Month: January 2013

AS EUROPEAN ANTISEMITISM — RIGHT, LEFT & ISLAMIC — GROWS, ECONOMIC, TECHNICAL RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL STRENGTHEN

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Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

 

Anti-Semitism in Europe: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 31, 2013—Jews who can do so, leave Europe. Those who do not have the means to leave know they must be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel.

 

The European Left and Its Trouble With Jews: Colin Shindler, New York Times, Oct. 27, 2012— Today, a sizable section of the European left has been reluctant to take a clear stand when anti-Zionism spills over into anti-Semitism. Beginning in the 1990s, many on the European left began to view the growing Muslim minorities in their countries as a new proletariat and the Palestinian cause as a recruiting mechanism.

Israel Winning in Europe: Arsen Ostrovsky, Ynet News, Dec.14, 2012—Before the ink was even dry on the Palestinian vote at the UN last [November], headlines already started flooding in on how Israel 'lost Europe.' The reality however, could not be further from the truth, as Israel continues to make stunning headway in its trade and bilateral relations with the EU.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

'Darker Sides': The Vast Islamist Sanctuary of 'Sahelistan': Paul Hyacinthe Mben, Jan Puhl, Thilo Thielke, Der Spiegel, Jan 28, 2013

Connecting the Dots in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya: Abukar Arman, The Commentator, Jan. 7 2013

The Mali Blowback: Patrick J. Buchanan, American Conservative, Jan. 18, 2013
Mali and the al-Qaeda Trap: Paul Rogers, Real Clear World, Jan. 25, 2013

 

 

 

ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE

Guy Millière

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 31, 2013

 

In 2012, the number of anti-Semitic crimes in France sharply increased. The six-month period that followed the March killings in a Jewish school in Toulouse were particularly harsh. The killer, Mohammed Merah, became a hero in many suburbs, his name on many graffiti. For some people, apparently, shooting children in the head just because they are Jewish is inspiring.

 

Although acts such as the killing in Toulouse had no equivalent elsewhere, France is not an exception: statistics show that insults, assaults, and cries of hatred against Jews multiply throughout Europe. Jewish schools, synagogues and Jewish cultural centers are everywhere threatened and urgently require more stringent security measures.

 

Political leaders say they are aware of the problem and are determined to act. In November, French President François Hollande said that "the struggle against anti-Semitism is a top priority." Angela Merkel used the same words a few weeks later in Germany. In the beginning of December, after a spike in verbal and physical anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, David Cameron said that he wanted to "tackle Antisemitism head on."

 

Words such as those were uttered many times in recent decades, but clearly had no effect. They did not reverse the trend. When European political leaders and commentators speak of anti-Semitism, they are vague and almost never give more detailed explanations. They never say why anti-Semitism is despicable and dangerous. They perform a sort of abstract ritual that seems more and more detached from reality.

 

On the other hand, when European political leaders and commentators are more precise, they generally refer only to a certain type of anti-Semitism: fascist anti-Semitism. Even if fascist anti-Semitism has not disappeared, it is not the most virulent anti-Semitism in Europe now, and no longer involved in much anti-Semitic crime. It is as if they are fighting a sickness by designating only one aspect of the sickness and sparing its most important dimensions.

 

European political leaders and commentators almost never speak of the most virulent strain of anti-Semitism in Europe today: Islamic anti-Semitism. They are afraid to combine the two words "Islamic" and "anti-Semitism." They know that if they do, they will be immediately accused of being "racist" and "Islamophobic." They know that Muslim organizations will start to say in the mainstream media that Muslims are being unfairly "stigmatized." They also know that the Muslim population in Europe is increasing quickly, and that some of its members may react with violence.

 

There is no fight against Islamic anti-Semitism in Europe today. If a non-Muslim bookseller wanted to sell The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Paris, Berlin or Brussels, the police would intervene immediately, and he would be arrested and prosecuted. If a Muslim bookseller wants to do the same thing, he can, without risking anything. If a French or a German television station decided to broadcast anti-Semitic programs, it would be shut down, and it would cause a scandal. Islamic TV channels broadcast anti-Semitic programs that attract a wide audience in Europe, and nobody dares talk about it.

 

A further cause of anti-Semitism never evoked in Europe is the spread of "anti-Zionism." The "Palestinian cause" and the "suffering of the Palestinian People" have become the main concern of a growing number of Europeans who, strangely, are not interested in the suffering of any other people — Syrians for example. Israel has become the country that it is fashionable to hate. Widespread hatred of successive Israeli governments in Israel has led to hatred toward the Israeli population, and hatred toward the Jews in general, especially if they support Israel.

 

European political leaders and commentators do not fight "anti-Zionism" except when it becomes extreme and when its anti-Semitic dimension becomes impossible to hide. Many seem to have anti-Israel prejudices and consciously or unconsciously contribute to the spread of this hatred. Anti-Semitism in Europe today is like a complex dark nebula. It includes remnants of fascist anti-Semitism and increasing levels of Islamic anti-Semitism, with "Anti-Zionism" added to the mix. Fascist anti-Semites, to hide their anti-Semitism, often join "anti-Zionist" movements, where they work hand in hand with Islamic anti-Semites to organize protests against Israel. Islamic anti-Semites use elements of fascist propaganda and disseminate them without any barrier….

 

Jews who can do so, leave Europe. Those who do not have the means to leave know they must be extremely careful: it is dangerous again to be a Jew in Europe. It is even more dangerous to be a Jew who supports Israel.

 

Jews who publicly despise Israel, or who say that the Jewish people does not exist, are widely praised. What Theodor Lessing called "Jüdische Selbsthass" (Jewish self-hatred), in a book published in Germany in 1930, impregnates the atmosphere again.  Calling to mind the darkest period of the history of Europe may seem pessimistic. And those who say that history does not repeat itself are probably right, but certain forms of malevolence seem particularly able to find new clothing to survive and thrive again. In an interview in a French magazine a few years ago, a man who survived the death camp in Auschwitz said: "In the 1930s, the pessimists found ways to survive; it was the optimists who died."

 

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THE EUROPEAN LEFT AND ITS TROUBLE WITH JEWS

Colin Shindler

New York Times, Oct. 27, 2012

 

Last week, Twitter shut down a popular account for posting anti-Semitic messages in France. This came soon after the firing of blanks at a synagogue near Paris, the discovery of a network of radical Islamists who had thrown a hand grenade into a kosher restaurant, and the killing of a teacher and young pupils at a Jewish school in Toulouse earlier this year. The attacks were part of an escalating campaign of violence against Jews in France.

 

Today, a sizable section of the European left has been reluctant to take a clear stand when anti-Zionism spills over into anti-Semitism. Beginning in the 1990s, many on the European left began to view the growing Muslim minorities in their countries as a new proletariat and the Palestinian cause as a recruiting mechanism. The issue of Palestine was particularly seductive for the children of immigrants, marooned between identities.

 

Capitalism was depicted as undermining a perfect Islamic society while cultural imperialism corrupted Islam. The tactic has a distinguished revolutionary pedigree. Indeed, the cry, “Long live Soviet power, long live the Shariah,” was heard in Central Asia during the 1920s after Lenin tried to cultivate Muslim nationalists in the Soviet East once his attempt to spread revolution to Europe had failed. But the question remains: why do today’s European socialists identify with Islamists whose worldview is light-years removed from their own?

 

In recent years, there has been an increased blurring of the distinction between Jew, Zionist and Israeli. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant group Hezbollah, famously commented: “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say the Israeli.”

 

Whereas historically Islam has often been benevolent toward Jews, compared to Christianity, many contemporary Islamists have evoked the idea of “the eternal Jew.” For example, the Battle of Khaybar in 629, fought by the Prophet Muhammad against the Jewish tribes, is recalled in victory chants at Hezbollah rallies: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return,” and the name Khaybar sometimes graces Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel….

 

The old left in Europe was forged in the struggle against local fascists in the 1930s. Most of Europe experienced a brutal Nazi occupation and bore witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust. The European left strongly identified with Jewish suffering and therefore welcomed the birth of the state of Israel in 1948. Some viewed the struggle for Israel in the same light as the fight for freedom in the Spanish Civil War.

 

But the succeeding generation of the European left did not see things this way. Its frame of reference was the anticolonial struggle — in Vietnam, South Africa, Rhodesia and a host of other places. Its hallowed icon was not the soldier of the International Brigades who fought against Franco in Spain, but Che Guevara — whose image adorned countless student bedrooms. Anticolonialism further influenced myriad causes, from America’s Black Panthers in the 1960s to Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela today.

 

It began with Israel’s exclusion from the ranks of the nonaligned nations more than 50 years ago, when Arab states refused to attend a 1955 nonaligned conference in Indonesia if an Israeli delegate was present. The Jewish state was snubbed in favour of such feudal kingdoms as Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen. And Israel’s collusion with imperial powers like Britain and France during the Suez crisis the following year cemented its ostracism….

 

Amid this rising hostility toward Israel, the French philosopher and political activist Jean-Paul Sartre advocated a different way forward. He was scarred by the memory of what had happened to France’s Jews during World War II — the discrimination, betrayals, deportations and exterminations. He understood the legitimacy of Israel’s war for independence and later commented that the establishment of the state of Israel was one of the few events “that allows us to preserve hope.” Yet Sartre also strongly supported Algeria’s fight for independence from France.

 

This double legacy of supporting Israel and the Algerian struggle symbolized the predicament of the entire postwar European left. Sartre argued that the left shouldn’t choose between two moral causes and that it was up to the Jews and the Arabs to resolve their conflict through discussion and negotiation. Sartre tried to create a space for a dialogue, lending his name and prestige to private and public meetings between the two sides such as the Comité Israël-Palestine in the 1970s. His approach reached its apogee with the many quiet meetings between Israelis and Palestinians in Europe that eventually led to the Oslo accords.

 

But Sartre’s vision was stymied as Israeli settlements proliferated after 1977, strengthening the left’s caricature of Israel as an imperialist power and a settler-colonial enterprise. Some prominent voices on the European left have mouthed time-honoured anti-Semitic tropes in their desire to appear supportive of the Palestinian cause. Ken Livingstone, a former newspaper editor and mayor of London, has a long history of insensitive remarks about Jews — from publishing a cartoon in 1982 of Menachem Begin, then Israel’s prime minister, in Gestapo uniform atop a pile of Palestinian skulls to likening a known Jewish reporter to “a concentration camp guard” 20 years later. Today, he contributes to Press TV, the English-language outlet for the Iranian government.

 

Sometimes the left distinguishes between vulnerable European Jews who have been persecuted and latter-day “Prussians” in Israel. Yet it is often forgotten that a majority of Israelis just happen to be Jews, who fear therefore that what begins with the delegitimization of the state will end with the delegitimization of the people.

 

Such Israelophobia, enunciated by sections of the European left, dovetailed neatly with the rise of Islamism among Palestinians and throughout the Arab world. The Islamist obfuscation of “the Jew” mirrored the blindness of many a European Marxist. Despite the well-intentioned efforts of many Jews and Muslims to put aside their differing perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the offensive imagery of “the Jew” has persisted in many immigrant communities in Western Europe. Islamists were willing to share platforms with socialists and atheists, but not with Zionists.

 

The New Left’s profound opposition to American power, and the convergence of reactionary Islamists and unquestioning leftists was reflected in the million-strong London protest against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was organized by the Muslim Association of Britain, the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and the Stalinist Communist Party of Britain. When some Muslims voiced apprehension about participating in the protest with non-Muslims, the M.A.B. leadership decreed that it was religiously permissible if halal food was provided and men and women were given separate areas. Such displays of “reactionary clericalism,” as the early Bolsheviks would have called it, were happily glossed over.

 

Sartre understood that the conflict was not simply between Israelis and Palestinians, but between those advocating peace on both sides and their rejectionists. This conflict within the conflict is something that many on Europe’s left, as they ally themselves with unsavoury forces, still fail to comprehend.

Instead, the swallowing up of both the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps by political polarization has accelerated the closing of the progressive mind. And static fatalism has allowed the assailant of synagogue congregants and the killer of young children to fill the vacuum.

 

Colin Shindler is an emeritus professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

 

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ISRAEL WINNING IN EUROPE
Arsen Ostrovsky

Ynet News, Dec.14, 2012

Before the ink was even dry on the Palestinian vote at the UN last [November], headlines already started flooding in on how Israel 'lost Europe.' The reality however, could not be further from the truth, as Israel continues to make stunning headway in its trade and bilateral relations with the EU….

 

Regrettably, when commentators lament how Israel has 'lost' Europe, they overlook the impressive list of achievements by this [Israeli] government in the past four years. For example, in May 2010 the OECD unanimously voted to invite Israel to join the organization. This was no small achievement, and came despite intensive lobbying by the Palestinians. Even countries like Norway, Spain and Ireland, traditionally the most hostile to Israel in Europe, voted in favor.

 

In September 2011 Israel became the first non-European member of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, while in July this year the EU and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their scientific cooperation in the fields of energy and water desalination, where Israel is a world leader.

 

Moreover, in October the European Parliament ratified the ACAA agreement (Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products) with Israel. The agreement is unprecedented in that it recognizes Israel’s industrial standards as equivalent to those in Europe, especially in healthcare, and is a prime example of a 'win-win' situation for both Europe and Israel.

 

According to David Saranga, the head of European Parliament Liaison Department for the Israeli Mission to the EU:  "The ACAA protocol will eliminate technical barriers to trade by facilitating the mutual recognition of assessment procedures. This will in turn help lead to facilitating imports of high-quality, low-cost Israeli medicines into the EU, while at the same time increasing medicinal choice for European patients and healthcare professionals."

 

In the last few years, Israel has also held an increasing number of government-to-government meetings at the highest level of Cabinet with various European allies, including the Czechs, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and Germany (with whom Israel is meeting in Berlin this week). As a result of these meetings, Israel has signed a number of significant bilateral agreements in areas of high-tech, green energy, culture and the sciences.

This year alone, Israel has signed multi-billion dollar gas deals with Cyprus and Greece; Israel’s Aerospace Industries has secured two contracts worth nearly $1 billion to provide Italy with air force military equipment; whilst the past year has also been Israel’s “best tourism year ever”, with more than 3.5 million visitors to the Holy Land – most of whom have come from European countries.

 

Importantly, in 2011 the EU was Israel's largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to approximately €29.4 billion for the year – an increase of 45% from 2009; and this came during the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis in Europe. Achievements like this do not come easily, nor do they occur overnight. Whilst the United States will always remain Israel's most important ally, the Foreign Ministry, under the present political leadership, has made a concerted effort to reach out to allies in Europe (and elsewhere) that had been neglected in the past.

Perhaps the key factor though behind Israel’s success in Europe has been its ability to successfully extricate 'the conflict' from their bilateral relations.  Previously, there had been a direct correlation between how the conflict was progressing and Israel's trade relations. Today, Israel has created an environment in which its bilateral agreements are increasingly judged on trade merits alone, while membership in international organizations is based on the same criteria as for every other nation – that is, what can Israel contribute by way of skills, experience and expertise. No, Israel has not 'lost' Europe. Rather, Israel is 'winning' in Europe.

 

 Arsen Ostrovsky is an International Human Rights Lawyer and freelance journalist.

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Neo-Fascism's Stunning Rise in Europe: Barry Strauss, Real Clear World, October 5, 2012—The past weighs heavily on us. That’s the message that I got during the first week of a sabbatical in southern Europe. Two incidents, one in Rome and the other outside Athens, showed this roving historian firsthand the real presence of neo-Fascism. 

 

Europe: The World’s New Superpower: Anne Applebaum, National Post, Jan 28, 2013—“A decade of war is now ending,” U.S. President Barack Obama declared Monday. Maybe that’s true in America, but it isn’t true anywhere else. Extremists are still plotting acts of terror. Authoritarian and autocratic regimes are still using violence to preserve their power. The United States can step back from international conflicts, but that won’t make them disappear.

 

Mali War Exposes Europe's Security Shortcomings: By Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer & Martin Michelot, Real Clear World, Jan. 18, 2013—Since the intervention in Libya in 2011, which highlighted strong dissensions between France and Germany in the conduct of military engagement, Europeans have been waiting for a new opportunity to prove they could unite around a common objective, away from Brussels and the near-constant series of crisis meetings.

 

The Weimar Union: Walter Laqueur, The New Republic, July 13, 2012—The public discussion of Europe’s economic crisis has carried a curious air of repression: When commentators have worried about worst-case scenarios—the scenarios that harken back to the dark moments in the Continent’s history—they have generally been dismissed as alarmist.

 

The Blood Libel That Won’t Quit: Nathalie Rothschild, Tablet Magazine, Dec. 3, 2012—In 2009, the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet ran a story alleging that members of the Israel Defense Forces had stolen the organs of up to 69 Palestinians who died in their custody. Titled “Our sons are plundered of their organs” it accused the IDF of having conducted “macabre operations” in the Occupied Territories during the early 1990s.

