Month: May 2016


Spot the Difference: US Slams Liberman, Silent on Iran’s America-Hating Power Broker: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, May 29, 2016— According to unnamed senior politicians referenced by Israel’s Channel 10 news on Friday night…

Actually, Avigdor Lieberman Is Just What Israel Needs Right Now: Gregg Roman, Forward, May 25, 2016— Peaceniks may be up in arms about the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s next minister of defense, but the country’s enemies are worried — and rightly so.

Herzog's Dilemma: Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom, May 31, 2016— Even before the ink on the Yisrael Beytenu-Likud coalition agreement could dry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Labor leader Isaac Herzog to join.

A Morally and Politically Dysfunctional Government: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2016— The recent shenanigans that preceded the expansion of the government sickened even those reconciled to the reality that, since the Menahem Begin era, there exists a total lack of ethics in the Israeli political arena.


On Topic Links


We Need to Put the Yizkor Back into Memorial Day: Jerry Silverman, Arutz Sheva, May 27, 2016

Israeli Watchdog Critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Past Travel Expenses: Rory Jones & Orr Hirschauge, Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2016

Leiberman’s First Challenge: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2016

Netanyahu Against the Generals: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2016



SILENT ON IRAN’S AMERICA-HATING POWER BROKER                                                

David Horovitz                                                                                                    

Times of Israel, May 29, 2016


According to unnamed senior politicians referenced by Israel’s Channel 10 news on Friday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to stabilize his coalition by bringing in Yisrael Beytenu, with Avigdor Liberman taking over the Defense Ministry, is likely to have the opposite effect. The government may well collapse, and we could be heading to “new elections in the next six months,” these anonymous top polls predicted.


This is Israeli politics, where every new hour can make a mockery of what you thought you knew the hour before, so it would be wise not to get carried away by such anonymous predictions. But, it’s easy to understand the assessment. The brutal ousting of capable, temperate and loyal Moshe Ya’alon, in favor of the inexpert, intemperate and disloyal Liberman, has caused dismay across the spectrum, and not only in opposition circles.


The Jewish Home coalition party has manufactured a crisis over it, demanding an overhaul of the process by which the key security cabinet is provided with information in times of war and conflict, vowing otherwise to block Liberman’s appointment.

Kulanu’s Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay has followed Ya’alon’s lead in resigning from government in protest at one cynical political maneuver too many; like Ya’alon a week before, Gabbay on Friday slammed the door on his way out with a warning that, under this increasingly extremist coalition, Israel is heading down the path to destruction. Kulanu, a party crucial to Netanyahu’s Knesset majority, is plainly discomfited by the unfolding events, and is trying to persuade Zionist Union’s Isaac Herzog to enter the government — ludicrously, since Herzog was so badly burned by his last effort to negotiate terms for a unity deal with Netanyahu that his party leadership is under unprecedented threat.


In Netanyahu’s own Likud ranks, the wave of criticism rolls on. MK Benny Begin immediately pronounced himself horrified by the Ya’alon-for-Liberman trade. On Saturday, deputy minister Ayoub Kara declared that ex-corporal Liberman, who never served in an IDF combat role, is simply not fit to succeed ex-chief of staff Ya’alon. Herzog has claimed that he held talks with Netanyahu, at great risk to his own political career, because Israel currently has a rare opportunity to make headway toward regional peace, but that the prime minister, in jilting him for blunt, bleak, settler Liberman, “ran away” from the compromises and domestic political battles seizing such an opportunity would have entailed.


And even the United States has weighed in, with the State Department articulating concerns over Israel’s direction. Asked about incoming defense minister Liberman hours after the new coalition deal was signed on Wednesday, spokesman Mark Toner stressed that the administration would, of course, “work with this government as we have with every Israeli government that preceded it, with the goal of strengthening our cooperation.” But he allowed himself a little foray into what might be considered internal Israeli politics. Said Toner: “We’ve also seen reports from Israel describing it as the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history. And we also know that many of its ministers have said they opposed a two-state solution. This raises legitimate questions about the direction it may be headed in, and what kind of policies it may adopt, but ultimately we’re going to judge this government based on its actions.”


I have written two columns in recent days criticizing the ouster of Ya’alon and his imminent replacement by Liberman, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Netanyahu gambit does come to be regarded as a turning point when it comes to the electorate’s opinion of the prime minister. But I’m struck, nonetheless, by the criticism from Washington — issued even though Liberman pledged at the coalition signing ceremony that he was “committed to a balanced policy that will bring stability to the region and to our country”; he even switched to English to pledge his commitment to “peace and to a final status agreement, and to understanding between us and our neighbors.”


What’s perhaps most telling about the response from Washington is that it was so very different to the administration’s response, one day earlier, to dramatic political developments in Iran — where, coincidentally, a hard-liner was being elevated in somewhat different circumstances to a yet more powerful position. On Tuesday, a day before Netanyahu and Liberman signed their deal, Iran’s Assembly of Experts chose Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as its new chairman. The Assembly oversees the actions of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and come the day, will select Khamenei’s successor. That makes Jannati one of the most powerful figures in Iran, arguably the most powerful.


Ahmad Jannati, widely described as the most radical of Iran’s senior clerics, is not a nice man. He opposes any notion of Iranian political reform. He backs the execution of political dissidents. He insists that Iran’s women cover up beneath the hijab. Needless to say, he loathes Israel. And he loathes the United States.


Here’s Jannati in 2007: “At the end of the day, we are an anti-American regime. America is our enemy, and we are the enemies of America. The hostility between us is not a personal matter. It is a matter of principle.” In 2008: “You cried: ‘Death to the Shah,’ and indeed, he died. You cried: ‘Death to Israel,’ and it is now on its deathbed. You cry: ‘Death to America,’ and before long, Allah willing, the prayer for the dead will be recited over it.” And in 2014: “‘Death to America’ [is] the first option on our table… This is the slogan of our entire people without exception. This is our number one slogan.”


Given that the United States last year led the diplomatic process that culminated in an agreement to rein in (but not dismantle) Iran’s rogue nuclear program; given that President Barack Obama has been urging Iran to “move toward a more constructive relationship with the world community”; given that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and a regional troublemaker; given that Iran continues to develop its ballistic missile program… you might be forgiven for thinking that the selection of the radically hostile Jannati would raise “legitimate questions about the direction” in which Iran may be headed, “and what kind of policies it may adopt.”


And indeed, a day before he was asked about Liberman, the State Department’s Mark Toner was questioned at his daily press briefing about Jannati. Did he express his dismay at the selection of an official viciously hostile to the US and Israel to so prestigious a role? Did he communicate America’s concern about the grim message that the choice of Jannati represented? He did not.




ACTUALLY, AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN IS JUST                                                               

WHAT ISRAEL NEEDS RIGHT NOW                                                                                       

Gregg Roman                                                                                                               

Forward, May 25, 2016


Peaceniks may be up in arms about the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s next minister of defense, but the country’s enemies are worried — and rightly so. Yes, as the inevitable flurry of articles accompanying his appointment are sure to point out, Lieberman once said that Israel could bomb the Aswan dam in the event of war with Egypt and he also said that captured Palestinian terrorists should be “drowned in the Dead Sea.” But Lieberman, arguably the biggest loudmouth in Israel (he recently called Netanyahu — the man he’s been angling to work for — “a liar, cheater and crook”), is also a reasonable politician.


Lieberman’s core beliefs are squarely rooted in principles that most Israelis accept and that make good sense. He has expressed support for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel as part of a final settlement, but he also maintains , as he put it at the Saban Forum in 2006, that the negotiating process is based on three fundamentally erroneous assumptions: “that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main fact of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict.”


Although willing to trade land (including the West Bank settlement of Nokdim, where he lives) under certain conditions, Lieberman resents the Obama administration’s relentless pressure for upfront Israeli concessions, noting that two decades and more of concessions to the Palestinians “brought neither results nor solutions.” He is correct that finding more things for Israel to give up, even as the cycle of Palestinian incitement and violence continues, is not the answer.


Having experienced poverty first-hand while growing up in the Soviet Union, Lieberman has spoken eloquently about the need to address the deplorable socioeconomic conditions among Palestinians. This is partly why he has long called for toppling the Hamas regime in Gaza, which Netanyahu, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and the rest of Israel’s political and military establishment have come to accept as a manageable problem.


Not everything Lieberman believes is nestled firmly within Israeli public consensus, but even his more extreme ideas are rooted in hard-nosed realism, not ideology or ethnic particularism. His long-standing advocacy of the death penalty for convicted terrorists, for example, is premised on the simple recognition that Palestinian terrorists are today free to murder based on the correct expectation that they will later be released in prisoner exchanges.


Lieberman is also cognizant of the fact that the U.S.-Israel relationship is of the utmost importance. When Israeli minister Naftali Bennett attacked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to rekindle the peace process, Lieberman quickly fired back, stating , “There can be disagreements among friends, but one [Israel] doesn’t have to attack someone [the U.S]. When the supply of ammunition ran out during Operation Protective Edge, it was the United States that supplied it. The Americans were the ones who gave the money for Iron Dome. The United States was the one that helped us at the United Nations Human Rights Council and they prevent a lot of trouble in the Security Council with vetoes.”


Of course, Obama administration officials hoped that Netanyahu would stabilize his coalition by drawing in the center-left, not someone like Lieberman. Just days before the announcement, it was widely expected that Netanyahu would form a coalition with Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union, which advocates greater accommodation of Palestinian demands. But the Zionist Union has been paralyzed by internal divisions, with numerous members of this bloc openly opposing Herzog’s coalition talks with Netanyahu, while Lieberman’s MKs are expected to remain loyal. A stable, right-leaning government may have more credibility with the Israeli public than a fragile “national unity” government when it comes to making compromises for peace. After all, it was the “hard-line” Likud leader Menachem Begin who signed the Camp David Accords with Egypt in 1978.


My esteemed colleague David Makovsky worries that Netanyahu is “closing the door” on policies that “could have blunted a string of international initiatives” targeting Israel in the months ahead. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Lieberman accepts the Middle East Quartet’s conditions for a two-state solution. Most important, he stated,  “When there is a dispute between the integrity of the nation and the integrity of the land, then integrity of the nation is more important. I support a [peace] agreement…when we insist on security arrangements, this is just to avoid the crazy reality we are in.”


The doom-and-gloomers are right that Lieberman’s appointment to the defense ministry will almost certainly be consequential. Word has it that he demanded and received assurances regarding the latitude he will have in office. But Lieberman may just be the man of consequence Israel needs right now.




HERZOG'S DILEMMA                                                                                                         

Dan Margalit                                                                                                       

Israel Hayom, May 31, 2016


Even before the ink on the Yisrael Beytenu-Likud coalition agreement could dry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Labor leader Isaac Herzog to join. Netanyahu did it again on Monday, despite (or because of) Herzog's call for Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon to take his party out of the coalition. Kahlon has also been actively trying to bring Herzog into the fold. The Kulanu leader is becoming increasingly isolated since Moshe Ya'alon was kicked out of the Defense Ministry and Avi Gabai left the Environmental Protection Ministry.


Herzog's dilemma revolves around his political future. The first part of the dilemma is a paradox: On the one hand, some say he has no choice but to join the coalition, because otherwise he will be deposed as party chairman; on the other hand, others insist that he will be deposed if he doesn't stay in the opposition. The second part of the dilemma is just as important. It’s the opposition-oriented view: Is it right to have the opposition join the new coalition in order to make it better? Or should it just work from the opposition benches to shorten the government's lifespan? This dilemma should be resolved by the Labor Convention.


But you cannot turn back the clock to the day when Herzog realized that Likud preferred Yisrael Beytenu over his party. Herzog was offended by Netanyahu's decision not to put their verbal understanding into writing. Should Herzog sign a deal now? Is this even possible with Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman serving as the groomsmen? Herzog still has a lot to add if he agrees to the nuptials.


He has the ability to breathe new life into the prospects of an international peace conference, which could give Netanyahu the time he needs to make sure U.S. President Barack Obama does not support a Palestinian statehood bid at the U.N. Security Council in the remainder of his term. Herzog is a valued commodity on the world stage.


Ostensibly, everything is up in the air. Trust in politicians is at a low point, in light of everything that's happened over the past week between Netanyahu, Herzog, Lieberman and, most recently, with Bennett — who used lofty rhetoric to insist on appointing a special military advisor to the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet but ultimately agreed to a compromise that involves having some low-level official brief ministers. In that sense, they can feel free to do whatever they want, even if it is divorced from their previous rhetoric.


But if Herzog is to resume the coalition talks with Netanyahu, he would have to be in a better position than when they were called off, when he was humiliated. Perhaps he may not be able to join the coalition. What's certain is that this prospect has no chance of happening unless Netanyahu announces, up front, that Labor would get the justice portfolio. But I don't see how this happens either.                                                                                                                             



A MORALLY AND POLITICALLY DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT                                                         

Isi Leibler                                                                                                          

Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2016


The recent shenanigans that preceded the expansion of the government sickened even those reconciled to the reality that, since the Menahem Begin era, there exists a total lack of ethics in the Israeli political arena. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in consolidating his government and may have ensured that it will survive its full term of office – making him the longest presiding Prime Minister of Israel.


In this case, Netanyahu was not being Machiavellian. Like any politician, understandably his principal objective was to increase his paper thin parliamentary majority in order to retain power. But there is little doubt that his objective was also to create a government that reflected the unity of the nation in terms of security issues and which our adversaries and allies alike could not dismiss as extreme right wing. I believe that he genuinely desired to incorporate Zionist Union or the bulk of its parliamentarians into his government. But ultimately he realized – as Herzog himself subsequently conceded – that he was unable to gain the support of the Labour party. Even if Herzog delivered a number of Labour MKs, the coalition would be highly unstable and likely to break up at any time.


Avigdor Lieberman, realizing that his political future was at risk if he remained in an opposition headed by the Joint Arab List, signaled his arch political enemy that he was willing to join the government and in less than 24 hours, the deal was cobbled together. Netanyahu saved his government by this volte farce. But it may yet prove to be a pyrrhic victory.


As the global community prepares to exert more pressure – including UN Security Council Resolutions designed to coerce us into accepting indefensible borders – we will be perceived as having an even more extreme right wing government. This will undoubtedly be exploited by President Obama as justification for not employing the US veto to anti-Israeli Security Council resolutions.


On the domestic level, Netanyahu’s cavalier treatment of his former political allies in order to further his own ends by increasing the government – at any cost – leaves a very bitter taste. The manner in which Moshe Ya’alon was displaced as Defense Minister by Lieberman was almost surrealistic. When Lieberman served as Foreign Minister he abused his position and misrepresented Israel. To appoint him as Defense Minister, possessing no military experience whatsoever, is grossly unsuitable and reminiscent of the disasters associated with Amir Perez.


In contrast, Moshe Ya’alon was an exemplary Defense Minister of Israel. He was considered a man of exceptional integrity, one of the few who was renowned for promoting the national interest rather than his personal ambitions. His absence from the next Security Cabinet is a great loss for our national security. Over the past month, Ya’alon was justly criticized for making a number of ill-considered statements, creating tension when encouraging IDF personnel to speak out against political decisions they considered inappropriate.


However, Ya’alon’s controversial remarks had no bearing on Netanyahu’s subsequent acquiescence to Liebermann’s demand for the Defense Ministry. What is clear is that Ya’alon – one of Netanyahu’s loyal allies over many years – was not treated as a loyal partner or adequately consulted. The result was that he exploded and, despite the belated offer of Foreign Minister, resigned from the government and Knesset announcing he would return to politics at a later date and become a contestant for the leadership.


How has this impacted on domestic politics? The country’s biggest loss is Ya’alon whose wise advice and military knowledge is irreplaceable. The other loser is Bugie Herzog who genuinely sought to bring Zionism back into the Labour Party and marginalize the delusionary leftists who have hijacked his party. To this end, he fought his own party colleagues but failed in his effort to create a national unity government. His party will now be in shambles until it sorts itself out and elects a new leader.


The big winner in this new government, aside from Lieberman, will be Yair Lapid who will benefit immensely at the polls and is likely to represent an alternative leadership at the next elections. The haredim are also delighted because Lieberman, in his thirst for power, had no problem in suspending his passionate commitment to introduce reforms in the religious arena and break the stranglehold of the ultra-orthodox in relation to conversion, marriage and the draft.


Many Israelis are angered with their prime minister. But had he not acted as he did, his government would be on the verge of collapse. What is inexcusable is his humiliation of Ya’alon, who was not even adequately informed to the point where he refused to even remain in the current government – a great loss for the nation. There are several questions being asked. What price will Netanyahu pay for consolidating his leadership? Internationally, he may face the toughest diplomatic pressures Israel has ever encountered with a retiring US president reputed to be seeking to isolate Israel as his farewell legacy. How will he cooperate with Lieberman who, until only a few days, ago displayed outright personal animus towards him? It was serious enough when Lieberman went on his independent rampages as Foreign Minister. How will this work whilst he is Defense Minister?…

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




On Topic Links


We Need to Put the Yizkor Back into Memorial Day: Jerry Silverman, Arutz Sheva, May 27, 2016—In Israel, when the two-minute siren sounds at 11 a.m. on Yom Hazikaron, the Jewish state’s Memorial Day, the nation comes to a halt.

Israeli Watchdog Critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Past Travel Expenses: Rory Jones & Orr Hirschauge, Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2016—An Israeli government watchdog on Tuesday released a highly critical report into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s travel expenses while he was finance minister more than a decade ago, and raised the possibility of a criminal investigation.

Leiberman’s First Challenge: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2016—Last week, a mob of 300 Muslim men in southern Egypt stripped a 70-year-old Christian woman naked and paraded her through the streets. This Islamist atrocity came a few days before an EgyptAir flight from Paris exploded in the skies near Alexandria. It was the second passenger jet bombed by jihadists in Egypt in recent months.

Netanyahu Against the Generals: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2016—In 2012 a former New York Times reporter named Patrick Tyler published an invidious book called “Fortress Israel,” the point of which was that the Jewish state is a modern-day Sparta whose “sabra military elite” is addicted to war.








Depressing Deductions From the War in Syria: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, May 5, 2016— For the past five years, a war in which everyone is fighting everyone else has been raging in what was once called Syria.

The Islamic State Is Targeting Syria's Alawite Heartland – And Russia: Fabrice Balanche, Washington Institute, May 27, 2016— On May 23, the Islamic State (IS) perpetrated suicide bombings in Tartus and Jableh, killing 154 people and wounding more than 300.

Syrian Quagmire Delays Hizballah's Pursuit of Ultimate Objective: Yaakov Lappin, IPT, May 27, 2016— A brutal Sunni-Shi'ite war is raging across the Middle East, and the Lebanese terror organization Hizballah, originally formed to wage jihad on Israel, now finds itself in the middle.

While Ascendant, Israel’s Jihadi Neighbor Isn’t a Serious Threat: Dov Leiber, Times of Israel, May 23, 2016— Despite a pairing up of two Islamic State-linked militant groups on Israel’s northern border and a show of boldness by the new alliance, their threat to the Jewish state remains minimal, experts on jihadi groups in Syria told The Times of Israel.


