Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: April 2014

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, 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: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “Instead of putting energy into attacking Secretary Kerry, those who are upset with the Secretary's use of the term should put their energy into opposing and changing the policies that are leading Israel down this road.” —Statement released by J Street, the liberal Jewish cheering section for the Obama administration, defending Secretary Kerry's remarks about the possibility of Israel becoming an “apartheid state.” (J Street Blog, Apr. 28, 2014)

 

On Topic Links

 

The Problem is What Kerry Doesn’t Say: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Apr. 29, 2014

Say What? Top 10 Controversial Kerry Comments on Israel: Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2014

A Brief History of Failed Peace Talks: Israel Hayom, Apr. 25, 2014

Abbas and the Trouble With Holocaust Commemoration: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Apr. 27, 2014

Never Again: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Apr. 28, 2014

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Instead of issuing statements designed to placate global public opinion, Abu Mazen needs to choose between the alliance with Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and denies the Holocaust, and a true peace with Israel,”—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement distributed by his press office. Last week, the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Abbas is chairman, moved to repair its seven-year rift with the militant Islamist faction Hamas, prompting Israel to halt the current round of the “peace process” that Secretary of State John Kerry started last summer. “We hope that he will disavow this alliance with Hamas and return to the path of true peace,” Netanyahu added. (New York Times, Apr. 26, 2013)

 

“…what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust is the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era…”—P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, on the occasion of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day. Abbas, however, was famously criticized by many Middle East observers, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, for suggesting in his 1983 doctoral thesis that number of Jews killed during the Holocaust might be less than one million. During the speech, Abbas also stressed that the Holocaust is a reflection of the concept of ethnic discrimination and racism which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against. He added that “…the world must do its utmost to fight racism and injustice in order to bring justice and equality to oppressed people wherever they are. The Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice, oppression and denied freedom and peace, are the first to demand to lift the injustice and racism that befell other peoples subjected to such crimes…on the incredibly sad commemoration of Holocaust Day, we call on the Israeli government to seize the current opportunity to conclude a just and comprehensive peace in the region, based on the two states vision, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.” Abbas is cynically using the Holocaust as a way to say that Jews are doing to Palestinian Arabs the same "injustice"  and "oppression" that Jews suffered under Nazis. Jews are merely other people who are subjected to "such crimes" that Palestinian Arabs suffer today. At the very same moment of this cynical statement, Abbas is demanding to ethnically cleanse Judea and Samaria of every single Jew who lives there today. (Elder of Ziyon, Apr. 27, 2014)    

 

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” —U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, in a closed-door meeting with a group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan.  Kerry added: “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.” Kerry’s remarks provoked strong reactions, both in Israel and the U.S.. Kerry apologized for the gaffe in a statement issued Monday evening, saying that if he “could rewind the tape,” he wouldn’t have used the word ‘apartheid’ in his warning about Israel. (Daily Beast, Apr. 28, 2014)  

 

“John Kerry has outdone himself this time, demonstrating a total lack of understanding of the Middle-East conflict,” —Israeli political leader, and advocate for the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, Dani Dayan. Dayan continued: “His equation of the democratic State of Israel and Apartheid South Africa is a new low in American diplomacy and an insult to the people of Israel and South Africa. Had Secretary Kerry come to Judea and Samaria, he would have learned about the potential for coexistence without the need for incendiary comments…the time has come for the American administration to quietly exit this failed process before they further raise unrealistic expectations and their prophecies of Palestinian violence become self-fulfilling.” Dayan was in Washington to speak to officials about the situation in Judea and Samaria, and the impact of the new deal between Fatah and the terrorist group Hamas. (Arutz Sheva, Apr. 28, 2014)  

 

"It is my belief that Secretary Kerry has thus proven himself unsuitable for his position and that before any further harm is done to our alliance with Israel, he should offer President Obama his resignation and the president should accept it," —U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz also said the use of the term "apartheid" demonstrated "a shocking lack of sensitivity to the incendiary and damaging nature of his rhetoric." (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 28, 2014)

 

“Though Kerry now says he regrets using the word "apartheid," it was no mere slip of the tongue. Rather, it revealed the depth of his hostility to Israel. It also served as proof of the power of propaganda. When repeated often enough, such a blatant falsehood can even roll easily off the lips of the world's highest-ranking diplomat.” Ruthie Blum, author of To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.' (Israel Hayom, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

 “There comes a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” —U.S. President Barack Obama, appearing to pull back from the Middle East “peace process,” during a news conference in Seoul. Israel called a halt to the peace talks Thursday after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement agreed to a unity pact to reconcile with its arch-rival, the Islamist terrorist group that has always opposed recognition of Israel, Hamas. Describing Abbas’s move as “unhelpful,” Obama said it was “just one of a series of choices that both Israel and the Palestinians have made which are not conducive to solving this crisis.” (Globe & Mail, Apr. 26, 2014)

 

“Yom Hashoah reminds us that the Holocaust must never be forgotten and that we must remain vigilant against all forms of prejudice and hatred to ensure that such unspeakable acts of inhumanity never happen again,” —Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on his Facebook page before Monday’s Holocaust Memorial Day. Harper also referred to the Shoah as “one of the darkest chapters in human history” and stressed the “importance of Holocaust education and remembrance.” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2014)

 

“I should remind Sophie Doucet that building and maintaining the Concentration Camps of Auschwitz also provided livelihoods, but this hardly made the Camps warranted,” —British pop-singer Morrissey, on his official website. Morrissey was responding to statements by Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea, and her spokesperson Sophie Doucet, suggesting "I would urge Mr. Morrissey to consider the impact that his ignorant and inflammatory statements (regarding the Canadian seal hunting industry) have on the livelihoods of thousands of hard-working men and women in rural communities." The former Smiths singer penned the post on his official website titled “Canada: Right of reply” in which he compared the seal hunting industry to the building of ‘the Concentration Camps of Auschwitz.’ (National Post, Apr. 24, 2014)

 

“This is the first thing that is needed – to teach the Holocaust to Arabs. All the other things are less important, this is stronger than anything else that can be done, including actions by the army,” —Khaled Kasab Mahameed, an Arab Israeli lawyer who founded an Arab Holocaust museum, the Arab Institute for Holocaust Research and Education. Mahameed told The Jerusalem Post in an interview for Holocaust Remembrance Day that he lectures in the Israeli Arab sector as well as in the West Bank. But, he adds, “nobody wants to come.” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 28, 2014)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

SHOT UKRAINIAN MAYOR HOSPITALIZED IN ISRAEL (Haifa) —A mayor of an east Ukrainian city who was shot and critically wounded in his back Monday, was flown to Israel and is being treated in a hospital in Haifa. Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, was out of surgery, Haifa's Elisha Hospital said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. It said the operation was successful and he will not require further surgery. Kernes, 54, who turned against his former Russian backers and began siding with Ukrainian nationalists following the February coup in Kiev, was shot Monday. The shooting came a day after Ukrainian nationalists clashed with pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, leaving 14 people injured. Kernes is Jewish, but there has been no mention of an anti-Semitic motive in the shooting. (Ha’aretz, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

UKRAINE SEPARATISTS PUSH EAST AS US INTERCEPTS MOSCOW ORDERS (Kiev) —Hundreds of pro-Russian separatists, some armed with assault rifles, seized government buildings and laid siege to police headquarters in a second Ukrainian regional capital on Tuesday as they expanded the reach of their rebellion against Kiev. Their storming of regional administration and prosecutor's office in Luhansk came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that American eavesdroppers have overheard intelligence operatives being directed by Moscow. The new seizures in Luhansk, 80 miles east of the centre of the rebellion in Donetsk, suggest that the separatists are continuing the pattern of occupations that has spread across eastern Ukraine over the past month. (Telegraph, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

IRAQ ELECTIONS: BOMBS KILL 2 VOTERS HEADING TO POLLS (Baghdad)Unshaken by the latest surge in violence, Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and attacks to vote Wednesday in key elections for a new parliament amid a massive security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife. Hundreds of thousands of troops and police have fanned out to guard voting centres in what is also the first nationwide balloting since the 2011 American pullout. A roadside bomb killed two women as they walked to a polling station in the small Iraqi town of Dibis near Kirkuk. A Shia party led by Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister of eight years, is expected to win the most seats in Wednesday's election but is unlikely to win a majority. (CBC, Apr. 30, 2014)

 

PALESTINIANS RISK US AID FREEZE IF HAMAS JOINS GOVERNMENT (Washington) — Palestinian leaders risk forfeiting millions of dollars in US aid if they press ahead with plans to form a unity government including members of the terrorist Hamas group, US lawmakers and officials warned Tuesday. “No US governmental money will go into any government that includes Hamas until Hamas accepts the Quartet conditions. And that’s renouncing violence, recognizing previous agreements and most explicitly recognizing Israel’s right to exist.” The deadline to achieve a deal expired Tuesday with US Secretary of State Kerry’s intensive months-long efforts in tatters. (Times of Israel, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

HAMAS COULD FIELD PA PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (Ramallah) — A Hamas official said Tuesday that the organization intends to either field its own candidate in the planned Palestinian presidential elections, or throw its weight behind one of the other contenders. Hamas lawmaker Khalil Haya said that Hamas had already started making preparations for taking part in the elections for president of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas also wishes to help decide the makeup of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestinian National Council in order to ensure that those bodies reflect the “true desires” of the Palestinian people, Haya explained. (Times of Israel, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

PRO-ASSAD AREAS ARE ATTACKED IN SYRIA, POINTING TO ELECTION TROUBLE (Damascus) —More than 50 people were killed in bomb, mortar and rocket attacks in government-controlled areas of Syria on Tuesday, as the international chemical weapons monitoring group declared that it was sending inspectors to the country to investigate suspected use of chlorine gas. The wave of attacks on civilian, mainly pro-government, areas in the capital, and in the central city of Homs, came a day after President Bashar al-Assad formally announced plans to run for re-election. The day’s events underscored the uncertainties around the elections planned for June 3, which government opponents widely regard as a sham, saying Mr. Assad’s victory is guaranteed. (New York Times, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

EGYPT SENTENCES 683 TO DEATH IN LATEST MASS TRIAL OF DISSIDENTS (Minya) — An Egyptian court in the southern city of Minya sentenced 683 people to death Monday in the most recent of a series of mass trials that have alarmed the international community. The ruling came one month after 529 people were sentenced to death in a similar mass trial in the same courtroom. Those sentenced to death were all alleged supporters of the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. They included Mohammed Badie, the “supreme guide” of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which captured the lion’s share in Egypt’s first democratic elections, held in 2012. All but 37 of the previous death sentences have been commuted to life imprisonment, under a review by Egypt’s highest religious authority, it was announced Monday. (Washington Post, Apr. 28, 2014)

 

ABDUCTED NIGERIAN SCHOOLGIRLS SOLD INTO MARRIAGE WITH BOKO HARAM EXTREMISTS FOR $12, REPORT SAYS (Lagos) —Scores of girls and young women kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are being forced to marry their Islamist extremist abductors, a civil society group reported Wednesday. Parents say the girls are being sold into marriage to Boko Haram militants for 2,000 naira (US$12), Halite Aliyu of the Borno-Yobe People’s Forum told The Associated Press. She said the parents’ information about mass weddings is coming from villagers in the Sambisa Forest, on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, where Boko Haram is known to have hideouts. “Some of them have been married off to insurgents. A medieval kind of slavery. You go and capture women and the sell them off,” said community elder Pogu Bitrus of Chibok town, the town where the girls were abducted. (Associated Press, Apr. 30, 2014)

 

RCMP RAIDS MUSLIM RELIEF GROUP’S OFFICES AS CANADA DECLARES IT A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION (Toronto) —A Muslim relief organization accused by federal auditors of sending almost $15-million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been raided by police, who seized an “extensive amount” of evidence, the RCMP said Tuesday. Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams searched the head office of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada in Mississauga, Ont., as well as a private residence in Montreal. “We are determined to stop Canadian funds from getting in the hands of terrorist groups,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia. A non-profit group that worked mostly in Muslim countries, IRFAN-Canada lost its charity status in 2011 after Canada Revenue Agency auditors called it an “integral part” of an international fundraising effort that supported Hamas. (National Post, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

RCMP TRACKS WOULD-BE TERRORISTS IN CANADA (Ottawa) —Canadians at risk of joining foreign terrorist groups in Syria and elsewhere are now being tracked under a program led by the RCMP. The program has brought together police and federal agencies to identify “high-risk travellers” and disrupt their plans using methods such as denying them passports. Like its Western allies, Canada has been struggling to deal with a growing number of radicalized men in their 20s who want to travel to Syria to join Islamist extremist groups aligned with Al-Qaeda. About 130 Canadians are currently serving in overseas extremist factions, including about 30 in Syria alone, according to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. (National Post, Apr. 27, 2014) 

 

