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

Month: June 2015

ISLAMISTS, VOWING “MONTH OF DISASTERS”, ATTACK DURING RAMADAN, AS HEZBOLLAH ANTICIPATES IRAN SANCTIONS RELIEF

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

Terror on Three Continents: Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2015 — Jihadists have a fondness for anniversaries, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by three terror attacks, on three continents, all taking place on the eve of the Islamic State’s declaration of a caliphate last June 29.

Why Would Anyone Join ISIL?: Simon Cottee, National Post, June 24, 2015— ISIL is an abomination. Since capturing large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria last summer, it has slaughtered thousands of defenceless Iraqi soldiers and Shiite civilians. The Myth of Muslim Radicalization: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, June 24, 2015 — After some of its quarter of a million Muslims headed to join ISIS, Quebec decided the answer was a $2 million anti-radicalization center headed by a specialist in cultural sensitivity.

A Nuclear Nightmare for Lebanon: Ahmad el-Assaad, Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2015 — Ever since it entered the Syrian civil war, the Iranian-funded Lebanese-Shiite terror outfit Hezbollah has suffered tremendously and in many different ways.

 

On Topic Links

 

America’s Friends in the Middle East are its Enemies: George Jonas, National Post, June 27, 2015

Trying to Placate All, Iran Leader Zigs and Zags on Nuclear Talks: Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, June 27, 2015

Observing Ramadan with Murder: Washington Times, June 29, 2014

Fears of Terrorism Mount in France: Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, June 27, 2015  

Does Islam Have a Role in Suicide Bombings?: A.J. Caschetta, Middle East Forum, Summer, 2015

Many Paths to Jihadist Views, Federally Funded Study Finds: Jim Bronskill., Global News, June 28, 2015

                                          

                                      

                                     

TERROR ON THREE CONTINENTS                                                                                       

Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2015

 

Jihadists have a fondness for anniversaries, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by three terror attacks, on three continents, all taking place on the eve of the Islamic State’s declaration of a caliphate last June 29. That makes the prospect of follow-on strikes through Monday that much more plausible—and more difficult to stop.

 

ISIS took credit for only one of the three atrocities—a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, in which at least 27 people were killed. But their near-simultaneity suggested some kind of coordination, or at least joint inspiration. Ramadan began last week, and an ISIS spokesman recently called on “mujahadeen everywhere” to make it “a month of disasters for the infidels.”

 

Coordinated or not, ISIS’s trademark hyper-brutality has made its mark on jihadi minds. In Tunisia a gunman posing as a tourist killed at least 37 people, many of them European vacationers, at a beach resort. In France terrorists were less successful but no less bloody-minded: A car-bombing attempt at an American-owned chemical plant near Lyon failed to cause major damage, but not before the alleged attacker, Yassine Salhi, planted the decapitated head of his boss on the plant’s gate, along with an Islamic flag.

 

All of this is a stark reminder that the Middle East is no Las Vegas: What happens there doesn’t stay there. Tunisians make up the largest contingent of foreign fighters in ISIS, which took credit for murdering 21 people at a Tunis museum in March. Thousands of Europeans, and an estimated 180 Americans, have gone to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and Western security officials will not be able to track all of them. That increases the possibility of mass-casualty attacks by well-trained killers, as opposed to the more inept recent attempts by lone-wolf jihadists in Texas and Massachusetts.

 

Friday’s attacks should cause some rethinking from so-called civil libertarians in Congress and the White House, who have competed to hobble and dismantle the National Security Agency’s anti-terror surveillance capabilities. It’s especially instructive to note that Mr. Salhi had once been under surveillance by French intelligence but was dropped several years ago, likely because French resources are stretched by the number of potential suspects. A similar story played out in January, when it turned out that French authorities had stopped surveilling Said and Cheríf Kouachi nearly a year before their attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.

 

The larger lesson is that defensive measures alone will never suffice to stop the next terrorist outrage; the best defense is a devastating offense. President Obama recently deployed 450 additional trainers to help the Iraqi army fight ISIS, as if Islamic State is mostly Baghdad’s problem. But ISIS is a direct threat to the West as well as to the region, and it needs to be dealt with that way. Until our mindset changes, we can expect more terror, on more continents.         

                                                                       

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WHY WOULD ANYONE JOIN ISIL?                                         

Simon Cottee                                                       

National Post, June 24, 2015

 

ISIL is an abomination. Since capturing large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria last summer, it has slaughtered thousands of defenceless Iraqi soldiers and Shiite civilians. It has raped and enslaved hundreds of Yazidi women. It has brutalized children by forcing them to watch scenes of horrific cruelty and violence. It has presided over public crucifixions in its stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. It has coerced boys as young as 14 to carry out suicide missions. It has launched a campaign of murderous aggression against gay men. It has stolen and vandalized ancient and irreplaceable artifacts. And it has created a vast library of snuff movies that degrades not only the defenceless victims whose deaths they depict, but also the viewers who watch them.

 

Why on earth, then, would anyone wish to join it? This question was asked with renewed urgency last week after it emerged that three sisters from Bradford, U.K., together with their nine children, may have fled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State or the “Caliphate,” as it also calls itself.  According to Balaal Khan, a solicitor representing two of the fathers of the nine children, the women had travelled from Britain to Saudi Arabia on May 28 for an Islamic pilgrimage and were due to return on June 11. “The suspicion and main concern is that the women have taken their children to Syria,” he said. Khan added that the three sisters had a brother who had already left the U.K. for Syria.

 

At an emotional press conference last Tuesday, the two fathers pleaded for their wives to return. “Please come back home so we can live a normal life,” a distraught Akhtar Iqbal implored his wife Sugra Dawood. Mohammed Shoaib, also stricken with grief, issued the same plea to his own wife Khadija Dawood. “Come back to normal life, please,” he said, his face hot with tears. “I don’t know what happened,” Mr. Shoaib exclaimed. And neither do we — not yet anyway. A fuller picture is certain to emerge over the coming days and weeks. But we may never fully know why what happened happened.

 

One thing we can be certain of is more bafflement — unless of course it turns out that the three women were two-headed monsters raised in a cesspool on Mars. “Some newspaper stories,” the late Christopher Hitchens once wrote, “quite simply write themselves.” He was specifically referring to the journalistic tendency in news reports on serial killers and child molesters to relay the disbelief of neighbours and acquaintances, who “feel duty-bound to say that this has come as a great shock, not to say a complete surprise, and that the guy next door seemed perfectly decent — if perhaps a little inclined to ‘keep to himself’.”

 

This reportorial protocol is now standard in news stories on terrorists, too. The neighbours of Shehzad Tanweer, one of the 7/7 suicide bombers, said he was “nice lad” who could “get on with anyone.” A schoolteacher who had taught Mohammad Emwazi (a.k.a Jihadi John), said he was “shy” and “reserved.” According to Sahima Begum, her 15 year-old sister Shamima, one of the three east London schoolgirls who absconded to Syria in February, “was into normal teenage things” and “used to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians, so there was nothing that indicated that she was radicalized in any way — not at home.” All of this was dutifully recorded in news reports on Tanweer, Emwazi and Begum. And when the neighbours and friends of the Dawood’s are interviewed, as they surely will be in time, you can bet their disbelief and bafflement will be dutifully recorded by the journalists who interview them.

 

Attention is certain to fall on the brother of the three sisters and what role (if any) he and his wider network of jihadi facilitators played in the women’s radicalization and eventual journey out to Syria. But this is unlikely to dispel the bafflement, since the women so profoundly disturb our assumptions or stereotypes about who becomes radicalized into joining a violent jihadi movement. They were not loners or radical losers; they were not — one imagines — sexual malcontents; they were not widows avenging the deaths of their martyred husbands; they were not — one presumes — violence in search of a cause. They are, in fact, mothers and wives, and they are relatively mature: 30 (Khadija), 33 (Zohra) and 34 (Sugra). They are also loved, by their children — and it would seem, in the case of Khadija and Sugra, their husbands.

 

Why these particular women decided to migrate to the Islamic State at this particular moment may forever remain a mystery. It is estimated that over 500 British men have joined ISIL over the last two years. In most cases, their female siblings have not followed them. What, then, is special about the Dawood sisters, and what makes them different from the scores of others sisters who have remained in the U.K.? We may never be able to fully explain it.

 

Our bafflement is partly the bafflement of the outsider and moral judge. We see ISIL as a horror show and consequently can’t imagine why anyone would decide, of their own free will, to join it. We assume that something terrible must have befallen those who do so, that some awful wound is behind it, “pushing” or “driving” them to do something so palpably crazy. But this is almost certainly a mistake, since, for those who join, ISIL is assuredly not a horror show. It is a glorious, exciting and divinely ordained project, for which they feel obligated to fight, in whatever capacity, and ultimately sacrifice their lives. That, from their perspective, is reason enough. And, more often than not, there is no obvious wound in the lives of the Western international jihadi jet-set; there is — or was — just ordinary banal life: the Kardashians, football, fish and chips and cricket.

 

In a report on the Western female migrants to the Islamic State published last month by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, in collaboration with International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, Erin Saltman and Melanie Smith noted that, given the striking “diversity within the profiles of women becoming radicalised and migrating to ISIS territory,” it is impossible “to create a broad profile of females at risk of radicalisation.” Saltman and Smith also postulated that among the various motives of the Western female migrants, preeminent was the desire to redeem their lives and secure their place in heaven by dedicating their lives to God’s “Caliphate.” This edges us closer to some understanding, but it still only scratches at the surface of why someone should take such a momentous and life-changing decision…

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

                                                                       

                                                                       

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THE MYTH OF MUSLIM RADICALIZATION                                                                                     

Daniel Greenfield                                                                                                         

Breaking Israel News, June 24, 2015

 

After some of its quarter of a million Muslims headed to join ISIS, Quebec decided the answer was a $2 million anti-radicalization center headed by a specialist in cultural sensitivity. But if you’re about to be beheaded by a masked ISIS Jihadist, a specialist in cultural sensitivity isn’t going to help you much. Western governments nevertheless keep rolling out their culturally sensitive approaches to fighting ISIS.

 

The key element in Obama’s strategy for fighting ISIS isn’t the F-15E Strike Eagle, it’s a Twitter account run by a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer which claims to “Counter Violent Extremism” by presenting moderate Islamists like Al Qaeda as positive role models for the Islamic State’s social media supporters. So far 75% of planes flown on combat missions against ISIS return without engaging the enemy, but the culturally sensitive State Department Twitter account has racked up over 5,000 tweets and zero kills.

 

Cultural sensitivity hasn’t exactly set Iraq on fire in fighting ISIS and deradicalization programs here start from the false premise that there is a wide gap between a moderate and extremist Islam. Smiling news anchors daily recite new stories about a teenager from Kentucky, Boston or Manchester getting “radicalized” and joining ISIS to the bafflement of his parents, mosque and community. And who is to blame for all this mysterious radicalization? It’s not the parents. It certainly can’t be the moderate local mosque with its stock of Jihadist CDs and DVDs being dispensed from under the table.

 

The attorney for the family of Usaama Rahim, the Muslim terrorist who plotted to behead Pamela Geller, claims that his radicalization came as a “complete shock” to them. It must have come as a truly great shock to his brother Imam Ibrahim Rahim who claimed that his brother was shot in the back and that the Garland cartoon attack had been staged by the government. It must have come as an even bigger shock to Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, the Imam linked to Usaama Rahim and his fellow terrorist conspirators, as well as the Tsarnaev brothers, who had urged Muslims to “grab onto the gun and the sword.” The culturally insensitive truth about Islamic ‘radicalization’ is that it is incremental.

 

There is no peaceful Islam. Instead of two sharply divided groups, peaceful Islam and extremist Islam, there is a spectrum of acceptable terrorism. Muslim institutions have different places on that spectrum depending on their allegiances and tactics, but the process of radicalization is rarely a sharp break from the past for any except converts to Islam. The latest tragic victim of radicalization is Munther Omar Saleh; a Muslim man living in New York City who allegedly plotted to use a Tsarnaev-style pressure cooker bomb in a major landmark such as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Saleh claimed to be following orders from ISIS. Media coverage of the Saleh arrest drags out the old clichés about how unexpected this sudden radicalization was, but what appears to be his father’s social media account shows support for Hamas.

 

Likewise one of Usaama Rahim’s fellow mosque attendees said that Rahim and another conspirator had initially followed the “teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood” but that he had been forced to cut ties with them when they moved past the Brotherhood and became “extreme”. Despite the media’s insistence on describing the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate organization, it has multiple terrorist arms, including Hamas, and its views on non-Muslims run the gamut from the violent to the genocidal.

 

A year after Obama’s Cairo speech and his outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, its Supreme Guide announced that the United States will soon be destroyed, urged violent terrorist attacks against the United States and “raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” Despite this, Obama continued backing the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power across the region. There are distinctions between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, but the latter is a splinter group of the former. Al Qaeda’s current leader came out of the Muslim Brotherhood. A move from one to the other is a minor transition between two groups that have far more in common than their differences.

 

And since the Brotherhood controls much of the Islamic infrastructure in the United States, the idea that Munther Omar Saleh or Usaama Rahim became radicalized because they went from a Jihadist group that takes the long view in the struggle against the infidel, putting political structures into place to make a violent struggle tactically feasible, to a Jihadist group that focuses more on short term violence, is silly.

 

Radicalization isn’t transformational; it’s incremental. It’s the Pakistani kid down the block deciding that instead of joining the Muslim Students Association and then CAIR to build Islamist political structures in America, he should just cut to the chase and kill a few cops to begin taking over America now. Radicalization is the moderate Imam who stops putting on an act for PBS and the local politicians and moves to Yemen where he openly recruits terrorists to attack America instead of doing it covertly at his mosque in Virginia.

 

Radicalization is the teenage Muslim girl who forgets about marrying her Egyptian third cousin and bringing him and his fifty relatives to America and goes to join ISIS as a Caliphate brood mare instead. It’s not pacifism giving way to violence. Instead it’s an impatient shift from tactical actions meant to eventually make Islam supreme in America over many generations to immediate bloody gratification. ISIS is promising the apocalypse now. No more waiting. No more lying. You can have it tomorrow.

 

Radicalization does not go from zero to sixty. It speeds up from sixty to seventy-five. It builds on elements that are already there in the mosque and the household. The term “extremism” implicitly admits that what we are talking about is not a complete transformation, but the logical extension of existing Islamic beliefs. Omar Saleh seemed cheerful enough about Hamas dropping Kassam rockets on Israeli towns and cities. Would he have supported his son setting off a bomb in the Statue of Liberty? Who knows, but his son was already starting from a family position that Muslim terrorism against non-Muslims was acceptable. Everything else is the fine print….

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

 

                                                           

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A NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE FOR LEBANON                                                                             

Ahmad el-Assaad                   

Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2015

 

Ever since it entered the Syrian civil war, the Iranian-funded Lebanese-Shiite terror outfit Hezbollah has suffered tremendously and in many different ways. Over the past two years, more than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters have died in that war, and the Lebanese people’s resentment toward the group has increased. Lebanese Shiites who don’t belong to Hezbollah have also been targeted for scorn by the rest of the country, even though many of us oppose its vicious ways.

 

Long gone are the days when a large portion of the Lebanese population believed that Hezbollah is there to protect them and Lebanon. The mask has fallen off. Most Lebanese now see Hezbollah for what it is: a militia that works for the Iranian regime and must therefore obey Tehran’s orders. And to quiet the disenchanted voices, to make them dare not speak out, especially in the Shiite areas, Hezbollah has become more oppressive than ever.

 

The war in Syria has been a big financial burden on Hezbollah as well. The cash coming from Tehran is not what it used to be. In many Shiite neighborhoods, Hezbollah is asking people for donations. This has weakened the image of Hezbollah, as people see that its coffers are no longer filled as they once were. Most young men join Hezbollah not because they believe in its talk about “resistance,” but simply because it’s the only option for the poor, unemployed and uneducated Shiites to earn a few hundred dollars a month.

 

The source of Hezbollah’s financial troubles is obvious: The Iranian regime has spent exorbitant sums trying to support and sustain the Assad regime in Damascus. With a population of approximately 80 million, Iran’s gross domestic product is only $369 billion. The United Arab Emirates, by comparison, with a population of nine million, has a GDP of $402 billion.

 

Yet despite its penurious position, Iran continues to ignore its domestic and social problems. Instead, just like the old Soviet Union, it is stretching its influence throughout the Middle East as if it were an economic powerhouse, not an economic disaster. Furthermore, Tehran views Hezbollah’s results over the past 33 years as such a success that it is now franchising it. From Hamas in the Palestinian territories to the Sadrists in Iraq to the Houthis in Yemen, these proxy terrorist organizations are an exact replica of Hezbollah.

 

Now the Obama administration is negotiating a flawed nuclear deal with the Iranian regime that will see Tehran get a windfall of up to $150 billion. With so much cash on hand, Tehran would surely create new Hezbollah franchises elsewhere in the Middle East and order all these radical proxy groups to wage even more wars in the region. At the very least, Tehran would be eager to give a good boost to its pride and joy—Hezbollah—and help it buy its way out of the problems it is facing in Lebanon now.

 

I recently met in Washington D.C. with senators, members of Congress and think-tank analysts. When I shared my worries with those close to the Obama administration, the response was, “Let’s get a deal now on the nuclear issue and then we’ll work out a plan on how to stand up to this Iranian invasion of the Middle East.” When I pressed them further on the matter, I got no answers. What kind of plan are we talking about? Who would implement such a plan and confront the various Iranian proxy groups? Would the U.S. be willing to put American boots on the ground?

 

It has become clear to me that there is no plan. At best, if there will ever be a plan, it will be as successful as the one we see unfolding today against Islamic State. There is no doubt that a nuclear deal with Iran would be a nightmare for my beloved Lebanon and for all the other countries in the Middle East that are controlled, or could be controlled, by Iranian proxy groups.

 

With this deal, my Lebanon won’t be able to free itself in the foreseeable future from the control of Hezbollah. It will never again be the Switzerland of the Middle East, will never prosper and thrive again like it did in the 1960s and early ’70s. To those who say that this nuclear deal is a recipe for peace, I say that this deal is an invitation for more wars in the Middle East.

 

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On Topic

 

America’s Friends in the Middle East are its Enemies: George Jonas, National Post, June 27, 2015 —Fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is no picnic. America’s allies in the Middle East are often nothing but couriers delivering American arms to America’s enemies.