On Topic Links


Is Syria Another Afghanistan for Russia?: Micah Halpern, Observer, May 26, 2016

The ISIS Challenge in Syria; Implications for Israeli Security: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, May 8, 2016

Israel's Need to Take a Stand against the Assad Regime: A Moral Imperative and Strategic Necessity: Amos Yadlin, INSS, May 22, 2016

Life Under the Islamic State: Fines, Taxes and Punishments: Sarah Almukhtar, New York Times, May 26, 2016




DEPRESSING DEDUCTIONS FROM THE WAR IN SYRIA                                                   

Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                                                                   

Arutz Sheva, May 5, 2016


For the past five years, a war in which everyone is fighting everyone else has been raging in what was once called Syria. At least half a million people are dead, two million injured, five million – about half the population – have become refugees, some within the country, others outside it. And there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. The ceasefire is falling apart, the mass murders continue, and it's as if Syria is located on some other planet and no one sees or hears what is going on there.


This is nothing new. What's new is the disclosure by military and defense analyst Amos Harel that the Haaretz newspaper ran as its headline on May 2: "The escalation in Syria: Assad has begun using chemical weapons again." The subtitle said: "The Syrian army used chemical weapons, most probably deadly sarin gas against ISIS fighters who attacked government property near Damascus." Chemical weapons? Sarin? Wasn’t an agreement signed in September 2013, barely three years ago – between the USA and Russia – in which it was agreed that all the chemical weapons in Assad's possession after the massacre of August 2013 would be destroyed?


As a result of the agreement and the destruction of the poisonous substances the US government managed to avoid fulfilling its commitment to act against Assad if he crossed certain red lines, that is, if he used chemical weapons against his own citizenry. The Americans even set aside a special ship whose purpose was to destroy the poisonous gases and liquids out at sea, but it has now become clear that Assad held on to a substantial amount of chemical weapons allowing him to wage chemical warfare against his enemies. He may have held on to the means of manufacturing chemical weapons as well. If so, why bother to sign agreements that are not worth the paper they are printed on in today's world?


None the less shocking is the fact that the world has done nothing, despite realizing that the agreement is a worthless piece of paper, even though the agreement stipulates that the UN Security Council will enforce it if Assad does not live up to his commitment. The impression I get is that much of the West would not lose any sleep if the Arab world, and the entire Muslim world with it, was wiped off the map in a war of mass destruction.


Unfortunately, this agreement joins a good many others that the West has signed, but not enforced. An important example is the December 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the Western Powers promised to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine if it gives up the nuclear weaponry it was supposed to have received as a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union. What did the countries who signed the  memorandum do about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and against its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, part of Ukraine, in 2014? Not a thing. What is the Budapest Memorandum worth? Nothing. What are commitments and agreements made by the West worth? Everyone knows the answer to that question by now.


The issue is even worse when it affects the lives of so many in the third world and in particular, those in the Arab states. The West does nothing to stop the mass murders in Syria, has done nothing about the mass murders in Iraq, Libya and Yemen that have been going on unchecked for the past several years. The problem in Yemen is clear and so is its solution: a strong stand against Iran, which supports the rebels, and against Saudi Arabia, which supports the president, would have brought the hostilities to an end a long time ago, but the world – and particularly the Western part of it – are sick and tired of the Arab world's problems. The impression I get is that much of the West would not lose any sleep if the Arab world, and the entire Muslim world with it, was wiped off the map in an all-out war of mass destruction.


The war in Syria gave the world Islamic State, once called Daesh or ISIL. The entire world was aware of the thousands of volunteers, radical Muslims eager for battle, who were flooding into the Jihad fields of Syria and Iraq by way of Turkey. Every intelligence agency knew that Erdogan was helping them infiltrate into Syria to join those battling his arch-enemy, Assad. What did the world do to convince or force Turkey to cease doing this? Nothing. So who is to blame for the rapid expansion of Islamic State? Turkey alone? Or is the answer an entire slew of Western states that knew all too well the part Turkey played in smuggling Jihadists into Syria, knew that Turkey purchases Islamic State oil – because some of them do the same – knew about the arms smuggling through Turkey to Islamic State – and did nothing about it?


Worst of all is the way the world behaves towards Iran, a country which should be held responsible for a good part of the Syrian catastrophe. Iran supports Assad, a mass murderer, in every way it can: thousands of Iranian soldiers and others who came through Iran are actively fighting the rebels, massive amounts of cash travel from Iran to Syria in order to allow Assad to buy supporters in a country where there is hardly anything left to purchase with that money. Iran has injected its Lebanese cohorts, the Hezbollah, into the fray and that terrorist organization has lost thousands of fighters on the land that was once Syria.


Why is the world silent in the face of Iranian aid to mass murder? Why did the world run to sign a nuclear pact with Iran and remove the economic sanctions placed upon it? So that the hundreds of billions of dollars Iran receives can add to the fires of terror it fans in Syria, Iraq and any other place where it can buy friends?


In the Middle East, the most miserable place on this earth, Israel can survive not by the strength of its rights but by right of its strength. The West's behavior, led by the United States, in the face of the mass murders taking place in the Middle East, must turn on not only a red light but a powerful projector in order to open the eyes of Israel and its friends all over the world. The most important conclusion that Jews and Israelis must reach is to never rely on any commitment, on any agreement, oral or signed, when it comes to our own security, because when the moment of truth arrives our friends are liable to behave exactly as they did seventy years ago. Then, they were well aware that millions of Jews were being systematically murdered and did nothing to stop the genocidal Nazi machine.


Politicians, academics, artists and many public figures in the West lose no opportunity to attack Israel for what that country is forced to do to fight terror, but are struck dumb when the subject is crimes against humanity perpetrated anywhere else in the Middle East. The double standard with which they judge Israel has to be the basis of Israel's political and military behavior, especially when the subject is "Peace agreements" signed in the Middle East – pieces of paper that only the US and Europe view with a modicum of seriousness and have no intention of enforcing anyway…                                                                   

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





THE ISLAMIC STATE IS TARGETING SYRIA'S                                                  

ALAWITE HEARTLAND –     AND RUSSIA                                                                                          

Fabrice Balanche                                                                                                  

Washington Institute, May 27, 2016


On May 23, the Islamic State (IS) perpetrated suicide bombings in Tartus and Jableh, killing 154 people and wounding more than 300. This was the first time either coastal city had been targeted by such attacks since the beginning of the war. Tartus in particular had seemed like a haven up until Monday. It was still an attractive tourist destination because of its wide beaches, and it was in the middle of a construction boom given the arrival of internally displaced people (IDPs) from other parts of Syria — not just the Assad regime's fellow Alawites from Damascus, but also members of the Sunni majority from all across the country. Many Syrian refugees had even returned from Lebanon to Tartus because they considered life to be cheaper and safer there.


IS operatives can conduct simultaneous attacks of this nature rather easily given the corruption and nonchalance at coastal security checkpoints. I saw this problem firsthand when I visited Tartus and Latakia last month. After I crossed the border from Beirut via taxi, nobody asked me for my passport or searched my suitcase. The driver was known at each checkpoint, and by giving 100-200 Syrian pounds (10-20 cents) to those who stopped us, he was able to quietly proceed without hassle. Thanks to rampant corruption, he had also obtained a special permit to use military roads, further enabling him to avoid stringent controls. So it would be quite simple for terrorists to regularly infiltrate the Alawite heartland, which is also home to Russia's main bases in Syria. Moreover, IS could readily establish sleeper cell among its fellow Sunnis in these areas, who number in the hundreds of thousands (both locals and IDPs).


Through the latest attacks, the Islamic State is attempting to send different messages. The first is for the Alawites — IS wants to show them that the Assad regime cannot protect them. After all, the group has not attacked the nearby coastal cities of Banias and Latakia, which have larger Sunni populations. In Latakia's case, IDP flows have made Sunnis the majority, and IS likely prefers to avoid the risk of heavy Sunni casualties there. Regime security efforts are also more serious in Banias and Latakia, where Sunni neighborhoods erupted into armed rebellion in 2011-2012, which was not the case in Jableh and Tartus.


Sending such violent signals to the Alawites could have multiple ripple effects. IS leaders likely hope that Alawite soldiers serving in hotspots on the eastern front (e.g., Deir al-Zour, Palmyra) will refuse to fight if their families back in Tartus and other cities are not given better protection; the regime might even decide to redeploy eastern troops to the coast. The group also aims to spark discontent against the regime and Alawite reprisals against Sunnis. On February 21, IS attacks in Homs affected Alawite neighborhoods and provoked strong discontent against local authorities and the security apparatus, with people denouncing the corruption and inefficiency of officers. For now, such antipathy does not extend to Bashar al-Assad himself, but that could change if attacks continue. Meanwhile, Alawite reprisals against Sunnis could undermine the regime and its army, since many Sunnis are still fighting on Assad's side. On Monday, Alawites attacked al-Karnak camp in Tartus, home to 400 Sunni families from Aleppo and Idlib; according to unofficial sources, seven Sunnis were killed.


Yet the Islamic State's most important message is presumably to Moscow. Russia's only naval base in Syria is located in Tartus, while Jableh is close to Hmeimim, Russia's main air base. Moscow is also attempting to rehabilitate the old Soviet submarine base in Jableh. IS has already shown a pattern of targeting Russian infrastructure, most recently Tiyas airfield between Homs and Palmyra, according to the BBC. IS leaders are well aware that Moscow's assistance enabled the Syrian army to retake Palmyra and set its sights on Deir al-Zour, so they aim to increase the price of the Russian intervention and force a withdrawal from the Syrian theater, or at least from the eastern fronts.


Finally, Monday's bombings send a message to other rebel groups. Although the Islamic State's goals and methods often differ from those of Syria's various anti-Assad factions, it still wants to be regarded as the leader of the fight against the regime, Russia, and the Alawite community. It will therefore continue trying to show that it is more effective and more ruthless than al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, currently its main rival for that title.                                                   




SYRIAN QUAGMIRE DELAYS HIZBALLAH'S                                                               

PURSUIT OF ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE                                                                                                 

Yaakov Lappin                                                                                                               

IPT, May 27, 2016


A brutal Sunni-Shi'ite war is raging across the Middle East, and the Lebanese terror organization Hizballah, originally formed to wage jihad on Israel, now finds itself in the middle. Hizballah is a formidable component of the Middle East's Iranian-led Shi'ite axis. The axis is a transnational network of allies and proxies that once was focused on fomenting attacks on Israel. It still does that, but the axis is primarily engaged in an altogether different, day-to-day fight against Sunni organizations, as well as against the Sunni states like Saudi Arabia that back some of these groups.


This war is raging in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other battlegrounds, and it has reshaped the Middle East, making it almost unrecognizable. For example, in the second half of the 20th century, Syria often would send military forces into Lebanon to dominate it. Today, Lebanese Hizballah formations dominate and shape events inside Syria. The radical Shi'ite axis is led by Iran's extraterritorial Quds Force unit, which answers directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The Quds Force arms and funds the Assad regime, and a series of militias and terror organizations that stretch across Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and even the Gaza Strip.


An examination of some of the paradoxes that define Hizballah today sheds light on the new reality facing the Iranian axis. The first contradiction is one of capabilities. Hizballah is by far the most heavily armed terrorist organization in the world, yet it cannot use most of its weapons – a vast arsenal of 120,000 surface-to-surface rockets and missiles – in almost any of the battles it now fights against Sunni rebels in Syria. These weapons are reserved for use against Israel, and in any case, would not be very effective in the kind of counter-insurgency warfare Hizballah is fighting against irregular rebel forces.


Additionally, Hizballah finds itself caught in a difficult political situation. It saved the Assad regime from full collapse, yet it faces pressure from Iran to send even more forces out of its home turf of Lebanon, and into Syria. This leads to a second paradox defining Hizballah today, which revolves around the issue of money. Hizballah's masters in Tehran have reduced the group's annual budget, and the organization is facing the fallout of a U.S.-led campaign to get Lebanese banks to stop working with it. Seventy percent of Hizballah's $1 billion budget comes from Iran, a decrease from recent years. Nevertheless, the budget enables Hizballah to continue building up a surface-to-surface rocket and missile arsenal that dwarfs most states. As a result of being stretched between Syria's warzones and positions in southern Lebanon, which were built for war with Israel, Hizballah, like its Iranian backers, currently is not interested in a war with Israel.


Hizballah has played down past recent incidents that could lead to conflict with Israel, and was quick to say that the assassination earlier this month of the group's operations chief, Mustafa Badreddine, was carried out by Syrian rebels, not Israel. It took Hizballah more than seven years to rebuild the southern Beirut stronghold of Dahiya after the 2006 war with Israel. Yet today, Hizballah, like the wider Iranian axis of which it is a part, is focused on its war against the Sunnis, who are bent on toppling Assad from power. The Sunni world is itself divided into pragmatic regional powers like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and the genocidal ISIS and al-Qaida jihadists. The pragmatic Sunni elements have come to view Israel as a silent and highly valuable potential partner in a new regional realignment that is forming to fight both ISIS and the Iranian axis…


All of this has come at a very high price. More than 1,500 Hizballah members have been killed in Syria, and more than 5,500 have been wounded, forcing the organization to set up costly rehabilitation programs for Syria veterans. Recent weeks have seen many Hizballah casualties fall in Syria. So far in 2016, it has lost over 60 members in Syria's war. Last year, it lost more than 540 fighters, and in 2014, around 360 Hizballah members were killed battling Sunni insurgents. In the past, when Iran feared that Israel might imminently strike the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, one of Hizballah's main roles was to deter Israeli decision makers from ordering a strike. Today, Iran views Hizballah as the powerful Shi'ite combatant that will defend Iranian interests in Syria against the Sunnis.


For now, Iran is abiding by the Joint Plan of Action over its nuclear weapons program, opening up its economy to new investment, and flooding Iranian defense industries with cash for developing new weapons. Many of these weapons will end up in Hizballah's hands. Yet none of the above developments has caused Hizballah and Iran to give up their quest to destroy Israel. Iran has not given up on the goal of eventually acquiring nuclear weapons, and Hizballah genuinely believes it has a divine mission to destroy Israel one day…                                                                                                                                                             

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




ISN’T A SERIOUS THREAT                                                                  

Dov Leiber                                                                                                   

Times of Israel, May 23, 2016


Despite a pairing up of two Islamic State-linked militant groups on Israel’s northern border and a show of boldness by the new alliance, their threat to the Jewish state remains minimal, experts on jihadi groups in Syria told The Times of Israel. As the Syrian civil war rages into its fifth year, with some estimates putting the death toll at nearly half a million people, small to medium-sized militant groups continue to jockey for power, switch allegiances and swap control of territory. This volatile situation extends all the way to Israel’s doorstep.


The two most powerful Sunni groups that now control territory on Israel’s northern border are the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, which is estimated to have several thousand fighters, and the IS-linked Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade (YMB), which according to most estimates, has up to 1,000 members. An IDF officer told The Times of Israel in March that the Israeli army was keeping a close eye on both groups, afraid they might carry out an attack — a car bomb, rocket launching, or kidnapping — in order to score propaganda points with their benefactors; both Islamic State and al-Qaeda have threatened Israel in the past.


The overall assessment, however, remains that these jihadi groups are too pre-occupied fighting each other and reinforcing their grip on their respective territory to open a battlefront with the Middle East’s most powerful military. Of the two groups, the IDF officer suggested that though al-Nusra was more powerful, the group is considered less of a threat than YMB. Al-Nusra has gained a reputation for being a somewhat rational actor in Syria, especially in comparison to the Islamic State group, whose brazen ideology makes their affiliate on Israel’s northern border a looser canon.


Since The Times of Israel spoke with the IDF in March, there have been two important interconnected changes on the southern Syrian battlefield. First, YMB sprung an unexpected offensive against Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in the southern Daraa province in late March-early April. The IS-linked group managed to take the towns of Tasil and Sahm al-Jawlan, and nearly split in half FSA’s territory. This could have been a disaster for the moderate fighters, as it would have cut off their northern forces from logistical support they receive from Jordan. Second, during this Daraa offensive, YMB joined forces with another, smaller IS-linked group called the Islamic Muthanna Movement (IMM)…


In an article published on Sunday, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, an expert on jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq, examined the danger Syrian groups pose to Israel’s northern border. In the piece, he addressed the new alliance between the IS-linked groups and their brazen attack in Daraa. The immediate cause for the change of dynamics in YMB, Tamimi wrote, was the appointment of a new leader for the group in March. The replacement chief was likely sent by central Islamic State leadership, and is not a native of the Yarmouk Valley, but a Saudi by the name of Abu Abdallah al-Madani.


The new appointment cemented the transition of the group from moderate and FSA-affiliated to an IS affiliate, and set the groundwork for the bold offensive that sent the local militia fighting out if its native heartland. Despite the new leadership for YMB and their military alliance with IMM, Tamimi’s overall assessment of the jihadi threat to Israel mirrored the IDF’s. “The risk posed to Israel by the various Sunni jihadi groups in southern Syria is low,” as these groups have “far greater priorities than to focus their energies on Israel,” he wrote…                                                                                                            


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




On Topic Links


Is Syria Another Afghanistan for Russia?: Micah Halpern, Observer, May 26, 2016—ISIS attacked a Russian military base in Syria on May 14th. Four Mi-24 attack helicopters were burned, 20 trucks were destroyed, a storage depot was hit and a MIG-25 fighter jet was damaged. The base is known as T-4, sometimes also called Tiyas in Homs province.

The ISIS Challenge in Syria; Implications for Israeli Security: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, May 8, 2016—ISIS captured the world’s attention when it routed the Iraqi army in Mosul and took control over the city in early June 2014. At one point, its advance southward reached to within 75 km of Israel’s border on the Golan Heights.

Israel's Need to Take a Stand against the Assad Regime: A Moral Imperative and Strategic Necessity: Amos Yadlin, INSS, May 22, 2016—For the past five years, Israel has chosen not to take sides in the events underway in Syria. Yet while there were – and still are – some good reasons for this policy, the time has come for Israel to reassess its position on the civil war that rages across its border.

Life Under the Islamic State: Fines, Taxes and Punishments: Sarah Almukhtar, New York Times, May 26, 2016—The Islamic State is losing territory and, with it, population and resources. Its revenue has fallen almost 30 percent since last year, and it is increasing taxes and punishments to help make up for the losses, according to the IHS Conflict Monitor.










Brace Yourselves: Trump is Going to Win: Derek Burney & Fen Osler Hampson, Globe & Mail, May 16, 2016— Canadians and our media have watched U.S. primary season with a mixture of incredulity, disbelief, horror and smugness.

Burning Israel: Sanders’ Vision for the Democratic Party: Seth Lipsky, New York Post, May 26, 2016— What a hoopla has arisen over the fact that the first Jewish candidate to get to the homestretch of a Democratic presidential primary is making it his business to move the party formally away from its support of Israel.

Weakend at Bernie’s: Maureen Dowd, New York Times, May 21, 2016— Hillary clinton is the Democratic nominee. Really. Just ask her.

I Stand by my Critique of ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2016— Jonathan Greenblatt’s response to my criticism of his embrace of J Street, alleging that I distorted his message, is disingenuous and reaffirms my assessment.