SYNAGOGUE DISINVITES UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT AFTER HE PERMITTED IAW (Winnipeg) —Winnipeg’s leading synagogue withdrew an invitation for the president of the University of Manitoba to address its service on Yom HaShoah. David Barnard, a computer scientist turned administrator, permitted Israel Apartheid Week to go ahead this year on his campus, despite the objections of the University of Manitoba’s student union. “Our board and congregation and community leaders felt it completely inappropriate that he take part, because it’s visceral and personal and such a solemn occasion for us,” said Ian Staniloff, executive director of the Shaarey Zedek congregation, Winnipeg’s oldest synagogue. Mr. Barnard’s decision to allow Israel Apartheid Week followed a vote of the student union to strip funding and official club status from the University of Manitoba chapter of Students Against Israeli Apartheid. (National Post, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

HUNGARIANS MARCH AGAINST ANTISEMITISM AFTER FAR-RIGHT POLL GAINS (Budapest) — Tens of thousands of Hungarians joined a protest march on Sunday against antisemitism, three weeks after the far-right Jobbik party won nearly a quarter of votes cast in a national election. Budapest's annual 'March of the Living' has drawn an increasing number of participants in recent years to commemorate the deaths of around half a million Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. The marchers, many holding EU and Israeli flags, attended the inauguration of a Holocaust monument on a bank of the Danube where Jews were executed during the war. They then marched in silence through the city to an old railway station from which trains departed 70 years ago for Nazi death camps. More people are taking part because they fear antisemitism is again on the rise, said Miklos Deutsch, 64, a restaurant manager, after a shofar, a traditional Jewish instrument made from a ram's horn, gave the signal for the march to start. (Reuters, Apr. 27, 2014)

 

LEGISLATORS CALL ON NY TO REJECT NEGOTIATING WITH FRENCH RAILWAY THAT DEPORTED 76,000 JEWS (New York) — New York Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and City Councillors Mark Levine and Benjamin Kallos announced on Monday that they would introduce a resolution to the New York City Council that would call on the state legislature to pass legislation barring contracting with companies that profited from the Holocaust, but have never compensated victims. Of particular concern is the Société Nationale des Chemin de fer Français (SNCF), the French national railroad company that was responsible for the deportation of 76,000 Jews during the Holocaust. SNCF recently won contracts in Virginia and Massachusetts, and Levine and Kallos hope to prevent the same from happening in New York. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2014)

 

ISRAEL GREETS 16,884 NEW IMMIGRANTS IN 2013 (Jerusalem) —Immigration to Israel increased by 2 percent in 2013, with over 16,000 olim arriving, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Tuesday. Of the 16,884 immigrants who arrived last year, 43% came from the former Soviet Union, primarily Russia and Ukraine, 17% came from France, 13% from the United States and 8% from Ethiopia. At the end of March the Jewish Agency announced that French immigration has “risen sharply since the start of the year” with 854 French Jews having moved to Israel since the beginning of the year. The bureau also found that of the 3.2 million olim that arrived in Israel since the establishment of the state 41% came since 1990. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2014)

On Topic Links

 

The Problem is What Kerry Doesn’t Say: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Apr. 29, 2014 —President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry never tire of telling Israel all the ills that will befall it if it doesn’t make peace with the Palestinians.

Say What? Top 10 Controversial Kerry Comments on Israel: Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2014 —David Letterman probably won’t be making this a “Late Show” top 10 list anytime soon, but here’s a sampling of some of the most controversial things Secretary of State John Kerry has said about Israel since he rose to the post of America’s top diplomat last year:

A Brief History of Failed Peace Talks: Israel Hayom, Apr. 25, 2014—The nine months allotted for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are ending, and while these negotiations were supposed to bring a permanent agreement, all the facts suggest that the gaps are too wide and that the negotiations have failed, or more accurately, failed once again.

Abbas and the Trouble With Holocaust Commemoration: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Apr. 27, 2014 —Today Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas did as many peace process proponents, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have been imploring him to do.

Never Again: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Apr. 28, 2014 —Never again. To Jews it means a refusal to give genocidal bigots another go at them. To Obama, it means refusing to ever again have to listen to an Israeli leader explain why his country cannot commit territorial suicide in order to appease a gang of genocidal bigots.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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GAME-ENDING PEACE-PROCESS TWO-FER (EVEN THE DEMS ARE AGHAST): PA’s “HISTORIC” AGREEMENT WITH TERRORIST HAMAS, AND KERRY’S UNGUARDED (?) “APARTHEID” SLIP-O’-THE-LIP

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, 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: rob@isranet.org

 

Waiting for the Palestinian Godot: Ari Shavit, Ha’aretz, Apr. 24, 2014— There are some moments a journalist will never forget.

Common Objectives: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, Apr. 29, 2014 — The timing of the Palestinian Authority's intention to merge with Hamas may have caught many by surprise.

John Kerry's Jewish Best Friends: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2014 — Anti-Semitism is not a simple bigotry. It is a complex neurosis.

Running Away From Statehood, Again: Prof. Efraim Karsh, Besa Center, Apr. 28, 2014 — The “historic” agreement of last week between The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas, to form a united government casts a serious doubt not only on the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to a two-state solution, but also on its interest in the attaining of statehood at all.

 

On Topic Links

 

Hamas-Abbas: A Reality Check: Prof. Ron Breiman, Israel Hayom, Apr. 27, 2014

Kerry’s Talks Achieve Peace Between Hamas and Fatah: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Apr. 23, 2014

Palestinian Deception and the Unwarranted Trust of the West: The Case of Palestinian Accession to International Conventions: Alan Baker, Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Apr. 17, 2014

The Crisis in the Peace Talks Was Pre-Planned by the Palestinians: Jonathan D. Halevi, Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Apr. 10, 2014

Regaining Control in Jerusalem: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014

 

 

WAITING FOR THE PALESTINIAN GODOT

Ari Shavit

Ha’aretz, Apr. 24, 2014

                                     

There are some moments a journalist will never forget. In early 1997, Yossi Beilin decided to trust me, and show me the document that proved that peace was within reach. The then-prominent and creative politician from the Labor movement opened up a safe, took out a stack of printed pages, and laid them down on the table like a player with a winning poker hand.

 

Rumors were rife about the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement, but only a few had the opportunity to see the document with their own eyes or hold it in their hands. I was one of those few. With mouth agape I read the comprehensive outline for peace that had been formulated 18 months earlier by two brilliant champions of peace — one, Israeli, and one, Palestinian. The document left nothing to chance: Mahmoud Abbas is ready to sign a permanent agreement. The refugee from Safed had overcome the ghosts of the past and the ideas of the past, and was willing to build a joint Israeli-Palestinian future, based on coexistence. If we could only get out from under the Likud’s thumb, and get Benjamin Netanyahu out of office, he will join us, hand in hand, walking toward the two-state solution. Abbas is a serious partner for true peace, the one with whom we can make a historic breakthrough toward reconciliation.

 

We understood. We did what was necessary. In 1999, we ousted Likud and Netanyahu. In 2000, we went to the peace summit at Camp David. Whoops, surprise: Abbas didn’t bring the Beilin-Abu Mazen plan to Camp David, or any other draft of a peace proposal. The opposite was true: He was one of the staunchest objectors, and his demand for the right of return prevented any progress. But don’t believe we’d give up so quickly. During the fall of 2003, as the Geneva Accord was being formulated, it was clear to us that there were no more excuses, and that now, Abbas would sign the new peace agreement and adopt its principles. Whoops, surprise: Abu Mazen sent Yasser Abed Rabbo (a former Palestinian Authority minister) instead, while he stayed in his comfy Ramallah office. No signature, no accord.

 

But people as steadfast as us don’t give up on our dreams. So in 2008 we got behind Ehud Olmert, and the marathon talks he held with Abbas, and the offer that couldn’t be refused. Whoops, surprise: Abu Mazen didn’t actually refuse, he just disappeared. He didn’t say yes, he didn’t say no, he just vanished without a trace. Did we start to understand that we were facing the Palestinian Yitzhak Shamir? No, no, no. In the summer of 2009, we even supported Netanyahu, when he made overtures to Abbas with his Bar-Ilan speech, and the settlement freeze. Whoops, surprise: the sophisticated objector didn’t blink, or trip up. He simple refused to dance the tango of peace with the right-wing Israeli leader.

 

Have we opened our eyes? Of course not. Again, we blamed Netanyahu and Likud, and believed that in 2014, Abu Mazen wouldn’t dare to say no, not to John Kerry. Whoops, surprise: In his own sophisticated, polite way, Abbas has said no in recent months to both Kerry and Barack Obama. Again, the Palestinian president’s position is clear and consistent: The Palestinians must not be required to make concessions. It’s a complicated game – squeezing more and more compromises out of the Israelis, without the Palestinians granting a single real, compromise of their own.

 

Take heed: Twenty years of fruitless talks have led to nothing. There is no document that contains any real Palestinian concession with Abbas’ signature. None. There never was, and there never will be. During the 17 years that have gone by since Beilin took that document out of his safe, he’s gotten divorced, remarried, and had grandchildren. I also divorced, remarried, and brought (more) children into the world. Time passes and the experiences we’ve accumulated have taught both Beilin and me more than a few things. But many others haven’t learned a thing. They’re still allowing Abbas to make fools of them, as they wait for the Palestinian Godot, who will never show up.

 

                                                                        Contents
                                               

COMMON OBJECTIVES

Isi Leibler                                                                                        

Israel Hayom, Apr. 29, 2014

 

The timing of the Palestinian Authority's intention to merge with Hamas may have caught many by surprise. But it was evident that Israel would not reach understandings with a PA headed by the intransigent Mahmoud Abbas, who refused to make a single compromise. In fact, even when the U.S. pressured Israel into making unilateral concessions as a prerequisite to merely agreeing to negotiate, the response from Abbas was to raise new demands.

 

In the context of the criminal society created by Yasser Arafat and maintained by Abbas, there is no ideological conflict on the future of Israel between the PA and Hamas. As Palestinian Media Watch has noted, Abbas says categorically: "There is no disagreement between Fatah and Hamas. … About belief? None! About policy? None! About resistance? None!" Besides promoting cultures of martyrdom and sanctifying as heroes those engaged in killing Jews, both have generated the expectation amongst their people that the elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the region is a goal that will be achieved. There is merely a difference in tactics. The PA recognizes that it can achieve greater success utilizing diplomacy rather than terror as a means to destroy Israel in stages. To this end, Abbas speaks with a forked tongue: To the outside world, he denounces terror and commits to peaceful negotiations while internally he orchestrates vicious incitement, glorifying, feting and financially rewarding murderers of women and children, including the killers recently released by Israel.

 

In contrast, the genocidal Hamas proudly proclaim their Islamic fundamentalism. They are in every sense the equivalent of al-Qaida, having praised Osama bin Laden and condemned the United States for killing him. Not only does Hamas reject the existence of the state of Israel and pledge to bring about its destruction, its covenant explicitly exhorts followers to kill Jews wherever they may be. They are the pioneers of suicide bombings and take pride that they have launched over 10,000 missiles at Israeli civilian targets. These war criminals will be the partners of Abbas in the new PA leadership.

Ironically, Abbas has indirectly resolved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's internal coalition conflicts, which threatened his government. His announcement to the world that he would never negotiate with a group which incorporated the genocidal Hamas has reunited the coalition and would be supported by the vast majority of Israelis. As anticipated, there was some criticism by the post-Zionist Israeli daily Ha’aretz, which argued that the merger should be considered by Israel as a positive step towards achieving peace. However, its prime correspondent, Ari Shavit, did a remarkable turnabout and, instead of blaming Netanyahu, documented the duplicity of Abbas since the onset of the Oslo accords, noting that "20 years of fruitless talks have led to nothing. There is no document that contains any real Palestinian concession with Abbas' signature. There never was, and there never will be." Those who had hoped that under the leadership of Isaac Herzog, Labor would return to its traditional labor Zionist roots, were disappointed in his lack of statesmanship. He blamed the government for the breakdown and alluded to possible long-term benefits bringing Hamas into negotiations.

 

One would have assumed that, under such circumstances, Western leaders would have an ethical obligation to condemn Palestinian intransigence and guile. Despite being directly affronted by Abbas, the Obama administration failed to respond adequately, even incessant pressure was placed on Netanyahu to make unreasonable concessions. The State Department merely expressed "disappointment," and later President Barack Obama referred to the PA-Hamas pact as "unhelpful," but still declined to condemn Abbas and once again blamed both parties for the breakdown.

 

The administration will now be obliged to review its relationship with the PA to conform with legislation by both houses of Congress which unequivocally prohibits the United States from providing financial support to terrorist organizations. Hamas is clearly classified in that category. The Palestinians currently receive more financial aid per capita than any other people, and since 1966 have received over $5 billion from the US alone. Rep. Nita Lowey (Democrat) and Rep. Kay Granger (Republican), who head the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, announced that they would move to defund the Palestinian Authority of its U.S. aid package unless it annulled its pact with Hamas. They were supported by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the Middle East and North African Subcommittee who had framed the 2006 law banning funding to Hamas.

