Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: May 2017

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

 

 

SHAVUOT GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED, 2017                                                      

Yoram Ettinger

Algemeiner, May 30, 2017

 

1. Liberty. The Shavuot holiday reflects the 3,500 year old trilateral linkage between the Land of Israel (pursued by Abraham), the Torah of Israel (transmitted through Moses) and the People of Israel (united by David) — a unique territorial/national/spiritual platform. Shavuot is a spiritual liberation holiday, following Passover, which is a national liberation holiday (the Exodus), in preparation for the territorial liberation: the return to the Land of Israel.

 

2. Humility. Shavuot commemorates the receipt of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) and its 613 statutes — an annual reminder of essential values. The Torah was received in the desert, on Mount Sinai, which is not a very tall mountain, highlighting humility — a most critical value of human behavior and leadership. Moses, the exceptional law-giver and leader, was accorded only one compliment: “the humblest of all human beings.” Abraham, King David and Moses are role-models of humility. Their Hebrew acronym (pronounced Adam) means “human-being,” the root of “soil” in Hebrew.

 

3. Human behavior. It is customary to study — from Passover to Shavuot — the six brief chapters of The Ethics of the Fathers, one of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah (the Oral Torah) — a compilation of common sense principles, ethical and moral teachings that underline inter-personal relationships. For example: “Who is respected? He who respects other persons!” “Who is a wise person? He who learns from all other persons!” “Who is wealthy? He who is satisfied with his own share!” “Who is a hero? He who controls his urge!” “Talk sparsely and walk plenty.” “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” “Don’t be consumed with the flask, but with its content.” “Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.” “Treat every person politely.” “Jealousy, lust and the obsession with fame warp one’s mind.”

 

4. Jubilee/Constitution. Shavuot is celebrated on the 50th day following Passover, and has seven names (the Pentecost is celebrated on the 7th Sunday after Easter): The holiday of the Jubilee/fiftieth; the holiday of the harvest; the holiday of the giving of the Torah (מתן תורה); Shavuot; the holiday of the offerings; the rally and the assembly. The Hebrew acronym of the seven names is חקת שבעה, which means “The Constitution of the Seven.”

 

5. The US-Israel covenant. Shavuot sheds light on the Judeo-Christian values that are the foundation of the unique covenant between the Jewish state and the American people. These values shaped the worldview of the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers, and impacted the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, the system of checks and balances and the abolitionist movement. The British philosopher John Locke wanted the 613 Laws of Moses to become the legal foundation of the Carolinas. Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1863 quote — “government of the people, by the people, for the people” — paraphrased a statement made by the 14th century British philosopher and translator of the Bible, John Wycliffe: “The Bible is a book of the people, by the people, for the people.”

 

Furthermore, the Jubilee — the cornerstone of Biblical/Mosaic liberty — inspired the US Founding Fathers. The following Biblical essence is inscribed on the Liberty Bell (Leviticus 25:10), which was installed in 1752, the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Moreover, according to ancient Jewish sages, the globe was created through 50 gates of wisdom, and the 50th gate was the gate of jubilee/liberty/deliverance. The USA is, of course, composed of 50 states.

 

6. Agriculture. Originally, Shavuot  was an agricultural holiday, celebrating the first harvest/yield by bringing offerings (bikkurim-ביכורים) to the Temple in Jerusalem. But following the destruction of the Second Temple and the Jewish exile in 70 AD, the focus of the holiday shifted to Torah awareness, in order to sustain the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel, and avoid spiritual and physical oblivion.

 

7. Seven. Shavuot reflects the centrality of the number seven in Judaism. The Hebrew root of Shavuot  (שבועות) is seven (שבע — sheva), which is also the root of “vow” (שבועה — shvoua), “satiation” (שובע — sova) and “week” (שבוע — shavua). Shavuot is celebrated seven weeks following Passover. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the Creation — in a seven-day week. The first Hebrew verse of Genesis consists of seven words. According to Genesis, there are seven beneficiaries of the Sabbath.

 

According to the Torah, God also created seven universes — the seventh hosts the pure souls, hence “Seventh Heaven.” There were seven monumental Jewish leaders: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aharon, Joseph and David — representing seven human qualities. There are also seven Jewish Prophetesses (Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Chana, Abigail, Choulda and Esther), seven major Jewish holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Tabernacles, Hanukah, Purim, Passover and Shavuot) and seven species of the Land of Israel (barley, wheat, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive and date/honey).

 

Contents: | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes   | On Topic Links

 

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: WHY THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY SHOULD BE SHUTTERED “The raison d’être of the Palestinian Authority today is not to liberate Palestine; it is to keep Palestinians silent and quash dissent while Israel steals land, demolishes Palestinian homes, and builds and expands settlements…To remove this noose that has been choking Palestinians, the authority must be replaced with the sort of community-based decision making that predated the body’s establishment. And we must reform our main political body, the Palestine Liberation Organization, which Mr. Abbas also heads, to make it more representative of the Palestinian people and their political parties, including Hamas. Hamas has long indicated that it wants to be part of the P.L.O., and its revised charter, recently released in Doha, Qatar, affirms this aspiration…To some, this may sound like giving up on the national dream of self-rule. It is not. By dismantling the authority, Palestinians can once again confront Israel’s occupation in a strategic way, as opposed to Mr. Abbas’s merely symbolic bids for statehood. This means supporting the community-based initiatives that organize nonviolent mass protests and press for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, like those that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.” — Diana Buttu, a former adviser to the negotiating team of the PLO. (New York Times, May 26, 2017)

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Middle East Peace Starts in Saudi Arabia: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 25, 2017

The Long Arm of ISIS: Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, May 23, 2017

Trump and "Arab NATO": Be Careful What You Wish For: Raymond Stock, Fox News, May 28, 2017

For Some, Sex Appeal is Part of Jihad's Lure: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, May 30, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“He did what he did in revenge, and in love for Islam…I think he saw children – Muslim children – dying everywhere, and wanted revenge. He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge…But still, I never thought my brother would ever do this one day. Looking at how he was with us, we didn’t expect him to do what he did.” — Jamona Abedi, Salman Abedi’s sister. Abedi launched his suicide attack out of ‘a love of Islam’ and in twisted revenge for US airstrikes on Syria, his sister has claimed. Jamona Abedi failed to condemn her brother’s murderous actions but instead claimed to offer an explanation for the atrocity, in which 22 innocent people, many of them children, were killed outside a concert venue in Manchester, UK. (Telegraph, May 26, 2017)

 

“Allah break the backs of the tyrants and the oppressors and the unjust and those nations of the world that are with them. Allah they have gathered against us and are scheming against us, so scheme against them. Trick them, kill them. … We are waiting for martyrdom in the name of Allah. And by Allah this is our path until we push back evil. We will not stop nor resign.” — Abdu Albasset Egwilla, an extremist imam from Ottawa. Salman Abed, the bomber who attacked a Manchester pop concert, has been linked to Egwilla, whom Canadian intelligence officials had warned was “promoting violent jihad” in Libya. Quoting a senior American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, The New York Times reported that Salman Abedi “had links to a radical preacher in Libya identified as Abdul Baset Ghwela.” The report appeared to be referring to a Libyan-Canadian the Canadian government calls Abdu Albasset Egwilla. Formerly a cleric at an Ottawa mosque, Egwilla has been accused of inciting violence since returning to Libya. The New York Times report did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged connection between Abedi and Egwilla. Abedi had visited Libya days before he set off a bomb outside an Ariana Grande concert packed with teens. (National Post, May 25, 2017)

 

“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home.” — UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn’s statement came as he was criticized by political rivals from the Tories and Liberal Democrats over the content and timing of his speech while the investigation into the attack was ongoing. Corbyn highlighted the link between the UK's involvement in foreign wars and terrorism at home but insisted that "in no way reduces the guilt" of murderers who have targeted people on Britain's streets. (Telegraph, May 26, 2017)

 

“But what we must not do, immediately or in the long run, is to delude ourselves about the meaning of the attack, the intentions of such terrorists or what we can do to protect ourselves. Too often we do so. We underestimate the depth and source of their hostility. Sometimes we even do so in intellectually partisan terms, suggesting that this or that foreign policy action or politicians’ statement has provoked our enemies. And in doing so, we miss what is hidden in plain sight…it is astounding that militant Muslim hostility toward gays attracts so little notice and condemnation on the left. Islamists may rant about “Zionists” and “Crusaders” but their hatred runs far deeper. It is bizarre for supporters of gay marriage to want to boycott Israel but wink at Hamas and Iran. And when radical maniacs well-known to security services carry out a slaughter like the one in Manchester, progressives do not draw the obvious lesson: It’s not us. It’s them. Islamists don’t hate the West because of Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” And you can’t appease them with multiculturalism, transgender sensitivity or atheism. They hate the open society of the West for who we are, not what we do. It’s no accident that they massacre children having fun at a “provocative” pop concert. It’s who they are. Again.” — John Robson. (National Post, May 29, 2017)

 

“Setbacks in Syria and Iraq have heightened the importance of other theaters for ISIS, and in Southeast Asia, the focus is the Philippines…ISIS supporters around the region have been urged to join the jihad in the Philippines if they can’t get to Syria, and to wage war at home if they can’t travel at all.” — Sidney Jones, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, based in Jakarta. An eruption of violence in the southern Philippines and suicide bombings in Indonesia this week highlight the growing threat posed by backers of I.S. in Southeast Asia. While the timing of the Jakarta bombings and the fighting on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao appears to be coincidental, experts on terrorism have been warning for months that I.S. has provided a new basis for cooperation among extremists in the region. Clashes in Marawi, a city of about 200,000 on Mindanao, continued for a fourth day on Friday as government forces, using tanks and attack helicopters, tried to dislodge militants from at least two Islamist groups. (New York Times, May 26, 2017)

 

“In the last several weeks, the Trump White House has put a variety of Iran’s cronies on notice. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a strong message to North Korea, with whom Iran cooperates on nuclear and ballistic missile technology, warning that the era of “strategic patience” is over. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called out Russia, Iran’s ally in Syria, and said it was either “incompetent” in failing to stop Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons or “complicit.” Most tellingly, Trump ordered a missile strike on the Syrian airfield that Assad, Iran’s Arab ally and conduit to Hezbollah, had used to launch the sarin attack that killed at least 85 people. Unlike the previous American president, the current one seems unworried about upsetting Tehran. If the mullahs decide to opt out of the deal they made on Obama’s watch, so be it. This White House does not see Iran as a potential partner in regional stability, as a counterbalance to Saudi Arabia and Israel, as the Obama team did. Rather, it recognizes Iran is a very big problem, and the nuclear program is only one part of that problem. As Tillerson said last week, “We have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threat it poses in all areas of the region and the world.”” — Lee Smith. (Weekly Standard, Apr. 21, 2017)

 

“Where are the faculty? American college students are increasingly resorting to brute force, and sometimes criminal violence, to shut down ideas they don’t like. Yet when such travesties occur, the faculty are, with few exceptions, missing in action, though they have themselves been given the extraordinary privilege of tenure to protect their own liberty of thought and speech. It is time for them to take their heads out of the sand.” — Heather Mac Donald, a scholar from the Manhattan Institute. Mac Donald was subject to mob tactics when she tried to speak at two institutions in California: UCLA and Claremont McKenna. This follows the mob attack at Middlebury College on Charles Murray. (National Review, May 1, 2017)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

