Month: July 2013

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

Advantix Air-Conditioning Empire Built on Ice and Salt: Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21c, July 31, 2013

Israeli Bionic Contact Lens Will Help Blind People ‘See’: ISRAEL21c,  July 31, 2013

The Israeli Company that Wants to Put a 3D Printer in Every Home: Avner Meyrav, NoCamels, July 16, 2013

 

“The very notion of Palestinian preconditions before even reaching the negotiating table, to enter a process in which they would be the potential beneficiaries – is utterly absurd. But when it involves the release of some of the most vicious terrorists of our time, it becomes obscene. And that obscenity has been made possible by none other then the U.S. Secretary of State.” Dani Dayan, a businessman and chief foreign envoy of the pro-settler Yesha Council, commenting in a blog for the Times of Israel. (Times of Israel, July 28, 2013)

“This is an indescribably difficult decision to make – it is painful for the bereaved families, it is painful for the entire nation and it is also painful for me, “I believe it is of the utmost importance for the state of Israel to enter a diplomatic process. This is important both to exhaust the possibilities of ending the conflict with the Palestinians and to establish Israel’s position in the complex international reality around us.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an open letter to the Israeli public justifying the Israeli government’s decision to release 104 Palestinian Arab prisoners with “blood on their hands”. This is being done as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to restart peace talks, despite opinion polls showing that over 84% of Israelis oppose releasing terrorists as a precondition to talks. (National Post, July 29, 2013)

"If there is no majority for the proposal [in the cabinet], it doesn't only mean that we refuse to release the prisoners. It means that we refuse to renew negotiations and that Israel will be blamed…. Not only does it let the Palestinians get to work at the UN immediately, it could also absolve our relatively few friends in the international community who are still standing alongside us and casting a veto at the UN or blocking boycotts. That doesn't mean I think there's a great chance to achieve a final-status agreement with the Palestinians…but we want to preserve Israeli's international status and prevent it from suffering a diplomatic and economic blow.” — Gideon Sa'ar, Israel’s Interior Minister, commenting on the decision by the Israeli government to release 104 Palestinian Arab terrorists with “blood on their hands” as a gesture to the Palestinian authority in an effort to restart peace talks. (Ha'aretz, July 31, 2013)

"In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands." — Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, in a briefing to mostly Egyptian journalists, upon the announcement of the resumption of peace talks with Israel. (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013)

"The President of the Palestinian Authority said he doesn't want to see any Israelis on his land. Bad things happen when good people are silent. Good people need to act." — Naftali Bennett, Jerusalem and Diaspora Minister, who is responsible for the government's efforts to battle anti-Semitism, attending a conference of a Knesset caucus on anti-Semitism.

   "To this day, people ask me if I think anti-Semitism is a good thing, because it brings people to Israel. What ignorance and lies! For every one person who makes aliya because of anti-Semitism, 10 assimilate. Anti-Semitism and delegitimation of Israel lead Jews to distance themselves from Judaism and Israel. Anti-Semitism is enemy number one of Zionism.” — Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, while  attending a conference of a Knesset caucus on anti-Semitism. (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013)

“Releasing prisoners came as a result of choosing a bad option over a worse option… We reached the decision to avoid the worse [option]. Many strategic considerations, which may be revealed in the future, stood behind this, and hence we must go forward with a release of pre-Oslo prisoners. These are murderers. This is a challenge to justice, to law and to bereaved families, and I hear their voices. We are embarking on this maneuver responsibly, with good judgment, and we’ll be able to provide an answer to security aspects… I know who these prisoners are, how many they are, what they did, [and] when they did it.” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, speaking at the IDF’s absorption base for new draftees at Tel Hashomer. (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013)

"We were always ready to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians without pre-conditions….We support a solution based on two states for two peoples, a Jewish state of Israel living side-by-side in peace and security and mutual recognition with the Palestinian state. It was not the Palestinian position. The Palestinians had a number of pre-conditions. They were not willing to live in a situation of mutual recognition. We recognize the Palestinians as a people endowed with the right of self-determination. They don't recognize the Jews as a people yet with the right of self-determination. When we say 'Jewish state,' what does it mean? It means that the Jewish state is permanent and legitimate. We're not interlopers. We're not trespassers. We're not a transient state. And it also means there'll be an end of claims and end of conflict.  There are about 193 states in the world. Most of them are nation states; the Bulgarians, the Hungarians, the Germans….It's very common, certainly in Europe. And there's nothing anomalous, nothing unusual about the arrangement which we're seeking."  Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. (CNN, July 28, 2013)

"The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous, and substantive negotiations on the core issues, and they will meet within the next two weeks in either Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal negotiation….Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months." — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after two meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Washington on Tuesday [July 30] (State Department, July 30, 2013)

 

''We did not agree to that [basing negotiations on the 1949 armistice lines]. Israel rejected the Palestinian demand for this as a precondition for talks." a senior Israeli official.
   "Endless negotiation is good for the Americans. They can point to success in bringing the sides to the table and keeping them there. Netanyahu can avoid U.S. pressure and shows he's engaged in the peace process. Abbas can continue to be fed with money, prisoner releases and other things and maintain the survival of the PA.'' Ghassan Khatib, a former PA minister, saying that the negotiations will in practice continue for some time, albeit without a peace deal.
    "They have zero chances of reaching an end of conflict, end of claims agreement. 'The positions are too far apart on narrative issues like the future of holy places and the right of return'."  Yossi Alpher, former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. for Palestinians. (Christian Science Monitor, July 29, 2013)

 

"The Palestinians throughout the course of this year have been making clear that if they couldn't see progress on the peace front, that their intention would be to seek other elevations of their status, whether at the UN or other international organizations. So it's no secret that one of the motivating factors, I think for everybody, was to avoid that sort of train wreck….With this process moving forward, the risk of a clash at the UN or elsewhere is reduced or eliminated….It would be fair to say that you are likely to see Israeli settlement continue." a senior White House official said Wednesday [July 30]. (Ha'aretz, July 30, 2013)

 

"I'm not particularly optimistic because I think that the heart of the matter is that the maximum concessions that this government of Israel would be prepared to make fall far short of the minimum requirements that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] will insist on….So it may be possible to keep the talks going, which is a good thing, but I find it very hard to believe that they will reach an agreement."  Martin Indyk, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and the new special U.S, envoy to the negotiations recently announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with Israel Radio last year. (Weekly Standard, July 31, 2013)

 

“The law does not require us to make a formal determination as to whether a coup took place, and it is not in our national interest to make such a determination. We will not say it was a coup, we will not say it was not a coup, we will just not say." — a "senior official" from the White House to The New York Times, clarifying the U.S. response to the military takeover in Egypt. (Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013)

“Yes, we do indeed want to break the [Muslim] Brotherhood’s neck because that is good for Egypt, the region, and (not least) ourselves. Islamists can do more damage within the political process than outside it….Islamists have a history of using the political process for their own ends, and not of being tamed by it. No tolerance for the intolerant. Just as fascists and Communists are not legitimate players in a democracy, neither are Islamists. No matter how smooth-talking, they remain autocrats who disregard the popular will. Better that they be excluded entirely from participatory politics.” — Daniel Pipes, Director of the Mid East Forum.  (Mid East Forum, July 29, 2013)

“Jordan is like a soft mould, it’s not like Egypt where Islamists had influence before Mubarak fell. Jordan is easy to direct anywhere its next leader will take it – if he is secular, Jordan will turn secular, if he is an Islamist, Jordan will turn into another Afghanistan, so it’s basically what the outside world wants to make out of it, and its future will depend on which country will invest more money or send its media reporters to cover the events to come.” — Samer Libdeh, an Amman based Palestinian-Jordanian writer and former Washington Institute Fellow, in conversation with Mudar Zaharan, a Palestinian-Jordanian columnist residing in the UK. (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2013)

“It’s bleak. The military is only willing to talk about the future, not about yesterday or the day before. They turned the page on Morsi.” an Egyptian mediator involved in talks between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood aimed at resolving the political crisis crippling Egypt. (International Herald Tribune, July 21, 2013)

 

“The way they interpret it, everyone in the Wehrmacht was just like in the American Army or the Canadian Army or the British Army. They forget the most important point. People in this army were thugs and murderers who almost brought down Western civilization.” Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Wiesenthal Center, commenting on the a recent issue of Der Landser, a weekly German pulp magazine, that recently portrayed the feared Waffen-SS as just a bunch of good natured soldiers doing their jobs. (International Herald Tribune, July 29, 2013)

Contents

 

 

POLL: MAJORITY OF ISRAELI JEWS OPPOSE PRISONER RELEASE AS GESTURE TO PALESTINIANS(Jerusalem) The majority of Israeli Jews are against releasing Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands as a gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of the resumption of peace talks, according to a Smith Research poll conducted on Wednesday for terror victims organization Almagor. The poll of 500 Israelis representing a sample of the adult population found that 80 percent of secular Jews said they were against releasing these Palestinian prisoners, while over 95% of conservative and orthodox Jews objected to such a gesture. (Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2013)

 

'YA'ALON ORDERS FREEZE IN PERMITS FOR EU PROJECTS IN WEST BANK' (Jerusalem) Israel has severed cooperation with the European Union in Area C of the West Bank in response to new measures the EU has taken against settlements. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the IDF’s civil administration to cease cooperation in joint projects with the EU, The Jerusalem Post has learned. This means that the IDF will refuse to grant new permits or renew existing permits for EU construction projects in Area C, which is territory under Israeli civil and military control. It also will not issue or renew any documents that EU personnel might need for travel in the West Bank or into Gaza from Israel. In addition, IDF offices in the West Bank, such as the civil administration and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, will no longer hold working meetings with EU officials or personnel. Some of the EU-led projects in the West Bank include a program to train Palestinian Authority police officers in basic and advanced policing skills, and a waste removal program. Neither will receive Israel’s cooperation any longer. (Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2013)

 

ISRAEL RELEASES IMPROVED DEFENCE EXPORT FIGURE OF USD7.5 BILLION FOR 2012 — (Jerusalem) Israel exported military materiel and services valued at USD7.5 billion in 2012, a sharp increase over 2011's output of USD5.8 billion, according to figures from the Israeli Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) Defense Export and Defense Co-operation Agency (SIBAT). The figures confirm Israel's position as a top-10 global exporter based on output over the last five years. National military exports have more than doubled over the last decade from USD3.5 billion in 2005. The fall in 2011 was something of an anomaly, given that the 2012 total was broadly comparable with exports of USD7.4 billion in 2010. The Asia-Pacific region accounted for the bulk of output in 2012 (USD4.5 billion). (IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, July 23,  2013)

 

TURNOUT LOW FOR ISLAMISTS' MARCH IN EGYPT (Cairo) The Muslim Brotherhood had called for a million people to rally on Tuesday to restore Mohamed Morsi as president, but the turnout in Cairo was perhaps tens of thousands and no large demonstrations were reported elsewhere. (The National-UAE, July 31, 2013)

 

AL QAEDA IN IRAQ SCORES BIG (Bagdad) Jailbreaks are common in Iraq, but the brazen assaults on the prisons at Abu Ghraib and Taji last week are in a class by themselves. The attacks freed perhaps as many as 800 militants, who are now sought by Interpol as a “major threat” to global security. The attacks showed the fearsome and growing strength of Al Qaeda in Iraq, seemingly on the decline only a few years ago. Al Qaeda in Iraq, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, waged a virulent insurgency that brought the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007, then suffered major defeats at the hands of Iraqi tribal groups and American troops. It has since rebounded and is believed largely responsible for a surge in daily bombings that have killed an estimated 700 people this month alone. (New York Times, July 29, 2013)

 

TALIBAN MILITANTS ATTACK PAK PRISON; FREE 250 ULTRAS (Peshawar, Pakistan)

Heavily-armed Taliban militants disguised as policemen attacked a high-security prison in northwest Pakistan, freeing nearly 250 militants and killing 14 people after a fierce gunfight with security forces. During the attack on Central Prison in Dera Ismail Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering the restive South Waziristan area, the militants killed six policemen, six Shia prisoners and two private security guards, he said. "Five more policemen and two civilian were injured in the attack," said deputy commissioner Amir Khattak. Officials said that at least 247 prisoners were missing after the attack and a search for the fugitives continued who were suspected to be taken away by the militants. Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that over 100 militants, including several suicide bombers, participated in the massive jail break. (MSN News, July 30, 2013)

 

IN SYRIA, SIGNS OF CIVILIAN MASSACRE (Bayda, Syria)  The chain of events that led to one of the Syrian war's worst mass killings started when government forces came to this village and arrested Hassan Othman on charges of instigating rebellion. Mr. Othman, a 31-year-old with a wife and two children, was severely tortured, according to a cousin's account. He confessed to Syrian authorities that rebels secretly operating in Bayda had hidden arms there, say residents, local security officials and opposition activists. Within days, Syrian forces had shelled and swept this village and a nearby area in an offensive that left some 300 people dead, most of them civilians, according to residents, activists and rights groups. The campaign, many of these people said, exemplified the scorched-earth counterinsurgency strategy employed by the embattled Damascus government. (The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2013)

 

LIBERAL WEBSITE FOUNDER GIVEN 7 YEARS AND 600 LASHES IN SAUDI ARABIA (Jedda) Raif Badawi, founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website in Saudi Arabia, has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after angering Islamic authorities by urging Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country. According to Saudi newspaper Al Wattan, a judge in the Red Sea port of Jedda imposed the sentences but dropped charges of apostasy, which would have brought the death penalty. (AP-The Age-Australia, July 31, 2013)

 

KENYAN LAWYER TAKES STATE OF ISRAEL, JEWS TO HAGUE OVER JESUS' DEATH  — (Nairobi) A Kenyan lawyer has filed a petition with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, suggesting that the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ was unlawful, and The State of Israel among others should be held responsible, Kenyan News outlet the Nairobian reported on Friday. Dola Indidis, a lawyer and former spokesman of the Kenyan Judiciary is reportedly attempting to sue Tiberius (Emperor of Rome 42 BC-37AD), Pontius Pilate, a selection of Jewish elders, King Herod, the Republic of Italy and the State of Israel. "Evidence today is on record in the bible, and you cannot discredit the bible," Indidis told Kenyan Citizen News. (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2013)

 

REPORT: HIZBULLAH BURYING HUNDREDS OF ITS FIGHTERS IN SYRIA(Beirut) Moayyed Ghazlan, a member of the Syrian National Council general secretariat, told CNN Arabic on Wednesday [July 24] that his organization has discovered a number of mass graves in which Hizbullah buried its fighters following each battle with the rebels in order not to return the bodies for official burial in Lebanon.  Their purpose "is to hide the true extent of casualties from the fighters and rebels in Syria." An EU decision this week to include Hizbullah's military wing in the European list of terror organizations is widely viewed as a direct consequence of the group's decision to to send troops to Syria. (Times of Israel, July 25, 2013)

 

BULGARIA NAMES TWO SUSPECTS IN BURGAS BUS BOMBING(Sofia) The Bulgarian authorities have released the names of two people believed to be involved in the Burgas bus bomb terrorist attack last year that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver, according to the Bulgarian news agency Focus. The two were identified as 32-year-old Australian citizen Meliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, and 25-year old Canadian Citizen Hassan El Hajj Hassan. In the days around the attack, the suspects had been noticed in Ruse, Varna and Nesebar, the Sunny Beach resort, and in the village of Ravda, according to the report. (Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2013)

 

MK REGEV: PLASTIC GUNS THREATEN PUBLIC SECURITY— (Jerusalem) Plastic guns made a comeback in the Knesset, with Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) saying Wednesday that they threaten public security. Earlier this month, Uri Even, a Channel 10 reporter, snuck a plastic gun made with a 3D printer into the Knesset earlier this month and sat a short distance from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the gun in his hands. Experts on 3D printing brought a printer to the Knesset to show Regev how it works, and explained that there is very little supervision of how the technology works, because the materials used can easily be found online. It takes about 20 hours to print the pieces of a plastic gun. (Jerusalem Post, July 31, 2013)

 

IDF LEADS THE WAY IN GENDER INTEGRATION (Tel Aviv) Representatives of foreign militaries are increasingly seeking guidance from the IDF in facilitating gender equality and preventing sexual harassment, as Israel's military is recognized as one of the world's most advanced in this regard. The office of the IDF Women's Affairs Advisor explained: "Service for women is required, and therefore we strive to expand equal opportunities for recruitment and placement, and to empower women's [military] service through a variety of roles." The IDF stands out among the world's militaries for the high representation of women in its ranks. 34% of those serving are women, including 23% of all officers and non-commissioned officers. 92% of the IDF's jobs are open to women. (Israel Defense Forces, July 25, 2013)

Top of Page
 

 

On Topic

Advantix Air-Conditioning Empire Built on Ice and Salt: Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21c, July 31, 2013—The Israeli inventors took their ice-skating rink technology and put it into efficient air-conditioning systems used by businesses across the world. The Advantix approach is new. Instead of drip coolers that create wastewater, a salt solution absorbs water from the air. When the solution gets too dilute, heat from the machine’s engine gets pumped back in to evaporate the excess water. Therefore, the process is constantly renewed inside the system.

 

Israeli Bionic Contact Lens Will Help Blind People ‘See’: ISRAEL21c,  July 31, 2013—Much in the way Braille allows people who are blind to “see” the written word, a bionic contact lens invented by Israeli researcher Prof. Zeev Zalevsky “presses” images onto the surface of the eye to help the brain decipher through touch what the wearer is looking at.

 

The Israeli Company that Wants to Put a 3D Printer in Every Home: Avner Meyrav, NoCamels, July 16, 2013—Dotan Koskas and Yariv Nachshon’s tiny factory is located in a shed of a backyard in Giv’at Shmuel, Israel. Next to the cluttered assembly station, the owners relentlessly operate two 3D printers, which are also the factory’s only “workers.” It is more a workshop than an actual factory, an old-school garage startup, but from this little shed Koskas and Nachshon hope to deliver Israel with a new prophecy: a 3D printer in every home.

 

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) 486-82843

 

 

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ISRAEL’S MILITARY POST-“ARAB FALL”: BEYOND ARROW AND IRON DOME, OFFENSIVE CAPACITY STRENGTHENED — IRAN A CONTINUING CONCERN, AND NAVY NOW FOCUSES ON GAS-FIELD DEFENCE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Download an abbreviated version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Israel Plans Military 'Revolution' to Face New Regional Threat: Jonathan Marcus, BBC, 12 July 2013—Israel's armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective.

 

Threats to Israeli Aircraft over Iran: James Dunnigan, Strategy Page, July 27, 2013—Iranian military leaders were relieved at the recent election of the “moderate” Hassan Rowhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Rowhani is known to be a superb negotiator and someone you can reason with. Ahmadinejad was neither of those things and his constant and hysterical threats to Israel made war with Israel an ever increasing possibility.

 

IDF’s Druze Battalion Tests New Techniques for Fighting Hezbollah: IDF Blog, July 4, 2013—The battalion developed techniques for fighting Hezbollah, based on years of experience operating in Israel’s northern border region; the new methods were tested in a battalion-wide exercise last week.

 

Israeli Technology Turns Air Into Drinking Water for Troops: NoCamels, Feb. 28, 2012—Military troops around the world, no matter where they are instated, know that even with the best training, personnel and arms, they cannot survive battle if they are lacking one vital thing: water. Among the concerns of military heads is  to ensure water sources are always available, even in the most arid of places.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Evolution of Israeli Military Strategy: Asymmetry, Vulnerability, Pre-emption and Deterrence: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jewish Virtual Library, October 2011

IAF's Flying Camel Squadron: Drones not Always Best: Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2013

IDF Ground Forces Launch Groundbreaking Battle Lab: Yael Zahavi, IDF, Jan 17, 2013

Israel’s Military-Entrepreneurial Complex Owns Big Data: Matthew Kalman, MIT Technology Review, July 11, 2013

Gaza Crossing Weekly Report: COGAT/Israel Ministry of Defence, July 20, 2013

Israel’s Skylark Spy Plane: Ultimate Weapons-Robotics. Discovery Channel. Video

Inside an Israeli Defense Lab: Popular Mechanics.

 

 

ISRAEL PLANS MILITARY 'REVOLUTION'
TO FACE NEW REGIONAL THREAT

Jonathan Marcus

BBC, 12 July 2013

 

Israel's armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective. Elements of the plans were set out by the Israel Defense Forces' Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, earlier this week. Once implemented, they promise what some analysts have described as "a revolution" in Israel's military affairs.

 

In part, of course, this is all about money. The defence budget in Israel is under growing pressure – social protest has erupted on Israel's streets too. Significant cuts have to be made. This is one reason why units equipped with older tanks like derivatives of the US M60 will be disbanded, as well as some Air Force units with older aircraft that are much more expensive to maintain. Streamlining the career military may also save funds in the long run.

 

But what is really going on here owes less to budgetary pressures and more to the dramatic changes that are under way in the strategic geography of the region around Israel.

 

The Arab world is living through an upheaval that shows no sign of ending. The big military players like Egypt, Syria and Iraq are either facing political uncertainty, full-scale civil war, or have been exhausted by invasion and more than a decade of bitter internal violence.

 

The Israeli military's five-year plan has been postponed over recent years – partly due to the budgetary uncertainty and partly due to the dramatic changes sweeping across the region. As retired Brig Gen Michael Herzog, a former head of IDF Strategic Planning, told me: "The prospect of a conventional war breaking out between the IDF and a traditionally organised Arab army is now much less than in the past. However, the risk from non-state actors, of asymmetric warfare, and greater unrest along Israel's borders (with the exception perhaps of Jordan) is increasing and it is these threats that the Israeli military has to plan for."

 

So what will change ? Gen Herzog says there will probably be fewer tanks, but this goes much further than simply changing the IDF's order of battle. There will be a much greater emphasis upon intelligence and cyber-warfare. Given the instability in Syria, there will be a new territorial division covering the Golan front. There will be significant investment in the capacity to strike deep into enemy territory and to improve the co-ordination between air and ground forces.

 

There will be an even greater emphasis upon speed and the deployment of weapons that can strike targets rapidly and with great accuracy. The use of the Tamuz system, a highly accurate guided missile, during recent months against sporadic fire coming from Syrian positions is a pointer to the types of weaponry that will be more important in the future. Tamuz is actually a relatively old system, recently declassified, but its successors will play an important part in Israel's new order of battle.

 

"The Israeli military concept has always been to shorten the duration of any conflict, but this has become more important than ever before because of the growing missile arsenals of groups like the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, which means the Israeli home-front is under threat like never before," Gen Herzog told me.

 

Israel already deploys a variety of defensive measures like the Arrow and Iron Dome anti-missile systems, but improving its offensive capability is seen as the key to managing the tempo and duration of any future conflict. By and large, Gen Herzog welcomes the new military plan. However, he says that "there are of course risks during any period of transition".