Trying to Placate All, Iran Leader Zigs and Zags on Nuclear Talks: Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, June 27, 2015— Persian carpets were rolled out in the Beit-e Rahbar, the downtown Tehran offices of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday, a sign that important guests were on their way.

Observing Ramadan with Murder: Washington Times, June 29, 2014—Ramadan is Islam’s period of religious reflection and observance, but this year, radical Muslims are making it a ritual of mayhem and murder.

Fears of Terrorism Mount in France: Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, June 27, 2015—Following Friday’s attempted assault on a chemical plant that officials described as a terrorist attack, France was hunkering down Saturday for what politicians and analysts warned could be a prolonged period of uncertainty and fear.

Does Islam Have a Role in Suicide Bombings?: A.J. Caschetta, Middle East Forum, Summer, 2015 —When journalists, historians, psychologists, and experts in group dynamics, organizational structures, and criminal justice write about the unique set of circumstances that lead to suicide terrorism, they share the view that Islam has little to do with it.

Many Paths to Jihadist Views, Federally Funded Study Finds: Jim Bronskill., Global News, June 28, 2015—A federally funded study of young people who embraced radical jihadism found they had little else in common, suggesting efforts to discourage extremism must be flexible and tailored to individual cases.

 

                                                                      

 

              

NUCLEAR TALKS CONTINUE—DESPITE IRAN’S ANTI-ISRAEL RHETORIC & UNDIMINISHED SUPPORT FOR TERRORISTS

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Netanyahu Outraged at World Powers’ Concessions to Iran: Times of Israel, June 28, 2015 — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage Sunday at world powers for backtracking on terms they’d set for themselves during nuclear negotiations with Iran.

U.S. Says Iran’s Support of Terrorism ‘Undiminished’: Felicia Schwartz, Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2015— The State Department said Iran’s support for terrorism was “undiminished” in 2014, and the U.S. remains very concerned about the activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its proxies in the Middle East.

Transformational Diplomacy: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, June 8, 2015 — Many supporters of an Iranian nuclear agreement believe that a deal could help to moderate, even democratize, Iranian society.

Still Unhidden Connections: Israel, Iran and ‘Palestine’: Louis René Beres, Jerusalem Post, June 28, 2015 — Although a seemingly separate issue, the Middle East peace process cannot be properly assessed without considering the simultaneous impact of a nuclear Iran.

 

On Topic Links

 

Liberal Party Defends Trudeau Statements on Iran: Paul Lungen, Canadian Jewish News, June 26, 2014

Team Obama Just Crossed its Own Nuclear Red Line: New York Post, June 19, 2015

No Miracle in Sight for Nuclear-Free Middle East: Yossi Melman., Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2015

At Home With Our Iranian Nuclear Partners: Jared Genser & Sara Birkenthal, Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2015

                                          

                            

NETANYAHU OUTRAGED AT WORLD POWERS’                                                                

CONCESSIONS TO IRAN                                                                                                          

Times of Israel, June 28, 2015

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage Sunday at world powers for backtracking on terms they’d set for themselves during nuclear negotiations with Iran. Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting came as representatives of the P5+1 and Iran met in Vienna to try and reach a final nuclear deal before the June 30 deadline. “We see before us a clear diversion from the red lines set by the world powers recently and publicly,” the prime minister said. “Iran tramples on human rights, spreads terrorism, and is building a huge military infrastructure, yet the talks with [Iran], despite these reports, continue as usual.”

 

Negotiations between Iran and the US enter a “critical phase” Sunday with tensions rising just three days from a deadline to nail down a deal thwarting any Iranian nuclear arms drive. Netanyahu, for his part, asserted that there was no reason to sign an agreement which was “becoming worse with every passing day.” The prime minister also pointed out that a recently published US State Department report on terror activity noted that the Islamic Republic’s “state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished.”

 

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was due to arrive in Vienna during the day after US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart appeared to have made little headway when they returned to the negotiating table on Saturday. “Obviously we are at a critical stage now,” a Western diplomat said. “It’s become more tense in the final days. But that was always likely to happen.”

 

Global powers known as the P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — are seeking to flesh out the final details of a historic accord to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. They are seeking an accord by Tuesday’s June 30 deadline, building on guidelines set by a framework deal agreed in Lausanne on April 2. Kerry told reporters that although he remained “hopeful” there was still “a lot of hard work to do.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed, saying negotiators “need to work really hard in order to be able to make progress and move forward”.

 

But his deputy Abbas Araqchi suggested parts of the Lausanne framework no longer applied because other countries had changed their positions. “In Lausanne we found solutions to many things, but some issues remained unresolved,” he told an Arabic-language Iranian television channel Al-Alam. “And now some of the solutions found in Lausanne no longer work, because after Lausanne certain countries within the P5+1 made declarations… and we see a change in their position which complicates the task.”

 

Officials have acknowledged the June 30 deadline may slip by a few days, but several diplomats have categorically ruled out any further formal months-long extension of the talks which have dragged for almost two years now. With diplomatic pressure growing, other ministers from Britain, China, Germany and Russia are due to follow Mogherini to Vienna over the coming days. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who flew in Saturday, said at least three “indispensable” demands remained unresolved. “We want a robust accord that recognizes Iran’s right to a civilian nuclear program, but which guarantees that Iran renounces definitively nuclear weapons,” he said…

 

According to the Lausanne framework, Iran will slash by more than two-thirds its uranium enrichment centrifuges, which can make fuel for nuclear power or the core of a nuclear bomb, and shrink its uranium stockpile by 98 percent. Iran also agreed to change a planned reactor at Arak so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium and no longer to use its Fordo facility — built into a mountain to protect it from attack — for uranium enrichment. In return it is seeking a lifting of a complicated web of EU, US and UN sanctions which have choked its economy and limited access to world oil markets.

 

But on Tuesday Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, set out key “red lines” for a final agreement that appeared to go against Lausanne. These included the timing of sanctions relief and UN access to military bases, needed to investigate claims of past bomb-making efforts and to probe any future suspicious activity.                                     

 

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U.S. SAYS IRAN’S SUPPORT OF TERRORISM ‘UNDIMINISHED’                                               

Felicia Schwartz                                                                                                             

Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2015

 

The State Department said Iran’s support for terrorism was “undiminished” in 2014, and the U.S. remains very concerned about the activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its proxies in the Middle East. The U.S. worries about Iran’s activities were included in an annual report of global terrorism between 2013 and 2014, released Friday. Of particular concern, the report said, was Iran’s continued support of the powerful Hezbollah militia and political party in Lebanon; and its assistance to fighters supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Iran also hasn’t identified or initiated judicial proceedings against senior al Qaeda leaders it has in custody.

 

The release comes less than two weeks before a June 30 deadline for a deal on limiting Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. officials say those talks are separate from any destabilizing activities in the region by Tehran.

“We think it’s essential that we pursue those negotiations,” said Tina Kaidanow, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism. “None of that implies that we would be, again, in any way taking our eye off the ball with respect to what Iran is doing as a supporter of terrorism.” She said sanctions on Iran related to terrorism would remain in place even if a nuclear deal is reached.

 

The report said “Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished” in 2014 and Ms. Kaidanow said the U.S. continued to be “very, very concerned” about its activities, adding that Tehran hasn’t changed its behavior this year. The U.S. and five other world powers are negotiating with Iran to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Critics of the deal fear Iran will funnel funds it gains access to into supporting terrorist activities.

 

President Barack Obama told The Atlantic magazine last month that Iran supports terrorism despite the current sanctions, and that its leaders will be under pressure to improve the Iranian economy. More broadly, the report found that global terror attacks surged 35% between 2013 and 2014 and the violence caused deaths to jump more than 80%. That came on top of a 43% increase between 2012 and 2013. Last year’s report connected the increase to the rise of aggressive al Qaeda affiliates while this year’s sources the surge to Islamic State and the conflict in Syria.

 

The State Department report said nearly 33,000 people were killed in almost 13,500 terror attacks around the world last year. It attributed the surge in deaths in part to attacks that were “exceptionally lethal,” including 20 attacks that killed more than 100 people compared with two on that scale in 2013. In 2013, there were 9,707 terrorist attacks that killed more than 17,800 people. The increase in global terror attacks follows Islamic State’s unprecedented seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria and the continued prevalence of weak or failed governments in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Nigeria and Iraq. More than 9,400 people were kidnapped or taken hostage in terrorist attacks in 2014, three times as many as in 2013. Most of the kidnappings occurred in Iraq, Nigeria and Syria.

 

The report also pointed to troubling trends in the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Islamic State’s use of social media to attract recruits as well as communicate with local Sunni Arab populations. Though Islamic State has begun to form relationships with affiliates beyond Iraq and Syria, it is unclear if those contacts are simply opportunistic or more significant, the report said.

 

Lone wolf terror attacks are becoming an increasing concern, the report found, pointing to killings in Quebec and Ottawa last October and Sydney last December. As Western nations have increased border security, groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State might increasingly rely on inspiring “lone actors” to wage attacks. The report said the threat of core al Qaeda decreased in 2014 as the group continued to lose leaders and Islamic State touted itself as a leader of a global movement. Still, al Qaeda continues to inspire affiliates like AQAP in Yemen, the Nusra Front in Syria and al-Shabaab in North Africa to carry out attacks.                                                                             

 

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TRANSFORMATIONAL DIPLOMACY

Reuel Marc Gerecht                                                                                            

Weekly Standard, June 8, 2015

 

Many supporters of an Iranian nuclear agreement believe that a deal could help to moderate, even democratize, Iranian society. Barack Obama’s constant allusions to the transformative potential of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for U.S.-Iranian relations suggest that he believes an agreement, which would quickly release tens of billions of dollars to the Islamic Republic and reintegrate it into the global financial system, would improve the clerical regime’s behavior.

 

Democrats and Republicans have often touted the transformative power of global markets; our bipartisan China policy is built upon this pedestal. As much as free-trading corporate Republicans, the Clinton administration loved advancing the idea that business spreads amity. A former State Department adviser to Richard Holbrooke and now the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Vali Nasr, wrote a well-received book, Forces of Fortune, which argues that commerce and capitalism are the best ways to vanquish the Middle East’s demons, authoritarianism and Islamic militancy. Although Obama likely doesn’t care too much for Nasr, who also wrote a scathing critique of the president’s foreign policy, he’s advocating the scholar’s medicine for the Islamic Republic.

 

A cynic might suggest that such apostles of economic determinism are reverse-engineering their ultimate goal: a smaller U.S. military role overseas. Economic “engagement” tends to gain ground in Washington when the alternatives, war and containment, are too unpleasant and expensive to contemplate. Like war-averse enthusiasts of sanctions, trade diplomatists are essentially saying you can have it all: greater global security and prosperity without the blood and guilt of Pax Americana. There is certainly a wide overlap between those in Washington who have already conceded the Islamic Republic atomic weapons and those who find the president’s developing nuclear deal to be an imperfect, but still pretty splendid, arrangement.

 

But it’s best not to be too cynical. Although most fans of realpolitik do have a soft spot for the gospel that American commerce can soothe the foreign savage beast, Obama has never been a convincing practitioner of this morality-lite school. He’s too uncomfortable with power politics and American hegemony. He cares too deeply about transforming the United States and mirror-imaging his national aspirations overseas. Quintessentially an American liberal, the president really does seem to believe that familiarity, even with Islamist regimes, ought not to breed contempt.

 

Many Iranians, too, cling to the idea that domestic liberalization cannot happen unless foreigners—principally Americans—do the right thing. Prominent dissidents have advocated trade and diplomacy with the West as a means of opening up their own society. A huge fan of the president’s foreign policy, the Atlantic’s Peter Beinart, recently highlighted Akbar Ganji, a famous journalist and dissident who was once a hard-core member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as an example of an Iranian democrat who believes that the West’s nuclear diplomacy with the clerical regime could lead, eventually, to a more open, democratic society. Military threats and sanctions against the mullahs are, Ganji emphasizes, always counterproductive.

 

As a tool of regime change or nuclear diplomacy, sanctions have been predicated on the assumption that economic coercion can deliver unsustainable political pain. Many Iranian dissidents still hold fast to the belief that the Islamic Republic can have a smooth transition from autocracy to representative government, that the ugliness of the revolution, the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the continuing brutal repression of dissent and democracy (especially the Green Movement in 2009), and the blood-soaked denouement of the Arab Spring have created a nation of fallen and depressed revolutionaries who don’t have the stomach for confronting head-on the mullahs and their Revolutionary Guards. They envision a peaceful, more prosperous, sanctions-free future in which the ruling elite will evolve. Islamist ideology may not disappear from Iran’s discourse, but the appetite for violence will evanesce. Although many Iranian dissidents are socialists (Marxism is far from dead in Persia), they still see global commerce and greater foreign contact as a softening force, at least vis-à-vis the clerical state. An Iranian Thermidor will arrive in part courtesy of Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Boeing, and Western tourists.

 

For Ganji and many other dissidents, Iranians can’t “build democracy under impossible circumstances. They cannot foster liberty and human rights for their people in the fires of hell, created by war, bloodshed, and destruction”—which is, in Ganji’s mind, what inevitably happens with American military actions against authoritarian Middle Eastern states. Unlike President Obama, who has a nuclear clock ticking against his political aspirations, Ganji appears to be happy to wait out the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards, confident that history is behind the triumph of democracy. Since Ganji was once close to Saeed Hajjarian, a founding father of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence ministry, he might know something about the early days of the nuclear-weapons program. Like so many Iranian dissidents, however, Ganji gives the impression that he really doesn’t care much about the bomb. He’s consumed by the frustrating, so far intractable question: How does a (Shiite) Muslim country escape from a religious revolution?…                            

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

                                                                       

 

Contents                                                                                      

   

STILL UNHIDDEN CONNECTIONS: ISRAEL, IRAN AND ‘PALESTINE’                                                          

Louis René Beres                   

Jerusalem Post, June 28, 2015

 

Although a seemingly separate issue, the Middle East peace process cannot be properly assessed without considering the simultaneous impact of a nuclear Iran. A nuclear Iran, however unwitting, would enlarge the regional stability costs of a Palestinian state – any Palestinian state. More precisely, should Iranian nuclearization and Palestine emerge at more or less the same time, the cumulatively corrosive impact would be substantially greater than the mere sum of these “parts.”

 

Since 2012, the Palestinian Authority has been recognized by the UN as a “Nonmember Observer State.” Looking ahead, if Fatah (PA) and Hamas are able to restore a minimally functional level of cooperation and “unity,” a fully sovereign Palestine could emerge. In notably short order, this 23rd Arab state would rapidly become an optimal platform for expanded war and terrorism, against Israel, and also against additional area allies of the United States.

 

Both Israel and the US must remain keenly aware of what the generals would call “force multipliers.” Among assorted other regional consequences, virulent synergies between Iranian nuclearization and Palestinian statehood could create an existential threat to the Jewish state. Oddly, these potentially lethal and multiplying interactive effects are unhidden, yet largely unrecognized. What exactly might these destabilizing effects be? To respond, Jerusalem and Washington must first consider pertinent geo-strategic context. In the steadily unraveling Middle East, certain core adversarial patterns remain unchanged. Most conspicuously, Israel endures under still-coordinated international pressures to 1) renounce its undeclared nuclear forces, and 2) reciprocally, to join in a disingenuously proffered “Nuclear Weapon Free- Zone.”

 

If Iran and its allies should come to believe that Israel had been sufficiently weakened by their “nonproliferation” demands, a previously calculated annihilation strategy against Israel could proceed. Seamlessly, perhaps, this military strategy could advance from terror to mega-terror, and, in successively added increments, from mega-terror, to war, to mega-war.

 

With US President Barack Obama’s explicit and continuing support, nuclear weapons are now widely regarded as destabilizing, or even as inherently evil. In the specific case of Israel, however, the recognizable possession of such weapons could actually sometime become all that protects civilian populations from catastrophic aggression. Doubtlessly, maintaining successful nuclear deterrence – whether still ambiguous, or newly disclosed – will ultimately prove indispensable to Israel’s survival.

 

In its Advisory Opinion of July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled: “The Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense….” Where “the very survival of a State would be at stake,” continued the ICJ, even the actual use of nuclear weapons could at times be permissible. There is more. Israel is not Iran. Israel makes no threats of aggressive war or genocide. None. For the moment, at least, it does not even publicly acknowledge its advanced nuclear capabilities.

 

Geo-strategic truth may be counterintuitive. Not all nuclear weapon states are created equal. Not all states with nuclear capability are automatically a menace. Some may even offer a distinct benefit to world peace. On its face, the plainly small size of Israel precludes national tolerance of any nuclear attack. This point has even been made openly by a senior Iranian official, who stated ominously: “Israel is a one-bomb state.”

 

Israel is less than half the size of America’s Lake Michigan. To be sure, Israel’s nuclear weapons are not the problem. In the Middle East, the only persistent source of war and terrorism remains a far-reaching and still-unreconstructed Arab/Islamist commitment to “excise the Jewish cancer.” Faced with this literally genocidal threat, Israel and its few allies will finally need to understand that the “Road Map” is just another enemy expedient. To wit, on official Palestinian maps – which all describe Israel proper as “Occupied Palestine” – the Jewish state has already been eliminated. With these disingenuous maps, a cartographic genocide has already been imposed.

 

What about Iran? With a more openly declared nuclear weapons posture, Israel could more reliably deter a rational Iranian enemy’s unconventional attacks, and also most of its large conventional aggressions. With such a suitably updated posture, Israel, if necessary, could launch appropriately non-nuclear preemptive strikes against Iranian hard targets, and against associated counterforce capabilities. Significantly, these assets could otherwise threaten Israel’s physical survival with impunity. In the absence of acknowledging its possession of certain survivable and “penetration-capable” nuclear weapons, therefore, Israeli acts of anticipatory self-defense would most likely represent the onset of much wider war. The reason is simple: There would then remain no aptly convincing threat of Israeli counter-retaliation.

 

The decision to bring its “bomb” out of the “basement” would not be an easy one for Israel. Nonetheless, the realities of facing not only a nuclear- capable Iran, but also other potential nuclear aspirants in the region – in compelling synergies with anti-Israel terrorists – obligate a serious reconsideration of “deliberate ambiguity.” As corollary, Jerusalem would need to clarify that its multiple-level active defenses will always operate in tandem with its decisive nuclear retaliations.

