End of the West?: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Dec. 21, 2015 — Should the United States militarily defeat jihadist outfits in the Middle East?
2015 Top Ten Worst Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 29, 2015 —The Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked the European Union’s labeling of settlement products higher than incidents of Palestinian and Iranian incitement and threats against Israel in its annual 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism around the world in 2015.
The Top 10 Biggest Moments for UN Watch in 2015: UN Watch, Dec. 29, 2015— 10: Head of Gaza Inquiry forced to resign Celebrating Christmas in Israel: Bradley Martin, Observer, Dec. 25, 2015 — While Christians are being beheaded, tortured and forced to convert to Islam by ISIS, there is one Middle Eastern country where Christians can celebrate their holy day without fear.
Out with the Old Year!: Dry Bones Blog, Dec. 28, 2015
The Long War Continues: Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Nov. 30, 2015
Israeli Invention Takes Top Spot in Advocacy Group’s List of 2015’s Top 10 Most Viral Stories (VIDEO): Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner, Dec. 27, 2015
Does the UN do any Good?: Terry Glavin, National Post, Dec. 31, 2015
Reuel Marc Gerecht
Weekly Standard, Dec. 21, 2015
Should the United States militarily defeat jihadist outfits in the Middle East? After 9/11 the answer seemed easy, but after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Barack Obama is not alone in arguing that large-scale offensive campaigns against radical Muslim movements aren't worth the cost. Even if the president's go-slow approach is actually more likely to provoke more terrorism, is it the sensible policy for America? And can Western governments actually defeat the Muslim radicals who live in the West and are a nightmare for domestic intelligence services to find, let alone stop? These questions are as much about Europe as the Middle East.
The United States could destroy the Islamic State militarily only to see Western-born or immigrant holy warriors continue to slaughter Americans and Europeans. What would be the point? A narrative is already developing—see last week's New York Times piece "U.S. Seeks to Avoid Ground War Welcomed by the Islamic State"—that questions whether the United States can and should destroy the Islamic State if doing so requires tens of thousands of American troops. Left unsaid but clearly implied: Better to have terrorist safe havens in the Middle East and absorb occasional terrorist attacks (especially if they are in Europe) than to risk a campaign that could generate thousands of new holy warriors and require America again to occupy Muslim lands.
And how connected to the Islamic State are the holy warriors who killed in Paris and San Bernardino? Could they survive, prosper, and replicate themselves even if ISIS were destroyed or collapsed? As the French scholars Olivier Roy and Farhad Khosrokhavar have written for years, this militant "globalized Islam" is as much about the radicalization that comes with Westernization—the violent anomie that springs forth as ancestral ethics die and personal freedom and individualism both empower and immiserate—as it is about a discovery of charismatic Islamic history, the fraternal, political power of the Muslim identity, and the appeal of the holy law.
It's already clear that Washington isn't going to rally to Europe unless all hell breaks loose. American armies will not march to save the European Union from the refugee crisis that has followed the Arab Spring, especially the savagery of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The Europeans will have to summon the will and means to wall off the continent from the ever-growing flood of Muslim immigrants if they believe doing so is essential to save the EU or the health of national politics. It's possible to envision that America, after January 2017, might send its soldiers into the Middle East if European cities endured bloody terrorist strikes emanating from the Islamic State. Self-interest might spring from an understanding that, if Washington fails in the eyes of the Europeans even to try to protect the Old World under siege by Islamic terrorism, the West will fracture, and the United States will be alone in an increasingly chaotic, violent, and authoritarian age. A more aggressive America might also spring from the realization that an Islamic State that can organize or mobilize repeated strikes on European soil is just prepping for increased soft-target terrorism in the United States.
Unlike al Qaeda, which never managed to turn its anti-American cause into a mass movement capable of attracting tens of thousands of Muslims to its suicide-loving standard, the Islamic State has shown that its call reaches deep inside European Muslim communities. That call has been immeasurably aided by Syria's Alawite Shiite dictator. The Sunni-Shiite clash in the Levant and the establishment of the Islamic State have proven by far the most magnetic events in contemporary Islamic history—a much bigger holy-warrior draw than the Soviet-Afghan war or the Anglo-American war in Iraq. Arab rulers, secular Arab intellectuals, and even Arab fundamentalists ruminated little over Soviets slaughtering Afghans. ISIS and the Syrian war are different. For everybody.
At the heart of the post-World War II order is an unwritten constitutional amendment: The United States is a European power, and it has sworn to defend Europe as it would defend itself. An unspoken corollary is that Washington would overlook the imbalance of this alliance: Like parents with refractory children, the United States would endure the disrespect and parasitical behavior of the Europeans, to ensure the family stayed intact to face those who loathed Western civilization. United we are stronger than alone. As a democratic people with global responsibilities, Americans have been a bit nervous about the exercise of their power unless they received some European approbation. This is particularly true for the U.S. left, which, since Vietnam, has had an eye on European critiques of American hubris. Conversely, many U.S. conservatives have never particularly liked this transatlantic union, because it placed unfair demands on the United States. It infantilized (already condescending) Europeans. And it implied that American exceptionalism was tempered by American insecurity.
In 2011, when the revolt against Assad's tyranny started, no one in the West predicted it would produce the greatest threat to transatlantic bonds since World War II. Or that an American president, the most eagerly welcomed in Europe since John F. Kennedy, would be so nonchalant about Europe's Muslim problems. He is condign punishment for Europeans who took America for granted. The European left got what it said it wanted: a president who viewed himself as a "global citizen," averse to the wars that undergirded American hegemony and the liberal world order. President Obama radiates almost no warmth towards Europe and little interest. The president's awkward "pivot to Asia" was not just an attempt to run from the troubles of the Greater Middle East; it was also an attempt to distance the United States from Europe and scale down the the costs and responsibilities of the transatlantic partnership…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jerusalem Post, Dec. 29, 2015
The Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked the European Union’s labeling of settlement products higher than incidents of Palestinian and Iranian incitement and threats against Israel in its annual 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism around the world in 2015…
Leading the list at No. 1 was the hatred that inspired Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife to murder 14 people in a shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, earlier this month. The center cited Farook’s father’s statement to Italian newspaper La Stampa that he had told his son that “he had to stay calm and be patient because in two years Israel will not exist anymore. Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China and America don’t want Jews there anymore. They are going to bring the Jews back to Ukraine.”
No. 2 on the list were a pair of videos released by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria threatening the imminent launching of a war against the Jews and promising that “soon, there will not be even a single Jew left in Jerusalem or the rest of the country. We will keep going until we eradicate this disease worldwide.”
No. 3 was the EU’s decision to label settlement products. “The European Union has chosen to label products from the Golan Heights and disputed territories in the West Bank alone, ignoring the products of other occupied and disputed territories in the world such as Western Sahara, Kashmir, Tibet and products from areas controlled by terrorists Hamas and Hezbollah,” the group stated, adding that “this use of double standards against Israel typifies modern anti-Israelism and has been at the core of anti-Semitism for many centuries.”
Citing a survey carried out by Trinity College and the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law showing that 50 percent of 1,157 self-identified Jewish students at 55 campuses reported having been subjected to or having witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses, the center gave American college campuses fourth place on the list.
The group listed such incidents as a candidate for a position in student government at UCLA being asked, “Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view,” and graffiti calling for Jews to “be sent to the gas chamber” being scrawled on a sidewalk at UC Berkeley.
The Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees jointly took fifth place. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement “Al-Aksa is ours, and the [Church of the] Holy Sepulchre is ours, everything is ours, all ours. They [the Jews and Christians] have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet and we won’t allow them to,” was quoted as an example of Palestinian anti-Semitism.
Many Israelis have blamed such rhetoric from Abbas as contributing to the current “stabbing intifada.” Also quoted was Palestinian UN delegate Riyad Mansour, who engaged in a modern-day blood libel when he claimed that “Israelis harvest body parts by people killed by Israeli troops.” “The UN acknowledges that at least 22 Palestinian employees of UNRWA… including some UNRWA teachers, have openly encouraged and celebrated the knifing and shooting attacks against ‘Jewish apes and pigs,’” the center stated.
Iran’s eliminationist rhetoric and plans to hold another Holocaust cartoon contest in 2016 gave the Islamic Republic place No. 6 while Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu being booted from a music festival in Spain for refusing to sign a pledge supporting a Palestinian state bought European culture and sport spot No. 7.
The center also cited a Bosnian soccer match in which fans yelled “Kill, kill, kill the Jews” and a game in the Netherlands that featured the chant, “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS. Together they burned Jews, because Jews burn best.”
British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that the "majority of the 'attempted stabbing' incidents are based on false claims," and that Israelis are "executing Palestinians on the streets" garnered him spot No. 8.
Meanwhile, Kuwait Airways’ decision to cease service between New York and London because the US was compelling it to sell tickets to Israelis on the route bought it No. 9.
Poland came in 10th on the strength of several incidents, including an anti-Syrian immigration rally in which a hassidic Jew was burned in effigy. Several incidents garnered dishonorable mentions by the center, including the city of Munich allowing a BDS event on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a columnist at Germany’s Der Spiegel comparing the Likud government to France’s extreme Right anti-immigrant National Front party, and former Argentine president Christina Kirchner’s use of the of the Jewish moneylender from the Shakespearean play The Merchant of Venice, widely considered an anti-Semitic stereotype, to explain her country’s financial troubles to children.
The center said it "urges people of good faith everywhere to commit in 2015 to break the apathy and silence and to stand up and speak out against history’s oldest hate wherever it rears its ugly head."
UN Watch, Dec. 29, 2015
10: Head of Gaza Inquiry forced to resign: On the same day that the UN appointed William Schabas to head its Gaza probe, UN Watch released videos of his anti-Israel statements—and led a 6-month campaign demanding his removal. “I have opinions like everybody else about the situation in Israel,” Schabas insisted to the media, only “they may not be the same as Hillel Neuer’s or Benjamin Netanyahu’s, that’s all.” Yet by February 2015——after his paid legal work for the PLO was exposed—Schabas resigned in disgrace.
9: Rights victims confront dictatorships: UN Watch’s 2015 Geneva Summit for Human Rights gave a platform to victims of Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Tibet, Turkey and Venezuela, as well as victims of Boko Haram and the Islamic State. Awards were bestowed upon jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, and to Masih Alinejad (photo above), who fights Iran’s compulsory hijab. Major media coverage included Le Monde, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Toronto Star, France 4 and Swiss TV.
8: Wife of Venezuela’s jailed opposition leader addresses UN: In June, UN Watch gave a UN platform to the courageous Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Tintori urged the Council to “demand the liberation of all political prisoners in Venezuela.”
7” Wizo Award to UN Watch Director: Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and other dignitaries gathered in Miami in February to pay tribute to the work of UN Watch at the annual gala of WIZO Florida, which presented the Guardian of Israel Award to UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer. Ambassador Dermer told the audience: “Like roses, the Jewish people need thorns to protect them. And Hillel has been a huge thorn in the side of Israel’s enemies. Because he speaks the truth, and he exposes their hypocrisy—day after day, month after month, year after year. So thank you, Hillel, for being one terrific thorn, and for tirelessly defending Israel, and defending the truth.”
6: Revealed: UK’s ‘horrid’ U.N. deal with Saudi Arabia: In September, UN Watch revealed evidence—based on secret Saudi diplomatic cables—that Britain made a deal to vote Saudi Arabia onto the UN Human Rights Council. UN Watch worked together with The Australian to produce an explosive report. This became a top story in the UK, reported by the Financial Times, The Daily Mail, the Independent, The Times of London and The Guardian. In a tense interview with Channel 4’s Jon Snow, British Prime Minister David Cameron was challenged on the “horrid” deal.
5: UN Watch opposes election of worst abusers: UN Watch led the opposition to the election of Venezuela, UAE, Burundi, and other regimes to the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council. Speakers at UN Watch’s October press conference at UN headquarters included Venezuela’s former UN ambassador Diego Arria and Dr. Qanta Ahmed, expert on women’s rights and Pakistan. Correspondents from CBS, New York Daily News, Fox News, were present along with media from France, Germany, and Norway. The event was reported worldwide.
4: UN Watch spearheads opposition to Maduro visit: When the UN agreed to hold a special assembly for Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in November, UN Watch led the counter-effort by organizing a joint appeal signed by 50 leading Venezuelan dissidents and human rights groups, holding a press conference with top activists, and leading a protest rally against the visit. Covered by NBC News, Reuters, and many more.
3: Under pressure UNRWA suspends employees for incitement. In an unprecedented acknowledgment of wrongdoing, UNRWA was recently forced to suspend several employees, after UN Watch published three reports documenting how UNRWA teachers regularly incite to racial hatred, anti-Semitism and terrorism on social media. UN Watch identified more than 30 perpetrators, and organized petitions to pressure key governments.
