecoming For Chibok Schoolgirls Freed By Boko Haram: Ibrahim Sawab and Dionne Searcey, New York Times, May 12, 2017

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“President Trump will shortly make his first journey out of the U.S. right into the turbulence of the Middle East and to the Vatican in order not only to enhance his image as world leader but to confront the serious problems in those areas head on. In his last life as an entrepreneur, he would have called this expedition a business trip. Additionally, encouraging and heartwarming is his inclusion of Israel in this visit. Compare this to President Obama's obviously avoiding the Jewish State when he landed in Arabia and Egypt on one of his first trips abroad. Back in 2009, that set the stage and gave the signal to us all of Obama's plans for increasing the daylight between Israel and our nation. This upcoming visit by Trump we hope, will seal that breach of respect, closeness and unity.” — Alan Bergstein. (American Friends For A Safe Israel, May 12, 2017)

 

 “The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact the peace process,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an interview broadcast last Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Tillerson said President Trump’s decision would be informed by feedback from all sides, including “whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.” Since taking office, Trump has backed away from his campaign pledge to move the embassy in a gesture to Israel, instead saying he’s still studying the issue. (The Globe and Mail, May 14, 2017)

 

“The notion that there is a question as to whom the Kotel belongs to is just preposterous,” — Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and President Trump’s inauguration rabbi. “This is an unnecessary blunder on the part of, firstly, low-level officials, and then McMaster. To leave open the suggestion that the sovereignty of the Kotel is attached to the West Bank is just mind-boggling to me.” Rabbi Hier criticized the president and his administration for its seeming reticence to clarify its position on Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, but added that he was confident the president would erase all doubts once he arrives in Israel next week. “Trump is not going to let it stand that the Kotel (Western Wall) is going to be under the sovereignty of another nation, or that it’ll be ‘internationalized,’ as the Vatican would like,” Hier said. “Those are unworkable suggestions that are never going to be agreed upon by the State of Israel. Trump has made it clear on so many occasions that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, so it would be quite a reversal for him to state differently on this occasion.” (Breitbart, May 17, 2017)

 

“As a Muslim community, we need to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque often; each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us,” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Speaking at the International Al-Quds Forum in Istanbul, the Turkish President started a new accusation against Israel, claiming the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to change the status quo on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. “A draft bill, which aims to ban call for morning prayers in mosques [in Jerusalem], is still waiting in the Israeli parliament. The fact that such an issue is even coming to the agenda is shameful. The fact that those who talk about freedom of thought and faith at every opportunity actually approve this step by remaining silent is noteworthy. Inshallah, we will not allow the silencing of prayers from the heavens of Jerusalem,” Erdogan declared, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News. At no time was there ever a motion or ban for morning prayers to be silenced in Jerusalem as Erdogan inaccurately claimed in his fiery speech. The number of mosques built in mixed Israeli residential communities has grown in recent years, and so too has the volume of the loudspeakers calling Muslims to prayer. The most recent version of the bill prohibits the use of loudspeakers only between 11 pm and 7 am, and the measure has yet to be debated and revised in committee before it is returned to the Knesset plenum. (Jewish Press, May 8, 2017)

 

“I want to thank you, and everyone here, for the important initiative of this special magazine: to show Israel’s healthcare system to the whole world, in your respected journal,” — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin warmly praised The Lancet — among the world’s best-known medical journals — for an extensive series on the Jewish state’s healthcare system it published this month, following a bitter controversy that began during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when the London-based periodical published an open letter from doctors that accused the IDF of creating “an emergency to masquerade a massacre.” Rivlin told The Lancet editor Richard Horton at a meeting in Jerusalem: “Israeli doctors, and researchers, make miracles happen every day; in hospitals in towns, in cities, and yes, even on the front-line of a war.” Horton went on to reply by saying that he personally rejects the boycott against Israel. “Boycotts entrench prejudice and hate, they perpetuate difference and we reject utterly that approach to discussing differences of opinion between communities and peoples.” (Algemeiner, May 11, 2017)