 

What about “Palestine,” the other half of a prospectively corrosive synergy? Soon, it will soon become apparent that Islamic State (IS) and other related jihadist fighters plan to move against certain state and sub-state enemies. Already, in fact, IS is challenging Hamas control of Gaza, and is preparing to march westward, across the vulnerable country of Jordan. In time, of course, IS forces are likely to find themselves “at the “gates” of the West Bank (Judea/Samaria), the territories still widely presumed to become Palestine. If, when IS arrives, a Palestinian state has not yet been created, these forces will effectively occupy the strategic territories for themselves. If a Palestinian state has already been formalized, they would then make quick work of the new state’s predictably ragtag army, and more-or-less easily become the de facto government of “Palestine.”

 

What should all of this mean? For Israel, the disturbingly plausible narrative ought to suggest the unreasonableness of clinging to any residual notions of a discredited “two-state solution.” For the Palestinians and their supporters, this same scenario should confirm that the single greatest hindrance to a Palestinian state – any Palestinian state – will not be Israel, but rather another even-more barbarous band of Sunni Arab terrorists. Exeunt omnes?

 

 Contents

                                                                                     

On Topic

 

Liberal Party Defends Trudeau Statements on Iran: Paul Lungen, Canadian Jewish News, June 26, 2014 —Justin Trudeau would “hope to re-open [Canada’s] mission in Iran,” but doing so would be conditional on several factors, a spokesperson for the Liberal leader told The CJN.

Team Obama Just Crossed its Own Nuclear Red Line: New York Post, June 19, 2015 —Yet another Obama red line has been crossed. Only this time, Team Obama are the ones who crossed it.

No Miracle in Sight for Nuclear-Free Middle East: Yossi Melman., Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2015—One thing is clear. The Middle East will not witness the creation of a miracle: the establishment in the region of a nuclear free zone (MENFZ). It neither will happen after the end of the NPT Review Conference next month nor in many years to come.

At Home With Our Iranian Nuclear Partners: Jared Genser & Sara Birkenthal, Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2015 —The world recently has played down criticism of Iran on human rights in hopes of securing an elusive nuclear deal, which may or may not actually affect its nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime has doubled down its repression of domestic dissent.

 

                                                                      

 

              

THE WEEK THAT WAS: REMEMBERING IASI POGROM (1941), IRAN TALKS ENTER FINAL STAGE, & ISRAELIS FIND SPIRITUALITY IN MUSIC

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

AS WE GO TO PRESS: TERRORIST ATTACKS IN FRANCE, TUNISIA AND KUWAIT KILL DOZENS ─ Terrorists attacked sites in France, Tunisia and Kuwait on Friday, leaving a bloody toll on three continents and prompting new concerns about the spreading influence of jihadists. In France, attackers stormed an American-owned industrial chemical plant near Lyon, decapitated one person and tried unsuccessfully to blow up the factory. In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 27 people, officials said. At least one of the attackers was killed by security forces. And the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in one of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City during Friday prayers. Local news reports said at least 24 people had been killed and wounded in the assault, which was extraordinary for Kuwait and appeared to be a deliberate attempt to incite strife between Shiites and Sunnis. There was no immediate indication that the attacks had been coordinated. But the three strikes came at roughly the same time, and just days after the Islamic State called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (New York Times, June 26, 2015)

 

Iasi Pogrom: June 28 – July 6, 1941: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, June 26, 2015 — The roots of the Iasi Pogrom are deeply connected to the political deterioration of the Romanian pseudo-democracy.

Obama, An Existential Danger to Israel: Sally Zerker, CIJR, June 25, 2015— President Obama is intent on making a bad deal with Iran. Nothing can deter him; not Israel’s unconcealed expressions of outright angst, nor the Gulf Arab states’—Saudi, the UAE, and Qatar—deep distrust of the United States’ build-up of their Shi’ite enemy.

A Bittersweet Retrospective: Irwin Cotler, Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2015 —In my last statement in the House of Commons, I called for the release of four courageous prisoners of conscience, as well as the persecuted leadership of the Baha’i religious community in Iran, on whose behalf I had been acting as international legal counsel.

Israeli Rock Music’s Spiritual New Sound: Yossi Klein Halevi, Wall Street Journal, June  12, 2015 — “Admit me into your inner chamber!” cries a big, bearded man on the stage of the Tel Aviv rock club Zappa.

Passion, Paganini and Zionism: Sarah Hershenson, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2015 — Concert violinist Adrian Justus is passionate about Paganini.

 

On Topic Links

 

Holocaust Story: Iasi – A Stain on History, An Ache in My Heart: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 8, 2014

Obama: The Reluctant Realist: Prof. Steven R. David, BESA, June 7, 2015

The Life and Death of Steven Sotloff, Part 1: Jonathan Zalman., Tablet, June 18, 2015

Wars Are Won by Weapons, But Peace is Won by Ideas: Jonathan Sacks, Times of Israel, June 24, 2015

                                          

                            

 

 

                            

IASI POGROM: JUNE 28 – JULY 6, 1941                                                                                        

Baruch Cohen                                                  

CIJR, June 26, 2015

 

                                                                                               In Loving Memory of Malca  z"l

 

Zachor! We Must Not Forget!

 

The roots of the Iasi Pogrom are deeply connected to the political deterioration of the Romanian pseudo-democracy. The pogrom was not accidental, but part of the history of Romanian antisemitism. It did not begin on Duminica Accia ─ Sunday, June 28, 1941 ─ nor even three days earlier when the first killings started, nor on June 22, 1941, when  Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa hostilities commenced against communist Russia . Nor did it begin on September 6, 1940, when the war criminal Ion Antonescu and his Iron Guard hoards took power. No, the roots of the pogrom originated in a distant past, and only after a long period of hostile and daily antisemitic propaganda and boundless hatred had been directed against the Jewish population.

 

I lived through an official antisemitic government policy, which had roots way back in 1867 and was  deployed for a half-century with unshaken perseverance. It was reflected in antisemitic laws  affecting school education, public works, services and all the free professions. It resulted in illegal expulsions, violence, and persecution, as well as  in destruction of Jewish homes, shops, synagogues and schools.

 

It continued with numerus nullus and Numerus valachicus decrees (“limited number”, "access denied [to Jews]")  in the government, universities, and professional associations. This state-imposed antisemitic system was the groundwork for the later extermination of the Jewish population. In June and July, 1941, a murderous attack was committed in Iasi, where thousands of victims were destroyed by a violent and unrestrained mob. I lived through these days and they are still alive in my memory.

 

The crimes committed during, and after, the Iasi Pogrom are proof that the Romanian Iron Guard was a curse for Romania and a return to medieval darkness and hate. Before the Romanian Holocaust was over, 380,000 – 400,000 Jews were murdered in Romanian-controlled areas under the dictatorship of Antonescu.

                                                            

Zachor! Remember! Remember those years of darkness and destruction , in Romania and across Europe!

 

(Baruch Cohen, a Romanian Holocaust survivor,

 is the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research's Research Chairman.)

                                                                                               

                                                                       

Contents                                                                            

   

OBAMA, AN EXISTENTIAL DANGER TO ISRAEL       

Sally Zerker                                                                                                                              

CIJR, June 25, 2015

 

President Obama is intent on making a bad deal with Iran. Nothing can deter him; not Israel’s unconcealed expressions of outright angst, nor the Gulf Arab states’—Saudi, the UAE, and Qatar—deep distrust of the United States’ build-up of their Shi’ite enemy.

 

Those opposed to the deal are not ‘hysterical’ as Secretary of State John Kerry contended recently. It’s very easy to see how rational are those who object to the provisions of the P5+1 negotiations underway with Iran. Even Obama has admitted that it would be possible for Iran to make a bomb in a matter of days under the terms of the agreement, because Iran will be allowed to keep its entire nuclear infrastructure operational, including scientific research and testing. He has also conceded that sanctions could be lifted immediately as the Ayatollah demands, but he maintains that this compromise doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters, he claims, is that the sanctions could be repeated immediately if Iran is found cheating. But everyone knows this is impossible. Additionally, he is offering Iran $30-$50 billion signing bonus, (from the frozen Iranian assets), which will give Iran the kind of economic thrust to carry out and expand its nefarious aggressive terrorist schemes not only against Israel, but also against Sunni Muslims as well. Fourthly, his overall ambition, which he has stated, is that Iran ultimately become “a very successful regional power”.

 

This is the same Iran whose official Iranian policy is that “the destruction of Israel is not negotiable”, as recently expressed by the head of its religious-based militia, again endorsing this undeviating threat to destroy Israel, repeated from every Iranian leader since this regime has been in power. This is the same Iran that funds and arms Hezbollah and Hamas with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, fired at and directed at Israeli civilians, from both the north and the south of the country. This is the same Iran who now has taken over four capitals in adjoining Arab countries. This is the same Iran who is in partnership with Russia operating the civil war in Syria, which is continuing to use chemical weapons, despite Obama’s slighted “red line”. This is the same Iran about which the renowned international civil rights lawyer, Irwin Cotler, says about this P5+1 deal, that it has “sanitized the Iranian regime’s massive domestic repression”, where some 900 prisoners of conscience and political prisoners continue to languish in Iranian jails, many subject to torture and under threat of execution.

 

There is no question that with the completion of the P5+1 deal, Iran’s hegemony over the Middle East will increase, and will continue destabilizing the region with its tactics and power. Undoubtedly too, the deal will underscore the struggle between Shi’ites and Sunnis, making it almost inevitable that Saudi Arabia and Egypt will accelerate acquisition of nuclear weapons. Already, purchases from Pakistan are rumored to be in the works. Does this not indicate the possibility in the future of a nuclear apocalypse?

 

So, the big question is why does Obama want to gamble with this potentially horrible outcome? It doesn’t make sense. I know he has in mind his legacy, but does he really want a legacy that could include nuclear war? And is he so indifferent to feelings for America that it is irrelevant to him that, to this day and always, Iranians scream ‘death to America’ at every opportunity? It’s a conundrum; how to explain the contradiction and risks of Obama’s policy on Iran! For me the answer lies in perceiving who the real Obama is.

 

When we first were exposed to this young politician, we had no idea who Barack Obama was. Many commentators recognized that before he became president, Obama never ‘made’ anything, not a physical thing, not a company, not an organization, not even an article when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review, nothing. But I think he did make one thing; he created the mythic figure Barack Hussein Obama. What we know about this person is only what he has told us about himself, through an autobiography, written when he was just 33 years old . He was “lucky” in this respect that he had no mother, father or even grandfather alive when he went public with his invention. And his grandmother was dying at the time he was running for president. So there were no authoritative figures that could be broached or even be seen to evaluate his narratives. Furthermore, there are no existing family members evident in his life now. He does have a half-sister in the US, and possibly half-brothers from Africa. But neither you nor I nor anyone else has ever seen them as part of his entourage or in any family role. And either he had no childhood friends to be interviewed, or if they exist, they’ve chosen silence on the subject, as has indeed the press…

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

 

[Sally Zerker is a CIJR Academic Fellow]

                                                                                   

                                                                                   

Contents        

                                                                                                                

                                                             

A BITTERSWEET RETROSPECTIVE

Irwin Cotler                                                                                                                  

Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2015

 

In my last statement in the House of Commons, I called for the release of four courageous prisoners of conscience, as well as the persecuted leadership of the Baha’i religious community in Iran, on whose behalf I had been acting as international legal counsel. The prisoners of conscience are: Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, Venezuelan democratic opposition leader Leopoldo López; Iranian freedom-of-religion advocate Ayatollah Hossein Boroujerdi; and Mauritanian anti-slavery advocate Biram Dah Abeid. We say to each of these courageous prisoners of conscience that they are not alone. We stand in solidarity with them, their cause is our cause, and we will not relent until their liberty is secured.

 

I recall fondly my first-ever visit to, and encounter with, the Canadian Parliament. It was 1951. I was 11 years old. My late father took me to visit the House of Commons. He looked up at the House and said, “Son, this is the Parliament of Canada. This is vox populi, the voice of the people.” Today, such sentiments might invite a certain cynical rejoinder, particularly as one observes the sometimes cacophony of question period or the toxicity in the political arena. Certainly and fortunately, I still retain that great respect and reverence for this institution, which I regard as the centerpiece of our democracy, the cradle, the nurturer for the pursuit of justice.

 

In this, I am reminded and, indeed, inspired by another set of teachings on the pursuit of justice from my late parents, of blessed memory. For it is my father who taught me before I could understand the profundity of his words. As he put it, “The pursuit of justice is equal to all the other commandments combined.” As he said, “This, you must teach unto your children.” But it was my mother who, when she heard my father say this, would say to me, “If you want to pursue justice, you have to understand, you have to feel the injustice about you. You have to go in and about your community and beyond, and feel the injustice and combat the injustice. Otherwise, the pursuit of justice remains a theoretical construct.”

 

As a result of my parents’ teachings, I got involved in the two great human rights struggles of the second half of the 20th century, the struggle for human rights in the former Soviet Union and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. And I got involved with those who were the faces and voices of those struggles, and the defense of the political prisoners Anatoly Sharansky in the former Soviet Union and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. I got involved in the struggle for peace in the Middle East because as my mother, an authentic peace advocate, would say, “The struggle for peace is bound up in the pursuit of justice.” That same teaching about justice also underpinned my work as minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, as well as my work as an MP.

 

Indeed, when I was first sworn in as minister, I said at the time that I would be guided in my work by one overarching principle, the pursuit of justice – and I had my father’s teachings in my mind – and within that, the promotion and protection of equality, of equality not just as a centerpiece of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms but as an organizing principle for the building of a just society, and for the promotion and protection of human dignity, for the building of a society that was not only just but one that was also compassionate and humane.

 

These were my guiding principles during almost 16 years that I spent as the member for Mount Royal, a great riding, a rainbow riding, where I grew up and where I have lived for almost 60 years. Mount Royal is a riding that I love living in…

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

                                                                       

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

ISRAELI ROCK MUSIC’S SPIRITUAL NEW SOUND                                                                        

Yossi Klein Halevi                                    

Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2015

                       

“Admit me into your inner chamber!” cries a big, bearded man on the stage of the Tel Aviv rock club Zappa. But Shai Tsabari’s longing isn’t focused on some elusive human lover—he’s talking about God. In the audience, secular young men with tattoos and religious young women in modest kerchiefs close their eyes and sway together, as if Zappa were a synagogue. Mr. Tsabari is part of a growing movement of Israeli rock musicians who are turning to Judaism for inspiration, fusing tradition with contemporary Israel to find a voice that is both Middle Eastern and Jewish.

 

Mr. Tsabari, whose family came from Yemen, sings songs that are part prayer, part dance music. Impelled largely by musicians of Mizrahi origin—Israeli Jews from the Muslim world, who form half of Israel’s Jewish population of over six million (another 1.7 million Israelis are Arab)—Hebrew music is being transformed from the longtime carrier of a secular ethos into a force for restoring Judaism to Israeli culture.

 

Israel’s founders were European-born socialists who hoped to create a “new Jew”—one who relied not on God but on his own efforts for salvation. The Hebrew music created by this Zionist revolution celebrated patriotism and love of the land of Israel, largely shunning religious themes. Even as Israeli music began, in the 1960s, to reflect Israelis’ shift from collective identity in a rigidly controlled socialist society to greater individualism in a consumerist economy, spiritual search remained largely taboo.

 

Israeli music—and Israeli society—began changing after the Oslo peace process with the Palestinians faltered and then collapsed in 2000. As Palestinian suicide bombers exploded on buses and in cafes, Israelis’ trust in their society’s solidity was shaken. “There’s no one to rely on,” read one popular bumper sticker, “except our Father in Heaven.”

 

The suicide bombings of the early 2000s have been replaced by periodic terrorist rocket attacks and repeated conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah, leaving Israelis feeling besieged. Alongside the resultant hawkish turn in Israeli politics (which helped re-elect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March) has come the growing popularity of spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation. And, increasingly, of Judaism: According to a 2010 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, 70% of Israeli Jews now fast on Yom Kippur—in a country whose founding socialist pioneers often treated the Day of Atonement as an ordinary workday.

 

Musicians are defining this new Israeli spiritualism. In 2007, rocker Meir Banai’s stunning album “Hear My Cry” offered soft, almost reluctant rock versions of Yom Kippur prayers of Jews from Muslim countries, using traditional melodies as the starting point for his own compositions—and won the equivalent of Israel’s Grammy award for the best composer. In 2009, the hard rocker Berry Sakharof released a groundbreaking album called “Red Lips,” a meditation on mortality whose complex Hebrew lyrics were written by the 11th-century Spanish Jewish poet Solomon ibn Gvirol. The themes of vulnerability and judgment resonated in a country under siege, and both albums became runaway hits.

 

Since then, this trend—fusing devotional music with rock—has become perhaps the most creative force in Israeli music. In recent months, collaborations among leading musicians have produced albums featuring the songs of Eastern European Jewish mysticism, the prayer poems of Libyan Jews, religious hymns sung by European Jews during the Holocaust and several versions of Yemenite prayer…

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

                                                                       

 

Contents                                                                                      

   

PASSION, PAGANINI AND ZIONISM                                                                                        

Sarah Hershenson                           

Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2015

 

Concert violinist Adrian Justus is passionate about Paganini. On Saturday evening, June 27, he will perform Paganini’s Concerto No. 1 and La Campanella and Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy with the Solani Rishon Lezion Orchestra at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv. “Paganini was the ultimate violinist,” says Justus. “He played and wrote everything the violinist can do. His music is a joy to play and a pleasure for the listener to hear.”

 

Justus has been performing since he was a young boy in Mexico. He has won prizes at many prestigious competitions, such as the Gold Medal at the Henryk Szerying International Violin Competition. A tall, graceful, soft-spoken violinist, he was described by the critic of the Japan Times as a violinist who could produce more passion with a few strokes of his bow than most of us could in a lifetime. “Music is more than reproducing the notes printed on the sheet music,” Justus points out. “The violin is an instrument of communication. Its vibrations touch the heart and speak to the soul.”

 

Justus was born in Mexico City in 1970. His grandfather, a well known dermatologist from Hungary, and his grandmother were attending the 1939 World Science Fair in New York City when Hitler sealed Hungary’s borders. It was illegal for them to stay in the US, and Mexico was the country that welcomed them. The family remained in Mexico.

