Month: February 2017


Why Some in Israel Are Wary of Hamas’ New Gaza Boss: Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, Feb. 16, 2017— It seems there has never been a leader of Hamas better known to Israel than Yahya Sinwar, who was chosen this week in an internal process to succeed Ismail Haniyeh as the head of the political wing of the organization in the Gaza Strip.

What Kind of State Would Palestine Be? A Jordan, or an ISIL-Dominated Syria?: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Feb. 22, 2017— What might a Palestinian state look like?

Palestinian Assault on Freedoms: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 16, 2017— A novelist, a journalist and a university professor walk into a bar.

PA Pensions for Terrorists Must be Stopped: Sander Gerber, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2017— On March 8, 2016, Taylor Force, a 28-year-old West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, was visiting Israel with members of his graduate class…


On Topic Links


New Leader, Same Old Terror: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 16, 2017

Holocaust Denial and Distortion: Palestinian Media Watch, 2017

Terrorist Appointed as Mahmoud Abbas’ Deputy, But the World Stays Silent: Sean Durns, Algemeiner, Feb. 24, 2017

The End of Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, Feb. 23, 2017



WHY SOME IN ISRAEL ARE WARY OF HAMAS’ NEW GAZA BOSS                                                   

Ben Caspit

Al-Monitor, Feb. 16, 2017


It seems there has never been a leader of Hamas better known to Israel than Yahya Sinwar, who was chosen this week in an internal process to succeed Ismail Haniyeh as the head of the political wing of the organization in the Gaza Strip. And vice versa: Sinwar spent 22 years in an Israeli prison and was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in the fall of 2011. He speaks Hebrew, is familiar with the ways of Israeli society and knows everything about the Israeli mentality, abilities and sensitivities.


Since Sinwar was chosen, an interview he gave in 2006 to journalist Yoram Binor, in fluent Hebrew, has circulated online: In the interview he said, among other things, “We understand that Israel is sitting on 200 nuclear missiles. … We don’t have the ability to disarm Israel.” A decade ago, Sinwar suffered severe pain in his head, which made him panic. It was Israel that saved his life. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and recovered after emergency surgery at an Israeli hospital. On Feb. 14, an Israeli prison service officer said that at that time Sinwar was panicked, feared for his life and was grateful for the quick and professional medical care he received.


This appreciation has dissipated over the years. Israel views Sinwar as one of the most extreme leaders in the history of Hamas, and many senior Israeli officials fear that his election to head the political arm in Gaza will make Hamas more extreme and contribute to a hastening of the next cycle of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.


Others believe that Sinwar will surprise everyone. “In fact, because he is aware of the limits of force and knows the Israeli side so well, Sinwar will not rush to involve the organization and residents of Gaza in another round of violence,” a senior Israeli security official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “It’s true, his views are very extreme, but his outlook is pragmatic and he is responsible and level-headed. He doesn’t have the spark of madness there is in [Hamas military commander] Mohammed al-Deif.”


Most astonishing, said a senior Israeli security source, is that Sinwar categorically opposed the Shalit deal, even though he was one of the senior Palestinian prisoners who were slated to be released in its framework. “His opposition was so forceful and influential that we had to transfer him to solitary confinement in order to isolate him at the critical moments of the negotiations. We feared his influence would cause head of the military arm Mohammed Jabari not to sign the deal with Israel,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Sinwar thought Israel should release many more prisoners than it did. He was one of the senior Palestinian prisoners and led a rather comfortable life in prison: Thanks to his seniority, Sinwar enjoyed meals cooked for him by other prisoners and sat at the head of the “Usra,” a secret Hamas class that operated in prison, composed of the most senior members, who established and disseminated policy.


Sinwar’s stance regarding Palestinian prisoners is intransigent. According to the Israeli security establishment, Sinwar will rededicate the organization to the capture of Israeli soldiers, knowing that this is the most effective tool Hamas could use against Israel’s military might. “He is a murderer,” a senior Israeli source who knows Sinwar up close told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “The blood of 12 collaborators whom he himself eliminated are on his hands; he planned many terrorist attacks; he is one of the founders of the military arm of Hamas, along with Deif and Salah Shehadeh and others. He led the hawkish and belligerent line against Israel for many years, such that even [Hamas spiritual leader] Sheikh Yassin wanted to calm him down, so that he wouldn’t rise to the top of our wanted list.”


Despite everything outlined above, Israel has a significant estimation of Sinwar’s abilities. “He’s ascetic, very wily; he has a quiet charisma. He doesn’t speak with a loud voice, but when he talks everyone is quiet. He’s an activist, modest, considered very noncorrupt, and is scrupulous about keeping his hands clean [of corruption]. He grew up in the sewers of Khan Yunis [in Gaza], and was one of the architects of the first intifada and one of the founders of the Hamas military arm. Sinwar is a natural leader for Hamas, and I believe that he will draw the military and political arms closer, and even unite them into one body. This is not especially good news,” the Israeli source said.


Until now, the political arm had been considered the moderating side in Hamas in its interactions with Israel. Its leaders have not been eager when it comes to conflicts and wars. Now that Sinwar is taking the reins, these differences could blur significantly, Shin Bet sources told Al-Monitor. The question of whether it is bad or good for Israel remains to be seen. Some in Israel believe it is not necessarily bad. It could be a man like Sinwar who suddenly grasps the bigger picture, not just the next Qassam rocket or attack tunnel. “'You see things differently depending on where you are' is not just an Israeli proverb,” said a high-ranking Israeli source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It may be that Sinwar will actually be the one to restrain the military arm. He knows how to talk with Deif and his brother [Mohammed Sinwar], who is considered one of the senior brigade commanders in Gaza. They will not scare him as they scared Haniyeh. The new situation has a lot of risks, but many opportunities as well.”


The last stages of the negotiations of the Shalit deal were very dramatic. Israel rejected a large portion of the names of senior Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and agreed to release the others on condition that they not be released in the West Bank, where they could reignite the intifada. One of those released to the Gaza Strip was Sinwar. His becoming boss of Gaza is not really surprising to Shin Bet chiefs. While they saw this as a likely scenario, they did not necessarily wish for Sinwar to become the head of the political arm…

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






Father Raymond J. de Souza

National Post, Feb. 22, 2017


What might a Palestinian state look like? Would it look like Jordan or Egypt? Or like Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen? Or Lebanon? Or like Gaza? Those questions are prompting a re-examination of whether a Palestinian state is still the consensus goal it has been for more than two decades.


Last week I reported, on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, about the erosion of the longstanding consensus here in favour of the “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The subsequent comments by President Donald Trump that he would support whatever the parties agreed — one-state or two-state — abandoned America’s 20-year policy of favouring a two-state solution. That solution might have already been abandoned by an accelerating history.


This week Netanyahu is in Australia — the first ever visit of an Israeli prime minister to that longstanding ally — where ahead of his visit the Aussies reiterated their preference for a two-state solution, but also remained open to other options if the parties agreed. Alarmed by this development, two former Labour prime ministers called for Australia to recognize a Palestinian state immediately, hoping to cement the two-state solution as Australian policy. Positions are shifting, because the sands in this region are shifting. More like a sandstorm than a shift. Doubts about establishing a Palestinian state are arising now precisely because it is hard to envisage what an Arab state on the West Bank would look like.


In 2009, Netanyahu himself accepted a two-state solution, primarily by saying what a Palestinian state on the West Bank could not be. It would be entirely demilitarized, with no weaponry, and Israel would maintain control of its airspace and control of the borders. Many Palestinians rejected that vision as lacking the sovereignty, and perhaps even viability, of a real state.


Since then the map of the Arab world has been reconfigured. Indeed, over the last five years the borders of the Middle East, drawn up at the conclusion of the First World War and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, have been effectively erased. Four states — Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen — do not effectively govern within the entirety of their territories. They are still officially recognized as states, but they are no longer recognizable. Egypt has been through two revolutions since the Arab Spring — the first pro-Islamist and the second anti-Islamist — and today has lost effective control over the massive Sinai peninsula, given over to bandits and terrorists. Jordan, long stable and at peace with Israel, has been swamped by Syrian refugees — 20 per cent of its population — and sees chaos across the border in both Syria and Iraq.


An irony of the second Obama administration is that it pushed valiantly for a new Arab state in Palestine while all around existing Arab states were failing or being dismembered. The premise of Palestinian statehood is that it would lead to peace; the reality depends entirely upon what kind of state it would be. And the truth is, no one in the Middle East knows what the borders in the region will look like five years from now.


Indeed, as much as Israel might be leery of what a Palestinian state might look like, the Jordanians are terrified. If the West Bank were to become like Gaza, controlled by Hamas, or like Sinai, effectively a stateless territory, or like parts of Syria and Iraq, under the control of ISIL, or like Lebanon, home to Iranian proxies — the Hashemite Kingdom might not survive. There are many who make the persuasive argument that the alternative to two states — to separation from the Palestinian majority in the West Bank — is an Israel that is no longer Jewish and democratic. That argument’s power is now weakened by the prospect that a putative Palestine state might not be a benign Jordan or a peaceful Egypt, but a cauldron of expansionist violence.


That explains both the diminishing confidence that a Palestinian state could work, and the increasing calls for a regional solution. Perhaps in the reconfigured Middle East, the West Bank could achieve some confederation with Jordan, and Gaza with Egypt, hitching the new state to older, stable ones. Or if the disintegration of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen continues, maybe the entire future of the region lies less in existing nation states, and in broad confederations of city-states and local clans. In that environment, the Palestinians might find themselves without a state but with autonomy in an increasingly stateless region.


The creation of a Palestinian state is implausible while existing neighbours are being destroyed, and even the concept of statehood in the region is eroding. That does make a foreseeable peace agreement less likely. And it requires creative thinking as a new Middle East is being born.





Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 16, 2017


A novelist, a journalist and a university professor walk into a bar. Sounds like a joke, but it stops being funny when these three figures are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) crackdown on public freedoms, above all, freedom of expression. The crackdown is yet more proof of the violent intolerance that the Western-funded PA has long shown its critics.


It is also a sad reminder that more than two decades after the foundation of the PA, Palestinians are as far from democracy as ever. In fact, the Palestinians seem to be marching in the opposite direction — towards establishing a regime that is remarkably reminiscent of the despotic and corrupt Arab and Islamic governments.


PA officials like to boast that Palestinians living under their rule in the West Bank enjoy a great deal of freedom of expression, especially compared to the situation under Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, a good look at the actions of the PA and its various security branches shows that they are not much different than those enforced by Hamas. Sometimes it even seems as if the PA and Hamas are competing to see which one of them can most successfully silence critics and cracks down on journalists. This is the sad reality in which Palestinians living under the rule of these two parties have found themselves. While it is understandable why an extremist Islamic movement like Hamas would seek to muzzle its critics, there is no reason why a PA government funded by Americans and Europeans should not be held accountable for persecuting dissidents and throwing objectors into prison.


By failing — or, more accurately, refusing — to hold the PA accountable for its crackdown on public freedoms, American and European taxpayers actively contribute to the emergence of another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East. Hundreds of Western-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs), operating in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, pay scant attention to the real problems facing Palestinians as a result of the actions of their PA and Hamas governments. The same applies to Western mainstream media and human rights organizations and advocates. This willful neglect by the West encourages the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to continue repressing their own people. There are times, however, when the international community pays attention to the plight of Palestinians: when the complaints concern Israel.  


The PA government bans a Palestinian novel and confiscates copies from bookstores. Where is the outcry? There is none to be heard from the international community – because Israel was not behind the incident. This is what happened last week when the PA Prosecutor-General issued an order banning the novel "Crime in Ramallah" by the author Abbad Yahya under the pretext that it contained "indecent texts and terms that threaten morality and public decency, which could affect the public, in particular minors." Yahya said he was summoned for questioning and his editor, Fuad Al-Aklik, was detained for 24 hours. PA policemen raided several bookshops in a number of Palestinian cities and confiscated all copies. The author, who is on a visit to Qatar, has since received multiple death threats and is afraid to return home.


The decision to ban the novel prompted 99 Palestinian writers, academics and researchers to sign a petition criticizing the PA authorities and calling for rescinding the ban. The petition called on the PA to cancel its punitive measures, which "cause harm to the Palestinians and their struggle for freedom from oppression, dictatorship and censorship." The petition warned that the ban was a "grave breach of freedom of expression and creativity" and creates a situation where authors are forced to practice self-censorship.


The petition signed by the prominent Palestinians does not seem to have left an impression on the PA leadership in Ramallah. Undeterred, PA security forces arrested journalist Sami Al-Sai, from the city of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, for allegedly posting critical comments on Facebook. The PA has accused Al-Sai, who works as a correspondent for a private television station, of "fomenting sectarian strife." This is an accusation that is often leveled against journalists or authors who dare to criticize the PA leadership. A PA court has ordered Al-Sai remanded into custody for 15 days. Protests by some Palestinian journalists against the arrest of their colleague have thus far fallen on deaf ears.


Meanwhile, Palestinian professor Abdel Sattar Qassem, who teaches political science at An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, is facing trial for "extending his tongue" against PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA officials. He is also charged with spreading "fake news" and "fomenting sectarian strife." The decision to prosecute Qassem came following a TV interview where he strongly criticized Abbas and commanders of the PA security forces. Qassem has long been a vocal critic of the PA leadership and as a result he has been arrested on a number of occasions; shots have been fired at his home. These three cases are only the tip of an iceberg of oppression. It is very difficult to distinguish between Mahmoud Abbas's government and the Arab and Islamic dictatorships, where human rights violations and assaults on public freedoms are the established norm. In his despotic behavior, Abbas has also shown himself to be rather akin to his clampdown-prone predecessor, Yasser Arafat…

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




PA PENSIONS FOR TERRORISTS MUST BE STOPPED                                                          

Sander Gerber

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2017


On March 8, 2016, Taylor Force, a 28-year-old West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, was visiting Israel with members of his graduate class from Vanderbilt University when a Palestinian terrorist attacked civilians on the promenade in Jaffa with a knife. Force was killed and 10 others, including a pregnant woman, were wounded. US vice president Joe Biden, who happened to be in Israel on a state visit at the time, said: “The kind of violence we saw yesterday, the failure to condemn it, the rhetoric that incites that violence, the retribution that it generates, has to stop.”


But the rhetoric and the payments for terrorism from the PA have not stopped at all. Abbas’ ruling Fatah party the very next day praised the attacker, Bashar Masalha, as a “hero and martyr,” and added that these attacks will continue as “long as Israel does not believe in a two-state solution and ending its occupation.” Masalha, who was shot and killed by police after he stabbed his last victim, was given a hero’s funeral with thousands in attendance. The PA even criticized Israel for not releasing Masalha’s body in a timelier fashion.


But the truly obscene part of this story is not really Masalha’s killing spree, but the PA ’s legislation to incentivize more terrorists to commit acts of violence against civilians in Israel, a motivation that is all spelled out in its code of law – open for all the world to see. According to Law No. 14, Articles 1 and 2, enacted by the PA in 2004, Masalha’s family will receive a pension for life, amounting to three times the average yearly salary in the West Bank.


The Palestinian government makes absolutely no attempt to hide its rewards for terrorism. In the Amended Palestinian Prisoners Law 19 of 2013, the payments are enhanced for a terrorist who commits a violent act and is jailed. Under law, the longer the sentence (aka the greater the violence), the higher the salary a terrorist receives. Article 4 offers free tuition to the children of those jailed. In Article 6, there is even a clothing allowance and monthly stipend linked to the cost-of-living index. Health insurance is included in Article 4, section 12. Article 5 provides the ultimate bonus: a lifetime pension for a prison term of five years (or only two years in the case of a female terrorist).


As Congress has become aware that the PA is in fact sponsoring terrorism, senators will introduce the Taylor Force Act, which, if passed, will cut off funds to the PA until it revokes its laws supporting terrorism. The bill will be introduced next month in Congress. Why the Israeli government fails to highlight that the PA has legislation incentivizing terrorism, and allocates $315 million, nearly 8% of its budget, to pay terrorists in prison and the families of martyrs, is bewildering. Particularly in the face of one-sided condemnation of Israel at the UN Security Council.


While the Israeli government has begun to criticize the PA for paying terrorists, it has never done anything to stop its policies or demand the closure of the PA Prisons Ministry and Institution for the Care of Martyrs Families, which are ostensibly an institutional barrier to peace: there are over 36,000 people receiving monthly payments from the PA , distributed from these state institutions, rewards for attacking Israel. The PA has named 25 schools throughout the West Bank after terrorist murderers and three honoring Dalal Mughrabi, a member of the Fatah faction of the PLO (the precursor to the PA ), who was part of the group that ambushed a bus near Tel Aviv in 1978. In that “operation,” 38 Israeli citizens were killed, including 13 children. The late Ms. Mughrabi also has a public square, a soccer tournament, a summer camp and a computer center named after her.


Perhaps it is time for Israel to admit that no two-state solution and no peace will ever be achieved if the Palestinian leadership continues to incentivize terrorism against Israel and teach its children to hate and kill Jews. With cash dangling before the eyes of so-called lone wolves, emotions are stirred by racist education and delegitimization; this creates a danger not only to Jews today, but to the possibility of ever reaching a peaceful coexistence, within any borders.




On Topic Links


New Leader, Same Old Terror: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 16, 2017—A manager is not a leader.  The first is a professional whose field is management and whose job it is to see to it that an organization's activities are run intelligently and rationally, allowing the organization to reach its goals as efficiently as possible and achieve optimum results with minimum use of resources.

Holocaust Denial and Distortion: Palestinian Media Watch, 2017—Holocaust desecration, denial, and abuse, have all been components of Palestinian Authority ideology.

Terrorist Appointed as Mahmoud Abbas’ Deputy, But the World Stays Silent: Sean Durns, Algemeiner, Feb. 24, 2017—On February 15, Fatah appointed Mahmoud Al-Aloul as a deputy and possible successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Unfortunately, just like Abbas, Mr. Al-Aloul is a terrorist who has condoned violence against Israelis. And unsurprisingly, the global media — which seems uninterested in reporting unflattering stories about the Palestinians — has largely ignored the news of his selection.

The End of Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage, Feb. 23, 2017—Palestine is many things. A Roman name and a Cold War lie. Mostly it’s a justification for killing Jews. Palestine was an old Saudi-Soviet scam which invented a fake nationality for the Arab clans who had invaded and colonized Israel.








Syria – the Beginning of the End?: Sarit Zehavi, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 15, 2017— In the past two months, several things happened in Syria that oblige us to examine the question of where this five-year civil war is going.

Pitting Russia Against Iran in Syria? Get Over It: Frederick W. Kagan, Fox News, Feb. 15, 2017— Faced with the Syrian debacle, Trump administration officials, among others, claim that the U.S. can exploit the weakness of the growing strategic coalition between Russia and Iran…

Trump’s Bid to Keep Syrian Refugees Safe — at Home: Benny Avni, New York Post, Feb. 8, 2017— President Trump’s refugee restrictions dominated days’ worth of news cycles, but it’s only half of his approach to Syria.

Syrian Refugees Are the New Jews. So Who Are the Nazis?: Lee Smith, Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017— For the last week, protestors have been filling American airports from JFK to LAX…


On Topic Links


Iraq Takes the Fight Against ISIS to Syria: Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 24, 2017

The Fall of Aleppo: Fabrice Balanche, Middle East Forum, Feb. 7, 2017

A Journey Through Assad's Syria: Fritz Schaap, Spiegel, Feb. 20, 2017

Syria and the Failure of the Multicultural American Left: Yoav Fromer, Tablet, Feb. 12, 2017



                                                Sarit Zehavi                            

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 15, 2017


In the past two months, several things happened in Syria that oblige us to examine the question of where this five-year civil war is going. Namely the fall of Aleppo, followed by the cease-fire declaration and the peace talks in Astana. Seemingly, the talks are just another failed attempt at halting the fighting while the regime and the Russians continue to attack areas and organization that have signed on to the cease-fire. Despite this, why is it that we are now able to point to a changing trend in contrast with the previous cease-fires that were signed?…


Much has been written on the numerous deaths that have resulted from Russian and Syrian bombing. Aleppo was the symbol of this carnage. But very little has been written about the implications of the convoys of buses that evacuated the rebels and their families from the city and the resulting demographic and geopolitical ramifications. The fall of Aleppo symbolizes Syrian President Bashar Assad’s victory. This was the largest city in Syria, with some 2.5 million inhabitants prior to the civil war. Aleppo possesses a history and heritage dating back thousands of years; it is in fact one of the world’s most ancient cities.


Up until the beginning of the 20th century, it was considered to be the commercial center for the region lying between Mesopotamia in northern Iraq and the Mediterranean. However the city descended from its high position over the past several decades, mainly due to the development of alternative commercial routes as Damascus evolved into the capital of the A-Sham (Levant) region.


Aleppo residents were primarily Sunni, while the city also had a Christian quarter. The city’s demographics reflect a process that all of Syria underwent prior to the civil war. The Sunni population has grown significantly over the years. However, this sizable population lived in poverty and oppression. This is in contrast with only a moderate increase in the population of the minorities. Thus, the Sunnis became an absolute majority in the country, and therefore endangered the coalition of minorities headed by the dictatorship of the Alawite Assad family.


As in many cases of revolutions in history, the phenomenon of people taking to the streets is linked with socioeconomic conditions among others; often, this serves as fertile ground for the sprouting of ideological, religious and other conflicts. In mostly Sunni Aleppo, with the city’s magnificent history etched in the DNA of its residents, the poor neighborhoods rebelled, while the revolutionary movements were much less successful in the rich neighborhoods.


After a sustained siege of the city’s rebel- controlled quarters and virtually indiscriminate killing of citizens, the largest human evacuation of the Syrian war took place in Aleppo. In an interview with Fatma, the mother of Bana, a seven-year-old girl who last year told the entire world of the happenings in Aleppo via Twitter, she said: “I left my soul there, they make us leave our country. I don’t want to be like a refugee in other countries.” From Fatma’s words it appears that she doesn’t envision the possibility of returning to Aleppo in the foreseeable future. The evacuation of Aleppo residents, under UN protection, is not really aimed at saving their lives; rather, it is aimed at vacating the city of its Sunni rebel residents and bringing about a change in its demographic composition.


A website identified with the Syrian opposition’s Southern Front (Al-Jabha al-Janoubiya) aptly described it this way: “Control of this historic and important city…has been taken by Iran, the Persian state, together with the Assad regime. This conquest is of a totally clannish hue.” Even if it is not entirely clear how many Sunnis remain in Aleppo, the tour of the city’s streets by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Suleimani after the city’s fall only strengthens this perception. This method was also used in other areas of Syria prior to the fall of Aleppo. However, it was particularly effective after the city’s collapse because Aleppo has become a model. That being the case, the war in Syria has not ended with the fall of Aleppo as there are highly active pockets of resistance in the large cities.


However, the fall of the city enables the regime to fulfill its goal in a far more methodical and easy manner – to bring about a demographic change in Syria and create a 50-100 km. wide “strip” in western Syria, from north to south. The strip comprises the large cities, which would have a less than 50% Sunni minority facing a coalition of minorities headed by Shi’ites of different varieties. Thus, for example, Shi’ites were settled in villages along the Syria-Lebanon border from which Sunnis were expelled/evacuated in order to create a Shi’ite continuity between the Lebanese Bekaa Valley and Shi’ite villages on the Syrian side of the border. Several Arab sources have coined the term “La Syria Utile” for this policy, taken from the term used by the French Mandate following the First World War.


In his speech of July 2015, prior to Russia’s intervention in the fighting, President Assad stated: “The Syrian army must withdraw from certain areas in order to protect other, more important areas.” Then, Assad was ready to temporally forgo Aleppo as part of this policy to ensure his control in western Syria, however Russian intervention two months later allowed him to expand the boundaries of his ethnic cleansing and include Aleppo…

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






Frederick W. Kagan

Fox News, Feb. 15, 2017


Faced with the Syrian debacle, Trump administration officials, among others, claim that the U.S. can exploit the weakness of the growing strategic coalition between Russia and Iran, ultimately using Russia to contain Iran in Syria and throughout the Middle East. The Obama administration had this idea too, and it remains wrong. Circumstances could arise that might split the partners, but American outreach to Moscow won’t do it. A bigger question for the U.S. right now is whether we can prevent other nations vital to our interests from shifting toward the new Russian-Iranian orbit.


There are reasons why the Russia-vs-Iran fantasy is attractive. Historical tension between Iran and Russia is real, and neither state knows how to be a good ally. Russia sees itself as a superpower and disdains to treat other states as equals. Iran sees itself as the natural hegemon of the Middle East and leader of the vast Shi’a Muslim denomination. Marginalization and persecution of Shi’as over the centuries makes it hard for the Islamic Republic to trust outside powers. Tehran also has had tensions with Russia over Caspian Sea resources and oil.


Thinking too much about these historical disagreements, however, obscures the deep commonality of aims shared by Moscow and Tehran–driving the U.S. from the Middle East being the chief of these common goals. Iran’s leaders constantly assert that the Middle East should be free of the influence of outside powers. They never point that argument at Russia or China, but rather at the U.S., Britain, and their allies. Russia’s leaders and doctrines assert that the U.S. must abandon its position as a global power and yield to a multipolar world order in which Russia is its equal.


Russia and Iran also share allies and goals around their periphery. Both back Armenia over Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Russia has kept a military base in Armenia since the end of the Cold War, while Iran fears that Azerbaijan could attempt to stir up separatism within Iran’s large Azeri population. Both seek stability in Afghanistan and prefer to work with local Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras rather than Pashtuns. Both have, however, worked with, and even supported, Taliban factions when it suited them.


