Month: December 2016

LES CHRÉTIENS AU PROCHE-ORIENT

  

    

 

 

LES CHRÉTIENS D’IRAK EN VOIE D’EXTINCTION… 

Abbé Alain Arbez

Dreuz, 8 dec., 2012

 

L’Irak est en effet un Etat récent : c’est une création des Occidentaux voulant répondre à la conjoncture du début du 20e siècle, après l’effondrement de l’Empire ottoman et face à un nationalisme arabe en effervescence. Anglais et Français ont alors cherché à imposer une transition à la région en arbitrant la concurrence interne à l’islam entre musulmans turcs et arabes, entre sunnites et chiites, mais cela s’est fait sur le dos des chrétiens autochtones présents sur place depuis l’antiquité.

 

C’est donc au début du 20e siècle – époque marquée par le génocide arménien et chaldéen perpétré par les Ottomans (près de 2 millions de victimes chrétiennes) – que fut créée la Jordanie sur 70% de l’ancienne Palestine historique, et qu’à l’instigation de Churchill, furent dessinées, sur des territoires assyro-chaldéens, arabes, kurdes et perses, les frontières de l’Irak actuel …

 

Si cela eut pour effet de calmer le jeu des revendications nationalistes arabes, au prix injuste de l’oubli des Kurdes et de leur ancien territoire, le Kurdistan, la communauté historique des chrétiens autochtones (assyro-chaldéens) fut encore davantage marginalisée et condamnée dès lors à la disparition progressive.

 

Alors qu’il avait été projeté de donner naissance à un état assyro-chaldéen pour assurer la survie des autochtones chrétiens, la SDN en 1925 n’eut pas le courage de donner suite à cette solution relativement équitable. Ainsi, le Hakkâri avait été ce bastion montagneux de repli salutaire pour les chrétiens qui – on l’oublie trop souvent – ont été séculairement harcelés par les Kurdes qui les ont spoliés de leurs territoires fertiles et de leurs économies locales. Le Hakkâri, devenu ghetto chrétien, fut donc rattaché à la Turquie.

 

Ce problème spécifique de survie pour les chrétiens indigènes a commencé à vrai dire à une époque déjà ancienne : car il y a environ vingt siècles, la Mésopotamie était un vaste territoire de riche civilisation héritée de l’antiquité. Une population nombreuse, composée de Juifs depuis l’exil à Babylone, et de Zoroastriens présents depuis longtemps, avait vu se développer sur ce terreau favorable de très nombreuses communautés chrétiennes dynamiques : Assyriens, Chaldéens, et Nestoriens, parlant tous une langue hébraïque semblable à celle du temps de Jésus: l’araméen.

 

L’invasion brutale de l’islam au 7e siècle dans cette région judéo-chrétienne florissante a (malgré quelques rares périodes tolérantes) provoqué le déclin inexorable des non-musulmans. En raison du djihad, fer de lance de la colonisation islamique, les chrétiens ainsi que les juifs disparurent progressivement au gré des persécutions, mises en esclavage, expropriations, conversions forcées, etc.

 

Pourtant, sous l’empire abbasside aux 8e et 9e siècles, Bagdad était devenue un centre islamique réputé. Mais on a souvent occulté le fait que cette gloire revendiquée par l’islam était essentiellement due aux chrétiens locaux enrôlés par les califes et les sultans. C’est en raison de leurs connaissances bibliques (hébreu et grec) que les nestoriens furent appelés à traduire en arabe les œuvres majeures de la science et de la philosophie gréco-romaine. Humaïn al Hishaq, célèbre intellectuel chrétien, animait la « maison de la sagesse » (Beit a hikma) du calife de Bagdad Al Mamoun. Le premier ouvrage d’ophtalmologie écrit en arabe le fut par le chrétien Youhanna Ibn Massawayh, médecin personnel d’Haroun al Rachid.

 

Mais les chrétiens, utilisés par les califes comme ressources d’appoint pour développer leur domination, étaient d’abord des « dhimmi« , citoyens inférieurs pour lesquels la considération était très aléatoire. De nombreux épisodes sanglants marquèrent donc cette région au fil des décennies, par exemple avec Tamerlan, qui enterra vivants des milliers de chrétiens, ou encore le féroce Sélim 1er et d’autres sultans qui massacrèrent très massivement les populations chrétiennes de Mésopotamie occupée.

 

Ainsi, cette terre qui avait été spirituellement et culturellement rayonnante devint peu à peu, sous domination arabe puis turque, le plus grand champ de ruines de monastères et d’églises, et aussi le plus grand cimetière chrétien du Moyen-Orient, selon l’expression d’un spécialiste incontestable : l’historien jésuite, le père J.M. Fiey.

 

Les médias ne leur mettent sous les yeux que les parties émergées de l’iceberg, amnésie sélective qui victimise les uns au détriment des autres. Qui aujourd’hui – en voyant les ruines et les clichés de désolation quotidiens – aurait la moindre idée du rayonnement pluriséculaire de cette région du Moyen Orient ? Les désastres successifs ont été totalement occultés par une arabisation forcée au temps de la dictature de Saddam Hussein, sous les yeux d’une Europe plus soucieuse de ses alliances commerciales et de ses moyens énergétiques, que des fondements d’anciennes valeurs humanistes et spirituelles aujourd’hui reniées.

 

Les martyrs musulmans d’aujourd’hui sont certes des victimes de la furie sanguinaire des clans islamiques adverses. Leurs morts et leurs blessés méritent considération. Qu’ils ne fassent cependant pas oublier le passé massivement tragique des chrétiens désormais effacés de ce qui reste du paysage de leurs ancêtres.

 

 

PALESTINIENS : LE CAUCHEMAR DES CHRÉTIENS

Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, dec. 27, 2015

 

   

Samir Qumsieh est sans aucun doute un leader chrétien parmi les plus courageux au Moyen-Orient. Il est l'un des rares qui, au risque de sa vie, dénonce les persécutions que les musulmans infligent aux chrétiens dans les territoires palestiniens et au Moyen-Orient, en général.

 

Samir Qumsieh est issu d'une vaste et très respectée famille chrétienne de Bet Sahour, près de Bethléem. Depuis quarante ans, il lutte pour faire respecter les droits de la minuscule minorité chrétienne palestinienne. Il a même osé protester contre l'asservissement des chrétiens vivant sous la coupe du Hamas dans la bande de Gaza.

 

La détresse des chrétiens qui vivent dans les territoires sous contrôle de l'Autorité palestinienne et du Hamas est un sujet vraiment tabou. Mais Qumsieh persévère – et en paie le prix. Il est régulièrement menacé de mort, et a échappé de peu à une bombe incendiaire. Les extrémistes musulmans l'ont également dénoncé dans une campagne de tracts dans la région de Bethléem pour ses opinions et le soutien qu'il apporter aux chrétiens persécutés.

 

Mais ces intimidations multiples n'ont pas découragé Qumsieh. Cette personnalité chrétienne de premier plan qui a fondé la chaîne de télévision de la Nativité à Bet Sahour, accuse, dans un entretien exclusif au Gatestone Institute, l'administration Obama de ne pas combattre l'Etat islamique ni l'islam radical. Qumsieh se dit convaincu que le futur président Trump va « éliminer » l'Etat islamique.

 

Qumsieh révèle aussi qu'une « mafia musulmane » a entrepris de spolier les chrétiens des terres qu'ils possèdent dans la région de Bethléem.

 

En tant que personnalité chrétienne de la société palestinienne, quelle analyse faites-vous de l'action de l'administration Obama dans la guerre contre l'Etat islamique ?

 

Le président Obama est le père spirituel de l'Etat islamique. Ni lui, ni son administration n'ont jamais rien entrepris de sérieux contre l'Etat islamique. Voilà ce que je crois, et de nombreux faits étayent ma conviction. Quand Obama a vu que la vérité risquait d'éclater, il s'est décidé à agir, mais pas de manière significative. Il a ainsi mis à prix la tête d'Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi (chef de l'Etat islamique) et a commencé à nous dire qu'il avait bombardé l'Etat islamique, et ainsi de suite.

 

Comment expliquez-vous le refus d'Obama d'utiliser le terme Islam radical ?

 

Puisque vous me posez la question, je vais vous dire la vérité : je doute qu'Obama soit un chrétien. Je ne peux pas croire une chose pareille. Pendant son mandat, l'Etat islamique a émergé, et les chrétiens ont beaucoup souffert. Laissez-moi vous poser la question. Qu'est-ce que l'Etat islamique ? Comment expliquer qu'une mobilisation mondiale n'a pas été en mesure de les éradiquer ? Qui peut me convaincre ? Quand l'Amérique a renversé Saddam Hussein, qui avait une armée nombreuse et puissante, il s'est effondré. Mais l'Etat islamique, comment expliquer qu'ils existent encore ?

 

Croyez-vous que le futur président Donald Trump aura une position différente envers l'Etat islamique ?

 

Absolument. Trump va effacer l'Etat islamique. Si Hillary Clinton avait gagné, croyez-moi l'Etat islamique aurait continué et prospéré. À mon avis, le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan est le « père » de l'Etat islamique, et Clinton sa « mère ».

 

L'un de mes amis est peintre. Il est musulman. Il fait des portraits de présidents. Nous avons envoyé des portraits au roi Abdallah, à Mahmoud Abbas et au pape. Il a peint un portrait d'Obama devant l'église de la Nativité. Il a travaillé sur cette toile pendant deux mois ce qui représente un investissement important. Lorsque le portrait a été présenté à Obama par le consul général américain à Jérusalem, ils n'ont même pas envoyé une lettre de remerciement au peintre. J'avais dit moi-même au consul : « Messieurs, c'est indigne, envoyez au moins une lettre de remerciements ». Le consul général est venu à mon bureau et a pris le portrait. Le peintre ne méritait-il pas au moins un mot de remerciement ?

 

Voulez-vous dire qu'Obama n'a rien fait pour aider les chrétiens du Moyen-Orient ?

 

Rien du tout. Je le dis et le répète : il n'a rien entamé de sérieux contre l'Etat islamique qui a meurtri profondément les chrétiens.

 

Quelle est la meilleure façon de lutter contre l'extrémisme religieux ?

 

La solution à l'extrémisme, je l'ai toujours dit, ne passe pas par l'armée ou plus de sécurité. La lutte contre l'extrémisme commence au jardin d'enfants, puis à l'école élémentaire, mais aussi à l'église et à la mosquée. Les programmes d'enseignement – juif, chrétien et musulmans – jouent également un rôle très important. Ils doivent accorder une importance particulière à l'acceptation de l'« autre ». Si cette idée passe, la génération future sera libérale et ouverte d'esprit.

 

Mais les troubles et la violence au Moyen-Orient ne sont-ils pas le résultat de l'extrémisme religieux ?

 

La région toute entière est traversée par une guerre religieuse et sectaire. La Turquie, l'Arabie Saoudite et le Qatar sont sunnites. Ils sont contre l'Iran, le Hezbollah au Liban et le régime alaouite de Bachar al Assad en Syrie. On assiste donc à une guerre religieuse et sectaire. Il ne s'agit pas seulement d'un conflit entre sunnites et chiites.

 

Que ressentez-vous en tant que chrétien face aux exactions dont sont victimes les chrétiens du Moyen-Orient, et notamment le récent attentat contre une église copte en Egypte ?