28 COPTS KILLED IN ATTACK IN EGYPT (Cairo) — 28 Coptic Christians, including ten children, were killed in a shooting attack on a deserted road about 62 miles northwest of the city of Minya, Egypt on Friday and at least 23 others were injured, some critically. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack. Three vehicles carrying at least ten gunmen flagged down two buses and one truck carrying people on a road to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor. The terrorists ordered the pilgrims off the buses. The men were ordered to recite the Shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith, and many were shot execution style with one bullet to the head. Egyptian President el-Sissi announced that in response his country launched six airstrikes against terrorist training bases in Libya. (Breaking Israel News, May 28, 2017)

 

EXPLOSION IN KABUL KILLS 80, WOUNDS HUNDREDS (Kabul) — A massive suicide car bombing rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul on Wednesday, killing 80 people and wounding as many as 350. The target of the explosion in the Wazir Akbar Khan area was not known. It was one of the worst attacks Kabul had seen since the drawdown of foreign forces from the country at the end of 2014. Press images showed the German Embassy and several other embassies located in the area heavily damaged. Germany, Japan and Pakistan said some of their embassy employees and staff were hurt in the explosion. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. Both the Taliban and I.S. have staged large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital in the past. (CBC, May 31, 2017)

 

BOMBINGS KILL NEARLY 40 PEOPLE IN BAGHDAD (Baghdad) — A massive bombing by I.S. outside a popular ice cream parlor in central Baghdad and a rush- hour car bomb in another downtown area killed at least 31 people Tuesday. Later in the day, bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed seven more people. The attacks come as I.S. are steadily losing territory to U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in the battle for Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. The Sunni extremists are increasingly turning to insurgency-style terror attacks to distract attention from their losses. IS claimed responsibility for the two attacks, saying its suicide bombers targeted gatherings of Shiites. The attacks came just days into the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours. (Washington Post, May 30, 2017)  

 

HAMAS EXECUTES MEMBERS ACCUSED OF KILLING LEADER (Gaza) — Hamas announced that it put to death three men accused of assassinating a senior member of the terror group. Mazen Faqha, a Hamas terror chief, was shot on March 24 outside his Gaza home. Hamas accuses the three suspects of collaborating with Israel and sentenced them to execution. The chief suspect, identified as Ashraf Abu Leila, 38, was sentenced to hang. Hisham al-Aloul, 44, was also sentenced to hang, and Abdallah al-Nashar, faced the firing squad. The death of Faqha, a shadowy senior figure in Hamas’s military wing, shocked Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for the past decade. Faqha had spent years in an Israeli jail for terrorist activities including orchestrating a 2002 suicide bombing in which 9 Israelis were killed, before being released to Gaza as part of the 2011 Shalit prisoner exchange deal. (Times of Israel, May 25, 2017)

 

BOMBER USED STUDENT LOAN BENEFITS TO FUND TERROR PLOT (Manchester) — The Manchester suicide bomber used taxpayer-funded student loans and benefits to bankroll the terror plot, police believe. Salman Abedi is understood to have received thousands of pounds in state funding in the run up to the atrocity even while he was overseas receiving bomb-making training. Police are investigating Abedi’s finances, including how he paid for frequent trips to Libya where he is thought to have been taught to make bombs. Abedi was given at least £7,000 from the taxpayer-funded Student Loans Company after beginning a business administration degree at Salford University in 2015. It is thought he received a further £7,000 in the 2016 academic year. (Telegraph, May 27, 2017)

 

I.S. RIGGED EXPLOSIVES TO HOME WHERE CIVILIANS DIED IN US-LED AIRSTRIKE (Mosul) — I.S. lured the U.S.-led forces into conducting an airstrike in March that killed over 100 civilians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a top American military official said. An investigation into the March bombing found that the terror groups rigged a house with over 1,000 pounds of explosives, put civilians in the basement, and employed two snipers on the roof to bait the U.S.-led coalition to attack. U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler, said that the bomb used by the American jet, a GBU-38 (500-lb bomb), would not have caused the type of damage associated with the destruction of the building. The probe found that the U.S. bomb triggered secondary explosions from devices clandestinely planted in the lower floors of the concrete building, Isler said. (Fox News, May 25, 2017)

 

UN CHIEF PULLS SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN WOMEN’S CENTER NAMED AFTER TERRORIST (London) — The United Nations said that it had withdrawn support for a Palestinian women’s center named for a notorious terrorist, saying the move was “offensive” and glorified terrorism. The center was named after Dalal Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70. The UN move came two days after Norway’s foreign minister condemned the PA for naming the center after Mughrabi, demanding the country’s name be removed from the building and that the funds Norway donated for its construction be returned. (Times of Israel, May 28, 2017)

 

CORBYN VISIT TO GRAVE OF PLO TERRORIST STIRS UPROAR (London) — Jewish community leaders in Great Britain expressed shock and outrage Monday after it was revealed over the weekend that UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had attended a ceremony honoring a Palestinian terrorist partly responsible for the 1972 Munich killing of Israeli Olympians. Corbyn, who is currently campaigning to become Britain’s next prime minister, reportedly traveled to Tunisia in October 2014 to visit the grave of Atef Bseiso, the former head of intelligence for the Palestine Liberation Organization and direct accomplice involved in the Munich terrorist attack. Jewish leaders called the revelation, reported by the Sunday Times, “beyond the pale,” and demanded Corbyn make his views known about Palestinian acts of violence. (Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2017)

 

CIJR sadly notes the passing of two wonderful people, both long-time supporters, Rosa (Lucia) Kroo, at 95, and Michael (Micky) Rosenthal, at 100.  Lucia and her late husband, Emil, were early Board members, and Mickey was always an enthusiastic backer.  Both were faithful friends of Israel and the Jewish People, and will be deeply missed. Our consolation and sympathy to their large and loving families.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Happy Shavuot!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Middle East Peace Starts in Saudi Arabia: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 25, 2017—The quixotic American pursuit of Middle East peace is a perennial. It invariably fails, yet every administration feels compelled to give it a try. The Trump administration is no different.

The Long Arm of ISIS: Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, May 23, 2017 —On Monday evening, a terrorist blew himself up in the foyer of Manchester Arena as the audience was filing out of an Ariana Grande concert. At least 22 people were killed and 59 wounded in the blast. British authorities have identified Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old whose parents are from Libya, as the suspected suicide bomber.

Trump and "Arab NATO": Be Careful What You Wish For: Raymond Stock, Fox News, May 28, 2017 — President Donald Trump reportedly landed in Saudi Arabia last Saturday with dreams of forming an “Arab NATO” to fight the Sunni Islamist terrorists in the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda (AQ) as well as the Shi'ite Islamist state, Iran.

For Some, Sex Appeal is Part of Jihad's Lure: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, May 30, 2017—Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued a new travel warning for Americans, cautioning them about travel to Europe this summer. The extent of that warning was remarkable: not just a single country has been deemed dangerous, but an entire continent.

MANCHESTER: LE MYTHE DU DÉSESPOIR COMME CAUSE DU TERRORISME

  

    

 

 

 

 

 

LES 6 LEÇONS DE L'ATTENTAT ISLAMISTE DE MANCHESTER                                                             

Atlantico, 25 mai 2017 

          

Première leçon: L’attaque terroriste kamikaze perpétrée à Manchester à la sortie du concert de la star américano-italienne Ariana Grande par Suliman Ramadan Abedi, alias Salman Abedi, s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une stratégie de la tension-sidération qui`permet à Da'esh – affaibli sur son propre territoire « califal » (Irak-Syrie) – de faire croire qu’il conserve sa capacité offensive et de recruter des jihadistes grâce à la médiatisation provoquée.

 

En fait, le terrorisme n’a jamais pour but de tuer pour tuer, et plus que tout autre, le totalitarisme islamiste pratique un « terrorisme publicitaire » qui consiste à attirer les médias par l’horreur afin de mobiliser les fanatiques et psychopathes en germe (recrutement)  puis à déléguer gratuitement à nos médias leur publicité planétaire ("marketing négatif") … Leur but est en effet non pas de conserver un territoire en particulier, comme l’a bien dit l’ex-porte-parole de Da’esh al-Adnani, lors des premiers revers militaires en Syrie, mais de faire parler continuellement et gratuitement de leurs projets suprémacistes islamistes dans nos médias, réseaux sociaux et débats politiques.

 

Le modus operandi est ici de mettre cyniquement à leur profit la demande de « sensationnel live » propre aux sociétés du spectacle occidentales. Leur objectif n’est donc pas de tuer des « responsables islamophobes-judéo-croisés » en particulier, même s’ils le font parfois de façon ciblée (hyper casher, Père Hamel ou attentats du marché de Noël de Berlin…), mais globalement de « semer partout la peur dans le cœur des mécréants  ». Il s’agit là de frapper aveuglément infidèles, vieux, jeunes, juifs, chrétiens, stars pop, passants, sionistes ou pro-palestiniens, droite ou gauche et mêmes musulmans non-encartés chez les jihadistes, peu importe. « Dieu reconnaîtra les siens ». La cible n’est pas celle que l’on croit : elle est potentiellement l’ensemble du monde « non-soumis » qui ne « fait qu’un » (Kufru millatun wahida), à l’image du lebensraum du totalitaire islamiste qui ambitionne de dominer la terre toute entière. Ce pari semble certes impossible, fou, mais il est fondé sur une certitude du marketing et de la psychologie sociale : à force de faire parler de quelque chose, en l’occurrence de l’islam, en mal (dénonciation du terrorisme islamiste) comme bien (« lutte contre l’islamophobie » et contre « l’amalgame » qui dépasse parfois l’islamophobie dans nos débats dominés par l’affirmation d’un « vrai islam tolérant »), l’islam finira par progresser et conquérir les esprits de tous puisque même les mécréants reconnaissent qu’il a une place à part, comme le libéral Premier Ministre canadien Trudeau qui a fait adopter une loi incroyable qui ne pénalise que la critique de l’islam…

 

Deuxième leçon: La stratégie pro-islamiste et communautariste des pays anglo-saxons, alliés indéfectibles des monarchies wahhabites du Golfe et si critiques envers le laïcisme à la française, ne les épargnera pas.

 

N’oublions pas que Salman Abedi, le terroriste de Manchester, vivait dans le pays européen qui a le plus soutenu les islamistes libyens anti-Kadhafi, dont son père et sa famille sont proches. Ici, impossible d’affirmer qu’Abedi aurait agi pour « punir » la Grande-Bretagne d’avoir « persécuté les musulmans libyens » ou défendu ‘l’apostat Kadhafi ». Comme dans toute forme de totalitarisme, l’explication est que le suprémaciste islamiste, fort de son sentiment de supériorité et de mépris envers les non-musulmans, n’a aucun devoir de gratitude envers « l’infidèle », même si celui-ci est utile ou son complice objectif.