 

Budget constraints mean that in the short-term training is being cut back. This, he notes, "is the easiest way to save money in the short term". He points to the IDF's problems in Lebanon in 2006 as an example of an army that had spent too little time training for large-scale manoeuvre warfare. "Training is definitely down this year, but is set to rise in future years," he says, adding: "This is a risk albeit a calculated one."  Nonetheless, the assessment among the Israeli High Command is that this risk is bearable, given the disarray afflicting its Arab neighbours.

 

In Egypt, the peace treaty with Israel may not be popular but the Egyptian army is wedded to it, not least as the ticket that opens the way to large-scale US military aid.

Israeli soldier during military drill Budgetary constraints mean that military training will be cut back in the short-term Iraq is no longer a serious military player. Syria is in crisis and the regime's future remains in doubt. Instability and uncertainty characterise Israel's strategic environment with the risk of rapid escalation that could see conflicts on a number of fronts.

 

Many military analysts accept that reform is justified. Perhaps the greatest risk is that the government will not make good on future defence spending pledges and this ambitious programme could just look like retrenchment. Of course the Iranian nuclear challenge remains a potential threat, against which Israeli Air Force planners in particular are building up their capabilities.

 

New missions, too, are fast emerging, not least for the Israeli Navy which must now protect gas field installations off-shore which promise to make the country self-reliant in energy terms for a considerable period.

Contents

 

 

THREATS TO ISRAELI AIRCRAFT OVER IRAN

James Dunnigan

Strategy Page, July 27, 2013

 

Iranian military leaders were relieved at the recent election of the “moderate” Hassan Rowhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Rowhani is known to be a superb negotiator and someone you can reason with. Ahmadinejad was neither of those things and his constant and hysterical threats to Israel made war with Israel an ever increasing possibility. This was made worse by the growing threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad also liked to boast of how well prepared Iran was to kick Israeli ass if it ever came to a fight. Iranian military leaders cringed at this because they knew that the military power Ahmadinejad was boasting of was largely an illusion.

 

The constant stream of boastful press releases put out by the Iranian military were for building domestic morale, not to describe any real improvements in Iranian military capabilities. The Israeli’s knew this, as did Ahmadinejad (well, he was told) but the numerous threats against Israel caused the Israelis to threaten right back. The problem was that Israel was much more capable to attacking Iran than Iran was in defending itself.

While Israel has a huge stockpile of fuel, ammo, and other supplies for wartime (about 30 days’ worth), Iran has very little. While Iran pumps a lot of oil, it doesn’t have the refineries to produce much aircraft grade fuel. Iran has few smart bombs, missiles, and, well, not much of anything compared to Israel.

 

Israel can put over 500 aircraft (mostly F-15s and F-16s) a day (as in sorties) over Iran. That’s in addition to more than twice as many for any short range threat. Israel has over 25,000 smart bombs and missiles (not counting smaller missiles like Hellfire). Within a few days this Israeli air power could destroy what little Iran has in the way of major weapons systems (armoured vehicles, aircraft, warships, and weapons research and manufacturing facilities). Worse, the earlier claims of Iranian military strength would not only be exposed as false but greatly diminished from what they actually were before the Israelis came by. Iranian military leaders did not want this to happen, although the senior clerics of the religious dictatorship that rules Iran saw a positive angle to an Israeli attack; it would rally all Iranians behind the generally disliked government.

 

The Iranian problem is that three decades of sanctions has made it impossible to replace obsolete and worn out gear or even maintain the elderly systems they have to rely on. Thus, the best defences (anti-aircraft missiles and jet fighters) against an Israeli attack are largely absent. What is available is ancient and probably ineffective against Israeli SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences) capabilities.

 

For example, Iran has been having increasing problems keeping its 1970s era F-5s flying. The ones that are still flying tend to crash a lot, or not be available for use because of maintenance problems (including spare parts shortages). Spare parts for all U.S. aircraft Iran still uses have been hard to come by. Iran has managed, sort of. Nevertheless, the Iranian Air Force is largely a fraud. It has lots of aircraft that, for the most part, sit there but can't fly because of age and lack of replacement parts. Those that can fly would likely provide target practice for Israeli fighters.

 

The Iranian Air Force is still recovering from the effects of the 1979 revolution (which led to an embargo on spare parts and new aircraft). Despite that, many Iranian warplanes remain flyable but only for short periods. The main reason for even that is an extensive smuggling operation that obtains spare parts. Two of their aircraft, the U.S. F-4D and F-5E Tiger, were widely used around the world. Somewhere, someone had parts for these planes that Iran could buy. There are still about 40 of each in service, with less than half of them flyable at any time.

 

This was less the case with Iran's most expensive warplane, the U.S. F-14 Tomcat. Iran was the only export customer of this aircraft. Some F-14s have been kept flyable, despite the rumored sabotage of Iran's AIM-54 Phoenix missiles by U.S. technicians, as they were leaving. To demonstrate this, they sent 25 F-14s on a fly-over of Tehran in 1985. Today, Iran has about 20 F-14s, with less than half of them flyable.

 

Iran has sought to buy new foreign aircraft. In the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, they sought to buy from Russia. Despite the low prices, a combination of Western pressure (to not sell) and the lack of Iranian money for high-ticket items, not that many aircraft were obtained. One unforeseen opportunity was the 1991 Gulf War. Many Iraqi aircraft (most of them Russian-built) fled to Iran to avoid American attack. The Iranians never returned them. Iran ended up with up to 60 MiG-29s. There were also 18 Su-24s, a force that was expanded by more purchases from Russia. Black market spare parts have been available, but the MiG-29 is a notoriously difficult aircraft to maintain, even when you have all the parts you need.

 

Iran currently has about two hundred fighters and fighter bombers, but only about half can be put into action and then usually for only one sortie a day. The chronic shortage of spare parts limits the number of hours the aircraft can be flown. This means pilots lack good flying skills. The poor maintenance and untrained pilots leads to more accidents.

 

Iran is similarly ill-prepared when it comes to ground based anti-aircraft defence. Iran has managed to keep operational some of the American Hawk anti-aircraft missile systems it bought in the 1970s. But these are not very capable these days and the Israelis know all about the Hawk system. Iran has had limited success in buying new systems from Russia and China and, in general, is as ill-prepared as it is in the air to oppose an Israeli attack.

 

Contents

 

IDF’S DRUZE BATTALION TESTS
NEW TECHNIQUES FOR FIGHTING HEZBOLLAH

IDF Blog, July 4, 2013

 

The IDF’s Herev Battalion, made up of members of Israel’s Druze community, has gained many years of experience performing unique missions near the Israel-Lebanon border. In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, for instance, Herev was the first force to cross the border and the last to return – exhausted from completing a range of complex missions that earned the unit a citation.

 

The Herev Battalion, referred to as the IDF’s “spearhead on the Lebanon border”, used its wealth of operational experience in the region to develop new combat techniques for fighting against Hezbollah. These new techniques were tested last week for the first time in an intensive battalion-wide exercise. “Combat in Lebanon demands the use of heavy armor and the slow advancement of troops,” explained Lt. Col. Shadi Abu Fares, commander of the Herev Battalion. He went on to explain that fighting Hezbollah requires a specific method of combat, which includes the intensive use of firepower.

 

 “In order to fight against the enemy in Lebanon in the most correct manner, we took the techniques that exist today in the IDF for fighting in open areas, and we made the necessary adjustments. With the help of the battalion’s experience, and combined with an understanding of what to expect next time, we managed to develop a better and more efficient method,” he said.

 

As part of the conclusions drawn from the exercise, a special document was drafted to present the techniques, which will be sent to officers throughout the IDF in order to assist in building a new combat doctrine for fighting against terror organizations. “The Herev Battalion must teach the entire IDF how to fight effectively against Hezbollah,” said Col. Zion Ratzon, commander of the regional brigade to which the Herev Battalion is subordinate.

 

“There are additional adjustments to be made, but the technique proved itself during the exercise. We can already see how the fighters are now speaking a new language and that there is confidence in the methods that we tested,” Lt. Col. Abu Fares said.

 

The new combat techniques were put to the test in the Herev Battalion’s most recent exercise, which took place last week and consisted of three days of non-stop fighting in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights. The exercise simulated the battalion’s role during combat while functioning as part of a full brigade, in order to train the commanders to cooperate with other forces.

 

The troops were accompanied by a tank platoon on their journey through the hilly terrain, while combat engineering teams cleared paths through the thick scrub and artillery forces provided suppressive fire that shook the northern Golan Heights. The goal of the method: provide so much fire that “the enemy cannot lift its head.”

 

The exercise simulated as closely as possible full-fledged combat in Lebanon, requiring the troops to deal with enemy rocket fire falling on their staging areas, sudden changes in mission plans and evacuating casualties in armored personnel carriers (APCs). “It was a drill against Hezbollah in every respect,” Lt. Col. Abu Faris said. “Following [the exercise], I can say with certainty that the Herev Battalion is ready for anything.”

 

A senior officer in the sector explained last week that Hezbollah’s actions in southern Lebanon are becoming more and more aggressive. Israeli forces stationed on the border observe well how Hezbollah agents work around the clock in the villages of southern Lebanon to gather intelligence on the IDF. The Herev Battalion, whose soldiers’ families live in northern Israel and are likely to be the first to suffer from a Hezbollah attack, continues to prepare for the “day after” on the sensitive Lebanese border.

 

“Changes in the region obligate us to be ready for war,” the regional brigade commander said at the end of the exercise. “For every eventuality that will be needed, with the Herev Battalion I feel more confident than any other battalion.”

 

Contents

 

 

ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY TURNS
AIR INTO DRINKING WATER FOR TROOPS

NoCamels, Feb. 28, 2012

 

Military troops around the world, no matter where they are instated, know that even with the best training, personnel and arms, they cannot survive battle if they are lacking one vital thing: water.

Among the concerns of military heads is  to ensure water sources are always available, even in the most arid of places.

 

One Israeli company took up the challenge to ensure water can be readily available, anywhere and at any time, by extracting it from the most common of things: air. Water-Gen, based in Rishon LeZion, Israel, specializes in water generation and water treatment technologies integrated with tactical military vehicles and ground units. Their technology extracts water from the ambient air humidity, and turns it into drinking water.

 

Initially, the system filters the air so that water can be extracted and accommodated in containers. Then, it is cooled and purified into drinking water. This water can be served from a tap within the system or inside the cabin. Chairmen and co-CEO, Arye Kohavi, says that “water transportation is one of the most common reasons for the departure of convoys across Afghanistan. These convoys are attacked and have casualties.” He adds that “if we can produce the water at the exact point where it is consumed, we spare the need to transport water and reduce the risk and expenses.”

 

According to the Water-Gen, the device, which can be fitted onto vehicles, produces 10-20 gallons (40-80 liters) of pure drinking water a day, even in harsh weather and field conditions. The system, which is operated by solar or electric energy, is designed to meet military needs and standards, the company adds.

 

The company has wide-scale pending patents for the systems and technology. In 2011, it completed a three-week experiment with US Army ground units (Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment), in which its systems provided the soldiers drinking water throughout the drills.

 

Eventually, Water-Gen hopes the technology can be implemented not just in the military, but in water-scarce regions around the world too. The United States, India, The UK, Spain and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have already shown interest in the company’s products.

 

Contents
 

The Evolution of Israeli Military Strategy: Asymmetry, Vulnerability, Pre-emption and Deterrence: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jewish Virtual Library, October 2011—When the nascent Israeli leadership met on May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv to declare independence, the country was already being attacked by neighboring Arab armies. Israel overcame these hurdles in 1948 and in subsequent military confrontations, yet despite the development of formidable military capabilities, the inherent asymmetries and existential threats to the Jewish nation-state remain.

 

IAF's Flying Camel Squadron: Drones not Always Best: Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem Post, July 19, 2013—While more and more armies around the world are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, for intelligence gathering, Israel, itself a leader in drone technology and a leading source of UAVs to other countries, continues to use manned aircraft for many of its missions.

 

IDF Ground Forces Launch Groundbreaking Battle Lab: Yael Zahavi, IDF, Jan 17, 2013—The IDF Ground Forces Command has unveiled a state-of-the-art battle laboratory integrating the latest simulation technology to create life-like operational scenarios. By accurately representing enemy figures, weapons and territory, the new system – which was unveiled last month – allows for the simulation of company-sized operations without the danger of a live-fire exercise.

 

Israel’s Military-Entrepreneurial Complex Owns Big Data: Matthew Kalman, MIT Technology Review, July 11, 2013—Two years ago, a half-dozen programmers and entrepreneurs started working together in a Tel Aviv basement to create one of Israel’s 5,000 high-tech companies. It was a stealth company, but these 20-somethings were used to secrecy. Most had served together in the same military intelligence unit of the Israel Defense Forces.

 

Gaza Crossing Weekly Report: COGAT/Israel Ministry of Defence, July 20, 2013. pdf—The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Ministry of Defence are responsible for traffic through the two Israeli crossings into Gaza. In a weekly report they itemize what has been let in or out of Gaza. Some interesting numbers.

 

Israel’s Skylark Spy Plane: Ultimate Weapons-Robotics. Discovery Channel. (Video)—A series of short videos documenting a few of Israel’s military innovations now in use.

 

Inside an Israeli Defense Lab: Rachel Nuwer, Popular Mechanics, Mar. 2013—A series of slides showing new developments in Israel’s defence labs. 

 

 

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TURMOIL IN EGYPT: SINAI BREEDING INSURGENCY, M. BROTHERHOOD KILLING IT’S OWN, RULING GENERAL AL-SISI– ISLAMIST IN POPULIST CLOTHING?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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Sisi's Islamist Agenda for Egypt: The General's Radical Political Vision: Robert Springborg, Foreign Affairs, July 28, 2013—Addressing graduates of military academies is a standard responsibility for high-ranking military officers all over the world. But last week, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander of Egypt’s armed forces, which recently deposed the country’s first freely elected president, went far beyond the conventions of the genre in a speech to graduates of Egypt’s Navy and Air Defense academies.

In Egypt’s Sinai, Insurgency Taking Root: Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post, July 28, 2013—More than three weeks after the military coup that ousted this nation’s first democratically elected — and Islamist — president from power, the roots of a violent insurgency are burrowing fast into the sands of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Muslim Brotherhood Kills Its Own to Demonize Egyptian Military:Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, July 25, 2013—Killing fellow Muslims, and even the most horrific crimes, are permissible so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam.

 

On Topic Links

 

Egypt’s Dilemma: Marcus Marktanner, Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2013

Egypt's Predictable Unrest: Vice Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013

About That Coup: Never Mind: Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013

Egypt's Sectarian Tensions Become Politicised: Dahlia Kholaif, Al Jazeera, July 26, 2013

A Familiar Role for Muslim Brotherhood: Opposition: Robert F. Worth, New York Times, July 28, 2013
 

 

SISI'S ISLAMIST AGENDA FOR EGYPT:
THE GENERAL'S RADICAL POLITICAL VISION

Robert Springborg

Foreign Affairs, July 28, 2013

 

Addressing graduates of military academies is a standard responsibility for high-ranking military officers all over the world. But last week, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander of Egypt’s armed forces, which recently deposed the country’s first freely elected president, went far beyond the conventions of the genre in a speech to graduates of Egypt’s Navy and Air Defense academies. Sisi’s true audience was the wider Egyptian public, and he presented himself less as a general in the armed forces than as a populist strongman. He urged Egyptians to take to the streets to show their support for the provisional government that he had installed after launching a coup to remove from power President Mohamed Morsi, a longtime leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. “I’ve never asked you for anything,” Sisi declared, before requesting a “mandate” to confront the Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters have launched protests and sit-ins to denounce the new military-backed regime.

 

Sisi’s speech was only the latest suggestion that he will not be content to simply serve as the leader of Egypt’s military. Although he has vowed to lead Egypt through a democratic transition, there are plenty of indications that he is less than enthusiastic about democracy and that he intends to hold on to political power himself. But that’s not to say that he envisions a return to the secular authoritarianism of Egypt’s recent past. Given the details of Sisi’s biography and the content of his only published work, a thesis he wrote in 2006 while studying at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, it seems possible that he might have something altogether different in mind: a hybrid regime that would combine Islamism with militarism. To judge from the ideas about governance that he put forward in his thesis, Sisi might see himself less as a custodian of Egypt’s democratic future than as an Egyptian version of Muhammed Zia ul-Haq, the Pakistani general who seized power in 1977 and set about to “Islamicize” state and society in Pakistan.

 

Last summer, when Morsi tapped Sisi to replace Minister of Defense Muhammad Tantawi, Morsi clearly believed that he had chosen someone who was willing to subordinate himself to an elected government. Foreign observers also interpreted Sisi’s promotion as a signal that the military would finally be professionalized, beginning with a reduction of its role in politics and then, possibly, the economy. Sisi’s initial moves as defense minister reinforced this optimism. He immediately removed scores of older officers closely associated with his corrupt and unpopular predecessor. And he implicitly criticized the military’s involvement in politics after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, warning that such “dangerous” interventions could turn Egypt into Afghanistan or Somalia and would not recur….

 

Throughout Sisi’s tenure as defense minister, the Brotherhood dismissed his political potential. Obviously, they underestimated him. That is not to say that he had been planning a coup the entire time; there is not enough evidence to determine that. But there is plenty of evidence that Sisi is not nearly as modest as he has always preferred Egyptians to believe. It is significant that he not only remained minister of defense in the new government but also took the post of first deputy prime minister.

 

Following the cabinet’s formation, Sisi’s spokesperson appeared on television to say that although the general was not running for the presidency, there was nothing to prevent him from so doing if he retired from the military. Sisi also had his spokesman release a 30-minute YouTube video glorifying the general and the military, taking particular care to illustrate the military’s provision of goods and services to civilians. Not long thereafter, demonstrators in Cairo and elsewhere were seen carrying large photos of Sisi.

 

As fears of the general’s political ambitions have intensified, so have concerns about the nature of his political views. Since deposing Morsi, Sisi has clearly been trying to give the impression that he is committed to democracy. He has taken pains to ensure that civilian political figures share the limelight with him. Hazem al-Beblawi, who was appointed as the prime minister of the transitional government, claimed in his first television interview after taking office that he had not met Sisi prior to the swearing-in ceremony and that the general had not intervened in any way in his choice of ministers….

 

Morsi likely also found much to admire in the thesis that Sisi produced at the U.S. Army War College, which, despite its innocuous title (“Democracy in the Middle East”), reads like a tract produced by the Muslim Brotherhood. In his opening paragraph, Sisi emphasizes the centrality of religion to the politics of the region, arguing that “for democracy to be successful in the Middle East,” it must show “respect to the religious nature of the culture” and seek “public support from religious leaders [who] can help build strong support for the establishment of democratic systems.”

 

Egyptians and other Arabs will view democracy positively, he wrote, only if it “sustains the religious base versus devaluing religion and creating instability.” Secularism, according to Sisi, “is unlikely to be favorably received by the vast majority of Middle Easterners, who are devout followers of the Islamic faith.” He condemns governments that “tend toward secular rule,” because they “disenfranchise large segments of the population who believe religion should not be excluded from government,” and because “they often send religious leaders to prison.”

 

But Sisi’s thesis goes beyond simply rejecting the idea of a secular state; it embraces a more radical view of the proper place of religion in an Islamic democracy. He writes: “Democracy cannot be understood in the Middle East without an understanding of the concept of El Kalafa,” or the caliphate, which Sisi defines as the 70-year period when Muslims were led by Muhammad and his immediate successors. Re-establishing this kind of leadership “is widely recognized as the goal for any new form of government” in the Middle East, he asserts. The central political mechanisms in such a system, he believes, are al-bi'ah (fealty to a ruler) and shura (a ruler’s consultation with his subjects). Apologists for Islamic rule sometimes suggest that these concepts are inherently democratic, but in reality they fall far short of the democratic mark.

 

Sisi concludes that a tripartite government would be acceptable only if the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are all sufficiently Islamic; otherwise, there must be an independent “religious” branch of government. He acknowledges that it will be a challenge to incorporate Islam into government, but concludes that there is no other choice. (As an afterthought, he adds that “there must be consideration given to non-Islamic beliefs.”)

 

If Sisi’s thesis truly reflects his thinking — and there is no reason to believe otherwise — it suggests not only that he might want to stay at the helm of the new Egyptian state but that his vision of how to steer Egyptian society differs markedly from those of the secular-nationalist military rulers who led Egypt for decades: Gamal Abdel al-Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat, and Mubarak. The ideas in Sisi’s thesis hew closer to those of Zia ul-Haq, who overthrew Pakistan’s democratically elected government in 1977 and soon began a campaign of “Islamicization” that included the introduction of some elements of sharia into Pakistani law, along with a state-subsidized boom in religious education….

 

If Sisi continues to seek legitimacy for military rule by associating it with Islamism, it could prove to be a disaster for Egypt. At the very least, it would set back the democratic cause immeasurably. It would also reinforce the military’s octopus-like hold on the economy, which is already one of the major obstacles to the country's economic development. And it would also pose new dilemmas for the military itself: somehow it would need to reconcile serving the strategic objectives of Islam and those of its American patrons. It’s not clear whether that circle could be squared. And the experiment would likely come at the expense of the Egyptian people.

Contents

 

 

IN EGYPT’S SINAI, INSURGENCY TAKING ROOT
Abigail Hauslohner
Washington Post, July 28, 2013

 

More than three weeks after the military coup that ousted this nation’s first democratically elected — and Islamist — president from power, the roots of a violent insurgency are burrowing fast into the sands of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The rapid thud of machine-gun fire and the explosions of rocket-propelled grenades have begun to shatter the silence of the desert days and nights here with startling regularity, as militants assault the military and police forces stationed across this volatile territory that borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.The emerging Sinai crisis gives Egypt’s military a pretext to crack down on Islamist opponents across the country, including in Cairo, where at least 72 people were killed over the weekend when security forces opened fire on demonstrators rallying in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi….

In the Sinai, long Egypt’s most elusive and neglected region, a familiar cycle of repression has already taken hold. The military has clamped down hard on all routes in and out. And Saturday, the armed forces launched Operation Desert Storm in the peninsula, ­according to the state-run al-Ahram newspaper. The operation got underway after millions of Egyptians took to the streets Friday to heed the military’s call to give it the popular “mandate” to crack down on violence and “terrorism.”

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said Egypt’s security forces have been given permission to confront those who threaten the state’s “stability.” “The people have given the army and the police a popular mandate to stand firmly against anyone who shakes the stability of the nation with terrorist or criminal acts,” Ibrahim said Sunday at a graduation ceremony for police recruits.

Bedouin leaders and Islamists in the Sinai say locals have been angered by the coup because it brought an end to Egypt’s nascent democracy — a concept that was slow to catch on in this deeply conservative territory that has long been suspicious of Cairo. Many others, particularly Bedouin smugglers, in a population long accustomed to sweeping arrests, state-sanctioned discrimination and torture under Mubarak, say that they tasted freedom in the anarchy that prevailed under Morsi and that they are determined to avoid a return to the past even if it costs them their lives….

