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

Month: December 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

 

 

 

On Topic Links 

 

Pro Israel American Student Speaks Against BDS: Youtube, Feb. 17, 2014

The Failed Palestinian Effort at the UN: Dore Gold, JCPA, Dec. 31, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas is Again Insisting on Failure: Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2014

Is CAIR a Terror Group?: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Nov. 28, 2014

Top 10 Worst U.N. Decisions Of 2014: Buzzfeed, Dec. 21, 2014

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

 

"[W]hen I came into office, the world was divided and Iran was in the driver's seat. Now the world's united because of the actions we've taken, and Iran's the one that's isolated," —U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama explained in an NPR interview that "They have a path to break through that isolation and they should seize it. Because if they do, there's incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of — inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people." In the same interview, President Obama acknowledged that Iran sponsors terrorism and wants a nuclear bomb. "Tehran is a large, sophisticated country that has a track record of state-sponsored terrorism, that we know was attempting to develop a nuclear weapon — or at least the component parts that would be required to develop a nuclear weapon — that has engaged in disruptions to our allies, whose rhetoric is not only explicitly anti-American but also has been incendiary when it comes to its attitude towards the state of Israel," he said, mistaking Tehran for Iran. (Weekly Standard, Dec. 29, 2014)

 

“The ambassador said he is happy with orders from the ruler of Iran, [Ali Hosseini] Khamenei, to send weapons to the West Bank. He added, and I quote, ‘The Zionist regime is an aggressive cancerous regime that sooner or later will be eliminated,” —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister was quoting the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Iran at a cabinet meeting Sunday morning. The PA ambassador also said, “We have seen increased Iranian efforts for terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria.” The PA ambassador’s remarks, quoted by Netanyahu, are a carbon copy of those of Hamas. Netanyahu emphasized that the ambassador is not a Hamas official but one from the Palestinian Authority headed by “peace partner” Mahmoud Abbas. (Jewish Press, Dec. 28, 2014)

 

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months,” —Danny Cohen, the director of television at the BBC. “And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually? Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before,” Cohen explained at a conference in Jerusalem. Cohen is a native Londoner who has lived in the UK his entire life. His position near the top of the BBC, which was criticized for its biased coverage of this summer’s Gaza war, has helped draw attention to his comments. (Jewish Press, Dec. 28, 2014)

 

“Many presidents tend to be smitten with the instruments of the intelligence community. I think Obama was more smitten than most,” —a former senior Obama administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “This has been an intelligence presidency in a way we haven’t seen maybe since Eisenhower,” he added. During the presidential campaign in 2008, Obama railed against the CIA’s use of torture and secret prisons during the Bush administration, and shuttered the detention program during his first week in office. But he has empowered the agency in other ways — including allowing its director, not the White House, to make the final decisions about drone strikes in Pakistan. (New York Times, Dec. 26, 2014)

 

“I think relations between the American people and Israel have never been stronger,” —Indiana Governor, and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Mike Pence, in Jerusalem on Tuesday. “I really believe that after a year where Israel saw 51 days of war, with Iranian nuclear ambitions unimpeded, with the rise of a terrorist army in Syria, now more than ever the American people feel a great bond of support with the people of Israel. I think that will be reflected consistently when the congress convenes in January,” he added. Pence, who spent 12 years in Congress – a decade of that on the House Foreign Affairs Committee – won the Indiana gubernatorial election in 2012. His name is consistently mentioned among possible 2016 Republican candidates, something he does not deny. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2014)

 

“This was a suspicious visit that aimed to normalize our children with the Zionist occupation,” —Eyad al-Buzom, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza. Thirty-seven young war orphans from Gaza set out on Sunday for a rare visit to Israel. They got as far as the Erez border crossing at the northern end of the Palestinian coastal enclave. There the Hamas authorities turned them back, barring the visit at the last minute. Israeli officials and organizers of the highly unusual weeklong peace-building visit said that it had been fully coordinated with the Israeli liaison authorities and that Israeli approval had been given. But Hamas apparently went back on an initial agreement to allow the youths to enter Israel. “In order to protect our sons, we prevented them from visiting the occupation,” al-Buzom said. (New York Times, Dec. 28, 2014)

 

“We expect him to be treated the way the Prophet Muhammad treated his captives, with mercy and generosity,” —Fahed al-Kasasbeh, the uncle of the Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State members after his F-16 crashed in northern Syria. Jordan threatened Islamic State with “grave consequences” if they harmed the pilot, and members his family appealed to his captors to welcome him as a “guest” and to show him mercy as a fellow Muslim. But no new information on the fate of the pilot, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, has emerged since his jet went down last week and supporters of the Islamic State distributed photos online that showed him in his underwear and with a bloody mouth as bearded gunmen led him away. (New York Times, Dec. 25, 2014)

 

“This is the place of eternal rest of Martyrs (Shahids) Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal of Jabel Mukaber [neighborhood] in occupied Jerusalem, who ascended [to heaven] a month and a half ago during an operation at an occupation synagogue in occupied Jerusalem. Early morning today, they were escorted to their graves at Al-Sawahreh Al- Sharqiyeh,” —message on the Facebook page belonging to the Fatah movement, headed by Mahmoud Abbas. The message is accompanied by a photo of Palestinian flags draping the graves of the terrorists who committed the Har Nof Synagogue attack. Earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the PA Mufti likewise called them Shahids when he demanded that Israel return the bodies of the killers because “it is the Shahids’ right for us to pray for them, and this is a right according to Shari’ah. Their relatives, friends and loved ones also have the right to see them one last time.” Two Arab terrorists from eastern Jerusalem entered a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of western Jerusalem on November 18 and massacred worshippers with guns, knives and axes, killing four Jews and a Druze police officer. The terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli police that arrived on the scene. (Jewish Press, Dec. 30, 2014)

 

“We celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Palestinian messenger of love, justice and peace, which has guided millions from the moment that his message came out from a small grotto in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago,” —PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in his annual holiday message. Just as he does every December, Abbas, along with other PA officials, made the claim that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian, rather than a Judean. The theme of the Christmas Eve celebration in the West Bank this year was “All I Want for Christmas in Justice.” “Jesus' message resonates in our prayers for our people in our capital Jerusalem, who continue to resist the Israeli attempts to turn the city into an exclusive Jewish place," Abbas stressed. "The mosques and the churches of Jerusalem will continue to remind the world of the Palestinian, Arab, and Christian and Muslim identity of the city. Justice means ending the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, an integral part of the State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 border." In the new testament, text defines Jesus as  a Jewish resident of Judea. The Roman Empire changed the name of “Judea” to “Palestine” one hundred years after Jesus’s death. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 29, 2014)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD RESOLUTION FAILS AT UN SECURITY COUNCIL (Geneva) —The UN Security Council on Tuesday rejected a resolution on Palestinian statehood, with the Palestinians failing to get the minimum nine “yes” votes required for adoption by the 15-member council: Eight voted for the resolution and two voted against, with five abstentions. France, China and Russia were among the countries that supported the text setting a 12-month deadline for negotiations on a final peace deal with Israel and an imposed full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by the end of 2017. Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan and Luxembourg also voted for the resolution. Australia and the United States voted against. (Times of Israel, Dec. 31, 2014)

 

ON EVE OF 2015, ISRAEL'S POPULATION HITS 8.3 MILLION (Jerusalem) —Israel’s population has reached 8,296,000, representing a 2 percent increase over 2014, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Of new citizens, 176,600 were newborns, while another 23,000 were new immigrants, representing around 11% of the population increase. Three-fourths of the population, some 6.218 million people, were Jewish. The next largest group, 1.719 million Arabs, accounted for 20.7% of the population. The remaining 4.3%, some 359,000 people, were non-Arab Christians and others whose religion isn’t classified in the population registry. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 30, 2014)

 

YOUNG GIRL SERIOUSLY WOUNDED BY FIREBOMB IN WEST BANK ATTACK (El Matan) — A young Israeli girl and her father were wounded Thursday after the car in which they were traveling in the West Bank was hit by a firebomb. The girl is in serious condition after suffering massive third degree burns after flames engulfed the car, which was traveling near the settlement of El Matan in the Shomron. The father, 40, was also wounded, suffering from light burn injuries. The girl and father have been named as Ayala and Avner Shapira. Ayala's mother's car was hit by a firebomb last month, but managed to escape unscathed. (Ynet, Dec. 25, 2014)

 

TWO POLICE OFFICERS STABBED IN JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — Two Border Police officers were lightly wounded Friday morning when an unidentified Arab man stabbed them in Jerusalem’s Old City. The unprovoked attack came as thousands of Muslims exited the area upon concluding prayers at al-Aksa Mosque. The assault follows months of ongoing tensions between Muslims and Jews throughout the capital, which has necessitated emergency police measures, including 1,000 extra police officers, aerial reconnaissance balloons and a municipal patrol. Despite Friday’s attack, rioting and violence in the city has largely leveled off over the past several weeks. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 2014)

 

HAMAS RELEASES ‘HOW TO STAB JEWS’ VIDEO (Jerusalem) — After the failed stabbing attack against two border policemen in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, Palestinians have published a training video entitled “How to stab right.” During the attack one officer was stabbed in the neck, and the other in the hand. Both were treated for their wounds in a Jerusalem hospital and are recovering. In the video the assailant demonstrates how to stab in order to cause maximum injury to the victim, displaying several knife attack techniques, including twisting the knife to inflict maximum harm, and how an attacker can quickly stab and flee the scene. The clip became an immediate hit among Palestinian social media groups in Jerusalem, and the West Bank. The video ends by urging viewers to carry out similar attacks: “What are you waiting for? Go out and stab.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 28, 2014)

 

QATAR STOPS PROVIDING SUPPORT TO HAMAS (Doha) — An Egyptian governmental source told the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida that the princes are attempting to cut their support for Hamas due to their activities in the Sinai. According to the newspaper, the move is designed to persuade Hamas to stop transferring arms to Sinai based jihadist terror organizations. An anonymous Egyptian source stated that “Hamas wants Qatar to play a significant role in repairing relations with Cairo.” Hamas leaders deny involvement in Sinai terrorism, alleging that the terror organization “does not have an armed presence outside the Palestinian Authority.” However, Hamas’ ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, who was toppled from power in 2013, are well-known and hinder Hamas’ relations with Sisi’s regime. (Jerusalem Online, Dec. 26, 2014)

 

CAIR, MAS JOIN WITH STATE DEPARTMENT TO PROTEST UAE TERROR DESIGNATION (Washington) — State Department officials met with leaders of the Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to discuss the group's inclusion on list of terror groups issued by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE listed CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS) among eighty Islamist groups worldwide it linked to terror last month. The State Department questioned the designation, saying it wanted "more information from the Emirati authorities" justifying the designation, with a spokesman adding that "the U.S. does not consider them to be terrorist organizations." (IPT, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

SUICIDE BOMBER STRIKES YEMENI SHIITE REBELS (San’a) —A suicide bomber targeted a large gathering of Shiite rebels in the central Yemeni city of Ibb today, killing at least 24 people and wounding 48. A local spokesman for the Houthi rebels, said a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a culture center. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Yemen’s powerful local al Qaeda affiliate has targeted the rebels in the past. The Houthis seized large areas of Yemen, including the capital, San'a, earlier this year as part of a protracted power struggle with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Their critics view them as a proxy for Shiite Iran that wants to dominate the country, charges the rebels deny. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 31, 2014)

 

JEWISH SITES IN FRANCE HIT BY GUNSHOTS (Paris) — For the third time in one week a Jewish site in Paris was attacked. Last Monday it was a synagogue, on Wednesday it was a kosher restaurant and Friday, Dec. 26, it was a Jewish printing company. The HM (HaShem) printing company is located at 24 Rue de Rochechouart, not far from where the other attacks took place, and the holes left by the bullets were similar. The owner of the shop says the attack was antisemitic because the shop has a mezuzah on the door, and people know it is owned by Jews. Thus far there has only been property damage in these attacks. (Jewish Press, Dec. 26, 2014)

 

PARIS SUBURB HONORS JAILED PALESTINIAN TERRORIST BARGHOUTI (Paris) — The Paris suburb of Aubervilliers has honored jailed Palestinian terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving several life sentences in an Israeli prison for murder, as an honorary citizen of the city. Barghouti “symbolizes the Palestinian cause” and is a “man of peace and dialogue,” the Aubervilliers city council said in a statement. Barghouti was sentenced in 2004 to five life imprisonment sentences for five murders and forty years for attempted murder by a suicide bomber. Aubervilliers is home to a large immigrant population, comprising more than 41 percent of the city’s population, mainly from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. (Jewish Press, Dec. 30, 2014)

 

SECOND SWEDISH MOSQUE TARGETED IN SUSPECTED ARSON ATTACK (Stockholm) — A Swedish mosque was set alight on Monday, in the second suspected arson attack on a mosque in the country in the last four days. No one was hurt in the attack, which occurred in the southern Swedish town of Eslov. On Christmas Day, five people were injured following a blaze at a mosque in Eskilstuna. Despite Sweden’s liberal attitude towards immigration and asylum seekers, the country is not immune to the rise of right-wing sentiment across many European countries. Recent polls in Sweden have indicated a rise in popularity of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, the country’s third biggest party. The party received 12.9% of the vote in September elections. (Newsweek, Dec. 29, 2014)  

 

HUNDREDS ATTEND MASS IN HONOR OF ‘ONE OF EUROPE'S BIGGEST MASS MURDERERS’ (Zagreb) — Hundreds of Croatians attended a memorial mass in Zagreb for World War II-era dictator Ante Pavelić. Pavelić’s fascist regime was allied with Nazi Germany and was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews and ethnic Serbs. The founder of the extreme nationalist Ustaše movement, Pavelić advocated armed rebellion against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After the Germans conquered in 1941, he was installed as head of the new puppet state, described as a “fiercely cruel regime” in which “hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews were murdered in death camps and in other awful ways” Following the war, Pavelić made his way to Argentina, where he was wounded in an assassination attempt. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 29, 2014)

 

ISRAEL ORDERS ANOTHER FOUR MISSILE SHIPS FROM GERMANY (Haifa) —Israel has acquired four new Saar Missile ships from Germany a few months after the fourth Dolphin submarines reached home base. Nir Dvory, Military Correspondent to the PM, said the ships’ role would be to secure Israel’s naval gas fields. PM Netanyahu added that “he wanted to thank Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for her ongoing commitment and assistance to Israel’s security."  Netanyahu said that the new ships will be added to the submarines which are already under construction in Germany. The ships are expected to reach the coast of Israel in about two years. (Jerusalem Online, Dec. 25, 2014)  

 

ISRAEL DEPLOYING UNDERWATER BARRIER AGAINST HEZBOLLAH DIVERS (Haifa) — US and EU firms are deploying a defensive barrier and sonar array along the country’s maritime border with Lebanon, meant to foil Hezbollah undersea infiltrations. Israeli security officials believe Hezbollah has built or acquired an array of undersea weapons and delivery systems to be used against Israel in future conflicts. While the exact details and location of the Israeli picket system are classified, its purpose is to prevent the infiltration of divers, swimmers, and submersible craft into Israeli territory. A similar barrier has been in operation south of Zikim beach, along Israel’s maritime border with Gaza, and was instrumental in thwarting two raids by Hamas naval commandos during Operation Protective Edge. (Algemeiner, Dec. 28, 2014)

 

HARVARD STUDENTS’ SODASTREAM BAN FIZZLES AFTER PRESIDENT STEPS IN (Cambridge, MA) —Harvard administration has reversed the dining hall's decision to cut ties with an Israeli soda company based on one-sided input from pro-Palestinian student groups. The decision last week by university President Drew Faust and Provost Alan Garber came quickly after they discovered that Harvard University Dining Services had decided to stop buying SodaStream products due to the company's presence in the West Bank. In a statement, Garber said Harvard’s contracting policies are not to be dictated by partisan student groups.  The dining hall administrators agreed last fall to cut ties with SodaStream after meeting with the school's Palestine Solidarity Committee, and the Harvard Islamic Society. (Fox News, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

NEW BILLBOARDS TARGET NY TIMES FOR ANTI-ISRAEL REPORTING (New York) — The CAMERA watchdog organization has posted five new billboards in midtown Manhattan to spread the message of The New York Times’ slanted reportage on Israel. The organization, officially known as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, still posts a billboard opposite the newspaper’s headquarters with a message that reads, “The New York Times Against Israel—All Rant, All Slant, All The Time. Stop The Bias!” “We are expanding our effort to let the public know, beginning with the newspaper-reading public in New York City, that The Times persists—[and] has even doubled-down—in its long-standing pattern of prejudiced reporting and editorializing when it comes to Israel,” said Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director. (Jewish Press, Dec. 25, 2014)

 

EGYPT, MOROCCO, AND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES BAN “EXODUS” MOVIE (Cairo) — Egypt, Morocco, and UAE have banned the biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings. The BBC reported that Egypt's censorship board has banned the film due to what censors called "historical inaccuracies," including, it said, the film depicting Jews having built the pyramids and that an earthquake, not a miracle by Moses, made the Red Sea part. The ancient story claims the pyramids were built by Jewish slaves who were led to freedom by Moses after God inflicted a series of plagues on Egypt. These developments mark just the latest opposition to the controversial film. The movie has drawn criticism for its white stars, including lead actors Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton. (Hollywood Reporter, Dec. 26, 2014)

 

ARGENTINA’S PRESIDENT ADOPTS JEWISH GODSON (Buenos Aires) — Argentina’s president has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. The president described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson in order to counteract a legend that the seventh son, born after six boys without any girls in between, becomes a werewolf whose bite can turn others into a werewolf. The boys receive presidential protection, a gold medal and a scholarship for all studies until his 21st birthday. (Jewish Press, Dec. 26, 2014)

 

 

On Topic Links 

 

Pro Israel American Student Speaks Against BDS: Youtube, Feb. 17, 2014

The Failed Palestinian Effort at the UN: Dore Gold, JCPA, Dec. 31, 2014—The Palestinian draft resolution that was voted down by the UN Security Council was unacceptable to Israel for two essential reasons. First, all Israeli governments have insisted that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be reached through direct negotiations between the parties.

