Month: April 2016

PHOTO REPORT: GALA 2016 IN TORONTO

 

 

Toronto, April 12, 2016

ISRAEL IN SPACE: CIJR GALA

 

 

Hyatt Regency, April 12

 

Right to left: Alan Herman, Co-Chair, Toronto Chapther, CIJR; Jack Kincler, National Chairman, CIJR; Prof. Zelina Iskanderova, Head of Space Materials Department, ITL Inc.; Irit Stopper, Deputy Consul General of Israel in Toronto; Doris Epstein, Co-Chair, Toronto Chapther, CIJR

 

Mr. J. Kincler presents the Keynote Speaker

 

Keynote Speaker Tal Inbar addresses the guests

 

Mr.Tal Inbar, Head, Space Research Center, Fisher Institute for Air&Space Strategic Studies

 

Student advocate Ariella Daniels, York U

 

Special Video Message from Steve Maclean, Former Canadian Astronaut

 

Right to left: Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director, CIJR; 2016 Gala Honorees Mrs. Simone Sherman and Mr. David Sherman

 

 

“PEACE PROCESS” ADVOCATES IGNORE KEY OBSTACLE TO PEACE: PALESTINIAN REFUSAL TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL

French Toast: Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom, Apr. 22, 2016— It comes as no surprise that the honchos in Ramallah are welcoming the French initiative to hold a summit of world foreign ministers to discuss and plan an international Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.

The Peace Process Is an Obstacle to Peace: Michael Mandelbaum, Commentary, Apr. 14, 2016— The American presidency has accumulated a number of traditions that anyone holding the office is expected to perpetuate.

Sorry to Tell You, But….: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 22, 2016— My dear friends, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.

What is Zochrot Really Remembering?: Asaf Romirowsky, Times of Israel, Apr. 14, 2016— On March 21-22 the Israeli NGO Zochrot held its “Third International Conference on the Return of Palestinian Refugees“ in Tel Aviv.

 

On Topic Links

 

Palestinians Push French Peace Initiative: Rory Jones, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 6, 2016

The "Two State Solution": Irony and Truth: Louis René Beres, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 27, 2016

Biden’s Untimely Assault on Israel: Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, Apr. 19, 2016

Israeli Arabs’ Hostility to State Leaves No Room for Compromise: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Apr, 3 2016

 

 

 

FRENCH TOAST

Ruthie Blum

Israel Hayom, Apr. 22, 2016

 

It comes as no surprise that the honchos in Ramallah are welcoming the French initiative to hold a summit of world foreign ministers to discuss and plan an international Israeli-Palestinian peace conference. The Palestinian Authority knows full well that "peace" is a euphemism for complete Israeli capitulation to Palestinian demands, with nothing but bloodshed in return. Indeed, if PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his henchmen were actually interested in bringing about an end to conflict with Israel, they could do so in a split second — you know, by putting a stop to their own behavior. This includes, but is not restricted to, glorifying and funding the families of terrorists, particularly those who die for the cause in the process of killing Jews.

 

Contrary to what those who are either not paying attention or who hate the Jewish state for their own reasons may believe, Abbas' ultimate goal is neither peace nor its companion misnomer, a "two-state solution." No, his aim is to retain an international stamp of legitimacy as a world leader, to protect him from assassination on the one hand and oblivion on the other, and to keep the dollars and euros flowing. Palestinian statehood is therefore not in his interest. But pretending to strive for it while portraying himself and his people as victims of Israeli "occupation" and "brutality" is what he's really after. Meanwhile, he benefits from the West's ostrich syndrome — the very phenomenon responsible for the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism; the one that keeps Palestinian murder machines like Hezbollah in clover. And armed to the teeth.

 

This is all very old news, as is the fact that an ever-declining Europe and the United States under President Barack Obama would prefer to abdicate all political, moral and military superiority to Third World Islamist thugs than call the shots. It is this Western trait that is at the root of hostility to Israel, which — in spite of its all-too-Jewish inclination to follow suit — dares to defend and steel itself to the Cheshire Cat smiles of its sworn enemies and wagging fingers of its alleged friends. The irony is that Abbas, like the ayatollahs in Tehran, would be the first to agree with this assessment. Indeed, it is the one thing on which Israel and the Palestinians agree, though the latter would never admit it in any language other than Arabic. Nor do PA apologists bother to believe the translations of such sentiments into English, French or German. They would rather spend their energy interpreting the forked-tongue dialect of parties with whom they insist on engaging in diplomacy.

 

Which brings us back to the Paris plan for renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians. To avoid being left with scrambled egg on its face, France has decided that the only foreign ministers who will not be invited to next month's pre-peace-conference summit are those of — you guessed it — Israel and the PA. PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki was not too happy about this. But he did receive reassurance from the French that the initiative would not be hindered "in any way" by the Palestinian draft of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as the true obstacle to "peace."

 

Never mind little details like Monday's bus bombing in Jerusalem, perpetrated by a Palestinian terrorist from Bethlehem, who apparently botched the bigger job he had in mind when the explosive device he was carrying went off before he reached his destination. According to American officials, he may not even have been a terrorist in the conventional sense, but rather one of those "lone wolves" — or, as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called them, "misguided cowards." Yes, across the ocean, Biden took to the podium at the left-wing J Street conference to chastise the Jewish state, which was still reeling from the 20 wounded victims of the latest act of bloody aggression against innocent people going about their business, in this case, Passover preparations.

 

"I firmly believe that the actions that Israel's government has taken over the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they're moving us and more importantly they're moving Israel in the wrong direction," Biden said, reiterating his administration's "overwhelming frustration" with Israel and "profound questions" about its ability to remain both Jewish and democratic without further and more massive territorial withdrawals than it has already made. Biden failed to mention that all previous Israeli attempts to appease the Palestinians resulted in terrorism the likes of which European capitals haven't even begun to experience — though it appears they are starting to get a taste of it.

Still, they tell themselves that Islamic State terrorism is a different kettle of fish from that of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And that Israel is ultimately a provocateur. It is thus that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to reports of the upcoming "ministerial" summit and precursor to a wider peace conference with disdain. "Can anyone explain what this initiative is about? Even the French don't know," he said.                                                                

 

Contents

THE PEACE PROCESS IS AN OBSTACLE TO PEACE

Michael Mandelbaum                                                    

Commentary, Apr. 14, 2016

The American presidency has accumulated a number of traditions that anyone holding the office is expected to perpetuate. Examples include delivering the State of the Union address to Congress, lighting the national Christmas tree, and presiding over the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. The next president will no doubt continue all three. If he or she follows the pattern established by the most recent incumbents, however, the result of the peace process will be failure. Indeed, the continuation of the peace process as it has been practiced will not simply be futile: It will be positively harmful. The conduct of the peace process has made peace less likely. If it is to continue at all, a fundamental change in the American approach is needed.

 

Successive administrations have failed at the peace process because they have not understood—or not admitted to themselves—the nature of the conflict they have been trying to resolve. In the eyes of the American officials engaged in this long-running endeavor, making peace has been akin to a labor negotiation. Each side, they have believed, has desired a resolution, and the task of the United States has been to find a happy medium, a set of arrangements that both sides could accept. In fact, each side has wanted the conflict to end, but in radically different and indeed incompatible ways that have made a settlement impossible: The Israelis have wanted peace; the Palestinians have wanted the destruction of Israel.

 

At the core of the conflict, standing out like a skyscraper in a desert to anyone who cared to notice, is the Palestinian refusal to accept Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East. This attitude has existed for at least a century, since the Arab rejection of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. While much has changed in the region over those 10 decades, the conflict’s fundamental cause has not. The Palestinians’ position is expressed in their devotion to what has come to be called incitement: incessant derogatory propaganda about Jews and Israel, the denial of any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its environs, and the insistence that all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea belongs to the Arabs, making the Jews living there, in the Palestinian view, contemptible interlopers to be killed or evicted. The Palestinians’ attitude has expressed itself, as well, in their negotiators’ refusal either to accept any proposal for terminating the conflict or to offer any counterproposals of their own. The goal of eliminating Israel also lies behind Palestinian officials’ glorification as “martyrs” of those who murder Israeli civilians, giving their families financial rewards to encourage such killings.

 

American officials have either ignored or downplayed all of this. They have never emphasized its centrality to the conflict, instead focusing on Israeli control of the West Bank of the Jordan River, which the Israeli army captured from Jordan in the 1967 War and on which Israel has built towns, villages, and settlements. American officials have regarded the “occupation,” as the international community has chosen to call it, of the West Bank as the cause of the ongoing conflict. In fact, the reverse is true. It is the persistence of the conflict that keeps Israel in the West Bank. A majority of Israelis believes that retaining control of all of the territory brings high costs but that turning it over entirely to Palestinian control, given the virulent Palestinian hostility to their very existence, would incur even higher costs. A withdrawal, they have every reason to believe, would create a vacuum that anti-Israel terrorist groups would fill. Ample precedent supports this view: When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon and Gaza, two terrorist organizations—Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza—took control of the vacated territories and proceeded to launch attacks against the Jewish state.