Lawlessness, smuggling and militancy have thrived on the peninsula since the 2011 fall of Mubarak’s regime. Bedouin arms dealers who are sympathetic to the militants said in recent days that fighters have launched shoulder-fired anti­aircraft Stinger missiles (known to the U.S. intelligence community as MANPADs) at military aircraft, laid improvised bombs along roads traversed heavily by troops, and fired barrages of bullets and RPGs at security personnel stationed here.

 

On Sunday, a police commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity said police had located a fourth bomb outside the Sheik Zweid village police station in less than 48 hours. The first three exploded, injuring several police officers, the official said.

 

Both police commanders and Bedouin leaders say the militants are a minority in the desert peninsula; the latter group says the militants consist mostly of locals who operate in small cells, with little to no command structure. But Bedouin leaders fear that the territory’s population may soon get swept up in the military’s crackdown, escalating the conflict into a wider war.

 

On a night last week, militants struck the Hay al-Safa military base near Rafah with an RPG and then gunfire. Hours later, they struck again — with what local arms dealers said were armor-piercing bullets. Families living in the area said they have grown afraid to transit through security checkpoints at night, lest they get caught in the crossfire or get targeted by nervous troops. At least 10 civilians have died in the violence this month.

 

Unlike mainland Egypt, where Morsi supporters have staged thousands-strong protests that have shut down major roads and convulsed cities from Cairo to the Nile Delta, the Sinai has quickly taken its dissent to a more violent level. Local Bedouins say it is the route borne of the territory’s cyclical history of state repression and a natural response from a local population flush with weapons and budding extremist groups. “Protests aren’t really in our nature,” Abu Ashraf, a powerful tribal leader and smuggler in North Sinai, said last week using his nickname. “Our nature is…” he said, then stopped, smiled and pantomimed firing a gun.

 

In the wake of the coup, Egyptian security forces locked down the single bridge that connects the peninsula to the mainland and set up a battery of checkpoints along the highways that link Cairo to the Suez Canal, and onward across North Sinai, where soldiers check IDs and sift through luggage in the trunks of cars. They shine strobe lights into vehicles at night. The Sinai Bedouin feel as if the state is targeting them — again.

 

Analysts and local political leaders in North Sinai interpreted the call by Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, Egypt’s military commander, for a mandate to fight terrorism as a signal that a Mubarak-style crackdown was imminent. “I think Sissi wants public cover for his bloody work,” said Ahmed Salem, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in el-Arish, capital of North Sinai.

 

As much as the Sinai insurgency derives from militant anger at Morsi’s ouster, it is also a preemptive backlash rooted in fear, say Bedouin leaders who sympathize with the militants. “People here have gotten some freedoms, and they will not allow those to be taken away now,” said Mohamed, a fundamentalist sheik in North Sinai who requested that his last name not be used. “The coup took us back to square one,” he said, and the Sinai’s Islamists are expressing anger at the military “in any way they can.”

 

“If the state does not reverse al-Sissi’s mistake, there will be more for them to endure,” he said. Morsi’s rule offered some respite from the repression — a new kind of freedom, some Bedouin leaders said. He didn’t deliver the roads, schools or hospitals that local leaders say would help break the territory’s cycle of violent resistance. But he left them alone. “Nothing happened the year that Morsi was in power,” said one Bedouin smuggler who spent eight years in prison under Mubarak. “Morsi had no control here. But at least he didn’t insult or arrest anyone. When you would pass by the checkpoints, they would respect you. Now we’re back to the way it was before.”

 

The military says its crackdown is necessary to fight terror, but the Bedouin here say it only adds fuel to their rebellion, in a cycle that may soon spiral out of control. Security officials say they have seized Syrian, Palestinian and even Russian fighters in the Sinai since Morsi’s ouster. They have accused the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, and the Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of orchestrating the violence, and say that many of the Sinai’s fighters are well-trained jihadists.

 

Last week, the Interior Ministry said a “car accident” in the South Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh led to the arrest of a jihadist who had fought in Syria. On Sunday, a police official said security forces had killed 10 “jihadists” and arrested 20 others over the weekend.The police also have blamed the Brotherhood for the deadly weekend clashes in the Egyptian capital, sparked by police attacks on demonstrators. The Brotherhood says it does not condone violence. “We do not support, and we do not accept it, even if it seems like the violence is in support of us,” said Salem, the spokesman. But the Sinai, he said, was beyond the group’s control. “We had tried to tell them that democracy would give them another chance to be good people and to be involved in society,” he said of the region’s smugglers and fugitives. “But this coup made them lose faith.”….

 

Contents

 

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD KILLS ITS OWN
TO DEMONIZE EGYPTIAN MILITARY

Raymond Ibrahim

Gatestone Institute, July 25, 2013

 

Killing fellow Muslims, and even the most horrific crimes, are permissible so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam. New evidence indicates that some of the pro-Morsi protesters reportedly killed by the Egyptian military, after the Muslim Brotherhood president's ouster, were actually killed by fellow pro-Morsi protesters. They did this, according to the report, to frame the military, incite more Islamist violence and unrest, and garner sympathy from America, which has been extremely critical of the military, especially in the context of the post-Morsi violence.

 

The Arabic satellite program, Al Dalil, ("The Evidence") recently showed the evidence, which consisted mostly of video recordings. One video records events on July 8, during pro-Morsi protests in front of the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi was being held, and where the bloodshed between the military and Brotherhood began. The video shows a young man with a shaven head and a Salafi-style beard approaching the Republican Guard barrier; he gets shot, collapses to the ground, and dies—as other protesters fly into a rage against the military. As the video plays, it seems clear that the military shot him.

 

However, watching the video in slow motion and in zoom clearly indicates that someone from behind him, from the pro-Morsi throng, shot him. The whole time he falls, in slow motion, he is still facing the Republican Guard. Yet when the camera zooms in, the bullet wound and blood are visibly at the back of his head; his front, facing the military even after he falls, does not appear to have a scratch. Considering that the military was facing him, it seems apparent that a fellow Morsi-supporter shot him from behind.

 

On the same day this man in the video and others were killed, Muhammad Mahsoub, a former Brotherhood member and politician tweeted the following: "The Brotherhood sacrifice their youth in the streets, even as the sons of their leaders are at the beach resorts… Allah curse the hypocrites [based on a Koran verse];" and "I repeatedly warned al-Baltagi against his plan to antagonize the military in order to implicate it an attack on the protesters, but he insists on his plan…"

 

Baltagi is a Brotherhood leader who has been especially vocal about "getting back" at the military; he apparently also enjoys close relations with the widely disliked U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson.

Another video shown on Al Dalil is even more obvious. An armored vehicle appears slowly driving by a group of pro-Morsi protesters, many easily discernible with their Salafi-style beards. A shot is heard and the man nearest the passing vehicle collapses. Again, at first it appears that the men in the armored vehicle shot him.

 

Played, again in slow motion, however, it becomes apparent that the man in a gilbab [long Muslim style robe] standing directly behind the murdered man is actually the one who shot him, then walked over to another man near him, gave him the weapon, and then quickly walked off the scene. Even the man on the roof who is taping this scene is heard to be asked, "Did the car [armored vehicle] shoot?" only to reply, "No, no."

 

Even so, the desired effect of all these "human sacrifices" by the Brotherhood was accomplished: as with the other man, shot in front of the Republican Guard, many other pro-Morsi protesters rushed to the fallen man, screaming Islamic slogans and vowing relentless war on the military, as it supposedly "shot first." This second incident prompted the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, to call for "an uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks."

 

To many Islamists, killing an ally to empower Islam is legitimate, especially in the context of two Islamic ideas: 1) jihad [war in the service of Islam], in Islamic jurisprudence — for its function, under Muhammad, of making Islam supreme — is considered the "pinnacle" of Islam; and 2) Islam's overarching juridical idea that "necessity makes the prohibited permissible" – in other words, that a pious end, such as empowering Islam, justifies the use of forbidden means. All that matters is one's intention, or niyya.

 

Thus, killing fellow Muslims, lying, prostitution, even sodomy all become permissible, so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam. Those who commit or promote even the most horrific crimes are exonerated, and those "sacrificed" to empower Islam — as those pro-Morsi supporters killed by the Brotherhood — are deemed martyrs who will achieve the highest level of paradise. From an Islamist point of view, it is a win-win situation.

 

Raymond Ibrahim is a Middle East and Islam expert.  He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

Contents
 

A Familiar Role for Muslim Brotherhood: Opposition: Robert F. Worth, New York Times, July 28, 2013—Among the muddy, crowded tents where tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members have been living for weeks in a vast sit-in protest, men in Islamic dress can still be seen carrying incongruous signs above the teeming crowd: “Liberals for Morsi,” “Christians for Morsi,” “Actors for Morsi.”

 

Egypt’s Dilemma: Marcus Marktanner, Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2013—Recent events in Egypt reveal the following dilemma: On the back of a powerless majority of moderate Egyptians who yearn for democracy, the country faces an epic battle between a secular military and a powerful Islamist movement, neither of which is deeply interested in democracy.

 

Egypt's Predictable Unrest: Vice Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013—The unrest in Egypt in recent days shouldn't surprise anyone. Former President Mohammed Morsi's ouster after three days of demonstrations was no doubt a military coup — there is no other way to define it.

 

About That Coup: Never Mind: Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013—There are many good reasons to maintain U.S. aid to Egypt under current circumstances, but American law presents a problem. Under the Foreign Assistance Act, "none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup or decree."

 

Egypt's Sectarian Tensions Become Politicised: Dahlia Kholaif, Al Jazeera, July 26, 2013—The army’s removal of Egypt’s first civilian elected president may have unleashed deadly clashes but for the country’s Coptic Christian minority it has brought relief.

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, 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

INNOVATION CONTINUES TO DRIVE ISRAELI ECONOMIC GROWTH DESPITE IDLE ULTRA-ORTHODOX SECTOR

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Download an abbreviated version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Innovation Nation: Megan Scudellari, The Scientist, July 1, 2013—In 2010, Daniel Teper, a New York-based biotech consultant and former executive with GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, approached Simon Benita, dean of the School of Pharmacy and head of the Drug Research Institute at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

CoreBone Implants Corals as Human Bone Replacements: Avner Meyrav, NoCamels, July 23, 2013 — “A few years ago, a friend of mine, who grows corals for decorative purposes, approached me. He asked me what could be done with the corals, other than putting them in an aquarium,” explains Ohad Schwartz, CEO of CoreBone, which manufactures bone-replacements from corals. “Though I came from a background in consumer products and high-tech, I love nature and the sea, so I dived into it, proverbially, and discovered a magnificent world.”

 

Lapid Criticizes Idle Ultra-Orthodox for Hurting Israeli Economy: Nadav Perry, Al-Monitor Israel Pulse, July 25, 2013—The most frightening man in the state of Israel is probably professor Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University. Ben-David, a renowned economics lecturer, is actually a pleasant and affable individual, but the message he bears should be disquieting for any Israeli concerned with the future of his country.

 

On Topic Links

 

How to Bolster ‘Natural Killer’ Cells Against Flu: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c, July 22, 2013

Sol Chip Creates The Everlasting Solar Battery: Johnathan Leow, NoCamels, July 22, 2013

Israeli Company Creates Solar-Panel Windows To Power Buildings: David Allouche, NoCamels, March 20, 2012

Business Is Personal: Why the EU's New Guidelines Could Hurt Israel's Economy: Bernard Avishai, The Daily Beast,  July 17, 2013

 

INNOVATION NATION

Megan Scudellari

The Scientist, July 1, 2013

 

In 2010, Daniel Teper, a New York-based biotech consultant and former executive with GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, approached Simon Benita, dean of the School of Pharmacy and head of the Drug Research Institute at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Teper was interested in commercializing Benita’s new drug-delivery technology. The two entrepreneurs had worked together previously to start the successful France-based ophthalmology biotech, Novagali, but this time, Teper decided to establish the new venture in Israel.

 

“I was familiar with the environment of innovation and entrepreneurship in Israel,” says Teper, an American who had worked with Israeli companies in the past. He knew that Israel had low start-up costs compared to the United States or Europe, and a thriving community of angel investors. “In Israel, the amount of venture capital available per capita is phenomenal,” says Teper. “People in Israel have done it before and want to reinvest in other entrepreneurs.”

 

Within months, Teper founded IMMUNE Pharmaceuticals in Herzliya-Pituach, a high-tech beach town just north of Tel Aviv, with $5 million raised primarily from Israeli investors, and licensed Benita’s technology. Today, the company has a thriving pipeline of monoclonal antibodies and a lead drug candidate for inflammatory bowel disease in a Phase 2 clinical trial. “When doing research in Israel, it’s just more efficient,” says Teper. “For every dollar that we invest, we get more for our money.”

 

Indeed, Teper isn’t the only one feeling the pull of Israeli biotech. According to the State of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, the number of life-science companies has grown from 186 in 1996 to more than 1,100 in 2012. “That’s enormous compared to the 7 million population of Israel,” emphasizes Yaky Yanay, chief financial officer of Pluristem Therapeutics in Haifa. Medical-device companies make up almost 50 percent of that pool, and Israel is number one worldwide in medical-device patents per capita. It is also a close second to the United States in biopharma patents per capita….

 

Israel’s biotech roots go back to 1901 with the founding of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, then a small business that distributed imported medications around Ottoman-controlled Palestine using mule and camel caravans. Today, Teva is Israel’s largest pharmaceutical company and one of the top 10 pharma companies in the world. While Teva is known for generic medicines, it has also brought novel made-in-Israel compounds to market, including the blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone and the Parkinson’s disease treatment Azilect.

 

Teva’s success has had a profound impact on the country. The company has brought local biotechs under its wing, for example, and groomed local management talent. But because the company remains focused on generics, it is unlikely that Teva executives will change their strategy to “become the next Roche or Pfizer” with a pipeline of novel compounds, says Yaacov Michlin, president and CEO of Yissum, the technology-transfer company of Hebrew University. Instead, he says, the key to success for biotech in Israel is starting a small company, then catching the attention of Big Pharma. “When I go and speak to colleagues, everybody wants to innovate. Everybody wants to create something new,” says Adi Elkeles, chief technology officer of Micromedic, a cancer diagnostics company based in Tel Aviv. “The amount of small companies that exist in Israel is phenomenal.”

 

Jerusalem-based BioLineRx, for example, has only 50 employees, but boasts a pipeline of six clinical-stage therapeutics. Pluristem, with a staff of 140, has several placenta-based cell therapies in Phase 2 trials, including two for orphan drug indications, and hopes to begin Phase 3 trials soon. The source of the innovation that seeds these companies, entrepreneurs agree, is the medical centers and seven universities in the country that offer advanced degrees, including Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Tel Aviv University. These institutions have become factories of novel life-science technologies and medical treatments. In fact, Weizmann, Hebrew, and Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, located within a mere 1.5-hour drive of one another, have among them seven blockbuster drugs on the market, notes Michlin.

 

But savvy businesspeople are also needed to commercialize good ideas from academia. In this, too, Israel is not lacking. In 2009, a best-selling book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer christened Israel the “Start-Up Nation,” a title that Israelis have fondly embraced. As the book chronicles, the country has experienced unparalleled success in the high-tech sector, founding hundreds of software and communications businesses, many of which have flourished. “When you look in the paper and every week you read about another company that’s been sold, it creates a certain atmosphere that you just want to join,” says Nadav Kidron, CEO of Oramed Pharmaceuticals, a lawyer who had no biotech experience prior to starting the company.

 

…[M]ost important to its success, the Israeli biotech sector has had a steady infusion of government money. A federal incubator program offers fledgling entrepreneurs, even those with just an idea, seed money of $425,000 to $680,000, to be paid back only upon the company’s success. Protalix BioTherapeutics, one of Israel’s oft-cited success stories, was the recipient of such a grant. Overall, the Office of the Chief Scientist, the government agency that distributes R&D funds, has an annual budget of $300 million distributed to an average of 1,000 projects proposed by 500 companies. “The combination of government, academia, and industry has built a microenvironment to take so many ideas forward,” says Yanay. “We are on the way to building a strong and advanced biotechnology industry.”

 

Like a good son, Oramed Pharmaceuticals’ Nadav Kidron wasn’t afraid to take advice from his mother. A senior diabetes researcher at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, Miriam Kidron was part of a team that developed a technology for the oral administration of insulin. Nadav Kidron recalls the time, a few years after he’d finished law school, that she came to him with an idea: “One day, she tells me, ‘Listen, son. We’ve had a breakthrough in the work we’ve been doing for years, and finally we’re at a point where this technology can be commercialized.’”

 

Nadav Kidron, a savvy businessman, negotiated with Hadassah to take the technology out of the university and founded Oramed to bring the product to market. The company received more than $1 million in start-up funds from the Office of the Chief Scientist, then raised an additional $20 million from investors. Today, the company has completed Phase 1 and 2 trials, conducted primarily in Israel, and in May received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin a Phase 2 trial in the U.S But like most Israeli biotech CEOs, Kidron does not plan to take the drug all the way to the market. “At the end of the day, we’d like to partner with someone who has better marketing ability than ours, and we’ll stay behind the scenes with the R&D,” he says.

 

This is a common theme among Israeli biotechs, which, though strong in innovation, do not have the funds or expertise to get drug candidates through Phase 3 and onto the market. One of Israel’s most-cited biotech success stories exemplifies this trend. Last year, the FDA approved Protalix’s enzyme therapy for Gaucher disease, the first pharmaceutical to be made in a plant-cell culture manufacturing system. But to develop and commercialize the drug, Protalix partnered with Pfizer—and has already made a cool $98 million as a result. “We are good at taking compounds into clinical stages 1, 2a, maybe 2b, but that’s it,” says Michlin. “We don’t currently have the capability, funding, or management experience to launch a full Phase 3 trial and to market a drug worldwide.”

 

“Israelis are serial entrepreneurs,” adds Teper. “They’re great at starting companies, but maybe they have less patience to scale up companies.” While an Internet company, for example, can go from a garage to international market in just a couple of years, biotechs require much more time and larger financial commitments. And though Israel has a booming venture capital community, Israeli investors are used to short- to mid-term investments, like those done for high-tech companies, says Michlin. Overall, there is a lack of late-stage funding to pay for expensive Phase 3 clinical trials or the costs to market a drug internationally.

 

Despite working on different timelines, Israeli biotech executives do look to the country’s successful high-tech sector for ideas about how to improve. Israel is home to large research centers for monster tech companies such as Google, Intel, General Motors, and more. Apple’s R&D center in Herzliya is the company’s only research site outside of the United States. The same model does not exist for biotech—at least, not yet.

 

Similar international research centers, established by large pharmaceutical companies, could make a big difference for Israeli science. “We really need the pharma companies to establish R&D centers in Israel, so the scientists and engineers here in biotech will learn how it’s done in large companies,” says Zeevi. As cochair of IATI, Zeevi is working with colleagues and the Israeli government to set up programs to attract these companies to the country, he says. “It would be another key component of building the life-sciences industry in Israel. We need that experience and knowledge.”

 

But while Israel boasts a well-educated and experienced workforce, large pharma companies may be turned off by its distance from the U.S. or by the perception of a hostile political environment, says Teper. However, if Israeli entrepreneurs can lure pharma representatives to the country for a visit, he adds, that misunderstanding is quickly dispelled. “You could be in California; it’s not that different,” Teper says. “I actually feel more secure sometimes [in Israel] than in the U.S. or Europe. There is no tension on a day-to-day basis.”

 

And Big Pharma is showing some interest. Four years ago, Roche partnered with Pontifax Funds, a life-sciences venture-capital fund in Israel, to identify ventures and technologies to add to Roche’s R&D portfolio. Last year Merck Serono, a division of the German pharma giant Merck KGaA, invested $13 million in a biotech incubator called Inter-Lab in Yavneh, Israel. While not necessarily the R&D center Zeevi was hoping for, Inter-Lab includes lab facilities and business support for 5–6 companies, Merck reported, and more than 130 biotech start-ups have applied for the program. “Although we are a small country and not in Europe or the U.S., we are still on the map with all the big pharma companies,” says Michlin. “Once we have a good product or technology, we can find a partner and get it to the market.”

]

Contents

 

 

COREBONE IMPLANTS CORALS AS HUMAN BONE REPLACEMENTS

Avner Meyrav

NoCamels, July 23, 2013

 

“A few years ago, a friend of mine, who grows corals for decorative purposes, approached me. He asked me what could be done with the corals, other than putting them in an aquarium,” explains Ohad Schwartz, CEO of CoreBone, which manufactures bone-replacements from corals. “Though I came from a background in consumer products and high-tech, I love nature and the sea, so I dived into it, proverbially, and discovered a magnificent world.”

 

Schwartz had first gotten acquainted with the world of biomedical entrepreneurship during his time at Vacia (a drug delivery management company) and Aspect AI (an MRI company). He started studying the field and found that the idea for using corals as bone substitutes had already been suggested 30 years before.

 

He approached Professor Itzhak Binderman, former Head of Dental Department and Hard Tissue Laboratory, at the Sourasky Medical Center and the School of Dental Medicine and Department of Bio-Engineering. ”It turned out that Binderman had already dealt with using corals to build bone tissue, and was even the scientific consultant for an American company called Interpore, which was sold for $270 million and was in that market,” Schwartz says. “So he said ‘it’s nothing new.’ I answered that by harvesting the corals ourselves we could control the coral’s quality. That caught his interest.” Binderman became a co-founder and the company’s head scientist.

 

When treating injured bones or bone implants when the bone is missing, it is customary to use bone replacements, which act as a scaffolding for real bone to grow on. The scaffoldings contain different substances – minerals, drugs and growth factors – that can “convince” bone to grow fast, efficiently and effectively. This is especially important in older patients, whose bones are slow to rehabilitate themselves. Most bone replacements today are synthetic or made of different types of polymers, to which growth factors or stem cells are added. Another option is harvesting real bone from cadavers or animals.

 

Corals are already being used commercially as bone reconstruction scaffolding. However, harvesting them from the ocean is tricky, both legally and logistically and there’s little control over the source or quality of the coral. CoreBone is growing corals in a way that enables it to adapt them so they can be used as bone replacements. “On the one hand, a coral is perfect for growing bone. It is made of calcium, which is a main component in human bones and is also as strong as human bone, and on the other, it is porous, so blood vessels can grow inside it,” says Schwartz.

 

“Companies which harvest corals from the sea take them to a lab and manipulate them.” The bone replacement market is worth $3.5 billion and coral-based replacements that have reached the market already constitute $100 million of it. “We grow the corals on a bioactive mineral diet. These are the substances that can attract bone cells to them when the coral is implanted in the body. When the new bone cells attach to the coral, they digest it at the same rate as the bone grows,” Schwartz says. It’s important to specify that a coral is actually a living creature that builds a calcium structure that serves it as a home. When talking about “coral” transplant, it is actually the calcium frame without the living creature. Schwartz aads: “It is more complicated to manufacture a coral than a polymer, but it’s worth it. At the end of the process, a coral grown by us is cheaper than polymers that had cells attached to them.”