 

 

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Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

A Native and a Zionist: Ryan Bellerose, The Metropolitain, Jan. 24, 2013
Exposing the Palestinians' Anna Baltzer: Lee Kaplan, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 29, 2013
Deadly Riots Erupt Across Egypt on Anniversary of  Revolution: David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Jan. 25, 2013

 

 

“France’s foreign minister said this month that his country was fighting to prevent the creation of an Islamist terrorist enclave ‘at the doorstep of France and Europe.’ If Mali is on France’s doorstep, Gaza is in Israel’s living room. Make no mistake, France’s principled stand should be commended. We only ask that France and all the countries who are supporting its principled stand today, support Israel tomorrow when we fight Islamic terrorism on our borders.”—Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, in comments at the UN Security Council’s monthly open debate on the Middle East. Referring, furthermore, to the November 2012 UN vote to create a non-voting “State of Palestine” Prosor said, “The only Palestinian state in these halls is the Palestinian state of denial. Last month’s resolution did not confer Palestinian statehood. It did not constitute recognition of a Palestinian state. The change in terminology and titles risks creating a false impression of Palestinian statehood when no such state exists.” (Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2013)

“[I]n our view, any reference to the ‘State of Palestine’ in the United Nations, including the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that ‘Palestine’ is a state. Only direct negotiations to settle final status issues will lead to this outcome.”—Susan Rice, American Ambassador to the UN, on the occasion of the first Palestinian address to the Security Council since the U.N. General Assembly voted to upgrade the Palestinians from U.N. observer to non-voting member state. (Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013)
 

"I do not understand the meaning of this expression [diplomatic terrorism], but, frankly, yes, we are waging diplomatic war against Israel for our rights, to isolate Israel's policy in our land and delegitimize Israel on our land."—Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a speech on the occasion of  the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. [Jan. 24]. (Elder of Ziyon,  Jan. 24, 2013)

 “Many of our best friends are telling us…'Don't worry, if worst comes to worst the world will inevitably (help)….It cannot be taken for granted. It's on the screens all around the world, tens of thousands of [Syrian] people slaughtered by their own leader and the world doesn't move."—Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.(Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2013)
 

“The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?  It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”—Hilary Rodham Clinton, American Secretary of State, responding angrily to a question at the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi debacle in September 2012 where four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, were killed by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in a pre-planned attack. (Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2013)

 

"It [Iran] would definitely use it [a nuclear bomb] against Israel or against any other enemy state. The [Iranian] regime thinks that if it has several atom bombs, [that] will grant it an insurance policy…They believe that the world would treat them the way it treats North Korea."—Mohammed Razza Hidari, a former representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, who defected two years ago in Oslo, Norway, speaking to Israel's Channel 2 television on Friday [Jan. 25]. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2013)

 

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”—British Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, upon signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons. In a further statement to The Commentator Ward said, "The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history of man's inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated." The Liberal Democrat party has denounced Ward's statements, saying, “This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable.” (The Commentator, Jan. 25, 2013)

“Not at all hopeful. I think it’s nothing. You saw how it ended in Libya. It ended in a kind of mess, you know. It will happen elsewhere, too. It [will] come and go, and we’ll be back where we started. Chaos, one-man rule, which is how these things usually end in the Muslim world.”—author V.S. Naipaul, in an interview with Isaac Chotiner, commenting on the Arab Spring.  (New Republic, Dec. 20, 2012)

 

"What is surprising about this is that not only was this a public amputation, but that photos of it were distributed by official press agencies, and that they showed a machine that we had until yet never seen images of. We have noticed that the authorities have recently been making more and more publicity surrounding cases of corporal punishment. Every time we get closer to an election, the number of these incidents increases. And we're getting quite close to the presidential election [slated for June]. I believe this is a strategy to instil fear in the population so as to avoid any protests.”—Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson for Iran Human Rights based in Norway, commenting on the public amputation of an alleged thief’s fingers in Shiraz, Iran, using a new machine invented for that purpose. (American Thinker, Jan. 27, 2013)

 

“I cannot emphasize enough the challenges that we are all facing, both in Jordan and Lebanon, and it’s only going to get worse. What we’re asking from the international community is not just to help us with the refugee problems and their challenges as they face this harsh winter, but also stockpiling in Jordan so that we can move supplies across the borders to keep people in place.”—King Abdullah of Jordan, commenting on the increasing influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (New York Times, Jan. 26, 2013)

“This is the beginning of another revolution. The Egyptian pound is down against the dollar. Our economy is even worse now than it was under Mubarak. Morsi behaves like a dictator. Something must be done.”—Ahmed Attif, an anti-Morsi demonstrator in Tahrir Square, where he hawked Palestinian scarves because his usual work in a bazaar disappeared when tourism dropped.
   “We begin again because no other course of action is open to us,” Mr. Ahmed said. “Life is worse for us in every way today. We don’t trust the police. Most of us have serious economic problems and no chance to solve them.” —Mohammad Ahmed, a demonstrator at Tahrir Square.(National Post, Jan. 26, 2013)

“This is not a minister of defense, it’s a minister of chaos. [Choosing Chuck Hagel] makes it seem Mr. Obama is just a joke, American power is just a joke. What we hear from your country makes us so confused. What [potential] American defense minister will say he will never go to war? Such a statement from a high-level politician will…push Iran to understand there is no serious position in America.”—Mithal al Alusi, a former Iraqi Parliamentarian who has championed counter-terrorism cooperation and normalized relations between Iraq and Israel, in an interview with the Algemeiner. (Algemeiner, Jan. 27, 2013)
 

"For the Morsi I know, any cooperation with Israel is a serious sin, a crime. Anti-Israeli rhetoric is a cornerstone of the Brotherhood's ideology.”—Abdel-Jalil el-Sharnoubi, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has known Mohammed Morsi for 13 years and believes that behind the Egyptian president's veneer of goodwill towards Israel lies a deep-seated hatred. He explains that Morsi is a "master of disguise." With respect to Egypt itself, Sharnoubi said,  “They [the Brotherhood] will infiltrate all areas of our society: government offices and ministries, schools and universities, as well as the police and the military. They will eliminate their enemies. The Brotherhood will never give up its power without a fight."  (Der Spiegel, Jan. 28, 2013)

 

 

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HAMAS TO ESTABLISH MILITARY ACADEMY FOR SCHOOLKIDS(Gaza City) Hamas plans to establish a military academy in the Gaza Strip to train and educate schoolchildren. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced on Thursday [Jan 24] that the military academy, the first of its kind in the Gaza Strip, would prepare the children for the “phase of liberating Palestine.” He said that children in grades 7-9 could join the school and graduate with a diploma or a BA in military affairs. Haniyeh made this announcement during a ceremony in the Gaza Strip marking the birth of the prophet Muhammad. More than 10,000 schoolchildren attended the ceremony, which included a “military parade” by some of the teenagers. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013)

 

ARABS DESECRATE JOSEPH'S TOMB, AGAIN(Shechem, Samaria) Visitors to the Tomb of Yosef in Shechem were shocked to discover Wednesday night yet another instance of major Arab vandalism to the holy site. Arabs trashed furniture, destroyed books, and defaced the site with anti-Semitic graffiti, and there was evidence that they had tried to burn the structure down. In addition, human and animal waste was found all over the floor of the site. Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said tonight "Only barbarians do these horrid things to desecrate this holy place." (Arutz-7, Jan. 24, 2013)

 

NO ISRAELIS KILLED BY WEST BANK TERROR IN 2012, FIRST TIME SINCE 1973(Jerusalem) For the first time since 1973, no Israelis were killed in terror attacks in the West Bank in 2012, according to a report published Thursday by the Israel Security Agency. However, in 2012 there were 578 terror attacks in the West Bank as opposed to 320 incidents in 2011. 10 Israelis were killed during security-related incidents in other parts of the country: 6 by rocket attacks, 2 by shooting, and 2 from terrorist attacks near the Israel-Egypt border. 2,327 rockets and 230 mortar shells were fired from Gaza in 2012. Also, 8 rockets were fired at Israel from Sinai. There were 11 attempts to fire anti-aircraft weaponry at IDF planes, compared to 1 such attempt in 2011. (Ha'aretz, Jan 24, 2013)

 

IRAN, SYRIA AND NORTH KOREA DEVELOPING BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS (Washington) Dangerous biological weapons are being developed by the nexus of Iran, Syria and North Korea. Among the more than 16 biological agents that Iran reportedly is developing are anthrax, Ebola, encephalitis, biological toxins, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), cholera, smallpox and plague. Worse yet, Iran, with North Korea's help, has genetically altered the smallpox virus in ways that may make current vaccinations ineffective. (Washington Times, Jan. 24, 2013)

 

ISRAEL GIRDS FOR ATTACKS AS SYRIA FALLS APART(Jerusalem) Israel deployed at least one Iron Dome missile defense battery in northern Israel on Sunday [Jan 27] amid reports of intense security consultations regarding the possibility of Syrian chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist rebels or being transferred to Hizbullah. "If there will be a need, we will take action to prevent chemical weapons from being transferred to Islamic terror organizations," Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio. (New York Times, Jan. 27, 2013) [Latest reports indicate that two Iron Dome batteries were moved into northern Israel. – Ed.]

 

ISRAEL STRIKES AT SYRIA-LEBANON BORDER(Jerusalem) Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border on Wednesday, sources told Reuters, after Israelis warned their Lebanese enemy Hezbollah against using chaos in Syria to acquire anti-aircraft missiles or chemical weapons.  "The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon," said one Western diplomat, adding that the consignment seemed unlikely to have included chemical weapons. Its load probably included high-tech anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 30, 2013)

 

PALESTINIAN INFILTRATED INTO SHAVEI SHOMRON FOR SANCTUARY (Shavei Shomron, Israel) On Tuesday [Jan. 29] a Palestinian managed to infiltrate into the town of Shavei Shomron, about 40km due east of Netanya in Shomron.  He was caught by the town’s local security team. Apparently he did not infiltrate into the town to commit a terror attack. The Palestinian was involved in a family feud in his village and ran to the settlement for sanctuary. (Jewish Press, Jan. 29, 2013)

 

THE GENIUS OF IRANIAN INDUSTRY(Tehran) It seems that cutting off the fingers of thieves the old-fashioned way was messy. Iranian ingenuity came to the rescue and now the mullahs have a machine that cuts off the fingers of thieves. Quick, efficient, and ruthless. One of Iran's official press agencies published photos showing the public amputation of a thief's fingers on Wednesday [Jan. 23] These show a man getting his finger chopped off with a machine resembling a rotary saw. According to the INSA press agency, the man shown getting his finger cut off was charged with robbery and adultery by a court in the south-western city of Shiraz. He was also accused of being at the head of a criminal organization. On top of losing one of his fingers, he was sentenced to three years in prison and 99 whip lashes. (American Thinker, Jan. 27, 2013)

 

HISTORY MADE AS NATURAL GAS FLOWS FROM SHIP TO HADERA(Hadera)

History was made on Saturday evening as natural gas began flowing to its power stations from a regasification ship hired by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC). The ship, anchored about ten kilometers from the Hadera coast, was connected last week to a marine buoy and as of Saturday night, natural gas began flowing from the LNG (liquid natural gas) ship through an underwater pipeline directly to the Company's power stations throughout the country. The LNG, which is imported from Trinidad, is cheaper than imported oil. This marks an important step in the development of Israel’s new offshore natural gas. The Tamar field is due to begin producing gas in April this year. (Israel National News, Jan. 28, 2013)

 

IRAN LAUNCHES MONKEY INTO SPACE(Tehran) Iranian state TV says the country has successfully sent a monkey into space, in what is described as another step toward Tehran’s goal of a manned space flight. Monday’s report said the monkey was sent up in a Pishtam, or Explorer, rocket to a height of 120 kilometers (72 miles). The monkey returned safely. The US and its allies worry that technology from the space program could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads. (Times of Israel, Jan. 28, 2013)

RUPERT MURDOCH APOLOGIZES FOR LONDON SUNDAY TIMES CARTOON(London) Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of Britain's Sunday Times, has issued an apology for the cartoon that was published by the Times Sunday, calling the image "grotesque" and "offensive." The cartoon depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a large-nosed Jew, hunched over a wall, building with Palestinian blood-cement as they writhe in pain within the wall. (Algemeiner, Jan. 28, 2013)

UNHRC POSTPONES ISRAEL'S REVIEW OVER BOYCOTT(New York) The United Nations Human Rights Council postponed its periodic review of Israel's human rights record on Tuesday [Jan. 29], after Jerusalem said it would boycott the proceedings due to what it perceives as a bias against it. The Council stated that the review would take place no later than November 2013.  UN Watch's Hillel Neuer slammed the Council, saying that "a jury of brigands is not justice, it’s a travesty. We regret that today's resolution failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the council's systematic bias against Israel," he said.  (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 29, 2013)
 

IRAN SENTENCES U.S. PASTOR TO EIGHT YEARS FOR CHRISTIANITY—(Tehran) An American pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has been jailed in Iran since September, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, the U.S. State Department said Sunday. Abedini's attorney, Nasser Sarbazi, said his client, who is of Iranian origin but lives in Boise, Idaho, was tried in the Revolutionary Court on charges of attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes. State Department Spokesman Darby Holladay said, "We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion." (Washington Post, Jan.  , 2013

ANCIENT TIMBUKTU MANUSCRIPTS TORCHED BY ISLAMISTS(Timbuktu, Mali) The historic manuscripts of Timbuktu, including one written in Hebrew, are, reportedly, no more. They were destroyed by Islamic terrorists in the African nation of Mali. The library, which contained thousands of priceless manuscripts from ancient times, was put to the torch as the rebels fled the French and Malian troops who were closing in on the Saharan city. At least one of the manuscripts, buried beneath the sand or in caves for centuries in wooden trunks and boxes, was written in Hebrew. The manuscripts covered women’s rights, medicine, music, poetry, geography, history, religion and even astronomy. Researchers had managed to digitize only a small percentage of the manuscripts. (Arutz Sheva, Jan. 28, 2013)

NORWAY: FAILED BOYCOTT, RECORD IMPORTS FROM ISRAEL(Oslo) In spite of boycotts, Norway has never bought so many goods from Israel as in the last year. “These figures show the lack of success when it comes to boycotting Israeli goods”, says Ola H. Grytten, a professor of economy, to Dagen News.   Interim figures covering Norwegian foreign trade in 2012 show imports from Israel estimated at a value of 762 Million NOK; an increase of 5.5 percent, compared to the year before. On the other hand, total imports to Norway only increased by 1.5 percent. The largest category of goods from Israel is electrical appliances, valued at 129 Million NOK, one million more than in 2011. (Israel What, Jan. 16, 2013)

 

 

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A Native and a Zionist: Ryan Bellerose, The Metropolitain, Jan. 24, 2013—I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians for Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist.

Deadly Riots Erupt Across Egypt on Anniversary of  Revolution: David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Jan. 25, 2013— Violence erupted across Egypt on Friday as tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Tahrir Square to mark the second anniversary of the country’s revolution with an outpouring of rage against the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood. At least seven protesters and two police officers were killed in clashes in Suez, the state news media said.

Exposing the Palestinians' Anna Baltzer: Lee Kaplan, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 29, 2013—Will Oxford Endorse a Fraud? Anna Baltzer — apparently neither a Fulbright Scholar, nor a descendant of Holocaust survivors, nor an alumna of the Birthright Program — appears to be just a fraud and a fabulist. So why is Oxford having her speak January 31st? 

 

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

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ARTIFICIAL PEARLS, REAL SWINE: AFRICAN “STATES” CONFRONT POST-LIBYA ISLAMISTS

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(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

In Mali, the Domino Theory is Real: Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, Jan. 23, 2013—As the French military intervention in Mali nears the end of its second week, French and Malian forces have begun making slow advances into the territory controlled by several different Islamist and separatist groups. What began a year ago as a Tuareg secessionist rebellion fuelled by weapons and mercenaries returning from Libya expanded into a larger war Jan. 11, when France attacked advancing Islamist forces that were moving towards Mali’s capital, Bamako.

 

Al-Qaeda's Soft Power Strategy in Yemen: Daniel Green, Washington Institute, Jan.24, 2013—Learning from jihadist mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has become adept at aligning with local political movements and building popular support in Yemen. In doing so, it has morphed into an insurgency while retaining its roots as a terrorist group.

 

Nigeria – Where Every Problem is Too Hard to Fix: Gwyne Dyer, The New Zealand Herald, Jan 2, 2013—It is not known if the word "dysfunctional" was invented specifically to describe the Nigerian state but the word certainly fills the bill. The political institutions of Africa's biggest country are incapable of dealing with even the smallest challenge.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

'Darker Sides': The Vast Islamist Sanctuary of 'Sahelistan': Paul Hyacinthe Mben, Jan Puhl, Thilo Thielke, Der Spiegel, Jan 28, 2013

Connecting the Dots in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya: Abukar Arman, The Commentator, Jan. 7 2013

The Mali Blowback: Patrick J. Buchanan, American Conservative, Jan. 18, 2013
Mali and the al-Qaeda Trap: Paul Rogers, Real Clear World, Jan. 25, 2013

 

 

IN MALI, THE DOMINO THEORY IS REAL

 

Daniel Larison

The American Conservative, Jan. 23, 2013

 

As the French military intervention in Mali nears the end of its second week, French and Malian forces have begun making slow advances into the territory controlled by several different Islamist and separatist groups. What began a year ago as a Tuareg secessionist rebellion fueled by weapons and mercenaries returning from Libya expanded into a larger war Jan. 11, when France attacked advancing Islamist forces that were moving towards Mali’s capital, Bamako. Unlike most previous Western interventions over the last two decades, France is here supporting the internationally recognized government of Mali, and its intervention has so far been welcomed by most Malians as necessary for the defense of their country. Unfortunately, French intervention now likely would not have been necessary had it not been for the intervention in Libya in 2011 that the last French president demanded and the U.S. backed. Had Western governments foreseen the possible consequences of toppling one government two years ago, there might be no need to rescue another one from disaster now.

 

France says it will continue fighting until the Malian government’s control over its northern territory is restored and Islamist groups are defeated, which promises to be a protracted, open-ended commitment for a nation that was already weary of its role in Afghanistan and unable to wage the war in Libya without substantial American help. The U.S. role in the conflict remains a minimal one, confined so far to intelligence assistance and logistical support. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) does pose a real security threat to North and West Africa, and it could pose a threat to Europe, but the threat to the U.S. from AQIM is minimal, if it exists at all. The U.S. has far less at stake in this fight than France or the countries in the region, so it is appropriate that they bear the costs of countering that threat.

 

The Libyan war did not create Mali’s internal divisions, which have existed since independence, but the destabilizing effects of changing one regime in the region exacerbated many of the country’s political weaknesses. As a result, the country was effectively cut in half, its democratically-elected president was overthrown in a coup, and hundreds of thousands of its people have been forced to become refugees. Adding to the embarrassment of Western interventionists, up until then Mali had been something of the poster child for successful democratization and development in Africa. Now it is in danger of being reduced to an even more misleading caricature as “another Afghanistan” or “another Somalia.” But thinking in these terms is bound to fail. Mali’s predicament has to be understood on its own terms.

 

Despite broad French and Malian support for French intervention, it is far from obvious that President Hollande’s decision was a wise or well-considered one. One of the few prominent French opponents of that decision, Dominique de Villepin, voiced his doubts shortly after the intervention began:

 

In Mali, none of the conditions for success are met. We will fight blindfolded absent a clear objective for the war. Stopping the southward advance of the jihadists, and retaking the north, eradicating AQIM bases are all different wars. We will fight alone absent a reliable Malian partner. With the overthrow of the president in March and the prime minister in December, the collapse of the divided Malian army, and the overall state failure, on whom can we depend? We will fight in a void absent strong regional support. ECOWAS is in the rear and Algeria has signaled its reluctance.

 

Like Sarkozy’s decision to use force in Libya, Hollande’s decision to go to war in Mali has been a popular one and a much-needed political boost for his ailing government, but that popularity will disappear if French involvement becomes prolonged and costly. Unless Hollande limits French objectives to those that are realistic and obtainable, he will find that de Villepin was as prescient in his warnings about war in Mali as he was when he admonished the U.S. against invading Iraq.

 

As far as America is concerned, there is no compelling national interest that obliges the U.S. to become more involved in the conflict in Mali. One lesson of the Libyan war is that the U.S. shouldn’t join wars of choice that our allies insist on fighting. Americans should remember that one of the reasons the French are fighting in Mali is that our government agreed to support the last French-backed military adventure in Africa. What other countries in the region would suffer serious unintended consequences from doing the same thing in Mali? How many other countries have to be wrecked before American leaders acknowledge that their interventionist remedies often do more harm than good?