 

Despite this, I predict that Israel will soon again be facing renewed pressure from the Obama administration. Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy head, who issued a Holocaust Memorial Day press release some months ago which adroitly omitted any reference to Jews, unequivocally welcomed the merger, blithely remarking that it would help promote peace negotiations. She omitted to mention that the EU itself classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization. The U.N. Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, blandly stated that he had been assured that a merged PA Hamas entity would remain committed to peace and that the U.N. welcomed the reunification of the West Bank with Gaza "under one legitimate Palestinian Authority."…                           

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –Ed.]     

                                                                                   

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JOHN KERRY'S JEWISH BEST FRIENDS                                          

Caroline B. Glick                                                                                     Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2014

 

Anti-Semitism is not a simple bigotry. It is a complex neurosis. It involves assigning malign intent to Jews where none exists on the one hand, and rejecting reason as a basis for understanding the world and operating within it on the other hand. John Kerry’s recent use of the term “Apartheid” in reference to Israel’s future was an anti-Semitic act. In remarks before the Trilateral Commission a few days after PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity deal with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, Kerry said that if Israel doesn’t cut a deal with the Palestinians soon, it will either cease to be a Jewish state or it will become “an apartheid state.”

Leave aside the fact that Kerry’s scenarios are based on phony demographic data. As I demonstrate in my book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, Israel will maintain a strong and growing Jewish majority in a “unitary state” that includes the territory within the 1949 armistice lines and Judea and Samaria. But even if Kerry’s fictional data were correct, the only “Apartheid state” that has any chance of emerging is the Palestinian state that Kerry claims Israel’s survival depends on. The Palestinians demand that the territory that would comprise their state must be ethnically cleansed of all Jewish presence before they will agree to accept sovereign responsibility for it.

In other words, the future leaders of that state – from the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad alike — are so imbued with genocidal Jew hatred that they insist that all 650,000 Jews living in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria must be forcibly ejected from their homes. These Jewish towns, cities and neighborhoods must all be emptied before the Palestinians whose cause Kerry so wildly champions will even agree to set up their Apartheid state. According to the 1998 Rome Statute, Apartheid is a crime of intent, not of outcome. It is the malign intent of the Palestinians –across their political and ideological spectrum — to found a state predicated on anti-Jewish bigotry and ethnic cleansing. In stark contrast, no potential Israeli leader or faction has any intention of basing national policies on racial subjugation in any form.

By ignoring the fact that every Palestinian leader views Jews as a contaminant that must be blotted out from the territory the Palestinians seek to control, (before they will even agree to accept sovereign responsibility for it), while attributing to Jews malicious intent towards the Palestinians that no Israeli Jewish politician with a chance of leading the country harbors, Kerry is adopting a full-throated and comprehensive anti-Semitic position. It is both untethered from reason and libelous of Jews.  

Speaking to the Daily Beast about Kerry’s remarks on Sunday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quick to use the “some of his best friends are Jewish,” defense. In her words, “Secretary Kerry, like Justice Minister [Tzipi] Livni, and previous Israeli Prime Ministers [Ehud] Olmert and [Ehud] Barak, was reiterating why there’s no such thing as a one-state solution if you believe, as he does, in the principle of a Jewish state. He was talking about the kind of future Israel wants.” So in order to justify his own anti-Semitism – and sell it to the American Jewish community – Kerry is engaging in vulgar partisan interference in the internal politics of another country. Indeed, Kerry went so far as to hint that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is forced from power, and Kerry’s Jewish best friends replace him, then things will be wonderful.  In his words, if “there is a change of government or a change of heart, something will happen.” By inserting himself directly into the Israeli political arena, Kerry is working from his mediator Martin Indyk’s playbook. Since his tenure as US ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration, Indyk has played fast and dirty in Israeli politics, actively recruiting Israelis to influence Israeli public opinion to favor the Left while castigating non-leftist politicians and regular Israeli citizens as evil, stupid and destructive.

Livni, Olmert, Barak and others probably don’t share Kerry’s anti-Semitic sensitivities. Although their behavior enables foreigners like Kerry to embrace anti-Semitic positions, their actions are most likely informed by their egotistical obsessions with power. Livni, Olmert and Barak demonize their political opponents because the facts do not support their policies. The only card they have to play is the politics of personal destruction. And so they use it over and over again. This worked in the past. That is why Olmert and Barak were able to form coalition governments. But the cumulative effects of the Palestinian terror war that began after Israel offered the PLO statehood at Camp David in 2000, the failure of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, and the 2006 war with Lebanon have brought about a situation where the Israeli public is no longer willing to buy what the Left is selling. Realizing this, Barak, Livni and others have based their claim to political power on their favored status in the US. In Netanyahu’s previous government, Barak parlayed the support he received from the Obama administration into his senior position as Defense Minister. Today, Livni’s position as Justice Minister and chief negotiator with the PLO owes entirely to the support she receives from the Obama administration… 

Now that Kerry has given a full throated endorsement of anti-Semitic demagoguery, Livni’s leverage is vastly diminished. Since Kerry’s anti-Semitic statements show that Livni has failed to shield Israel from the Obama administration’s hostility, the rationale for her continued inclusion in the government has disappeared. The same goes for the Obama administration’s favorite American Jewish group J Street. Since its formation in the lead up to the 2008 Presidential elections, J Street has served as the Obama administration’s chief supporter in the US Jewish community. J Street uses rhetorical devices that were relevant to the political realities of the 1990s to claim that it is both “pro-peace and pro-Israel.” Twenty years into the failed peace process, for Israeli ears at least, these slogans ring hollow.

But the real problem with J Street’s claim isn’t that its rhetoric is irrelevant. The real problem is that its rhetoric is deceptive. J Street’s record has nothing to do with either supporting Israel or peace. Rather it has a record of continuous anti-Israel agitation. J Street has continuously provided American Jewish cover for the administration’s anti-Israel actions by calling for it to take even more extreme actions. These have included calling for the administration to support an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council, and opposing sanctions against Iran for its illicit nuclear weapons program. J Street has embraced the PLO’s newest unity pact with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And now it is defending Kerry for engaging in rank anti-Semitism with his “Apartheid” remarks. J Street’s political action committee campaigns to defeat pro-Israel members of Congress. And its campus operation brings speakers to US university campuses that slander Israel and the IDF and call for the divestment of university campuses from businesses owned by Israelis.
On Wednesday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is set to vote on J Street’s application to join the umbrella group as a “pro-peace, pro-Israel” organization.

Kerry’s “Apartheid” remarks are a watershed event. They represent the first time a sitting US Secretary of State has publically endorsed an anti-Semitic caricature of Jews and the Jewish state. The best response that both the Israeli government and the Jewish community can give to Kerry’s act of unprecedented hostility and bigotry is to reject his Jewish enablers. Livni should be shown the door. And the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations should reject J Street’s bid for membership.

 

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RUNNING AWAY FROM STATEHOOD, AGAIN                                       

Prof. Efraim Karsh

BESA Center, Apr. 28, 2014

 

The “historic” agreement of last week between The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas, to form a united government casts a serious doubt not only on the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to a two-state solution, but also on its interest in the attaining of statehood at all. Not that this should have come as a surprise to anyone. For nearly a century, Palestinian leaders never have missed an opportunity to impede the development of Palestinian civil society and the attainment of Palestinian statehood. 

 

Had the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini, who led the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, chosen to lead his constituents to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors, the Palestinians would have had their independent state over a substantial part of mandate Palestine by 1948, and would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersal and exile. Had Yasser Arafat, who dominated Palestinian politics from the mid-1960s to his death in November 2004, set the PLO from the start on the path to peace and reconciliation instead of turning it into one of the most murderous and kleptocratic terrorist organizations in modern times, a Palestinian state could have been established on numerous occasions: In the late 1960s or the early 1970s; in 1979, as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; in May 1999, as part of the Oslo process; or more recently at the Camp David summit of July 2000.

 

Had Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Arafat as PLO chairman and PA president, abandoned his predecessors’ rejectionist path, a Palestinian state could have been established after the Annapolis summit of November 2007, or in June 2009, during President Obama’s first term when Benjamin Netanyahu broke with the longstanding Likud precept by publicly accepting the two-state solution and agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state. But why should the Palestinians engage in the daunting tasks of nation-building and state creation if they can have their hapless constituents run around in circles for nearly a century while they bask in international sympathy and enrich themselves from the proceeds of their self-inflicted plight? 

 

The Palestinian leadership in Mandate Palestine (1920-48) had no qualms about inciting its constituents against Zionism and the Jews while lining its own pockets from the fruits of Jewish development and land purchases. So too, the cynical and self-seeking PLO “revolutionaries” have used the billions of dollars donated by the Arab oil states and the international community to lead a luxurious lifestyle in sumptuous hotels and villas, globe-trotting in grand style, acquiring properties, and making financial investments worldwide – while millions of ordinary Palestinians scramble for a livelihood, many of them in squalid and overcrowded refugee camps. This process reached its peak following the September 1993 signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP, or Oslo I) and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. For all his rhetoric about Palestinian independence, Arafat had never been as interested in the attainment of statehood as he was in the violence attached to its pursuit.

 

In the late 1970s, he told his close friend and collaborator, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, that the Palestinians lacked the tradition, unity, and discipline to become a formal state, and that a Palestinian state would be a failure from the first day. Once given control of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza as per the Oslo accords, Arafat made this bleak prognosis a self-fulfilling prophecy, establishing a repressive and corrupt regime in the worst tradition of Arab dictatorships. The rule of the gun prevailed, and huge sums of money donated by the international community for the benefit of the civilian Palestinian population were diverted to funding racist incitement, buying weaponry, and filling secret bank accounts. 

 

Not only has Abbas done nothing to clean up the Palestinian Authorities’ (PA) act, but he seems to have followed in his predecessor’s kleptocratic footsteps, reportedly siphoning at least $100 million to private accounts abroad and making his sons at the PA’s expense…The attainment of statehood would have shattered the paradise established on the backs of the long suffering public in the West Bank and Gaza. It would have transformed the Palestinians in one fell swoop from the world’s ultimate victim, into an ordinary (and most likely failing) nation-state, thus terminating decades of unprecedented international indulgence. It would have also driven the final nail into the PLO’s false pretense of being “the sole representative of the Palestinian people” (already dealt a devastating blow by Hamas’s 2006 electoral rout) and would have forced any governing authority to abide, for the first time in Palestinian history, by the principles of accountability and transparency. Small wonder, therefore, that whenever confronted with an international or Israeli offer of statehood, Palestinian leaders will never take “yes” for an answer.

 

Hamas-Abbas: A Reality Check: Prof. Ron Breiman, Israel Hayom, Apr. 27, 2014

Kerry’s Talks Achieve Peace Between Hamas and Fatah: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Apr. 23, 2014

Palestinian Deception and the Unwarranted Trust of the West: The Case of Palestinian Accession to International Conventions: Alan Baker, Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Apr. 17, 2014

The Crisis in the Peace Talks Was Pre-Planned by the Palestinians: Jonathan D. Halevi, Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Apr. 10, 2014

Regaining Control in Jerusalem: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014

 

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PA—& WCC—OBSERVE “PRISONER’S DAY”, AS ABU MAZEN SINKS PEACE PROCESS BY RE-UNITING WITH HAMAS TERRORISTS—DOES PA HEAD HAVE A POLITICAL FUTURE?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, 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: rob@isranet.org

 

Abu Mazen and his Threat to “Return the Keys of the Palestinian Authority”: Amb. Alan Baker, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014— Following recent statements of by Israeli leaders and politicians supporting Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as a “worthy leader of the Palestinians, who seeks peace with Israel and opposes terror,” it is perhaps time to ask ourselves if indeed he is such a reliable, credible and worthy peace partner.
Palestinian Prisoners Day: A Call to Churches Worldwide to Pray and Act For Justice: Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches, Apr. 17, 2014 — As the international community observes Palestinian Prisoners Day on 17 April, the World Council of Churches resolutely confirms our solidarity with the nearly 5000 Palestinian men, women and children languishing in Israeli prisons.

Statement  of  Support  for  Israel  in  light  of  the  WCC  Standing  in “Solidarity”  with  Palestinian  Prisoners: Christine Williams, ICEJ, Apr., 2014 — The Palestinian Authority (PA) marked "Prisoners Day" on April 17th by holding rallies throughout the West Bank in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Palestinians: "Prisoners Day": Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2014 — The Palestinian Authority's duplicity clearly has no limits.

Who Succeeds Mahmoud Abbas?: Neville Teller, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2014 — Lurking in the backwoods of Palestinian politics is a man whom 79-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas recognizes as his deadly rival. 