 

Tout ceci est extrêmement triste, et l'attentat contre cette église m'a particulièrement affecté. Je crois que les autorités égyptiennes devraient agir de manière décisive. Chaque jour, nous entendons et voyons des cheiks radicaux s'en prendre aux chrétiens. Récemment, un de ces cheiks affirmait que les coptes chrétiens devaient être abattus comme des moutons. Que fait la sécurité égyptienne ? Si je dirigeais la police égyptienne, ce cheikh aurai immédiatement été arrêté et envoyé pourrir dans un cachot.

 

Savez-vous si des responsables religieux palestiniens lancent également des attaques verbales contre les chrétiens ?

 

Oui. Vendredi dernier, l'un de ces cheiks a tenu des propos menaçants dans une mosquée. Il a dit que les jeunes musulmans ne devaient pas imiter les jeunes chrétiens, et ne devraient pas leur souhaiter un joyeux Noël. Il a également dit que les musulmans ne devaient pas entrer en relations d'affaires avec les chrétiens. Les propos de ce cheikh ont été très intimidants pour les chrétiens.

 

Les chrétiens ont-ils protesté contre les propos du cheikh ?

 

Mon cousin, un officier à la retraite des services de renseignement de l'Autorité palestinienne, a protesté sur Facebook. Le lendemain, il a dû supprimer son post sans doute en raison de menaces qui pourraient avoir été proférées. J'ai dit à mon cousin que j'allais parler avec le procureur général de l'Autorité palestinienne, mais il m'a demandé de ne rien faire. Mon cousin m'a dit : « s'il te plaît n'en parle pas, il y a 40 familles chrétiennes dans le coin (où habite le cheikh) ». Il me parait clair qu'il a reçu des menaces, même s'il ne veut pas l'admettre.

 

Comment décririez-vous les relations entre chrétiens et musulmans dans la région de Bethléem ?

Objectivement parlant, il existe des millions de musulmans qui sont de bonnes personnes. J'ai beaucoup d'amis musulmans que je considère comme mes frères. Le problème ne vient pas des musulmans. Il vient de l'islam radical. Dans le Coran, plusieurs discours coexistent, et chaque musulman, en fonction de ses croyances et de sa vision du monde, sélectionne le discours qui lui convient. Certains versets appellent à la paix et parlent des chrétiens comme des « gens du Livre » et de bonnes personnes. Mais d'autres versets nous décrivent comme des infidèles et des pêcheurs. Chacun opte pour la version qui lui convient. A mon humble avis, ces versets ne sont pas datés. Je pense que s'ils l'étaient, les plus récents s'imposeraient par rapport aux plus anciens.

Je crois comprendre que vous avez-vous-même été la cible de menaces et d'attaques violentes.

 

Pouvez-vous en dire quelque chose ?

 

Oui, j'ai été victime de harcèlement, et en 2006, on m'a même attaqué à coups de cocktails Molotov. En outre, j'ai été personnellement pris à partie par une campagne de tracts.

 

De quoi vous-accuse-t-on ? Pourquoi certains musulmans paraissent-ils être en colère contre vous ?

J'ai protesté chaque fois que l'on a empiété sur les terres qui appartiennent à des chrétiens.

Est-il vrai que des musulmans se sont illégalement emparé de propriétés chrétiennes à Bethléem ?

Nous avons une mafia ici qui saisit les terres appartenant à des chrétiens. J'ai protesté contre cette mafia musulmane, et j'ai même appelé un grand rassemblement. J'ai invité 80 personnes dans ma maison. Ainsi réunis – musulmans et chrétiens -, ils représentaient l'élite de la société. Tous se sont joints à ma protestation. La même nuit, des tracts étaient distribués à Bethléem qui menaçaient de me tuer.

 

Qu'a fait l'Autorité palestinienne pour vous venir en aide contre cette mafia ?

 

De nombreux cas d'empiètement de terres sont encore entre les mains des tribunaux et en attente d'un jugement. Notre système judiciaire est très lent. Un jugement peut prendre 15 à 20 ans. Nous sommes intervenus auprès de l'Autorité palestinienne et avons clairement fait savoir que le problème nous tenait à cœur. Récemment, nous avons remarqué que les empiétements ont fortement diminué. Aujourd'hui, seuls quelques cas continuent de poser problème. Mais nous voulons que tous soient réglés.

 

Les chrétiens qui vivent dans les territoires sous contrôle de l'Autorité palestinienne sont-ils discriminés ?

 

On ne peut pas dire qu'il existe une discrimination officielle. Le Président Abbas assiste à la messe de minuit de Noël, son premier ministre participe à l'éclairage de l'arbre de Noël. Mais, au sein de notre peuple, il en est qui adhèrent à des idées extrémistes. L'Etat islamique est dans certaines têtes. Des chrétiens travaillent pour l'Autorité palestinienne, mais pas énormément. Nous avons des maires chrétiens, là où il est normal qu'il y en ait. Les maires de Bethléem, Bet Sahour et Bet Jala sont chrétiens, même si certains exigent que cela change dans la mesure où les chrétiens sont aujourd'hui en minorité. Heureusement pour nous, l'Autorité palestinienne n'a pas donné suite à ces demandes.

Les responsables de la chrétienté défendre-ils les intérêts de leur peuple autant qu'ils le pourraient ?

 

Franchement, je ne souhaite pas voir arriver le jour où les églises du Saint-Sépulcre et de la Nativité seront transformées en musées. C'est pourquoi je saisis cette occasion dans l'espoir que cela encouragera nos dirigeants à trouver une solution. Les investisseurs chrétiens intéressés par le maintien d'une population chrétienne devraient investir ici. Nous voulons qu'ils montent des projets, y compris des projets immobiliers. Ces projets créeront des emplois pour les jeunes chrétiens. Car le plus gros problème auquel nous sommes confrontés est l'émigration des chrétiens. Certains chrétiens nous viennent en aide, mais leurs efforts sont insuffisants. Je ne saurais affirmer toutefois que les patriarches de la chrétienté font de leur mieux. Certains vivent loin de la congrégation et ne se soucient pas de nous. Nous voulons que des investisseurs chrétiens financent des projets. Il ne suffit pas de dire « j'aime les chrétiens et je me soucie d'eux. » Cet amour doit se prouver par des actes.

 

Etes-vous inquiet du nombre croissant de chrétiens qui quittent la Cisjordanie et la bande de Gaza ?

Autrefois, 5000 chrétiens vivaient dans la bande de Gaza. Lorsque le Hamas a pris le pouvoir à Gaza en 2006, les chrétiens ont commencé à souffrir de harcèlement et de discriminations. Aujourd'hui, il n'en reste plus que 1.100. Dans la région de Bethléem, on trouve encore 40.000 chrétiens, soit l'immense majorité des 42.000 chrétiens qui vivent en Cisjordanie. Deux raisons expliquent cette dépopulation. La première est une émigration continue qui est notre cauchemar ; la seconde tient au faible taux de natalité des familles chrétiennes. Pour comprendre la gravité de la situation, il faut rappeler que dans les années 1950, environ 86% de la population de la région de Bethléem était chrétienne. Aujourd'hui, nous ne sommes que 12%. En Israël, en revanche, nous avons 133.000 chrétiens et le chiffre est stable. Bien sûr, je suis inquiet de l'avenir des chrétiens ici. Les faits sur le terrain montrent qu'ils n'ont aucun avenir. Notre communauté fond lentement ; nous sommes en train de disparaître. Le jour viendra où nos églises deviendront des musées. C'est mon cauchemar.

 

 

 

 

LE PÈRE GABRIEL NADAF À L’ONU : ‘ISRAËL LE SEUL ENDROIT AU MOYEN-ORIENT OÙ LES CHRÉTIENS SONT EN SÉCURITÉ’

Ari Yashar

 Arutz Sheva, 24 sept., 2016

 

 

Le prêtre grec Orthodoxe, Père  Gabriel Nadaf défend Israël devant le Conseil des Droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies et lance un appel pour que cesse ‘la chasse aux sorcières’ anti-Israël.

 

Le Père Gabriel Nadaf, Prêtre orthodoxe grec, un des chefs de file de la minorité chrétienne araméenne en Israël, a parlé devant le Conseil des droits de l’homme (CDH) mardi et a marqué son solide appui à l’Etat juif.

 

Bien que parlant devant un organisme qui a toujours condamné Israël – récemment, il a nommé un comité biaisé pour enquêter sur les allégations de « crimes de guerre » d’Israël à Gaza, et a salué les « accomplissements » des droits de l’homme du Qatar – pays qui est le soutien du Hamas et de l’Etat islamique – Nadaf a parlé fermement, appelant le monde à soutenir Israël contre le terrorisme.

 

« Dans l’ensemble du Moyen-Orient, au cours des dix dernières années, 100 000 chrétiens ont été assassinés chaque année. Cela signifie que toutes les cinq minutes un chrétien est tué à cause de sa foi, » a rapporté Nadaf. « Ceux qui peuvent échapper à la persécution aux mains des extrémistes musulmans ont fui. … Ceux qui restent, existent en tant que deuxième voire troisième classe de citoyens sous la domination des dirigeants musulmans. »

 

Nadaf a poursuivi  « au Moyen-Orient aujourd’hui, il est un pays où le christianisme non seulement n’est pas persécuté, mais se voit affectueusement accorder la liberté d’expression, la liberté de culte et la sécurité. … C’est Israël, l’Etat juif. Israël est le seul endroit où les chrétiens du Moyen-Orient sont en sécurité « .

 

Prenant la parole après une discussion de groupe sur la « situation des droits humains en Palestine et autres territoires arabes occupés», Nadaf a mis en garde «il est temps que le monde s’éveille au fait que ceux qui veulent détruire l’Etat juif signent l’arrêt de mort des derniers chrétiens libres en Terre Sainte « .

 

«Dirigeants des peuples, conciliateurs de paix, mettez fin à votre chasse aux sorcières du seul pays libre dans la région », a déclaré Nadaf, mettant le CDH face à ses responsabilités.

 

Le Père Nadaf, originaire de Nazareth, qui dirige l’Eglise orthodoxe grecque à Yafia près de sa ville natale, a préconisé une forte connexion au service d’Israël et de Tsahal pour les citoyens chrétiens – malgré l’opposition féroce de la part de l’église officielle orthodoxe grecque et des députés arabes.

 

Cette condamnation va très loin, puisque le patriarcat grec-orthodoxe d’Israël lui interdit l’entrée de la basilique de l’Annonciation de Nazareth, et à plusieurs reprises a menacé de le destituer de son poste de Yafia.

 

Les députés arabes l’ont aussi condamné, le qualifiant ‘d’agent du sionisme qui cherche à diviser les Arabes.’ Nadaf a révélé qu’il a été menacé de violence, et même de mort  – Mais il insiste sur le fait qu’il représente une partie importante de la communauté israélienne chrétienne.

 

« Nous nous sentons en sécurité dans l’Etat d’Israël, » Nadaf a dit, « et nous nous considérons comme des citoyens de l’Etat avec tous les droits qui en découlent ainsi que les obligations. »

 

 

 

L’OLP CONDAMNE LE PATRIARCHE ORTHODOXE GREC POUR SON ELOGE D’ISRAËL

Times of Israel, 28 dec., 2016

 

 

 

Hanan Ashrawi, membre du Comité exécutif de l’OLP, a émis un communiqué condamnant le Patriarche Théophile III, coupable, selon elle, d’avoir salué la liberté de culte en Israël.