 

Les Britanniques – qui ont cru longtemps être épargnés (jusqu'à 2005 et même après cela) par les « terroristes verts » en raison de leur normes « islamiquement correctes » très poussées (lois anti-islamophobie, refus de publier les caricatures de Mahomet de Charlie Hebdo, acceptation des tribunaux islamiques; tolérance envers moult groupes fanatiques islamistes sur leur sol ; refus d’extrader pendant longtemps des terroristes, etc) et de leur appui continuel à l'islamisme radical sunnite, sont une fois de plus frappés par ceux-là mêmes qu'ils ont choyés durant des décennies. Ils ont été en effet avec les Etats-Unis depuis les années 1920-30 les fers de lance de l’islamisme wahhabite (pacte de Quincy Roosevelt-Ibn Saoud vanté récemment par Trump en Arabie) et des Frères Musulmans partout dans le monde. Ils ont été les plus acharnés ennemis des nationalistes arabes-laïques (durant la guerre froide et jusqu’à nos jours), qu’il s’agisse de l’Afghanistan (en appuyant et armant les ancêtres d’Al-Qaïda-moujahidines contre l’URSS), de l’ex-Yougoslavie (en aidant le leader islamiste Izétbegovic et les milices islamistes face aux Serbes), en Turquie (en soutenant R. T. Erdogan contre les laïques Kémalistes) ; en Irak (en aidant les milices sunnites et les chiites pro-iraniens contre Saddam Hussein) ; en Libye (en mettant en place des ex-militants pro-Al-Al-Qaïda et des Frères musulmans pour éradiquer le régime de Kadhafi) ; et, plus récemment, en Syrie, face au diable Bachar al-Assad et à leurs alliés iraniens et russes, où les pays de l’OTAN ont appuyé (la France de Hollande-Fabius en tête), les milices islamistes sunnites les plus radicales liées entre autre à Al-Qaïda-Al-Nusra, alias Fatah al-Sham ou Tahrir al-Sham,

 

Troisième leçon : Des radicalisés connus des services de police que les juges laxistes et les forces de polices en manque d’effectifs ont laissé filer dans la nature

 

Le nouvel islamikaze pro-Da’esh de Manchester, Salman Abedi, était – comme presque tous ses prédécesseurs – parfaitement connu des services de police. Avec le sang-froid et la préparation d'un homme aguerri et la complicité de plusieurs autres « radicalisés », il avait pris le métro à la station Victoria Station puis avait attendu que les jeunes sortent de la salle de concert pour exploser à la sortie aux termes d’une stratégie assez professionnelle et avec le concours de spécialistes des explosifs, sachant que l’on voit très rarement un kamikaze capable de fabriquer lui-même ce type de bombe humaine. Loin d’être un « loup solitaire », comme on le dit à chaque fois depuis Mohamed Merah, Coulibaly, Abaoud, Abdeslam (avant que l’on découvre des réseaux et des fratries solidaires dans l’horreur), Abedi n’était pas seul puisque plusieurs complices ont été arrêtés et identifiés. Son identité était bien connue des services de renseignements anglais et américains.

 

Connu pour être un musulman sunnite très pieux et converti à l’islamisme radical au contact d’extrémistes libyens anti-Kadhafi et pro-jihadistes très présents à Manchester, Salman était le fils de Libyens ayant fui le régime de Muammar Kadhafi pour trouver refuge à Londres, puis dans le quartier résidentiel de Fallowfield (sud de Manchester). Le jeune homme, troisième de la fratrie, était retourné en Libye récemment et la police britannique savait qu’il y avait retrouvé des jihadistes libyens puis qu’il était allé ensuite en Syrie via des filières de Da’esh. Egalement lié à Raphael Hostey, alias Abou Qaqa al-Britani, fameux recruteur de Da’ech tué en Syrie en 2016 par un drone, il y aurait suivi des entraînements terroristes au cours des 12 derniers mois. Il est proprement incroyable qu’un tel énergumène n’ait pas été filé en permanence ou mis hors d’état de nuire si peu de temps après l’attaque de Westminster (mars 2017) et en pleine période d’alerte maximale. Mais il est vrai que Salman Abedi et son père, Ramadan, alias “Abu Ismail”, étaient liés à des islamistes libyens ex-alliés d’Al-Qaïda qui ont été utilisés par les armées française, britannique et américaine comme des « combattants de la liberté » lorsqu’il fallait faire tomber la Jamahiriyya anti-islamiste de Kadhafi… C’est d’ailleurs un jihadiste historique ancien d’Afghanistan et d’Al-Qaïda, Belhaj, ex membre du Groupe islamique combattant libyen (GICL), que les Occidentaux ont mis au pouvoir à Tripoli comme « gouverneur militaire » puis ont aidé à faire assassiner Kadhafi… Le père de Salman est d’ailleurs retourné en Libye juste avant l’attentat dans la zone tenu par les rebelles salafistes et frères musulmans qui combattent l’armée du laïque général Haftar. Il a déclaré sans surprise que son fils est « innocent" et a dénoncé l’arrestation en Grande Bretagne d’un second fils, également innocent.

 

Quatrième leçon : Nous n’avons pas affaire à des « musulmans fraichement radicalisés » ou « ignorants », mais à une famille d’islamistes réfugiée en GB

 

Contrairement à un lieu commun ressassé à chaque attentat, le terroriste Salman et sa famille ne peuvent pas être considérés comme des « convertis récents, ignorants, sans racines et sans formation religieuse » : les deux frères Abedi ont étudié le Coran de façon intensive et leurs parents étaient eux-mêmes radicalisés politiquement, religieusement instruits et pratiquants assidus. Fanatisé en Grande Bretagne par des islamistes connus des services et liés à Daesh et Al-Qaïda et liés à la Libye, Abedi a été radicalisé non pas seulement sur internet ou « en dehors des mosquées » et des imams, mais par des réseaux humains extrémistes religieux liés à des mosquées intégristes qui ont pignon sur rue dans les « banlieues de l’islam » de Grande Bretagne. Il fréquentait le centre islamique de Manchester (Didsbury Mosque), à l’instar de plusieurs membres du groupe de combat islamique libyen qui vivaient dans le quartier, et même de son père qui y faisait souvent la prière. Rappelons que Manchester abrite la plus grande diaspora libyenne dont nombre de membres accueillis comme « réfugiés politiques » ont fait leur jihad contre Kadhafi et le général Haftar en Libye, jihad « bien vu » par les Occidentaux tant qu’il est tourné contre un pays arabe nationaliste anti-islamiste désigné comme ennemi (Saddam Hussein, Bachar al-Assad, Muammar Kadhafi, etc) par le Qatar, la Turquie, et l’Arabie saoudite, ceux qui donnent le ton aux pays de l’OTAN.

 

Cinquième leçon : Tout sauf des pauvres « victimes de l’exclusion »

 

Loin d’être un « exclu », un pauvre ou un « déshérité » victime du « racisme » ou de « l’islamophobie », Salman Abedi a grandi dans le pays le plus pro-islamiste, le plus communautariste et le plus « tolérant » d’Europe. Le Royaume-Uni est en effet la nation démocratique occidentale où les islamistes ont le plus de liberté, souvent bien plus encore que dans la plupart des pays arabo-musulmans. Loin d’être sans horizon professionnel, le jeune Salman avait intégré une université de management et il aurait pu bénéficier d’une situation économique confortable à l’issue de ses études s’il ne les avait pas brutalement interrompues sous l’influence des professionnels du fanatisme politico-religieux. Comme tous les totalitarismes et les sectes, ceux-ci misent sur le lavage de cerveau, la propagande et la manipulation mentale. Sous-estimer cette idéologisation, cette force de persuasion des fanatiques, ne pas vouloir reconnaître que les terroristes bénéficient de complicités et aides communautaires, de solidarités humaines et civilisationnelles face aux « mécréants », ne pas admettre que la fanatisation islamiste est liée aussi à l’islam orthodoxe jamais réformé et à certains de ses enseignements officiels qui sacralisent la « violence licite », puis croire que seul le web et l’auto-radicalisation couplés aux « causes socio-économiques » qui n’auraient « rien à voir avec l’islam » expliqueraient le processus d’incubation terroriste constituent des erreurs d’analyses fatales. Ces erreurs empêchent de combattre le mal et donc rendent inefficace les politiques dites de « déradicalisation ». On ne rend pas « gentil » et humaniste un coupeur de tête qui a pris le goût du sang et qui est imbibé de charià version salafiste-takfiriste puis qui a le droit de mentir totalement et de se renier devant les juges et les psychiatres. Qu’ils soient des psychopathes attirés par Da‘esh ou Boko Haram ou qu’ils soient des fanatisés devenus psychopathes par idéologie, les terroristes aguerris ne peuvent être déradicalisés, sauf rares exception. On ne peut plus rien faire pour eux, mais on peut en revanche contrer et annuler la propagande pré-jihadiste sur le terrain idéologico-religieux avant que le jeune soit radicalisé sur le web, par des proches ou dans des mosquées. Cette déradicalisation ex ante passe nécessairement par l’éducation et la lutte à la racine même (source dumot radical) de la fanatisation théocratique hélas contenue dans la Charià, donc dans un corpus officiel que des imams éclairés doivent mettre à l’index et excommunier définitivement comme les y a invités le président égyptien Al-Sissi lui-même fin janvier 2014.

 

Sixième leçon : Mettre fin à la culture de l’excuse et interpeller les responsables religieux musulmans

 

Rien n’excuse et ne justifie la barbarie totalitaire islamo-jihadiste. Dénoncer – même sincèrement après chaque attentat – les « dangers symétriques » de « l’islamophobie», comme si la violence kamikaze n’était qu’une « réaction » à l’anti-islamisme, et ne pas exiger des responsables religieux conservateurs ou radicaux qu’ils dénoncent la violence sacrée contenue dans la loi islamique, est une véritable faute stratégique et morale. Des penseurs idéalistes peuvent commettre sincèrement cette erreur, mais pas nos dirigeants politiques et nos juges, dont les responsabilités et l’obligation d’assurer la sécurité des citoyens leur interdit d’alimenter la propagande islamiste et son terrorisme psychologique. Traiter les barbares sanguinaires en « exclus » ou « victimes de l’islamophobie » est un scandale et une obscénité complaisante. Hélas, cette vulgate victimaire déresponsabilisante chère à l’extrême-gauche pro-islamiste est utilisée à l’envi non pas seulement par les jihadistes dans leurs vidéos qui rendent les « judéo-croisés anti-musulmans » coupables de tout, mais aussi, et c’est plus grave, par les islamistes « soft » qui ont pignon sur rue dans nos cités mais qui, à chaque attentat, semblent plus dénoncer les « risques d’amalgame » et « d’islamophobie » que les textes sacrés islamiques qui légitiment la violence.

 

En réalité, la seule et véritable déradicalisation viable, de long terme, passe par la condamnation de tout un corpus théologico-juridique sunnite officiel qui enseigne dans les institutions sunnites officielles et jusque dans les mosquées d’Europe, les inégalités hommes-femmes, infidèles-fidèles, le jihad et la haine envers les apostats et les mécréants, sans oublier l’esclavage, la crucifixion ou le viol des captives de guerre païennes, dispositions légales que les cerveaux de Da‘esh citent constamment. Force est de constater que ni l’Arabie saoudite wahhabite, ni Al-Azhar l’égyptienne, deux centres majeurs du sunnisme mondial, n’ont dénoncé doctrinalement et moralement cette source chariatique légale du jihadisme. Toutefois, le plus grave est que nos élites n’osent pas dénoncer ces racines du totalitarisme islamiste, véritable nouvelle « trahison des clercs ».

 

 

 

TERRORISME ET PAUVRETÉ : RIEN À VOIR!

Jean-Denis Garon

Journal de Montreal, 18 novembre, 2015

 

 

Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, certaines personnes ont récupéré les attentats de Paris à des fins politiques. Encore dimanche dernier, un artiste d’ici établissait un lien entre capitalisme et terrorisme. Il affirmait que la mondialisation et l’exclusion économique qui l’accompagne poussaient des jeunes désespérés à commettre l’irréparable.

 

C’est faux. Les statistiques montrent qu’il n’y a aucun lien entre le terrorisme et la pauvreté. Les commentateurs qui disent le contraire sont ou mal informés, ou mal intentionnés.

 

À cause de la pauvreté? Après les attentats du 11 septembre 2011, des économistes se sont demandé sila faim, l’exclusion et la pauvreté étaient liées au terrorisme. On retrouve parmi eux Allan B. Krueger de l’Université Princeton.

 

Ils ont découvert que les commandos suicides palestiniens avaient deux fois plus des chances de provenir de familles au-dessus du seuil de faible revenu. Même chose chez les kamikazes du Hezbollah libanais: seulement 28 % d’entre eux vivaient sous le seuil de faible revenu.