 

While sometimes acknowledging in private that it would not bring peace, American peace processers have in the past nonetheless justified continuing the peace process on the grounds that it served American interests by making it possible to have good relations with Arab governments while at the same time sustaining close ties with Israel. According to this rationale, the Americans could tell the Arab rulers, and those rulers could tell their fervently anti-Zionist publics, that the United States was, after all, working to address their grievances.

 

In fact, the conflict never had the importance for Arab–American relations claimed for it. The Arab leaders determined their actual policies, toward the United States and toward other countries, on the basis of their own interests, above all their common interest in remaining in power, which seldom had anything to do with Israel. Now, however, with civil wars raging across the region, with the United States drawing back from the Middle East, and with their archenemy Iran becoming increasingly powerful, Arab leaders have dropped even the pretense that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians matters greatly to them.

 

The peace process has therefore become unnecessary for the United States, even by the reasoning that sustained it in the past. In its familiar form it is, however, worse than that. It has caused real damage and will continue to do so if not fundamentally changed. In fact, the American conduct of the peace process bears an unhappy resemblance to the custom of treating diseases by placing leeches on the body of the afflicted person: It was based on an inadequate understanding of the pathology it attempted to cure, it did not solve the problem it was intended to fix, and it sometimes made it substantially worse…                 

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

 

Contents

SORRY TO TELL YOU, BUT….

Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                     

Arutz Sheva, Apr. 22, 2016

 

My dear friends, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. I am sorry to tell you that the terror attacks we from which we suffer today and from which we suffered yesterday, a week ago, a month, a year and a decade and century ago, are all part of the same war, the same struggle, the same Jihad waged against us by our neighbors for over a century. Sometimes it is a full scale war with tanks, noise, flames, planes and ships and sometimes it is a war on a slow burner known as "terror" with explosions, stabbings and shots. Each of these is Jihad in Arabic, each is aimed at Jews just for being Jewish.

 

I regret to remind you of the fact that this war began way before the establishment of the Jewish state declared in 1948. The riots and massacres of 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-39 et al, were not due to a Jewish state or what our enemies call the "occupation" of 1948, and certainly not because of the 1967 "occupation". The bloody and cruel massacre of the Jews of Hevron in 1929 was carried out against Jews who were not part of the Zionist movement, quite the contrary. The Palestine Liberation Movement (Fatah) was founded, may I remind you, in 1959 and The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, years before the 1967 "occupation" that was a result of Israel winning the Six Day War.

 

I hate to point out to you that the shouts we heard, mainly in the 1948 War of Independence, were "Itbach al Yahud" – "Butcher the Jews" – and not the "Israelis" or the "Zionists," because their problem is with the Jews who refuse to be dependent on the mercy of Islam, refuse to live as dhimmi, protected ones, the way Islam mandates for Jews and Christians. In the Arab world, children still sing (in Arabic): "Palestine is our country and the Jews are our dogs." The dog, in Islamic tradition, is an unclean animal. Sharia law stipulates that if a Muslim is praying and a dog, pig, woman, Jew or Christian walks in front of him, his prayers are worthless and he must begin the entire ritual once again.

 

It is not pleasant to tell you this, but Israel's enemies' most popular chant is (in Arabic) – "Kyber, Khyber O Jews, Mohammed's army will yet return." Khyber is an oasis in the Arabian Peninsula that was populated by Jews until Mohammed slaughtered them in 626 C.E. The chant commemorates that event and threatens a repeat performance.  The Jews, according to the Koran (Sura 5, verse 82) are the most hostile enemies of the Moslems. Verse 60 states that Allah's curse and fury upon them turned them into monkeys and pigs. Since when do monkeys and pigs have the right to a state? Since when are they entitled to sovereignty?

 

Despite what you think, peace with Egypt was achieved only after Sadat realized that despite Arab efforts to destroy Israel in the 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai Campaign, the 1967 Six Day War, 1970 War of Attrition, and even the 1973 Yom Kippur War that took Israel by surprise, the Jewish state managed to push back all the Arab armies and bring the war to their territory. That is why Sadat understood that Israel is not conquerable and that there is no choice other than making peace, even if this peace is temporary and based on the precedent of the 628 C.E. Hudabiya Peace in which Mohammed gave a 10 year hiatus to the infidels of Mecca, but broke it at the end of two years when they fell asleep on the watch.

 

Yassir Arafat did not sign the Oslo Accords because he believed in peace, but because, calling it the "Hudabiya peace," he saw the agreements as a Trojan horse that would hoodwink the Jews. The only objective of the Oslo Accords was to create a Palestinian entity with an army and weapons that would be used to destroy Israel when the time was ripe. He repeated this constantly, but our decision makers explained that he is only saying it for domestic consumption, and when suicide bombers set themselves off in our streets, the victims were called "victims of peace." Since when does peace require victims? And when will the rifles we allowed them to obtain be turned on us?

 

It saddens me to tell you that all of Israel's efforts to please the Hamas Gazans failed, and Hamas went on from being a terrorist organization to becoming a terrorist state. Deathly rockets, attack tunnels, suicide bombers –  all are considered legitimate in the eyes of Gaza's Jihadist government, so to hell with the lives of the men, women and children living there, and to hell with their welfare, health  and assets. The Gazans are pawns in the hands of Hamas, the Jihad and the Salafists, all of whom appointed themselves the liaison between the residents of Gaza and Paradise, having already given them a taste of hell on earth.

 

It pains me to tell all the soul-weary peace seekers in Israel and the world, that the concrete and iron that you forced us to give the Jihadists in Gaza in order to rebuild their destroyed homes, were used to build tunnels of death both to Gazans and Israelis. Instead of building hospitals, schools and infrastructure, the Jihadists built an infrastructure of death, suffering and disaster. You were wrong again – basing your policy on pipe dreams, delusions and hopes instead of on facts and figures.

Analysts, including me, are not entirely blameless: they said in wondrous harmony that when Hamas has to bear the responsibility for food, electricity and welfare in Gaza, its leaders will become more moderate, realistic and pragmatic.

We were wrong:  Hamas, despite leaving the opposition in order to rule, has not ceased its Jihad against Israel and has not removed Israel from the top of its list of priorities, nor has it changed in the slightest its wholly negative view of the "Zionist entity." I hate to ruin the "two states for two peoples" party, but I must, because what is happening in Gaza today is exactly what will happen to the second Palestinian state you are trying to establish in Judea and Samaria. Hamas will be the winner of elections for the legislature, as they were in Gaza in January 2006, and will win the presidential elections as well. If they don't they will take over all of Judea and Samaria in a violent putsch, just as they did in Gaza in 2007. And when that happens, what will you say? "Ooops…we didn't know…we couldn't imagine…?"  So now you know and do not have to extrapolate. This should be your working hypothesis. If Gaza's Hamas is digging tunnels of death in the sand today, it will be digging through rocks to build them from Judea and Samaria – and let's see you find them and blow them up when that happens…                                                                                     

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

 

Contents

               WHAT IS ZOCHROT REALLY REMEMBERING?

         Asaf Romirowsky                                                  

Times of Israel, Apr. 14, 2016

 

On March 21-22 the Israeli NGO Zochrot held its “Third International Conference on the Return of Palestinian Refugees“ in Tel Aviv. The two-day event featured an all-star team of anti-Israeli Israeli speakers from NGOs and academia, all to promote the Palestinian “right of return.” Zochrot’s goal is “rais[ing] public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba” and “recognizing and materializing the right of return,” stressing that “the rights of the refugees to return must be accepted.” Nothing brings together Israel haters, including Americans, like the Palestinian “right of return.”

 

The name Zochrot connotes remembrance, but echoes the Jewish phrase Yizkor, a prayer said to honor the memory of dead. The point is to blame Israel for the Original Sin of its own creation and ostensibly sole responsibility for the Palestinian refugees. These name signals that these Israelis repent by not forgetting this invented historical narrative. The aim of the group is peace, but the so-called “right of return” has become the largest obstacle to actually achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians; the Palestinian obsession with remaining refugees — and dependents of the international community — at all costs has become the crutch to avoid any actual state building.

 

The “right of return” is allegedly found in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of December 1948, but the text reveals this “right” to be conditional: “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return.” The resolution also calls for the United Nations “to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.” At the time all the Arab States in the UN (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) voted against the resolution, since it implicitly accepted the partition of Mandatory Palestine that recognized the Jewish right to a state. But the actual text of the resolution has been irrelevant since the beginning; Palestinian identity has crystallized around the dream of an unconditional “right of return,” as has Palestinian propaganda to the world.

 

Among the lead sponsors of the Zochrot conference is the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Quaker group that has supported BDS campaigns on college campuses and churches with their partner Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). The Quakers also work with NGOs that encourage Israelis to refuse to serve in the IDF. Of course, it is the IDF that actually administered relief from 1967 to 1993 and today still coordinates with NGOs who want to assist Palestinians. The AFSC has long experience in the Middle East and should know better. The AFSC spearheaded religious diplomacy about the fate of Jerusalem, which was besieged and divided during the war of 1948. It also delivered aid to Palestinians in Gaza in 1949-1950. But it withdraws after seeing how Palestinians were already becoming dependent on foreign aid, at the expense of their own initiative.