 

“Today, the State of Israel, is a proud democracy, and I can assure you, there is no gap between Israel as a Jewish state and as a democratic state.” — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, told a delegation in Jerusalem of 920 members of the Montreal Jewish Federation that Israel would not veer from its path as both a Jewish and a democratic state. “There is no gap and there will be no gap in the future,” he continued, “the State of Israel, is not just a place, it is an idea. The dream that the State of Israel, would be part of the lives of all Jews.” The President thanked the Federation and its leaders for their dedication and support for Israel. (Jewish Press, May 14, 2017)

 

“The conservative think tanks […] told us that they were conservatism’s brains. But the brains had stopped working, and they had become the movement’s stomach. They gorged on the money from conservative donors, as Jeb Bush had, with about the same political impact. They told the donors they were scholars who would simply sit around and think conservative thoughts. But, as any scholar will tell you, it’s more enjoyable not to think at all. And so the idea factories became the front for their fund-raising operations. Like generals fighting the last war, these think tanks failed to recognize that an entirely new set of challenges demanded an entirely new set of politics, represented by a President Trump whom they loathed. What they forgot is the Red Queen effect (from ‘Through the Looking Glass’): When your opponents can react to your ideas, ‘it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.’” — F.H. Buckley, Foundation Professor at George Mason University School of Law. Much of yesteryear’s conservatism has been left behind […] They told us to ‘privatize, privatize, privatize,’ and forgot that there are some things governments should do. They ignored the decline of the American Dream, the idea that this is the country where we can all get ahead, and blamed the victims. In their well-paid sinecures, they told us that nothing could be done to help the underclass. They’ve been superseded by a new set of writers and thinkers. They’re churning conservatism, with new ideas that take on the received wisdom…” (New York Post, May 13, 2017)

 

“There is no Europe without the Jewish Community.” — Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission. Timmermans spoke at the Conference of European Rabbi’s 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner, held in Amsterdam. The Gala Dinner was chaired by the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam, Rabbi Eliezer Wolff. “Europe is faced with a huge surge of anti-Semitism, which is inspired by people coming from elsewhere, who were raised with anti-Semitism. Our society should be helping them to get it out of their system and signs of anti-Semitism should not remain unaddressed. But sadly, we also face the eternal European anti-Semitism, which is alive and kicking,” said Timmermans in his remarks. “Freedom of religion is essential and we will defend the principle that one should not be questioned how they practice religion. There is no Europe without the Jewish community,” he added. (Israel National News, May 10, 2017)

 

“Europe will not be Europe without Jews. Any attack against Jewish communities in Europe is an attack against Europe. We have to act together reaffirming the values at the center of the European integration. Religions are part of the solution for peace and tolerance.” — President Antonio Tajani, President of the European Union. Tajani’s video message was played to the delegates of the Conference of European Rabbi’s 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner. The gathering brings together close to 300 delegates, predominantly Chief Rabbis and Rabbis from across Europe. It started on Monday of last week and runs through Wednesday. (ISRAPUNDIT, May 10, 2017)

 

“Ever wonder what fake news is?” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a Youtube video posted on May 7. “Last week, headlines in CNN, Al Jazeera and The Guardian said that Hamas now accepts a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines. The New York Times headline called this ‘moderation.’ The intimation is that Hamas now accepts the state of Israel. Great news, right? Well, except for one small detail: This is a complete distortion of the truth.” Netanyahu slammed the news organizations over their reporting of a new policy document from Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which accepts for the first time the idea of a Palestinian state existing along the 1967 borders, but still doesn’t recognize the state of Israel. “The new Hamas document says that Israel has no right to exist,” he said. “It says every inch of our land belongs to the Palestinians. It says there is no acceptable solution other than to remove Israel.” Netanyahu is then seen crumbling up the document and tossing it into a trash can. (The Washington Times, May 9, 2017)