 

So far, the company has done several animal trials in cooperation with Tel Aviv University, using Ramot, the university’s technology commercialization company. “We received terrific results – the bone grew within 21 days of transplant, and there was even marrow growth. After one year of activity – we have a product,” says Schwartz.

 

The company, which grew out of the Mofet incubator, part of the TrendLines Group, is planning to enter the dental market, where barriers to entry are lower. Next, they plan on going to the larger, more complex orthopedic market. “We’re seeking a $2.5 million investment, over a period of time, by the end of which we will have products for the dental and orthopedic markets and full manufacturing capabilities for the corals,” Schwartz estimates.

Contents

 

 

LAPID CRITICIZES IDLE ULTRA-
ORTHODOX FOR HURTING ISRAELI ECONOMY

Nadav Perry

Al-Monitor Israel Pulse, July 25, 2013

 

The most frightening man in the state of Israel is probably professor Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University. Ben-David, a renowned economics lecturer, is actually a pleasant and affable individual, but the message he bears should be disquieting for any Israeli concerned with the future of his country. As executive director of the Taub Center of Social Policy Studies, Ben-David goes around the lecture circuit and meets people all over the country, illustrating with the help of diagrams and dry statistical data the extent to which the survival of the state of Israel cannot be taken for granted.

 

The data reveals the annual rate of increase in the number of Israelis who do not participate in the workforce. They are not listed as unemployed because they're not even looking for work. Most of them are ultra-Orthodox. As the percentage of ultra-Orthodox in the population grows — and it has been growing steadily and speedily — the percentage of productive Israelis participating in the workforce grows smaller. Ben-David concludes that given the current state of things, the Israeli economy will soon no longer be able to continue to support the non-working ultra-Orthodox population. Quality of life in Israel is relatively high, but it could have been far higher had there not been an entire sector that has — for years — refrained from joining the job market out of a rigid religious ideology. Unless a radical change takes place, Israel is marching toward the edge of an abyss. The system that has been in place for 65 years simply cannot be viable for much longer.

 

The public debate in Israel regarding the integration into society of the ultra-Orthodox Jews hardly deals with this issue. The focal point is always “sharing the [military] burden” — the same worn slogan that has long since become a sure springboard for any secular politician wishing to gain popularity. The last one to make use of it was the Yesh Atid chairman, Finance Minister Yair Lapid. Since forming his party at the beginning of 2012, Lapid was careful to declare that he has nothing against the ultra-Orthodox and that, unlike his late father — former Knesset member Tommy Lapid, who headed the Shinui party in the previous decade — his party would not be anti-clerical. The plan for drafting the ultra-Orthodox into the army, which he presented at the start of the election campaign, focused first and foremost on getting the ultra-Orthodox into the job market and only then integrating them into military and national service.

 

But then — somewhere in the middle of the campaign — Yesh Atid faced a crisis. The polls indicated a decline in support and the strategic advisers decided to hone the message. Lapid, who up until then had spoken about a variety of issues on the agenda, started focusing on the ultra-Orthodox and repeating the “shared burden” refrain. This move paid off when he raked in 19 Knesset seats in the elections in January 2013, becoming the head of the second largest party, after the Likud. Today, too, even as he is attacked for an austerity budget which he has been pushing as finance minister, Lapid still gets positive feedback whenever he criticizes the ultra-Orthodox. In virtually every speech he delivers from the Knesset podium, a significant part of his comments is devoted to attacking the ultra-Orthodox. That’s his comfort zone.

 

On July 23, the Knesset gave initial approval to the government’s plan, led by Yesh Atid’s cabinet member, Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Perry, for drafting ultra-Orthodox men into the military. Public attention was focused on the blatant provocations acted out by some ultra-Orthodox Knesset members during the stormy debate. But all the shouting notwithstanding, data presented in his Knesset speech by ultra-Orthodox Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri stood out. According to his data, since the beginning of the year, the rate of ultra-Orthodox enlistment has dropped 30%. After years of a slow, quiet increase in the number of ultra-Orthodox who don uniforms, the trend has turned around. This occurred at the same time as the public debate on the issue was heating up and Yair Lapid was enjoying his meteoric rise. The more Lapid spoke about ultra-Orthodox enlistment, the more the number of recruits declined.

 

In recent months, since the formation of the new government which raised the “shared burden” banner, there has been a rise in attacks by members of the ultra-Orthodox community on those among them who decide to trade in their religious studies at the yeshiva (religious institution) for military service. In several recent incidents, policemen were forced to extricate soldiers wearing kipas (skullcaps) who were attacked while walking around ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods. These phenomena did not exist a year ago. The “shared burden” campaign benefited Yair Lapid, but diminished the chance that equality would be achieved….

 

The ultra-Orthodox have earned the Israeli street’s hostility toward them after decades of isolation and seclusion. There’s no justice in their continued refusal to take part in efforts to sustain and advance the State of Israel. But an attempt to resolve a generations-old problem by brandishing a sword, and with forcefulness, will achieve the opposite result.

 

Instead of fighting them, it would have been better to move forward slowly, in cooperation with the ultra-Orthodox, to achieve the declared goal. The alternative of the continued ultra-Orthodox isolation and the status quo is simply too dangerous for Israel.

 

Contents

 

On Topic

How to Bolster ‘Natural Killer’ Cells Against Flu: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c, July 22, 2013—Our immune systems are equipped with “natural killer” (NK) cells that recognize and eliminate influenza-virus-infected cells in order to keep the virus from spreading. If NK cells always worked perfectly, nobody would get sick with the flu. Obviously, something can go wrong because many people do get flu.

 

Sol Chip Creates The Everlasting Solar Battery: Johnathan Leow, NoCamels, July 22, 2013

A battery with infinite power. Has the Israeli company Sol Chip found the way to do it? The Haifa-based company has developed the world’s first solar battery that is able to recharge itself to power wireless sensors and mobile electronics devices. Operable in sunlight and low-light environments, the batteries are a result of the cross pollination of solar cell and microchip technologies.

 

Israeli Company Creates Solar-Panel Windows To Power Buildings: David Allouche, NoCamels, March 20, 2012 —An Israeli startup is trying to implement solar power in crowded urban places, by generating it from the windows of buildings and skyscrapers. According to Pythagoras Solar, buildings are the largest consumers of energy worldwide and are also the least energy-efficient.

 

Business Is Personal: Why the EU's New Guidelines Could Hurt Israel's Economy: Bernard Avishai, The Daily Beast,  July 17, 2013—The European Commission's decision to condition Brussels’ future agreements with Israel on the recognition that East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights are "occupied territories" is a major development, not because of what it does, but for what it dramatizes.

 

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 Chairman, 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

L’ISLAMISME CONDAMNÉ À DISPARAÎTRE ?

 

 

 

 

 

L'islamisme probablement condamné à disparaître

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 22 juillet 2013

Adaptation française: Johan Bourlard

 

Pas plus tard qu'en 2012, les islamistes semblaient pouvoir coopérer en surmontant leurs nombreuses dissensions internes – religieuses (sunnites et chiites), politiques (monarchistes et républicains), tactiques (politiques et violentes), ou encore sur l'attitude face à la modernité (salafistes et Frères musulmans). En Tunisie, par exemple, les salafistes et les Frères musulmans (FM) ont trouvé un terrain d'entente. Les différences entre tous ces groupes étaient réelles mais secondaires car, comme je le disais alors, « tous les islamistes poussent dans la même direction, vers l'application pleine et sévère de la loi islamique (la charia) ».

 

Ce genre de coopération se poursuit à un niveau relativement modeste, comme on a pu le voir lors de la rencontre entre un membre du parti au pouvoir en Turquie et le chef d'une organisation salafiste en Allemagne. Mais ces derniers mois, les islamistes sont entrés subitement et massivement en conflit les uns avec les autres. Même s'ils constituent toujours un mouvement à part entière caractérisé par des objectifs hégémoniques et utopistes, les islamistes diffèrent entre eux quant à leurs troupes, leurs appartenances ethniques, leurs méthodes et leurs philosophies.

 

Les luttes intestines que se livrent les islamistes ont éclaté dans plusieurs autres pays à majorité musulmane. Ainsi, on peut observer des tensions entre sunnites et chiites dans l'opposition entre la Turquie et l'Iran due aussi à des approches différentes de l'islamisme. Au Liban, on assiste à une double lutte, d'une part entre sunnites et islamistes chiites et d'autre part entre islamistes sunnites et l'armée. En Syrie c'est la lutte des sunnites contre les islamistes chiites, comme en Irak. En Égypte, on voit les islamistes sunnites contre les chiites alors qu'au Yémen ce sont les houthistes qui s'opposent aux salafistes.

 

La plupart du temps, toutefois, ce sont les membres d'une même secte qui s'affrontent : Khamenei contre Ahmadinejad en Iran, l'AKP contre les Gülenistes en Turquie, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq contre Moqtada al-Sadr en Irak, la monarchie contre les Frères musulmans en Arabie Saoudite, le Front islamique de libération contre le Front al-Nosra en Syrie, les Frères musulmans égyptiens contre le Hamas au sujet des hostilités avec Israël, les Frères musulmans contre les salafistes en Égypte, ou encore le choc entre deux idéologues et hommes politiques de premier plan, Omar el-Béchir contre Hassan al-Tourabi au Soudan. En Tunisie, les salafistes (dénommés Ansar al-charia) combattent l'organisation de type Frères musulmans (dénommée Ennahda).

 

Des différences apparemment mineures peuvent revêtir un caractère complexe. À titre d'exemple, essayons de suivre le récit énigmatique d'un journal de Beyrouth à propos des hostilités à Tripoli, ville du nord du Liban :

 

Des heurts entre les différents groupes islamistes à Tripoli, divisés entre les mouvements politiques du 8 Mars et du 14 Mars, sont en recrudescence. … Depuis l'assassinat, en octobre, du Général de Brigade Wissam al-Hassan, figure de proue du mouvement du 14 Mars et chef du service des renseignements, des différends entre groupes islamistes à Tripoli ont abouti à une confrontation majeure, surtout après le meurtre du cheikh Abdel-Razzak al-Asmar, un représentant du Mouvement d'unification islamique, quelques heures seulement après la mort d'al-Hassan. Le cheikh a été tué par balles… pendant un échange de tirs survenu lorsque des partisans de Kanaan Naji, islamiste indépendant associé à la Rencontre nationale islamique, ont tenté de s'emparer du quartier général du Mouvement d'unification islamique.

 

Cet état de fragmentation rappelle les divisions que connaissaient, dans les années 1950, les nationalistes panarabes. Ces derniers aspiraient à l'unification de tous les peuples arabophones « du Golfe [Persique] à l'Océan [Atlantique] » pour reprendre l'expression d'alors. Malgré la grandeur de ce rêve, ses leaders se sont brouillés au moment où le mouvement grandissait, condamnant un nationalisme panarabe qui a fini par s'effondrer sous le poids d'affrontements entre factions toujours plus morcelées. Parmi ces conflits, on note :

 

-Gamal Abdel Nasser en Égypte contre les partis Baas (ou Ba'ath) au pouvoir en Syrie et en Irak.

-Le parti Baas syrien contre le parti Baas irakien.

-Les baasistes syriens sunnites contre les baasistes syriens alaouites.

-Les baasistes syriens alaouites jadidistes contre les baasistes syriens alaouites assadistes.

 

Et ainsi de suite. En réalité tous les efforts en vue de former une union arabe ont échoué – en particulier la République arabe unie rassemblant l'Égypte et la Syrie (1958-1961) mais également des tentatives plus modestes comme la Fédération arabe (1958), les États arabes unis (1958-1961), la Fédération des Républiques arabes (1972-1977), la domination syrienne du Liban (1976-2005) et l'annexion du Koweït par l'Irak (1990-1991).

 

Reflet de modèles bien ancrés au Moyen-Orient, les dissensions qui surgissent parmi les islamistes les empêchent en outre de travailler ensemble. Une fois que le mouvement émerge, que ses membres accèdent au pouvoir et l'exercent réellement, les divisions deviennent de plus en plus profondes. Les rivalités, masquées quand les islamistes languissent dans l'opposition, se dévoilent quand ils conquièrent le pouvoir.

 

Si les tendances à la fragmentation perdurent, le mouvement islamiste sera condamné, comme le fascisme et le communisme, à n'être rien de plus qu'une menace pour la civilisation, capable de causer des dommages considérables mais sans jamais pouvoir triompher. Ce frein potentiel au pouvoir islamiste, devenu manifeste seulement en 2013, ouvre la voie à l'optimisme mais pas à la complaisance. Même si les choses semblent meilleures qu'il y a un an, la tendance peut à nouveau s'inverser rapidement. La tâche ardue qui consiste à vaincre l'islamisme demeure une priorité.

 

Les Etats-Unis face aux Frères musulmans

Dore Gold

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 17 juillet 2013

 

La grogne des manifestants du Caire contre l’administration Obama vient en grande partie du soutien présumé des Etats-Unis à la confrérie des Frères musulmans. Dans les images diffusées par CNN avant la chute du président Morsi, nous avons vu plusieurs pancartes marquées d’un « Obama cesse ton soutien au régime fasciste des Frères musulmans ! » La colère était également dirigée contre l’ambassadrice américaine en Egypte, Anne Patterson.

 

Cette colère avait déjà éclaté après le discours d’Anne Patterson prononcé le 18 juin dernier, quelques semaines seulement avant la destitution de Morsi. La représentante américaine avait voulu mettre un terme aux rumeurs de conspiration selon lesquelles le soutien de Washington aux Frères musulmans était à l’origine de la chute de Moubarak. Elle avait expliqué que « tous les pays du monde entretiennent des relations avec des opposants au régime car les chefs des partis de l’opposition peuvent un jour devenir les leaders du pays. » A la fin de son allocution, elle avait quelque peu désavoué les manifestations contre Morsi : « Mon administration doute que les démonstrations de rue soient préférables à des élections au suffrage universel ». Quelques jours plus tard, Anne Patterson rencontrait Mohammed Khairat al-Chater, le numéro deux de la confrérie musulmane.   

 

Cette rencontre et les propos de l’ambassadrice avaient provoqué un tollé général, la classe politique et la presse arabes y voyant une intervention américaine directe dans les affaires intérieures de l’Egypte. Le journal libanais Al Nahar citant des voix libérales égyptiennes fit remarquer que les Etats-Unis avaient évité à ce jour de condamner les méthodes totalitaires du président Morsi.

 

Le secrétaire d’Etat John Kerry avait rejeté catégoriquement ces accusations et affirmé avec force que Washington ne soutenait aucun mouvement ni parti politique. Toutefois, le Wall Street Journal a rappelé que la critique des Egyptiens remontait à la visite effectuée par Hillary Clinton au Caire au moment même où Morsi renforçait son pouvoir en affaiblissant la magistrature et les autorités judiciaires.

 

La politique américaine à l’égard des Frères musulmans a surpris les observateurs et les chancelleries, mais il serait injuste de dire que cette politique a commencé avec l’installation d’Obama à la Maison Blanche. Déjà, en 2007, la revue Foreign Affairs avait publié un article intitulé « Les modérés Frères musulmans ». En se basant sur des entretiens avec des dirigeants de la confrérie, les auteurs de l’article concluaient que les Frères musulmans agissaient dans le but d’éviter le djihad ; une affirmation contraire au texte publié sur le site officiel de la confrérie.

 

Ceux qui souhaitent collaborer avec la confrérie musulmane prétendent que celle-ci représente une alternative aux groupes djihadistes et à al-Qaida. Encore une erreur d’analyse puisque les Frères musulmans ont parrainé et hébergé au Soudan des dirigeants djihadistes tels que Ben Laden ou les leaders du Hamas. Dans les années 1990 ils avaient même permis l’ouverture de camps d’entraînement.

 

Le régime de Morsi n’est pas allé jusqu’à cette extrémité, mais il a amnistié des dirigeants djihadistes condamnés en raison de leur implication dans la tentative d’attentat contre le président Moubarak et dans le massacre commis à Louxor en 1997 (62 personnes avaient été tuées). Morsi avait aussi exigé que des membres de la confrérie musulmane et des combattants extrémistes intègrent l’Académie militaire. Rappelons enfin que les Frères musulmans ont collaboré étroitement avec le Hamas et n’ont pas agi énergiquement contre la multiplication des tunnels et le trafic d’armes.

 

En conclusion, sans prétendre que les Etats-Unis sont des sympathisants des Frères musulmans, nous affirmons qu’il existe au sein de l’administration, surtout depuis le départ de George W. Bush de la Maison Blanche, un courant de pensée qui pense très naïvement que les Frères musulmans forment un mouvement modéré.

 

Il est trop tôt pour savoir si ce courant de pensée survivra à la chute de Morsi et s’il s’imposera un jour à l’égard d’un autre pays dans le contexte du « printemps arabe ».

 

Critique littéraire :

Le judaïsme et l’environnement, par Jonathan Aichenbaum

Pierre Itshak Lurçat

upjf.org, 23 juillet 2013

   

Un petit livre érudit et pédagogique sur un sujet brûlant – Quelle meilleure période que l’été pour découvrir un livre consacré au judaïsme et à l’écologie, deux choses qu’on pourrait penser, à tort, très éloignées l’une de l’autre… J’avais lu il y a quelques années avec bonheur le beau livre du rabbin Alexandre Safran, Sagesse de la Kabbale, qui comporte de très belles pages sur les rapports entre l’homme et la nature et notamment sur l’analogie établie par la Kabbale entre l’homme et l’arbre.

 

« L’homme de la Kabbale – écrit le rav Safran – éprouve une grande émotion à la mort – violente – d’un arbre comme à la mort de son prochain : il apprend qu’il y a des moments où des voix traversent le monde d’un bout à l’autre, sans qu’on s’en aperçoive : au moment où l’on coupe un arbre fruitier et au moment où l’âme quitte le corps humain ».

 

C’est dans une perspective différente de celle de la Kabbale que se situe le livre de Jonathan Aichenbaum. L’auteur enseigne en effet la politique de l’environnement à l’université Bar Ilan, et anime le cercle d’étude « Makom », consacré au judaïsme et à l’environnement. Son livre, nous dit la quatrième page de couverture, « répond de manière claire et argumentée aux questions essentielles qui concernent la perspective de la tradition juive sur la crise de l’environnement. L’homme a-t-il tous les droits sur la nature ? Quel équilibre entre développement économique et préservation des ressources et de milieux naturels ? La disparition d’espèces animales et végétales pose-t-elle un problème éthique ?, etc. » J’ajouterai que son livre montre de manière très convaincante que le judaïsme, loin d’être un corpus de textes vieillots, est une pensée vivante, qui apporte des réponses très claires aux questions les plus brûlantes que pose la « crise de l’environnement ».

 

Trop souvent, en effet, les médias occidentaux nous présentent l’écologie comme étant le combat exclusif de partis politiques très orientés (et souvent anti-israéliens, pour des raisons que le livre évoque). Or l’écologie, rappelle Jonathan Aichenbaum, est avant tout une question éthique qui, à ce titre, concerne tout Juif et tout homme conséquent.

 

Le Judaïsme et l’environnement est rédigé sous la forme de dialogues, qui rappellent les Dialogues de Platon. Ce choix audacieux de l’auteur donne à son propos une fluidité et une clarté remarquables, qui mettent en relief ses qualités de pédagogue. La double érudition de l’auteur – à la fois sur le thème de l’écologie, des questions qu’elle pose et des différents courants qui l’illustrent en Occident, et sur les sources juives – confère à ce livre relativement court une profondeur et une richesse qui donnent envie d’en savoir plus…

 

Je ne dirais pas que le lecteur reste sur sa faim, mais plutôt que, comme après un très bon repas, il pense déjà au prochain… J’attends donc avec impatience le prochain livre de Jonathan Aichenbaum et j’invite tous ceux qui s’intéressent au judaïsme, à l’écologie ou aux deux à courir acheter ce livre!

IRAQ DRIFTS TOWARD SECTARIAN CIVIL WAR, AS U.S MULLS ‘ZERO OPTION’ IN AFGHANISTAN

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Download an abbreviated version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Why Is Obama Ignoring Iraq?: Anthony Cordesman, Real Clear World, June 5, 2013—It is hard to determine why Iraq receives so little U.S. attention as it drifts towards sectarian conflict, civil war, and alignment with Iran. Tensions in Iraq have been rising for well over a year, and the UN warned on June 1, 2013 that "1,045 Iraqis were killed and another 2,397 were wounded in acts of terrorism and acts of violence in May.

 

Why the Massive Jailbreak in Iraq Is Worse than You Think: Hayes Brown,  Think Progress, July 22, 2013—Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has engineered a massive jailbreak from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, according to reports from the country. Reuters quotes a senior member of the Iraqi Parliament as saying that at least 500 convicts have escaped, possibly as many as 1,000.

 

U.S. Troops Should Not Abandon Afghanistan: Michael O’Hanlon, Washington Post, July 11, 2013—The Obama administration is reportedly considering an accelerated pullout of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, followed by a “zero option” — the complete elimination of an American and, presumably, international military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

 

Churchill on Afghanistan: Robert Kaplan, Real Clear World, July 4, 2013—In March 1898, a 23-year-old Winston Churchill published his first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force. In it, he advanced the best advice yet given on how an outside imperial power should deal with a country like Afghanistan.

 

On Topic Links

 

The ‘Zero Option’ Will Finally End the Afghan War: David Francis, The Fiscal Times, July 10, 2013

The Iraq War Is not Over: Kimberly Kagan, The Weekly Standard, July 1, 2013—3

How to Save the War in Afghanistan: Anthony Cordesman, Real Clear World, July 24, 2013

 

WHY IS OBAMA IGNORING IRAQ?

Anthony Cordesman

Real Clear World, June 5, 2013

 

It is hard to determine why Iraq receives so little U.S. attention as it drifts towards sectarian conflict, civil war, and alignment with Iran. Tensions in Iraq have been rising for well over a year, and the UN warned on June 1, 2013 that "1,045 Iraqis were killed and another 2,397 were wounded in acts of terrorism and acts of violence in May. The number of civilians killed was 963 (including 181 civilian police), and the number of civilians injured was 2,191 (including 359 civilian police). A further 82 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 206 were injured."

 

This neglect may be a matter of war fatigue; the result of a conflict the United States "won" at a tactical level but seems to have lost at a strategic level. It may be the result of the fact the civil war in Syria is more intensive, produces more human suffering, and is more open to the media. The end result, however, is that that the United States is just beginning to see how much of a strategic pivot Iraq has become.

 

The strategic map of the region is changing and Iraq's role in that change is critical. It used to be possible to largely separate the Gulf and the Levant. One set of tensions focused on the Arab-Israel conflict versus tensions focused on the Gulf. Iraq stood between them. It sometimes became a crisis on its own but always acted as a strategic buffer between two major subregions in the Middle East.