 

Adrian’s father, who is president of the World Organization for Orthodontists, was Adrian’s first violin teacher. “My next teacher,” says Justus, “Robert Vazka, taught me that it is the hand that holds the bow that has limitless capabilities. It produces different sounds, colors and effects and is the key to virtuosity. Every day, I play Paganini caprices, which are the showpiece of bowing possibilities, in addition to Bach and scales.”

 

Today, Israel is Justus’s home base. Eighteen years ago, he made aliya from Mexico. After weighing the pros and cons, Zionism won out. “My parents and family are still in Mexico. Now I am married to Orly Marcowitz (who is a musicians’ representative), and we are blessed to have a son who is three years old and loves music and the theater.”

 

When Justus is on tour, he thinks of himself as an ambassador for the State of Israel. “I was not required to join the IDF, and through my music I feel that I am doing something for the country. I love this country very much, and I am not afraid to speak up and explain the issues that confront us. In most instances, people thank me for giving them more information,” he says.

 

“People are people, and communication is the key,” he adds. “A turning point in my life was when I was a teenager on a music program in Japan. The young Japanese musicians did not know very much English. We learned to communicate through our music,” he recounts. “All violins,” he points out, “are constructed of hard and soft woods, which come from various places in the world. There is a saying that ‘It is one world, and the world is round.’ The violin vibrates and speaks to the soul. The tonality of the individual cultures might be different, but the vibrations are the same.”

 

Justus will perform on the Guarnerius del Gesu (1744), on loan from the Juvi Cultural Foundation at his concert in Tel Aviv. “This violin,” he says, “is famous for its brilliant sound, perfect for Paganini.”

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

 Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Holocaust Story: Iasi – A Stain on History, An Ache in My Heart: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 8, 2014 —My late father was a special man – scholarly, pious, wise. A man whose eyes spoke of understandings unfathomable to me when I was young and whose strength and full impressiveness only come into clearest focus as I myself have gotten older.

Obama: The Reluctant Realist: Prof. Steven R. David, BESA, June 7, 2015 —In this provocative study, Prof. Steven David of Johns Hopkins argues that, contrary to the assertion that Barack Obama’s foreign policy lacks direction or ideological basis, the president’s foreign policy can be explained as adhering very closely to traditional realist theory.

The Life and Death of Steven Sotloff, Part 1: Jonathan Zalman., Tablet, June 18, 2015—On July 15, 2013, Steven Sotloff arrived in Israel, a place he once called home. He planned on spending a week there, beginning with the wedding of his former roommate Benny Scholder, before heading off to report from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and wherever else his vagabond reporting career might take him in the region.

Wars Are Won by Weapons, But Peace is Won by Ideas: Jonathan Sacks, Times of Israel, June 24, 2015 —I was with the great scholar of Islam, Prof Bernard Lewis in 2003 when someone asked him to predict what would happen in Iraq. His reply was memorable. He said, I am a historian, therefore I only make predictions about the past. What is more, I am a retired historian, so even my past is passé.

                                                                      

 

              

Baruch Cohen: Iasi Pogrom: June 28 – July 6, 1941

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zachor! We Must Not Forget!

                                                                         In Loving Memory of Malca  z"l

 

The roots of the Iasi Pogrom are deeply connected to the political deterioration of the Romanian pseudo-democracy. The pogrom was not accidental, but part of the history of Romanian antisemitism. It did not begin on Duminica Accia ─ Sunday, June 28, 1941 ─ nor even three days earlier when the first killings started, nor on June 22, 1941, when  Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa hostilities commenced against communist Russia . Nor did it begin on September 6, 1940, when the war criminal Ion Antonescu and his Iron Guard hoards took power. No, the roots of the pogrom originated in a distant past, and only after a long period of hostile and daily antisemitic propaganda and boundless hatred had been directed against the Jewish population.

 

I lived through an official antisemitic government policy, which had roots way back in 1867 and was  deployed for a half-century with unshaken perseverance. It was reflected in antisemitic laws  affecting school education, public works, services and all the free professions. It resulted in illegal expulsions, violence, and persecution, as well as  in destruction of Jewish homes, shops, synagogues and schools.

 

It continued with numerus nullus and Numerus valachicus decrees (“limited number”, "access denied [to Jews]")  in the government, universities, and professional associations. This state-imposed antisemitic system was the groundwork for the later extermination of the Jewish population. In June and July, 1941, a murderous attack was committed in Iasi, where thousands of victims were destroyed by a violent and unrestrained mob. I lived through these days and they are still alive in my memory.

 

The crimes committed during, and after, the Iasi Pogrom are proof that the Romanian Iron Guard was a curse for Romania and a return to medieval darkness and hate. Before the Romanian Holocaust was over, 380,000 – 400,000 Jews were murdered in Romanian-controlled areas under the dictatorship of Antonescu.

                                                                  

Zachor! Remember! Remember those years of darkness and destruction , in Romania and across Europe! 

 

(Baruch Cohen, a Romanian Holocaust survivor,

is the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research's Research Chairman.)

 

 

 

ISRAEL —ALREADY A LEADER IN CYBERSECURITY AND WATER-TECH — BUILDS IDF “TECH-HUB” IN THE DESERT

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

The U.S. Shouldn’t Be Swayed by Mr. Khamenei’s Nuclear Threats: Washington Post, June 24, 2015 — Both U.S. and Iranian officials are hinting that a final nuclear deal may not be reached by a Tuesday deadline.

Israeli Army Builds a Desert Outpost—Tech Firms Follow: Orr Hirschauge, Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2015— A global tech hub is sprouting in the Israeli desert.

Meet the Israeli Companies Leading the Fight Against Cyber Attacks: Omri Zerachovitz, Ha’aretz, June  22, 2015 — In May 2014, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel lost his job. This came a few months after the U.S. retail chain’s customer database was hacked.

Israeli Drought Aid Swings Into Action in California: Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet, May 31, 2015 — As California continues into another summer of drought, Israeli aide to the world's seventh largest economy is finally becoming reality after years of negotiations and agreements with local water authorities, according to David Segel, the Israeli Consul in southern California.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Iran Deal’s Fatal Flaw: Alan J. Kuperman, New York Times, June 23, 2015

Israeli Cybersecurity Chief Focused on Future Threats: Damian Paletta., Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2015

Israel Miraculously Becomes World Leader in Water! (Video): Israel Video Network, 2015

Expert: ‘Revolutionary’ Israeli Tech Featured in Apple’s New HQ: David Shamah, Times of Israel, May 28, 2015

                                          

                            

                                      

THE U.S. SHOULDN’T BE SWAYED BY

MR. KHAMENEI’S NUCLEAR THREATS                                                                                   

Washington Post, June 24, 2015

 

Both U.S. and Iranian officials are hinting that a final nuclear deal may not be reached by a Tuesday deadline. And no wonder, judging from the speech delivered Tuesday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran’s ruler spelled out conditions that would make an accord impossible, short of a complete capitulation by the United States and its five partners. He rejected a long-term limitation of Iran’s uranium enrichment, curbs on its research and development and international inspections of military facilities, and he said all U.S. and United Nations sanctions must be lifted “immediately after the signing of the agreement.”

 

According to the Obama administration’s description of the preliminary settlement reached in April, Iran’s negotiators have already crossed a couple of those red lines; a 10-year limit on enrichment is at the heart of the prospective deal. Other Khamenei strictures, such as the ban on inspections of military bases, would make it impossible to verify Iran’s compliance.

 

It’s possible that the ayatollah’s speech was a bluff intended to improve Iran’s bargaining position. A more disturbing possibility is that Iran’s ruler is setting the precedent for disregarding a deal sometime after it is concluded and after the regime pockets the tens of billions of dollars in immediate financial relief it could receive.

 

Whatever the case, the Obama administration must resist the temptation to respond with eleventh-hour concessions. On the contrary, the compromises already struck in the preliminary accord make it essential that the United States insist on terms for inspections and timed sanctions relief that cross the Khamenei lines.

 

In its essence, the agreement would place an enormous bet that Iran will moderate its ambitions and lose its taste for nuclear weapons over the next decade. In exchange for restraining its enrichment and other nuclear work for 10 to 15 years, Iran would gain the lifting of almost all international sanctions, providing it with a revenue stream it could use to escalate the wars it is fighting or sponsoring around the Middle East. When the accord lapsed, Iran would immediately become a nuclear threshold state, with a breakout time “almost down to zero,” as President Obama put it.

 

For that risky bargain to be worthwhile, the United States and its partners must at the least ensure that Iran will respect the decade-long moratorium and will not secretly pursue a bomb, as it has in the past. That means that international inspectors must have the right to visit any suspicious sites quickly, including on military bases. It was at the Parchin military base that Iran was believed to have carried out work on military warheads, and U.N. investigators seeking to visit the site have been stonewalled for nine years. It’s essential that some sanctions relief be linked to the completion of their investigation of Iran’s past weaponization work so that there will be a baseline for judging future Iranian compliance.

 

Throughout the Iran negotiations, Mr. Obama has insisted that he is ready to walk away rather than accept a bad deal. In light of the Khamenei speech, the White House must be ready to act on that threat.

                                                                                               

                                                                       

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ISRAELI ARMY BUILDS A DESERT OUTPOST—TECH FIRMS FOLLOW     

Orr Hirschauge                                                                                                     

Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2015

 

A global tech hub is sprouting in the Israeli desert. Over the next decade, Israel’s army is moving a large portion of its offices—including those of many of its key technology commands—out of the greater Tel Aviv area and relocating them some 60 miles south, to this city in Israel’s rock-strewn Negev desert. Many of the world’s biggest tech companies are following, eager to stay close to the Israel Defense Forces’ tech-savvy workforce.

 

EMC Corp. , the U.S.-based data storage and cloud computing giant, set up shop in a new industrial park on the outskirts of town last year. It was one of the first big firms to open offices in Be’er Sheva, anticipating the long-planned army move. “The main reason EMC wants to be in Be’er Sheva is for access to talent,” said Maya Hofman Levy, the company’s site manager here. “It’s a place the company looked at and thought it would be good to be at [for] the long run, seeing what is being formed here.” Neighbors now include Deutsche Telekom AG , Lockheed Martin Corp. , Oracle Corp. , and International Business Machines Corp. In March, eBay Inc. ’s PayPal unit bought cybersecurity startup CyActive Ltd., which is based in Be’er Sheva.

 

An unfinished pedestrian bridge links the new corporate office park with a nearby train station. Morning shuttles are already operating between the train station and the office park to save workers the 15-minute walk in temperatures that can reach as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. On the opposite of the tracks sits the campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The university has teamed up with Deutsche Telekom for more than a decade building up an expertise in cybersecurity. The Israeli government will launch by year’s end a new National Cyber Event Readiness Team, which also will be based at the office park. Its aim is to research possible cyberattacks on Israeli organizations and companies and coordinate response.

 

The corporate campus, currently made up of just two dark-glass buildings, is near hilly, desert terrain that once served as an Israeli army orienteering training ground. Gav-Yam Negev Ltd., the office park’s closely held developer, sees the number of office buildings increasing to between 15 and 20 within a decade. Currently, around 1,100 people work at the site. Gav-Yam expects that number to grow to 10,000 employees by 2025.

 

About half of the $5.9 billion budget allotted by the Israeli government for the army’s move will go to building technology and communications infrastructure, including plans for some of the army’s biggest data centers. Many of the international firms opening new offices in Be’er Sheva are hoping to get a piece of that build-out. “It was natural for us to pick Be’er Sheva because of the ecosystem being formed there by the army, the industry and the university,” said Shelly Gotman, managing director of Lockheed Martin’s newly registered Israeli unit.

 

Others are setting up offices in the city to stay close to the army’s rank and file. The military plans to move some 20,000 soldiers into several bases, one of which will be a campus of low-slung office buildings and new barracks by 2021. Most of those first arrivals will be serving in Israel’s elite technology, intelligence and communications units, including Unit 8200, the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency.

 

Israel’s mandatory, two- to three-year conscription means that many of its brightest young minds end up doing stints in those units. Those young men and women are highly sought-after by Israeli and international technology firms. Following army postings, many of them have started their own businesses. For example, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. , Palo Alto Networks Inc., and NICE Systems Ltd. were founded by veterans of such units. That pool of experienced talent has been a huge factor in Israel’s startup ecosystem. “Startups are missions, mission after mission,” said Saul Singer, co-author of 2009 book “Start-up Nation,” about Israeli innovation.

 

Keeping that workforce comfortable is a priority, especially when many of the soldiers will be uprooting from Tel Aviv’s lively tech scene. “We need to be able to supply them with a quality of life worthwhile for them to relocate,” said Col. Miri Maoz, who commands the administrative unit managing the transition for the Israeli intelligence corps. “In terms of size it would be like relocating a town.”

 

Amid the army’s move, the city’s name is getting something of an upgrade. Employees in the new office park have started replacing the city’s biblical name, which goes back to stories about Abraham and Isaac, with the sleeker “B7.” The Hebrew word sheva means seven. “It’s better for branding,” said Doron Davidson, chief executive of SecBI Ltd., a cybersecurity startup working in a startup incubator based in the office park.                          

                                                                                   

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MEET THE ISRAELI COMPANIES LEADING THE FIGHT                                                  

AGAINST CYBER ATTACKS                

Omri Zerachovitz                                                                                                          

Ha’aretz, June 22, 2015

 

In May 2014, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel lost his job. This came a few months after the U.S. retail chain’s customer database was hacked. The details of some 40 million credit-card holders were stolen, along with personal information on tens of millions of other customers. Steinhafel may have received a golden parachute worth some $27 million, but he’ll be remembered as the first CEO of a major firm forced to resign because of a cyber attack.

 

Quite a few other cyber incidents have hit the headlines in recent years. Another well-known case involved the hacking of Sony and the theft of its movie “The Interview” before the film was even released to the theaters. Other famous cases included the hacking of Apple’s cloud services and the theft of naked pictures of famous actresses. But these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. Cyber experts believe the past 12 months marked a change in direction concerning the seriousness of cyber attacks – as well as the importance of the global information security industry, which is trying to defend against such attacks. As a result, these firms have been called on to develop ever more sophisticated technology.

 

In the past, attackers would generally focus on breaking through the outer security perimeter. Today, many of them have much more sophisticated methods of attack, reminiscent of well-planned military operations. The hackers identify weak points, penetrate the network with a low level of intensity, collect more and more information, make their plans – and then strike.

 

In the case of Target, it was credit-card data. In other cases, the attacks can be for purposes such as industrial or government espionage, stealing money or shutting down operations of both private and government organizations – whether for business or ideological reasons. This rise in awareness and demand for cyber security has helped lift the share prices of many companies that operate in the industry – a few of which are relatively old-timers.

 

The best-known is Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli firm founded by Gil Shwed, Marius Nacht and Shlomo Kramer. Check Point has a market capitalization of $15 billion. Another large Israeli firm in the sector is CyberArk Software, whose CEO is Udi Mokady. CyberArk has a market cap of $2.2 billion, after its IPO last September.

 

Israel is considered to be an international cyber superpower, and is trying to brand itself accordingly. Check Point was founded by three newly released Israel Defense Forces veterans who specialized in information security. It was among the very first companies in the world to develop software to protect computer networking – including some of the earliest firewalls – and was a great success from almost the get-go. Many other Israeli companies were established in its wake, some by people who had previously worked for Check Point itself.

 

The information security market is estimated to be worth some $60 billion a year. Israel’s National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office estimates that Israeli companies hold a 10% share of the global information security market. Many firms whose operations were never historically in the security field are now expanding their presence into the industry. For example, Verint – whose main business was in intelligence systems for military and government institutions – decided to expand its operations in the cyber industry into civilian markets. Elbit Systems, which develops military systems, also established a subsidiary named Cyberbit, which has bought the cyber division of NICE Systems.

 

The growth of the cyber industry has attracted a huge number of investors. This demand led to the creation, last November, of the first Cyber Security exchange-traded fund (ETF), which tracks an index of 31 stocks. “The fund seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the ISE Cyber Security Index,” states PureFunds, the company behind the ETF. The ETF is traded in New York under the symbol “HACK.” Since its launch seven months ago, it has risen some 30% in value. The ETF includes a number of Israeli cyber firms, or some that are identified with Israeli entrepreneurs: Check Point Software Technologies, Imperva, CyberArk and Palo Alto Networks. These firms make up about 22% of the value of the ETF, even though they represent only some 10% of the total market cap of the companies included in it.

 

A few of the firms in the ETF are not pure cyber companies, and only some of their products and operations are in the sector (for example, Juniper Networks, Cisco and Radware). The Israeli companies included in HACK are traded on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq – but none of them trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

 

Check Point was founded in 1992, and its first development was the firewall to protect organizations from outside attacks. It became a standard for large companies and organizations, and 98% of all Fortune 500 companies use it today.

 

Over the years, the company has moved into other security products, especially modular ones that allow it to sell more to existing customers – such as its Software Blades. It recently bought Hyperwise, an Israeli startup, and has also moved into mobile security over the past year, which should be another growth engine. It also bought another Israeli startup, Lacoon Mobile Security, which had developed technology for identifying infections on smartphones and the leak of sensitive information from organizational networks.

 

The firewall is still Check Point’s core business. Over the past five years, its shares have shown an average annual return of 22%, with a present market cap of $15.2 billion. Revenues grew 9% in the first quarter of the year to $373 million, and net profits hit $171 million. The company has $1.3 billion in cash-on-hand, after buying back some $4 billion of its own shares…                                                                                   

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

                                                                       

                                                                       

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ISRAELI DROUGHT AID SWINGS INTO ACTION IN CALIFORNIA                                                       

Yitzhak Benhorin                                      

Ynet, May 31, 2015

                       

As California continues into another summer of drought, Israeli aide to the world's seventh largest economy is finally becoming reality after years of negotiations and agreements with local water authorities, according to David Segel, the Israeli Consul in southern California.

 

"We signed an agreement with Los Angeles, a city of seven million residents, on the subject of green technologies, we're bringing water specialists from Israel for discussions with legislatures and we're conducting conference calls with experts in Israel," said Segel. "In the next few days we expect to sign an agreement with the municipality of Beverly Hills."