 

“Nous sommes sérieusement préoccupés par la déclaration faite par le Patriarche orthodoxe grec de Jérusalem Théophile III, qui a salué Israël qui est selon lui une ‘démocratie’ qui ‘respecte la liberté de culte’.

 

Théophile III est très bien informé des violations israéliennes exercées sur la liberté de culte de sa propre communauté lors de la fête de Pâque et a également conscience de l’occupation du couvent Saint Jean situé à proximité de l’Eglise du Saint-Sépulcre, transformé aujourd’hui en une autre implantation illégale israélienne, a-t-elle dit, se référant probablement à l’approbation donnée par la municipalité de Jérusalem à la construction d’une structure juive au sein du quartier de Silwan.

 

“Theophile III a également conscience de l’impact de l’occupation israélienne de Jérusalem-Est et du peuple palestinien en général, et de la population chrétienne en particulier. Ses déclarations ne peuvent être faites que par quelqu’un désireux de fausser la réalité en méprisant les droits et les aspirations de sa propre population, a-t-elle ajouté.

 

“Nous appelons le Patriarche Théophile III à oeuvrer en faveur de la justice et de la paix des opprimés, plutôt que de couvrir les violations quotidiennes des oppresseurs”.

 

 

 

NETANYAHOU SOUHAITE UN JOYEUX NOËL

ET UNE BONNE ANNEE A TOUS LES CHRETIENS

I24, dec. 22, 2016

 

 

 

 

Le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou a envoyé jeudi ses vœux de Noël et de Bonne Année à destination des tous les chrétiens du monde.

 

"À tous nos amis chrétiens du monde entier, Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année !" a déclaré Netanyahou.

 

"Je suis si fier de nos relations avec nos frères et sœurs chrétiens. Je me demande si vous vous souvenez de l’expérience que vous avez vécue lors de votre première visite en Israël, lorsque vous avez vu l'église du Saint-Sépulcre, la Via Dolorosa, la mer de Galilée ou Nazareth." a-t-il poursuivi.

 

Le Premier ministre israélien s'est ensuite penché sur l'héritage partagé par le Christianisme et le Judaïsme, le qualifiant de "magnifique".

 

"Je suis sûr que cela vous a profondément ému. Ce lien avec vous nous émeut profondément aussi, car nous savons tous que cette terre d'Israël est la terre de notre patrimoine commun. Elle a changé l'histoire de l'humanité, elle a changé la civilisation. Quel magnifique héritage."

 Fragilité et prospérité

 

"Cependant, nous savons aussi que cet héritage est attaqué, que les forces de l’intolérance et de la barbarie qui attaquent toutes les religions, attaquent les chrétiens avec une véhémence particulière. Nous sommes avec vous et je suis fier du fait qu'Israël soit le seul endroit au Moyen-Orient où la communauté chrétienne non seulement survit, mais prospère." a souligné Netanyahou.

 

"Ce n'est pas un hasard. C'est à cause de notre engagement envers la liberté religieuse ; c'est à cause de l’étreinte de notre héritage ; c'est à cause de l’étreinte de notre avenir commun."

 

M. Netanyahou a conclu ses vœux en invitant les chrétiens à venir lui rendre visite en Israël.

 

"Alors venez en Israël. Venez me rendre visite, je vous attends. Ce sera une expérience extraordinaire pour vous. Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année !"

 

 

 

ACTUALITÉ

 

 

BAN KI-MOON COMME VOUS NE L’AVEZ JAMAIS VU

Michele Mazel

Jerusalem Post, 25 décembre 2016

 

Le diplomate sud-coréen, secrétaire général des Nations unies depuis le 1er janvier 2007, vient de faire un aveu fracassant alors que son second et dernier mandat touche à sa fin. Le 16 décembre, tout juste quinze jours avant de quitter son poste, Monsieur Ban, s’adressant pour la dernière fois au Conseil de sécurité de la vénérable institution à la tête de laquelle il se trouve depuis huit ans, s’est permis de faire la déclaration suivante : « Des dizaines d’années de manœuvres politiques ont abouti à un volume disproportionné de résolutions, rapports et conférences concernant Israël. » On se frotte les yeux, on reprend la bande-son, on relit le texte officiel. Non, il n’y a pas d’erreur : c’est bien Ban Ki-moon qui l’a dit. Et il ne s’arrête pas là : « Dans de nombreux cas, plutôt qu’aider la cause palestinienne, cette réalité a porté atteinte à la capacité des Nations unies de remplir efficacement leur rôle. » Sans doute du fait de l’abondance de nouvelles en cette fin d’année, la presse occidentale n’a pas relevé ce jugement sévère, qui ne fait que traduire une réalité bien connue et dont personne ne parle à l’ONU.

 

Curieusement, comme l’a souligné Danny Danon, le représentant israélien aux Nations unies, le secrétaire général ne s’attarde pas sur les 223 résolutions condamnant Israël qui ont été adoptées pendant les longues années qu’il a passées à la barre de l’organisation. La Syrie, elle, n’a été condamnée que six fois depuis le début de la guerre civile. Il oublie sans doute aussi qu’il a été lui-même l’un des critiques les plus déterminés de l’Etat hébreu. En janvier 2016, lors de « l’intifada des couteaux », il s’est refusé à condamner les attaques perpétrées par des terroristes palestiniens contre des civils :

 

« Comme l’ont démontré les peuples à travers les âges, c’est la nature humaine que de réagir à l’occupation, qui fait souvent effet de puissant incubateur de haine et d’extrémisme », a-t-il alors déclaré. Quelques mois plus tard, en juin, il a qualifié le blocus de Gaza de « punition collective alimentant l’escalade des violences », ajoutant que « les responsables devraient rendre des comptes » ; une accusation dirigée uniquement contre Israël alors que les Egyptiens ont eux aussi fermé leur longue frontière avec Gaza.

 

Pour la petite histoire, on notera que déjà, en août 2013, l’illustre fonctionnaire onusien, s’adressant à des étudiants israéliens lors d’une visite dans l’Etat juif, avait osé déclarer : « Malheureusement, du fait du conflit, Israël a été accablé de critiques et a souffert de parti pris – parfois même de discrimination. » Quelques jours plus tard cependant, de retour au siège de l’organisation à New York, il s’était empressé de revenir sur cet aveu : « Je ne crois pas qu’il existe de discrimination contre Israël aux Nations unies. » Il est vrai qu’il était alors au milieu de son second mandat, et qu’il ne pouvait se permettre de s’aliéner l’imposante coalition des Etats arabes et des pays du tiers-monde – soutenus par bien des Européens – en se rangeant du côté d’Israël.

 

 

 

 

ISRAËL NE SE CONFORMERA PAS À LA RÉSOLUTION ANTI-IMPLANTATIONS DE L’ONU

Times of Israel, 23 dec, 2016

 

 

Israël ne se conformera pas à la résolution réclamant l’arrêt de la construction dans les Territoires palestiniens adoptée vendredi par le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, a annoncé vendredi le bureau du Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu

 

« Israël rejette cette résolution anti-israélienne honteuse des Nations unies et ne s’y conformera pas », ont fait savoir les services de M. Netanyahu dans un communiqué.

 

« Au moment où le Conseil de sécurité ne fait rien pour arrêter le massacre d’un demi-million de personnes en Syrie, il se ligue contre la seule vraie démocratie au Moyen-Orient, Israël, et qualifie le mur Occidental de ‘territoire occupé' », poursuit le communiqué.

 

La résolution votée à l’ONU exhorte Israël à « cesser immédiatement et complètement toute activité de colonisation en territoire palestinien occupé, dont Jérusalem-Est », où se trouve le mur des Lamentations, lieu le plus sacré du judaïsme.

 

Elle a été adoptée vendredi par le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU après la décision des Etats-Unis de ne pas utiliser leur droit de veto.

 

Renversant leur position habituelle sur ce dossier, les Etats-Unis se sont abstenus, tandis que les 14 autres membres du Conseil de sécurité se sont prononcés en faveur du texte.

 

Dans leur communiqué, les services de M. Netanyahu accusent le gouvernement Obama de s’être « associé en coulisses » à la « ligue anti-israélienne » à l’ONU.

 

L’Etat hébreu « attend avec impatience de travailler avec le président élu Donald Trump et avec tous nos amis au Congrès, Républicains comme Démocrates, pour neutraliser les effets néfastes de cette résolution absurde », ajoute-t-on de même source.

 

 

NETANYAHOU:"LE MO S'ENFLAMME ET KERRY CRITIQUE LA SEULE DÉMOCRATIE DE LA RÉGION"

I24, dec. 29, 2016

 

 

Le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou a estimé que le discours prononcé par le secrétaire d'Etat américain John Kerry plus tôt dans la soirée était une "grande déception", dans une allocution prononcée à Jérusalem.

 

Netanyahou a critiqué la "fausse équivalence morale" effectuée par Kerry entre les constructions à Jérusalem et le terrorisme palestinien.

 

Le dirigeant israélien a déclaré que Kerry a fait le "service minimum" en condamnant le terrorisme et que la résolution de l'ONU, qui condamnait l'"incitation" à la violence, n'attribue pas cette incitation aux Palestiniens.

 

Il a réaffirmé que l'accent mis sur les implantations dans l'adresse de Kerry était "obsessionnel".

 

Le Premier ministre s'est dit "surpris" que Kerry ait consacré un de ses derniers discours au conflit israélo-palestinien, alors que le "Moyen-Orient est en flammes".

 

"Le Moyen-Orient s'enflamme, le terrorisme sévit et John Kerry critique la seule démocratie de la région", a déploré Benyamin Netanyahou en exprimant l'espoir que l'administration dirigée par Barack Obama "ne provoquera pas de dégâts supplémentaires à l'ONU".

"Israël est le seul endroit au Moyen-Orient où les chrétiens peuvent célébrer Noël", a fait valoir Netanyahou.

 

Netanyahu a de nouveau affirmé qu'il attendait de travailler avec l'administration Trump pour "abroger" la résolution de l'ONU.

"J'aimerais pouvoir être réconforté par la promesse de Kerry de ne pas mener une nouvelle action de l'ONU, mais les Etats-Unis ont dit la même chose au sujet de la résolution précédente", a expliqué le Premier ministre.

 

Il y a "des preuves absolues et incontestables que les Etats-Unis ont organisé" et ont promu la résolution de l'ONU", a souligné Netanyahou, ajoutant que la transcription qui a filtré dans les médias égyptiens était "la pointe de l'iceberg".

 

"Certaines informations sont sensibles, en tout cas est tout vrai ", a-t-il renchéri.

 

Selon Netanyahou, d'autres pays peuvent proposer une nouvelle résolution à l'ONU, téléguidé depuis l'ombre par les Etats-Unis. Par exemple, la Suède, "pas connu pour être un ami d'Israël" pourrait le faire, dit Netanyahou.

 

"Les Israéliens n'ont pas besoin de recevoir des leçons sur l'importance de la paix de la part des dirigeants du monde", a-t-il dit. "Personne ne veut plus la paix que le peuple d'Israël".