Mahmoud Abbas is Again Insisting on Failure: Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2014 —In a meeting with President Obama last March, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept a U.S.-brokered “framework” for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Is CAIR a Terror Group?: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Nov. 28, 2014 —We who follow the Islamist movement fell off our collective chair on Nov. 15 when the news came that the United Arab Emirates' ministerial cabinet had listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as one of 83 proscribed terrorist organizations, up there with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.

Top 10 Worst U.N. Decisions Of 2014: Buzzfeed, Dec. 21, 2014—1. U.N. Adopts 20 Resolutions on Israel vs. 4 on Rest of World Combined.

 

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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IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA: “BREAKING NEWS” & POLITICAL AGENDAS OUTWEIGH FACTS AND PROFESSIONALISM IN TODAY’S MEDIA

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 

 

Contents:

 

Former AP Reporter: I Didn’t Leave Journalism, It Left Me: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Dec. 16, 2014— A journalist for more than 40 years, Mark Lavie was based in Jerusalem for most of them and then in Cairo for two – during the “Egyptian Revolution.”

What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel: Matti Friedman, The Atlantic, Nov. 30— During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself.

Imagine No Religion: The Western Media and Islamic Terror: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, Dec. 19, 2014 — As the West experiences a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world…

Rolling Stone was Performing Advocacy, Not Journalism: Barbara Kay, National Post, Dec. 10, 2014— A crisis at Rolling Stone magazine is a cautionary tale of the harm done to journalism when reporters abandon objectivity and due diligence in order to further a political agenda.

 

On Topic Links

 

The 2014 Dishonest Reporting Awards: Honest Reporting, Dec. 23, 2014

New Billboards Target NY Times for Anti-Israel Reporting: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Dec. 25, 2014

Rolling Stone Apologized. Will the Times?:  Liel Liebovitz, Tablet, Dec. 8, 2014

The Old Journalism and the New: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2014

The New Republic is Dead, Thanks to its Owner, Chris Hughes: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2014

 

         

FORMER AP REPORTER: I DIDN’T LEAVE JOURNALISM, IT LEFT ME                                            

Lori Lowenthal Marcus                             

Jewish Press, Dec. 16, 2014  

 

A journalist for more than 40 years, Mark Lavie was based in Jerusalem for most of them and then in Cairo for two – during the “Egyptian Revolution.” Lavie is no longer a journalist. But he didn’t leave the profession, “it left me,” Lavie says. Now Lavie is speaking out in as many fora as possible. He seeks to alert the public about the dramatic difference between what journalism used to be – and still pretends to be – and what it actually is. Lavie’s conclusions shouldn’t surprise many readers… But those conclusions, and the detail Lavie provides as someone who lived for so long within the belly of the beast, provides a stunning rebuke – especially to the Associated Press, where Lavie worked for fifteen years. AP has long been criticized as biased against Israel. Lavie provides eye-witness testimony that:

 

A recent account by another former AP reporter, Matti Friedman, indicting AP editor Steve Gutkin for killing a story about a 2008 peace proposal advanced by Israel, drew a sharp and categorical denial by the AP director of press relations and the now ex-editor Gutkin. They asserted flatly that Friedman was wrong and that what he said happened didn’t happen. But now Lavie weighs in: “I was there,” he told The Jewish Press. “Gutkin said to can” that article. More broadly and more deeply, Lavie is profoundly pessimistic about the quality of the work put out by AP and most sources of mainstream journalism today. Driven as they are by the Internet’s insatiable appetite for the latest flash, people who call themselves reporters are interested, he says, primarily if not exclusively in speed, not substance.

 

Perhaps even worse, Lavie provides direct testimony that journalists no longer even pretend that their job is to report facts. Instead, he’s been told by former colleagues, the job of the media is to advocate for those actors on the world stage that the journalists feel deserve support – to “speak truth to power.” “But that isn’t the job journalists are supposed to do!” Lavie cries. “The job of journalists is to take a significant story and make it interesting, by explaining it and putting it in context.” Lavie had a front row seat to the seismic changes in the Middle East, including every major outbreak of fighting, terrorist attack and peace negotiation efforts over the past nearly half a century. He also was ringside in Cairo when the “Arab Spring” was revealed to him as a “Broken Spring,” instead. That is also the name of his recently updated book and his blog.

 

Lavie severed his relationship with AP and, in the past few months, has been sharing some inconvenient truths about how journalism has changed including at AP, and especially in the Middle East. Outsiders have long believed that the mainstream media is consistently and intentionally biased against Israel. Lavie confirms that view, and he does so with the credentials garnered by enduring a long-term sojourn in the belly of the beast. Lavie is also center-left, a supporter of the Geneva Initiative, a committed Two-Stater. Given Lavie’s experience, his politics and his ringside seat, his message deserves as broad an audience as possible. That message is: virtually all reporting about the Middle East is sifted so that only one side comes out. And some critical information never even makes it into the sifter at all.

 

First, Lavie has a lot to say about the general state of journalism throughout the world and how the social media revolution has led to catastrophic consequences. The rise of social media as a delivery service for news is the equivalent of the bubonic plague. The consequences are many and nearly all destructive. The reduction in reportorial and editorial budgets has meant that fewer reporters are in the field, and those fewer are required not just to get there and get it out first, but also to tweet and to blog while reporting and to “own” each breaking story. The frenzied pace leaves little time or energy for fact-checking or deep-sourcing. Added to the exponentially-expanding workload of the journalists are the online competitors for the latest and the most widely-spread news. Those computer jockeys race quickly with little or no oversight or accountability, giving the few real journalists more than a run for their money. Being a journalist in the 21st century brings to mind the title of a book from a few decades ago: “I’m dancing as fast as I can.” The Internet thus propels the news cycles into warp speed, with the concomitant loss of care, facts and professionalism.

 

Lavie recalls with pride that his position used to be, and it was one accepted by all of his earlier employers: “I may not be first, but I will be right.” For Lavie, accuracy and completeness were paramount. Those two qualities are now held in far lower esteem. The seminal moment for Lavie came while listening to an AP “Town Hall” in 2004. Lavie told The Jewish Press, the person speaking – he thinks it was Tom Curley, and the timing is right, Curley was president of the AP in 2004 – said: “speed matters more than heft.” Lavie knew then it was the beginning of the end. But the focus for The Jewish Press is Lavie’s take on how, as he put it in an August article he wrote for The Israel Project’s publication, The Tower: “Why Everything Reported From Gaza is Crazy Twisted.”…

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

                                                                     

Contents                                                                                         

               

   

                   

WHAT THE MEDIA GETS WRONG ABOUT ISRAEL                                                                        

Matti Friedman                                                                                                             

The Atlantic, Nov. 30, 2014

 

During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself. The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.

 

An essay I wrote for Tablet on this topic in the aftermath of the war sparked intense interest. In the article, based on my experiences between 2006 and 2011 as a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news organizations, I pointed out the existence of a problem and discussed it in broad terms. Using staffing numbers, I illustrated the disproportionate media attention devoted to this conflict relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones. I suggested that the cumulative effect has been to create a grossly oversimplified story—a kind of modern morality play in which the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure. This is a thought pattern with deep roots in Western civilization.

 

But how precisely does this thought pattern manifest itself in the day-to-day functioning, or malfunctioning, of the press corps? To answer this question, I want to explore the way Western press coverage is shaped by unique circumstances here in Israel and also by flaws affecting the media beyond the confines of this conflict. In doing so, I will draw on my own experiences and those of colleagues. These are obviously limited and yet, I believe, representative…There are banal explanations for problems with coverage—reporters are in a hurry, editors are overloaded and distracted. These are realities, and can explain small errors and mishaps like ill-conceived headlines, which is why such details don’t typically strike me as important or worth much analysis. Some say inflations and omissions are the inevitable results of an honest attempt to cover events in a challenging and occasionally dangerous reporting environment, which is what I initially believed myself. A few years on the job changed my mind. Such excuses can’t explain why the same inflations and omissions recur again and again, why they are common to so many news outlets, and why the simple “Israel story” of the international media is so foreign to people aware of the historical and regional context of events in this place. The explanation lies elsewhere.

 

To make sense of most international journalism from Israel, it is important first to understand that the news tells us far less about Israel than about the people writing the news. Journalistic decisions are made by people who exist in a particular social milieu, one which, like most social groups, involves a certain uniformity of attitude, behavior, and even dress (the fashion these days, for those interested, is less vests with unnecessary pockets than shirts with unnecessary buttons). These people know each other, meet regularly, exchange information, and closely watch one another’s work. This helps explain why a reader looking at articles written by the half-dozen biggest news providers in the region on a particular day will find that though the pieces are composed and edited by completely different people and organizations, they tend to tell the same story.

 

The best insight into one of the key phenomena at play here comes not from a local reporter but from the journalist and author Philip Gourevitch. In Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa, Gourevitch wrote in 2010, he was struck by the ethical gray zone of ties between reporters and NGOs. “Too often the press represents humanitarians with unquestioning admiration,” he observed in The New Yorker. “Why not seek to keep them honest? Why should our coverage of them look so much like their own self-representation in fund-raising appeals? Why should we (as many photojournalists and print reporters do) work for humanitarian agencies between journalism jobs, helping them with their official reports and institutional appeals, in a way that we would never consider doing for corporations, political parties, or government agencies?” This confusion is very much present in Israel and the Palestinian territories, where foreign activists are a notable feature of the landscape, and where international NGOs and numerous arms of the United Nations are among the most powerful players, wielding billions of dollars and employing many thousands of foreign and local employees. Their SUVs dominate sections of East Jerusalem and their expense accounts keep Ramallah afloat. They provide reporters with social circles, romantic partners, and alternative employment—a fact that is more important to reporters now than it has ever been, given the disintegration of many newspapers and the shoestring nature of their Internet successors.

 

In my time in the press corps, I learned that our relationship with these groups was not journalistic. My colleagues and I did not, that is, seek to analyze or criticize them. For many foreign journalists, these were not targets but sources and friends—fellow members, in a sense, of an informal alliance. This alliance consists of activists and international staffers from the UN and the NGOs; the Western diplomatic corps, particularly in East Jerusalem; and foreign reporters. (There is also a local component, consisting of a small number of Israeli human-rights activists who are themselves largely funded by European governments, and Palestinian staffers from the Palestinian Authority, the NGOs, and the UN.) Mingling occurs at places like the lovely Oriental courtyard of the American Colony hotel in East Jerusalem, or at parties held at the British Consulate’s rooftop pool. The dominant characteristic of nearly all of these people is their transience. They arrive from somewhere, spend a while living in a peculiar subculture of expatriates, and then move on. The uglier aspects of Palestinian society are untouchable because they would disrupt the “Israel story,” which is a story of Jewish moral failure.

 

In these circles, in my experience, a distaste for Israel has come to be something between an acceptable prejudice and a prerequisite for entry. I don’t mean a critical approach to Israeli policies or to the ham-fisted government currently in charge in this country, but a belief that to some extent the Jews of Israel are a symbol of the world’s ills, particularly those connected to nationalism, militarism, colonialism, and racism—an idea quickly becoming one of the central elements of the “progressive” Western zeitgeist, spreading from the European left to American college campuses and intellectuals, including journalists. In this social group, this sentiment is translated into editorial decisions made by individual reporters and editors covering Israel, and this, in turn, gives such thinking the means of mass self-replication…

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

 

                                                                       

Contents                                   

                                                   

             

 

IMAGINE NO RELIGION: THE WESTERN MEDIA AND ISLAMIC TERROR                                                          

Raymond Ibrahim                                                                                                                 

Middle East Forum, Dec. 19, 2014

 

As the West experiences a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world—church attacks, sex-slavery and beheadings—it is only natural that the same mainstream media that habitually conceals such atrocities "over there," especially against Christians and other minorities under Islam, would also conceal the reality of jihadi aspirations "over here." As The Commentator reports: [T]he level of the [media] grovelling after the tragic and deadly saga in Sydney Australia over the last 24 hours has been astounding. At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC website is of course about that very tragedy, in which an Islamist fanatic took a random group hostage in a cafe, ultimately killing two of them. He did this in the name of Islam. But you wouldn't get that impression if you started to read the BBC's lead story, which astoundingly managed to avoid mentioning the words Islam, Islamic, Islamist, Muslim, or any derivations thereof for a full 16 paragraphs…

 

If these are the lengths that Western mainstream media go to dissemble about the Islamic-inspired slaughter of Western peoples, it should now be clear why the ubiquitous Muslim persecution of those unfashionable Christian minorities is also practically unknown by those who follow Western mainstream media. As with the Sydney attack, media headlines say it all. The 2011 New Year's Eve Coptic church attack that left 28 dead appeared under vague headlines: "Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack," was the New York Times' headline; and "Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21" was the Washington Post's—as if frustrated and harried Christians lashing out against their oppressors is the "big news," not the unprovoked atrocity itself; as if their angry reaction "evens" everything up. Similarly, the Los Angeles Times partially told the story of an Egyptian off-duty police officer who, after identifying Copts by their crosses on a train, opened fire on them, killing one, while screaming "Allahu Akbar"—but to exonerate the persecution, as caught by the report's headline: "Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say."…

 

Blurring the line between victim and oppressor—recall the fear of "anti-Muslim backlash" whenever a Muslim terrorizes "infidels" in the West—also applies to the media's reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians. The mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray [Islamist] violence as a product of anything and everything … not Islam. A February 2012 BBC report on a church attack in Nigeria that left three Christians dead, including a toddler, objectively states the bare bone facts in one sentence. Then it jumps to apparently the really big news: that "the bombing sparked a riot by Christian youths, with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. The two men were dragged off their bikes after being stopped at a roadblock set up by the rioters, police said. A row of Muslim-owned shops was also burned…" The report goes on and on, with an entire section about "very angry" Christians till one confuses victims with persecutors, forgetting what the Christians are "very angry" about in the first place: nonstop terror attacks on their churches and the slaughter of their women and children.