On Topic Links


From Hezbollah to Israeli Army: The Extraordinary Journey of a Father and Son: Times of Israel, May 14, 2016

Speech by Michael Gove, UK Conservative MP & Secretary of State for Justice (Video): Algemeiner, Mar. 31, 2016

Another Radical Islamist in the Sanders Camp: IPT, May 26, 2016

ADL Applies Moral Equivalence to Israelis and Palestinians: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, May 18, 2016





Derek Burney & Fen Osler Hampson                                              

Globe & Mail, May 16, 2016


Canadians and our media have watched U.S. primary season with a mixture of incredulity, disbelief, horror and smugness. The conventional wisdom here, as well as among most American pundits, is that Donald Trump doesn’t stand a chance of winning the presidency and that the Democrats will retake the White House under Hillary Clinton.


The problem is that the conventional wisdom has been consistently wrong since last June. Many thought Mr. Trump would implode during the Republican primary. He didn’t. Many thought his reality-TV-show persona and foul-mouthed campaign style would eventually wear thin with voters. It hasn’t. Many thought – and still do – that his lack of policy substance and multiple about-faces – if not downright contradictions – on hot-button issues like abortion, Muslims and Mexican migrants would doom his campaign with Americans, who generally tend to have a strong sense of fair play and public decorum. That, too, hasn’t happened. Meanwhile the FBI investigation of Ms. Clinton’s personal e-mail accounts is ongoing and Vice-President Joe Biden is back on TV stating that he would be the best candidate.


What many fail to recognize is that Donald Trump is rewriting the rules of American politics with his take-no-prisoners, earned-rather-than-paid media campaign for the U.S. presidency. He is riding a tidal wave of profound dissatisfaction among ordinary American voters (and not just aging, white, middle-aged males, for that matter) that is driven by a volatile mix of xenophobic nationalism, falling wages and living standards for the middle and lower classes, a yawning and ever-widening gap between rich and poor, and an acute sense that America under President Barack Obama has taken a backseat role in world affairs, has mismanaged major issues and is no longer the leading great power it once was.


Donald Trump understands the angry mood of America better than his Washington-based Republicans, which is why he is the last man standing. Only Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders rivals Mr. Trump with his intuitive grasp of America’s state of mind and that is why he is giving Hillary Clinton such an unexpected run for her money.


America’s political establishment, including those in the media, are widely seen as being out of touch and arrogant and self-serving, which is why Mr. Trump’s “outsider” appeal has traction. If there were any lingering doubts, consider the extraordinary confession in the New York Times Magazine by Obama confidant, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes openly bragged about lying about timelines in the Iranian nuclear deal to reporters while feeding their more inexperienced colleagues with stories to create, in his words, “an echo chamber” so that the public would support the deal. Talk about hubris! A just released Reuters online poll puts the race between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump as neck and neck. That is just one poll and a lot can happen between now and November. But Canadians and their government should nevertheless ready themselves for the possibility of a Trump presidency. Prudence is anticipating the worst before it happens and readying yourself for the consequences.


We should be deeply worried about Mr. Trump’s threat to throw NAFTA into the dustbin. It is not a hollow one. We should also disabuse ourselves of the notion that Mr. Trump would treat Canada differently from Mexico. He won’t, because he is a populist who is pandering to the public mood. Just look at what he said at a rally in Washington State a few days ago. Without actually naming Canada, Mr. Trump said he would put an end to lumber imports: “When we take their product, come on in folks, come on in. We’re not going to do it.”


Mr. Trump’s threat to disband NATO because it is an “obsolete” Cold War relic on which allies, including Canada, are not carrying their share of the burden should also worry us. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he won’t defend “free riders.” He certainly won’t look kindly on Canada, which spends barely 1 per cent of GDP on defence compared to the 4 per cent the United States does, nor will he attach much credence to our views on global issues. It is time for business interests on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, which have benefited enormously from NAFTA, to rally and make their views known by actively countering the anti-free-trade, protectionist message of Mr. Trump and other presidential contenders like Mr. Sanders. It is also time for more than rhetoric to anchor our security.


Conventional thinking about this election has been consistently wrong and unexpected developments may still lie ahead, but Canadians and their government may also have to start thinking the unthinkable – a Trump presidency that shatters the most foundational element of our foreign policy, the way we have managed relations with the United States over the past 60-odd years. The values and interests we profess to share may not prove to be the most effective prescription.        




BURNING ISRAEL: SANDERS’ VISION FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY                                                          

Seth Lipsky                                                                                                           

New York Post, May 26, 2016 


What a hoopla has arisen over the fact that the first Jewish candidate to get to the homestretch of a Democratic presidential primary is making it his business to move the party formally away from its support of Israel. At least to the degree that President Obama hasn’t already done so. This story comes into focus with the announcement of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ nominees to the Democratic Party’s platform committee. The five — out of a total of 11 on the committee — are a parody of leftist politics.


They include a radical environmentalist, Bill McKibben; a Native American activist, Deborah Parker; and a particularly progressive congressman, Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) The big news, though, is that Sanders’ surrogates include the pro-Palestinian activist James Zogby and the leftist professor Cornel West. They are two of the harshest critics of Israel on the national scene. It’s not my intention here to suggest that any of these worthies ought to be excluded from the Democratic — or any other — Party’s political debate. But what does it say about Sanders that these are his platform writers?


“The first Jewish candidate to win state primaries and amass millions of votes,” writes the editor of the liberal Jewish Forward, “is also the one trying to steer the Democratic Party platform away from its full-throated support of Israel.” The anti-Israel edge to Sanders’ surrogates is so pronounced that even The New York Times fronted a dispatch to mark the point. It warned that a “bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity.”


Nor does this seem to be unintended. West, a veteran of Harvard and Princeton, and Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute, were themselves quoted by the Times as vowing to overturn what it called the party’s “lopsided support for Israel.” Supposedly Hillary Clinton is going to resist this. But even her camarilla is a marker of how far the party has been shifting. One of her nominees is former State Department aide Wendy Sherman. By dint of Sherman’s seniority at State, she could be considered Clinton’s main foreign-policy person on the platform committee. Yet Sherman’s claim to fame — or infamy — is as co-author of the articles of appeasement on Iran. Those, remember, were opposed not only by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also by the left-of-center opposition in Israel. And by majorities of both houses of the Congress — and not just Republicans.


As it stands, the only members of the Dems’ committee to have made support for Israel a main marker of their careers are those installed by the party’s national chairman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It was she who put the former congressman Howard Berman on the committee. She also named its chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Both have supportive records on Israel. Then again, it turns out that Wasserman Schultz’s own hold on the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is in danger, according to The Hill newspaper. It reports that Wasserman Schultz is seen as too “divisive,” meaning too anti-Sanders. If the congresswoman goes, it’s hard to imagine who could provide adult supervision to the platform writers.


The cynics might say that party platforms don’t matter anymore, not in the age of the Internet. Now the debate can be shifted by whatever thumb Mark Zuckerberg has put on Facebook’s trending algorithm. Every once in a while, though, a platform offers a glimpse of where a party really stands. This happened at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, when the press discovered that God and Jerusalem had been dropped from the platform. It prompted the convention chairman to ask for a voice vote to correct the oversight. The “ayes” were eclipsed by the “nays.” The correction was rammed through anyhow, but not before the country, watching on TV, saw what the Democrats had become.


“Crass” is the word Abraham Foxman used, when I spoke with him Thursday, to describe Sanders’ moves on Israel. I detected a note of sadness in this aging hero of the Jewish struggle. Foxman, after all, has spent his entire life laboring to end prejudice against, among many others, the Jews. Finally a Jew makes it into the homestretch for presidential nomination. And his agenda is to turn his party away from the Jewish state.                                     




WEAKEND AT BERNIE’S                                                             

Maureen Dowd                                                             

New York Times, May 21, 2016


Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee. Really. Just ask her. She should have been able to finally savor shattering that “highest, hardest glass ceiling” — the one she gloried in putting 18 million cracks in last time around — when she attends her convention in Philadelphia in July.


Instead, she is reduced to stomping her feet on CNN, asserting her dominance in a contest that has left her looking anything but dominant. Once more attempting to shake off the old socialist dude hammering her with a sickle, Clinton insisted to Chris Cuomo on Thursday: “I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.”

It’s a vexing time for the Clintons. As Bill told a crowd in Fargo, N.D., on Friday, it’s been an “interesting” year: “That’s the most neutral word I can think of.” After all, why should Bernie Sanders get to be the Democratic nominee when he isn’t even a Democrat? And how is Donald Trump going to be the Republican nominee when he considers being a Republican merely a starting bid?


It must be hard for Hillary to look at all the pictures of young women swooning over Bernie as though he were Bieber. She assumed that the fix was in, that she and the D.N.C. had arranged for the coronation that she felt she was robbed of in the tulip craze of 2008. Everyone just laughed when Sanders, a cranky loner from Vermont with a nondescript Senate record, decided to challenge Queen Hillary. Clinton and her aides intoned — wink, wink — that it would be healthy to have a primary fight with Sanders and Martin O’Malley.


But Bernie became the surprise belle of his side’s revolutionary ball. And now he has gotten a taste of it and he likes it and he won’t let it go. He’s bedeviling the daylight out of Hillary. Hillary and her allies are spinning a narrative that Bernie is less loyal to the Democratic cause than she was with Obama. And Trump does delight in quoting Bernie’s contention that Hillary lacks the judgment to be president. On Friday, when he accepted the endorsement of the N.R.A. at its convention, Trump mischievously urged Sanders to run as a third-party candidate and said he would love to have a debate with both Hillary and Bernie onstage.


Hillary says Sanders needs to “do his part” to unify the party, as she did in 2008. But even on the day of the last primaries in that race, when she was the one who was mathematically eliminated unless the superdelegates turned, she came onstage to Terry McAuliffe heralding her as “the next president of the United States.” She then touted having more votes than any primary candidate in history as her fans cheered “Yes, she will!” and “Denver!”


Seeing Trump’s soaring negatives, Sanders thinks, if he could just get past Hillary, he could actually be president. The Bernie bro violence — chair throwing, sexist name-calling and feral threats — at the Nevada state party convention last weekend was denounced as “a scary situation” by his Senate colleague Barbara Boxer.


Sanders condemned the violence while stoking the outrage, urging the Democratic Party to “open the doors, let the people in.” He flashed a bit of Trump, so sure in his belief that the system is rigged that he fed off the nasty energy. Boxer had to call Sanders several times before he called back. She and other Democratic Senate women are fed up with his crusade, feeling enough is enough. I’ve talked to several former Clinton and Obama White House aides who don’t enjoy checking in with the joyless Clinton campaign in Brooklyn. “It’s the Bataan Death March,” one says.


Hopeful acceptance of Hillary has shifted to amazed disbelief that she can’t put away Bernie. Given dynasty fatigue and Hillary’s age, many Democrats assumed that their front-runner would come out of the gate with a vision for the future that gave her campaign a fresh hue, instead of white papers tinkering around the edges. She should have been far over her husband’s bridge to the 21st century and way down the highway by now.


Instead, her big new idea is to put Bill in charge of the economy again (hopefully, with less Wall Street deregulation). Again with the two for the price of one. And please don’t deny us the pleasure of seeing Bill choose the china patterns. Hillary’s Bataan Death March is making Republicans reconsider their own suicide mission with Trump. More are looking at Clinton’s inability to get the flashing lights going like her husband, and thinking: Huh, maybe we’re not dead here. Maybe Teflon Don could pull this off.


The 2016 race is transcendentally bizarre. We have two near-nominees with the highest unfavorables at this point in the race of any in modern history. We seem to have a majority of voters in both parties who are driven by the desire to vote against the other candidate, rather than for their own. Debbie Wasserman Schultz tries to herd young women to Hillary by raising the specter of Roe v. Wade being overturned. And former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Trump’s obsession with “10s” and D-cups would “come back to haunt him’’ and give Democrats wins because “there are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women.”


Hillary can’t generate excitement on her own so she is relying on fear of Trump to get her into the White House. And Trump is relying on fear of everything to get him into the White House. So voters are stuck in the muck of the negative: What are you most afraid of?




I STAND BY MY CRITIQUE OF ADL’S JONATHAN GREENBLATT                                                                          

Isi Leibler                                                                                                               

Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2016


Jonathan Greenblatt’s response to my criticism of his embrace of J Street, alleging that I distorted his message, is disingenuous and reaffirms my assessment. Invoking clichés “that there are steps Israel can take to ensure the viability of a two-state solution” are ill-becoming the head of a major Jewish organization whose contact with Israel has been minimal. It only serves to encourage US President Barack Obama and the heads of other governments to intensify pressure against us. Greenblatt is surely aware that there is a consensus in Israel supporting immediate separation from the Palestinians, but also a recognition that further unilateral concessions in the absence of a genuine peace partner would endanger our security.

Greenblatt explicitly condemned Jews who deny the rights of “marginalized Palestinians” and fail to recognize the legitimacy of “the Palestinian narrative.” When he condemned “those who place blame on one side instead of putting forward solutions that acknowledge the role and responsibility of both sides”, he provided grist for the propaganda mills of those applying moral equivalence to Israelis and the Palestinians who sanctify terrorism and are bent on our destruction. Greenblatt now reiterates (as I initially stated) that in his address to J Street, he also made remarks supporting Israel and condemning anti-Semitism. So what?

Jewish communists, the antecedents of J Street, also described themselves as “pro-peace” and defended Soviet anti-Semitism while portraying themselves as “pro-Jewish.” Likewise, J Street claims to be “pro-Israel” despite raising funds to support anti-Israeli congressional candidates, lobbying the Obama administration to exert further pressure on Israel, accepting generous funding from George Soros to support the government’s appeasement of Iran, and constantly condemning the security policies of the Israeli government.

Greenblatt cannot refute this. Does he really believe that Jews, whose principal objective is to undermine and demonize Israel and encourage foreign intervention, should still be considered members of the mainstream of the Jewish community and included in the big tent? Would the ADL seek to address and engage in dialogue with Jews promoting racism or homophobia? The ADL national director goes further. He endorses the Black Lives Matter movement despite its open hostility to Israel. He also laments that the viciously anti-Israeli fringe group If Not Now is denied “safe space” for discourse and has informed them that the ADL “shares your commitment to change.”

Likewise, Greenblatt claims that the J Street group he addressed comprised “deeply thoughtful college students whose commitment to Israel is genuine and whose passion on the issue is impressive.” His objective is to maintain “a true sense of community and inclusion” with them.

Setting aside the legitimacy provided to J Street when endorsed by the head of a major Jewish body, one would have expected Greenblatt to spell out realities to these youngsters rather than praising them and engaging in kumbaya. He should surely have admonished them and explained why it is utterly immoral for Diaspora Jews to publicly campaign against security-related policies with life-and-death implications endorsed by the vast majority of Israelis.

Furthermore, as head of the organization whose principal mandate is to combat anti-Semitism, Greenblatt should have focused his address on emphasizing how despicable it was for students to demonize Israel while their Jewish student peers at many campuses were subjected to unprecedented waves of anti-Israeli incitement and anti-Semitism. Instead, Greenblatt nonsensically justifies his position, stating that “disagreement and dissent are not Jewish ideas – they are Jewish ideals.” In other words, Jews who defame Israel and canvas foreign governments to intensify pressure on the Jewish state should be welcomed.


He goes one step further and says, “Whether Leibler likes it or not, these are the future leaders in our community and country.” Well, like any committed Jew, I certainly would not “like it.” And if Greenblatt endorses people sharing the views of J Street heading our community, the ADL Board would be well advised to have a serious chat with him. With the current surge of violent global anti-Semitism which has already impacted on Jewish students at many American campuses, there is an urgent need for a powerful Jewish body dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism.<br> <br> The ADL’s task is not to provide advice to Israel on security issues. Nor should it purport to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on broad social issues concerning which Jews share different opinions. It should concentrate more on Islamic terrorism rather than highlighting so-called Islamophobia, which poses far less of a problem than anti-Semitism. While it should broadly condemn all forms of discrimination, its principal role today must be to concentrate on its primary mandate, which is to combat anti-Semitism.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


From Hezbollah to Israeli Army: The Extraordinary Journey of a Father and Son: Times of Israel, May 14, 2016 — When 120 young Israeli soldiers lined up outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday to receive citations for their distinguished service, leaders lauded and paid tribute to their exceptional personal tales.

Speech by Michael Gove, UK Conservative MP & Secretary of State for Justice (Video): Algemeiner, Mar. 31, 2016

Another Radical Islamist in the Sanders Camp: IPT, May 26, 2016—As Democratic Party leaders struggle to end their increasingly vitriolic presidential primary campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is winning concessions in hopes he'll tone down the rhetoric.

ADL Applies Moral Equivalence to Israelis and Palestinians: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, May 18, 2016—The Anti-Defamation League’s new National Director, Jonathan Greenblatt, previously a special assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama, has begun to court the liberal glitterati and their media by following the Obama lead and creating daylight between the ADL and the Israeli government.










Israel's Palestinian Dilemmas: Prof. Efraim Inbar, BESA, May 3, 2016— Ever since the Palestinian terrorist wave began in September 2000, the Israeli body politic increasingly has resigned itself to the probability that there is no partner on the Palestinian side with which to reach a historic compromise with the Jewish national (Zionist) movement.

The Myth of Palestinian Sovereignty Claims: Barry Shaw, Arutz Sheva, May 16, 2016— The Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), of which I am a proud member and the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy…

The Anti-Israel Poisoning Starts Young: Micah Lakin Avni, Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2016— My father,  Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Connecticut, was on a bus in Jerusalem last October when two young Palestinian men boarded and began shooting and stabbing passengers indiscriminately.

A Fake Museum for a Fake Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, May 20, 2016 — 150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness,” of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities.


On Topic Links


Palestinians and Jordan: Will a Confederation Work?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, May 25, 2016

A History of Sustainable Violence: Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy, May 19, 2016

Palestinian Authority Media Praises Terrorist Who Killed American Tourist: IPT, May 24, 2016

Humanitarian Aid or Political Meddling? Israel, EU Clash on Palestinian Buildings: Ben Sales, J Weekly, Apr. 14, 2016


ISRAEL'S PALESTINIAN DILEMMAS                                                         

Prof. Efraim Inbar                                                                                              

BESA, May 3, 2016       


Ever since the Palestinian terrorist wave began in September 2000, the Israeli body politic increasingly has resigned itself to the probability that there is no partner on the Palestinian side with which to reach a historic compromise with the Jewish national (Zionist) movement. The hopes for peace that were generated by the Oslo process in 1993 have been replaced by the stark realization that violent conflict will not end soon.


Moreover, the hostile messages about Israel purveyed in the Palestinian Authority (PA) educational system and official media leave little doubt about the rabid anti-Semitism prevalent in Palestinian society, which ensures that conflict with the Jews will continue. And thus, the central premise of the Oslo process seems exceedingly improbable. The premise was that partition of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian political entity (what is known as the two-state paradigm) would bring peace and stability. Alas, this paradigm has been deeply discredited.


Aside from and beyond the assessment that the PA has no intention of accepting a Jewish state in any borders, the fact remains that the two sides remain far apart on most of the concrete issues to be resolved. Palestinian demands for control of the Temple Mount and the so-called "right of return," for example, are insurmountable obstacles. Any pragmatic impulse that might otherwise have emerged in Palestinian politics is consistently countered by Hamas, whose growing influence reflects the Islamist tide that is surging across the wider region.