 

Dans la plupart des cas, les terroristes font partie de la classe moyenne. Chez les membres d’Al-Qaeda, 45 % ont des professions spécialisées et payantes. De ce qu’on sait, l’un des individus liés aux attentats de Paris possédait un commerce en Europe.

 

Pas la faute au chômage. Certains mettent aussi la faute sur le chômage. Or, ni le taux de chômage, ni les salaires, ni la croissance économique ne sont reliés aux actes terroristes.

 

Au début des années 2000, les Palestiniens sans emploi étaient les plus opposés aux actes terroristes contre Israël. Lorsque les attaques suicides se sont intensifiées, le chômage était en baisse et l’économie en croissance.

 

Ce qu’on sait, c’est que les chômeurs et les pauvres sont ceux que la politique indiffère le plus. Probablement parce qu’ils ont d’autres tracas en tête. Est-ce vraiment surprenant?

 

Pas la faute à l’éducation. Finalement, on entend un peu partout que les terroristes sont peu éduqués. C’est également faux. En décembre 2001, un centre de recherche a conduit des sondages d’opinion en Palestine.

 

Croyez-le ou non, le niveau d’appui aux terroristes était beaucoup plus important chez les gens plus éduqués. 60 % des commandos suicides palestiniens avaient des diplômes d’études secondaires, comparativement à 30 % dans le reste de la population.

 

Selon les chiffres collectés par un psychiatre de la CIA, 35 % des membres d’Al-Qaeda auraient un diplôme collégial. On retrouve les mêmes caractéristiques chez les groupes extrémistes israéliens.

 

Pure idéologie. La commission américaine sur les attentats du 11 septembre était arrivée à la même conclusion, et je cite: «le terrorisme n’est pas causé par la pauvreté». La science nous apprend qu’elle avait raison. Si c’était le cas, l’Amérique latine serait truffée de terroristes.

 

Selon A. B. Krueger de Princeton, on choisit d’être un terroriste comme on choisit d’être médecin ou comptable. On le fait pour faire circuler des idées ou pour promouvoir une idéologie.

 

C’est pour cela que les kamikazes sont prêts à mourir, et non parce que le capitalisme occidental les a marginalisés. On ne les a ni affamés ni assoiffés. C’est ce que la science nous apprend. Le reste relève du préjugé.

 

 

 

OLIVIER ROY : «CHEZ LES JEUNES ANTI-SYSTÈME,

LE DJIHAD A REMPLACÉ LE MYTHE DE LA RÉVOLUTION»

L’opinion, 26 novembre 2014

 

 

Olivier Roy, 65 ans, enseigne à l’Institut universitaire de Florence. Philosophe de formation, très bon connaisseur de l’Afghanistan, il est l’auteur de nombreux ouvrages comme L’échec de l’Islam politique, L’Islam mondialisé ou La sainte ignorance. Il vient de publier un livre d’entretiens avec Jean-Louis Schlegel, toujours aux éditions du Seuil, En quête de l’Orient perdu dans lequel il retrace son itinéraire. Un récit très vivant, souvent drôle, rempli d’analyses qui brisent les lieux communs sur le monde musulman. Passionnant.

 

La participation de deux Français, Maxime Hauchard et (peut-être) Mickaël Dos Santos, aux assassinats conduits par le groupe terroriste Daesh jette une lumière crue sur l’engagement djihadiste de jeunes Européens, en Syrie et en Irak. Selon le ministère de l’Intérieur, 1 132 personnes originaires de France seraient impliquées dans ces réseaux, un chiffre en forte augmentation depuis quelques mois ; 373 seraient actuellement en Syrie. Le nombre de morts atteint la centaine. Parmi ces djihadistes, on compte environ un quart de convertis et 20 % de femmes. Il s’agit d’un phénomène international, avec environ 3 000 jeunes Européens sur un total de 15 000 volontaires étrangers. Cet engagement est sans précédent par son ampleur. Pour mieux le comprendre, nous avons interrogé Olivier Roy, directeur de recherches au CNRS et auteur de nombreux ouvrages sur le monde musulman.

 

Vous faites une comparaison qui va en surprendre plus d’un : pour vous, les jeunes djihadistes s’apparentent aux militants de l’ultra-gauche des années 1970.

 

Depuis la fin du XIXe siècle, on observe en Europe un espace de radicalisation anti-système. Ce furent d’abord les anarchistes et l’on pourrait s’interroger sur le culte de la jeunesse pour le fascisme. A partir des années 1960, ce mouvement a pris une dimension générationnelle, que l’on a retrouvée avec la Gauche prolétarienne en France, les Brigades rouges en Italie et le groupe Baader-Meinhof en Allemagne. Au même moment (1971), il y a un mouvement comparable au Sri Lanka, qui s’est soldé par des milliers de morts. Cette radicalisation d’une partie de la jeunesse s’enracine dans l’idée qu’elle n’a plus de place dans le monde tel qu’il est et que la violence est à la fois inéluctable et positive. Qu’on se souvienne des maoïstes expliquant que le pouvoir est au bout du fusil ou l’image de combattant d’un Che Guevara ! On constate trois éléments de base : une impasse existentielle, la violence et l’internationalisation. On retrouve désormais les trois dans le phénomène djihadiste. Simplement, le djihad a remplacé la Révolution comme mythe. Ceux qu’on appelle des « barbares » sont dans le fantasme du redémarrage à zéro comme l’étaient les Gardes rouges de Mao ou les Khmers rouges. Des barbares, oui, mais cette barbarie est de chez nous.

 

Le djihadisme serait donc leur nouvel ,horizon révolutionnaire ? Les jeunes de ma génération – je suis né en 1949 – étaient prêts à faire la Révolution n’importe où, en Bolivie ou au Yémen. Aujourd’hui, c’est pareil : ils cherchent le bon djihad et se moquent de l’endroit où ça se passe. On nous dit que c’est nouveau, mais pas du tout. Lionel Dumont était parti pour la Bosnie en 1995 et il y a eu toute une génération de djihadistes, certes moins nombreuse, qui est partie dans les Balkans, en Tchétchénie ou en Afghanistan. Ils ne sont pas de jeunes Beurs radicalisés par le conflit israélo-palestinien, comme on l’entend souvent. Aucun de ces nomades du djihadisme qui cherchent le pur combat n’est allé se battre en Palestine ou en Algérie. Ces conflits trop nationaux ne les intéressent pas : ils sont dans le global. C’est pour cela qu’ils adhèrent au salafisme, qui est une négation religieuse de toute culture particulière, toute ethnie, toute nationalité.

 

Pourquoi ce mouvement surgit-il maintenant ? Il est le produit de la décadence d’al-Qaïda. Al-Qaïda était un concept, sans base territoriale, et pour que ça marche, il faut des résultats. Or une fois que vous avez fait le 11-Septembre, soit vous trouvez la bombe atomique, soit vous finissez dans le minable, comme ce jeune Africain converti qui a égorgé un soldat dans les rues de Londres. Avec Daesh, c’est autre chose : il offre un formidable terrain de jeu à ces jeunes, c’est le jeu vidéo total dont ils sont nourris, l’aventure. Ils sont beaux, virils, avec leurs mitrailleuses lourdes sur leurs 4×4 chargeant leurs ennemis. Prenez les images des décapitations : cela n’a rien à voir avec le Coran, ce sont les mêmes mises en scènes que celles des narcos mexicains. Il y a, dans le djihadisme, une dimension romantique, la beauté du meurtre. On ne peut pas exalter le marquis de Sade, comme le fait une exposition à Paris, et faire comme si l’on ne comprenait pas cette beauté du mal ! Lorsque vous êtes un jeune anti-système, entre quoi avez-vous le choix ? Le « comité invisible » et l’écologie dure, avec leurs textes illisibles et prétentieux d’hypokhâgneux boutonneux, ou le djihad. Avec Daesh, vous êtes sûr de faire la une des médias et de plaire aux filles, comme Che Guevara. La féminisation croissante des djihadistes traduit bien le fait qu’il s’agit d’un phénomène moderne.

 

Que peut-on faire contre les jeunes djihadistes et notamment les nôtres ? Comme tout mouvement générationnel, il passera avec le temps. Mais en attendant, il faut cesser de les diaboliser, parce qu’à leurs yeux cela revient à les transformer en héros. Ce qu’ils veulent, c’est faire peur aux gens qui les ont humiliés ou ne les ont pas compris. Ils font la une des médias et un général américain dit qu’ils sont la plus grande menace actuelle. En faisant cela, on ne fait que leur dorer l’auréole ! Au contraire, il faut les montrer pour ce qu’ils sont, des losers, des frustrés et des paumés. Mieux vaudrait aller voir ceux qui reviennent la queue entre les jambes, parce qu’ils n’ont pas trouvé là-bas ce dont ils rêvaient. Ils n’ont pas supporté les réveils matinaux, les marches de 20 km avec tout le barda, le fait d’être privé de leur jeu vidéo ou de nourriture ! Et bien sûr, il y a ceux qui ont été sincèrement écœurés par la violence et le fanatisme.

 

A vous écouter, ce djihadisme n’est pas un avatar radical de l’islam politique… C’est justement la conséquence de l’échec de l’islam politique dans sa tentative de créer des Etats islamiques. Les Frères musulmans sont en échec : regardez ce qu’il se passe en Tunisie avec Ennahda qui a volontairement abandonné le pouvoir, perdu les élections, avalisé la constitution la plus laïque du monde arabe et se transforme en un parti conservateur ou démocrate-chrétien respectant la démocratie. Et en Iran, 35 ans de République islamique ont donné naissance à la société la plus sécularisée du Moyen-Orient. Daesh, c’est donc l’oumma virtuelle et le projet impossible de donner une base territoriale à une utopie. Le califat est un concept qui suppose une expansion permanente et donc impossible. On n’imagine pas qu’il négociera un poste-frontière avec les Kurdes ; pour eux, cela n’a aucun sens. Daesh refuse de s’inscrire dans un Etat-nation, comme l’avaient fait les talibans qui se limitaient à l’Afghanistan. Tant que Daesh est en expansion, il attire les jeunes, mais sa logique l’entraîne à l’échec, parce qu’en pratiquant la terreur, comme le faisaient les Mongols, et en massacrant ses adversaires, il ne leur laisse pas d’autre choix que de le combattre.

 

Daesh s’enracine toutefois dans un territoire bien réel… Oui, et il bénéficie du fait que, pour la première fois depuis la chute de l’Empire ottoman en 1918, il n’y a plus aucun Etat dirigé par les sunnites dans le Croissant fertile. Sa zone d’expansion va de Tripoli, au Liban, aux quartiers nord de Bagdad. Le Liban est dirigé par une alliance de fait des chiites et des chrétiens, la Syrie par les Alaouites – qui ont abandonné le nationalisme arabe – et l’Irak par les chiites, majoritaires dans le pays, sans parler de la Palestine contrôlée par Israël. La solution politique est de réintégrer les sunnites arabes de toute cette région dans le jeu politique. En Syrie, cela ne peut se faire qu’avec le départ d’Assad et des garanties pour les Alaouites. Les Iraniens sont prêts à négocier. En Irak, compte tenu de l’héritage historique, il faut donner aux sunnites plus de poids politique, de l’ordre de 40 %, que leur poids démographique (20 %).