 

On Topic Links

 

Antisemitism Goes Mainstream in Canada: B’nai Brith Canada, Apr. 11, 2014

Anti-Israel BDS Resolutions Seize Campuses in Ontario, Canada: Christine Williams, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2014

In PLO-Hamas Deal, a Moment of Moral Clarity: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Apr. 24, 2014

The Evenhandedness Trap: Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet News, Apr. 25, 2014

What Is Abbas Trying to Achieve?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 25, 2014

ABU MAZEN AND HIS THREAT TO “RETURN THE

KEYS OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY”

Amb. Alan Baker

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014

                                     

Following recent statements of by Israeli leaders and politicians supporting Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as a “worthy leader of the Palestinians, who seeks peace with Israel and opposes terror,” it is perhaps time to ask ourselves if indeed he is such a reliable, credible and worthy peace partner. Does he have the authority and standing to commit the Palestinians to international obligations vis-a-vis Israel and the rest of the international community, and of instilling trust among the Israeli public, as well as among his own Palestinian public? Does he have the practical capability of fulfilling such obligations and of ensuring that the civil and military authorities under his jurisdiction would indeed accede to his authority? Does he have any authority or credibility vis-à-vis the population and the Hamas leadership of the Gaza Strip? In seeking to answer these questions it is perhaps pertinent to review his performance as leader and representative of at least part of the Palestinians, living in the West Bank areas, as well as spokesman for all Palestinians both in the United Nations and within the international community in general.

Take for instance his public statements to the international community in the UN General Assembly in November 2012 and 2013, where, in speeches replete with hatred, deceit, aggression, incitement and demagogy, he deliberately and unabashedly misled the international community, accusing Israel of: “Intending to extinguish [Palestinian] being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence.”… Throwing the Palestinians “from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.”… Accusing Israel of “barbaric and horrific” attacks in the Gaza Strip, while totally ignoring the Hamas rocket attacks that brought about Israel’s need to response… Representing Israel’s occupation as “synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement.”

At the same time, Abu Mazen tried to deceive his listeners into believing that he alone is: “Trying to breathe new life into the negotiations” and “setting a solid foundation for it,” and…Reaffirming that “Palestine will always adhere to and respect the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations and international humanitarian law, uphold equality, guarantee civil liberties, uphold the rule of law, promote democracy and pluralism, and uphold and protect the rights of women.”

These past weeks the world witnessed just how committed Abu Mazen is to peace. On March 17, he refused to support the US draft framework for negotiations during a meeting with President Obama. A week later he declared to the Arab League in Kuwait that he would not even discuss recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. Finally, on April 1, he signed requests to become party to 15 international conventions, contrary to commitments he had given that he would not do so, and in stark violation of PLO obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords.

How can anyone really believe, or elude themselves that a Palestinian leader who accuses Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, racism and hatred, who has no qualms about blatantly deceiving and lying to the international community, who willfully and deliberately ignores those obligations undertaken by the Palestinians in agreements with Israel to prevent terror and violence and to solve all outstanding issues through negotiations, could possibly be a worthy partner for negotiation? Abu Mazen’s new/old fad is to threaten repeatedly that he’ll invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to his Ramallah Palestinian Authority headquarters in order to “transfer to him the keys to the Palestinian Authority.”

Regrettably and surprisingly, several senior members Israel’s Knesset and political parties, as well as the Israeli media, view this threat seriously every time that Abu Mazen voices it. Some have even made well-publicized pilgrimages to Abu Mazen to plead with him not to give up the keys. The threat is nothing more than demagogy, similar to Abu Mazen’s oft-repeated threats to initiate charges against Israeli leaders and officers with the International Criminal Court.

Legally, if Abu Mazen as the “ra’is” of the Palestinian Authority, genuinely feels that he has failed to lead the Palestinian people to peaceful coexistence with Israel, as foreseen by the Oslo Accords, under which the Palestinian authority was established and functions, then logically, pursuant to the same accords, he should indeed hand over his keys, but to the PLO , the body that signed the agreements with Israel and that appointed him ra’is of the Palestinian Authority as well as chairman of the PLO itself. Thus, rather than playing demagogic games and issuing empty threats, he can resign his post and open up the stage for elections.

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PALESTINIAN PRISONERS DAY: A CALL TO CHURCHES

WORLDWIDE TO PRAY AND ACT FOR JUSTICE

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit,

World Council of Churches, Apr. 17, 2014

 

“The Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners”  Psalm 102

 

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ…As the international community observes Palestinian Prisoners Day on 17 April, the World Council of Churches resolutely confirms our solidarity with the nearly 5000 Palestinian men, women and children languishing in Israeli prisons. As people of faith, we are called to pray for, visit and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past.

 

We were disappointed when the Government of Israel cancelled the scheduled release of prisoners who were in Israeli jails even before the Oslo Agreement of 1993. In addition to disrupting an already fragile negotiations process, this move deepened heartache for many families, relatives, friends and, indeed, the entire Palestinian people. Since 1967, close to 750,000 Palestinians have faced detention in Israeli jails. Many are held under arbitrary administrative detention for lengthy periods with no access to quick and fair trial. We observe that Israeli legal systems for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank are separate and unequal. We are concerned by reports of torture and the use of arrest as a political weapon. We are especially concerned about the continuing practice of detaining children.

 

In solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, I invite our member churches to…1. Call on UN Member States to insist that Israel end its policy of arbitrary detention and to abide by the standard rules for the treatment of prisoners adopted in 1955… 2. Ensure that UN Member States are resolute about Israel’s obligation to its commitments to the 4th Geneva Convention, as well as its ratification of human rights conventions…3. ensure that UN Member States persist with pressure on Israel to fulfill its obligations to provide apt medical care to all Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli jails…4. Call on the UN Committee Against Torture to ensure that Israel adopts adequate criminal legislation to define and penalize torture, solitary confinement, administrative detention and the detention of children under domestic Israeli law.

 

In our commemoration of Palestinian Prisoners Day 2014, the World Council of Churches invites the wider ecumenical family to also join churches in the Holy Land in remembering Palestinian prisoners through prayers and acts of solidarity that restore to them their freedom with justice and dignity. The WCC will work and pray for a just and sustainable peace for Palestine and Israel, through the upcoming World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel in September and keep the focus whenever there are obstacles to that peace.

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STATEMENT  OF  SUPPORT  FOR  ISRAEL  IN  LIGHT  OF  THE  WCC  STANDING  IN “SOLIDARITY”  WITH  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS

Christine Williams

ICEJ, Apr., 2014

 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) marked "Prisoners Day" on April 17th by holding rallies throughout the West Bank in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. It is not the only organization to do so.  The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem Canada expresses its deep disappointment in a statement by the World Council of Churches which also expressed its solidarity with Palestinian prisoners “languishing in Jail”.  Churches in the Holy Land were invited to “remember Palestinian prisoners through prayers and acts of solidarity that restore to them their freedom with justice and dignity”.

 

While the WCC statement references the Christian ethic of remembering all prisoners in a Christian spirit of kindness, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem Canada recognizes the need and right of the state of Israel to protect its citizens from terrorism. We also stand in empathy for the victims of these terrorists and with their families who have suffered untold grief at the loss of their loved ones.  In pointing out some facts: The PA actively encourages violence against Jews as heroic and necessary politically, while religiously, it is portrayed as Allah’s will. Releasing Palestinian prisoners will not benefit the peace process as it is in the PA Charter to destroy Israel.  Just before the turn of the new year,   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned PA leader Mahmoud Abbas for referring to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails as "heroes."  Netanyahu stated that "murderers are not heroes" and added that, "peace can be achieved only when the education toward incitement and toward the destruction of Israel is stopped." Abbas has declared that there is no way he will ever recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    

Palestinian prisoners –imprisoned in Israel for security and terror-related offenses specifically–are being paid a monthly salary from the PA .  The salary comes from the official Palestinian budget which in part comes from the donations of Western countries like Canada, the U.S. and Europe. The budget for prisoners is reported to be 5 million dollars per month .  In addition, Palestinian prisoners who were  convicted of killing Israelis and then released as a good will gesture by Israel were given  at least $50,000 each by the PA; and a “comfortable” monthly salary. The PA even sponsors a summer camp for children named after terrorists.  Meanwhile, reports of torture of Palestinian prisoners by its own Palestinian security services “keep rolling in” according to the deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch. It is also perplexing what the WCC means by its call for "acts of solidarity".

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PALESTINIANS: "PRISONERS DAY"

Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2014

 

The Palestinian Authority's duplicity clearly has no limits. On April 17, it marked "Prisoners Day" by holding rallies throughout the West Bank in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. On the same day, a report published by Palestinians revealed that the Palestinian Authority has arrested hundreds of Palestinians since the beginning of this year. The report pointed out that the Palestinian Authority continues to torture detainees.

 

"Prisoners Day" is an event that has been taking place for nearly two decades and is intended to express solidarity with the thousands of prisoners who are being held by Israel for security-related offences, including some of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But as Palestinians were marking "Prisoners Day," a report released in the Gaza Strip revealed that since the beginning of 2014, this year alone, the Palestinian Authority has arrested 357 Palestinians accused of security/political offenses. According to the report, prepared by the Hamas-run Ministry of Planning, all 357 detainees belonged to various Palestinian groups in the West Bank, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The report said that 42 of the detainees are university students. During the same period, Palestinian Authority security forces also raided and searched the homes of 60 Palestinians in the West Bank suspected of security/political offenses, the report added. In March alone, Palestinian Authority security forces raided and searched 42 private and public institutions, businesses, hospitals and charitable organizations in the West Bank, the report continued. It also pointed out that the Palestinian Authority security forces were continuing to torture detainees.

 

Not surprisingly, the findings of the report were completely ignored by Palestinian Authority officials in their speeches and statements marking "Prisoners Day." Of course, the arrests by the Palestinian Authority also continue to be ignored by the mainstream media in the West. This is a story that does not reflect negatively on Israel, so is therefore not considered worthy of being reported to Western audiences. Instead, Palestinian representatives chose this occasion to heap praise on the Palestinian "heroes" and "fighters" in Israeli prisons, who have made "gigantic sacrifices for their people and cause." The PLO's Hanan Ashrawi called for dispatching international commissions of inquiry to Israeli prisons to look into Israeli "violations" against the Palestinian inmates. She also went as far as accusing Israel of "war crimes" because of its "mistreatment" of the prisoners.

 

Most of the Palestinian officials told the crowds at the West Bank rallies that the prisoners are the true heroes of the Palestinians and that there would never be peace with Israel as long as one Palestinian remained in Israeli prison. As the Palestinian Minister for Prisoners Affairs, Issa Qaraqi, put it, "There will be no agreement or peace or an extension of the [peace] talks until the gates of the prisons are opened and our prisoners are set free."

So while the Palestinian Authority is calling on the international community to punish Israel for imprisoning Palestinians, its own security forces continue to hold hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians in prison, some tortured, some without trial. Yet, the Palestinian Authority does not see its actions as a violation of human rights and international law. It is all right for Palestinians to detain and torture a fellow Palestinian. But apparently it is not all right for Israel to arrest and imprison anyone who harms its security or murders its citizens.

 

Further evidence of the Palestinian Authority's double-talk on the issue of prisoners and terrorism was provided one day before Palestinians marked "Prisoners Day." At a meeting with Israeli MKs [Members of Knesset, Israel's parliament] in Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, announced that the Palestinian Authority was "completely opposed to violence by any party." The Israeli MKs took Abu Rudaineh's remark as a straight and clear "condemnation" of a shooting attack that killed an Israeli police officer near Hebron in the West Bank two days earlier. Needless to say, the Palestinian spokesman had made no specific reference to the shooting attack. Still, for the Israeli MKs, this was sufficient evidence that the Palestinian Authority is opposed to terror attacks on Israelis and is therefore a reliable "peace partner."

 

The following day, however, the rallies and speeches marking "Prisoners Day" provided further evidence that the Palestinian Authority continues to glorify Palestinians who launch terrorist attacks against Israel. The Palestinian Authority even went as far as condemning those who label the prisoners as terrorists. In the words of Qaraqi, the Minister for Prisoners Affairs, "We condemn attempts to distort the image of our prisoners by describing them as terrorists." The Palestinian Authority told the visiting Israeli MKs that it is opposed to violence "by any party." Hours later, the Palestinian Authority told the Palestinian public that those who carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis are "heroes" and "revolutionary pioneers." The Palestinian Authority complains that there are more than 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. But the same Palestinian Authority is trying to hide the fact that it is holding and torturing many Palestinians in its prisons.

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WHO SUCCEEDS MAHMOUD ABBAS?