2: Top commanders refute U.N. Gaza Inquiry: When the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war presented its biased report in June, UN Watch was there to respond with a counter-report, and gave a UN platform to top military experts. Major General Mike Jones and Lt. Col. Geoffrey Corn from the U.S. military, and British Colonel Richard Kemp, all took the floor in the UN debate. The distorted findings of the UN probe—falsely accusing Israel of war crimes—were contrasted with those of the experienced military officers, who explained how Israel acted in self-defense, and to minimize casualties.
1: Exposed: Saudi elected to chair UN panel: In September, UN Watch revealed that Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador Faisal bin Hassan Trad was elected Chair of the 5-person panel that chooses UN human rights experts. The story went completely viral, generating hundreds of news articles, editorials and cartoons. As a result, many around the world now understand who really decides things at the UNHRC.
Observer, Dec. 25, 2015
While Christians are being beheaded, tortured and forced to convert to Islam by ISIS, there is one Middle Eastern country where Christians can celebrate their holy day without fear. Israel is the only place in the entire Middle East where Christian practice has not only been tolerated, but flourished.
Christmas in Israel is unparalleled throughout the world, with Christians of every denomination coming together to celebrate in a variety of ways. Because of this, Christmas in Israel is not a one-day affair. Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate on December 25, Orthodox Christians celebrate on January 6, and Armenian Christians celebrate on January 18. In fact, Jerusalem is known as “the city of three Christmases.”
Nazareth is home to Israel’s largest Christian Arab community. It recently held its annual Christmas market street fair, filled with arts and crafts as well as delicious traditional foods. Israeli singer Keren Hadar, along with the Upper Galilee Choir and Galilee Orchestra, performed at a combined Hannukah-Christmas concert on December 19. On December 24, the traditional parade through the main street of Nazareth drew an estimated 30,000 celebrants who made their way to the main plaza of the Basilica of the Annunciation. Later that day, observers were dazzled by the annual display of fireworks, sponsored by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.
In Jerusalem, there are numerous Christmas festivities occurring throughout Israel’s capital city, from holiday-themed tours to caroling and lots of shopping. In the Old City of Jerusalem, Santa Claus beckons onlookers to buy a tree for the holiday, while the Jerusalem International YMCA hosted a Christmas Carols Concert and open-air bells concert.
The Christian population in Israel has grown five-fold, to about 158,000 Israeli citizens, since Israel’s independence in 1948. This growth of Christianity is unheard of anywhere else in the Middle East. Data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics reveal that 2 percent of Israel’s population is Christian. Christian Arabs fare the best in terms of education in comparison to any other religious group receiving an education in Israel. In 2011, the number of Arab Christian students eligible for a high-school diploma stood at 64 percent, compared to 48 percent for Muslim students, 55 percent among Druze and 59 percent in the Jewish education system in general.
While the Christian community flourishes in Israel, the complete opposite is happening elsewhere throughout the Middle East. In a study published by the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Christians face being wiped out from the Middle East within ten years as they are killed by ISIS or forced to flee persecution. Executive Vice President Elijah Brown told Fox News: “Last Christmas was the first time that bells did not ring out in the city of Mosul in 2,000 years.”
However, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is not limited to those under the dominion of ISIS. In Saudi Arabia, Christians are barred from becoming citizens and it is illegal to own, print or import Christian religious materials. In Lebanon, a once majority-Christian nation, the Islamic radicalization of the government and Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah has led to a large-scale exodus of Christians from the country over the years.
Then there are the Christians under Palestinian rule, whose numbers have dwindled from 15 percent of the population in 1950 to less than 2 percent today. Cities rich in Christian history, such as Bethlehem, are now under the control of Muslims and almost completely devoid of Christians. This Christmas in particular, the Palestinian Authority limited Christmas celebrations in the West Bank, much to the disappointment of the local Christian population.
Israel stands as a haven for Christians who seek to rejoice and observe their faith, in stark contrast to the rest of the Middle East. Perhaps this Christmas, we should not only celebrate this fact but not forget those other Middle Eastern Christians who are not fortunate to be living within Israel’s borders.
Out with the Old Year!: Dry Bones Blog, Dec. 28, 2015
The Long War Continues: Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Nov. 30, 2015— In many ways, the reaction to the horrific attacks in Paris has been familiar.
Israeli Invention Takes Top Spot in Advocacy Group’s List of 2015’s Top 10 Most Viral Stories (VIDEO): Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner, Dec. 27, 2015—A number of stories about Israel and Jews set social media alight in 2015.
Does the UN do any Good?: Terry Glavin, National Post, Dec. 31, 2015—Is the United Nations still a force for good in the world? It’s a question doesn’t come up much in Canada, owing to this country’s weird habit of investing blue helmets with the totemic power of fetish objects. But as we head into 2016, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau having given every impression that Canada’s foreign policy exertions will be substantially redirected through the UN, it’s a question well worth asking.
A Gas-Powered Rapprochement Between Turkey and Israel: Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy, Dec. 18, 2015 — Turkey’s quest for new sources of energy to escape Russia’s clutches may have helped power the latest push for reconciliation with Israel, five years after the two countries acrimoniously split.
Israel’s Emerging Relations in the Eastern Mediterranean: Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, BESA, Dec. 8, 2015— Two events, apparently unrelated, yet interwoven in unpredictable ways, demonstrated last month that regional dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean are at a new and possibly formative stage.
End-of-Year Reports Rank Israel High on Tech, Low on Infrastructure: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Dec. 27, 2015— A plethora of year-end reports peg Israel as a pretty good place to do business, rated among the top countries for higher education and research, and with excellent technology.
He Drove Cars on Mars – Now He's Trying to Put Israel on the Moon: Tali Heruti-Sover, Haaretz, Dec. 14, 2015 — Prof. Oded Aharonson had a comfortable life in the United States, to which he had moved from Israel when he was 13.
Israeli Medical Apps Dominate International Competition in Germany: Algemeiner, Dec. 9, 2015
Recent Linkups By China-Israel VCs And Tech Startups Spell More Opportunity Than Risk: Rebecca Fannin, Forbes, Nov. 19, 2015
An Israeli Gas Pipeline to Turkey? Bad Idea: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Dec. 20, 2015
Panama and Israel Sign Free Trade Agreement: Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2015
Foreign Policy, Dec. 18, 2015
Turkey’s quest for new sources of energy to escape Russia’s clutches may have helped power the latest push for reconciliation with Israel, five years after the two countries acrimoniously split. But a full restoration of ties between Ankara and Jerusalem, which has proven elusive before, requires further concessions on thorny issues like the future of Gaza, and concrete energy ties between the two nations are likely years away at best.
Israel and Turkey said on Thursday that secret diplomatic talks in Switzerland had paved the way for the long-awaited reconciliation. Both sides mapped out steps that will need to be taken to restore ties that were broken when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish vessel bringing relief supplies to Gaza in 2010.
According to Israeli media reports, Israel will pay Turkey compensation for that raid. Turkey, in turn, has agreed to crack down on Hamas terrorists operating from Istanbul. The two sides then need to reach an agreement about Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which has torpedoed past efforts at rapprochement. Once ties are restored, the two countries said they planned to “explore” cooperation on natural gas, with Israel exporting some of its offshore bounty to Turkey.
“I think the reconciliation was a long time in the making, and security cooperation between the two sides had already deepened over the last year,” said Brenda Shaffer, a Georgetown University expert on eastern Mediterranean nations. She said the detente is “about politics and security, not gas” — although Turkey is also happy to quench its energy needs from sources other than Russia, given Ankara’s ratcheting tensions with Moscow over the last month. “Ankara has an interest now in showing the Russians it has other options to get natural gas,” Shaffer said.
Indeed, while both sides had come close to making amends before, especially in 2013 and 2014, leaders in both countries recently had signaled a possible thaw. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli lawmakers last week his government had been in talks with Turkish officials regarding exports of natural gas. Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that a restoration of ties between the two embittered countries would be good for “the entire region.”
The deteriorating situation in Syria, and especially Russia’s sudden leap into the ongoing civil war there, appears to have landed like a cannonball in the middle of the diplomatic dance between Turkey and Israel. Both sides are concerned about security threats boiling out of a disintegrating Syria, especially the Islamic State. And with Russia throwing its military might behind Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and behind groups hostile to Turkey and Israel, the two countries saw grounds for common cause. “Both countries see Russia’s presence and Russian-backed groups in Syria as a threat,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The final catalyst seems to be Turkey’s newfound need to find an energy supplier other than Russia, from whom it imports more than half of its natural gas. In October, after the Russian military jumped into Syria, Turkey warned it could harm ties between Ankara and Moscow. After Turkey shot down a Russian jet that invaded its airspace in late November, relations took a nosedive. Russia slapped economic sanctions on Turkey, cancelled a high-profile natural-gas pipeline, and threatened further reprisals.
Turkey, fearing that Russia could use its control over energy exports as a geopolitical bludgeon, quickly started scouring the region for other sources of gas. Israel made a huge discovery of gas off its coast years ago, but has been struggling to figure out just who to sell it to. “I think the tension between Russia and Turkey is what makes Israeli gas even more desirable from the Turkish side,” Cagaptay said. “If Russia decides to put Erdogan in a difficult situation, they could limit the sale of Russian gas.”
That doesn’t mean that Israeli gas will be fueling Turkish power plants anytime soon, even if the two sides manage to normalize relations. For starters, the development of Israel’s offshore gas fields has been held up for the past year due to domestic issues. Even preliminary deals that Israel appeared to have reached with friendly neighbors have gone south in recent months. Plans to export Israeli gas to Egypt and Jordan — the two Arab states with which Israel has a peace accord — have both foundered on domestic political opposition there.
What’s more, planning, financing, and building a natural-gas pipeline can take decades, even when there are few political or diplomatic complications, let alone the daunting technical challenges of laying pipe on the deep Mediterranean seabed. For example, Azerbaijan made a huge gas find in 1999, but took 14 years to secure a final decision on an export pipeline through Turkey, and gas won’t start flowing until 2018, Shaffer noted. “While this reconciliation will give impetus to a lot of ‘energy diplomacy’ between Turkey and Israel, and that is a good thing to help smooth relations between Ankara and Jerusalem, it will not bring in the short term a concrete deal on natural gas supply,” she said.
There are also domestic political complications, especially in Israel, where both the left and right jeered the rapprochement. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said reconciliation could have happened earlier, but Netanyahu dragged his feet. Conservative Avigdor Liberman, a former foreign minister under Netanyahu, slammed the accord as a sellout to a “radical Islamist regime.” All those hurdles to actual energy trade — diplomatic, domestic, commercial, and technical — are real. But Russia’s unbridled fury at Turkey — Moscow has decried Turkey’s “stab in the back,” has accused Erdogan of being in bed with the Islamic State, and has taken potshots at a Turkish fishing boat — could nevertheless end up steamrolling those challenges and paving the way to turn Israeli gas exports from dream to reality.
In Israel, Netanyahu last week pointed to the diplomatic dividends of energy trade to justify overriding Israeli technocrats and pushing for the controversial development of Israeli gas fields. He said that exporting energy to neighbors was crucial to safeguard Israel’s future security. Turkey, for its part, sees itself acutely vulnerable to any sudden interruption of Russian gas supplies. “Earlier, diversifying energy supplies was a long-term need that Turkey had. With the crisis with Russia, this has become a pressing need,” Cagaptay said. “A pipeline would be a huge deal, meaning the next time the Turkish-Israeli relationship faces a political shock like in 2010, that pipeline would keep them together, given its political, economic, and commercial ramifications,” he said.
Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
BESA, Dec. 8, 2015
Two events, apparently unrelated, yet interwoven in unpredictable ways, demonstrated last month that regional dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean are at a new and possibly formative stage. Turkey downed a Russian fighter operating in Syria, which raised fears of a broadening conflict, and placed two of the world's most headstrong leaders on what seemed like a collision course. Meanwhile, despite his roots in the country’s traditionally anti-Zionist left, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras paid a short and warm visit to Israel. So did Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades. When visiting Israel, Tsipras went so far as to recognize that Jerusalem is, and will continue to be, "the eternal capital of the Jewish People" (while offering similar recognition to the putative Palestinian "state").
Both these visits, as well as the Russian conflict with Turkey, reflect – directly or by inference – aspects of the growing cost of Turkey's vaulting ambitions under President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu. Whether or not the term "neo-Uthmanism" serves any explanatory purpose, there was clearly an open bid by Ankara in recent years to use the regional turmoil, the so-called "Arab Spring" (perhaps the mother of all misnomers…), as a springboard for the assertion of Turkish leadership and even hegemony. This was shaped by the ideological imperatives of the AKP leaders and their sense of affinity and obligation towards the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, such as the Hamas regime in Gaza.