Only extreme circumstances will split the Russo-Iranian coalition in Syria—if the Assad regime faces defeat, or the pro-regime coalition succeeds enough that it can move on to consider its next goals. Neither is likely. Vladimir Putin would give up on Bashar al Assad long before Ayatollah Khamenei would, but right now Putin needs an Alawite government like Assad’s to let him keep his new military base on the Mediterranean. Ayatollah Khamenei needs the Assad regime to give the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force and its Hezbollah allies a secure rear-area from which to confront Israel. Russia needs Iran in Syria at least as badly as Iran needs Russia.


The Assad regime and army are kept alive artificially by tens of thousands of Iranian, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shi’a militia, and Afghan and Pakistani militia troops, all provided, paid for and commanded by Iranians. The Russians neither can, nor would, replace these forces with their own. If the Russians agreed to drive the Iranians from Syria, the Assad regime and Russia’s position would collapse. Russian and Iranian aims in the region diverge significantly on two points. The Islamic Republic is committed to destroying Israel and containing or collapsing Saudi power. Moscow shares neither goal. But Moscow has done nothing to protest or contain Iran’s harassment of Israel using Hezbollah and Hamas.


The Russians have also reached out to the Saudis and Gulf states to mitigate damage their support for Iran has done to their position in the region. Moscow would prefer a Sunni power to balance Iran, where Tehran prefers unquestioned hegemony. There is some surprising overlap even in this divergent effort, however. Egypt is drifting away from the Saudi bloc and toward Moscow and even Tehran. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi voted for Russian initiatives in Syria at the U.N. and even sent a small number of Egyptian troops to Syria on behalf of the Russo-Iranian coalition.


The Iranians have no quarrel with Sisi, and have never directed against him the kind of vitriol they reserve for the Saudis and their Gulf Arab allies. Russia and Iran may, in fact, come to see Cairo as a mutually acceptable contender for leadership of the Sunni Arabs in the region at the expense of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. This would be a formidable new challenge to American strategy and statecraft. American policy-makers must get past facile statements about the supposed limits of Russian and Iranian cooperation and back to the serious business of furthering our own interests in a tumultuous region. The Russo-Iranian coalition will no doubt eventually fracture, as most interest-based coalitions ultimately do. Conditions in the Middle East and the world, however, offer no prospect of such a development any time soon.





Benny Avni

New York Post, Feb. 8, 2017


President Trump’s refugee restrictions dominated days’ worth of news cycles, but it’s only half of his approach to Syria. The other half is designed to keep Syrians from becoming refugees in the first place. The idea of creating “safe zones” in Syria was high on the agenda Wednesday when Trump spoke on the phone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish sources tell me the two leaders didn’t get into details, but CIA Director Mike Pompeo will visit Turkey on Thursday to try to flesh it out.


Trump vowed back in November to build “a big beautiful safe zone,” where, he said, Syrian refugees will “have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier.” And in his first week at the White House, he once again promised to “absolutely do safe zones in Syria.” That’s where Erdogan comes in. He’s long advocated carving out an area in Syria where refugees can feel safe under Turkish protection and stem the tide of migrants into neighboring Turkey and on to continental Europe.


But President Obama shot the idea down. He was wary of any serious American involvement in the Syrian crisis, and, just as importantly, he had soured on Erdogan by the time the idea was broached. That was a big change from early in his presidency, when Obama consulted Erdogan more than any other regional leader and cited Turkey as proof that democracy can flourish under an Islamist ruler.


Erdogan liked to brag about Turkey’s foreign-policy doctrine of “no problems” with its neighbors, but even Obama eventually woke up to the reality that Turkey was in fact at war with each of its neighbors — and that Erdogan methodically suffocated Turkey’s democracy. Erdogan, meanwhile, was angry with Obama for supporting the YPG, a Kurdish faction that became our only fighting ally in Syria. (Turkey considers it a terrorist organization.)


For better or worse, Trump’s leadership style prioritizes transactional realism over America’s traditional moralism. As such, he might have more patience with authoritarians like Erdogan. Erdogan is also working with Vladimir Putin on Syria because, with Iran, Russia is the most powerful foreign actor in the conflict. And Putin doesn’t necessarily oppose creating humanitarian safe zones. And why not? Half of Syria’s population is homeless. Its neighbors — Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey — carry most of the burden of handling the refugees.


And they’re exhausted. Europe is facing a populist backlash against its permissive refugee resettlement. Same here, though Obama took in just a minuscule number of Syrians to begin with. Hence, despite the obvious challenges in getting under control a bloody civil war that has so far killed a half-million, keeping Syrians in Syria is starting to look like it’s worth the effort. With nearly 2 million Syrians in camps inside Turkey, Erdogan would love to move them back into Turkish-controlled areas inside Syria. Meanwhile, Trump could answer critics of his immigration ban: Safe zones, he’ll argue, will alleviate the humanitarian crisis better than taking in asylum seekers.


The catch: Moscow, always fearing an American occupation and US military “mission creep,” won’t bless any of this before seeing the details. Ah, the details. “We have in history different examples of safe zones, and some of them were tragic,” new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said recently. Specifically, the United Nations is traumatized by Srebrenica, a supposedly “safe” zone in Bosnia, where in one 1995 week, 8,000 Muslims were massacred as UN guards helplessly watched. Would anyone have better luck in similarly bloody Syria? Can any zone, no matter how well guarded, be completely safe? Also, occupying a slice of Syria could turn expensive and bloody. Trump indicated that Gulf states would finance the project. Turkey, which already occupies parts of northern Syria, would shoulder most of the military burden. But America would still need to take a larger military and diplomatic role, which was more than Obama was willing to do.


Done right, safe zones could ease one of the biggest challenges the Syrian war presents to the West. Yes, it’s a complex operation, but not necessarily undoable. Question is, can Trump (or more likely Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis and the rest of the team) work out the details? Because, good or bad, no idea will succeed unless it’s well-planned and well-executed. For that to happen, the chaotic early days of the Trump presidency will have to give way to competence and order — and soon.





Lee Smith

Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017


For the last week, protestors have been filling American airports from JFK to LAX, demonstrating against President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban”—the executive order that in fact suspends for 90 days the issuance of visas to seven countries that are either major state sponsors of terror, or failed states without functioning governments where terror groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida, and their various off-shoots are flourishing. But the EO also suspends indefinitely the issuance of visas for Syrian refugees. And the opinion of protesters, as well as much of the press, is that Syrian refugees are like the Jews—fleeing genocide in search of safe shores: How can we have forgotten the past so completely that we deny entry to those whose suffering and want must serve as a reminder of our past failures to protect others, like the Jews that America so coldly turned away in the 1930s and 1940s?


In December, my Tablet colleague James Kirchick warned that “invoking the Holocaust for contemporary political debates is an inherently tricky business.” Nonetheless, it’s become the consensus take in the media, as seen with The Washington Post, Politico, Cokie Roberts on “Morning Joe,” and, of course, The New York Times, including a signature Nicholas Kristof column arguing that “Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl.” Former President Barack Obama may have been among the first to make the comparison. In a December 2015 address to newly minted American citizens, Obama said: “In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II.” Obama’s conviction that the suffering of Syrian refugees is directly similar to that of Europe’s Jews is perhaps why he appointed his former top lieutenant Ben Rhodes to the Holocaust Memorial Council, responsible for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Maybe Rhodes will ensure that the Museum commemorates the trials of the Syrian people, a people who suffered, as the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis, at the hands of…


Wait, at whose hands did the Syrian people suffer something like genocide? If they are like European Jews fleeing the Nazis, then who are the Nazis? In the various articles, statements, tweets, Facebook posts making explicit comparisons between Syrian refugees and Jewish refugees, no one, it seems, has bothered to identify the agents responsible for the murder, suffering, and dislocation of so many Syrians. So where are the Nazis? Who are they? It has to be Trump. Well, it is true that the new president has indefinitely suspended issuing visas to Syrian refugees, but the Nazis didn’t simply turn Jews away, they murdered them—and the analogy was popular well before Trump became President. Trump is rather more like FDR in this scenario, the American president who refused to provide sanctuary for victims of a genocidal regime.


So who has actually been exterminating Syrians—Syrian men, women, children and the elderly—as if they were insects, as the Nazis exterminated Jews? It is true that ISIS murders Christians and other minorities and has also killed members of its own Sunni sect, but the vast majority of those who have been murdered in Syria are Sunni Arabs. The Sunnis have been the target of a campaign of sectarian cleansing and slaughter since the earliest days of the nearly six-year-long Syrian conflict. The Sunnis therefore also make up the preponderance of those seeking refuge the world over, from Turkey and Lebanon, to Europe and North America.


At first, the Sunnis were fleeing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but Assad has become a relatively insignificant factor in the war. In this scenario, Assad is rather like Mussolini, a dictator in charge of incompetent and dwindling forces incapable of holding ground. The Alawite sect (around 11 precent of a country with a pre-war population of 22 million) that Assad depended on for his survival was too small to ensure his survival against the country’s Sunni majority, 74 percent of the population, 80 percent of which are Sunni Arab. Hence, Assad needed to mobilize his allies, especially the regime’s chief protector, the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Iran sent in its crack troops, the Quds Force, led by Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ expeditionary unit. Also at Iran’s disposal was a large number of regional organizations, ranging from the elite Lebanese militia Hezbollah to less prestigious fighting outfits, like Iranian-backed paramilitary groups from Iraq, or ragtag bands of Shia fighters recruited from Afghanistan and Pakistan and trained by Iran. It was these groups, later joined by Russia, that hunted Sunni Arabs like animals and slaughtered them or sent them running for their lives. These are the Nazis. That’s who sent the Syrians running for their lives like Jews fleeing Hitler.


It is terrible that Syrian refugees are suffering. It is wrong that the Trump Administration has cruelly shut America’s doors on children who have known nothing in their short lives except to run from the jaws of a machine of death. But America’s shame is much, much worse than that. For in securing his chief foreign policy initiative, Barack Obama made billions of dollars and American diplomatic and military cover available to Iran, which it has used to wage a genocidal war against Syria’s Sunni Arab population.


Not only have we failed so far to protect today’s Jews by stopping today’s Nazis, the 44th president of the United States assisted them in their campaign of mass murder. That’s why when people liken Syrian refugees to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, no one dares to complete the analogy and identify today’s Nazis—it’s Iran. America’s shame is worse than anything that the protesters at airports imagine. Donald Trump is a latecomer who has arrived mid-way through the final act of a tragedy which has been unfolding for the past five years, and in which the US has been something more than an idle or disinterested bystander. The refugees are real, the genocide they are fleeing is real, and the Nazis are also real. What we have done is unspeakable.




On Topic Links


Iraq Takes the Fight Against ISIS to Syria: Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 24, 2017—Iraq’s air force on Friday carried out its first-ever strikes against Islamic State in neighboring Syria, the country’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, marking a dramatic escalation in its effort to roll back the insurgency by pounding a sanctuary across the border.

The Fall of Aleppo: Fabrice Balanche, Middle East Forum, Feb. 7, 2017—The fall of Aleppo was a turning point in the Syrian civil war. In an impressive feat, the Russian-backed Syrian army dealt a crushing blow to the rebel forces, driving many of them to entertain a compromise with the Assad regime.

A Journey Through Assad's Syria: Fritz Schaap, Spiegel, Feb. 20, 2017—On an icy January evening in eastern Aleppo, a grotesque scene of destruction, five men are standing around a fire in a battered oil drum in a butcher's shop.

Syria and the Failure of the Multicultural American Left: Yoav Fromer, Tablet, Feb. 12, 2017—Among the countless heartbreaking images that came out of the earthly inferno of Aleppo, one remains particularly haunting: that of a grief-stricken mother cradling the lifeless body of her child emerging out of the rubble and raising her face to the heavens in a deafening cry of despair. The human tragedy in the war-ravaged Syrian city mercilessly bombarded by Russian jets operating in the service of Bashar Assad was so disturbing because it was so familiar.





What’s Behind the Rash of Anti-Semitic Incidents?: Ian Tuttle, National Review, Feb. 23, 2017— On Monday, for the fourth time since the beginning of the year, bomb threats shut down multiple Jewish Community Centers across the country.

Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism: Alan M. Dershowitz, Algemeiner, Feb. 22, 2017— In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel’s fault that there is “growing anti-Semitism around the world.”

Jews Under Assault in Europe: Robbie Travers, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 22, 2017— Antonio Tajani, the new President of the European Parliament, has made a bold opening statement of intent: "No Jew should be forced to leave Europe."

Why a New Academic Discipline of Post-Holocaust Studies Should Be Established and What Its Content Should Be: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, JCPA, Feb. 22, 2017— Scholarship about the Holocaust has come a long way…


On Topic Links


The Disturbing History of Vandalizing Jewish Cemeteries: Kayla Epstein, Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2017

What’s Behind Wave of Anti-Semitic Violence in US? Jewish Rabbi Explains One Possible Theory: Jon Street, The Blaze, Feb. 13, 2017

If You Want to Understand Why the Arab World is Such a Disaster you Better Watch This (Video): Israel Video Network, Jan. 31, 2017

Anti-Semitic Incidents in the U.K. Reached All-Time Highs in 2016: Report: Jonathan Zalman, Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017



WHAT’S BEHIND THE RASH OF ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS?                                                              

Ian Tuttle                                

National Review, Feb. 23, 2017         


On Monday, for the fourth time since the beginning of the year, bomb threats shut down multiple Jewish Community Centers across the country. The calls are the latest in a series: Sixty-nine threats have been called into 54 Jewish Community Centers in 27 states and a Canadian province since January 1, according to the JCC Association of North America. Meanwhile, also on Monday, vandals toppled nearly 200 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.


Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Europe for several years. In April 2015, Jeffrey Goldberg penned a long essay for The Atlantic entitled “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?” In the final paragraph, he wrote: “I am predisposed to believe that there is no great future for the Jews in Europe, because evidence to support this belief is accumulating so quickly.” But the prospect of rising anti-Semitism in the United States, which does not share Europe’s tragic history, seems different — and perhaps, for that reason, even more troubling.


Taking that increase for granted, commentators have been quick to pin the blame on Donald Trump. After a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on Tuesday, Trump said in prepared remarks: “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” This, according to Vox’s Dara Lind, is not nearly enough. “It was a fairly rote condemnation of an attack on a minority group, the sort of thing that presidents do all the time,” Lind wrote. “But despite his claim that he denounces anti-Semitism ‘whenever I get a chance,’ until this point, Trump simply hasn’t.” Lind points to Trump’s dalliance with the alt-right, his initial refusal to disavow former KKK leader David Duke, and his White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement (which made no mention of Jews) to suggest a pattern of silence that has encouraged anti-Semitic violence.


But the extent of the increase — let alone Donald Trump’s role in it — remains unclear. The most reliable data on hate crimes comes from the FBI, which shows that the number of people victimized for their religion declined dramatically from 2010 to 2014: from 1,552 victims to 1,140 victims, or by 36 percent. The number of victims of anti-Jewish bias declined similarly: from 1,039 to 648 victims, or by 38 percent. The FBI then records an uptick in 2015, to 1,402 total victims and 730 victims of anti-Jewish bias.


The FBI has not released statistics for 2016, without which it is difficult to determine whether we are seeing a trend or a temporary blip, and other indicators further complicate the picture. The Anti-Defamation League, which keeps its own statistics (on “anti-Jewish incidents,” a metric broader than the FBI’s) reported 941 incidents in 2015, a 3 percent increase over 2014. But 2014’s 912 incidents represented a 21 percent increase over 2013. The Gaza war was responsible for much of that surge; the two months of the 2014 military engagement saw 255 separate incidents, compared with 110 during July and August 2013. The sharp spike in anti-Semitic incidents during the Gaza war is noteworthy. It both supports and cuts against the charges being leveled against Trump. The episode reinforces the notion that that short-term news events can occasion violence. But the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitism during the Gaza war were not the Trump-supporting white supremacists upon whom the recent violence is being blamed.


One final set of data is worth considering. In New York City, 28 anti-Semitic hate crimes were reported by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force between January 1 and February 12, 2017 — more than double the number reported over the same period last year (13). Last year, the city saw a 31 percent increase in hate crimes between January 1 and the beginning of December, including a 115 percent increase in the three weeks following Election Day (43, compared with 20 during the same period the previous year). Mayor Bill de Blasio has not hesitated to blame the president: “You can’t have a candidate for president single out groups of Americans, negatively, and not have some ramifications for that,” de Blasio said in December. “It’s obviously connected to the election.” The number of total hate crimes is likely to hover around 400, which would be the largest total since at least 2008. However, the numbers have fluctuated wildly before this. From 2011 to 2012, hate crimes increased by 54.5 percent (from 242 to 375). Obviously, Donald Trump had nothing to do with this.


The parallel ascent of Donald Trump and vile elements of right-wing politics has, indeed, been alarming. Long before the mainstream media became interested, conservative opponents of Trump found themselves targets of a repulsive fringe. A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, released in October, identified 2.6 million tweets “containing language frequently found in anti-Semitic speech” between August 2015 and July 2016. The top ten most-targeted journalists — among whom were Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg, and Bethany Mandel — accounted for 83 percent of those tweets. I have written on multiple occasions about the moral rot of the alt-right, and lamented the way Trump indulged it. That he chose as his closest adviser Steve Bannon, whose Breitbart trafficked in racial divisiveness, is deeply worrying.


However, the hard evidence is not yet in, and responsible commentators would do well to be patient. Regrettably, many on the left have leapt on the news for partisan purposes. Taking a cue from de Blasio and Vox, Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman and prospective Democratic National Committee chairman, recently tweeted: “Why has it taken [Donald Trump] so long to even say the word ‘anti-Semitism?’ Perhaps it has something to do with placating his base?” Likewise, some have thrilled to the pronouncement of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect that “the Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.” Its director, Steven Goldstein, called Trump’s statement “pathetic” during a CNN interview on Tuesday evening.


Few have bothered to note that the Anne Frank Center describes itself as “a progressive voice for social justice”; that Goldstein has spent the bulk of his career heading Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide organization promoting same-sex marriage; or that the Center has never played any significant part in Holocaust-remembrance activities in the U.S. Likewise, the denunciations of Keith Ellison — who was a longtime member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, from which he did not distance himself until he ran for Congress in 2006 — ring hollow, as do those from progressives who cheer Linda Sarsour (an organizer of January’s Women’s March who has championed anti-Israel terrorism) or the grotesqueries of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement…

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





Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 21, 2017


In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel’s fault that there is “growing anti-Semitism around the world.” Balfour — who is a descendant of Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago — wrote the following: “the increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing anti-Semitism around the world.” He argued further that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “owes it to the millions of Jews around the world” who suffer antisemitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.


This well-intentioned but benighted view is particularly ironic, in light of the fact that the Balfour Declaration had, as one of its purposes, to end antisemitism around the world by creating a homeland for the Jewish people. But now the scion of Lord Balfour is arguing that it is Israel that is causing antisemitism. Roderick Balfour’s views are simply wrong, both as a matter of fact and as a matter of morality. Anyone who hates Jews “around the world” because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext. Modern-day antisemites, unlike their forbears, need to find excuses for their hatred, and anti-Zionism has become the excuse de jure.


To prove the point, let us consider other countries: Has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China’s occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey’s unwillingness to end the conflict in Cyprus? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia’s invasion of Crimea?  The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the antisemites rather than on the nation-state of the Jewish people.


Moreover, Benjamin Netanyahu’s responsibility is to the safety and security of Israelis. Even if it were true that antisemitism is increasing as the result of Israeli policies, no Israeli policy should ever be decided based on the reaction of bigots around the world. Antisemitism, the oldest of bigotries, will persist as long as it is seen to be justified by apologists like Roderick Balfour. Though Balfour does not explicitly justify antisemitism, the entire thrust of his letter is that Jew-hatred is at least understandable in light of Israel’s policies.


Balfour doesn’t say a word about the unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to accept Israel’s repeated offers of statehood. From 1938 through 2008, the Palestinians have been offered and have repeatedly rejected agreements that would have given them statehood. Even today, the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Netanyahu’s offer to sit down and negotiate a final status agreement without any pre-conditions. Nor does Balfour mention Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorists groups that constantly threaten Israel, along with Iran’s publicly declared determination to destroy the state that Lord Balfour helped to create. It’s all Israel’s fault, according to Balfour, and the resulting increase in antisemitism is Israel’s fault, as well.


Roderick Balfour ends his letter by essentially joining the boycott movement against Israel. He has declared his unwillingness to participate in the Centenary Celebration of the Balfour Declaration, until and unless Israel takes unilateral action to end the conflict. So be it. I am confident that the author of the Balfour Declaration would have willingly participated in this celebration, recognizing that no country in history has ever contributed more to the world – in terms of medical, technological, environmental and other innovations — in so short a period of time (69 years) than has Israel. Nor has any country, faced with comparable threats, ever been more generous in its offers of peace, more committed to the Rule of Law or more protective of civilians who are used as human shields by those who attack its own civilians.


So let the Celebration of the Balfour Declaration go forward without the participation of Roderick Balfour. Let Israel continue to offer a peaceful resolution to its conflict with the Palestinians. And let the Palestinians finally come to the bargaining table, and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in the way that the Balfour Declaration intended.





Robbie Travers

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 22, 2017


Antonio Tajani, the new President of the European Parliament, has made a bold opening statement of intent: "No Jew should be forced to leave Europe." While this is an admirable position to hold, it sadly could not be farther from the truth. The poison of anti-Semitism festers in Europe once again. Europe is seeing yet again another rise in the number of Jews leaving the continent. Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (IJPR), notes that the number of Jews leaving France is "unprecedented."


The results of the study show that 4% of the French and Belgian Jewish populations had emigrated those countries to reside in Israel. The IJPR attributes this demographic transformation to the inflow of migrants from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Is this really surprising? Sadly, when individuals come from nations that have culturally a high dislike of Jews, many of these immigrants might hold anti-Semitic views that eventually get spread.


In France, anti-Semitic incidents more than doubled between 2014 and 2015, from 423 reported incidents to 851. From January to July, anti-Semitic incidents in the UK increased by 11% according to the UK's Common Security Trust. And this prejudice is increasing. With such spikes in Jew-hatred, is it surprising that Jews are leaving Europe? Equally concerning is Europe's blindness to this anti-Semitism.


Recently, a German court decided that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal was only the expression of "anti-Israeli sentiment." Really? Why, then, was not the Israeli embassy attacked rather than a synagogue whose worshippers presumably were not Israeli? The worshippers were German. What happened in the German court was pure Nazi-think: the most undisguised anti-Semitism: that Jews supposedly are not Germans. The old wine of pure anti-Semitism is now dressed up in new "politically correct" bottles of criticism of Israel. At heart, however, it is your grandmother's same old Jew-hate, much of it still based on racist tropes. The Jews in that firebombed synagogue were German nationals and may have had absolutely no links to Israel. They do however, have a connection to Judaism.


The German court actually ruled that attacking a place where Jews worship is somehow different from attacking Jews. Your pet slug would not believe that. Meanwhile, another German Court again rejected an action against your friendly neighborhood "sharia police." In Germany, it seems, burning down synagogues is merely "anti-Israeli" even if there are no Israelis there, but "police" who use Islamic sharia law — without legal authority and within a system of law that persecutes women, Christians, Jews and others — are acceptable and legal. And people cannot understand why Jews are leaving Europe?


Even though German authorities evidently struggle to identify anti-Semitism, the Israeli government claims there has been a 50% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany just since 2015. Jew-hatred in Europe is spreading to the workplace and the hubs of supposedly enlightened discourse: universities. At Goldsmith's University, students scrawled on a public feedback board that they wanted "No more David Hirsch, no more Zionism — a bitter Jew." The message and tone here is clear: Jews are not welcome. The suggestion that academics would also not be welcome because of their religion is deeply worrying and should be unacceptable.


Goldsmith's have since condemned the action, but it is telling that someone felt he could comfortably post such anti-Jewish abuse. The anti-Semitism facing Jews at UK universities led the Baroness Deech to declare British University campuses "no-go zones" for Jews. Students at Exeter University wear T-shirts glorifying the Holocaust; the Labour Party Chair at Oxford University commendably resigned over members calling Auschwitz a "cash cow" and mocking the mourners of the Paris terrorist attacks; SOAS University is under investigation for lectures likening Zionism to Nazism and delusionally arguing that it was Zionists who were conspiring to increase anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to leave the UK and go to Israel.


The Israeli government also believes there was an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Britain by 62%. While it is praiseworthy that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has backed and adopted a new definition of anti-Semitism to attempt to deal with the rising hate crime, simply defining and identifying anti-Semitism is only the start. It is also necessary to start tackling the anti-Semitic attitudes of Islamic communities across Europe and the attitudes of immigrants coming to our nations. What needs to be made clear is that you are welcome here as long as you respect Jews, Christians and all others, as well.





  Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

JCPA, Feb. 22, 2017


Scholarship about the Holocaust has come a long way since Gerhard Reitlinger wrote in 1953 The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945 and since Raul Hilberg wrote his 1961 seminal book The Destruction of the European Jews. It took several decades after the end of World War II until scholars realized that there was a need for a new multidisciplinary area of study called Holocaust studies or Holocaust research. By now this scholarly field has been consolidated for at least twenty-five years. Previously there had been individual publications on various aspects of the Holocaust in several disciplines. These included history, politics, theology, law, ethics, psychology, literature, and many others. However, for many years the study of the Holocaust was not viewed as a single multidisciplinary area.


Describing and analyzing the Holocaust, a unique genocide, requires many disciplines. A full understanding of how to interpret the events of the Holocaust, however, is obtainable only when these studies are combined into a single field of scholarship. Nowadays, whether standing alone or combined with genocide studies, Holocaust research is a well-established international field of study, most certainly among its practitioners. It has become an academic discipline in itself. There is also a wide range of books and studies in many fields on the impact of the Holocaust on postwar societies. Some of these are considered part of Holocaust studies, others not necessarily. It is my recommendation here that post-Holocaust studies become a new field of research.