Neville Teller                                                                                 Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2014

 

Lurking in the backwoods of Palestinian politics is a man whom 79-year-old President Mahmoud Abbas recognizes as his deadly rival.  Thirty years younger than Abbas, he has been a thorn in the President’s flesh from the moment of his election, continually criticizing him for weak leadership and corruption, a charge he extends to Abbas’s two sons.  In response, Abbas has had him and his followers expelled from the Fatah party and exiled from the West Bank, and has hurled a barrage of  accusations against him, including that of colluding with Israeli agents to poison the revered ex-Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. This 52-year-old hate figure – hated and feared not only by Abbas, but by all within the Fatah movement with aspirations to succeed the ageing President – is Mohammed Yusuf Dahlan.

 

Born in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza strip in 1961, Dahlan became politically active as a teenager, and in 1981 helped to establish the Gaza branch of the Fatah Youth Movement, “Fatah Hawks”.  His CV contains the necessary passport to political acceptance in Palestinian circles – time spent in an Israeli jail for terrorist activities.  Between 1981 and 1986, he was arrested no less than 11 times.  In 2007, consistent with his pro-Fatah – and therefore anti-Hamas – stance, Dahlan assisted in an abortive US plan to overthrow the Hamas administration that had seized power in Gaza in a bloody confrontation with Fatah. To fund this operation, reports have it that he extracted from the US government a huge sum – estimated at $1 billion – but though he never delivered, he refused to refund the money. That is one US count against him. Another is that he has thrown in his lot with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the interim Egyptian government under Field Marshal (soon to be President) al-Sisi, and is supporting their offensive against the Middle East policies of US President Obama.

 

This Palestinian renegade acquired his formidable political status by way of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is one of al-Sisi’s most generous bankers, and who stands at the forefront of the Saudi-UAE life-and-death campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. Now Dahlan has established himself in Cairo, within al-Sisi’s inner circle of advisers on the Palestinian question –which explains the extraordinary diatribe spouted by Abbas, a few weeks ago, to a closed meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. During an hour-long harangue he accused Dahlan, along with Khaled Islam, a former economic adviser to Arafat, and ex-PA minister Hassan Asfour, of acting as spies for Israel.  He had knowledge, he claimed, of ties between Dahlan and Israeli leaders. He followed this up by asserting that Dahlan and his followers were involved in the assassination of Salah Shahadeh, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 2002.  Then he topped the list of accusations by again hinting, as he had done some years ago, that Dahlan and his associates – “the three spies” Abbas dubbed them – were involved in the death of Yasser Arafat.

 

Dahlan, declared Abbas, would never be allowed back in Fatah, nor, he suggested, was there room in the party for those still loyal to him. In response, Dahlan asserted on his Facebook page that Abbas’s speech was “full of lies and deception” which he proposed one day to disclose. Meanwhile senior Hamas figures like Taher al-Nunu, and Salah el-Bardawil, demanded a full and transparent enquiry into the assassination of Salah Shahadeh. On his Facebook page, al-Nunu wrote: “if there is truth to the matter, why has [Abbas] kept his silence and appointed Dahlan to high-level positions? How do we know that Abbas did not know about it?” In short, it is clear that the relationship between Abbas and Dahlan has reached an all-time low, while Dahlan himself seems to be riding high. Fueled by millions in Gulf aid dollars, raised in part by himself from business people and charities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, he seems to be orchestrating a comeback that could position him as a possible successor to Abbas… That Abbas may retire following the virtual failure of the current peace process is certainly on the cards.  Putting aside his age and other political considerations, his personal status as President is questionable.  He was elected in 2005 for a four-year term, but 2009 came and went, his presidency was extended by diktat, the Hamas-Fatah feud has precluded any elections, and here we are in 2014 with Abbas still clinging to office.

 

Besides Dahlan who is in the running?… The Palestinian politician with the broadest appeal, according to the polls, is 54-year-old Marwan Barghouti, a charismatic Palestinian leader currently convicted of  murdering four people during terrorist operations in 2001 and 2002, and serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli jail.  The polls, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, show that Barghouti would easily come out on top of a three-way race involving also Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas.  An ardent supporter of the two-state solution and Palestinian resistance, he is considered top contender for the presidential post, and perhaps the only figure who can reunite the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The PA is demanding Barghouti’s freedom as part of a deal to save the peace talks from collapse. If he is released, as part of some last ditch rescue attempt, he becomes a formidable alternative to Dahlan. If Israel keeps him in prison, then Dahlan is well placed to sweep Mahmoud Abbas aside and become the next Palestinian president.

 

CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Antisemitism Goes Mainstream in Canada: B’nai Brith Canada, Apr. 11, 2014 —On the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover during which Jews around the world will join together to recall their ongoing struggle for freedom and national Jewish liberation, the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, is announcing the results of its Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.

Anti-Israel BDS Resolutions Seize Campuses in Ontario, Canada: Christine Williams, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2014—Under the guise of promoting peace and human rights, resolutions to join Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] drives are being foisted on Canadian university campuses to push the agenda of the Muslim terrorist group, Hamas, to destroy Israel.

In PLO-Hamas Deal, a Moment of Moral Clarity: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, Apr. 24, 2014—Last week, I wrote a column calling on the Palestinian Authority to grow up, get serious, and start acting like the responsible, capable, and free state it would have us believe it wishes to become.

The Evenhandedness Trap: Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet News, Apr. 25, 2014—US support for Palestinian statehood, despite Palestinians' endorsement of terrorism, creates contradiction between policy towards Palestinians and other policies towards radical Islam.

What Is Abbas Trying to Achieve?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 25, 2014—Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas has once again surprised Israel and the U.S. Administration, this time by signing a "reconciliation" agreement with Hamas.               

 

Contents

 

Anti-Semitism From Ukraine to the U.S.: Kenneth L. Marcus, Algemeiner, Apr. 23, 2014 —Few recent news articles captured more attention than reports that Jews in Ukraine were being ordered to register.

Death, Lies and Propaganda in Eastern Ukraine: Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast, Apr. 24, 2014—Troops sent by Kiev kill five people at a checkpoint in East Ukraine and the saber rattling from Moscow grows louder by the minute.

US Reacts to Russia’s Growing Clout, Warming Ties to Egypt by Unfreezing Weapon Aid: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014—The US move to unfreeze the delivery of 10 advanced Apache helicopters to Egypt comes on the heels of Russia’s increasing global activity and warming relations with the pivotal Arab country.

Russia Said Set to Sell its Top Fighter Jets to Egypt: Times of Israel, Apr. 22, 2014—In potential shift of orientation away from US, Cairo said hosting Moscow delegation to discuss purchase of 24 MiG-35s

Turkey Vulnerable to Rising Russian Power in the Black Sea: Micha’el Tanchum, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2014—With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and bolder Russian naval power in the Black Sea.

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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

Asaf Romirowsky: The Evenhandedness Trap

It is clear that by the end of the month the Obama-Kerry peace initiative will be declared a failure. While the efforts may have been sincere, the lack of historical understanding and reading of the signs doomed these efforts from the beginning.

 

Historically, what is prevalent among American foreign policy makers is the view that both parties in the negotiations, Israelis and Palestinians, are equal; ergo, they are equally responsible and equally to blame. In itself this is a flawed reading of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead, one must start with the fact that the majority of the Arab-Muslim world has always seen the Jewish state as an abomination.

 

Famous educator and philosopher John Dewey viewed social hope as an essential component of American democracy, where theology and law are secondary to the free will of people engaged in pragmatic politics. Over the years, many peace brokers have fallen into the trap of wishing to export this form of hope into the Arab mindset that, if adopted, would endear them to American values of Americana. An honest reading of history disproves any of these attempts.

 

A perfect case study is the 2000 Mitchell Report, the product of a committee headed by former US Senator George Mitchell, who was given the mandate to oversee Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Three years earlier, Mitchell had succeeded in reaching a peace agreement in Northern Ireland, and he sought to duplicate that same success in the Middle East. Moreover, he identified substantial similarities between the two conflicts.

 

As Mitchell writes, "I’ve often been asked what lessons Northern Ireland holds for other conflicts, especially the Middle East. I’ll try to answer that question now. I begin with caution. Each human being is unique. Each human society is unique. It follows logically, then, that no two conflicts are the same. Much as we would like it, there is no magic formula which, once discovered, can be used to end all conflicts. But there are certain principles that I believe are universal in their reach. They arise out of my beliefs, and they were validated for me by my experience in Northern Ireland. I call them the Principles of Peace. First, I believe there’s no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended. They’re created and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings. No matter how ancient the conflict, no matter how hateful, no matter how hurtful, peace can prevail."

 

Mitchell’s conclusions mirror the Dewy mindset but go further to demand a peace which, despite his talk of uniqueness, lacks any understanding of the actual Middle Eastern environment.

Important contrasts

 

Reaching a peace agreement freely, as a pragmatic repudiation of local culture and history, is an integral part of American democracy and negotiating style. Mitchell worked from the premise that freely reached agreements would facilitate compromise between warring parties, just as they do in America. His challenge, however, was to convince all the parties that the democratic ideals he proposed were above the details of the conflict would facilitate success. This did not occur.

Mitchell’s legacy to the Obama-Kerry team has been the foundation for discussing peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on Confidence Building Measures (CBM). Like many others, he believed the basis for creating peace required building trust, both in Ireland and Israel, and he omitted addressing responsibility or fault. Thus, one of Northern Ireland’s greatest successes lay not in the peace agreement, but in overcoming the rivalry between Catholic and Protestant victimization complexes. Unfortunately, a sense of victimhood is the core of Palestinian identity; Israel’s creation is the original sin.

 

There are important contrasts between Mitchell and Kerry-Obama, principally the belief that the only trust they need to gain is from the Palestinians. Unlike Mitchell, Obama and Kerry have made it quite clear that Israel is the "real" obstacle to peace. But US support for Palestinian statehood, despite the Palestinians' obvious and overwhelming endorsement of terrorism, has brought US policy towards the Palestinians into contradiction with other policies towards radical Islam. Going forward after this latest failure of negotiations is to tie its Palestinian policy, and its policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict, with wider US goals of regional stability and development.

 

Palestinian rejectionism of the simple concept of the Jewish state makes a farce of the evenhandedness Washington has thus far pursued. It also shows how ill-informed Washington is about Palestinian national identity, predicated on winning a zero sum struggle with Zionism, not a vision of a state of their own. With such a radical lack of empathy there can be little social hope.

 

Finally, it would behoove Washington to do a serious reality check of their friends and enemies before they begin to engage in another peace non-starter.

 

Asaf Romirowsky is an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Forum,

and a CIJR Academic Fellow

RUSSIA & THE MIDDLE EAST FACING THE CHALLENGE OF AN AGGRESSIVE, AUTOCRATIC RUSSIA—A NEUTRAL ISRAEL(FOR NOW) & A STRONG U.S. POLICY ON SYRIA COULD BE THE SOLUTION

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, 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: rob@isranet.org

 

Vladimir Putin’s 19th-Century Muse: George Jonas, National Post, Apr. 23, 2014— Russia is a natural autocracy. No reason to grab the gun under your pillow: So are most national cultures, at least historically.

Can Israel Be Neutral on Ukraine?: Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2014 — Bored by life in the opposition and missing his previous career’s action, Moshe Dayan decided to go to Vietnam, take a close look at what then was the world’s only major war, and report his impressions in several newspapers.

Stopping Russia Starts in Syria: Anne-Marie Slaughter, Project Syndicate, Apr. 23, 2014 — The solution to the crisis in Ukraine lies in part in Syria.

What Samuel Huntington Knew: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2014 — 'What would happen," Samuel Huntington once wondered, "if the American model no longer embodied strength and success, no longer seemed to be the winning model?"

 

On Topic Links

 

Anti-Semitism From Ukraine to the U.S.: Kenneth L. Marcus, Algemeiner, Apr. 23, 2014

Death, Lies and Propaganda in Eastern Ukraine: Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast, Apr. 24, 2014

US Reacts to Russia’s Growing Clout, Warming Ties to Egypt by Unfreezing Weapon Aid: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014

Russia Said Set to Sell its Top Fighter Jets to Egypt: Times of Israel, Apr. 22, 2014  

Turkey Vulnerable to Rising Russian Power in the Black Sea: Micha’el Tanchum, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2014

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S 19TH-CENTURY MUSE                                             

George Jonas    

National Post, Apr. 23, 2014

                                                           

Russia is a natural autocracy. No reason to grab the gun under your pillow: So are most national cultures, at least historically. It’s a reason, though, for keeping a gun in the bedroom, especially in a rough neighbourhood. Western-style democracy has much to recommend it — I personally wouldn’t want to live under any other system — but it isn’t a law of nature. Societies can and do function in countries based on many different organizing principles. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union 23 years ago, the Russian state has been functioning as a regency. Two successive regents, first Boris Yeltsin and now Vladimir Putin, are keeping the Kremlin cozy for the next monarch to be anointed — or perhaps elected, in a nod to modern times. Elected rulers can be as autocratic as anointed ones. Whatever dynasty the next Czar will come from, old or new, native or foreign, trust the Russian people to recognize their prince.