 

Since 1967, however, the AFSC has become a pointed adversary of Israel, accusing it of responsibility for Palestinian refugees that the AFSC itself refused to support any further after 1950, flirting with anti-Semitism, and today, orchestrating Israel boycotts across the US, all in the name of a Palestinian state. By working with groups like Zochrot the AFSC seeks to turn the clock back even further by demanding Israel effectively be dissolved. Palestinian and their sympathizers in North America and Europe view relief and eventual repatriation (the “right of return”) as absolute rights. And the Arab states, with the exception of Jordan, remain steadfast in their refusal to do anything except warehouse Palestinians in permanent refugee camps. If the AFSC, really wants to remember it should distant itself from NGOs like Zochrot and revisit the lessons of its own mission in Gaza in 1949. The AFSC might remind itself that they left Gaza because they could not bring about a true resolution of the Arab-Palestinian population who refused to becoming anything except permanent refugees. Palestinian demands for a “right of return” are no different than those of 1949, when, as Palestinian protest sign that greeted an American mission in 1948 demanded – “1. Send us back home. 2. Compensate us. 3. Maintain us until we are refreshed.” The AFSC has the sense to reject that mentality then. It should do so now.

 

On Topic Links

 

Palestinians Push French Peace Initiative: Rory Jones, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 6, 2016—Palestinian officials said Wednesday they would they would pursue a French-led peace initiative, including an international conference, to break the deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The "Two State Solution": Irony and Truth: Louis René Beres, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 27, 2016—There is no lack of irony in the endless discussions of Israel and a Palestinian state. One oddly neglected example is the complete turnaround of former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres.

Biden’s Untimely Assault on Israel: Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, Apr. 19, 2016—Yesterday, Israel was assaulted twice: once by terrorists, and once by the Vice President of the United States. The physical attack was in Jerusalem, where a bomb injured 21 people in a bus, several of them seriously.

Israeli Arabs’ Hostility to State Leaves No Room for Compromise: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Apr, 3 2016 —The hostility and harsh rhetoric by Arab Israeli leaders toward the government demonstrates that on many issues a compromise is unlikely to be found.

 

                    

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

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

 

Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

 

Video Captures Palestinians Hailing Jerusalem Bomber: IPT, Apr. 21, 2016

Austria’s Refugee Warning: Wall Street Journal, Apr. 25, 2016

French Toast: Another Pointless ‘Peace’ Initiative: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Apr. 22, 2016

Report: Iran May Send Hamas to Fight ISIS: IPT, Apr. 25, 2016

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“A strong and secure Israel remains a central pillar of our national strategy to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East. Israel remains America's strongest ally in this troubled region…Given the extraordinary levels of weapons pouring into the Middle East, Israel could quickly find itself on the wrong end of the regional military balance. This problem is compounded by the mounting cost of the new aircraft and other weapons systems that Israel must acquire to keep pace with its neighbors. Moreover, Israel must prepare for the likelihood that Iran will resume its quest for nuclear weapons.” — Letter signed by 83 Senators urging U.S. President Barack Obama to quickly reach an agreement on a new defense aid package for Israel worth more than the current $3 billion per year. 83 of the 100 senators signed the letter. The Senate's Democratic White House hopeful, Bernie Sanders, was not among the 32 Democrats. (Israel Hayom, Apr. 26, 2016)

 

"Recall how outraged the same President Obama was when the prime minister of a friendly country, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke his mind about the Iran Deal…So what is it, Mr. President? Should friends speak their minds about controversial issues when visiting another country, or should they keep their views to themselves? Or is your answer that friends should speak their minds only when they agree with other friends, but not when they disagree?" — Alan Dershowitz. Obama sparked uproar by criticizing Britain's possible exit from the EU during a visit to the UK. Obama defended his remarks by saying that democratic nations should be free to speak their minds openly – yet Obama himself attacked Netanyahu for rejecting the Iran deal during his U.S. visit, and snubbed Netanyahu during that visit. Dershowitz said that "the president owes the American people, and Benjamin Netanyahu, an explanation for his apparent hypocrisy and inconsistency." (Arutz Sheva, Apr. 26, 2016)

 

“This is yet another absurd UN decision…UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association, recently announced a number of resolutions. One was entitled “Occupied Palestine” and addressed the Jerusalem Old City hotspot that Jews refer to as the Temple Mount and Muslims call Haram Al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary. Except that the Jewish link to the site, considered the holiest place for Jews, went unmentioned. In the context of Jerusalem’s Old City, the document refers to Israel solely as “the occupying power” and refers to the site itself, the world famous esplanade flanked by the Western Wall – considered by many experts to be the last existing retaining wall of the mount that once held the ancient Jewish temples – only by its Islamic moniker. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 17, 2016)

 

“Reading the (UNESCO) resolution, one could conclude that there was no ancient Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, that the Mount isn't the holiest site in Judaism, that the Western Wall isn't the heart of Jewish prayer. One could conclude, therefore, that the Jews living in Israel today have no historic claim to the land, passed down through generations. Of all the attempts to destroy us throughout our history, the campaign against history itself is the most devious.” — Yossi Klein Halevi. (Los Angeles Times, Apr. 22, 2016

 

“The peace movements turned Israel's image into that of a weak and soft defeatist country, the exact opposite of the kind of country that achieves peace in the Middle East. In the violent and radical region where Israel is trying to survive, anyone considered weak gets kicked, you know exactly where, and is sent to hell in the best case, or butchered and beheaded as a matter of course. In the Middle East, peace means that your enemies leave you alone because you are too strong, threatening and dangerous to start up with. In the Middle East only the unvanquished obtain peace.” — Dr. Mordechai Kedar. (Arutz Sheva, Apr. 22, 2016)

 

“Putin wants to be seen as a key player throughout the Middle East, and Israel matters in the region. Putin’s regional policy, however, is primarily driven by zero-sum anti-Westernism to position Russia as a counterweight to the West in the region and, more broadly, to divide and weaken Western institutions…Israel, unlike Russia, is a pro-Western democracy. Moscow’s growing aggression in the former Soviet Union, especially in Ukraine, and increasing influence in the Middle East in the context of Western retreat from the region, complicates Russia-Israeli relations.” — Anna Borshchevskaya, of The Washington Institute. The relationship between Israel and Russia has been strengthened to unprecedented levels under Russia’s current president but recent actions by Moscow in the Middle East should have Israel on alert, according to Borshchevskaya. (Algemeiner, Apr. 22, 2016)

 

“We’ll rebuild Sur so that it’s like Toledo: everyone will want to come and appreciate its architectural texture.” — Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The Turkish government has seized the historic Armenian Surp Giragos Church, a number of other churches and large swaths of property in the heavily damaged Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, saying it wants to restore the area but alarming residents who fear the government is secretly aiming to drive them out. The city, in the heart of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, has been the scene of heavy fighting for nearly a year, since the Turkish military began a counterinsurgency campaign against militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which ended a two-year cease-fire in July. Many neighborhoods have been left in ruins, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes. (New York Times, Apr. 23, 2016)

 

“Open and honest debate is dead on many college campuses and in public venues. Those who claim to be the stalwart protectors of free speech – the political Left – have created a culture that tolerates only those who are intolerant of others. Speaking up against their efforts to stifle freedom or calling out their hate speech will often result in being labeled racist, Islamophobic or xenophobic. We no longer deem those we disagree with as simply wrong. The foundational dictum, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” no longer holds sway.  We now vilify as hateful those we disagree with, hurling epithets such as “racist” and “Islamophobic.” We’ve adopted the language of anti-Semites who hide behind their definition of Zionism to equate it with racism.” — Paul Miller, President & Executive Director, Haym Salomon Center. (Apr. 21, 2016)

 

“I have read most of works by Shakespeare and enjoyed them…Shakespeare plays, such as the Merchant of Venice or Othello are all in accordance with values, but western values.” — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. As the world marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Khamenei tweeted that he too, is a fan of The Bard, and highlighted “The Merchant of Venice” — famous for its derogatory depiction of Jewish moneylender Shylock. In “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is portrayed as scheming, vindictive and greedy. Shakespeare’s depiction of Shylock is widely regarded as antisemitic, although there are some who claim that Shylock’s speech in Act III — “If you prick us, do we not bleed?… And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” — reveals a humanizing plea for fair and equal treatment for Shylock himself and his wronged people. (Times of Israel, Apr. 25, 2016)

 

"Here’s a Jew from Brooklyn who never even saw a gentile till he was 28. Obviously, this man has a very, very big sickness. There’s something about being Jewish that makes him self-conscious and nervous. And he has to prove to himself and to the country that he doesn’t favor Israel in any way…A schmuck like Bernie Sanders pops out who doesn’t even know what’s going on and doesn’t care. Because to him Israel getting wiped out is no problem. Climate change is the only problem. To him, the most important thing in the world is climate change. If Israel gave up their country but they fought for climate change, he would love Israel." — Jewish comedian Jackie Mason. Mason took US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to task for recent comments the Vermont senator made that Israel had used "disproportionate" force during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, and with his inflation of the death toll in Gaza during the conflict. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 24, 2016)

 