Plus tôt, le bureau du Premier ministre avait publié un communiqué dénonçant le "discours biaisé" de Kerry.

 

"Comme la résolution du Conseil de sécurité que le secrétaire d'Etat a fait avancer à l'ONU, son discours de ce soir était biaisé contre Israël", a indiqué le communiqué

"Pendant plus d'une heure il a traité de manière obsessionnelle des implantations et a à peine évoqué la racine du conflit à savoir l'opposition palestinienne à un Etat juif et ce quelles que soient ses frontières", a ajouté le Premier ministre.

 

 

QUÉBEC-ISRAËL: APPELS À PROJETS DE COOPÉRATION EN RECHERCHE ET INNOVATION.

IsraelValley, dec. 22, 2016

 

 

Le Québec et l’État d’Israël entretiennent des relations soutenues depuis plus de soixante ans.

 

Dynamiques et innovantes, les économies des deux territoires sont complémentaires. Basées sur le savoir et l’innovation, elles sont marquées par l’ouverture sur le monde et la place importante des petites et moyennes entreprises exportatrices.

 

Les nombreuses affinités entre les deux sociétés et la vitalité de leurs institutions ont permis l’établissement de coopérations fructueuses, en particulier dans les domaines de la recherche et de l’innovation. Parmi leurs créneaux d’excellence communs, mentionnons les technologies de l’information et des communications, le numérique, les sciences de la vie, les technologies médicales, l’aérospatiale et l’agroalimentaire.

 

Le ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie souhaite dynamiser et accroître les liens établis au fil des ans avec Israël dans les domaines de la recherche et de l’innovation. Dans cet objectif, il lance un premier appel à projets de coopération Québec-Israël, en partenariat avec le ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation, qui vise à encourager, à travers la mobilité, les organismes, entreprises et institutions québécoises à élaborer des projets de coopération en recherche et innovation avec leurs vis-à-vis israéliens.

Le formulaire de présentation de projet doit être transmis au plus tard le 27 janvier 2017 (16 h), par courriel, à l’adresse électronique ci-après. Aucun dossier reçu après cette date ne sera considéré.

 

Mélanie Chartrand

Chef du pupitre Proche-Orient, Égypte et Turquie

Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie

525, boulevard René-Lévesque Est, 3e étage

Québec (Québec) G1R 5R9

Tél. : 418 649-2400, poste 57157

melanie.chartrand@mri.gouv.qc.ca

N’hésitez pas à communiquer avec Mme Mélanie Chartrand pour toute question relative au dépôt d’un projet ou au processus de sélection.

 

Nous souhaitons à nos lecteurs une excellente fin de Hanoukah

et une non moins excellente nouvelle année

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REMEMBERING 2016 & PROGNOSTICATING THE NEW YEAR AND NEW PRO-ISRAEL WHITE HOUSE

 

A Crystal Ball on 2017: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Dec. 30, 2016— Alas, my crystal ball has been working well in recent years, accurately anticipating the troubles before Israel.

Responding to Obama’s Malicious Betrayal of Israel: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Dec. 29, 2016— As predicted, on the eve of his retirement President Barack Obama betrayed Israel.

The Main Antisemitic Incidents of 2016: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2016 — It has become a tradition that at year’s end the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes a selection of the year’s major antisemitic incidents.

Hanukkah: The Festival of Religious Freedom: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Religion and Ethics, Dec. 19, 2016— Hanukkah is the festival on which Jews celebrate their victory in the fight for religious freedom more than two thousand years ago.

 

On Topic Links

 

12 Reasons the US Should Never Have allowed UN Resolution 2334: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Dec. 29, 2016

Israel Sees 27,000 New Immigrants in 2016, Slight Dip From Previous Year: JNS, Dec. 29, 2016

Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups: Einat Paz-Frankel, No Camels, Dec. 29, 2016

Campus Antisemitism: The Year in Review: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Dec. 26, 2016

 

                                  

 A CRYSTAL BALL ON 2017              

David M. Weinberg                       

Israel Hayom, Dec. 30, 2016

 

Alas, my crystal ball has been working well in recent years, accurately anticipating the troubles before Israel. Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama: Two years ago, I impeccably predicted in these pages that Obama would cut a grand nuclear deal with the Iranians at Israel's expense. One year ago, I forecast that Obama would sandbag Israel with a "December surprise" — a hostile U.N. Security Council resolution in the seam zone between the Nov. 8 presidential election and the Jan. 20 inauguration of a new president. I also guessed correctly that Obama would never mention the words Islam and terrorism in the same sentence; not even once, right down to the dying days of his sad eight-year tenure.

 

Looking ahead, I sense that Obama will continue to ride on Israel's case. He is young, angry, petulant and unrepentant, and a true believer in Palestinian and Iranian rights and in his own prodigious powers. The presidency of the United States was just a stepping stone, in his view, toward real global clout. Obama will remain a thorn in Israel's behind, and surely in the side of his successor too. Watch for a series of revelatory Obama interviews with Jeffrey Goldberg, in which Obama will undiplomatically pour out his wrath on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and further delegitimize Israel, while repeatedly referencing the "legacy of Shimon Peres" as cover for his contempt.

 

Incoming President Donald Trump: I was wrong to dismiss Trump's candidacy for president as hopeless, but right to suggest that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was a realistic possibility. Now it will happen. I don't think that the Trump administration will sanction Israeli annexations in Judea and Samaria, but it can quietly green-light renewed Israeli building in the greater Jerusalem envelope, including E1, along the lines of the "Bush letter" understandings of 2004.

 

Equally important, Trump will reject the Obama administration's obsessive and false narratives about Israeli settlement construction being illegal, massive, and the main obstacle to peace. And he will acknowledge the plain reality that the status quo in Judea and Samaria is the least-worst option in the medium term. On another front, I doubt that Trump will throw the U.N. out of New York or cut its funding, despite Republican threats to do so. As the late, great Ed Koch once said of the U.N.: Every city needs a cesspool.

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: I was wrong in predicting last year that Abbas would finally resign from his dictatorial perch in the Palestinian Authority. But I am confident in calculating that even if he does so this coming year, the Palestinian Authority won't collapse. That's because there is no precedent in business or international affairs of anybody just walking away from a $3 billion enterprise. More than 200,000 Palestinian families in the West Bank — a million people — are dependent on PA salaries and pension plans, paid by the international community and essentially buttressed by Israeli bayonets.

 

The PA's autocratic rule is the default and preferred paradigm for much of the Palestinian political elite (and for Israel). This gives the lie to the PA's threats to dissolve itself. Such threats are simply not credible. One more thing should be kept in mind: It is only ongoing invasive and pervasive security activity by the IDF that keeps the Palestinian Authority alive. Without this, there isn't a shred of a doubt that the PA would fall to Hamas rule within a matter of weeks. And then Jerusalem and Israel's Gush Dan heartland would be under assault from the strategic heights of Judea and Samaria. This is a reality that all those who still hanker for rapid establishment of a full-fledged Palestinian state prefer to ignore.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin: My analysis of the situation in Syria going back two years remains prescient. While Russia and Iran share an interest in stabilizing the Assad regime, Putin has no reason to provide cover for Iranian and Hezbollah operations against Israel. Thus careful Israeli maneuvering, for which Netanyahu deserves credit, has driven enough of a wedge between Russia and Iran to preserve Israel's freedom to operate against terrorist operations over our northern border.

 

The big question ahead is this: As Trump moves towards a strategic entente with Putin (with China as their common adversary), can Trump peel the Russians away from Iran, and secure Putin's cooperation in checking Iran's hegemonic troublemaking across the Middle East? I'm betting on this. Perhaps Putin will win the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing "stability" to Syria. After all, Obama won the prize for doing nothing at all.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: He will overcome all the pesky, petty investigations into his finances. Challenges to his Likud leadership by Gideon Sa'ar and Moshe Ya'alon will come to naught. His governing coalition will hold firm too. However, Netanyahu will find it increasingly difficult to square the circle diplomatically, even with Trump in the White House. It will be hard to strengthen Israel's hold on Jerusalem and the settlement blocs, and assert Israel's rights on the Temple Mount while fending off lawfare in the International Criminal Court and other forums. Unless and until Netanyahu adopts a real discourse of Israeli rights in Judea and Samaria (historic, religious and national), and doesn't just talk about its security needs, Israel will continue to lose ground internationally…

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

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                                           

RESPONDING TO OBAMA’S MALICIOUS BETRAYAL OF ISRAEL

Isi Leibler                                                                                                   

Candidly Speaking, Dec. 29, 2016

 

As predicted, on the eve of his retirement President Barack Obama betrayed Israel. The former long-standing congregant of the paranoid anti-Semitic pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright who has a penchant for supporting to the Moslem Brotherhood, broke with forty years of U.S. bipartisan policy of protecting the Jewish state from the wolves at the United Nations.

 

His action as a lame duck president was a last ditch effort aimed at undermining his successor’s intended policies, realizing that it is virtually impossible to rescind a Security Council resolution. At the end of his eight years in office he exhibited an unprecedented abuse of power knowing that in his last month he would be unaccountable, despite the fact that his vindictive initiative was totally opposed by Congress, the American people and even by many members of his own party.

 

European countries represented on the Security Council voted in favor of this abominable resolution 2334 which was essentially drafted and orchestrated by the US and ultimately initiated by New Zealand, a Western country whose foreign policy is largely determined by the extent that it promotes export of lamb. Its co-sponsors were the rogue state of Venezuela, as well as Malaysia and Senegal.

 

The resolution, passed during the week that Aleppo was conquered by President Assad in the midst of brutal torture and massacres of thousands of innocent civilians, highlights the duplicity and hypocrisy of the United Nations, a body dominated by anti-Israeli and rogue states with democracies groveling in an effort to appease the dominant Muslim nations. It will serve as an instrument for Israel’s adversaries to further promote boycott, divestment and sanctions and the International Criminal Court will be encouraged to define Israel as a criminal state.

 

It officially nullifies the disastrous Oslo Accords, negates UN Resolution 242 and repudiates the concept of defensible borders. It paves the way for criminalizing all settlers, including those in the major blocs that will always remain part of Israel and even Jews resident in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. It actually defines the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel (Western Wall) as occupied Palestinian territory.

 

In this context the Palestinians will demand that any future negotiations accept these bizarre territorial definitions as opening benchmarks – a status that no Israeli government would ever contemplate accepting. The UN Resolution has effectively negated the concept of direct negotiations, thus ensuring that a peaceful solution to the conflict is more remote than ever.

 

In this poisonous anti-Israeli international climate, we should not be influenced by the pessimistic prophets of doom in our midst. We are more powerful today than ever before and in the course of our history we have successfully overcome far greater threats to our existence than the United Nations. Now is a time for us to display unity and strength. Despite the many initial concerns, we should thank the Almighty that the American people elected Donald Trump as president. Were we now faced with a Clinton Democratic Administration, which in all likelihood would retain Obama’s policies, we would be confronting a real nightmare.