 

The Libyan intervention’s consequences in Mali tell a cautionary tale about the disaster that unnecessary war can unleash on an entire region, but most of the Obama administration’s opponents in the U.S. refuse to understand this. Instead of seeing Mali’s current woes as a warning against going to war too quickly, hawkish interventionists are already crafting a fantasy story that this is a result of excessive American passivity. This virtually guarantees that Republican hawks will keep attacking the administration for “inaction” when they could instead be trying to hold it accountable for its past recklessness in using force. Absent a credible opposition, the administration will keep receiving the benefit of the doubt from the public on foreign policy, even when it isn’t deserved.

 

If the U.S. learned anything from the Libyan war experience, it ought to be that our government should be far more cautious about resorting to force and much less willing to dismiss the importance of regional stability when considering how to respond to a brutal and abusive regime. Unfortunately, the bias in favor of (military) action in U.S. foreign-policy discourse makes it virtually impossible for these lessons to take hold.

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AL-QAEDA'S SOFT POWER STRATEGY IN YEMEN
Daniel Green

Washington Institute, Jan.24, 2013
 

Learning from jihadist mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has become adept at aligning with local political movements and building popular support in Yemen. In doing so, it has morphed into an insurgency while retaining its roots as a terrorist group. To counter the group's political, legal, and social-welfare efforts in areas outside the capital, the Yemeni and U.S. governments must supplement their counterterrorism campaign by expanding services to the provinces in a decentralized fashion.
 

Since its founding in January 2009, AQAP has repeatedly attacked the United States and its interests. Washington has responded by significantly expanding its drone strikes in Yemen and bolstering the government's ability to fight AQAP itself through additional military aid and training.

 

When the Arab Spring began to sweep the region in 2011, a political crisis emerged in Yemen between then president Ali Saleh, who had ruled for over thirty years, and opponents who criticized the regime's corruption, lack of services, and leadership. As the crisis unfolded, Yemeni security forces became involved in political struggles in Sana, with many units moving from the south to the capital. Sensing a vacuum, AQAP launched a series of raids throughout the south that year, using conventional tactics to overrun large swathes of territory, including many districts and a provincial capital.
 

After seizing control of various southern Yemeni towns and districts, AQAP moved beyond its terrorist focus, adopting the characteristics of an insurgency and holding territory in order to create a nascent government. Its ability to do so was based not only on its enhanced military capabilities and the departure of government security forces, but also on its effective community engagement strategy.

 

Capitalizing on longstanding southern grievances regarding insufficient education, healthcare, security, rule of law, political representation, and economic development, AQAP sought to replicate the central government's functions throughout the region. Its political agents established a form of stability based on Islamic law, convening regular meetings with community leaders, solving local problems, and attempting to replace chaotic tribal feuds with a more ordered and religiously inspired justice system. This effort included mitigating tribal conflicts, protecting weaker tribes from stronger rivals, and creating opportunities for some ambitious locals, including weaker tribal factions, to rise beyond their social position and seize power in their communities. AQAP also provided humanitarian assistance such as fresh water and food for the indigent, basic healthcare, and educational opportunities (albeit only Quranic teachings).

 

Many of these efforts appealed to the population, not only because they were better than what the local government had provided, but also because many tribal sheiks had previously been discredited for not living up to their responsibilities. Additionally, Quran-based engagement was highly appealing to communities in which that book was often the only text residents knew.
 

Al-Qaeda's strategy in Yemen reflects many of the lessons it learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it frequently alienated locals through the brutality of its rule. In addition, Yemeni tribal structures are far stronger than in those two countries, and tribal leaders are much more adept at governing their traditional areas of control. AQAP has therefore pursued a softer approach not simply because it wants to, but because it must, since the tribes have far greater power than it currently wields.

AQAP has also been effective at joining its cause with local political movements in Yemen, as it did in Iraq with Sunni Arab nationalists. To date, it has aligned its interests with southern elements seeking greater autonomy from the central government or complete independence from Yemen (though it is probably not working with the longstanding Southern Mobility Movement).

 

Finally, al-Qaeda does not have as strong a foreign character in Yemen as it did in previous conflicts. This reduces Washington and Sana's ability to separate the population from the terrorist group by using national pride, ethnic/tribal differences, or simple xenophobia to rebuff AQAP's advances.

 

Last year, in response to AQAP's gains, the Yemeni military launched widespread operations against the group's forces in the south. Although these efforts were largely successful in pushing AQAP out of areas it overran in 2011, the group continues to pose a threat. Having retreated to its traditional safe havens in the interior, al-Qaeda has since undertaken a concerted assassination campaign against Yemeni security, military, and intelligence officials as it reconstitutes its forces.

 

In addition, the group still commands sympathy and influence in the south. To be sure, AQAP eventually reverted to harsh rule in many communities once it consolidated power there, alienating many locals and spurring the exodus of thousands from areas under its sway. Yet many others remain sympathetic to the group, not just for religious or culturally conservative reasons, but also out of a general feeling that al-Qaeda, with all its imperfections, is still a better alternative than the Yemeni government.

 

Although relief efforts for war refugees did much to improve Sana's image among southerners, only a sustained governance and development initiative — one highly synchronized with military clearing and holding operations against AQAP — will consolidate support for the central government. Yet this sort of initiative will not come naturally to Sana or Washington. The lack of such efforts following last year's clearing operations is already undermining popular support, creating another opportunity for a chastened but resilient AQAP to leverage the south against the central government. The group is already adapting its community engagement strategy by apologizing for the excesses of its recent rule and making overtures to key local leaders to lay the groundwork for reasserting control.

 

Thus far, most U.S. efforts against AQAP have been limited to counterterrorism operations, which are unable to address the fundamental issues prompting Yemenis to either tolerate the group's presence or actively support its goals. In fact, the heavy reliance on sometimes-inaccurate drone strikes has allowed AQAP to take advantage of U.S. and Yemeni mistakes and further bolster its support among the population…..

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NIGERIA – WHERE EVERY PROBLEM IS TOO HARD TO FIX

Gwyne Dyer

The New Zealand Herald, Jan 2, 2013

 

It is not known if the word "dysfunctional" was invented specifically to describe the Nigerian state – several other candidates also come to mind – but the word certainly fills the bill. The political institutions of Africa's biggest country are incapable of dealing with even the smallest challenge. Indeed, they often make matters worse.

 

Consider, for example, the way that the Nigerian Government has dealt with the Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram. Or rather, how it has failed to deal with them. Boko Haram (the phrase means "Western education is sinful") began as a loony but not very dangerous group in the northern state of Bornu who rejected everything that they perceived as "Western" science. In a BBC interview in 2009 its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, claimed that the concept of a spherical Earth is against Islamic teaching. He also denied that rain came from water evaporated by the sun.

 

Bornu is a very poor state, however, and his preaching gave him enough of a following among the poor and ignorant to make him a political threat to the established order. So hundreds of his followers were killed in a huge military and police attack on the movement in 2009, and Mohammed Yusuf himself was murdered while in police custody. That was what triggered Boko Haram's terrorist campaign.

 

Its attacks grew rapidly: by early last year Boko Haram had killed 700 people in dozens of attacks against military, police, government and media organisations and against the Christian minorities living in northern Nigeria. So last March Nigeria's President, Goodluck Jonathan, promised that the security forces would end the insurgency by June. But the death toll just kept climbing.

 

In September, an official told the Guardian newspaper, "There is no sense that the Government has a real grip. The situation is not remotely under control." Last week alone, six people died in an attack on a church on Christmas Day, seven were killed in Maiduguri, the capital of Bornu state, on December 27 and 15 Christians were abducted and murdered, mostly by slitting their throats, in a town near Maiduguri on December 28.

 

President Jonathan's response was to visit a Christian church on Sunday and congratulate the security forces on preventing many more attacks during Christmas week: "Although we still recorded some incidents, the extent of attacks which [Boko Haram] planned was not allowed to be executed." If this is what success looks like, Nigeria is in very deep trouble.

 

Part of the reason is the "security forces", which are corrupt, incompetent, and brutal. In the murderous rampages that are their common response to Boko Haram's attacks, they have probably killed more innocent people than the terrorists, and have certainly stolen more property.

 

But it is the Government that raises, trains and pays these security forces, and even in a continent where many countries have problems with the professionalism of the army and police, Nigeria's are in a class by themselves. That is ultimately because its politicians are also in a class by themselves. There are some honest and serious men and women among them, but as a group they are spectacularly cynical and self-serving.

 

One reason is Nigeria's oil: 100 million Nigerians, two-thirds of the population, live on less than a dollar a day, but there is a lot of oil money around to steal, and politics is the best way to steal it. Another is the country's tribal, regional and religious divisions, which are extreme even by African standards. In the mainly Muslim north, 70 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line; in the mostly Christian south, only half do.

 

Now add a ruthless Islamist terrorist group to the mix, and stir. Boko Haram's support does not just come from a tiny minority of religious fanatics and from grieving and angry people turned against the Government by the brutality of the security forces. It also comes from a huge pool of unemployed and demoralised young men who have no hope of doing anything meaningful with their lives.

 

Democracy has not transformed politics dramatically anywhere in Nigeria, but the deficit is worst in the north, where the traditional rulers protected their power by making alliances with politicians who appealed to the population's Islamic sentiments.

 

That's why all the northern states introduced sharia law around the turn of the century: to stave off popular demands for more far-reaching reforms.

 

But that solution is now failing, for the cynical politicians who became Islamist merely for tactical reasons are being outflanked by genuine fanatics who reject not only science and religious freedom but democracy itself.

 

Nigeria only has an Islamist terrorist problem at the moment, mostly centred in the north and with sporadic attacks in the Christian-majority parts of the country. But it may be heading down the road recently taken by Mali, in which Islamist extremists seize control of the north of the country and divide it in two. And lots of people in the south wouldn't mind a bit. Just seal the new border and forget about the north.

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'Darker Sides': The Vast Islamist Sanctuary of 'Sahelistan': Paul Hyacinthe Mben, Jan Puhl and Thilo Thielke, Der Spiegel, Jan 28, 2013—France is advancing quickly against the Islamists in northern Mali, having already made it to Timbuktu. But the Sahel offers a vast sanctuary for the extremists, complete with training camps, lawlessness and plenty of ways to make money.

 

Connecting the Dots in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya: Abukar Arman, The Commentator, Jan. 7 2013—Just as the temperature of ‘security threat’ slowly declines in Somalia, it rises in other parts of East Africa. Elements of mainly political, religious, and clan/ethnic nature continue to shift and create new volatile conditions. Though not entirely interdependent these conditions could create a ripple effect across different borders.  It is a high anxiety period in the region – especially the area that I would refer to as the triangle of threat: Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
 

The Mali Blowback: Patrick J. Buchanan, American Conservative, Jan. 18, 2013—“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” is Newton’s third law of physics. Its counterpart in geopolitics is “blowback,” when military action in one sphere produces an unintended and undesirable consequence in another. September 11, 2001, was blowback.

Mali and the al-Qaeda Trap: Paul Rogers, Real Clear World, Jan. 25, 2013—A series of events and statements in the early weeks of 2013 suggests that the "war on terror" declared in 2001 is entering a new phase. The escalation of war in northern Mali and the siege of the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, followed by the sudden advice from several European governments that their citizens in Benghazi should leave immediately, all focus security attention on northern Africa. At the same time, there are signs of an increase in Islamist influence among the opposition forces in Syria's ongoing war, and of an intensified bombing campaign against government and Shi'a sites in Iraq.

 

 

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CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
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CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, ABUSE OF MEMORY CONTINUES, ANTI-SEMITISM (SEE SWEDEN) ON RISE

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Jan. 28, 2013— Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities.

The Abuse of Holocaust Memory in 2011-2012: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, JCPA, Jan. 27, 2013—The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil in Western society. This has happened gradually over the past decades. One might have expected that more than sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the mention and memory of it would fade away. Indeed, “Holocaust fatigue” is widespread; many people do not want to hear anything more about the subject.

 

Ministry Report: Attacks Against Jews on the Rise: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2013—There has been “an alarming rise in the number of attacks against Jewish targets” over the past year, according to a new report issued by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, timed to coincide with the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Sunday. The 2012 report indicated that the confluence of extreme rightwing political movements and Islamic radicalism have been responsible for a new wave of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.

 

What Happened to Sweden?: Michael Curtis, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2013—Just as Raoul Wallenberg remains as an example of courage, Sweden's Mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat who has held the office for 17 years, does not.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

68 Yrs After 'Liberation' of Auschwitz-Lessons Learned, Unlearned: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News Jan. 26, 2013

UK Paper Posts Anti-Israel Cartoon On Holocaust Day: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2013

That Unwitting Indecency: Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013
Seeing The World Through Anne Frank’s Eyes—Via iPad: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2013

New Book Exposes World’s Indifference to Nazis After World War II: The Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2013

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
Baruch Cohen,

CIJR, Jan. 27, 2013

 

Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities.

 

Despite my age (93) I continue to present  whenever I am called to share my story, talking about the event that marked my life forever.

 

In 1933, when Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany, my mother (we lived in Bucharest) called me to her side and said, “My dear son (I was the only boy in our family of four children), Hitler’s rise to power will mean the destruction of the Jewish People.”

 

Today’s rising anti-Semitism, which takes the form of “anti-Zionism”, is a call against the Jewish People, a call of hatred against the State of Israel, and hence of all Jews, of the Jewish People.

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a universal statement against hate and prejudice, a call to unite the world, to affirm life! Thidsday must also be a day to make alive the memory of a great human being, a unique lover of humanity, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who – in a world which allowed both the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust – shouldered his human responsibility, and in        1944, in Hungary, personally saved thousands of Jewish lives!

 

Never forget! Never Again!

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)

 

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THE ABUSE OF HOLOCAUST MEMORY IN 2011-2012

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

JCPA, January 27, 2013
 

 [Editor’s Note: the following is an excerpt of a much longer article. For the full text please click on the link or download a PDF version here.]

 

The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil in Western society. This has happened gradually over the past decades. One might have expected that more than sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the mention and memory of it would fade away. Indeed, “Holocaust fatigue” is widespread; many people do not want to hear anything more about the subject.

 

At the same time, many others increasingly mention and discuss the Holocaust. It took sixty years until in 2005, the United Nations General Assembly named 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Every UN member state also has an official obligation to honour the victims of the Nazi era and develop educational material about the Holocaust. In 2012, remembrance of the Holocaust was devoted to children. In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:

 

One and a half million Jewish children perished in the Holocaust – victims of persecution by the Nazis and their supporters. Tens of thousands of other children were also murdered. They included people with disabilities…as well as Roma and Sinti. All were victims of a hate-filled ideology that labeled them as “inferior.”

 

What are the main reasons for this increasing interest in the Holocaust?…One very partial explanation is the memorial meetings that take place every year in many places. Some are very emotional. An annual one is held at the location of the former Paris cycling stadium. There, more than thirteen thousand Jews who had been arrested were brought together in July 1942 before being sent to German death camps. In 2012, French president François Hollande gave a moving speech at the memorial meeting. He noted that the arrests were carried out by French policemen, and added that not a single German soldier had to be mobilized.

 

This was a very important statement, as it highlighted France’s share in the responsibility for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. It was even more significant because the last Socialist president, François Mitterrand, was unwilling to acknowledge France’s assistance in the crimes. Hollande also said at the gathering that France would act with determination against anti-Semitism. Increased anti-Semitism in Europe is yet another reason for the Holocaust remaining a subject of considerable dialogue. This is the more so as on various occasions, anti-Semites make use of Nazi terminology….

 

Simultaneously with the growing interest in Holocaust, the distortion of its history and memory increases as well. To fight this effectively, one must first understand this phenomenon….The examples of distortion of the Holocaust come from many countries and many different circles….In the last year or two, there have been so many incidents that one can only describe a limited number of them.

 

The abuse of the Holocaust has become so major that within several categories of distortion, subcategories have emerged. This can be well illustrated from the first category of distortion, which concerns Holocaust promotion and justification.

 

The most extreme form of this is the promotion of a new Holocaust. This intense hate-mongering is mainly associated with sizable parts of the Muslim world. The main actors are the Iranian government and the Palestinian Hamas movement. But there are many others. For instance, in October 2012, a video showed how Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi answered “Amen” to an imam who prayed, “Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters.”

 

The call for the murder of Jews is much more widespread in the Muslim world than many in the Western world wish to know, admit, or publicize. One reason is that from all these examples of Holocaust promotion, several conclusions can be drawn that are to a large extent politically incorrect or even taboo. The basis of the Western multicultural position is the false claim that all cultures are equal in value. A culture where many prominent people promote murder, however, is inferior to a democratic culture. This does not make individuals living in such a culture inferior human beings. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”…

 

The flawed idea that all cultures at a given time in history are equivalent has absurd implications. One is that Nazi culture in the mid-twentieth century was equal to the democratic culture of the Allies. Murdering six million Jews in the Holocaust fit German culture at the time. If there is no hierarchy of cultures, then there was nothing reprehensible about this genocide….

 

Other Holocaust promoters can be found in neo-Nazi environments. There are also individuals or small groups who scrawl “Death to the Jews” graffiti, for instance. This also occurs frequently on social networks. “A good Jew” (“UnBonJuif”), which spread anti-Semitic jokes, became the third most popular hashtag among French Twitter users in October 2012. Several of them tweeted “A good Jew is a dead Jew.”

 

Some of those comparing attitudes of movements in the Islamic world to those of the Nazis present weighty arguments. Holocaust expert Yehuda Bauer points out:

 

Today for the first time since 1945, Jews are again threatened openly, by a radical Islamic genocidal ideology whose murderous rantings must be taken more seriously than the Nazi ones were two and more generations ago. The direct connection between World War II, the Shoah, and present-day genocidal events and threats is more than obvious. The Shoah was unprecedented; but it was a precedent, and that precedent is being followed.

 

Holocaust historian Robert Wistrich writes that hard-core anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany. Wistrich explains that Muslim hatred for Israel and Jews is “an eliminatory anti-Semitism with a genocidal dimension.” As common elements between Muslim and Nazi anti-Semitism, Wistrich lists fanaticism, the cult of death, the nihilistic wish for destruction, and the mad lust for world hegemony….

 

Growing polarization in Western society is just one of several reasons for the increase in Holocaust abuse. More people are being falsely blamed as being or behaving like Nazis. Another, more specific reason is the explosion of anti-Semitism – often disguised as anti-Israelism – in Western society. This leads to an increase in Holocaust promotion and, above all, of Holocaust inversion – comparing Israelis to Nazis.