“…My eyes filled with tears. And a sob welled up and I literally put my hands to my face and sobbed, silently, for I suppose a minute. Because my country is in trouble. Because I felt anguish at all the estrangements. Because some things that shouldn’t have changed have changed. Because too much is being lost. Because the great choice in a nation of 320 million may come down to Crazy Man versus Criminal.” — Peggy Noonan. After Donald J. Trump’s sweep of five primaries in Eastern states on Tuesday, and Hillary Clinton’s victories in four of five, there are few chances for Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders to catch up in the delegate count. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2016)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

CANADIAN KILLED BY TERRORIST GROUP IN PHILIPPINES (Manila) — A Canadian man has been killed by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and a second Canadian remains a hostage. John Ridsdel, 68, was executed in recent days and Robert Hall, 50, remains a captive. Ridsdel and Hall were among those kidnapped last year from the resort island of Samal. Others include a Norwegian man and his Filipina girlfriend. Media in the Philippines are reporting that Ridsdel was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf jihadists after their ransom demands were not met. A government official said the Canadian government’s policy is that it does not pay ransoms. Abu Sayyaf has pledged its allegiance to I.S. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 25, 2016)

 

JERUSALEM BUS SUICIDE BOMBER WAS HAMAS OPERATIVE (Jerusalem) — The Hamas operative who detonated a bomb on a Jerusalem bus has died in an Israeli hospital, the Israeli police confirmed, partially lifting a gag order on the investigation. Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, a 19-year-old Hamas operative, detonated an explosive device on a bus in Jerusalem last Monday, injuring 20 people. The Shin Bet characterized the bombing as a “suicide attack.” Following Abu Srour’s death, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and called him a “martyr.” Spontaneous celebrations erupted in Bethlehem and Gaza, with people passing out candy to celebrate the bombing. (Breaking Israel News, Apr. 24, 2016)

 

ISRAEL FREES PALESTINIAN GIRL, 12, WHO TRIED TO STAB GUARD (Jerusalem) — Israel on Sunday released the youngest known Palestinian inmate, a 12-year-old girl who had tried to stab a security guard at a Jewish settlement. The girl, Dima al-Wawi, was freed six weeks before her scheduled release, said an Israeli prison service spokesman. The spokesman said that the release was because of her age. Dima was given a hero’s welcome Sunday in Halhoul, her hometown. Dima said she intended to kill the security guard on Feb. 9 but was quickly apprehended. She said she had hoped that she would be killed. “I was dreaming that I was going to be martyred,” she said. There were 422 Palestinian minors in Israeli jails in December. About 100 of the minors were under 15, and most were boys. By comparison, 195 minors were incarcerated in December 2012. (New York Times, Apr. 24, 2016)

 

ISRAEL SAYS ISTANBUL BOMBER DID NOT TARGET ISRAELIS (Jerusalem) — Israel's Counterterrorism Bureau says the suicide bomber who killed three Israeli tourists in Istanbul last month did not specifically target Israelis but was taking aim at tourism in Turkey in general. The bureau recently issued a travel advisory for Turkey, warning Israeli citizens to leave as soon as possible and avoid traveling there. The travel advisory remains in place despite the new security assessment. The bureau said Sunday that Israeli security agencies carried out a month long investigation into the blast, which took place next to an Israeli culinary tour group, killing three Israelis and one Iranian tourist. Turkey identified the bomber as having links to I.S. (Israel Hayom, Apr. 25, 2016)

 

NETANYAHU, PUTIN MET AMID REPORTS OF AERIAL INCIDENTS OVER SYRIA (Moscow) — Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Thursday was held amid reporters that Russian fighter jets fired at Israel Air Force aircraft on at least two occasions, which were denied by Moscow. The issues was reportedly raised during Israeli President Rivlin's visit to Moscow, when Putin claimed this was the first he had heard of it. Then a few days ago, a Russian fighter jet was scrambled to intercept an Israeli aircraft for an unknown reason. There was no contact made between the planes.  (Ynet, Apr. 22, 2016)

 

U.S. TO SEND 250 ADDITIONAL MILITARY PERSONNEL TO SYRIA (Washington) — The U.S. plans to send up to 250 additional military personnel to Syria to help local forces fighting I.S., significantly expanding the small American footprint in the war-ravaged country. The move will increase the total number of U.S. military personnel operating inside Syria from 50 to about 300. A major focus of the additional personnel will be trying to get more Sunni Arabs to join the fight alongside Kurdish units in Syria. U.S. officials say they believe they will need a larger Sunni Arab force to help clear and hold Arab-dominated communities around Raqqa, the I.S. stronghold. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 24, 2016)

 

ISRAEL, US CONDUCT AIR FORCE DRILLS IN GREECE (Jerusalem) — The air forces of the U.S., Greece, and Israel concluded a large-scale joint drill earlier this week over the Mediterranean. Following the collapse of the close defense relationship with Turkey, Israel and Greece have stepped up military cooperation, including joint maneuvers. The air force teams practiced complex operations while simulating various scenarios, among them the need for long-range attack raids. The drills are considered significant in maintaining aerial capabilities that are considered vital for exerting Western influence over the Mediterranean basin. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2016)

 

U.S. TO BUY NUCLEAR MATERIAL FROM IRAN (Washington) — The Obama administration agreed Friday to buy 32 tons of Iran’s heavy water, a key component in atomic-weapons development, a new gambit in a growing White House effort to encourage Tehran to stick to the nuclear agreement reached last year. The move, immediately criticized by opponents of the original deal, came hours before Secretary of State Kerry met his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, to try to facilitate Iran’s access to billions of dollars of oil revenues frozen by U.S. sanctions in recent years. Republican leaders criticized the Department of Energy’s purchase of the Iranian heavy water, charging the administration with essentially subsidizing Tehran’s nuclear program. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 22, 2016)

 

IRAN THREATENS U.S. WITH LEGAL ACTION OVER TERROR VICTIMS’ PAYOUT (Tehran) — Iran threatened to take legal action in the International Court of Justice against the U.S. government for a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would allow the families of terror victims to collect compensation from frozen Iranian assets. The U.S. is currently responsible for the preservation of the Iranian funds, most of which were released following the implementation of the Nuclear Deal. Iran gained access to $100 billion as sanctions were lifted. Last week, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that would enable survivors of Iranian terror attacks and their families to collect compensation from a pool of $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The decision affects more than 1,000 Americans from a range of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks. (Breaking Israel News, Apr. 26, 2016)

 

AL-QAEDA CLAIMS KILLING OF LGBT MAGAZINE EDITOR IN BANGLADESH (Dhaka) — A branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Tuesday for the fatal stabbing of a U.S. government employee in Bangladesh who was editor of the nation's first LGBT magazine. Ansar-al Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaeda on the Indian subcontinent, said that it was responsible for the killings. A group of attackers stormed the home of Xulhaz Mannan, a staffer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, stabbing him and friend to death in the capital Dhaka. The attack came two days after a Bangladeshi professor was hacked to death in a murder claimed by the I.S. Last year, at least four secularists were similarly killed in the country. The government of Bangladesh condemned all the slayings, blaming them on incitement by the Islamist political opposition. (USA Today, Apr. 26, 2016)

 

HUNDREDS FEARED DEAD AFTER BOAT SINKS OFF LIBYA (Tripoli) — Hundreds of migrants were feared drowned after their overcrowded boat sank off Libya’s coast in what would be the deadliest disaster involving people trying to reach Europe this year. The wreck refocused attention on the perilous Libya-to-Italy route, where traffic has surged in recent weeks as the weather warms and as the flow from Turkey to Greece dwindles in the wake of EU pressure. The EU expanded its naval patrols in the Mediterranean last year in another bid at deterrence but critics say they remain inadequate. Forty-one survivors were rescued on Saturday. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 20, 2016)

 

RIGHT-WING CANDIDATE WINS AUSTRIAN ELECTION’S FIRST ROUND (Vienna) — A right-wing candidate emerged as the clear front-runner in the first round of the presidential election in Austria on Sunday. Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration Freedom Party emerged as the clear leader, taking 35 per cent of the votes. Although many migrants simply passed through Austria on their way to Germany or Sweden, about 90,000 decided to remain in the country and apply for asylum. Responding to fears that emerged last fall, when local elections in Vienna reflected a surge in popularity for the Freedom Party, the government passed legislation to limit the number of people who could enter the country to 37,500 refugees and took steps to tighten the borders. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 24, 2016)

 

FRANCE TO CONVENE MIDEAST SUMMIT, WITHOUT ISRAEL OR PALESTINIANS (Vienna) — France will convene a summit on May 30 of some 30 countries and international organizations to discuss the parameters for a peace conference to be held in the French capital in the second part of the year, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will be invited to the summit, though they will be asked to join the peace conference. “There is no other solution to the conflict other than a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem a shared capital,” Ayrault said. The list of those to be invited to the parley was not released, though it is expected to include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 21, 2016)

 

BRITISH MP SUSPENDED FROM LABOUR (London) — Britain’s Labour has suspended MP Naz Shah over comments she made on Facebook about Israel, including one suggesting Israel should be moved to America. She offered a "profound apology" in a Commons statement for the posts which were made before she became an MP. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn warned her about the "offensive and unacceptable" posts. In 2014, Shah shared a graphic showing an image of Israel's outline superimposed on a map of the US under the headline "Solution for Israel-Palestine conflict – relocate Israel into United States", with the comment "problem solved". The post suggested the US has "plenty of land" to accommodate Israel as a 51st state, allowing Palestinians to "get their life and their land back". (BBC, Apr. 27, 2016)