 

While Israel's water is mostly managed by one administrative company called Mekorot, thousands of small water districts form a complex web of administration in California, meaning that Israel has had to work out the details of separate agreements from across the State before work could begin. According to Segel, several Israeli technology companies are already on the ground competing for tenders. "We're accelerating the entry of Israeli companies and Israeli products," said the consul. "We're going from district to district. There's a race to find water technology and our presence increases the chance of Israeli companies (having a part in) the fields of recycling, desalinization, and saving water."

 

The Israeli desalination company IDE has been awarded the tender for the operation of the largest desalination facility in the Western hemisphere, to begin operation starting this fall in southern California, and supply 10% of San Diego's water consumption. Santa Barbara is also planned to sign a cooperation agreement with the Israeli company.

 

The presence of Israeli companies in local environments brings additional benefits in the realm of politics and international relations as well. This is a rare opportunity to strengthen ties with members of congress not only in Washington, but in their homes," said Segel. "American citizens aren't interested in the Middle East, but they are interested in safety, cyber, energy, water, farming, and health. State governors come to Israel and find economic opportunity. The path is to connect to America in 50 states with 50 governors in areas that Israel can help them so that Americans will understand Israel's importance in everyday life."

 

Besides desalinization, one of the main technologies that Israel has been trying to introduce in California is known as "gray water" – water from showers, sinks, and washing machines – that is diverted in Israel to water gardens and parks. While there has been resistance in the US to this initiative in the past, new legislation has opened doors for Israeli companies with this technology to take hold and develop. After years during which the Sea of Galilee remained threateningly empty, Israel became a world leader in recycling water. Some 90% of farming water in Israel is recycled water while California's farms use mainly clean water suitable for drinking.

 

Some 40 million Americans call California home, and the state is currently struggling through its worst drought in recorded history. Officials are in hysterics over the sudden water crisis and California's Governor Jerry Brown ordered that residents and small business owners cut back on water usage by 25%. Those who are judged to be wasting water unnecessarily now face fines that can reach up to $10,000. While residents are quickly tearing out the green grass from their front lawns for synthetics and drought resistant plants, the future of California's massive parks and golf courses that rely on heavy watering are less certain. All of America is worried, and not only for California's grass.

 

The state grows more than a third of America's vegetables and two thirds of the country's fruit and nuts. For most American's, and indeed for many around the world, the persistent drought means a severe rise in food prices.

 

 Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

The Iran Deal’s Fatal Flaw: Alan J. Kuperman, New York Times, June 23, 2015 —President Obama’s main pitch for the pending nuclear deal with Iran is that it would extend the “breakout time” necessary for Iran to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.

Israeli Cybersecurity Chief Focused on Future Threats: Damian Paletta., Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2015—Israel’s top cybersecurity official said the country has launched a comprehensive strategy to prevent increasingly sophisticated computer attacks, warning that Iran and terrorist networks could greatly expand their capabilities in the next three to five years.

Israel Miraculously Becomes World Leader in Water! (Video): Israel Video Network, 2015

Expert: ‘Revolutionary’ Israeli Tech Featured in Apple’s New HQ: David Shamah, Times of Israel, May 28, 2015 —Like with everything else it does, Apple is expected to rock the architectural world when its new California headquarters opens for business next year – raising the fortunes of the Israeli glass technology firm that is playing a central, if indirect, role in the construction of one of the world’s most innovative buildings ever.

 

              

Sally Zerker: Obama, An Existential Danger to Israel

 

 

 

President Obama is intent on making a bad deal with Iran. Nothing can deter him; not Israel’s unconcealed expressions of outright angst, nor the Gulf Arab states’—Saudi, the UAE, and Qatar—deep distrust of the United States’ build-up of their Shi’ite enemy.

 

Those opposed to the deal are not ‘hysterical,’ as Secretary of State John Kerry contended recently. It’s very easy to see how rational those are who object to the provisions of the P5+1 negotiations underway with Iran. Even Obama in fact has admitted that it would be possible for Iran to make a bomb in a matter of days under the terms of the agreement, because Iran will be allowed to keep its entire nuclear infrastructure, including scientific research and testing, operational. He has also conceded that sanctions could be lifted immediately as the Ayatollah demands, but he maintains that this compromise doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters, he claims, is that the sanctions could be re-imposed immediately if Iran is found cheating. But everyone knows this is impossible. Additionally, he is offering Iran a $30-$50 billion signing bonus (from the frozen Iranian assets), which will give Iran the kind of economic thrust necessary to carry out and expand its nefarious aggressive terrorist schemes, not only against Israel, but also against Sunni Muslims as well. Fourthly, his overall ambition, which he has stated, is that Iran ultimately become “a very successful regional power”.

 

This is the same Iran whose official Iranian policy is that “the destruction of Israel is not negotiable”, as recently expressed by the head of its religious-based militia, again endorsing this undeviating threat to destroy Israel, repeated by every Iranian leader since this regime has been in power. This is the same Iran that funds and arms Hezbollah and Hamas with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, fired at and directed at Israeli civilians, from both the north and the south of the country. This is the same Iran who now has taken over four capitals in adjoining Arab countries. This is the same Iran that is in partnership with Russia operating the civil war in Syria, which is continuing to use chemical weapons, despite Obama’s slighted “red line”. This is the same Iran about which the renowned international civil rights lawyer, Irwin Cotler, says that this P5+1 deal has “sanitized the Iranian regime’s massive domestic repression”, where some 900 prisoners of conscience and political prisoners continue to languish in Iranian jails, many subject to torture and under threat of execution.

 

There is no question that with the completion of the P5+1 deal, Iran’s hegemony over the Middle East will increase, and will continue destabilizing the region with its tactics and power. Undoubtedly too, the deal will underscore the struggle between Shi’ites and Sunnis, making it almost inevitable that Saudi Arabia and Egypt will accelerate acquisition of nuclear weapons. Already, purchases from Pakistan are rumored to be in the works. Does this not indicate the possibility in the future of a nuclear apocalypse?

 

So, the big question is, why does Obama want to gamble with this potentially horrible outcome? It doesn’t make sense. I know he has in mind his legacy, but does he really want a legacy that could include nuclear war? And is he so indifferent to anti-American feelings that it is irrelevant to him that, to this day, Iranians scream ‘death to America’ at every opportunity? It’s a conundrum; how to explain the contradiction and risks of Obama’s policy on Iran! For me the answer lies in perceiving who the real Obama is.

 

When we first were exposed to this young politician, we had no idea who Barack Obama was. Many commentators recognized that before he became president, Obama never ‘made’ anything, not a physical thing, not a company, not an organization, not even an article when he was editor of the Harvard Law Review, nothing. But I think he did make one thing; he created the mythic figure Barack Hussein Obama. What we know about this person is only what he has told us about himself, through an autobiography, written when he was just 33 years old . He was “lucky” in this respect that he had no mother, father or even grandfather alive when he went public with his invention. And his grandmother was dying at the time he was running for president. So there were no authoritative figures who could be queried or even be seen to evaluate his narratives. Furthermore, there are no existing family members evident in his life now, aside from a half-sister in the US, and possibly half-brothers from Africa. But neither you nor I nor anyone else has ever seen them as part of his entourage or in any family role. And either he had no childhood friends to be interviewed or, if they exist, they’ve chosen silence on the subject, as has indeed the press.

 

So, he was a clean slate. Whatever Obama said during the electioneering period I dismiss, particularly about his commitment to Israel, because these turned out to be false. The true Obama came out in his first two speeches abroad after he became president, one in Cairo and one in Berlin. In Cairo he revealed his devotion to Islam, as he repeatedly quoted the verses of the “Holy Koran” in a passionate voice, and pledged as president to revise and advance Islam’s relations with America.

 

The Berlin speech is when he made clear that he doesn’t like America as it is, and he began apologizing for its ‘mistakes’, its racism, its colonialism. And he saw nothing exceptional about the US, no different than any other country. It’s not worth debating this point; it’s so obvious that the super power of the world is very different in so many respects—economically, militarily, etc.—from other countries.

 

Does this mean I believe Obama is a) a Muslim, and b) an isolationist. I know he was born a Muslim because by Islamic law if the father is Muslim so is the child, and his father was Muslim. But we can observe that he definitely is not a practicing Muslim. As for his position on international involvement, it is clear that Obama doesn’t want the US to have a special role in the world. But in the years as president of the world’s super power, often he has had no alternative to that of the US intervening, but has done so reluctantly and hesitatingly.  As a result, his foreign policy is a mess, full of contradictions and false promises. And this foreign policy disarray is, at least in part, what is behind this Iranian deal, as Obama aspires to transform his legacy from one of disorder to one of stability and acumen.

 

Even though, as is evident, Obama is not a Muslim, his mindset on Israel was essentially the same as that of the Islamic worlds. All recent polls show predominant negative evaluation of Israel as well as outright antisemitism in the Muslim world, with the highest numbers, as high as 95%, among Palestinians. Whether consciously or subconsciously, Obama comes from the same perception, and no wonder, his formative years were within a Muslim society, Muslim schools, Muslim friends and Muslim family. Therefore, in my opinion, he came to the idea of Israel with a prejudiced view. As a result, when he did justify the existence of Israel to his Muslim audience in Cairo, he identified it as the product of the Holocaust, and he has repeated that rationale since. He has never expressed any acceptance of the historical rights of Jews to the land of Israel, or the concept of Jews as the aboriginal people of the land. Nor is he willing to accept any legitimate international law that challenges the notion of Jewish ‘occupation’ of the lands in the West Bank. For the Arabs, all of the land from the sea to the river Jordan is ‘occupation’. It’s not clear to me how much of the land is ‘occupation’ in Obama’s mind.

 

Obama was always hostile to Israel. We’re supposed to think Obama’s problem with Israel is Netanyahu. That’s simply not true. Already, in 2009, before he had even met Netanyahu, he said “it’s time to put daylight between Israel and America”. He was humiliating Netanyahu and thereby showing disrespect for Israel as early as 2010, when he hardly knew him or had dealings with him. Remember how he abandoned Netanyahu during a meeting in the White House in order to go for lunch with Vice-President Biden and didn’t invite Netanyahu to join them, or when he forced Netanyahu to enter the White House through a back door, on top of his rudeness when he let Netanyahu languish in the office while he supposedly went to eat dinner with his family. Such disgraceful, offensive treatment cannot be justified in the behavior of any president to any head of state, let alone to that of an ally, and inevitably it is an insult to Israel and the Jewish people. As a Jew, I feel insulted. 

 

Hence, fundamentally, Obama never liked Israel, especially an Israel that is a proud Jewish state living on its Biblical homeland. With the election of Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency in 2009, Israel could no longer count on a friend in the White House. But it’s more extreme than loss of friendship now. His defense of Iran and its uranium enablement, the country that is an avowed threat to Israel’s existence, might logically be designated the work of an outright enemy. If the behavior is deeply hostile, the label of the architect is irrelevant. What counts is the deed, and Obama’s deed with respect to the danger to Israel is odious.

 

Those who care about Israel are fearful that they are faced with an enemy in the White House for another 20 months or so. Let us pray we don’t get a successor to Barack Hussein Obama that essentially is a continuation of his outlook and policies.

UN GAZA WAR REPORT: LESS BIASED THAN “GOLDSTONE” — BUT ISRAEL UNFAIRLY BLAMED FOR DEFENDING ITSELF AGAINST HAMAS TERRORISTS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

UN Gaza War Report Leaves No Room for Israeli Self-Defense: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, June 22, 2015 — After months of anticipation, the report by the United Nations Human Rights Council about last summer’s Gaza war is out today and its contents are no surprise .

UNHRC Report: Less Biased, But No Less Lethal: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2015— While seriously problematic from the Israeli legal perspective, the UN Human Rights Council’s report on the 2014 Gaza war, made public on Monday, is far less biased than the Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Gaza fighting.

Latest Study Offers Another Gloomy View of Eternal Stalemate Between Israel and Gaza: National Post, June  23, 2015 — It’s all so depressingly familiar now: another war in the Middle East, another report.

Next Time, Ask a General: Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel, June 22, 2015 — The UN report on last summer’s Gaza war, while more even-handed than its predecessor — written shortly after the 2008-2009 conflict — is still willfully or perhaps unknowingly ignorant of modern military affairs.

 

On Topic Links

 

Attorneys at War: Willy Stern, Weekly Standard, June 15, 2015

Ahead of UN Report on 2014 Gaza War, Multinational Mission of Generals Find: "Israel Not Only Met But Significantly Exceeded International Legal Standards": UN Watch, June 12, 2015

The Schabes Report Had ‘Biased Mandate’ and ‘Unreliable Sources’: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, June 22, 2015

The Gaza War 2014: Hirsh Goodman and Dore Gold, eds., JCPA, June 2015

Filling in the Blanks: Documenting Missing Dimensions in UN and

NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict: Gerald M. Steinberg and Anne Herzberg, eds., NGO Monitor, June 2015

 

 

 

UN GAZA WAR REPORT LEAVES NO ROOM FOR ISRAELI SELF-DEFENSE                                                            

Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                                                                  

Commentary, June 22, 2015

 

After months of anticipation, the report by the United Nations Human Rights Council about last summer’s Gaza war is out today and its contents are no surprise. While the UNHRC acknowledged that Hamas’s indiscriminate firing of rockets and missiles at Israeli cities and towns were acts of terrorism, it concentrated most of its fire on Israel’s attempts to defend its territory and citizens. The UNHRC not only described Israeli actions as “disproportionate and indiscriminate” but also considers the blockade of Gaza to be a violation of Palestinian human rights and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court.

 

But while the toll of Palestinian civilian deaths was a tragedy, the UN Gaza war report is predictably skewed not just in terms of its mischaracterization of what were, in fact, highly restrictive rules of engagement that often put Israel Defense Forces personnel in danger, but also seeming to grant Hamas impunity to wage a terror war against Israel’s existence. In effect, what the UNHRC is doing is to create rules that allow Hamas to hide amid a civilian population, using them as human shields, and then to claim those trying to stop terror are the real criminals. The United States must not only reject this dangerous precedent, but it ought to withdraw from a biased UN agency that seems to exist largely to single out the Jewish state for unfair treatment.

 

The UNHRC takes the view that the large number of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli fire around or in their homes is, almost by definition, proof that the IDF misbehaved. Just as wrongheaded is the claim that Israel’s efforts to warn Palestinians to leave specific areas or even specific structures is insufficient to ward off charges of war crimes. But as this feature by Willy Stern published this month by the Weekly Standard shows, the legal process by which IDF strikes are approved is geared toward saving civilian lives goes beyond any notion of what international law requires. Indeed, the Israeli rules, which often endanger Israeli soldiers and allow terrorists to escape simply because of the possibility that civilians might be harmed, are such that they go well beyond the practices what other Western nations, including the United States in its conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq observe.

 

But when one boils down the UN report to its essentials, it comes to this: The only sort of Israeli action in Gaza that might pass the HRC’s test would be if Israeli soldiers knocked on every door and politely asked if there were any terrorists there and then left if they were told there weren’t. The fact that Hamas deliberately fires its rockets amid and from civilian structures places those in those buildings in harm’s way. Israel tries to warn civilians to leave and even goes to extreme measures such as firing duds at buildings in order to get noncombatants to evacuate them. But Hamas made it clear to civilians that those fleeing the fighting would be considered collaborators if they didn’t stay put. That’s a death threat that Gazans rightly treat as more worrisome than the prospect of being caught in a firefight involving the Israelis. The UNHRC standard is damaging to Israel, but it also hurts the Palestinians since it effectively leaves them at the mercy of the Islamist tyrants that have seized control of Gaza.

 

Moreover, asking the Israelis not to use heavy weapons in urban areas essentially gives Hamas a further incentive to dig in, as it did, in residential neighborhoods and then dare the Israelis to try to root them out. The results of such actions are sometimes tragic. Though any such deaths are awful, given the scale of the fighting initiated by Hamas, a death toll of even the number of civilians claimed by the UNHRC (other reports place the number of civilians much lower since the UN wrongly allows the Palestinians to declare many Hamas personnel to be noncombatants) is actually quite low. As I noted last week, the fact that other reports and even the verdict of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States is that Israel not only acted properly but also constituted a model for the conduct of armed forces in asymmetrical conflicts illustrates the UNHRC’s bias.

 

But the main question to be asked here is how a war launched by a terrorist organization operating an independent Palestinian state in all but name can be defended against by the victims of their attacks without incurring some civilian casualties. The point is not just that Hamas’s goal is to kill as many Jewish civilians as possible while the IDF goes to extreme lengths to avoid such deaths. Rather, it is that once a terrorist group sets up operations in an area under its control, sovereign nations attacked by these killers must have the right to conduct defensive operations intended to halt rocket fire and the use of tunnels for kidnapping and murder. If the soldiers of such nations are to be deemed war criminals for using heavy weapons or for mistakes that inevitably happen in the heat of battle amid the fog of war, then what the UNHRC is doing is to create rules that give the terrorists impunity.

 

Moreover, if blockades of areas run by such terrorists bent on destroying their neighbors — the purpose of Hamas’s “resistance to Israel is not to adjust its borders in the West Bank, but to eliminate the Jewish state — are also illegal, then such criminal groups will likewise be granted impunity to set up such states and conduct wars without fear of international sanctions. That Israel’s blockade of Gaza ensured that food and medical supplies continued to flow into the strip even during the war proves how absurd the UN standards are when applied to Israel.

 

It is that last phrase that is the operative concept at work here. We know that the UN would not dare label any military operation such as the one conducted by Israel as illegal were it carried out by any other nation. The UNHRC largely ignores real human rights crises elsewhere in the world (including next door to Israel in Syria where hundreds of thousands have died) in order to concentrate its condemnations on the Jewish state. The fact that the chair of this commission who guided it for most of its life was a bitter critic of Israel and issued statements prejudging its outcome made this bias even more explicit.

 

In the end, the UNHRC report does nothing to clarify how nations should conduct wars. But it does tell us everything we need to know about the need for civilized nations to cease supporting an agency that purports to speak in the name of human rights but instead bolsters hate.             