There are also very significant individual impacts of the Holocaust in the post-Holocaust era. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a direct result of the Holocaust as is the United Nations Genocide Convention. Admittedly the two areas of Holocaust studies and post-Holocaust studies are linked and somewhat interwoven. Their overlap, however, is far smaller than what separates them. Presenting an overview of post-Holocaust studies is at this stage impossible. The best one can do is offer a synopsis of issues that could be included in the post-Holocaust field. The hope is that such an approach will help initiate the systematic study of the area. Furthermore, due to the huge number of more or less isolated publications in the field of post-Holocaust studies, any article on the overall subject at this stage is likely to be fragmented as well as very incomplete. Nor can it pretend to be a critical analysis. That will require many years of focused research.


One prominent multidisciplinary subject that belongs to post-Holocaust studies concerns survivors and their experience in postwar societies. The wartime history of survivors is part of Holocaust studies. Yet their postwar migration, how survivors were accepted in the societies they returned to or where they lived as immigrants, the way in which they rebuilt their lives, the degree to which they came back from the abyss, their contribution to these societies, the treatment of their traumas, and the description of the organizations that collect their testimonies are all topics whose place is in post-Holocaust studies.


Other topics in this broad category include the study of child survivors. These – and I am one of them – have become the last witnesses of Nazi persecution. Many of the pupils of postwar Jewish schools in countries occupied by the Germans were child survivors. As a result, it is likely that the atmosphere in Jewish schools in the postwar period differed significantly from other schools in those countries – even more so than in the case of Jewish schools before the war. Children who lived in German camps for Displaced Persons had a very different youth from German children. It is somewhat ironic that children in DP camps went to an entirely Jewish school when outside these camps hardly any Jews remained in Germany.


Another related topic concerns organizations that have been established to provide support for second-generation Holocaust survivors. An example is the Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees established by French lawyer Serge Klarsfeld. Comparable organizations exist in several other countries. Yet is what Elie Wiesel said about the second generation true – that by listening to witnesses one becomes a witness? And if so, are some memories of child survivors what they lived through or what they heard?…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


The Disturbing History of Vandalizing Jewish Cemeteries: Kayla Epstein, Washington Post, Feb. 21, 2017—The vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri has caused an uproar after more than 170 headstones were toppled at the historical burial site. There had been several waves of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers in recent weeks, but the recent acts against the cemetery have raised serious alarm and garnered the most prominent media attention yet.

What’s Behind Wave of Anti-Semitic Violence in US? Jewish Rabbi Explains One Possible Theory: Jon Street, The Blaze, Feb. 13, 2017—In the last month alone, at least 27 Jewish Community Centers in cities across the country, spanning 17 states, received calls with bomb threats, forcing them to evacuate their facilities and disrupting their day-to-day lives. Then, earlier this week, New York City subway passengers noticed anti-semitic graffiti scrawled onto the walls and doors of at least one train.

If You Want to Understand Why the Arab World is Such a Disaster you Better Watch This (Video): Israel Video Network, Jan. 31, 2017—Why is the Arab world sliding into an even deeper abyss of hatred and corruption? Hatred of Israel by the Arab world is based on a deep-seated mindset of anti-semitism. Bret Stephens points out brilliantly that social and political decline follow massive anti-semitic laws enacted in a country. Even Hitler may very well have won the race to build the bomb had he not exiled or killed all of the Jewish scientists. Anti-Semitism has a boomerang effect on the people who practice it.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in the U.K. Reached All-Time Highs in 2016: Report: Jonathan Zalman, Tablet, Feb. 2, 2017—A troubling and perhaps unsurprising report from a British anti-Semitism watchdog released Thursday shows that 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2016, a high since Community Security Trust began recording and compiling these reports, in 1984.













Steven J. Rosen

Middle East Quarterly, Automne 2010


Une longue expérience de Washington mène à des conclusions différentes et un peu surprenantes. La force extérieure qui exerce les pressions les plus fortes sur le gouvernement des Etats-Unis pour qu'il prenne ses distances avec Israël n'incarne pas les organisations arabo-américaines, ni les ambassades arabes, ni les compagnies pétrolières, ni le lobby des pétrodollars. Ce sont plutôt des Européens, particulièrement des Britanniques, des Français, et des Allemands, qui se comportent comme le lobby arabe le plus influent sur le gouvernement américain. Les Arabes le savent, aussi leur voie d'accès préférée vers Washington passe souvent par Bruxelles, ou Londres, ou Paris. Nabil Shaath, qui était alors le "ministre des affaires étrangères," de l'Autorité palestinienne disait en 2004 que l'Union européenne est "notre alliée de choix.


Les Arabes considèrent l'Europe comme le talon d'Achille de l'alliance entre les Etats-Unis et Israël, et le meilleur moyen d'enfoncer un coin entre les deux alliés historiques.


Les Européens sont particulièrement redoutables pour leur influence sur la politique moyen-orientale des Etats-Unis car ils disposent de quatre avantages. D'abord, bien qu'il existe entre eux des différences subtiles, la plupart des dirigeants européens ont en commun de nombreuses convictions au sujet d'Israël, des Palestiniens, du monde arabe, et du conflit du Moyen-Orient. Ces convictions sont beaucoup plus proches des analyses des Arabes que du point de vue de Jérusalem, et plus proches de leurs objectifs que des conceptions en vigueur parmi les architectes de la politique des Etats-Unis.


En second lieu, et c'est particulièrement vrai des représentants de la Grande-Bretagne, de l'Allemagne, et de la France, il ont plus facilement accès aux responsables américains, le président dont ils sont proches y compris, que les Arabes ou les Israéliens.


Troisièmement, les Européens intègrent leurs argumentations dans le cadre plus large de valeurs, d'intérêts partagés, et de confiance mutuelle avec les Etats-Unis. De ce fait, leurs messages sont considérés plus d'attention que s'il venaient d'un chef non élu d'une société arabe profondément différente des Etats-Unis.


Quatrièmement, les responsables américains croient qu'il est dans leur intérêt national d'aller dans le sens des alliés européens de peur qu'ils ne modifient leur politique et adoptent des orientations indépendantes sur le Moyen-Orient, tombant sous l'emprise d'européanistes comme l'ancien commissaire aux affaires étrangères de l'Union européenne Christopher Patten. C'est ainsi que Patten déclarait par exemple en juillet 2010, "L'absence de positions européennes est injustifiable… si les Américains ne font rien, cela revient à se lier les mains. Nous devrions… être plus explicites quand nous fixons les objectifs visés par l'Europe et… tenter de les mettre en application."


Le premier ministre du Royaume Uni, le président français, et le chancelier allemand ont un accès direct au président. Cela tient beaucoup moins à une chimie personnelle subtile qui existerait entre eux et un quelconque président américain, qu'à l'importance objective de leurs pays pour les Etats-Unis. La Grande-Bretagne, la France, et l'Allemagne sont trois des six principales économies du monde, et trois des six principales puissances militaires si on les classe en fonction de l'importance des dépenses de défense. Deux d'entre elles —la France et la Grande-Bretagne —sont parmi les cinq membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU qui disposent du droit de veto. Les mêmes sont parmi les principales puissances nucléaire du monde. Quatre pays européens —la France, l'Allemagne, la Grande-Bretagne, et l'Italie — appartiennent au groupe des huit (G8), un forum qui comprend également les Etats-Unis, le Canada, la Russie, et le Japon. Les gouvernements britanniques, français, et allemands représentent les pays les plus influents sur la politique étrangère de l'Union européenne et ils pèsent aussi de façon décisive sur la voix de l'Europe concernant le Moyen-Orient au sein du Quartet (qui comprend les Etats-Unis, l'Union européenne, la Russie, et l'ONU).


Les Etats-Unis ont également une histoire plus longue et plus profonde, des valeurs partagées et des intérêts communs avec les pays principaux pays européens, et moins de conflits d'intérêts qu'avec la Russie, la Chine, ou n'importe quelle nation arabe. Pendant des années soixante cinq, la Grande-Bretagne, la France, et l'Allemagne ont été nos alliés principaux dans l'alliance politique et militaire la plus décisive des Etats-Unis, l'Organisation du Traité de l"Atlantique nord (OTAN). Leurs avis sont énoncés sur un ton modéré, et ils sont considérés comme plus raisonnables que ceux de la majorité des pays arabes. De part et d'autre, on fait l'hypothèse qu'ils sont les principaux partenaires de l'Amérique, que Washington doit toujours prendre en compte leurs intérêts, et qu'ils accordent en principe la plus grande attention aux exigences américaines.


En contrepartie, cette hypothèse d' intérêts partagés donne aussi aux Européens une grande crédibilité et un accès privilégié aux membres les plus éminents de l'administration américaine, aux milieux du Conseil national de sécurité, du département d'état, du Pentagone, et à la communauté du renseignement et autres Agences. Les assistants des secrétaires, les directeurs de service, et les conseillers de haut niveau donnent un poids spécial aux avis de leurs homologues français, allemands, et britanniques. Ils passent plus de temps avec eux qu'avec les Arabes. Ces Européens accèdent aussi facilement aux membres du Congrès et à leurs états-majors.

Un exemple spectaculaire de la façon dont une intervention européenne peut introduire un coin entre les Etats-Unis et Israël s'est produit il y a presque vingt ans, aboutissant à une confrontation sérieuse entre le Président George H.W. Bush et Jérusalem. C'est l'histoire, non révélée à ce jour, du rôle d'un dirigeant européen, le premier ministre britannique John Major, qui parvint à provoquer la crise la pire jamais survenue entre un président américain et le gouvernement d'Israël. Ce fut un conflit célèbre, qui ne serait jamais survenu sans l'intervention du leader européen.


En 1991, la guerre du Koweït venait juste de se terminer et le président Bush avait annoncé le 6 mars son intention de réunir une conférence internationale sur la paix au Moyen-Orient.


A la même époque, l'Union soviétique était dans la phase finale de son effondrement, et un flot de Juifs soviétiques, jusque là empêchés d'émigrer, quittaient en masse le pays. Plus de 200.000 d'entre eux étaient déjà arrivés en Israël, et l'on s'attendait à ce qu'une marée de plus d'un million de personnes les suive d'une façon imminente. Israël était face à un grave défi, celui de l'absorption d'un flux aussi énorme, équivalant à 20% de sa population initiale. Le 5 mai 1991, l'ambassadeur d'Israël aux Etats-Unis, Zalman Shoval, annonça qu'Israël demanderait bientôt à Washington 10 milliards de dollars de garanties pour des prêts permettant le financement de logements alloués au million d'immigrés soviétiques attendus sur les cinq années à venir.

Les Palestiniens craignirent alors que les nouveaux immigrés s'installent dans les territoires contestés. Le président Bush et son secrétaire d'état, James A. Baker, déclarèrent que toute garantie de prêt nouvelle seraient conditionnée à l'engagement d'Israël pour ne pas utiliser les fonds dans les territoires. Il fallait trouver un mécanisme pour s'assurer que les garanties ne seraient pas utilisées pour alimenter les activités d'implantation de peur que la conférence internationale annoncée par le président ne soit compromise.


Pour se donner le temps de trouver une formule adéquate, le premier ministre Yitzhak Shamir accepta de retarder la demande israélienne officielle des garanties de prêt pendant trois mois, jusqu'au 6 septembre. Au cours de l'été 1991, le secrétaire d'état Baker fit de nombreux voyages dans la région, cherchant comment éviter un conflit entre les garanties de prêt et le processus de paix. Je fus impliqué en compagnie de quelques collègues de l'AIPAC dans certaines de ces négociations en coulisses, conduites principalement par Elyakim Rubinstein, le secrétaire du gouvernement israélien, James Baker et son état-major, ainsi que le sénateur Robert Kasten, Jr. (un républicain du Wisconsin) au nom des membres pro-israéliens du Congrès, ainsi que l'ambassadeur Shoval.


A la mi-août, nous avons été soulagés d'apprendre, par l'intermédiaire de Baker et de son état-major, qu'une solution acceptable pour Washington avait été trouvée. Le président ne l'avait pas encore approuvée, mais Baker croyait fermement qu'il détenait une formule apparemment acceptable pour toutes les parties. Pour l'AIPAC, il s'agissait d'une question d'importance cruciale parce qu'elle déterminait le destin d'un million de juifs en difficulté, soutenait un effort historique pour lancer un processus de paix, et préservait la nature des rapports bilatéraux entre Israël et son allié plus important.


George H. W. Bush prenait des vacances estivales en famille dans sa maison de Kennebunkport dans le Maine, à la fin août 1991 quand le premier ministre britannique John Major et son épouse Norma lui rendirent visite. C'est ce genre d'épisode sans protocole, de rencontres directes avec le président sans la médiation de ses assistants et conseillers, qui rendent les dirigeants européens si influents sur des questions comme celles du Moyen-Orient. Major s'est contenté de citer la presse égyptienne disant que les implantations israéliennes, y compris celles de Jérusalem Est étaient "illégales" et "portaient atteinte" au processus de paix. Il souhaita que Bush tienne tête à Israël. (16) Baker plaidait auprès du président pour un compromis, alors que le dirigeant britannique l'invitait à un affrontement sans concessions.


Quand Bush rentra de Kennebunkport, son avis avait changé comme l'attestent les rapports ultérieurs des responsables américains. À la surprise de Baker, le président rejeta l'ensemble des assurances que le secrétaire avait patiemment assemblées et décida de jeter son gant au visage d'Israël et de ses défenseurs. Le 6 Septembre 1991, il demandait au Congrès de retarder de 120 jours les garanties de prêt "pour donner une chance à la paix."


Six jours plus tard, Bush franchit une étape supplémentaire. Le 12 septembre, plus de 1.000 responsables juifs de tout le pays convergèrent vers Capitol Hill pour inciter les membres du Congrès à consentir les garanties de prêt. Le président Bush répondit en appelant à une conférence de presse le jour même, pour avertir qu'il opposerait son veto aux garanties de prêt si le Congrès persistait à les approuver en dépit de son exigence d'un délai de 120 jours. Il critiqua également les membres du lobby pro-israélien, affirmant:


Nous sommes face à des groupe très puissants et efficaces qui sont allés à Capitol Hill … Il y avait là quelque chose comme mille lobbyistes sur The Hill pour soutenir le second aspect de la question. Nous avons ici juste un petit bonhomme pour faire le travail… La constitution charge le président de la conduite de la politique étrangère de la nation… il y a une tentative de certains membres du Congrès d'empêcher le président de prendre des mesures centrales pour la sécurité de la nation. Mais l'enjeu est trop important pour que la politique intérieure prenne le pas sur la paix.


De nombreux experts interrogés sur le point le plus bas des relations israélo-américaines dans l'histoire, mentionnent ce différend sur les garanties de prêts. C'était, pour le moins, l'un des revers les plus sérieux de ces relations. Mais le rôle d'un premier ministre britannique défaisant des mois d'efforts déployés par les médiateurs et incitant au conflit n'avait jamais été exposé jusqu'ici. C'est un exemple de la manière de procéder d'un Européen d'importance pour interférer sur le niveau décisionnaire le plus élevé des Etats-Unis, le rapprocher du point de vue arabe, et l'éloigner d'Israël.





Guy Bechor

Ynet, 4 jan., 2015   



La nouvelle la plus spectaculaire de 2014 est passée presque inaperçue : les États-Unis ont levé les restrictions sur les exportations de pétrole américain, et dès les premiers jours de la nouvelle année, ont commencé à exporter leur pétrole dans le monde.


Personne ne croyait que cela arriverait si vite, mais les États-Unis sont déjà le plus grand fabriquant de pétrole dans le monde, plus grand que l’Arabie Saoudite, grâce à la technologie du schiste bitumeux qui a changé le monde de l’énergie.

En un an, les États-Unis devraient exporter environ un million de barils de pétrole par jour et en produire 12 millions par jour. L’Iran, pour comparer, produit environ un million et demi de barils par jour.


Cela signifie que les prix du pétrole vont continuer à baisser, alors que les États-Unis sont déjà en concurrence avec d’autres fabricants. En conséquence, la Russie sera écrasée, l’Arabie Saoudite et le reste des pays du Golfe vont tomber tête par terre, le cartel va s’effondrer, et toutes les dictatures qui étaient essentiellement basées sur le pétrole, comme l’Iran, devraient faire face à un avenir sombre.


Dans le même temps, les démocraties comme le Canada, le Brésil, le Mexique, le Nigeria et même le petit Israël entreront sur le marché.


L’ère du pétrole arabe est terminée, et donc également la puissance destructrice des dictatures du pétrole du Golfe Persique. Ces dictatures ont honteusement contrôlé l’Europe en déclin, achetant des politiciens, soudoyant des entreprises, mettant la main sur l’économie et le pouvoir politique, également utilisés contre Israël.


Il faudra quelques mois, mais autant les Européens que les Américains se rendront compte que l’ère de la puissance destructrice arabe n’est plus, parce que les États du Golfe n’auront plus d’argent à dépenser. Au contraire, ils seront secoués à l’intérieur par des chocs sociaux, ethniques et terroristes, car ils n’auront plus d’argent pour continuer à satisfaire le terrorisme.


Il est vrai que la France et le Luxembourg sont encore contrôlés par le capital arabe, ou pensent qu’ils le sont, mais ils vont également se rendre compte que l’ère de l’argent arabe est terminée.


Mais alors que les prix du pétrole vont continuer à baisser, que va-t-il arriver à la Russie ? Le pays s’effondre et pourrait se tourner vers une guerre en Europe pour se sauver. Et qu’arrivera-t-il à l’Égypte, financée par l’Arabie Saoudite ? Cette dernière a déjà réduit son aide au Caire, parce que l’argent n’est plus une évidence.


Et que dire des riches pays du Golfe, comme le Qatar ? Ils se font des illusions que quelqu’un sera intéressé par eux s’ils n’ont pas de pétrole. Ils pensent encore jouer avec l’idée du tourisme. Eh bien, s’il n’y a pas de pétrole, personne ne voudra s’y rendre, et le sable couvrira à nouveau les immenses tours qu’ils ont construites.


Et l’autorité palestinienne de Mahmoud Abbas ? Le fait est que personne dans le Golfe ne lui a effectivement donné de l’argent, et ce, même avant la crise, bien qu’il y ait toujours eu les traditionnelles déclarations festives.





Cher M. Poisson, le lobby le plus puissant aux Etats-Unis, c’est le lobby arabe !

JSS, 20 oct., 2016


Le président du Parti chrétien-démocrate a fustigé la « soumission d’Hillary Clinton » aux lobbies sionistes, dans un entretien à Nice Matin. Le Crif demande à la Haute Autorité de la primaire de condamner ces propos.


Interrogé sur l’élection présidentielle américaine, le président du Parti chrétien-démocrate a affirmé que « la proximité de Mme Clinton avec les super-financiers de Wall Street et sa soumission aux lobbies sionistes sont dangereuses pour l’Europe et la France ».


Face au tollé provoqué, Jean-Frédéric Poisson a présenté aujourd’hui des excuses et voulu redire toute l’amitié qu’il avait « pour l’État d’Israël et pour le peuple juif dans son ensemble. »


De son côté Meyer Habib « condamne avec la plus grande fermeté ses propos, qui flirtent avec ce mélange d’anti-américanisme primaire, d’antisémitisme traditionnel et de thèses conspirationnistes. »

Président de la Commission d’organisation de la primaire, le député LR Thierry Solère a condamné « avec la plus grande force » la sortie de Jean-Frédéric Poisson. « Dans notre pays, l’évocation du ‘lobby sioniste’ n’a pas la même signification qu’aux Etats-Unis, a-t-il indiqué. Cette expression « nourrit les thèses conspirationnistes et a un caractère insidieusement antisémite. Il assure que que ces propos seront évoqués lors de la « prochaine réunion » de la commission, le 26 octobre.


« Il y a un lobby sioniste aux Etats-Unis, notamment l’Aipac (American Israel public affairs committee), qui est une organisation très connue, très ancienne, qui d’ailleurs fait profession d’exercer son travail de pression sur les responsables politiques américains », a expliqué Poisson sur Radio J cet après-midi… Oubliant de surcroit que le lobby le plus puissant aux Etats-Unis, c’est le lobby arabe !


Le lobby pro-Israël et le lobby pro-arabe (ou plus exactement les lobbies, car il en existe plusieurs de chaque côté) sont en effet puissants, mais il y a une différence de taille entre les deux et cette différence est au coeur même du rôle du lobbying dans une démocratie.


L’une des caractéristiques distinctives et marquantes du lobby arabe est qu’il ne jouit d’aucun soutien populaire. Tandis que le lobby israélien a des centaines de milliers de sympathisants et que les sondages d’opinion les uns après les autres confirment l’énorme fossé qui existe entre le soutien à Israël et celui aux nations arabes/Palestiniens. Le lobby arabe n’a pratiquement pas de militants de base et ne bénéficie pas de la sympathie du public.


Ses membres les plus puissants sont en général des bureaucrates qui ne représentent que leurs propres points de vue personnels ou ce qu’ils estiment être leurs intérêts institutionnels, ainsi que des gouvernements étrangers qui ne défendent que les intérêts nationaux de leurs pays, et pas ceux des États-Unis. Ce qui leur fait défaut en capital humain en termes de partisans américains est compensé par des ressources pratiquement illimitées qui leur permettent d’essayer d’acquérir ce qu’ils n’arrivent généralement pas se procurer par la force de leurs arguments.


Les Saoudiens ont adopté une stratégie différente de celle du lobby israélien. Leur approche de lobbying est celle du « top-down » [des dirigeants vers la base] plutôt que le « bottom-up » [de la base vers les dirigeants]. Comme le décrit le lobbyiste rémunéré J. Crawford Cook en fixant sa stratégie proposée pour le royaume: l’Arabie saoudite a besoin d’influencer les rares personnes qui influencent les masses, plutôt que d’influencer les masses auxquelles ces quelques rares responsables doivent rendre des comptes







Times of Israel, 17 fev, 2017



Il peut y avoir d’autres voies que la création d’un Etat palestinien coexistant avec Israël, dit l’administration Trump. Solution à un ou deux Etats, confédération, maintien du statu quo…: revue des options pour résoudre un des plus vieux conflits du monde.


Elle est retenue par la plus grande partie de la communauté internationale. Elle est endossée par la direction palestinienne internationalement reconnue, et par l’actuel Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, certes sans enthousiasme. Elle guidait la diplomatie américaine au moins depuis 2000 et jusqu’aux remises en question par l’administration cette semaine.

Un Etat palestinien serait créé, qui coexisterait avec Israël dans la paix, la sécurité et des frontières reconnues. Dans le scénario privilégié, il comprendrait la Cisjordanie, la bande de Gaza sous le contrôle du Hamas islamiste et aurait pour capitale Jérusalem-Est, annexé par Israël.


La solution à deux Etats recouvre des réalités potentielles différentes selon les interlocuteurs. M. Netanyahu envisage pour les Palestiniens un « Etat moins », autrement dit un Etat qui n’en aurait pas tous les attributs, a rapporté la presse israélienne. Même en cas d’accord, Israël doit conserver le contrôle militaire de toute la Cisjordanie, territoire qui constituerait une bonne part d’un Etat palestinien, a-t-il dit mercredi.


Plus de deux décennies de négociations, jalonnées de guerres et de violences, n’ont pas produit un accord final. Avec des réalités de plus en plus inextricables et la poursuite de la construction d’implantations israéliennes, beaucoup de diplomates s’alarment que la solution à deux Etats ne soit plus possible.


La solution à un Etat fut longtemps celle de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), avant que l’OLP ne finisse par reconnaître l’Etat d’Israël et soutenir la solution à deux Etats. Le Hamas continue à refuser de reconnaître Israël, et à vouloir un Etat sur toute la Palestine mandataire (y compris donc Israël).


Saëb Erekat, haut responsable de la direction palestinienne, disait mercredi que « la seule véritable alternative possible (à la solution à deux Etats) serait un Etat laïc et démocratique (sur les Territoires palestiniens et Israël) où juifs, musulmans et chrétiens seraient égaux ».


Il signifiait par là qu’une telle hypothèse était exclue, tant elle supposerait qu’Israël accepte une remise en cause de son identité.


Les données démographiques sont sujettes à débat et à évolution, mais pour Israël la menace serait que la population arabe prenne le pas sur la population juive. Israël imposera alors un statut différent aux Juifs et aux Arabes, ce qui reviendrait à un régime d’apartheid, dit M. Erekat.


« Si on fait le choix d’un seul Etat, Israël pourra être soit juif, soit démocratique, il ne pourra pas être les deux », disait avant de partir l’ex-secrétaire d’Etat américain John Kerry.


Certains membres de la droite israélienne pensent que la Jordanie, qui contrôlait Jérusalem-Est et la Cisjordanie de 1948 jusqu’en 1967, pourrait offrir une issue.


La population jordanienne est majoritairement d’origine palestinienne. L’OLP et Israël avaient rejeté en 1972 une proposition de confédération. Mais en octobre 2016, un sondage auprès des Palestiniens de la bande de Gaza et de Cisjordanie indiquait que 46,1 % d’entre eux soutenaient la confédération de deux Etats indépendants avec des relations institutionnelles fortes. L’enquête ne précisait pas combien s’y opposaient.


Israël continue à occuper la Cisjordanie et à maintenir la bande de Gaza sous blocus. La construction d’implantation se poursuit. L’envoyé spécial de l’ONU Nickolay Mladenov mettait en garde jeudi contre « l’illusion qui ferait croire qu’on peut gérer le conflit indéfiniment ».


Le risque, disait-il, est non seulement celui du « conflit perpétuel », mais de la montée des extrémismes.

Il peut y avoir d’autres voies que la création d’un Etat palestinien coexistant avec Israël, dit l’administration Trump. Solution à un ou deux Etats, confédération, maintien du statu quo…: revue des options pour résoudre un des plus vieux conflits du monde.