 

In this context, if the proclaimed decision to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem is implemented it will send the world a powerful message. To his credit, Trump used all his weight as an incoming president in efforts to ward off the UN resolution, albeit unsuccessfully. He described the UN “just as a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time” and stressed that after January 20th “things at the UN will be different”. In the wake of his selection of pro-Israeli David Friedman as ambassador to Israel he appointed another pro-Israeli from his team, Jason Greenblatt as his point man for Middle East negotiations. He also demonstratively refused to grant an audience to retiring UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

 

In light of these developments most of the mainstream Jewish leadership who were in denial for over eight years should share a deep sense of guilt and shame. They remained silent as Obama treated Israel diplomatically as a rogue state whilst he groveled to the Ayatollah. They continued voting for him and we now see how he repaid them. The only consistent critic was indefatigable Morton Klein, head of the Zionist Organization of America who has now been more than vindicated.

 

Individual American Jews are free to express their personal political opinions in any manner they deem fit, but mainstream Jewish organizations are obliged to avoid activity which reflects political bias. The disgusting behavior of liberal mainstream leaders exploiting their positions to promote a partisan bias against Trump, including accusations of anti-Semitism against him and his co-workers before and during the elections, now stands out as being utterly unethical and outrageous.

 

After the elections the Anti-Defamation League, the religious Conservative and Reform leaders all issued statements conveying their anguish and even mourning the results. Some of these publicly supported the election to the Democratic Party leadership of the Muslim extreme left-wing anti-Israeli congressman Keith Ellison whilst bitterly protesting Trump’s appointment of a pro-Israeli ambassador. Others even protested that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would harm the peace process. The climax was the almost comic but bizarre boycott by major liberal mainstream Jewish organizations of a Hanukah celebration hosted by the Presidents’ Conference at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington because it was being held in a Trump-owned hotel.

 

But now is the time for us to look forward and unite. This U.N. resolution was not just about settlements. It was to undermine the security of the state and pave the way for anti-Semitic boycotts and sanctions by those seeking Israel’s demise. The resolution employing Obama’s malevolent views made no distinction between isolated outposts and settlements in outlying regions and Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem including the Western Wall…

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

                                                                       

Contents

 

THE MAIN ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS OF 2016

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2016

 

It has become a tradition that at year’s end the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes a selection of the year’s major antisemitic incidents. When the list was started in 2010 it was two pages long. By last year it had tripled to six pages. Concerning 2016 there are two new aspects. The first is that a widely accepted definition of antisemitism has been in existence since May, namely that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

 

Its acceptance required the approval of its 31 democratic member countries. The second aspect is that the perhaps largest antisemitic incident this year did not even mention Jews: in 2016, UNESCO accepted a resolution which refers to the Temple Mount exclusively as Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aksa Mosque. In so doing, it dissociated Jews (and Christians) from Jerusalem. This year it will be difficult for the SWC executives to do their work in view of the many major antisemitic incidents to choose from. A few suggestions thus may be helpful. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) coalition should be high on the list. Its platform falsely claims that Israel is an “apartheid state” which perpetrates genocide against the Palestinians.

 

Another prime candidate for the SWC list is Jeremy Corbyn, the extreme left-wing leader of the British Labour Party. Under his leadership antisemitism in the party has greatly expanded. Corbyn has called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” and for so many months refused to distance himself from that statement that when he finally did, it was meaningless. Corbyn promoted his strategy adviser Seumas Milne, who is a Hamas proponent. He also gave notorious antisemitic slur producer Ken Livingstone an important position in the party. The latter was later suspended because of antisemitic remarks about Hitler supporting Zionism. When the antisemitism in the party became clear, he chose an unqualified investigator who produced a highly unprofessional report on the issue. Corbyn’s acts do not fit the IHRA definition. This shows that the definition in relation to anti-Israel antisemitism is far too concise and should be complemented by a more detailed definition of this type of antisemitism…

 

The Muslim world is a prime supplier of antisemitic recidivists. One of these is the Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan. One statement from 2016 which qualifies him is “I don’t approve of what Hitler did, and neither do I approve of what Israel has done,” according to a translation by AFP. “When it’s a question of so many people dying, it’s inappropriate to ask who was the more barbarous.” In view of Hungarian antisemitism at least one candidate from that country should make the list. Perhaps it should be the Hungarian government for awarding antisemitic Magyar Hirlap columnist and conservative party Fidesz publicist Zsolt Bayer the “Hungarian Middle Cross,” the third highest decoration of achievement the government bestows.

 

No annual list of antisemitic slurs can be complete without including candidates from the Scandinavian hotbeds of hypocrisy and antisemitism, Norway and Sweden. The third largest Norwegian town, Trondheim, is now in the running as candidate for Europe’s capital of the anti-Israeli version of antisemitism for deciding to boycott products from the settlements. SWC circles informed me that Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström barely escaped the list of major antisemitic incidents last year. This year she should definitely be on the list for her comments calling for an investigation into whether Israel is guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during the most recent wave of terrorism. The leader of the Yesh Atid Party, Yair Lapid, explicitly called her an antisemite during a rally in Stockholm.

 

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is also an annually returning antisemitic phenomenon. Seventy Jews wrote a letter to The New York Review of Books supporting only a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements as well as investments there. They would be a representative candidate of the BDS list because of their double standards, which are a core element of antisemitism. The above selection may be somewhat helpful to the SWC executives. The problem is that it only contains a small part of the many candidates for this year’s list.                                

 

Contents

                  HANUKKAH: THE FESTIVAL OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM                                                 

                                            Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Religion and Ethics, Dec. 19, 2016

 

Hanukkah is the festival on which Jews celebrate their victory in the fight for religious freedom more than two thousand years ago. Tragically that fight is no less important today – and not only for Jews, but for people of all faiths. The Jewish story is simple enough. In around 165 BCE Antiochus IV, ruler of the Syrian branch of the Alexandrian empire, began to impose Greek culture on the Jews of the land of Israel. Funds were diverted from the Temple to public games and drama competitions.

 

A statue of Zeus was erected in Jerusalem. Jewish religious rituals such as circumcision and the observance of the Sabbath were banned. Those who kept them were persecuted. It was one of the great crises in Jewish history. There was a real possibility that Judaism, the world's first monotheism, would be eclipsed. A group of Jewish pietists rose in rebellion. Led by a priest, Mattathias of Modi'in, and his son, Judah the Maccabee, they began the fight for liberty. Outnumbered, they suffered heavy initial casualties, but within three years they had secured a momentous victory. Jerusalem was restored to Jewish hands. The Temple was rededicated. The celebrations lasted for eight days.

 

Hanukkah – which means "rededication" – was established as a festival to perpetuate the memory of those days. Almost twenty-two centuries have passed since then, yet today religious liberty, enshrined as article 18 in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at risk in many parts of the world. Christians are being persecuted throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia. In Mosul, Iraq's second city, Christians have been kidnapped, tortured, crucified and beheaded. Over the last two years, the Christian community, one of the oldest in the world, has been driven out, and the Yazidis, members of an ancient religious sect, have been threatened with genocide.

 

Over the past year in Nigeria, Boko Haram has captured Christian children and sold them as slaves. In Madagali, Christian men have been taken and beheaded, and the women forcibly converted to Islam and taken by the terrorists as wives. Nor has Boko Haram limited itself to persecuting Christians; it has targeted the Muslim establishment as well. Sectarian religious violence in the Central African Republic has led to the destruction of almost all of its mosques. In Burma, more than 140,000 Rohingya Muslims and 100,000 Kachin Christians have been forced to flee.

 

The 2016 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom speaks concludes that "serious and sustained assault" on religious freedom is a major factor behind the rolling series of worldwide "humanitarian crises." Countries where this crisis is acute include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Vietnam. In Syria alone, where some of the worst crimes against humanity are taking place, 6.6 million people are internally displaced while 4.8 million have become refugees elsewhere…

Is there a way forward? More than half a century ago the Oxford philosopher John Plamenatz noted that religious freedom was born in Europe in the seventeenth century after a devastating series of religious wars. All it took was a single shift, from the belief that, "Faith is the most important thing; therefore everyone should honour the one true faith," to the belief that, "Faith is the most important thing; therefore everyone should be free to honour his or her own faith."

 

This meant that people of all faiths were guaranteed that whichever religion was dominant, he or she would still be free to obey their own call of conscience. Hence Plamenatz's striking conclusion: "Liberty of conscience was born, not of indifference, not of scepticism, not of mere open-mindedness, but of faith." The very fact that my religion is important to me allows me to understand that your quite different religion is no less important to you. It took much bloodshed before people were prepared to acknowledge this simple truth, which is why we must never forget the lessons of the past if we are to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Hanukkah reminds us that people will fight for religious freedom, and the attempt to deprive them of it will always end in failure.

 

The symbol of Hanukkah is the menorah we light for eight days in memory of the Temple candelabrum, purified and rededicated by the Maccabees all those centuries ago. Faith is like a flame. Properly tended, it gives light and warmth, but let loose, it can burn and destroy. We need, in the twenty-first century, a global Hanukkah: a festival of freedom for all the world's faiths. For though my faith is not yours and your faith is not mine, if we are each free to light our own flame, together we can banish some of the darkness of the world.

 

                     CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters:

 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Urim Sameach!

Contents  

         

On Topic Links

 

12 Reasons the US Should Never Have allowed UN Resolution 2334: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Dec. 29, 2016—What follows is part of an open letter I sent to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power following the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334:

Israel Sees 27,000 New Immigrants in 2016, Slight Dip From Previous Year: JNS, Dec. 29, 2016— Israel saw approximately 27,000 new immigrants arrive this year, with newcomers from Russia and Brazil rising significantly but overall immigrations down from 31,000 in 2015, according to newly released year-end figures from the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption.

Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups: Einat Paz-Frankel, No Camels, Dec. 29, 2016—2016 was another remarkable year for Israeli innovation, with the Startup Nation showing no signs of slowing its breakneck pace. The startup ecosystem has made global headlines with a host of new cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to better our lives, and even change them for good.

Campus Antisemitism: The Year in Review: Kenneth L Marcus, Algemeiner, Dec. 26, 2016—This has been an extraordinarily eventful year in the campaign against campus antisemitism, especially from our perspective at the Louis D. Brandeis Center. On the one hand, Jewish students face a worsening climate. This year, an AMCHA Initiative study showed a 45% increase in campus antisemitism during the first half of 2016 as compared with the first half of 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBAMA & KERRY JOIN THE ANTI-ISRAEL JACKALS WITH PARTING SHOT AT JERUSALEM

 

PM Netanyahu's Statement in Response to US Secretary of State Kerry's Speech: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 28, 2016 — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 28 December 2016), issued the following statement in response to US Secretary of State John Kerry's speech:

John Kerry's Meaningless Speech and Tragic Missed Opportunity: Alan Dershowitz, Fox News, Dec. 28, 2016 — What if the Secretary of State gave a policy speech and no one listened?