 

A New York Times report that appeared on December 25, 2011—the day after Boko Haram bombed several churches during Christmas Eve services, leaving some 40 dead—said that such church bombings threaten "to exploit the already frayed relations between Nigeria's nearly evenly split populations of Christians and Muslims…" Such an assertion suggests that both Christians and Muslims are equally motivated by religious hostility—even as one seeks in vain for Christian terror organizations that bomb mosques in Nigeria to screams of "Christ is Great!" Meanwhile, Boko Haram has torched 185 churches—to say nothing of the countless Christians beheaded—in just the last few months alone. Continuing to grasp for straws, the same NYT report suggests that the Nigerian government's "heavy-handed" response to Boko Haram is responsible for its terror, and even manages to invoke another mainstream media favorite: the poverty-causes-terrorism myth.

 

Whether Muslim mayhem is taking place in the Islamic or Western worlds, the mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray such violence as a product of anything and everything—political and historical grievances, "Islamophobia," individual insanity, poverty and ignorance, territorial disputes—not Islam. As such, Western media keep Western majorities in the dark about the Islamic threat, here and abroad. In short, the "MSM" protects and enables the Islamic agenda—irrespective of whether its distortions are a product of intent, political correctness, or sheer stupidity.                  

                       

Contents       

                                                           

         

 

ROLLING STONE WAS PERFORMING ADVOCACY, NOT JOURNALISM                                                      

Barbara Kay                                                                                                       

National Post, Dec. 10, 2014

 

A crisis at Rolling Stone magazine is a cautionary tale of the harm done to journalism when reporters abandon objectivity and due diligence in order to further a political agenda.Last month the magazine ran a story by contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely about an alleged 2012 fraternity gang rape of a University of Virginia student. According to the harrowing tale of the victim, “Jackie,” she was taken — sober, she says — to a frat party by her date, a man she trusted. Once there, she was thrown on to a glass coffee, which shattered on impact. Lying on the broken glass, she was then raped by seven men. She left the party and called some friends, who argued over whether she should report the crime. She didn’t.

 

Recent media scandals betray the due-process double-standard that exists for men accused of sexual impropriety. On one end of the spectrum are anonymous male university students, instantly vilified by journalists and campus activists as dangerous misogynists based on unproven allegations of rape. On the other end of the spectrum are celebrities who use dilatory legal and quasi-legal means to keep their accusers at bay for months, years or even decades. Last month, Rolling Stone magazine published a campus rape-culture tell-all centered on the alleged gang rape of a woman (“Jackie”) at a University of Virginia frat-house party. The story was shocking. But a subsequent Washington Post investigation revealed that some of the details reported in the Rolling Stone story are untrue. For instance, the fraternity in question didn’t hold a party on the night of the alleged crime. And the frat membership list contains no one who fits the description of the accused rapist. On December 5, Rolling Stone ran a “note to our readers” acknowledging that “there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account.”

 

Upon release, the story understandably evoked passionate indignation amongst unquestioning rape-culture activists. It also caused great anguish on the UVA campus. But to more detached eyes, certain sensational aspects of the story rang false. The first to query details in a Nov. 24 blog post was Richard Bradley, editor of Worth Magazine. His close reading of the piece and his accusation of “journalistic malpractice” (at Jackie’s request Erdely did not try to contact the accused men, or even speak with Jackie’s friends; she took Jackie’s word for everything she wrote as fact) sparked a wave of further criticism in outlets such as Bloomberg, Reason, Instapundit, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

 

Investigation showed discrepancies between Erdely’s account and reality, such as the fact that Phi Kappa Psi, the frat house in question (which denies Jackie’s charges), had not held any social events during the weekend specified by Jackie, and her date was not a Phi Kappa Psi member. Other questions should have occurred to Erdely. Why would a pre-meditated gang rape, which is what Jackie seemed to be alleging, take place on a coffee table and not a bed? What man in his right mind would expose his genitals to broken glass, and were any of them injured by the glass in a way that may have offered corroborating evidence of Jackie’s allegations? What kind of woman would say to a friend who, she believed, had been raped by seven men and was streaming blood from her wounds, “Why didn’t you have fun with it? A bunch of hot Phi Psi guys?”

 

But Erdely clearly didn’t question Jackie’s account. She had come to UVA expressly to find stories, the more alarmist the better, to fit a pre-existing theoretical template of a flourishing rape culture on American campuses. Jackie merely fed her what she was longing to hear. That Erdely’s editor fell in with her unprofessionalism is even more disconcerting. As bigger and bigger holes appeared in the story, Managing Editor Will Dana put out a public letter of apology, saying Rolling Stone was “mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.” (This language itself is an update from an earlier version, which said, “Our trust in [Jackie] was misplaced.” Having been accused of blaming the victim, Rolling Stone is now taking full responsibility and is accusing Jackie of nothing.) Dana explained that “We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault….”…

 

Journalism is a big tent that can accommodate both reportage and opinion bias. But opinions (including this one) generally belong in the comment section. And even there, arguments must be evidence-based. As a columnist known to be sympathetic to male victims of, among other things, a dysfunctional, anti-male family court system, for example, I have received literally hundreds of narratives by men whose lives have been ruined by women’s allegedly false allegations. I believe most of them, but I don’t write about them, because I can’t get the accused women to talk to me and give me their side of the story. And that’s how it should be. When journalists and editors use their privilege to advance a political agenda at the expense of objectivity, they cheat the public and cheapen the journalistic profession.

 

Barbara Kay is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

Contents           

 

On Topic

 

The 2014 Dishonest Reporting Awards: Honest Reporting, Dec. 23, 2014 —Scarlett Johansson’s brave stand against Israel-bashers seems so long ago.

New Billboards Target NY Times for Anti-Israel Reporting: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jewish Press, Dec. 25, 2014—The CAMERA watchdog organization has posted five new billboards in midtown Manhattan to spread the message of The New York Times’ slanted reportage on Israel.

Rolling Stone Apologized. Will the Times?Liel Liebovitz, Tablet, Dec. 8, 2014—Have you heard the one about the major news organization that published an abominable piece by a contributor who made no real effort to obtain a thorough account and ran instead with an impassioned story that sounds plausible and moving just as long as you don’t bother looking at the actual facts?

The Old Journalism and the New: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Dec. 6, 2014 —sometimes media events synchronize almost too neatly.

The New Republic is Dead, Thanks to its Owner, Chris Hughes: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2014—At a 40th-birthday party in July for Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, the magazine’s young owner, Chris Hughes, got all choked up as he pledged to the roomful of writers at Foer’s country home in Pennsylvania that the two would be “intellectual partners for decades.”

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Manfred Gerstenfeld: Dozens of Arrests are Main Event of the Election Week

Last Wednesday, the police detained for questioning dozens of public officials on suspicions of participation in a criminal network of money laundering, bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The police claim that Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaun of Israel Beitenu (“Israel is our Home”) played a leading role in this network. After questioning, she was released from custody because of her parliamentary immunity.   Among those arrested was Stas Meseznikov, of the same party, who was the former Minister of Tourism.  

Likud’s comptroller, Shai Galili, disqualified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from running for the party leadership. Galili said that there are indications that Netanyahu improperly used party resources in his run for the leadership. The Likud’s election committee said that Galili did not have the authority to disqualify Netanyahu, nor did he have a valid reason for doing so.  Netanyahu is likely to appeal Galili’s decision.

At the beginning of the week, US Secretary of State John Kerry told EU ambassadors in Washington that the United States would not allow passage of any UN Security Council resolutions on the Middle East.  Tzipi Livni, leader of Hatnuah (“The Movement”), who had met with Kerry, proudly announced that she had succeeded in protecting Israel’s vital interests in the Security Council. Defense minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud) reacted, “What Livni did in her appeal to the Americans is inherently wrong, because you do not involve foreign officials in Israeli political matters.” He added that, “We all realize that if Tzipi Livni and ‘Bugie’ Herzog were in power, long ago we would have had Hamastan in Judea and Samaria.” 

The accusations of foreign interference within the Israeli elections process emerge during every election. Kerry had been careful to say that Washington would not interfere in the Israeli elections.  That may be true to a certain extent, but the recent declaration of US Vice President Joe Biden, for example saying that there is no daylight at all between Israel’s security and the US  can definitely be seen as support for Netanyahu. US President Barack Obama signing into law the bill which made Israel an official strategic partner of the United States, a classification not held by any other nation , can be perceived as support for Netanyahu as well.

The week was also marred by violence. When former Shas leader, Eli Yishai, announced the establishment of his new party, called Ha’am Itanu (“The People are With Us”), the meeting was disrupted by Shas activists, who, after a short scuffle, were expelled by the security guards.  Later on, the establishment of a branch of Yishai’s movement in Be’ersheva had to be cancelled because the organizer reneged on his commitment. He was pressured to do so by certain rabbis.  The Shas ultra-Orthodox party from which Yishai split is led by Aryeh Deri, who has a criminal record. Deri was reinstated as the party’s head instead of Yishai by the spiritual leader of the party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who then passed away in 2013.

The residual Shas party may well join Labor’s Herzog if he can form a government. The ultra-Orthodox parties were not part of the outgoing Netanyahu government, which cut back on the government subsidies provided to ultra-Orthodox institutions. Yishai seems to be in the right-of-center camp. He had hoped that the Tekuma faction (“National Union”) of Habayit Hayehudi (“The Jewish Home”) would split off and join his party, but that has not happened, even if some prominent Tekuma rabbis now support Yishai. The fact that Habayit Hayehudi under the leadership of Naftali Bennet will be united makes it likely that it will be the third largest party in the elections.

The tensions in the other ultra-Orthodox party, United Torah Judaism, were less pronounced. Moshe Gafni, the head of its Degel Hatorah (“Torah Flag”) faction, said that he would be willing to join a left-wing Hertzog government.  This created some turmoil in the party, which is now afraid of losing some right-wing voters. 

Out of the 6 Hatnuah MKs, only Livni and Amir Peretz, formerly a Labor party leader, will stand in the next elections. MK General Eliezer Stern has left the party, saying he disagreed with Livni’s policies and that she had poorly defended the party’s interests in her merger with Labor, in order to obtain a possible rotation in the role of prime minister for herself. The other three MKs of the party, David Tsur, Amram Mitzna, and Meir Sheetrit, all decided that they would not run again.

Moshe Kahlon introduced the first candidate of his new party, Koolanu (“All of Us”), former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.  Another candidate of the party is social economy expert Eli Alaloof.  Kahlon said, “The coming election will not be about the right and the left….the coming elections are about closing gaps, about providing equal opportunities, about leadership, vision, and the courage to create necessary and needed changes.” 

A Panels Research Poll for The Jerusalem Post and Maariv predicted 24 seats for Labor, 23 for Likud and 17 for Bayit Jehudi. It saw a dramatic fall for Israel Beiteinu from the present 13 seats down to 5 seats.  The Rafi Smith Institute poll for the Reshet Bet radio station found, however, that Israel Beiteinu would get 8 seats.

In order not to concentrate solely on the issue of how many Knesset seats parties may obtain, opinion polls often ask other questions. A Channel 10 poll asked who would best deal with the security threats to Israel; 30% of those polled said Netanyahu, 22% preferred Israel Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, and 21% chose Herzog. 

Those interviewed by Panels Research were also asked whether they thought that the timing of the police investigation was of a political nature. Forty-four percent said yes, and 40% said no. Forty percent of the respondents said that the past week’s report about the widespread poverty in Israel would influence their vote. Fourteen percent said that the news about corruption would influence their vote. Asked whether or not they believe there would soon be another escalation in the Gaza strip, 64% said yes, and 16 % said no.

 

THE YEAR THAT WAS: AS GAZA CRISIS DREW MISGUIDED EU RESPONSE, TERRORIST ATTACKS IN ISRAEL, CANADA & AUSTRALIA COINCIDED WITH RISE OF ISLAMIC STATE

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 

 

Contents:

 

“Slaves Seeking Slavery”: the Alliance of Secular Leftists and Islamists: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Dec. 17, 2014— Anyone feeling the need for a quick boost of morale should take a quick look at the site…

Israel Looks on Europe With Dismay: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22— Political tremors are being felt across Europe.

After Synagogue Attack, Jerusalem’s New Holy War: Daniel Gordis, National Post, Nov. 20, 2014 — There are terror attacks, and there are pogroms.

The Ethics of Protective Edge: Asa Kasher, Jewish Review of Books, Fall, 2014— Even my loves are measured by wars,” wrote the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai:

 

On Topic Links

 

Domestic Terror Threat Becomes Real for Canada: Alistair MacDonald & Rita Trichur, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2014

Top 10 Worst U.N. Decisions Of 2014: Buzzfeed, Dec. 21, 2014

Europe's Year of the Jihadist:  Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Dec. 29, 2014

Research on the Islamic State: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Middle East Forum, Nov.-Dec., 2014

 

                                        

“SLAVES SEEKING SLAVERY”:

THE ALLIANCE OF SECULAR LEFTISTS AND ISLAMISTS                                                          

Paul Merkley                                   

Bayview Review, Dec. 17, 2014

           

Anyone feeling the need for a quick boost of morale should take a quick look at the site http://www.markhumphreys.com/left.html where he can watch an incredibly brave man, Robert Spencer, the Director of Jihad Watch, as he speaks to a crowd of secular-left and Islamist groups at a Pax Europe rally in Suttgart, Germany, in June 2011: You are already subjugated! You are already their useful idiots…. You are out here in their service. And you think your fight is for freedom. You are fighting for you own slavery! … You are fighting for the destruction of all the freedoms that you enjoy. You are fighting for the defeat of your own selves, of your own lives. You are slaves seeking slavery. You are the most foolish, you are the most evil, foolish people on Earth…. Shame on you!” Deep-thinkers in the crowd tried to drown our Spencer’s message by throwing bottles, ice, eggs, and manure at the stage.

 

By now, we are all well-acquainted with this theatre: massive rallies throughout the Western world, organized and manned by leading lights of the European secular-Left and Muslim activists. They appear arm-in-arm under banners denouncing the Apartheid Zionist Entity and its brutality towards innocent Palestinians. They call down shame upon the pro-Israel bias of Canada’s government, the evil legacy of the Crusades and the “Islamophobia” that informs the perception that they are out of line with our parochial Western values and legal traditions.

 

The spokesmen assigned by these groups to be interviewed by our television networks lose no time in getting to the message: that everything that Muslims suffer today at the hands of godless Westerners and their Zionist co-oppressors could be averted if we would only practise the toleration towards minorities that made Arab empire – all of them long gone – great and prosperous and enlightened. Jews and Christians were “Protected” communities under Muslim Empire, they declaim. But they never pause to ask “Protected Against Whom?”

 

The governing reality of inter-religious relations during the centuries of Muslim empire was the dhimma. This was the pact, or contract, under which conquered “People of the Book” (Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians) acknowledged the inferiority of their religion, and accepted to live under the command of their communities’ leaders – who, in turn, agreed to supervise the people’s adherence to specified limitations on their lives and to report on their compliance to the Muslim masters. Dhimmi people (that is, all Christians and Jews) paid a heavy tax (jizyah) from which Muslims were exempt. They were forbidden to own land– which greatly limited the economic prospects of the Islamic masses. Their clothing was restricted to certain types and styles, and on it they wore distinguishing badges – a symbol of a monkey for the Jews, a symbol of a pig for the Christians – so that they lived without dignity. The “protection” which the Muslims extended towards the Jews and Christians was of the sort dispensed by the mafia — from themselves, not from some third party – as all others were converted or liquidated. It is this blessed state of affairs that the newly-proclaimed Caliph has in mind as he calls the Christians who come under the mercies of his Caliphate in Syria and Iraq —and then eventually everywhere – to renounce Christ, and convert – or die.

 

But there is a third category, this one not eligible for the blessings of dhimmitude : these are Harbis, non-Muslims who do not meet the required for living as a community under Protection (dhimmitude)—those who are neither Muslims, Jews or Christians, all those who profess other religions, or who profess no religion at all – (that is, those whom we call atheists” or “agnostics.”) These uncontracted trash have no right to live at all – anywhere. Responding to the beheading of James Foley by ISIS, Muslim cleric Hussein bin Mahmoud presumes to speak for the authentic Islamic tradition, noting that, under Islamic law, Foley was a harbi, i.e. a non-Muslim whose life was not protected by an agreement of protection.