Elle est retenue par la plus grande partie de la communauté internationale. Elle est endossée par la direction palestinienne internationalement reconnue, et par l’actuel Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, certes sans enthousiasme. Elle guidait la diplomatie américaine au moins depuis 2000 et jusqu’aux remises en question par l’administration cette semaine.


Un Etat palestinien serait créé, qui coexisterait avec Israël dans la paix, la sécurité et des frontières reconnues. Dans le scénario privilégié, il comprendrait la Cisjordanie, la bande de Gaza sous le contrôle du Hamas islamiste et aurait pour capitale Jérusalem-Est, annexé par Israël.

Deux Etats, mais des versions distinctes


La solution à deux Etats recouvre des réalités potentielles différentes selon les interlocuteurs. M. Netanyahu envisage pour les Palestiniens un « Etat moins », autrement dit un Etat qui n’en aurait pas tous les attributs, a rapporté la presse israélienne. Même en cas d’accord, Israël doit conserver le contrôle militaire de toute la Cisjordanie, territoire qui constituerait une bonne part d’un Etat palestinien, a-t-il dit mercredi.


Plus de deux décennies de négociations, jalonnées de guerres et de violences, n’ont pas produit un accord final. Avec des réalités de plus en plus inextricables et la poursuite de la construction d’implantations israéliennes, beaucoup de diplomates s’alarment que la solution à deux Etats ne soit plus possible.


La solution à un Etat fut longtemps celle de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), avant que l’OLP ne finisse par reconnaître l’Etat d’Israël et soutenir la solution à deux Etats. Le Hamas continue à refuser de reconnaître Israël, et à vouloir un Etat sur toute la Palestine mandataire (y compris donc Israël).

Juif ou démocratique


Il signifiait par là qu’une telle hypothèse était exclue, tant elle supposerait qu’Israël accepte une remise en cause de son identité.


Les données démographiques sont sujettes à débat et à évolution, mais pour Israël la menace serait que la population arabe prenne le pas sur la population juive. Israël imposera alors un statut différent aux Juifs et aux Arabes, ce qui reviendrait à un régime d’apartheid, dit M. Erekat.


« Si on fait le choix d’un seul Etat, Israël pourra être soit juif, soit démocratique, il ne pourra pas être les deux », disait avant de partir l’ex-secrétaire d’Etat américain John Kerry.

Confédération israélo-palestinienne


Le président israélien Reuven Rivlin prône une confédération de deux Etats, israélien et palestinien, avec deux parlements et deux constitutions, mais une seule armée, israélienne.


Certains membres de la droite israélienne pensent que la Jordanie, qui contrôlait Jérusalem-Est et la Cisjordanie de 1948 jusqu’en 1967, pourrait offrir une issue.


La population jordanienne est majoritairement d’origine palestinienne. L’OLP et Israël avaient rejeté en 1972 une proposition de confédération. Mais en octobre 2016, un sondage auprès des Palestiniens de la bande de Gaza et de Cisjordanie indiquait que 46,1 % d’entre eux soutenaient la confédération de deux Etats indépendants avec des relations institutionnelles fortes. L’enquête ne précisait pas combien s’y opposaient.


Israël continue à occuper la Cisjordanie et à maintenir la bande de Gaza sous blocus. La construction d’implantation se poursuit. L’envoyé spécial de l’ONU Nickolay Mladenov mettait en garde jeudi contre « l’illusion qui ferait croire qu’on peut gérer le conflit indéfiniment ».


Le risque, disait-il, est non seulement celui du « conflit perpétuel », mais de la montée des extrémismes.






Raphael Ahren

Times of Israel, 20 fev., 2017



Pendant un dîner officiel lundi soir avec le Premier ministre de Singapour, Lee Hsien Loong, le Premier ministre Netanyahu a déclaré être engagé à la paix, citant sa propre expérience de la guerre, sans pour autant mentionner une solution à deux États.


« Je veux vous assurer que je suis engagé à la paix et que le peuple d’Israël n’attend que la paix, chacun d’entre nous. Nous prions pour la paix parce que nous avons connu, comme vous l’avez dit, le coût de la guerre, nous avons perdu des proches. J’ai moi-même été blessé au combat. La paix est mieux. Infiniment mieux. Et je pense que la clef de la paix est l’abandon de l’objectif de liquidation d’un peuple, de les accepter, et de travailler sur les différents conflits », a-t-il déclaré.


Netanyahu a été blessé pendant une opération de secours sur un vol détourné en 1972. Il a été blessé par balle au bras, apparemment par un tir amical.


Faisant référence à ses efforts pour organiser une initiative de paix régionale impliquant les États du Golfe, Netanyahu a ajouté qu’Israël faisait des efforts considérables pour cet objectif.


« Je pense qu’il y a une opportunité de faire ceci aujourd’hui parce que j’ai le sentiment d’un grand changement dans le monde arabe et dans beaucoup de pays arabes et, je l’espère, comme nous en avons discuté précédemment, pouvoir utiliser cette nouvelle attitude envers Israël pour aider à résoudre également le conflit israélo-palestinien. C’est quelque chose pour lequel nous faisons beaucoup d’efforts, dont la plupart ne sont pas rendus publics », a-t-il ajouté.


Lundi, pendant sa visite à la synagogue Maghain Aboth de Singapour, Netanyahu avait indiqué que les valeurs d’Israël sont défiées « par les forces de la barbarie et de l’intolérance ».


« C’est une bataille pour l’avenir de l’humanité. Cet avenir est représenté par Israël, qui est aussi un pays diversifié, qui a également ses minorités, qui respecte les individus et nous voyons ce même respect ici, à Singapour », a-t-il affirmé, se référant à son séjour dans les pays musulmans du Kazakhstan et d’Azerbaïdjan, où, a-t-il dit, il a vu des Juifs pratiquer ouvertement leur religion.


Netanyahu a également comparé Israël à la petite nation insulaire, affirmant que les deux pays sont deux petites puissances économiques observées par de nombreux pays dans le monde.


« Je pense que les grands puissances du monde entier regardent Israël et Singapour aujourd’hui, et voient d’énormes opportunités. Enormes. Et l’une des raisons qui explique cela est que nous avons un esprit effréné et que nous le mettons à l’œuvre », a-t-il dit.


« Cet esprit est quelque chose que nous avons inscrit dans nos peuples depuis longtemps, longtemps. Les Juifs ont transmis d’une génération à l’autre le désir, un État d’esprit curieux et la capacité à produire des nouveautés. »


Netanyahu est à Singapour pour une courte visite d’État, et s’envolera mardi pour l’Australie.






Sue Surkes et Raphael Ahren

Times of Israel, 22 fev., 2017



Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu a rendu hommage mercredi à l’Australie, pour sa « courageuse volonté de pointer l’hypocrisie des Nations unies » par des résolutions condamnant Israël.


Son homologue Malcolm Turnbull a marqué la première visite de l’histoire en Australie d’un Premier ministre israélien en exercice en publiant mercredi un éditorial dans The Australian qui soutenait les critiques faites par Netanyahu aux Nations unies.


« Mon gouvernement ne soutiendra pas de résolutions biaisées critiquant Israël, comme celle récemment adoptée par le Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, et nous déplorons les campagnes de boycott conçues pour délégitimer l’Etat juif », a écrit Turnbull, faisant référence à la résolution 2334 adoptée le 23 décembre pour condamner le peuplement juif en Cisjordanie et à Jérusalem Est, une « violation flagrante » du droit international.


Les Etats-Unis s’étaient abstenus pendant le vote et l’Australie, qui n’est pas membre du Conseil de sécurité, a été l’un des rares pays à soutenir publiquement la position israélienne.


Pendant une conférence de presse avec Turnbull, Netanyahu a déclaré avoir été ravi de lire l’article au début de sa visite officielle de quatre jours en Australie.


« L’Australie a courageusement voulu pointer l’hypocrisie des Nations unies une fois encore, notamment cette absurde résolution qui affirme que le mur Occidental, le lieu le plus sacré du peuple juif depuis des milliers d’années, des milliers d’années avant même la naissance de l’islam, est un territoire palestinien occupé », a-t-il déclaré aux journalistes.

« Donc les Nations unies sont capables de bien des absurdités, et je pense qu’il est important d’avoir des pays directs et lucides comme l’Australie, qui les ramènent souvent sur Terre », a déclaré Netanyahu.


Turnbull a décrit l’Australie comme un ami engagé et constant d’Israël, et salué les « valeurs partagées, la démocratie, la liberté, l’état de droit » des deux pays, décrivant Israël comme un « pays réellement miraculeux ».


Il a également réitéré son soutien à une solution à deux états pour résoudre le conflit israélo-palestinien. « Je suis d’accord avec vous, les circonstances de l’époque dans votre région […] semblent créer l’opportunité où les lunes s’aligneront peut-être pour que ce soit le bon moment pour revenir à la table [des négociations] et conclure un accord, mais bien sûr, comme pour tout accord, il faut être deux pour danser le tango », a dit Turnbull à Netanyahu.


La semaine dernière, Julie Bishop, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères, avait déclaré que Canberra pourrait accepter une solution à un état si les parties étaient d’accord, rejoignant ainsi la ligne évoquée par le président américain Donald Trump.


« Israël et les Palestiniens doivent parvenir à un accord et nous soutenons une solution à deux états directement négociée pour que les Palestiniens aient leur propre état et que le peuple d’Israël soit en sécurité au sein de frontières reconnues », a écrit Turnbull dans son éditorial, alors que certains suggèrent que le dirigeant israélien pourrait ne plus soutenir la solution à deux états.


Pendant la conférence de presse, Netanyahu a rejeté les appels des détracteurs des implantations israéliennes en Cisjordanie, dont les anciens Premiers ministres australiens Kevin Rudd et Bob Hawke, pour que l’Australie reconnaisse la Palestine en tant qu’état.


« Je pose aux deux anciens Premiers ministres une question simple : quel genre d’état sera celui qu’ils défendent ? Un état qui appelle à la destruction d’Israël ? Un état dont le territoire sera immédiatement utilisé par l’islam radical ? », a demandé Netanyahu.


Il a également répété son opposition à une solution à un état, disant des Palestiniens de Cisjordanie que « je veux qu’ils aient toutes les libertés pour se gouverner eux-mêmes, mais aucun des pouvoirs pour nous menacer. Laissons-les se gouverneur eux-mêmes, mais sans puissance militaire et physique pour menacer l’Etat d’Israël. »


Netanyahu et Turnbull ont signé de nouveaux accords de technologie et des services aériens, et discuté d’une extension de la coopération bilatérale dans les domaines de la cyber-sécurité, de l’innovation et de la science.


Netanyahu restera à Sidney jusqu’à dimanche pour rencontrer des responsables gouvernementaux et des dirigeants de la communauté juive.


Le Premier ministre devrait participer mercredi à une conférence économique avec des hommes d’affaires israéliens et australiens, et à un évènement à la grande synagogue de Sydney.


Bill Shorten, le chef de l’opposition australienne, qui préside le parti travailliste du pays, a précisé qu’il aborderait la question des implantations avec Netanyahu.


« Nous soutenons le droit des Palestiniens et des Israéliens à vivre dans des frontières sécurisées, a déclaré Shorten mardi. Je préciserai à Netanyahu que la construction dans les implantations est un obstacle à la solution à deux états, elle doit être arrêtée. »


Pendant sa conférence de presse avec Turnbull, Netanyahu a balayé les questions sur sa relation avec le milliardaire australien James Packer, dont le nom a été cité dans les affaires de corruption entourant le Premier ministre. « Je pense que rien n’en sortira parce qu’il n’y a rien à part de l’amitié », a-t-il affirmé.


A son arrivée à Sydney après une visite de deux jours à Singapour, Netanyahu a été accueilli par la ministre australienne du Développement international et du Pacifique, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.


Après l’atterrissage, Netanyahu a salué « 100 ans d’amitié » entre Israël et l’Australie, faisait référence à la libération de la ville de Beer Sheva, à présent israélienne, de l’Empire ottoman. Il a déclaré qu’ils « ont combattu aux côtés des Juifs pendant la Première Guerre mondiale pour sauver Israël de l’invasion nazie. »


« Ils sont loin, mais ils sont proches, a-t-il déclaré. Et nous sommes très heureux de renforcer cette proximité pendant cette visite. »


Netanyahu devrait faire face à plusieurs manifestations pendant sa visite d’Etat en Australie cette semaine.

Plus de 60 Australiens célèbres ont signé une lettre ouverte s’opposant à la visite d’Etat de Netanyahu en raison des politiques du gouvernement israélien à l’égard des Palestiniens, et des manifestations sont prévues à Melbourne, Sydney et Canberra.


« Il est temps que la souffrance du peuple palestinien cesse et que l’Australie joue un rôle plus équilibré dans le soutien de l’application du droit international et ne soutienne pas M. Netanyahu et ses politiques », ont écrit les signataires, dont d’anciens politiciens, des professionnels du droit et des membres du clergé.


« Les politiques de M. Netanyahu visent sans cesse à provoquer, intimider et oppresser la population palestinienne, ce qui accroit le déséquilibre [des pouvoirs], et éloigne ainsi irrémédiablement Israël de la paix », ont-ils ajouté. Beaucoup des signataires semblent être des militants pro-palestiniens et la lettre a été publiée par Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.




I24, Feb. 21, 2017



Un chapiteau en calcaire datant de l'époque romaine et vieux de 1.800 ans, sur lequel sont gravées deux inscriptions en hébreu, a été découvert au cours de travaux de restauration et de conservation menés dans l'ancienne synagogue à Peki'in en Galilée.


La pierre a été retrouvée à l'envers dans la cour du bâtiment. Après la découverte des inscriptions, des archéologues de l'Autorité des antiquités d'Israël (AAI) sont arrivés sur le site afin d'examiner le chapiteau. Une analyse préliminaire de la gravure suggère qu'il s'agit d'inscriptions dédicatoires honorant les donateurs ayant contribué à la construction de la synagogue.


"Les sources talmudiques et midrashiques racontent l'histoire de sages galiléens qui vivaient à Peki'in, y compris le rabbin Shimon Bar Yochai, qui s'est caché des Romains dans une grotte", a indiqué Yoav Lerer, l'inspecteur de l'AAI en Galilée du nord.


"Cependant, il y en a qui ne sont pas d'accord sur l'emplacement de Peki'in. Je crois que ces inscriptions ajouteront un nouveau niveau de connaissances important sur la présence juive dans le village de Peki'in pendant les périodes romaines et byzantines", a-t-il ajouté.


Au cours de l'année écoulée, des travaux de réhabilitation et de conservation ont été réalisés dans l'ancienne synagogue de Peki'in et à proximité de Beit Zinati afin d'améliorer le centre d'accueil des visiteurs.


Ce centre racontera les deux mille ans d'histoire des Juifs de ce village et l'histoire unique de la famille Zinati – la plus ancienne famille juive du village. Margalit Zinati, le dernier membre de la famille à avoir "gardé la flamme vivante" jusqu'à présent, réside dans la maison voisine de la synagogue.


"Peki'in est l'un des sites les plus importants de Galilée, et c'est un endroit où il y a toujours eu une présence juive. C'est un honneur pour moi d'assister à une découverte aussi importante, qui raconte l'histoire de la Terre d'Israël vieille de 2.000 ans", a déclaré Ze'ev Elkin, ministre du Patrimoine et des Affaires de Jérusalem.


"C'est une découverte historique d'une importance sans précédent qui confirme ce que le défunt président Yitzhak Ben Zvi a soutenu au début du XXe siècle sur la présence juive à Peki'in", a fait remarquer Uriel Rosenboym, le directeur de Beit Zinati.


"Personne ne peut douter d'une inscription sur un artefact archéologique. Il y avait une ancienne synagogue ici et l'actuelle synagogue a été construite au cours des derniers siècles. Bien que la pierre a été prise pour être étudiée par l'Autorité des antiquités d'Israël, l'histoire unique de ceux qui ont préservé la flamme à Peki'in est maintenant narrée dans le musée que nous avons rénové", a-t-il ajouté.


Les travaux ont été menés par le Conseil pour la Conservation des Sites du Patrimoine en Israël dans le cadre d'un projet patrimonial du Ministère du Patrimoine et des Affaires de Jérusalem.




Shabbat Shalom!






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No Man on the Moon: Samuel Thrope, Tablet, Jan. 25, 2017— During the Holocaust, Yariv Bash’s grandfather was forced to build V2 rockets for the Nazi army.

‘Startups as Far as the Eye Can See, all the Way to the Sea’: Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 2017— Entering the 14th-floor hotel lounge following a morning stroll along the Mediterranean Sea, an enthusiastic Randall Lane grabbed a glass of water and sat down at a small table, his trademark fedora still perched on his head.

How Do Israel’s Tech Firms Do Business in Saudi Arabia? Very Quietly: Jonathan Ferziger and Peter Waldman, Bloomberg, Feb. 2, 2017— Over the course of 30 years working in Israeli intelligence, Shmuel Bar immersed himself in the hermeneutics of terrorism.

Drafting Up Innovation: Dan Senor, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2017— Israel is a country of eight million people that at its narrowest point is 9 miles wide.


On Topic Links


First Israeli Research Nanosatellite Launched into Space From India: Anav Silverman, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 15, 2017

Apple Buys Israel’s Facial Recognition Firm RealFace – Report: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2017

Can a Desert Nation Solve the World's Water Shortage? (Video): Seth Siegel, PragerU, Oct. 17, 2016

Execs from Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel for Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016


NO MAN ON THE MOON                               

Samuel Thrope                                 

Tablet, Jan. 25, 2017              


During the Holocaust, Yariv Bash’s grandfather was forced to build V2 rockets for the Nazi army. Now Bash has his eyes on a rocket of his own: one that will take the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon. Bash is one of the three co-founders of SpaceIL, the Israeli entrant in the Google Lunar Xprize, an international competition to send the first civilian mission to Earth’s nearest neighbor. The first team to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon, which then travels 500 meters and broadcasts images back to Earth, will take home a purse of $20 million. With the strong support of the Israeli government and the backing of generous private donors, including billionaire investor Morris Kahn and casino magnate and political kingmaker Sheldon Adelson, SpaceIL is poised to make Israel the fourth lunar nation.


The planned SpaceIL mission, if it comes off, will also conduct a joint UCLA-Weizmann Institute of Science experiment to measure the changes in the moon’s magnetic field. The end of December was the final cutoff for the competitors—scientists, engineers, and private entrepreneurs from around the world—to secure a launch contract on a rocket bound for orbit. Of the 29 teams who registered for the competition in 2010, five remain: the American Moon Express, Team Indus from India, Hakuto from Japan, the international Synergy Moon, and SpaceIL.


SpaceIL was the first team to obtain its ticket to the moon and will be launching its spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket produced by billionaire investor Elon Musks’s private aerospace company, SpaceX , by the end of 2017. As SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman explained, the agreement with SpaceX represents more than just a means of transport. “The fact that a serious company signs a contract with a group like us means that we know what we’re talking about,” he said. “That we’ve passed all their tests and that our craft stands up to all their requirements.”


However, SpaceIL’s moon mission almost didn’t happen, according to Bash, a bespectacled and balding 35-year-old electronics engineer and entrepreneur who recounted the story in the Tel Aviv offices of his drone-delivery startup, Flytrex. Having learned of the competition only in November 2009, two years after it began and only a few weeks before the deadline to register, he posted an invitation on his Facebook page: “Who wants to go to the moon?” Kfir Damari, 34, a friend and telecommunications engineer, answered the call. The next Saturday, the two met in a bar in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, with aerospace engineer Yonatan Winetraub, and started plotting a way to the moon. On Dec. 31, the very last day to register, the three wired in the $50,000 entry fee and joined the competition.


“Space is the ultimate thing,” Bash said when asked what inspired him to join the Xprize moon race. “It’s something that is so hard to do, even today. In 2016, rockets still blow up; it’s still rocket science. This is one of the ultimate technological-engineering challenges.” Despite other teams’ head starts, SpaceIL quickly advanced. It was the first team to design a landing craft, provisionally nicknamed “Sparrow,” that could use its engines to “hop” the required 500 meters over the moon’s surface rather than rely on a separate lunar rover to cover the distance. Seeing the elegance of this solution, Bash said, other teams followed suit.


One of the most important measures of SpaceIL’s success is its strong financial backing. Between government support—limited by competition rules to 10 percent of the project’s overall budget—and private donations, SpaceIL has raised $50 million of the $70 million that it estimates it will take to complete the mission; the launch alone costs $20 million. “Spacecraft don’t fly on hydrazine,” a common rocket propellant, Bash explained. “They fly on green fuel. If you look at the competition, we’ve raised more than double the next team.”


The Sparrow spacecraft is being designed and built at Israel Aerospace Industries, the country’s leading aviation and defense manufacturer. IAI, founded in 1953 by American Jewish pilot and engineer Al Schwimmer, can be considered Israel’s Lockheed Martin or Boeing, although, unlike the American companies, it is entirely government-owned. IAI produces Israel’s drones, aircraft, and satellites, as well as the Iron Dome missile-defense system.


Rather than the bright, white-booted, and sterile workspace one might imagine, though, SpaceIL’s electronics- and software-testing lab at IAI’s campus in the city of Yehud, just north of Ben-Gurion Airport, sits in a modified trailer on a dusty patch of ground near the parking lot. While the body of the craft will be assembled in the same high-tech clean room used for Israel’s Amos communication satellites, Sparrow’s computing and navigational guts are put through their paces here.


On a sunny winter day, SpaceIL software manager Asaf Lewin demonstrated some of the craft’s components: the 15-year-old computer, a three-tiered, functional stack of processors some 6 inches high, originally designed for a nanosatellite; a sensor to ensure the craft’s solar panels are always facing the sun; and a star tracker for navigation. It amounts to several million dollars’ worth of proven equipment that has already been tested in the radiation and cold of outer space.


The lab’s makeshift vibe is a perfect metaphor for SpaceIL’s upstart approach to the lunar mission. As Damari, the telecom engineer, explained, in order to keep costs down SpaceIL has decided to forgo IAI’s usual exhaustive checks and double checks on cameras and other non-mission-critical systems, building faster and cheaper than many had thought possible. This success has shown the potential for a civilian space industry in Israel. In the wake of SpaceIL, several local companies have established the Israeli presence in this growing field, including Effective Space Solutions, which is developing technology to return wayward satellites to their correct orbits, and Spacepharma, which offers zero-gravity space labs for scientific experiments.


“Showing that you can send a deep space probe for less than $100 million, that’s breaking a glass ceiling,” Bash explained. “It’s not only NASA and the European Space Agency that can do deep-space missions but also smaller countries, maybe large organizations. It’s opening up space a bit more to the Wild West.”…

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






                                                            Sharon Udasin

                                                                            Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 2017


Entering the 14th-floor hotel lounge following a morning stroll along the Mediterranean Sea, an enthusiastic Randall Lane grabbed a glass of water and sat down at a small table, his trademark fedora still perched on his head. After prodding the reporter with questions – as any lifelong journalist is wont to do – the editor of Forbes magazine was eager to discuss a country that has “invented and is reinventing itself.” “When you look at the world’s great entrepreneurial cities, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are way, way up there, and it’s apparent to anyone who spends any time here,” Lane said. “We were able to see that the Start-Up Nation reputation is true. The Start-Up Nation ethos is pervasive.”


The Forbes editor spoke with The Jerusalem Post in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, ahead of the magazine’s upcoming Under 30 Summit – an event expected to draw hundreds of the most promising young innovators to Israel this April for the second year running. In Lane’s mind, Israel provides a “very natural” environment for the summit, due to the country’s position as a leading entrepreneurial hot spot combined with its unique cultural ties and history. “It’s an amazing event that happens to be in Israel but also does an amazing job showcasing the Israeli start-up and tech ecosystem – which is why we’re here,” Lane said.


After launching its popular 30 Under 30 lists in 2011, Forbes began hosting Under 30 summits for its American honorees in 2014, with the first event occurring in Philadelphia that year. As these US events proved increasingly successful, the magazine decided to begin organizing such conventions abroad, holding the first such event – the Under 30 Summit EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) – last year in Israel, followed by the Under 30 Summit Asia in Singapore.


For the second year in a row, Lane will be hosting the Under 30 Summit EMEA in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, from April 2 to April 6. In addition to holding panels with leading global innovators, the summit promises amenities such as regional food and drink, bar crawls and group tours. Approximately 750 young entrepreneurs from 35 countries and 25 industries – 40% of whom are CEOs and founders of their ventures – are expected to attend. “They come early and they stay late and they don’t sleep,” Lane said.

Like last year, approximately one-third of the participants at this year’s summit will come from the US, one-third from Europe and one-third from Israel and the rest of the Middle East and Africa region. While that latter third will mostly include Israelis, Lane stressed that there will be some representation from African countries, as well as Palestinian entrepreneurs. This year, Forbes is working with the Portland Trust, a British nonprofit that works to foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians through economic development, to host a mentoring track for Palestinian entrepreneurs during one of the middle days of the convention. “We want to be able to leave here having been a strong force for entrepreneurs in the whole region,” Lane said.


In addition to the special track for Palestinian mentorship, the summit this year will also include other small group opportunities, like a visit to archeological sites, a cybersecurity gathering and a venture capitalist meeting. While last year’s events only took place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, this year all the participants will also have the chance to go to the Dead Sea and Masada on the final day. “We’re just going to go all night,” Lane said. “Think about ending this thing with the metaphorical new beginning – one of the best places for sunrises in the world.”