Joining the Jackals: The Case Against U.N. Resolution 2334 – Open Letter to Amb. Samantha Power: Hillel C.  Neuer, UNWatch, Dec. 29, 2016— Dear Ambassador Power…

The Obama Administration Fires a Dangerous Parting Shot: Editorial, Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2016 — President Obama’s decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

 

On Topic Links

 

Full Text of John Kerry’s Speech on Middle East Peace, December 28, 2016: Times of Israel, Dec. 28, 2016

Donald Trump Tweets Support for Israel Ahead of Kerry Speech on Middle East: Ruth Eglash & Carol Morello, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2016

Israeli Ambassador: We’ll Give Trump Proof Obama Drove UN Vote (Video): Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2016

Obama Despises Israel Because He Despises the West: Ben Shapiro, National Review, Dec. 28, 2016

 

PM NETANYAHU'S STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO US SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY'S SPEECH

                                        Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 28, 2016  

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 28 December 2016), issued the following statement in response to US Secretary of State John Kerry's speech:

 

"Before why I explain why this speech was so disappointing to millions of Israelis, I want to say that Israel is deeply grateful to the United States of America, to successive American administrations, to the American Congress, to the American people. We're grateful for the support Israel has received over many, many decades. Our alliance is based on shared values, shared interests, a sense of shared destiny and a partnership that has endured differences of opinions between our two governments over the best way to advance peace and stability in the Middle East. I have no doubt that our alliance will endure the profound disagreement we have had with the Obama Administration and will become even stronger in the future.

 

But now I must express my deep disappointment with the speech today of John Kerry – a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the UN last week. In a speech ostensibly about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish state for nearly a century. What he did was to spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace by passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital, Jerusalem.

 

Hundreds of suicide bombings…tens of thousands of rockets, millions of Israelis in bomb shelters are not throwaway lines in a speech; they're the realities that the people of Israel had to endure because of mistaken policies, policies that at the time won the thunderous applause of the world. I don't seek applause; I seek the security, and peace, and prosperity and the future of the Jewish state. The Jewish people have sought their place under the sun for 3,000 years, and we're not about to be swayed by mistaken policies that have caused great, great damage.

 

Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders. Israel's hand has been extended in peace to its neighbors from day one, from its very first day. We've prayed for peace, we've worked for it every day since then. And thousands of Israeli families have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and advance peace. My family has been one of them; there are many, many others.

 

No one wants peace more than the people of Israel. Israel remains committed to resolving the outstanding differences between us and the Palestinians through direct negotiations. This is how we made peace with Egypt; this is how we made peace with Jordan; it's the only way we'll make peace with the Palestinians. That has always been Israel's policy; that has always been America's policy. Here's what President Obama himself said at the UN in 2011. He said: 'Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations. If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.'

 

That's what President Obama said, and he was right. And until last week this was repeated over and over again as American policy. Secretary Kerry said that the United States cannot vote against its own policy. But that's exactly what it did at the UN, and that's why Israel opposed last week's Security Council resolution, because it effectively calls the Western Wall 'occupied Palestinian Territory,' because it encourages boycotts and sanctions against Israel – that's what it effectively does, and because it reflects a radical shift in US policy towards the Palestinians on final status issues – those issues that we always agreed, the US and Israel, have to be negotiated directly, face to face without preconditions.

 

That shift happened despite the Palestinians walking away from peace and from peace offers time and time again, despite their refusal to even negotiate peace for the past eight years, and despite the Palestinian Authority inculcating a culture of hatred towards Israel in an entire generation of young Palestinians. Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with the American Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to mitigate the damage that this resolution has done and ultimately, to repeal it.

 

Israel hopes that the outgoing Obama Administration will prevent any more damage being done to Israel at the UN in its waning days. I wish I could be comforted by the promise that the US says we will not bring any more resolutions to the UN. That's what they said about the previous resolution. We have it on absolutely incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and brought this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We'll share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive, it's all true. You saw some of it in the protocol released in an Egyptian paper. There's plenty more; it's the tip of the iceberg…

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

                                                           

Contents                                                                                                                                                                               

                    JOHN KERRY'S MEANINGLESS SPEECH

AND TRAGIC MISSED OPPORTUNITY

                       Alan Dershowitz                                                                                                    

                  Fox News, Dec. 28, 2016

 

What if the Secretary of State gave a policy speech and no one listened? Because Secretary Kerry’s speech Wednesday came after the U.S.'s abstention on the Security Council vote, nobody in Israel will pay any attention to anything he said. Had the speech come before the abstention, there would have been some possibility of it influencing the debate within Israel. But following the U.S. abstention, Kerry has lost all credibility with Israelis across the political spectrum. This is why his speech wasn’t even aired live on Israeli TV.

 

The speech itself was as one-sided as the abstention. It failed to mention the repeated offers from Israel to end the occupation and settlements, and to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza: Arafat’s rejection of the Clinton-Barak proposals in 2000-2001: and Abbas’ failure to respond to the Olmert offer in 2008. To fail to mention these important points is to demonstrate the bias of the speaker. Kerry also discussed the Palestinian refugee, without even mentioning the equal member of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries.

 

Finally Kerry, seemed to confirm that in his view any changes from the pre-1967 lines would not be recognized without mutual agreement. This means that the prayer plaza at the Western Wall, the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem are now all illegally occupied. This is, of course, a non-starter for Israelis. It is also wrong as a matter of history and law. Jordan captured these historically Jewish areas in 1948 when all the surrounding Arab countries attacked the new Jewish nation in an attempt to destroy it. When Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, Israel recaptured these Jewish areas and allowed Jews to return to them. That is not an illegal occupation. It is a liberation.

 

By failing to distinguish between settlement expansion deep into the West Bank and reclaiming historical Jewish areas in the heart of Jerusalem, Kerry made the same fundamental error that the Security Council resolution made. His one-sidedness was also evident in his failure to press the Palestinian leadership to accept Netanyahu’s open offer to begin negotiations immediately with no pre-conditions. Instead, he seemed to justify the Palestinian unwillingness to enter into negotiations now.

 

Kerry’s pessimism about the two-state solution poses the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The existing settlements — even if expanded — do not pose any danger to the two-state solution, if the Palestinians really want their own state more than they want there not to be a Jewish state. A contiguous Palestinian state is certainly possible even if all the existing settlements were to remain. Israel proved that in Gaza when it dismantled every single Jewish settlement and evacuated every single Jew from the Gaza strip.

 

It is simply a historical geographical and logical error to assume that continuing settlement building — whether one agrees with it or not, and I do not — dooms the two-state solution. To the contrary, settlement expansion is the consequence of Palestinian refusal to accept repeated offers from Israeli governments to end the occupation and settlements in exchange for peace. The primary barrier to the two-state solution remains the Palestinian unwillingness to accept the U.N. resolution of 1947 calling for two states for two peoples — the Jewish people and the Arab people. Kerry did not sufficiently address this issue. This means explicit recognition by Palestinians to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

 

The most important point Kerry made on Wednesday is that the Obama administration will not unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, without an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He also implied that U.S. will not push for any additional Security Council resolutions. Kerry’s speech is therefore just that: a speech with little substance and no importance. It will be quickly forgotten along with the many other one-sided condemnations of Israel that litter the historical record.

 

Kerry could have done a real service to peace if he had pressed the Palestinian leadership to come to the negotiation table as hard as he pressed the Israeli leadership to end settlement expansions. But his one-sided presentation did not move the peace process forward. Let us hope it does not set us back too far. What a missed opportunity and a tragedy that could have been easily avoided by a more balanced approach both at the Security Council and in the Kerry speech.                                  

                                                                       

Contents

 

 

JOINING THE JACKALS: THE CASE AGAINST U.N. RESOLUTION 2334 –

OPEN LETTER TO AMB. SAMANTHA POWER

Hillel C.  Neuer

UNWatch, Dec. 29, 2016

 

Dear Ambassador Power, I write in response to your abstention on Friday which allowed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel, and in response to the substantial explanation of vote that you delivered. With even further U.N. measures still possible before President Obama leaves office on January 20th, I urge you and the Administration—where you play an influential role as a member of the President’s Cabinet, and as one of President Obama’s most trusted advisors—to reconsider your approach.

 

Your speech on Friday had much to applaud. As you have vigorously done for three years, your remarks exposed in compelling detail the U.N. double standard applied to the Jewish state, which, you rightly said, “not only hurts Israel, it undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself.” As you noted last year on the 40th anniversary of the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution, at the U.N. “rarely a day goes by without some effort to delegitimize Israel.” On that occasion, you called for everyone to “relentlessly fight back” against this “ignorance and hatred.”

 

Your vote on Friday, however, makes a dramatic break with all of this. While it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with Israel about settlements, allowing Resolution 2334 to pass was morally wrong and strategically damaging. As set forth below, we believe the U.S. decision to acquiesce in the adoption of this lopsided resolution reverses decades of past practice, sets back the cause of peace, and harms the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans…

 

Immediate and compelling evidence demonstrates that the Administration has failed to achieve its objective, which you articulated as promoting the two-state solution. Secretary Kerry’s speech yesterday failed to acknowledge the telling fact that Israel’s mainstream society, including leading supporters of the two-state solution, have sharply rejected the U.N. resolution, and criticized the U.S. role in its advancement and adoption.

 

Consider: Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Labor Party—whom you recently recognized for being “so principled on behalf of peace”—called for Resolution 2334 to be annulled, saying it caused “severe damage.” Similarly, his colleague, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who led efforts to achieve a two-state solution at the Annapolis Conference, and who welcomed the 2008 Security Council resolution endorsing that summit, said by contrast that Friday’s U.S.-backed resolution “harms the interests of Israel,” “harms Jerusalem,” and threatens to haul Israeli officers to the International Criminal Court.

 

Yair Lapid, chair of the Yesh Atid opposition party, who has endorsed the Saudi-Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for peace talks, and who opposes the proposed Knesset bill to legalize outposts which you cited on Friday, called the U.N. resolution “dangerous”, “unfair, and “an act of hypocrisy.” Ehud Barak, who as prime minister went to Camp David in 2000 and extended an unprecedented and far-reaching peace offer to the Palestinians, called this resolution a “humiliating blow to Israel.” Amos Yadlin, head of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, the country’s most influential think tank, and another prominent supporter of the two-state solution, said that the resolution was “extremely problematic for Israel and the peace process alike,” and he accused President Obama of committing “a severe anti-Israeli move” which “harmed the United States’ staunchest ally in the Middle East.”

 

To be sure, all of these left-leaning figures faulted or admonished Prime Minister Netanyahu for failing to head off the blow. Yet neither President Obama, Secretary Kerry or anyone else in your Administration has yet addressed the astonishing fact that their closest Israeli political allies and interlocutors in promoting the peace process have uniformly denounced an action which you claim will advance their position…

 

By contrast, are you not troubled that among the first to endorse the resolution were the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad? “Hamas commends the countries that voiced their opposition to the Israeli occupation’s aggressive settlement policy aimed against the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. Hamas praised “the important about-face in the international position in favor of the Palestinian people.” Iran-backed Islamic Jihad welcomed the U.S.-backed resolution, saying, “It’s plain to see the world opinion is against Israel and its policies,” and “now Israel can be isolated and boycotted, as well as prosecuted in the international arena for all its crimes.”

 

12 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Have Vetoed U.N. Resolution 2334: To understand why, by contrast, so many supporters of Israeli-Palestinian peace oppose what you did on Friday, I urge you and the Administration to consider the following 12 points.

 

1. Resolution 2334 Encourages Palestinian Rejectionism, Undermines Negotiations: The resolution dangerously disincentivizes Palestinians to come to the negotiating table. Instead, Resolution 2334 will for the foreseeable future encourage them to await being handed the same or more by international fiat. This will feed into the Palestinian strategy of preferring to deal with international institutions over bilateral talks with Israel. Contrary to its stated objective, therefore, the resolution will only push negotiations further away.