                                                                                   

                                                                                   

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UNHRC REPORT: LESS BIASED, BUT NO LESS LETHAL    

Yonah Jeremy Bob                                                                                                

Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2015

 

While seriously problematic from the Israeli legal perspective, the UN Human Rights Council’s report on the 2014 Gaza war, made public on Monday, is far less biased than the Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Gaza fighting. However, where it attacks the IDF’s conduct, in some ways it is far more sophisticated than Goldstone. In addition, whereas the International Criminal Court in 2008- 9 was just a distant threat, it now sees the Palestinians as having a state that can officially file war crimes complaints and is deep into a preliminary examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

At a macro level and looking toward the ICC, the main problems the UNHRC report poses for Israel are the questions of command responsibility, whether Israel can disclose enough information to show its attacks on residences were justified, and whether it can defend its policy of using artillery even after pervasive reports of civilian casualties caused by such weaponry. Command responsibility refers to the idea that senior military and political leaders can be found guilty of war crimes if their targeting policies violate the laws of armed conflict. The State Comptroller’s Office is the only authority that has been tasked by Israel to look into the issue, making its coming report an urgent matter, if only to show that the government and defense community are not ignoring it.

 

It can be argued that Israel made an unforced error in failing to enact a law spelling out command responsibility, as had been suggested in 2013 by the quasi-governmental Turkel Commission, which looked into the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident in which naval commandos killed 10 Turkish activists trying to run the Gaza blockade. However, it can also be argued that waiting for publication of the UNHRC report helped clarify the issues on which Israel should press forward more quickly.

 

Regarding disclosure, Israel will likely say it has divulged far more in the way of operational details in its investigations of alleged war crimes than any other country. This might be true, but it could also consider disclosing even more details in an effort to fight for the high ground in the legitimacy debate, even if the details are less than what the HRC’s investigative commission appeared to demand – which is a standard that seemed to brush off the need to protect intelligence sources without citing a basis under the laws of armed conflict.

 

As for the use of artillery, Israel will likely confront questions about its policy by attacking the commission’s level of military expertise. The HRC report makes reference to having had a military expert involved to assess military issues, but certain aspects of its conclusions will likely raise an Israeli accusation that those who authored the report did not understand the exigencies of what is feasible on the battlefield. One example might be where the report rejects the IDF’s claim that in a particular instance, aerial support was not available.

 

The report rejects the IDF’s explanation of its use of what the commission viewed as less-accurate weaponry, arguing that the country’s vast air power belied the claim of a lack of aerial support – although this rejection appears weak since it is not based on any factual knowledge of the circumstances. In fairness to the report, Israel did not cooperate with the HRC commission, in some instances forcing it to make estimates. Many, even on the Israeli side, consider the decision against cooperation to have been tactically imprudent.

 

But Israel can hardly be slammed too hard for its decision not to cooperate, since it was chaired for most of its existence by Canadian legal expert William Schabas, who eventually resigned over disclosures that he had accepted payment from the PLO for prior legal advice. On a micro level, Israel has its work cut out for it in defending itself against specific war crimes allegations regarding the August 1 Hannibal Protocol incident, attacks in the Shejaia neighborhood on July 19, 20 and 30, and particularly troubling incidents like the July 16 naval shelling that killed four boys on Gaza beach. Despite Israel’s detailed explanation as to why it closed its own investigation into the Gaza beach incident, the report questions whether Israel could not have done more to clarify that the four boys were not Hamas personnel. Similar questions are likely to be raised across the board.

 

From the Israeli perspective, the report is far harsher on Hamas than were past UN reports, whether it be over indiscriminate rocket fire or purposely using civilian areas to stage attacks. In one surprising instance, the report even suggests that Hamas could be guilty of war crimes not only for murder and attempted murder from the direct lethal power of its rockets, but could also be guilty of the more indirect war crime of terrorizing a populace. The report also clearly rebukes Hamas for storing weapons in UN facilities and other civilian locations.

 

Despite all of its findings against Hamas, however, the report manages to find a way on most issues to skew toward a final conclusion that condemns Israel and employs a moral equivalence between the sides without really explaining its basis. Ultimately, on all of the points where Israel is likely to attack the findings, the report focuses far more than did past reports on areas where Israeli legal defenses could be more vulnerable. In addition, many of its findings against Israel are more nuanced and less blanket than in the past. This combination could prove legally lethal as the ICC considers whether to further inject itself into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.                                  

                                                                                   

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LATEST STUDY OFFERS ANOTHER GLOOMY VIEW OF                      

ETERNAL STALEMATE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND GAZA                                                                         

National Post, June 23, 2015

 

It’s all so depressingly familiar now: another war in the Middle East, another report. Monday’s release of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s findings into last year’s conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip made grim enough reading on its own, with its vivid descriptions of innocent civilians, on both sides, torn apart by heavy weapons. The certainty of such events repeating themselves makes reading it all the gloomier a task.

 

The report, which notes that it did not receive co-operation from either side, was the product of interviews with witnesses, reviews of photographic and video evidence and publicly released materials. The conclusions are about what you would expect: both Israel and various Palestinian terror organizations are cited for probable war crimes. In Israel’s case, the concerns mostly lie with the use of heavy weapons in populated areas, resulting in more civilian casualties than can be justified on the basis of military necessity. In the case of the Palestinian terror groups, the report condemns firing mostly unguided weapons into populated areas, or simply declaring population centres to be military bases. Likewise the observed pattern of basing long-range weapons and troops in the immediate vicinity of schools, hospitals, mosques and homes.

 

On balance, the report is generally reasonable, and includes some suggestions Israel could do well to adopt, including limiting use of the heaviest artillery calibres and largest air-dropped bombs in populated areas, as well as providing more time to evacuate dwellings selected for targeted destruction. The report also lamented that, in many instances, Israel did not provide much justification for why certain targets were selected for destruction, while conceding that in many instances, Israel may well have had such justification, which it refused to share for reasons of operational security.

 

The problem with the report, as with others before it, is that it misses the point. Yes, the Israel Defense Forces can and should learn from every conflict, and find ways to do better — though they already show more restraint than any nation should reasonably be expected to. But there is simply no way to compare the conduct of Israel, a Western democracy with civilian-led armed forces, with Gaza — essentially a terrorist enclave run by numerous, often competing armed groups, which tragically happen to share the same geographic space as a million trapped civilians.

 

Israel would no doubt prefer to fight its battles out in an open field somewhere, where it can bring all its high-tech military might to bear in a crushing, decisive military blow. Unfortunately, it happens to be located next to a heavily populated urban area full of well-armed people that hate it — and who aren’t shy about launching attacks from civilian installations, among other violations of the laws of war. Israel has tried unilaterally withdrawing all its troops from the area; that hasn’t precisely worked out. So long as groups in Gaza continue to rain rockets and mortars on Israeli civilians, and dig tunnels below the border, Israel will have to keep defending itself where its enemies are attacking it from — with all the carnage that urban fighting inevitably entails.

 

It’s a bleak reality, but a reality nonetheless. The only real cause for hope can be found on Israel’s other borders: those with Jordan, Egypt and even the West Bank. Israel is clearly capable of living in peace with Muslim, Arab neighbours. In Gaza, it lacks only a willing partner. Israel should indeed read this latest UN report, and implement such of its recommendations as make military and moral sense. But until and unless fresh leadership comes to Gaza, it will still face the same existential dilemma.

                                                                       

                                                                       

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Mitch Ginsburg                                         

Times of Israel, June 22, 2015

                       

The UN report on last summer’s Gaza war, while more even-handed than its predecessor — written shortly after the 2008-2009 conflict — is still willfully or perhaps unknowingly ignorant of modern military affairs. What it needed, aside from Israeli cooperation and an open mind, was a general, preferably one who has commanded troops under fire in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

The first thing this officer could have provided is perspective. Whether one accepts the UN death toll, as provided by the Hamas Interior Ministry, or the Israeli one, an international reader still has no way of knowing if the tragic toll in human life — of civilians as opposed to enemy combatants — is disproportionately or even outrageously high.

 

A senior Israeli officer told me during the war, after detailing all that is being done to spare civilians, that even if the ratio comes out as one militant killed for every two civilians, “I’d sign off on that.” He said the US ratio in Iraq was far worse than that. Since there are no UN reports investigating US or British actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, and no independent organization chronicling the precise ratios, it is hard to know.

 

A general would have helped, too, with an understanding of artillery and mortar use. The report actually cited a Times of Israel article about the need to restrict the use of “statistical” weapons in an urban surrounding. This is true. It is needed. But the report fails to discern between offensive targeting and defensive fire. In Shejaiya, with Hamas handling is military operations “de facto” from al-Wafa hospital, according to an Israeli investigation, the intense artillery blasts, consisting of 600 rounds within the span of an hour, was defensive. It was needed because Israeli troops were trapped under fire. A more serious report would discern the difference between these two situations.

 

Another problem is the lack of study of Hamas doctrine. The claim that Israel may have committed war crimes by failing to differentiate between civilians and combatants could use a careful illustration of the way Hamas builds its own fortifications — hiding weapons in mosques, and situating rockets near schools and medical clinics. That said, the report is right to put the onus on Israel’s Military Advocate General’s Corps to investigate the Israel Defense Forces. Of course, distinguishing between enemies and civilians is difficult during a modern war and it is complicated by an enemy that often poses as a civilian — either wearing women’s clothes or traveling in an ambulance. But if the IDF is to credibly counter the stated “lamentable track record in holding wrongdoers accountable,” it must, for instance, either charge the soldiers involved in the July 23 and July 25 incidents in Khuza’a — in which civilians waving white flags were targeted and, in one case, killed — or explain the details of the incident.

 

The final operational issue is proportionality. There is no formula to judge whether an attacking army is acting within the confines of that law. And yet it is possible that the army, as the report asserts, may have exceeded its limits during the hours immediately after the August 1 abduction of Lt. Hadar Goldin. Operating amid the shock of a Hamas-ruptured ceasefire and the news of a soldier’s abduction — an Israeli Achilles’ heel — the army reportedly fired 2,000 pieces of ordnance on Rafah during the morning hours. Dozens of civilians were killed. The report states that, according to some, “the proportionality test may take into account strategic considerations in determining the military advantage.” In other words, that denying Hamas the leverage of holding an Israeli captive is central to Israel’s military objective and therefore a massive counter-strike is warranted. The commission rejected this out of hand, stating that this “is not [a] valid consideration.” The leverage, the report explained, “does not depend solely on the capture of a soldier, but on how the Government of Israel decides to react to the capture in the aftermath.”

 

This isolated case requires the opinion of the MAG Corps as the IDF looks ahead to future conflicts, in which the enemy will continue to try and attack Israel’s soft spot. A military authority on the panel, though, along with Israeli cooperation and a willingness to accept Israeli facts about the army’s targeting practices — and not merely the anonymous testimony of Breaking the Silence — would likely have shown the truth about this war: It was awful, of course, but while the Palestinians undoubtedly suffered and continue to suffer more than Israelis, the very fact of this suffering does not make the IDF and the government of Israel guilty of systemic war crimes. The report did spread the blame to Hamas and inserted some doubt into its own rather far-reaching allegations, stating that Israel “may” have committed war crimes, rather than stating it as fact, as Judge Richard Goldstone did in 2009, before reality forced him to recant.

 

 Contents

                                                                                     

On Topic

 

Attorneys at War: Willy Stern, Weekly Standard, June 15, 2015 —For three straight days starting on July 15, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) made thousands of phone calls to the residents of Shejaiya in northern Gaza. The locals were encouraged to evacuate their homes before IDF tanks rolled across the border.

Ahead of UN Report on 2014 Gaza War, Multinational Mission of Generals Find: "Israel Not Only Met But Significantly Exceeded International Legal Standards": UN Watch, June 12, 2015—The report of the UN's controversial Schabas-Davis commission of inquiry on Gaza is to be released imminently, and will be debated on Monday, June 29th, before the Human Rights Council. 

The Schabes Report Had ‘Biased Mandate’ and ‘Unreliable Sources’: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, June 22, 2015 —Israeli officials continue to analyze The Schabes Report sparked by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and authored by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Most have noted the striking anti-Israel bias in the report.

The Gaza War 2014: Hirsh Goodman and Dore Gold, eds., JCPA, June 2015—Israel was the target of thousands of rockets and mortar attacks against its civilian population, with some Israeli areas targeted that had three times the population density of Gaza. Israel clearly acted out of self-defense. – See more at: http://jcpa.org/the-gaza-war-2014/#sthash.UGfoDD6f.dpuf

Filling in the Blanks: Documenting Missing Dimensions in UN and NGO Investigations of the Gaza Conflict: Gerald M. Steinberg and Anne Herzberg, eds., NGO Monitor, June 2015—This report provides an independent, fully-sourced, systematic, and detailed documentation on some of the key issues related to the renewal of intense conflict between Hamas and Israel during July and August 2014.

              

WHILE THE LEFT BETRAYS ISRAEL, THE WORLD IS SILENT ON IRANIAN & PALESTINIAN ANTISEMITISM

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US Policy on Iran: Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2015— Like a cacophonous orchestra or a badly coordinated sports team, US foreign policy-makers seem to be working at cross purposes vis-à-vis Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.

The Palestinians' Real Strategy: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, June 22, 2015 — All signs indicate that the Palestinians are planning to step up their efforts to force Israel to comply with their demands.

World’s Silent Acquiescence of Palestinian Jew-Hatred is Helping to Destroy any Chance for Peace: Abraham Cooper, Jewish Journal, June  1, 2015 — There have been repeated calls for President Barack Obama and the leaders of the P5+1 to denounce the Ayatollah Khamenei’s genocidal threats against the Jewish state.

The Left’s Betrayal Of Israel: Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, Jewish Press, June 18, 2015 — I grew up in 1950s England. In 1961 I first visited Israel, spending a month on a far-left kibbutz – fascinated but also slightly repelled by its intense collectivist ethos.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Iranian President Toes the Supreme Leader’s Red Lines: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, June 18, 2015

Shaking Hands With Iran: Daniel Mael, Gatestone Institute, June 19, 2015

Israel Shifts to Offense Ahead of UN Report on Gaza War: Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel, June 15, 2015

The Nature of the Abbas Regime: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, June 21, 2015

 

                                               

US POLICY ON IRAN                                                                                                  

Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2015

 

Like a cacophonous orchestra or a badly coordinated sports team, US foreign policy-makers seem to be working at cross purposes vis-à-vis Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. On the one hand, the Obama administration appears to be bent on cutting a deal with the Iranians even if it is bad.

This explains Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest concession to the mullahs. This one has to do with the past military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. Up until last week, the consensus among the P5+1 nations (at least the Americans and Europeans) and the International Atomic Energy Agency was that it was absolutely essential that Iran fess up to past transgressions. Failing to do so would make it difficult if not impossible to know where to look for current and future violations.

 

But now Kerry is telling us that knowing about Iran’s past is no longer important. “The possible military dimensions, frankly, get distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in,” Kerry said last week.

President Barack Obama has tried to make the case on a number of occasions that no other feasible option exists for stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program besides a negotiated agreement. He has also claimed such a deal would have a moderating effect on the Islamic Republic. Obama has insisted that the Iranians are rational actors who will inevitably adhere to the basic contours of such an agreement.

While Kerry and Obama strive to reach a deal with the Islamic Republic, the US State Department, in its annual report on terrorism issued on Friday, has a very different message to relay. Iran, it turns out, is one of the world’s biggest state supporters of terrorism. Throughout 2014 and into 2015 – the period during which negotiations were going on between the P5+1 and Iran – the Islamic Republic continued its terrorist-related activities unabated. The State Department assessment suggests that neither the election of the supposedly “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani nor the prospect of a nuclear accord with the P5+1 has had a moderating effect on Iran’s activities in the Middle East and the world as a whole.

“We continue to be very, very concerned about IRGC (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps) activity as well as proxies that act on behalf of Iran,” said Tina S. Kaidanow, the State Department’s senior counterterrorism official, referring to the Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza. “We watch that extremely carefully.” The report also found that Iran expanded its foreign operations in Africa, Asia and South America. Just last week, yet another dummy bomb was found near the Israeli Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay. In February, Tehran’s ambassador to Uruguay was summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry to explain why an Iranian diplomat was spotted close to a dummy bomb planted in November of last year.

How are we to understand these conflicting messages? On one hand, President Obama is bringing to bear all of his influence to convince Americans, Saudis, Israelis and others in the region and elsewhere of the importance of reaching an agreement with the Iranians. And the Obama administration has shown a willingness to facilitate reaching a deal by abandoning its redlines – such as the demand that Iran reveal the history of its nuclear weapons program. On the other hand, the US State Department acknowledges that Tehran continues to support terrorism around the world. Could it be there is a connection between Iran’s continued aggression and the US’s conciliatory approach to Iran? After all, the Iranians have no reason to believe that the Obama administration’s assurance that “all options are on the table” is anything but an empty mantra.

Tehran has not been forced to face military or even diplomatic retribution from the US for remaining a leading state sponsor of terrorism. If anything, the Iranians have learned from the very different fates of Libya and North Korea the importance of obtaining nuclear weapons as quickly as possible. While Washington helped overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after he gave up his nuclear program, the White House has avoided a military confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear program.

Harmony and consistency must be brought to US foreign policy. This will only happen when Congress, on a bipartisan basis, insists that Iran stops supporting international terrorism and the administration reassesses the merits of the nuclear arms agreement currently being negotiated with Tehran.                                

                                                                                   

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THE PALESTINIANS' REAL STRATEGY                                                                             

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                                                              

Gatestone Institute, June 22, 2015

 

All signs indicate that the Palestinians are planning to step up their efforts to force Israel to comply with their demands. But as the Palestinians are not united, they are working on two fronts to achieve their goal.

 

One party, headed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), believes that, with the help of the international community, Israel will be forced to fully withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, and accept the "right of return" for millions of refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel.

 

The second party, represented by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several other terror groups, continues to reject any form of compromise, and insists that the only solution lies in the elimination of Israel. Unlike the first party, this one believes that direct or indirect negotiations with the "Zionist enemy" are a waste of time and that terrorism is the only means for the Palestinians to achieve their goal.

 

The two Palestinian parties, the PA and Hamas, have been at war with each other since 2007, when Hamas seized full control over the Gaza Strip and forced the Palestinian Authority to flee to the West Bank. But while the two rival parties are fighting each other, they are also working separately to overpower Israel. On June 19, a Hamas-affiliated group claimed responsibility for the shooting attack that killed Danny Gonen, a 25-year-old man who was visiting the West Bank. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups rushed to "welcome" the killing of the young Israeli man who, by the way, was not a "settler," but a resident of the Israeli city of Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport.