Although Lane had done backpacking in Israel about two decades ago during his twenties, his interest in the country was rekindled only a couple years ago, when he was invited to speak at an ROI Summit, an annual convention held in Israel for young Jewish innovators. A particularly memorable portion of that trip for Lane was a visit to the SOSA (South of Salame) Tel Aviv start-up hub. “I was just absolutely struck by the entrepreneurial ethos here, and it’s hard to describe if you’re not here,” he said. “The feeling, the eureka moment, was in SOSA. I spoke there and I went up to the roof there, and you could see start-ups as far as the eye can see, all the way to the sea. It has that Silicon Valley feel but with this incredible location and history.”…

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







Jonathan Ferziger and Peter Waldman

Bloomberg, Feb. 2, 2017


Over the course of 30 years working in Israeli intelligence, Shmuel Bar immersed himself in the hermeneutics of terrorism. Using techniques of literary analysis more familiar to Koranic scholars and Bible critics, he came to recognize the distinctive language and religious phrases that suicide bombers used in their farewell videos. “Victory is with the patient” appeared frequently in the martyrdom declarations of Hamas recruits. Al-Qaeda adherents favored the call “God, count them, kill them, and don’t leave any of them.”


Bar, a tousle-haired 62-year-old with a wry sensibility, emerged from government service in 2003 amid the proliferation of global terrorism, and in the rising sense of doom he saw a business opportunity. He founded a company called IntuView, a miner of data in the deep, dark web—a sort of Israeli version of Palantir, the Silicon Valley security contractor. Tapping engineering talent in Israel’s startup hub of Herzliya, he adapted his analyst’s ear for language to custom algorithms capable of sifting through unending streams of social media messages for terrorist threats. He sold his services to police, border, and intelligence agencies across Europe and the U.S.


Then, two years ago, an e-mail arrived out of the blue. Someone from the upper echelons of power in Saudi Arabia, Bar says, invited him to discuss a potential project via Skype. The Saudis had heard about his technology and wanted his help identifying potential terrorists. There was one catch: Bar would have to set up a pass-through company overseas to hide IntuView’s Israeli identity. Not a problem, he said, and he went to work ferreting out Saudi jihadis with a software program called IntuScan, which can process 4 million Facebook and Twitter posts a day. Later, the job expanded to include public-opinion research on the Saudi royal family. “It’s not as if I went looking for this,” Bar says, still bemused by the unexpected turn in a life spent confronting Israel’s enemies. “They came to me.”


Bar says he meets freely these days with Saudis and other Gulf Arabs at overseas conferences and private events. Trade and collaboration in technology and intelligence are flourishing between Israel and a host of Arab states, even if the people and companies involved rarely talk about it publicly. When a London think tank recently disinvited Bar from speaking on a panel, explaining that a senior Saudi official was also coming and it wasn’t possible to have them appear together, Bar told the organizers that he and the Saudi gentleman had in fact been planning to have lunch together at a Moroccan restaurant nearby before walking over to the event together. “They were out-Saudi-ing the Saudis,” he says.


Peace hasn’t come to the Middle East. This isn’t beating swords into plowshares but a logical coalescence of interests based on shared fears: of an Iranian bomb, jihadi terror, popular insurgency, and an American retreat from the region. IntuView has Israeli export licenses and the full support of its government to help any country facing threats from Iran and militant Islamic groups. “If it’s a country which is not hostile to Israel that we can help, we’ll do it,” Bar says. Only Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq are off-limits. The Saudis and other oil-rich Arab states are only too happy to pay for the help. “The Arab boycott?” Bar says. “It doesn’t exist.”…

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





Dan Senor

                      Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2017


Israel is a country of eight million people that at its narrowest point is 9 miles wide. It is surrounded on all sides by enemies who would like to see it wiped off the map: Hezbollah to the north, Hamas to the south, plus Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Islamic State and Iran to the east. It wouldn’t take a particularly pessimistic person to bet against this besieged slice of desert. Yet this tiny nation has also built an air force, anti-missile defense system and intelligence apparatus that is revered around the world—and relied on by the U.S. military, among many others. And it’s done it with a minuscule fraction of the budget available to larger nations.


How has Israel pulled it off? In “The Weapon Wizards” Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot tell the story of how the Jewish state’s military and defense sector became one of the most cutting-edge in the world. In chapters focused on particular technologies and weapons, such as drones, satellites and cyber warfare, the authors make the case that the same factors that have made Israel a tech giant have also allowed it to become a “high-tech military superpower.” The country’s military, its schools and its extracurricular institutions inculcate in its young people tenacity, insatiable questioning of authority, determined informality, cross-disciplinary creativity and tolerance of failure.


Because of its hostile neighborhood, Israel has had the unlucky distinction of being the first target of the newest terrorist innovations—which has forced it to become a kind of laboratory for militaries across the globe. Israeli commercial airline passengers, for example, were among the world’s first victims of international hijacking campaigns. But elite Israeli commando units conducted the first successful airline hostage rescue in 1972, and then again at Entebbe in 1976. America’s Delta Force was founded partly in response to what the U.S. learned from the IDF’s operation in Uganda.


Two decades later, in the 1990s, Palestinian terror groups began deploying suicide bombers against civilians. By the time of the Second Intifada, the bombings were an almost daily occurrence. Israel responded by adapting: It built a security fence along the West Bank, equipped with sophisticated surveillance technology, which, alongside stepped-up security operations, helped drastically curtail the frequency of the bombings. It also boosted its focus on human intelligence, redeveloping sophisticated networks to track and apprehend planners and perpetrators inside the West Bank.


The Pentagon studied the IDF tactics used during the Intifada and applied lessons about effective urban warfare and the use of dogs in combat to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel also pioneered the use of attack helicopters and UAVs, both of which have been critical in America’s targeting of terror cells in Pakistan and Yemen.


The authors, both longtime national-security reporters and IDF veterans, are particularly interested in the army’s system of reserves and how it has bolstered the country’s military innovations. Many other countries have reserve forces that augment the standing army, but because Israel is so territorially small and its population so outmanned by its adversaries, no standing army could ever be large enough to defend the country. Thus in the IDF reservists not only man whole units but also serve as commanders.


Messrs. Katz and Bohbot argue that a straight line can be drawn from this unique reserves system to the success of Israel’s defense industry. “Israeli engineers’ experiences from the battlefield, as well as their continued training and combat in the reserves, help them better understand what the IDF requires for the next war as well as how to develop it,” they write. This is different from the U.S., where, the authors explain, the Pentagon “installs military officers in development teams at defense contractors, but they are often viewed as outsiders.” In Israel, “the outsiders are the insiders. Military experiences become lifelong experiences. This dual identity is a national asset.”


This was a big factor in the rapid development and deployment of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, designed to intercept rockets launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon and by Hamas from Gaza. Iron Dome was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems; the company’s missile factory is in the Galilee, not far from Israel’s border with Lebanon. Many of Rafael’s engineers live in northern Israel, fought in reserves during Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah or spent 34 days in bomb shelters during that war. In other words, they had far more than an academic understanding of the threat that they were developing technologies to defend against.


Israel’s defense industry also has a unique, export-oriented business model. For the past 30 years, for example, the country has been the world’s No. 1 exporter of drones, responsible for 60% of the global market (the U.S. share of global exports is less than half that).


For its willingness to sell its drones and many other defense technology products abroad, including to China, the country has been criticized. But Israel argues that this is an existential matter. The IDF has never been a sufficiently large buyer on its own to incentivize local companies to develop new weapons or technologies, write Messrs. Katz and Bohbot. This means Israeli defense tech start-ups and larger companies need the economies of scale that can only come from selling into foreign markets to “keep production lines open and prices down for the IDF.”


While “The Weapon Wizards” can be a bit technical for the lay reader, the authors have skillfully conveyed a key component of the dynamic innovation culture that has made the Jewish state one of the most important entrepreneurial and technology-driven economies in the world. Not bad for a country 9 miles wide.




On Topic Links


First Israeli Research Nanosatellite Launched into Space From India: Anav Silverman, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 15, 2017—Israeli academia’s first research nanosatellite was launched into space on Wednesday, February 15. Ben Gurion University’s BGUSAT nanosatellite was among the record 104 nanosatellites from five countries, which were launched on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Satish Dhawan launching pad in India today. The Israeli nanosatellite will study climate change and scientific phenomena from space.

Apple Buys Israel’s Facial Recognition Firm RealFace – Report: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2017—Apple Inc. has acquired Israel’s Realface, a cybertechnology startup whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users. This is Apple’s fourth acquisition in Israel, the financial website Calcalist reported Sunday, and the deal is estimated to be worth a couple of million of dollars.

Can a Desert Nation Solve the World's Water Shortage? (Video): Seth Siegel, PragerU, Oct. 17, 2016— From California to Africa, we are facing a global water shortage. But one tiny country, in the middle of a desert, has found remarkable solutions. Which country? And can we replicate its success? Businessman and New York Times bestselling author Seth Siegel explains.

Execs from Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel for Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016— Born just 68 years ago, Israel has developed a reputation as one of the world's most innovative tech hubs. Silicon Valley multinationals in particular have cottoned on, setting up offices in the region and acquiring numerous Israeli startups.






MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: PRESIDENT TRUMP, WILL YOU SAVE THE JEWS?“I don’t expect Israel to just up and leave the West Bank without a Palestinian partner for a secure peace, which Israel doesn’t now have. But legalizing this land grab by settlers deep in Palestinian areas is not an act of security — it will actually create security problems. It is an act of moral turpitude that will make it even harder to ever find that Palestinian partner and will undermine the moral foundations of the state. This is about right versus wrong…That debate will tear apart virtually every synagogue, Jewish organization and Jewish group on every campus in America, and around the world. Israel will divide world Jewry. There is only one person who can now stop this disaster — you. Bibi & Co. used the G.O.P. to outflank Obama. But if you, with your party, make clear that there must be absolutely no Jewish settlements beyond the blocks already designated for a two-state solution, you could make a huge difference. This is on your watch. President Trump, you may not be interested in Jewish history, but Jewish history is now interested in you.”— Thomas L. Friedman. (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)


Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links


On Topic Links


"U.S. is Determined to Stand up to the UN’s Anti-Israel Bias" – Nikki Haley (Video): UNWatch, Feb. 16, 2017

The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 20, 2017

President Trump's Iran Dilemma: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Feb. 27, 2017

Trump in Denial Over Rising American Antisemitism: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 19, 2017





“We have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms…The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” — U.S. President Donald Trump. The condemnation came a day after bomb threats were issued against Jewish community centers across the United States for the fourth time in just over a month, and after gravestones were toppled at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. (Times of Israel, Feb. 21, 2017)


“I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I’m here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias. We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.” — US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. Anti-Israel bias at the UN, Haley declared, was “long overdue for change. The United States will not hesitate to speak out against these biases in defense of our friend and ally, Israel.” The video of Haley’s statement went viral in pro-Israel circles around the world over the weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a link to the video on Facebook and said, “US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, thank you for your unequivocal support for Israel! It’s time to put an end to the absurdity in the United Nations.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 20, 2017)


"The enemy should not be mistaken in its assessments, and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake.” — General Mohammad Pakpour, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ ground forces. On Wednesday, the Revolutionary Guards concluded three days of exercises with rockets, artillery, tanks and helicopters, weeks after Trump warned that he had put Tehran "on notice" over its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29. "The message of these exercises … for world arrogance is not to do anything stupid," said Pakpour, "everyone could see today what power we have on the ground." The Guards said they test-fired "advanced rockets" and used drones in the three-day exercises which were held in central and eastern Iran. As tensions also mounted with Israel, a military analyst at Tasnim said that Iran-allied Hezbollah could use Iranian made Fateh 110 missiles to attack the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona from inside Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 2017)


"I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program…Iran is a bad actor in the greatest sense of the word when it comes to the region. To Iran, I say, if you want us to treat you differently then stop building missiles, test-firing them in defiance of UN resolution and writing 'Death to Israel' on the missile. That's a mixed message." — Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Republican senators are planning to introduce legislation to impose further sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile tests. The Trump administration recently imposed new sanctions on 25 individuals and companies connected to Iran's ballistic missile program and those providing support to the Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force. Iranian officials have warned the U.S. against attacking Iran, with one senior official recently threatening his country would attack Tel Aviv if the U.S. "makes a mistake". (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 20, 2017)


"… by Allah's permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime… The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine.” — Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Speaking at a recent conference in Tehran, Khamenei called for Israel's destruction and referred to the Jewish state as a "cancerous tumor." For years, senior Iranian figures have called for Israel's destruction. Iran has invested considerable resources to prop up terrorist proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah, to militarily confront Israel. Iran also finances and explicitly encourages Palestinians to engage in individual terrorist initiatives. (IPT, Feb. 21, 2017)


“Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do…I owe it to you to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms…America will meet its responsibilities.” — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Mattis, echoing his boss in Washington, warned that the amount of U.S. support for NATO could depend on whether other countries meet their own spending commitments. “If your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” he said. (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)


“For all of President Trump’s image as a disruptor of the status quo, his approach to the Middle East so far has really involved returning to the traditional U.S. approach toward the region that President Obama had upended — viz. maintaining strong relations with our traditional Arab and Israel allies and opposing Iran and other radical Islamic entities.” — Michael Makovsky, chief executive of JINSA. “Too much was made of Trump’s comment about a one- or two-state solution being okay with him — he clearly was just stating his intention not to impose a solution,” he said. “This was a sober recognition of reality, and offers a greater chance of a more realistic deal between the two parties.” (Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2017)


“There is this sense of urgency and energy that I feel now that reminds me of being 29 and in a very different situation: in the middle of a revolutionary situation in Russia…I’m not saying it’s a revolution now. But there is this uncertainty about what is happening minute to minute, day to day…There is this sense that every day is going to bring something startling, if not calamitous.” — David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. Remnick was a correspondent in Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union. For journalists anxious about the state of their profession, there is a renewed sense of mission. Newspapers are seeing a sharp rise in subscriptions. Television news, once dismissed as a dinosaur in the internet age, is thriving. (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)


“…cable news personality Sally Kohn tweeted what she called a “straightforward” plan that would eject Donald Trump and install Hillary Clinton into the presidency…Anyone with middle-school knowledge of the presidential chain of command should know that impeaching both Trump and his vice president would not, actually, lead to a “constitutional crisis” or a “special election.” It would lead directly…to President Paul Ryan. Whom Clinton would be welcome to challenge in the next election…When comedian Sarah Silverman daydreamed on Twitter, “ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE,” does she understand that she’s calling for a banana republic-style military coup in a constitutional democracy?” — Karol Markowicz. (New York Post, Feb. 19, 2017)


“God gave orders to kill every infidel…Oh worshippers of the cross … the soldiers of the state are watching you.” — Video released by an I.S. affiliate. Christians are jihadi’s “favorite prey” of I.S., according to a video showing the suicide bomber, identified as Abu Abdallah al-Masri, who slaughtered nearly 30 people in a Coptic cathedral late last year. A narrator rails in the 20-minute clip against Egypt’s nine million Christians, singling out figures like the Coptic pope and Christian businessmen. Al-Masri — which means “The Egyptian”— was the nom-de-guerre I.S. gave the terrorist behind the suicide bombing at St. Mark’s Cathedral. I.S. claimed responsibility for the bombing, its deadliest attack in Egypt outside the Sinai Peninsula, where it has been waging an insurgency since 2013. “Finally, to my brothers in captivity: rejoice, you believers, do not falter or grieve. I swear to God we will very soon liberate Cairo and free you from captivity,” the terrorist said. “We will come bearing explosives, I swear we will, so rejoice you believers.” (New York Post, Feb. 20, 2017)


“Another member of the Cabinet, Winston Churchill, was to write in 1920 of how: ‘We owe to the Jews a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together.’ Compared to that extraordinary contribution, the Palestinian Arabs have produced very little of note for civilisation. For the Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one per-cent of the world’s population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32% of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32% for Physics, 39% for Economics and 29% for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects being murdered in Hitler’s gas chambers during the Holocaust in the Second World War. Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide.” — Andrew Roberts (Dajia, Feb. 21, 2017)


“There was a time when the West knew what it was about. It did so because it thought about itself—often in freshman Western Civ classes. It understood that its moral foundations had been laid in Jerusalem; its philosophical ones in Athens; its legal ones in Rome. It treated with reverence concepts of reason and revelation, freedom and responsibility, whose contradictions it learned to harmonize and harness over time. It believed in the excellence of its music and literature, and in the superiority of its political ideals. It was not ashamed of its prosperity. If it was arrogant and sinful, as all civilizations are, it also had a tradition of remorse and doubt to temper its edges and broaden its horizons. It cultivated the virtue of skepticism while avoiding the temptation of cynicism. And it believed all of this was worth defending—in classrooms and newspapers and statehouses and battlefields. We’ve since raised generations to believe none of this, only to be shocked by the rise of anti-Western politics. If you want children to learn the values of a civilization that can immunize them from a Trump, a (Marine) Le Pen or a (Sergei) Lavrov, you can start by teaching it.” — Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 20, 2017)







PAKISTAN SHRINE BOMBING KILLS SCORES (Islamabad) — A suicide bomber turned a spiritual dance celebration at a revered religious shrine into a slaughterhouse last week, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 250 in the worst act of terrorism to hit Pakistan in months. At least 50 of the wounded were critically hurt in the explosion at the Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan. Many of the victims were women. I.S. announced that its branch in the region had carried out the attack. I.S. which regards members of other Muslim groups as nonbelievers deserving death, also claimed responsibility for an attack on a Sufi shrine in southwestern Pakistan in November. (New York Times, Feb. 16, 2017)


SOMALIA BLAST 'KILLS 20' (Mogadishu) — At least 20 people died Sunday when a car bomb exploded in the Somali capital, as Shabaab Islamists threatened to escalate attacks in a "vicious war" against the new government. In the deadliest attack since the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed — nicknamed Farmajo — the vehicle exploded at a crowded intersection. The Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group had not claimed the attack, however it came on the same day as the group threatened to wage "vicious war" against Farmajo and his new government. (I24, Feb. 19, 2017)


POLL: PALESTINIAN SUPPORT FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION DROPS (Jerusalem) — A majority of Palestinians do not support a two-state solution, a survey found. The survey found that 44 percent of Palestinians back the two-state solution, a decline from 51 percent who supported this approach in a similar survey from June. The later survey had 59 percent of Israelis supporting two states, down from 55 percent in the earlier poll. The survey also found that just over one-third of Palestinians and a majority of Arab Israelis supported one state as well as a confederation, while 24 percent of Israelis backed one state and 28 percent a confederation. (JTA, Feb. 16, 2017)


HEZBOLLAH SAID TO HAVE OBTAINED ‘GAME-CHANGING’ ANTI-SHIP MISSILES (Beirut) — The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has obtained advanced Russian-made anti-ship missiles, potentially threatening Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea and the Israeli Navy’s ability to operate in the area, according to a report. If true, Hezbollah’s possession of the Yakhont missiles would represent a serious threat to Israeli interests in the Mediterranean. The missiles would give Hezbollah the ability to strike Israel’s gas production platforms in the Mediterranean, a threat Israel reportedly intends to counter by installing maritime versions of the Iron Dome missile defense system on naval vessels as part of the Israeli Navy’s efforts to secure the country’s natural gas fields. (Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2017)


TURKEY SHUTS WEEKLY OVER OFFENSIVE MOSES CARTOON (Istanbul) — The publisher of one of Turkey's most prominent cartoon magazines shut down the weekly and fired all its staff after it published a cartoon of Moses deemed to be offensive. Girgir had published a cartoon showing the bearded Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, with his companions complaining and using vulgar curse words. Girgir has since 2015 been published by the group of the Sozcu newspaper, a secular nationalist daily which is staunchly opposed to President Erdogan.  A statement by the magazine apologized for the cartoon, saying "it was not noticed before printing because of tiredness and insomnia." Cartoons of holy figures, especially from Islam, are a near taboo in Turkey. (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 19, 2017)


MPS DEBATE MOTION 103 (Ottawa) — MPs started the formal debate last week on a binding motion to condemn Islamophobia and systemic racism that's created controversy over concerns about free speech. Motion 103, proposed by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, would "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination" and ask a House committee to study how the government could reduce systemic racism. Critics, including several Conservative leadership candidates, say the motion would limit free speech and that current hate crimes legislation is sufficient. Kellie Leitch, an Ontario MP who's running to lead the Conservatives, has started a petition against M-103. The petition, which collects signatories email addresses and postal codes along with their names, uses the heading "no religion should be singled out for special consideration." (CTV, Feb. 15, 2017)


MONTREAL BECOMES 'SANCTUARY CITY' (Montreal) — The City of Montreal approved a motion declaring itself a "sanctuary city" for unauthorized immigrants. The motion includes provisions to ensure undocumented people can obtain services without fear of deportation. The designation ​comes as the province is dealing with an increase in the number of asylum seekers crossing the border illegally from the U.S. While the term "sanctuary city" carries no official legal definition, in the U.S. it has come to mean more limited co-operation with federal immigration officials and the safe harbour of undocumented immigrants. Last month, Trump issued an executive order to pull millions of dollars in grants from local governments that fail to comply with federal immigration enforcement laws. (CBC, Feb. 20, 2017)


AT LEAST TEN US JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTERS TARGETED IN BOMB THREATS (Miami) — At least ten Jewish community centers across America received telephone bomb threats on Monday, according to media reports. JCCs in Birmingham, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Paul, Tampa, Albuquerque, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville and Buffalo were evacuated. No bombs were found at any of the threatened sites. This marked the fourth spate of concurrent bomb threats issued against JCCs in different parts of the US since the start of 2017. (Algemeiner, Feb. 20, 2017)


JOURNALIST STICKS UP FOR TRUMP AFTER BEING CALLED A ‘LIAR’ (Washington) — The Jewish reporter whom Trump accused of lying at a news conference defended Trump’s actions as owing to a misunderstanding. Jake Turx, of Ami Magazine, said that he believed Trump acted defensively to his question about rising antisemitism in America because of the “unfair” treatment he was receiving in the media and allegations connected to antisemitism. Citing bomb threats against Jewish institutions in recent months, Turx said, “What we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.” Trump interrupted Turx, said his question was “not fair” and said: “OK, sit down, I understand the rest of your question.” (JTA, Feb. 17, 2017)


‘DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS’ PROTEST (Washington) — Immigrants across the U.S. went on strike to highlight their economic importance to a new administration that has taken a hard-line stance on immigration policies. The strike, spurred by a social-media campaign, called for immigrants not to go to work, to avoid spending money and not send their children to school. It was the restaurant industry — where immigrants make up nearly 23 percent of the national workforce — that seemed most affected. In the D.C. region, where about 48 percent of people working in the restaurant industry are foreign-born, dozens of restaurants closed. And celebrity chef José Andrés — a Spanish immigrant who is in a legal battle with President Trump after backing out of a contract to open a restaurant in the District’s Trump International Hotel — closed a number of his restaurants in the region. (Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2017)


PEW: JEWS ARE BEST-LIKED RELIGIOUS GROUP IN U.S. (Miami) — Jews are the most warmly regarded religious group in America, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. The survey found that Americans generally express more positive feelings toward various religious groups than they did three years ago. Jews topped the survey, in which respondents rank various religious groups on a “feeling thermometer.” On the scale of 1 to 100, 1 is the coldest and 100 the warmest. Jews were ranked at 67 degrees, up from 63 in the 2014 survey, followed by Catholics at 66, up from 62, and Mainline Protestants at 65. Evangelical Christians stayed at 61 degrees. Buddhists rose to 60 from 53, and Hindus increased to 58 from 50. Atheists and Muslims again had the lowest ratings. Atheists ranked at 50 degrees, up from 41, and Muslims were at 48, up from 40. (JTA, Feb. 15, 2017)




On Topic Links


"U.S. is Determined to Stand up to the UN’s Anti-Israel Bias" – Nikki Haley (Video): UNWatch, Feb. 16, 2017

The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 20, 2017—When they met on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin were both walking wounded. Netanyahu arrived in Washington the center of a criminal investigation the chief characteristic of which is that selected details of the probe are regularly leaked to the media by anonymous sources who cannot be challenged or held to account.

President Trump's Iran Dilemma: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Feb. 27, 2017—Donald Trump has promised a foreign policy of muscular retrenchment, in which a better-resourced U.S. military intimidates our enemies without serving as a global cop. More than any president since Richard Nixon, our new commander in chief sees virtue in brutal authoritarians, especially if they are fighting radical Islam. He has passionately belittled the idea of nation-building, freedom agendas, and protracted conflicts in Muslim lands.

Trump in Denial Over Rising American Antisemitism: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 19, 2017— In two press conferences last week, US President Donald Trump avoided answering reporters’ questions about the undeniable spike in antisemitic incidents in America during his campaign for the presidency, an alarming trend that continues to concern the world Jewish community. On Wednesday, a reporter asked about the rise of antisemitic incidents amid growing concern that the new administration might in fact be encouraging xenophobia and racism.


Why Israel Has the Most Technologically Advanced Military on Earth: Yaakov Katz, New York Post, Jan. 29, 2017— In 1950, just two years after the state of Israel was founded, the country’s first commercial delegation set off for South America.

Myth: Israel Is the Largest Beneficiary of US Military Aid: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Feb. 10, 2017— Countless articles discrediting Israel (as well as many other better-intentioned articles) ask how it is that a country as small as Israel receives the bulk of US military aid.