 

OBAMA ADMITS HE REMOVED CHURCHILL BUST FROM THE OVAL OFFICE (Washington) — Barack Obama today admitted that he had removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and replaced it with one of Martin Luther King. Obama said that he took the sculpture out of his office because the room was 'a little cluttered'. However, he also pointed out that he keeps a bust of Churchill outside his private office, adding: 'I see it every day, including on weekends.' The White House originally denied that the bust had been removed, before admitting that it actually had – although a second identical bust remains in the White House. Mayor of London Boris Johnson mentioned the removal of the bust in an article criticising Obama for supporting Britain's membership of the EU. His intervention seems to have prompted Obama to set the record straight. (Daily Mail, Apr. 22, 2016)  

 

SEVEN HELD FOR ATTEMPTING PASSOVER GOAT SACRIFICE IN JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — Police detained seven Jewish men suspected of planning to sacrifice goats in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday in honor of the Passover holiday. The charge against the seven suspects was “disturbing the peace,” a police spokesperson said. In ancient times, Jews used to sacrifice a lamb on Passover Eve and eat it as part of the traditional seder meal. Nearly all Jews forego this ritual today. However, members of the Samaritan religion still carry out this practice. The three goats confiscated by police on Friday were unharmed, the police said. (Times of Israel, Apr. 22, 2016)

 

POLLARD ENJOYS ‘UNFORGETTABLE’ SEDER ON PAROLE (New York) — It was Jonathan Pollard’s first Passover Seder since entering prison in 1985, and it was a dream come true for the Israeli agent. Pollard was released on “mandatory” parole on November 20, after serving 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit espionage without intent to harm the U.S. by delivering classified information to Israel. Due to his parole conditions, requiring him to wear a GPS monitoring device and obey a curfew at his New York home, Pollard was still limited during the holiday. “It was wonderful,” he reportedly said about the Seder. “I will remember it for the rest of my life.” (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 25, 2016)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Video Captures Palestinians Hailing Jerusalem Bomber: IPT, Apr. 21, 2016 —In recent weeks, we at the Investigative Project on Terrorism have emphasized the difference between Israeli and Palestinian reactions to violent attacks. When an Israeli soldier shot and killed a wounded Palestinian – after the Palestinian tried to stab someone – Israeli political and military leaders quickly condemned the act. The soldier has been charged with manslaughter.

Austria’s Refugee Warning: Wall Street Journal, Apr. 25, 2016—The political costs of Europe’s refugee failures are growing, with Austrians delivering the latest shock on Sunday.

French Toast: Another Pointless ‘Peace’ Initiative: Ruthie Blum, Algemeiner, Apr. 22, 2016— It comes as no surprise that the honchos in Ramallah are welcoming the French initiative to hold a summit of world foreign ministers to discuss and plan an international Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.

Report: Iran May Send Hamas to Fight ISIS: IPT, Apr. 25, 2016—Iran is reportedly planning to deploy Hamas operatives to fight the Islamic State in Mosul, according to a-Sharq al-Awsat and reported by the Jerusalem Post. The report suggests that Iran still maintains significant influence over the Palestinian terrorist organization. In the battle for Mosul, Hamas terrorists would fight with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Lebanese Hizballah, and Shi'ite Houthi militias.

PHOTO REPORT: GALA 2016 IN TORONTO

 

 

Toronto, April 12, 2016

ISRAEL IN SPACE: CIJR GALA

 

 

Hyatt Regency, April 12

 

Right to left: Alan Herman, Co-Chair, Toronto Chapther, CIJR; Jack Kincler, National Chairman, CIJR; Prof. Zelina Iskanderova, Head of Space Materials Department, ITL Inc.; Irit Stopper, Deputy Consul General of Israel in Toronto; Doris Epstein, Co-Chair, Toronto Chapther, CIJR

 

Mr. J. Kincler presents the Keynote Speaker

 

Keynote Speaker Tal Inbar addresses the guests

 

Mr.Tal Inbar, Head, Space Research Center, Fisher Institute for Air&Space Strategic Studies

 

Student advocate Ariella Daniels, York U

 

Special Video Message from Steve Maclean, Former Canadian Astronaut

 

Right to left: Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director, CIJR; 2016 Gala Honorees Mrs. Simone Sherman and Mr. David Sherman

 
Posted in Uncategorized

ISRAEL LEARNING SEMINAR IN TORONTO

CANADIAN INSTITUTE
FOR JEWISH RESEARCH
and
BETH TIKVAH SYNAGOGUE
present

 

 ISRAEL LEARNING SEMINAR 

 

This program, given by outstanding academic specialists and open to students and adults, is designed to provide knowledge and skills enabling community members to oppose current efforts, on- and off-campuses, to delegitimate the democratic Jewish state.

 

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016,19:30

 

CONTEMPORARY ISRAEL

 

AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE

 

By Prof. Aurel Braun, International Relations and Political Science, U. of Toronto

 

Aurel Braun is currently a Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is a senior member of the Centre for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and of the Centre for International Studies, and a Fellow of Trinity College at the University of Toronto. Between July 2012 and June 2015 he was a Visiting Professor teaching in the Department of Government, Harvard University. Professor Braun has twice been appointed a Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In March 2009, the Federal Cabinet via a Governor-in-Council appointment made Professor Braun the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) for a three-year term. In December 2012, Professor Braun was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for services to Canada and for academic distinction by the Governor-General of Canada. Professor Braun has published extensively on communist affairs and strategic studies with a special focus on the problems of the transformation of the socialist systems in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. He is also a specialist in international law. He is the author and/or editor of several books. His latest book is NATO-Russia Relations in the 21st Century. His forthcoming book is on Russia, the West and Arctic Security.

 

 Location:

 Beth Tikvah Synagogue, 3080 Bayview Ave., Toronto, Ont. M2N5L3

 

 

Admission is free

 

 For information and registration, call Beth Tikvah,   416 – 221 – 3433

 or  CIJR   1– 855 – 303 – 5544 or register online

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

AMID SURGING AFRICAN ISLAMIST VIOLENCE — I.S. MOVES TO LIBYA, & CAPTURED NIGERIAN WOMEN BECOME KILLERS

Islamic State Moves to Libya with the Promise of Fresh Plunder: Jonathan Spyer, The Australian, Apr. 23, 2016— The reconquest by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad of the town of Qaryatayn from Islamic State this month is the latest indication of the declining fortunes of the extremist organisation in Iraq and Syria, following the loss of Palmyra in late March.

Italy Left to Deal With Migrants By Sea: Globe & Mail, Apr. 21, 2016— Alas, there is no three-year-old Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach, and no corresponding photographer to compel the world’s compassion for the drowned and drowning migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

Boko Haram Turns Female Captives Into Terrorists: Dionne Searcey, New York Times, Apr. 7, 2016— Hold the bomb under your armpit to keep it steady, the women and girls were taught.

U.S. at Easter: When Christians Are Slaughtered, Look the Other Way: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 27, 2016— Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamic extremist group, has killed more people in the name of jihad than the Islamic State (ISIS), according to the findings of a new report.

 

On Topic Links

 

Libya's Descent into Chaos: Yehudit Ronen, Middle East Quarterly, Winter, 2016

‘We Saw the Dead People With Our Eyes’: Two Men Describe Surviving Big Migrant Shipwreck Last Week: Elena Becatoros, National Post, Apr. 22, 2016

Libya Could ‘Open the Floodgates’ For Thousands Of Migrants Into Europe: Nick Hallett, Breitbart, Mar. 29, 2016

Tunisia's Fragile Post-Revolutionary Order: Daniel Zisenwine, Middle East Quarterly, Winter, 2016

 

 

ISLAMIC STATE MOVES TO LIBYA WITH

THE PROMISE OF FRESH PLUNDER

Jonathan Spyer

The Australian, Apr. 23, 2016

 

The reconquest by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad of the town of Qaryatayn from Islamic State this month is the latest indication of the declining fortunes of the extremist organisation in Iraq and Syria, following the loss of Palmyra in late March. Facing determined enemies on three fronts, the Sunni jihadis would appear to be adopting a policy of tactical retreat to preserve their forces for the vital battles to come. As Islamic State holdings in Iraq and Syria contract, the organisation is seeking to maintain its image and momentum by focusing on gains on other fronts.

 

Islamic State's slogan is baqiya wa tatamaddad (remaining and expanding). But in its home grounds, Islamic State is no longer expanding. The prospect of its eclipse there is visible, though still distant, on the horizon. Elsewhere, most notably in Libya, Islamic State is still moving forward. As its holdings in Iraq and Syria contract, Islamic State is seeking gains on other fronts.

 

Islamic State was never solely, or mainly, a ramshackle de facto governing authority in the badlands of western Iraq and eastern Syria. Had it been so, it almost certainly would have been left in place, just one florid example of brutal and dysfunctional governance in a neighbourhood where dictatorship is the norm.

 

Such a bargain would not have suited the Iraqi jihadis at the head of the organisation. They are not in business to rule a small and dusty emirate. Rather, they are deadly serious regarding the task of their caliphate: war against the non-Islamic world until the latter is defeated. More pragmatically, the sense of forward momentum is necessary to keep the foreign volunteers coming and the monetary contributions flowing.