 

 “A Palestinian terrorist who murders innocent civilians and is sentenced to over thirty years in prison receives over 3,000 US dollars a month,” — Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. “Put simply, this is official Palestinian blood-money, rewarding terrorists who murder Jews.” Danon went on to say in his statement to the UN Security Council that “aid provided by the donor countries to the PA every year ends up funding terrorists who murdered innocent Israelis.” The Security Council must “act immediately” to halt the flow of money from the Palestinian Authority to jailed terrorists. During his May 3 meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, DC, US President Donald Trump “raised his concerns about payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed terrorist acts, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue,” according to the White House. In February, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina reintroduced the Taylor Force Act — which would cut off American funding of the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay monetary rewards to terrorists and their families. Since then, the bill has made no progress in the legislative process. (Algemeiner, May 11, 2017)

 

“Mali is worse than ever. I’m very pessimistic,” — Mr. Shurkin, a political scientist. “I put the blame on the Malian state, which needs to be in crisis mode. Yet as far as I can tell, it appears to be carrying on as if nothing bad was happening, or as if Mali’s international partners were taking care of all the problems. But they’re not.” A suicide bomber in a vehicle filled with explosives led an attack on a military camp in northern Mali on Jan. 18, killing at least 60 people, propelling Prime Minister Trudeau to commit to sending Canadian troops and military support to the West African nation. However, Trudeau has yet to send any troops to Mali or anywhere else, despite the Liberal government touting a return to Canadian peacekeeping missions. (New York Times, May 12, 2017)

 

“Any time we’re making a decision about sending the extraordinarily brave women and men of the Canadian Forces potentially into harm’s way, we have to make sure that it’s the right approach, that it’s the right mission, that they have the right training and equipment,” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shrugged off calls last Friday for a decision on whether to send troops to Mali, saying his government will take the “appropriate” time needed to decide on a peacekeeping mission. “We are taking the appropriate amount of time to reflect on how best to engage Canadians in international peacekeeping operations.” Diplomatic sources have expressed growing impatience and frustration with what they call foot-dragging by the government after the Liberals promised last August to make up to 600 troops available for peacekeeping. But nine months after touting Canada’s return to peacekeeping, the government still hasn’t decided whether to send Canadian troops to Mali — or anywhere else, for that matter. (National Post, May 12, 2017)

 

“Following through on his vow to ‘kick ISIS’s ass,’ President Trump this week moved to arm the Syrian Defense Forces, a mainly Kurdish group, for the campaign to retake Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital and last stronghold. It’s the best choice in a part of the world that offers no good ones. The SDF is fighting not just ISIS, but also the barbarous Assad regime. And Turkey considers it an enemy, too — seeing it as an ally of the PKK, the Turkish Kurdish group that both Ankara and Washington condemn as terrorists. Yet arming the SDF strengthens the only player in the complex Syrian civil war that isn’t in the pockets of Iran and Russia or allied with radicals who want to murder Americans. More important, it’s the only way the US-led anti-ISIS coalition has a prayer of taking Raqqa.”New York Post Editorial Board (New York Post, May 12, 2017)

 

Contents

SHORT TAKES

 

THURSTON MOORE, ROGER WATERS, AND MORE SIGN LETTER ASKING RADIOHEAD TO CANCEL A CONCERT IN ISRAEL CITING ‘APARTHEID’ (New York) — In advance of a July 19 engagement to play at Park HaYarkon in Tel Aviv, Israel, dozens of musicians, writers, and other entertainment-industry professionals have signed a letter asking Radiohead to stay out of the country. Julie Christie, Eve Ensler, Thurston Moore, Roger Waters, and even Archbishop Desmond Tutu all attached their names to the statement. The new open letter likened the current boycott efforts in Israel to artists in the 1980s refusing to play in South Africa until the country ended state-sanctioned apartheid. “By playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, UN rapporteurs say, ‘a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people.’” (Vulture, Apr. 24, 2017)