 

Millions of Muslims have been killed, tortured and driven from their homes; tens of thousands of Muslim women have had their honor violated and have been sexually abused by the Americans – yet people are weeping over a Christian American harbi infidel who entered the Islamic State, knowing full well what the Islamic State is, and without a pact [of protection]. Were the soldiers of the Islamic State supposed to pat this American harbi on the back and smile at him? All scholars, without exception, agree on the permissibility of killing a harbi infidel, and agree that his blood and property are fair game. Most of them [also] agree on the permissibility of killing him if he is taken prisoner. So where does this condemnation of the IS come from?… Many Muslims are influenced by the West’s false views and its repulsive ideas, which are exported to the Islamic nation in order to weaken it and change the perception of its youth so that [the youth] become cowardly and subdued and abandon the means of power and terror, and thus create a generation that does not know fighting or the cutting of necks…A moment’s thought will bring to mind that this category of harbi embraces at last one-half of humanity today – those who are not Muslims, Jews, or Christians; and one’s second thought must be that within this company must be included perhaps a third of those who are citizens of Canada…

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

 

Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

                                                                     

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ISRAEL LOOKS ON EUROPE WITH DISMAY     

Barry Shaw                                                                                                                            

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2014

 

Political tremors are being felt across Europe. In Britain, we see the rise of an emerging independence party, UKIP, which is euroskeptic and takes a corrective line on the UK’s unbridled open-door immigration policy. In France, the Socialist François Hollande looks likely to be replaced by the center- right Nicolas Sarkozy. The left-wing Swedish government barely lasted three months before being forced to abandon a failed leadership. This gave it sufficient time to rush through a “Palestine” vote which may be overturned by an incoming center-right government. Polls show that center-right parties would win the popular vote in Norway and Denmark if elections were held now.

 

Across Europe, voters are objecting to poor economic and immigration policies. They are offended by the rise of crime perpetrated by immigrants they had welcomed into their once decent countries. Cultural changes are rendering their countries unrecognizable. One prominent reason for the political swing has been politicians pandering to Islamic sensitivities at home. This is causing pause and division among their populations. The recent outbreak of symbolic parliamentary voting for an ill-defined Palestinian state is one outward manifestation of politicians catering to a rising constituency against which their grassroots citizenry are rebelling. The swing in the polls reflects a desire to return to an old patriotism of long-lost national values, lost in the mire of multiculturalism brought on by uncontrolled immigration against a background of recession and poor economic performance.

 

They are in search of a once-was national character. A yearning to return to the past will however not save them from the reality that now exists. Nevertheless, we will see European nations shift, possibly polarize, as populations demand that their voices be heard above the growing needs and demands of strong minority and troublesome migrants and left-wing anarchists. But will these changes come in time to save a sinking Europe from the misguided, immoral decisions being taken by a largely Socialist and fractured continent? One nation outside of Europe that is suffering from misguided European policies is Israel. Israelis look at Europe as a continent that feels the need to cater to an unruly Muslim population that offers their politicians votes but on the other hand can, and does, cause problems and violence if its causes are not addressed. This has expressed itself in displays of violent anti-Semitism that leave local Jews vulnerable.

 

Countries, one after another, fall prey to the lobbying of left-wing fringe groups allied to a Palestinian agenda by the introduction of anti-Israel resolutions. One after another, nations fall like dominoes, not wishing to appear out of step with an ill-considered mantra of Palestinianism that contradicts European commitments that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be settled by the two parties involved, without any external or unilateral moves that may endanger or foreclose such an outcome. The Oslo Accords, signed on the White House lawn between Israel and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, called for mutual recognition, something that is totally lacking from Hamas, the leading political body of Palestinian Arabs, or from the rejectionist Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. The notion of “two states for two peoples” has been rejected by the Palestinians. Europe has ignored this. Why? An end to terrorism is yet another condition for peace. Can anyone honestly say that this has been achieved in light of the grotesque Palestinian rocket attacks that erupted out of the Gaza Strip last summer? Or the horrendous sight of Palestinian terrorists coming out of the ground near Israeli farms and villages, intent to capture or kill huge numbers of Israeli civilians including women and children? Yet, on December 17, the European General Court removed Hamas from the EU list of terrorist organizations. This just days after the Hamas leadership celebrated in Gaza by parading its rockets and suicide bombers, vowing to eradicate the Jewish State of Israel.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed up the feeling of all Israelis and Jews: “It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we’ve learned. We’ll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy.” The statement was aimed squarely at a Europe that fails to support the only liberal democracy in the region but bends over backwards to establish a state that will, in all likelihood, be headed by an Islamic terrorist group or by a rejectionist body with a shared motivation to remove Israel as part of a “liberating Palestine” agenda. Europeans need to be asked: If Hamas is not a terrorist organization, what is? As European parliaments fall, one by one, to a “Palestine” vote, and its court cannot understand what constitutes a terrorist organization if it is cloaked in Palestinian clothing, no other issue has unified the Israeli parliament like the European court’s decision. Wall to wall condemnation was heard across Israel’s divergent political parties against the European court, whose decision demonstrates the loss of a moral path, in the words of Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett…Clearly, Europe does not have the stomach, or the political will, to fight Islamic terrorism with all its force, if at all. As Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein said, the European Union “must have lost its mind!” This is clearly the case. The question is whether the winds of political change will arrive in Europe in time to save it and Israel from the damaging tsunami of current political moves.

                                                                       

Contents        

                                                                              

 

             

         

AFTER SYNAGOGUE ATTACK, JERUSALEM’S NEW HOLY WAR                                                                 

Daniel Gordis                                                                                                                

National Post, Nov. 20, 2014

 

There are terror attacks, and there are pogroms. The attack at a Jerusalem synagogue … that killed four rabbis was a pogrom. It was an attack motivated not by politics but by religious hatred; it was directed not at Israelis but at Jews. The killers were armed with hatchets and guns instead of suicide belts, and they came not to kill Jews but to butcher them. The images are horrific: a prayer shawl in a pool of blood; a prayer book turned crimson, from which one of the victims had been worshiping as he was killed; and more haunting, the hand of a dead man, still wearing his phylacteries, soaking in his own blood. Witnesses said a worshiper’s arm, also wrapped in a leather prayer strap, had been hacked off its torso.

 

To Jews schooled in Jewish history, these images are not new; they are the images of a destiny from which Israel had been intended to redeem the Jews. Consider this description of the Kishinev Pogrom in 1903: “[One young boy], blinded in one eye from youth, begged for his life with the offer of sixty rubles; taking this money, the leader of the crowd …  gouged out [his] other eye, saying “You will never again look upon a Christian child.” Nails were driven through heads; bodies, hacked in half; bellies split open and filled with feathers. Women and girls were raped, and some had their breasts cut off.” Jews knew that sort of hatred could not be combated with reason. Violence of that sort was not motivated by economics, by contested territory or even by history. It was, they understood, malignant Jew-hatred at its core, driven by a millenniums-old sickness from which Europe would never recover. The 20th century was to have been the century of reason, of banishing ancient hatreds. But when the Kishinev poison was unleashed with the new century already under way (they had no inkling, of course, of how horrific the century would become), they knew they needed to flee.

 

At the Sixth Zionist Congress in 1903, Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, evoked Kishinev not as an event, but as a condition. “Kishinev exists wherever … [Jews’] self-respect is injured and their property despoiled because they are Jews. Let us save those who can still be saved!” The Jews, he insisted, needed a state of their own. He was not the first to say this. When the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881 unleashed a similar burst of murderous anti-Jewish violence, an earlier Zionist, Yehuda Leib Pinsker, wrote that “the misfortunes of the Jews are due, above all, to their lack of desire for national independence; … if they do not wish to exist forever in a disgraceful state … they must become a nation.” As long as the Jew was landless and stateless, Pinsker argued as Herzl would once again a decade and a half later, the Jew would persist in a “disgraceful state.” He, too, argued that there was no choice — the Jews needed to flee Europe.

 

So flee they did, by the many millions. Most went to America, but some newly committed Zionists went to Palestine where they hoped to build a nation-state for the Jews. The Italians had Italy, the Poles had Poland and the Germans had Germany. Each had a language, a history, a culture. So, too, did the Jews; what they lacked was a state, and the price of that statelessness, they believed, was Kishinev. The Jewish State was supposed to put a stop to those images. Yes, a tragic and bloody conflict over land erupted, but Jews — later called Israelis — believed the conflict could be resolved. Israel would sign treaties with its Arab neighbors, sometimes giving up land (as with the Sinai Desert in the case of Egypt) and sometimes not (since Jordan essentially required no meaningful territorial concession). When Palestinian nationalism emerged and then became the world’s darling, left and centrist Israelis remained unfazed. This was a conflict over territory, they reasoned; when the Palestinians were ready to live side by side, Israel would cede more land, and the conflict would be over.

 

But the images of Jewish bodies hacked to death on a blood- soaked synagogue floor are about a hatred too deep to be assuaged by territorial concessions. Those images tell Israelis that although they fled Europe and have built their national home, they are still assailed by the same venomous loathing they had sought to escape. This time, 7 million Jewish Israelis have nowhere to run. To where would they go? While Hamas has praised the butchery and Palestinians have celebrated by handing out candies to children and posing with hatchets and photographs of the killers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for restraint, urging Jews not to take the law into their own hands. Yet while Netanyahu seeks restraint on the part of private Israelis, he is unlikely to show restraint himself. For if this horror cannot be stopped, the fundamental premise of Zionism and the promises that it bore for the Jewish people — that the butchery was over — will be upended. And no Israeli prime minister can willingly allow that to happen on his or her watch.           

                                            

Contents     

                                                                                                    

                                          

 

THE ETHICS OF PROTECTIVE EDGE                                                                                                        

Asa Kasher                                                                                                         

Jewish Review of Books, Fall, 2014   

 

Even my loves are measured by wars,” wrote the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai: I am saying this happened after the Second World War. We met a day before the Six-Day War. I’ll never say before the peace ’45–’48 or during the peace ’56–’67. I first heard air raid sirens during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, and I heard them most recently in August, during Operation Protective Edge. In 1948, an Egyptian plane dropped bombs on the center of Rishon Lezion, where I then lived; more recently the threat took the familiar form of rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip and intercepted by the Iron Dome system far above my head in another town near Tel Aviv. During the 1948 air raid, I saw my father, at the time an officer in a northern infantry brigade, treating a wounded female soldier, who died soon thereafter. She was the first casualty of war that I personally witnessed. Recently, my 17-year-old granddaughter Ahiraz encountered her first casualty when a soldier who had been a member of her neighborhood scout troop fell in the present operation.

 

As Amichai says, our lives in Israel are marked by the wars through which we have lived. In addition to living through the many wars, actions, and operations of the last 66 years as both a civilian and a soldier, I have also spent a great deal of time thinking about the ethics of fighting them, both in official capacities—when, for example, I led the writing of and co-authored the IDF’s code of ethics in the 1990s—and in an unofficial one, as a commentator. As I write this, in late August, rockets are once again being fired from Gaza, and Operation Protective Edge has resumed after another brief ceasefire. Although—or perhaps precisely because—hostilities are ongoing, it is important to re-examine the challenges that terrorists in general and Hamas in particular pose to the Israel Defense Forces and to do so in light of first principles, both those of traditional  Just War doctrine and of specific Israeli military doctrine and values. Israel, like every other state, upholds the right and duty of self-defense. A state’s right to defend itself when attacked is just as unquestionable as an individual’s right to self-defense when attacked. This right is invoked on the level of international relations and is confirmed by Just War doctrine, international law, and the United Nations charter, not to speak of common-sense ethics. The duty of self-defense, on the other hand, is the responsibility that a state has to protect its citizens. Thus, Israel has both the international right and the domestic duty to respond when Hamas attacks its citizens.

 

The second fundamental principle of the State of Israel in general and of the IDF in particular is the duty to respect human dignity. This means that people may never be treated as mere objects or instruments. Their liberty can be restricted only when there is a compelling justification for doing so. Note that this second principle extends not only to citizens or other persons under Israel’s effective control, such as visitors or foreign workers, but also to Palestinians in Gaza who pose no terrorist threat. It even comes into play with respect to terrorists themselves when kill-or-capture options are carefully considered. Nonetheless, as I have argued at greater length elsewhere, no state has or should shoulder as much responsibility for the safety of enemy civilians as it does for its own people. Special duties belong to the essence of relationships within a family, a community, and a state. These two fundamental principles of warfare are jointly applicable under all circumstances. During war or in the course of any other military activity, the principle of self-defense is what establishes the ends in question, namely an effective defense of the people and their state, while the second principle imposes restrictions on the means used in pursuit of those ends. Generally speaking, the latter principle requires ceaseless efforts to diminish or “alleviate the calamities of war,” to use a very old but still apt expression from the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration Renouncing the Use, in Times of War, of Certain Explosive Projectiles.

 

Other democratic states share the basic principle of respect for human dignity and direct the activities of their military forces in accordance with it. It is, however, worthy of note that the IDF is the only military force of which I am aware that has included it among its explicitly stated values. Two of the values listed in its code of ethics, Ruach Tzahal, are those of respecting and preserving human life and the duty to retain “purity of arms,” that is to use the minimum force necessary to subdue the enemy. In the early 1990s, when I presented an early draft of the first such code to the IDF General Staff, then-Chief Lieutenant-General Ehud Barak and about 100 IDF groups of commanders, absolutely no one objected to the inclusion of these values. This is because they merely codified strongly entrenched parts of the IDF ethos. I have often been asked what is Jewish about the IDF code of ethics. In answering, I have always pointed to these two values, which are rooted in the Jewish religious and moral traditions of the sanctity of human life and of self-discipline.

 

It is not hard, however, to think of circumstances in which the principles of restraint and respect for human dignity in times of war might be disregarded. In his famous address to Parliament in 1940 Winston Churchill spoke of “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.” But as much as such statements may once have thrilled and heartened people, they are now obsolete, not only for ethical reasons but for strategic ones. To grasp the nature of the change that has taken place in the character of war and its end-state, at least for Israel, compare the consequences of the Six-Day War with the consequences of the Second Lebanon War. In 1967, our enemies’ military forces were essentially destroyed. In Lebanon, on the other hand, we significantly diminished the military force of Hezbollah, but it could and actually did continue launching rockets at northern Israel for a time.

 

In the “new” wars of recent decades, victory has been replaced by the ideal of successfully accomplishing given missions. The missions of Operation Protective Edge were defined in the course of the fighting as the elimination of the threat to Israel created by the Hamas offensive tunnels and the reduction if not elimination of the threat that Hamas’ rockets pose to most parts of Israel…

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

 

Contents           

 

On Topic

 

Domestic Terror Threat Becomes Real for Canada: Alistair MacDonald & Rita Trichur, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2014 —Long a target of extremist threats, Canada has for decades avoided foreign-linked terrorist killings on its soil.

Top 10 Worst U.N. Decisions Of 2014: Buzzfeed, Dec. 21, 2014—10. U.N. Elects Iran to Women’s Rights Commission

Europe's Year of the JihadistAbigail R. Esman, IPT News, Dec. 29, 2014—Among the trends of 2014 – "Gone, Girl," Lena Dunham, and $55,000 potato salad – was another the list-makers seem to have missed: it was also a very good year for Islamic jihad.

Research on the Islamic State: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Middle East Forum, Nov.-Dec., 2014

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul Merkley: Slaves Seeking Slavery: the Alliance of Secular Leftists and Islamists

 

Anyone feeling the need for a quick boost of morale should take a quick look at the site http://www.markhumphreys.com/left.html where he can watch an incredibly brave man, Robert Spencer, the Director of Jihad Watch, as he speaks to a crowd of secular-left and Islamist groups at a Pax Europe rally in Suttgart, Germany, in June 2011:

 

    You are already subjugated! You are already their useful idiots…. You are out here in their service. And you think your fight is for freedom. You are fighting for you own slavery! … You are fighting for the destruction of all the freedoms that you enjoy. You are fighting for the defeat of your own selves, of your own lives. You are slaves seeking slavery. You are the most foolish, you are the most evil, foolish people on Earth…. Shame on you!”

 

Deep-thinkers in the crowd tried to drown our Spencer’s message by throwing bottles, ice, eggs, and manure at the stage. By now, we are all well-acquainted with this theatre: massive rallies throughout the Western world, organized and manned by leading lights of the European secular-Left and Muslim activists. They appear arm-in-arm under banners denouncing the Apartheid Zionist Entity and its brutality towards innocent Palestinians. They call down shame upon the pro-Israel bias of Canada’s government, the evil legacy of the Crusades and the “Islamophobia” that informs the perception that they are out of line with our parochial Western values and legal traditions.