 

All regencies raise the specter of an ambitious regent usurping the throne for himself, and history is replete with brooding Hamlets alerted by their fathers’ ghosts to dastardly deeds in the castle. Boris Yeltsin was above suspicion in this respect in a way Vladimir Putin certainly isn’t, but I still suggest, as I did when the ex-KGB officer first appeared on the national horizon, that Putin doesn’t think of himself as Czar Peter the Great, but as Prince Aleksandr Gorchakov. Prince Gorchakov was a pivotal figure in 19th century Russian diplomacy in the days of Czars Alexander I, Nicholas I and Alexander II. As Russia’s foreign minister for 25 years, he’s credited with rehabilitating his country’s standing in the world in the wake of the disastrous Crimean War of 1853-1856. After Sevastopol fell to British and French expeditionary forces in 1855, Russia’s stock as a world power sank almost as low as it did following the collapse of the Berlin Wall 135 years later. It took Prince Gorchakov 15 years of cool, unhurried diplomacy to rebuild it. Working under his master, Alexander II — the “reformist” czar who emancipated Russia’s serfs — Gorchakov took his country from the Peace of Paris, which closed the Black Sea to Russia’s warships, all the way to the 1871 Convention of London, which compensated Russia for its losses in the Crimean War.

 

This remarkable achievement — how often do you hear of victors compensating the vanquished? — was brought about by a realistic alignment of power relationships, culminating in clever Russian treaties with Germany and Persia. For his patient pursuit of realpolitik, Gorchakov has been compared with his contemporary, Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who put modern Germany on the map — or with our contemporary, Henry Kissinger, a champion of realpolitik. Putin’s desire for a “multi-polar” world is an aspiration shared by statesmen of old, from Prince Metternich to Prince Bismarck. The 20th century was deeply ideological. But the 21st century is shaping up to be more like the 19th century, with ideological divisions counting for less than realpolitik, spheres of influence, and balance of power. Putin’s desire for a “multi-polar” world is an aspiration shared by statesmen of old, from Prince Metternich to Prince Bismarck.

 

As a disciple of Russia’s great foreign-affairs virtuoso of the 19th century, Putin aims to secure for his country a seat at the table where the Great Game is being played, today as much as in Rudyard Kipling’s day. A revival of communism, or any messianic ideology, is not on the Kremlin’s current agenda, but opposition to “unipolarity” — meaning the United States as the world’s only superpower — is. Would the West really go to war to prevent Russia from joining the action being played in her doorway? That’s Putin’s question, to which he pretty much knows the answer. It’s no, of course, are you crazy? If asked, the Obama White House would also oppose the U.S. being the world’s only superpower. The West wouldn’t go to war, not for unipolarity, not for Crimea, not for Ukraine. In fact, a union between Russia and Ukraine would make perfect sense to most people in the West, if only the respective populations wanted it. More sense, anyway, than just about any two member nations of the European Union. Of course, in the case of the EU, the organizing principle is Europe’s fear of itself. Europeans don’t like meeting themselves in dark allays. Their embrace is a boxers’ clinch. Will Ukraine join a Russia it can’t lick? Stay tuned.

                                                                                               

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CAN ISRAEL BE NEUTRAL ON UKRAINE?

Amotz Asa-El

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2014

 

Bored by life in the opposition and missing his previous career’s action, Moshe Dayan decided to go to Vietnam, take a close look at what then was the world’s only major war, and report his impressions in several newspapers. The Americans – still confident of their victory – rolled out the red carpet for the celebrated general as he landed in Saigon, showing him whatever he wished, from close-range fighting to large-scale deployments, and showering him with briefings, tours and dinners with assorted generals, including the war’s commander, Gen. William Westmoreland. Jerusalem, however, was less enthusiastic. Responding to protestations in the Knesset, even from Dayan’s own Rafi faction, over a famous Israeli personality arguably taking sides in the conflict, foreign minister Abba Eban told the plenary he could not stop a private citizen from traveling wherever he wished. The Jewish state, however, had elaborate and sensitive interests in Asia, and “would welcome any effort that would lead to opening negotiations for a settlement of just peace in this conflict.”

This was 1966, when the IDF’s main weaponry was European, and American aid was modest and strictly civilian. Israel, in short, owed America a lot less than it owes it today. Then again, Israel’s current response to the steadily escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine smacks of the same reluctance to take sides displayed during the Vietnam War. The only difference is that now there are many more reasons – global, regional and Jewish – to shun the international system’s hottest flash point.

The Ukrainian situation deteriorated twice this week. First, when the interim government in Kiev ordered, for the first time since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, military action, and secondly, when the pro-Russian secessionist euphoria spread beyond Ukraine, to Moldova. With 40,000 Russian troops mobilized on its eastern border, and challenged by ethnic Russian militias roaming its eastern cities, Ukraine ordered a military operation. Retaking an airport lost previously to pro-Russian militias, it initially seemed as if the Ukrainians have a plan and know what they are doing. However, what was initially trumpeted as a Ukrainian “offensive” soon proved hollow, when a lightly armored column was stopped in its tracks by unarmed pro-Russian civilians. The seizure, at the same time, of Ukrainian armored vehicles elsewhere, and their display in the town of Slovyansk a day before three Russians were killed in a skirmish with Ukrainian forces, all raised fears that a bloody clash was but a matter of time…

The West, meanwhile, remained perplexed. As American, European and Ukrainian diplomats prepared to hold talks with Russia Thursday, US President Barack Obama again blamed the crisis on Moscow, but when asked to shift from rhetoric to action he failed to deliver more than the vague vow that each Russian attempt to “destabilize” Ukraine will bear “consequences.” In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was not much more specific when he said the American- led alliance will reinforce its presence along its eastern frontiers – apparently referring to NATO members Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, all former Warsaw Pact members bordering Ukraine. Rasmussen had hardly finished his statement when fresh developments again exposed the West as responding to events rather than shaping them. In Moldova, the former Soviet republic of 3.5 million abutting southwestern Ukraine, the regional parliament of Transnistria formally asked Russia to recognize its secession…In itself, Moldova may still seem marginal for Westerners, but the next candidate for such secessionist emasculation is Latvia, a NATO member more than twice the size of Belgium with a sizable Russian-speaking population directly opposite Stockholm, across the Baltic. In short, at stake is a major clash between Europe and Russia, a confrontation in which America has taken sides hastily and now expects its allies to follow it as it stumbles further into this European fray. The Jewish state, it appears, is politely rejecting this demand.

There was a brief moment during Israel’s infancy when it toyed with the idea of assuming a policy of neutrality between East and West. That quest quickly proved unrealistic, as the Arab states loomed prominently in what became the nonaligned bloc, while the Jewish state could fit nowhere but in the West, whether in terms of its ideals, economy or diplomacy. That is why even during the Korean War, when David Ben-Gurion turned down a request to send troops to fight alongside the US-led international force, Israel did send the South medicines and food, even though the Jewish state was at the time so strapped that it rationed bread, milk and eggs. By 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Israel had not even that minimal maneuver space. Whereas America had by then become the IDF’s main supplier, Moscow had severed ties with Jerusalem following the Six Day War and emerged as the center of anti-Israeli gravity, whether in terms of its diplomacy, propaganda, arms exports, emigration policy or oppression of the Jewish faith. It therefore went without saying, when the US decided to boycott the Moscow Olympics of 1980, that Israel would do the same as Uncle Sam.

Today’s situation is different in just about every aspect. First, Russia is not anti-Israel. Not only are relations between Jerusalem and Moscow normal, in many ways they are even warm. Traffic between the two countries is free and hectic, Russia has become Israel’s major oil supplier, it is a potentially deep destination for Israeli exports and the two countries are in the process of finalizing a free-trade agreement.

Then there is the Jewish aspect. Though a million Jews have left, both Russia and Ukraine remain home to sizable Jewish communities. According to last year’s World Jewish Population Survey there were 255,000 Jews in Russia and Ukraine, about a quarter of them in Ukraine. Counting semi-Jews, as Israel must do, the number multiplies. The Jewish state is therefore calculating its treatment of the Ukrainian conflict in a way that considers the fate of the Jews on both its sides.

Israel’s normalization of its ties with Russia is a major strategic asset, the happy aftermath of an epic struggle that was led jointly by Israeli leaders, American statesmen and the Jewish Diaspora. Barack Obama was too young to experience this hard-won struggle, but in Israel it is etched in every political mind, certainly that of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who joined that struggle as an ambassador at the UN, not to mention Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was born and raised in Soviet Moldova. Then there is the Middle East. The past three years’ upheaval across the Arab world has for now resulted in increased Russian presence and diminishing American prestige. Obama’s failed gambles in Egypt, where he chased Mubarak from power and then failed to avert the Muslim Brotherhood’s removal, have resulted in previously unthinkable arms deals between Cairo and Moscow. Meanwhile, the unfulfilled threat to hit Syria if it uses chemical weapons has further enhanced Russia’s position, as Bashar Assad’s loyal and efficient sponsor. Faced with such a Russian comeback, Israel would be foolhardy to squander its hard-earned relations with post-Communist Russia…

Neutrality in this conflict seems for now Israel’s only plausible choice, and Jerusalem apparently expected Washington to understand this, as indeed does the Israeli opposition, where no one has so far attacked this policy, not even Meretz chairperson and human-rights champion Zehava Gal-On, with or without connection to her own arrival here, as a child, from Soviet Lithuania. That is also why Netanyahu, in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, reiterated Israel’s hope that the conflict in the Ukraine would be peacefully resolved – just as Abba Eban once said of Vietnam.                                                                                             

                                                                                               

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STOPPING RUSSIA STARTS IN SYRIA                                               

Anne-Marie Slaughter

Project Syndicate, Apr. 23, 2014

                                                           

The solution to the crisis in Ukraine lies in part in Syria. It is time for US President Barack Obama to demonstrate that he can order the offensive use of force in circumstances other than secret drone attacks or covert operations. The result will change the strategic calculus not only in Damascus, but also in Moscow, not to mention Beijing and Tokyo. Many argue that Obama's climb-down from his threatened missile strikes against Syria last August emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea. But it is more likely that Putin acted for domestic reasons — to distract Russians' attention from their country's failing economy and to salve the humiliation of watching pro-European demonstrators oust the Ukrainian government he backed.

 

Regardless of Putin's initial motivations, he is now operating in an environment in which he is quite certain of the parameters of play. He is weighing the value of further dismemberment of Ukraine, with some pieces either joining Russia or becoming Russian vassal states, against the pain of much stronger and more comprehensive economic sanctions. Western use of force, other than to send arms to a fairly hapless Ukrainian army, is not part of the equation. That is a problem. In the case of Syria, the US, the world's largest and most flexible military power, has chosen to negotiate with its hands tied behind its back for more than three years. This is no less of a mistake in the case of Russia, with a leader like Putin who measures himself and his fellow leaders in terms of crude machismo.

 

It is time to change Putin's calculations, and Syria is the place to do it. Through a combination of mortars that shatter entire city quarters, starvation, hypothermia, and now barrel bombs that spray nails and shrapnel indiscriminately, President Bashar al-Assad's forces have seized the advantage. Slowly but surely, the government is reclaiming rebel-held territory. "Realist" foreign policy analysts openly describe Assad as the lesser evil compared to the Al Qaeda-affiliated members of the opposition; others see an advantage in letting all sides fight it out, tying one another down for years. Moreover, the Syrian government does appear to be slowly giving up its chemical weapons, as it agreed last September to do. The problem is that if Assad continues to believe that he can do anything to his people except kill them with chemicals, he will exterminate his opponents, slaughtering everyone he captures and punishing entire communities, just as his father, Hafez al-Assad, massacred the residents of Hama in 1982. He has demonstrated repeatedly that he is cut from the same ruthless cloth.

 

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Assad has fanned fears of what Sunni opposition forces might do to the Alawites, Druze, Christians and other minorities if they won. But we need not speculate about Assad's behavior. We have seen enough. A US strike against the Syrian government now would change the entire dynamic. It would either force the regime back to the negotiating table with a genuine intention of reaching a settlement, or at least make it clear that Assad will not have a free hand in re-establishing his rule. It is impossible to strike Syria legally so long as Russia sits on the United Nations Security Council, given its ability to veto any resolution authorizing the use of force. But even Russia agreed in February to Resolution 2139, designed to compel the Syrian government to increase flows of humanitarian aid to starving and wounded civilians. Among other things, Resolution 2139 requires that "all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs…."

 

The great irony is that Putin is now seeking to do in Ukraine exactly what Assad has done so successfully: portray a legitimate political opposition as a gang of thugs and terrorists, while relying on provocations and lies to turn non-violent protest into violent attacks that then justify an armed response. Recall that the Syrian opposition marched peacefully under fire for six months before the first units of the Free Syrian Army tentatively began to form. In Ukraine, Putin would be happy to turn a peaceful opposition's ouster of a corrupt government into a civil war. Putin may believe, as Western powers have repeatedly told their own citizens, that NATO forces will never risk the possibility of nuclear war by deploying in Ukraine. Perhaps not. But the Russian forces destabilizing eastern Ukraine wear no insignia. Mystery soldiers can fight on both sides….