 

For Islamic State, focus on other fronts means two things. The first is increased efforts to engage in international terrorism. The bloody attacks on Brussels airport and Maalbeek metro station on March 22 were the latest events in a discernible trend to offset defeats in the Levant by staging terrorist actions farther afield. The second is heightened efforts to expand territorial holdings in areas other than Iraq and Syria. The movement's holding in Libya is emerging as a place of concern. As Islamic State's territorial holdings continue to be whittled away, it is likely to attempt further international terrorist attacks.

 

Preparations for the retaking of Mosul city are under way. The Iraqi army is cutting supply lines to the city from Salah al-Din and Anbar provinces. Three army divisions have been moved to the Mosul area. Mosul, with more than a million inhabitants, will be a tough target to take. But the outcome of the war is clear and it is against the jihadis. The consequent need for vigilance, communication and co-operation between the security services of the democratic world has never been higher. Regarding the second issue, Islamic State claims authority over eight "provinces" in addition to its area of control straddling Iraq and Syria. The eight areas in question are in Sinai, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the north Caucasus and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.

 

These areas vary greatly in size and importance, and in the extent of control that Islamic State has over them. In some cases, such as the "provinces" of Saudi Arabia and Algeria, the term means relatively little. Both these areas are ruled by powerful states with strong security agencies. The groups in question have carried out terror attacks. But they are seen more properly as organisations supporting Islamic State rather than entities in control of territory analogous to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria itself. However, in areas where, as in Iraq and Syria, the state has lost control over territory, the threat represented by Islamic State "prov­inces" is of a more substantial nature. It is in these lawless and ungoverned or poorly governed spaces that a repeat of the Iraqi and Syrian experiences and the emergence of new de facto jihadi sovereignties is most possible.

 

Some of the countries listed above fit this description. But it is in Libya that Islamic State has made the most progress. In other areas, various factors have stymied the growth of Islamic State, but these factors are absent in Libya. In Yemen, Islamic State declared its wilayah (province) in November 2014. Its growth and activity, however, have been hampered by the presence in that country of a strong rival Salafi jihadi organisation. This is the branch of the core al-Qa'ida leadership in Yemen, known as al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP denounced the formation of Islamic State province in Yemen and its presence has limited the ability of Islamic State to grow. Nevertheless, the latter has carried out several attacks. These include suicide bombings in two Shia mosques in March last year and the murder by crucifixion of a Christian priest last month.

 

In northern Sinai, the former Ansar Bait al-Makdis organisation, now called Wilayat al-Sina (Sinai Province), is engaged in an insurgency against Egyptian security forces. The group also has vowed to carry out attacks against Israeli targets across the border. Wilayat al-Sina claimed responsibility for the downing of Russian Metrojet flight 9268. But the insurgency appears to be contained within Sinai, ongoing but with little likelihood of spreading into Egypt proper.

 

Libya is different. The importance of the Islamic State holding there derives from its location and the number of fighters under Islamic State command in the area.  Islamic State controls an area of about 200km around the city of Sirte on the Libyan coast. The greater part of this area was secured last year against the backdrop of Islamic State setbacks in Iraq and Syria, and general chaos in Libya. The location of Sirte offers the possibility for Islamic State of infiltration into Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb. Sirte was the birthplace of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It has extensive infrastructure, including an international airport, a seaport and oil installations.

 

Islamic State is thought to have about 4000 to 5000 fighters in Sirte, and is recruiting African migrants making their way to the coast. The movement also derives the depth of its support in the Sirte area from the loyalty of tribesmen. Clearly, the goal is to seek to replicate the model for success in Iraq and Syria: once a territorial base is established, a military force can be built up that can be used aggressively to expand the holding. Islamic State achieved its greatest successes this way, when its forces swept from eastern Syria into Iraq in 2014. In Libya, as in these countries, central government effectively has collapsed and the country is in a state of civil war. Two rival governments vie for power: an internationally recognised authority in Tobruk in the east and an Islamist de facto power in the capital, Tripoli, in the west…

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

 

 

Contents

ITALY LEFT TO DEAL WITH MIGRANTS BY SEA

Globe & Mail, Apr. 21, 2016

 

 

Alas, there is no three-year-old Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach, and no corresponding photographer to compel the world’s compassion for the drowned and drowning migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. In this latest disaster, it’s far from clear how many people died – maybe 500, with only 41 survivors. One of the 41 survivors was three years old, the same age as Alan Kurdi.

 

                      

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

DESPITE CHALLENGES, ISRAEL’S STRONG DEMOCRACY, HIGH-TECH INNOVATION & IMPROVED SECURITY ARE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

The Optimistic Conservatism of Passover: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2016— I associate conservatism with optimism and its synonyms—hopefulness, sanguinity, positivity and confidence.

Will Israel Reach Age 100?: Aaron David Miller, Real Clear World, Apr. 11, 2016— Is Israel doomed?  

The Maturing of Israeli-Russian Relations: Anna Borshchevskaya, Washington Institute, Spring, 2016— October 2016 will mark 25 years since Russia and Israel officially restored diplomatic relations after the Soviet Union severed them in 1967 following the Six Day War.

Netanyahu and Herzog – Star-Crossed Lovers: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2016— As Romeo and Juliet proved, there can be love and wedding plans, and even a friar eager to bring the two sides together, but still no wedding.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Netanyahu Declares: Golan Heights Ours From Biblical to Modern Times: Breaking Israel News, Apr. 17, 2016

Does Israel Need US Jewish Support?: Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom, Apr. 18, 2016

If the Likud Does Not Adopt Bennett’s Plan, We Must Leave the Party: Ben Artiz, Israpundit, Mar. 4, 2016

Rivlin’s Regrettable Cancellation of Australian State Visit: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Mar. 2, 2016

 

 

 

THE OPTIMISTIC CONSERVATISM OF PASSOVER

Ruth R. Wisse

Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2016

 

I associate conservatism with optimism and its synonyms—hopefulness, sanguinity, positivity and confidence. American Jews are often associated with a gutted liberalism, but that is a caricature. A more intimate understanding of the Jewish experience connects it to an optimistic conservatism that could help secure America’s future. I’m particularly reminded of that connection as Jews celebrate the eight days of Passover beginning Friday at sundown. Passover is the festival of freedom when Jews commemorate and re-experience the biblical story of their passage from slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt to freedom, first in the desert, then in the Land of Israel.

 

Emphasizing the importance of decentralized authority and individual responsibility, the escape from Egypt is celebrated not in the synagogue but in the home, among family and invited guests who join for the ceremony of the Seder, which means order. Following a ritual text called the Haggada, families retell the story as recounted in the Book of Exodus, and eat the unleavened bread that the Children of Israel took with them when they fled in the middle of the night.

 

When I took over from my mother the organization of Passover for our family what I felt most keenly was the paradox—the incongruity of it all. The cleaning and cooking preparations for Passover are so demanding that in the weeks leading up to it, obsessive-compulsive personalities come into their own. I could not get beyond these questions: If we were breaking for freedom, why these weeks of preparation? If we were recalling harsh conditions, which was it—the dry matzo and bitter herbs, or the chicken soup with matzo balls and the best meal of the year?

 

And that is how the association of conservatism with hopefulness began for me, and how it is further reinforced every year. Freedom was not decamping to Hawaii to become a surfer, not experimenting with drugs or with sexual conquests—not getting away from, but readying oneself for, the enjoyment of freedom. The Passover ritual of re-experiencing the Exodus helped me figure out the constituent elements of freedom that were crafted over many centuries:

 

First, a people is not defined by its experience of slavery, but neither does self-liberation happen once and for all. The temptation of slavery is always there, the part of us that wants to return to a stage of dependency, to the relative security of having the overseers regulating life. Those who do not reinforce the responsibilities of freedom will be returned to the house of bondage. Second, the Passover ritual calls for humility—not to reduce our self-confidence, but rather to harness our capacities to the larger civic purpose of a free society. Friedrich Nietzsche was concerned that the Judeo-Christian tradition squelched the greatness of the emergent individual. The constitutional civilization that Passover celebrates is wary of the hubris of individuals who think themselves too good to “merely” reinforce what others have achieved before us.

 

One other item of Passover consolidated my conservative hope for change—the section about the relation of optimism to evil. It’s one that makes liberals queasy. “Pour Out Thy Wrath!” is a collection of verses from Psalms and Lamentations that calls on God to punish not the Jews who obey his laws but—for a change!—the evildoers who want to destroy them.

 

Needless to say, this section about confronting the enemy was the first part of the Passover Haggada that was eliminated by self-styled Jewish progressives, by the Bernie Sanders constituency of the Jewish people. That constituency gets very angry—but it pours out its wrath on its own people instead of on its destroyers. And let’s acknowledge that when you have no incentive for aggression, it is hard even to voice aggression. Free people tend to focus inward on their self-improvement and have no need for an enemy, no need to imagine a malevolent Other. But a free, energetic, self-reliant people that creates and builds and innovates and does not want war is precisely the people that gets targeted by others. This is what Jews learned at tremendous cost over the centuries, and it is the most important lesson that they have to share with America.