To make matters worse, the assumption that the Palestinians are capable of establishing a state within the parameters of a two-state paradigm has not been validated. The PA was unable to get rid of multiple militias and lost Gaza to Hamas, mirroring the inability of other Arab societies in the region to sustain statist structures. Finally, protracted ethno-religious conflicts end only when at least one of the sides becomes war-weary, and runs out of energy for sustaining the conflict. That is not true of either Israeli or Palestinian society.


As a result of these trends, Israel essentially, if not formally, has given up on conflict resolution in the short run, and instead effectively has adopted a strategy of patient conflict management. But such a strategy brings policy dilemmas of its own. The first dilemma is whether or not to admit that Israel no longer believes that negotiations can lead to a durable agreement in the near term.


Truth has its virtues, but much of the world does not want to hear this particular truth and is still committed to an unworkable formula. There is, in any case, something to be said for acceding to the wishes of the international community by continuing to participate in negotiations. Doing so signals that Israel is ready to make concessions, which maintains the domestic social cohesion necessary for protracted conflict (management) while projecting a positive image abroad. On the other hand, negotiations toward the doubtful "two-state solution" keep a fictitious formula alive and prevent fresh thinking about alternative solutions from emerging. Moreover, the "peace process" requires moderation, which entails swallowing Palestinian provocations and restraining punitive action.


A second dilemma is related to the "carrot and stick" approach toward the Palestinians. In the absence of meaningful negotiations, Israel, particularly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has advocated the promotion of "economic peace" as a part of conflict management, on the assumption that Israel has nothing to gain from hungry neighbors. This is why Israel does not oppose international financial support for the PA, despite the corruption and inefficiency of the latter. Jerusalem also provides water and electricity to the PA, and to Hamas-ruled Gaza, so that Israel's Palestinian neighbors do not dive into total desperation.


But the carrot mitigates the impact of the stick. The Palestinians, it must be recalled, wage war on Israel. Exacting pain from opposing societies is what war is all about, and pain can have a moderating effect on collective behavior. Egypt, for example, decided to change course with regard to Israel because it grew reluctant to pay the costs of maintaining the conflict.


Since the Palestinians have chosen to pursue their goals by causing Israel continued pain – rather than by accepting generous peace deals offered by Ehud Barak (2000) and Ehud Olmert (2007) – Israel has every right to punish them, in the hope that a bit of pain might influence their future choices in a productive direction. But by adopting an "economic peace" approach, Israel creates disincentives to Palestinian moderation, and signals its desperation at the prospect of changing Palestinian behavior.


A third dilemma implicit in the conflict management approach is what to do about the hostile PA, which survives largely because of Israel's security measures and economic backing. The collapse of the PA is one possible outcome of a succession struggle after Mahmoud Abbas leaves the political arena. Whether or not the collapse of the PA is desirable is debatable. On the one hand, the PA propagates vicious hatred toward Israel in its educational system, conducts an ongoing campaign of international delegitimization against Israel, and denies Jewish links to the Land of Israel and to Jerusalem in particular. It glorifies terrorists and allows them to be role models in its schools. It deliberately reinforces the hostility that fuels the conflict, preventing the emergence of a more pragmatic Palestinian leadership.


On the other hand, the PA conveniently relieves Israel of the burden of responsibility for more than one million Palestinians living in the West Bank. PA security forces help combat Hamas influence in the West Bank (although far less than the PA is given credit for). The functioning of the PA, however imperfect, also keeps the Palestinian issue off the top of the international agenda – something that is very much in Israel's interests. A descent into chaos resulting from the total collapse of the PA would invite international intervention.


An additional question for Israel to consider relates to the appropriate level of diplomatic activism on the Palestinian issue. Many advocate Israeli diplomatic initiatives in order to prevent unfavorable plans from being placed on the agenda by global actors. The nature of such initiatives is usually unclear, but activism is part of the Israeli Zionist ethos and "taking initiative" appeals to the impatient Israeli temperament.


On the other hand, a patient wait-and-see approach allows others to make mistakes and gives Israel the latitude to wait on a more favorable environment. In fact, this was the approach favored by David Ben-Gurion. He believed in buying time to build a stronger state and in hanging on until opponents yield their radical goals. Each of these dilemmas leads to a policy gamble. The short-term existential security imperatives of a small state further complicate Israel's choices. Even if Israel's leaders are correct in opting for a conflict management approach for the moment, they are in an unenviable position. 




Barry Shaw                                                                      

Arutz Sheva, May 16, 2016


The Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), of which I am a proud member and the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy, is dedicated to presenting hard facts to politicians, diplomats, journalists, think tanks and the general public on issues relating to Israel and its dispute with the Arab world and the broader international community. By addressing reality and truth, rather than attaching itself to current utopian fantasies in pursuit of peace, IISS presents clear-eyed analysis of problems and causes and, by doing so, lays bare the shallow proposals meant to solve the Israeli-Arab conflicts.


One such myth is the international desire to create a Palestinian state. None of the diplomatic proposers have ever addressed the official positions of the dysfunctional Palestinian political bodies on what constitutes the territorial sovereignty of such a Palestine. The so-called 'moderate' arm of Palestinian politics, the Palestinian Authority, claims to operate under the Palestine National Charter. It is enlightening to learn over what sovereign territory the Palestinian hierarchy intended to rule. It is even more interesting to learn which territory they rejected as being any part of a future state.


While brushing aside offensive statements in their 1964 National Charter that Israel is illegal, that the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine are all frauds, that Zionism is racism, statements that should automatically disqualify them from statehood, the articles dealing with sovereign territory, are a guide to the perplexed. Article 2 reads "Palestine with its boundaries at the time of the British Mandate (the aforementioned 'fraud') is a regional indivisible unit."

Having disclaimed the UN Partition Plan (UN Resolution 181) as "illegal," an eye-brow raising read is Article 24 of the Palestine National Charter which contradicts Article 2 by, amazingly, rejecting the "West Bank" and Gaza as being part of a sovereign Palestinian state! Article 24: "This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and on the Gaza Strip"


It is stunning to remind ourselves that the Palestinian Arabs not only had no intention of claiming the "West Bank" and Gaza as part of their future homeland, but they expressly and officially excluded them from any part of a sovereign Palestine! They did so because, at the time, they were under the patronage of the Arab world. The Palestinian leadership presented itself as a national liberation movement. As Yasser Arafat said, they saw themselves as part of the Pan-Arab movement to destroy the Jewish State of Israel. “The PLO is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call Jordan is nothing more than Palestine,” Arafat said dismissingly to Italian journalist, Arianna Palazzi, in 1970.


So here we have Palestinians rejecting the "West Bank" and Gaza and admitting they are fighting to destroy Israel under the flag of Pan-Arabism, not as a national liberation movement. Could this be the reason they have consistently rejected generous offers by Israel for a two-state solution in return for recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as the Jewish state?


This leaves only one question hanging in the air. What is the intended target and sovereign territory so desirous for Palestinians? Their National Charter was redrafted in 1968 and, in many ways, became more radical and threatening than the original version. Territorially, they claim every inch of Palestine as it was under the British Mandate. In other words, no Israel.


They devote articles to denying the legitimacy of the Jewish people and Zionism, thereby demonizing and rejecting their neighbor’s rights to self-determination. They have articles lauding the use of terrorism (“armed struggle” and “commando actions”) to achieve their aims. They boldly state that the UN Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan, and the establishment of the State of Israel “are entirely illegal.” After trashing Jewish rights to exist in peace, and in a shocking twist of hypocrisy, their Article 24 states, “The Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and in the rights of all peoples to exercise them. All peoples, it seems, except the Jewish people in Israel.


Their Charter continues with its jingoistic violence repeating the calls for a war of liberation, fighting and carrying arms.   In 2003, a Permanent Constitution was drafted which claims that Jerusalem has to be the capital of Palestine. The question is why? They already have two de-facto capitals. One in Gaza City, the other in Ramallah. Why a third? No further reference to territory was escribed into this Basic Law draft. Neither has this draft been accepted into Palestinian law. This is mainly due to the domestic conflict between Fatah in Ramallah and Palestinian Hamas controlling Gaza.


The Hamas Charter pledges its allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Its anti-Semitism is there in its opening preamble; “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.” Note it says “the Jews” not “Israelis.” Article 7 pledges Palestinian Islamic Hamas to the global Caliphate and to its everlasting anti-Semitism.  Its final sentence warns; “The Day of Judgment will not come until Moslems fight the Jews, when the stones and the trees will say, ‘O Moslems, O Abdulla! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come out and kill him!’”…                                                                               

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




THE ANTI-ISRAEL POISONING STARTS YOUNG                                                        

Micah Lakin Avni                                                                                     

Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2016


My father, Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Connecticut, was on a bus in Jerusalem last October when two young Palestinian men boarded and began shooting and stabbing passengers indiscriminately. Two passengers were killed that awful day and 16 injured, including my father. Despite the efforts of first responders and the nurses and doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, my father died two weeks later. He had been shot in the head and stabbed multiple times in the head, face, chest and stomach.


Over the past seven months I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what would cause two educated Palestinian men in their early 20s to board a public bus and butcher a group of innocent civilians, many of them senior citizens. I’m sorry to report that the Palestinian reaction to the attack has led me to believe that the “peace process” is more one-sided than ever.


My father grew up a fighter for civil rights in America. He took those values with him in 1984 when he emigrated to Jerusalem, where he taught English to Arabs and Jews. He was a kind, gentle-hearted man who dedicated his life to education and promoting peaceful coexistence. Yet Palestinian newspapers praised Baha Alyan, one of the terrorists who murdered my father, as a “martyr and intellectual.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the families of the attackers and praised them as “martyrs.” A Palestinian scout leader said Baha Alyan, who was shot and killed by a security guard before he could kill more innocent passengers, was “an example for every scout.”


Muhammad Alyan, the father of Baha Alyan, has been invited to speak at Palestinian schools and universities about his son the “martyr.” He recently spoke to children at Jabel Mukaber Elementary School in East Jerusalem, about a half a mile from where my father lived. Tragically, many Palestinian children, perhaps most, are still taught to honor terrorists and fight for the destruction of Israel.


All of this would break my father’s heart. In 2007 he published a book called “Teaching as an Act of Love” summarizing his life’s work and educational philosophy. The message of his book is that every child is a miracle that should be nurtured with love. After Baha Alyan’s father visited Jabel Mukaber Elementary School, I asked school officials if I could come and share my father’s message of peace and coexistence. My offer was rejected.


As long as Palestinian leaders nurture a culture of hate, encouraging school children to go out and kill, more violence is inevitable. By encouraging hatred, they distance all of us from the love and belief in peaceful coexistence for which my father stood. My father’s book begins with a quote from William Penn: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” My father lived by those words. If only his murderers had as well.




A FAKE MUSEUM FOR A FAKE PALESTINE                                                                         

Daniel Greenfield                                                                                                

Frontpage Magazine, May 20, 2016


150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness,” of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities. Palestine is “desolate,” he concluded. “One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.” The same is true of the Palestinian Museum which opened with much fanfare and one slight problem. While admission is free, there’s nothing inside for any of the visitors to see except the bare walls.


The Palestinian Museum had been in the works since 1998, but has no exhibits. The museum cost $24 million. All it has to show for it are a few low sloping sandy buildings indistinguishable from the dirt and a “garden” of scraggly bushes and shrubs. The Palestinian Museum is open, but there’s nothing inside. It’s hard to think of a better metaphor for Palestine than a bunch of empty buildings designed by Irish and Chinese architects whose non-existent exhibits were the brainchild of its former Armenian-American director. It’s as Palestinian as bagels and cream cheese. Or skiing, hot cocoa and fjords.


Over the Palestinian Museum flies the proud flag of Palestine, which was originally the flag of the Iraqi-Jordanian Federation before the PLO “borrowed” it, and visitors might be greeted by the Palestinian anthem composed by Greek Communist Mikis Theodorakis. If it sounds anything like the soundtrack from Zorba the Greek, that’s because they both share the same composer. All of Palestine is so authentically Palestinian that it might as well be made in China. At least that’s where the stained Keffiyahs worn by the stone throwers hurling rocks at passing Jewish families while posing heroically for Norwegian, Canadian and Chilean photojournalists are made.


Palestine is an empty building with nothing in it. It’s a political Potemkin village. There’s a flag, an anthem, a museum and all the trappings of a country. But if you look closer, there’s nothing inside. The Palestinian Museum’s chairman, Omar al-Qattan, who was born in Beirut and lives in the UK, said that the “Palestinians” needed positive energy so badly that opening an empty museum made sense. Just think how much positive energy can come from realizing that you have no culture, heritage or history to put in your museum.


But actually the Palestinian Museum had to open in time for the Nakba. The Nakba is the annual commemoration of the failed invasion of Israel by foreign Muslim armies. The invasion by Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian and Jordanian forces began on May 15. Egypt’s General Muhammad Haidar declared that the invading Muslim forces would be occupying Tel Aviv in two weeks.


Egyptian forces hit the village of Kfar Darom which had a few hundred residents and a few dozen militia members. They hit it with tanks, armored vehicles, infantry battalions, artillery and bombers. The invading colonial Muslim forces lost two soldiers for every single Jewish militia defender. Instead of taking Tel Aviv in two weeks, they were stuck laying siege to a tiny village for two months. That’s the Nakba. And you can see why the Muslim settlers in Israel have an annual day of mourning over the miserable defeat of their invading armies at the hands of the indigenous Jewish population. Like its museum, all of Palestine is one long endless fraud. The opening of the Palestinian Museum will be attended by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas was elected to a four-year term in 2005. It’s been a while since his term expired. The Palestinian Authority is just the PLO in drag. It claims authority over some territories that it doesn’t administer and has no control over.


But the empty Palestinian Museum isn’t about to let setbacks like a complete lack of things to put inside its bare walls get it down. Instead it’s doing what the PLO has always done in troubled times. It’s invading Beirut. Even though the Palestinian Museum has nothing to display, it’s opening a satellite museum in Beirut. If this “Palestinian” invasion goes anything like the last one, the satellite Palestinian Museum will be murdering Christians inside of a week. Beyond Beirut, the Palestinian Museum plans satellite museums in San Diego, London, Dubai and Gaza. In the Islamic fashion, the lack of an inner soul is compensated for with external expansionism.


Meanwhile the empty Palestinian Museum had found a prestigious new director, Mahmoud Hawari, a scholar whom it described as “the lead curator at the British Museum”. Hawari though isn’t a curator of anything. He’s a visiting academic. The foundation behind the Palestinian Museum blamed its new director for misleading them with a bad curriculum vitae. But it has yet to change its website. But Palestine has always been based on lies. Why should the Palestinian Museum break that tradition?…                               


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



On Topic Links


Palestinians and Jordan: Will a Confederation Work?: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, May 25, 2016—Talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan has once again resurfaced, this time after a series of unofficial meetings in Amman and the West Bank in the past few weeks. Jordan, fearing that such confederation would end up with the Hashemite kingdom transformed into a Palestinian state, is not currently keen on the idea.

A History of Sustainable Violence: Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy, May 19, 2016—Shortly after becoming secretary of state in 2013, John Kerry spoke to the American Jewish Committee and made it clear that the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians was simply “not sustainable.” A year later, at the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum, Kerry made his point again. “The status quo between the Israelis and the Palestinians is not sustainable,” he said, “and the alternatives to peace are neither acceptable nor viable.”

Palestinian Authority Media Praises Terrorist Who Killed American Tourist: IPT, May 24, 2016—Palestinian Authority (PA) media continue to glorify terrorist Bashar Masalha who attacked civilians in Tel Aviv and murdered an American tourist on March 8, Palestinian Media Watch reports.

Humanitarian Aid or Political Meddling? Israel, EU Clash on Palestinian Buildings: Ben Sales, J Weekly, Apr. 14, 2016 —In a ramshackle village off a dirt road in the West Bank’s central hills, near an inhabited shack with a cloth roof and tin walls, stands an outhouse bearing a peeling sticker with the European Union flag. The text below the flag reads “Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection.”










Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016 Rally Highlights and Photos

   On May 12th 2016, the Montreal community gathered to celebrate sixty-eighth birthday at yet another beautiful celebration at Phillips Square. Of course, CIJR was front and center to join in on the festivities and march from Phillips Square to Place du Canada to show our support for Israel. Thanks to everyone who came out to make this year's Yom Ha'atzamut celebrations a truly remarkable one!


                                                         Profs. Frederick and Lenore Krantz with Community Participants

Mr. Jack Kincler and Mrs. Dida Berku

Left to right: Prof. F. Krantz, Mr. R. Schachter, Mrs. E. Schachter



 Community participants spreading the joy and celebration


Yom Ha'atzamut is a celebation for everybody! 


Thanks for making Yom Ha'atmazut truly remarkable! See you next year! 


Yom Ha'atzamut is a celebation for everybody! 


Thanks for making Yom Ha'atmazut truly remarkable! See you next year! 


Posted in Uncategorized

Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016 Rally Highlights

   On May 12th 2016, the Montreal community gathered to celebrate sixty-eighth birthday at yet another beautiful celebration at Phillips Square. Of course, CIJR was front and center to join in on the festivities and march from Phillips Square to Place du Canada to show our support for Israel. Thanks to everyone who came out to make this year's Yom Ha'atzamut celebrations a truly remarkable one!







                                                         Profs. Frederick and Lenore Krantz with Community Participants


                                                      Mr. Jack Kincler and Mrs. Dida Berku






Left to right: Prof. F. Krantz, Mr. R. Schachter, Mrs. E. Schachter









 Community participants spreading the joy and celebration









Yom Ha'atzamut is a celebation for everybody! 


Thanks for making Yom Ha'atmazut truly remarkable! See you next year! 