As Syria descended into civil war and disintegrated, Erdogan – who once upon a time tried to position himself as Bashar Assad's friend – turned into a stern supporter of the insurgency. Even if one doubts the claims of Turkish-Islamic State connivance now put forward by the Russians, there is reason to believe that the relevant Turkish agencies were not too choosy when offering help to Assad's various enemies (including the buying of oil and gas from rebel-held areas). Meanwhile, Turkey sustained her traditional nationalist stance towards the Cyprus question, and tensions with Greece did not abate.
The results are now very much in evidence. As has been said all too often, from Davutoglu's promise of "zero problems with the neighbors" the road led very quickly to "zero neighbors without problems." However, the escalation of Russian-Turkish tensions need not be taken too far. Neither President Vladimir Putin nor Erdogan seem to desire war, despite the bravado and the sanctions. Some opportunities for sober dialogue are now being set up (despite Putin's refusal to meet his Turkish counterpart in Paris).
But the shooting did demonstrate just how far apart Ankara and Moscow are on the future of Syria, making it quite unlikely that the current multilateral diplomatic efforts can come to fruition. This may change only if Turkey will be isolated and ignored by the other key players (which would be a dangerous game to play) – or alternatively, if she is given other good reasons to change, and at least modify, her strategy and her priorities. Otherwise, it will continue to be very difficult to bring about even an interim reduction in the intensity of the Syrian conflict, let alone resolve it.
Neither Israel nor Greece was necessarily looking at the Turkish challenge alone when they embarked on a trajectory of intense cooperation in recent years. There are excellent reasons to improve relations, not the least of which is the hope for joint energy projects, which is scheduled to be the key item at the planned tripartite Greek-Cypriot–Israeli summit. The two countries have helped each other at times of forest fires and natural disasters, and have drawn closer in military matters too. The Israeli government stood by Greece at her hour of need, willing to encourage Israeli investment and tourism. There is a broad scope for technological cooperation, in vital fields such as renewable energies and water conservation.
Indeed, in Athens this proved by now to be an enduring aspect of national policy, across party lines, including PASOK (social-democrats), ND (conservatives), and Syriza left-wing leaders alike. As the positive interactions of Tsipras with young Israelis during his visit made manifest, there is also an underpinning of cultural and historical affinity to this sense of partnership. (The Israeli liberal daily newspaper Haaretz even dedicated the leading essay in its cultural supplement to the long-lasting love affair of Israelis from all walks of life with modern Greek music).
The long shadow of Turkish policies, however, is never too far away. Israeli awareness of the potential benefits of closer association with the Hellenic world grew exponentially after the collapse of Israeli-Turkish relations. The same could be said for the other side of the coin: For many years, Israel's image as Turkey's friend and military ally did little to endear her to Greek and Cypriot public opinion…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Times of Israel, Dec. 27, 2015
A plethora of year-end reports peg Israel as a pretty good place to do business, rated among the top countries for higher education and research, and with excellent technology. But the country scores only so-so marks for government-fostered bureaucracy, economic freedom, physical infrastructure, and labor efficiency. The reports — by business magazine Forbes, the World Economic Forum, and the Heritage Foundation — all rank Israel as one of the 30 best economies in the world to do business. But they point out that, with reforms, Israel could be doing much better.
Israel ranks as the 25th-best country in the world to do business, according to the Forbes Best Countries for Business rankings for 2015. With a “technologically advanced market economy,” the economy has good prospects, especially when the country starts reaping the benefits from the Laviathan gas field later this decade. However, over the long term, the magazine said, Israel faces structural issues, including low labor participation rates for its fastest-growing social segments — the ultra-orthodox and Arab-Israeli communities.
While Israel can be proud of its “globally competitive, knowledge-based technology sector,” Forbes points out that many Israelis are not benefiting from it. The tech sector “employs only 9% of the workforce, with the rest employed in manufacturing and services — sectors which face downward wage pressures from global competition,” said Forbes. Israel’s closest competitor in the Middle East is the United Arab Emirates, which ranked in 40th place…
A much more extensive report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) places Israel as the 27th most-competitive economy in the world — “competitive” used in the sense of being most likely to succeed. The WEF report ranks 144 countries around the world on 12 “pillars of success,” including the effectiveness of institutions (government and private), quality of infrastructure, economic environment, health, education, financial markets, innovation, and “technological readiness,” which measures an economy’s ability to absorb and utilize new technologies.
On that parameter, Israel ranks as fourth best in the world, and it scores even better on “capacity for innovation” and “quality of scientific research institutions.” Israel also does well on other components of the “innovation pillar,” including availability of scientists to tackle issues, per-capita patent applications, university-industry collaboration, and more. Israel also ranks close to the top in health (10th overall), and is the fourth-best place to get venture capital for a start-up.
The country receives only middling scores for other important areas of competitiveness. It ranks 43rd worldwide for the quality of its government institutions, 44th on the quality of its ethics, 55th in transport infrastructure, 70th in port infrastructure quality, and so on. In this study, the US ranks far better — the third-most competitive economy — as opposed to its rank on the Forbes list. The most competitive economy in the WEF report is Switzerland; Denmark, first in the Forbes ranking, is No. 12 on the Forbes list.
In terms of economic freedom, Israel ranks No. 33 in the world. “A democratic and free-market bastion in the Middle East, Israel has entrenched the principles of economic freedom during its development,” reported the Heritage Foundation. “A small, open economy, Israel relies on its competitive regulatory environment and well-established rule of law to attract international investment. While government spending is sizable, the government has not interfered heavily with industrial activity.”
Haaretz, Dec. 14, 2015
Prof. Oded Aharonson had a comfortable life in the United States, to which he had moved from Israel when he was 13. At 21, with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physics from Cornell University, he returned to Israel for two years to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. At 23, he began his Ph.D. in physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As soon as he completed his doctorate he started working at California Institute of Technology in planetary science, his area of specialization.
The close cooperation between Caltech and NASA allowed Aharonson to be involved in most of the U.S. missions to Mars, he says. “It was my baby.” Aharonson was a senior member of the Mars Exploration Rovers’ science team. The vehicles, which NASA sent at a cost of $1.2 billion and which recently found apparent evidence of water on the red planet. Aharonson says that to simplify matters, he often just says he was “the driver of the Mars rovers.”
Aharonson brought all his enormous knowledge and experience back to Israel, when he was appointed the head of the newly established Center for Planetary Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot in 2011. He is determined to make it an active part of international efforts to crack the secrets of the universe.
“The rovers landed on Mars in 2002, and since then there is a team that receives the pictures from them every day, looks at them and argues: ‘Is it worth photographing this part, that mountain.’ Every scientist has his own agenda and you need to reach a decision. This is not one meeting a day, but a series of meetings, at the of which a mission plan is formulated. My job was to take that plan and along with the engineers translate it into the language of the rover in order to send the orders that would help the rovers drive, photograph, send data — and do the same thing the next day.”
For almost a decade Aharonson “drove” the rovers on Mars, until he felt he needed to return home. “I had a wonderful job, tenure, a house and a car, but I felt that all the people I cared about, and who cared about me, are in Israel.” While he was thinking things over — “because it meant giving up a lot” — he took a business trip to Moscow. At one point he went to a restaurant with a Russian colleague.
“He looked at me and said: ‘All of your friends are very focused on their joy, on the question of what will make them happy, but it’s possible to look at happiness a different way: If you go to Israel, another physicist will come and drive the rovers, because at Caltech there are many talented people; but if you remain in the United States, whatever it is you would do in Israel won’t happen.’ This was a Soviet perspective, not personal but general rather. He didn’t measure my value by my level of personal happiness, but by the effect on the state; I, wanting to advance the area of planetary sciences in Israel so that Israel can become involved in a field that doesn’t exist, recognized that he was right.”
Four years down the road, Aharonson says that while he sometimes misses the comforts of the United States, but is happy about his decision to return, moving in the opposite direction of the “brain drain.” Aharonson is 42, unmarried and living in Tel Aviv. “Maybe I won’t have one-time opportunities to control spacecraft on Mars, but here there are other one-time opportunities,” he says. Not at a billion dollars per project. “Our scale is $50 million, projects that are not small but are small relative to the big NASA missions, and are nonetheless a breakthrough in the well-known Israeli method — smaller, cheaper, faster.”
Aharonson’s flagship project is the establishment of the planetary sciences center at Weizmann. He is also the mission scientist on the SpaceIL project to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL is a nonprofit organization established to compete in Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30-million competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon. Google is offering a $20 million prize to the first nongovernment team to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon, have it travel 500 meters on the lunar surface and transmit high-definition images and video from the moon. The original deadline of December 2015 has been extended to the end of 2017.
Asked if SpaceIL will succeed, Aharonson says “certainly,” and explains why. Of the more than 30 teams from throughout the world that entered the competition, 16 remain. Israel is leading in many ways and the team has a launch contract that has been approved by Google, which is very important, he says. “We have a budget that allows us to sign a commitment for a launch, one of the hardest tasks in this process. We still need to build a spacecraft and it needs to work there. You must understand that we are not doing it for the $20-million prize,” explaining that it will cost around $50 million to put the Israeli robot on the moon — all from donations.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Israeli Medical Apps Dominate International Competition in Germany: Algemeiner, Dec. 9, 2015—Four Israeli companies were among the 10 winners in the 2015 Medica App Competition, held in the German city of Dusseldorf.
Recent Linkups By China-Israel VCs And Tech Startups Spell More Opportunity Than Risk: Rebecca Fannin, Forbes, Nov. 19, 2015—It’s long been said that Chinese and Israeli culture is alike – entrepreneurial, hard-working, family oriented and spiritual. Now these two leading startup nations are coming closer together in the venture capital and technology innovation world and advancing the potential for disruptive breakthroughs.
An Israeli Gas Pipeline to Turkey? Bad Idea: Daniel Pipes, National Review, Dec. 20, 2015—News that the Turkish and Israeli governments are about to renew full diplomatic relations after years of tensions causes me to smile cynically — and to worry again about Israeli gullibility. The two states enjoyed close relations in the 1990s, when a common world outlook led to a strong military bond, growing trade, and exchanges of people and culture. Writing in 1997, I characterized this bilateral as having “the potential to alter the strategic map of the Middle East, to reshape American alliances there, and to reduce Israel’s regional isolation.”
Panama and Israel Sign Free Trade Agreement: Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2015—Panama signed a free trade agreement with Israel, its first with a Middle Eastern nation. The agreement was signed on Saturday in Panama City to seal a set of negotiated deals including access to markets, customs, services and investments, intellectual property, trade obstacles, institutional issues and conflict resolution.
Legacy or Bust: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2015 — Last Saturday, Barack Obama gained the second jewel in his foreign policy triple crown: the Paris climate accord.
Israel, Beware of Obama’s Ominous Plans: Gideon Israel, American Thinker, Dec. 2, 2015— After the last meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, some thought that finally after, seven weary years, they had found common ground.
Liberal Sanctimony: William Kristol, Weekly Standard, Nov. 30, 2015— It would be an interesting exercise to trace the history of the word sanctimony.
Obama, the President Who Lost His Voice: Richard Cohen, Washington Post, Nov. 30, 2015 — The presidency has changed Barack Obama.
Mele Kalik-Baracka: Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 23, 2015
Obama's Middle East Delusions: Efraim Karsh, Middle East Quarterly, Winter, 2016
Iran Gets All Benefits of Nuclear Deal Without Doing Anything: Amir Taheri, New York Post, Dec. 20, 2015
Democrats Don't Know the Islamic State: A.J. Caschetta, Washington Examiner, Dec. 28, 2015
Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2015
Last Saturday, Barack Obama gained the second jewel in his foreign policy triple crown: the Paris climate accord. It follows his Iran nuclear deal and awaits but the closing of Guantanamo to complete his glittering legacy. To be sure, Obama will not be submitting the climate agreement for Senate ratification. It would have no chance of passing — as with the Iranian nuclear deal, also never submitted for the Senate ratification Obama knew he’d never get. And if he does close Guantanamo, it will be in defiance of overwhelming bipartisan congressional opposition.
You see, visionary thinkers like Obama cannot be bound by normal constitutional strictures. Indeed, the very unpopularity of his most cherished diplomatic goals is proof of their prophetic farsightedness. Yet the climate deal brought back from Paris by Secretary of State John Kerry turns out to be no deal at all. It is, instead, a series of carbon-reducing promises made individually and unilaterally by the world’s nations.