 

However, it has become clear over the last year that the upheavals in the Islamic and Arab world have become a clash within a civilization rather than a clash between civilizations. The Sunni vs. Alewite civil war in Syria is increasingly interacting with the Sunni versus Shi'ite tensions in the Gulf that are edging Iraq back towards civil war. They also interact with the Sunni-Shi'ite, Maronite, and other confessional struggles in Lebanon.

 

The "Kurdish problem" now spreads from Syria to Iraq to Turkey to Iran. The question of Arab identity versus Sunni or Shi'ite sectarian identity divides Iraq from the Arab Gulf states and pushes it towards Iran. Instead of terrorism we have counterinsurgency, instability, and religious and ethnic conflict.

 

For all the current attention to Syria, Iraq is the larger and more important state…This does not mean the conflict in Syria is not tragic or that it is not important. But from a practical strategic viewpoint, Iraq divided Iran from the Arab Gulf states. Iraqi-Iranian tensions acted as a strategic buffer between Iran and the rest of the Middle East for half a century between the 1950s and 2003. Today, Iraq has s Shi'ite government with close links to Iran and is a military vacuum. Iraq's Shi'ite leaders treat its Sunnis and Kurds more as a threat than as countrymen. Its Arab neighbours treat Iraq's regime more as a threat than an ally, and the growing Sunni-Shi'ite tension in the rest of the region make things steadily worse in Iraq and drive it towards Iran.

 

If Iraq moves towards active civil war, its Shi'ites will be driven further towards Iran and Syria. If Assad survives and the Arab Gulf states continue to isolate Iraq, the largely token U.S. presence in Iraq is likely to become irrelevant and Iraq is likely to become part of a "Shi'ite" axis going from Lebanon to Iran. If Assad falls, and U.S. and Gulf Arab tensions with Iran continue to rise, Iran seems likely to do everything it can to replace its ties to Syria with influence in Iraq.

 

Arab and Turkish pressure on Iraq seems more likely to push Iraq towards Iran than away from it. If Iraq becomes caught up in sectarian and ethnic civil war, this will push its Shi'ite majority towards Iran, push its Kurds toward separatism, and push the Arab states around Iraq to do even more to support Sunni factions in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq while suppressing their own Shi'ites.

 

The United States has limited cards to play. The U.S.-Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement exists on paper, but it did not survive the Iraqi political power struggles that came as the United States left. The U.S. military presence has been reduced to a small U.S. office of military cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and it is steadily shrinking. The cumbersome U.S. arms transfer process has already pushed Iraq to buy arms from Russia and other suppliers. The U.S. State Department's efforts to replace the military police training program collapsed before they really began. The United States is a marginal player in the Iraqi economy and economic development, and its only aid efforts are funded through money from past years. The State Department did not make an aid request for Iraq for FY2014.

 

However, it is far from clear that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or most of the Shi'ite ruling elite really want alignment with Iran or that anyone in Iraq wants civil war. A revitalized U.S. office of military cooperation and timely U.S. arms transfer might give the United States more leverage, and U.S. efforts to persuade Arab Gulf states that it is far better to try to work with Iraq than isolate it might have a major impact. Limited and well-focused U.S. economic and governance aid might improve leverage in a country that may have major oil export earnings but whose economy needs aid in reform more than money and today has the per capita income of a poverty state, ranking only 162 in the world.

 

Making Iraq a major strategic focus in dealing with Turkey and our Arab friends and allies might avoid creating a strategic bridge between Iran and the Gulf states. It might limit the growing linkages between the tensions and conflicts in the Gulf and those in the Levant, and help secure Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. It would not be a major expense to give the State Department's country team in Baghdad all of the aid resources it needs to move Iraq towards economic reform and a stable military.

 

Even limited success in damping down internal conflict in Iraq and helping Iraq keep a distance from Iran might save the United States far more, even in the short run, than substituting strategic neglect for strategic patience. It also might help prevent Iraq from becoming a far worse civil conflict than now exists in Syria, fueling the religious war between Sunnis and Shi'ites, which can turn a clash within a civilization into a serious war and spill over into terrorism in the West.

 

Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

 

Contents

 

 

WHY THE MASSIVE JAILBREAK IN IRAQ IS WORSE THAN YOU THINK

Hayes Brown

Think Progress, July 22, 2013

 

Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has engineered a massive jailbreak from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, according to reports from the country. Reuters quotes a senior member of the Iraqi Parliament as saying that at least 500 convicts have escaped, possibly as many as 1,000. “Most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences,” Hakim Al-Zamili said. This would be troubling under any circumstances, but the present situation in the Middle East lends to Monday’s escape being a situation with possible repercussions for the entire region. Here are a few reasons why:

 

The attack was well-planned and well-executed.

 

According to the reports coming out of Iraq, this was no piecemeal attempt from AQI to free a few of their compatriots. Instead, it was a full-fledged assault on Abu Ghraib. “Suicide bombers drove cars with explosives into the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night, while gunmen attacked guards with mortar fire as well as rocket propelled grenades,” Russia Today reports, adding that additional assailants wearing suicide vests entered the prison to help convicts make their escape. At least 14 Iraqi security forces died in the attack, which only ended when military helicopters arrived to provide back-up. A simultaneous attack, a hallmark of Al Qaeda strategy, took place at a prison 12 miles north of Baghdad; reports are conflicting as to whether any of those inmates were able to escape.

 

Violence in Iraq was already high.

 

2013 has not been a good year for Iraq, as sectarian violence has grown over the past few months. Just two days ago, six car bombs detonated in Baghdad, killing at least 46 people and wounding 152 more. AQI has been implicated in the bombings, due to the coordinated nature of the explosions. More than 2,700 people have been killed so far in Iraq so far this year, according to AFP figures, mostly in similar car bombs across the country. The freeing of a large number of mostly Sunni fighters — the minority sect in Iraq, which is mostly Shiite — into the streets of Baghdad only increases the chances of greater sectarian strife.

 

Syria’s civil war is just over the border.

 

The sudden influx of a large number of trained fighters and convicted terrorists into Iraq would be a problem even if there wasn’t a civil war next door. Given the ongoing conflict in Syria, however, this could mark a radical shift in how the war proceeds. While talks of a merger between the two have gone back and forth, AQI and Syrian rebel group Jahbat al-Nusra have been cooperating for months, to the point that the State Department has listed Nusra as a subsidiary of the terrorist group. Aaron Zelin, Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, told ThinkProgress that it will be interesting to see if those who escaped do go to Syria, whether they will bring with them some of their more radical tactics. At present, according to Zelin, there are jihadi groups who provide social services to civilians and perform other acts that could see themselves undermined by an influx of “hardened fighters” captured during the U.S. “surge” in Iraq.

 

Contents

 

 

CHURCHILL ON AFGHANISTAN

Robert Kaplan

Real Clear World, July 4, 2013

 

In March 1898, a 23-year-old Winston Churchill published his first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force. In it, he advanced the best advice yet given on how an outside imperial power should deal with a country like Afghanistan. The young subaltern was, of course, referring to how Britain should approach the population of the Pashtun frontier beyond the Indian subcontinent, but he might just as well have been referring to how the early 21st century United States should do so. For much as its people and elites abjure the term, America is in an imperial-like position in much of the world.

 

Churchill intimated three courses of action. The first course, that of "bad and nervous sailors," essentially meant to withdraw entirely and henceforth have nothing whatsoever to do with the region. The second course, that of "'Full steam ahead,'" was to initiate a large military operation until the people of the frontier "are as safe and civilized as Hyde Park." Whereas the first course is irresponsible, the second is unfeasible, given the expenditure of resources required. Then there is the third course: "a system of gradual advance, of political intrigue among the tribes, of subsidies and small expeditions." Churchill admitted that this third course is "undignified," nevertheless, he saw no alternative for a great power, recognizing that any grand strategy must marry goals with available resources. Thus, was a 23-year-old far wiser than many an elderly policymaker.

 

Churchill's third course does not fit exactly the proper direction of the United States in Afghanistan (geographical shorthand for Churchill's tribes of the frontier). But it is a starting point. The United States cannot withdraw utterly and thus have nothing whatsoever to do with the region — an approach the United States adopted following the 1989 Soviet withdrawal with disastrous results. Indeed, the United States will have a continuing interest in preventing transnational terrorists from planning 9/11-style attacks from Afghan soil. And it has interests in the political direction of adjacent regions like Pakistan, Central Asia and Iran. Nor can the United States simply keep large numbers of forces in Afghanistan indefinitely until the political situation there is set to rights. There is simply no public support for such a policy, not to mention the financial cost. For that reason, the current attempt at negotiations with the Taliban is arguably less negotiations over the future of Afghanistan than merely an attempt to arrange a decent interval: so that the government of Hamid Karzai does not begin to crumble the moment the last American ground troops depart….

 

Just as there are three courses of action for a country like Afghanistan, as expounded by Churchill, there are three directions in which a post-American Afghanistan might go. The first course is that Karzai — or rather an elected, moderate successor — will remain in power just as in the past, with an Afghan government supported by the international community even gradually gaining in legitimacy. This is possible but unlikely. The Afghan government, despite more than a decade in power, is thoroughly corrupt, suffers questionable legitimacy in large swaths of the countryside and is weakly institutionalized. Without American troops to properly support it, its prospects must be dimmer than beforehand. The second course is that the Taliban will relatively quickly overrun much of the country, as they did in the mid-1990s, following the mujahideen-inflicted anarchy: anarchy that, in turn, followed the Soviet withdrawal. This, too, is quite possible. With the Americans more or less gone, and the Kabul government's legitimacy highly problematic, the Taliban, though a different, weaker force than they were in the 1990s, might simply be the last man standing.

 

But such a scenario might, in turn, be simplistic. Afghanistan is an urbanized state to a much greater extent than it was in the 1990s. There is a feisty civil society that was altogether absent back then and that is often under-appreciated by those in the West; nor is there the vacuum in authority to quite the same extent as existed the last time the Taliban overran much of the country. History has rough equivalents, but rarely do situations repeat themselves entirely. Do not expect a precise replica of the mid-1990s.

 

Therefore, the third scenario presents itself: one that fits nicely with the third of Churchill's courses for dealing with the frontier tribes in the first place. This scenario can be described as semi-chaos. As the Taliban establish some control in parts of the Pashtun south and southeast of the country, a grouping of the Tajiks and Uzbeks re-establish some variant of the old Northern Alliance beyond the Hindu Kush, adjacent to former Soviet Central Asia. This will be complex and half-hearted, as the Pashtuns have forged alliances with parts of the Tajik and Uzbek north over the past decade. The Kabul government may not collapse so much as shrink or weaken a bit, becoming, once again, the enlarged city-state of Greater Kabul, with modest influence elsewhere in the country. As for the Talibanistan in parts of the south and southeast, that might be less a solid frame mini-state than an assemblage of loosely allied emirates of a sort, riven by different clans and criminal networks. Over time, that itself might encourage the ability of the ethnic Pashtun slice of western Pakistan to further distance itself from the central government in Islamabad, creating what a geographer might label Pashtunistan, even as the term itself went out of some fashion decades ago and thus will be vehemently denied by experts who concentrate on all the undeniable cleavages within the Pashtun tribal region….

 

In such a scenario, Pakistan, while not arming the Taliban, will be the most significant outside power in southern and eastern Afghanistan, even as the Iranians already are in western and parts of central Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Russians will do what they can to insure that transnational jihadists do not infiltrate back into northern Central Asia, following the American withdrawal from southern Central Asia. Thus, from the Iranian Plateau eastward to the Indus River Valley there will be vague political authority at best, matching the vagueness of such authority in the other direction, from the Iranian Plateau westward to the Mediterranean.

 

So we are back to the young Churchill's dictum, about manoeuvring, at times in an undignified fashion, with the tribes and other forces in order to achieve, in this case, very limited objectives. Churchill had in mind an advance toward Afghanistan to buffer British India. America is trying to do just enough to ensure it will not have to return to the subcontinent out of military necessity. The goals are vastly different, but Churchill's conception bears repeating.

 

 

U.S. TROOPS SHOULD NOT ABANDON AFGHANISTAN

Michael O’Hanlon

Washington Post, July 11, 2013

 

The Obama administration is reportedly considering an accelerated pullout of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, followed by a “zero option” — the complete elimination of an American and, presumably, international military presence in Afghanistan after 2014. This is an understandable but unwise idea. Even raising it as a bargaining device is a mistake in our ongoing mission in Afghanistan — a place that President Obama clearly considers crucial to U.S. security, given that more than 60,000 U.S. troops are still there.

 

In fairness, the zero-option idea has appeal not only because the war has been long and frustrating but also because Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been so difficult to work with. Beyond all the past brouhahas over corruption, tainted elections and other matters, there is the burst of invective Karzai recently leveled against the United States over what he described as a duplicitous approach to negotiating with the Taliban. Karzai has criticized Washington and broken off negotiations about the long-term U.S. presence because, when the Taliban opened an office for exploratory peace talks in Doha, Qatar, last month, it again called itself the Government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and otherwise sought to portray the new facility as a quasi-embassy for a government in waiting. Karzai decided that Washington was complicit because the Obama administration failed to prevent that outcome.

 

Karzai worries that U.S. officials will secretly cut a deal with the Taliban at his expense to hasten the U.S. troop departure from Afghanistan. Karzai has also accused the United States of instigating radical extremism on his territory, and he suspects that our real desire in having bases in Afghanistan after next year is quasi-imperialist, with an eye toward broader regional purposes beyond the immediate needs of Afghanistan and counterterrorism.

These actions and this attitude toward Washington are indeed regrettable. But they are no reason for the United States to threaten to pull the plug on all it has invested in Afghanistan.

 

Karzai’s recent outbursts, although excessive, are partly understandable. He had warned the Obama administration in private and public that the Taliban would seek to use its new political office in Doha as a virtual embassy. Washington not only failed to prevent that development but also seemed caught off-guard when it happened.

 

The bigger point, however, is this: Karzai is not Afghanistan, nor does he represent all Afghans. He won two presidential elections — and the United States should do a better job of acknowledging that he earned a mandate from his own people, despite election irregularities. But Karzai’s frustrations with the war and the international community, and his frequent lashing-out, should not be conflated with any desire by most Afghans for U.S. troops to leave. Virtually all other Afghan political leaders I know very much want the international community to stay and remember all too well what happened a quarter-century ago, when the United States abruptly terminated its role in their country.

 

Leaving too soon, and withdrawing all U.S. and international forces, would greatly increase the risk of mission failure for the international community. An accelerated departure and a zero option are inconsistent with the fact that Afghan security forces, although much improved, still need support and guidance and will continue to need them even after the NATO mission ends next year. This aid includes air support, technical aspects of intelligence, bomb-clearing technology and embedded mentors for commanders in the field.

 

Afghan security forces are holding their own on the battlefield and are in the lead nationwide. U.S. force numbers are down by one-third from their peak in 2011, and our rate of casualties has declined by an even higher percentage since then. Afghan army and police casualties are way up, indicating a commitment to the fight that we should admire and want to support. Yet the Afghan forces aren’t strong enough to win or even guarantee continued containment of the Taliban on their own.

 

Beyond the military effects, if the international community totally withdrew, Afghan reformers and all those interested in building a new Afghanistan would suffer a huge psychological blow. Echoes of 1989 would be unmistakable. The ensuing crisis of confidence could be fatal. Indeed, it could affect next year’s presidential elections, as many politicians and citizens could respond by seeking protection within their own ethnic communities, when what is needed is national unity….

 

The United States would be much better served by declaring its desire to help Afghanistan, provided that Afghans do their part and have a serious election next year and that Karzai then step down as required by his country’s constitution (and as he has pledged to do). We need to help the Afghans with that process and avoid being bogged down in public squabbles that serve no constructive purpose.

 

Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has observed Afghan elections and made several trips there sponsored by the International Security Assistance Force.

 

Contents

 

On Topic

The ‘Zero Option’ Will Finally End the Afghan War: David Francis, The Fiscal Times, July 10, 2013—President Obama is reportedly considering abandoning his plan of leaving a small residual force in Afghanistan after the majority of U.S. troops leave next summer. The so-called “zero option” is said to be under consideration following another disastrous encounter between the president and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai.

 

The Iraq War Is not Over: Kimberly Kagan, The Weekly Standard, July 1, 2013—Sectarian war has reignited in Iraq. Iranian-backed Shia militias have remobilized, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is conducting an intensive and escalating campaign of spectacular attacks against Shia targets, and some of the former Baathist insurgents are staging an effective campaign against the Iraqi Security Forces in the vicinity of Mosul.

 

How to Save the War in Afghanistan: Anthony Cordesman, Real Clear World, July 24, 2013—The U.S. is slowly and steadily losing the war in Afghanistan. It is not losing the war at the military level – although such defeat is possible in coming years if the U.S. does not provide the necessary funds, advisors, and partners. The U.S. is losing the war at the political level by failing to win (and merit) the support of the Congress, the American people, its allies, and the Afghans.

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

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Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, 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

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

Terra Incognita: The Racist Romance of the Arab Village: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013

Families of Israeli Terror Victims Express Outrage at Proposed Release of Palestinian Terrorists for Peace Talks: Zach Pontz, Algemeiner, July 23, 2013

Bionic Contact Lenses Turn Touch Into Vision: Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21c, July 23, 2013

 

"We are now making an effort to resume the diplomatic process. I see this as a vital strategic interest of the State of Israel….If it [an agreement] will be [reached], it will be put to a referendum….It must be put to the people for a decision….The goal is to prevent "the creation of a bi-national state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, alongside preventing the establishment of another Iranian-sponsored terrorist state….Our negotiating partners will also need to make concessions that will allow us to maintain our security and uphold our vital national interests….These will not be easy negotiations, but we will enter into them with integrity, sincerity and the hope that this process will be conducted responsibly, seriously and substantively, and …discreetly….Throughout this process, I will strongly uphold…the security needs of the State of Israel and other vital interests." — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the Israeli Government Cabinet on Sunday [July 21] following the announcement by U.S. Secretary of State that negotiations were set to resume between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (Prime Minister's Office, July 21, 2013)

“The Palestinian leadership's sense of responsibility towards its nation made it take political steps about 20 years ago (i.e., signing the Oslo Accords). Despite the controversy, despite much criticism and much opposition by some, it brought us to where we are today: We have a [Palestinian] Authority and the world recognizes the [Palestinian] state. All this happened through the wisdom of the leadership, conscious action, consideration, and walking the right path, which leads to achievement, exactly like the Prophet [Muhammad] did in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, even though some opposed it….In less than two years, the Prophet returned and based on this treaty, he conquered Mecca. This is the example, this is the model." — Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Minister of Religious Affairs, in a sermon in front of Mahmoud Abbas, PA President as broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV, July 19, 2013, just prior to the announcement of the resumption of peace negotiations. [The Hudaybiyyah peace treaty was a 10-year truce that Muhammad, Islam's Prophet, made with the Quraish Tribe of Mecca. However, two years into the truce, Muhammad betrayed the truce, attacked and conquered Mecca. – Ed.] (PalWatch, July 20, 2013)

 

"I do not adopt the theory of 'now or never,' we shall have to negotiate again, and I don't see any tragedy in it." Menahem Begin z”l, former Prime Minister of Israel, in an interview during the difficult negotiations with Egypt in 1979, prior to the final signing of an agreement. (Elder of Ziyon, July 23, 2013)

 

The campaign of delegitimizing the Jewish state – a campaign financed primarily by Arab oil – has gained momentum in recent years. The only thing that can stop it is the resumption of peace negotiations. In one fell swoop, the misguided folks [European Commission] in Brussels have emboldened the extremists, allowing them to triumphantly claim to Abbas: "You see, we were right all along. You must not negotiate. We don't have to do anything. The international community will do our job for us." The world shouldn't make things easier for extremists. It's challenging enough to pursue peace in this problematic neighborhood of ours. We do not need our friends overseas to make it even more difficult. The EU would do well to revoke its decision.” — Yair Lapid, Israel Minister of Finance, commenting on the decision of the European Union to prohibit grants and awards going to any organization operating in any of the territories captured by Israel in its defensive war in 1967. (New York Times, July 24, 2013)

 

"Anyone who thinks that in the center of the diplomatic, political and social tsunami that is shaking the Arab world it is possible to get a magical solution of comprehensive peace with the Palestinians does not understand…I am saying clearly that it is impossible to reach a comprehensive agreement with the Palestinians. It is impossible to solve the conflict, it needs to be managed.” — Avigdor Liberman, Israel’s former Foreign Minister, reacting to the possible resumption of peace negotiations. (Jerusalem Post,July 23, 2013)

 

"It looks as if the [EU] decision [to blacklist Hizbullah] was written by American hands with Israeli ink. The EU only had to add its signature in approval" — Hizbullah, in a statement following the EU’s announcement that it would put the Hizbullah’s “military wing” on it’s list of terrorist organizations.(UPI. July 23, 2013)

 

"Hizbullah is a single large organization, we have no wings that are separate from one another. What's being said in Brussels doesn't exist for us." — Ibrahim Mussawi,  a spokesman for Hizbullah, to Spiegel Online. (Der Spiegel-Germany, July 22, 2013)

 

"Syria is drawing thousands of global jihad activists and radical Muslims from the region and the world who are basing themselves in the country, not only to overthrow Assad, but also to promote the vision of an Islamic state. Right before our eyes a center of global jihad is developing on a scale that may affect not only Syria and the borders of the State of Israel, but also Jordan and Sinai." — Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi,  chief of IDF Military Intelligenc, at an intelligence officers' graduation ceremony on Tuesday [July 23].  (Ynet News, July 23, 2013)

 

“The notion that Palestinians, whenthere are only a few dozen of them, always require an army of NGOs and Israeli activists with jeeps and hospitals and schools in order to survive plays on two stereotypes: First, an Orientalist view of Arabs as incapable objects in the landscape of the Bible, and second that only outsiders can save them and speak for them.” — Seth J. Frantzman, in an op-ed column: Terra Incognita: The Racist Romance of the Arab Village, in the Jerusalem Post.(Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013

 

“Dozens of top American officials have called for [Jonathan] Pollard’s immediate release due to the values of justice and mercy. Jonathan did not murder anyone. His 28 years of service, including seven in solitary confinement, is an unprecedented sentence for the crime, so he should be released immediately without conditioning it on anything else [such as the release of Palestinian terrorists].” —  the Committee for Pollard’s Freedom, in a statement issued in response to reports that Israel had asked the U.S to release Pollard in exchange for releasing Palestinian terrorists. (Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2013)

 

 “We’re closer [to Iran] than the United States. We’re more vulnerable. And therefore, we’ll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does. But as the prime minister of Israel, I’m determined to do whatever is necessary to defend my country, the one and only Jewish state, from a regime that threatens us with renewed annihilation.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,  on CBS News’s Face the Nation. (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2013)

 