 

The Legacy of Dhimmitude.

 

The spokesmen assigned by these groups to be interviewed by our television networks lose no time in getting to the message: that everything that Muslims suffer today at the hands of godless Westerners and their Zionist co-oppressors could be averted if we would only practise the toleration towards minorities that made Arab empire – all of them long gone – great and prosperous and enlightened.

Jews and Christians were “Protected” communities under Muslim Empire, they declaim. But they never pause to ask “Protected Against Whom?”

 

The governing reality of inter-religious relations during the centuries of Muslim empire was the dhimma. This was the pact, or contract, under which conquered “People of the Book” (Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians) acknowledged the inferiority of their religion, and accepted to live under the command of their communities’ leaders – who, in turn, agreed to supervise the people’s adherence to specified limitations on their lives and to report on their compliance to the Muslim masters. Dhimmi people (that is, all Christians and Jews) paid a heavy tax (jizyah) from which Muslims were exempt. They were forbidden to own land– which greatly limited the economic prospects of the Islamic masses. Their clothing was restricted to certain types and styles, and on it they wore distinguishing badges – a symbol of a monkey for the Jews, a symbol of a pig for the Christians – so that they lived without dignity.

The “protection” which the Muslims extended towards the Jews and Christians was of the sort dispensed by the mafia — from themselves, not from some third party – as all others were converted or liquidated. It is this blessed state of affairs that the newly-proclaimed Caliph has in mind as he calls the Christians who come under the mercies of his Caliphate in Syria and Iraq —and then eventually everywhere – to renounce Christ, and convert – or die.

 

Non-believers, Idol-worshippers, and Other Human Trash.

 

But there is a third category, this one not eligible for the blessings of dhimmitude : these are Harbis, non-Muslims who do not meet the required for living as a community under Protection (dhimmitude)—those who are neither Muslims, Jews or Christians, all those who profess other religions, or who profess no religion at all – (that is, those whom we call atheists” or “agnostics.”) These uncontracted trash have no right to live at all – anywhere.

 

Responding to the beheading of James Foley by ISIS, Muslim cleric Hussein bin Mahmoud presumes to speak for the authentic Islamic tradition, noting that, under Islamic law, Foley was a harbi, i.e. a non-Muslim whose life was not protected by an agreement of protection.

 

    Millions of Muslims have been killed, tortured and driven from their homes; tens of thousands of Muslim women have had their honor violated and have been sexually abused by the Americans – yet people are weeping over a Christian American harbi infidel who entered the Islamic State, knowing full well what the Islamic State is, and without a pact [of protection]. Were the soldiers of the Islamic State supposed to pat this American harbi on the back and smile at him? All scholars, without exception, agree on the permissibility of killing a harbi infidel, and agree that his blood and property are fair game. Most of them [also] agree on the permissibility of killing him if he is taken prisoner. So where does this condemnation of the IS come from?… Many Muslims are influenced by the West’s false views and its repulsive ideas, which are exported to the Islamic nation in order to weaken it and change the perception of its youth so that [the youth] become cowardly and subdued and abandon the means of power and terror, and thus create a generation that does not know fighting or the cutting of necks. (“Muslim cleric justifies Islamic State beheadings: Islam is a religion of beheading,” http://www.jihadwatch.org, August 25, 2014.)

 

A moment’s thought will bring to mind that this category of harbi embraces at last one-half of humanity today – those who are not Muslims, Jews, or Christians; and one’s second thought must be that within this company must be included perhaps a third of those who are citizens of Canada.

 

Advice To Harbis From the Desk of Prophet Muhammad.

 

Individuals in our midst who show up at public events and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Muslims shouting “Death to Jews” are without excuse if they imagine that they are admired on account of their shunning of fellow-Christians and Jews. Prophet Muhammad has put them on notice:

 

    They are those who deny the signs of their Lord [that is, of Jesus] and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter); vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, give them any weight. [ Qur’an, 018.105) According to Muhammad, disbelief is enough in itself to qualify for consignment to the eternal fires of hell.

 

    That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and my Messengers by way of jest. (018.106)

    As for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads (022.020) .

No liberal should expect to find salvation in his reputation for being well -disposed to Islam, or for having contributed to the protection of Islam or of having declared his indebtedness to Islam for the light that Islam casts upon values common to other expressions of faith:

 

    Those who deny Allah and his messengers and those who wish to separate Allah from His messengers, saying “We believe in some but reject others… and those who wish to take a course midway are all in truth equally unbelievers, and we have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment. (004.150-151.)

 

Individuals who show up at public events and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Muslims as they shout “Death to Jews” are without excuse it they are truly in ignorance of these historical realities and if they do not grasp; that Islam today is devoted to the eradication of all the values that liberals, radicals, pacifists, anarchists and progressives of all kinds pretend to believe in: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, equal rights for women, tolerance for homosexuality, et cetera. Pathetically, they imagine that, when Jews and Christians are compelled once again to submit to Islam, they will emerge as accredited friends of Islam. In fact, that will not emerge at all! They will have no place at all in a world in which the license to live is issued by Islam – no more, that is, than do homosexuals, liberals and other human trash in Iran today.

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

 

Media-ocrity of the Week: “NO PROOF ATTACKS ARE TERRORIST ACTS, FRENCH OFFICIALS SAY— French authorities urged calm after a series of attacks across the country left dozens of people injured, and said there was no evidence the violent acts were connected by any terrorist motive. In the latest incident, 11 people were injured after a driver crashed his van into a crowded Christmas market in western France on Monday evening. The driver then stabbed himself several times…The attack, in the town Nantes, came after a pair of weekend attacks: one in which another driver ran down 13 bystanders in the city Dijon in eastern France, and one in which a recent convert to Islam knifed police officers outside the city of Tours. The prosecutor in Dijon said the driver behind the attack in that city has a long history of severe mental illness and no links to terrorism. The man, who is 40, has admitted his role in the attack, said prosecutor Marie-Christine Tarrare. She said the man, the Frenchborn son of North African immigrants, acted alone and had no religious motivations, but was upset at the treatment of Chechen children. He shouted "God is great" to give himself courage to act, and not out of religious belief, Tarrare said. However, counter-terrorist police are investigating the attack Saturday on police in a suburb of Tours, which left two officers seriously injured and a third with light injuries. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that attacker, who was killed by police, was a 20-year-old from Burundi named Bertrand. Police believe he'd been drawn to radical Islam several years ago by his 19-year-old brother Brice, who has been detained for questioning by police in Burundi, Molins said.” (AP, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

On Topic Links 

 

Mullah Radio, Terrorist Demagogue Behind the Savagery of Peshawar: Dean Nelson, Taha Siddiqui & Ashfaq Yusufzai, Telegraph, Dec.20, 2014

Escape From Hell: Torture and Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq: Amnesty International, Dec. 23, 2014

Israel Looks on Europe With Dismay: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2014

'Eviction Notice' for Israel on US Campuses: Peretz Lavie, Ynet, Dec. 22, 2014

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

 

"I believe that bilateral relations between us and the Islamic Republic of Iran are back on track," —Hamas deputy political leader Mousa abu Marzook. The Hamas leader says the terrorist group patched up relations with Iran after a breach over Syria's civil war. When the Syrian civil war began, Tehran provided direct support for Bashar al-Assad's regime as it massacred civilians. Many individual Hamas members sided with Syria's Sunni rebels. Iran drastically cut its military and financial aid to Hamas, forcing them to turn to Turkey and Qatar for support. "There are many indications that … relations have been resumed in a proper way, as in the past," Marzook said. (IPT News, Dec. 18, 2014)

 

“Israel should start the initiative of the Emirates Solution, which I have been preaching for years, to establish Emirates in the Palestinian Authority,” —Dr. Mordechai Kedar. Kedar argues that Israel should start advancing the establishment of eight Palestinian emirates. According to Kedar’s solution, each of the seven major Arab cities in the PA should be an independent emirate and Gaza would also become an emirate, while Israel would hold onto the rural areas of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem “in order to make sure that we don’t have another Hamastan overlooking the whole coastal area to the west, Be’ersheva and Dimona to the South, and Afula and Bet Shaan in the north.” By taking such actions on the ground by establishing the independent Palestinian Emirates, Kedar noted that “the Palestinian state will remain only on paper while on the ground there would be something totally different…The Arab Spring has brought about a much less stable region…Israel can no longer allow the rest of the world to dictate policy that makes it more difficult for the Jewish nation to survive. Israel must declare its own independent solution with regards to the so-called Palestinian movement and militant jihadism that appears to be on the ascendancy. Doing nothing only invites intervention from abroad,” he emphasized. (Jerusalem Online, Dec. 18, 2014)

 

“These are big hits and eliminating these figures always temporarily disrupts the organization,” — Ahmed Ali, analyst at the Institute of the Study of War. U.S. airstrikes have killed three military leaders of Islamic State in Iraq in recent weeks. Despite those losses, Ali said the killing of senior figures likely “will not end the organization…Hitting Baghdadi [IS leader, also known as “Caliph Ibrahim”] will represent a make-or-break moment for ISIS,” Ali said, “But for now, ISIS leadership bench and command structure are deep.” (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18, 2014)

 

“I was taken to Mosul and kept there all the time,” —Randa, a sixteen-year-old Yazidi woman abducted from her home by Islamic State fighters along with her parents and siblings. She told Amnesty International she was given as a “gift” to a man twice her age. “A man called Salwan took me … to an abandoned house. He also took my cousin, who is 13 years old. We resisted and they beat us. He took me as his wife by force. I told him I did not want to and tried to resist but he beat me. My nose was bleeding, I could not do anything to stop him. It is so painful what they did to me and to my family. Da’esh [another name for the Islamic State] has ruined our lives.” In Mosul, an Islamic State hub in northern Iraq where extremists have been terrorizing the country’s Yazidi community, hundreds of women and girls have been captured. Many have been forced into marriage, sold as slaves or given as “gifts” to Islamic State fighters and their supporters throughout Mosul and Raqqa, Syria. It’s a situation that has driven some speak out, some to flee and some to end their own lives, according to a report released Tuesday by Amnesty International called, “Escape from Hell.” It chronicles the rape and sexual slavery, escapes and suicides since the Islamic State’s siege in June. To read the full Amnesty report click the following link. (Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

"There is an awful sense of normalcy in Mosul," — Juergen Todenhoefer, an author who traveled deep into Islamic State territory, visiting Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in Syria, as well as Mosul. Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, was taken by IS in June. "130,000 Christians have been evicted from the city, the Shia have fled, many people have been murdered and yet the city is functioning and people actually like the stability that the Islamic State has brought them."  Todenhoefer said the enthusiasm the IS fighters showed was one thing that stood out. "When we stayed at their recruitment house, there were 50 new fighters who came every day," Todenhoefer said. "And I just could not believe the glow in their eyes. They felt like they were coming to a promised land, like they were fighting for the right thing. These are not stupid people. One of the people we met had just finished his law degree, he had great job offers, but he turned them down to go and fight … We met fighters from Europe and the United States. One of them was from New Jersey. Can you imagine a man from New Jersey traveling to fight for the Islamic State?" (CNN, Dec. 22, 2014)

 

“This is something we cannot accept anymore, and if you continue to target our women and children, then your children will not be safe anymore,” —Khalifa Omar Mansoor, self-proclaimed organizer of the assault last week that killed 132 schoolchildren in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. “We announce that we will not discriminate in our attacks any longer, and will be as unconcerned as you are,” he said. Mansoor appeared in a short video on a site used for distributing propaganda videos. He said the Pakistani Taliban would continue to strike civilians in revenge for Pakistani military operations under way in the country’s North Waziristan tribal area to destroy al Qaeda and Taliban havens. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18, 2014)

 

“The system did not adequately deal with the individual, there is no doubt about that,” —Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Australian authorities have been pressured to explain why the gunman in a siege at a Sydney cafe that left two hostages dead had dropped off a security watch list and was not being monitored despite his criminal record, history of violence, and public airings of his radical views. “We do need to know why the perpetrator of this horrible outrage got long-term residency…We particularly need to know how someone with such a long record of violence, such a long record of mental health instability, was out on bail after his involvement in a particularly horrific crime,” Abbott said. The gunman, Man Haron Monis, had been removed from a government terrorism watch-list around 2009 and granted permanent residency. Monis was facing trial on a number of charges, including being an accessory to the murder of his former wife. He was convicted of harassing the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and lost his final appeal in that case three days before he went to the cafe. In April, he was charged in the sexual assault of a woman in 2002. Forty more counts of sexual assault involving six other women were later added to that case. (New York Times, Dec. 17, 2014)

 

“I am sitting here in Sderot, two months after this summer’s war where terrorists wanted to close our town and make it like a ghost city. In Israel, we are now celebrating the holiday of Hanukkah. The meaning of Hanukkah for us in Sderot is that we must continue to fight for the state and land of Israel. The land belongs to us and we need to stay here and develop our town and our country. We saw, with the recent war, that when Israel became stronger, the war became stronger. The terrorists and Arabs in Gaza want to bring death to the area. I call on them to change their ways — to choose to bring forth life and not death. People are amazed that we continue to live in Sderot, to develop our town. I say that with belief in God and his help, Israel will become stronger. I want to say to everyone, we are now before the New Year and with God’s help, we will be blessed to see only good things come this year. Good things happen, especially in our area, but we know it is not in our hands,” — Holiday message from Alon Davidi, Mayor of Sderot, Israel. (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

REPORT: HAMAS HAS STARTED REPAIRING TERROR TUNNELS (Gaza) — Four months have passed since the cease-fire went into effect and Hamas has already begun preparing for the next confrontation with Israel. According to Palestinian sources, Hamas is focused on repairing the attack tunnels that were destroyed during “Operation Protective Edge.” According to the report, some of the cement and other building materials that were brought for the purpose of rehabilitating Gaza have been recently sidetracked by Hamas to reconstruct the terror tunnels. Other reports confirmed that Hamas has been conducting tests, lobbing dozens of rockets into the Mediterranean in attempt to reestablish the rocket system that was also damaged during the operation. (Jerusalem Online, Dec. 19, 2014)

 

IAF GAZA STRIKE TARGETED HAMAS TERROR TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION (Gaza) —Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon addressed the IAF's strikes on Gaza on Saturday, noting that it was response to a rocket fired at Israeli civilians on Friday that struck the Eshkol region. Ya'alon said the target was a concrete factory being used to repair terror tunnels in and out of Israel, dozens of which Israel destroyed during the summer campaign. "We hold Hamas responsible for what happens in Gaza, and will act forcefully against it if it won't prevent attacks at Israel," Ya’alon said. The IAF strike was the first since Operation Protective Edge ended in August. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 20, 2014)

 

PALESTINIANS FLEE HAMAS, ASK ISRAEL TO IMPRISON THEM (Gaza) — Over the past two months, more than twenty Palestinians have been arrested while trying to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israel, according to Palestinian sources. The increase in the number of Palestinians who try to infiltrate Israel comes as Egypt continues to keep the Rafah border crossing closed. It also comes as the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah intensifies, hampering international efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip. The situation has become so miserable in Gaza that some Palestinian youths are prepared to endanger their lives by approaching the border with Israel. The Palestinian news website, Al-Watan Voice, interviewed two of the youths who embarked on the dangerous adventure. The two young men said they prefer the “comfort” of Israeli prisons to life in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 14, 2014)

 

HEZBOLLAH TRIES MOSSAD INFORMANT WHO FOILED ATTACKS (Beirut) — According to the Beirut-based Daily Star, Hezbollah has placed one of its operatives on trial for treason after he informed Israel about various attacks planned by the terrorist group. A Lebanese security source said that Hezbollah arrested the suspected informant, Mohammad Shawraba, who headed the organization's External Operations Unit.  Hezbollah reportedly caught Shawraba after linking him to five botched attacks on Israeli targets to avenge the 2008 assassination of the group's commander Imad Mughniyeh. Hezbollah accuses Mossad of carrying out the assassination. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 19, 2014)

 