 

The massive abuse of the Holocaust poses the question: what can one do about it? There is no single way to fight against it. Education is very important, as are memorials, monuments, and many other activities. However, a crucial point remains that people should make an effort to prevent the abuse of Holocaust from entering into public debate. When this happens, it should be fought intensely.

 

Such actions often produce results, even if they arrive late. One example has already been mentioned: in October 2012, four years after he had said that there were no gas chambers, the extreme-conservative Catholic Society of Pius X removed Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson from its ranks.

 

An important step would be for the nations of the world to live up to their commitments under the UN Genocide Convention and bring Iranian leaders Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before an international court. The same should be done with the Hamas organization and its genocide promoters. That could become the beginning of a much wider struggle against Holocaust distortion.

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MINISTRY REPORT: ATTACKS AGAINST JEWS ON THE RISE

Sam Sokol

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2013

 

There has been “an alarming rise in the number of attacks against Jewish targets” over the past year, according to a new report issued by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry on Sunday.

The 2012 report on anti-Semitism, which was presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, indicated that the confluence of extreme rightwing political movements and Islamic radicalism have been responsible for a new wave of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.

 

The report’s release was timed to coincide with the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday. Based on data collected by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, Edelstein noted that “the main conclusion emerging from the document… is that compared to 2011, there was an escalation in violent incidents against Jews around the world.”…

 

Edelstein also noted that a “preliminary analysis of trends” indicates that Israeli policy “does not constitute the main incentive for anti- Semitic actions against Jews.” Delegitimation of Israel does play a role in fuelling anti-Jewish activity, he said, but “Israeli policies will not affect or reduce these effects of racial hatred against Jews.”

 

The worst increase in anti- Semitism was seen in Western Europe, according to the report, which listed a number of incidents in France and Germany, including the bombing of a grocery store in Sarcelles, France and the shooting deaths of four Jews at the Otsar HaTorah religious school in Toulouse. Many synagogues in France are now surrounded by high concrete walls and receive special police security details on major holidays. It is also common for Jews in many French cities to remove their kippot for safety reasons when walking outside.

 

The ministry’s report also detailed the rise of anti-Semitic political movements in eastern and southern Europe, including the Golden Dawn party in Greece and the Jobbik party in Hungary. Most anti-Semitic incidents, it claimed, were either motivated by far-right political ideologies or by those affiliated with radical Islam. Figures published by the French Jewish communal organization SPCJ – Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive – in October, the report further noted, show that the number of incidents that occurred in France in 2011 was 45 percent higher than in the previous year.

 

Edelstein also said that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have found fertile ground online and that Arab anti-Semitism remains prominent, although it has not seen a marked increase. A 2011 paper on anti-Semitism produced by the Kantor Center stated that while there was an increase in the intensity of violent incidents against Jews in 2011, the total number of such events worldwide during that year fell from 614 to 446. The report said France was the leading country for anti-Semitic incidents with 114 reported in 2011, followed closely by the UK with 105. Canada and Australia reported 68 and 30, respectively.

 

Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center and the chief historian at Yad Vashem, noted that [while] “there was in 2012…a rise [in anti-Semitism],…it is not about numbers, but about tendencies,” she told The Jerusalem Post. …In tracking anti-Semitism over a period of years, Porat noted, she has seen that “the rise and decline of anti-Semitism is mainly connected to problems within Europe.” Anti-Semitic incidents in Western and Central Europe, she said, “are not necessarily [connected] to the Middle East or to the Palestinian-Israel conflict or to Israel’s conduct. They emanate from political, social and economic problems.”

 

In response to the report by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor stated that “anti- Semitism in Europe is reaching a tipping point, where certain Jewish communities on the European continent are in danger. We are also gravely concerned that the political rise of neo-Nazi parties in Europe has given racists and anti-Semites a certain level of impunity. This coupled with the rise of anti- Israel delegitimization on the Left, and among extreme Muslim communities, is creating an explosive cocktail for European Jews.” The EJC, he stated, is working to formulate “a plan with senior EU and European officials to increase education, policing and action to stem the rise of hatred against the Jews.”

 

After being briefed on the report, Netanyahu told his cabinet that, “In the perspective of the almost 75 years that have passed since the Holocaust, what has not changed is the desire to annihilate the Jews.”

What has changed, he noted, was the “ability of the Jews to defend themselves.” The prime minister also asserted that “nobody will defend the Jews if they are not ready to defend themselves; this is another lesson of the Holocaust. It is impossible to rely on separate and independent action to defend the Jews if the Jews will not defend themselves.”….

 

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WHAT HAPPENED TO SWEDEN?

Michael Curtis

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2013

 

Just as Raoul Wallenberg remains as an example of courage, Sweden's Mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat who has held the office for 17 years, does not.

 

Last October, around 300 people assembled in Raoul Wallenberg Square in Malmo, to join in solidarity the few Jews of Malmo, now numbering about 600, whose community center had just suffered an explosion, and whose cemetery had just been desecrated by antisemitic graffiti. At the same time as this demonstration, on the other side of Malmo, a celebration was taking place to commemorate the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, who, in Hungary in1944, saved thousands of Jews, from being sent to their death in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

 

From July 9, 1944 until his arrest by the Soviet army on January 17, 1945 at the age of 32, Wallenberg issued "protective passports" to thousands of Jews and rented 32 buildings, which he declared diplomatic facilities. He used diplomacy, bribery and blackmail to provide Jews with immunity from arrest. He persuaded General Schmidthuber, the Commander of the German Army in Hungary, to cancel Adolf Eichmann's plan to attack the Jewish ghetto and slaughter the 70,000 Jews there. About 120,000 Jews survived in Hungary alone as a result of Wallenberg's efforts.

 

The courage of Wallenberg is disappointingly absent in Sweden today. Once a moral superpower, Sweden cannot now claim to be seen as even an open or tolerant place. Instead, it has become a haven for antisemitic behaviour, as well as anti-Israel activity, by both Muslim activists and various political groups. Members of the Swedish parliament have attended supposedly "anti-Israel" rallies, which quickly descended into occasions for competitive antisemitic rhetoric. Jews are being "harassed and physically attacked," by "people from the Middle East," according to Malmo resident, Fredrik Sieradzik, in an interview with the Austrian paper, Die Presse. "Malmo," he said, "is a place to move away from."

 

Sweden is now a country where orthodox Jews are afraid to wear a skullcap, and where the largest tabloid paper, Aftonbladet, libellously claimed, in an August 2009 article, that Israeli soldiers were taking the organs of dead Palestinians. When the city of Malmo in 2009 hosted a tennis match between Sweden and Israel, no spectators were allowed for "reasons of security."

 

The individual most conspicuous in the denial of this reality is the mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu,. This reality consists of attacks on Jews in a city where the Jewish population has been reduced from 2,000 to about 600; where Molotov cocktails are thrown at Jewish funeral chapels, and antisemitic graffiti is scrawled throughout the town. The mayor nevertheless denies the increase in antisemitism there. When he does allude to the subject, he argues that the violence comes from right wing extremists, not from Muslims who now make up a considerable part of his Malmo population.

 

Reepalu asserts that "We accept neither Zionism nor antisemitism. They are extremes that put themselves above other groups, and believe they have a lower value." Of the small Malmo Jewish community, he says: "I would wish for the Jewish community to denounce Israeli violations against the civilian population of Gaza. Instead, it decides to hold a demonstration [in reality a pro-peace rally] which could send the wrong signals." Reepalu speaks of Israeli "genocide" in Gaza.

 

Reepalu, as is common with people in other countries in Europe in their failure to consider that government, laws and human rights partly exists to protect the minority from the majority. He blames the local Jews' use of free speech and freedom of assembly for attacks on them: If only the Jews would stop speaking and gathering peacefully, the distorted logic goes, no one would be attacking them. Historically, the opposite is true: even when Jews remained quiet, and spent years in hiding, as many often did, the only acceptable form of behaviour, apparently, was not to exist.

 

After years of unremitting antisemitic activity in Malmo, many Jews have either left or are thinking of leaving, largely for Stockholm, England or Israel. Reepalu's comment was : "There have not been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo." From time to time the mayor has claimed that his views were misrepresented, but the full recordings, published on the website of the paper Skanska Dagbladet, make clear that they were not.

 

One can only hope that the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the exemplification of Sweden's height as a moral superpower, may lead some of those exercising power in Sweden to deal with the forces of accelerating bigotry at their doorstep, and their own bigotry inside.

 

Michael Curtis is author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under Attack by the International Community.

 

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68 Years After the 'Liberation' of Auschwitz –Lessons Learned and Unlearned: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News Jan. 26, 2013—On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz Birkenau Death Camp. Actually “liberated” is the wrong word. Opened the gates of hell is more appropriate a term.  The numbers of murdered are staggering. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust nearly a quarter of the 6 million Jews killed in Holocaust were mass murdered there, most in gas chambers. Of the 400,000 political prisoners brought to Auschwitz, only 65,000 left alive; of the 16,000 Soviet POWs, 96 returned home.

 

UK Paper Posts Anti-Israel Cartoon On Holocaust Day: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2013—The Sunday Times of London marked Holocaust Memorial Day [by] running a virulently anti-Israel cartoon depicting a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of writhing Palestinians.

 

That Unwitting Indecency: Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013—I wish more Israelis were with me in outlying County Kerry, Ireland, just recently. There, in the tiny town of Cahersiveen, my doubting compatriots would have been reminded of what we face in the international community and why it has nothing much to do with how liberally we conduct ourselves, how many confidence- building concessions we make at the expense of our physical safety or how much we sacrifice of our rights to our historic homeland. It’s all gallingly beside the point.

Seeing The World Through Anne Frank’s Eyes — Via An Ipad: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2013—Thanks to a new iPad and Nook app by the UK-based Beyond The Story, students will be able to learn about the Holocaust in a far more effective and experiential manner than ever before. Together with Viking Penguin, publisher of “The Diary,” the company has developed a tablet version of the book which includes interactive links, videos, voice-overs and historical background along with never-before released material supplied by the Switzerland-based Anne Frank Foundation. The app is being released on January 25 to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the 70th anniversary of the date on which Anne Frank started her diary."

 

New Book Exposes World’s Indifference to Nazis After World War II: The Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2013—A new book claims that governments around the world were unwilling to track down Nazi criminals in the wake of World War II because of “vested interests.” The “Nazi Hunt: South America’s Dictatorships and the Avenging of Nazi Crimes, by German historian Daniel Stahl, calls the half-hearted efforts of postwar governments a ‘coalition of the unwilling.’ Stahl writes that the French feared prosecutions would expose their collaboration during the war, the South Americans feared a spotlight on their own murderous regimes and the West Germans wanted to help ‘old comrades’ get away."

 

 

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LÉGISLATIVES ISRAÉLIENNES, ET PLUS : POURQUOI IL FAUT REMPLACER ABBAS

 

Résultats des élections législatives du 22 janvier 2013
 

Partis
politiques
Têtes de liste Votes Sièges
Voix % Nb. +/-
  LikoudIsraël Beiteinu
(droite et extrême droite ultranationaliste)
Benyamin Netanyahou 832 099 23,25 % 31 -12
  Yesh Atid
(centre laïque)
Yaïr Lapid 507 879 14,19 % 19 +19
  Parti travailliste
(centre-gauche)
Shelly Yachimovich 409 685 11,45 % 15 +2
  La Maison juive
(extrême droite religieuse)
Naftali Bennett 313 646 8,76 % 12 +5
  Shass
(orthodoxes sérafades (ultraorthodoxes religieux))
Eli Yishaï 316 151 8,83 % 11 =0
  Judaïsme unifié de la Torah
(orthodoxes ashkénazes (ultraorthodoxes religieux))
Yaakov Litzman 189 931 5,31 % 7 +2
  Hatnuah
(centre)
Tzipi Livni 179 818 5,02 % 6 +6
  Meretz
(gauche)
Zehava Gal-On 164 150 4,59 % 6 +3
  Liste arabe unie
(arabe religieux)
Ibrahim Sarsur 135 830 3,80 % 4 =0
  Hadash
(communiste juif-arabe)
Mohammad Barakeh 111 685 3,12 % 4 =0
  Balad
(arabe laïque)
Jamal Zahalka 95 312 2,66 % 3 =0
  Kadima
(centre)
Shaul Mofaz 74 735 2,09 % 2 -26
 
  Total inscrits   5,6 millions   120
  Blancs et nuls      
  Total exprimés   3 330 921 100,00 %

 

 

Pourquoi il faut remplacer Abbas

Efraim Inbar

Jerusalem Post, 23 janvier 2013

 

En refusant de venir en aide aux réfugiés palestiniens de Syrie, Abbas prouve une fois de plus son refus de parvenir à la paix.

 

Selon un article peu remarqué, publié par l’agence de presse Reuters le 10 janvier, Mahmoud Abbas aurait rejeté une belle offre de la part d’Israël : laisser les réfugiés palestiniens d’une Syrie déchirée par la guerre se réinstaller en Judée-Samarie et à Gaza. Ce qui, selon le leader de l’Autorité palestinienne, reviendrait à compromettre leur « droit au retour » dans les maisons perdues en Israël, pendant la guerre de 1948.

 

D’après la publication, Israël aurait autorisé les descendants des réfugiés à se réinstaller dans la bande de Gaza et en Judée-Samarie, mais à une condition : qu’ils signent une déclaration renonçant à un droit au retour en Israël.

 

Condition rejetée par qui a décrété : « Qu’ils meurent en Syrie plutôt que de renoncer à leur droit au retour ».

 

Ce n’est pas nouveau. Par le passé, les Palestiniens ont rejeté d’autres tentatives d’alléger les conditions de vie de leurs réfugiés. Car ils préfèrent les garder, eux, et des millions de leurs descendants, comme atout politique. Par ailleurs, les réfugiés constituent une composante importante de leur sempiternelle image, forgée par leurs soins, de victimes et de martyrs.

 

Ainsi, au lieu d’aider son peuple en détresse, Abbas, dans la meilleure tradition palestinienne, préfère se cramponner au droit au retour – une requête qu’aucun gouvernement israélien n’acceptera jamais. Même la majorité de la communauté internationale rejette cette demande palestinienne, comprenant bien le large consensus de la société israélienne, opposée à un afflux massif de Palestiniens susceptibles de détruire son caractère juif.

 

Les Palestiniens ont donc manqué une autre occasion de démontrer qu’ils étaient capables d’adopter un comportement constructif en faveur de leur peuple. Évitant comme à l’accoutumée une politique pragmatique, ils choisissent une fois de plus des positions radicales, qui ne font que perdurer leur souffrance sur une voie jalonnée d’obstacles à la paix.

 

On ne plaisante pas avec le droit au retour

 

Abbas, le « modéré», a récemment fourni une autre démonstration d’un tel choix typique palestinien, lorsqu’il s’est adressé à ses compatriotes le 4 janvier dernier, évitant de mentionner la formule « terre contre paix », ou encore la création d’un État palestinien aux côtés d’Israël, qui pourrait mettre un terme au conflit et aux souffrances de son peuple.

 

Il ne semble pas préparer les siens à la nécessité de faire des concessions au nom de la paix. Au lieu de cela, il insiste sur la nécessité d’emprunter la voie de la lutte, pour réaliser « le rêve du retour » des réfugiés palestiniens et de leurs descendants.

 

Une seule explication à ce comportement : le mouvement national palestinien ne plaisante pas avec le droit au retour.

 

Ignorer le comportement et la rhétorique des Palestiniens, ou dénigrer leur importance n’est qu’une politique de l’autruche. Malheureusement, dans l’ADN du mouvement national palestinien est inscrite la demande irréelle de ce droit au retour. Il faudrait des générations pour recodifier ce comportement génétique et y introduire un peu de pragmatisme.

 

Car personne ne renonce facilement à ses rêves.

 

C’est pourquoi Abbas a rencontré Khaled Mashaal, le chef du Hamas, au Caire, le 10 janvier. En dépit de leurs différences idéologiques fondamentales, ils partagent le même idéal – la destruction de l’État juif. Les deux leaders, malgré leurs nombreux différends, seraient ainsi prêts à trouver un moyen de coopérer pour parvenir à leur objectif suprême, même si cela devait signer la fin de leur espoir de créer leur propre État.

 

Il encourage au contraire, par ses actes, la lutte armée contre Israël, même si celle-ci sape les efforts de l’Autorité palestinienne pour établir un État. Pour preuve : les défilés qu’il a tolérés, fin décembre 2012, de membres armés des Brigades des martyrs d’al-Aqsa, la milice du Fatah, en l’honneur de l’anniversaire de la fondation du mouvement.

 

En fermant les yeux devant la résurgence des groupes armés dans la société palestinienne, Abbas érode la principale réalisation de l’AP ces dernières années – la restauration de la loi et de l’ordre public suite au démantèlement des milices.

 

Car ces groupes armés palestiniens pourraient être tentés de se livrer à de violents affrontements avec Israël, qui s’avéreront alors désastreux pour l’autodétermination de leur peuple et ses chances de vivre en paix. Grand promoteur de non-violence sur la scène internationale, Abbas incite à la lutte, dans l’espoir évident qu’une troisième Intifada apporte de meilleurs résultats que la seconde.

 

Certes, il avait bien sûr promis négociations et modération après l’obtention pour l’AP du statut de pays observateur par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies en novembre 2012. Mais au lieu de cela, nous assistons à une rhétorique provocatrice et irresponsable, et à une politique autodestructrice.

 

Les Palestiniens, comme la plupart des pays arabes, ont un besoin urgent de leadership politique, qui seul saura les sauver d’un comportement pathologique et irresponsable.

 

 

Le rôle que devrait assumer l’Occident dans le conflit palestino-israélien

Dr Zvi Tenney

terredisrael.com, 24 janvier 2013

 

Le ministre de l’Autorité palestinienne chargé des Affaires religieuses, Mahmoud Al-Habbas, a déclaré ces jour-ci, à l’agence de presse officielle palestinienne Wafa : » Les récentes déclarations du Premier ministre israélien sur la propriété du mur occidental ne sont rien de plus qu’un non sens et une tentative de manipulation historique; ces déclaration n’ont aucun fondement historique, religieux ou juridique ». Pour Mahmoud Al-Habbas, aussi bien Jérusalem, que le mur occidental relève « du seul droit des Palestiniens ».

 

Ce genre de déclaration niant le lien historique du peuple juif avec Jérusalem et la Terre d’Israël en général est repris sans cesse par les dirigeants palestiniens, le Président Mahmoud Abbas en tête.

 

Qu’il s’agisse des tentatives bien connues de réécrire l’histoire pour éradiquer les sites historiques et religieux juifs en territoires palestiniens, ou de ce type de déclarations, tout démontre, qu’au-delà des affirmations de principe à destination de l’opinion publique internationale, les Palestiniens et leurs responsables politiques n’ont encore pas accepté et reconnu ni Israël en tant qu’Etat du peuple juif, ni son lien historique avec cette Terre d’Israël, la Palestine.