 

In separate statements, these terror groups explained that the attack came in the context of Palestinian efforts to "preserve the resistance" against Israel in the West Bank. They said that such attacks were "legitimate means" to achieve Palestinian rights and aspirations.  These groups made it unavoidably clear that their real objective is not to "liberate" the West Bank, but to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. As one of them said, "We will continue to support any resistance action on the land of Palestine until it is liberated, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river, and cleansed from all Zionist usurpers."

 

Hours after the West Bank attack, a senior Hamas leader, Musa Abu Marzouk, repeated that his movement was seeking to replace Israel with an Islamist state: "Hamas wants a state not only in the Gaza Strip, but in all of Palestine; we won't give up our weapons and will continue to fight in order to liberate our land." Marzouk's remarks refute claims by some Arab and Western media that Hamas has been moving toward pragmatism and moderation, and that it is now willing, for the first time, to recognize Israel's right to exist. Many in the West often fail to understand Hamas's true position because they do not follow what Hamas says in Arabic — to its own people. In Arabic, Hamas makes no secret of its call for the destruction of Israel. To Hamas's credit, this message is often repeated in English and other languages.

 

While Hamas and its allies work toward destroying Israel through terrorism, the Palestinian Authority seems more determined than ever to step up its worldwide campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel with the help of various international parties, such as the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Some senior Palestinian officials like to describe this campaign as a "diplomatic war" against Israel. They argue that this war has thus far proven to be much more "effective" than rockets and suicide bombings. "When we launch rockets at Israel, we don't get any sympathy," explained one official. "But everyone in the international community is now supporting our diplomatic efforts. That's why we believe that what Hamas is doing right now is harmful to Palestinian interests."

 

Shortly before the Israeli man was fatally shot in the West Bank, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, revealed his plan to rally the world against Israel so that it would be forced to submit to the Palestinian Authority's demands, above all a complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. Erekat's plan calls for working very closely with EU countries and members of the UN Security Council, to increase pressure on Israel to comply with the Palestinian demands. It also calls for recruiting international support for recognition of a Palestinian state and paving the way for it to join various international organizations and conventions…

 

The Palestinian Authority's current strategy is to negotiate with the international community, and not with Israel, about achieving peace in the Middle East. The PA knows that it is not going to get from Israel all that it is asking for. That is why the Palestinian leaders have chosen to negotiate with France, Britain, Sweden and the US. The Palestinians are hoping that these countries will give them what Israel cannot and is not prepared to offer at the negotiating table. Even if Israel wanted to give one hundred percent of what it gained in 1967, the reality on he ground does not allow it. Since 1967, both Jews and Arabs have created irreversible "facts in the ground," such as the construction of tens of thousands of houses for both Arabs and Jews. A full withdrawal would mean that tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs would lose their homes both in the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

 

The ultimate goal of the Palestinian Authority is, with the help of the international community, to force Israel to its knees. For the PA, rallying the international community and Europe is about punishing and weakening Israel, not making peace with it. The PA wants to see Israel degraded, isolated and turned into a rogue state. It wants to see Israelis brought before the International Criminal Court and expelled from as many international organizations as possible…                                                                                                [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                                   

 

Contents                                                                   

                                          

WORLD’S SILENT ACQUIESCENCE OF PALESTINIAN JEW-HATRED                              

IS HELPING TO DESTROY ANY CHANCE FOR PEACE                                                                          

Rabbi Abraham Cooper                                                                                                        

Jewish Journal, June 1, 2015

 

There have been repeated calls for President Barack Obama and the leaders of the P5+1 to denounce the Ayatollah Khamenei’s genocidal threats against the Jewish state. No such public protest has been or is likely to be made in the frantic push leading up to the June 30th deadline for a nuclear deal with Tehran.  President Obama has made it clear that he sees the Iranian regime’s anti-Semitic rants as meant only for internal consumption, with no broader global impact.

 

I guess the same mindset informs US Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union leaders who also maintain a public silence as Palestinian leadership—The Palestinian Authority (PA), not only Hamas– continue to deploy Jew-hatred in the society they control. World leaders apparently want to focus all their diplomatic energies on “the bigger picture”. Denouncing Palestinian anti-Semitism would deflect attention from the ultimate goal: A Two-State solution that would birth a Palestinian state and assure Israel’s security. But they are dead wrong. Silence in the face of hate may actually be helping to kill any chances for peace in our time.

 

Two recent developments in recent days, one in Hamas-controlled Gaza and the other in the PA-controlled West Bank, reveal the depths of officially sanctioned anti-Semitic depravity on full-blown public display in Palestinian society. Last Sunday, the Palestine Cup Final took place in Gaza between Shujaeiya and Rafah soccer clubs. One can only imagine the enthusiasm of local sports fans to cheer their respective teams at this pivotal match. For a few hours, at least, young people in Gaza could escape the harsh reality of the seemingly endless confrontation between Hamas and Israel. But that was not be. Before the match, the above flyer was distributed on the streets of Gaza. It presents the game as a playoff between the kidnappers of Oron Shaul and the killers of Hadar Goldin, Israelis, both killed in the Protective Edge confrontation last summer but whose bodies continue to be held captive by Hamas.

 

The other incident was broadcast on a local Palestinian television station on June 1st and translated by MEMRI: At a graduation ceremony of a kindergarten, sponsored by a women’s charity organization in the West Bank town of Anabta, preschoolers wearing uniforms and carrying toy guns performed a song routine. A picture of PLO founder, Yasser Arafat is visible on stage. Here is an excerpt of one of the songs these little kids performed:

 

"On the mountains, behind the hills, within the valleys – you will be defeated, you will be defeated. Whether you come by land, by sea, or by air – you will be crushed, you will be crushed. If you stretch your hand, it will be chopped off. If you just look with your eye, it will be gouged out. The defeated army will be too terrified to come back. We come for you before, and woe betide you if we come back again. You come to this land alive, but you will leave it as body part. On the mountains, behind the hills, within the valleys – you will be defeated, you will be defeated. Whether you come by land, by sea, or by air – you will be crushed, you will be crushed. ”

 

The Gaza flyer and the West Bank broadcast came just as Israelis paused to mark the first Yahrtzeit of three teenage boys who were kidnapped from a bus stop and brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists, a particularly heinous crime that touched every Israeli home. These two horrific incidents and countless other examples of Palestinian Jew-hatred are poisoning the already depleted well of peace, and leaves appalled Israelis- of all political affiliations– facing this fundamental question: “One State, Two States, or Three States: Are these people who we are supposed to believe are ready to live with us in peace?”

 

The history of grand peace processes for The Holy Land, dating back to Bill Clinton, has been a history of false dawns. In 2015, with the entire Middle East aflame and littered with failed states, it is hard to see how President Obama working with French President Hollande on a UN Security Council scheme can succeed in forcing a timetable for peace. Not even the findings of a new Rand Corporation Study that a Two State solution could create a windfall of $173 billion dollars over ten years, is likely alone to incentivize the two ruling factions who dominate Palestinian political and social life to stop their cancerous hatred of Israelis.

 

PA President Abbas is clear what he wants and that he expects the international community to deliver a state. But no Israeli leader—whether Bibi or Boogie—can bring his nation to the negotiating table unless the genocidal hate stops. Only the world leaders, whose largess—financial and diplomatic—legitimizes Palestinian aspirations, can make that happen. It is past due for Presidents Obama, Hollande, Prime Minister Cameron, and Chancellor Merkel to tell the Palestinians: If you actually want your own state, then prove- to your Israeli neighbors in word and deed– that Palestinians are finally ready to tell their young that a state means embracing peace, not preparing for the next war.                                

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

THE LEFT’S BETRAYAL OF ISRAEL                                                                               

Prof. Robert S. Wistrich                                      

Jewish Press, June 18, 2015

                       

I grew up in 1950s England. In 1961 I first visited Israel, spending a month on a far-left kibbutz – fascinated but also slightly repelled by its intense collectivist ethos. It was also the time of the Eichmann trial which made me even more intensely aware (at the age of 15) of the Holocaust, in which so many of my own relatives had been killed.

 

I would return to Israel in 1969 after two years of study and radical protest (mainly in Stanford, California) against the “capitalist alienation,” racism, and militarism of the West. The intellectual baggage I came with did not predispose me to any special sympathy with a country that struck me then as being dangerously intoxicated with its stunning military victory of June 1967. The result had been to greatly expand Israel’s borders from the frighteningly narrow dimensions of the cease-fire lines after the 1948 war, to something that seemingly offered secure and defensible boundaries. The other side of that coin was a certain degree of hubris which seemed to me frankly alarming.

 

As the literary editor of the peace-oriented left-wing magazine New Outlook (in Tel Aviv) I found myself at the age of twenty-four suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into the internal political debates of the Israeli Left. I did not get on with the principal editor of the journal, Simha Flapan, who came from the left wing of the Mapam movement – a Marxist-Zionist party whose power base was in the kibbutzim. Though no Communist fellow traveler, his view of the Cold War and the Soviet Union struck me as naïve. Even at the height of my own anti-American feelings in the late 1960s as a result of the Vietnam War, I had never seen the United States as being morally equivalent to the USSR.

 

By the time I left the Middle East during the month of “Black September” 1970 (when King Hussein summarily crushed the PLO challenge to his rule) I had begun to crystallize the theme of my future doctoral research on socialism and the “Jewish Question” in Central Europe. During the next three years I traveled widely, learned a number of new languages, and focused on my research. I also became aware of the Soviet Jewish self-awakening – the first real crack in the Iron Curtain. At that time, the cause of Soviet Jewry, including the demand for “repatriation” to Israel, even enjoyed some support on the non-Communist Left, which condemned the growing manifestations of Soviet anti-Semitism.

 

Yet even in the mid-1970s, when I became more directly involved in debates on British campuses with pro-Palestinian leftists, there was a sharp edge to anti-Israel sentiment which went beyond theory. At one level, this is less surprising when one recalls that much of the Western Left (especially the Communists) had for decades applauded “revolutionary” dictators like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Colonel Khaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and Castro. Today, it still remains either supportive, indifferent, or silent about populist dictators like Ahmadinejad, Mugabe, or Chávez while rallying its militants on behalf of Hizbullah and Hamas. At the same time, the anti-Zionist Left systematically demonizes Israel, which in terms of its civil society, democratic norms, freedom of criticism, and rule of law is light years ahead of the Arab world.

 

One might well ask if this is not an “anti-colonialism” of frauds and fools. Can we seriously imagine Marx, Engels, Kautsky, or Rosa Luxemburg remaining silent about the advocacy of sharia law, censorship, female genital mutilation, honor killings, suicide bombings, or making the world safe for Allah’s rule? Thirty-five years ago it had been the Soviet Union (together with the Arab states) which initiated the UN Big Lie that Zionism is racism. Today there is no longer any need for a totalitarian Stalinist apparatus to perpetuate such a major moral and intellectual fraud. For it is “freedom-loving” intellectuals in the West (some of them Jews) who voluntarily lend their hands to the “antiracist” masquerade which declares Israel to be an “apartheid state” whose disappearance is the precondition for peace in the Middle East.

 

Never mind that this grotesque apartheid libel is contradicted by all available empirical evidence, never mind that Israel is increasingly threatened by the genocidal anti-Semitism promoted by Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah, and the global jihad. Such minor details do not for one moment disturb the sleep of left-wing activists (including the Jews among them) whose “humanist” posture evidently does not extend to the idea that Israelis might also be victims.

 

In truth, the Left today is a mere shadow of its former self – not least because it is so deeply mired in the muck of anti-Semitic lies and anti-Zionist delusions, many of them focused on the “monstrosity” of Israel as the most racist, fascist, and criminal state on earth. By focusing attention so obsessively on the “sins” of Israel and its so-called crimes, most of the Left has completely missed the wider picture and will continue to condemn itself to irrelevance until or unless it awakens from its self-induced stupor.

 

Robert Wistrich, widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost academic expert on antisemitism,

died suddenly last month at age 70.

 Contents

                                                                                     

On Topic

 

The Iranian President Toes the Supreme Leader’s Red Lines: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, June 18, 2015—Amid the allegations that Israel had cyber-spied on the nuclear talks in Europe, and with the approach of the June 30 date for the signing of a nuclear agreement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed Iranian and foreign journalists on June 14, 2015 to mark the second anniversary of his election. His speech was broadcast live in the Iranian media.

Shaking Hands With Iran: Daniel Mael, Gatestone Institute, June 19, 2015 —As negotiations between the P5+1 countries and Iran continue, human rights concerns under the Iranian regime remain on the periphery.

Israel Shifts to Offense Ahead of UN Report on Gaza War: Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel, June 15, 2015—There are, as some have noted, two ways to look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A narrow lens, focused on 10,000 square miles or so of the West Bank and Israel, shows a military power controlling a largely unarmed entity in occupied territory. A wider lens reveals a tiny minority of Jews – one of the Middle East’s only thriving minorities – clinging to a thread of land along the Mediterranean coast.

The Nature of the Abbas Regime: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, June 21, 2015—The nature of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has turned most Palestinians against the PA president and has led most Jerusalem Arabs to prefer Israeli sovereignty. It has also catapulted Hamas to prominence on the Palestinian street.

 

 

              

DES ALLIANCES CHANGEANTES

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

 

 

L'éthique de guerre israélienne

Sylvie Berger & Herb Keinon

Jerusalem Post, 16 juin 2015

              

Quand les terroristes du Hamas – ou ceux d’organisations du même type qui opèrent dans la bande de Gaza – tirent des roquettes au hasard sur des civils israéliens, puis se cachent derrière des civils palestiniens, Israël doit faire face à un terrible dilemme moral. S’il riposte et provoque la mort de Palestiniens innocents, il risque non seulement de perdre la bataille de l’opinion publique au sein même de la société israélienne, mais il s’expose en plus aux accusations de crimes de guerre dirigées contre lui par la communauté internationale.

 

C’est précisément à cela que l’on s’attend avec la présentation, ces prochains jours, à la Cour de justice internationale, des conclusions de l’enquête du Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU sur l’opération Bordure protectrice de l’été dernier. Mais si Israël se garde d’exercer des représailles contre les terroristes afin d’éviter les morts côté palestinien, il néglige alors son devoir de protéger les citoyens israéliens contre les agressions du Hamas.

 

Pour trouver le juste équilibre, les Etats-Unis et d’autres pays occidentaux, confrontés à des dilemmes similaires, par exemple en Afghanistan et en Irak, ont mis au point la doctrine du double effet et la règle de la proportionnalité. Si l’on vise des objectifs militaires (des lanceurs de roquettes, par exemple) et que l’on sait par avance que l’attaque va également causer des victimes civiles (pudiquement désignées sous le terme de « dommages collatéraux »), on doit s’assurer que le nombre de civils tués ou blessés ne sera pas « disproportionné » par rapport à la valeur de la cible militaire.

 

Un calcul forcément très subjectif et qui a rarement permis de limiter les attaques militaires. Dans la logique de guerre, quel que soit le nombre de morts parmi les civils, on peut toujours le justifier si l’objectif militaire est considéré comme suffisamment important.  Un groupe d’experts militaires et de diplomates de haut rang vient d’apporter la preuve de la remarquable conduite de l’armée israélienne qui a réussi à gérer de façon étonnante un dilemme moral très difficile, au cours du conflit de l’été dernier entre Israël et la bande de Gaza contrôlée par le Hamas.

 

Parmi les membres de cette mission : l’ancien président du Comité militaire de l’OTAN, le général allemand (en retraite) Klaus Naumann, l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères italien Giulio Terzi, l’ex-ambassadeur itinérant pour les questions de crimes de guerre du Département d’Etat américain Pierre-Richard Prosper, et l’ex-commandant des forces britanniques en Afghanistan, le colonel (en retraite) Richard Kemp. Si l’ONG pro-israélienne UN Watch a participé à l’élaboration du rapport rédigé à la suite de leur enquête, il ne faudrait pas pour autant le rejeter d’emblée pour cause de partialité envers Israël.

 

Contrairement au Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, qui nourrit des préjugés défavorables à l’Etat juif, cette délégation a comparé, de manière équitable et objective, la conduite d’Israël dans la bande de Gaza avec celle des armées occidentales dans des endroits comme l’Afghanistan et l’Irak, et noté le comportement en tous points remarquable d’Israël. « Pour évaluer le sérieux d’Israël dans l’application de ses devoirs moraux et l’exercice de ses responsabilités en vertu du droit des conflits armés, il suffit de constater comment, dans certains cas, son respect scrupuleux des lois de la guerre lui a coûté la vie de ses propres soldats et civils », soulève le document. Un comportement qui va bien au-delà des normes morales les plus exigeantes.

 

L’intégrité morale d’Israël ne va certes pas impressionner les membres du Conseil de droits de l’homme de l’ONU qui s’apprêtent à livrer leurs conclusions en toute partialité. Mais l’analyse de ces militaires et diplomates de haut rang confirme ce que les Israéliens savent déjà : leur armée est l’une des plus morales – si ce n’est la plus morale – au monde…

[Lire la Suite]

 

ISRAËL: ALERTE AUX ROQUETTES DANS LE GOLAN

A LA FRONTIERE SYRIENNE

i24news, 17 juin 2015

 

 

L'alerte aux roquettes a retenti mercredi dans le nord d'Israël (nord-est du plateau du Golan), tandis que les combats du côté syrien de la frontière se sont intensifiés mardi entre les rebelles et les forces du régime de Bashar al-Assad. Jérusalem a indiqué être prêt à intervenir si des réfugiés se massent à sa frontière avec la Syrie sur le plateau du Golan après la mobilisation des Druzes israéliens pour aider leurs frères de Syrie menacés par les djihadistes sunnites.

 

Le chef d'état-major de Tsahal, le général Gadi Eisenkot a déclaré mardi que l'armée israélienne "fera tout son possible pour empêcher un massacre de réfugiés syriens qui ont trouvé refuge près de la frontière avec Israël", a rapporté le quotidien israélien Haaretz. Comparaissant devant la commission des Affaires étrangères et de la Défense de la Knesset, Eisenkot a affirmé que Tsahal était très inquiet à propos de la situation sur le plateau du Golan, notamment d'un afflux potentiel de réfugiés syriens à la frontière israélienne.