 

The history of America is not the history of slavery but of slavery overcome, of having escaped from slavery into freedom. The descendants of slaves and slave-owners alike should not be trying to erase the shameful aspects of the past but to take the measure of all that has been achieved and to celebrate it with humble pride. Culture, behavior, values and the story of America are not biologically transmitted. America’s freedoms cannot be maintained free of charge, and keeping America great means rehearsing how we got that way, repeating it formally, in the family as well in the schools and in public ceremony. There are so many occasions for a Passover experience in America—Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Day. All that has been earned and won cannot be maintained unless it is conserved and reinforced and transmitted and celebrated.

 

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WILL ISRAEL REACH AGE 100?

Aaron David Miller

Real Clear World, Apr. 11 2016

 

 

Is Israel doomed? Will bad demography, bad neighbors, and bad Israeli behavior turn the once hopeful and idealistic notion of a thriving Jewish democratic state into a veritable Middle Eastern Sparta — isolated in the international community and struggling to survive in a hostile region even as it occupies a restless and growing Palestinian majority? Having worked the Israel issue for half a dozen secretaries of state, I certainly wouldn't want to minimize the challenges Israelis face at home and abroad. Still — and I concede up front that the view from Washington, DC isn't the same as the one from Jerusalem — I'm more convinced than ever that Israel is here to stay. I may not be around to mark Israel's 100th birthday. But Israelis will. And here's why.

 

Highly Functioning State: The region in which Israel lives is melting down at a rate no one would have anticipated. Indeed, if there are any state disappearing acts, these may be on the Arab, not the Israeli, side. States such as Libya, Yemen, and Syria are fragmenting, while dysfunctional states such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt are saddled with political, economic, and identity challenges they just can't overcome. In short, with the exception of the Arab monarchs, a good part of the Arab world, including many of Israel's traditional adversaries, have gone offline.

 

On the other hand, even with all of their problems, the region's three non-Arab states –Israel, Turkey, and Iran — are probably the most highly functioning polities in the region. All are domestically stable; all have tremendous economic power; and all are capable of projecting their power in the region. Of these three, Israel by far has the best balance of military, economic, and technological prowess and brain power. The state seems likely to maintain that edge for the foreseeable future. By any significant standard — GDP per capita; educational assets; share of Nobel prizes; even the global happiness index — Israel leads the region, and much of the rest of the world, by wide margins.

 

Security Environment More Favorable Than Ever: Compare the situation Israel faces in 2016 with any other period since the founding of the state, and there is little doubt the country is stronger, more secure, and holds a more pronounced qualitative military edge than it ever has. Furthermore, with the exception of Iran, its traditional adversaries are weaker, and amid their disarray they are falling further behind.

 

The situation of course is far from perfect, and there are no guarantees it will last long. After all, this is the Middle East. Israelis face a rash of individual attacks by young Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as a more substantial threat of terrorism from groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and aspiring ISIS wannabes in Sinai. But these aren't existential security threats to the state. Iran's putative quest for a nuclear weapon has been constrained for now. Functional cooperation with Jordan, improving ties with Turkey, close relations with Egypt, and an emerging alignment of interests with Saudi Arabia against Iran, all suggest a certain lessening of the Arab state allergy to Israel.

 

The U.S.-Israel Relationship: There's no arguing that the U.S.-Israel relationship has been through pretty tough times. Still, despite the highly dysfunctional relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the United States and Israel maintain an extraordinarily close bond. The two sides are now negotiating another 10-year security arrangement that will increase U.S. assistance to Israel, and several Republican and Democratic candidates have all pledged they will invite Netanyahu to Washington early on in their administrations.

 

Tensions over the unresolved Palestinian issue will persist. And even on the Republican side, the next president will find Netanyahu a difficult partner. Still, in a region with not a single Arab democracy, a rising Iran, and threats from transnational jihadists, Washington will almost certainly continue to look to Israel as an ally in a turbulent and violent region. Indeed, a Middle East in meltdown will provide the best set of talking points for the continuation of the U.S.-Israel special relationship. The threat of significant terror attacks on domestic soil in the years to come will only further emphasize the commonality of the challenges that bind the two countries together, even though other issues may divide them.

 

The real question is not whether the state of Israel will exist at 100, but what kind of state it will be. Much of course will depend on how the two dimensions of the Palestinian issue that threaten Israel's stability, security, and democratic and demographic character play out. Can a national minority of 1.7 million Palestinian citizens be integrated and more readily accepted into an Israeli polity based on the concept of Jewish statehood? Secondly, can a sustainable solution be found to the national aspirations of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians living in territories that Israel either occupies or controls to varying degrees?

 

Thirty-plus years shy of the centennial, these questions are impossible to answer, and the odds of resolving them anytime soon are long indeed. Still, Israel — now well into its seventh decade — isn't some hapless piece of driftwood floating aimlessly on a turbulent sea. It is a highly functional state that has powerful agency, extraordinary human resources, a demonstrated capacity to deal with its security challenges, and neighbors who seem to be growing weaker, not stronger. Israel will reach its centenary and have many good reasons to celebrate its 100th birthday. But Israel's neighbors, and the challenges that are likely to remain, won't make it an entirely happy occasion, nor allow Israelis to completely enjoy it.

 

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                  THE MATURING OF ISRAELI-RUSSIAN RELATIONS

Anna Borshchevskaya

Washington Institute, Spring 2016

 

October 2016 will mark 25 years since Russia and Israel officially restored diplomatic relations after the Soviet Union severed them in 1967 following the Six Day War. New Israeli Ambassador to Russia Zvi Heifetz said in November 2015 that Russia and Israel plan to mark this anniversary "at the highest possible level," as reported by the Interfax news agency. For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the same month, "We are satisfied with our constructive partnership with Israel. Relations between our states have reached a high level."

 

Indeed, Putin pursued improved ties with Israel since he came into office in March 2000 and the two countries have significantly improved ties on a number of fronts. Russian and Israeli officials hold meetings and telephone conversations on a regular basis and maintain multiple open channels of communication. The two countries have an agreement on visa-free tourist travel for their citizens. Israel is home to over a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union, which bolsters Russia's ties to Israel. Russian is the third most popular language in Israel after Hebrew and English. Economic relations between the two countries have especially improved, exceeding $3 billion in 2014, a figure slightly higher than Russia's trade with Egypt the same year. Military relations improved as well. Indeed, in late 2015, according to press reports, Israel sold ten search drones to Russia, despite Israel's concerns about Russia's military and political ties to Iran.

 

Yet complexities remain. Putin wants to be seen as a key player throughout the Middle East, and Israel matters in the region. Putin's regional policy, however, is primarily driven by zero-sum anti-Westernism to position Russia as a counterweight to the West in the region and, more broadly, to divide and weaken Western institutions. Israel, unlike Russia, is a pro-Western democracy. Moscow's growing aggression in the former Soviet Union, especially in Ukraine, and increasing influence in the Middle East in the context of Western retreat from the region, complicates Russia-Israeli relations.

 

Upon coming into office in March 2000, Putin sought to bring Russia back as an important actor in the Middle East and worked with everyone in the region, whether traditional friend or foe. He based this policy on his definition of Russia's interests, from a purely pragmatic standpoint. This policy included improved ties with Israel following deterioration of ties in the late 1990s under Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister Yevgeniy Primakov, who was decidedly more pro-Arab. As Professor Mark Katz wrote in Middle East Quarterly in the winter of 2005, "Putin neither seeks to please Washington nor to accommodate any domestic political imperative. Rather, Moscow's new Middle East policy results from Putin's personal calculation of Russian interests, one that does not find many other takers in his own government."

 

Several factors drove Putin's policy toward Israel, particularly in his early years in office. One was the struggle with the breakaway republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus, a struggle which began in the early 1990s, originally as a secular separatist movement that grew increasingly radical Islamist in nature in no small part due to Moscow's heavy-handed policies and egregious human rights abuses. Putin has drawn parallels between Russia's and Israel's respective struggles against terrorism. Over the years, he has made this very comparison in meetings with many top Israeli officials. Ariel Sharon, a Russian speaker who formed a close personal bond with Putin, in November 2003 called the Russian leader "a true friend of Israel," as reported by TSG IntelBrief. Israel was among the few countries that did not criticize Putin over his actions in Chechnya.

 

Another driver in Putin's Israel policy involved his emphasis on developing economic ties in the Middle East. He has correspondingly pursued trade with Israel, such as high-tech trade in areas including nanotechnology. Overall, Russia-Israel trade grew to $1 billion annually by 2005 and more than tripled this amount by 2014, to approximately $3.5 billion. This figure is slightly higher than Russian-Egyptian trade in the same year. Over one million Russian-speakers from Russia live in Israel, which matters to the Kremlin. In terms of Russia's domestic considerations, Putin also had to balance Russia's policy toward Israel given Russia's large Muslim and small Jewish population, the persistence of anti-Semitism, and the growth of anti-Muslim sentiment and concerns about terrorism.