 

Dans votre livre La sainte ignorance, vous décrivez le divorce entre la religion et la culture. Ce phénomène est-il à l’œuvre dans le djihadisme ? C’est un phénomène global qui touche toutes les religions. Avec la sécularisation, les différentes cultures deviennent profanes et il n’y a plus de « croyants sociologiques ». Il y a 50 ans, en France, même les anticléricaux partageaient la culture catholique et connaissaient la religion. C’est terminé. Le religieux n’est plus enraciné dans la culture dominante et partout, la religion se reconstitue comme un système de normes, en se pensant comme minoritaire. On le voit avec le salafisme dans l’Islam, mais aussi avec Jean-Paul II et Ratzinger chez les catholiques, avec les juifs ultra-orthodoxes, les évangélistes, et même chez les hindouistes en Inde. Dans cette situation, le croyant a le choix entre trois attitudes : revanchard pour tenter d’imposer ses normes à la société – c’est par exemple la Manif pour tous – ; le choix de vivre en ghetto, de manière communautaire ; enfin, l’idée apocalyptique que tout est foutu. On retrouve cela chez les djihadistes : le monde est pourri et je crains de l’être aussi. D’où la logique suicidaire à l’œuvre. Un chant fameux, un nasheed d’ailleurs très beau, entonné par les radicaux condamnés à mort sous Nasser, et repris par les djihadistes aujourd’hui, le Ghoraba, résume cela : « Nous sommes des étrangers sur la terre… »

 

 

 

Actualité 

 

 

 

OSLO RECLAME LE RETOUR DES FONDS DESTINES

A UN CENTRE POUR FEMMES QUI PORTE LE NOM D’UNE TERRORISTE

Times of Israel, 28 mai, 2017

 

 

Le ministre des Affaires étrangères de Norvège a condamné vendredi l’Autorité palestinienne qui a donné le nom d’une femme terroriste à un centre pour femmes en Cisjordanie, qui avait été en partie financé par le pays scandinave.

 

« La glorification des attentats terroristes est complètement inacceptable, et je déplore cette décision dans les termes les plus forts possibles. La Norvège ne s’autorisera pas à s’associer à des institutions qui portent le nom de terroristes de cette manière. Nous n’accepterons pas une telle utilisation du financement des aides norvégiennes », a expliqué le ministre des Affaires étrangères Borge Brende dans un communiqué.

 

Les commentaires de Brende se référaient à un nouveau centre pour les femmes qui a ouvert au début du mois dans la ville de Burqa, en Cisjordanie. Le centre porte le nom de Dalal Mughrabi, qui avait participé au massacre de la route côtière en 1978. Mughrabi et plusieurs autres terroristes du Fatah avaient atterri sur une plage située à proximité de Tel Aviv et avaient détourné un bus sur la route côtière israélienne, tuant 38 civils, dont 13 enfants, et blessant plus de 70 personnes.

 

Brende a indiqué que la Norvège n’avait pas eu connaissance de la décision de donner le nom de Mughrabi au centre. Il a demandé que le nom du pays soit supprimé du centre et que les fonds offerts pour sa construction soient restitués. « Nous avons demandé que le logo du bureau de représentation norvégien soit immédiatement retiré du bâtiment et que les financements alloués au centre soient remboursés », a-t-il dit.

 

Il a également expliqué que la Norvège ne participera plus à des projets similaires tant que le pays ne recevra pas l’assurance « que rien de cette nature ne surviendra une nouvelle fois ».

 

« Nous ne passerons plus aucun accord ni avec la Commission électorale palestinienne, ni avec l’ONU dans les zones palestiniennes jusqu’à ce que des mesures satisfaisantes soient mises en place pour garantir que rien de cette nature ne se renouvellera », a-t-il ajouté.

 

Israël a salué l’action d’Oslo. Le porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères israélien Emmanuel Nahshon a déclaré que « La Norvège a pris une bonne initiative – une limite ferme dénonçant la commémoration des terroristes fait partie intégrante de l’effort mené à l’international pour éradiquer le terrorisme. Nous conseillons à la communauté internationale d’effectuer des démarches plus minutieuses pour contrôler où va l’argent qu’elle investit dans l’AP ».

 

La réprimande adressée par la Norvège à l’AP arrive après que la branche norvégienne de l’Ambassade Chrétienne Internationale de Jérusalem (ICEJ) a porté l’affaire vendredi à l’attention du pays, a fait savoir l’organisation dans un communiqué, tout en remerciant Brende pour sa réponse « rapide et claire ».

 

« L’Autorité Palestinienne sape la quête de la paix dans cette région et viole toutes les normes de la décence humaine lorsqu’elle décide de glorifier et de perpétuer les héritages méprisables de terroristes comme Dalal Mughrabi, » a déclaré le président de l’ICEJ Jürgen Bühler. « Le gouvernement norvégien a agi de manière appropriée lorsqu’il a condamné cette action immorale commise par l’Autorité palestinienne ».

 

L’observatoire Palestinian Media Watch, qui a été le premier à relever le nom du centre pour les femmes, a cité un chef local du village disant que « le centre se focalisera en particulier sur l’histoire du combat de la martyre Dalal Mughrabi et sur la présentation de cette lutte aux groupes de jeunes et… constitue le début du lancement d’activités d’enrichissement à partir de l’histoire du combat palestinien ».

 

En plus du centre pour les femmes, l’AP a nommé un certain nombre d’événements et de structures en l’honneur de Mughrabi et des autres terroristes morts pendant le massacre, lors des échanges de tirs qui les avaient opposés aux forces de sécurité israélienne. Le Fatah a depuis salué leur mémoire à de multiples reprises, disant qu’ils étaient des « martyrs ».

 

Au mois de mars, l’observatoire Palestinian Media Watch avait aussi fait savoir que l’AP avait donné le nom de Mughrabi à un camp de jeunes situé à Jéricho. L’année dernière, lors de l’anniversaire de l’attaque, l’école Al-Awael pour filles, dans la banlieue de Ramallah, avait organisé la « Coupe Dalal Mughrabi » en l’honneur de la meurtrière. Ce tournoi de basket féminin avait été co-organisé par l’Association culturelle et sociale Al-Razi, une ONG palestinienne qui travaille aux côtés de la Fondation Anna Lindh pour promouvoir le « dialogue interculturel » et « construire la confiance et améliorer la compréhension mutuelle ».

 

Mughrabi a également été honorée au mois de mars 2015, lorsque le Fatah, s’adressant aux Israéliens sur sa page Facebook, leur avait demandé de collecter les restes des corps des Israéliens assassinés et de quitter Israël.

 

« En ce jour, le 11 mars, en 1978, Dalal Mughrabi et ses compagnons ont déclaré la naissance de la république palestinienne au coeur des territoires occupés. L’ennemi a admis la mort de 30 Sionistes lors de l’opération, qui pourtant, selon les informations données, a fait plus de 80 victimes… Vengeance après vengeance, le vent de la tempête ne faiblira pas », disait le post Facebook.

 

 

 

LE QUÉBEC ET ISRAËL VEULENT S'UNIR DANS L'INTELLIGENCE ARTIFICIELLE

Jocelyne Richer

La Press, 25 mai, 2017

 

 

Le Québec et Israël veulent unir leurs forces pour développer conjointement le secteur de pointe de l'intelligence artificielle. Ce pourrait être là une des retombées concrètes de la mission d'une semaine dirigée en Israël et en Cisjordanie par le premier ministre Philippe Couillard.

 

La mission a pris fin jeudi avec une rencontre de 45 minutes entre M. Couillard et le premier ministre Benyamin Nétanyahou. Cette rencontre, qui s'est tenue au cabinet du premier ministre israélien, leader en vue de la scène internationale, était sans aucun doute le point d'orgue de la mission de M. Couillard.

 

D'entrée de jeu, M. Nétanyahou a demandé à son visiteur comment allait son «ami Justin», en faisant référence au premier ministre Trudeau. C'était la première fois qu'un premier ministre du Québec se rendait en mission officielle dans ce pays, mais M. Couillard a dit en point de presse qu'il avait bien l'intention de tisser des liens plus étroits entre les deux États.

 

Il a même dit envisager d'ouvrir un bureau commercial du Québec en Israël. Actuellement, le Québec n'a aucune représentation officielle en Israël. À court terme, le Québec aimerait conclure une entente de partenariat avec Israël sur l'intelligence artificielle et les mégadonnées. Le Québec occupe déjà une position de leadership en ce domaine.

 

«Il faut vraiment qu'on aille encore plus loin. Israël est un partenaire de choix», a estimé M. Couillard. Il s'agissait d'une mission d'envergure, d'abord axée sur l'innovation, le premier ministre étant accompagné d'une centaine de personnes issues des milieux d'affaires et du monde universitaire.

 

Centrée sur l'économie, l'échange de savoir-faire en matière de cybersécurité, et diverses ententes de partenariat conclues avec des universités et centres de recherche, la mission aura eu aussi un volet politique non négligeable, comportant des rencontres avec des dirigeants de haut niveau, le premier ministre Nétanyahou et le premier ministre de l'Autorité palestinienne, Rami Hamdallah.

 

 

Nous vous souhaitons un excellent Shavouot, Fête du Don de la Thora
 

 

 

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SYRIA: BATTLE AGAINST TERRITORIAL HOLDINGS OF I.S. REACHING “FINAL PHASE”

The Race for the Ruins: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, May 29, 2017— Events taking place in a remote stretch of south east Syrian desert in recent days reveal the current direction of US Middle East strategy.

Iran’s Foreign Legion in Syria: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, JCPA, May 28, 2017— Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria and especially since the advent of the Islamic State (ISIS) and its franchises in the Arab Middle East and Africa…

Jordan's Syrian Adventure: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, May 14, 2017 — In 1970, Syrian forces invaded Jordan to assist the Palestine Liberation Organization in its fight against King Hussein, the father of King Abdullah, and bring down the Hashemite Kingdom.

Syria, a Modern Day Holocaust?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2017 — In a press conference Monday, the US accused the Syrian regime of using a crematorium to dispose of bodies to cover up extensive mass murders by the government.

 

On Topic Links

 

Israeli Minister Calls for Assassination of Syria's Assad: Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2017

Assad’s Survival Is in Israel’s Best Interest: Dr. Edy Cohen, BESA, May 25, 2017

Can ISIS Survive the Caliphate's Collapse?: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Middle East Forum, May 16, 2017

Assad's Hollow Crown: A Journey through Regime-Held Syria: Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Report, May 9, 2017

 

 

 

THE RACE FOR THE RUINS

Jonathan Spyer

Breaking Israel News, May 29, 2017

 

Events taking place in a remote stretch of south east Syrian desert in recent days reveal the current direction of US Middle East strategy. An observable ratcheting up of US and allied air and special forces activity in eastern Syria is currently under way. This in turn appears to derive from a new, hard-nosed understanding of the nature of the strategic game in the large, strife-ridden area covering what was once Syria and Iraq.

 

On Thursday, May 18th, US aircraft launched strikes on a column of Assad regime vehicles including tanks and earth-movers, 18 miles from the town of al-Tanf, on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The strikes took place after the vehicles entered an agreed deconfliction zone around the town.  US and British special forces are currently training ‘vetted partner forces’, ie Syrian Sunni Arab rebels in the town.

 

This was the second occasion in recent weeks that US aircraft have directly engaged against Assad’s forces.  On the first occasion, the target was the al-Shayrat airbase.  That raid took place on April 6.  It was a clear retaliation for the regime’s use of sarin gas at Khan Sheikhoun on April 4.  The Shayrat raid was generally interpreted as a belated attempt to enforce the American ‘red line’ against further regime use of chemical weapons. As such, it was not widely seen as indicating a more general change of policy.

 

The attack on the column near al-Tanf, by contrast, was not preceded by any unusual regime activity, apart from the approach of the column itself, and its too close vicinity to western forces.  On Monday, the pro-opposition website Syria Direct quoted an un-named US military spokesman as saying that ‘if pro-regime forces move further south or east from their current positions, this will be considered a threat.’ The website also reported that regime forces are preparing to move toward the Badia area, a stretch of desert to the north east of al-Tanf.