When we finally caught them [Iran] in the act of trying to kill Adel [al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US], we had a beleaguered attorney general, a fine man but beleaguered politically, stand up and give a legal argument that frankly I couldn’t understand . . . And we had what I would call a Zimmerman telegram moment . . . We caught them in the act, and yet we let them walk free….They’re like children balancing light bulbs full of nitroglycerin. You get the picture? One of these days they’re going to drop one, and it’s going to knock out the London stock exchange or Wall Street because we never drew a line and said, ‘You won’t do it.’ ” — Gen. James Mattis, former head of US Central Command which has responsibility for the Middle East, addressing the Obama administration policies toward Iran at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. [The Zimmerman telegram was a secret message, intercepted by Britain, sent by Germany  to Mexico before the outbreak of World War I  inciting it to retake areas of the U.S. south with an eye to preventing the U.S. from entering the war in Europe on the side of Great Britain against Germany . Ed ] (New York Post,  July 23, 2013)

 

Contents

 

 

KERRY ANNOUNCES DEAL TO REVIVE MIDEAST TALKS(Amman, Jordan) Israeli and Palestinian leaders have "established a basis" to resume direct peace negotiations for the first time in three years, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday. He said that if "everything goes as expected," Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator; Tzipi Livni, the Israeli minister in charge of the peace process; and Isaac Molho, Prime Minister Netanyahu's special envoy, would join him for talks in Washington "within the next week or so." On Saturday, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio, "There will be some release of [Palestinian] prisoners," carried out in phases. According to Israeli news reports, both sides have agreed to negotiate for at least six months. (New York Times, July 20, 2013)

 

TOP AIDE TO PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS PATH TO A RESUMPTION OF MIDEAST TALKS STILL BLOCKED(Ramallah) Nabil Abu Rudeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement Sunday that for actual peace talks to resume, Israel must first accept its pre-1967 war frontier as a baseline and halt settlement building. He said that Abbas agreed to send a delegate to Washington to continue lower-level preliminary talks with an Israeli counterpart about the terms for negotiations. The Washington talks are meant to "overcome the obstacles that still stand in the way of launching negotiations," he said. Palestinians say three issues need to be settled before talks can begin – the baseline for border talks, the extent of a possible Israeli settlement slowdown, and a timetable for releasing long-detained Palestinian prisoners. Israel has been insisting that peace talks resume without preconditions and that all issues should be resolved through dialogue. (AP-Washington Post, July 22, 2013)

 

ISRAEL TO RELEASE 85 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS(Jerusalem) Israel has agreed to gradually release 85 Palestinian terrorists who were imprisoned prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords. The first phase of the release will take place in four to six weeks. The terrorists in question were convicted of multiple counts of murder and sentenced to more than one life sentence. All of them have so far served between 20 and 28 years of their sentences. (Israel Hayom, July 21, 2013)

 

FAMILIES OF ISRAELI TERROR VICTIMS EXPRESS OUTRAGE AT PROPOSED RELEASE OF PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS FOR PEACE TALKS (Jerusalem)

Expected concessions on the part of Israel aimed at inducing the Palestinian Authority to enter into peace talks are rankling many in the Jewish State. Israel has reportedly agreed to release at least 82 Palestinian convicts held since before the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993. Many of the prisoners were jailed for violent crimes, and the families of their victims, as well as the family’s of others murdered in the interim, are voicing their displeasure at the prospect of the prisoners going free. (The Algemeiner, July 23, 2013)

 

EUROPEAN UNION ADDS HIZBULLAH TO TERROR LIST(Brussels) EU foreign ministers Monday [July 22] added the “military” wing of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizbullah to a list of terrorist organizations. Sanctions are expected to include travel bans and asset freezes. The policy shift reflected their concern about Hezbollah’s suspected involvement in Europe-based bombings and its growing role in the Syria war. The immediate practical effects of the new designation were not clear, but symbolically at least they were an embarrassment to Hezbollah, the most important political organization in Lebanon. Many Lebanese expressed concern the designation would damage Lebanon’s international relations and worsen internal tensions, and Lebanon’s president, Michel Suleiman, asked the European Union to “re-examine its decision,” Lebanese media reported. (New York Times, July 23, 2013)

 

EGYPT'S OLD GUARD IS BACK (Cairo) Egypt's new power dynamic, following the July 3 coup that ousted Morsi, is eerily familiar. Gone are the Islamist rulers from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Back are the faces of the old guard, many closely linked to Mubarak's reign or to the all-powerful generals. And for a seemingly broad array of Egyptians, that's exactly the way they want it. In Egypt's new cabinet, Mubarak-era figures abound and Islamists are absent.  Egyptians who once demanded punishment for the remnants of Mubarak's regime say that a year of disastrous Brotherhood rule has put everything in perspective. (Washington Post, July 19, 2013)

 

TWELVE DIE IN CLASHES IN EGYPT (Cairo)A long night of political bloodshed in Egypt left at least 12 people dead on Tuesday and 86 wounded. In the latest fighting between supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi which began on Monday in several Cairo neighborhoods and north of the city, civilians were seen firing weapons during running battles near Cairo landmarks. Morsi's supporters have intensified their protests with daily marches in cities around Egypt, to publicize what they call a "putsch" by the army. (New York Times, July 23, 2013)

 

PALESTINIAN FAMILIES TO SUFFER FROM EU LABELING OF GOODS FROM JUDEA & SAMARIA(Jerusalem) Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin on Tuesday told Elmar Brok, the chairman of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, that 20,000 Palestinian families stood to lose their livelihood if products from the settlements were labeled as such in Europe. He said Palestinian workers in agriculture or manufacturing could find themselves out of work if these businesses shut down due to a drop in exports to the EU. "You are trying to hurt Israeli enterprises that already exist and provide a respectable livelihood for tens of thousands of Palestinian families," Elkin told Brok. "This is simply bizarre."  (Ha'aretz, July 23, 2013)

 

ISRAELI HOSPITAL TREATS WOUNDED SYRIANS — (Golan Heights) Four Syrians including an eight-year-old girl were brought to a hospital in Israel after they were wounded by fighting in the war-torn country, a medical source said on Tuesday. "Yesterday night an injured eight-year-old girl and her 48-year-old mother were treated for fractures to their arms and legs from shrapnel," said a spokesman for Ziv hospital, which is located north of the Sea of Galilee. "Another Syrian adult in his 20s arrived an hour ago… with a severe head injury and was treated in the trauma unit," he told AFP. A 15-year-old girl also arrived at the facility Tuesday morning with an amputated leg and wounds to her stomach, the spokesman said. The wounded were brought to the hospital by the Israeli army after being allowed across the ceasefire line with Syria, he said. A total of 45 Syrians have received treatment at Ziv since Syria's civil war broke out, and nine of those are currently in the hospital, including the eight-year-old girl admitted late Monday, he said. (Yahoo! News, July 22, 2013)

 

FORMER PA NEGOTIATOR SUING ABBAS IN THE HAGUE(The Hague) Former senior PLO official Mohammed Dahlan is suing Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for malicious persecution. Dahlan, a personal nemesis of the chairman, was removed from all his positions in the organization two years ago. Now he claims that Abbas is after him for publicly exposing the corruption of the chairman and of his offspring. Dahlan is pushing an assortment of lawsuits in various European courts, according to Kol Israel, revolving around his charge that some $700 million are missing from the PA treasury. Dahlan, who used to be head of the PLO Gaza Preventive Security Force, and participated in earlier rounds of the “peace process” resides in Dubai, where, back in May, he met with Mossad head Tamir Pardo. On Sunday, Dahlan accused the PA Chairman of forcing “political suicide” on his nation by agreeing to renewing the talks with Israel. (Jewish Press, July 24th, 2013)

 

NEW SHOAH BOOK IS HIT AMONG NON-JEWISH IRANIANS (Irvine, Calif.) Dr. Ari Babaknia, an Iranian Jewish doctor based in Southern California, spent 15 years working on what some viewed as a quixotic project: the first-ever history book about the Holocaust in Farsi. But now the four-volume work—which details the facts of the Holocaust from the rise of Nazism in Germany to the final days of World War II and eventually chronicles the other genocides of the 20th century that occurred in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan—is becoming a hit among the very audience Babaknia intended to reach: Iranian Muslims. “There are about 120 million-plus people in the world who speak Farsi, but there has never been a book written in their mother language about the Holocaust,” said Babaknia, an obstetrician-gynecologist by profession who said he wrote the first draft of the work by hand. (Tablet Magazine, July 23, 2013)

 

MCGILL UNIVERSITY RECEIVES $500,000 FROM ALLEGED IRANIAN FRONT (Montreal) Two weeks after bestowing an honorary doctorate on a noted anti-Israel activist, controversy is once again brewing at McGill University, as the school has come under fire for continuing to receive funds from an alleged front for the Iranian government. McGill University has received about $500,000 since 1986 from the Alavi Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit organization. According to a civil complaint filed by United States federal prosecutors in 2009, the foundation’s income derives from a Manhattan property that was built in 1978 to handle Iran’s charitable activities in the United States. The Fifth Avenue property and foundation subsequently came under control by the new Iranian government following the Islamic Revolution. (Jewish Tribune, July 2, 2013)

 

ISRAEL'S FAST EVOLVING DEMOGRAPHY (Jerusalem) In the first 12 years of the current century the number of Arab births in Israel has almost completely flat lined at around 40,000 per annum. This despite the growing size of the Arab population, which means that the Arab birth rate – births relative to population size – has fallen. Over the same period, Jewish births have risen from 95,000 to 130,000. In the first four months of 2013, the most recent period for which data is available, Jewish births were up 38 percent during the same period for 2001, and Arab births down 6%. This means that the Arab share of Israeli births, at a little over 22% of the total, is now not much higher than the overall Arab share of the population, at a little under 21% of the total, and well down from its peak of around 30%. The birth rates of Arabs and Jews in Israel are close to converging. (Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2013)

 

ISRAELI DEFENSE EXPORTS HIT RECORD HIGH (Tel Aviv) Israel sold some $7.5 billion in defense products in 2012 – a record high – the Defense Ministry revealed on Tuesday, but officials voiced concerns that the coming year could see a slump in sales. Speaking to reporters at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shmaya Avieli, director of Defense Export and Defense Cooperation (known by its Hebrew acronym, “Sibat”), pointed to an ongoing economic downturn as one factor for decreased projected sales. He added that with the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq coming to a close, decreased demand for military products by coalition members will have a significant impact on the global defense industry. Additionally, Europe has a stated policy of preferring its own defense suppliers. “Israel is in the top 10 defense exporters in the world, if not the top five,” Avieli said. According to figures he unveiled, 25 percent of Israeli defense exports involve air defense systems, while sales of satellite platforms and radars collectively made up 24% of the revenue. (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2013)

 

UN SAYS EGYPT CRACKDOWN CLOSES 80 PERCENT OF GAZA SMUGGLING TUNNELS (United Nations) About 80 percent of tunnels used to smuggle goods and arms into the Gaza Strip from Egypt are "no longer functioning" due to a crackdown by the Egyptian military after it ousted President Mohamed Morsi this month, a UN official said on Tuesday. UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry told the UN Security Council that the Gaza Strip was experiencing "some serious shortages of fuel and basic building materials for which the tunnels had become the primary entry point due to severe restrictions on imports via the official crossings and the higher cost of fuel available from the West Bank and Israel." The tunnel crackdown has gathered pace since the Egyptian military removed Morsi from power earlier this month. "As a result of these actions against illegal activity, according to some estimates, 80 percent of the tunnels are no longer functioning," Serry said. (Jerusalem Post, July 24, 2013)

 

BIONIC CONTACT LENSES TURN TOUCH INTO VISION(Tel Aviv) A new Israeli approach to providing sight to people with vision impairment uses a technique known as sensory substitution. Much in the way Braille allows people who are blind to “see” the written word, a bionic contact lens invented by Israeli researcher Prof. Zeev Zalevsky “presses” images onto the surface of the eye to help the brain decipher through touch what the wearer is looking at. The lens, still in a prototype stage, uses electrical signals sent to it from a small transponder, clipped to a pair of glasses or downloaded to a smart phone. A regular off-the-shelf camera, like the one inside a phone, “looks” at a crosswalk, items for sale in the grocery store, or at a loved one’s face, and transmits the encoded image via the lens to the wearer’s cornea. The image gets translated into a tactile sensation that can be interpreted visually. “The cornea has the highest density of tactile sensors in the human body,” the Bar-Ilan University professor tells ISRAEL21c. (Israel 21c, July 23, 2013)

 

Top of Page
 

 

On Topic

Terra Incognita: The Racist Romance of the Arab Village: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2013—This romance of the “primeval” landscape, juxtaposed with Israeli activists and European NGOs who tell their story and save the villagers, is a classic motif.

 

Families of Israeli Terror Victims Express Outrage at Proposed Release of Palestinian Terrorists for Peace Talks: Zach Pontz, Algemeiner, July 23, 2013—Expected concessions on the part of Israel aimed at inducing the Palestinian Authority to enter into peace talks are rankling many in the Jewish State. Israel has reportedly agreed to release at least 82 Palestinian convicts held since before the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993.

 

Bionic Contact Lenses Turn Touch Into Vision: Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21c, July 23, 2013—A new Israeli approach to providing sight to people with vision impairment uses a technique known as sensory substitution. Much in the way Braille allows people who are blind to “see” the written word, a bionic contact lens invented by Israeli researcher Prof. Zeev Zalevsky “presses” images onto the surface of the eye to help the brain decipher through touch what the wearer is looking at.

 

 

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) 486-82843

 

 

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

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact 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 membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

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.

 

 

 

OBAMA TRAMPLES RIGHTS & RULE OF LAW, IRS SCANDAL REACHES HIS TOP APPOINTEE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Download an abbreviated version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

A Bombshell in the IRS Scandal: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2013— The IRS scandal was connected this week not just to the Washington office—that had been established—but to the office of the chief counsel. That is a bombshell—such a big one that it managed to emerge in spite of an unfocused, frequently off-point congressional hearing

 

Where Did Our ‘Inalienable Rights’ Go?: Max Frankel, New York Times, June 22, 2013— Now that we sense the magnitude of our government’s effort to track Americans’ telephone and Internet transactions, the issue finally and fully before us is not how we balance personal privacy with police efficiency.

 

Obama’s Dangerous Contempt for the Rule of Law: Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg, May 27, 2013— Whatever the investigation into misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service reveals, we already have all the evidence we need to understand President Barack Obama’s fundamental attitude toward the rule of law. That evidence is right there in the public record, and what it shows is indifference and contempt.

 

On Topic Links

 

Poll: Obama’s Job Approval Plunges: David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau, July 22, 2013

IRS Scandal: One Step Removed From the White House: Arnold Ahlert , Front Page Magazine, July 23, 2013

Will IRS Scandal Lead all the Way to Obama?: Jay Sekulow, FoxNews, July 19, 2013

The Hollow Core of Obamaism: Jonah Goldberg, National Review, June 3, 2013

How Spying Will Sink the [U.S]Trade Pact with Europe: Patrick Smith, The Fiscal Times, July 22, 2013

 

A BOMBSHELL IN THE IRS SCANDAL

Peggy Noonan

Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2013

 

The IRS scandal was connected this week not just to the Washington office—that had been established—but to the office of the chief counsel. That is a bombshell—such a big one that it managed to emerge in spite of an unfocused, frequently off-point congressional hearing in which some members seemed to have accidentally woken up in the middle of a committee room, some seemed unaware of the implications of what their investigators had uncovered, one pretended that the investigation should end if IRS workers couldn't say the president had personally called and told them to harass his foes, and one seemed to be holding a filibuster on Pakistan.

 

Still, what landed was a bombshell. And Democrats know it. Which is why they are so desperate to make the investigation go away. They know, as Republicans do, that the chief counsel of the IRS is one of only two Obama political appointees in the entire agency.

 

To quickly review why the new information, which came most succinctly in a nine-page congressional letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, is big news:  When the scandal broke two months ago, in May, IRS leadership in Washington claimed the harassment of tea-party and other conservative groups requesting tax-exempt status was confined to the Cincinnati office, where a few rogue workers bungled the application process. Lois Lerner, then the head of the exempt organizations unit in Washington, said "line people in Cincinnati" did work that was "not so fine." They asked questions that "weren't really necessary," she claimed, and operated without "the appropriate level of sensitivity." But the targeting was "not intentional." Ousted acting commissioner Steven Miller also put it off on "people in Cincinnati." They provided "horrible customer service."

 

House investigators soon talked to workers in the Cincinnati office, who said everything they did came from Washington. Elizabeth Hofacre, in charge of processing tea-party applications in Cincinnati, told investigators that her work was overseen and directed by a lawyer in the IRS Washington office named Carter Hull. Now comes Mr. Hull's testimony. And like Ms. Hofacre, he pointed his finger upward. Mr. Hull—a 48-year IRS veteran and an expert on tax exemption law—told investigators that tea-party applications under his review were sent upstairs within the Washington office, at the direction of Lois Lerner.

 

In April 2010, Hull was assigned to scrutinize certain tea-party applications. He requested more information from the groups. After he received responses, he felt he knew enough to determine whether the applications should be approved or denied. But his recommendations were not carried out. Michael Seto, head of Mr. Hull's unit, also spoke to investigators. He told them Lois Lerner made an unusual decision: Tea-party applications would undergo additional scrutiny—a multilayered review. Mr. Hull told House investigators that at some point in the winter of 2010-11, Ms. Lerner's senior adviser, whose name is withheld in the publicly released partial interview transcript, told him the applications would require further review:

 

Q: "Did [the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner] indicate to you whether she agreed with your recommendations?"

 

A: "She did not say whether she agreed or not. She said it should go to chief counsel."

 

Q: "The IRS chief counsel?"

 

A: "The IRS chief counsel."

 

The IRS chief counsel is named William Wilkins. And again, he is one of only two Obama political appointees in the IRS.

 

What was the chief counsel's office looking for? The letter to Mr. Werfel says Mr. Hull's supervisor, Ronald Shoemaker, provided insight: The counsel's office wanted, in the words of the congressional committees, "information about the applicants' political activities leading up to the 2010 election." Mr. Shoemaker told investigators he didn't find that kind of question unreasonable, but he found the counsel's office to be "not very forthcoming": "We discussed it to some extent and they indicated that they wanted more development of possible political activity or political intervention right before the election period."

 

It's almost as if—my words—the conservative organizations in question were, during two major election cycles, deliberately held in a holding pattern. So: What the IRS originally claimed was a rogue operation now reaches up not only to the Washington office, but into the office of the IRS chief counsel himself.

 

At the generally lacking House Oversight Committee Hearings on Thursday, some big things still got said. Ms. Hofacre of the Cincinnati office testified that when she was given tea-party applications, she had to kick them upstairs. When she was given non-tea-party applications, they were sent on for normal treatment. Was she told to send liberal or progressive groups for special scrutiny? No, she did not scrutinize the applications of liberal or progressive groups. "I would send those to general inventory." Who got extra scrutiny? "They were all tea-party and patriot cases." She became "very frustrated" by the "micromanagement" from Washington. "It was like working in lost luggage." She applied to be transferred.

 

For his part, Mr. Hull backed up what he'd told House investigators. He described what was, essentially, a big, lengthy runaround in the Washington office in which no one was clear as to their reasons but everything was delayed. The multitiered scrutiny of the targeted groups was, he said, "unusual."

 

It was Maryland's Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel's ranking Democrat, who, absurdly, asked Ms. Hofacre if the White House called the Cincinnati office to tell them what to do and whether she has knowledge of the president of the United States digging through the tax returns of citizens. Ms. Hofacre looked surprised. No, she replied. It wasn't hard to imagine her thought bubble: Do congressmen think presidents call people like me and say, "Don't forget to harass my enemies"? Are congressmen that stupid? Mr. Cummings is not, and his seeming desperation is telling. Recent congressional information leads to Washington—and now to very high up at the IRS. Meaning this is the point at which a scandal goes nowhere or, maybe, everywhere.

 

Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, finally woke the proceedings up with what he called "the evolution of the defense" since the scandal began. First, Ms. Lerner planted a question at a conference. Then she said the Cincinnati office did it—a narrative that was advanced by the president's spokesman, Jay Carney. Then came the suggestion the IRS was too badly managed to pull off a sophisticated conspiracy. Then the charge that liberal groups were targeted too—"we did it against both ends of the political spectrum." When the inspector general of the IRS said no, it was conservative groups that were targeted, he came under attack. Now the defense is that the White House wasn't involved, so case closed.

 

This is one Republican who is right about evolution. Those trying to get to the bottom of the scandal have to dig in, pay attention. The administration's defenders, and their friends in the press, have made some progress in confusing the issue through misdirection and misstatement. This is the moment things go forward or stall. Republicans need to find out how high the scandal went and why, exactly, it went there. To do that they'll have to up their game.

Contents

 

 

WHERE DID OUR ‘INALIENABLE RIGHTS’ GO?

Max Frankel

New York Times, June 22, 2013

 

NOW that we sense the magnitude of our government’s effort to track Americans’ telephone and Internet transactions, the issue finally and fully before us is not how we balance personal privacy with police efficiency.

 

We have long since surrendered a record of our curiosities and fantasies to Google. We have broadcast our tastes and addictions for the convenience of one-button Amazon shopping. We have published our health and financial histories in exchange for better and faster hospital and bank services. We have bellowed our angers and frustrations for all to overhear while we walk the streets or ride a bus. Privacy is a currency that we all now routinely spend to purchase convenience.

 

But Google and Amazon do not indict, prosecute and jail the people they track and bug. The issue raised by the National Security Agency’s data vacuuming is how to protect our civil liberty against the anxious pursuit of civic security. Our rights must not be so casually bartered as our Facebook chatter. Remember “inalienable”? 

 

I envy the commentators who, after a few days of vague discussion, think they have heard enough to strike the balance between liberty and security. Many seem confident that the government is doing nothing more than relieving Verizon and AT&T and Facebook of their storage problems, so that government agents can, on occasion, sift through years of phone and Internet records if they need to find a contact with a suspicious foreigner. Many Americans accept assurances that specific conversations are only rarely exhumed and only if the oddly named Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allows it. Such sifting and warrants — in unexplained combination with more conventional intelligence efforts — are now said, by President Obama and his team, to have prevented several dozen potential terrorist attacks, with elliptical references to threats against New York City’s subways and stock exchange.

 

Even if true and satisfying, these assurances are now being publicized only because this huge data-gathering effort can no longer be denied. Whatever the motive for the leaks by Edward J. Snowden, they have stimulated a long-overdue public airing. Although the government’s extensive data-hauling activity was partly revealed by diligent reporters and a few disapproving government sources over the last seven years, the undeniable proof came only from Mr. Snowden’s documents. Until then, the very existence of the enterprise was “top secret” and publicly denied, even in Congressional hearings. Even now, the project remains a secret in every important respect. As those of us who had to defend the 1971 publication of the secret Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War have been arguing ever since, there can be no mature discussion of national security policies without the disclosure — authorized or not — of the government’s hoard of secrets.

 

How many thousands have access to these storage bins? Who decides to open any individual file and who then gains access to its content? Is there ever a chance to challenge the necessity of opening a file? And what happens to gleaned information that has no bearing whatsoever on terrorism?