Global Arms Sales at Highest Level Since Cold War: Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2017— Global arms sales have skyrocketed in the last five years, reaching their highest level since the Cold War in sales to the Middle East, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

After Gaza Flare-Up, Ministers Hear War Drums as Army Seeks Return to Calm: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Feb. 7, 2017— Two Israeli ministers said another war in Gaza is on Israel’s horizon on Tuesday…


On Topic Links


Can Israel Rely On Foreign Peacekeepers And Security Guarantees? (Video): Yoram Ettinger, Youtube, Feb. 8, 2017

IDF Trains For Doomsday Scenario Along Gaza Border: Jewish Press, Jan. 26, 2017

Facing New Challenges: Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom, Feb. 10, 2017

The Fast Track to Armageddon: Louis Rene Beres, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 13, 2017




ADVANCED MILITARY ON EARTH                                       

Yaakov Katz

                                       New York Post, Jan. 29, 2017


In 1950, just two years after the state of Israel was founded, the country’s first commercial delegation set off for South America. Israel desperately needed trading partners. Unlike its Arab adversaries, Israel did not have natural resources to fund its economy. There was no oil or minerals. Nothing. The delegation held a couple of meetings but was mostly met with laughs. The Israelis were trying to sell oranges, kerosene stove tops and fake teeth. For countries like Argentina, which grew its own oranges and was connected to the electrical grid, the products were pretty useless.


It’s hard to imagine this is what Israeli exports looked like a mere 67 years ago. Today, Israel is a high-tech superpower and one of the world’s top weapons exporters with approximately $6.5 billion in annual arms sales. Since 1985, for example, Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones, responsible for about 60 percent of the global market, trailed by the US, whose market share is under 25 percent. Its customers are everywhere — Russia, South Korea, Australia, France, Germany and Brazil. In 2010, for example, five NATO countries were flying Israeli drones in Afghanistan. How did this happen? How did Israel, a country not yet even 70 years old, become a superpower with one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world that is changing the way modern wars are fought?


The answer, I believe, is a combination of a number of national characteristics unique to Israel. First, despite Israel’s small size, about 4.5 percent of its GDP is spent on research and development, almost twice the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average. Of that amount, about 30 percent goes to products of a military nature. By comparison, only 2 percent of German R&D and 17 percent of the US R&D is for the military. Another major contribution is the culture of innovation and creativity in Israel. Israelis are more willing to take risks than other nations. They get this from their compulsory military service during which they are tasked, at a young age, to carry out missions often with deadly consequences. While Israeli 19-year-olds embark on operations behind enemy lines, their Western counterparts can be found in the safety of their college dormitories.


Lastly, Israel has been in a perpetual state of conflict since its inception, fighting a war almost every decade. This reality, of having your back up against the wall, sharpens the mind. It forces Israelis to be creative and come up with innovative ways and weapons to survive. This is the Israel story …


Robotic border patrols: The Guardium is a part of a new category of robotic weapons known as Unmanned Ground Vehicles or UGVs. Israel is the first country in the world using these robots to replace soldiers on missions like border patrols. Already, Guardium UGVs are deployed along Israel’s border with Syria in the north and the Gaza Strip in the south. The Guardium is based on a Tomcar dune-buggy-like vehicle and equipped with a range of sensors, cameras and weapons. It can be driven by a soldier sitting in a command center miles away or receive a pre-designated route for its patrol, making it completely autonomous.


The increasing use of robots by the Israel Defense Forces is part of a larger strategy to minimize risk to soldiers when possible. In addition, soldiers require breaks, food and water. All a Guardium needs is a full tank of gas. Other UGVs in use by the IDF include the Segev, which is based on a Ford F-350 pickup truck.


Facing terrorists who use tunnels to infiltrate into Israel from places like the Gaza Strip, Israel is also relying on UGVs like robotic snakes to slither their way into underground passageways and enemy headquarters. The robots will then map out the structures, giving soldiers an accurate picture of a battle area before the place is stormed. The same is happening at sea. Israeli defense contractor Rafael has developed an unmanned patrol ship called Protector which is being used by Israel to protect its strategic ports and patrol the country’s long Mediterranean coastline.


The Arrow anti-missile program: In 2000, the Israeli air force received its first operational Arrow missile battery, making Israel the first country in the world with an operational system that could shoot down incoming enemy missiles. The idea to create the Arrow was born in the mid-1980s after President Ronald Reagan floated his Star Wars plan and asked America’s allies to partner in developing systems that could protect the country from Soviet nuclear missiles.


The Arrow was a revolutionary idea. Due to Israel’s small size and lack of territory, all ballistic missiles deployed in the region — Syria, Iraq and Iran — can reach anywhere within the country and pose a strategic and possibly even existential threat. Israel, the developers argued, needed a system that could shoot down enemy missiles over neighboring countries and provide overall protection for the tiny Jewish state. The program had its ups and downs but got a huge boost in funding after the First Gulf War in 1991, when Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scuds into Israel, paralyzing the country and forcing millions of Israelis into bomb shelters with their gas masks.


The Arrow was just the beginning. Today, Israel has the Arrow, which is partially funded by the United States, to intercept long-range ballistic missiles, David’s Sling to intercept medium-range rockets and cruise missiles as well as the combat-proven Iron Dome, which has intercepted hundreds of Katyusha rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in recent years. Israel is the only country in the world that has used missile defense systems in times of war. These systems do more than just save lives. They also give the country’s leadership “diplomatic maneuverability,” the opportunity to think and strategize before retaliating against rocket attacks. While other countries have also invested in missile defense, none has created a multi-tier architecture like Israel….

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






Prof. Hillel Frisch

BESA, Feb. 10, 2017


Countless articles discrediting Israel (as well as many other better-intentioned articles) ask how it is that a country as small as Israel receives the bulk of US military aid. Israel receives 55%, or $US3.1 billion per year, followed by Egypt, which receives 23%. This largesse comes at the expense, so it is claimed, of other equal or more important allies, such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea. The complaint conjures the specter of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn. The response to the charge is simple: Israel is not even a major beneficiary of American military aid. The numerical figure reflects official direct US military aid, but is almost meaningless compared to the real costs and benefits of US military aid – which include, above all, American boots on the ground in the host states.


There are 150,500 American troops stationed in seventy countries around the globe. This costs the American taxpayer an annual $US85-100 billion, according to David Vine, a professor at American University and author of a book on the subject. In other words, 800-1,000 American soldiers stationed abroad represent US$565-665 million of aid to the country in which they are located.


Once the real costs are calculated, the largest aid recipient is revealed to be Japan, where 48,828 US military personnel are stationed. This translates into a US military aid package of over US$27 billion (calculated according to Vine’s lower estimation). Germany, with 37,704 US troops on its soil, receives aid equivalent to around US$21 billion; South Korea, with 27,553 US troops, receives over US$15 billion; and Italy receives at least US$6 billion. If Vine’s estimate is correct, Japan’s US military aid package is nine times larger than that of Israel, Germany’s is seven times larger, and Italy’s is twice as large. The multipliers are even greater for Egypt. Even the Lilliputian Gulf states, Kuwait and Bahrain, whose American bases are home to over 5,000 US military personnel apiece, receive military aid almost equal to what Israel receives.


Yet even these figures grossly underestimate the total costs of US aid to its allies. The cost of maintaining troops abroad does not reflect the considerable expense, deeply buried in classified US military expenditure figures, of numerous US air and sea patrols. Nor does it reflect the high cost of joint ground, air, and maritime exercises with host countries (events only grudgingly acknowledged on NATO’s official site). US air and naval forces constantly patrol the Northern, Baltic, and China Seas to protect American allies in Europe and in the Pacific – at American expense. Glimpses of the scale of these operations are afforded by incidents like the shadowing of a Russian ship in the Baltics, near run-ins between Chinese Coast Guard ships and US Navy ships dispatched to challenge Chinese claims in the South China Sea, and near collisions between US Air Force planes and their Chinese counterparts in the same area.


In striking contrast, no US plane has ever flown to protect Israel’s airspace. No US Navy ship patrols to protect Israel’s coast. And most importantly, no US military personnel are put at risk to ensure Israel’s safety. In Japan, South Korea, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, the Baltic states, Poland, and elsewhere, US troops are a vulnerable trip-wire. It is hoped that their presence will deter attack, but there is never any assurance that an attack will not take place. Should such an attack occur, it will no doubt cost American lives.


This cannot happen in Israel, which defends its own turf with its own troops. There is no danger that in Israel, the US might find itself embroiled in wars like those it waged in Iraq and Afghanistan at a cost of US$4 trillion, according to Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor and Harvard University researcher.


Japan’s presence at the top of the list of US military aid recipients is both understandable and debatable. It is understandable because Japan is critical to US national security in terms of maintaining freedom of the seas and containing a rising China. It is debatable because Japan is a rich country that ought to pay for the US troops stationed within it – or in lieu of that, to significantly strengthen its own army. At present, the Japanese army numbers close to 250,000, but it is facing the rapidly expanding military power of its main adversary, China. A similar case can be made with regard to Germany, both in terms of its wealth and its contribution towards meeting the Russian threat.


What is incomprehensible is not why Israel receives so much US military aid, but why Japan has received nine times more aid than Israel does. This is a curious proportion given the relative power Israel possesses in the Middle East and its potential to advance vital US security interests in times of crisis, compared to the force maintained by Japan relative to China. Ever since the Turkish parliament’s decision in March 2003 not to join the US-led coalition, and the Turkish government’s refusal to allow movement of American troops across its borders, Israel has been America’s sole ally between Cyprus and India with a strategic air force and (albeit small) rapid force deployment capabilities to counter major threats to vital US interests.


It takes little imagination to envision these potential threats. Iran might decide to occupy Bahrain, which has a Shiite majority seriously at odds with the ruling Sunni monarchy. It might take over the United Arab Emirates, which plays a major role in the air offensive against the Houthis, Iran’s proxies in the war in Yemen. There might be a combined Syrian and Iraqi bid to destabilize Sunni Jordan, in the event that both states subdue their Sunni rebels. Any of these moves would threaten vital energy supplies to the US and its allies. Only Israel can be depended upon completely to provide bases and utilities for a US response and to participate in the effort if needed.


The politicians, pundits, and IR scholars who attack Israel and the Israeli lobby for extracting the lion’s share of US military aid from a gullible Congress know full well that this is not true. Israel receives a small fraction of the real outlays of military aid the US indirectly gives its allies and other countries. These experts also know that 74% of military aid to Israel was spent on American arms, equipment, and services. Under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, that figure will be changed to 100%. The experts simply cite the wrong figures.


The US is now led by a businessman president who knows his dollars and cents. He has been adamant about the need to curb free-riding by the large recipients of real US aid. He will, one hopes, appreciate the security bargain the US has with Israel – a country that not only shares many common values with the US, but can make a meaningful contribution to American vital interests with no trip-wires attached.






Anna Ahronheim

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2017


Global arms sales have skyrocketed in the last five years, reaching their highest level since the Cold War in sales to the Middle East, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says the volume of international weapons transfers has “grown continuously since 2004 and increased by 8.4% between 2007-11 and 2012-2016,” with the flow of arms to the Middle East, Asia and Oceania spiking in part due to conflicts raging in the Middle East and tensions in the South China Sea.


The five biggest exporters – the US, Russia, China, France and Germany – accounted for 74 percent of the total volume of arms exports. France and Germany accounted for 6% and 5.6% respectively. But the report stated the low rate of French arms exports would likely end due to a series of major defense contracts signed in the past five years. Russia is reported to have accounted for 23% of global exports between 2012–16, with 70% of its arms exports going to four countries: India, Vietnam, China and Algeria. Of all the arms exported by the United States, almost half ended up in the Middle East, with the main buyers being Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey.


“The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world – significantly more than any other supplier state”, said Dr. Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program. “Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defense systems account for a significant share of US arms exports,” he said. According to the report, arms imports jumped by 86% between 2012 and 2016 in the Middle East, accounting for 29% of global arms purchases, almost double the previous five-year period studied.


Saudi Arabia was the world’s second largest arms importer after India, with an increase of 212% compared to the previous five-year period, while imports by Qatar rose by 245%. According to senior SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman, “over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities. Despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions.”


Several countries in the Middle East are involved in armed conflicts, such as the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen and in Syria, and tensions remain among them and with Iran. Wezeman told The Jerusalem Post that, due to the continuing arms embargo prohibiting states from exporting arms to Iran, “there is major asymmetry when comparing Iran to other countries in the region, like the rich Gulf countries.” However, Tehran’s arms industry produces weapons that are ending up in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen, he said.


According to Wezeman, while Israel is “out of the league of major importers, it is one of the larger arms exporters,” ranking 10th of all countries. Israel belongs to a group of smaller countries that plays a large role in arms trade, such as Germany or France, Wezeman told the Post, adding that, while Israel has not been a major arms importer in the past five years, by next year “we will see a change, especially due to the F-35 program.” Israel is set to receive a total of 50 of the stealth fighters, two full squadrons, by 2022. Of the MOU signed between Washington and Jerusalem in September that provides Israel with $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, at least $7 billion of the MOU has been earmarked for purchasing the F-35s…


India was reported by SIPRI to be the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2012-16, accounting for 13 percent of the global total – far greater than regional rivals China and Pakistan. “With no regional arms control instruments in place, states in Asia continue to expand their arsenals,” said Wezeman, adding that “while China is increasingly able to substitute arms imports with indigenous products, India remains dependent on weapons technology from many willing suppliers, including Russia, the US, European states, Israel and South Korea.” Israel has been supplying India with various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years, making India one of Israel’s largest buyers of military hardware. Over the last five years defense trade between the two countries has averaged annual sales worth more than $1 billion…

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







 Judah Ari Gross

           Times of Israel, Feb. 7, 2017


Two Israeli ministers said another war in Gaza is on Israel’s horizon on Tuesday, following a tense day of IDF air and tank strikes in response to a rocket attack from the Strip on Monday morning, but the army stressed it had no interest in further conflict on the southern front. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that a war was “a matter of when, not if…In Gaza, they are continuing to threaten us and try to harm us,” Bennett said at a ceremony in southern Israel commemorating the death of an Israeli student killed by Hamas rocket fire in 2005. “Only with a total victory over our enemy will we put an end to this,” Bennett added.


In a Tuesday morning interview on Army Radio, Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a former general, also said there was a chance of escalation and conflict with the Hamas terrorist group later this year. “The [current] reality, in my assessment, might lead to a situation in which Hamas is drawn to escalation in the spring or the summer,” said Galant, a former head of the army’s Southern Command. Galant’s predictions have not always been accurate. In April 2016, in another Army Radio interview, the minister predicted a war in Gaza that summer as well, but no such conflict occurred.


The IDF, meanwhile, has sought to calm some of the tensions surrounding the Gaza Strip. “We have no interest in an escalation of violence, but are determined to fulfill our obligation and protect the people of Israel from attacks originating in Gaza,” army spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told The Times of Israel


In response to the IDF strikes, the Hamas terrorist group said Monday it holds Israel “fully” responsible for any fallout or escalation in hostilities between the two sides. Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem also called on regional and international authorities to curb Israel’s “aggression.” On Monday morning, a rocket was fired from northern Gaza at Israel, striking an open field south of the city of Ashkelon. Later in the day, an IDF patrol was also fired upon near the security fence surrounding the coastal enclave. No Israelis were injured in the attacks. In response, the army targeted at least eight Hamas positions in the Strip, with both airstrikes and tank shellings. Two Palestinians were reportedly injured by shrapnel to an unknown degree, according to the Gaza health ministry.


The army said its strikes were in response not only to Monday’s rocket attack and gunfire, but also to “other incidents from Gaza in the last month.” This was a reference to smaller-scale incidents that have occurred along the security fence surrounding the Strip. Following the 2014 Gaza war, which aimed to stem rocket fire from the Strip against Israeli towns, the rate of such attacks dwindled to, on average, one or two missiles per month. These rockets have been launched mainly by radical Salafist groups. But Israel sees Hamas, which has ruled the Strip for the past 10 years, as ultimately responsible for any any attacks coming from Gaza…

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




On Topic Links


Can Israel Rely On Foreign Peacekeepers And Security Guarantees? (Video): Yoram Ettinger, Youtube, Feb. 8, 2017

IDF Trains For Doomsday Scenario Along Gaza Border: Jewish Press, Jan. 26, 2017—The following is a report from the IDF blog, which described a massive civil defense and military drill that included an elementary school along the southern border with Gaza on Wednesday.

Facing New Challenges: Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Israel Hayom, Feb. 10, 2017—Ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington next week and his Feb. 15 meeting with President Donald Trump, the differences between the Israeli Right and Left's worldviews, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, has become more poignant.

The Fast Track to Armageddon: Louis Rene Beres, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 13, 2017—When all pertinent factors are taken into account, U.S. President Donald Trump could sometime undertake more-or-less selective military action against Iran. In response, the Islamic Republic – then having absolutely no meaningful option to launching at least certain forms of armed reprisal – would target American military forces in the region and/or carefully chosen Israeli targets.



Trump Isn’t Repeating Obama’s Middle East Mistakes: Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, Feb. 3, 2017— By the end of his second week in office, President Donald Trump has discovered it is actually possible for him to do something that garners applause from the mainstream media.

Russia's Mideast Dominance Growing: Dr. Netanel Avneri, Israel Hayom, Jan. 31, 2017— The Middle East has experienced firsthand Russia's significantly growing influence on the global state of affairs, as a result of the rise of the Islamic State group and general instability in the region.

Sunni States' Military Spending Sprees Could Fall to Radical Islamists: Yaakov Lappin, IPT, Feb. 7, 2017— Faced with an array of developing threats to their stability and survival, Sunni Arab states have gone on an unprecedented military spending spree…

The Six-Day War Was a Watershed in Middle Eastern History: Asher Susser, Fathom, Spring, 2017 — The 1967 War was a watershed in Middle Eastern history.


On Topic Links


U.S., Middle East Allies Explore Arab Military Coalition: Maria Abi-Habib, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2017

Trump, China, and the Middle East: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Feb. 7, 2017

China and the Middle East – a Rapidly Changing Picture: Tim Collard,, Feb. 8, 2017

How the World Turned Against Israel: an Interview with Joshua Muravchik: Fathom, Autumn, 2014



TRUMP ISN’T REPEATING OBAMA’S MIDDLE EAST MISTAKES                                               

Jonathan S. Tobin

           National Review, Feb. 3, 2017


By the end of his second week in office, President Donald Trump has discovered it is actually possible for him to do something that garners applause from the mainstream media. Though Democrats seem more interested in futile gestures of “resistance” to his government than in normal opposition, all Trump had to do to gain a modicum of respect from the New York Times and other denizens of the liberal echo chamber was to preserve rather than reject the policies of his predecessor. Or at least that was how the Times and the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC perceived the new administration’s statements about Israel, Iran, and Russia this week. In reality, the claim that, as the front-page headline in Friday’s Times put it, “Trump Reverts to Pillars of Obama Foreign Policy,” is actually dead wrong when applied to the Middle East.


The Times story treated administration statements about Israeli settlements, sanctions against Iran, and Russian aggression against Ukraine as proof that Trump was backing away from efforts to reverse President Obama’s policies. The jury is still out on what direction the administration will take toward Russia, though this week’s statements from U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley signaled the administration’s continued opposition to Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, which should give hope to those who believe the president’s crush on Vladimir Putin needs to be nipped in the bud.


With respect to the Middle East, however, the effort to interpret administration statements as an embrace of Obama’s policies — namely his unprecedented pressure on Israel and his desire for détente with Iran — are simply false. The argument that Trump is embracing Obama’s approach centers on one statement from White House press secretary Sean Spicer: While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful. That can be reasonably interpreted as opposing the creation of new Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But its first clause is a complete and total rejection of the repeated assertions of both Obama and former secretary of state John Kerry that settlements are the primary obstacle in the way of a peace deal.


Spicer’s words are actually a declaration that Trump is embracing the terms of President George W. Bush’s 2004 letter to the Israeli government, in which Bush said that changes on the ground since 1967 would have to be taken into account in any peace agreement. In practice, Bush made it clear that meant Israel would keep parts of Eastern Jerusalem as well as the major settlement blocs erected near the 1967 lines, where more than 80 percent of West Bank settlers live. Just as important, he signaled that new construction in those areas would not be considered an issue by the United States. Bush’s position was explicitly rejected by Obama, who consistently blamed Israel for the failure of his efforts to broker peace no matter what the Palestinians did, and advanced the belief that 40-year-old Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the blocs were just as “illegal” as the most remote hilltop settlement in the middle of the West Bank.


As to the question of “new settlements,” according to the Obama administration, Israel never stopped building them in vast numbers. Indeed, in December Obama’s deputy National Security Council adviser actually defended the administration’s decision to allow a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel to pass by claiming that the Israelis had been constructing “tens of thousands” of new settlements. The claim was, of course, rubbish.


In fact, there are only approximately 230 settlements in the West Bank including those unauthorized by Israeli law. When Israel’s critics speak of its government’s building “new settlements,” they are referring to the erection of new houses or apartments in existing communities. So the announcement this week that Israel is building several-hundred new homes in Jerusalem and West Bank settlements does not actually fall under Spicer’s definition of construction that “may not be helpful” to the efforts toward a peace deal. The new administration appears to understand, as Obama never did, that the biggest obstacle to peace is the Palestinians…


On Iran, those arguing that Trump has come around to Obama’s point of view are on even shakier ground. According to the Times, Trump’s decision to impose new sanctions on Iran for its violations of U.N. resolutions forbidding them to test ballistic missiles is proof that he is reverting to one of the “pillars” of Obama’s strategy. Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, however, was contingent on America’s agreeing to dismantle international sanctions. And while Trump has not torn up the deal — a move that would involve its other signatories — he has pledged to try to enforce it more strictly than Obama, and he appears determined to hold the Iranians accountable for non-nuclear misbehavior such as their support for international terrorism.


While Trump has not yet moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as he promised during the campaign, he has already made it clear that Obama’s quest for more “daylight” between the two allies is over. Only someone who expects Trump to take positions to the right of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on settlements and the two-state solution — Netanyahu has restrained the growth of the former and publicly backs the latter — could characterize the new administration’s policies as being reminiscent of Obama’s.


Predicting what Donald Trump will ultimately do in the Middle East or anywhere else is a fool’s errand. But if there is any one overarching theme to his foreign policy it is a rejection of his predecessor’s approach. Trump has already shown an understanding that Obama’s misguided Middle East preoccupations weakened the U.S. position and made the region a more dangerous place. He may make mistakes of his own in the next four years, but it is highly unlikely that he will repeat those of his predecessor.







Dr. Netanel Avneri

Israel Hayom, Jan. 31, 2017


The Middle East has experienced firsthand Russia's significantly growing influence on the global state of affairs, as a result of the rise of the Islamic State group and general instability in the region. The moral and symbolic victory in Syria's "Stalingrad" — the battle over Aleppo — has elevated the image of an aggressive Russia in the region and around the world. Conversely, the steps the Russians are taking toward mediating peace make it clear they are the ones who call the shots in the country.


First, Russia worked with Turkey, which supports the Sunni opposition forces, to advance a cease-fire deal across Syria (with the exception of the war on Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the Nusra Front) that included a humanitarian passageway in eastern Aleppo to allow the exit of civilians and rebels. As of today, Russian military police are the ones preventing sectarian violence by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Iranian and Shiite adjuncts toward Sunni citizens. Moreover, Russia was the first to endorse the Astana peace conference between the Assad regime and representatives from the opposition in Kazakhstan earlier this month. If it were up to Assad and the Iranians, there would not be peace talks but a settling of scores, but the Russian interest in Syria is the deciding factor, and it is based on economic and strategic, not ethnic, interests.


As it works to implement peace initiatives, Moscow has increased the number of attack aircraft in the country. There is evidence of work to expand its aircraft and naval bases on the Syrian coast despite Russia's promise to decrease its military presence there. In Baghdad, there is a permanent Russian presence in the joint intelligence center it shares with Iraq, Syria and Iran, which was established in 2015 on the Islamic State front. In addition, Russia has provided Iraq with fighter jets and military helicopters. For its part, Iraq has allowed Russia to use its airspace for attacks in Syria.


Egypt and Pakistan signed significant weapons deals with Russia and last year, the three countries held joint military exercises. According to Russian sources, Egypt is expected to authorize Russian use of its naval and air bases, including a base on the Mediterranean Sea that was used to monitor U.S. naval ships during the Cold War. Russia also signed a large weapons deal with Libya, Egypt's neighbor to the west, despite the U.N. embargo in place since 2011. In another move indicative of the strengthening of ties, Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was the host of an impressive ceremony off the Libyan coast. Even Jordan signed a deal with Russia in 2015, set to take effect in 2017, to establish and operate two nuclear energy plants in Zarqa. Russia's standing has also improved in the Philippines. In October, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced an alliance with Russia and a "separation" from the United States.


What does the near future hold? Moscow's aspirations could further increase in light of increasing revenue from its export of oil and gas. Since the beginning of January, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil exporting countries like Russia began to coordinate a reduction in exports. This led to a 15% increase in the price of oil, and there are those who predict prices will continue to skyrocket in the future. Likewise, Russia will benefit from an increase in both demand for and price of natural gas. This increase in revenue could make it easier for Russia to cope with the painful effects of economic sanctions, the result of its invasion of Ukraine. Incidentally, the coordination on the reduction of oil exports, the war on Islamic State and Russian efforts to reduce ethnic violence in Syria could bring it closer to Saudi Arabia, a country that has always been concerned by Russia's influence in the region.


Another cause for Russian optimism comes from the direction of Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump has on several occasions alluded to his willingness to improve relations between the countries and promote cooperation with Russia as a means of solving world problems. At the same time, Trump has announced a re-evaluation of trade deals with China and of the relationship with China's anticommunist rival, Taiwan.


In light of all this, Israel would be wise to strengthen economic and strategic ties with Russia, so as not to place all its eggs in one Western basket. This will prevent a recurrence of the relationship status that survived the Cold War, in which the USSR clearly supported the Arab states. Such a situation would lead to competition between the superpowers and a return to the "Cold War theater" in the region, from which neither the superpowers nor the regional players will benefit.