 

TRUMP TO ARM SYRIAN KURDS, EVEN AS TURKEY STRONGLY OBJECTS (Washington) — President Trump has approved a plan to arm Syrian Kurds so they can participate in the battle to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State, a strategy that has drawn deep opposition from Turkey, a NATO ally. American military commanders have long argued that arming the Y.P.G., a Kurdish militia fighting alongside Syrian Arab forces against the Islamic State, is the fastest way to seize Raqqa, the capital of the militants’ self-proclaimed caliphate. And Mr. Trump, who made fighting Islamist militants a priority during his campaign, again showed the high regard he has for Pentagon generals by endorsing their advice when faced with a policy dilemma. Turkey has objected vociferously to such a move, raising fears of a backlash that could prompt the Turks to curtail their cooperation with Washington in the struggle against the Islamic State. To address Turkish concerns that the arms might be used against their forces one day, the supply of weapons and ammunition will be limited to what the Kurds and Arab fighters need to carry out specific operations, American officials said. (New York Times, May 9, 2017)

 

U.S. SAYS SYRIANS BUILT CREMATORIUM AT PRISON TO DISPOSE OF BODIES (Washington) — The United States has evidence Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has built a crematorium at a large military prison outside the capital Damascus, a State Department official said on Monday. Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said U.S. officials believe the crematorium could be used to dispose of bodies at a prison where they believe Assad's government authorized the mass hangings of thousands of inmates during Syria's six-year-old civil war. “We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison complex which could dispose of detainees' remains with little evidence.” Jones said he had not yet presented the evidence to Russian officials. He said he hoped Russia would help pressure the Assad government. Tensions between the United States and Russia heightened after President Donald Trump ordered a cruise missile strike in April against a Syrian air base that the United States said had been used to launch a poison gas attack on civilians. (Reuters, May 15, 2017)

 

AS NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY STUDENT GROUP HOSTS PALESTINIAN TERRORIST, SCHOOL’S PRESIDENT ATTENDS VIGIL HONORING HER VICTIMS (Chicago) — Ahead of a Northwestern University student group’s hosting of a convicted Palestinian terrorist for an on-campus event on Monday, the school’s president attended a vigil organized to honor her victims. The silent, candlelit vigil came together after Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced an event, titled “When You Come for Rasmea, You Come for All of Us,” hailing former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Rasmea Odeh, who confessed in 1970 to planting the bombs in two Jerusalem explosions the year before. The first attack, at a supermarket, killed two Hebrew University students and wounded nine others; the second targeted the British Consulate. “Some 150 students, faculty, administrators, and members of the Northwestern community showed up to participate in” mourning Odeh’s victims in the hours before SJP’s program, according to Northwestern Hillel’s executive director, Michael Simon, who added that he was “especially gratified” that university President Morty Schapiro took part. Hillel, J Street U Northwestern and Wildcats for Israel were all involved in organizing the effort. (Algemeiner, May 16, 2017)

 

IN ISRAEL, CYBER EXPERTS JOINED FORCES TO HELP FOIL MASSIVE ATTACK (Tel Aviv) — As businesses resumed activities after the weekend in Israel, the nation was still assessing how many organizations and companies had been compromised by a massive electronic attack that hit over 150 countries around the world. But quick and joint action by cyber experts in Israel helped keep the attack at bay, a cybersecurity expert said on Sunday. The cyber extortion attack, which locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom, was believed to be the biggest of its kind ever recorded, disrupting services from the US to Russia, the UK, Spain and India. It appeared to exploit a vulnerability purportedly identified for use by the US National Security Agency and later leaked to the internet. The unprecedented global ransomware cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries, Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said Sunday. (Times of Israel, May 14, 2017)

 