 

Given the history of misused “secrets” in Washington, such questions are by no means paranoid. J. Edgar Hoover used F.B.I. investigations and files to smear the reputations of individuals — even to the point of intimidating presidents. Throughout the government, “security” monitors leaked personnel files to Congressional demagogues like Senator Joseph R. McCarthy to wreck the careers of officials and blacklisted citizens with claims of disloyalty. President Lyndon B. Johnson and other officials used secret files from the Internal Revenue Service to harass and intimidate political opponents. President Richard M. Nixon tried to use the C.I.A. to cover up his Watergate crimes. Information that is gathered and managed in secret is a potent weapon — and the temptation to use it in political combat or the pursuit of crimes far removed from terrorism can be irresistible.

 

President Obama and other defenders of the amassing of data insist that no individual conversation or transaction is ever examined without “court” approval, meaning a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But the court authorizes the scrutiny of more Americans than foreigners, and it is no court in the customary sense: it operates entirely in secret. Its members are federal judges from around the country, any one of whom may authorize the opening of files. Lacking any real challenge to the evidence, they function more as grand jury than court. Mr. Obama has conceded that only a handful of warrant requests have ever been turned down (a few have been modified), a success rate he attributes to government restraint.

 

Yet most federal judges are predisposed to defer to executive claims of national security. They are generalists with little experience in evaluating intelligence, and they are reluctant to hamper government operatives sworn to defend the nation. The same reluctance is evident among members of Congress, who pose as watchdogs but melt when they hear appeals to patriotism from the managers of the intelligence services.

 

In theory, Americans are in the habit of resisting government intrusions on their rights of free speech and association. Accordingly we should be skeptical of such overweening exertions. But the data-hauling has gone on for years without real challenge. When asked whether the government could not simply log individual suspicious calls without amassing a national database, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, said he was open to discussing that approach, though it might delay work in a crisis. A delay of hours? Days? Weeks? Did President George W. Bush or Mr. Obama ever ask the question?

 

What ought to compound our skepticism is the news that there is money to be made in the mass approach. We are learning that much of the snooping is farmed out to profit-seeking corporations that have great appetites for government contracts, secured through executives who enrich themselves by shuttling between agency jobs and the contractors’ board rooms. We have privatized what should be a most solemn government activity, guaranteeing bloat and also the inevitable and ironic employ of rebellious hackers like Mr. Snowden.

 

Where then can we find the skeptical oversight that such a radical challenge to our freedom demands? Presidents beholden to their own bureaucracies seem disinclined to play the skeptic or even to create an elite independent commission, like the Warren Commission, which examined the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to assess the conflict between liberty and security and point the way to reasonable balance.

 

Despite the predilections of federal judges to defer to the executive branch, I think in the long run we have no choice but to entrust our freedom to them. But the secret world of intelligence demands its own special, permanent court, like the United States Tax Court, whose members are confirmed by the Senate for terms that allow them to become real experts in the subject. Such a court should inform the public about the nature of its cases and its record of approvals and denials. Most important, it should summon special attorneys to test the government’s secret evidence in every case, so that a full court hears a genuine adversarial debate before intruding on a citizen’s civil rights. That, too, might cost a little time in some crisis. There’s no escaping the fact that freedom is expensive.

 

Max Frankel was The New York Times’s editorial page editor from 1977 to 1986 and executive editor from 1986 to 1994.

Contents

 

 

OBAMA’S DANGEROUS CONTEMPT FOR THE RULE OF LAW

Ramesh Ponnuru

Bloomberg, May 27, 2013

 

Whatever the investigation into misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service reveals, we already have all the evidence we need to understand President Barack Obama’s fundamental attitude toward the rule of law. That evidence is right there in the public record, and what it shows is indifference and contempt.

 

The Constitution gives the president the power to appoint officials to fill vacancies when the Senate isn’t in session. In 2012, Obama made such “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — even though the Senate had stayed in session precisely to keep him from doing so.

 

Obama’s lawyers argued that the Senate wasn’t really in session even though it claimed to be: It was going through the motions to block Obama, but it wasn’t taking up bills or nominations. No previous president had ever tried this maneuver, and an appeals court has just ruled that it was unconstitutional.

 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the sweeping health-care law that Obama signed in 2010, asks state governments to set up health exchanges, and authorizes the federal government to provide tax credits to people who use those exchanges to get insurance. But most states have refused to establish the online marketplaces, and both the tax credits and many of the law’s penalties can’t go into effect until the states act.

 

Obama’s IRS has decided it’s going to apply the tax credits and penalties in states that refuse, even without statutory authorization. During the recent scandal over the IRS’s harassment of conservative groups, many Republicans have warned that the IRS can’t be trusted with the new powers that the health law will give the agency. They are wrong about the verb tense: It has already abused those powers.

Overriding Objections

 

Another provision of the health law authorized the secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to require employers to cover preventive services in their insurance policies. She decided that almost all employers would have to cover contraception, sterilization and possibly abortion-causing drugs, such as Ella, whether or not the employers objected on religious grounds.

 

That edict flew in the face of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which stipulated that the government can override religious conscience only when it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling interest. Republican senators had warned Sebelius of this issue before she imposed the rule. She has admitted that even after their letter, her department imposed it without either requesting a legal analysis from the Justice Department or producing its own memo. Most judges who have ruled on this issue, including some Democratic appointees, have found that the regulation does violate the law.

 

Last summer, Obama directed immigration agencies not to deport some illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children, and to give them work-authorization permits. In effect, he implemented much of the DREAM Act that Congress has long debated, but never enacted. Defenders of this action said he was merely prioritizing scarce law-enforcement resources, but that excuse won’t wash: It would mean that a future Republican president could announce, for example, that he isn’t going to burden the bureaucracy with collecting capital-gains taxes.

 

Even if Obama were right about these policies — and I’m sympathetic to the goal of the DREAM Act — he went about them the wrong way, disregarding laws he swore to execute. Complaints about Republican obstructionism are no excuse. Even if the Republicans are behaving badly, they have at least acted lawfully in opposing the president.

 

Obama is not, of course, the first president to flout the law. His supporters will surely respond to this litany by repeating the charge that President George W. Bush “shredded” the Constitution. The Bush administration claimed that the Constitution gave the president powers as commander-in-chief, trumping laws that tried to restrict his ability to protect national security. It was a debatable, but not frivolous, argument. Obama is making no similar constitutional claim, and his defiance of constraints on his power isn’t confined to one area of policy. Again and again, he has imposed liberal policy preferences rather than follow the law.

 

In 2011, Obama was asked why he hadn’t imposed the DREAM Act unilaterally. “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the president, am obligated to enforce the law,” he responded. “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.” That Obama was right.

 

The president’s routine violation of the law that he is supposed to uphold isn’t covered in the media as a scandal. It ought to be.

 

 

Contents

On Topic

IRS Scandal: One Step Removed From the White House: Arnold Ahlert , Front Page Magazine, July 23, 2013—Last week, while much of the nation’s attention was turned toward the Zimmerman verdict and the antics of the racial grievance industry, the IRS scandal got far more intense. According to top IRS lawyer Carter Hull, the Chief Counsel’s office of the IRS, headed by Obama appointee William Wilkins, was instrumental in the agency’s campaign of harassment and discrimination against conservative and certain pro-Israel groups.

 

Poll: Obama’s Job Approval Plunges: David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau, July 22, 2013—Stung by Americans’ persistent worries about the economy and a capital gripped by controversy and gridlock, President Barack Obama is suffering his lowest job approval numbers in nearly two years, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

 

Will IRS scandal lead all the way to Obama?: Jay Sekulow, FoxNews, July 19, 2013—It took a mere two months and eight days for the Obama administration’s spin on the growing scandal of the IRS targeting Tea Party and conservative groups to completely collapse.

 

The Hollow Core of Obamaism: Jonah Goldberg, National Review, June 3, 2013—Longtime readers of mine will recall that one of my bugaboos is the liberal obsession with the “moral equivalent of war.” Ever since William James coined the phrase, liberalism has essentially become a cargo cult to the idea.

 

How Spying Will Sink the Trade Pact with Europe: Patrick Smith, The Fiscal Times, July 22, 2013—It is supposed to be the largest trade agreement ever forged between two countries. But the Trans–Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership never looked promising. And now that the US and Europe have completed a first round of talks, it is possible to predict with confidence that it will never see the light of day.

 

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OBAMA FOREIGN POLICY – FROM APPEASING TO PATHETIC TO POSITIVELY SCARY

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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Goodwill Squandered, U.S. Foreign Policy Is Adrift: Paul Chapin, Ottawa Citizen, July 15, 2013— The foreign policy of the United States is beginning to accumulate a record of diplomatic failure among the worst in U.S. history. Not since Woodrow Wilson raised the hopes of the world after the First World War and then failed to deliver U.S. leadership has an American president been such a disappointment.

 

A New Anti-American Axis?: Leslie H. Gelb and Dimitri K. Simes, New York Times , July 6, 2013—The flight of the leaker Edward J. Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow last month would not have been possible without the cooperation of Russia and China. The two countries’ behavior in the Snowden affair demonstrates their growing assertiveness and their willingness to take action at America’s expense.

 

The Obama Age of Proliferation: Editorial, Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2013— 'We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation," President Obama declared on Wednesday, "but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe." He's right about the last point, because even as the President offers new dreams of U.S. nuclear disarmament, the world is entering a new proliferation age.

 

On Topic Links

 

The US State Department’s Islamist Plan: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Jewish Press, July 19th, 2013

U.S. Supremacy Can Outlive Obama's Foreign Policy: Fabio Rafael Fiallo, Real Clear World, July 20, 2013

America Can Take a Breather. And It Should:Richard N. Haass, New York Times, June 23, 2013

Is Obama Trying to Start Israel-Syria War?: Evelyn Gordon, Commentary, July 15, 2013

Kerry’s Mad Mission, Misreading the Middle East: Amir Taheri, The New York Post, July 22, 2013

U.S. Ambassador to Egypt: "Muslim Brotherhood's Lackey": Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2013

Everything You Need to Know About U.S. Aid to Egypt: Marian Wang & Theodoric Meyer, Real Clear World, July 10, 2013
 

GOODWILL SQUANDERED, U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IS ADRIFT

Paul Chapin

Ottawa Citizen July 15, 2013

 

The foreign policy of the United States is beginning to accumulate a record of diplomatic failure among the worst in U.S. history. Not since Woodrow Wilson raised the hopes of the world after the First World War and then failed to deliver U.S. leadership has an American president been such a disappointment. Barack Obama’s international standing today is in free fall, and that is bad news whatever one’s political affiliations. The United States is on the road to losing the war against Islamism, and among the futures we must now contemplate are mullah oligarchies ruling from North Africa to West Asia, nuclear brinkmanship between regimes in the Gulf, more asymmetric warfare in the streets of the great cities of the world, and perhaps another war for Israel’s survival.

 

President Obama took office in 2009 amid some of the highest expectations ever for an incoming president of the United States. It was a classic case of irrational exuberance. By any objective measure, he had one of the weakest resumés of any new president, and his closest advisers had even less grounding in foreign affairs than he did. Moreover, the president appointed no foreign policy veteran of stature as secretary of state or national security adviser to compensate for his own limitations, and he marginalized the best people he had such as Hillary Clinton, Jim Jones and Richard Holbrooke. Robert Gates was retained from the Bush administration as secretary of defence, but largely to see through the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq and then Afghanistan. He was gone in two years.

 

Nor did the president apparently seek advice. According to the former foreign editor of Newsweek, Edward Klein, in 2011 when Bill Clinton was urging Hillary to run again against Obama, he told a group of insiders: “I’ve had two successors since I left the White House — Bush and Obama — and I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama … Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent … Barack Obama is an amateur.”

 

The stakes are high, and the tragedy is that such a great opportunity has been lost. The Obama record provides an object lesson in squandering good will. In July 2008, while he was still just a candidate for president, Obama visited Berlin and was greeted by a crowd of 200,000. When he returned as president in June of this year, the crowd was not much more than 5,000, most of whom were invited guests. Reuters reported “He’s ‘demystified’ and ‘no longer a superstar’ in German eyes. Now he’s just another world leader on a state visit, and whatever problems people have with U.S. policy are on his shoulders.”

 

According to an annual Gallup tracking poll, European approval of U.S. leadership dropped from 47 per cent in 2009 to 36 per cent in 2012. Worldwide, the median approval of U.S. leadership across 130 countries declined from 49 per cent in Obama’s first year to 41 per cent last year. In Canada — innocent and blinkered as ever — 59 per cent approved and 32 per cent disapproved in 2012.

 

Only in Africa is Obama’s popularity still quite high. But it has fallen from the days when virtually the entire population of the continent erupted in joy that an American of Kenyan descent had become president. The president’s approval numbers today appear to be in the 70 per cent range, down some 20 points from four years ago.

 

When he visited South Africa two weeks ago, he was met by demonstrations. According to the London Telegraph, presidents Bush and Clinton are more fondly remembered in Africa for their multi-billion-dollar programs to treat AIDS and ease trade. “It would not be wrong,” in the view of a senior academic at the University of Johannesburg, “to say that George W. Bush probably did more for this continent.”…

 

In his study of the world Obama faced on coming to office, The Inheritance, David Sanger of The New York Times wrote that: “The symbolism of electing a biracial president with the middle name Hussein is a powerful antidote to the caricature of America as an intolerant, hegemonic power.” But he warned that it would only take the U.S. so far “in restoring our leverage and deploying our portfolio of influence around the world.” Three years later, in Confront and Conceal, Sanger would write that Obama “promised to restore traditional American ‘engagement’ by talking and listening to America’s most troubling adversaries and reluctant partners … But it quickly became evident that engagement is just a tactic, not a real strategy.”

 

As it turned out, the essence of Obama’s foreign policy strategy was to act unilaterally when confronted with a direct threat to American security — and to decline to act on a threat to the global order unless others with more immediate interests at stake were prepared to commit greater resources and take greater risks. This is not a strategy any U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt would have recognized, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter. And it is not one other democratic states should leave unattended. If the U.S. is not going to take the lead in dealing with global problems, others must do so. To date, however, only France and Britain have demonstrated any international leadership.

 

In June 2009, President Barack Obama spoke at Cairo University addressing a broad range of Mideast problems and leaving the impression he would get to work on fixing them. It was not to be. In the view of Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution, “nowhere in Obama’s foreign policy has the gap been greater between promise and delivery than in the (peace process).”

 

The polls tell the story of how Arabs and Muslims reacted once their hopes for U.S. support of the Arab Spring were dashed. In the Arab world, Washington today has an approval rating of only about 20 per cent. In Egypt, Gallup reports approval dropped from 78 per cent in 2009 to 17 per cent in 2012. It has probably fallen still further with Egyptians accusing Washington of embracing the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi, removed by the military on July 3.

 

In fact, the “Obama doctrine” never contemplated active U.S. involvement in the Arab world, or any other region. On the contrary, Washington fears involvement and is determined to avoid the U.S. becoming embroiled in conflicts which might require sending troops abroad. The last thing the Obamians want is “another war.” The Obama doctrine has no interest in looking beyond current crises, let alone in leading change. It is more interested in “stability” than in advancing the cause of reform and democratic development. “Stability” is code for supporting the status quo whatever it is, for caution in accepting change, and for “getting on the right side of history” once change seems inevitable. As Vali Nasr, a leading expert on Muslim affairs, has written, “The administration’s enthusiasm for democracy remained largely a matter of rhetoric.”

 

This has had tragic consequences. In 2011, the Middle East was on the cusp of one of the great historical transformations of our times, one as profound and hopeful for the future as the collapse of communism in 1989. There had been two previous Arab “awakenings” — in the 1920s and in the 1950s. But unlike these earlier nationalist uprisings, the Arab Spring was the product of spontaneous street-level protests against authoritarian regimes. It is impossible to tell what might have happened had the U.S., and its allies, engaged quickly and forcefully to help the countries of the region with their public institutions, security sectors, and integration into the global economy. Instead, the U.S. withheld or threatened to withhold existing aid “until the situation is clearer.”

 

U.S. hesitancy to involve itself was again in full view when Obama had to be publicly goaded by the leaders of France and Britain to support an intervention in Libya. Trying to spin the situation to U.S. advantage, an unnamed U.S. official called the U.S. involvement “leading from behind.”. When an even tougher situation arose in Syria when the Assad regime deployed its military to quell an “Arab Spring” uprising, Washington refused to consider any measure which would stop the slaughter of civilians. The death toll is now about 100,000…..

 

What this all amounts to is that adversaries across the globe have taken the measure of Obama. They have concluded that Washington has no stomach for diplomacy which might have to be backed up with military might and they have lost their fear of paying a price if they oppose the United States. This calculus affects the entire international agenda and presents an enormous obstacle to international peace and security. U.S. failures of diplomacy have left us all worse off.

 

Paul Chapin is the former director general for international security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and is currently a director at the Atlantic Council of Canada.

 

Contents

 

A NEW ANTI-AMERICAN AXIS?

Leslie H. Gelb & Dimitri K. Simes

New York Times, July 6, 2013

 

The flight of the leaker Edward J. Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow last month would not have been possible without the cooperation of Russia and China. The two countries’ behaviour in the Snowden affair demonstrates their growing assertiveness and their willingness to take action at America’s expense.

 

Beyond their protection of Mr. Snowden, Chinese-Russian policies toward Syria have paralyzed the United Nations Security Council for two years, preventing joint international action. Chinese hacking of American companies and Russia’s cyber attacks against its neighbours have also caused concern in Washington. While Moscow and Beijing have generally supported international efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program, they clearly were not prepared to go as far as Washington was, and any coordinated shift in their approach could instantly gut America’s policy on the issue and endanger its security and energy interests. To punctuate the new potential for cooperation, China is now carrying out its largest ever joint naval exercises — with Russia.

 

Russia and China appear to have decided that, to better advance their own interests, they need to knock Washington down a peg or two. Neither probably wants to kick off a new cold war, let alone hot conflicts, and their actions in the case of Mr. Snowden show it. China allowed him into Hong Kong, but gently nudged his departure, while Russia, after some provocative rhetoric, seems to have now softened its tone. Still, both countries are seeking greater diplomatic clout that they apparently reckon they can acquire only by constraining the United States. And in world affairs, there’s no better way to flex one’s muscles than to visibly diminish the strongest power.

 

This new approach appears based in part on a sense of their growing strength relative to America and their increasing emphasis on differences over issues like Syria. Both Moscow and Beijing oppose the principle of international action to interfere in a country’s sovereign affairs, much less overthrow a government, as happened in Libya in 2011. After all, that principle could always backfire on them. They also don’t like watching the West take action against leaders friendly to them, like President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. As this sense of common interests becomes entrenched, increasing Russian-Chinese cooperation could pose grave risks for America and the world.

 

Their conduct suggests that they see less cost in challenging the United States and fewer rewards for acting as a partner. These calculations stem from two dangerous perceptions. First, they see American decline and decadence. In their view, the United States is on the wrong side of history, holding on to ties with Europe and parts of Asia, while losing economic leverage and moral authority in the rest of the world. American disengagement from Iraq and Afghanistan without victory contributes to a related impression that America’s unquestioned military superiority isn’t worth much in terms of achieving policy objectives on the ground.

 

Second, many Russian and Chinese elites consider American foreign policy objectives fundamentally hostile to their vital interests. Neither group views American democracy promotion as reflecting any genuine commitment to freedom; instead, both perceive it as a selective crusade to undermine governments that are hostile to the United States or too powerful for its comfort.

 

Meanwhile, Russian and Chinese leaders make clear that Washington’s support for their neighbors in practically every dispute involving Beijing or Moscow is less a matter of respect for international law than a form of dual containment that seeks to curtail the regional and global influence of these two major powers.

American backing for Georgia and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia bothers Russia. Likewise, China views American support for Vietnam and the Philippines in their maritime disputes with Beijing as a menace.

 

No wonder Xi Jinping of China made his first international trip as China’s president to Moscow, where he told his counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, that Beijing and Moscow should “resolutely support each other in efforts to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests” and promised to “closely coordinate” on regional and international issues. Mr. Putin reciprocated by saying that “the strategic partnership between us is of great importance on both a bilateral and global scale.” While the two leaders’ words may have generated more of an impression of collusion than was necessary, it’s safe to assume they knew exactly the message they were sending.

 

Policy makers in Washington must carefully assess the growing chumminess between China and Russia and what it means for America. To ignore it would be foolish. Yes, China and Russia continue to be divided by a history of mutual distrust as well as by conflicting economic interests and Chinese territorial ambitions. China’s concerns about North Korea exceed Russia’s, and Moscow’s stake in Syria is greater than Beijing’s. And in Central Asia, the two nations are outright competitors. Moreover, China is a rising superpower and Russia is fighting to stay in the big leagues, which gives them different perspectives on world affairs.

 

That said, both countries share a strong interest in maintaining partnerships with the United States and the European Union, their main trading partners and the custodians of the international financial system, in which each has a major stake. These are powerful reasons for staying on good working terms with Washington, but the United States should not assume that they will halt the new anti-American tack in Beijing and Moscow. That would be a dangerous misreading of history….

 

To gain the respect of Russia and China, the White House must first demonstrate that American leadership is essential to solving key world problems, including those vital to China and Russia. America can’t be seen as passive. Relations with Russia and China deserve to be given priority, but the United States mustn’t be afraid to stand firm in some cases or, in others, to partner with these two authoritarian but ultimately pragmatic powers. To do otherwise would be a folly of historic proportions.

 

Leslie H. Gelb, a former columnist, editor and correspondent for The New York Times, is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. Dimitri K. Simes is president of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of its magazine, The National Interest.

 

Contents

 

 

THE OBAMA AGE OF PROLIFERATION

Editorial

Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2013

 

'We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation," President Obama declared on Wednesday, "but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe." He's right about the last point, because even as the President offers new dreams of U.S. nuclear disarmament, the world is entering a new proliferation age.

 

Mr. Obama returned this week to Berlin to give his long-promised speech laying out his plans to rid the world of nuclear weapons. His idea is to remove those weapons initially and primarily from American hands. North Korea and Iran each got a single line in his speech, which is at least more than he gave to China, which is investing heavily in the world's third largest nuclear arsenal. Nukes in the hands of terrorists? Mr. Obama said he'll hold a summit on that one in 2016.

 

Give Mr. Obama points for consistency. Since his college days at Columbia in the 1980s, he has argued for American disarmament and arms-control treaties. When he last issued a call for a nuclear-free world on European soil four years ago in Prague, the Norwegian Nobel Committee rewarded him with a peace prize.

 

This week he announced that the U.S. could "maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent" with a third fewer strategic nuclear weapons, or about 1,000 in all. He also called for "bold" cuts in tactical nukes in Europe without offering specifics, which suggests that was mostly for show. He said he'll work on reducing U.S. stockpiles through "negotiated cuts" with Russia. Whenever this Administration negotiates with Russia, beware. But there's another danger. President Obama left the door open to unilateral U.S. reductions, possibly without Congressional approval.