 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:


Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links


On Topic Links


Finally Getting Serious About Identifying Islamists?: Daniel Pipes, National Review, May 23, 2016

A Fake Museum for a Fake Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, May 23, 2016

How the U.S. Tracked and Killed the Leader of the Taliban: Adam Entous & Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2016

Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Obsession: New York Times, May 19, 2016






“Peace is not achieved in international UN-style conferences, nor through international diktats that come of meetings of countries around the world sitting to decide our fate… Peace is achieved through direct negotiations where the Palestinian Authority would face a historic choice: recognize a Jewish state side by side with a demilitarized Palestinian state, or try to eliminate it.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu rejected the French initiative for a multinational conference to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, telling French Prime Minister Manuel Valls that direct negotiations were the only path forward toward a lasting agreement. The meeting with Valls came as part a two-day trip to the region by the French Premier, aimed at advancing his country’s plan for the summit in the face of opposition from Netanyahu. (Times of Israel, May 23, 2016)


“Direct negotiations with Mr. Netanyahu in the past have proven to be fruitless; why repeat the same mistakes? … Actions speak louder than words…Mr. Netanyahu's actions have shown that he's more interested in building illegal settlements than in reaching peace.” — Jamal Dajani, the director of communications for PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. The Palestinians rejected Netanyahu’s call to hold direct talks in Paris under the auspices of the French government. During his meeting with Valls, Netanyahu urged him to amend the initiative so that it instead becomes a platform for him and Abbas to hold talks in Paris without preconditions. (Jerusalem Post, May 24, 2016)


“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers … especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.” — Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, in an audio recording. A new message purporting to come from Adnani, the spokesman of Islamic State (I.S.), calls on followers to launch attacks on the US and Europe during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in early June. “The smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would if you were with us. If one of you hoped to reach the Islamic State, we wish we were in your place to punish the Crusaders day and night,” Adnani said. (Washington Post, May 15, 2016)


“Let the Jews bomb with their planes, they are not harsher on us than the Crusaders’ planes and Allah enabled us to persevere [against] those…. With Allah’s permission they will be overpowered, and then they will be taken to hell.” — I.S. article, identified by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute). I.S. threatened Israel in the article in its weekly newsletter, saying that unlike Hamas, the “war on Israel will not be limited by geographical boundaries or by international norms.” Israel has started to fight against I.S. in Sinai and Syria, it says, adding that the entire world is now an arena for the fight against all the “polytheist combatants, including the Jews,” who are legitimate targets. (Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2016)


“If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.” — Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite unit al-Quds Force. A senior Iranian general on May 9 announced that the country’s armed forces successfully tested a precision-guided, medium-range ballistic missile two weeks earlier that could reach Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has repeatedly threatened to annihilate the Jewish state, and in September 2015 suggested Israel would not be around in 25 years. In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account on September 9, 2015, Khamenei addressed Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and added that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2016)


“Some of them pray, some of them don’t pray…But all of them kill…They are unbelievers and thieves…They kill Christians, but they also kill many Muslims. They kill people and take their property.” — Zarah Ali, a 20-year-old daughter of a Muslim farming family in Nigeria. Ali knows more about Boko Haram than most. She was its captive – twice. She escaped once, fled to Cameroon, and was captured again. She spent months under Boko Haram’s control. And despite the group’s Islamist ideology and its claims of allegiance to I.S., she scoffs at its professions of faith. In her months of captivity, she remembers how Boko Haram would gather the people of the occupied villages and preach to them about how to “slaughter” their enemies. In contrast to their religious pretenses, they often recruited followers with offers of money and threats of violence, she says. (Globe & Mail, May 18, 2016)


“It’s time to recognize that Putin is an existential threat to the free world and then to start building a strategy…In chess you need to decide your strategy before you move. If you don’t, it’s a recipe for disaster. By annexing Crimea, Putin wiped off the pieces from the board. You can pretend you’re still playing chess, and that’s what the West did… We don’t have politicians in the free world who can think in the long term, so they’re all playing a short-term game which gives a competitive advantage to Putin.” — Former world chess champion and opponent of Vladimir Putin’s regime Gary Kasparov. Kasparov also warned Israel against expecting any reciprocal gestures from Putin for selling arms to Moscow. “Russia has been constantly supplying the fiercest enemies of the State of Israel so the answer is obvious. Putin is an enemy. The problem is that while for instance the US can walk away, Israel cannot walk away from the map…Putin’s goal is diametrically opposite to what Israel wants, which is peace and stability and a balance of interests, whereas Putin wants chaos,” he said. (Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2016)


“Look, if somebody said they weren’t going to buy from a business because the owners were gay, you guys would go crazy…If somebody said they weren’t going to buy from a business because they came from Pakistan or they’re Sikh, people would go nuts. But somehow, because they’re Jewish or from Israel, oh, it’s free speech all of a sudden? Come on.” — Ontario Conservative MP Tim Hudak. Ontario’s parliament rejected a bill that would have prevented the province from conducting business with companies that support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Provincial lawmakers voted against the bill, dubbed the “Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism in Ontario Act,” by a vote of 39 to 18. Liberal and left-leaning NDP members largely voted against the measure. The bill was introduced by Hudak and a Liberal MP, Mike Colle. Hudak called BDS an “insidious new face of anti-Semitism.” (Times of Israel, May 21, 20160


“I would like you to imagine two people…On the one side, picture a sophisticated university professor, who believes that Israel is the root of all evil. On the other, a young man from Hebron, taught to hate from a young age, and motivated by Islamic extremism. At first glance, they have little in common. Sure, neither is too keen on Israel. But they come from different backgrounds, move in different circles, and express themselves in different ways. The professor acts out his hostility towards Israel through leading BDS campaigns: Organizing boycotts of Israeli academics. Using intimidation to prevent Israeli voices from being heard. And spreading bile and lies about Israel in his classroom. The young man’s hatred is expressed through taking a knife or gun, and going out to murder Israelis. While he dare not admit it, the BDS leader has more in common with the terrorist, than with genuine human rights activists. Their shared goal is simple and explicit: The destruction of the state of Israel.” — MK Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Minister of Public Security. Erdan said that though the tools of the proponents of BDS and Palestinian terrorists are different, “They are united in their goals, their language of hate and their victims.” (Algemeiner, May 22, 2016)


“Palestinian newspapers praised Baha Alyan, one of the terrorists who murdered my father, as a “martyr and intellectual.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the families of the attackers and praised them as “martyrs.”… As long as Palestinian leaders nurture a culture of hate, encouraging school children to go out and kill, more violence is inevitable. By encouraging hatred, they distance all of us from the love and belief in peaceful coexistence for which my father stood.” — Micah Lakin Avni. Avni’s father, Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Connecticut, was on a bus in Jerusalem last October when two young Palestinian men boarded and began shooting and stabbing passengers. Two passengers were killed and 16 injured. Richard Lakin died two weeks later. Lakin fought for civil rights in America. In 1984 he emigrated to Jerusalem, where he taught English to Arabs and Jews. In 2007 he published a book called Teaching as an Act of Love summarizing his life’s work and educational philosophy. The message of his book is that every child is a miracle that should be nurtured with love. (Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2016)







NETANYAHU STRIKES NEW COALITION DEAL (Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Netanyahu clinched a coalition deal on Wednesday that will make far-right opposition legislator Avigdor Lieberman defence minister and broaden a thin governing majority in parliament. The pact between Netanyahu's Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, Lieberman's ultranationalist party, will give the four-term Prime Minister control of 67 of parliament's 120 seats, up from his current majority of 61. Netanyahu has said the coalition deal, which prompted Moshe Yaalon, a Likud member and former general, to quit as defence minister in protest on Friday, would stabilise the government and enable policymaking. (CBC, May 25, 2016)


MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS IN SYRIA TARGET ASSAD’S HEARTLAND (Damascus) — A series of coordinated terrorist attacks on Monday in cities near Syria’s Mediterranean coast have killed nearly 150 people. There were seven nearly simultaneous explosions in two seaside cities, Jableh and Tartus. A series of car bombs and suicide bombers targeted bus stations, hospitals and other sites. The Russians may have been targets, as Russia has a naval base near Tartus and an airbase near Jableh. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attacks. Some analysts considered that unlikely, pointing out that I.S. has been operating mostly in eastern Syria, and had not previously operated in western Syria. (Breitbart, May 24, 2016)


TALIBAN ELEVATE DEPUTY AFTER MULLAH AKHTAR MANSOUR'S DEATH (Kabul) — The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that their former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week and that they have appointed a successor. The insurgent group said its new leader is Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, one of two of Mansour's deputies. It said he was chosen at a meeting of Taliban leaders, believed to have been held in Pakistan. Mansour was killed in Pakistan on Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a U.S. drone. The U.S. and Afghan governments said Mansour had been an obstacle to a peace process that had ground to a halt when he refused to participate in peace talks this year. Instead, he intensified the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year. (CBC, May 25, 2016)


FOURTH MEMBER OF I.S. 'BEATLES' IDENTIFIED (Baghdad) — The last member of the group of British jailers who supervised the torture and killing of Western hostages held by I.S. has been identified as a 27-year-old Londoner who traveled to Syria in 2012. El Shafee Elsheikh, a U.K. citizen whose family fled Sudan in the 1990s, was one of four jailers dubbed the “Beatles” by their prisoners because of their British accents. The cohort’s most prominent figure was Mohammed Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John,” whose videotaped beheadings of American and British hostages became a global emblem of I.S. brutality. Emwazi, 27, was killed last year in a U.S drone strike in Syria. (Washington Post, May 23, 2016)


HAMAS PLANS 13 PUBLIC EXECUTIONS IN GAZA STRIP (Gaza) — Authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip are planning to carry out a series of public executions. The terror group has carried out previous executions in Gaza, although rarely in public and mainly of people accused of collaborating with Israel. Sunday’s announcement involved those convicted of criminal offenses. Thirteen men, most convicted of murder connected to robberies, are currently awaiting execution. The last public executions in Gaza were in 2014 during the last war with Israel, when a Hamas firing squad shot dead six men before Gaza City’s main mosque. All execution orders must in theory be approved by PA President Abbas before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognizes his legitimacy. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2016)


FRENCH BANKING GIANT CLOSES BDS ACCOUNT (Paris) — French banking giant Credit Mutuel recently shut down a BDS-linked account, allegedly over the potential for it to get into hot water given that boycotts of Israel are illegal under French law. Credit Mutuel has an office in New York, meaning that the company could have fallen foul of an anti-BDS campaign currently going through the New York legislature, according to the Jerusalem Post. At the beginning of May another European banking giant, the Erste Group in Austria, closed down a BDS-linked account. The Vienna-based BDS group attributed the closure to "political pressure." (I24, May 19, 2016)


SWISS PARLIAMENT LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO ANTI-ISRAEL NGOS (Bern) — The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has allocated funds in the millions to anti-Israel NGOs linked to terrorism and working in support of the BDS movement, according to a report in Switzerland’s Basler Zeitung. The story, headlined “Resistance in Parliament against money for Israel-critical campaigns,” stated that MP Christian Imark had introduced a motion supported by 41 lawmakers from across the political spectrum calling on the FDFA to stop all direct or indirect funding to organizations that sponsor “racist and anti-Semitic actions” or are involved in BDS campaigns. The move could bring about a sea change in Swiss funding for scores of anti-Israel NGOs. (Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2016)


LABOUR MEMBER SUSPENDED FOR CLAIMING JEWS COMMIT ‘GENOCIDE’ IN UK (London) — The British Labour Party suspended yet another member for antisemitic comments after he posted an article online claiming that “Jews control Britain and are committing genocide on us.” Musabbir Ali, a former campaign officer from East London, was suspended last Thursday. He is one of approximately 20 members to be suspended in recent months. Ali posted on Twitter a link to a blog post titled “Timeline of the Jewish Genocide of the British People.” The blog claims that Jews “financed Oliver Cromwell’s overthrowing and beheading of Stuart King Charles I after he refused them control of England’s finances” and accuses such British leaders as Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Tony Blair of being “Jewish puppets.” (Times of Israel, May 13, 2016)


MOB DISRUPTS ISRAELI FILM AT UC IRVINE (Los Angeles) — Anti-Israel student protesters at the University of California Irvine chanted “Long live the Intifada” as they disrupted a screening of the Israeli film Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front last Wednesday. The disruption forced campus police to escort mostly female Jewish students who felt threatened by the protest safely out of the room in which the movie was being shown. According to local media, about 50 protesters were shouting profane slogans at Israel and the UC Irvine Police. The film is about Israeli soldiers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect their homeland from the constant threats and violence its citizens face. The screening was taking place just days after pro-Palestinian students at the school and UCI’s Muslim Student Union organized their annual “anti-Zionism week”. (Breitbart, May 21, 2016)


BDS IS ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL AND DISCRIMINATORY, SPANISH TRIBUNAL RULES (Madrid) — Citing anti-discrimination laws, a Spanish constitutional tribunal recommended scrapping a municipality’s motion calling for a boycott against Israel. The recommendation came after ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel lobby, sued the northern municipality of Gijon for declaring itself “a space free of Israeli apartheid.” Gijon is located 290 miles north of Madrid. A similar motion was defeated last week by a majority of delegates in Tarragona, an eastern Spanish city. Tarragona is the fifth Spanish municipality where BDS motions have failed in recent weeks, while motions supporting an Israel boycott have passed in four Spanish municipalities. Spain’s government has repeatedly expressed its opposition to BDS, which is illegal in neighboring France because it is deemed discriminatory. (JTA, May 24, 2016)


SANDERS TAPS CRITICS OF ISRAEL FOR DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM COMMITTEE (Washington) — The Democratic Party platform drafting committee is top heavy with veterans of political battles over Israel. Democrats named the committee a day after reports emerged that Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Party’s presidential nomination, wants the platform to elevate the issue of Palestinian rights. Three of the Sanders backers on the committee — Cornel West, a philosopher and social activist; James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, and Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress — are known in part for their criticisms of Israel. West is a prominent BDS backer and Zogby has spoken forcefully against attempts to marginalize the movement. Ellison has called for greater consideration of Palestinian rights, but also has close ties to his home state Jewish community and says Israel’s security must be taken into account. (Forward, May 24, 2016)


NEW PALESTINIAN MUSEUM MISSING ONE THING: EXHIBITS (Ramallah) — A $24 million Palestinian Museum of Art, History and Culture that opened last week showcases a beautiful building with sweeping views. All that's missing are the exhibits. Still, Palestinians went ahead with a celebration marking the empty museum's debut to “tell the world, the entire world, that we are here, that we are still here, and we will continue to be here to build our independent state," said PA President Abbas. The 43,000 square-foot space was designed by the Dublin-based architectural firm Heneghan Peng. Completion of the exhibits has been delayed, in part because the museum's director resigned last year over disagreements with the museum's management. (Times of Israel, May 17, 2016)


ISRAEL, ONTARIO INK $87M WORTH OF SCIENCE AND TECH DEALS (Tel Aviv) — Companies from Israel and Ontario signed 18 deals valued at $87 million in Tel Aviv last week, during a visit from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The deals focused on science and technology, and included one between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev with Zenyatta Ventures to develop earthquake-resistant concrete and another between Insightec and Ontario’s University Health Network for removing brain tissue non-surgically. During her visit, Wynne also has met with Michael Hayden, Teva Pharmaceutical’s president of global R&D. (Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2016)


IDF UNVEILS ‘IRON DOME OF THE SEAS’ (Haifa) — The IDF offered a glimpse on Wednesday of the so-called “Iron Dome of the Seas” – a new maritime missile-defense system modeled after the highly successful Iron Dome, which has intercepted thousands of rockets fired at Israel by Hamas from the Gaza Strip in recent years. The new missile-defense system, called Tamir Adir, conducted a successful interception at sea, the IDF announced. The Tamir Adir, which literally means “hidden and mighty,” fires a targeted Tamir interception missile, just like the Iron Dome. The “Iron Dome of the Seas” joins Israel’s “underground Iron Dome” – still in development – designed to counter the threat of Hamas terror tunnels infiltrating Israel from Gaza. (Breaking Israel News, May 19, 2016)


REWALK TECH TO HELP STROKE, MS VICTIMS GET MOVING (Jerusalem) — The ReWalk system, developed in Yokne’am, Israel, has done wonders for quadriplegics, providing them with a method of being able to walk again – or even run a marathon, as several paralyzed individuals have done while wearing the ReWalk exoskeleton suit. Now, a version of the system will be used to help a much larger cohort – individuals who have difficulty moving about due to stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), old age, or other reasons. ReWalk allows paraplegics to walk, almost the same as an able-bodied person. The system has been extensively studied and tested in Israel, the US, and Europe, and is in use by people around the world. (Times of Israel, May 23, 2016)


EVIDENCE OF HIDDEN NAZI NUCLEAR BOMBS SAID FOUND IN GERMANY (Berlin) — An amateur historian in Germany believes he has found evidence of Nazi nuclear bombs hidden underground near Chemnitz, located in Eastern Germany south of Berlin. 70-year-old Peter Lohr claimed he found the mysterious objects originally in 2012, using 3D technology, in an abandoned tunnel network. The Nazi nuclear weapons program was officially stopped in 1942, however it was rumored to have continued in secret. For years amateur historians have hunted for World War Two artifacts, just last year Polish authorities claimed to have found a tunnel containing a Nazi train filled with gold. It was later reported that though the tunnel existed, the train report was fabricated. (Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2016)


AMSTERDAM TO PAY JEWISH COMMUNITY $11M FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR TAXES (Amsterdam) — The city of Amsterdam will give its Jewish community $11 million as compensation for taxes imposed on Holocaust survivors who returned home to the Dutch capital following World War II. Upon their return the survivors were made to pay a tax because their homes were left empty during the Holocaust. They also had to pay back taxes for the years they had been taken away from the city, as well as insurance fees. The city said it would pay the $11 million — an estimate of the total taxes paid by survivors following the war. The city has suggested the money be put toward a Holocaust memorial monument or community programs. (Jewish Journal, May 24, 2016)




On Topic Links


Finally Getting Serious About Identifying Islamists?: Daniel Pipes, National Review, May 23, 2016 —After the jihadi attacks in Paris in January and November 2015, the French intelligence agency Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI, General Directorate for Internal Security) began to scrutinize personnel at the city’s airports.

A Fake Museum for a Fake Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, May 23, 2016—150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness,” of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities. Palestine is “desolate,” he concluded. “One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.” The same is true of the Palestinian Museum which opened with much fanfare and one slight problem. While admission is free, there’s nothing inside for any of the visitors to see except the bare walls.

How the U.S. Tracked and Killed the Leader of the Taliban: Adam Entous & Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2016—U.S. spy agencies zeroed in on Mullah Akhtar Mansour while he was visiting his family in Iran, laying a trap for when the Taliban leader crossed the border back into Pakistan.

Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Obsession: New York Times, May 19, 2016—The United States and Russia are now proposing to drop food and other emergency aid from the air if President Bashar al-Assad of Syria does not allow trucks to deliver supplies to his besieged cities. Airdrops are a risky and desperate move — costly, hard to deliver accurately and, if poorly targeted, a threat to kill or injure the people they are supposed to help.




How Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy De-Stabilized the World: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, May 19, 2016— In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier warned Adolf Hitler that if the Third Reich invaded Poland, a European war would follow.

Israel’s Ephemeral Power: Jacob Shapiro, Maudlin Economics, May 2, 2016— There are four key regional powers in the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The Post-Imperial Moment: Robert D. Kaplan, National Interest, Apr. 22, 2016— We are entering an age of what I call comparative anarchy, that is, a much higher level of anarchy compared to that of the Cold War and post–Cold War periods.

Mourning the Death of Gerry Weinstein – a True Community Leader: Mike Cohen, The Suburban, May 26, 2016 — Montreal, Quebec and Canada has lost a true community leader with the passing of Gerry Weinstein.


On Topic Links


Thanks to Obama, the Terrorist Cancer is Growing: Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, May 23, 2016

Facing "Abnormal" Enemies: Louis René Beres, Arutz Sheva, May 8, 2016

Could Different Borders Have Saved the Middle East?: Nick Danforth, New York Times, May 14, 2016

Islam and Democracy After the Arab Spring: Carl Gershman, World Affairs, April, 2016


HOW BARACK OBAMA’S FOREIGN POLICY DE-STABILIZED THE WORLD                                                          

Victor Davis Hanson                                                                                                     

National Review, May 19, 2016    


In 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier warned Adolf Hitler that if the Third Reich invaded Poland, a European war would follow. Both leaders insisted that they meant it. But Hitler thought that after getting away with militarizing the Rhineland, annexing Austria, and dismantling Czechoslovakia, the Allied appeasers were once again just bluffing. England and France declared war two days after Hitler entered Poland.