 

Il s’agit là indiscutablement d’une rhétorique qui ne peut permettre des véritables négociations de paix qui puissent aboutir à la coexistence pacifique de deux Etats, l’un juif et l’autre palestinien.

 

C’est là que le Monde occidental, porteur de la tradition judéo-chrétienne, pourrait réellement contribuer à faciliter un acheminement vers la paix en veillant à rejeter, ouvertement, sans ambages et en toute occasion, la tentative arabe de dénier le lien historique d’Israël avec la Terre d’Israël et en veillant à faire à chaque occasion, des mises au point historiques appropriées et détaillées.

 

Il lui suffirait par exemple de souligner à chaque fois que les Musulmans parlent de « l’esplanade des mosquées » affirmant que le Temple juif n’a jamais existé et qu’il s’agit d’un mythe, que le lieu en question est pour le Monde occidental Judéo-chrétien tout entier, (et non seulement « pour les Juifs »), « Le Mont du Temple  » et ceci en citant en référence le Nouveau Testament (Matthieu 21-23 ou 24-1, Jean 10-23, etc.,) où le lieu en question est mentionné bel et bien comme « le Temple ».

 

Il pourrait également citer l’historien romain Flavius Joseph qui en 70 racontant la destruction du Temple juif de Jérusalem par Rome, écrit « .. Les Romains se retournent alors vers les vaincus et incendient les maisons où les juifs ont fui, brûlant toute âme vivante à l’intérieur ».

Ou encore attirer l’attention sur la signification du bas-relief de l’Arc de Titus à Rome.

 

Le Monde occidentale pourrait aussi rappeler les témoignages de tous les archéologues, historiens et écrivains qui ont visité notre région dans le passé lointain et y ont tous mentionné une présence juive majoritaire.

 

Hadrian Reland,par exemple , géographe et philologue hollandais , a écrit en 1696 « PALESTINA – Voyage en Palestine », un témoignage qui contredit l’idée d’une Palestine musulmane, mentionnant ,entre autres, qu’à Jérusalem il y avait plus de 5000 habitants, presque tous Juifs, les autres Chrétiens. Reland y évoque à peine quelques familles musulmanes isolées, d’ouvriers temporaires.

 

Pour les grands hommes du XIXème siècle, comme Lamartine ou Chateaubriand, qui ont visité la Palestine, « …la Nation Palestinienne était d’abord et essentiellement la Nation Juive ».Ils ont tous exprimé leur admiration pour l’attachement du peuple juif à son héritage ancestral.

Le secrétaire d’Etat américain William Seward, sous la Présidence d’Abraham Lincoln, pour sa part, écrivait en 1871, alors qu’il se trouvait à Jérusalem : « …Les juifs sont 8000, majoritaires dans tous les quartiers de la ville ».

 

Pour conclure, s’il désire vraiment contribuer à la paix dans notre région, le Monde occidental, au lieu de répéter ces déclarations condamnant les constructions juives autour de Jérusalem, devrait se mobiliser, avec l’UNESCO en tête, pour veiller à insuffler en permanence ces faits historiques aussi bien aux dirigeants et aux Médias palestiniens qu’au système d’éducation scolaire palestinien.

 

 

Selon la Fondation Palestinienne des Droits de l’Homme,

'l’holocauste est un mythe'

Philosémitisme, 24 janvier 2013

 

Ces propos peuvent nous sembler insensés ou ridicules, mais une majorité de musulmans sont absolument convaincus que c'est vrai confie Ayaan Hirsi Ali dans un éditorial dans le New York Times: "Quand j'étais enfant, élevée dans une famille musulmane, j'entendais constamment ma mère, d'autres membres de la famille et des voisins appeler de leurs voeux la mort des Juifs qui étaient considérés comme nos pires ennemis. Nos professeurs de religion et les prédicateurs dans nos mosquées réservaient du temps pour prier pour la destruction des Juifs."

 

Arnaud Darmon @ JSSNews: La Fondation Palestinienne des Droits de l’Homme vient de publier un article sur son site internet, dans lequel l’organisation rejette la réalité de la Shoah.

 

L’article, rédigé par le Dr Mustapha Ahmed Khair Abul, président de la fondation et professeur de droit international (voir son C.V., il est entre autres 'Member of the Scientific Advisory Bmosush scientific miracle in the Koran and Sunna'), affirme qu’Israël devrait compenser l’Egypte pour les dommages qu’Israël aurait provoqué à l’Egypte ces dernières décennies (il parle d’au moins 500 milliards de dollars). Il donne d’ailleurs pour exemple l’Italie qui paye 5 milliards de dollars par an à la Libye pour les 30 ans d’occupation du pays.

 

Peut-être qu’Israël pourrait demander quelques milliards pour les siècles d’esclavagisme du peuple hébreu en Egypte? Par ailleurs, de quels dégâts parle t-il ?

 

Pour appuyer son propos, et pour justifier le chiffre exorbitant qu’il avance, Abul Khair ajoute «l’entité sioniste a extorqué Allemagne après le mythe de l’holocauste, ils peuvent bien réparer ce qu’ils doivent à l’Egypte».

TU B’SHEVAT! POLITICS AND NEW LIFE—ISRAEL’S “SOFT-RIGHT” ELECTION , AND ISRAEL AS ANTI-SEMITES’ U.S. PROXY

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Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

 

 

Tu B'shevat: Chag Hailanot: Israel Forever, Jan 25, 2013—In Jewish tradition, Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of Trees is celebrated on the 15th (TU = ט"ו) day of the Jewish month of Shevat שבט, this year on January 25-26. This is one of the 4 New Years mentioned in the Mishnah, we honor this day when budding fruit enters a new year of life and the first bulbs of spring are beginning to bloom.

 

The Centrality of Politics: Israel’s Soft-Right Election and Foreign Policy: Frederick Krantz, CIJR Jan. 24, 2013— Israel’s election signifies three things.  First, the ever-green utility of the old aphorism, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics”; second, what the great German historical-sociologist Max Weber called “the primacy of politics”; and third, the Israeli electorate’s strikingly broad “foreign policy” consensus on both the Palestinian and Iranian issues.

 

 

What the 'Lobby' Knows About Animus for Israel: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Jan.16, 2013—The confirmation process for those slated to guide American foreign policy can profitably be used to clear up at least one point of confusion. What's at issue is not the degree of their affection for Jews or for Israel. Never mind the Jews: Opposition to Israel camouflages a much more virulent hostility to America. How does an American statesman assess the anti-Jews who attack Israel as a proxy for this country?

 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

The Settlements Don't Endanger Israel's Existence: Dani Dayan, Intelligence Squared, Jan. 21, 2013 (video)
Needed: War Against Jihadists: Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, Jan 18, 2013
The New World Disorder: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Jan. 21, 2013

Obama Second Term Bodes Trouble for Israel: Daniel Pipes, The Washington Times, Jan. 22, 2013

 

 

 

 

TU B'SHEVAT: CHAG HAILANOT

Israel Forever, Jan 25, 2013

 

Tu B'Shevat Higiya, Chag HaIlanot!

 

In Jewish tradition, Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of Trees is celebrated on the 15th (TU = ט"ו) day of the Jewish month of Shevat שבט, this year on January 25-26. This is one of the 4 New Years mentioned in the Mishnah. Known in Israel as "Chag HaIlanot" (Ilan אילן= tree), we honor this day when budding fruit enters a new year of life and the first bulbs of spring are beginning to bloom.

 

The spiritual connection of this special holiday is that this date is used to calculate the age of fruit-bearing trees in the Land of Israel. This is important for the practice of tithing, so that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years of a tree's life. The fourth year fruits were intended to be used in Temple ceremonies, based on Leviticus 19:23-25.

 

Additionally, knowing the age of a tree allows us to honor the law of shmitta שמיטה, when the fruit of the land in the seventh year cannot be eaten, used or sold.  The rabbis chose the 15th of Shevat because it is in the midst of Israel's rainy season, rather than during the seasons of agricultural planting. Thus, the fruit of the trees that bloom before Tu B'Shevat would be counted toward the previous year, and those budding after Tu B'Shevat would be the first fruits of the new "tree year." As the almond (shkediya שקדיה) trees and other early bloomers awake from the winter slumber…and a new fruit-bearing cycle begins. In honor of this beautiful holiday, it is traditional in Israel to eat fruits and grains that come from the land of Israel, particularly of the "Shivat Minnim," the seven biblical species:

 

1. Wheat – Chita חיטה

2. Barley – Se’orah שעורה

3. Grapes – Anavim גפן

4. Fig – Te’enah תאנה

5. Pomegranate – Rimmon רימון

6. Olive – Zayit זית

7. Honey – D'vash דבש

 

 

כי ה' אלוהיך מביאך אל ארץ טובה, ארץ נחלי מים, עיינות ותהומות יוצאים בבקעה ובהר, ארץ חיטה ושעורה וגפן ותאנה ורימון, ארץ זית שמן ודבש" דברים ח', ז-ח'

 

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey. (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)

 

Israelis commonly exchange gifts of dried fruit with loved ones, a tradition drawn from the years of Diaspora Jewish life in Eastern Europe and elsewhere when they couldn't get fresh fruits in the winter with which to celebrate. Today, in the markets throughout Israel, dates, pomegranates, olives, avocado, persimmon, oranges, carob, sabras (cactus fruit), and other beautiful fruits are transformed into delicious delectables to be shared by family and friends….

 

The most common tradition of all for the celebration of Tu B'Shevat is to plant new trees. While the holiday doesn't really have anything to do with planting trees, the idea may be borne from the mitzvah known as "yishuv ha'aretz," יישוב הארץ, settling the land. "I will bring you to the land, concerning which I raised My hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you as a heritage." (Shemot 6:8); “You shall possess the Land and dwell in it, for to you have I given the Land to possess it” (Bamidbar, 33:53); “You shall possess it and you shall dwell therein” (Devarim, 11:31)

 

This doesn't only speak to the ingathering of Jews to make their homes in the Land of Israel. Yishuv HaAretz invites Jews from all over the world to join in the effort of working hand-in-hand with the land, to make the desert bloom, to grow roots in our ancestral soil, and to ensure another generation of trees will prosper for the next generation of Jews in Israel and throughout the world to enjoy.

 

"And when you shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food…" (Leviticus19:23) וְכִי-תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל-עֵץ מַאֲכָל    

 

As a result of this love for planting trees…Israel was one of the only countries to end the last century with more trees that it had 100 years earlier! Our connection to the land can be increased by learning of the significance of trees and their fruit to the life and land of the Jewish State….

 

 

 

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THE CENTRALITY OF POLITICS: ISRAEL’S

SOFT-RIGHT ELECTION AND FOREIGN POLICY

Frederick Krantz, Jan. 24, 2013
 

 Israel’s election signifies three things.  First, the ever-green utility of the old aphorism, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics”; second, what the great German historical-sociologist Max Weber called “the primacy of politics”; and third, the Israeli electorate’s strikingly broad “foreign policy” consensus on both the Palestinian and Iranian issues.

 

 (1) All the major media, in Israel, North America and Europe, relying on multiple polls in Israel, wrongly predicted a massive right-wing electoral sweep.  And while that didn’t materialize (in fact Likud-Israel Beiteinu lost 11 of 42 seats), neither did the Left feel the wind beneath its sails–it did poorly, with Labour receding, and Tsipi Livni’s party getting 6 votes (plummeting from her former party, Kadima’s 29 tallies in 2009).

 

What Israel’s electorate in fact returned, upsetting all expectations, was a Right-Center  preponderance, clearly focused domestically on social and economic issues (and, in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid’s 19-vote case, on IDF service for the ultra-Orthodox). (We will turn to foreign policy in a moment.)

 

(2) Max Weber, an opponent of Marxism, understood that while socio-historical dynamics involve economic, political, and cultural-ideological factors,  history above all rests upon, and is made by, politics.  Politics, not the economy, is the “independent variable”, and politics, in turn, has much to do with the intangible human qualities we call  leadership (it was Weber, after all, who invented the term “charismatic leader”).

 

And Israel’s election indeed turned on leaders, able and less able. Here three leaders, who organized and motivated coherent large-scale followings were key. Bibi Netanyahu, already twice prime minister, and clearly on the verge, despite losses, of organizing a third governing coalition; Yair Lapid, an actor and journalist, able to ride the wave of a domestically centrist movement with social concerns but which is, at the same time, as we shall see, “soft-right” in terms of security policy; and Naftali Bennett, of the Jewish Home party, taking right-wing and religious votes away from Likud-Beitenu with a clearly pro-settlements and anti-Palestinian platform. 

 

On the other hand, would-be leaders of leftist parties did not do very well. Shelly Yachimovich, concentrating wholly on domestic issues, led Labour to a disappointing, lacklustre finish; and Tsipi Livni (concentrating  on making peace with the Palestinians) fell off the electoral  cliff, barely making the cut with a miserable two seats for the “Tsipi Livni Party”.

 

So Israel’s election throws light on how politics both reflect, and shape, issues, and is in turn affected by leadership. And how, in democracies, politics and leadership largely

determine the outcome of elections.

 

Thirdly, Israel, alongside the election’s clear domestic emphasis, nevertheless also expressed a second, “soft-Right” regional-diplomatic-security consensus.  Here the pundits and pollsters again missed the boat: the key parties upon which a new, Netanhyahu-led  governing coalition will be based—Likud-Beitenu, Yesh Atid,  probably Shas and Jewish Home (both of which may well reach workable issues-related  compromises), and even, possibly, Tsipi Livni’s Kadima remnant, are united by a “go-slow” policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians, and a clear concern over Iran’s approaching nuclear capability…. 

 

Indeed, this right-center, or soft-Right, consensus is the election’s over-riding importance, given the gathering storm over Iran.  And it validates a key reason Netanyahu chose to hold the vote at this time in the first place: as a kind of referendum on his tough, “red-line” anti-Teheran security policy.

 

Here we should all recall another key variable facing Netanyahu, and Israel, American policy after Obama’s re-election.  Here my hunch—reinforced recently by his nomination of the Un-Holy Trinity of Hagel, Brennan, and Kerry (a trio which reminds one of FDR’s attacks on “Martin, Barton, and Fish”, three Republican isolationists), all clearly anti-Israel figures, to key Cabinet posts–is that Obama will not only not support an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear installations, but will work actively to prevent it. 

 

And—once the real meaning of the recent election becomes more clear–Obama will also do what he can to undermine the emerging “soft-Right” Israeli coalition probably emerging from the current political negotiations. (Here we should register his striking election-eve indication that he, Obama, knew better what was in Israel’s best interest than Netanyahu.)

 

All of which brings us back to Weber, politics and power—given that “big fish [try to] eat little fish”, can Israel defend its own national existence (which, in its neighbourhood, means survival) in the face of opposition, indeed, even undermining, by what is, after all, not only the world’s only super power, but Israel’s only ally?

 

It is an excruciating situation—how this struggle between survival and expediency, sovereignty and  intervention, will play out remains shrouded in the mists of the future. But some kind of final confrontation seems, and not too long off,  to be in the offing, and in this regard the recent Israeli election—which could, somewhat paradoxically, result in a broad-based  70+ vote Right-to-Center-Left national-unity coalition–may well prove providential.

 

(Professor Krantz is Editor of the Daily Isranet Briefing, and

Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

 

 

 

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WHAT THE 'LOBBY' KNOWS ABOUT ANIMUS FOR ISRAEL

Ruth R. Wisse

Wall Street Journal, Jan.16, 2013,

 

The confirmation process for those slated to guide American foreign policy can profitably be used to clear up at least one point of confusion. What's at issue is not the degree of their affection for Jews or for Israel—despite the consternation caused by the nomination for defense secretary of Chuck Hagel, who said in 2006: "The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here, but I'm a United States senator. I'm not an Israeli senator."

 

The Nebraskan's imputation of excessive Jewish influence in Washington is less worrisome than his failure to recognize why the "lobby" exists. Never mind the Jews: Opposition to Israel camouflages a much more virulent hostility to America. How does an American statesman assess the anti-Jews who attack Israel as a proxy for this country?

 

Let's start with basics: The cause of the long-running Arab war against the Jewish homeland is not Israel, it is Arab leaders' need for war against a "foreign intruder." Seven Middle East countries rallied their citizens by forming the Arab League in 1945 to prevent the creation of Israel. Failing in that effort, the Arab League eventually expanded to 21 members, which organized their domestic and foreign politics against the Jewish state. When Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, Egypt was suspended from the league, expelled from the Islamic Conference and ousted from other regional and financial institutions. Re-admission for Egypt came only after the assassination of Sadat and his successor's abrogation of almost every term of the treaty.

 

Opposition to Israel is the only glue of pan-Arabism and the strongest common bond of otherwise warring Muslim constituencies. Even those inclined to end the war are afraid of the consequences (including assassination) of giving up hostilities.

 

Like the anti-Semitism from which it derives, anti-Zionism is less about the Jews than about the larger aims of those aggressing against the Jews. When the League of Anti-Semites formed in Germany in the 1870s, its primary goal was to prevent the spread of liberal democracy. Rather than denounce a freer, more open society, the league called democracy the ruse that allowed Jews to conquer Germany from within.

 

In the same way, anti-Zionism today unites conservatives and radicals in the Middle East against all that Israel represents—religious pluralism, individual rights and freedoms, liberal democracy, and Western ideas of progress. Jews and Israel are merely a convenient face or emblem for the huger bastions of those same ideals. Israel, "little Satan," is a handier target than the "big Satan."

 

The Arab war against Israel has cost thousands of Jewish lives, but its damage to Palestinians is arguably greater, destroying the moral fabric of a society that was once relatively prosperous and culturally advanced. Anti-Jewish politics works by misdirection, drawing attention away from real concerns toward the alleged Jewish violator. Thus, Arab leaders who tried to deny Jews their country accused Jews of denying Arabs their country. To make the charge stick, the leaders have kept Palestinian Arabs in perpetual refugee status while millions of other refugees around the world—including 800,000 Jews from Arab lands—were resettled and started their lives anew.

 

Many societies have identified Jews as the threatening alien, but Palestinian Arabs are the first people ever to shape their national identity exclusively around opposition to the Jews. The special ingredient that sets Palestinian nationalism apart from that of surrounding Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan—and reputedly makes it the strongest form of Arab nationalism—is the usurpation of Jewish symbols and history. The most important date in the Palestinian calendar is not any Arab or Muslim holiday or event, but the day of Israel's founding, commemorated as Nakba, the catastrophe that ostensibly spurred the creation of Arab Palestine. Commemorated as "Palestine's endless Holocaust," Nakba simultaneously libels the Jewish homeland and demeans the Shoah by appropriating the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews.