 

In this regard, we recall that in 2011, your predecessor Susan Rice vetoed a similar resolution on the grounds that it risked “hardening the positions of both sides,” and “could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations.” She said it was “unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.” Though your speech claims that circumstances have now changed, many will see the only meaningful difference as the fact that the current transition period allows a president to make unpopular decisions at no political cost.

 

2. Resolution Fuels Palestinian Targeting of Israelis with BDS & International Prosecutions

Secretary of State John Kerry pledged this month to oppose any “biased, unfair resolution calculated to delegitimize Israel.” And though he likewise said on Friday after the vote that he is proud of “defending Israel against any efforts to undermine its security or legitimacy in international fora,” and “steadfastly opposing boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions targeting the State of Israel,” the fact is that these are precisely the efforts empowered by Resolution 2334.

 

Friday’s text not only provides the first Security Council endorsement of the scandalous 2004 ICJ advisory opinion, which denied Israel’s right to defend itself from Gaza rockets, but it implicitly encourages the International Criminal Court (ICC) to move forward in its preliminary examination of whether Israeli officials have engaged in the “war crime” of settlement building, and provides the same impetus to prosecutions in national courts that claim universal jurisdiction. If Tzipi Livni was already being served with UK arrest warrants before, Resolution 2334 will only aggravate anti-Israel lawfare. The U.S. should never have lent its hand to a campaign designed to delegitimize Israeli civil and military leaders as criminals…

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

 

Contents

         THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FIRES A DANGEROUS PARTING SHOT                                                         

                                                           Editorial      

Washington Post, Dec. 23, 2016

 

President Obama’s decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents. The United States vetoed past resolutions on the grounds that they unreasonably singled out Jewish communities in occupied territories as an obstacle to Middle East peace, and that U.N. action was more likely to impede than advance negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

 

The measure, approved 14 to 0 by the Security Council Friday, is subject to the same criticism: It will encourage Palestinians to pursue more international sanctions against Israel rather than seriously consider the concessions necessary for statehood, and it will give a boost to the international boycott and divestment movement against the Jewish state, which has become a rallying cause for anti-Zionists. At the same time, it will almost certainly not stop Israeli construction in the West Bank, much less in East Jerusalem, where Jewish housing was also deemed by the resolution to be “a flagrant violation under international law.”

 

By abstaining, the administration did not explicitly support that position, which has not been U.S. policy since the Carter administration. In explaining the vote, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power pointed out that the council was sanctioning Israel even while failing to take action to stop a potential genocide in South Sudan or the slaughter in Aleppo, Syria. Yet in failing to veto the measure, the Obama administration set itself apart both from previous administrations and from the incoming presidency of Donald Trump, who spoke out strongly against the resolution.

 

A lame-duck White House may feel a radical change in policy is justified by Israel’s shift to the right under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Israel’s governing coalition is supporting legislation that would legalize dozens of settlements that Israel itself defines as illegal, because they were constructed on private Palestinian property. Mr. Netanyahu supported a partial settlement freeze for 10 months in 2009 and 2010 at Mr. Obama’s behest, but has since allowed construction, including in some areas deep in the West Bank.

 

Nevertheless, settlements do not explain the administration’s repeated failures to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas proved unwilling to negotiate seriously even during the settlement freeze, and it refused to accept a framework for negotiations painstakingly drawn up by Secretary of State John F. Kerry in 2014. In past negotiations, both sides have acknowledged that any deal will involve the annexation by Israel of settlements near its borders, where most of the current construction takes place — something the U.N. resolution, which was pressed by the Palestinians, did not acknowledge or take into account.

 

Israeli officials charged that the abstention represented a vindictive parting shot by Mr. Obama at Mr. Netanyahu, with whom he has feuded more bitterly than he did with most U.S. adversaries. The vote could also be seen as an attempt to preempt Mr. Trump, who appears ready to shift U.S. policy to the opposite extreme after naming a militant advocate of the settlements as his ambassador to Israel. Whatever the motivation, Mr. Obama’s gesture is likely to do more harm than good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Chag Urim Sameach!

 

Contents      

     

On Topic Links

 

Full Text of John Kerry’s Speech on Middle East Peace, December 28, 2016: Times of Israel, Dec. 28, 2016 — In address as he nears end of term, secretary of state says Washington ‘cannot, in good conscience, do nothing and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away’

Donald Trump Tweets Support for Israel Ahead of Kerry Speech on Middle East: Ruth Eglash & Carol Morello, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2016 —President-elect Donald Trump tweeted messages Wednesday showing his support for Israel and accusing President Obama of making inflammatory statements and damaging relations between Israel and the United States.

Israeli Ambassador: We’ll Give Trump Proof Obama Drove UN Vote (Video): Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2016—Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the country will present President-elect Donald Trump with “evidence” that the Obama administration orchestrated an anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.

Obama Despises Israel Because He Despises the West: Ben Shapiro, National Review, Dec. 28, 2016—Barack Obama has done his best for nearly eight years to undermine the state of Israel. He’s signed a treaty that enshrines an Iranian path to a nuclear weapon while funding their global terrorist activities to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: TRUDEAU CONTINUES HARPER’S POLICIES ON ISRAEL “Justin Trudeau promises a more “balanced” position after a decade of Pavlovian Conservative support for Israel in any and all circumstances. Yet the new government’s policy towards Israel and Palestine…just happens to be identical to the old government’s policy. Canada may be back, but in the Middle East it’s Stephen Harper’s Canada that is back…For the Palestinians in the West Bank, humiliation and violence at the hands of Israeli soldiers and settlers are literally the everyday preoccupation…This record of the brutality of both Israeli settlers and Israeli soldiers against mostly defenceless Palestinians shames Israel and shames Israel’s diaspora backers. But it is the reality. It is how many Israelis regularly treat Palestinian men, women and children, old and young…Ordinary Palestinians fight a virtually permanent battle against unsympathetic Israeli soldiers and zealous settlers, who openly lust for ever-more Palestinian land…It’s David versus Goliath, but, this time, the giant Goliath is an Israeli, and the victor…No one expects Mr. Trudeau to come up with a practical solution to this intractable situation, and in fact he deserves plaudits for renewing Canadian funding to (UNRWA), which the Harper government had cruelly terminated. But a few words from the Canadian government about Israeli brutality and Palestinian suffering would at least offer Palestinians what they so desperately crave and so rarely get – hope, respect, dignity and understanding.” — Gerald Caplan. (Globe & Mail, Dec. 13, 2016)

 

On Topic Links

 

Trump Was Right to Try to Stop Obama From Tying his Hands on Israel: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 23, 2016

The UN’s Land Grab in Israel: Barry Shaw, Algemeiner, Dec. 27, 2016

Reading the Tea Leaves of Trump’s Foreign Policy: Michael Barone, New York Post, Dec. 16, 2016 

Saving Europe From Itself—Again: Mark Helprin, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 2016

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“All American presidents since Carter upheld the American commitment not to try to dictate permanent settlement terms to Israel at the Security Council. And yesterday, in complete contradiction of this commitment, including an explicit commitment by President Obama himself in 2011, the Obama administration carried out a shameful anti-Israel ploy at the UN. I would like to tell you that the resolution that was adopted, not only doesn’t bring peace closer, it drives it further away. It hurts justice; it hurts the truth. Think about this absurdity, half a million human beings are being slaughtered in Syria. Tens of thousands are being butchered in Sudan. The entire Middle East is going up in flames and the Obama administration and the Security Council choose to gang up on the only democracy in the Middle East—the State of Israel. What a disgrace. — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Friday, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was passed by a 14-0 vote enabling the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy. The resolution demands that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem." It states that Israeli settlements have "no legal validity" and are "dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution." Netanyahu vowed that Israel will not accept the resolution. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th." — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, tweeting after The U.N. Security Council passed the resolution. The U.S. had the ability to veto the resolution but abstained from doing so despite pressure from Trump, Netanyahu and U.S. lawmakers. The Obama administration’s decision to let it pass represents a break from the longstanding U.S. policy of shielding Israel from the U.N. “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” the Trump said in a statement. "This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis." (The Hill, Dec. 23, 2016)

 

“It’s an old story that the United Nations gangs up against Israel. What is new is that the United States did not stand up and oppose that gang-up. And what is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang-up.” — Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Dermer said that Israel is angry with the US because it is “the only country where we have any expectation to actually stand with us at the United Nations.” Dermer said Israel has proof the White House drove the resolution, and will “present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels.” Dermer also said “the Palestinians are waging a diplomatic and legal war against Israel. That’s the strategy…Their strategy is not to negotiate an agreement with Israel because a deal is give and take. They want take and take.” (Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2016 & New York Times, Dec. 26)

 

“Now we can talk about the boycott of all settlements, the companies that work with them, et cetera, and actually take legal action against them if they continue to work with them…We are looking to devise a comprehensive vision, and hopefully 2017 will be the year when the Israeli occupation ends.” — Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister. Palestinian leaders made clear that they would use the resolution in international bodies to press their case against Israel. With the imprimatur of a United Nations finding of illegality, they said, they will campaign to require that other countries not just label products made in the settlements, but ban them. (New York Times, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

“What happened today is that the United States joined the jackals at the U.N…To give you an idea of how appalling this resolution is, it declares that any Jew who lives in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter, inhabited for 1,000 years, is illegal, breaking international law, essentially an outlaw, can be hauled into the international criminal court and international courts in Europe, which is one of the consequences. The Jewish quarter has been populated by Jews for 1,000 years…Now it’s declared that this is not Jewish territory…And any Jew who lives there is an outlaw. That’s exactly what we supported…In 2012, running for re-election, Obama spoke at the meeting of AIPAC, the big Jewish lobby. He said, “Is there any doubt that I have Israel’s back?” That’s why he didn’t want do it while he was in office. That’s why he didn’t want to do it in 2016 so it would injure Hillary and show to particularly American Jews, who tend to be Democratic, that it was all a farce. He does it on the way out, and that’s part of why it’s so disgraceful…Now he is out the door and the damage is done for years. That resolution cannot be undone.” — Charles Krauthammer (National Review, Dec. 24, 2016)

 

“It’s the most undemocratic thing a president can do — to tie the hands of his successor during the lame-duck period…He pulled a bait-and-switch. He said to the American public, ‘Oh, this is all about the settlements deep in the West Bank,’ and yet he allowed his representative to the UN to abstain, which is really [a vote] for a resolution which says that Jews can’t pray at the Western Wall. Jews can’t live in the Jewish Quarter where they’ve lived for thousands of years and he’s going to say, ‘Whoops, I didn’t mean that.’ Well, read the resolution. You’re a lawyer, you went to Harvard Law School.” — Alan Dershowitz. Obama will be remembered in history as “one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever,” Dershowitz added. (Algemeiner, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

"We abandoned Israel…I am a huge supporter of foreign aid and the U.N. … but I can't support funding a body that singles out the only democracy in the Middle East who shares our values…If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations…In addition, any nation which backs this resolution and receives assistance from the United States will put that assistance in jeopardy." — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Republicans on Capitol Hill are vowing a change when they obtain full control in January. The United Nations could afford to lose some funding from Israel, but if a new American government decides to cut funding, it would be a serious problem for the international body. (Town Hall, Dec. 24, 216)