Once hard-won deterrence is lost, it is almost impossible to restore credibility without terrible costs and danger. Last week, Russian officials warned the Obama administration about the installation of a new anti-ballistic missile system in Romania and talked of a possible nuclear confrontation that would reduce the host country to “smoking ruins” and “neutralize” any American-sponsored missile system.


Such apocalyptic rhetoric follows months of Russian bullying of nearby neutral Sweden, harassment of U.S. ships and planes, warnings to NATO nations in Europe, and constant threats to the Baltic states and former Soviet republics. China just warned the U.S. to keep its ships and planes away from its new artificial island and military base in the Spratly archipelago — plopped down in the middle of the South China Sea to control international sea lanes. Iranian leaders routinely threaten to close down the key Strait of Hormuz. North Korea and the Islamic State are upping their usual unhinged bombast to new levels — from threatening nuclear strikes on the U.S. homeland to drawing up hit lists of Americans targeted for death.


All the saber-rattling of 2016 is beginning to sound a lot like the boasts and bullying of Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, and Nazi Germany of the 1930s. But why so much tough talk — and why now? After the abject pullout from Iraq in 2011 and the subsequent collapse of the country eroded U.S. credibility, after the fake Syrian red lines, the failed reset with Russia, the Benghazi fiasco, and the slashing of the military, America has lost its old deterrence.


In a recent interview, President Obama claimed that his Syrian flip-flop was one of his prouder moments, and he disparaged some of our allies (presumably Britain and France among them) as unreliable, glory-hogging freeloaders. Israel has formed an alliance with some of its longtime enemies in the Persian Gulf based on their shared fears of Iran and their mutual distrust of American commitment. Israelis and Saudi Arabians alike are confused about whether the Obama administration naïvely appeased Iran with a nuclear deal or deliberately courted it as a new ally.


Japan and South Korea have hinted about going nuclear, prompted by their growing distrust of decades-old American pledges to protect them from neighborhood bullies such as China, North Korea, and Russia. In a recent New York Times Magazine interview, deputy national-security adviser and presidential speechwriter Ben Rhodes ridiculed the “Blob” — his derogatory term for the bipartisan Washington, D.C., foreign-policy establishment. He also bragged about deceiving journalists and policy wonks in order to ram through the Iran deal without Senate approval or public support. Rhodes, who wrote Obama’s mythological “Cairo Speech” and also the infamous Benghazi “talking points,” seemed to confirm accusations that this administration has contempt for traditional U.S. foreign policy. If we know how and when the U.S. lost its ability to deter enemies and protect friends, why is the world suddenly heating up in the last year of Obama’s presidency?


Recent interviews with the president and his advisers might confirm the impression abroad that the global order is, for a rare moment, up for grabs, as a lame-duck administration retreats from America’s role of world leader. And given that there are only eight months left to take advantage of this global void, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and Islamic terrorists are beginning to believe that the U.S. will not do anything to stop their aggressions once they change global realities by force.


South Korea, Estonia, Japan, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Philippines, and much of Europe all expect provocations — and fear the U.S. might issue more red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines rather than come to their aid. Aggressors are not sure whether Hillary Clinton, if elected, will govern more like a traditional Democratic president committed to leading the Western alliance. And if Donald Trump were to be elected, no aggressor would know exactly why, when, or how he might strike back at them. Given those uncertainties, it may seem wise in the waning months of 2016 for aggressors to go for broke against the predictable Obama administration before the game is declared over in 2017. For that reason, the next few months may prove the most dangerous since World War II.





Jacob Shapiro                                                              

Mauldin Economics, May 2, 2016


There are four key regional powers in the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Within this group, however, there is a distinct division. Turkey and Iran are potential hegemons—they represent the heirs of the Ottoman and Persian empires. Israel and Saudi Arabia are key players, but they share a critical limitation: their strategic needs outweigh their capabilities, and they are limited in how much they can shape events in the region. We have studied in depth the weaknesses inherent in the Saudi kingdom and how its power will wane with the diminution of its oil wealth. Israel, for different reasons than Saudi Arabia, also faces a gravely dangerous future. The danger is a ways off, but the eventual challenge Israel will face is no less potent.


Israel has never been stronger than it is today. On all of its borders, it is in a reasonably secure position. To the south, the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty remains firmly in place. That the treaty has held for 37 years can dull our sense of just how transformative it has been. From Israel’s founding in 1948 until 1979, Egypt was a mortal enemy. Today, relations between Egypt and Israel are so cooperative that as recently as 2014, Israel allowed Egypt to deploy infantry battalions and various attack aircraft in the Sinai Peninsula to fight radical elements operating there.


To the east, Israel has maintained de facto security control over the West Bank since 1967, and in 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan. The acquisition of the West Bank dramatically improved Israel’s security. Before 1967, Jordanian forces held the high ground. From Qalqilya, they stood within reach of roughly 40 percent of Israel’s population, concentrated then, as today, in the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area. From Tulkarm, Jordanian forces needed to advance only 10 miles to reach the coast and, in effect, cut Israel in half. Today, the Israelis cooperate with the Jordanians as much if not more than they do with the Egyptians, and there is no military force on the west bank of the Jordan River that poses a meaningful threat to Israeli security. Any attacking force would have to cross the Jordan River and fight through hilly, difficult terrain to reach Israel’s core.


To the northeast, Syria’s civil war has left another historical enemy in complete disarray. Since 1967, the Israelis have controlled the bulk of the Golan Heights, and Syria’s various factions are so distracted with fighting each other that they do not have the time or the resources to threaten Israel in any meaningful way, nor will they for years to come. Israeli military planners consider their greatest threat to be Hezbollah operating out of Lebanon. But Hezbollah has thrown its forces into the Syrian conflict to back Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its Iranian allies. Hezbollah still has missiles that it could use to make life in the north very difficult for Israel, but it has neither the will nor the appetite for conflict now. Even if it did, it would eventually run out of rockets, and Israel has the capability to go in on the ground and cripple Hezbollah.


The Palestinians, meanwhile, have never represented an existential military threat to Israel and are arguably more politically fractured today than they have ever been. Israel maintains a blockade around the Gaza Strip, and Egypt is as invested in keeping Gaza quiet as Israel is. There are occasional conflicts with Hamas—including four major spasms in the last decade. These are horrible events for Israelis living in the cities around Gaza, but they do not threaten Israel’s security. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas runs the Palestinian Authority from the West Bank and is weak politically. The recent spate of stabbings pales in comparison to the first and second intifadas, but even a third intifada would not change Israel’s overwhelming military supremacy on the ground. On none of its borders does Israel face a force that can project an existential threat—Syria’s civil war removed the last potential contender for that title.


From a regional perspective three challenges loom for Israel: Iran, the Islamic State, and Turkey. Each of these challenges demonstrates how Israel is secure in the short term but in the long term cannot guarantee its own security.


Iran is the challenge most often mentioned, largely due to the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has built his political career around the notion that he is the only Israeli leader sufficiently aware of and capable of dealing with the threat Iran poses. That strategy has worked well so far for Netanyahu—he is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, besides founding father David Ben-Gurion. In the short term, however, Iran cannot be said to pose a meaningful threat to Israel. In 2010, Iran was building an arc of Shiite influence that extended from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean Sea via Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Iraq is now in shambles, Syria is in a state of civil war, and pro-Iranian forces in Lebanon have been cut off from their direct link to Iran and are engaged in Syria. Iran is 1,000 miles away from Israel, and rhetoric aside, it faces an existential crisis in the battle for influence in Baghdad and, to a lesser degree, in its fight to prop up Assad’s regime in Syria.


The key outlier here, of course, is nuclear weapons, and herein lies Israel’s fundamental weakness. Our view has always been that Iran did not want to develop nuclear weapons so much as it wanted others to believe it was developing them so they could be used as a bargaining chip. But Israel cannot make such assumptions. It has long viewed an Iranian nuclear program as a threat yet has been powerless to do anything about it. In 1981, Israel struck and destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq in what was called Operation Opera. In 2012, Israel destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria in Operation Orchard. Iran poses a much more difficult challenge. It is too far away for the Israeli air force to attack without forward deploying (and thereby alerting the Iranians). Israel lacks the weapons necessary to attack underground sites, and gaining intelligence on where the facilities are and whether strikes have been successful would be extremely difficult. In sum, if Israel were capable of destroying the Iranian nuclear program, it would have done so. Every time it has threatened to do so, it was bluffing.


The Islamic State is another potential threat that does not get enough attention. The media is fixated on the fact that IS has lost territory in recent months. We, however, see a sophisticated fighting force that has again retreated to more favorable ground and is defending a core territory. In the short term, IS works in Israel’s interests. It has crippled a mortal enemy in Assad and is not in a position to threaten Israel directly. But if IS or some other entity rises from the Syrian civil war able to unite Arab power, effecting a rebirth of the United Arab Republic that the founder of modern Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser sought to build in the 1950s, that alliance would represent a fundamental threat to Israel’s interests. This is an unlikely scenario but not an impossible one, and Israel does not have the luxury of discounting the unlikely.


Israel has thus far stayed out of the Syrian civil war because chaos in Syria works directly in Israel’s interest—but also because Israel does not have the capability to shape the conflict. Israel’s military is well equipped and trained, but it cannot manage a protracted conflict in which it must fight over extended supply lines. Such a conflict would cripple the Israeli economy and put the military at risk of casualties it cannot afford. Though the Syrian civil war may continue for years, it will eventually end. And then Israel will face to the northeast a new reality that it cannot define and that will thrust new challenges on Israel’s security establishment. Israel benefits from Syria’s chaos, but Israel was not the architect of Syria’s situation and cannot control Syria’s future.


The country that can dictate Syria’s future is Turkey. Turkey is the strongest of the region’s powers, and however much it does not want to intervene in the conflicts raging around it, Ankara cannot permanently accept ongoing chaos along its southern border. In terms of GDP, Turkey already has the largest economy in the region, and it also has the largest military force. By the end of the 1960s, Israel and Turkey were in the US camp in the Cold War, and despite the recent strain in relations dating back to 2010, cooperation has continued behind the scenes. But we believe the most likely scenario for the Middle East in the next 20 years is that Turkey will be forced to take a deep interest in Syria and will have to insert itself into the conflict to prevent the rise of potentially hostile states.


Here again is a strategic challenge the Israelis cannot predict or shape. If Turkey decides that projecting power into the Levant is in its interest, Israel can do nothing to stop it. If Turkey decides it wants nuclear weapons, Israel can do nothing to stop it. There is no telling how Turkey’s rise will affect the future of Israeli–Egyptian or Israeli–Jordanian relations. The Middle East today is in a state of chaos, and such chaos serves Israel’s interests. This chaos, however, will not be interminable. Order will eventually return in the form of a strong Turkey, a united Arab entity, an overachieving Iran, or some other as yet unimagined scenario. And in that future world, Israel’s relative power and security will quickly evaporate…




THE POST-IMPERIAL MOMENT                                                                                               

Robert D. Kaplan                                                                                                

National Interest, Apr. 22, 2016


We are entering an age of what I call comparative anarchy, that is, a much higher level of anarchy compared to that of the Cold War and post–Cold War periods.


After all, globalization and the communications revolution have reinforced, rather than negated, geopolitics. The world map is now smaller and more claustrophobic, so that territory is more ferociously contested, and every regional conflict interacts with every other as never before. A war in Syria is inextricable from a terrorist outrage in Europe, even as Russia’s intervention in Syria affects Europe’s and America’s policy toward Ukraine. This happens at a moment when, as I’ve said, multinational empires are gone, as are most totalitarian regimes in contrived states where official borders do not conform with ethnic and sectarian ones. The upshot is a maelstrom of national and subnational groups in violent competition. And so, geopolitics—the battle for space and power—now occurs within states as well as between them. Cultural and religious differences are particularly exacerbated: as group differences melt down in the crucible of globalization, they have to be reforged in a blunter and more ideological form. It isn’t the clash of civilizations so much as the clash of artificially reconstructed civilizations that is taking place. Witness the Islamic State, which does not represent Islam per se, but Islam combusting with the tyrannical conformity and mass hysteria of the Internet and social media. The postmodern reinvention of identities only hardens geopolitical divides.


In the course of all this, technology is not erasing geography—it is sharpening it. Just look at China and India. For most of history, with exceptions like the spread of Buddhism in antiquity and the nineteenth-century Opium Wars, China and India had relatively little to do with each other, emerging as two civilizations separated by the Himalayas. But technological advances have collapsed distance. Indian intercontinental ballistic missiles can hit Chinese cities and Chinese fighter jets can pierce the Indian Subcontinent’s airspace. Indian warships have deployed to the South China Sea and Chinese warships have maneuvered throughout the Indian Ocean. A new strategic geography of rivalry now exists between China and India. Geopolitics, rather than a vestige of previous centuries, is a more tightly woven feature of the globe than ever. India seeks new allies in Vietnam and Japan; China seeks closer links with Russia and Iran.


In fact, there are no purely regional problems anymore, since local hegemons like Russia, China and Iran have engaged in cyber attacks and terrorism worldwide. Thus, crises are both regional and global at the same time. And as wars and state collapses persist, the fear we should harbor should be less that of appeasement and more that of hard landings for the troubled regimes in question. We know that soft landings for totalitarian regimes in Iraq and Syria have been impossible to achieve. The United States invaded Iraq, yet stood aside in Syria; the result was virtually the same, with hundreds of thousands of people killed in each country and extremist groups filling the void.


Another thing: Remember that globalization is not necessarily associated with growth or stability, but only with vast economic and cultural linkages. These can amplify geopolitical disorder in the event of an economic slowdown. That’s what we are seeing now. Take Africa, which has had years of steady economic growth thanks less to the development of a manufacturing sector and more to a rise in commodity prices. Commodity prices are now falling, along with Chinese infrastructure investment in Africa, as China itself experiences a dramatic decrease in GDP growth. Thus, economic changes in Asia imperil African stability, to the degree that it exists. Then there are the various radical Islamic movements rampaging across Sahelian Africa. This is actually the latest phase of African anarchy—in which the communications revolution brings millenarian Islam to weak and failed states. Obviously, the United States holds little sway over any of this.


In sum, everything is interlinked as never before, even as there is less and less of a night watchman to keep the peace worldwide. Hierarchies everywhere are breaking down. Just look at the presidential primaries in the United States—an upheaval from below for which the political establishment has no answer. Meanwhile, like “the brassiness of marches” and “the heavy stomp of peasant dances” that composer Gustav Mahler employed as he invaded “the well-ordered house of classical music” in the waning decades of the Habsburg Empire (to quote the late Princeton Professor Carl E. Schorske), vulgar, populist anarchy that elites at places like Aspen and Davos will struggle to influence or even comprehend will help define the twenty-first century. The multinational empires of the early-modern and modern past, as well as the ideological divisions of the Cold War, will then be viewed almost as much with nostalgia as with disdain.




MOURNING THE DEATH OF GERRY WEINSTEIN –                                                           

A TRUE COMMUNITY LEADER                                                                                                          

Mike Cohen                                                                                                                  

the Suburban, May 24, 2016


Montreal, Quebec and Canada has lost a true community leader with the passing of Gerry Weinstein. Gerry was a true community activist. Although he had many accomplishments to be proud about, it was the B`nai Brith House, a large social housing development in Côte Saint-Luc, which brought the biggest smile to his face. He engineered its creation and spearheaded the fundraising for the $13 million project…


Chateau B’nai Brith will be constructed right next to the IGA on Côte Saint-Luc Road. It is so sad that Gerry will not live to see it. I have been told that the Quebec board recently unanimously approved a motion submitted by former president Eric Bissell to name the current Residence B'nai Brith House to two very worthy individuals, and the sign naming Gerry Weinstien and B'nai Brith leader Ted Greenfield is now proudly displayed above the entrance."…


In 2005 Gerry became the national president of B`nai Brith Canada. This occurred a short time after he underwent a lifesaving kidney transplant. “As a person with limited sight, and having dealt with kidney disease and a transplant, he has more vision than many sighted people and always maintains a positive outlook on things,” Greenfield told me at the time of Gerry's installation. “He has been, and continues to be, involved in a number of different community organizations and has served in leadership capacities in each one. I am proud to be called a friend by Gerry Weinstein. He is a modest man and a team player who uses his stature and energy for the benefit of others, rather than himself.”…


Funeral service will take place at Paperman & Sons, 3888 Jean Talon St. W., on Wednesday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m.                            


CIJR mourns the passing of Gerry Weinstein, a great philanthropist and friend of the community—Ed.




On Topic Links


Thanks to Obama, the Terrorist Cancer is Growing: Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, May 23, 2016—We still do not know who or what is responsible for the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804, but we know this much for certain: The terrorist danger is growing, and it won’t be contained to the Mediterranean.

Facing "Abnormal" Enemies: Louis René Beres, Arutz Sheva, May 8, 2016—"Do you know what it means to find yourselves face to face with a madman?" inquires Luigi Pirandello's, Henry IV. "Madmen, lucky folk, construct without logic, or rather with a logic that flies like a feather."

Could Different Borders Have Saved the Middle East?: Nick Danforth, New York Times, May 14, 2016—THERE probably aren’t many things that the Islamic State, Jon Stewart and the president of Iraqi Kurdistan agree on, but there is one: the pernicious influence of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret plan for dividing up the Middle East signed by France and Britain, 100 years ago this week. It has become conventional wisdom to argue, as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recently did, that the Middle East’s problems stem from “artificial lines, creating artificial states made up of totally distinct ethnic, religious, cultural groups.”

Islam and Democracy After the Arab Spring: Carl Gershman, World Affairs, April, 2016 —Since the uprisings of the Arab Spring in 2011, an Arab Winter of authoritarian backlash has swept across the Middle East.











BDS Equals Economic Warfare: Asaf Romirowsky & Nicole Brackman, Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2016— At the core of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS ) is economic warfare meant to delegitimize and marginalize Israel.

BDS Spreads Anti-Semitism Across U.S. Campuses: Noah Beck, IPT, May 12, 2016— Anti-Semitic incidents seem to spring up each week on college campuses throughout the United States.

A Jewish Voice for Peace? No — Just Another Hate Group: Ziva Dahl, Algemeiner, May 16, 2016— Who is the group called A Jewish Voice for Peace and why does it hide its funders from the public?

Colombia Unbecoming: Hate Week Comes to Latin America: Gregory J. Lobo, ISGAP, May 13, 2016— What is known in English as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has made it to Colombia in the form of the Semana contra el Apartheid Israelí.


On Topic Links


Methodist Church Meeting Votes Down BDS Resolutions: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, May 17, 2016

Anti-Israel Students at Connecticut College ‘Occupy’ Office of School President in Protest Over Investigation of Mock Eviction Notices: Lea Spyer, Algemeiner, May 16, 2016

Using the Language of War Makes Battling BDS Clearer: Jon Haber, Algemeiener, May 15, 2016


BDS EQUALS ECONOMIC WARFARE                                     

Asaf Romirowsky & Nicole Brackman                                    

Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2016       


At the core of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is economic warfare meant to delegitimize and marginalize Israel. But the fatal fallacy of the movement is rooted in the fact that its proponents are hurting the very constituency they claim to represent. Daniel Birnbaum is the CEO of SodaStream, one of Israel’s greatest commercial start-up successes. The company (made famous in a 2014 Super Bowl advertisement featuring actress Scarlett Johansson) was a pioneer in economic inclusion, establishing a factory in the West Bank and employing both Palestinian and Jewish workers (among them a high proportion of women).