 

A new logo for the Palestinian political party Fatah claims the entire map of Israel. Fatah's rival, Hamas, is led by Khalid Mashaal, who recently called for the liberation of "Gaza today and tomorrow Ramallah and after that Jerusalem then Haifa and Jaffa." Clearly, both factions remain more intent on destroying their neighbor than on bettering Palestinian lives.

 

A perfumer in Gaza has named his new fragrance "M-75" after the "pleasant and attractive" missiles used by Hamas to attack Israel. A Facebook FB +0.08% page for Fatah shows a mother strapping her child into a suicide belt; when he asks his mother why him and not her, the mother says that she must bear more children to sacrifice for Palestine. Civil war in Syria, turmoil in Egypt, crisis in Iran and an Islamist threat to Jordan—all follow from the same ruinous politics of grievance and blame.

 

Chuck Hagel does not have to like Jews, but if he expects to defend the United States, he needs to understand the nature and scope of the war against Israel, including its corrupting effect on Arab societies. The alignment between Israel and America is dictated by those who burn the flags of both countries on the same pyre. By contrast, those who lobby for Israel's protection axiomatically have America's back.

 

Ms. Wisse is professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard.

 

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The Settlements Don't Endanger Israel's Existence – They Guarantee It: Dani Dayan, Intelligence Squared, Jan. 21, 2013—YouTube video from the debate "Israel is destroying itself with its settlement policy: If settlement expansion continues Israel will have no future" which took place at the Royal Geographical Society on 15th January 2013.   

 

Needed: War Against Jihadists: Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, Jan 18, 2013—West faces Third World War against those who hate them. Today, the Middle East is increasingly being ruled by jihadists who hate the West, plot to target Western facilities and take Western hostages, and have an ever-growing land base from which to operate. How’s that working out for us?

 

The New World Disorder: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Jan. 21, 2013—John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, and John Kerry will be confirmed. The three will provide a force-multiplying effect on the Obama foreign policy of disengagement. The trio is less competent than their predecessors, but also perhaps more representative of a country on its way to a $20 trillion national debt and a “lead from behind” foreign policy of managed decline.

Obama Second Term Bodes Trouble for Israel: Daniel Pipes, The Washington Times, Jan. 22, 2013—The election is over, President Obama has just been sworn in for a second term, and cold treatment of Israel is already firmly in place. Mr. Obama has signaled during the past two months what lies ahead for U.S. relations with Israel through several actions.

 

 

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ISRAEL’S VOTE: DOMESTIC-ISSUES FOCUS, YES—BUT “SOFT-RIGHT” ON PALESTINIANS, IRAN

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Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

 

No, Israel Did Not Just Vote for the Center: Michael J. Koplow, Foreign Affairs, Jan. 23, 2013Yesh Atid, however, cannot be accurately described as centrist when it comes to the peace process. Lapid has stated that Jerusalem cannot be divided under any circumstances and insists that standing firm on this issue will force the Palestinians to recant their demand that East Jerusalem serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

 

Daunting Challenges Facing Netanyahu: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013The unexpected election results have created daunting challenges for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Many Israelis dislike Netanyahu. He has personality deficiencies and, like every Israeli leader since David Ben-Gurion, has made major mistakes.

 

Peace Process? Check the Back Burner: Mark A. Heller, New York Times, Jan. 23, 2013Skeptics like to say that the real Israeli election only begins after the votes are counted, because the electoral system makes it practically impossible for any single party to gain a majority. This week’s election confirms that pattern.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Elections Over, Now Israelis Will Have to Pony Up: David Lev, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 24, 2013

The Lapid Factor: David Rubin, Jerusalem Post Magazine, Jan 23, 2013

Israel’s Elections: What Just Happened?: David Horovitz, Times of Israel,  Jan. 23, 2013

MainStreamMedia Bungles Israel’s Election: Walter Russell Mead, National Interest, January 23, 2013

 

 

 

NO, ISRAEL DID NOT JUST VOTE FOR THE CENTER

Michael J. Koplow

Foreign Affairs, Jan. 23, 2013

 

By the time Israeli voters went to the polls on Tuesday, the nearly universally accepted wisdom held that the right was ascendant. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's faction — which comprises his own conservative Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman's even-more-conservative Yisrael Beiteinu Party — was poised to win almost twice as many seats as its closest challenger. Netanyahu's erstwhile chief of staff, Naftali Bennett, was leading the surging Bayit Yehudi, a right-wing nationalist party calling for the annexation of large swaths of the West Bank. These two parties alone were expected to win around 50 seats, which would put Netanyahu in a dominant position when it came to forming a governing coalition.

 

The parties considered to be left-wing and centrist, meanwhile, were floundering. The Labor Party, led by Shelly Yachimovich, was expected to win fewer than 20 seats — likely becoming the second largest party in the Knesset but still not achieving anything close to the dominance it enjoyed in the 1990s under Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Ehud Barak. Hatnua, a new party chaired by Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister who led Kadima to win more votes than any other party in the 2009 elections, seemed likely to take only a handful of seats.

 

Yesh Atid, helmed by the former newsman Yair Lapid, was expected to pull in a respectable ten to 12 seats — not bad for a newcomer but not enough to make much of a difference in the government. These three parties might have been able to defeat Netanyahu with a united front, but their leaders instead spent their time squabbling. All this — together with a Likud primary that expelled the party's moderates and elevated its hardliners, the emergence of Bayit Yehudi as a viable party to the right of Likud, and the expected increased presence of settlers in the Knesset — indicated that Israel was set to move further to the right.

 

Once the results of the voting began to roll in, however, a new narrative quickly emerged. Not only did the joint Likud-Beiteinu list do worse than anticipated, winning only 31 seats, but Lapid's Yesh Atid outperformed expectations, coming in second with 19 seats. Bayit Yehudi won 11 seats, a respectable showing but not the 16 seats some polls indicated it would receive. Finally, the far-left Meretz Party doubled its representation from three seats in the previous Knesset to six in the new one. Suddenly, observers who had just hours before spoken of Israel's rightward drift were proclaiming the center and left's comeback. The conventional wisdom about the election is now that Yesh Atid has reinvigorated the Israeli center, debunking the notion that Israel's electorate necessarily leans to the right.

 

The problem with this narrative, however, is that Tuesday's results were not really a victory for centrists and Yesh Atid is not really a centrist party. The largest vote-getter was still Likud-Beiteinu, made up of arguably the most right-wing version of Likud in the party's history and the nationalist and pro-settlement Yisrael Beiteinu. Bayit Yehudi also did well, and it will be the fourth largest party in the Knesset with 11 seats. On the left, Labor underperformed and could not even garner enough votes to win second place as expected. Livni's Hatnua, meanwhile, won fewer seats than even the parochial ultra-orthodox party, United Torah Judaism. Kadima, a real centrist party, has all but disappeared, plummeting from 28 seats to two. Even though the right-wing parties did not do quite as well as they had hoped, the larger picture does not support the claim that the center scored a great victory.

 

Furthermore, the grouping of Labor, Hatnua, and Yesh Atid under a centrist or center-left banner is analytically lazy. On economic issues, those three parties do indeed fall within the left and the center. On security and foreign policy issues, Labor and Hatnua are centrist as well. Yesh Atid, however, cannot be accurately described as centrist when it comes to the peace process. Lapid has stated that Jerusalem cannot be divided under any circumstances and insists that standing firm on this issue will force the Palestinians to recant their demand that East Jerusalem serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state. During the campaign, Lapid chose the West Bank settlement of Ariel as the place to give a major campaign speech calling for negotiations with the Palestinians, and declined to endorse a settlement freeze. None of this is enough to put him into the far-right camp, which rejects the two-state solution and calls for annexing the West Bank, but it also does not make him a centrist. In fact, Lapid's views on security issues are close to those that Netanyahu has publicly staked out.

 

The basic fact remains that the Israeli electorate leans right. Israelis are willing to negotiate with the Palestinians, but the violence of the second intifada and the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza have made them hesitant to support dramatic peace overtures. It would be a mistake, therefore, to see Netanyahu's losses as the result of a resurgent center. Likud's decline largely came from the hard-liners who left the party and jumped on the Bayit Yehudi bandwagon because they believed that Netanyahu was not committed to protecting the settlements and to holding on to the West Bank permanently.

 

Even Yesh Atid's gains can be attributed to some right-leaning voters' decision to abandon Netanyahu for Lapid, who presents a blander and more comforting version of right-wing politics, focused mainly on reviving the middle class. Nobody in Yesh Atid is advocating annexation, as some Likud members are, but Lapid also did not campaign on reviving the peace process, as Livni did. Lapid's brand of politics is reminiscent of U.S. President George W. Bush's so-called compassionate conservatism, which painted a moderate image but drew in right-leaning voters.

 

In short, neither the rise of Yesh Atid nor Likud's decline means that the Israeli center won. Rather, they show that the hard-line right opted to move even further right, and the non-ideological right opted to back a softer version of the agenda it already supported. 

 

 

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DAUNTING CHALLENGES FACING NETANYAHU

 

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013

 

The unexpected election results have created daunting challenges for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Many Israelis dislike Netanyahu. He has personality deficiencies and, like every Israeli leader since David Ben-Gurion, has made major mistakes.

 

But to his credit, over the past four years he has moved Likud to the center and achieved a national consensus. He succeeded in resisting concerted global pressures which would have undermined our security and has created an international awareness of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. He also made crucial strategic decisions that proved to be highly beneficial and undoubtedly provided greater security to the nation than his predecessors. Nevertheless, his electoral strategies proved disastrous….

 

However, the extraordinary success of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid may in the long term prove a blessing for both Israel and Netanyahu. It may enable him to introduce highly overdue domestic reforms and to chart a balanced approach toward the Palestinians on behalf of a broad national government.

 

In viewing this, one must dismiss the media nonsense that the elections created an evenly balanced Right–Left division. Setting aside the fact that such terms are meaningless in this context, a government dependent on the support of 12 overtly anti- Zionist Arab MKs is inconceivable.

 

Nor has the nation moved to the Right. The elimination of liberals and the success of hard-liners in the Likud primaries reflected internal party machinations rather than a genuine national shift to the Right. However this cost Likud votes and Netanyahu’s subsequent efforts to compete for hard-right voters may have been counterproductive.

 

This election was not a vote of no-confidence in Netanyahu’s handling of the peace process, relations with the United States or foreign affairs. The only parties directing the campaign against Netanyahu’s external policies were Meretz and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua, both of which combined only obtained 12 seats.

 

Despite some lip service criticizing the government handling of negotiations, the major opposition parties concentrated primarily on domestic social issues. In particular, Yair Lapid’s challenge against ultra-Orthodox extremism – his call to engage them in the draft or take up gainful employment, attracted many voters. In terms of foreign affairs, despite the massive decline of support for Likud Beytenu, the vast majority of the electorate still prefer Netanyahu over all other candidates to retain the leadership.

 

A consensus prevails among Israelis supporting Netanyahu’s view that it is impossible to achieve peace with the Palestinians under their current leadership. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now perceived as a charlatan, speaking with a forked tongue and committed to ending Jewish sovereignty no less than is Hamas. His comments this week regarding Zionist collaboration with the Nazis should not be surprising given his doctorate was premised on Holocaust denial.

 

However, most Israelis have no wish to absorb and rule over millions of Palestinians and oppose annexing the territories or creating a binational state. They favor the status quo, but only until such time as a genuine peace partner emerges and a Palestinian state no longer threatens Israel’s security. Thus, in the present climate, most Israelis back Netanyahu’s unwillingness to make further concessions and endorse his efforts to achieve interim solutions….

 

In this environment, with the Europeans ready to impose more unrealistic demands upon us, our ties with the US are more crucial than ever. Yet recent signals from the US administration are troubling. Obama has nominated as defense secretary a man with a consistent record of hostility toward Israel and opposition to any form of military action against Iran.

 

Obama’s offensive remarks on the eve of the election that he has a better understanding of Israel’s needs than Netanyahu represented blatant interference in a sovereign country’s domestic affairs and a display of contempt for an ally. Should Congress provide Obama with a free hand, over the next four years he could make our life extraordinarily difficult.

 

The US could suspend employing its veto against one-sided UN votes sanctioning Israel; there may be calls to accept the indefensible ’49 armistice lines as borders (with swaps which the Palestinians will never agree to); requests for additional territorial concessions to the Palestinians without reciprocity; demands for a settlement freeze including within the major settlement blocs and Jewish Jerusalem; pressure to divide Jerusalem, despite the fact that even most Israeli Arabs prefer to remain under Israeli sovereignty.

 

However, despite Obama no longer requiring votes or support for re-election and despite his obvious dislike of Netanyahu, he cannot simply ignore or overrule the wishes of Congress. Fortunately, as of now, the US-Israel relationship remains solid and Congress is committed to retaining the alliance.

 

To retain our strong ties with Congress and the American people, Netanyahu must create a broad government and demonstrate that he is acting on behalf of the entire nation. He would then have the ability to make concessions on secondary issues while remaining firm on those matters that can impact on Israel’s basic security requirements. He would also be able to demonstrate to the world that his policies are supported by the vast majority of Israelis and expose the falsehood of liberals seeking to depict Israel’s policies as being based on hard right influences rather than a national consensus.

 

The principal obstacle which could thwart this would be his inability to retain support of both Shas and Yesh Atid and also respond to popular demands that haredim participate in the draft or national service and become encouraged to work for a livelihood rather than being lifelong recipients of welfare.

 

This will undoubtedly represent a key condition for Lapid joining the government and Shas (many of whose supporters, unlike United Torah Judaism, serve in the IDF) will be under pressure to compromise on this issue. If Shas, Yesh Atid, Kadima and Bayit Yehudi join Likud-Beiteinu to form a coalition, Netanyahu would then preside over a stable government based on 74 MKs not subject to intimidation by any single faction.

 

The effervescent Naftali Bennett of Bayit Yehudi, whose dramatic surge was also a highlight of the election, will be obliged to overcome his previous confrontations with Netanyahu and control the extremists in his party. Failure to create a broad coalition would confront Netanyahu with a nightmare situation of heading a narrow government whose policies would be subject to the veto of haredim or ideological hardliners promoting annexation and convinced that we can stand alone without the support of a superpower.

 

Under such circumstances no stable government could be formed. The chaos arising from this would undermine our ability to confront our adversaries and withstand global pressures. To avert this situation, we are entitled to demand that our political representatives behave as patriotic Israelis, suspend their differences and collaborate to promote the national interest.

 

 

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PEACE PROCESS? CHECK THE BACK BURNER

 

Mark A. Heller

New York Times, Jan. 23, 2013

 

Skeptics like to say that the real Israeli election only begins after the votes are counted, because the electoral system makes it practically impossible for any single party to gain a majority. This week’s election confirms that pattern.

 

As expected, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged as the leader of the largest party. However, the reduced plurality of his Likud Party (which merged with Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Is Our Home) will further complicate the task of assembling a majority that can satisfy the policy preferences and personal ambitions of both his partner parties and his own base….

 

So to the question that most non-Israelis are asking — “What do the elections mean for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?” — the answer is, “Not much.” Despite relatively impressive macroeconomic performance, Israelis have been increasingly incensed by such issues as the unequal distribution of the benefits and burdens of growth, “sweetheart” wage agreements in some sectors of the public service, overcrowded hospitals, and unaffordable housing, especially for young people.

 

The year 2011 witnessed the largest and most sustained social protests in recent history, and in the month before the vote, news of an unexpectedly large budget deficit concentrated attention on the prospect of spending cuts and/or tax increases. A poll released just before the election showed that for 60 percent of potential voters, socioeconomic issues were the primary concern, with security second, at 19 percent, and peace a poor third, at 16 percent.

 

In other words, two months after a brief little war in Gaza, the prism through which much of the outside world views Israel — the conflict with the Palestinians and its possible resolution — now barely figures on the Israeli radar screen….

 

The reason is not that Israelis are opposed to the conventional formula for peace — “Two states for two peoples” — or even merely ambivalent. Surveys have for years shown a consistent majority of between 60 and 70 percent endorsing the principle. Instead, the explanation lies in the lack of felt urgency — certainly as compared with domestic economic and social challenges and even with the temporarily dormant Iranian nuclear threat — coupled with cumulative fatigue at the futility of all previous efforts.

 

As a result, the next Israeli government, regardless of its precise composition, will almost certainly not undertake any major new initiative on this issue. Its leader and most of its prospective members will in any case not be inclined in this direction, and they will not be pushed by public opinion to become more proactive.

 

The Israeli election will not revive the moribund peace process. The only thing that might conceivably do that is a deus ex machina named Barack Obama. By clearly communicating that some positive movement is necessary to sustain the vibrancy and intimacy of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, Obama can provide for Israelis the sense of urgency they do not feel….

 

Finally, nothing Obama does can be effective unless it fully complements an equally visible redefinition by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, of the purpose of the process. For while Obama may inject an element of urgency, only Abbas can dispel the sense of pointlessness — by clearly communicating that positive movement will culminate not just in Israeli concessions on territory but also in a definitive termination of the conflict, the renunciation of any further claims, and the peaceful coexistence of two states for two peoples.

 

If Abbas is not inclined to move in this direction, or if his own political constraints prevent him from doing so, then the Israeli election will continue to resonate inside Israel but it will quickly fade from everyone else’s view.

 

Mark A. Heller is principal research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University, and editor of the quarterly journal, Strategic Assessment.

 

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Elections Over, Now Israelis Will Have to Pony Up: David Lev, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 24, 2013Among the edicts Liebman expects to be enacted: a 2.4% average increase in municipal taxes; 2.8% higher costs for water; 10%-15% more money to be laid out on electricity bills; and increases in food, fuel, and housing costs.

 

 

The Lapid Factor: David Rubin, Jerusalem Post Magazine, Jan 23, 2013—After Likud-Beytenu’s Pyrrhic victory in Tuesday’s elections, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu now faces the formidable task of piecing together a new coalition. Given the diverse group of potential partners, this will be no easy feat.

 

Israel’s Elections: What Just happened?: David Horovitz, Times of Israel,  Jan. 23, 2013—Israel voted for change, and moved a little from right to center; Lapid is the big success but Netanyahu is still a winner, albeit battered and constrained.

 

Analysis: A Vote for Internal Change: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013After slogging through a dead, relatively uneventful campaign, the Israeli electorate went to the polls Tuesday and sent their leaders an unmistakable message: Change.

 

MSM Bungles Israel’s Election: Walter Russell Mead, National Interest, January 23, 2013The story as far as we’re concerned is the spectacular flop of the West’s elite media. If you’ve read anything about Israeli politics in the past couple weeks, you probably came away expecting a major shift to the right—the far right. That was the judgment of journalists at the NYT, WSJ, BBC, NBC, Time, Reuters, Guardian, HuffPo, Slate, Salon, Al Jazeera, and countless others.