 

What is the significance of this butting of heads? The battle against the territorial holdings of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is reaching its final phase.  The re-conquest of Mosul is almost done.  The assault on Raqqa city, the capital city of the Caliphate is about to begin.  It is set to be a hard and bloody fight.  But its eventual outcome is not in question.  Islamic State as an entity controlling ground will be destroyed. At which point the movement will revert back to its former status as a clandestine terror network.  As the eclipse of the Caliphate draws near, the race is opening up to inherit its former domains.

 

The competitors in this contest are Iran and its various allies and proxies, and forces associated with the west and the Sunni Arab states. The Iranians and their allies want to penetrate IS territory from west to east – with the Iraqi Shia militias pushing westwards from Tel Afar and Assad regime forces and pro-Assad militias (including Hizballah) probing east. The regime forces nosing around in al Tanf are in the process of seeking to seize border areas with both Jordan and Iraq.  The US is determined to prevent that.  The town of Deir al-Zour and the surrounding oil rich areas will form an important part of the prize.

 

Pro-western forces, meanwhile are pushing north from Jordan and south from the Kurdish-controlled area north of the IS enclave.  The forces engaged on this side are the Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the Kurdish YPG, and the Maghawir a-Thawra (Commandos of the Revolution, formerly the New Syrian Army) rebels, supported by the US, UK and Jordan, from the south. The outcome of this contest is of strategic significance, despite the remote and arid nature of much of the territory concerned.  The Iranians want to create a contiguous line of territory controlled by themselves and their allies stretching from Iraq into Syria, and thence to the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Israel.

 

Islamic State has formed a buffer against the achievement of this goal.  But Islamic State, in the usual manner of Sunni Salafi organizations when they control territory, declined to be satisfied with the stewardship of a small domain.  Instead, the Sunni jihadis elected to declare war on the west, using the territory as a base to hold and execute captured western prisoners, to prepare attacks against western civilian targets, to administer a regional network of franchise groups, and to attempt genocide against a non-Muslim population, the Yezidis.  As a result, the west, unsurprisingly, made it a goal to destroy the Islamic State. The question now is who will inherit.  The Americans, it appears, have understood that to stand a chance of re-establishing influence and standing in the region, and beginning the process of turning back the Iranian advance, it is necessary to have skin in the game, ie to develop reliable proxies and have them control ground, in this pivotal area.

 

Only thus can a contiguous line of Iranian control from the Iraq-Iran border to the Mediterranean and Israel be prevented.  Only thus will the US be able to prevent an eventual outcome in Syria and in Iraq entirely favorable to the Iranians.  Hence the development by the US Department of Defense of the relationships with the YPG and elements among the Jordan-supported Sunni Arab rebels in the south.

 

It is worth also noting that the outcome in eastern Syria is not of primary interest to the Russians. Russia wants to preserve the regime in existence and to keep its naval investments in Latakia Province. Neither of these interests is threatened by events further east.  Controlling the east is an Iranian and Assad regime goal only.

 

The outcome of this emergent contest will be of deep interest also to Israeli strategic planners.  While some recent analysis has suggested that Israel favors or should favor allowing IS to continue in existence as a quasi-state, it is obvious that this is no longer an option.  Syria as a state has largely ceased to exist.  The question now, as it is parceled out into zones of influence, is who will gain and who will lose. Alongside the military jockeying on the ground, the diplomatic processes in Astana and Geneva will sputter on. Their eventual outcome, though, will depend on the balance of forces on the ground.  Iran wants its contiguous line not least in order to move weaponry and fighters both in preparation for and no less importantly in the course of a future war with Israel.  Preventing this is an Israeli national security interest par excellence.

 

This emergent US strategy has not yet been officially confirmed.  Indeed, Defense Secretary James Mattis was quoted by Agence France Presse after the al-Tanf strike as denying that the raid heralded any ‘increased role’ for the US in the Syrian war. The pattern on the ground suggests otherwise.  The United States Administration has defined the Iranians and the Sunni jihadis of IS as its main adversaries in the region.   Eastern Syria is an area where the defeat of the latter by pro-western forces will constitute also a setback also for the former.  This is a game which is now afoot.  Much depends on its outcome.

 

Contents                

IRAN’S FOREIGN LEGION IN SYRIA

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

JCPA, May 28, 2017

 

Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria and especially since the advent of the Islamic State (ISIS) and its franchises in the Arab Middle East and Africa, world attention has been focused on the foreign volunteers who flocked by the thousands to boost the ranks of the jihadist militias, mainly the ranks of the Islamic State and Al-Qaida. The attacks perpetrated in Europe, the United States, and throughout the world, by terrorists who were trained and inspired by the jihadist organizations, emphasizes the need to understand the phenomena to combat it better. Many analysts concentrated on the hordes of jihadi volunteers from more than 80 nations and warned about the dangers of those fighters returning home to become sleeper operatives.

 

By contrast, while there is considerable media coverage about the foreign jihadists and while the Western coalition tries to contain the flow of new recruits to ISIS, under the radar and almost unnoticed, Iran managed to deploy in Syria its own fighters and proxy armies to fight for the Assad regime’s survival in Syria. While the jihadist organizations recruited their volunteers from the Sunni Muslim world, Iran turned to the Shiite populations to supply the needed manpower for Iran’s Syrian front.

 

Reluctant to get involved directly in the civil war, the Iranians chose to send a limited operational force to Syria, mainly advisers from the Revolutionary Guards and other elite units. The assessment is that there are about 1,500-3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers present in Syria and serving mainly as advisers responsible for logistics, intelligence gathering, and training. As a result, regional Shiite forces answer directly to Tehran’s orders since they were created by Iran and made to serve first and foremost Iranian policy in the region. According to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard officer, the Guard has formed and trained 42 brigades and 138 battalions, all sent to defend the Assad regime!

 

At least five national entities were to provide the manpower to serve the Iranian agenda in Syria: Hizbullah – the Lebanese, Shiite, Iranian-backed military organization; Afghan “Fatimiyoun and Khadem el-‘Aqila Brigades“; Pakistani “Zainebiyoun Brigade”; Yemeni Houthis “Liwa Al-Saada“; Iraqi Shiite militias, of which “Al-Nujaba Movement” has a special significance for Israel. All military units receive their orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Their salaries, equipment, and training are totally under Iranian supervision and control. They are coordinated by the Quds Division of the Revolutionary Guards, commanded by Qasem Soleimani, even though each division enjoys a relatively high degree of autonomy.

 

Hizbullah’s presence in Syria was first publicized in the battle of Al-Qusayr (Homs Directorate) in 2013 and is at the center of public debate in Lebanon. While Hizbullah has been criticized because of its participation in the battle against Sunni rebel movements, no political force in Lebanon has dared to challenge its autonomy and force. Hizbullah’s militia answers to the command of the Lebanese army. Hizbullah has been parading U.S. equipment (M-113 armored personnel carriers) provided by the United States to the Lebanese Army while claiming that these were Israeli armored vehicles seized during the 2006 Second Lebanese war.

 

The “Fatimiyoun Brigade” (Liwa’ Al-Fatimiyoun): The Brigade (3,500 fighters) was founded in 2013 by the Revolutionary Guard and was recruited from Afghani refugees residing in Iran. Hizbullah in Lebanon utilized this same source of manpower, becoming a so-to-speak “Hizbullah of Afghanistan.” Both Iran and Hizbullah took advantage of the economic and political plight of the Afghan refugees seeking asylum in Iran, enrolling them in the military units meant to fight alongside Assad’s forces in Syria. The Afghans, originating mostly from southern Afghanistan, an area adjacent to the Pakistani-Iranian borders, spent large amounts of money to finance their illegal entry to Iran. They travel from the Afghan province to Pakistani Baluchistan bordering the Pakistani frontier, their first stop before arriving in Iran. Iran represents not only a political safe haven for those Afghans fleeing the war in their country but presents an opportunity to acquire economic benefit. An average Afghan receives a monthly salary of $80 in Afghanistan, while he could be paid almost four-fold in Iran ($320). According to some sources, the Afghans repatriate almost $500 million dollars annually to their mother country from their Iranian “employer.”

 

However, being an illegal Afghan resident in Iran is not without disadvantages. The Afghans are mistreated and can be jailed for no apparent reason for periods of time sometimes extending to a few months. Still 500 to 600 illegal Afghans enter Iran per month. While hundreds are confined at the end of their journey in refugee camps in Iran, the luckiest will obtain a work permit; others will get involved in drug trafficking or try to find a way to filter themselves to Europe. Hundreds of them are routinely caught at the borders and deported back to Afghanistan.

 

When Iran looked at the dire situation of the Assad regime and tried to find ways to assist Assad without getting involved with Iranian “boots on the ground,” the alternative offered by the Afghans was ideal. They were Shiites, of Farsi-speaking ethnicity (the Hazara). With $350-500 for monthly pay and with a permanent residency permit granted to the Afghan refugee after his return from Syria, the Iranian regime succeeded in recruiting the necessary manpower needed to bolster the Syrian regime. Moreover, unlike an Iranian fighter, as an illegal migrant with an unknown identity, an Afghan killed in action would not be a burden to the Iranian treasury. Most importantly, Iran could easily deny its involvement and its intervention. Were it not for the scores of Afghans killed in battle and others taken prisoners by the rebels, Iran would not have had to accept any responsibility concerning the Afghani presence. When Iran finally decided to relate to the Afghans, Iran stated that they died while protecting the Shiite shrines in Syria…

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

 

                                                                       

 

Contents   

                       

JORDAN'S SYRIAN ADVENTURE

Prof. Eyal Zisser

Israel Hayom, May 14, 2017

 

In 1970, Syrian forces invaded Jordan to assist the Palestine Liberation Organization in its fight against King Hussein, the father of King Abdullah, and bring down the Hashemite Kingdom. At the request of the U.S., Israel stepped up to help Jordan. The IDF was put on alert and the Syrians received a stern message from Jerusalem via Washington that if the Syrian forces continued to advance into Jordan, Israel would intervene in the ensuing battles. The aggressive message was effective, and the Syrians had other good reasons to stop before it was too late. The Syrian forces retreated back into Syria, and Jordan and the U.S. were in Israel's debt.

 

Almost 50 years have passed, and now it's Jordan that, according to reports in the Arab media, is about to deploy forces to Syria. The Jordanians want to establish a security buffer zone along their border with Syria that will keep the Islamic State at bay, but will also serve as a barrier in case Iranian or Hezbollah operatives try to gain a foothold in southern Syria.

 

All these events are taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing Syrian civil war. It hasn't come to any surprising halt, and anyone who erroneously thought a few months ago that the capture of Aleppo, the country's second-biggest city, by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces and his allies meant that victory was already in the hands of Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Iranians, is now finding out that Damascus and Moscow were too quick to celebrate. The Russians lack the forces, whether Syrian or Iranian, to be able to put down the rebellion and deploy across the entire country to maintain peace and quiet. The rebels continue to fight, and are even landing blows to the Syrian army.

 

So the Russians are promoting the establishment of protected areas, which in effect mean that Syria is divided into areas of influence for the various players. The Turks will keep the area in northern Syria they currently control; the Americans and the Kurds will keep their hold in the eastern part of the country (if they can drive out the Islamic State), and even the Jordanians will be given their own area in the south of Syria. The Russians, on the other hand, will go unsatiated and will have to give up about three-quarters of Syrian territory, but by doing so will ensure that Assad remains in power in western Syria, the populated and important part of the country.