 

Finally, Putin has sought a Russian role in the Middle East peace process, guided by hopes of replacing the West and of simply appearing important. Indeed, under Putin, Russia has grown increasingly assertive, seeking to make its imprint on the peace process since joining the Quartet more than a decade ago. In June 2012, Putin traveled to Israel, nine months before Barak Obama made his first visit as U.S. president. Meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Putin said, "It is in Russia's national interest to provide peace and tranquility in the Middle East, peace and tranquility to the Israeli people. It is not by accident that the Soviet Union was among the initiators and supported the creation of the state of Israel," according to a Kremlin transcript. Putin here conveniently left out Stalin's quick policy reversal after Israel had aligned with the West.

 

Despite improvements in the bilateral relationship, significant differences remain. In March 2006, Hamas leaders came to Moscow at Putin's invitation. Putin denied that Hamas was a terrorist organization. Other major difficulties for Israel have included Moscow's support for Iran's nuclear program and arms trade with Syria — arms that could fall into the possession of Hezbollah. Indeed, Moscow continued to support Iran's nuclear program despite Western and Israeli concerns that this policy will aid Iran in developing a nuclear weapon.

 

Russia's most recent involvement in Syria following the Iran deal is likely to further complicate the situation for Israel. In 2010, following pressure from the West and Israel, Moscow froze (but did not cancel) an $800 million contract with Iran for a sale of the S-300 air defense system that could help shoot down American or Israeli warplanes in the event of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. In exchange, Israel had refrained from criticizing Russia's actions in the near abroad; for instance, publically, Israel remained neutral on the Ukraine crisis and did not sell weapons to Kyiv. Yet Moscow and Iran have now revived talks of selling these weapons. In February of this year, after sanctions against Iran had been lifted, Iranian and Russian officials announced plans for an $8 billion arms deal, which, according to the Washington Free Beacon, includes the sale of S-300s, as well as Sukhoi-30 jets, comparable to American F-15E fighter bombers. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said transferring the Sukhoi-30s requires UN Security Council authorization and that the U.S. will "raise the matter with Russia," as reported by AP.

 

Earlier, Israel expressed alarm over the P5+1 nuclear agreement reached in July of this year with Iran while Putin praised the agreement. Netanyahu had been very outspoken about it, maintaining that Israel is not bound by this deal, and Israel will always defend itself. Putin's Syria intervention further complicates the situation for Israel. Netanyahu met with Putin in Moscow on September 21, 2015. The meeting appeared to alleviate some Israeli concerns about Russia's Syria intervention. After the meeting Netanyahu said, "In Syria, I've defined my goals. They're to protect the security of my people and my country. Russia has different goals. But they shouldn't clash."…                                                                                                 

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

           

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NETANYAHU AND HERZOG – STAR-CROSSED LOVERS                                                                   

Gil Hoffman                                                        

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2016

 

As Romeo and Juliet proved, there can be love and wedding plans, and even a friar eager to bring the two sides together, but still no wedding. The same holds true far from Verona, here in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had every reason to seek a national-unity government with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog.  He had a crumbling, undependable coalition of 61 MKs in which every backbencher was king. He was vexed by Likud legislators with delusions of grandeur. He had months of diplomatic challenges ahead, dealing with a president of the United States who could cause Israel problems in his final 284 days in office.

 

And, he had the simple fact that he never believed in having a right-wing coalition in the first place, only forming the overly homogeneous government he did because he had to shift to the right during his campaign and it was hard walking back. Herzog also had plenty of reasons to enter a national- unity government with Netanyahu. He had polls that were predicting his party’s political demise under his leadership. He had the history of Labor Party leaders who did not last long with none winning a second term in decades. And he had his genuine desire to serve the country in the vacant Foreign Affairs portfolio, where he could use his skills to improve Israel’s future.

 

There were countless mediators. Former Prime Minister’s Office director-general Yossi Kucik’s name was revealed over the weekend, but there were many others. Some acted on Netanyahu’s behalf. Some on Herzog’s. But most were just well-meaning people who wanted the bride and groom to come together. Unlike with Romeo and Julio, however, it is not death that will keep Netanyahu and Herzog apart. The probe into alleged campaign fund-raising violations Herzog is facing will prevent a unity government from being formed. But it is not the only reason.

 

There is also simple math. Netanyahu and Herzog would face rebels in their parties who would not accept the deal. Bayit Yehudi would be forced out. The end result would be an upgrade from 61 MKs to not much more. And there is also fate. Star-crossed lovers can have the best of intentions, but still remain forever apart.

            

 

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On Topic

 

 

Netanyahu Declares: Golan Heights Ours From Biblical to Modern Times: Breaking Israel News, Apr. 17, 2016—The Israeli cabinet held its first-ever meeting in the Golan Heights on Sunday amid reports that the territory is being discussed as part of Syrian civil war peace talks. “I convened this celebratory meeting in the Golan Heights to send a clear message: The Golan will always remain in Israel’s hands. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights,” declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the council.

Does Israel Need US Jewish Support?: Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom, Apr. 18, 2016—Elliott Abrams began a conversation by asking what has caused American Jews to distance themselves from Israel and finding the main cause to be the 50%-to-60% rate of Jewish intermarriage with non-Jews.

If the Likud Does Not Adopt Bennett’s Plan, We Must Leave the Party: Ben Artiz, Israpundit, Mar. 4, 2016—The prime minister’s brother-in-law calls for Minister Bennett to make the plan for the application of sovereignty in Area C the official plan of the party and states: If Netanyahu does not follow in his footsteps then people should leave Likud and support Bennett, since it would be clear that there is no other Rightist party.

Rivlin’s Regrettable Cancellation of Australian State Visit: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Mar. 2, 2016 —Israel today has few genuine friends willing to stand up and defend the Jewish state and counter the many nations that apply bias and double standards in ongoing harassment. Australia, an important Western middle power, has a track record of friendship dating back to the State of Israel’s birth that, with the exception of a few minor blips, would place it among the Jewish state’s most consistent and loyal friends.

 

 

 

                        

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

Philip Carl Salzman: Arabs Strive for Honor, Not Peace

 

 

 

The Arab Middle East today remains beholden to its foundational culture, Bedouin tribal culture. We see Arabs to this day cleaving to their kin groups, their tribes, their religious sects, manifesting in their actions group loyalty, support of closer over more distant, and balanced opposition, each party defined as much by whom they stand against, as what they stand for. At every level honour is at stake: tribes vs. tribes or sedentary authorities, Sunni vs. Shia, Arab vs. Kurd or Persian. Nor should we ignore the loss of Arab honour in their defeats by the Israelis, and the persistent Arab desire to regain that honour.

Honour in the Arab Middle East takes two forms: Sharaf is public standing, and is derived in the main from a man’s political status. ‘Ird is personal standing, and is derived largely from the proper behaviour of the women with whom a man is affiliated. Honour can be understood only as part of tribal culture, Arab tribal culture.

 

For the individual, tribal membership means that, should he get into trouble, he will have committed allies to call upon. But the other side of this is that another member of his group, should he get into trouble, can call on him for support. In fact, in a case of violence perpetrated by a member of his group, he is a legitimate target for reprisal, for vengeance, by the group of the injured party. If his group settles, paying blood money, he must contribute from his scarce resources. If larger scale conflict breaks out, his group mobilizing to fight, and this is far from rare, he must join in and be ready to engage in combat.

 

This all seems fair, but what if the offender from his group is an idiot who does stupid things, and has gotten into conflict through poor judgment? Or perhaps the offender from his group, a man distant in kinship, is greedy or violent, and has no justice to his claim and act? Must each member of the tribe nonetheless put his interests, his finances, his well-being, and those of his wife and children, at risk for these undeserving causes? Yes, of course he must, or else the collective security of the group would disappear, and individuals would be on their own, and vulnerable to any insult, offense, or attack.

 

Now we have come face to face with the tribal version of the universal organizational problem of how to inspire people to set aside their short-term interests in favour of long-term interests, and their individual interests in favour of collective interests. One way is to instill ideals, such as “duty,” that lead people to bridge the short-term/long-term, individual/collective gap. Implied is a positive social judgement of those who fulfill their duty, and a negative judgment of those who do not. The Baluchi tribesmen speak of whether a lineage, a tribal segment, is patopak, solidary, or betopak, disunited, with the implied judgment that topak is desirable, and to be patopak is admirable.

Honour is thus a positive reinforcement, a reward for correct behaviour. Honour works similarly for the segment as a whole; its reputation depends upon its successful defence of its interests, no matter how prejudicial that defence is to the short term interests of its individual members.

Sharaf is not just a matter of doing the right thing, of formalistic conforming to the requirements of tribal norms. Rather, public standing, or the political status of a group, is the result of its success in defending and advancing its interests, and thus its success in competition with other groups of like magnitude in the tribal order. Sharaf, in short, is the reward for winning, and the recognition of the winners. In the Middle East, honour is for the winners, shame for the losers.

There is not one Arab nakhba, the establishment of Israel. Rather, all of modern history is a nakhba for the Arab world, a self-induced, cultural nakhba as the Arab world has clung to pre-modern tribal forms: The seventh century C.E. remains the ideal for the Arab world. But modern liberal society depends upon a constitutional foundation, governing institutions based on law, politics allowing constant recall, and civil society going about its business peacefully. Loyalty must be to the constitution, not to groups. Building a modern society and liberal state on a tribal culture is building on shifting sands.