Due to the ongoing violence in Syria, SodaStream also went out of its way to offer employment to Syrian refugees – one of the only Middle Eastern companies to do so. Providing an avenue to job security in skilled labor is a fundamental tenet of refugee rehabilitation policy. Israel has been at the forefront of successful refugee resettlement and absorption since the state’s inception, with the integration of close to one million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands.


As Birnbaum underscored in a press release, “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria… just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees.”


But in October, 2015, nearly 500 of the company’s Palestinian workers lost their jobs. The reason wasn’t because the company no longer wanted to employ them. It was due – at least in part – to the efforts of the BDS movement to mount enough international pressure to close the facility. Though the company denied it was a factor, the tactic worked; many of the workers were thrust into unemployment. Notwithstanding that, SodaStream offered 1,000 positions to Syrian refugees at the company’s new facility in Rahat.


The BDS movement uses economic pressure to attempt to strong-arm the Israeli government into complying with its agenda. Its effects are wide-ranging, from political activism on college campuses to commercial guerrilla tactics like covertly placing stickers on grocery products to draw attention to their Israeli origins.


Much of the time, its claims are laden with anti-Semitic overtones and rely on emotional appeal rather than hard data. Such tactics have far-reaching – and very counterproductive – consequences, for example, the unwillingness of the French directorate-general for international security of intelligence to accept technology offered by an Israeli security company that “could have helped counter-terror agents track suspects in real time,” undermining the chance to avert the recent deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium.


Despite its aspirations, in fact BDS has had little economic impact on Israel. According to Forbes, “The impact of BDS is more psychological than real so far and has had no discernible impact on Israeli trade or the broader economy… that said, the sanctions do run the risk of hurting the Palestinian economy, which is much smaller and poorer than that of Israel.”


Israel’s centrality to US regional and global policy has not gone unnoticed; US Congress sought to cement Israel’s economic and trade ties to the US with a bipartisan bill – the US-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act – designed to counter the BDS movement and strengthen the two nations’ relationship. The bill “leverages ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective US trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel. It also establishes a clear US policy in opposition to state-led BDS, which is detrimental to global trade, regional peace and stability.”


The extremism that the BDS movement advocates highlights the group’s refusal to come to terms with the State of Israel, its recidivism and its ignorance in evaluating the landscape of greater Middle East politics. When Syrian refugees are being offered jobs in Israel at an Israeli company it is clear how removed the BDS reality is from that of the Middle East.





Noah Beck

IPT, May 12, 2016


Anti-Semitic incidents seem to spring up each week on college campuses throughout the United States. According to a study, "The strongest predictor of anti-Jewish hostility on campus" is the presence of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The greater the BDS activity, especially involving faculty members, the more likely anti-Semitic episodes become, said the study issued last month by the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, and combating anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses.


One recent example occurred on April 15, when the City University of New York Doctoral Students' Council passed a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel, 42-19. Weeks earlier, a CUNY professor and BDS advocate claimed that the killing of Palestinians in Gaza "reflects Jewish values." On CUNY campuses, the New York Observer reports, Jewish students were harassed, with "Jews out of CUNY" uttered in at least one instance, and a professor who wears a yarmulke was called a "Zionist pig."


On April 21, two-thirds of a union representing about 2,000 graduate students at New York University voted to approve a motion to support a BDS resolution against Israel. The motion also urges the union and its affiliate, the United Auto Workers, to divest from Israeli companies. The resolution asks NYU to close its program at Tel Aviv University, claiming the program violates NYU's non-discrimination policy. About a month earlier, NYU's Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), one of the main organizing forces behind the nationwide BDS campaign, hosted Israeli academic Ilan Pappé, described by Benny Morris as "one of the world's sloppiest historians."


As reported by AMCHA: "Pappé blamed Jews, perceived historically as evil, for antisemitism stating, 'The [Jewish] Israelis…are responsible for bringing antisemitism back.' He denied Jews self-determination and demonized Israel stating, 'evil Zionism will come to an end – all immoral regimes do' as well as suggested rich Jews should leave Israel as a process of 'decolonization.' He further demonized Israel throughout accusing Israel of carrying out 'ethnic cleansing' multiple times. Pappé delegitimized Israel consistently referring to Israel as a 'settler colonialist project,' …[and] promoted BDS."


The Jewish Law Students Association at Harvard University and Harvard Hillel co-sponsored an event April 14 on "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the U.S." During the question and answer session, Husam el-Qoulaq, an HLS student and head of SJP at the school, insulted  Israeli Knesset Member Tzipi Livni by asking, "How is it that you are so smelly?… A question about the odor of Ms. Tzipi Livni, she's very smelly, and I was just wondering." The student's question resurrected the anti-Semitic stereotype of a "smelly/dirty Jew." Incredibly, some "progressive" HLS Jewish students later defended el-Qoulaq.


As BDS campaigns spread on campuses, anti-Semitic expression increasingly follows – from swastika-filled vandalism at UC Davis and Purdue University to student "debates" at Stanford University that implicitly dignify classical anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the media and economy…According to AMCHA, 2016 already has seen 171 anti-Semitic/BDS incidents as of April 21. At this rate, 2016 will see a 36 percent increase in incidents over last year.


Faculty members have become increasingly active in BDS efforts and smears. During a talk at Vassar College in February, Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar accused Israel of harvesting Palestinian organs and conducting scientific experiments in "stunting" the growth of Palestinian bodies. Last month, 40 Columbia University professors signed a BDS petition. More recently, one pro-BDS professor even tried to link campus rape to Israel. As Rochester Institute of Technology lecturer A.J. Caschetta notes, "at a time when much of academe is jumping on the BDS bandwagon, there is little risk to academics who join the movement, whereas opposition to majority leftist positions often leads to a perilous path."


Indeed, academics who buck this trend may be endangering their careers. At Connecticut College, one of the few professors who defended Andrew Pessin, who hasn't been in his classroom for the past year after a hate-filled campaign miscast his comments about Hamas as a smear on all Palestinians, says his stance cost him a promotion. Manuel Lizarralde, associate professor in Ethnobotany, wrote in a faculty-wide email Jan. 26 that the college "acted like vigilantes and found the perfect scapegoat," in Pessin.


Within days, Lizarralde said, he was called in by the administration for a scolding. Noting that he was recently denied promotion, Lizarralde suggested in a recent email that this was payback for his support of Pessin. Connecticut College has "a sense of racism since we are Latinos, Jews and advocate for social injustice…[and we] are being punished [for such activism]."


Responding to the negative media coverage generated by the Pessin case, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron published an email to the faculty March 28, in which she championed "the right of all its members to express their views freely and openly." She failed to explain how that principle applied to Pessin, who was hounded off campus for expressing his views, only to see them twisted and turned against him. She said that the school should promote "reasoned and informed debate about the most complex issues of our time," but Pessin's absence leaves the school with no pro-Israel voice. When asked about the contradictions between her email and the Pessin affair, she declined to comment.


Meanwhile, outrage against Connecticut College continues to build, with a petition to investigate the Pessin affair and revoke the school's accreditation now exceeding 1,500 signatures. Just as the character assassination targeting the only pro-Israel voice at Connecticut College appeared as a total surprise, BDS campaigns to influence student government votes across the country pop up with minimal notice, just weeks before the vote, giving the opposition little time to organize. That strategy helped secure SJP a BDS victory at the University of Chicago undergraduate student government in March.  It failed to persuade the university's administration, though.


Who is funding BDS? Analyst Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently told members of Congress that former employees of Hamas-linked charities now work for the Illinois-based organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which is "arguably the leading BDS organization in the US, a key sponsor of the anti-Israel campus network known as Students for Justice in Palestine." Schanzer noted that AMP provides money, speakers, training and even "apartheid walls" to SJP campus activists. More surprising, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given anti-Israel BDS organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center.


On campus after campus, the BDS movement has proven itself to be well organized and determined to poison the minds of impressionable students against Israel. It will take an equally concerted and sustained effort to oppose BDS in academia.      





Ziva Dahl                                                                      

Algemeiner, May 16, 2016


Who is the group called A Jewish Voice for Peace and why does it hide its funders from the public? Don’t be fooled by the name. JVP is an organization of extremists masquerading as Jewish advocates seeking a just peace for all people in the Middle East. Using the language of human rights and claiming to be acting in accordance with Jewish values, JVP demonizes, defames and delegitimizes Israel, labeling it an “occupier,”“apartheid” and “racist,” while embracing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) which would result in the destruction of the only Jewish homeland in the world.


With 9,000 dues-paying members and 60 chapters, JVP’s stated mission is to dilute support for Israel in order to end the Israeli “occupation” of the “West Bank,” Gaza and East Jerusalem, to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem and bring peace to the Middle East.  JVP attempts to convince Jews that opposition to Israel is consistent with Jewish values, professing, “We work to build Jewish communities that reflect the understanding that being Jewish and Judaism are not synonymous with Zionism or support for Israel.”


But JVP’s mission statement is a smokescreen, the old “bait and switch” – to lure volunteers by feigning devotion to Jewish values, human rights and social justice and then to propagandize them into warriors in the global anti-Israel war of words as lethal as a war fought with bullets and bombs. The only thing this “voice for peace” wants is the delegitimization of Israel.  In its “Nakba Fact Sheet,” JVP characterizes the founding of Israel as a “catastrophe” and blames Israel exclusively for creating Palestinian refugees, ignoring the roles played by five attacking Arab armies and local Arab leaders advising them to leave.


During the deadly, random Palestinian knifings of innocent Israeli civilians in 2015, JVP posted a Facebook statement referring to the attacks as “Palestinian popular resistance,” and praising “a new generation of Palestinians…rising up en-masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.” JVP uses the Palestinian Authority’s false argument of the threat to the Jerusalem Al-Aqsa mosque to validate murder.


Although it accuses the American Jewish establishment of stifling dissent and McCarthyite actions, JVP itself has a history of attempting to shut down debate. It disrupted the Taglit Birthright reunion, joined with other anti-Jewish groups to disrupt a New York city council meeting discussing a Holocaust commemoration and participated in campaigns to “shut down AIPAC” and “skip the speech” — Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress. Brandeis University Prof. Ilan Troen explains, “If you’ve ever dealt with the JVP, they themselves are a semi-terrorist group, promoting the disruption of free speech and the inability of others to conduct public discourse.”


In response to the January 2015 Paris terror attacks, JVP merely expressed concern about Islamophobia, saying, “Muslims are at greatly heightened risk…in the context of pervasive, systemic and long-standing anti-Islam bigotry.”  This “Jewish Voice for Peace,” despite its stated opposition to bigotry, never acknowledged that the murder of shoppers at the kosher market was an anti-Jewish act.


The Anti-Defamation League describes JVP as one of the 10 worst anti-Israel organizations in America: “While JVP’s activists try to portray themselves as Jewish critics of Israel, their ideology is nothing but a complete rejection of Israel.” In February 2015,  JVP acknowledged that they fully endorse and promote the global BDS campaign, joining other radical leftist groups in advocating for “ending the occupation of all Arab lands” — not just the territory captured in 1967 — and the “right of return” of millions of Arabs to Israel. BDS proponents acknowledge that their efforts will ultimately result in the dismantling of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state.  Omar Barghouti, a BDS founder, stated in 2011, “BDS National Committee … sees JVP as an important ally in the U.S.”  Barghouti admits, “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.”


JVP partners with American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) which, according to recent congressional testimony, has at least seven individuals on its staff or working with it “who worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas.” In 2013, JVP supported an AMP campaign to post signs demonizing Israel as apartheid and in 2015 it joined AMP’s “No US Tax Dollars for Israel” rally in Washington, DC.

JVP has raised money for the International Solidarity Movement, linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. ISM members have hidden terrorists from the Israeli military, provided funding to Hamas and participated in the Hamas propaganda effort in Gaza in 2014. JVP publicly associates with organizations having ties to US-designated terrorist groups and yet won’t disclose its funders. Why? According to IRS 990s and audited financial statements, JVP reported 2014 total contributions/grants of$1,407,148. Since its founding in 1996, significant growth in funding has allowed JVP to become a player in the Israel delegitimization campaign…

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



COLOMBIA UNBECOMING: HATE WEEK                                                                      

COMES TO LATIN AMERICA                                                                      

Gregory J. Lobo                                                                              

ISGAP, May 13, 2016


What is known in English as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has made it to Colombia in the form of the Semana contra el Apartheid Israelí. The “week” consisted of a 4 hour session on April, Friday 22, at a public university in Bogotá, featuring Palestinian, South African, Brazilian and Colombian speakers, and a 4 hour cultural event the next day, featuring music and poetry. In continental terms, it was preceded by the launch of a BDS campaign in Chile at the Universidad de Chile, which included five days of sessions and meetings (April 11-15).


I learned about the event in Colombia from one the country’s leading dailies, El Espectador (The Spectator), in which on Saturday, April 23, 2016, there appeared a brief interview with Kwara Kekana, a young BDS activist from South Africa, who was visiting Colombia to participate in the event. No doubt having a Black activist from the country that actually invented and implemented real, historical apartheid (an Afrikaans term meaning “separateness”) gives the impossibly self-righteous Israeli “Apartheid” Week the appearance of a moral ballast that obviates the need for even a minimal skepticism regarding its outlandish accusations directed at Israel.


In the interview, Kekana opines that there are similarities between what is happening in Israel today and what used to happen in South Africa before 1994. This is, of course, the reductive logic employed by BDS and IAW to short-circuit critical thought and reflection, and win adherents. Everyone’s against apartheid—or should be, right? But what’s that got to do with Israel, a genuine multicultual country where Arabs and Jews live together—sharing buses, universities, restaurants, seats in an elected government, positions in a judicial system, etc.—not apart?


Indeed, the editors of the newspaper were clear that Kekana was expressing “her vision” of the conflict. They had the good sense to use scare quotes in their headline—“apartheid israelí”—and in the questions they put to Kekana they demonstrated commendable journalistic integrity, at times. In one of them, they even prompted her to reflect on the “grandes diferencias” (major differences) between the two conflicts. The prompt, however—as might be expected—was ignored by the activist interviewee.


On the other hand, Colombia Informa, an avowedly non-neutral news agency dedicated to “making visible the struggles for a just and egalitarian society,” pre-reported on the event—billing it as one which would familiarize people with “the situation of segregation that the Palestinian people suffer.” It also reported that the Colombian Jewish community wrote a letter of protest to the Dean of the venue for the event, a public university in Bogotá. This letter prompted at least one further letter to the Dean, from the Boston chapter of the so-called Jewish Voice for Peace (a small but notorious anti-Israel organization, widely known as a hate group), supporting Colombia’s IAW.


Revealingly (if unsurprisingly), the Colombian Communist Party, the third oldest political party in Colombia, supported the initiative—said by the CCP to be part of a series of acts “rejecting the disgusting practice of apartheid by Israel against Palestine.” With friends like this, it should be clear that IAW/BDS has as much future as Communism in Latin America (or elsewhere)…                                                                

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Methodist Church Meeting Votes Down BDS Resolutions: Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, May 17, 2016—The United Methodist Church has rejected several resolutions calling for the 12-million-member Protestant church to divest from companies engaging in business with Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Anti-Israel Students at Connecticut College ‘Occupy’ Office of School President in Protest Over Investigation of Mock Eviction Notices: Lea Spyer, Algemeiner, May 16, 2016— A group of anti-Israel students at Connecticut College is “occupying” the office of the school’s president in protest over an investigation into mock eviction notices they posted across campus accusing the Jewish state of a series of crimes.

How New York Can Help Stop Europe’s Rampaging Israel Boycotters: Benjamin Weinthal and Asaf Romirowsky, New York Post, May 10, 2016— In America, the odious boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel remains largely confined to university humanities departments, leaving Europe as the main battleground in the economic war on Israel. And now a bill in the New York Legislature may be the key to blunting financial and political damage to Israel in Europe.

Using the Language of War Makes Battling BDS Clearer: Jon Haber, Algemeiener, May 15, 2016 — Complex and contradictory language surrounds our conversations regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and how to stop it. “Delegitimization,” “antisemitism,” “hypocrisy” and “misguided” are all words used repeatedly by BDS critics, just as “human rights,” “international law” and “free speech” are phrases we can count on hearing from proponents of boycott and divestment activity.















I24, 21 Mai, 2016


Le Chef de l'opposition israélienne Yitzhak Herzog a déclaré samedi, lors d'un événement culturel dans la ville de Kfar Saba (centre), qu'il n'avait aucune intention de démissionner du poste de président du parti Union sioniste, après avoir échoué aux négociations de coalition gouvernementale avec le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou. "Je n'ai pas l'intention de satisfaire ceux qui souhaitent ma démission, comme la députée Shelly Yachimovitch, ou d'autres", a déclaré Herzog.


Yachimovitch fut la présidente du Parti travailliste israélien entre 2011 et 2013, et avait été remplacée par Herzog, lors des primaires tenues au sein du parti le 22 novembre 2013. Herzog s'est exprimé après une semaine dramatique et mouvementée dans la politique israélienne, lors de laquelle le leader de l'opposition était en négociations avec Netanyahou pour une formation d'union gouvernementale sabordée à la dernière minute.


C'est avec Avigdor Lieberman, président du parti nationaliste Israël Beiteinou, que le Premier ministre a engagé la discussion, pour faire revenir au gouvernement celui qui avait déjoué tous ses plans en 2015 en refusant de participer à sa coalition après les législatives. "L'alliance infâme entre des radicaux ruine les chances d'éviter de nouvelles funérailles", a dénoncé Herzog.


Pour sa part, la députée Tzipi Livni (Union sioniste) a lancé un message dans sa page Facebook, et a appelé à se battre contre le gouvernement. "C'est à présent l'occasion de s'unir en un seul camp et de se battre ensemble contre les valeurs représentées par ce gouvernement", a déclaré Livni. "Les histoires de partis politiques ne comptent plus désormais, ni même les primaires du parti travailliste", a-t-elle estimé. "La seule chose qui compte est de s'unir et de former un bloc alternatif afin de gagner la confiance du peuple", a-t-elle ajouté.



                                                    MOSHE YAALON DEMISSIONNE :


                                         GRAVES AVEC BENYAMIN NETANYAHOU"                                             

                                                               Pascale Zonszain                               

                    Rubrique Israel, 20 mai, 2016


C'est par un communiqué sur les réseaux sociaux que le ministre israélien de la Défense a annoncé vendredi matin qu'il quittait ses fonctions politiques pour une pause dans sa carrière publique. La décision de Benyamin Netanyahou d'offrir le portefeuille de la Défense au leader d'Israel Beitenou Avigdor Liberman, a précipité le départ de Moshe Yaalon, qui a reconnu que ses relations avec le Premier ministre s'étaient récemment détériorées et qu'il avait  "perdu confiance" en lui.