IS DOWNS JORDANIAN JET, CAPTURES PILOT (Amman) — The Islamic State group on Wednesday shot down a warplane from the US-led coalition over northern Syria, a monitoring group said, with the jihadists claiming to have captured a Jordanian pilot. The IS branch in Raqa published photographs on jihadist websites purporting to show its fighters holding the captured pilot, with a caption identifying him as Jordanian and giving his name. Jordan is among a number of countries that have joined the US-led alliance carrying out air strikes against IS. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain are taking part in the air strikes in Syria alongside the US. Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France and The Netherlands have joined the raids in Iraq. (Times of Israel, Dec. 24, 2014)

 

FRANCE ORDERS TROOP REINFORCEMENTS AFTER ATTACKS (Paris) — After a string of attacks across France that have heightened concerns about Islamic militancy, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Tuesday that hundreds of additional military personnel would be ordered onto the streets to reinforce a routine deployment of security forces. He indicated that the soldiers’ mission would be to guard against copycat attacks inspired by the three assaults. In Dijon and Nantes, a total of 23 people were wounded when men drove vehicles into crowds of people, with one of the drivers shouting Allahu Akbar (“Allah is great”). In Joué-lès-Tours, a 20-year-old man with a concealed knife entered a police station and attacked three officers before another shot and killed him. (New York Times, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

PAKISTAN REINSTATES DEATH PENALTY AFTER SCHOOL MASSACRE (Islamabad) — Pakistan plans to execute around 500 militants following the deadliest terror attack in the nation’s history. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reinstated the death penalty for terrorism-related cases in response to last Tuesday’s attack on a school in Peshawar, which left 149 people, including 133 children, dead. Six militants have been hanged since Friday, five of which were reportedly involved in a failed 2003 attempt to assassinate then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf.  (Washington Times, Dec. 22, 2014)

 

SIX MILITANTS KILLED IN U.S. DRONE ATTACKS IN PAKISTAN  (Peshawar) — Six militants were killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan on Saturday, officials said. A Pakistani security official said two missiles struck a compound in Datta Khel, just three miles from the Afghan border. Also on Saturday, Pakistani military troops raided a compound in Koi Hassankhel nine miles south of Peshawar, killing five militants. Among the dead was the brother of Omar Mansoor, whom the Taliban have identified as the commander behind the school massacre. (New York Times, Dec. 20, 2014)

 

EX-CABINET MINISTER WINS TUNISIAN PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF (Tunis) —  Beji Caid Essebsi, an 88-year-old former cabinet minister, won Tunisia’s first free and democratic presidential election in a runoff, the country’s election commission announced Monday. Essebsi received 55.7 percent of the vote, and his rival, the interim president, Moncef Marzouki, got 44.3 percent in the election. Essebsi served as interior minister under Tunisia’s repressive first president, Habib Bourguiba, and as speaker of Parliament under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted in 2011. There were reports of clashes between Marzouki’s supporters and the police in the southern town of El Hamma on Sunday when exit polls indicated that Essebsi was likely to win. (New York Times, Dec. 22, 2014)

 

HARVARD BOYCOTTS SODASTREAM (Cambridge, MA) — The Harvard University Dining Services has suspended its contract with the Israeli carbonated water machine company SodaStream. SodaStream, you may recall, was targeted by BDS activists because its main factory was located in the town of Maale Adumim, across what BDS supporters call an “Apartheid Line” (the “Green Line”). SodaStream, however, plans to move its operation to an area in which it is still deemed acceptable for Israelis to own property. Ironically,  the move means the loss for many if not all of the company’s 900 non-Israeli Arab workers of their highest possible paying employment. (Jewish Press, Dec. 18, 2014) 

 

UC AFFIRMS THAT  FACULTY PROHIBITED FROM BRINGING BDS INTO CLASSROOMS (Los Angeles) —  University of California (UC) administrators have publicly affirmed that faculty are prohibited from bringing anti-Israel propaganda and BDS into the classroom. In response to a letter sent from an AMCHA-led coalition earlier this month asking if the UC policies that prohibit graduate student instructors from promoting BDS in the classroom also apply to faculty, UC administrators responded by stating, “I understand … that you are concerned that UC faculty may promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the classroom and that you are seeking clarification as to whether the Regents Policy on Course Content applies to UC faculty members.  In response to your question, the Regents Policy…does apply to UC faculty members.”  (AMCHA Initiative, Dec. 22, 2014)

 

AS WORLD TURNS ITS BACK ON ISRAEL, INDIA EMERGES AS ALLY (Tel Aviv) —Since coming to power in May, Indian PM Narenda Modi has met Israeli PM Netanyahu several times. Last week, in honor of Hanukkah, Modi published a holiday greeting in Hebrew. Along with a warming of diplomatic relations, Israel and India are also engaging in new trade, defense, security, technological and cultural relationships. Last month, the two countries conducted a joint missile test on an advanced system, which was hailed by an adviser to the Indian defense minister as “an important milestone in the cooperation between India and Israel.” (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

CZECH JEWS PROTEST INVITATION OF PUTIN TO HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL (Prague) — Czech Jews are angry over their government’s decision to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to a national Holocaust commemoration being held in Prague next month, citing opposition to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has already agreed to attend the event marking the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s liberation of Auschwitz. The Holocaust has become politicized in the conflict between Russia and its former Soviet subject, with Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar holding a Holocaust memorial in Crimea shortly after its annexation by Moscow which drew harsh condemnations by Jewish leaders in Kiev. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 21, 2014)

 

FLEEING CIVIL WAR, THOUSANDS OF UKRAINIANS TAKE REFUGE IN ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) — More than 5,000 Ukrainian Jews have immigrated over the past year, seeking a refuge from the shelling, shortages and anarchy that have characterized eastern Ukraine and decimated the communities of the Donbas region, where Moscow-backed separatists have waged an increasingly violent war against Kiev’s rule. Many have also fled to other cities within Ukraine itself and even over the border to Russia. Some 1,310 Jews have come from Donetsk and Luhansk, the central population centers of Donbas, between January and November, an increase of a thousand percent over the same period in 2013, according to the Jewish Agency. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2014)

 

1,600-YEAR-OLD GLASS BRACELET WITH MENORAH INSCRIPTION DISCOVERED (Tel Aviv) —A fragment from a glass bracelet inscribed with a seven- branched menorah from the Second Temple was discovered at an excavation in Israel’s Mount Carmel National Park. The dig exposed an industrial region and refuse pits that were part of a large settlement in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, during the end of the fourth century CE and beginning of the fifth. According to Yael Gorin-Rosen, head of the Antiquities Authority’s Ancient Glass Department, glass bracelets and pendants from these periods decorated with symbols of a menorah, lion or different images of gods and animals are well known in Israel, Lebanon and Syria. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2014)

 

On Topic Links 

 

Mullah Radio, Terrorist Demagogue Behind the Savagery of Peshawar: Dean Nelson, Taha Siddiqui & Ashfaq Yusufzai, Telegraph, Dec.20, 2014—As Pakistanis united in revulsion at the massacre of 141 pupils and teachers at Peshawar’s Army Public School last week and the government began executing convicted terrorists in response, the Taliban commander who ordered the slaughter emerged from hiding to justify it.

Escape From Hell: Torture and Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq: Amnesty International, Dec. 23, 2014 —As they swept through large parts of northern Iraq, fighters with the armed group calling itself “Islamic State” (IS) systematically targeted members of non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities, as well as Sunni Muslims who oppose them.

Israel Looks on Europe With Dismay: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 23, 2014 —Political tremors are being felt across Europe. In Britain, we see the rise of an emerging independence party, UKIP, which is euroskeptic and takes a corrective line on the UK's unbridled open-door immigration policy.

'Eviction Notice' for Israel on US Campuses: Peretz Lavie, Ynet, Dec. 22, 2014 —Several weeks ago, I returned from a coast-to-coast tour of the United States and Canada with mixed feelings. In dozens of events and meetings, I was exposed to a complicated and alarming state of affairs.

 

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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DESPITE TERRORISM, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES & POLITICAL ROWS, PALESTINIAN LEADERS BOLSTERED BY INTERNAT’L LEGITIMACY

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 

 

Contents:

 

EU Gives Hamas Green Light to Attack Israel: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 22, 2014— Less than 48 hours after a top European Union court ruled that Hamas should be removed from the bloc's list of terrorist groups, supporters of the Palestinian Islamist movement responded by firing a rocket at Israel. The attack, which did not cause any casualties or damage, did not come as a surprise.

Hamas's International Triangle of Bases: Gaza, Turkey and Qatar: Yaakov Lappin, IPT News, Dec. 18— In recent years, the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas has developed into a truly international entity. Today, it enjoys three territorial bases of operation: Gaza, the seat of the Hamas regime, Turkey, and Qatar.

America's Palestine Refugee Policy Is Insane: Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander Joffe, National Interest, Nov. 9, 2014 — One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

‘Freedom of Speech’ Under Abbas-led Palestinian Authority: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Dec. 17, 2014— In a society where a land owner is sentenced to death for selling his property as he chooses, it is no surprise to find other freedoms lacking as well.

 

On Topic Links

 

Iran Accelerates Arming of Hizbullah and Hamas for Possible Clash with Israel:  Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Dec. 22, 2014

Doubts Emerge Over EU Court’s Justification for Annulment of Hamas Terror Designation: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 17, 2014

Hamas Diverting Reconstruction Material to Rebuilding Terror Tunnels: IPT News, Dec. 19, 2014

'Palestinian Rights Activism' Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims: Andrew Harrod, Jihad Watch, Dec. 18, 2014

 

 

                   

EU GIVES HAMAS GREEN LIGHT TO ATTACK ISRAEL                                                                        

Khaled Abu Toameh                                 

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 22, 2014

           

Less than 48 hours after a top European Union court ruled that Hamas should be removed from the bloc's list of terrorist groups, supporters of the Palestinian Islamist movement responded by firing a rocket at Israel. The attack, which did not cause any casualties or damage, did not come as a surprise. Buoyed by the EU court's ruling, Hamas leaders and spokesmen see it as a "political and legal achievement" and a "big victory" for the "armed struggle" against Israel. Musa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas leader, issued a statement thanking the EU court for its decision. He hailed the decision to remove his movement from the terrorist list as a "victory for all those who support the Palestinian right to resistance." When Hamas leaders talk about "resistance," they are referring to terrorist attacks, such as the launching of rockets and suicide bombings against Israel. In other words, Hamas has interpreted the court's decision as a green light to carry out fresh attacks as part of its ambition to destroy Israel.

 

The rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel only days after the court decision is not likely to be the last. Although the EU court has said that its controversial decision was "technical" and was not a reassessment of Hamas's classification as a terrorist group, leaders of the Islamist movement believe that the move will eventually earn them legitimacy in the international arena. Ironically, the EU court's decision coincided with Hamas celebrations marking the 27th anniversary of its founding. Once again, Hamas used the celebrations to remind everyone that its real goal is to destroy Israel. And, of course, Hamas used the event to display its arsenal of weapons that include various types of rockets and missiles, as well as drones.

Hours before the EU court decision was made public, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar announced that his movement would never recognize Israel. Zahar also made it clear that Hamas seeks to overthrow the Palestinian Authority [PA] regime and seize control over the West Bank.

 

The EU court's decision also coincided with increased efforts to achieve rapprochement between Hamas and Iran. Recently, a senior Hamas leadership delegation visited Tehran as part of efforts to mend fences between the two sides. The main purpose of the visit was to persuade the Iranians to resume military and financial aid to Hamas. The visit, according to senior Hamas officials, appears to have been "successful."

 

"There are many signs that our relations are back on the right track," explained Hamas's Musa Abu Marzouk. "Hamas and Iran have repaired their relations, which were strong before the Syrian crisis." Relations between Hamas and Iran deteriorated due to the Islamist movement's refusal to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Now the Iranians are likely to interpret the EU court decision to remove Hamas from the list of terrorist groups as a green light to resume financial and military aid to the movement. Iran's leaders recently announced that they intend to dispatch weapons not only to the Gaza Strip, but to the West Bank as well, as part of Tehran's effort to support those Palestinians who are fighting to eliminate Israel. Moreover, the EU court's move will also embolden other countries that provide Hamas with political and financial aid, first and foremost Qatar and Turkey. Oil-rich Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia will now face pressure from many Arabs and Muslims to join Qatar, Turkey and Iran in extending their support to Hamas.

 

The biggest losers, meanwhile, are Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Over the past few months, the two men have been doing their utmost to undermine Hamas and end its rule over the Gaza Strip. Abbas has been fighting Hamas by blocking financial and humanitarian aid and arresting its supporters in the West Bank, while Sisi continues to tighten the blockade on the Gaza Strip and destroy dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt. The EU court's decision represents a "severe blow to the Palestinian Authority and Egypt," noted Palestinian political analyst Raed Abu Dayer. "As far is Abbas is concerned, the decision grants Hamas political legitimacy and challenges his claim to be the sole legitimate leader [of the Palestinians]. With regards to Egypt, the European court decision calls into question rulings by Egyptian courts that Hamas is a terrorist organization."

 

Even if the EU court decision is reversed in the future, there's no doubt that it has already caused tremendous damage, especially to those Muslims who are opposed to radical Islam. Any victory for Hamas, albeit a small and symbolic one, is a victory for the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist groups around the world. The decision has left many Arabs and Muslims with the impression that Hamas, after all, is not a terrorist organization, especially if non-Muslims in Europe say so through one of their top courts. Even worse, the decision poses a real and immediate threat to Israel, as evident from the latest rocket attack. If the Europeans have reached the conclusion that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, then why don't their governments openly invite tens of thousands of Hamas members and supporters to move to London, Paris and Rome? And they should not forget to ask the Hamas members to bring along with them their arsenal of weapons.

 

 

                                                                              

Contents                                                                                     

   

                                            

HAMAS'S INTERNATIONAL TRIANGLE OF BASES:

GAZA, TURKEY AND QATAR

Yaakov Lappin                                                                                                            

IPT News, Dec. 18, 2014

 

In recent years, the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas has developed into a truly international entity. Today, it enjoys three territorial bases of operation: Gaza, the seat of the Hamas regime, Turkey, and Qatar. According to Israeli intelligence estimates, each base serves a different purpose. The three branches have worked, alternatively, in harmony and in discord, together and independently, in line with the various terrorist activities they pursue. "These are not the same leaderships," one security source said, speaking of the Hamas command structure in each base. "Qatar is home to Hamas's political branch, headed by Khaled Meshaal. In Turkey [in the city of Istanbul], Hamas maintains a military branch headquarters, which sets up terrorist infrastructure. This headquarters is comprised partly of former Hamas prisoners who were ejected from Israel during the [2011] Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. In Gaza, there are both military and political operatives." Each branch plays a unique role, and relations between them fluctuate.

 

Hamas's headquarters in Istanbul is headed by Salah Al-Arouri, a senior figure in the military wing who is focused on rejuvenating Hamas terrorism cells in the West Bank, and using it as a springboard for orchestrating deadly attacks against Israel. Gaza is home to the main military wing, the Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades, whose operatives focus on building up their offensive rocket capabilities, tunnel networks, and, like Arouri, they also seek to also set up West Bank terrorism cells. On Thursday, Hamas held what is described as its largest military exercise since the summer war against Israel. Gaza is also home to Hamas's political wing, headed by Ismail Haniyeh. "They all have their own interests. Those in Gaza have one point of view, those abroad have another. There have, in the past, been disagreements," the source said. One example of such internal conflict was the dispute between Khaled Meshaal and Hamas in Gaza over when to end the summer war with Israel. Meshaal pushed Hamas to continue the fighting, despite growing calls by Hamas in Gaza to agree to a ceasefire. The conflicting positions were partly the result of geography: Hamas in Gaza had a better real time understanding of the heavy costs Israel was inflicting on it during the fighting than the overseas Meshaal, who, from his luxurious Qatari surroundings, could afford the privilege of calling for more fighting.

 

Nevertheless, a basic level of cooperation and consent exists among all three branches. Saleh Al-Arouri in Turkey would not have embarked on a major mission to set up a large-scale Hamas terrorist network in the West Bank, plan atrocities against Israel, and aim to topple the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, without approval from Khaled Meshaal and Hamas in Gaza. Cooperation may not always be close, but it exists. "There are connections," the security source said. "Hamas in Gaza is connected to those trying to orchestrate terrorism in Judea and Samaria. There is a circle of cooperation." Arouri could seek and receive assistance from Gaza, as he has done, but he can also try to work independently. "There are no laws," the source stressed.