Yaakov Lappin

IPT, Feb. 7, 2017


Faced with an array of developing threats to their stability and survival, Sunni Arab states have gone on an unprecedented military spending spree, buying up some of the very best capabilities the West has to offer. This development holds the potential for danger should these states be overrun by radical Islamists. As long as the Sunni governments, guided by concerns over Iran, ISIS and other extremist actors, remain firmly in power, possessing high quality Western weapons in such large quantities will serve their goals of defending themselves.


But should the Sunni countries disintegrate into failed states, or undergo an Islamist revolution – an unfortunate yet distinct possibility in the 21st century, chaotic Middle East – Israel and the West could face an explosively dangerous development. An organized Islamist rise to power would see the military forces of such states come under the command of belligerent decision makers. Alternatively, a failed state scenario would mean that military bases in these countries could be looted, and deadly platforms taken over. Either way, the scenario of jihadists seizing game-changing military capabilities is real enough for Israel to acknowledge that it is planning ahead for it as a necessary precaution.


Outgoing Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel spoke explicitly of this danger on Jan. 24 at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. His air force must know how to act as a precise surgeon, Eshel said, able to conduct pinpoint strikes based on fine intelligence. But it also must be able to operate like a "big hammer" able to deal with large-scale threats. In the tumultuous Middle East, he said, it seems unreasonable to believe that the current situation will remain as it is. "In five, 10, or 15 years, states can fall," he warned.


Eshel was referring to pragmatic Sunni states that, like Israel, are deeply threatened by Iran's expanding radical Shi'ite axis, and by Salafi jihadist Sunni groups that are bent on destroying all countries that do not fit their vision of an extremist caliphate. "Even if we have shared regional interests [with these Sunni countries now], we do not know what will happen in the future. Western military sales to these countries have reached $200 billion. This is state of the art weaponry. It is not just about the quantity," Eshel said. It is the Air Force's responsibility to assume that "something will collapse."


Most of the Arab countries' spending spree has gone into their air forces and surface-to-air missiles. The Israel Air Force must ensure it can deal with these capabilities, he added, in the event of future jihadist revolutions.  In the same week that Eshel spoke, the U.S. State Department announced the first weapons sales to Gulf states under the Trump administration, pending approval by Congress. The sales reportedly include $400 million worth of helicopter gunship parts and air-to-air missiles to Kuwait, and $525 million for intelligence balloons to Saudi Arabia. ISIS has already built and deployed its own armed drones, according to reports, and if its goal of seizing control of state assets were realized, it could try to use some of the means on the battlefield.


Gulf Arab countries continue to break records in their rush to purchase military hardware. As part of its bid to deter Iran and boost its ability to hit the Islamic Republic's capital, Tehran, Saudi Arabia modernized its missile arsenal in recent years, purchasing Chinese medium-range surface-to-surface missiles from China, in a deal reportedly facilitated by the CIA.


More recently, the Saudis, who are leading a coalition against Iran-backed Houthi Shi'ite rebels in Yemen, spent $179.1 billion on weapons in 2016, and intend to spend $190 billion in 2017. Saudi Arabia in recent years has replaced Russia as the third largest defense spender in the world. Salafi jihadists would like nothing more than to topple the Saudi royal court, which they see as a Western puppet, and take control of Islam's holiest sites, Mecca and Medina. Last September, the U.S. approved $7 billion worth of fighter jets (F-15s and F-18s) to Kuwait and Qatar, and more than $1 billion in F-16 sales to Bahrain.


Egypt, too, has joined the shopping rush, becoming the world's fourth largest defense importer in 2016, buying up arms from the U.S. and France, as well as submarines from Germany. Egypt, which is in a state of deep civil conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood, is also fighting a stubborn ISIS jihadist insurgency in its Sinai province. ISIS' terror campaign has claimed many lives among Egyptian security forces, and threatens to spread to other areas of the country.


After the fall and disintegration of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, the idea that the Middle Eastern map will remain unaltered in the coming years is far from certain. Had Israel, according to international media reports, not bombed Syria's nuclear weapons production facility in Deir Al-Zor in 2007, the area, now filled with ISIS, could have seen nuclear weapons fall into the hands of genocidal jihadists.


Should Sunni states begin their own nuclear programs in response to Iran's own future nuclear efforts, the danger of atomic bombs falling into Islamist hands would increase. There is no alternative but to plan for such contingencies in the current unpredictable regional environment, where today's rational states could be replaced by sinister forces tomorrow.






WATERSHED IN MIDDLE EASTERN HISTORY                                      

Asher Susser                                             

Fathom, Spring, 2017


The 1967 War was a watershed in Middle Eastern history. Israelis call it the Six-Day War, which is symbolic of the euphoric sense of victory that Israeli Jews felt in the aftermath of the war. The Arabs don’t call it the Six-Day War; for them it’s the ‘June War’, or the ‘67 War’. It was the most humiliating of defeats for the Arabs in modern times, maybe of all time.


First of all, the war wasn’t just a defeat in the battlefield. The war was also a horrendous defeat for the idea of Arab nationalism or pan-Arabism or Nasserism – whatever you want to call it. It showed that it was an empty vessel. A whole generation of Arabs had hung on every word of Abdel Nasser. The Palestinians were great believers in Nasser as the man who would deliver Palestine. Almost overnight, it all came to naught. Nasser had, in theory, the formula for Arab modernisation and success: Arab unity, Arab socialism, and alliance with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. This was to be the panacea for Arab ills and for the modernisation of the Arab world. I think many Israelis don’t realise the extent to which the war of 1967 was an utter shock and humiliation for the Arabs and for the Egyptians in particular.


There was a void in the aftermath of 1967 which was filled by two simultaneous but contradictory developments. One was the reassertion of raison d’etat – state interest. Once pan-Arabism was seen as ‘pie in the sky’ it became every more legitimate to pursue state interest unabashedly: Egypt first, Jordan first, Palestine first. So Egypt made war with Israel again, and then peace with Israel, each time serving purely Egyptian territorial state interests. For the Arab states involved in the 1967 war with Israel, the defeat was the beginning of thinking seriously about withdrawing from the conflict with Israel. After the Yom Kippur War of 1973 we saw the gradual withdrawal of the Arab states from the conflict with Israel. Essentially, the Arab world post-67 has left the Palestinians to fend for themselves. The Palestinians spoke with ever greater emphasis after 1967 of what in Arabic is called ‘the independence of decision’. They said: ‘the Arabs have disappointed us, we Palestinians must fend for ourselves, we must be our own independent decision makers.’ By taking this position the Palestinians took ever more responsibility for their own fate. But that also paved the way for the Arab states to actually let them go, in the spirit of ‘You want to be more independent, be our guests’. The Arab states walked away from the conflict, leaving the Palestinians to fend for their own raison d’etat.


The second trend that filled the void after 1967 was Islamic politics. The Islamists could now say with a lot of credibility: ‘We told you so. All this secular Arab nationalism is not going to get us anywhere. Islam is the solution, not secular nationalism.’ Arab nationalism was never favoured by the Islamists for the very good reason that Arab nationalism was actually an aircraft carrier for secularisation. Arab nationalism, at least in theory, is a secular ideology, uniting people based on the language they speak, not their religion. Arabism is about Muslims and Christians being Arabs. Islamism has the opposite effect, reasserting the sectarian differences which Arabism actually papered over. Now you’re talking about Sunni and Shi’a, Muslims and non-Muslims. This reassertion of Islamism has eroded and in some cases even partly dissolved the Arab state: Iraq and Syria are two examples.


What impact did the Six-Day War have on the Arab-Israeli conflict? First, Israel appeared in the Arab mind – in the aftermath of 1967 even more than before – as a monument to Arab inadequacy, Arab failure. Second, we saw the return of the Palestinians to the front of the stage. It is no longer the ‘Arab-Israeli conflict’; it’s the ‘Palestinian-Israeli conflict’. After 1967 the Palestinians were very much in control of their destiny, a dramatic turn of events. Third, the Arab states fought their last war with Israel in 1973. There has been no inter-state war between Arab states and Israel for 44 years. Once Egypt made its peace with Israel, there was no longer an Arab war option. Arab states could not make war with Israel without Egypt…

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





On Topic Links


U.S., Middle East Allies Explore Arab Military Coalition: Maria Abi-Habib, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2017—The Trump administration is in talks with Arab allies about having them form a military alliance that would share intelligence with Israel to help counter their mutual foe, Iran, several Middle Eastern officials said.

Trump, China, and the Middle East: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Feb. 7, 2017—Ever since Donald Trump won the US presidential race, the issue of US-China relations has been high on the agenda of both parties. The subject preoccupies the president more than Islamic terror, Vladimir Putin, and other more pressing issues facing the world. This should not be surprising. Throughout the campaign, Trump pointed his finger time and again at China. His attacks often occurred during speeches in declining, heavy-industrial cities in the "Rust Belt" states, where he subsequently achieved unexpected victories.

China and the Middle East – a Rapidly Changing Picture: Tim Collard,, Feb. 8, 2017—China has for many years now preferred to refrain from involvement in the quagmire which is the Middle East. Until now the region has been considered too distant, and not sufficiently economically rewarding (apart from, of course, the need to ensure oil supplies) to justify closer engagement. What policy there has been has been entirely pragmatic, building on the establishment of sound economic and technological partnerships with Israel without disrupting relations with the diplomatically powerful Arab world.

How the World Turned Against Israel: an Interview with Joshua Muravchik: Fathom, Autumn, 2014—Israel was once the plucky underdog supported by Western public opinion, Left and Right. Today, it is the object of a global campaign to demonise the state and question its very right to exist. A new book by Joshua Muravchik, Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel (Encounter Books, 2014), seeks to explain this fall.










Trump Helps Persecuted Christians and Protects America with One Move: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Feb. 2, 2017— During a recent interview with CBN, President Trump was asked if he thinks America should prioritize persecuted Christians as refugees. 

Assyrian Statehood: Preventing a Rupture in Kurdish-American Relations: Bradley Martin, JNS, Feb. 9, 2017— Assyrian autonomy would do more than rectify a centuries-old injustice.

The True Face of Christendom: Earl Cox, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2017— With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in America and Europe, it is imperative that Israel knows who her true friends are.

Christian Realism and Christian Zionism: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Jan. 24, 2017 — Back in the  early 1940s, when the World Zionist Organization as was seeking credible Christian support for the cause of creating a Jewish State…


On Topic Links


Canada Heading Towards Blasphemy Law: Raheel Raza, Clarion Project, Feb. 13, 2017

‘Filming the Camps: From Hollywood to Nuremberg’ Review: Documenting Atrocities: Mark Yost, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2017

The West's Real Bigotry: Rejecting Persecuted Christians: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 5, 2017

United Church of Christ Indoctrinates Children to Hate: Abraham Cooper and Dexter van Zile, Huffington Post, Dec. 15, 2017



AND PROTECTS AMERICA WITH ONE MOVE                                                  

Raymond Ibrahim

                      Frontpage, Feb. 2, 2017


During a recent interview with CBN, President Trump was asked if he thinks America should prioritize persecuted Christians as refugees.  He responded: Yes.  Yes, they’ve been horribly treated.  If you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, or at least very, very tough, to get into the United States.  If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair — everybody was persecuted, in all fairness — but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.


This is a far different response than that given by Barrack Hussein Obama back in November 2015.  Then, as president, he lashed out against the idea of giving preference to Christian refugees, describing it as “shameful”: “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” Obama had added.


While Obama was making such lofty admonishments, his administration was quietly discriminating against Mideast Christians in a myriad of ways—including, as Trump pointed out, by aggressively accepting Muslim refugees over Christian ones.  Despite the U.S. government’s own acknowledgement that ISIS was committing genocide against Christians in Syria—and not against fellow Sunni Muslims—the Obama administration took in 5,435 Muslims, almost all of which were Sunni, but only 28 Christians.  Considering that Christians are 10 percent of Syria’s population, to be on an equal ratio with Muslims entering America, at least 500 Christians should’ve been granted asylum, not 28.


But questions of equality aside, the idea of prioritizing Christian refugees over Muslims (which I argued for back in 2015) is not only more humane; it brings benefits to America as well. Consider the facts:


Unlike Muslims, Christian minorities are being singled out and persecuted simply because of their despised religious identity.  From a humanitarian point of view—and humanitarianism is the reason being cited for accepting millions of refugees—Christians should receive top priority simply because they are the most persecuted group in the Middle East.  Even before the Islamic State was formed, Christians were and continue to be targeted by Muslims—Muslim individuals, Muslim mobs, and Muslim regimes, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian)—and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one.  (See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hate and contempt for Christians.)


Conversely, Muslim refugees—as opposed to the many ISIS and other jihadi sympathizers posing as “refugees”—are not fleeing religious persecution (as mentioned, 99% of Muslim refugees accepted into the U.S. are, like ISIS, Sunnis), but chaos created by the violent and supremacist teachings of their own religion.  Hence why when large numbers of Muslims enter Western nations—in Germany, Sweden, France, the UK—tension, crimes, rapes, and terrorism soar.


Indeed, what more proof is needed than the fact that so-called Muslim “refugees” are throwing Christians overboard during their boat voyages across the Mediterranean to Europe?  Or that Muslim majority refugee centers in Europe are essentially microcosms of Muslim majority nations: there, Christian minorities continue to be persecuted.  One report found that 88% of the 231 Christian refugees interviewed in Germany have suffered religiously motivated persecution in the form of insults, death threats, and sexual assaults. Some were pressured to convert to Islam.  “I really didn’t know that after coming to Germany I would be harassed because of my faith in the very same way as back in Iran,” one Christian refugee said. 


Is persecuting religious minorities the behavior of people who are in need of refugee status in America?   Or is this behavior yet another reminder that it is non-Muslims from the Middle East who are truly in need of sanctuary?


The U.S. should further prioritize Christian refugees because U.S. foreign policies are directly responsible for exacerbating their persecution.  Christians did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Muamar Gaddafi’s Libya.  Their systematic persecution—to the point of genocide—began only after the U.S. interfered in those nations under the pretext of “democracy.”  All they did is unleash the jihadi forces that the dictators had long kept suppressed. Now the Islamic State is deeply embedded in all three nations, enslaving, raping, and slaughtering countless Christian “infidels” and other minorities…

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






PREVENTING A RUPTURE IN KURDISH-AMERICAN RELATIONS                                                           

Bradley Martin

JNS, Feb. 9, 2017


Assyrian autonomy would do more than rectify a centuries-old injustice. It could also be the key to preventing irreversible damage to relations between the U.S. and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with a growing backlash in the Middle East. In response to Trump’s executive order, the Iraqi parliament voted to support reciprocal restrictions, barring Americans from entering Iraq unless Washington reverses its decision. This leaves Iraqi Kurds in a very precarious position.


“The KRG must now decide whether to help unify Iraq or go to war with Iraq,” said retired Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, an expert on Assyrian Christians and CEO of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement. “The Kurds may now feel compelled to implement their own travel ban against U.S. citizens, since their Muslim brethren would interpret such opposition as both a betrayal and an unpardonable offense against their religion.” Any refusal by the KRG to implement such a ban would put the Kurds at odds with the federal government in Baghdad. It would also prove damaging to Kurdish aspirations for independence, since the KRG cannot afford to enter negotiations while opposing the travel bans imposed by Iran and Iraq against American citizens.


By supporting Assyrian statehood, the KRG would send a clear message that it stands firmly with the U.S. and Western values. The three countries would share an unbreakable bond based on shared morals and economic prosperity. Assyrians are indigenous to Mesopotamia, and their history spans more than 6,700 years. When the Assyrian Empire came to an end in 612 B.C.E, the Assyrians would go on to become the first nation to convert to Christianity. The Assyrian language, a dialect of Aramaic, is likely what Jesus would have spoken during his lifetime.


Prior to the Islamic conquest of the Middle East, the Assyrian Church had an estimated 80 million adherents. Today, the Assyrian population throughout the world has been reduced to a little more than 4 million. Continuous murder, rape and forcible conversions to Islam have resulted in as much as 95 percent of this ancient community being forced to live outside (their) native region.


Until 2003, the Assyrian-Christian population numbered 1.5 million in Iraq. By the end of 2015, that number had been reduced to an estimated 150,000. This constitutes a 90-percent reduction of the Assyrian Christian population in their ancestral homeland. This genocide of Assyrians continues today, with the Islamic State terror group committing mass murder, forced conversions, rape and the destruction of Christian holy sites under its dominion. “If a new Assyrian state becomes a reality, Assyrians from all over the world would go back,” said Sangari. “The majority of talented, Western-educated Assyrians would probably go back as well.”


American Assyrians who return to their homeland would represent a link to the U.S., which the KRG could cultivate by supporting the foundation of this new Assyrian state. President Trump recently stated that persecuted Christians in the Middle East would be given priority as refugees. If the KRG were to aid in the rebuilding of the Assyrian national homeland, this would represent a goodwill gesture that would reverberate to Washington and send a powerful message that the genocide of Christians in the region will not be tolerated.


Western-educated Assyrians would serve as a significant boon to the region. Coupled with oil production, a sophisticated economy would emerge for everyone’s benefit. Kurdish statehood is therefore contingent on the rebirth of an Assyrian state. Although KRG President Massud Barzani recently stated that a declaration of Kurdish independence was imminent, the problem is that the KRG remains deeply divided. There is no guarantee that the two factions that make up the Kurdish Peshmerga forces will remain unified, since both militias remain deeply partisan. This division, compounded by potential conflicts with Iran and Iraq, does not bode well for the continued survival of a Kurdish state. Rather than a blessing, oil wealth would be a regional curse as it is used to fund further military campaigns.


If the KRG supported the rebirth of an Assyrian state, it would have a reliable and powerful ally in the region. A new U.S.-backed alliance between Kurdistan, Assyria and Israel that enshrines Western principles of freedom and democracy would create an oasis of peace and prosperity in an area of the world that desperately needs it.


Bradley Martin is a CIJR Student Intern and Deputy Editor





Earl Cox

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2017


With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in America and Europe, it is imperative that Israel knows who her true friends are. It’s sad and disturbing that anti-Semitism in the West originated with the early church fathers. How could this be? Jews and Christians share a common heritage: both are people of the Book; both our Scriptures confirm the Jews as G-d’s chosen people, whom He loves, and to whom He promised the land of Israel by everlasting covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants.


Christian Scripture talks about dividing the sheep from the goats. These foundations of the faith should be no-brainers. Yet a deep divide emerged in Christendom beginning with the First Century church fathers. Its two main issues were the authority and interpretation of the Bible, and God’s love and plan for Israel. It’s an anomaly that the cultural/political church has a history of anti-Semitism—especially mainstream denominations such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists and others.


Cultural, politicized Christianity has spawned “politically correct” positions that conflict with biblical truth. For example, the false doctrine of replacement theology teaches that the church has “replaced” Judaism, that Jews have no future in G-d’s plan, or sovereignty over Israel and Jerusalem; thus all G-d’s promises and blessings have become the church’s exclusive domain. Nothing could be further than the truth. Replacement theologians squirmed in 1948 when the Lord returned the captivity of Zion and Israel was reborn in a day!


Here’s a sampling of how poisonous anti-Semitism infiltrated the early church: Justin Martyr, who called Gentile believers the “new” Israel, wrote: “The Jewish Scriptures are no longer yours, they are now ours.” Irenaeus: “The Jews are now disinherited from the grace of God.” Tertullian: “God has rejected the Jews in favor of the Christians.” Eusebius: “The promises of the Hebrew Scriptures are now for the Christians and not the Jews—but the curses are for the Jews.” The Emperor Constantine exhorted separation from the “despicable” Jews. Jerome stooped to degrading terms, later borrowed by the Nazis and Muslims. Augustine’s sermon “Against the Jews” deeply impacted Martin Luther, who advocated setting fire to Jewish synagogues and schools, destroying Jewish homes and prayer books, forbidding rabbis to teach, and confiscating Jews’ cash and treasures. Despite his faith, Luther’s writings inspired the horrors of the Holocaust.


Over time, some denominations unabashedly began to subordinate the Bible to political views, as liberal mainstream seminaries taught false doctrines such as replacement and liberation theologies. In the latter, Jesus is seen as liberator of the poor and oppressed. In this worldview, Palestinian suicide bombers blow themselves up only because they’ve been oppressed and historically wronged—remove or restrain their Israeli oppressors and they’ll live in peace—despite being brainwashed from cradle to grave to hate and kill Israelis and other “infidels.” From bitter roots grow poisonous trees.


Last year, the Presbyterian Church USA called for BDS based on Israel’s “human rights abuses” and “militarized violence” against Palestinians, without condemning Palestinian terrorism. For these leaders, BDS is justified due to Israel’s alleged violation of Palestinian human rights. Yet they fail to address the PA or Hamas’s violation of human rights of their own people, or Israel’s legitimate need for self-defense. In 2016, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on the United State to end aid to Israel and “enable an independent Palestinian state.” It also adopted a resolution calling for divestment from Israel, so as not to “profit from human rights abuses.” ELCA group Isaiah 58 promotes a book recommending Islamic sharia law as the remedy for Israeli “occupation.”


Though liberal seminaries are seedbeds for anti-Semitism, most evangelical Christians study the Bible free of political interference. After all, Christian support for Israel is Biblical, not political. Evangelicals are the largest consistently pro-Israel block in the United States. A Pew Research Center poll found that 82 percent of white evangelicals believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people, compared to less than half as many Jewish or Catholic Americans. The true face of Christendom is the tens of millions of evangelicals who demonstrate their love for Israel with no hidden agendas, believe G-d gave Israel to the Jewish people, respect and obey the Bible as the ultimate written authority, and know that G-d always keeps His promises. How can any true Christian love Christ but not love His family and His land?





Paul Merkley

Bayview Review, Jan. 24, 2017


Back in the  early 1940s, when the World Zionist Organization as was seeking credible Christian support for the cause of creating a Jewish State, they settled upon Reinhold Niebuhr, the principal spokesman for the Christian Council for Palestine, and later for the American Christian Palestine Committee.


There was great advantage for the Zionist cause in the fact that, in a time when theology still played a modest (although clearly failing) part in academic discussion, Niebuhr was the only American theologian who was widely read throughout the English-speaking world. He commanded a large audience not only of Christians but also of secular intellectuals. Niebuhr was the acknowledged leading light of Christian Realism- the movement that emerged slowly and painfully out of resistance to the appeasement which took hold of all the journals of Christian opinion in the late 1930s. By 1945, he was widely recognized, inside church ranks and even more outside church ranks, as an exceptionally realistic commentator on world affairs.


Niebuhr’s prominence in the Christian pro-Zionist camp does not mark him as a Christian Zionist however. A Christian Zionist is one who believes that his support of the people of Israel in their ongoing struggles traces follows from a claim put upon himself by Biblical prophecy. To Niebuhr, the notion of predictive prophecy was all superstition, and accordingly he had no patience for the idea that working for the Restoration of the Jews was a task commanded by Scripture. This attitude was consistent with his theology: when it came to matters of the Creed, in typically liberal fashion, he swept away the miracles, the raising from the dead, and the life everlasting. He shared this mindset with all but perhaps one or two of the leaders of the Christian Council for Palestine and American Christian Palestine Committee.


There were two strings to the Liberal-Christian Pro-Zionist Christian argument for Partition of the Mandate and support for the State of Israel. The first string was that it was a requirement of justice in light of the perilous state in which the Hitler war had left the Jewish people. Appearing before the body which the UN had appointed to consider the case for Partition, Niebuhr said “The Jews have a right to a homeland.  They are a nation, scattered among the nations of the world.  They have no place where they are not exposed to the perils of minority status.” As for the complaint that this solution would work some injustice for the Arabs of the region, Niebuhr said:  “The Arabs have a vast hinterland in the Middle East, and the fact that the Jews have nowhere to go, establishes the relative justice of their claims and their cause…. Arab sovereignty over a portion of a debated territory must undoubtedly be sacrificed for the sake of establishing a world homeland for the Jews.”


The second string to the Liberal argument was that the Jewish people would establish in the Middle East a bridgehead for the values of European civilization, beginning a process of rolling back what Niebuhr described as the “feudal realities” left by centuries of Islam. This second argument does not resonate favorably in liberal circles today. The moment of Israel’s creation, however, belongs to the hour when Western intellectuals were reviewing the strengths of our Christian civilization in the light of the recent escape from Nazism and the prospect of a long struggle against the Soviet Communist Empire.


Before another generation had gone by, academics and elites of opinion had got themselves persuaded that the first duty of the inquiring mind is to despise what one belongs to: it was becoming impossible in academic circles to say a kind word for “civilization” and downright heresy to say a kind word for the Christian legacy. At the end of this process, the intellectual consensus was that the democratic State of Israel was an engine of imperialism, the oppressor of Third World peoples, the proxy of the bloody Crusaders.


Reinhold Niebuhr stood out among his generation of Christian intellectuals because he was such a discriminating critic of the thoughtless generalities that were current among his Christian academic contemporaries. Since the bottom line to these generalities was reckoned as “liberalism,” a new word had to be invented to catch what distinguished him from the others. The word “Neo-Orthodox” was recruited. This word is quite misleading, however. Niebuhr’s own theology was far from orthodox. He recited the Apostles Creed every Sunday along with everyone else, but in private conversation he confessed that he had no commitment to the reality of the Deity of Jesus or the Resurrection from the dead. With reference to our interests here: he refused to acknowledge any predictive character in any part of the Bible – including the Major and Minor Prophets. Thus, Niebuhr refused to credit any argument made in favour of the Zionist cause that was built upon confidence in the predictive capacity of Scripture.


During the years leading to the Partition Debate, Niebuhr did everything he could to avoid being associated with people who called themselves Christian Zionists. The arguments that he made in those days in support of the Partition and the creation of the State were both idealistic and realistic – never theological. At the same time, however, Niebuhr never lost his commitment to defense of Israel, and partly for that reason became alienated from the main body of liberal Christians who shifted to the anti-Israel camp in the wake of the 1967 War and who effectively eased him out of the pages of the liberal Christian journals of opinion – including the journal which he himself had founded, Christianity and Crisis.