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]

 

Contents
                                  

WHAT SAMUEL HUNTINGTON KNEW                                              

Bret Stephens   

Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2014

 

'What would happen," Samuel Huntington once wondered, "if the American model no longer embodied strength and success, no longer seemed to be the winning model?" The question, when the great Harvard political scientist asked it in 1991, seemed far-fetched. The Cold War was won, the Soviet Union was about to vanish. History was at an end. All over the world, people seemed to want the same things in the same way: democracy, capitalism, free trade, free speech, freedom of conscience, freedom for women. "The day of the dictator is over," George H.W. Bush had said in his 1989 inaugural address. "We know what works: Freedom works. We know what's right: Freedom is right." Not quite. A quarter-century later, the dictators are back in places where we thought they had been banished. And they're back by popular demand.

Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will not have to stuff any ballots to get himself elected president next month; he's going to win in a walk. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán presides over the most illiberal government in modern Europe, but he had no trouble winning a third term in elections two weeks ago. In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent recent months brutalizing protesters in Istanbul, shutting down judicial inquiries into corruption allegations against his government, and seeking to block Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, the ultimate emblems of digital freedom. But his AKP party still won resounding victories in key municipal elections last month.

 

And then there is Russia. In a Journal op-ed Monday, foreign-policy analyst Ilan Berman pointed out that Russia had $51 billion in capital flight in the first quarter of 2014, largely thanks to Vladimir Putin's Crimean caper. That's a lot of money for a country with a GDP roughly equal to that of Italy. The World Bank predicts the Russian economy could shrink by 2% this year. Relations with the West haven't been worse since the days of Yuri Andropov. But never mind about that. Mr. Putin has a public approval rating of 80%, according to the independent Levada Center. That's up from 65% in early February. Maybe it's something in the water. Or the culture. Or the religion. Or the educational system. Or the level of economic development. Or the underhanded ways in which authoritarian leaders manipulate media and suppress dissent. The West rarely runs out of explanations for why institutions of freedom—presumably fit for all people for all time—seem to fit only some people, sometimes.

 

But maybe there's something else at work. Maybe the West mistook the collapse of communism—just one variant of dictatorship—as a vindication of liberal democracy. Maybe the West forgot that it needed to justify its legitimacy not only in the language of higher democratic morality. It needed to show that the morality yields benefits: higher growth, lower unemployment, better living. Has the West been performing well lately? If the average Turk looks to Greece as the nearest example of a Western democracy, does he see much to admire? Did Egyptians have a happy experience of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood? Should a government in Budapest take economic advice from the finance ministry of France? Did ethnic Russians prosper under a succession of Kiev kleptocrats?

 

"Sustained inability to provide welfare, prosperity, equity, justice, domestic order, or external security could over time undermine the legitimacy of even democratic governments," Huntington warned. "As the memories of authoritarian failures fade, irritation with democratic failures is likely to increase." The passage quoted here comes from "The Third Wave," the book Huntington wrote just before his famous essay on the clash of civilizations. The "wave" was a reference to the 30 or so authoritarian states that, between 1974 and 1990, adopted democratic institutions. The two previous waves referred to the rise of mass-suffrage democracy in the 1830s and the post-Wilsonian wave of the 1920s. In each previous case, revolution succumbed to reaction; Weimar gave way to Hitler. Huntington knew that the third wave, too, would crest, crash and recede. It's happening now. The real question is how hard it will crash, on whom, for how long…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.]

 

Contents

 

Anti-Semitism From Ukraine to the U.S.: Kenneth L. Marcus, Algemeiner, Apr. 23, 2014 —Few recent news articles captured more attention than reports that Jews in Ukraine were being ordered to register.

Death, Lies and Propaganda in Eastern Ukraine: Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast, Apr. 24, 2014—Troops sent by Kiev kill five people at a checkpoint in East Ukraine and the saber rattling from Moscow grows louder by the minute.

US Reacts to Russia’s Growing Clout, Warming Ties to Egypt by Unfreezing Weapon Aid: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2014—The US move to unfreeze the delivery of 10 advanced Apache helicopters to Egypt comes on the heels of Russia’s increasing global activity and warming relations with the pivotal Arab country.

Russia Said Set to Sell its Top Fighter Jets to Egypt: Times of Israel, Apr. 22, 2014—In potential shift of orientation away from US, Cairo said hosting Moscow delegation to discuss purchase of 24 MiG-35s

Turkey Vulnerable to Rising Russian Power in the Black Sea: Micha’el Tanchum, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 19, 2014—With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and bolder Russian naval power in the Black Sea.

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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Rob Coles, 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:  Rob Coles, 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: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 


Download a pdf version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “As the international community observes Palestinian Prisoners Day on 17 April, the World Council of Churches resolutely confirms our solidarity with the nearly 5000 Palestinian men, women and children languishing in Israeli prisons. As people of faith, we are called to pray for, visit and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past. We were disappointed when the Government of Israel cancelled the scheduled release of prisoners who were in Israeli jails even before the Oslo Agreement of 1993. In addition to disrupting an already fragile negotiations process, this move deepened heartache for many families, relatives, friends and, indeed, the entire Palestinian people.” —Statement by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary for the World Council of Churches, an organization whose members include most Christian churches. (Oikoumene.org, Apr. 17, 2014)

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Russia Employs a New Kind of Warfare With an Old Pedigree: Anne Applebaum, National Post, Apr. 17, 2014

Putin’s News Network: Robert Fulford, National Post, Mar. 29, 2014

The Peace Process’ Prime Paradox: Jackson Diehl, New York Post, Apr. 19, 2014

Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out: Norman Podhoretz, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 9, 2014

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Our basic position is that we hope Russia and Ukraine will find a way as quickly as possible to normalize relations, and find a way to talks, and to solve all the problems peacefully,” —Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, stating that Israel intended to refrain from taking a firm position on the Ukrainian crisis, saying there is “no lack” of problems with which to contend in the Middle East. Liberman added that “we will support all efforts to solve this issue in the fastest way possible, without confrontation or friction.” Israel has tried to remain out of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, not taking public sides with Ukraine and the U.S. in the matter, out of concern that this would anger Moscow and redound negatively on Israel’s security concerns in the region, specifically Syria and Iran. This position has raised some eyebrows in Washington, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying last week the U.S. was surprised Israel did not participate in a UN General Assembly vote on the matter last month. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2014)

 

“…Obama’s consequences haven’t even been inconsequential; they’ve had the opposite of their intended effect. Rather than send the Ukrainians weapons or useful intelligence, we sent them a bunch of MREs (“Meals Ready to Eat”). And even that we were unwilling to do in too provocative a way. We didn’t use Air Force cargo-planes, but rather sent the snacks in by civilian trucks. Meanwhile, pleas from allies to deploy more assets to Poland and other front-line NATO states were rebuffed by the White House. On April 12, the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House was still weighing requests from the Ukrainian government for other supplies such as “medical kits, uniforms, boots and military socks.” Call me crazy, but I doubt the response will be, “Comrades! Call it off! We can’t take the chance that the Ukrainians will have warm, dry feet when we invade Kiev!” Jonah Goldberg (National Review, Apr. 18, 2014)

 

“I said this morning that Abbas must choose between peace with Israel and the unity agreement with Hamas, a murderous terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel,” —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response to a unity accord signed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas. Netanyahu added that “Abu Mazen [Abbas] could have chosen peace with Israel instead of peace with a murderous terror organization. Tonight, while talks are ongoing to extend peace talks, he chose Hamas … He who chooses Hamas does not want peace.” Under the agreement signed Wednesday, the factions are to form a unity government in five weeks, according to reports citing Palestinian officials. Fatah and Hamas representatives met from Tuesday to early Wednesday morning in Gaza. (JTA, Apr. 23, 2014) 

“No Palestinian is speaking of an initiative to dismantle the Palestinian Authority,” —Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat. “But Israel’s actions have annulled all the legal, political, security, economic and operations aspects of the prerogatives of the Palestinian Authority,” Erakat added, responding to threats made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday that if peace talks fail he may dismantle the Palestinian Authority and hand over responsibility for 2.5 million of his people to Israel. Mr. Abbas told a group of visiting Israeli reporters that their country’s policies had left his West Bank government powerless and that if it continues its path he will “let it come and run this authority.” (National Post, Apr. 22, 2014)

 

“If they’re threatening, let them threaten. It doesn’t mean we have to panic and go into all of the implications,” —an official Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Someone who threatens to cut off their nose to spite their face should be thinking about the implications. We’re not going to fall into their trap and play their game,” the source added. Israeli officials see the idea of dismantling the PA as an empty threat being used to try to force Israeli concessions before the clock runs out on the nine months the parties agreed to allot to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to try to reach an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement. In the last few weeks, the talks have centered simply on reaching a deal to continue negotiating past the April 29 deadline. (National Post, Apr. 22, 2014)

 

“We hear the same threats recycled again and again that if we don’t give him everything he wants, oy vey for us,” —Bayit Yehudi leader and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, dismissing the threat by PA President Abbas to dismantle the PA, saying Abbas had issued the same threat on six previous occasions. Bennet added: “What is he threatening? Dismantling an authority that incites for terrorism, violates the Oslo Accords, that pays stipends to murderers of Jews? Israel is stronger than his threats.” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2014)

 

“…In another stage of the Passover celebrations, [the Jews] combined the preparation of matzas and the offering up of sacrifices with their enmity towards non-Jews, especially Christians, and mixed the blood of one of their victims into the matza … especially on Passover, Purim and circumcision rituals. They also used blood in acts of sorcery and witchcraft…” —article from the Egyptian magazine El Kibar by Firnas Hafzi, a supposed expert on Hebrew who also writes about fashion, beauty and health. The article breaks new ground in the classic Passover blood libel, recycling the historic medieval blood libels as fact and adding new accusations against Jews. Hafzi added that “as part of the efforts to deny [the Jewish crimes], Jewish Americans wrote stories about vampires in the 1970s, in order to disassociate themselves from the accusation of sucking human blood and deceive [the mechanisms of] justice. During that period they spent millions on Dracula films, in order to deceive world public opinion. They claimed that those who slaughter children and adults and suck their blood are lunatics and that all this has nothing to do with them and their religious rituals. On February 14, 1964, the [Egyptian] magazine Al-Musawwar published a story about vampires in Colombia after many [Colombian] children had been slaughtered to shed their blood. Neither the magazine nor the investigators in Colombia dreamed that the vampires might be Jews, rather than [people who] sell blood to hospitals…” Not surprisingly, out of hundreds of millions of Arabs, no one denounces these lies. (Elder of Ziyon, Apr. 18, 2014)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

UKRAINE RABBI CALLS ANTI-SEMITIC LEAFLET A POLITICAL HOAX (Donetsk)— A Ukrainian rabbi whose congregation was the target of an anti-Semitic leaflet that drew global media interest and condemnation from the US government believes it was a hoax and wants to put the matter to rest. But five days after the incident in the restive eastern city of Donetsk, Ukraine's prime minister, anxious to maintain US support against Russia, issued a statement accusing Moscow and told a US TV channel he would find the "bastards" responsible. On Monday evening, Apr. 14, as Jews left a synagogue after a Passover service, masked men handed out fliers purported to be from pro-Russian separatists who seized the regional authority building in Donetsk and styled themselves as its government. In an echo of the Holocaust which devastated Ukraine's Jews, it ordered all Jews to register with them or face deportation. Denis Pushilin, head of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic, said it was a fake, presumably by supporters of the Ukrainian government, that was meant to discredit his movement. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 20, 2014)

 

EASTERN UKRAINE'S PRO-RUSSIAN ACTIVISTS STAND FAST (Kiev)— Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine refused to vacate the government facilities they have occupied, defying a compromise agreement struck a day earlier by international powers, including Russia, that called on them to leave. Denis Pushilin, the leader of the uprising that calls itself the People's Republic of Donetsk, said at a news conference Friday in the southeast Ukrainian city's seized administration building that the activists wouldn't exit until the new leaders in Kiev leave the government, which he said they have been occupying unlawfully since late February. The activists' refusal seemed to undermine a deal reached Thursday in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union, aimed at neutralizing a crisis that has plunged Ukraine into political and civil disarray and thrown Russia and the West into their deepest conflict since the end of the Soviet Union. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 19, 2014)

 

UKRAINE SEPARATISTS REPORTEDLY HOLDING AMERICAN-ISRAELI JOURNALIST (Kiev)— Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday they were holding an American journalist in the city of Slaviansk and the online news site Vice News said it was trying to secure the safety of its reporter, Simon Ostrovsky. Journalists working in the area said Ostrovsky had been detained by gunmen on Monday and, unlike others taken with him, had not yet been released. The local separatist leader Vyacheslav Ponomarev told reporters on Tuesday that Ostrovsky is now working for pro-Russian, secessionist militia in Sloviansk. Ponomarev said Ostrovsky holds Israeli and American passports. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 23, 2014)