 

Like Israel, Jordan is faced with a difficult challenge. The Islamic State is digging in along its northern border. The group has an active affiliate in the area of the Yarmouk Basin (the Khalid Ibn al-Walid Army), and its fighters are also present to the east, along hundreds of kilometers of the Jordanian-Syrian border. Two years ago, Islamic State even tried to breach Jabal al-Druze in southwest Syria, but was repelled. The organization is responsible for a long list of terrorist attacks along the border and what's worse, its terrorist activity is penetrating the kingdom. Islamic State operatives have already carried out a number of painful attacks within Jordan. But if in the past the obvious conclusion was that Assad was preferable to the Islamic State, the choice today is between the Islamic State and Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and the Jordanians don't want either. So Jordan is being forced to consider intervening in Syria with the help of the Bedouin tribes on the Syrian side of the border, and possibly even some Druze who are afraid of what will befall them.

 

Israel, on the other hand, cannot allow itself to intervene in the Syrian civil war directly, and it's also clear that the good will it is acquiring on the other side of the border by providing medical and humanitarian aid is not enough. For now, Jerusalem is pinning its hopes on Moscow preventing an Iranian presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, but the Russians have their own interests in Syria, and has been proven repeatedly in the past. This might be the time to look into other creative solutions. Once, Israel was concerned about the development of a hostile eastern front that would stretch from Rosh Hanikra to Aqaba. Today, Israel shares a peaceful eastern border with Jordan, but it wouldn't hurt if the Jordan buffer zone were to extend north to the Golan.                                                                        

 

Contents                                                                                                                                      

SYRIA, A MODERN DAY HOLOCAUST?

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2017

 

In a press conference Monday, the US accused the Syrian regime of using a crematorium to dispose of bodies to cover up extensive mass murders by the government. The United States is upping its rhetoric to encourage Russia to exercise influence over Damascus and stop the abuses. It is a clear message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and Moscow on the eve of President Donald Trump’s Middle East trip. The stark black-and-white photos of the alleged crematorium also echo images from the Holocaust.

 

In the short briefing, acting assistant Secretary of State Stuart Jones outlined how the Syrian conflict had left more than 400,000 dead. Basing his claims on reports of international and local NGOs as well as intelligence assessments, Jones provided a laundry list of regime abuses that he said underscored the depth of support from Russia and Iran. “The regime has abducted between 65,000 and 117,000 [people] between 2011 and 2015,” the statement said. In addition, up to 50 prisoners a day at Saydnaya prison were executed. Many were buried in mass graves, but the US says a building modified after 2013 may be a crematorium. Jones, who was present at the recent deescalation talks in Astana, stressed that Russia must “bear responsibility to ensure regime compliance” with stopping attacks on civilians.

 

Tough language, but why now? Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said this is not the first time evidence has emerged of Assad’s role in widespread mass murder of prisoners and detainees. An Amnesty International report titled “Human Slaughterhouse,” published in February, included interviews with prisoners who said up to 100 people were hung a week. “What we are hearing that is new is the claim that the regime built a crematorium to do away with corpses. They have released overhead photographs and one needs to take a look and experts would need to assess the veracity; all we can do is think of the feasibility of it. You have a large number of corpses and need to get rid of them, one [method] is burning or mass burials. It’s not in anyway beyond the realm of possibility.”

 

Burning people would remove the evidence of war crimes at a prison only 45 minutes from Damascus. Mohammed Ruzgar, a Syrian journalist, said he has heard rumors that the regime was burning bodies from many sources, but could not verify it. “It’s to remove evidence,” he said. At the beginning of the conflict, the regime often detained Syrians, and tortured and killed them. Ruzgar said that in the old days, the bodies would be returned to families, “but later we did not hear about families receiving dead bodies.” Even mass graves would eventually be found, he said. “The US is [bringing up this issue] to use as leverage against Russia.”

 

Spyer agrees that what we are seeing is a change in tone from the US. “This is not the first instance, this is a tougher tone, and put that together with Tomahawk missiles [launched against Syria on April 7], a sense of some kind of shift. Does that presage a major policy shift by US administration? It is hard to imagine how that can happen,” he said. Spyer argues that the deepening Russian role in the last years means the US cannot go to war with the regime without going to war with Russia. He forecasts a toughening of the US tone and increasing diplomatic pressure. “It’s an insane regime and good that the administration is telling people about it.”…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Israeli Minister Calls for Assassination of Syria's Assad: Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2017—Housing Minister Yoav Galant on Tuesday condemned the genocide taking place in Syria, adding that “it is time to eliminate” President Bashar Assad, following US accusations that the regime is using a crematorium to hide atrocities being committed outside Damascus.

Assad’s Survival Is in Israel’s Best Interest: Dr. Edy Cohen, BESA, May 25, 2017—Unlike his immediate predecessor, US president Donald Trump did not stand idly by in the wake of a Syrian toxic chemical attack, but launched fifty-nine cruise missiles at the airport from which President Bashar Assad had carried out the strike.

Can ISIS Survive the Caliphate's Collapse?: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Middle East Forum, May 16, 2017—The Arabic word baqiya ("remaining") is one of the most common adjectives associated with the Islamic State (aka ISIS), dating back to its earliest incarnation that claimed to be a state: namely, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

Assad's Hollow Crown: A Journey through Regime-Held Syria: Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Report, May 9, 2017—The mortar shells came early in the morning. At about 5. At regular intervals. Solemn and sinister. They were a reminder of how close it all was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EGYPT STRUGGLES TO CONTAIN ISLAMIST VIOLENCE & PROTECT ITS CHRISTIANS

Coptic Christians: Islamic State’s ‘Favorite Prey’: Samuel Tadros, New York Times, May 26, 2017 — “At this rate Copts will be extinct in 100 years.”

‘The Real Bomb Is in Islam’s Books’: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, May 3, 2017— During his visit to Egypt last week, “Pope Francis visited al-Azhar University

In Egypt, Pride Above Economy?: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Apr. 25, 2017 — It’s one of the ironies of Middle Eastern studies and Western media that the Israel-Palestinian conflict tends to get outsize coverage in comparison to so many other matters more pertinent to local Arabs.

Nasser’s Legacy on the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 War: Dr. Michael Sharnoff, BESA, May 21, 2017— Cairo was the political capital of the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

On Topic Links

 

Memorial Day: Remembering America’s Fallen Heroes: Jeff Dunetz, Jewish Press, May 29, 2017

Trump on Egypt Attack: ‘Bloodletting of Christians Must End’: Times of Israel, May 27, 2017

"Drip-Drip" Genocide: Muslim Persecution of Christians, February, 2017: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, May 28, 2017

Sinai Bedouin Aligning with Egypt Against ISIS: Yoni Ben Menachem, JCPA, May 4, 2017

 

 

 

COPTIC CHRISTIANS: ISLAMIC STATE’S ‘FAVORITE PREY’

Samuel Tadros

New York Times, May 26, 2017

 

“At this rate Copts will be extinct in 100 years. They will die, leave, convert or get killed,” a friend wrote on Facebook as news broke of the latest bloody attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians. Less than two months ago, while attending church in Cairo on Palm Sunday, my friend told me she’d mused to herself that it was a blessing her daughter wasn’t with her: If there was a bombing, at least her child would survive. Forty-five Copts were murdered that day by the Islamic State in churches in Alexandria and Tanta. Such are the thoughts of Coptic parents in Egypt these days.

 

The terrorists chose today’s target well. The Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, which I visited a decade ago, is very hard to reach. One hundred and ten miles on the Cairo Luxor desert road, you make a right-hand turn and for the next 17 miles drive on an unpaved road. The single lane forces cars to drive slowly, and, as the only route leading to the monastery, the victims were guaranteed to be Copts. Friday is a day off in Egypt, and church groups regularly take trips there. Outside of a few policemen stationed out front, there is little security presence. The terrorists waited on the road like game hunters. Coming their way were three buses, one with Sunday school children. Only three of them survived. Their victims were asked to recite the Islamic declaration of faith before being shot.

 

In the past few months, the Islamic State has made its intentions toward Copts well known. “Our favorite prey” they called my co-religionists in a February video. Their barbaric attacks have left more than 100 Copts dead in the last few months alone. The Northern Sinai is now “Christianfrei,” or free of Christians. Many serious questions will be asked in the next few days. How has the Islamic State been able to build such an extensive network inside mainland Egypt? Is the Islamic State moving its operations to Egypt as it faces pressure in Iraq and Syria? And why has Egypt repeatedly failed to prevent these attacks?

 

All of these questions are important and require thoughtful deliberation by the Egyptian regime and its allies around the world. But these are not the questions on the minds of my Coptic friends at home. They have far more intimate concerns: Am I putting my children’s lives at risk by remaining here? Should we leave? And what country will take us? In February 2014, I met the head of the Jewish community in Egypt, Magda Haroun. Today, she told me, there are 15 Jews left in the country, out of a population that once stood at nearly 100,000. Ms. Haroun said she was afraid the Copts would soon follow.

 

At the time I thought the prospect was overblown. There are millions of Copts in Egypt. Where would all of them possibly go? Surely some will remain, I reasoned. But I had left the country myself in 2009 — and so have hundreds of thousands of Copts. Even before the recent wave of attacks, Copts have been packing their bags and bidding 2,000 years of history farewell. As more find permanent homes in the West, more are able to bring relatives over. Ms. Haroun was right.

 

The Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor — where one of the giants of the modern Coptic church, Father Matthew the Poor, was ordained in 1948 — is the only remaining monastery of 35 that once existed in the area. Copts had always been tied to Egypt, their very name derived from the Greek word for the country, Aigýptios. Despite waves of persecution at the hands of everyone from Roman and Byzantine emperors, Arab and Muslim governors and Egypt’s modern presidents, they have refused to leave. Their country once gave refuge to the young Jesus. Where will they now find sanctuary?

 

In 1954 an Egyptian movie called “Hassan, Marcus and Cohen” was produced. The comedy’s title represented characters from Islam, Christianity and Judaism. In 2008, a new movie, “Hassan and Marcus” hit theaters. It warned of the growing sectarian strife between Egypt’s Christians and Muslims. Fifty years from now, it seems likely that the sequel will just be “Hasan.”

 

 

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‘THE REAL BOMB IS IN ISLAM’S BOOKS’

Raymond Ibrahim

Frontpage, May 3, 2017

 

During his visit to Egypt last week, “Pope Francis visited al-Azhar University, a globally respected institution for Sunni Islamic learning,” and “met with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the imam of the government-run Al-Azhar mosque and an Islamic philosophy professor.”  This has been reported by several media and with much fanfare.

 

The problem is that Sheikh Tayeb, once voted “world’s most influential Muslim,” and Al Azhar, the important madrassa he heads, are part of the problem, not the solution.  Tayeb is a  renowned master of exhibiting one face to fellow Muslims in Egypt—one that supports the death penalty for “apostates,” calls for the totality of Sharia-rule, refuses to denounce ISIS of being un-Islamic, denounces all art as immoral, and rejects the very concept of reforming Islam—and another face to non-Muslims.

 

Consider, for instance, the words of Islam al-Behery—a popular Egyptian Muslim reformer who frequently runs afoul of Islamists in Egypt who accuse him of blasphemy and apostasy from Islam.  The day after the suicide bombings of two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt, the Muslim scholar was interviewed by phone on a popular Egyptian television program (Amr Adib’s kul youm, or “Every Day”).  He spent most of his time on the air blasting Al Azhar and Ahmed al-Tayeb—at one point going so far as to say that “70-80 percent of all terror in the last 5 years is a product of Al Azhar.”