 

 

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Lawrence Solomon – Needed: War Against Jihadists

 

Needed – War Against Jihadists

Lawrence Solomon

Originally published in The Financial Post, Jan 18, 2013

 

Two years ago, before President Obama and other Western leaders gave their blessing to the Arab Spring by calling for the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the Middle East was ruled mostly by secular dictators who made nice to the West while ruthlessly suppressing jihadists. Today, the Middle East is increasingly being ruled by jihadists who hate the West, plot to target Western facilities and take Western hostages, and have an ever-growing land base from which to operate. How’s that working out for us?

 

The secular state of Mali in the central Sahara is the latest domino to totter, thanks to NATO countries such as France, the U.K., Canada, and the U.S. — the very same countries that are now scrambling to save it. Mali’s undoing began last year when the West short-sightedly decided to overthrow a de facto ally, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was helping the West combat al-Qaeda abroad while he suppressed it at home.

 

Gaddafi’s overthrow and the anarchy that followed created a free-for-all in the country’s vast arms depots, soon emptied to enable terrorists throughout the Middle East and beyond. Gaddafi’s overthrow unleashed more than arms, however — it also unleashed thousands of Malian rebels living in Libya, members of the Tuareg tribe to whom Gaddafi had provided refuge and who then fought with him against the NATO invaders.

 

These Tuareg fighters, forced to flee Libya after their patron was deposed, went back to their home country fully armed, where they joined in al Qaeda’s quest to take over Mali. Now the French find they are fighting the same Tuareg in Mali that they fought in Libya.

 

To add to the ironies, and the witlessness of the West’s Arab experts, the U.S. trained and armed some 1500 Tuaregs and other tribesmen to fight al-Qaeda, not realizing they would switch sides and fight with al-Qaeda against the Mali government and against the West.

 

The Western nations now fear that the entire Saharan belt — spanning the breadth of Africa — may fall to the jihadists who, no longer contained by Arab dictators, will have acquired vast new lands and endless potential to plan and launch attacks on Western targets.

 

Much of the north coast of Africa has already become jihadi or jihadi-friendly with secular governments having been overthrown in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. In North Africa, only Morocco and Algeria, site of this week’s deadly hostage taking, remain hostile to jihadi takeovers. East of Africa, the jihadists are waging war against a secular tyrant who to date has been their match in ruthlessness — Syria’s Assad. Should he fall, and possibly before, the next domino to fall could be the pro-Western monarchy of Jordan.

 

The West glaring miscalculated in thinking largely tribal societies could peacefully and instantly morph into live-and-let-live democracies friendly to the West. It has done the peoples of those countries no favour.

 

Since the Arab Spring, some 100,000 have died in the violence, 60,000 in Syria alone. At least 600,000 have fled their countries, more than 100,000 of them Christian Copts in Egypt who foresee no co-existence with jihadists. Along with the death and destruction comes disease, hunger and economic suffering — the citizens in all of the affected countries, including the newly democratized ones, had higher incomes under the secular dictatorships.

 

The West needs to understand that it is at war with a jihadi ideology, waged by strong-willed adherents convinced — with good reason — that they are winning with the help of Allah against weak-willed appeasement-oriented infidels. They will continue to win until the West sees the struggle in ideological terms. Ideologues can’t permanently be bought off; they can’t ever be reasoned with; they can’t easily be defended against, not in a world of global investments and international tourism. They can only be defeated.

 

Many in the West, citing past British and Russian defeats in Afghanistan as examples, believe that victory would take decades, if victory against jihadists waging holy war is possible at all. This misreads history.

 

Jihadi warriors for a millennium and a half have waged holy war against other Muslims and non-Muslims alike — this is nothing new. Jihadists have also won and lost their share of battles, and when they have lost they have then accepted defeat.

 

Some eruptions aside, the Turks maintained peace against enemies who had waged jihad for decades and centuries at a time, as have colonial powers before and after World War I. And until the Arab Spring, secular Muslim dictators throughout the Middle East have effectively neutralized jihadists, who often do not represent mainstream Muslim ­thinking.

 

The West can defeat today’s jihadists more easily than it has defeated them in the past — they have not become appreciably more militarily capable than the jihadists of old while the West has. But to win what may in future be seen as the Third World War, the West will need to enlist its friends, even when they are distasteful secular dictators such as Mubarak and Gaddafi. To win the Second World War against the Fascists, after all, the West didn’t flinch at joining forces with the communist Soviet Union.

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

 

ContentsIsraeli Election Results  |  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Six Unexpected Lessons the Election Taught Us About Israelis: Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz, Jan.23, 2013

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Netanyahu Failed and Lapid Surprised: Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, Jan.23, 2013
Analysis: The Writing for Likud Was on The Street: Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013
The Neo-Ottoman Military Band: Burak Bekdil, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 23, 2013

 

 

 

 

(Source: Ynet News)

 

Israeli Election Results

 

Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu (Benjamin Netanyahu): 31
Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid): 19
Labor (Shelly Yacimovich): 15
Shas (Haredi Sephardi): 11
Habayit Hayehudi (Naftali Bennett): 11
United Torah Judaism (Haredi Ashkenazi): 7

Hatnua (Tzipi Livni): 6
Meretz (Zahava Gal-On): 6
United Arab List-Taal: 5
Hadash
(Arab): 4
Balad (Arab): 3
Kadima (Shaul Mofaz): 2

 

 

SIX UNEXPECTED LESSONS THE
ELECTION TAUGHT US ABOUT ISRAELIS

Anshel Pfeffer

Ha’aretz, Jan.23, 2013

                       

Just have a look back at the headlines that appeared during this election campaign, especially those that appeared in the international media. They all dealt with Israel's lurch to the right, the rise of the ultra-nationalists, the increasing strength of the religious and deepening weakness of Israel's left. This morning [Jan. 23] it is already clear that a seriously weakened Benjamin Netanyahu cannot possibly form a right-wing-religious coalition, as the centrist bloc of parties – Yesh Atid, Labor, Hatnuah and Kadima – is of equal strength to Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi's bloc. The ultra-Orthodox parties have not grown while the only openly left-wing Zionist party, Meretz, has doubled in size.

 

This can't be labeled as a victory for the center-left by any stretch of the imagination. Netanyahu is still the only party leader positioned to form a coalition and the fact that there are five different parties with different agendas in the center-left – as well as five inflated egos at their helm – does not bode well for bona-fide cooperation and coordination within the camp. However, the 2013 election taught us a few important lessons about Israelis that seem to fly in the face of what has become almost received wisdom.

 

1. Middle ground majority – Of the four electoral blocs – right-wing, ultra-Orthodox, center-left and Israeli Arab, the center-left is by far the largest. The two main parties of the right, Likud-Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi, also tried to portray themselves as catering to the middle class and succeeded in attracting at least part of those votes. This confirms the belief that despite all the demographic changes, Israelis are still essentially middle-ground and middle-class creatures.

 

2. Religious politics is out – Shas more or less held on. UTJ may have gained another seat but the soldiers' votes – due on Thursday – will probably cut them back to size. Habayit Hayehudi grew from seven seats (after its merger with the National Union) to 11, which is impressive but altogether means that less than a quarter of Israelis voted for (Jewish) religious parties. This is far less impressive, given that Habayit Hayehudi made a conscious appeal to secular voters. Israelis still overwhelmingly prefer parties that transcend religious divides (at least between Jews. The divide between Jews and Arabs is alive and well).

 

3. Willingness to give opportunities to newcomers – Yair Lapid is not alone. Together with him an unprecedented 50 first-time MKs are set to be sworn in. Over a quarter of Israelis gave their votes to Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, parties led by political rookies and consisting largely of fresh candidates (all of Yesh Atid's and eight of Habayit's 11 MKs are newcomers). Most of Labor's MKs are also new, and the party leader has no ministerial experience. On the other hand, Hatnuah, a party of political veterans, Likud-Beiteinu which presented the same faces and Shas, which brought back Aryeh Deri from political exile, failed to take off.

 

4. Pluralism sells, tribalism denounced – The parties that did well in these elections are those that tried to present a diverse list of candidates, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi, new immigrants and residents of the peripheral areas. Sometimes these efforts were transparent and the results not always particularly representative but they were noted. Meretz, Yesh Atid, Labor, Habayit Hayehudi, Hatnuah, all made gains with lists including different strands of Israeli society (though only Meretz is sending a non-Jewish MK to the next Knesset).

 

5. Policy still matters – Likud-Beiteinu ran without providing the voters with any platform or policy details. Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, for their part, both published detailed manifestos. Likud won't be making that mistake again. Apparently, Israelis want to be taken seriously.

 

6. One-trick ponies bound to fail – Shelly Yacimovich failed to sell herself to Israelis with a campaign based solely on economic issues. Tzipi Livni did even worse by focusing only on the peace process. Netanyahu tried to convince Israelis that they needed a strong leader against Israel's enemies and a mere quarter of them bought it. Israelis have a long list of pressing issues and expect all of them to be addressed.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Quotes

 

 

“We have the opportunity to do great things together.”—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call to Yair Lapid , leader of Yesh Atid, upon receiving word that Yesh Atid  would constitute the second largest party after Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu party in the Knesset. (National Post, Jan 23, 2013)

 

"I do not think that the Arabs want peace. What I want is not a new Middle East, but to be rid of them and put a tall fence between us and them." The important thing is "to maintain a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel. The Palestinians must be brought to an understanding that Jerusalem will always remain under Israeli sovereignty and that there is no point for them in opening negotiations about Jerusalem. We have no existence without Jerusalem. The Tower of David is important for Israel's heritage and existence, because it is more than a tower, it is a symbol. It is more important than the Azrieli Towers [in Tel Aviv]."—Yair Lapid, on his Facebook page, prior to winning 19 seats in the Knesset as leader of Yesh Atid. (Israel National News, Jan. 20, 2013)

 

“I think that Yair Lapid, who spoke so much about the middle class and the socio-economic protests, is the natural one to focus on internal issues and maybe take the Finance Ministry. What’s clear is that the nation is asking for a dramatic change in everything related to the internal system more than anything else. I have no doubt that the Haredi parties understand that it’s impossible to continue this way as if nothing has happened, and they also need to be flexible.”—Avigdor Lieberman, former Israeli Foreign Minister, commenting on the election results. (Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2013)

 

“Holocaust memorialisation is a massive undertaking, not least in a time when Holocaust survivors are becoming fewer and anti-Semitism and intolerance is rising. Furthermore, with the political gains of the far-right and neo-Nazi parties in European parliaments, the fact that this event is warmly embraced by the most prominent European institutions sends a strong message against hate, racism and anti-Semitism. I am delighted that, with our partners in the European Parliament, we have managed to place such an important event on the official EU calendar.”—Dr. Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress on the occasion of the first annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day Event in Brussels held by the European Parliament in conjunction with the European Jewish Congress.

   “I am deeply touched that we are commemorating the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the European Parliament once more, a location that is highly symbolic of peace and reconciliation between former arch-enemies. It is an honor for the institution that I lead to mark this day in such a dignified manner. The Holocaust must always be fresh in our minds and souls, in the conscience of humanity, and should serve as an incontrovertible warning for all time: Never again!”—European Parliament President Martin Schulz. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 22, 2013)

 

"The issue of Palestinian refugees and the right of return are final status issues, and one may not act against international resolutions providing for their return to their homeland and their homes, which they fled, in particular resolution 194, which provides for the right of return of Palestinian refugees." —Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, explaining why  he [Abbas] "categorically." rejected Israel's condition to allow up to 150,000 Syrian Palestinians to the relative safety of the PA if the immigrants would sign that they are giving up their claim to move to Israel itself. (Elder of Zyon, Jan. 22, 2013)

 

“Development in the Arab region has also been held back by protracted conflict, injustice and occupation. The stalemate in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis is especially troubling. We must renew our collective engagement to resume meaningful negotiations that will realize Palestinian aspirations to live in freedom and dignity in an independent state of their own, side by side with Israel in peace and security.”—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement to the Third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, currently taking place in Saudi Arabia. “We know that there is conflict between us and the Palestinians, but attempts to elevate that to the core issue of the Middle East are doing a disservice to everybody.”—Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, rejecting any connection between Israeli policies and the situation in the Arab world. (Times of Israel, Jan. 21, 2013)

 

“Those who believe that there is a terrorist, extremist Al Qaeda problem in parts of North Africa, but that it is a problem for those places and we can somehow back off and ignore it, are profoundly wrong. What we know is that the terrorist threat in the Sahel comes from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which aspires to establish Islamic law across the Sahel and northern Africa, and to attack Western interests in the region and frankly, wherever it can. Just as we have reduced the scale of the al-Qaeda threat in other parts of the world, including in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so it has grown in other parts of the world. We need to be equally concerned about that, and equally focused on it.”—British Prime Minister David Cameron, in an address to the British Parliament, in response to the recent hostage taking in Algeria and French intervention against al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Mali. (New York Times, Jan. 19, 2013)

 

“Their attitude was, [Algeria’s] ‘Please don’t intervene in Libya or you will create another Iraq on our border.’ And then, ‘Please don’t intervene in Mali or you will create a mess on our other border.’”—Geoff D. Porter, an Algeria expert and founder of North Africa Risk Consulting, which advises investors in the region. But they were dismissed as nervous Nellies, and now Algeria says to the West: “‘Goddamn it, we told you so.’” (New York Times, Jan 20, 2013)

 

“The French aren’t alone, they are the trailblazers. It is completely possible – but this is up to them – that others or the same European countries decide to offer not just logistical support, but also to make soldiers available.”—France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius commenting on France’s decision to intervene in Mali against al-Qaeda-linked terrorists. However, “We see once again, there is no European union, no common European defence – not the British, nor the Germans nor the Italians – nobody is reacting. Concerning Canada, this is funny, because our Canadian friends say they are going to send one plane to help us, which is absolutely nothing.”—Eric Denécé, director of the French Centre for Intelligence Research in Paris, and a former intelligence official. Another official privy to the emergency discussions said the allies have been “incredibly slow [to step up] and incredibly stingy.” (Globe and Mail, Jan. 18, 2013)

“Facts in this part of the world [Turkey], sadly, do not always take the most pleasant shapes and revive anyone’s longing for the glory days of the Ottoman Military Band. It is ironic that the anti-missile systems built by “Christian” nations will soon become operational in Turkish territory, along with units of soldiers from “Christian” countries – the United States, Germany, Holland, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. And all that equipment and troop mobility is to protect “Muslim” Turkey from possible aggression by “Muslim” Syria.”—Burak Bekdil, in an op-ed article in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News. (Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 23, 2013) 

 

 

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ISRAEL ONLY FREE COUNTRY IN MIDDLE EAST(Washington DC) According to Freedom House’s 2012 Report on Freedom in the World Israel remains the region’s [Middle East and North Africa [MENA] only Free country. In recent years, controversies have surrounded proposed laws that threatened freedom of expression and the rights of civil society organizations. In most cases, however, these measures have either been quashed by the government or parliament, or struck down by the Supreme Court. Israeli politics have also been roiled by an escalating controversy over the role of ultra-Orthodox Jews and their positions on issues such as military service and gender equality. A Free country is one where there is open political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life, and independent media. (Freedom House, Jan. 2013)

 

MALI INCURSION RAISES RISK TO FRENCH JEWS, COMMUNITY SAYS—(Paris)

France’s military involvement in Mali “significantly increases” the threat facing French Jews, according to the security service of the country’s Jewish communities. “The situation requires we raise the level of protection around our community and double the level of vigilance around synagogues, Jewish schools, community centers and gathering places,” said a communiqué by SPCJ, which often determines its level of preparedness based on consultations with French authorities. French ground forces deployed in the capital Bamako [Mali] last week and began advancing northward on Jan. 15 to engage Islamist rebels in the Saharan former French colony. The incursion caused “agitation” in Islamic circles in France, SPCJ said. (Jewish Press, JTA, January 18th, 2013)

 

UPGRADED IRON DOME INTERCEPTS MEDIUM-RANGE MISSILE—(Tel Aviv) The Israeli defense establishment on Monday announced the successful testing of an upgraded version of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The tests, according to the Defense Ministry, aimed to broaden and improve Iron Dome’s “capability and performance” to contend with threats. In the tests, Iron Dome intercepted a missile heavier than a Fajr — the type fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip during November’s Operation Pillar of Defense. The test missile was also fired from a greater distance than its ordinary interception range (the Fajr-5 has a maximum range of 75 kilometers), suggesting that Iron Dome is being upgraded to protect Israeli cities against medium-range missile threats. (Times of Israel, Jan. 21, 2013)

 

PRO-ASSAD GUNMEN KILL 100 IN VILLAGE—(Beirut) Gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad swept through a mainly Sunni farming village in central Syria this week, burning down houses and killing more than 100 people, including women and children, opposition activists said Thursday [Jan. 22]. The reported slayings, the latest in a series of massacres, fuelled accusations that pro-government militiamen are trying to drive majority Sunnis out of areas near main routes to the coast to ensure control of an Alawite enclave as the country’s civil war increasingly takes on sectarian overtones. Activists said the attackers were from nearby areas dominated by Shiite Muslims and allied Alawites. (National Post, 18 Jan 2013)

 

ISRAEL ASKS UN TO ADDRESS TERRORIST ‘ECOSYSTEM’—(New York) Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said Tuesday [Jan 15] that the prospect of Hezbollah acquiring chemical weapons – through mishandling or via Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government — is “frightening,” and called on the Security Council to act immediately to prevent their proliferation. “I want to take the opportunity of this debate to ask the simple question: How do we truly counter terrorism?” he asked in the hall of the Security Council. “Yes, we must combat terrorists wherever they seek to strike. Yes, we must attack terrorist infrastructure, and go after those who support and finance terrorism,” he said. “However, true counterterrorism must also begin by disrupting the ecosystem of extremism in which terror thrives,” Prosor continued. “It means advancing education that teaches peace, not hate, and mutual understanding, not martyrdom. It means speaking out against incitement and all forms of terrorism, even when it is politically inconvenient.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan .16, 2013)

 

TEL AVIV RANKED SEVENTH BEST BEACH CITY IN WORLD—(Tel Aviv) The travel publication Lonely Planet has named Tel Aviv as one of its top beach cities, continuing the city’s recognition as one of the world’s top destinations. Tel Aviv, known as the “White City,” placed seventh in the Lonely Planet’s review of top beach cities behind top-ranked Barcelona. Tel Aviv beat cities such as its Middle Eastern neighbor Dubai, Miami, as well as Brighton and Hove in Great Britain on the list. (Alegemeiner, Jan. 22, 2013)

 

 

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The Neo-Ottoman Military Band: Burak Bekdil, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 23, 2013—In a speech at the weekend, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan justified his Syria campaign with these words: “If they [Western coalition forces] can come from thousands of kilometers away and enter [occupy] Iraq… we just cannot sit tied and watch Syria, with which we have a 910-kilometer border.”