 

The Berlin initiative is the long-promised follow-up to the 2010 New Start accord with Russia, which brought down stockpiles of warheads, missiles and bombers. In his speech this week, President Obama urged everyone to "move beyond Cold War nuclear postures." But is there anything that evokes the Cold War more than arms control with Moscow? Even the Kremlin isn't likely to embrace this new offer. "We cannot endlessly negotiate with the United States the reduction and limitation of nuclear arms while some other countries are strengthening their nuclear and missile capabilities," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian radio last month. By "some others," he means China.

 

Good point. Bilateral negotiations are an anachronism. Before the Cold War powers cut any deeper, how about some clarity about the size of the Chinese arsenal and its intentions? Beijing hides its warheads and missiles in tunnels and has the industrial wherewithal to build many more quickly. The Pentagon thinks the Chinese have up to 400 nuclear warheads, which sounds low. The Pakistanis possess more than 100.

 

The Russians are terrified of a rising Chinese military on their long southern border. Beijing likely has 1,800 bombs and warheads, the former commander of Russia's Strategic Forces told the military journalist Bill Gertz last year. Whether this number is accurate or not, the Russians think it is. They're reluctant to give away any more of their rusting strategic long-range arsenal. Forget about any progress on thinning Russia's formidable stockpile (size unknown) of shorter-range tactical weapons.

 

Yet engaging in arms talks could give the Kremlin fresh leverage over America's missiles defenses. The Russians have wanted to kill the program since Ronald Reagan made it a priority, and they have found a weakness in President Obama's dreams of disarmament. To get New Start, the White House in 2009 cancelled plans for a missile defense site in Poland that would protect the U.S. against an Iranian ICBM.

 

Mr. Obama is literally pleading with Moscow to strike another arms deal, which underscores the surreal nature of his vision. He handed the Kremlin reams of classified data about American missile defense, supposedly to allay fears that U.S. defenses will weaken Russia's nuclear deterrent. Invoking executive powers, the Pentagon and State Department rebuffed requests by Congress to specify the information shared with Russia to see if it might have jeopardized U.S. security.

 

Even if Russia won't go along, Mr. Obama's new nuclear strategy says the U.S. has more warheads, missiles and submarines than it needs. The White House can invoke this conclusion to prune the arsenal through budget cuts or executive orders. This way he can also impose changes to America's missile defenses sought by the Russians without direct Congressional approval.

 

Meanwhile in the real world, North Korea adds to its nuclear arsenal and tests weapons with impunity. Iran marches ahead toward its atomic capability despite U.N. sanctions. Their neighbours in Asia and the Middle East watch and get ready to build or buy their own weapons in response. The legacy of the President who dreams of nuclear disarmament is likely to be a world with far more weapons and more nuclear powers.

 

Contents

 

On Topic

The US State Department’s Islamist Plan: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Jewish Press, July 19th, 2013—Kerry and Obama believe that Muslim Brotherhood rule over most of the Muslim states is the most suitable solution to American interests, even at the price of abandoning long-standing friends and allies.

 

U.S. Supremacy Can Outlive Obama's Foreign Policy: Fabio Rafael Fiallo, Real Clear World, July 20, 2013—Foreign policy achievements have thus far stood out for their absence during President Obama's tenure. The engagement with Iran, the "reset" of relations with Russia, the intermediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the protestations against cyber-attacks coming from China against U.S. firms, the pressures on North Korea and the "red line" warnings to the Syrian regime over chemical weapons, have all failed to advance peace or democracy in the world or to strengthen the American hand in international relations.

 

Is Obama Trying to Start Israel-Syria War?: Evelyn Gordon, Commentary, July 15, 2013—Is the Obama administration trying to start a war between Israel and Syria? Because intentionally or not, it’s certainly doing its darnedest to provoke one. This weekend, three anonymous American officials told CNN that Israel was behind an explosion in the Syrian port of Latakia on July 5. The explosion, they said, resulted from an airstrike targeting Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles.

 

Kerry’s Mad Mission, Misreading the Middle East: Amir Taheri, The New York Post, July 22, 2013—Egypt is in turmoil while Syria is fragmenting into ungoverned “territories” and Lebanon is inching toward civil war. Iran is setting the stage for another diplomatic rope trick to speed up its nuclear project and jihadists are reappearing in Iraq’s Arab Sunni provinces. Washington’s closest regional allies, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are falling out over Egypt and Syria.

 

U.S. Ambassador to Egypt: "Muslim Brotherhood's Lackey": Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2013— Why do millions of Egyptians, including politicians and activists, consider Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, a "stooge" for the Muslim Brotherhood — as she is so commonly referred to by many in Egypt, from the media down to the street?

 

Everything You Need to Know About U.S. Aid to Egypt: Marian Wang & Theodoric Meyer, Real Clear World, July 10, 2013

The recent military coup in Egypt has prompted a renewed debate about American aid to the country. Sens. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, have both called for cutting off aid, while the White House has said it's in no hurry to end the aid.

 

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ANTISEMITISM — ANTI-ZIONISM, ANTI-ISRAELISM, JUDEOPHOBIA — RISES GLOBALLY, NO END IN SIGHT

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Tsunami of Anti-Semitism: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2013—Participants at the fourth conference of the Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism, held under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry this week in Jerusalem, will be provided with data highlighting the accelerated global erosion of the status of Jews and Israel.

 

Why are Human Rights Organizations Silent About Arab and Muslim Anti-Semitism?: Elder of Ziyon, May 9, 2013—Given the daily antisemitic incitement in the Arab and Muslim worlds, this is yet another indication that “human rights” organizations have a significant blind spot and are anxious to judge Arabs and Muslims by quite different standards than they judge Westerners.

 

The European Union – Hypocrisy, Hostility and Blatant Prejudice: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, July 18, 2013—The current dispute between the European Union and Israel emanates from the publication on June 30, 2013, of guidelines by the European Commission on the eligibility of Israeli entities, in territories administered by Israel since June 1967 as a result of the Six-Day War, for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards.

 

On Topic Links

 

Ramadan Series ‘Khaybar’ Is a Battle Cry Against Jews: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, July 11, 2013

Countering Antisemitism in the Month of Ramadan: Rashad Hussain, JTA, July 17, 2013

Anti-Semitism Is Why The Arab Spring Failed: Ahmad Hashemi, Times of Israel, April 9, 2013

The Letter Netanyahu Should Send to the EU: Steven Plaut, Front Page Magazine, July 19, 2013

 

TSUNAMI OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2013

 

Participants at the fourth conference of the Global Forum for Combating anti-Semitism, held under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry this week in Jerusalem, will be provided with data highlighting the accelerated global erosion of the status of Jews and Israel. In the post-Holocaust era, many had predicted, mistakenly, that the world’s oldest hatred would recede, even anticipating that anti-Semites would soon become an extinct species. Instead, defaming Jews has emerged as the greatest global political growth industry – a virtual tsunami. In fact we are witnessing a resurrection of the medieval paranoia which effectively blamed Jews for all the disasters of mankind.

 

The most concentrated venom is relentlessly directed against “the state of the Jews” (anti- Israelism) which is now the principal vehicle employed to demonize Jews. It dominates debates at the UN and other international organizations where rogue states and barbaric regimes seek to delegitimize the state of the Jews. The bias and double standards against Israel became so intense that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) decided to explicitly define such behaviour as anti-Semitic.

 

The escalation of Jew-hatred in recent years has been greatly accelerated by the economic meltdown and surge in unemployment throughout Europe. Such an environment breeds xenophobia which, since time immemorial, was always directed against Jews, exploiting them as scapegoats.

 

The era of the Internet and electronic global communications has been a boon to Jew-baiters, enabling them to globally disseminate their hatred instantly and effectively. New varieties of Judeophobia have emerged and integrated with the traditional anti- Semitism which had been temporarily muted due to revulsion at the horrors of the Holocaust.

 

The new blend fuses traditional right-wing religious, racial and economically inspired hatred of Jews with leftist varieties which now dominates indigenous Western anti-Semites. Ironically, the Left bases its demonization of the Jewish state on bogus Israeli human rights violations while avoiding condemnations of Arab anti-Semitism and abdicating its traditional long-standing role of purporting to champion rights of the oppressed and condemning human rights violations – an area in which the Arab world excels.

 

The greatest outpouring of anti-Jewish hatred emanates from the newly empowered Muslim countries, with their combined population of 1.6 billion. In conjunction with their diasporas in Western countries, they frenziedly promote a devilish brew of unique Islamic anti-Semitism combined with the traditional Western varieties. They depict Jews as vampires; descendants of apes and pigs; evil creatures disseminating AIDS; the masterminds behind 9/11; etc. Their incitement is at least as potent as the worst Jew-hatred promoted during the Nazi era. In addition, the jihadist component has been the principal element stoking the escalation of global violence, terror and murder against Jews.

 

We also witnessed the emergence of Jewish anti-Semites, who are now increasingly promoted to the forefront by our enemies as representing “decent” Jews. They legitimize Holocaust inversion as a vehicle to besmirch their kinsmen – comparing Israelis to Nazis and Palestinians to Jews during the Holocaust.

 

The hatred has reached epic levels in Europe, the continent whose soil was drenched in Jewish blood only 70 years ago and ironically today commemorates an annual Holocaust Memorial. Incredibly, European Jewish communities probably face greater anti-Semitism today than prior to the Holocaust. Then, at least liberals and much of the Left were willing to condemn the Nazis and speak out on behalf of Jews. Today, under the guise of promoting human rights, the Left is usually heading the anti-Jewish pack.

 

This is cogently summarized in the introduction to Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld’s new book Demonizing Israel and the Jews, where he states, “today well over 100 million Europeans embrace a satanic view of the state of Israel. They believe that Israel is exterminating the Palestinians…. This current widespread demonic view of Israel is an imitation of the diabolical beliefs about Jews which many held in the Middle Ages, and those promoted more recently by the Nazis and their allies.” Opinion polls confirm that nearly 50% of Europeans regard Israel as a greater threat to the peace and stability of mankind than North Korea, Iran or Syria.

 

There is also increasing anti-Jewish street violence in European cities, much of which is passed off as hooliganism. In many cities Jews are advised not to wear kippot (Jewish skullcaps) or other signs of Jewish identification. In France, the aggressive approach of sectors of Islamic migrant communities has resulted in murders. Attitudes in the UK have also dramatically changed as reflected in the frenetic and shameful hostility and bias toward Israel and the Jews expressed by the bulk of the media.

 

These attitudes even permeate the British judiciary, with one judge acquitting a group which had vandalized products designed for Israel on the grounds that it was engaging in justified opposition to the “occupation.” More recently a judge, upholding the right of UK Teachers Union to boycott Israel, condemned the plaintiff for behaving inappropriately by suggesting that was relevant to the Jewish religion. The UK Protestant churches have reverted to their former hostility to the Jews, with some even challenging Israel’s legitimacy. Even Germany, despite its special relationship with the Jews, has been displaying signs of growing anti-Semitism and Holocaust fatigue.

 

Other European countries are witnessing a resurgence of xenophobia and neo-Nazism. The situation in Hungary is especially stark; Jobbik, the Nazi party whose supporters proudly chant “Heil Hitler” and other Nazi slogans, gained 17% of the vote. In Greece its neo-Nazi counterpart “Golden Dawn” recently polled 12% of the vote.

 

Belgium, Holland and the Scandinavian countries, especially those hosting substantial Muslim immigrant communities with electoral clout have also registered major upsurges in anti-Semitism.

In these communities, many Jews are in denial. Leading somewhat cloistered lives and not personally encountering anti-Semitism, they refuse to acknowledge the intense hostility saturating their societies.

 

The greatest impact is on the younger Jewish generation whose parents grew up in an environment in which they took pride in their Judaism and association with Israel. But in a climate in which the media and society continuously bombard them with defamatory reports about Israel Jewish pride and dignity is undermined and increasing numbers of younger Jews seek anonymity. Some even engage in anti-Israel rhetoric to attain social acceptability.

 

Such a pariah lifestyle is not an environment likely to inculcate a positive Jewish identity and there is now serious concern about the long-term survival of many established Jewish communities. Some read the writing on the wall and recognize that there is no future for their children in Europe, and contemplate emigration or encourage their children to leave…..

Contents

 

 

WHY ARE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
SILENT ABOUT ARAB AND MUSLIM ANTI-SEMITISM?

Elder of Ziyon, May 9, 2013

 

In 2003, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint statement on antisemitism:

 

Recognizing anti-Semitism as a serious human rights violation, we also recognize our own responsibility to take on this issue as part of our work. It should not be left to Jewish groups alone to highlight this issue and to appeal to the international community to address it. We are firmly committed to joining their ongoing efforts and to helping to bring problems of anti-Semitism into the overall human rights discourse.

 

Now, in 2013, if you look through the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International websites, it is difficult indeed to find any condemnations of Arab or Muslim antisemitism. While they condemn anti-semitism in Western countries, I cannot find a single mention of the phrases “Arab anti-Semitism” or “Muslim anti-Semitism” on either of their sites. Their typical mentions of antisemitism are usually together with Islamophobia.

 

Given the daily antisemitic incitement in the Arab and Muslim worlds, this is yet another indication that “human rights” organizations have a significant blind spot and are anxious to judge Arabs and Muslims by quite different standards than they judge Westerners.

 

In the past two days I posted crazed Jew-hating diatribes shown on Lebanese TV, in a popular Egyptian newspaper. Also recently we saw two accusations of the medieval blood libel in Egypt, a newspaper series insulting Judaism in Jordan, as well as examples of antisemitism in the Iraq media, Saudi Arabia newspaper, a Palestinian Arab “human rights group”  and “peace activist,” and pan-Arab media, and many more. It is endemic. But worse than that, the hatred is mass produced. In 2001, a hugely popular 30-part Ramadan TV series aired in the Arab world based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was rerun in Egypt this year.

Iran released an antisemitic movie last year.

A purely anti-Semitic TV series (“Khaybar”) is being filmed now in Egypt and Morocco to be shown in Arabic TV will be used to incite hundreds of millions of people against Jews during Ramadan to the Arab world. The filming of the series gets regular coverage in Arab media, and they make clear that it is meant to demonize Jews. The director doesn’t even attempt to hide the purpose of the film. Naturally, “human rights” organizations are silent about that as well.

 

So where are the condemnations from the mainstream defenders of human rights who have said that antisemitism is a serious human rights violation?  Or is it simply too touchy a subject for them? Simply put, human rights organizations do not insist that Arabs and Muslims adhere to the same standards that the rest of the world must.

 

I think there is another reason why this issue is roundly ignored by the mainstream human rights organizations. They want to believe that if only Israel would offer more concessions, then peace is possible. They want to frame the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms of human rights and international law and fairness and other Western constructs. The Arabs happily take advantage of this blind spot and speak only in those terms to Westerners as well, so the cycle of self-deception is complete.

 

Publicizing the rampant Jew-hatred in the Arab and Muslim worlds, however, will show that the hate transcends any other claims. The Arab goal isn’t human rights. They want to destroy the Jewish state and have Jews revert to the second-class status (at best) that they held in the Middle East for the past 1400 years. The idea that Jews aren’t meekly submissive to their more numerous cousins is what causes this pure hate, not land disputes or “settlements.”

 

Once this realization sinks in, the Western liberal mind would despair. Peace, it would appear, isn’t possible in such a toxic environment. But since peace is imperative, the thinking goes, all evidence to the contrary must be downplayed. Pretend it is a political problem with a political solution, and don’t let anything get in the  way.

 

The irony is that soft-pedaling Arab and Muslim antisemitism does no one any favors. HRW, Amnesty, Oxfam and all the other human rights organizations can help the cause of peace immensely by shining light on this oldest hatred. Publicizing the issue is necessary  for ridding the Muslim world of their hate – or at least opening up a debate about it, a debate that is all but silent. (I have rarely seen a talkback in Arabic condemning an article that denies the Holocaust or accuses Jews of drinking gentile blood on Passover.)

 

Peace is literally unthinkable when the Jewish people are viewed as evil incarnate. Human rights organizations have clout. Shining light on this problem is essential, and it is not an obstacle to peace – it is a prerequisite. Right now, the human rights organizations have a chance to prove that they mean what they say. The Khaybar TV series is coming, and it is pure incitement against Jews. Denouncing this as a human rights issue – which it is, according to Amnesty’s and HRW’s own words – can show that these organizations are serious about their own stated purposes.

 

Elder of Ziyon is one of the world’s most popular pro-Israel bloggers.

 

Contents

 

 

THE EUROPEAN UNION –
HYPOCRISY, HOSTILITY AND BLATANT PREJUDICE

Amb. Alan Baker

JCPA, July 18, 2013

 

The current dispute between the European Union and Israel emanates from the publication on June 30, 2013, of guidelines by the European Commission on the eligibility of Israeli entities, in territories administered by Israel since June 1967 as a result of the Six-Day War, for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards. The current commission notice reflects a number of decisions taken recently by EU bodies on how past EU-Israel agreements are to be applied.

 

On December 10, 2012, the EU Foreign Affairs Council determined that “all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”

 

The EU statement added that the determination also conforms to the EU’s long-standing position that “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.”

 

Pursuant to the European Commission’s June 30 notice, the EU published a directive to its 28 member states, effective July 19, 2013, forbidding funding, cooperation, scholarships, research funds, or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation requires that any agreement or contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.

 

The directive includes a territorial clause stating that all agreements will be valid only within Israeli borders recognized by the European Union, meaning the borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War. It forbids cooperation by European Union members with private or governmental bodies located beyond the “Green Line.” The European Commission notice states that its aim is “to ensure the respect of EU positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.”

 

This directive complements intensive activity by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, devoted almost exclusively to the issue of Israel’s settlements, and repeated calls to EU foreign ministers to fully enforce EU legislation regarding the labelling of products from Israeli settlements, with a view to preventing such products from benefiting from lower tariffs, and to rendering them easily visible to European consumers and importers. As stated by Ashton: “Our consumers have the right to an informed choice; this initiative will help support our retailers to provide this. The correct labelling of products is necessary to ensure our consumers are not being misled by false information.”

 

As such, the publication of the commission notice is the culmination of a concerted policy initiative led by Ashton, with active and substantive encouragement by the EU member governments and the official EU representation to Israel, directed against Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], the aim of which is to press the Israeli government into making territorial and political concessions, by harming the products coming from the settlements.

 

This unprecedented and hostile EU fixation with Israel and its settlements, to the almost total exclusion of the other pressing issues in the Middle East, Europe, and throughout the world, is based on a series of long-standing and deliberately misleading and flawed legal and political assumptions regarding the illegality of Israel’s settlements and the status of the pre-1967 armistice lines as Israel’s border.

 

These assumptions are all the more misleading and misguided in that they totally negate or deliberately flout the historic and legal rights granted by the international community, including Europe, to Israel and the Jewish people in a series of international agreements and commitments. The assumptions totally ignore the indigenous rights of the Jewish people in the area, as protected by international declarations.

 

Similarly, they negate the very positions supported by the European states that endorsed UN Security Council Resolution 242 from 1967 calling for “secure and recognized boundaries,” and negate the EU’s own commitments as signatory and witness to the Oslo Accords, to honour the content of those accords, and not to predetermine and undermine specific negotiating issues including the final status of the territories, borders, settlements, Jerusalem, and other issues.

 

As such, the present EU policy, including the commission notice, specifically undermines the negotiating process by taking sides, and by pre-determining the negotiating issues of settlements, Jerusalem and borders. As such, this fixation prejudices and obviates any claim by the EU to impartiality, and precludes the EU from performing any function within the negotiating process.

 

The legality of Israel’s settlements stems from the historic, indigenous and legal rights of the Jewish people to settle in the area, granted pursuant to valid and binding international legal instruments recognized and accepted by the international community. These rights cannot be denied or placed in question.

 

They include the declaration unanimously adopted by the League of Nations, including the major European states, in the 1920 San Remo Declaration, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel as well as close Jewish settlement throughout. This included the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem. This was subsequently affirmed internationally in the League of Nations 1922 Palestine Mandate instrument, and accorded continued validity, up to the present day, by Article 80 of the UN Charter which determines the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations).

 

The “1967 borders” do not exist, and have never existed. The 1949 Armistice Agreements entered into by Israel and its Arab neighbours, establishing the armistice demarcation lines, clearly stated that these lines “are without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.” Accordingly, they cannot be accepted or declared to be Israel’s border.

 

UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) called upon the parties to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and specifically stressed the need to negotiate in order to achieve “secure and recognized boundaries.” The European state members of the Security Council approved that resolution.

 

The EU assumption regarding the illegality of Israel’s settlement policy is legally flawed, and ignores authoritative sources regarding the provenance and interpretation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949). This article prohibits the mass transfer of population into occupied territory, as practiced by Germany during the Second World War. It was neither relevant, nor was it ever intended to apply to Israel’s settlements.

 

According to the authoritative and official commentary by the International Committee of the Red Cross, published in 1958, as well as opinions by prominent international jurists, Article 49 relates to deportations of over 40 million people subjected to forced migration, evacuation, displacement, and expulsion. The vast numbers of people affected and the aims and purposes behind such a population movement speak for themselves. There is nothing to link such circumstances to Israel’s settlement policy. One may further ask if this is not a misreading, misunderstanding, or even distortion of that article and its context…..

 

Contents

 

On Topic

Ramadan Series ‘Khaybar’ Is a Battle Cry Against Jews: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, July 11, 2013— Arab TV satellite channels are airing a series this year called Khaybar, referring to the Muslim massacre of the Jews of the town of that name in northwestern Arabia in 628 CE. After the attack, some Muslims, including Muhammad, took surviving women as wives. The Muslim conquerors charged the Jews a 50 percent tax on their crops and in 637, after Muhammad’s death, the Caliph Omar expelled the remaining Jews from Khaybar.

 

Countering Antisemitism in the Month of Ramadan: Rashad Hussain, JTA, July 17, 2013—During Ramadan, Muslim communities around the world experience a month of fasting, devotion and increased consciousness of their faith. They also remember those who are suffering around the world and seek an end to the forces of hatred that lead to violence against people of all faiths.

 

Anti-Semitism Is Why The Arab Spring Failed: Ahmad Hashemi, Times of Israel, April 9, 2013— About two years ago, when the so-called pro-democracy movement, better known as the “Arab Spring,” began in the region, many commentators hailed it as “a great step forward,” “a turning point in the contemporary Arab world history”, and a “fourth wave of democratization.” I remember those days very well because my colleagues at Iran’s foreign ministry were very excited. Like most Iranians, they supported the toppling of the old tyrants in the Arab world.

 

The Letter Netanyahu Should Send to the EU: Steven Plaut, Front Page Magazine, July 19, 2013—Editor’s note: The letter below was formulated on behalf of the Israeli Prime Minister by Steven Plaut: Dear Leaders and Commissioners of the European Union: As Prime Minister of Israel I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world about how Israel should solve the Middle East conflict, namely by agreeing to “return” the “occupied Palestinian” lands to the “Palestinians.”

 

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