Never in WCC documents today do we find the least hint that Israel came into existence in response to the decision of the world’s parliament, taken on November 29, 1947, and that, therefore, the dilemma of the other side follows from its steadfast and illegal rejection of the legitimacy of this decision. Ecumenical Christian organizations became steadily less enthusiastic about “legitimacy” and increasingly infatuated throughout the 1960s with “Liberation theology.”  Today, WCC documents ring with denunciations of “colonialism,” “cultural imperialism” and “oppression.”…

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


Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links


Canada Heading Towards Blasphemy Law: Raheel Raza, Clarion Project, Feb. 13, 2017—On December 5, 2016, Canadian MP Iqra Khalid proposed a bill against Islamophobia (Motion 103). She began her statement in parliament by saying, “Mr. Speaker, I am a young, brown, Muslim, Canadian woman …”

‘Filming the Camps: From Hollywood to Nuremberg’ Review: Documenting Atrocities: Mark Yost, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2017 — To most people, the evidence—detailed Nazi records, the crematoriums and barracks, personal testaments, and film of the Allied liberation of the death camps—is overwhelming enough to silence any Holocaust denier.

The West's Real Bigotry: Rejecting Persecuted Christians: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 5, 2017—Finally, after years of apathy and inaction, Washington is extending a much-needed helping hand to Middle Eastern Christians. U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced that persecuted Christians will be given priority when it comes to applying for refugee status in the United States.

United Church of Christ Indoctrinates Children to Hate: Abraham Cooper and Dexter van Zile, Huffington Post, Dec. 15, 2017—Until relatively recently it was estimated that some 300,000 child soldiers have served various masters, mostly in Africa and Asia. While the number has decreased, the exploitation of children in the name of a cause continues apace. Offenders rely on indoctrination, as well as direct recruitment.


















Dov Lieber

7 fev., 2017



Les employés palestiniens d’une agence pour les réfugiés des Nations unies continuent à utiliser les réseaux sociaux pour soutenir les activités terroristes et propager l’antisémitisme, malgré un précédent scandale sur le sujet, a annoncé l’association UN Watch.


UN Watch avait déjà exprimé des préoccupations devant les commentaires publiés sur les réseaux sociaux par des employés de l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche Orient (UNRWA) dans un rapport d’octobre 2015. Dimanche, elle a publié un rapport de suivi présentant des captures d’écran des pages Facebook de 40 employés des écoles de l’UNRWA dans la bande de Gaza, le Liban, la Jordanie et la Syrie.


Les posts « incitent au terrorisme jihadiste et à l’antisémitisme, notamment en publiant des vidéos négationnistes et des photographies célébrant Hitler », est-il écrit dans le rapport. Dimanche, le dirigeant de UN Watch, Hiller Neuer, a présenté le rapport à une sous-commission du Congrès américain traitant des Nations unies, d’Israël et des Palestiniens.


UN Watch a annoncé avoir envoyé des lettres dimanche au secrétaire général des Nations unies Antonio Guterres, au secrétaire d’Etat américain Rex Tillerson, et à l’ambassadrice américaine à l’ONU Nikki Haley, les exhortant « à prendre des mesures et a demandé une condamnation des Nations unies et de l’UNRWA de l’incitation [à la haine et à la violence], et le licenciement immédiat des employés impliqués. »


Les Etats-Unis ont donné à l’UNRWA, qui fournit éducation, soins et services sociaux aux réfugiés palestiniens au Proche Orient, 380 millions de dollars en 2015. Chris Gunness, porte-parole de l’UNRWA, a déclaré au Times of Israël dans un communiqué que son organisation était informée de ces accusations, et les « étudie dans le cadre de notre engagement pour maintenir la neutralité de l’Agence. »


Cependant, a ajouté Gunness, « les déclarations scandaleuses présumées qui auraient été publiées sur internet par une minuscule fraction de nos employés actuels ou passés ne représentent en aucun cas les engagements de neutralité et les principes d’humanité et d’indépendance des 30 000 employés travaillant avec conscience et professionnalisme dans les zones de conflit au Moyen Orient. »


L’UNRWA avait pris des mesures suite à la publication du rapport de UN Watch en 2015, notamment des « suspensions et des pertes de salaires », mais n’avait pas dévoilé l’identité de ses employés sanctionnés.


Gunness a déclaré que l’UNRWA ne rendrait pas publiques les informations personnelles sur les employés qu’elle sanctionne, « puisque cela nuirait aux efforts pour prendre des mesures efficaces et violerait les normes de respect de la vie privée et de procédure équitable. » UN Watch n’a pas confirmé que les individus cités dans ses rapports étaient des employés officiels de l’UNRWA. L’organisation se base sur les informations disponibles sur Facebook pour identifier de possibles employés de l’agence.


Suite à la publication du rapport de 2015, l’UNRWA avait annoncé avoir trouvé 90 imposteurs ou pages Facebook non autorisées de personnes qui ne sont en fait pas ou plus employés par l’UNRWA.


Ghanem Naim Ghoneim est l’un des employés présumés cités dans le rapport le plus récent de UN Watch. Ghoneim, qui se présente comme professeur de biologie à l’UNRWA au Liban, a publié en 2014 sur Facebook une image d’Adolf Hitler, et a parlé de lui comme de « notre bien-aimé ». Quand un élève a demandé depuis quand Hitler était « notre bien-aimé », Ghoneim a répondu qu’il se contentait de donner son propre avis.


Sunia Astal, Gazaouie qui se présente comme enseignante de l’UNRWA, est l’une des employés cités dans le rapport. Le 29 novembre 2012, elle a publié un post montrant un activiste avec un fusil, avec en légende « de la rivière à la mer, peu importe le temps que cela va prendre », faisant ainsi référence à la conquête de toute la Palestine historique, ce qui entraînerait la destruction d’Israël.


Le rapport liste de multiples exemples d’incitation pour certains individus. Par exemple, le Jordanien Hussein Amrah, qui se présente sur Facebook comme le directeur d’une école de l’UNRWA, compte neuf exemples d’incitation à la haine et à la violence.


Le 8 avril 2016, Amrah a partagé une photographie de Ismail Haniyeh, dirigeant du Hamas, accompagnée des mots « nous ne reconnaîtrons jamais Israël ».


Neuer, le directeur de UN Watch, a accusé l’UNRWA de ne pas « prendre au sérieux » les célébrations du terrorisme et l’antisémitisme trouvés sur les pages Facebook de ses employés, après le rapport d’octobre 2015. La vaste majorité des exemples détaillés dans le nouveau rapport de UN Watch est cependant des posts Facebook publiés avant la libération du rapport de 2015. Certains remontent à 2011.


Gunness, le porte-parole de l’UNRWA, a déclaré que son organisation allait commencer dans les prochains mois une formation « obligatoire » aux réseaux sociaux pour ses 30 000 employés, dont la plupart sont eux-mêmes des réfugiés palestiniens.






Noémie Halioua

ACTUJ, 7 fev, 2015   



L'Agence France Presse, qui est la troisième agence de presse la  plus puissante et du monde, est souvent contestée quant à sa neutralité vis-à-vis du conflit israélo-palestinien. Voilà une nouvelle affaire qui ne va pas arranger sa réputation. Nasser Abu Baker, correspondant de l'AFP depuis 10 ans en Judée-Samarie, censé recueillir les informations du terrain de façon impartiale afin de les transmettre à l'agence, s'est fait épinglé pour conflit d'intérêts éhonté.


En effet M. Abu Baker (parfois orthographié Abu Bakr), s'avère être un militant antisioniste de première catégorie. Membre de l'Autorité palestinienne et du président du Syndicat des Journalistes Palestiniens, celui-ci s'est prononcé clairement pour le boycott anti-israélien. Il avait carrément présenté sa candidature au Comité central du Fatah, qui, rappelons-le, soutien l'éradication d'Israël.


Sur sa page Facebook personnelle, il avait justifié sa candidature pour "réveiller les médias du Fatah, qui ont besoin d’être réveillés pour se consacrer en priorité à l’intérêt national et réorienter la boussole dans le sens de notre cause en direction de Jérusalem et du (droit au) retour. " Mais cela n'a pas suffit à le faire élire. Après de nombreux signalements de la part d'agences israéliennes et américaines, l'agence a fini par condamné M. Abu Baker à… une semaine de suspension. Un positionnement qui met largement en doute la neutralité de l'AFP et la crédibilité de ses informations, qui sont souvent immédiatement republiées ensuite dans les médias nationaux.




Comme en 1940? La Croix-Rouge prend le parti des antisémites du Croissant Rouge

Coolam, 18 nov, 2015



Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l’action de la Croix-Rouge a été largement dénoncée. On lui reproche d’une part sa passivité et son aveuglement face aux barbaries nazies, et d’autre part sa collaboration active avec le régime nazi.


Autre temps, mais des mœurs qui subsistent à la Croix Rouge Internationale (CICR). Sommée par Israël de condamner sa branche islamique, le Croissant Rouge, qui a ignoré les blessés juifs de l’attentat de vendredi dernier à proximité d’Otniel dans le Goush Etzion, les laissant mourir sur place sans leur prêter assistance, le CICR n’a pas jugé utile de condamner le Croissant Rouge. Au contraire, pour le CICR, les services de santé palestiniens ont agit comme il se devait…


Le CICR a en effet rejeté mardi les accusations d’Israël, prenant un parti-pris total pour sa branche islamique. Dans une déclaration sur son site Internet, le CICR a déclaré que la Société du Croissant-Rouge palestinien (PRCS) avait « immédiatement fourni des comptes rendus factuels, a fermement rejeté ces allégations, et sans équivoque réaffirmé son engagement à une réponse impartiale » à l’attaque. L’évaluation du CICR est que le Croissant-Rouge palestinien fonctionne avec professionnalisme et dans le plein respect des principes du mouvement y compris l’impartialité.


Le gouvernement israélien a annoncé samedi soir son intention de lancer une campagne internationale contre le Croissant-Rouge suite aux événements dramatiques de vendredi, après que le Magen David Adom ait confirmé que, lorsque ses propres médecins sont arrivés sur les lieux de l’attaque, ils ont découvert une ambulance du Croissant-Rouge à proximité de la scène. L’ambulance n’avait fourni aucune aide médicale aux victimes juives. Une vieille habitude de la Croix Rouge…





I24, 6 fev., 2015



Israël a dénoncé lundi la décision des Nations unies d'agréer une ONG palestinienne que l'Etat hébreu estime liée à son ennemi du Hamas. La commission de l'ONU sur les organisations non-gouvernementales a voté par 12 voix contre 3 la reconnaissance de l'ONG Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), basée en Grande-Bretagne, lui conférant un accès permanent à sa tribune.


La mission israélienne aux Nations unies a réagi dans un communiqué, estimant que l'ONG "promeut la propagande anti-israélienne en Europe", et que de hauts responsable de PRC sont liés à des organisations qui financent le Hamas, mouvement islamiste terroriste qui contrôle la bande de Gaza. Cette organisation, qui siège en Grande-Bretagne, fait du lobbying anti-israélien en Europe, dans les sphères politiques sur les campus universitaires et au sein du public européen.


Douze membres ont décidé de voter en faveur de l'entrée au sein de la commission de cette organisation qui fait partie du Hamas et soutient le terrorisme, dont l'Iran, le Soudan, le Venezuela , la Turquie, la Chine et Cuba. Trois pays ont voté contre (Les Etats-Unis, Israël et l'Uruguay. Trois autres se sont abstenus (Russie, Grèce et Inde), le Burundi étant absent.


L'ambassadeur d'Israël à l'Onu a dénoncé la décision. "Jusqu'à maintenant, l'Onu avait fait des avantages au Hamas et l'avait laissé renforcer ses activités. Aujourd'hui l'Onu va encore plus loin en accordant au Hamas une cérémonie d'accueil par la grande porte, lui permettant d'être un membre à part entière."


"Selon ce scénario, nous risquons un jour de voir le Hezbollah siéger au Conseil de Sécurité et l'Etat islamique voter au Conseil des Droits de l'Homme. C'est la haute saison du théâtre de l'absurde de l'Onu", a déclaré le diplomate israélien.


En 2010, Israël a déterminé que l'organisation PRC est une association illégale en raison de son appartenance au Hamas. Un décret signé par le ministre de la Défense de l'époque, Ehud Barak, a déterminé que le PRC est le bras organisationnel du Hamas en Europe. Ses membres, selon le décret, sont des cadres supérieurs du Hamas agissant pour la promotion de ce mouvement terroriste islamiste en Europe, qui sont en contact direct avec les hauts responsables du Hamas, y compris les dirigeants du mouvement à Damas.


La ligne politique de cette organisation est la négation du droit à l'existence de l'Etat d'Israël, le retour des réfugiés palestiniens sur le territoire de l'Etat hébreu en vue de l'établissement d'un Etat palestinien en lieu et place d'un Etat juif et le refus du processus de paix.


Ces éléments sont issus d'une étude du centre d'informations et de renseignements sur le terrorisme qui a également établi que les cadres de l'organisation PRC remplissent également des fonctions diverses dans d'autres organisations traitant entre autres de transfert de fonds au profit du Hamas.









Times of Israel, 15 fev, 2017



Marquant une rupture dans la politique américaine au Proche-Orient, Donald Trump a affirmé mercredi que la « solution à deux Etats » n’était pas la seule possible dans le conflit israélo-palestinien, soulignant qu’il était ouvert à des alternatives si elles mènent à la paix.


En accueillant à la Maison Blanche son « ami » le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, le nouveau président a vanté les liens « indestructibles » des Etats-Unis avec Israël, tout en appelant l’Etat hébreu à « la retenue » sur la poursuite de la construction dans les implantations dans les Territoires palestiniens.


Lors de leur conférence de presse commune, M. Netanyahu, qui entretenait des relations exécrables avec Barack Obama, a loué le nouveau locataire républicain de la Maison Blanche, affirmant qu’il offrait « une occasion sans précédent » pour faire avancer la paix.


« Il n’y a pas de meilleur soutien du peuple juif et de l’Etat juif que le président Donald Trump », a-t-il martelé.


« Je regarde (la solution à) deux Etats et (la solution à) un Etat et si Israël et les Palestiniens sont contents, je suis content avec la solution qu’ils préfèrent. Les deux me conviennent », a-t-il affirmé. Véritable accord de paix’


« Les Etats-Unis favoriseront la paix et un véritable accord de paix », a-t-il promis, tout en affirmant qu’il revenait aux deux parties de négocier directement un tel accord. Le milliardaire septuagénaire est cependant rester évasif sur la façon sont il entendait procéder sur un dossier sur lequel tous ses prédécesseurs ont échoué.


Appelant les deux parties au compromis, il a en particulier exhorté les Palestiniens à se débarrasser de leur « haine » supposée à l’égard des Israéliens. M. Netanyahu a lui posé ses conditions : jugeant que la question des implantations, centrale pour les Palestiniens, n’était « pas au cœur du conflit », il a une nouvelle fois réclamé la reconnaissance « de l’Etat juif » d’Israël.


Le Premier ministre israélien est sous pression de la frange la plus dure de son gouvernement favorable à l’annexion d’une partie de la Cisjordanie, occupée depuis 50 ans par Israël.


Ce changement de position américain, annoncé mardi soir par un responsable de la Maison Blanche, a provoqué la colère des palestiniens. Y renoncer « n’a aucun sens », a réagi Hanan Ashrawi, une des dirigeantes de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP).


Dénonçant « une politique pas responsable », Mme Achraoui a accusé la nouvelle administration américaine « d’essayer de satisfaire la coalition extrémiste de (Benjamin) Netanyahu », qui dirige actuellement le gouvernement le plus à droite de l’histoire d’Israël.


Le Hamas terroriste, au pouvoir à Gaza, a de son côté dénoncé « un jeu fourbe » de Washington.


Depuis Le Caire, le secrétaire général de l’ONU Antonio Guterres a défendu avec force cette option, jugeant que tout devait être fait pour « préserver cette possibilité ».


Pour Sallai Meridor, ancien ambassadeur d’Israël aux Etats-Unis, « il est difficile d’imaginer les Palestiniens, ou les pays arabes, venir à la table des négociations sans l’option d’un Etat palestinien sur la table ».


Aux côtés de M. Netanyahu, qui fut l’un des plus farouches détracteurs de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien conclu en 2015 entre Téhéran et les grandes puissances, M. Trump a nouvelle fois réaffirmé tout le mal qu’il pensait de cet accord.


C’est « l’un des pires accords » qui soit, a-t-il lancé, tout en se gardant bien d’annoncer sa remise en cause comme il l’avait fait en campagne lorsqu’il avait promis de le « déchirer ».


« Mon administration a déjà imposé de nouvelles sanctions à l’Iran et j’en ferai davantage pour empêcher à jamais l’Iran de développer une arme nucléaire », a promis le président américain.


Quant au sujet du transfert éventuel de l’ambassade américaine de Tel-Aviv vers Jérusalem, le président des Etats-Unis a une nouvelle fois temporisé: « Nous y réfléchissons très très sérieusement (…) Nous verrons ce qui se passe ».





Times of Israel, 12 fev., 2017



Le chef d’un syndicat étudiant de la McGill University a recommandé à ses abonnés sur Twitter de « frapper un sioniste aujourd’hui ».


Igor Sadikov, membre du conseil législatif, a posté le tweet lundi. Des appels à la démission de son poste d’élu ont immédiatement été lancés à l’égard de cet étudiant, actuellement en troisième année de sciences politiques. « C’est clairement une incitation à la violence qui ne devrait être tolérée de la part d’aucun étudiant, sans même parler d’un étudiant en politique », a déclaré dans un communiqué Amanda Hohmann de B’nai Brith des droits de l’Homme au Canada.


Le Centre pour Israël et les Affaires juives a également condamné la publication qui a été ultérieurement supprimée. Sadikov, également militant au sein du mouvement BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) contre Israël, a nié être antisémite, notant que son père est juif et que sa mère l’est à moitié.


« Ce tweet n’était pas une attaque contre les étudiants juifs mais plutôt contre les adhérents d’une philosophie politique », a-t-il dit au National Post. Certains ont expliqué que le tweet n’avait fait que renforcer une atmosphère déjà ressentie comme toxique sur le campus pour les étudiants pro-israéliens qui, disent-ils, ont été victimes de harcèlement après le rejet, l’année dernière, d’une motion pro-BDS.


Au Royaume Uni et en France, les officiels du gouvernement ont indiqué l’année dernière que les mots « Sion » et « sionistes » étaient utilisés en remplacement de « Juifs » dans les discours de haine antisémites.







CIJA, 13 fev., 2017



La semaine dernière, le Canadian Investigative Journal ( a rapporté, qu’à au moins deux occasions en 2014, un imam du Centre islamique Al-Andalous de Montréal, Sayyed al-Ghitaoui, a appelé à la destruction des Juifs. 


Dans ses sermons, al-Ghitaoui a imploré Allah de «détruire les Juifs maudits», de «les tuer un par un» et de «rendre leurs enfants orphelins et leurs femmes veuves».  Reuben Poupko, co-président du Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes-Québec (CIJA-Québec), a publié la déclaration suivante:


« Nous condamnons dans les termes les plus forts ces appels explicites à la mort des Juifs. Une telle rhétorique haineuse et violente n’a pas sa place dans notre démocratie ou dans aucune religion. «Nous avons porté cet incident à l’attention de la police et nous nous apprêtons à déposer une plainte formelle car nous croyons que ces déclarations peuvent constituer une violation du Code criminel.


«Nous exhortons le gouvernement et les leaders de la société civile et de toutes les religions du Québec à se joindre à nous pour condamner ces commentaires odieux et inacceptables.






Times of Israel, 12 février 2017



Marcel Marceau, Leon Eligoulachvili et Joseph Eligoulachvili, Georges et Fanny Loinger, Nelly Willer et Rachel Grunstein, Liliane Lieber-Klein et Theo Klein. Voici les noms des neufs héros que le Bnai Brith et le JRJ, le comité en charge de la mémoire des héros juifs, ont décidé d’honorer lundi 13 février à Paris.


Tous ont joué un rôle particulier dans le sauvetage des Juifs pourchassés durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale en France. Certains seront présents à la cérémonie.


La cérémonie se tiendra au Mémorial de la Shoah à Paris en présence de Serge Dahan, président du Bnai Brith France, de Haïm Korsia, Grand rabbin de France, de Tsilla Hershco, historien de la résistance française, et d’un certain nombre de ces héros s, aujourd’hui plus que centenaires.


Marcel Mangel, nom de code Marceau dans la Résistance, est connu pour sa carrière de mime. Il sera honoré pour avoir secouru des orphelins juifs en leur faisant rejoindre la Suisse par les Alpes. Il a également fourni des cartes d’identité, avec l’aide de son frère, à des Juifs et non-Juifs voulant échapper aux camps de travail allemands.


Leon Eligoulachvili et son oncle Joseph Eligoulachvili ont sauvé des Juifs géorgiens et d’autres avec l’aide du gouvernement géorgien en exil. À la suggestion des Eligoulachvili, les dirigeants géorgiens se sont approchés des Allemands pour exclure les Juifs géorgiens des lois anti-juives.


Les Géorgiens ont reçu la permission de délivrer des cartes d’identité qui ont été distribuées à 243 familles, dont seulement 80 étaient en réalité géorgiennes. Leon a maintenant 105 ans, et en plus d’accepter sa propre citation, il acceptera également la citation de son oncle en son nom.


Après avoir échappé à un camp de prisonniers de guerre en Allemagne en 1940, Georges Loinger a rejoint son épouse, Flora Loinger, qui était responsable d’une maison d’enfants réfugiée juive. Alors que l’on craignait que les enfants soient arrêtés, la maison a été fermée et Flora et Georges ont caché les enfants.


Georges fut ensuite nommé par l’OSE comme inspecteur des enfants itinérants, y compris ceux dirigés par les Eclaireurs Israélites de France (EIF), le mouvement des éclaireurs juifs. A la fin de 1942, lorsque les chefs de l’OSE furent informés que les transports de Drancy se retrouvaient dans les camps de la mort, les foyers d’enfants furent fermés et Georges fut chargé de l’opération d’évasion en Suisse. Il a aidé des centaines d’enfants juifs à s’échapper de France en Suisse via Annemasse, en France.


Entre mai 1943 et juin 1944, plus de 1 500 enfants et adolescents furent passés clandestinement par l’OSE en Suisse. Sa sœur, Fanny Loinger, était responsable du service social de l’OSE, aidant les réfugiés juifs à Marseille en attendant des visas aux États-Unis.


En 1943, elle a été nommée chef de la région sud-est du sauvetage clandestin, le Réseau Garel, et a organisé l’opération qui a permis la survie de quelque 400 enfants dans les départements de l’Ardèche, de l’Isère, de la Savoie et des Alpes. Georges Loinger a maintenant 106 ans, et non seulement il acceptera son prix à Paris, mais il acceptera également la citation de Fanny Loinger en son nom.


Nelly Willer a rejoint la résistance clandestine à Nice, en France. Elle a aidé à délivrer de fausses cartes d’identité et des armes de contrebande à la résistance juive, qui ont servi à assassiner des collaborateurs russes qui avaient dénoncé des milliers de Juifs, envoyés par la suite dans des camps d’extermination.


Après la guerre, Willer s’est joint à la Haganah (une organisation de défense militaire clandestine) et a transporté des réfugiés juifs et des survivants de l’Holocauste dans les ports français pour y faire Aliyah. En tant que journaliste à la suite de la guerre, Willer s’est infiltré dans les camps d’internement britanniques à Chypre et a rendu compte des conditions dans ce pays. Sa sœur Rachel Grunstein a également participé à l’élimination des collaborateurs russes à Nice. Nelly Willer a maintenant 100 ans. Elle acceptera son prix à Paris ainsi que la citation de Rachel Grunstein en son nom.


Liliane Lieber Klein, âgée de 93 ans, a participé à la création de l’aile armée de l’organisation clandestine dite la Sixième. La mission de La Sixième était de cacher les Juifs adolescents, de leur fournir des pièces d’identité falsifiées et des cartes de rationnement, et de préserver leur identité juive tout en se cachant.


Pendant l’hiver de 1943 à 1944, elle a dirigé des convois d’enfants de moins de 16 ans à la frontière suisse à Annemasse, en France, et les a transférés à Georges Loinger pour un passage en toute sécurité. Klein acceptera sa citation à Paris.


Avocat de profession, Theo Klein, âgé de 97 ans, a été l’un des leaders de la résistance juive en France de 1942 à 1944 et a participé au sauvetage de centaines de personnes, en particulier d’adolescents, dans la zone sud. Au cours des années 1980, il a été président de l’organisation représentative des Juifs français CRIF. Klein assistera à la cérémonie de citation à Paris.







Times of Israel, 15 fev., 2017



Cet exo-squelette recouvrant les membres inférieurs d’une matière plus flexible et légère, permet de diviser par 2 le poids habituel de ce genre de prothèse externe, passant ainsi de 10 kg à 5 kg,expliquent ses concepteurs.


Ce type de matériel est destiné « à assister les personnes âgées afin de d’assurer ou d’améliorer leur démarche, mais aussi les personnes se relevant d’un AVC, atteintes de scléroses en plaque, de la maladie de Parkinson, » explique le Wyss Institute.


Pour parvenir à ce résultat prometteur le Wyss Institute de l’université d’Harvard s’est associé à la start-up israélienne Rewalk qui commercialisera la produit.


Mais cet exosquelette n’est pas destiné aux seuls malades : il est aussi conçu pour assister les soldats, les pompiers, les ambulanciers, et même les fermiers, tous professionnels ayant à porter une lourde charge.



Shabbat Shalom!






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