No enforcement, no sanctions, nothing legally binding. No matter, explained Kerry on “Fox News Sunday”: “This mandatory reporting requirement . . . is a serious form of enforcement, if you will, of compliance, but there is no penalty for it, obviously.” If you think that’s gibberish, you’re not alone. Retired NASA scientist James Hansen, America’s leading carbon abolitionist, indelicately called the whole deal “bulls—.”
He’s right. The great Paris achievement is supposed to be global “transparency.” But what can that possibly amount to when you can’t even trust the reporting? Three months ago, the world’s greatest carbon emitter, China, admitted to having underreported its burning of coal by 14 percent (later recalculated to 17 percent), a staggering error (assuming it wasn’t a deliberate deception) equal to the entire coal consumption of Germany.
I’m a climate-change agnostic. But I’m realistic enough to welcome prudent hedging against a possible worst-case scenario. I’ve long advocated for a multilateral agreement (unilateral U.S. actions being climatically useless and economically suicidal) negotiated with the most important players — say, India, China and the European Union — containing real limits, real numbers and real enforcement. That would be a genuine achievement.
What the climate-change conference produced instead was hot air, applauded by 196 well-fed participants. (Fourteen nights in Paris, after all.) China promises to begin reducing carbon emissions 15 years from now. India announced it will be tripling its coal-fired electricity capacity by 2030. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is effectively dismantling America’s entire coal industry.
Looking for guidance on how the U.S. will fare under this new environmental regime? Take a glance at Obama’s other great triumph, the Iran nuclear accord. Does the American public know that the Iranian parliament has never approved it? And that the Iranian president has never signed it? Iran is not legally bound to anything. As the State Department freely admitted (in a letter to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) of the House Intelligence Committee), the deal “is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document.” But don’t worry. Its success “will depend not on whether it is legally binding or signed, but rather on the extensive verification measures” and our “capacity to reimpose — and ramp up — our sanctions if Iran does not meet its commitments.”
And how is that going? On Nov. 21, Iran conducted its second test of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in direct contravention of two U.N. Security Council prohibitions, including one that incorporates the current nuclear agreement — which bans such tests for eight years. Our response? After Iran’s first illegal launch in October, the administration did nothing. A few words at the United Nations. Weren’t we repeatedly assured that any Iranian violation would be met with vigorous action? No worry, again. As U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power told a congressional hearing last week, “discussions are a form of U.N. action.” The heart sinks.
It was obvious from the very beginning that the whole administration promise of “snapback” sanctions was a farce. The Iranians knew it. Hence their contempt for even the prospect of American pushback: two illegal missile launches conducted ostentatiously even before sanctions are lifted and before they receive their $150 billion in unfrozen assets early next year.
Why not? They know Obama will ignore, downplay and explain away any violation, lest it jeopardize his transformative foreign policy legacy. It’s a legacy of fictional agreements. The proliferators and the polluters are not bound. By our own volition, we are. Only Guantanamo remains. Within a month, one-sixth of the remaining prisoners will be released. Obama will not be denied.
American Thinker, Dec. 2, 2015
After the last meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, some thought that finally after, seven weary years, they had found common ground. Their meeting focused on working to limit Iranian influence in the region; discussing a new 10-year $50 billion U.S. aid package to Israel, unprecedented in terms of average yearly aid; and Obama conceded that a peace deal with the Palestinians is not on the horizon. A few days later, Jonathan Pollard, after 30 long years, was released from prison, something Netanyahu attempted unsuccessfully with former U.S. presidents. Thus, despite stark differences on the Iranian deal, the peace process, and overall views on foreign policy, some think that relations between the two leaders will finally improve. Yet, with all these positive developments, the only words that are sufficient to explain this situation is: Israel Beware.
Israel must beware because these gestures and statements by the Obama administration are calculated, hold a high price tag, and their purpose is to numb the prime minister, the Israelis, and their supporters in the U.S. It is to create the impression that everything is fine, the worst is behind us and now we can continue as friends with common goals. But Obama and his clever political team are not finished with Israel, and they have ominous plans for the future. Israel must understand that, like it or not, barring some major event, a Palestinian state will be declared and accepted by the UN Security Council before Obama finishes his presidency. The Hill reported that according to the administration’s rulemaking schedule for 2016, Obama is not slowing down on any of his goals. Though not included in The Hill’s report, a Palestinian state has been an important goal for Obama since the beginning of his presidency, and he has made the case for it numerous times.
For example, last year, the Times of Israel quoted senior White House official, Philip Gordon, saying that Israel “should not take for granted the opportunity to negotiate” with a reliable partner like Abbas, and continued occupation is a recipe for resentment, instability, and extremism. A few months ago, the Washington Post quoted Obama asking his audience to internalize the hopelessness the Palestinians find themselves in; and the LA Times quoted Obama in that interview saying we need actions, not words, to restore a hopeful situation for the Palestinians. The current rhetoric by the administration – that a peace process “isn’t in the cards” — is something that Aaron Miller, a veteran State Department official who worked on the peace process for more than two decades, has called ‘unprecedented’ and wonders if it was an ‘honest admission’ of a failed goal or if there is a ‘peace process surprise for 2016’.
Barack Obama ran for president, as he said himself, to fundamentally change America, and this goal continues to be central to his presidency. Obama’s view of what America should be and its place among the nations is fundamentally different from the average American. His support for a Palestinian state has nothing to do with Netanyahu, occupation or the Palestinian people, rather it is in sync with his anti-colonialist worldview which pervades his policy — from removing a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, renaming a mountain in Alaska named after President McKinley to Denali, and allowing the mullahs to brutally subdue a legitimate uprising in Iran. In Obama’s worldview, Israel is a colonialist outpost in the Middle East, as delineated in his Cairo speech, and a manifestation of American power and influence which needs to be cut down to size.
Since President Obama aspires to fundamentally change America, in the last year of his presidency, his ideology and goals will shift into full gear as much as possible using executive orders, borrowing power, and other actions which allow him to implement policy without permission from Congress. Unfortunately, many commentators criticize Obama’s policies as inconsistent, naïve, or ill-fated. However, they fail to realize the deep ideological divide between most Americans and the president; and mistakenly think that they share the same goals and objectives as the president, but disagree on the tactics.
Yet, in America, support for Israel is broad, and the overwhelming majority of Americans believe either that there should not be a Palestinian state, or that it should only be established through a peace agreement with Israel. Obama does not need anyone’s consent in order to instruct his UN ambassador to support a Palestinian state proposal at the Security Council, but at the same time he has no reason to anger many Democrats by shoving this decision down their throat when there is another way. Obama, the master of rhetoric and expert in framing the narrative, need not use force; and he will succeed in convincing many that this is not only the correct decision, but the inevitable decision.
First, Obama will frame the concept using rhetoric which places his solution as the only logical alternative, as he has done on other issues. He will say: Some believe that we should force Israel to return to 1967 borders and force Israel to allow all Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, and others believe that we should allow the conflict and cycle of violence to continue while we just stand back and do nothing. I believe we need to find a middle ground and allow the Palestinians to have a state while not compromising on Israel’s security or its democratic fabric. His supporting arguments will claim that just about the whole world agrees that a Palestinian state needs to be established next to Israel, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has repeated this since 2009, and he takes the prime minister at his word. The dispute is only regarding the borders.
A Palestinian state, Obama will continue, is in everyone’s best interest. It is in Israel’s best interest since the Palestinians, being a stateless people, have been a source of tension between Israel and other Arab nations which will subside after the establishment of a Palestinian state. In supporting a Palestinian state, the U.S. will be eliminating an issue that generates anti-Americanism, extremism, and is a point of tension with its allies in the Middle East, which hinders cooperation on various issues.
Furthermore, he will proclaim that Israel needs to be strong as it faces new security threats across the region and the Palestinian issue cannot be hanging over its head, threatening the democratic fabric of the country and preventing cooperation between Israel and its Middle East neighbors. Obama will restate his commitment to Israel’s security more than any other president mentioning the $50 billion aid package, continuing to develop the Iron Dome, continuing joint exercises, and selling advanced weapons that Israel’s friend, George W. Bush, refused to sell. He will credit himself with the Pollard release and remind everyone that the two-state solution was George W. Bush’s idea and vision, so he is not creating a new idea here. Having a Palestinian state will also place responsibility on the Palestinians and their leadership. They will no longer have any excuses for terrorist attacks or supporting terror, and we will hold them accountable. He will finish by saying that running away from important decisions is un-American, and that a Palestine state is in line with American values and tradition, especially that set out by President Woodrow Wilson.
This argument sounds forceful, yet is filled with many flaws and half truths. Some of them being that this president has used aid, weapons sales, and other security measures to flaunt his support for Israel while damaging Israel in the diplomatic arena, making sure that they have no legitimacy to use the weapons. He has pledged that America ‘has Israel’s back’ on Iran, while simultaneously thwarting any Israeli attack on Iran either through leaks or outright threats, and in general has presented Israel as a liability for the U.S. However, Obama’s case for a Palestinian state will be enough to disarm well intentioned Democrats and citizens alike who are generally supportive of Israel and believe that a Palestinian State should only be established through negotiations.
The last year of Obama’s presidency will be an all-out offensive to implement his ideology through his policies and Israel will not be spared. Therefore, Israel must beware, a Palestinian state is on the horizon, and if a counterplan is not devised, we will all be witness to a terrorist organization receiving a state without even making one concession, being facilitated by the enlightened Western world.
Weekly Standard, Nov. 30, 2015
It would be an interesting exercise to trace the history of the word sanctimony. In its original derivation from the Latin sanctimonia, it seems to have had the straightforward sense of sanctity or sacredness. But centuries ago, it took on its current meaning—of pretended or affected or hypocritical holiness. Already in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure Lucio remarks on “the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped one out of the table”—i.e., that thou shalt not steal. So we’ve been well aware of sanctimony since before the Puritans arrived in the New World. And it didn’t take the exposés of Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 19th century or Sinclair Lewis in the 20th to convince ordinary Americans to be on their guard against those who indulge in it, whether in the pulpit or the public square.
One might think that sanctimony would have gone into remission in our supposed age of sophisticated irony. Yet it thrives. Perhaps 21st century liberal sanctimony is a particularly hardy and virulent strain of sanctimonia. Or perhaps our immune system is weaker than that of previous generations of Americans, owing to our soft and comfortable prosperity. But for whatever reason, liberal sanctimony is going strong.
And liberal sanctimony has its own distinctive character. From Angelo of Measure for Measure to Lewis’s Elmer Gantry, most purveyors of sanctimony know they’re frauds. Some agonize over succumbing to temptation. Others cheerfully feign piety because it is useful to them. But their awareness of what they’re doing makes them interesting characters. What’s amazing about today’s liberal sanctimony is its apparent lack of self-awareness.
Take, for example, our president. His sanctimony seems unalloyed with self-knowledge and untempered by doubt. And so he leaves even hardened observers of the human condition, like the foreign affairs scholar Walter Russell Mead, agape. Mead, by the way, says he voted for Obama in 2008. Here he is this week, writing on Obama’s berating of his countrymen for their hesitation in admitting thousands of immigrants from Syria and its environs: “To see the full cynicism of the Obama approach to the refugee issue, one has only to ask President Obama’s least favorite question: Why is there a Syrian refugee crisis in the first place?
“Obama’s own policy decisions—allowing Assad to convert peaceful demonstrations into an increasingly ugly civil war, refusing to declare safe havens and no fly zones—were instrumental in creating the Syrian refugee crisis. This crisis is in large part the direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to stand aside and watch Syria burn. For him to try and use a derisory and symbolic program to allow 10,000 refugees into the United States in order to posture as more caring than those evil Jacksonian rednecks out in the benighted sticks is one of the most cynical, cold-blooded, and nastily divisive moves an American President has made in a long time. . . .
“To think that conspicuous moral posturing and holy posing over a symbolic refugee quota could turn President Obama from the goat to the hero of the Syrian crisis is absurd. Wringing your hands while Syria turns into a hell on earth, and then taking a token number of refugees, can be called many things, but decent and wise are not among them. You don’t have to be a xenophobe or a racist or even a Republican to reject this President’s leadership on Syria policy. All you need for that is common sense and a moral compass. . . .