 

La police et l'armée israéliennes ont annoncé mardi soir avoir annulé la mesure déclarant le nord-est du plateau du Golan "zone militaire fermée" mardi soir. Cette décision signifiait que les civils qui ne sont pas résidents locaux, comme les touristes, ne peuvent pas s'y rendre jusqu'à nouvel ordre. Malgré les combats intenses du côté syrien ces derniers jours, l'armée avait affirmé que cette décision ne concernait pas "directement" les combats. L'armée israélienne avait déclaré plus tôt en soirée dans un communiqué qu'à "la suite des combats en Syrie, ainsi que les développements à la frontière du plateau du Golan, Tsahal agit pour préserver la sécurité dans la région."

 

Devant une menace grandissante pour la communauté druze de Syrie, l'armée israélienne a commencé à mettre en place un hôpital de campagne à la frontière, dont la construction a été gelée, le temps que la situation se calme. L'armée israélienne a averti le Front al-Nosra et l'armée syrienne libre de ne pas attaquer la communauté druze.

 

Le ministre israélien de la Défense a ordonné une surveillance continue des événements et a demandé à Tsahal de prendre des mesures pour maintenir le calme. Ayoub Kara, député druze du Likoud, envisage de demander au Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou et au ministre de la Défense Moshe Ya'alon de permettre aux Druzes israéliens de traverser la frontière à Hader, afin de fournir une aide humanitaire à leurs familles du côté syrien.

 

Dimanche dernier, un responsable israélien avait confié au site Walla News que l'Etat hébreu prévoyait la création d'un corridor humanitaire sur le versant syrien du Golan, à la frontière israélienne, pour venir en aide aux Druzes. Cette zone tampon, envisagée par Israël, serait administrée par des travailleurs humanitaires israéliens et internationaux, dont des envoyés de l'ONU, selon cette source sous couvert d'anonymat. "Nous n'avons aucune intention d'accueillir les Druzes en Israël, mais ayant vécu un génocide, nous n'avons pas l'intention d'ignorer la possibilité d'un massacre de la minorité druze", a déclaré la source.

 

Israël a demandé aux Etats-Unis d'accroître son aide aux Druzes de Syrie qui sont actuellement attaqués par les rebelles sunnites dans la région du Djabal al-Duruz (la Montagne des Druzes) dans le sud du pays. Cette requête a été effectuée lors de la visite la semaine dernière du chef d'état-major inter-armes des Etats-Unis, le général Martin Dempsey.

 

Des milliers de personnes ont défilé samedi dernier dans les localités druzes israéliennes appelant les autorités du pays et la communauté internationale à apporter leur aide aux Druzes de Syrie. "Stoppez les massacres", était le principal slogan crié par les participants. Des dons d'un montant total de 8 millions de shekels (près de 1,85 million d'euros) ont été effectués qui, espèrent les Druzes israéliens, arriveront à leurs familles établies en Syrie.

 

         

TSAHAL ETABLIRAIT UN CORPS UNIFIE DE LUTTE CONTRE LES CYBER-ATTAQUES

Mitch Ginsburg

Times of Israel, 16 juin 2015

 

Dans un geste historique qui met en évidence les dangers et la puissance du média numérique utilisé comme une arme, le commandant de l’armée israélienne a décidé lundi de créer un nouveau corps de Tsahal qui sera responsable de la cyber-activité. Le lieutenant-général Gadi Eisenkot a appelé à la mise en place d’un nouveau corps, qui serait dirigé par un général à deux étoiles et qui serait au même niveau que la Marine et la Force aérienne. C’est une question d’une importance suprême qui est en train de devenir « plus significative chaque jour qui passe ».

 

La cyber-sécurité est aujourd’hui dispersée dans toute l’armée. La direction des Renseignements militaires gère les capacités offensives tandis que la branche C4I traite de la protection. Le nouveau corps, qui ne sera mis en place que sous réserve de l’approbation du ministre de la Défense et qui devrait être opérationnel dans deux ans, apporterait le savoir-faire cybernétique de l’armée sous un même toit.

 

À l’échelle nationale, le service de sécurité du Shin Bet, le Mossad, l’armée et le Cyber Bureau National dans le bureau du Premier ministre fonctionnent sans un cadre unifié et hiérarchisé. Cette incohérence, couplée avec les investissements de l’Iran dans le domaine des cyber-menaces et le fait que la menace peut être lancée par n’importe qui, de partout, sans aucun stockage évident d’armes à l’avance, a conduit certains à exprimer leur préoccupation. Les cyber-attaques massives, comme l’attaque égyptienne à Yom Kippour », sont réalisables, avait déclaré le commandant de l’unité de cyber-defense de Tsahal au Times of Israel plus tôt cette année.

 

« Nous ne devons pas être naïfs », a poursuivi le commandant de l’unité. « C’est simple » – l’axe de la résistance islamiste sonde constamment pour trouver des failles dans l’armure de l’armée israélienne ; d’où l’augmentation de la menace des roquettes et des missiles. Comme cette menace a été partiellement contrecarrée, a-t-il continué, la menace du tunnel, une caractéristique dominante de la guerre de Gaza, a été ramenée à l’avant-plan. « Dans les guerres à venir, a-t-il ajouté, en particulier celles dans le nord, je pense que la cyber-capacité sera beaucoup plus importante que dans les guerres passées ».

 

Le colonel (à la retraite) Gadi Siboni, le directeur du Programme en cyber-sécurité à l’Institut d’études de la réflexion sur la sécurité nationale à Tel-Aviv, a écrit peu de temps après la guerre de l’été dernier à Gaza que le progrès de l’Iran dans le développement des armes cybernétiques, comme on le voit par les offensives sans précédent lancées pendant la guerre des 50 jours « est la preuve du début d’un processus dans lequel la guerre cybernétique remplace la terreur classique comme un outil central dans la doctrine de l’Iran sur la guerre asymétrique ».

 

Les cyberattaques permettraient aux ennemis d’Israël de frapper le front du commandement de la Défense passive et sont souvent facilement moins niables – deux éléments qui sont au cœur de l’approche iranienne de guerre asymétrique contre Israël, a écrit Siboni. L’Iran, a-t-il ajouté, est rapidement et adroitement en train de « combler le fossé » en cyber-technologie entre elle et Israël.

 

Immédiatement après avoir pris les commandes de l’armée en février, Eisenkot a nommé le major général Herzi Halevy, le commandant des renseignements militaires, à la tête d’une équipe qui a été chargée d’examiner les moyens pour « améliorer l’efficacité opérationnelle » des équipes spécialisées dans les cyber-menaces de l’armée.

 

Réagissant en amont aux luttes intestines qui s’ensuivront probablement à cette annonce, à la fois sur le prestige et les fonds d’un cyber-corps, la déclaration du porte-parole de Tsahal a précisé que le commandement de cette unité serait mis en place dans un premier temps « en parallèle » à la fois avec la direction des renseignements militaires et le Corps C4I avant qu’une décision finale ne soit prise à propos de l’endroit où les nouveaux corps devraient être mis en place.

 

Le chef adjoint de l’état-major de Tsahal, Yair Golan, et le major général, Nimrod Shefer seront à la tête du comité de planification et de la mise en œuvre. « La mise en place du corps permettra à Tsahal de fonctionner d’une meilleure façon », a déclaré Eisenkot, « et donnera l’avantage au capital technologique et humain qui existe déjà aujourd’hui dans l’Etat d’Israël », a-t-il conclu.

 

ISRAËL AURAIT JOUE UN ROLE DANS                                                                         

LE DESARMEMENT CHIMIQUE DE LA SYRIE

I24, 16 juin 2015

 

Israël a joué un rôle important dans un accord américano-russe qui a fait pression pour que le président syrien Bachar al-Assad abandonne son stock d'armes chimiques il y a deux ans, selon les écrits de Michael Oren, ex-ambassadeur d'Israël à Washington. Le ministre israélien Yuval Steinitz a confirmé lundi qu'il avait proposé l'accord et que lui et le Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou n'avaient pas révélé leur rôle de peur que "quelqu'un ne dise que c'est une idée israélienne, voire une conspiration israélienne."

 

Le livre de Michael Oren qui doit être publié la semaine prochaine, couvre l'été 2013, lorsque les inspecteurs des Nations Unies ont confirmé que le régime d'Assad avait utilisé des armes chimiques, et que les États-Unis étaient enclins à s'impliquer dans la guerre civile syrienne. Selon Bloomberg, Oren affirme dans son livre que M. Obama "a reconnu à contrecoeur" qu'Assad avait franchi sa ligne rouge, mais la menace de frappes aériennes américaines comme punition pour l'utilisation d'armes chimiques s'est évanouie lorsque la Syrie et la Russie ont convenu d'un plan selon lequel Assad devait reconnaître et évacuer ses armes chimiques.

 

Steinitz est celui qui a suggéré d'obliger la Syrie à renoncer à ses armes chimiques au gouvernement russe, révèle Oren dans son livre. Oren affirme notamment qu'Obama n'a jamais mentionné publiquement le rôle d'Israël dans la conclusion de l'accord. "Obama a rarement manqué l'occasion de citer la neutralisation des capacités chimiques de la Syrie comme un succès diplomatique historique", selon Oren. "Le président russe Vladimir Poutine a également pris un crédit pour l'initiative et a salué l'"exemple frappant de la façon dont la communauté internationale peut résoudre le désarmement et la non-prolifération'".

 

"Le rôle d'Israël est resté sous silence, mais ses citoyens ont été soulagés de ne pas avoir à faire la demande de masques à gaz supplémentaires", ajoute Oren. Des sources israéliennes ont estimé que le régime d'Assad n'a pas déclaré la totalité de ses armes chimiques et que ces armes ont pu tomber entre les mains des extrémistes musulmans de l'Etat islamique.

 

"OBAMA A ABANDONNE ISRAËL", SELON L'ANCIEN AMBASSADEUR A WASHINGTON MICHAEL OREN

I24, 16 juin 2015

 

L'ancien ambassadeur d'Israël aux Etats-Unis, Michael Oren, aujourd'hui député du parti Koulanou de Moshe Kahlon, a accusé mardi, dans un article publié par le Wall Street Journal, le président Barack Obama d'avoir abandonné Israël depuis son élection en 2008.

 

Oren affirme que Netanyahou et Obama ont tout deux commis des erreurs au cours des six dernières années, mais a insisté que celles du chef de l'exécutif américain ont été faites intentionnellement.

 

L'éditorial de Michael Oren intitulé "c'est ainsi qu'Obama a abandonné Israël", a été publié dans le cadre de la promotion de ses Mémoires du temps où il a servi comme ambassadeur à Washington entre 2009 et 2013.

 

Oren affirme qu'Obama a abandonné les deux principes fondamentaux des relations israélo-américaines: éviter les polémiques publiques et l'engagement réciproque de ne pas prendre par surprise l'autre partie par un changement de politique.

 

Oren souligne que l'unique erreur de Netanyahou a été son discours devant le Congrès américain (le 3 mars dernier). Mais il met l'accent sur le fait que même cette erreur n'était en fait qu'une réaction à celles commises par le président Obama depuis son entrée en fonction.

 

Selon lui, les annonces de constructions dans les implantations ont surpris l'administration américaine, y-compris celle à l'origine de la crise qui a éclaté au cours de la visite du vice-président Jo Biden en mars 2010. Cette annonce avait été faite sans que Netanyahou en eut pris connaissance et cette décision avait été prise à un niveau intermédiaire, ce qui avait surpris également le Premier ministre.

 

Oren précise que le président Obama n'a jamais été anti-israélien et a renforcé la coopération sécuritaire entre les Etats-Unis et Israël, mais "immédiatement après son investiture il a pris ses distances avec l'Etat hébreu". Et Oren cite des paroles prononcées par Obama en présence de responsables communautaires juifs américains selon lesquels"quand il n 'y a pas d'espace entre les Etats-Unis et Israël, Israël est inactif ce qui porte atteinte à la crédibilité des Etats-Unis à l'égard des pays arabes". Oren a également accusé Obama d'avoir ignoré le retrait israélien de Gaza et des offres de paix israéliennes en 2000 et en 2008, offres rejetées par les Palestiniens.

 

Il a également affirmé qu'Obama est revenu sur l'engagement de son prédécesseur le président Bush à l'égard du Premier ministre Ariel Sharon d'inclure les grands blocs d'implantations comme faisant partie d'Israël et de s'être obstiné à exiger un gel total de toute construction dans les implantations.

 

         

ANALYSE: ABBAS MONTRE AU HAMAS QUI EST LE BOSS                                                   

Danny Rubinstein

I24, 17 juin 2015

Il y a un peu plus d’un an a été formé un gouvernement d’union palestinien entre l’Autorité palestinienne (AP) à Ramallah (sous la direction du Fatah) et l’organisation Hamas à Gaza. Il semble maintenant qu’il est arrivé en fin de course. Les parties n’ont pas encore fait état ouvertement de la fracture et de la crise entre elles, mais les choses sont apparemment claires même si on retrouvera à la tête du prochain gouvernement le même Premier ministre en la personne de Rami Hamdallah

 

Le gouvernement sortant, qualifié de gouvernement technocratique, dont la mission était de préparer les élections, n’a pratiquement rien fait à ce sujet. L’Autorité palestinienne à Ramallah et le Hamas à Gaza n’étaient pas prêts à renoncer à leur position de force tels que les contrôles des points de passage et des services de sécurité dans la bande de Gaza. Dès le premier instant, les deux camps ont pensé exploité le gouvernement d’union à leur profit.

 

L’AP à Ramallah a demandé par l’intermédiaire du gouvernement d’union à prendre le contrôle de Gaza. Et le Hamas, quant à lui, a pensé que l’unité renforcerait sa puissance pas seulement à Gaza, mais aussi en Cisjordanie. Les deux parties ont échoué. Rapidement une nouvelle réalité s’est installée à Gaza: Kerry et l’opération Bordure protectrice, telles furent les nouvelles et importantes lignes directrices du gouvernement avec la reconstruction de Gaza. A part ces exceptions, les activités du gouvernement ont été laborieuses et partielles.

 

L’origine de la crise actuelle a probablement été le flot de rumeurs concernant des contacts indirects entre le Hamas et Israël pour une trêve de cinq ans. Ces rumeurs ont même été officiellement confirmées il y a quelques jours par des porte-parole du Hamas en tête desquels Oussama Hamdan qui est arrivée à Gaza à partir du Liban. Il n’est absolument pas certain qu’un tel accord soit possible et entre en vigueur. Mais il a suffi de rumeurs pour provoquer la colère de la direction de Ramallah et particulièrement du président de l’Autorité palestinienne Mahmoud Abbas. Pour le raïs palestinien il s’agit d’une démarche provocatrice visant à l’humilier lui, l’AP et le Fatah qui sont pourtant les responsables des contacts et des négociations avec Israël.

 

Et voilà que tout d’un coup, le Hamas les dépasse et s’érige en acteur diplomatique qui négocie avec Israël comme si l’AP et le Fatah n’existaient pas. Qui plus est, la colère d'Abbas et celle de son peuple a été alimentée par ce qui semblait être un assouplissement de l'hostilité de l'Egypte envers le Hamas. Les Egyptiens, même s'ils considèrent le Hamas comme une organisation ennemie en le désignant même comme une organisation terroriste, semblent avoir modéré leur colère ces derniers jours.

 

Les activistes du Hamas, dirigés par Moussa Abou Marzouk, qui s'est rendu à Gaza depuis son domicile au Caire, ont vigoureusement éviter de fâcher l'Egypte au cours des dernières semaines. Et ils ont réussi, au moins sur un front. Après une longue, pratiquement complète fermeture du checkpoint de Rafah, les Egyptiens ont convenu d'ouvrir le point de passage cette semaine pour quelques jours. Des milliers de personnes qui attendaient des deux côtés ont réussi à traverser. Bien que le passage ait été ouvert à la demande de Mahmoud Abbas, le Hamas continue de contrôler le passage et l'ouverture apparaît comme un geste de bonne volonté envers le Hamas.

 

Mahmoud Abbas et ses cadres soupçonnent que Mohammed Dahlan, qui a de bonnes relations avec le gouvernement égyptien et le président égyptien al-Sissi, soit derrière ces développements. Abbas considère Dahlan comme son ennemi le plus dangereux, persuadé qu'il conspire constamment pour le renverser. Les associés de Mahmoud Abbas affirment que chaque fois qu'un problème se pose en Cisjordanie et à Gaza, leur chef est convaincu que Dahlan est responsable: lorsque des gangs se déchaînent à Naplouse – Dahlan est le coupable. Lorsque des roquettes sont tirées depuis Gaza vers Israël, c'est un complot de Dahlan, et ainsi de suite.

 

Ces soupçons ne sont pas infondées. Abbas est âgé de 80 ans et n'a pas de successeur en vue. D'autant plus qu'il n'y a pas de procédure claire pour le processus de sélection de ses successeurs pour les trois postes qu'il détient: président de l'OLP, du Fatah et le président de l'Autorité palestinienne. Mohammed Dahlan est le seul à chercher ouvertement à remplacer Abou Mazen et il enrôle pour cela des soutiens et collecte de fonds, principalement dans les Etats du Golfe.

 

Une raison s'ajoute au fossé grandissant entre l'Autorité palestinienne à Ramallah et le Hamas, est la relation avec le Qatar. Les dirigeants de l'émirat sont une source importante de financement pour le mouvement du Hamas à Gaza, et dans une large mesure sa seule source. Le chef du Hamas Khaled Mechaal vit au Qatar, ainsi que des membres de la direction du mouvement. En fait, tout le soutien du Qatar pour le Hamas s'opère au détriment de l'Autorité palestinienne et d'Abbas. En d'autres termes, les fonds de maintien du Hamas à Gaza permettent à l'organisation d'empêcher le gouvernement palestinien de prendre le contrôle de Gaza.

 

Le nouveau gouvernement ne sera pas très différent du précédent. Il sera toujours un gouvernement d'experts, de technocrates, mais cette fois les ministres seront plus étroitement liés avec le Fatah et plus enclins à combattre le Hamas. En d'autres termes, plus que toute autre chose, le nouveau gouvernement est un signal fort au Hamas et tous les autres éléments de la région, y compris Israël, qu'Abbas et l'Autorité palestinienne sont les seuls représentants légitimes du peuple palestinien, responsables du sort de la Cisjordanie et de Gaza et de l'avenir du peuple palestinien…                                             

[Lire la Suite]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

De Clooney à Clinton : révélations du livre de Michael Oren : David Horovitz, Times of Israel, 18 juin, 2015