 

LAPID THREATENING TO LEAVE NETANYAHU'S COALITION IF PEACE TALKS END (Jerusalem)— Yesh Atid will leave Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition if negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians end and there is no diplomatic process taking place, party leader Yair Lapid said in closed conversations Tuesday. Netanyahu’s coalition is facing threats from both Yesh Atid and Hatnua on the Left, if negotiations with the Palestinians end, and from Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett if Israeli-Arab prisoners are released in a deal to extend the talks. But Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman downplayed Bennett’s threats saying “there is no chance Bayit Yehudi will quit the coalition…don’t take Bennett’s threats too seriously.” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2014)

 

SYRIA CHLORINE GAS ATTACK ALLEGED BY ACTIVISTS (Damascus)— Activists in Syria have published what they say is evidence of a chlorine gas attack by government forces. Footage posted online, which cannot be verified, shows medics trying to revive four young men suffering what appear to be symptoms of poisoning. A voice off-screen says the location is Harasta, just outside the capital Damascus. Use of chlorine as a weapon of war is banned and Syria committed to declaring and giving up its stocks last year. It is the fourth chemical weapons attack the opposition has alleged this month. Four days ago, activists said the Syrian government carried out another alleged chlorine attack north of the city of Hama. The Syrian government blamed the opposition. (BBC, Apr. 17, 2014)

 

HEZBOLLAH MEMBERS ARRESTED IN THAILAND ADMIT TO PLANNING ATTACK ON ISRAELI TOURISTS (Bangkok)— Two members of Hezbollah arrested several days ago in Thailand have admitted that they were planning to launch a terror attack against Israeli tourists in Bangkok. The men arrived in Bangkok on April 13, and police suspect they were planning to direct an attack on Israeli travelers during Passover. The two suspects are Daoud Farhat, a Lebanese national who also holds French citizenship, and Youssef Ayad, a Lebanese man who is a citizen of the Philippines. (Ha’aretz, Apr. 18, 2014)

 

NIGERIAN SCHOOL ATTACK LEAVES 234 GIRLS MISSING (Abuja)— About 234 girls are missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamist extremists, significantly more than the 85 reported by education officials, parents told the state governor Monday. The higher figure emerged a week after the kidnappings when the governor of Borno state insisted that a military escort take him to the town where the attack occurred. Parents told the governor that officials did not listen to them when they tallied the number of missing children and the total reached 234. Security officials had warned Gov. Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 80 miles from Maidu­guri, the capital of Borno and the birthplace of Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist network blamed for the abductions. (Washington Post, Apr. 21, 2014)  

 

SUICIDE BOMBINGS, OTHER ATTACKS IN IRAQ KILL AT LEAST 33 PEOPLE (Baghdad) — Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed at least 33 people and wounded nearly 80 more on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. Over the past year, violence has surged in Iraq to levels unseen since 2008. The increase in deadly shootings and bombings has become the Shiite-led government's most serious challenge as the nation prepares to head to the polls on April 30 — the first vote in Iraq since the U.S. army withdrawal in 2011. Monday's deadliest attack took place south of Baghdad in the town of Suwayrah, where a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint, killing 12 people — five policemen and seven civilians. A police officer said 19 people were wounded in the attack. (Associated Press, Apr. 21, 2014)

 

‘MUSLIM MORALITY SQUADS’  TOOK STUDENTS’ EASTER EGGS, CHILDREN SAY (London) — Children who took Easter eggs to class allegedly had them confiscated by “Muslim morality squads” patrolling a school in Birmingham, England, according to press reports. The school is at the centre of an investigation into claims Islamic hardliners are attempting to infiltrate and run secular state schools in the city. At least six schools in the city have been implicated in a “Trojan Horse” plot by extremists to “Islamize” secular state education. This has included illegal segregation of students according to sex and discrimination against non-Muslims. Up to 20 more schools are also under investigation. (National Post, Apr. 21, 2014)

 

PAKISTAN LIBRARY RENAMED TO HONOR BIN LADEN (Islamabad)— A seminary for women in Pakistan renamed its library to honor the former al Qaeda leader whom they refer to as the “martyr” Osama bin Laden. The Jamia Hafsia seminary in which the library is located is headed by Imam Maulana Abdul Aziz, who is the imam of Islamabad’s mosque, Lal Masjid. “It is true that we have named the library after Osama bin Laden,” a source told AFP on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist. For us he was a hero of Islam.” Bin Laden was the founder of al Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, as well as other mass casualty attacks in places such as Egypt and Afghanistan. (Jewish Press, Apr. 18, 2014)

 

IDF ANNOUNCES DRAFT NOTICES TO CHRISTIAN ISRAELIS (Jerusalem)— The IDF has announced it will begin to send voluntary draft notices to all Christian Israelis, offering them the chance to enlist in Israel’s army. The move comes as part of the universal draft law that has required hareidi religious Jews to enter the military as well. A number of Christian groups and veterans have organized an initiative to increase the number of Israeli Christians who enlist in the nation’s armed forces. The initiative has caused a major controversy among Israeli Arabs, who see the effort as an attempt to divide and weaken the community, despite an increase in those who wish to serve in the IDF. Approximately 500 Israeli Christians are currently enlisted in National Service, and 100 are serving in the IDF. (Jewish Press, Apr. 22, 2014)

 

JACOB BIRNBAUM, CIVIL RIGHTS CHAMPION OF SOVIET JEWS, DIES AT 88 (New York)— Just as the civil rights movement began with students challenging segregation at lunch counters, the movement to free Soviet Jews began with students demonstrating at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. That 1964 protest was the brainchild of Jacob Birnbaum, who devoted his life to campaigning for Jewish causes and who died at 88 on April 9 in Manhattan. His inspiration was to bring the tactics of the civil rights movement to improving the lives of Soviet Jews. “Jacob was the first to start the struggle,” said Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician, who announced the death. “This brought hundreds of thousands of Jews out to join him in the great struggle for Soviet Jewry, which made modern Exodus real.” The grass-roots movement Mr. Birnbaum started contributed to legislation that eventually helped liberalize Moscow’s emigration policies. President Ronald Reagan personally pressed the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev on the issue. And ultimately, more than 1.5 million Soviet Jews were allowed to move to Israel and elsewhere. (New York Times, Apr. 20, 2014)

 

On Topic Links

 

Russia Employs a New Kind of Warfare With an Old Pedigree: Anne Applebaum, National Post, Apr. 17, 2014—In the Western imagination, the words “war” and “invasion” carry clear connotations.

Putin’s News Network: Robert Fulford, National Post, Mar. 29, 2014 — When Vladimir Putin started his own cable news and Internet service, he said he wanted to break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on global information.

The Peace Process’ Prime Paradox: Jackson Diehl, New York Post, Apr. 19, 2014 — AS the latest round of US­sponsored Israeli­Palestinian negotiations teeters on the brink, it’s worth pointing out that over the last 25 years the two peoples have made glacially slow but cumulatively enormous progress toward coexistence.

Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out: Norman Podhoretz, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 9, 2014 — Provoked by the predictable collapse of the farcical negotiations forced by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Palestinians and the Israelis, I wish to make a confession: I have no sympathy—none—for the Palestinians. Furthermore, I do not believe they deserve any.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
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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.

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Isi Leibler: Incentives for Murdering Jews

It is a damning reflection on the civilized world that one rarely hears a word of condemnation of the criminal Palestinian society in which the murder of Jews is not only considered laudable, but has today effectively become a vehicle for achieving upward social mobility, both socially and financially.

 

Let us relate hypothetically to Ahmed, a typical youngster in a large and impoverished Palestinian family. Like his peers, Ahmed has been brainwashed – since kindergarten and throughout his schooling, by the mullahs at his mosque and in the daily media – into believing that the highest level of piety is attained by killing the Israeli enemy. He knows that if he were killed while attacking a Jew, he too would become a shaheed – a martyr – and be compensated for his sacrifice by the rewards and pleasures of Paradise. Moreover, his family would be honored and would receive a lifelong state pension from our “peace partner” Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

 

Ahmed recollects the interviews he watched on PA state television of mothers displaying pride in their offspring’s sacrifice on behalf of Islam, and their frequently expressed hope that some of their remaining children follow the example of the blessed martyr.Furthermore, PA officials will ensure that even if he brutally murders innocent Israeli civilians he will be portrayed as a saintly hero of the Islamic nation and Palestinian people. Ahmed’s family name would become memorialized by city squares, roads, schools, cultural centers and even football teams named in his honor.

 

Of course, death is only the worst outcome. If Ahmed is fortunate enough to be captured rather than killed, he gets to have the best of all worlds. His family will continue to visit him in prison, where he is likely to receive better food than he had at home. He will even be provided with amenities such as television. Moreover, he will be able to enroll in university courses and obtain a degree – which would have been inconceivable in his former habitat. And for all this “suffering” the PA will pay him a handsome salary (using funds received from the US, EU and other donors) for every day that he remains in jail. In fact, the longer his sentence, the higher his monthly salary.

 

In recent years the deterrent for terror attacks was further eroded as successive Israeli governments released large groups of brutal murderers, including cold-blooded killers of infants, in return for an Israeli hostage and more recently as a prerequisite to Abbas merely agreeing to negotiate with Israel. These releases have become such a routine that Ahmed is now confident that if imprisoned, it is highly unlikely he would serve his full term. He sees that upon his release, instead of being obliged to express remorse for his crimes, Palestinian television audiences will approvingly entreat him to describe to them in detail the ghoulish murders he committed.

 

Ahmed hears how correspondents from Western newspapers, like Jodi Rudoren of The New York Times, wrote a lengthy article humanizing a released terrorist, the brutal murderer of an elderly Holocaust survivor. Rudoren noted that the murderer had been “demonized as a terrorist by the Israelis,” relating sympathetically to his complaint that as a national hero (he was elevated to the honorary rank of a PA brigadier general), the “$100,000 grants and monthly payments” received from the PA were insufficient to buy him an apartment.

The Winograd Commission reviewing the Second Lebanon War explicitly urged the enactment of legislation to prevent the premature release of convicted terrorists because of political and other considerations. Alas, these recommendations were completely ignored, thus intensifying the incentive to murder Jews.

 

It is inconceivable for a self-respecting country to behave in such a demeaning manner. Would the Obama administration, which pressured our government to release these murderers, dare act in this fashion toward convicted mass murderers in US jails? The US pressured us to release these monsters and yet cautioned us against releasing those who had murdered American citizens. What hypocrisy. And as a further sickening display, the Obama administration even stooped to the level of exploiting Jonathan Pollard – who should have been released many years ago – as a pawn to pressure us.

 

Fifteen years ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu published a book warning that releasing terrorists would embolden extremists and encourage them to intensify their activities. Now he himself is doing precisely that.Nobody envies the pressures currently confronting our prime minister. There are unsubstantiated rumors that the Obama administration, which obscenely lays the blame on Israel for the failure to move forward in negotiations, has threatened that unless Israel toes the line it will impose its own solution. There were also murmurs that the US could abandon support for Israel in international forums, which would open up the doors for sanctions to be applied against us. Nor should one underestimate Netanyahu’s challenges in seeking to maintain a government comprised of parties which are all jockeying to maximize voter support for an election in the not-too-distant future.

 

It has been claimed that Netanyahu chose to release terrorists rather than impose any kind of construction freeze, even in outlying settlements, in order to retain his coalition. Moreover, he was – and possibly still is – contemplating releasing Israeli Arab terrorists in order to placate the Americans and Abbas. The tension surrounding this issue reached boiling point after the murder of Baruch Mizrahi outside Hebron on Passover eve. When his murderer is ultimately apprehended, he will be sentenced to life imprisonment, but he will have grounds for confidently anticipating that within a few years he too will be released and embraced as a hero by his people.

 

That Abbas only mumbled that it would be premature on his part to condemn the latest murder until such time as a “full investigation of the incident was concluded” should be considered the ultimate affront. The onus rests on Netanyahu to display leadership.Continuing to release murderers undermines our national dignity and inflicts unbearable pain on families of victims.

The erosion of deterrence now impinges directly on the security of Israeli citizens, which must be the primary concern of any government. The current trend is creating an environment where terrorists feel that the risks and penalties they are likely to incur in shedding Jewish blood have now been dramatically minimized.

 

Netanyahu must reverse this policy of releasing murderers to placate the Americans and appease the Palestinians or he will be accused of standing by passively as increasing numbers of Palestinian Ahmeds feel that there is an incentive for them to murder Jews as a means of achieving upward social mobility and enhancing their family’s status.

Failure to act now will compromise Netanyahu’s leadership and undermine his legacy.