“For no one, other than the Butcher Assad and the unspeakable al-Baghdadi, is as responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria as is President Obama. No one has committed more sins of omission, no one has so ruthlessly sacrificed the well-being of Syria’s people for his own ends, as the man in the White House. In all the world, only President Obama had the ability to do anything significant to prevent this catastrophe; in all the world no one turned his back so coldly and resolutely on the suffering Syrians as the man who sits in the White House today—a man who is now lecturing his fellow citizens on what he insists is their moral inferiority before his own high self-esteem.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Washington Post, Nov. 30, 2015
The presidency has changed Barack Obama. His hair has gone gray, which is to be expected, and he looks older, which is also to be expected, but his eloquence has been replaced by petulance and he has lost the power to persuade, which is something of a surprise. You can speculate that if the Obama of today and not Winston Churchill had led Britain in World War II, the Old Vic theater would now be doing “Hamlet” in German.
The president has lost his voice, that is certain. The numbers say so. Obama has the approval of only 44 percent of the American people. During his time in office, Congress and much of the nation have gone Republican — statehouse after statehouse, governor after governor (soon to be 32) — an astounding feat when you consider that the GOP has become the Know-Nothing Party in all its meanings. It’s not that Obama has lost his gift of eloquence. His problem is that he often has nothing to say. When he does, as after the mass murder in June at a Charleston, S.C., church, he can be moving and eloquent. It is on foreign policy particularly where he goes empty and cold. His policy, after all, is to avoid yet another Middle East quagmire. It entails the ringing call to do as little as possible.
Obama’s self-inflicted predicament was apparent in the statement he issued following the Paris terrorist attacks. Unlike many other mass killings, this one was broadcast in real time — unfolding on TV as it happened. It left the United States both shaken and horrified. Yet Obama spoke coldly, by rote — saying all the right things in the manner of a minister presiding at the funeral of a perfect stranger. The president is capable of better, and indeed, after some criticism, he eventually did better. But he is a cautious man who fears his rhetoric running away from him. This happened once before, when he issued his “red line” warning to Syria — and then, upon consideration, said never mind. The result has been a foreign policy debacle in which the measure of Obama has been taken. He’s been bullied off the playground.
Obama’s dilemma is not just that he cannot find the words to articulate his policy. He cannot stick to his policy either. His initial reluctance to act in Libya faded when Moammar Gaddafi threatened to massacre his opposition and the French took the lead. His determination to stay out of Iraq collided with the threatened genocide of the Yazidis. Iraq fell apart, the Islamic State seemed to come out of nowhere. Americans were beheaded. Women were enslaved. No boots on the ground became some boots on the ground — and then some more and then some of them helped the Kurds and mixed it up with the Islamic State. Reality rebuts policy, which unravels by degree.
George W. Bush’s Iraq war was a lesson to us all. But from the start of the Syrian crisis, no one sane was proposing doing it all over again. Instead, the proposal was to intervene early and attempt to avoid the bloodbath and humanitarian calamity that have resulted. The idea was to do more than simply tell Bashar al-Assad to return to practicing ophthalmology in London and for the United States and its allies to take some action — such as grounding Assad’s helicopters. And when it came to the Islamic State, the proposal was to do more than make some initially inadequate bombing runs, but put spotters on the ground and train anti-Assad fighters who had a stake in the fighting. As it was, the United States managed to assemble an army of about half a dozen.
Obama is confined by the prospect of another Iraq. He defends his policy of minimalism with an off-putting petulance: “If folks want to pop off and have opinions . . . .” He talked of seeing at Walter Reed hospital “a 25-year-old kid who’s paralyzed or has lost his limbs. . . . And so I can’t afford to play some of the political games that others may.” Yes, some of the Republican presidential candidates are playing games, but Obama’s critics in think tanks and elsewhere are dead – serious. Besides, life presents mean choices. Limbs were lost in Paris, too…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Mele Kalik-Baracka: Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 23, 2015—Before leaving for his annual Hawaiian Christmas vacation, President Obama found an odd way to wish Americans “Mele Kalikimaka!”
Obama's Middle East Delusions: Efraim Karsh, Middle East Quarterly, Winter, 2016—As the only person to have won the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of sheer hope rather than actual achievement, Barack Hussein Obama could be expected to do everything within his power to vindicate this unprecedented show of trust.
Iran Gets All Benefits of Nuclear Deal Without Doing Anything: Amir Taheri, New York Post, Dec. 20, 2015—Charade has always been part of diplomacy, but it is only now that, thanks to President Obama, it has become its very substance, at least as far as the virtual “nuke deal” with Iran is concerned.
Democrats Don't Know the Islamic State: A.J. Caschetta, Washington Examiner, Dec. 28, 2015—With each new speech they make, the nation's two top Democrats continue to reveal their profound ignorance of what motivates the enemy both promise to defeat.
Jérusalem: 2 morts et 1 blessé dans une attaque au couteau à la porte de Jaffa
I24, 23 dec. 2015
Trois Israéliens ont été blessés dans une attaque au couteau perpétrée par deux terroristes palestiniens près de la porte de Jaffa, à l'entrée de la Vieille ville de Jérusalem. Deux d'entre eux ont par la suite succombé à leurs blessures. Les deux terroristes ont été tués par les tirs de deux policières des frontières qui se trouvaient près de l'attaque. Il s'agit de Annan Hammad et Issa Assaf, deux jeunes Palestiniens âgés d'environ 20 ans et originaires de la ville de Qalandiya en Cisjordanie. Ils ont tous deux été emprisonnés en Israël par le passé.
Une des victimes israéliennes, un homme de 46 ans, a été touchée par les tirs "amis" des policières qui visaient les terroristes, selon les services médicaux. L'homme, marié et père de deux enfants, a par la suite succombé à ses blessures. Lors de l'attaque, les deux autres Israéliens ont été grièvement blessés par des coups de couteau, dont un homme âgé d'environ 45 ans qui est décédé des suites de ses blessures.
Par ailleurs, une roquette tirée depuis la bande de Gaza et visant Israël a explosé mercredi soir dans l'enclave palestinienne. Les blessés ont été évacués par les services médicaux au centre hospitalier de Sha'arei Tzedek et à l'hôpital Hadassah de Jérusalem. La télévision publique palestinienne a relaté l'attaque, expliquant que "deux Palestiniens étaient tombés au nom d'Allah, après avoir poignardé trois colons à Jérusalem".
Cette attaque intervient alors que de nombreux pèlerins chrétiens du monde entier sont attendus à Jérusalem et dans la région pour les célébrations de Noël. Un peu plus tôt mercredi, la police a arrêté une femme à Hébron, dans le sud de la Cisjordanie après qu'un couteau a été retrouvé sur elle lors d'un contrôle de routine. Depuis le 1 octobre, 24 citoyens israéliens ont été tués lors d'attaques terroristes en Israël et en Cisjordanie.
LES FAMILLES DES VICTIMES DE KUNTAR SALUENT UNE « JUSTICE HISTORIQUE »
Times of Israel, 20 decembre, 2015
La veuve et mère de victimes israéliennes brutalement tuées par Samir Kuntar a salué dimanche l’élimination présumée par Israël du terroriste du Hezbollah comme « une justice historique. » Dans le même temps, les hommes politiques israéliens ont salué l’élimination à Damas de Kuntar et de huit autres terroristes, qui a été confirmée par le Hezbollah, mais sans confirmer que l’attaque avait été menée par l’aviation israélienne.
Druze libanais, Kuntar est devenu tristement célèbre pour un raid brutal en 1979 lancé depuis le Liban où il a aidé à kidnapper une famille israélienne de Nahariya, puis a brisé le crâne d’une petite fille israélienne de 4 ans, Einat Haran, avec la crosse de son fusil, la tuant. Trois autres Israéliens, dont son père, Danny Haran, ont été tués dans l’attaque. Kuntar avait 16 ans à l’époque, et était membre du Front de libération de la Palestine.
« On m’a appelée à 4 heures du matin, je me suis réveillée et ai pensé aux années qui ont passé, comment la justice historique avait été faite », a déclaré Smadar Haran au micro de la radio militaire. Pendant l’attaque [de 1979], Smadar Haran s’était cachée de Kuntar avec sa fille Yael de 2 ans, mais l’avait accidentellement étouffée à mort en essayant de faire taire ses cris.
Kuntar avait été appréhendé sur les lieux de l’attaque après une fusillade avec la police, et a finalement été reconnu coupable d’assassinat et envoyé en prison. En 2008, lui et quatre combattants du Hezbollah ont été libérés en échange des corps de deux soldats israéliens capturés par le Hezbollah en 2006.
La fille d’Eli Shachar, qui a également été assassiné par Kuntar dans l’attaque de 1979, a dit dimanche matin sur la Deuxième chaîne qu’elle était « heureuse et fière du pays qui ne nous oublie pas. » « C’est un véritable soulagement », a-t-elle ajouté. « Je me sens soulagée que nous avons finalement bouclé la boucle, qu’il n’est plus vivant, et qu’il ne fera plus de mal à quiconque. »
L’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) a dit qu’il n’était pas encore clair qui avait ciblé Kuntar « mais il mérite les félicitations du peuple d’Israël. » « Depuis 7 ans qu’il a été libéré de la prison israélienne, Samir Kuntar ne s’est pas reposé un seul instant et a agi contre l’Etat d’Israël », a-t-il déclaré à la radio militaire.
Le député Erel Margalit (Union sioniste) a dit qu’il « ne sait pas qui a frappé Kuntar, mais je lui tire mon chapeau ainsi qu’à ceux qui ont planifié le raid. » « L’élimination du terroriste Samir Kuntar, quelque soit celui qui l’a menée, a apporté la justice aux familles Haran et Shachar, à Israël et au monde », a déclaré Michael Oren du parti Koulanou.
La ministre de la Justice israélienne Ayelet Shaked s’est dit dimanche « heureuse » d’avoir appris la mort de Samir Kantar. « C’est un « archi-terroriste qui avait tué une fillette en lui fracassant le crâne », a affirmé Mme Shaked.
« C’est une bonne chose qu’il ait rendu l’âme », a-t-elle ajouté sur la radio militaire, affirmant que Kantar avait « continué ses activités terroristes depuis sa libération » en 2008 dans le cadre d’un échange entre le Hezbollah et l’Etat hébreu. Pour le général israélien à la retraite Yaakov Amidror, en ne clamant aucune responsabilité, Israël réduit les possibilités de représailles.
Toutefois, note-t-il, « s’il a été neutralisé par quelqu’un, c’est une bonne nouvelle pour Israël » car « Samir Kantar jouait un rôle-pivot dans les efforts du Hezbollah pour lancer de nouvelles attaques depuis le plateau du Golan » syrien.
ARRESTATION DE 25 MEMBRES DU HAMAS QUI PROJETAIENT DES ATTENTATS-SUICIDES
I24, 23 Dec., 2015
Les services israéliens de la sécurité intérieure (Shin Bet), en coopération avec l'armée et la police, ont annoncé mercredi , après la levée d'une ordonnance de non publication avoir arrêté découvert une importante cellule terroriste du Hamas qui projetait de commettre des attentats-suicide en Israël.
Le groupe, originaire du secteur de Bethléem, agissait sous la direction de la branche armée du Hamas, les brigades Ezzedine al-Qassam. jusqu'à présent 25 membres de cette cellule ont été arrêtés, la plupart d'entre eux étant des étudiants de l'université d'Abu Dis, voisine de Jérusalem.
Selon les premiers éléments de l'enquête, Ahmed Azzam, un Palestinien de 24 ans originaire de Qalqiliya (centre de la Cisjordanie), était à la tête de la cellule. Selon le communiqué des forces de sécurité israéliennes, Azzam a loué un appartement avec plusieurs membres de la cellule dans lequel il a mis sur pied un atelier de fabrication d'explosifs et un bureau pour recruter des individus qui auraient commis des attaques-suicides en Israël.
Deux de ces hommes auraient été recrutés spécialement parce qu'ils étaient porteurs de carte d'identité leur permettant de circuler librement à l'intérieur Israël. Le premier, Hazem Sandoka, un résident de Jérusalem, a été recruté pour acheter du matériel pour fabriquer des bombes et recueillir des informations sur des cibles potentielles. Fadi Abu Kian, un Bédouin de nationalité israélienne originaire du village de Hura dans le Néguev, avait été désigné pour commettre un attentat à la voiture piégée.
Le Shin Bet a indiqué avoir saisi des explosifs et des équipements qui ont permis de procéder à de nouvelles arrestations en Israël et en Cisjordanie. Selon l'agence de la sécurité intérieure israélienne, , le feu vert pour commettre les attaques devait provenir directement de la direction du Hamas à Gaza.
L'EX-MINISTRE ARGENTIN DES AE A AFFIRME QUE L'IRAN "A PLACE LES BOMBES" A L'AMIA
I24, 19 dec., 2015
Un journaliste argentin a divulgué vendredi des enregistrements dans lesquels le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l'Argentine, sous la présidence de Cristina Kirchner, a affirmé que l'Iran "a placé les bombes" au cours de l'attentat de 1994 dans un centre de la communauté juive à Buenos Aires.