"J'ai longtemps travaillé en harmonie avec le chef du gouvernement et bien sûr durant l'opération Bordure Protectrice", a expliqué le ministre démissionnaire durant un point de presse. Les choses ont changé récemment, a ajouté Moshe Yaalon, citant ses désaccords croissants avec des membres du gouvernement et du parlement. "Je me suis battu de toutes mes forces contre des phénomènes de radicalisation, de violence et de racisme dans la société israélienne, qui menacent sa résilience et secouent même Tsahal".



                                          SYKES-PICOT, LA FAUTE ORIGINELLE?

                                                        Clotilde de Fouchecour                                        

                                                                23 mai, 2016


Accusés de tous les maux, les accords Sykes-Picot ne sont qu'un épisode parmi d'autres des atermoiements de l'Occident au Moyen-Orient. L'histoire mouvementée des relations entre Arabes musulmans, chrétiens et Juifs sionistes au XXe siècle relativise l'influence du prétendu impérialisme occidental sur la région.


« Le Moyen-Orient à la découpe » titre L’Obs pour marquer les cent ans des accords Sykes-Picot. Les coupables un siècle après sont tout désignés : l’impérialisme franco-britannique ; et le résultat, on le voit : un Proche-Orient dans l’état où il est. Sauf que… s’il est naturel de rechercher une « faute originelle », voire un bouc émissaire, il n’est pas sûr que ce soit le moyen le plus sûr d’y voir clair, et encore moins de préparer l’avenir. Certes cette commémoration a fait depuis plusieurs années l’objet d’une campagne inédite – et non concertée – entre un livre à succès, A line in the sand de James Barr (qui s’appuie presque exclusivement sur les archives britanniques, c’est sa limite) et l’opération de communication #SykesPicotOver lancée par l’Etat Islamique le 11 juin 2014 avec la destruction à grand renfort de publicité d’un mur de sable entre la Syrie et l’Irak, au nom de la restauration du Califat . Même si, comme le fait remarquer l’historien Henry Laurens, loin d’avoir corrigé Sykes-Picot, les hommes en noir l’ont en réalité confirmé, revenant au tracé initial des deux diplomates.

Chacun cherche un « toit politique »


Si l’image est belle – deux impérialistes ont pris une équerre pour découper le Proche-Orient-, la réalité est tout autre. Sykes-Picot est d’abord le produit d’un héritage : celui des « œuvres françaises » dans la région, des saint-simoniens aux missions catholiques en passant par la Mission Laïque et l’Alliance Israélite Universelle sans oublier le legs plus ancien des Capitulations ; celui de la présence commerciale des Britanniques, de son influence politique croissante. Il faut rappeler le débarquement anglo-ottoman à Jounieh, Liban, en 1840 ; l’intervention française de 1860 lors des massacres inter-ethniques du Mont-Liban etc. Peu avant Sykes-Picot, il y eut le massacre des Arméniens, premier génocide du XXème siècle. Produits d’une histoire, ces accords secrets ne le resteront pas longtemps : éventés par la jeune République soviétique, ils constitueront lors du Congrès de la Paix une base pour les lobbys nationaux : libanistes contre tenants de la Grande Syrie, arabistes et sionistes etc.  Chacun cherche un « toit politique », selon la jolie formule de Jean-Paul Chagnollaud.


Curieuse donc cette focalisation sur un accord secret qui ne le restera pas longtemps et qui subit des modifications importantes au cours d’un processus bien public, lui. Et si les frustrations n’ont pas manqué, c’est d’abord parce que le passage de l’Empire ottoman, avec sa pluralité de communautés ethniques et religieuses, à un ensemble d’Etats-Nations ne pouvait maquer d’en susciter. Néanmoins, comme le remarque Joseph Maïla, lors de leur accession à l’indépendance aucun des Etats n’a remis en cause les frontières dessinées en 1920, la Palestine constituant un cas à part.


Certes, on voit bien ce qui séduit dans le rappel d’un accord secret  et, les archives françaises en témoignent, à la fin de la Seconde guerre mondiale, Américains et Soviétiques utiliseront cette corde qu’on aurait pu croire usée, la dénonciation de l’impérialisme européen, pour placer leurs pions. Alors, pourquoi ne pas avoir commémoré en 2015 les 70 ans de Yalta, dont l’impact fut bien plus grand, les 70 ans du pacte de l’USS Quincy entre Roosevelt et Ibn Saoud, même s’il ne faut pas exagérer sa portée.


Sykes-Picot, ou « on nous a caché quelque chose ». On voit bien ce qu’une telle désignation peut avoir de séduisant mais, plutôt que d’en appeler à une impossible transparence, reconnaissons que le secret est consubstantiel à la diplomatie. Ce qui rend d’autant plus remarquable le choix qu’ont fait certains de se refuser à une telle pratique. C’est ainsi que de Gaulle refusa pendant la Seconde guerre d’engager la parole de la France sur la question palestinienne et sioniste, décision à haut risque pour des Forces Françaises Libres dépendantes de l’aide extérieure, mais c’est ce « non-accord » qui donnera par la suite à sa parole toute son autorité. Et David Ben Gourion ne s’y est pas trompé puisqu’il fit preuve d’une modération remarquée dans sa réponse à la fameuse conférence de presse du 27 novembre 1967, car il savait le prix qu’il fallait accorder à l’éloge par de Gaulle des « travaux constructifs » des Israéliens et du « courage de leurs soldats » et, dans le rappel de sa politique israélo-palestinienne : « Bien entendu, nous ne laissions pas ignorer aux Arabes que pour nous l’Etat d’Israël était un fait accompli et que nous n’admettrions pas qu’il fût détruit. »


Sykes-Picot n’est pas la faute originelle qui expliquerait par la vilénie de deux impérialistes (l’un « colonialiste », l’autre « flamboyant » nous dit James Barr – comprendre, le Britannique est « flamboyant », le Français, of course, « colonialiste ») tous les malheurs du Proche-Orient. Il n’est pas la faute originelle, parce qu’il n’y a pas de faute originelle, mais seulement une série de tâtonnements. Attention : un accord secret peut en cacher un autre, beaucoup d’autres. Il y eut l’accord secret entre l’émir Fayçal et Chaïm Weizmann, représentant l’Organisation Sioniste Mondiale le 3 janvier 1919. Un an plus tard, l’accord secret engageait le même Fayçal et Georges Clemenceau. Sortis opportunément des tiroirs, dévoilés à qui de droit, ces accords secrets sont appelés à une seconde vie. Instruments de chantage à l’occasion, ils peuvent aussi devenir des armes de division massive.


Il n’est pas impossible que le traité secret signé entre le patriarcat maronite et l’Agence Juive le 30 mai 1946 ait été utilisé pour monter contre l’establishment maronite les Palestiniens réfugiés au Liban, dans les années 70. En tout cas, la tonalité fortement anti-maronite de l’ouvrage du journaliste du Guardian, David Hirst (Beware of small states. Lebanon, battleground of the Middle east, curieusement traduit Une histoire du Liban, Perrin, 2011) vient s’alimenter à de telles sources. Ce traité, maronito-sioniste, gagne à être mis en perspective avec les ouvertures faites en 1934-1936 par le leader sunnite libanais Riad El-Sohl à David Ben Gourion puis Chaïm Weizmann et les fonds qu’il reçut du mouvement sioniste, avant de changer d’orientation avec le soulèvement arabe de 1936.


La  vérité est toujours bonne à dire. Alors oui, ouvrons les tiroirs – et les archives françaises encore peu exploitées offrent un champ d’étude passionnant -, tous les tiroirs, mettons tout sur la table. Vraiment tout. Tandis que le Proche-Orient se vide d’une grande partie de sa substance, tandis qu’il se « simplifie » à l’extrême dans le choc des fanatismes, gageons qu’un tel « coming-out », en restituant à l’Orient compliqué un peu de sa complexité, lui garantira du même coup une voie de salut.




                          COMMANDANT IRANIEN :


           Times of Israel, 22 mai, 2016


Un commandant militaire iranien haut gradé s’est vanté que la République islamique puisse « raser le régime sioniste en moins de huit minutes ».  Ahmad Karimpour, conseiller senior de l’unité d’élite des Gardiens de la révolution al-Quds a déclaré que si le Guide suprême Ali Khamenei donnait l’ordre de détruire Israël, l’armée iranienne a la capacité d’agir rapidement.


« Si les ordres du Guide suprême sont exécutés, avec les capacités et l’équipement dont nous disposons, nous raserons le régime sioniste en moins de huit minutes », a déclaré Karimpour jeudi, selon l’agence de presse semi-officielle Fars News. Un haut général iranien avait annoncé le 9 mai que les forces armées avait testé avec succès un missile balistique à haute précision de moyenne portée deux semaines auparavant, qui pouvait atteindre Israël, avait annoncé l’agence de presse publique Tasnim.


« Nous avons testé un missile d’une portée de 2 000 kilomètres et avec une marge d’erreur de huit mètres », a déclaré le général Ali Abdollahi pendant une conférence scientifique à Téhéran. La marge d’erreur de huit mètres signifie que le « missile jouit d’une erreur nulle », a-t-il dit aux conférenciers.


En mars, l’Iran avait testé des missiles balistiques, dont deux qui portaient, selon les Etats-Unis et d’autres pays occidentaux, la phrase « Israël doit être effacé » en hébreu. Dans le cadre de l’accord nucléaire signé l’année dernière entre les puissances mondiales et l’Iran, les tests de missiles balistiques ne sont pas strictement interdits, mais ne sont « pas cohérents » avec une résolution de juillet 2015 du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, selon des officiels américains.


Selon la décision de l’ONU, « l’Iran est appelé à n’entreprendre aucune activité reliée à des missiles balistiques conçus pour être capables de transporter des armes nucléaires, dont des lancements utilisant une telle technologie de missile balistique » jusqu’en octobre 2023.


Khamenei a menacé à plusieurs reprises d’annihiler l’Etat juif, et a suggéré en septembre 2015 qu’Israël n’existerait plus dans 25 ans. Dans une citation publiée sur le compte Twitter officiel de Khamenei le 9 septembre 2015, Khamenei s’était adressé à Israël, disant « tu ne verras pas les 25 prochaines années », et ajoutant que l’Etat juif serait harcelé jusqu’a sa destruction.

« Après les négociations, dans le régime sioniste ils disent qu’ils ne s’inquiètent plus de l’Iran pour les 25 prochaines années ; je réponds : ‘d’abord, vous ne verrez pas les 25 prochaines années ; avec la volonté de Dieu, il n’y aura rien d’un régime sioniste dans 25 ans. De plus, jusque là, la morale combattante, héroïque et jihadiste ne laissera aucune sérénité aux sionistes’ », avait écrit le dirigeant iranien.


En novembre 2014, Khamenei avait affirmé que l’Etat juif « barbare […] n’avait aucun remède pour ne pas être annihilé. » Un plan intitulé « 9 questions clés sur l’élimination d’Israël » avait été publié sur son compte Twitter, avec le mot clé #handoffalaqsa, en référence aux tensions au mont du Temple. La liste à la grammaire imparfaite expliquait comment et pourquoi un État palestinien remplacerait Israël dans la vision de Khamenei.


Le premier point affirmait que « le faux régime sioniste a essayé de réaliser ses objectifs en utilisant l’infanticide, l’homicide, la violence et la poigne de fer, tout en s’en vantant ouvertement ». En raison de cela, affirmait Khamenei, « le seul moyen pour mettre fin aux crimes israéliens est l’élimination de ce régime. »





Times of Israel, 23 mai, 2016



Une série de postes de guets est soudainement apparue le long du côté libanais de la frontière avec Israël, qui aurait été construite par l’armée libanaise. Les miradors, qui sont apparus pendant le dernier mois au niveau de la frontière entre le kibboutz Rosh Hanikrah et le moshav [village] Zarit, préoccupent les habitants, a annoncé dimanche Ynet.


« Depuis ces emplacements, il est possible de tirer de l’autre côté de la frontière et d’entraîner d’autres sortes de problèmes », a déclaré à Ynet Erez Adar, chef de la sécurité du kibboutz Hanita. « Il est possible qu’en ce moment il s’agisse de positions de l’armée libanaise, mais nous comprenons qu’en cas de conflit elles pourraient rapidement devenir des positions du Hezbollah. »


Selon Ynet, les tours permettent à quiconque les occupe de garder un œil sur les bases militaires israéliennes, la barrière de sécurité de la frontière, les routes civiles et les nombreuses communautés du long de la frontière. Il existe des préoccupations sur la rapidité à laquelle les tours ont été construites, en quelques semaines, a annoncé Ynet.


« Il y a un mois, il n’y avait rien ici, a déclaré un habitant de Zarit. Un jour ils ont érigé la tour et quelques semaines après ils ont mis les escaliers y menant. » Un côté des tours a vu sur le moshav et l’autre côté domine la route menant à Zarit et à d’autres communautés, ainsi que toutes les installations militaires sur la route. Trois tours sont visibles depuis l’entrée du kibboutz Adamit, au nord, à l’est et à l’ouest. Les tours permettent aussi de voir d’autres communautés israéliennes et les aires de jeux pour enfants du kibboutz Hanita.


« Ces tours sont à moins de six kilomètres de la première maison de la communauté », a déclaré Adar.

Adar a déclaré que les habitants espèrent que l’armée israélienne, dans le cas d’un autre conflit, neutraliserait rapidement ces nouvelles positions. Ynet a annoncé que selon la résolution 1701 de l’ONU, qui a mis fin à la Deuxième Guerre du Liban entre Israël et le Hezbollah en 2006, les tours sont construites dans une zone classifiée comme démilitarisée. En d’autres termes, les tours peuvent être utilisées pour l’observation, mais des armes ne peuvent pas y être placées.


L’armée israélienne a répondu qu’elle « suit de près le sujet des renseignements, et qu’il n’y a pas de modification de l’évaluation de la situation. » Le maire de Shlomi, Gabi Naaman, a exhorté le chef d’Etat-major Gadi Eizenkot à supprimer la position dominant la ville. « Une position similaire avait été établie avant la Deuxième Guerre du Liban, a déclaré Naaman. Elle était conçue pour une attaque fatale contre les enfants de Shlomi sur le chemin de l’école, et de là ils ont planifié une attaque terroriste qui a tué sept soldats et civils », a-t-il écrit.


« L’armée israélienne et l’Etat devraient considérer cette position comme une intention de planifier une attaque contre les résidents de Shlomi. Le gouvernement et l’armée israélienne ont précédemment fait exploser toutes les positions du Hezbollah, ce qui serait une action positive et une action bien accueillie par tous les résidents du nord. »





Le Monde, 25 mai, 2016



La cour d’appel de Paris a ordonné mardi 24 mai le retour en détention d’Hassan Diab, le principal suspect de l’attentat de la rue Copernic à Paris. L’homme avait été remis en liberté et assigné à résidence il y a une dizaine de jours sur décision d’un précédent magistrat. Cette mesure avait été contestée par le parquet.


Extradé du Canada en novembre 2014, M. Diab, 62 ans, est mis en examen en France comme auteur présumé de l’attaque, qui avait fait quatre morts et une quarantaine de blessés le 3 octobre 1980 devant une synagogue de l’ouest de la capitale. Le 12 mai, une juge des libertés et de la détention (JLD) avait considéré qu’un « doute » était posé sur la « question fondamentale » de savoir si le suspect était en France le jour de l’attentat, après des auditions avec l’intéressé et son ex-épouse.


Le retour en prison de M. Diab est « très injuste », a réagi mardi son avocat, Me William Bourdon, dénonçant « une forme de “judiciairement correct” en matière de terrorisme ». « Sur le fond, nous sommes absolument convaincus de sa culpabilité. La défense aura du mal à détruire ce dossier », a affirmé, pour sa part, l’un des conseils des parties civiles, Me Bernard Cahen.

Il y a un mois, devant le juge d’instruction, son ex-épouse, Nawal Copty, est venue conforter la version de l’accusé. Elle a raconté qu’il l’avait bien accompagnée à l’aéroport de Beyrouth, au Liban, le 28 septembre 1980. A cette date, le possesseur d’un passeport au nom d’Hassan Diab se trouvait déjà en Europe d’après les tampons sur le document.


Ce passeport, retrouvé dans les effets d’un autre homme arrêté en 1981 à Rome, est l’une des pièces à charge. Y figurent les validations d’entrée et de sortie d’Espagne avant et après l’attentat. Or, d’après les renseignements obtenus par la Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST) en 1999, qui mettaient en cause Hassan Diab, les membres du Front populaire de libération de la Palestine-Opérations spéciales (FPLP-OS) ayant commis l’attaque avaient fait étape à Madrid avant de gagner la France.


Quelques jours avant la décision de la juge des libertés et détentions, le magistrat chargé de l’enquête avait aussi accepté une remise en liberté, aussitôt suspendue par le parquet. Et la cour d’appel avait déjà confirmé la détention. Le juge d’instruction relevait que le témoignage de l’ex-épouse de M. Diab, bien que tardif et sujet à caution, nécessitait de nouvelles investigations, notamment au Liban, et reposait la question du maintien sous écrou.


Outre les renseignements de la DST, la demande d’extradition française s’appuyait sur la ressemblance du suspect avec des portraits-robots de l’époque et sur des comparaisons d’écriture d’Hassan Diab avec une fiche d’hôtel, remplie par l’homme qui avait acheté la moto sur laquelle était installé l’explosif. Des éléments très contestés par la défense.





Times of Israel, 20 mai, 2016



Association de Presse Étrangère (APE) condamne le Hamas pour son « comportement de voyou » après que le groupe terroriste basé à Gaza ait détenu une photographe pendant plusieurs heures dans la bande de Gaza et lui ait interdit de revenir dans l’enclave côtière.


« Jeudi, la membre de l’APE Heidi Levine, une photographe pour SIPA Press, a été retenue par les hommes de la sécurité du Hamas pendant plus de trois heures avant d’être autorisée à quitter Gaza. En sortant de Gaza, la sécurité du Hamas lui a interdit de revenir sur le territoire, affirmant que son travail « reflète mal Gaza ». Ils n’ont fourni aucun exemple du travail qui les aurait agacé, note-t-on dans le communiqué.


« L’APE condamne fermement la comportement de voyou de la sécurité du Hamas et l’idée que le Hamas jugerait ce qui constitue une couverture acceptable ou non de Gaza. Malheureusement, cet incident n’est pas isolé. Un nombre important de membres de l’AEP ont été forcés de subir des interrogatoires inconfortables par les forces de sécurité du Hamas en entrant ou en sortant de Gaza, au cours des récents mois. Nous appelons le Hamas à mettre un terme immédiatement à ces pratiques et incitons le groupe à accorder un accès libre pour entrer et sortir de Gaza ».





Times of Israel, 24 mai, 2016

Le taux de chômage est passé de 5,3 % en mars à 4,9 % en avril, rapporte le Bureau central des statistiques. Au mois d’avril, 80,5 % des individus âgées entre 25 et 64 ans participent à la force de travail contre 79,8 % rapporte Globes. Cette progression s’est fait ressentir auprès des employés travaillant à temps plein dont le taux a augmenté de 1,6 % en avril, et qui s’illustre par la diminution de 2,6 % des employés travaillant moins de 35 heures. La proportion d’employés travaillant à temps plein s’élève à 78,4 % en avril.



Qu'est-ce que Lag BaOmer?: Rabbi Chimon bar Yo'haï,, 2016


Shabbat Shalom!






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