 

In recent months, the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] uncovered two intricate Hamas terror plots to inflict mass-casualty attacks on Israelis, and to weaken Fatah in the West Bank. Both were tied to Arouri. This discovery has led Israeli defense chiefs to become more vocal about the Hamas base in Turkey. "Hamas's terrorism headquarters are in Gaza and in Istanbul. It is unbelievable that a NATO member is hosting the headquarters of a terrorist organization in its territory," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told his Spanish counterpart earlier this month. "We have stopped a coup planned by Hamas, which was organized in, among other places, its Turkish headquarters, against [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen in Judea and Samaria. We saved him from this revolution. Hence, there is much significance and importance in our having freedom to operate security-wise in Judea and Samaria," Ya'alon stated.

 

Likewise, at the end of November, the Shin Bet and IDF announced that they had broken up a large-scale international Hamas terrorist infrastructure that was in the planning stages of multiple mass-casualty attacks, including an intended bombing of a soccer stadium in Jerusalem. The plot included car bombings, bombing Jerusalem's light rail system, and targeting Israelis overseas. This case illustrates the growing centrality of Istanbul to Hamas terror activities in the West Bank. Hamas's headquarters in Turkey has become a key command and planning center. Earlier this year, the Shin Bet announced the thwarting of another large Hamas network in the West Bank, set up by Saleh Al-Arouri in Istanbul, and headed locally by a Hamas member in Ramallah.

 

Hamas funneled more than a million shekels [more than $250,000] to terror operatives to prepare a series of attacks, which were designed to allow it to shift attention away from Gaza, and ultimately lead to the fall of the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority, according to Israeli investigation. This would be achieved by provoking Israel into harsh responses in the West Bank, destabilizing the area and leading to the toppling of the PA. Hamas has come a long way since the days when its founders, Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the Palestinian territories, set up indoctrination and social support centers. Today, it is an international terrorist organization, which continues to plot new ways to murder and maim Israelis from its various bases, while it dreams of setting up a second Islamist-jihadist regime in the West Bank, as it did in Gaza.

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

 

             

                   

AMERICA'S PALESTINE REFUGEE POLICY IS INSANE                                                     

Asaf Romirowsky & Alexander Joffe                                                                                              

The National Interest, Dec. 19, 2014

 

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By any measurement, Western policy towards United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the internationally funded agency for Palestinian “refugees,” meets that definition. One example is the newly released 2015 State Department Framework for Cooperation Between UNRWA and the U.S. This exercise in repetition occurred in the wake of a war that again exposed UNRWA’s unsavory and illegal activities, from being “shocked” that its schools were used to store Hamas’ rockets and rote condemnations of Israel, to its employees cheering the murder of Israelis. The framework nevertheless represents the American commitment to prolong the existence of UNRWA, established almost exactly 65 years ago.

 

The bulk of the document deals with UNRWA management. For example, there are the “15 objectives of the Medium Term Strategy” and the “Development of Strategic Response Plans for each of UNRWA’s five fields of operation through a consultative process.” The document also speaks of the “Continued implementation of ongoing management reforms, particularly in the areas of results-based management, resource mobilization, human resources, transition to and management of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) data management system, and internal communications.” These reflect the professionalization of UNRWA from a temporary relief organization into a multifaceted international organization dealing with Palestinian “basic education, health, relief and social services, microcredit, camp improvement and infrastructure and other assistance,” and “human development of Palestinian refugees by improving living conditions, economic potential, livelihoods, access, and human rights.” In other words, all the things that a Palestinian state should be doing for its citizens at home and outside its borders.

 

They also take for granted that UNRWA will not only continue to exist through at least 2021 (the end of the next five year planning cycle,) but will also grow in both scope and size, then and beyond. There is no talk about limiting UNRWA’s operations, or turning responsibilities over to the Palestinian Authority or to countries that host Palestinian “refugees.” In fact, the only talk about an end to UNRWA is the boilerplate statement that “The goal of U.S. support to UNRWA is to ensure that Palestinian refugees live in dignity with an enhanced human development potential until a comprehensive and just solution is secured.” Left unsaid is the fact that only the United Nations General Assembly can dissolve UNRWA, and that body’s definition of a “comprehensive and just solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict is unlikely to be realized anytime soon, if ever. The Framework does make a sideways nod to the reality that the 2014 Gaza War generated some bad publicity for UNRWA, during the course of which American legislators demanded investigations into how Hamas weapons found their way into UNRWA schools. For the State Department the matter is pressing particularly given that Section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (amended) states that “No contributions by the United States shall be made to (UNRWA) except on the condition that (UNRWA) take all possible measures to assure than no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army or any other guerilla-type organization or who has engaged in any act of terrorism.”

 

Thus the new Framework states: “The United States and UNRWA share concerns about the threat of terrorism, including within the context of the United Nation’s firm commitment to counter terrorism and the conditions on U.S. contributions to UNRWA under section 301(c). To this end, UNRWA is committed to taking all possible measures to ensure that funding provided by the United States to support UNRWA is not used to provide assistance to, or otherwise support, terrorists or terrorist organizations. The United States and UNRWA intend to continue to work together throughout 2015 to enhance collaboration and communication on issues related to conformance with conditions on U.S. contributions to UNRWA as detailed in section 301(c). The United States supports UNRWA’s policy to take all possible measures to ensure that staff members understand and fulfill their obligations, under Agency Rules and Regulations, to refrain from prohibited outside activities.” This constitutes an UNRWA commitment to update its human resources manuals, nothing more. There is no mention of UNRWA’s refusal to use U.S. or Israeli terror watch lists to ensure any commitment to combat terrorism.

 

The unreality is compounded by the still more ludicrous statement that the U.S. “notes with appreciation efforts taken by UNRWA during the course of 2014 to strengthen the Agency’s neutrality compliance, including but not limited to the development of social media guidelines for official UNRWA communications…” Whether the UNRWA spokesman crying on camera while being interviewed constitutes “neutrality compliance” is unclear, as is the celebration of the recent Jerusalem murders of rabbis on the Facebook pages of UNRWA teachers. Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect UNRWA employees, the vast majority of whom are Palestinian, to express neutrality. But if that is the case, then the Framework’s endorsement of “UNRWA’s human rights, conflict resolution, and tolerance education program” may also be questioned, or at least its implementation. But a deeper look at the document and the background of the American commitment to UNRWA suggests another vast disconnect. The framework states “All U.S. foreign assistance programs are required to demonstrate performance and accountability, and clearly link programming and funding directly to U.S. policy goals.” How prolonging the Palestinian “refugee” issue through the permanent institutionalizing of UNRWA serves U.S. policy goals is mystifying.

 

Beyond that, UNRWA officials at the top continue to defend the Palestinian “right of return,” in speeches as well as on official web pages, not to mention its pervasive promotion in UNRWA schools. How does promoting the Palestinian ideology that they are entitled to return to places once occupied by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents which are now in Israel, and in the process transform Israel into a Jewish minority state, serve U.S. policy, much less the cause of peace? The new U.S.-UNRWA Framework is foreign policy by inertia. In 2013 that inertia cost $294,023,401, the amount of the U.S. contribution to UNRWA (in addition to $356,700,000 in aid to the Palestinian Authority). U.S. support to UNRWA kept Palestinians in stasis, promoted Palestinian rejectionism, and did not advance the cause of peace, or U.S. policy.

                                                           

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‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’ UNDER ABBAS-LED PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY                                                 

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Press, Dec. 17, 2014

 

In a society where a land owner is sentenced to death for selling his property as he chooses, it is no surprise to find other freedoms lacking as well. But when the latest poll says as many as two-thirds of the population led by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority government fear criticizing their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, one has to wonder. The latest approval rating for Abbas was just 35 percent, according to analysts quoted by the Associated Press. Given those numbers, do the actions taken by the PA leadership – and more to the point, Abbas himself – truly represent the sentiment of the PA population? And if not, can the international community really trust anything said by Mahmoud Abbas?

 

Today (Wednesday, Dec. 17) Jordan will present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council on behalf of the PA, demanding that Israel withdraw from all territories conquered in 1967 by November 2016, and the world body recognize the PA as a new independent sovereign country. Mind you, the PA “unity government” is comprised of a covert terror organization (Fatah) and an outright terror organization (Hamas) that is still listed as such by the United States, at least, even though the European Union wimped out this week and removed it from its own list of terror groups. In reality, the PA is ruled by two separate governments — those of Fatah and Hamas — in two completely separate regions — Judea & Samaria and Gaza. Each is completely different and separated from each other geographically and ideologically. It is true, however, they are similar in that each is ruled by its leader with an iron fist. But despite their “unity” each of the rulers is unable to enter each other’s territory without risk to life and limb, even with a bodyguard and a full security team. This chaotic administrative nightmare is supposed to be recognized by the world body as one single independent sovereign country.

 

Let’s pretend all that is not important anyway. It is a real stretch to believe the resolution will pass and all will happen as Abbas so fervently fantasizes, but for a brief moment in time, let us imagine it does. Who will provide security to the people of the Palestinian Authority — the actual farmers, the merchants, the simple people of the street, and their children? The PA paramilitary police? Really? Until this point, it is the Israeli army that has helped PA security personnel “keep the peace” in areas under their control. Without the IDF terrorists would have long ago overwhelmed those understaffed forces working for Abbas. Hamas would have controlled those areas of Judea and Samaria, as it does in Gaza. Let us be realistic, ladies and gentlemen, and while we are it, let us also acknowledge the truth about so-called “freedom” under Mahmoud Abbas. There is good reason so many PA Arabs are trying desperately to secure work permits for jobs in pre-1967 Israel. They also marry Negev Bedouin or Jerusalem Arabs with blue Israeli identity cards so they can stay there under “family unity” regulations. Very few Arabs pressure Israel to move that security barrier anywhere that would place their own homes within legislative reach of the Palestinian Authority. Last month Abbas jailed two leaders of the PA’s largest labor union for organizing strikes. His security agents monitor social media and threaten those who criticize the PA leader. Fatah continues its purge of Hamas members in Judea and Samaria in a manner reminiscent of that carried out in 2007 by Hamas in Gaza. Abbas has ditched the electoral process – now five years overdue – in order to remain at the helm, allegedly to prevent Hamas from seizing power in Ramallah. But the 79-year-old leader has also fired every PA prime minister or security chief that showed the potential for replacing him, including Salam Fayyad and Mohammed Dahlan. Both had positive relations with the West…

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

 

 

Contents           

 

 

On Topic

 

Iran Accelerates Arming of Hizbullah and Hamas for Possible Clash with Israel:  Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, Dec. 22, 2014—In recent months, parallel to the key stages of the nuclear negotiations, Iran has completely removed the secrecy surrounding its provision of rockets and missiles to anti-Israeli terror organizations. Today, Iran frequently and publicly acknowledges this assistance, with no fear of the West’s reaction.

Doubts Emerge Over EU Court’s Justification for Annulment of Hamas Terror Designation: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 17, 2014 —The decision of the European Union General Court to annul the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization has raised concerns that the Palestinian Islamist group will exploit any legal ambiguities over its present status to rebuild its organizational and fundraising network within Europe.

Hamas Diverting Reconstruction Material to Rebuilding Terror Tunnels: IPT News, Dec. 19, 2014 —Hamas is rebuilding its network of underground infiltration tunnels damaged in the war with Israel this past summer, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing an Israel Radio account.

'Palestinian Rights Activism' Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims: Andrew Harrod, Jihad Watch, Dec. 18, 2014—Israel is a twenty-first century “litmus test of a real commitment to justice,” the “Vietnam,” the “South Africa,” and “moral issue of our time” according to leftwing icon Angela Davis, quoted approvingly by Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi on November 21 before an audience of about fifty.

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

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2015 ELECTIONS: ISRAELI POLITICIANS, OBSESSED WITH GAINING POWER, COMMIT TO “ANYONE BUT BIBI” HYSTERIA

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Contents:

 

Netanyahu, Livni, and Herzog: Winners of the Week: Manfred Gerstenfeld, CIJR, Dec. 15, 2014— The definitive decision to dissolve the 19th Knesset was taken on the 8th of December by a vote of 93 for dissolution, and zero against.

The Crass Self-Promoting Motivations Behind the “Anyone But Bibi”: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Dec. 15, 2014— The “Anyone but Bibi” frenzy, now moving into high gear, highlights the absence of genuine discourse or debate over issues confronting the nation and demonstrates that this election is dominated by the machinations of individuals obsessed with gaining personal power.

Sane and Stable, Despite the Election: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11— Take a deep breath, everybody, and put some cynical filters in your ears.

Elections in Israel: Is Netanyahu All Talk?: Shmuel Rosner, New York Times, Nov. 9, 2014 — Israeli prime ministers, like all leaders, come in various types.

 

On Topic Links

 

After Years of Enmity, Jerusalem to Follow US on Cuba Détente:  Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2014

A Flawed Report’s Important Lesson: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, 2014

Truly Thinking About Torture: Jonah Goldberg, New York Post, Dec. 12, 2014

What Will Israel Become?: Roger Cohen, New York Times, Dec. 12, 2014

                                  

 

         

NETANYAHU, LIVNI, AND HERZOG: WINNERS OF THE WEEK

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                 

CIJR, Dec. 18, 2014

           

The definitive decision to dissolve the 19th Knesset was taken on the 8th of December by a vote of 93 for dissolution, and zero against. It also confirmed the election date for the 20th Knesset for March 17, 2015. 

The following days were dominated by two events, one taking place within the center right and one within the center left. On the center right, Netanyahu proposed that the election date for Likud’s party leader be advanced by one week, to December 31st.  Many saw this as an effort to block a possible challenge from former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar. It would be difficult for Sa’ar to organize a campaign to challenge Netanyahu on such short notice, the more so as he had left politics several months before.

 

Furthermore, Netanyahu proposed that the Likud chairperson would be authorized to name two people of his choice for the 11th and 24th positions on the party’s list of Knesset candidates. On December 10, the Likud’s central committee held a vote on the matter and 65% supported Netanyahu’s proposal.  This showed that Netanyahu still has the support of a solid majority of the Likud behind him. Sa’ar announced that he would not challenge Netanyahu for the party leadership. It seemed a wise decision on Sa’ar’s part, for even if he had succeeding in winning, the battle would have caused major political damage to the Likud. Several polls found that if Netanyahu were to lose the Likud leadership, the party would get less votes. If MK Moshe Feiglin were to head the list, the Likud would get 18 seats. If MK Danny Danon were to lead, the Likud would get only 17 seats, as opposed to Netanyahu’s 20-plus seats.  A Channel 10 poll found that if Sa’ar were to head the Likud list, the party would get 20 seats, the same number of seats held when Netanyahu headed the list.  On the sidelines of the battle within Likud, veteran Minister Limor Livnat announced that she would not participate in the next Knesset elections. 

 

Many in the media have presented the upcoming elections as those of “everybody against Netanyahu.” The daily Ha’aretz for instance, titled an article with “Israel's Next Election is a Referendum on Netanyahu.”  Even 91-year-old former President Shimon Peres intervened publicly, claiming that Netanyahu’s policies have moved Israel further away from peace and security.  That statement sounded rather bizarre, as both Peres and the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin were responsible for the 1993 Oslo Accords, which have not brought security or peace to Israel.  On the center left, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog and Hatnuah (“The Movement”) party leader Tzipi Livni agreed on one list, with Herzog in first place and Livni in second. In case they will form the next government, the two agreed that Herzog would be Prime Minister for the first two years and Livni for the following two years.   The current numbers two and three on the Hatnuah list, MK Amram Mitzna and MK Amir Peretz, would have reserved slots on the joint list of candidates. Both are former Labor party leaders. Later it became known that the other three MKs of Hatnuah would be placed between numbers 20-25 on the list. A Midgam poll, broadcast on Channel 10, found that the joint list would win 22 seats, as against 20 seats for the Likud.  In the meantime, former Labor Party minister MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer left the Knesset due to health reasons. 