Le journaliste, Daniel Santoro, a rendu public deux enregistrements sonores sur Radio Mitre (radio argentine émettant depuis Buenos Aires, ndlr), dans lesquels l'ex-ministre argentin des Affaires étrangères Hector Timerman peut être entendu en train de parler avec Guillermo Burger, l'ancien chef de l'Association mutuelle israélite argentine (AMIA) à Buenos Aires.
Les enregistrements ont été réalisés en 2012, quand les fonctionnaires argentins de l'époque venaient d'entamer des négociations menées par l'ex-présidente, Cristina Kirchner, pour former une "commission de la vérité" avec l'Iran afin d'enquêter conjointement sur l'attentat.
Dans la conversation, Timerman tente de convaincre Burger de soutenir cette enquête menée en collaboration avec l'Iran, déclarant que même si l'Iran "a placé les bombes", ce serait le "moyen le plus efficace de résoudre l'affaire".
Les enregistrements révèlent également que l'adjoint de Burger, Jose Skelter, a affirmé que "l'Iran est un partenaire", et a appelé son supérieur à promouvoir la coopération avec ce pays dans le cadre de l'enquête et pour l'indemnisation des familles.
Selon Alberto Nisman, le procureur qui était en charge de l'enquête à partir de 2004, la "commission de la vérité" a été conçue pour aider à l'obtention de mandats d'arrêt délivrés par Interpol contre cinq suspects iraniens, dans le but de retourner à la normalisation des relations bilatérales.
Nisman avait par ailleurs publié un acte d'accusation reprochant à l'Iran et au Hezbollah d'avoir perpétré l'attentat. Il avait également déclaré que Kirchner cherchait à gagner la faveur de la République islamique afin d'avoir accès au pétrole du pays.
En outre, le procureur Nisman estimait que la présidente argentine avait entravé l'action de la justice en concluant avec l'Iran un mémorandum prévoyant l'audition à Téhéran de dirigeants iraniens suspects, alors qu'il en demandait l'extradition depuis des années.
L'affaire est revenue sous les projecteurs quand Nisman est mort d'une blessure par balle debut 2015. Le procureur avait été retrouvé mort le 18 janvier dernier, alors qu'il assurait que le pouvoir avait mis en place un plan visant à protéger l'Iran, soupçonné d'avoir commandité l'attentat.
Le Premier ministre israélien a salué le 13 décembre la décision du nouveau président argentin Mauricio Macri d’annuler un accord entre l’Argentine et l’Iran qui empêchait Téhéran d’être tenu responsable de l’attentat contre le centre communautaire juif à Buenos Aires.
UN FRONT REPUBLICAIN CONTRE «L’ISLAMO-GAUCHISME ?»
Times of Israel, 17 dec., 2015
était mon premier article dans le Figaro. Presque trois décennies. Il s’agissait d’une sorte d’adresse à ma communauté d’origine dont l’organe prétendument représentatif avait réagi avec alacrité aux déclarations de l’ancien président Giscard d’Estaing, selon qui les Français considéraient désormais l’immigration excessive comme une invasion. J’incitais le judaïsme organisé à la réflexion.
J’écrivais notamment que «les responsables juifs ne devaient pas se montrer d’un réalisme d’acier s’agissant d’Israël et d’un angélisme de plume s’agissant de la France». Comprendre la nécessité pour l’État juif de défendre fermement ses frontières et de se prévenir démographiquement d’un mortel «droit au retour» des Arabes de Palestine mais accepter de voir celles de la France ouvertes à tous les vents, sans craindre pour sa sécurité ou son identité.
Je confessais, en tant que fils d’immigrés, ne me sentir aucune solidarité naturelle avec un ouvrier islamiste de chez Talbot. Enfin, je prévenais du leurre mortel, de ne monter la garde avec une vigilance obsessionnelle qu’en scrutant jour et nuit la seule ligne de Front National au risque d’être pris à revers par l’immense armée islamo-gauchiste.
J’expliquais que la bête immonde avait toujours su faire peau neuve pour tromper son pauvre monde. Le président du CRIF de l’époque me tança amicalement, avec ce brin de condescendance, qui affectait à l’époque les gens de gauche qui croyaient incarner l’intelligence et la générosité.
Les 30 années qui viennent de s’écouler ne m’ont, hélas, pas cruellement démenti, et la communauté nationale-juive comprise, a depuis largement pris la mesure de la bêtise xénophile et de la vanité de la démagogie gauchisante qui auront par leur terrorisme intellectuel permanent favorisé le terrorisme criminel.
Voilà pourquoi, après Ilan Halimi, après Merah, après Nemmouche, après l’Hyper-Casher, après le vendredi 13 novembre, lire encore sous la plume du président du CRIF un appel à voter contre le seul FN «populiste», sans la moindre référence aux dangers de l’extrême gauche populiste, m’aura plongé dans un état d’hébétude sidérée. Les socialistes se sont alliés une fois de plus au PC et aux Verts. L’obscénité d’un tel accouplement ne méritait-elle pas la même réprobation?
-J’ai rappelé à plusieurs reprises dans ces mêmes colonnes que plusieurs municipalités communistes de la région parisienne (Aubervilliers, Stains, Pierrefitte, Valenton, Bezons, la Courneuve, Vitry, Gennevilliers etc.…) ont fait citoyens d’honneur de leur commune des terroristes tueurs de juifs en France comme en Israël.
Comment, après les récents massacres, des représentants des juifs de France peuvent-ils encore tolérer de tels accommodements lorsqu’ils se piquent de vouloir donner des consignes de vote? Ne voient-ils pas, pour ne prendre qu’un exemple parmi mille, qu’il existe un populisme islamo-gauchiste mortifère qui fait que l’on découvre soudainement des centaines de cégétistes islamistes radicaux dans nos aéroports?
-Les Verts français font montre depuis toujours d’un antisionisme radical et permanent. Jacques Boutault, leur représentant dans le 11e arrondissement, était présent en juillet 2014 lors d’une manifestation après Gaza aux côtés de progressistes qui criaient «mort aux juifs!». Jean-François Placé et François de Rugy, qui ont heureusement quitté ce parti «pas comme les autres», ont eu la clairvoyance de dénoncer ce travers antisioniste pathologique.
Il est vrai que certains notables juifs de France ne sont pas très différents de certains de leurs alter ego européens. C’est ainsi que dans l’édition du Jérusalem Post du 3 décembre, le remarquable éditorialiste Isi Leibler, tempérait l’extatisme pour les migrants de certains de ces caciques désinvoltes. Il raconte la récente visite du grand rabbin britannique Éphraïm Marvis dans un camp de réfugiés de Macédoine: celui-ci après n’avoir pas hésité à comparer la situation de ceux-là avec la Shoah… fut invité à dissimuler sa kippa sous une casquette de base-ball pour ne pas les offenser … (également dans le London Jewish Chronicle).
Depuis 30 ans j’affirme que la tolérance de l’intolérable union électorale entre les socialistes et les partis islamo-gauchistes, alors que dans le même temps on vitupérait sans relâche une alliance droite-extrême droite qui n’a jamais existé, a constitué une faute politique et morale majeure.
-Elle a conféré une respectabilité à des groupes radicaux, et à leur discours, qui ne méritaient que la réprobation.
-Elle a contribué à une gauchisation par contamination d’un parti socialiste qui commence seulement à sortir imparfaitement de ses songes creux multiculturalistes, alors que le pays avait besoin d’une gauche responsable. L’appel aux prétendus représentants d’une communauté qui passe pour intelligente est lancé.
Dans ce sombre contexte, 30 ans après tant d’erreurs, trente jours après la dernière saignée, que l’organe censé représenter les juifs de France, qui pour la plupart ont bien compris, n’ait toujours rien appris, en se conduisant comme une sorte de succursale d’un SOS-Racisme en faillite, qu’il n’ait toujours pas guéri d’une hémiplégie intellectuelle et morale qui a tant coûté, défie l’entendement. Il n’est pourtant pas interdit aux prétendus représentants d’une communauté qui passe pour intelligente de réfléchir entre deux massacres.
6000 PELERINS A BETHLEEM POUR LA CELEBRATION DE LA MESSE DE MINUIT
I24, Dec. 25, 2015
Les chrétiens ont commencé à célébrer Noël à Bethléem avec l'arrivée de la procession du patriarche latin avant la traditionnelle messe de minuit dans la basilique de la Nativité, à l'endroit où le Christ est né selon la tradition biblique. 6.000 personnes, des étrangers et des Israéliens chrétiens, ont participé à la messe de minuit à Bethléem où se trouve l'Eglise de la Nativité.
La messe a été célébrée en présence du président de l'Autorité palestinienne Mahmoud Abbas. Cependant, la vague de violences qui frappe Israël et la Cisjordanie depuis trois mois a porté un rude coup au tourisme dans la région, et plus particulièrement à Bethléem, où les pèlerins étrangers étaient rares pour accueillir la procession du patriarche latin, qui part de Jérusalem.
Les reponsables de l'Autorité palestinienne redoutent l'éventualité d'attentats commis par l'Etat islamique durant les fêtes de Noël et de fin d'année à Bethléem, ville natale de Jésus, où séjournent de nombreux pélerins.
Les forces de sécurité palestiniennes, sur les dents, se sont déployées dans la ville après avoir reçu des informations sur la possibilité que des extrémistes salafistes tentent de troubler l'ordre. Elles ont procédé ces derniers jours à 16 arrestations d'extrémistes qui ont été mis en détention administrative.
Les responsables sécuritaires palestiniens ont fait part de leur crainte d'attaques avec des fusils d'assaut ou par engins explosifs contre les touristes et pélerins et contre les lieux saints chrétienVendredi en début d'après-midi, les forces de sécurité palestiniennes ont dispersé une manifestation de factions nationalistes et islamiques devant le point de contrôle de Beit El au nord de Ramallah en Cisjordanie.
Parmi les pélerins sur la place de la Mangeoire, coeur touristique de Bethléem habituellement bondé en ce jour de fête, Soeur Donatella, une religieuse italienne, affirmait qu'il était important "d'être là, pour réagir et envoyer le message de paix de Noël".
Au milieu d'une foule éparse, des dizaines de scouts palestiniens marchaient au son des cornemuses et des caisses claires de leurs fanfares, tandis que des pancartes proclamant "Solidarité avec la Palestine" venaient rappeler les violences qui chaque jour endeuillent la Terre Sainte.
Cette année à Bethléem, a annoncé le patriarche latin de Jérusalem Fouad Twal, la messe de Noël sera dédiée aux victimes du "terrorisme, cette idéologie mortifère, fondée sur le fanatisme et l'intransigeance religieuse qui répand la terreur et la barbarie au milieu d’innocents". En leur hommage, la plus haute autorité catholique romaine en Terre sainte a invité "chaque paroisse à éteindre pendant cinq minutes les lumières de l’arbre de Noël, en signe de solidarité".
Dans plusieurs pays, et pas seulement dans la région,Noël est en partie éclipsée par les violences des djihadistes. En France, où des attentats revendiqués par l'EI ont fait 130 morts en novembre, la sécurité a été renforcée à l'entrée des églises durant les messes de Noël. Comme dans d'autres lieux publics, il conviendra de faire ouvrir les manteaux, a préconisé le ministère de l'Intérieur.
En Syrie, c'est dans l'angoisse que les chrétiens de villages menacés par l'EI s'apprêtent à passer la fête de la Nativité. En Somalie, pays à majorité musulmane, le gouvernement est allé jusqu'à interdire les célébrations de Noël et du Nouvel An au motif qu'elles pourraient susciter des attaques des islamistes shebab.
Faisant état de "possibles menaces contre les Occidentaux", les ambassades des Etats-Unis et de Grande-Bretagne à Pékin ont demandé à leurs ressortissants d'éviter un quartier animé de la capitale durant les fêtes de Noël. Des avertissement très inhabituels dans cette métropole.
BENNETT ANNONCE L’OUVERTURE DE LA PREMIERE UNIVERSITE POUR LES ARABES ISRAELIENS
Times of Israel, 22 dec., 2015
Le ministre de l’Éducation Naftali Bennett a annoncé lundi la création de la première université pour les Arabes israéliens, affirmant que cette mesure aiderait à combler les lacunes entre les Arabes et les Juifs, tout en dissuadant les membres de la communauté arabe de quitter le pays pour étudier à l’étranger.