ISRAELI MINISTER CANCELS JORDAN VISIT AFTER JORDAN REFUSES TO CONDEMN TERROR ATTACK (Jerusalem) — Jordan has still refused to condemn the terror attack committed by their citizen on Israeli soil, in Jerusalem’s Old City. The Jordanian terrorist wounded an Israeli policeman before being killed, this past Saturday. A Jordanian Minister even went as far as calling the policeman’s act of self-defense a “crime.” PM Netanyahu said that it’s time Jordan stopped playing this “double game” when it comes to terror attacks against Israel. Israel is now stepping up its response a bit, and Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis announced he is cancelling his long-planned visit to the launch of the “Sesame” particle accelerator in Jordan. Akunis told Army Radio that the visit is important, but the truth is even more important. (Jewish Press, May 16, 2017)

 

FATAH FARES POORLY IN LOCAL PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS DESPITE RUNNING UNOPPOSED (Jerusalem) — Palestinian municipal elections have taken place over the weekend for the first time since 2012, with ballots cast to elect 145 local councils. The elections went ahead in the West Bank after disagreement between Fatah and Hamas, the ruling administrative body in the Gaza Strip, resulting in Fatah running virtually unopposed. Despite an official boycott by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the PA’s controlling Fatah party still failed to win most of the municipal races in which it ran. Fatah only won clear victories in Jenin and Jericho, whilst in Nablus, another major city, Fatah won 11 of 15 seats, but only after forming an alliance with Islamist candidates. (The Tower, May 15, 2017)

 

CONVICTED MURDERER OF SIX ISRAELIS ELECTED PALESTINIAN MAYOR OF HEBRON (Hebron) — Tayseer Abu Sneineh, a convicted Palestinian terrorist who killed six Israeli yeshiva students, was elected mayor of the city of Hebron Saturday. Sneineh headed the Palestinian Fatah party’s candidate list in Hebron’s municipal elections. In 1980, Sneineh, along with four other Palestinians, opened fire and hurled grenades at a group of yeshiva students who were on their way to Hebron’s Beit Hadassah neighborhood from the Cave of the Patriarchs. Six Jewish students, including two dual American-Israeli citizens and a Canadian national, were murdered in the terror attack, and as many as 20 more Israeli students were injured. The Palestinian terrorists were convicted of murder and each were sentenced to life in prison, but were released in several prisoner exchange deals with Israel during the 1980s. Sneineh was released in 1983. (Breaking Israel News, May 15, 2017)

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

White House Clarifies Western Wall Position: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, May 16, 2017— A spokesperson for the White House told JewishPress.com late Monday night that comments by a Trump administration official earlier in the day about the status of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem were unauthorized. Israeli organizers responsible for building the itinerary for U.S. President Donald Trump were rudely told by a “senior U.S. administration official” that the Western Wall is “not in your territory — it’s part of the West Bank.”

NATO Puts Out Call For Troops In Afganistan: David Pugliese, National Post, May 12, 2017— NATO is asking Canada to once again send troops to Afghanistan to help deal with the resurgence of the Taliban. The request will be on the agenda at the May 25 NATO summit in Brussels, to be attended by U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Italy Expels Tunisian With Ties To Berlin Attacker: Associated Press, May 13, 2017— Italy has expelled a 36-year-old Tunisian who had maintained contacts with the Berlin Christmas market attacker. The Interior Ministry said Saturday that the Tunisian was identified after the attacker, Anis Amri, was shot to death near Milan following the Berlin truck attack that killed 12.

A Long, Slow Homecoming For Chibok Schoolgirls Freed By Boko Haram: Ibrahim Sawab and Dionne Searcey, New York Times, May 12, 2017—A wave of relief washed over Yama Pogo as he searched the names. His daughter’s was there, No. 51, on a list of girls who had been freed after being kidnapped by Boko Haram militants three years ago from their school in the village of Chibok. But nearly a week has passed and Mr. Pogo has yet to see his daughter, Margret Yama.

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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