 

Even if the list headed by Herzog were to get the most seats in the coming elections, it would not necessarily mean that Labor would be able to form the next government. The overall battle for the majority between the center right and the center left will be one of the main issues in the upcoming months. A poll conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute on behalf of the Hiddush religious freedom lobbying group found that 62% of the general public is in favor of a government excluding all the ultra-Orthodox parties. 76% of those defining themselves as secular wanted a government without the inclusion of United Torah Judaism and Shas, as did 66% of those defining themselves as religiously traditional, and 80% of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. On the other hand, 65% of the national-religious respondents and 95% of the ultra-Orthodox respondents opposed the exclusion of the ultra-Orthodox parties from the government. The poll also found that 71% of Labor voters and 86% of Meretz and Kadima voters are opposed to the inclusion of ultra-orthodox parties in the next coalition. 

 

Each political decision taken by the government during an election campaign is perceived by some of their opponents as election propaganda. This was the case with the recent Israeli bombing of the weapons cache in Syria that was destined for Hezbollah. The government was accused by Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”) MK Yifat Kariv that the bombing was done for election purposes.   Similar accusations were made when Netanyahu suggested that the VAT would be reduced to 0% on basic food items. With major moves having already taken place on the center right and the center left, there may be more attention given to other parties in the coming weeks. One issue which is currently being discussed is the establishment of a new party by the Tekumah (“National Union”) faction of the Habayut Hayehudi (“The Jewish Home”) party, to be formed jointly with MK Eli Yishay, who would then break away from the ultra-orthodox Shas party he previously led.  If this party were to be formed, it would get seven seats, according to a poll by Minna Tzemach and Rafi Smith. Former Communications Minister Kahlon, who is establishing a new party called Kulanu (“All of Us”) has been keeping his cards close to his chest. Little is known about where he is planning to position himself on the political spectrum, but it is considered most probable that there will be a heavy emphasis on social issues.

 

Another issue to be resolved is whether the three Arab parties will be able to form a joint list. Arab participation in the elections is usually much lower than the Jewish participation, and some Arab MKs hope that a joint Arab list will increase Arab participation. An unprecedented political development occurred when female activists in the ultra-Orthodox community started a campaign to have at least one woman elected to each ultra-Orthodox party list. Their Facebook group, named after their slogan of “No representation, no vote” group has gotten three thousand likes. At present, female representation is considered to be outside the norm of ultra-Orthodox community’s values. The two largest parties and several others are now preparing for internal elections to choose their Knesset candidates. In the other parties, the lists will be determined either by the party leaders or by small forums…

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

 

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

                                                                              

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THE CRASS SELF-PROMOTING MOTIVATIONS

BEHIND THE “ANYONE BUT BIBI”

Isi Leibler                                                                                                           

Candidly Speaking, Dec. 15, 2014

 

The “Anyone but Bibi” frenzy, now moving into high gear, highlights the absence of genuine discourse or debate over issues confronting the nation and demonstrates that this election is dominated by the machinations of individuals obsessed with gaining personal power. The bizarre Herzog-Livni fusion exemplifies this. In pursuance of elevating her own personal political standing, Livni has zig-zagged from Likud, Kadima, Hatnua and now to Labor. Polls indicate that in an election, her Hatnuah party is unlikely to even reach the minimum threshold to qualify for representation. Now, Labor leader Yitzchak “Bugie” Herzog has stunned even his own followers by signing a leadership rotation with Livni. It is difficult to conceive of Israelis endorsing Livni, the failed politician, as an alternative Prime Minister. Even Ha’aretz wrote that “this disagreement is so incomprehensible that it raises suspicions that Livni must have slipped something into Herzog’s drink.”

 

A second tier of three parties which all purport to represent the “center” are primarily driven by the machinations of the individual leaders all aspiring to become Prime Minister. They comprise of Liebermann, head of Yisrael Beiteinu who in the past promoted himself as the hard right-wing voice of Israeli politics frequently lambasting Netanyahu for being too soft’, the zig-zagging TV-host-turned-politician, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid who rejected a merger with Tzipi Livni because he was unwilling to rotate the leadership, and former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the embryonic Kulanu party.

 

All three of these “centrist” party leaders are unencumbered by any form of democratic pre-selection of their candidates who they will arbitrarily select for their Knesset list. They have also assumed for themselves the exclusive right to determine the policies and tactics of their respective parties. This effectively means that three individuals, unconditionally backed by their political machines, will determine whether they endorse a national or left wing government – based on extorting the best deal for themselves personally.

 

Liebermann’s support from the public was based on presenting himself as a hardliner in relation to the Palestinians, savaging all politicians who considered Abbas as a peace partner or moderate. Yet he has now announced that if it suits, he would align himself with a left-wing government headed by Herzog and Livni, both of whom continue to embrace Abbas. Lapid has probably burned his bridges with Netanyahu (although in this cynical political environment anything is possible). His remaining option is to join a Labor government which would mean a coalition that would include his arch enemies – the haredim – who Herzog has proclaimed he would willingly bring on board. Lapid would also have to effectively reverse his previous policy regarding the future of Jerusalem and defensible borders. When Kahlon was a minister in the Likud government, he was an outspoken hawk and even vigorously opposed a two state policy but now he is intimating that he is also open-minded to backing any government. Like Liebermann, in joining Herzog he would be obliged to totally reverse his former positions and even support the division of Jerusalem.

 

We are therefore faced with an election in which Netanyahu and Bennett will be competing with Herzog and Livni. Yet despite the electorate having moved considerably to the right over the past year, a left wing government could still emerge, simply due to machinations of aspiring political leaders purporting to represent the center and who, unrelated to ideological or policy issues, will be maneuvering and engaging in seedy backdoor deals based on promoting their own personal political power. All share the ultimate objective, by rotation or otherwise, of replacing Netanyahu and becoming Prime Minister. That such a scenario is possible, despite the fact that the core support of Liebermann and the bulk of Kahlon’s supporters are right-wing nationalists, is astounding. Politicians acting in such a crass and cynical manner shamelessly proclaim their willingness to prostitute their existing political ideologies in order to promote their personal power. At such a crucial time when Israel faces so many challenges and when national unity should be the priority, an election based primarily on the personal aggrandizement of power reflects the extent to which our dysfunctional political system ignores and abuses the will of the people…

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

 

                                                                       

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SANE AND STABLE, DESPITE THE ELECTION                                                          

David M. Weinberg                                                                                                      

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2014

 

Take a deep breath, everybody, and put some cynical filters in your ears. Israel is not on the edge of a precipice. The country is not going to soar or crash in any way, no matter what the March election result is. Israelis are not faced with a choice between good and evil. What we’re facing, rather, is just another muddy election in a convoluted Israeli political system where negative campaigning and personal animosities are at a peak. It must be said: Israel is stronger, more stable and saner than it may look over the next 95 days of campaigning. It’s important to say this, because desperate politicians, such as Tzipi Livni, are already revving up hysterical campaigns that portray Israel as a country in danger of going down the drain; a country threatened by dark illiberal forces; a country where “religious extremists” and “ugly nationalists” seek to “turn back the clock,” and to “impose,” “intimidate” and “dictate” their “intolerant” views on a beleaguered society. The choice before the electorate, Livni has arrogantly and outrageously declared, is “between Zionism and extremism,” no less. Livni and her latest boyfriend, “Bugie” Herzog, are, of course, the voice of pure, rational, laudable Zionism; while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fronts for ominously surging, retrogressive extremists who supposedly are on the march.

 

Already you can hear plenty of nonsense about this race being a turning point in the battle for Israel’s soul; about a spirit of “rage, resentment and xenophobia” that is running through Israel; about this being a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness; about Netanyahu driving Israel backward to fundamentalism, and caring only about his personal political survival. On the other side of the political map, you can hear wild exaggerations about the Left wanting to gut the Jewish character of Israel, steer Israel toward diplomatic suicide, and bring back stifling socialism. And in between, there are a bunch of newbie economic crusaders and saviors, who promise to magically and overnight bring down the cost-of-living for middle class Israelis while simultaneously boosting the military, balancing the budget, and integrating the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox.

 

All of this is nonsense. The overwrought rhetoric and fanciful promises are claptrap, because the contours of Israeli diplomatic, economic and military policy are relatively constricted by the realities of the times – including regional instability, the fickleness and fecklessness of Israel’s Palestinian neighbors, difficult economic forecasts and the vagaries of coalition politics. The actual differences in policy between a Netanyahu-led coalition government and, say, a Herzog-led coalition government, are likely to be more cosmetic than real. The election campaign, rather, is more a personality contest than anything else. It’s a referendum on Netanyahu’s appeal versus that of the newest Israeli messiah, Moshe Kahlon. It’s a plebiscite on the puffed-up (and mostly empty) political résumés of people like Yair Lapid. It’s a chance to pronounce on the preening ambitions and inflated self-image of Tzipi Livni – a political vagabond who has just switched political frameworks for the fourth time in 10 years. It’s a poll on the suitability of Naftali Bennett for higher office. Yet the opposition to Netanyahu seems determined to raise the rhetorical stakes; to draw apocalyptic lines in the sand; to present this race as a grand, historic tipping point in Israel’s history; as a sink or swim moment for the Jewish People.

 

To me, this hyperbole is very problematic for a number of reasons. First, as I say, it is simply inaccurate. It sets up a false dichotomy between Netanyahu and everybody else; between purported “extremists” and those who have self-appropriated the term “Zionist.” Second, it creates a dynamic of hatred that is dangerous. Third, the overheated bombast is bound to reverberate beyond Israel’s borders, and undermine perceptions of Israel as a stable and decent democratic polity. When the political opposition to the government, in order to win a vote, spuriously maligns the dominant political leader and his political party as fanatic and fundamentalist – language usually reserved for the Iranians – the State of Israel suffers long-term damage. What’s good for fund-raising and electioneering is not necessarily good for Israel or for world Jewry. The end (replacing the government) does not justify the means (falsely depicting half of Israel as extremist).

 

The danger in this campaign is alienation. Who in their right mind wants to be associated with a country as retrogressive and thuggish as the place Livni describes? And what happens if the “good guys” don’t succeed in stopping the alleged hordes of Jewish ayatollahs? What if Netanyahu wins again and a Jewish Nation State law is passed; what if the Orthodox maintain their control over matters of religion and state; and what if Israel moves to strengthen its hold on Jerusalem and the settlement blocs? Does Israel become an illegitimate reality? By painting the situation in dire and apocalyptic terms, Israel’s rash politicians are threatening the very legitimacy of Israel. They are cutting away the limb – love for, and identification with, Israel – upon which all world Jewish unity is based. They are destabilizing the foundations on which Israel’s diplomatic relations are based.

 

I say to them: Stick to the facts and the issues. Offer us realistic policy prescriptions. Avoid besmirching Israel or significant sectors of Israeli society. Beware campaign themes that are corrosive to this embattled state’s strategic objectives and international image. Take some of the absolutist self-assurance out of your speeches. Speak moderately and be a little humble. None of you is such a great savior, that crushing and delegitimizing your opponents is justified. Always ask yourselves – what are the political and social models of Israel’s future that will allow us to continue to love the country even if it doesn’t sign onto your very particular, partisan vision?

                                                           

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ELECTIONS IN ISRAEL: IS NETANYAHU ALL TALK?                                                                   

Shmuel Rosner

New York Times, Dec. 9, 2014

 

Israeli prime ministers, like all leaders, come in various types. There are those who talk a lot and do a lot (Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres); those who seem to act more than they talk (Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin), and those who say little and don’t do much, either (Yitzhak Shamir). And then there is Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu is so well rehearsed at the talking part of his job that it seems to distract him from the actual doing. Last week, when he announced his decision to dismantle his own government, he made another fine speech in which he ably defended another bad result. On Monday, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, confirmed that in three months voters will either grant (according to current polls) or deny Mr. Netanyahu (as opposition leaders vow to do) a fourth term as prime minister. Mr. Netanyahu is already the second-longest serving prime minister, trailing only Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion.

 

When Mr. Netanyahu explained why Israel needs new elections, the opposition rushed to claim that he was “whining.” In fact, he made a number of valid points about the misbehavior of his coalition partners, who have made life difficult for him as a leader. But his early election speech was heavy on blame-sharing and short on soul-searching. Mr. Netanyahu had trouble counting his government’s achievements — there weren’t many — so he spoke about those of his previous term in government. After six consecutive years at the helm, he has little visible success to be talked about. Even many of his supporters would admit that Israel today does not feel in better shape than it was when Mr. Netanyahu ascended to power.

 

Being a smooth communicator, Mr. Netanyahu does a wonderful job of making the argument that this lack of improvement is not his fault. Indeed, he has a strong case. He can’t be blamed for the world economic crisis. In fact, Israel did reasonably well in handling the downturn under his leadership. He is not to blame for Hamas’s behavior or its rule in Gaza. He did his utmost to resist Iran’s rush to a nuclear bomb, and cannot be blamed for President Obama’s lack of resolve on that front. He didn’t ignite the Arab Spring, nor could he have influenced trends that have made the Middle East even more chaotic than it used to be. And although he wasn’t the most enthusiastic negotiator with the Palestinian leadership, claiming that the collapse of the talks with the Palestinians is mainly his fault would be a stretch. Mr. Netanyahu is rarely responsible for the kookier legislative initiatives emanating from his coalition, such as the bill unilaterally annexing the Jordan Valley to Israel, or the one proposing to allow settlers to return to the homes that they were forced to evacuate as part of Israel’s “disengagement” operation of 2005. In many cases, he was the one blocking or moderating them.

 

Mr. Netanyahu was elected under certain circumstances. It is not absurd to argue that he had to focus his energies on prevention and containment of negative developments, and that he did reasonably well under tough conditions. And yet doubt lingers. If a leader cannot bring about positive change, can he at least find a way to improve the atmosphere? If he cannot alter greater outside forces, can he still find a way to positively impact internal trends? Even Israelis like me, who tend to accept Mr. Netanyahu’s caution and skepticism on peace talks, and his unapologetic insistence on proud nationalism, should wonder about missed opportunities. Chief among these was the missed opportunity of the now-defunct coalition to reshape Israeli society and make it less polarized and more civil. It wasn’t long ago that this coalition of sour feelings and mudslinging had promise. It brought together Israelis from right and left, secular and religious backgrounds, experienced politicians and new faces. Instead of a rigid coalition of the same old politicians, and the same old formulation of right and ultra-Orthodox parties, Israel got, for a brief moment, a Knesset that felt fresh. A third of the members were new legislators — eager, energized, idealistic and well-intentioned (and, yes, they were sometimes naïve, too). They spoke about a “new politics” and, as childish as it sounded, they meant it. They planned to give Israelis with opposing views the chance to advance a common good where they could agree or compromise. It looked like a sunny, centrist, mainstream coalition. It presented the prime minister with an opportunity to be “perhaps even a better Bibi, now that he has new partners,”…

 

Surely, Mr. Netanyahu could again pull out of his bag of rationalizations a fine defense of his decision to dismantle this coalition. After all, he can’t be held responsible for having to work with a group of novices, saboteurs, incompetents and juveniles. After all, the voters put those people in office. But Israelis haven’t seen the prime minister try very hard to keep the coalition together. The coalition was “forced on me” — he complained last week — and it showed. He never warmed to it. He never grasped its potential. Mr. Netanyahu chose not to be the “better Bibi.” He chose to stay the same. The same is not terrible. The same is not undeserving. But it’s also not very exciting. And for voters, it’s never exciting to have to decide if the same is still our best option.

 

Contents           

 

On Topic

 

After Years of Enmity, Jerusalem to Follow US on Cuba DétenteRaphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2014—Following the lead of the United States, Israel will likely abandon its anti-Cuba policy, yet the road to a possible resumption of bilateral ties is still long, officials in Jerusalem said this week.

A Flawed Report’s Important Lesson: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, 2014 —The “torture report” exists. It shouldn’t—a better, more comprehensive, historically deeper and less partisan document should have been produced, and then held close for mandatory reading by all pertinent current and future officials—but it’s there.

Truly Thinking About Torture: Jonah Goldberg, New York Post, Dec. 12, 2014—For a long time I resisted the word “torture” when discussing the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against high-value captives in the war on terror. I don’t think I can do that anymore.

What Will Israel Become?: Roger Cohen, New York Times, Dec. 12, 2014—Uneasiness inhabits Israel, a shadow beneath the polished surface.

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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