« L’objectif de la création d’une université, au-delà de la question de l’égalité, est d’empêcher les citoyens arabes d’étudier dans les institutions des pays arabes ou à Hébron », a déclaré Bennett, selon le quotidien Israel Hayom. L’assemblée générale du Conseil israélien de l’enseignement supérieur se réunit mardi pour approuver un appel d’offres pour gérer un cadre académique dans une communauté arabe dans le nord d’Israël.
« Ceci est historique pour la communauté arabe et ceci est historique pour l’Etat d’Israël », a déclaré Bennett au début d’une réunion de sa faction. « Cela ne fait aucun doute que le peuple arabe n’a pas d’institution académique d’excellence, adapté à la demande et qui fait progresser l’égalité dans la société israélienne ».
Le ministre de l’Education a déclaré qu’il avait ordonné des modifications budgétaires qui pourraient bénéficier à la population arabe et fournir des heures supplémentaires d’enseignement pour les élèves dans les régions pauvres, les secteurs arabes de l’éducation qui sont près des villes en développement juives, et les localités bédouines dispersées.
Concernant son interdiction sur l’intervention de l’organisation controversée Breaking the Silence dans les écoles secondaires, Bennett a déclaré que sa décision n’a pas changé malgré « la pression des diverses directions ». L’ONG recueille des témoignages des soldats de Tsahal sur les violations présumées des droits de l’Homme au sein de l’armée.
« Breaking the Silence monte le monde contre les soldats des forces de l’armée israélienne et ils n’entreront pas dans les écoles en Israël », a-t-il asséné. « Nos écoles sont destinées à l’éducation, aux valeurs, à l’éthique, au sionisme. Nos écoles éduquent vers une induction significative dans l’armée, vers un service moral ». Breaking the Silence n’est pas un organisme éducateur mais destructeur et n’a pas sa place dans les écoles israéliennes, a déclaré Bennett.
LANCEMENT DU GUANGDONG TECHNION ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY EN CHINE
16 Décembre 2015, le Technion a lancé le Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT), le premier campus israélien en Chine. Situé à Shantou dans la province du Guangdong, la GTIIT est un partenariat historique entre le Technion et l’Université de Shantou qui offrira des cycles innovants de haut niveau et axés sur la recherche ainsi que les études supérieures.
Parmi les lumières présentes à la cérémonie d’inauguration on peut noter celle du Président du Technion le Professeur Peretz Lavie et le Président ATS Zahava Bar-Nir. Le GTIIT a été conçu pour créer non seulement un nouvel établissement scolaire, mais une nouvelle ère de la recherche coopérative entre Israël et la Chine dans la science, l’ingénierie et les sciences de la vie. Pour les Chinois, le GTIIT apporte la direction du Technion sur la création d’un institut technique d’excellence, ainsi que d’une dose stimulante d’esprit d’entreprise, typiquement israélien, à un niveau stratégique.
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The Real Palestinian Christmas Show: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Dec. 23, 2015 — As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas even tomorrow, their television screens will be filled with the usual images from Bethlehem. Mideast Christians Deserve U.S. Refuge: Abraham Cooper & Yitzchok Adlerstein, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 17, 2015— Donald Trump’s bizarre proposal to bar all Muslim immigrants from the U.S. has overshadowed a more legitimate concern regarding religion and immigration: Middle East Christians who are desperate to escape the genocidal campaign against them by Islamic State.
For Many, Faith Comes at a High Price: Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, Dec. 19, 2015— AS we celebrate the holidays, let’s remember that this is one of those savage epochs when some families must choose between their faith and their lives.
Who’s Oppressing Palestinian Christians? Georgetown Lecture Blames Israel: Cinnamon Stillwell, Jihad Watch, Oct. 21, 2015 — Amid widespread and ongoing Islamist attacks against Christians in the Middle East, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, co-founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, informed an audience at Georgetown University that “the government of Israel” and Israeli “settlers” pose the greatest threat to Palestinian Christians.
"One Christian Slaughtered Every Five Minutes": Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 14, 2015
This Christmas, Israel Celebrates New Trend of Israeli Arab Christians Joining IDF: Abra Forman, Times of Israel, Dec. 23, 2015
Groundbreaking Documentary “Sounds the Alarm” on Christian Genocide Worldwide: Tsivya Fox, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 20, 2015
But ISIS Kills More Muslims Than Non-Muslims!: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Dec. 18, 2015
Jonathan S. Tobin
Commentary, Dec. 23, 2015
As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas even tomorrow, their television screens will be filled with the usual images from Bethlehem. We won’t hear much if anything about how that city’s once largely Christian population has been driven out by a rising tide of Islamist fervor and the Palestinian leadership’s desire for continued conflict rather than peace with Israel. Palestinians leaders will, as they do every year, speak of their suffering and recycle myths about Israeli persecution of Christians that are eagerly lapped up by credulous journalists. Then they will promote their own bizarre version of replacement theology in which the historical Jesus becomes, as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas likes to call a “Palestinian messenger.” The whole point of the show is to damage Israel’s reputation in the West and justify its isolation. But the real Palestinian Christmas show involves behavior that won’t be part of the Christmas Eve broadcasts.
Today, as they have virtually ever day for the past three months, individual Palestinian terrorists struck in attempts to kill random Jews they encounter on the streets. In this instance, it took place at the Jaffa Gates to the Old City of Jerusalem, a site familiar to tourists. Two Jews were killed after being set upon by two Palestinians who were killed by police that tried, in vain, to save the victims. That raised the toll to 24 Jews slain in this so-called “stabbing intifada.” More than 100 Palestinians, the vast majority of them terrorists cut down during the course of their attacks have also died.
Yet the same Palestinian leaders like Abbas who will speak tomorrow of Jesus’s message and of a desire for “peace on earth” and “justice” have also played a principle role in inciting these bloody attacks. It is the same Abbas who spoke just a few months ago about the need for Palestinians to prevent “stinking Jewish feet” from polluting holy places sacred to all three monotheistic faiths and who praises those who try to butcher Jews as “martyrs” that will be allowed to grandstand on international television tomorrow. And it is also the same Abbas that refused multiple Israeli offers of peace and statehood, in spite of his claims that this is what he wants.
But, of course, Abbas isn’t the only source of Palestinian leadership. Though they will not put on a Christmas show for the world, Hamas is also making its presence felt. Unlike Abbas’s Fatah Party, those Islamists make no pretense of respecting Christianity. But it is fear of competition from the rulers of Gaza that impels Abbas to continue to stoke the fires of conflict when not preening for the foreign press.
Hamas is observing the cease-fire that has for the most part been preserved along the border with Gaza since the 50-day war with Israel ending in the summer of 2014. It doesn’t want another all-out battle such as the one that devastated the Strip after they initiated a new round of fighting with terrorist murders and by launching several thousand rockets at Israeli cities, towns and villages. But it is also mindful of the fact that Israel is equally wary of having to launch another ground assault on this heavily fortified terrorist base that is for all intents and purposes an independent Palestinian state.
But Hamas is not content to let the conflict be put on a back burner. It is actively seeking to foment terrorism in the West Bank ostensibly run by Abbas as well as within Israel itself. That’s the motivation for the terror cell and bomb factory that was uncovered by Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and announced on Wednesday. The cell was swept up before it could be put into operation, but the implications of its existence are far-reaching. It consisted of at least the 25 Palestinians that have been arrested, the majority of whom apparently were students at Al Quds University in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis. The group operated a laboratory for making explosives and was reportedly under the direct control of the Hamas leadership in Gaza.
The goal of its operations was to transform the stabbing intifada into an even more bloody wave of terror. Suicide bombings reminiscent of the second intifada that raged in the last decade would have untold consequences for Palestinians as well as Israelis.
Apologists for the Palestinians will say that Israeli intransigence and a refusal to stop building settlements in the West Bank or relinquish territory is the reason for both the stabbings and Hamas plans. But that is a story line that only those who haven’t been paying attention to events in the region can believe. Abbas has boasted of his refusal to accept Israeli offers, and Arafat did the same. Though the PA speaks of its acceptance of a two-state solution, they’ve proven over and again that they refuse to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. As for Hamas, it makes no pretense of wanting anything but Israel’s destruction and the slaughter of its people.
Though their methods differ and the PA is ironically dependent on Israeli security for its continued rule in the West Bank, neither has any intention of making peace in the foreseeable future. That’s why Israel continues to be stuck with its “occupation” of the West Bank even though the vast majority of its people would accept a division of the country in exchange for real peace. The problem is that they know pulling back from the West Bank, even including the dismantling of settlements, would produce the same results as in Gaza where every Jew, soldier, and settlement was withdrawn.
Those are the key facts to remember when you see tomorrow night’s Christmas show from Bethlehem that will be repeated in an endless loop the following day on the news channels. The reality of Palestinian Christmas isn’t the prayers of victims for freedom. Rather it is of a continued determination to wage a terror war against the descendants of the real Jesus as opposed to the Palestinian myth.
Abraham Cooper & Yitzchok Adlerstein
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 17, 2015
Donald Trump’s bizarre proposal to bar all Muslim immigrants from the U.S. has overshadowed a more legitimate concern regarding religion and immigration: Middle East Christians who are desperate to escape the genocidal campaign against them by Islamic State. Islamist terror attacks like the ones in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have underlined the need for more and better vetting of refugees from the Middle East who seek safety in the U.S. But with tens of thousands pushing at the gate, who should to get first preference?
In our view, as rabbis, any immediate admissions should focus on providing a haven for the remnants of historic Christian communities of the Middle East. Christians in Iraq and Syria have been suffering longer than other groups, and are fleeing not just for safety but because they have been targeted for extinction. In a region strewn with desperate people, their situation is even more dire. Christians (and Yazidis, ethnic Kurds who follow a pre-Islamic religion) have long been targeted by Muslim groups—not only Islamic State, or ISIS—for ethnic cleansing. Churches have been burned, priests arrested.
In the worst cases, Christians have been tortured, raped and even crucified. Mosul, Iraq, which was home to a Christian population of 35,000 a decade ago, is now empty of Christians after an ISIS ultimatum that they either convert to Islam or be executed. In Syria, Gregorios III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, said in 2013 that “entire villages” have been “cleared of their Christian inhabitants.”
Unlike some others, Middle East Christians have nowhere else to go. As a result of turmoil not of their making and beyond their control, these Christians are the region’s ultimate homeless. Should some sort of peace ever return, the likelihood is that maps will be redrawn, carving up the pie among larger ethnic groups. There will be no place for Christians among hostile Muslim populations.
The animosity toward Christians is illustrated by a horrific incident earlier this year off the Italian coast. In April, Italian police investigating events on a boat that had departed from Libya said 12 Christian refugees who were attempting to cross the sea to Europe were thrown overboard by Muslim migrant passengers, and drowned. The U.S. can do much good for Christian refugees. Their religious heritage establishes an important basis of commonality in the many Christian communities in our country.
When Secretary of State John Kerry announced in September that the U.S. will accept as many as 100,000 refugees by 2017, many of them Syrian, the State Department provided a list of more than 300 agencies in 190 locations that would assist on the local level. Of those agencies, no less than 215 are Christian. It makes sense to play to the strengths of those agencies. Success in dealing with the first wave of immigrants will help build bipartisan support for other refugees from the Middle East to come to America.
Tragically, present policy does not take into account the uniquely precarious situation of displaced Christians. Instead of receiving priority treatment, Christians are profoundly disadvantaged. For instance, the State Department has accepted refugees primarily from lists prepared by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, which oversees the large camps to which refugees have flocked, and where they are registered. Yet endangered Christians do not dare enter those camps.
George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote in the Telegraph in Britain in September that a similar protocol in the U.K. “inadvertently discriminates against the very Christian communities most victimised by the inhuman butchers of the so-called Islamic State. Christians are not to be found in the UN camps, because they have been attacked and targeted by Islamists and driven from them.” U.S. missteps and missed opportunities in the region contributed to the crises that disproportionately affected Christians. America’s policy should immediately be amended to include these refugees at the top of the list. Opening America’s doors to them first is the right thing to do.
New York Times, Dec. 19, 2015
AS we celebrate the holidays, let’s remember that this is one of those savage epochs when some families must choose between their faith and their lives. It is an echo of when Nero burned Christians alive, or when self-described Christians unleashed pogroms against Jews.
Partly because of allergies about religion, the international response has been utterly ineffective. Liberals are sometimes reluctant to champion Christians who are persecuted for their faith. And conservatives are too quick to champion only Christians, neglecting other religious minorities — such as the Yazidis — who suffer even worse fates. One result of this “God gulf” is that the Western response to atrocities against religious oppression is pathetically inadequate.
The Islamic State in October released a video that is a stomach-wrenching glimpse of the worst kind of religious repression. Three Syrian Christian men, one a doctor, are made to kneel in the desert in orange jumpsuits and state their religion. Behind each is an executioner who then uses a handgun to fire a bullet into the back of each Christian’s head.