Why Netanyahu Failed and Lapid Surprised: Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, Jan.23, 2013—Again and again, Netanyahu was photographed at the Western Wall and with IDF soldiers. All this may have looked good on his Facebook page, but it didn’t speak to Israelis’ hearts. Lapid, on the other hand, adapted his message to voters' interests.

Analysis: The Writing for Likud Was on The Street: Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013—For anyone who cared to listen, the ordinary people were quite clear on their disappointment in Netanyahu. The Yesh Atid coup in the election would have been shocking a week ago, but not 12 hours before polls closed, walking the streets of south Tel Aviv. In classic Likud strongholds like the Hatikvah neighborhood, time and again people spoke of voting for Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid or Naftali Bennett  of Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi), with Shas and also Labor coming up again and again.

 

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

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CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

 

WITH ELECTIONs APPROACHING, NEW PRESSURES ON IRAN, WHICH “WANTS THE BOMB” — REVOLUTIONARY GUARD A NEW FOCUS

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

 

Effectively Confronting Tehran: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Jan. 8, 2013—As Americans seek to find an alternative to the stark and unappetizing choice of either accepting a rabid Iranian leadership that wields nuclear weapons or preemptively bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, one analyst offers a credible third path. Interestingly, it’s inspired by a long-ago policy toward a different foe — the Reagan administration’s ways of handling the Soviet Union — yet this unlikely model offers a useful prototype.

 

Don’t Be Fooled: Iran Wants The Bomb: Ahmad Hashemi, Times of Israel, Jan. 17, 2013—While at the Iranian foreign ministry, I served as interpreter for visiting dignitaries, diplomats and officials. I paid close attention to public proclamations and official statements. And I was present at inner-circle conversations in which a number of high-profile Iranian officials made no secret of their intention to go atomic.

 

Iran Faces a Rough 2013: Alireza Nader, Real Clear World, Jan. 3, 2013—For Iran, 2013 could be one of the most challenging years-both at home and in relations with the outside world-since the 1979 revolution. The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even an Israeli and/or U.S. military strike because of its intransigence in complying with U.N. resolutions on its nuclear program.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Iranian Policy Toward Direct Nuclear Talks with the U.S.: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, January 17, 2013—The question of engagement with the United States has, to varying degrees, been a domestic issue in Iran since the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution. It has emerged in recent years in connection to important events and junctures, particularly with regard to the Iranian nuclear program. In Iran, just as in the United States, this issue serves as a tool in political struggles between the different camps and is raised when it furthers some political purpose or other. Download as PDF.

 

 

The Next Chernobyl?: Khosrow B. Semnani & Gary M. Sandquist, New York Times, Jan. 2, 2013

Iranian Support for Palestinian Terrorist Organizations: Meir Amit Terrorism Information Centre,  Jan. 7, 2013

The Tehran Terror Trail: Editorial, New York Daily News, Jan. 13, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

EFFECTIVELY CONFRONTING TEHRAN

Daniel Pipes

National Review, January 8, 2013

 

As Americans seek to find an alternative to the stark and unappetizing choice of either accepting a rabid Iranian leadership that wields nuclear weapons or preemptively bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, one analyst offers a credible third path. Interestingly, it’s inspired by a long-ago policy toward a different foe — the Reagan administration’s ways of handling the Soviet Union — yet this unlikely model offers a useful prototype.
 

Abraham D. Sofaer, a former U.S. district judge and legal adviser to the State Department, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argues in the forthcoming Taking On Iran: Strength, Diplomacy and the Iranian Threat that since the fall of the shah during the Carter administration, Washington “has responded to Iranian aggression with ineffective sanctions and empty warnings and condemnations.”

 

Not since 1988, he notes, has the U.S. government focused on the Iranian military force that specifically protects the country’s Islamic order and most often attacks abroad, variously called the “Pasdaran” or “Sepah” in Persian, the “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC) in English. This roughly 125,000-strong elite force, created in 1980, has an outsized role in Iran’s political and economic life. It possesses its own army, navy, and air-force units, it controls ballistic missile programs, and it shares control over the country’s nuclear program. It runs the Basij, which enforces strict Islamic mores on the Iranian public. Its military forces are more important than the regular armed forces. Its Quds Force of about 15,000 agents spreads the Khomeini revolution abroad via infiltration and assassination. Its graduates staff key positions in the Iranian government.

 

The IRGC has played a lead role attacking Americans, their allies, and their interests, especially when one includes the IRGC’s many documented surrogates and partners, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muqtada al-Sadr movement, even the Taliban and al-Qaeda. IRGC accomplishments include the 1983 Marine barracks and U.S. embassy bombings in Lebanon, the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish targets in Argentina, the 1996 Khobar barracks bombing in Saudi Arabia, the 2011 attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, and the provisioning of Hamas with missiles for its 2012 war with Israel (weapons that are already being re-provisioned).

 

In all, IRGC attacks have caused the deaths of more than 1,000 American soldiers and of many more members of other armed forces and non-combatants. The U.S. government has condemned the IRGC as a state sponsor of terrorism and designated it as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. Sofaer advocates a supple two-pronged approach to Tehran: “Confront IRGC aggression directly and negotiate with Iran.”

 

Confrontation means Washington exploits “the full range of options available to curb the IRGC short of preventive attacks on nuclear sites.” He argues that U.S. forces have the right to and should target factories and storage facilities for arms, facilities associated with the IRGC (bases, ports, trucks, planes, ships), arms shipments about to be exported, and IRGC units. Sofaer’s goal is not only to curb IRGC violence but also to “undermine IRGC credibility and influence, and help convince Iran to negotiate in earnest” over its nuclear-weapons program.

 

Negotiation means talking to Tehran about outstanding issues rather than trying to punish it with aloofness. Sofaer quotes James Dobbins, a former special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, as expressing this view: “It is time to apply to Iran the policies which won the Cold War, liberated the Warsaw Pact, and reunited Europe: détente and containment, communication whenever possible, and confrontation whenever necessary. We spoke to Stalin’s Russia. We spoke to Mao’s China. In both cases, greater mutual exposure changed their system, not ours. It’s time to speak to Iran, unconditionally, and comprehensively.” More broadly, along with Chester A. Crocker, another former American diplomat, Sofaer sees diplomacy as “the engine that converts raw energy and tangible power into meaningful political results.”

 

Confronting and negotiating in tandem, Sofaer expects, will put great pressure on Tehran to improve its behaviour generally (e.g., regarding terrorism) and possibly lead it to shut down the nuclear program, while leaving available a pre-emptive strike on the table “if all else fails.” Former secretary of state George P. Shultz, in his foreword to Taking on Iran, calls Sofaer’s idea “an alternative that should have been implemented long ago.” Indeed, the time is well overdue to respond to IRGC atrocities with the language of force, the only language that Iranian leaders understand — and this might have the additional benefit of avoiding greater hostilities.

 

 

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DON’T BE FOOLED: IRAN WANTS THE BOMB

Ahmad Hashemi

Times of Israel, Jan. 17, 2013

 

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili recently said his country has agreed to resume talks on its nuclear program later this month. At the same time, the IAEA and the international community, particularly the European countries, have stepped up efforts to revitalize the futile negotiating process. During my four and a half years as an employee of the Iranian foreign ministry, I learned beyond doubt, that my country’s participation in talks is purely a stalling tactic….

 

It was almost a decade ago that the People’s Mujahedin, Iran’s leftist opposition in exile, first revealed the clandestine nuclear activities carried out by the regime, providing the exact addresses of some of the facilities, and letting the world know about the Islamic theocracy’s true ambitions for acquiring nuclear bombs. Since then, Iran has attended dozens of negotiating rounds merely to convince naïve politicians and dewy-eyed peaceniks that it is telling the truth. Within this context, Tehran maintains that it is trying to use diplomatic means to prove that Iran is merely working to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in order to meet increasing domestic energy demand as it runs out of fuel. Iran likewise exploits the matter at home, whipping up populist nationalism with leftist-style demagoguery that depicts its nuclear program as a cardinal matter of national pride.

 

But a lie remains a lie, whether it is repeated ceaselessly in international forums or broadcast all day to the Iranian masses. While at the Iranian foreign ministry, I served as interpreter for visiting dignitaries, diplomats and officials. I paid close attention to public proclamations and official statements. And I was present at inner-circle conversations in which a number of high-profile Iranian officials made no secret of their intention to go atomic. I personally witnessed the following examples:

 

In April 2005, after organizing several meetings in his office at the Discernment Council headquarters, I was invited to a meeting at the home of Mohsen Rezai, the Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council and a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during the Iran-Iraq war. I was invited in my capacity as a founding member of of the short-lived Islamic Association for Students and Academicians (IASA, which was dissolved the next year), together with Ruhollah Solgi, the IASA secretary general. (Today, Solgi is the governor of Aran va Bidgol County in the Isfahan region.) We were asked to come and exchange views on the overall situation on the upcoming presidential election campaign in which Mr. Rezai was preparing to run as a presidential nominee.

 

Rezai’s home was located in the Shahrak Shahid Daghayeghi Complex at the outskirts of the Lavizan forests in northeast Tehran. We went to a spacious, concrete villa on the last block of the fenced in and tightly patrolled neighbourhood, which provides housing primarily for IRGC officers and other high-profile officials. When we arrived, Rezai was busy meeting various military and political figures, including generals from the IRGC. At this private meeting in his house, while castigating former reformist president Khatami for his compromising approach towards the West, Mohsen Rezai strongly advocated the idea of acquiring nuclear bombs for “deterrent purposes.” He referred to such a weapon as a “holy Islamic bomb” needed to defy the bullying approach of global arrogance. Mentioning that even Khomeini approved of acquiring an atomic bomb to safeguard the interests of Islam during Iran-Iraq war, he argued that everything is allowed for the sake of Islam, including using WMDs and the mass killing of civilians.

 

In early 2012, Ali Bagheri, the deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was meeting his Indian counterpart at a dinner reception at India’s embassy in Tehran. While we waited for the Indian official, who had been delayed in traffic, to arrive, I heard the Iranian foreign ministry’s director for Europe and America, Ahmad Sobhani, ask Mr. Bagheri about the Supreme Leader’s latest views on the 5+1 negotiations. Bagheri replied that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remained adamant and increasingly convinced that “we should expedite our efforts and diversify our secret facilities to achieve our goal before it is too late.”

 

In early February 2012, I was present at a confidential meeting at which Iran’s deputy head of the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation was negotiating with the North Korean ambassador in order to obtain nuclear technology for Iran in exchange for financial support. In my foreign ministry position, I interpreted at meetings between my country and international chemical weapons inspectors. The Iranian side, known as the Escort Team, included officials from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Intelligence, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Industry. They met with representatives from the Hague-based chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, known as Inspection Team.

 

I was present throughout these encounters, which included a Pre-Inspection Briefing prepared for the visitors by Iran, on-site visits at chemical production plants, and summation deliberations and conclusions….I interpreted as the Iranian defense officials misinformed and deceived the inspectors. With such a history of producing weapons of mass destruction in the form of chemical weapons, why should anyone believe that Iran is not intent on producing an atomic bomb?

 

All previous meetings between Iran and the 5+1 failed because Iran was never serious about curbing its nuclear programs. After seven years, the West and particularly the Obama administration are still hopeful that they can achieve progress through negotiations. Tehran may have slowed down tactically, but undoubtedly, as the former commander of Iran’s revolutionary guards Mohsen Rezai once said, “Iran’s long-term policy and strategic vision is to acquire a holy Islamic atomic bomb.”

 

Using a well-known concept in Shiite jurisprudence known as the expedient or altruistic lie, Iranian officials are perfectly willing to lie when it comes to their intentions and programs. The enlightened nations would do well to understand the religious underpinnings of Iranian diplomats’ big lies in contrast with European negotiators. Once the extent of the deception is understood, the question should be not whether Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful but rather when and how the program can be safely terminated.

 

Ahmad Hashemi, was born in Qom, Iran. He has a Master’s Degree in American Studies from the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s School of International Relations. In January 2008, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an English, Turkish, Arabic interpreter. Active in the 2009 pro-democracy Green Movement protests  he was forced to flee Iran and currently is seeking political asylum in Turkey. 

 

 

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IRAN FACES A ROUGH 2013

Alireza Nader

Real Clear World, Jan. 3, 201

 

For Iran, 2013 could be one of the most challenging years-both at home and in relations with the outside world-since the 1979 revolution. The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even an Israeli and/or U.S. military strike because of its intransigence in complying with U.N. resolutions on its nuclear program.

 

But the world's only modern theocracy also must deal with twin domestic challenges– deepening malaise among the young and increasing tensions among the political elite. Both could be important factors in the presidential election scheduled for June 14, which will feature a new slate of candidates since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have served the two-term limit. Home-grown problems could outweigh the regime's foreign policy woes.

 

Iran and the world's major powers have all indicated an interest in a new round of diplomatic talks in 2013 to end the long standoff over Tehran's controversial nuclear program. The gap is still enormous, however, after three rounds in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow in 2012. The big question is whether Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is truly interested in making a deal-and on terms that will also satisfy the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

 

Khamenei is not easily swayed by pressure. He has survived imprisonment and lived through the revolution, assassination attempts, the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, popular uprisings, and decades of sanctions. He views Iran's uranium enrichment program not only as a natural and legal right, but also a measure of Tehran's success against the United States. In 2012, he often publicly talked about the U.S. "decline" in the Middle East, reflected in part by the fall of three pro-American rulers with other U.S. allies wobbling. Tehran also spins the so-called Arab Spring as an "Islamic awakening" modeled on its own Islamic revolution.

 

Despite what he says publicly, however, Khamenei is also savvy enough to know that the same political changes represent new challenges for his regime as well. Syrian President Bashar Assad, Tehran's most important Arab ally, is under siege from a protest movement that turned into a surprisingly powerful military campaign. The spillover impacts Lebanon's Hezbollah, which also faces its own unique problems. And other regional powers, most notably Turkey, are increasingly questioning Iran's geopolitical aspirations.

 

Iran begins 2013 with growing economic woes that may be an important calculation in Khamenei's decision. He needs tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues to maintain a vast and often loyal network that has maintained his rule as Iran's ultimate leader for the past 23 years. But the world's toughest sanctions, soaring inflation, and the plummeting value of Iran's currency produced the perfect economic storm in 2012. And Tehran's economic crisis will not end any time soon.

 

Iran's oil exports declined by as much as one-half in 2012, a factor that could produce additional pressure from key Khamenei constituents, including the Bazaar merchant class and the powerful Revolutionary Guards. But chronic mismanagement is the chief cause of Iran's economic problems. After his 2005 election, President Ahmadinejad eliminated economic planning agencies such as the Management and Planning Organization. He also sidelined skilled technocrats who were not politically loyal to him. He fuelled inflation by injecting massive cash into the economy and reducing subsidies. During his presidency, imports of goods from Asia and Europe skyrocketed, contributing to the closure or bankruptcy of hundreds of Iranian factories. The list goes on and on.

 

Corruption across the regime has contributed to the economic crisis. In 2012, the Islamic Republic was perceived as one of the most corrupt in the world, according to Transparency International. It ranked 133rd-tied with Russia, Kazakhstan, Honduras and Guyana-out of the 176 countries and territories that were ranked.

 

The Revolutionary Guards, which control large parts of the economy, are also reportedly corrupt. The most powerful military organization in Iran has charitable foundations that are tax-exempt and largely free of government scrutiny. The Guards have also been linked to illicit smuggling and narcotics trafficking. Some veteran officers have reportedly amassed significant wealth.

 

The economy is now the Islamic Republic's Achilles Heel. Iran has been successful in educating millions of Iranians and rebuilding its infrastructure after the Iran-Iraq War. But it has not reached the potential of a country with one of the world's largest reserves of oil and natural gas and a well-educated and resourceful population.

 

The Islamic Republic begins 2013 with anxiety among both the public and the government over the impending presidential election. The 2009 election produced the deepest political schism since the revolution, with millions turning out in massive popular protests across the country to challenge the official outcome. It gave birth to the opposition Green Movement and created an enduring crisis of legitimacy for the Supreme Leader.

 

The 2013 election may be more tightly scripted than any earlier presidential race to prevent serious debates or competition….In December 2012, the Iranian parliament passed legislation requiring all candidates to have the endorsement of more than 100 of the regime's "experts" and to be between the ages of 40 and 75. Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who has long been Khamenei's main political rival and a focus of hardline ire, is now 78 years old and ran again in 2005 against Ahmadinejad, but lost. He is now excluded from running again….

 

The spectrum of rivals reflects the unprecedented divisions. All were among the early revolutionaries who ousted the shah and hung together for more than a decade. Ahmadinejad, a hardliner who had Khamenei's full endorsement just four years ago, is now perceived as a threat to the Supreme Leader's hold on power. But the most important challenge to the regime may still come from the Green Movement. Its symbolic leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, are under house arrest but they remain a potent threat to Khamenei's rule, perhaps even more than an Israeli military strike or U.S. sanctions.

 

Alireza Nader is a senior policy analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and a lecturer on Iranian politics at the George Washington University.

 

 

 

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The Next Chernobyl?: Khosrow B. Semnani & Gary M. Sandquist, New York Times, Jan. 2, 2013—A Chernobyl-type nuclear meltdown in Bushehr [Iran] would not only inflict severe damage in southern Iran, but also in the six oil and gas-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Indeed, the capitals of those states are closer to Bushehr than Tehran. Nuclear radiation in the air and water would disrupt the Strait of Hormuz shipping, the world’s most important oil choke point. Oil prices would skyrocket. The world economy would face a hurricane.

 

Iranian Support for Palestinian Terrorist Organizations: Meir Amit Terrorism Information Centre,  Jan. 7, 2013—The military capabilities of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) were revealed in Operation Pillar of Defense. Those capabilities were the product of massive Iranian support constructed around an arsenal of many thousands of rockets, both standard and manufactured by the terrorist organizations themselves (using Iranian technical knowhow).

 

Iranian Policy Toward Direct Nuclear Talks with the U.S.: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, January 17, 2013—The question of engagement with the United States has, to varying degrees, been a domestic issue in Iran since the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution. It has emerged in recent years in connection to important events and junctures, particularly with regard to the Iranian nuclear program. In Iran, just as in the United States, this issue serves as a tool in political struggles between the different camps and is raised when it furthers some political purpose or other. Download as PDF.

 

The Tehran Terror Trail: Editorial, New York Daily News, Jan. 13, 2013—The temperature is spiking in the warm war between the U.S. and Iran. President Obama’s national security team, which has a history of trying to engage the mullahtocracy, must recognize the limits of talk.

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org