 

“I can’t divine a single positive element of consequence of this resolution…I don’t think it’s going to lead to anything of real value and it will create all kinds of problems… It’s missing several key ingredients and unless those ingredients are restored, it’s hard to imagine that this is going to go anywhere other than south…The reality is the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is not ready for prime time.” — Aaron David Miller, former US Middle East negotiator. (Algemeiner, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

"This is a moment when those who have been in denial about the harm the president has done to the U.S.-Israel alliance should admit their mistake. But for the pro-Israel community as a whole, a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, this is a moment of anger that will hopefully be followed by a determination to work with the next president to repair the grave damage Obama has caused." — Jonathan S. Tobin. (Commentary, Dec. 23, 2016)

 

“Israel is a country with national pride, and we do not turn the other cheek…This is a responsible, measured and vigorous response, the natural response of a healthy people that is making it clear to the nations of the world that what was done at the U.N. is unacceptable to us.” — Benjamin Netanyahu. (New York Times, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

“Aleppo was liberated thanks to a coalition between Iran, Syria, Russia, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah…Iran is on one side of this coalition which is approaching victory and this has shown our strength. The new American president should take heed of the powers of Iran.” — Iran’s defense minister, Seyed Yahya Rahim-Safavi. The Syrian army as a fighting force is largely spent. Without Russian air support and some 6,000 to 8,000 Iranian-run paramilitaries Bashar al-Assad now relies on to wage war for him, Aleppo would never have been recaptured. (Daily Beast, Dec. 15, 2016)    

 

“I’m confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it… I know that in conversations that I’ve had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one.” — U.S. President Obama. Obama expressed confidence that, if he had run for a third term, he would have defeated Trump, according to an interview with David Axelrod, his friend and former adviser. Hours after the interview, Trump responded on Twitter. “President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me,” he said. “He should say that but I say NO WAY! — jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.” (New York Times, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

“Thoroughly beaten, the Dems are at their lowest point in nearly a century. From the White House to Congress to statehouses, they are on the outside looking in. Their punishment was well-deserved, as demonstrated by Obama and Clinton. Full of excuses and blaming everyone except themselves, their closing acts proved it is time for them to go. They have nothing new to offer, with their vision of the future limited to larger doses of the same failing medicine and their intolerance for disagreement showing they would never learn from their mistakes. Their bad ideas had run their disastrous course…Because they are doomed to fail, we could be witnessing the death throes of the Democratic Party as we know it.” — Michael Goodwin. (New York Post, Dec. 18, 2016)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

KERRY DEFENDS OBAMA DECISION TO ABSTAIN AT UNSC VOTE (Washington) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back on Wednesday against the fury in Jerusalem that has followed the decision by Obama to order the abstention that allowed the UN Security Council to unanimously pass anti-Israel resolution 2334(2016). “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” he began, saying that only with two states can Israel remain Jewish and democratic. “Let’s be clear. Settlement activity has nothing to do with Israeli security,” he said. Kerry also called for “both sides” to show willingness to work towards peace by making “meaningful” gestures. On the part of Israel, he recommended “transition the administration of Area C to the Palestinians” in accordance with the long-term-goals of the Oslo Accords. (Jewish Press, Dec. 28, 2016)

 

REPORT: KERRY & EREKAT ORCHESTRATED UN RESOLUTION (Jerusalem) —Egyptian media published a supposed protocol of a meeting that was held in Washington on December 12 between Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and a Palestinian delegation headed by PLO member Saeb Erekat. The protocol states that Kerry and Rice told the Palestinians that the US administration would cooperate with them in the UN Security Council. Kerry and Rice were reportedly both critical of Netanyahu, accusing him of wanting to destroy a two-state solution. The U.S. also offered advice on how to deal with Trump, telling Erekat that they had advised Abbas against taking steps that would be perceived by Trump as provocative, such as dismantling the PA. (Ynet, Dec. 28, 2016)

 

ISRAEL SUMMONS AMBASSADORS OVER UNSC VOTE (Jerusalem) —Netanyahu is planning to cancel a meeting with British PM Theresa May in the wake of the landmark anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council. The Israeli Prime Minister also recalled 10 ambassadors to members of the UNSC on Sunday, including the UK, and, in a highly unusual move, the US ambassador. Netanyahu said Israel was also considering a "plan of action" against the UN, without elaborating. He also vowed punitive action against New Zealand and Senegal, two of the resolution’s four co-sponsors. Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Malaysia and Venezuela, the other co-sponsors. (Telegraph, Dec. 25, 2016)

 

FAKE NEWS STORY IGNITES PAKISTAN-ISRAEL FEUD (Islamabad) — A fake news story touched off a tense Twitter confrontation between nuclear power Pakistan and Israel, widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal of its own, in an episode that underlines the potentially harmful impact of such stories on sensitive global affairs. In an apparent response to a fake story claiming Israel's former defence minister threatened a nuclear attack against Pakistan if it sends troops to Syria, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif reminded Israel that "Pakistan is a nuclear state too." Israel's Defence Ministry tweeted back, saying the original story on the site AWD News was "totally fictitious." AWD has been identified by fact-checking organizations as a site that often propagates fake news. (CBC, Dec. 26, 2016)

 

ISRAELI GROUP ASKS US COURT TO BLOCK BOEING DEAL WITH IRAN (Jerusalem) — Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, an Israeli advocacy group, asked a US federal court to block Boeing’s planned $16.6 billion deal with Iran Air, saying the Tehran government must first pay off billions of dollars in damages to families of people killed or wounded by Iranian-backed terror groups. “We are going to seize all 100 airplanes,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the group’s director. Darshan-Leitner has represented attack victims in dozens of lawsuits in American courts. Her organization represents families who are relatives of U.S. victims of attacks perpetrated by Iran-backed groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. (Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2016)

 

IRANIAN OFFICIAL: IRAN AND RUSSIA SHARE SYRIAN ARMY BASE (Tehran) — Iran and Russia share a military base in Syria in order to coordinate their defense of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, a top Iranian security official revealed. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as claiming that there is “a shared base in Syria where Iran, with Russia’s help, does advisory work to help the Syrian army and the [pro-Assad] resistance forces.” Shamkhani, who is responsible for coordinating Tehran’s political, military, and security concerns with Syria and Russia, also stated that the two nations were cooperating “to design the military aspect of the fight against terrorism.” (The Tower, Dec. 22, 2016)

 

RUSSIA SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH ANTI-IMMIGRANT PARTY IN AUSTRIA (Vienna) — Russia’s ruling party signed a five-year “cooperation agreement” with the anti-immigrant Freedom Party of Austria. The two-page agreement, reached in Moscow after Freedom Party leaders met with officials from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, spells out a common commitment to holding regular joint meetings and public events while working to strengthen social and economic ties between Russia and Austria. The accord is the latest example of Russian efforts to forge ties with antiestablishment, euroskeptic parties in Europe. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 2016)

 

REPORT: HAMAS DRONE ENGINEER ALLEGEDLY ASSASSINATED BY MOSSAD (Tunis) — The assassination of Hamas drone engineer Mohammed Alzoari in Tunisia earlier this month — widely attributed to Mossad agents — was spurred by his work to develop deadly unmanned seacraft with which the terrorist organization planned to blow up Israel’s offshore gas rigs, Yediot Aharonot reported. Tunisian media outlets are reporting that for the past two years — particularly in the last six months — Alzoari was focusing his know-how on developing underwater “suicide” drones, which were going to sneak up to the Israeli rigs from beneath the surface of the Mediterranean and wreak massive havoc. Alzoari was shot multiple times on Dec. 15 in front of his house in the town of El Ain. (Algemeiner, Dec. 27, 2016)

 

I.S. VIDEO SHOWS TURKISH SOLDIERS BURNED ALIVE (Aleppo) — I.S. has released a ghastly video that appears to show two captured Turkish soldiers being burned alive. The video, showing two uniformed men being hauled from a cage before being bound and torched, was posted on jihadist websites and on Facebook. I.S. said the 19-minute footage was shot in its declared “Aleppo Province” in northern Syria. Its authenticity could not be independently verified. In Turkey, the government shut down social media to keep its citizens from viewing the video. Speaking in Turkish, the executioner denounces Turkish President Erdogan and calls for “destruction to be sowed” in Turkey. (Fox News, Dec. 23, 2016)

 

GUNMEN IN AFGHANISTAN KILL FEMALE AIRPORT EMPLOYEES (Kabul) — Gunmen in the city of Kandahar opened fire on a van carrying female airport employees, killing five women and their male driver. The Afghan government has been struggling to expand opportunities for women in the work force, but that effort has been hampered by conservative customs about the role of women in society and security threats posed by the conflict with the Taliban. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban have denied that it was carried out by their fighters. (New York Times, Dec. 17, 2016)   

IAF & HELLENIC AIR FORCE CONDUCT JOINT EXERCISE (Jerusalem) — After two intensive weeks of training in Ramat-David AFB, a joint training exercise between the Israeli and Hellenic Air Force has ended. Two Greek F-16 Squadrons and the IAF's "First Jet" Squadron that operates the "Barak" (F-16C/D) united for a unique joint training exercise – "Viper Valley 2016". For two weeks Israelis and Greeks trained together in Israeli skies. "The Greeks are longtime partners of ours and the current exercise is another step forward in our cooperation", said Col. Amnon, Ramat-David AFB Commander. "The fact that this was a relatively small deployment allowed us to create an intimate training exercise and develop tighter relationships," he said. (IAF, Dec. 20, 2016)

 

JAPAN’S PM VISITS PEARL HARBOR WITH OBAMA (Honolulu) — President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit to Pearl Harbor to pay homage to the victims of Japan’s 1941 bombing here, which killed more than 2,400 Americans and drew the U.S. into World War II. The leaders each laid a wreath of peace lilies at the wall of the USS Arizona memorial. It marked the first appearance of a sitting Japanese prime minister at the memorial and was the companion visit to one Obama made in May to Hiroshima. Abe acknowledged the suffering from Japan’s surprise attack, but stopped short of an apology. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 27, 2016)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Trump Was Right to Try to Stop Obama From Tying his Hands on Israel: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 23, 2016—The Egyptian decision to withdraw the one-sided anti-Israel Security Council resolution should not mask the sad reality that it is the Obama administration that has been pushing for the resolution to be enacted.

The UN’s Land Grab in Israel: Barry Shaw, Algemeiner, Dec. 27, 2016—The UN Security Council’s recent vote on Israel was not about “settlements.” It was a ruse to steal parts of Israel by calling these areas “illegally occupied Palestinian territory.”

Reading the Tea Leaves of Trump’s Foreign Policy: Michael Barone, New York Post, Dec. 16, 2016 —What is President-elect Donald Trump up to on foreign policy? It’s a question with no clear answer. Some will dismiss his appointments and tweets as expressing no more than the impulses of an ignorant and undisciplined temperament. Others may recall that similar things were said (by me, as well as many others) about his campaign strategy.

Saving Europe From Itself—Again: Mark Helprin, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 2016—Though Europeans bridle when confronted with the possibility that Americans have something to offer, the Champs Élysées is not called Unter den Linden, and the Thousand-Year Reich and Warsaw Pact are no more…