Some Christian leaders in America want President Obama to declare that a genocide is underway against Christians in the Middle East. I don’t think I’d call it a genocide, but it is absolutely the religious version of an ethnic cleansing. In 1910, Christians made up 14 percent of the population of the Middle East. Today they are about 4 percent, the result of emigration, lower birthrates — and religious repression that threatens the viability of Christianity in much of the region where it was born. The United States bears some responsibility, for in Iraq our invasion in 2003 led to a drastic worsening of this ethnic cleansing. The number of Christians in Iraq has fallen by half since 2003, and a religious minority called the Mandeans says that almost 90 percent of its members have been killed or have fled Iraq, according to an indispensable report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The most repressed group in the Middle East may be the Yazidis, an ancient group with their own monotheistic religion. In August 2014, the Islamic State invaded Yazidi areas, immediately killing some 5,000 people, mostly men. About 3,000 women and girls were kidnapped and, in many cases, turned into sex slaves. One was just 9 years old and handed over to an ISIS fighter to be raped; no one knows what happened to her.
Laila Khoudeida, a Yazidi woman who came to the United States in 1999 and is now a social worker in Nebraska, spends her evenings offering long-distance counseling to Yazidi women and girls who have escaped their captors. She told me of Hedya, who was 16 when ISIS fighters seized her family. ISIS fighters first shot Hedya’s father in front of her, and then turned Hedya and her mother into sex slaves, Khoudeida says. Hedya’s mother managed to escape, but Hedya was caught and badly beaten. Eventually, after more than a year of sexual slavery, Hedya escaped a few weeks ago. But because of the beatings and rapes, Hedya suffers head injuries and internal pelvic pain. The psychological trauma is also devastating: She spends much of her time sobbing.
It’s not just ISIS that is the problem. Iran goes out of its way to persecute its Bahai minority. Many nations persecute Ahmadis as heretics. In many countries, including Egypt, with its large Coptic Christian population, Christians and other minorities feel newly insecure. And the most common targets of persecution in Muslim countries are Muslims themselves, in part because of the de facto civil war between Shiite and Sunni factions. Some of the greatest venom in the Middle East is from Sunni groups disparaging Shiites.
While the villains are often Muslims, so too are the heroes. When Iran charged a Christian pastor with apostasy, it was a brave Muslim lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who defended him and won his acquittal — but Iran then sentenced Dadkhah to prison on vague political charges for nine years. He is a model of leadership in speaking out against the religious persecution of people of another faith…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jihad Watch, Oct. 21, 2015
Amid widespread and ongoing Islamist attacks against Christians in the Middle East, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, co-founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, informed an audience at Georgetown University that “the government of Israel” and Israeli “settlers” pose the greatest threat to Palestinian Christians.
A Palestinian Anglican priest now living in the U.S, Ateek’s claims are typical of Sabeel, an organization that advocates “resistance to the Israeli occupation” by blaming the plight of Palestinian Christians on Jews rather than Islamic supremacism in Palestinian society.
The recent lecture sponsored by Georgetown’s Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) was titled “Christians in the Holy Land” and included Jonathan Kuttab, co-founder of the Mandela Institute for Palestinian Prisoners. About fifteen students, faculty members, and activists, including School of Foreign Service Professor Yvonne Haddad and Kathy Aquilina, program director of the non-profit organization Initiatives of Change, attended the discussion.
In keeping with ACMCU events, Ateek and Kuttab were in agreement on almost all of the issues and no alternate point of view was represented. Despite strong evidence of media bias against Israel, particularly in coverage of the current crisis, Ateek claimed that the American media is hiding “what’s really happening” from the public.
The news is terrible when you’re looking at what the settlers are doing, what the government of Israel is doing. . . . It’s very extreme. I think people need to know and the news does not reflect the reality of the situation back at home. . . . If they [Americans] would see what’s happening there, I think they would begin to change but they are not able to see.
Pointing to Israel’s demographics, Kuttab, a human rights attorney, argued that the government is not pluralistic: “Israel thinks if they become less than 51 percent they would be totally squashed, and as long as they have the 51 percent majority, they can squash the non-Jews. The problem is with the basic premise that Israel is and was intended to be a Jewish state for Jews rather than a state for Jews and Arabs who happen to be indigenous.”
To the contrary, Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, currently has thirteen Arab members, while the country is one of the few in the region where Arabs, including women, have the right to vote. Moreover, according to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2014, Israel’s Supreme Court has “repeatedly held that the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty protects freedom to practice religious beliefs.”
Yet, to hear Ateek tell it: “Almost at every level of life, almost every level of life, the situation is getting bad. If we’re looking at Israel, not the occupied Palestine, Israel itself, the question of the Christian schools – they are having a hard time now. Israel is cutting off the funding which the government gives to the private schools.”
In fact, Israel recently began funding private Christian schools following a month-long strike. Public schools, regardless of religious affiliation, have always received full government funding.
Ateek then used one incident to paint a picture of widespread anti-Christian persecution: “They see some of these right-wing settlers or extremist Jews targeting Christians. For example, the church in Tiberias near the Sea of Galilee is burned because it is a Christian Church and Israel has not done much about it. They’re now trying to pay for it, but in the beginning they said they were not going to pay for it, so things are worse than what people think.”
Israeli authorities indicted two Jewish suspects in connection with the June, 2015 arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, while Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein overruled the tax authority’s denial of payment of damages. In addition to the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee donating funds to help rebuild the church, thousands of people attended a June 21 solidarity rally and church officials have reported an upsurge in support from Israelis of all faiths.
Undeterred by the facts, Ateek continued: “You’re really dealing with people who are very extremist Jews who do not want to see Christians – that’s it’s a Jewish country and it’s only for Jews. It’s against democracy, which means everyone has a place, and I think that’s becoming less and less back home.”
From such statements, one would never know that “extremist Jews” make up a tiny portion of the population and that their acts have been condemned by both Israeli authorities and American Jewish groups. This is in marked contrast to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, both of whom employ genocidal language, incite violence against Jews as a matter of course, and have never apologized for doing so. Attempting to portray Christians and Muslims as victims of Jewish aggression, Ateek concluded, “They don’t differentiate between a Christian and a Muslim. We are in the same boat together in this.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
"One Christian Slaughtered Every Five Minutes": Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 14, 2015—Throughout September, as more Christians were slaughtered and persecuted for their religion — not just by the Islamic State but by "everyday" Muslims from all around the world — increasing numbers of people and organizations called for action. Meanwhile, those best placed to respond — chief among them U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis — did nothing.
This Christmas, Israel Celebrates New Trend of Israeli Arab Christians Joining IDF: Abra Forman, Times of Israel, Dec. 23, 2015 —As Christmas approaches, an Israeli priest is spearheading a program to dramatically increase the number of Christian Arabs enlisting and serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. The Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, led by Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, aims to double the number of Christian Arabs enlisting and serving in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Groundbreaking Documentary “Sounds the Alarm” on Christian Genocide Worldwide: Tsivya Fox, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 20, 2015 —In nearly every Islamic country worldwide, religious minorities are being persecuted at unprecedented levels. Hundreds are murdered each day and already thousands have become refugees fleeing from religious persecution. Places of worship have been torched or raised and yet, there is no world outcry.
But ISIS Kills More Muslims Than Non-Muslims!: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Dec. 18, 2015 —With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, or IS), an old apologia meant to exonerate Islam of violence has become prominent, again. Because ISIS is killing other Muslims, so the argument goes, obviously, its violence cannot be based on Islam, which bans Muslims from killing fellow Muslims in its name.
While Ottawa focuses only on bringing the Syrian migrants, continuing to ignore the problems inherent in their decision, they are ignoring hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim minorities, targeted for immediate genocide by ISIS. At the top of the list are the ancient Yazidi people, then the Chaldo Assyrian Christians. But all non-Muslim minorities – the Mandaens, the Bahai, Shebak, Turkoman – in northern Iraq and Syria are threatened.
In August, 2014, the Islamic State attacked northern Iraq, home to over 400,000 Yazidis. The UN confirmed that 5,00O men were executed and as many as 7,000 women and girls were made sex slaves. Last month, German broadcasters produced footage documenting the slave trade being conducted through an office in Turkey near the border with Syria. "IS offers women and underage children in a kind of virtual slave market with for sale photos." Germany has committed to taking in immediately, 1000 of these ISIS victims for special treatment.
There are more than 25,000 Yazidi refugees currently languishing in Turkey and Syria according to Mirza Ismail, Chair Yazidi Human Rights Organization International. "They are abused by the Muslim authorities in charge, denied food and medicine. Or they can't get into UN refugee camps at all since the Muslims who dominate the camps do not want them there," he said. Daily, desperate Yazidi refugees are risking their lives, fleeing to Greece via the Aegean Sea on tube boats and on foot to Bulgaria. Since December 10, more than 40 have drowned. Majid Abdal a Yazidi who lives now in Toronto, lost his cousins, five children and their parents.
The same for the Chaldo Assyrian Christians who have repeatedly been forced to renounce their religion or die. Enslavement, rape; their churches destroyed."
Ismail is recently back from Washington where he testified to a sub-committee hearing of the US Committee on Foreign Affairs, Genocidal Attacks Against Christian and Other Religious Minorities in the Middle East. Obama too, is focusing only on Syrian refugees. Chairman Smith voiced the concern of the Committee that "the Yazidis, Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities are facing genocide. Their lives are at risk from ISIS". They declared them "a refugee crisis". "We are giving lip service to Never Again," said Chairman Smith. "We must act".
Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said: "There is a concern with this large volume in such a short period of time, that adequate vetting may not be occurring…these individuals could represent a threat to America given our porous border."
It's impossible to screen the Syrians for security since the institutions where they could be checked in Damascus no longer function. There are no records available. Furthermore, said Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann, no criminal records doesn't eliminate the possibility of terrorists. "The 9/ll hijackers had no criminal records, nor the Boston marathon bombers or the San Bernardino shooters. These are no anti-Muslim statements; they're facts. Not all are bad, but some are. We are asking our border officials to do the impossible, to try and figure out what's inside someone's mind and to figure out what a person is going to be thinking tomorrow."
"Also," he added, "we are not pulling people (Syrians) out of the battlefield or people who are on the run. We are pulling people out of Jordan and Turkey who have been there for months, even years." Now we discover that many of those, an estimated six percent of eligible Syrian refugees, are not interested in coming to Canada, hoping to be able to return to their home country.
In February, ISIS sent a message to the world, that they had 5,000 of their recruits planted among the Syrians coming into Europe. In Lebanon, where one in five is a Syrian refugee, the Minister of Education stated there were 20,000 jihadi terrorists among them. More than half of them were migrants from other countries in the Middle East or even farther, with faked Syrian passports.
A new report announced on CNN, warned that based on US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's intelligence sources, ISIS has access to passport printing machines and blank passport books. They have announced publicly that they are sending their fighters to infiltrate Western nations by hiding them amongst refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
For Jews, these persecuted peoples, abandoned by the world, strikes a painful, familiar chord. It evokes the anguish of the Jews of the thirties threatened with Nazi genocide. Then too, the world was silent. Jews were quick to respond. Soon after the initial attack by ISIS last Augusts, Canadian Jews and Friends of Yazidis formed in Toronto. They were making inroads with the previous government, but, reported head of the group, Rananah Gemeiner, she has called John McCallum, Minister of Immigration and Refugees repeatedly for an "immediate emergency meeting regarding the Yazidis and other minorities deserving priority refugee consideration," and received no answer. Nor has Mirza Ismail.
Many, including President Obama, say the situation of Syrian refugees is similar to the plight of the Jews in WW11. But Jews were never a terror threat; there is evidence terrorists and radical Islamists are hiding among the Syrians. Jews were singled out for persecution by the Nazis; it is the Yazidis, the Christians and other non-Muslim minorities who are being hunted down by ISIS. Jews had nowhere to go; Syrian refugees should have many places to go especially among the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The majority are migrants, not refugees as defined by international law. They include those who have found shelter but prefer to go to the Western countries.
The situation of the homeless Syrians is dreadful and heart wrenching. But choices must be made; priorities established. On humanitarian grounds, the Yazidis and other minority groups should receive priority because they are the most persecuted in the Middle East and have nowhere else to go. They present no social adaptation or security problems and face daily genocide and imminent extinction.
Dr. Catherine Chatterley Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism has stated; "Special priority should be given to the orphans, specially girls and young women, who are the most vulnerable to sexual assault and exploitation in refugee camps and the victims of ISIS's rape culture of sexual slavery.