 

The reformer knows what he speaks of; in 2015, al- Behery’s televised calls to reform Islam so irked Al Azhar that the venerable Islamic institution accused him of “blaspheming” against Islam, which led to his imprisonment. Now Behery says that, ever since President Sisi implored Al Azhar to make reforms to how Islam is being taught in Egypt three years ago, the authoritative madrassa “has not reformed a single thing,” only offered words.  “If they were sincere about one thing, they would have protected hundreds, indeed thousands of lives from being killed in just Egypt alone, said al-Behery.

 

By way of examples, the scholar of Islam pointed out that Al Azhar still uses books in its curriculum which teach things like “whoever kills an infidel, his blood is safeguarded, for the blood of an infidel and believer [Muslim] are not equal.”  Similarly, he pointed to how Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb claims that ISIS members are not infidels, only deluded Muslims; but those whom they kill—such as the bombed Christians—are infidels, the worst label in Islam’s lexicon.

 

Debating Behery was an Al Azhar spokesman who naturally rejected the reformer’s accusations against the Islamic madrassa, adding that the source of problems in Egypt is not the medieval institution, but rather “new” ideas that came to Egypt from 20th century “radicals” like Hasan al-Bana and Sayyid Qutb, founding leaders/ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood. Behery’s response was refreshing; those many Western analysts who follow the same line of thinking—that “radicalism” only came after thinkers like Bana, Qutb, Mawdudi (in Pakistan) or Wahhab (in Arabia) came on the scene—would do well to listen.  After saying that “blaming radicalism on these men is very delusional,” the reformer correctly added:

 

The man who kills himself [Islamic suicide bomber] today doesn’t kill himself because of the words of Hasan al-Bana or Sayyid al-Qutb, or anyone else.  He kills himself because of what the consensus of the ulema, and the four schools of jurisprudence, have all agreed to.  Hasan al-Bana did not create these ideas [of jihad against infidels and apostates, destroying churches, etc.]; they’ve been around for many, many centuries….   I am talking about Islam [now], not how it is being taught in schools. By way of example, Behery said if anyone today walks into any Egyptian mosque or bookstore and ask for a book that contains the rulings of the four schools of jurisprudence, “everything that is happening today will be found in them; killing the people of the book [Christians and Jews] is obligatory.  Let’s not start kidding each other and blaming such thoughts on Hassan al-Bana!”  Moreover, Behery said:

 

There is a short distance between what is written in all these old books and what happened yesterday [Coptic church bombings]—the real bomb is in the books, which repeatedly call the People of the Book “infidels,” which teach that the whole world is infidel…  Hassan al-Bana and Sayyid al-Qutb are not the source of the terror, rather they are followers of these books.  Spare me with the term Qutbism which has caused the nation to suffer terrorism for 50 years.

 

Behery does not blame Al Azhar for the existence of these books; rather he, like many reformers, wants the Islamic institution to break tradition, denounce the rulings of the four schools of law as the products of fallible mortals, and reform them in ways compatible to the modern world.  He said that, whereas Egypt’s former grand imam, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (d. 2010), had “without even being asked removed all the old books and placed just one introductory book, when al-Tayeb [who days ago embraced Pope Francis] came, he got rid of that book and brought all the old books back, which are full of slaughter and bloodshed.”  In short, Behery called on the Egyptian government—and here the Vatican would do well to listen—not to rely on Al Azhar to make any reforms, since if anything it has taken Egypt backwards.

 

                                                                       

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IN EGYPT, PRIDE ABOVE ECONOMY?

Michael Rubin

Commentary, Apr. 25, 2017

 

It’s one of the ironies of Middle Eastern studies and Western media that the Israel-Palestinian conflict tends to get outsize coverage in comparison to so many other matters more pertinent to local Arabs. Consider border disputes: From Morocco across the region to Iran, the only neighbors who do not have border disputes are Israel and Egypt, Israel and Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and, ever since accepting international arbitration, Bahrain, and Qatar.

 

Intra-Arab border disputes can be as intractable as those involving Israel and can be far more violent. Consider, for example, the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait or the constant Syrian infringement on Lebanese sovereignty that played out to devastating effect during the 1975-1992 civil war and, arguably, to the present day. While Iran is not Arab, the war between it and Iraq sparked by a border dispute ended up killing hundreds of thousands.

 

Egypt is the largest Arab country; one out of every five Arabs—perhaps even more—live in Egypt. In November 2016, as part of an International Monetary Fund package of reforms, Egypt floated its currency and, overnight, the Egyptian currency lost more than half of its value compared to the U.S. dollar, more than doubling the cost of imported goods. To be fair, Egypt had no choice. It was hemorrhaging money as a result of subsidies and should have reformed its currency three or four decades ago. Politically, Egyptians are also exhausted. The last decade has seen the Arab Spring, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and their subsequent ouster in what many in the West call a coup and Egyptians call a revolution. Recent Islamic State attacks on Egyptian churches raise the specter of growing terrorism. Domestic problems seem so great that Egyptians concentrate on just getting by.

 

So, with so many huge issues with which to deal, what motivates Egyptians? Last year, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed to transfer to uninhabited islands—Tiran and Sanafir—back to Saudi Arabia, thus ending a decades-long dispute between the two countries. Enter Egyptian nationalism and pride: Egyptians took to the streets twice last April to protest the “selling” of Egyptian land to the Saudis, even though ample documentation existed that the islands were Saudi all along: The Saudis invited an Egyptian garrison on the islands in the 1950s against the backdrop of the Arab-Israel dispute, but government hostility between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on one hand and Israel on the other has largely faded and the garrisons are long gone.

 

Sisi probably erred in announcing the islands’ return against the backdrop of receiving a multibillion dollar aid package from Riyadh, but such unfortunate optics do not change the historical facts. Still, nationalism can be a potent tool, and Egyptians were willing to pick a fight with one of their closest Arab allies no matter that Egypt at best was holding an empty hand and Saudi Arabia had a full house. While an Egyptian court had stayed the transfer in January, an upper court blocked that stay earlier this month to allow the transfer to go through, but that decision was immediately appealed. The courts should now issue a final ruling in June.

 

Egypt has many problems but Tiran and Sanafir should not be among them. Sisi is on the right track in trying to resolve long-standing diplomatic disputes. That his opposition seeks to resurrect these disputes to whip up public opposition, however, shows just how difficult substantive reform can be in a society for decades shaped by incitement.

                                               

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NASSER’S LEGACY ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1967 WAR

Dr. Michael Sharnoff

BESA, May 21, 2017

 

Cairo was the political capital of the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was the most charismatic ruler in the region, and he tried to become the undisputed leader of the Arab world. In his 1954 memoir, The Philosophy of the Revolution, Nasser revealed his vision of Egypt as a unique geostrategic influence in the African, Arab, and Islamic world. He believed Egypt was destined to play a pivotal role in Arab affairs.

 

Initially, Nasser was concerned primarily with consolidating power and expelling the British from Egypt. After stabilizing his rule by suppressing communists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, he championed pan-Arabism as a strategic tactic to unify the Arab world under his command. Pan-Arabism was a secular ideology that advocated Arab unity, freedom from foreign control, and the liberation of Palestine – a euphemism for a Palestinian state built on Israel’s ruins.

 

Nasser’s political star rose after he nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956 and subsequently survived a direct assault from the UK, France, and Israel. He graced international venues as a hero of the Nonaligned Movement, rubbing shoulders with established anti-imperialist leaders like Tito of Yugoslavia, Nehru of India, Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia. No major world leader could dispute Nasser’s growing popularity and legitimacy.

 

Through his spokesperson Muhammad Heikal, editor of Egypt’s state-run newspaper al-Ahram, Nasser adopted a brilliant strategic communications campaign to shape and influence public opinion. Cairo became the Arab capital of influence. Nasser’s policies were cautiously observed by Israel, neighboring Arab states, and the Western powers, as well as the Soviet Union. In the era of Cold War rivalry, Nasser adroitly played off the two rival superpowers to maximize his country’s economic, political, and military stature while offering minimal concessions.

 

Nasser’s Egypt demonstrated how a developing country with a large population could persevere in the face of tremendous economic, political, and military challenges. Despite the expectations of Western and Soviet intelligence officials, the regime did not collapse. Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip after the 1967 War, but Nasser managed to turn that stunning military defeat into a political victory. He employed skillful diplomacy at the UN to appease Moscow and the West in order to rebuild Egypt’s military and sustain his own unique leadership status in the Arab world.

 

Nasser remained defiant. Egypt endured, despite losing territory and suffering from a depressed economy due to a collapse in tourism and the closure of the Suez Canal. After the war, Egypt lost $30 million a month to lost Canal revenues and an additional $1.5 million in tourism each week. (The Canal remained closed until 1975, when Israel withdrew its troops from the east bank as part of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy and the second Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement).

 

After Nasser’s untimely death in 1970, other Arab leaders like Qaddafi, Assad, and Saddam tried to replicate his successes – but none had the charisma or mandate to shape public opinion and extract concessions from Washington and Moscow. Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, long suppressed under Nasser, gradually resurfaced, capitalizing on the political and ideological vacuum. Those movements argued that Muslims had become weak because Nasser, Qaddafi, Saddam, and Assad were not true believers. They had failed to implement sharia (Islamic law), aligned with kuffar (infidel) Western or Russian powers, and abandoned the pursuit of the liberation of Palestine. They had become apostates, unfit to rule, and should be replaced with Islamic governance.

 

The solution to secular pan-Arabism, in their view, was Islam. They promoted Islam as the only ideology with the capacity to satisfy Muslim aspirations. Secularism, nationalism, liberalism, socialism, and communism were foreign concepts incompatible with Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood expanded its influence through social services and redoubled its devotion to the eventual construction of an Islamic state governed by sharia. Extremist Islamist movements like al-Qaeda and ISIS continue to seek to achieve these goals by engaging in terrorism against the West and committing genocide against non-conforming Muslims and ethnic and religious minorities.

 

The removal of Saddam and subsequent violence and instability of the 2003 Iraq War, the 2011 uprisings in the Arab world, and the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) accelerated the expansion of these non-state Islamist actors, as well as Iran. In this “new” Middle East, these players compete for influence while Egyptian and Arab leaders grapple with instability, insurgency, civil war, and failed states.

 

Egypt’s declining influence shows no sign of reversing itself in the near future. In 2017, there is no Arab leader remotely resembling Nasser in terms of prestige. As the 50th anniversary of the 1967 War approaches, many Egyptians from that generation might reflect with nostalgia on a bygone era when Egypt dominated Middle Eastern affairs.

 

The ultimate lesson of the 1967 War is the total shift of power and influence from Egypt to non-state Islamist actors and Iran. Egypt can barely contend with the scores of domestic challenges it faces, let alone project influence beyond its borders. Cairo struggles to contain an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, protect its Christian population, sustain its economy, and provide meaningful twenty-first century skills and jobs to its youth to prevent brain drain and radicalization.

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Memorial Day: Remembering America’s Fallen Heroes: Jeff Dunetz, Jewish Press, May 29, 2017—The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion…

Trump on Egypt Attack: ‘Bloodletting of Christians Must End’: Times of Israel, May 27, 2017— US President Donald Trump on Friday decried an attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt that left at least 28 dead, calling on allies to band together to defeat terrorism.

"Drip-Drip" Genocide: Muslim Persecution of Christians, February, 2017: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, May 28, 2017— The Islamic State is at it again.

Sinai Bedouin Aligning with Egypt Against ISIS: Yoni Ben Menachem, JCPA, May 4, 2017— In its battle against ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, one of the main difficulties facing the Egyptian army has been the absence of accurate, real-time intelligence on the location of ISIS forces, experts on the war on terror agree. But it seems this problem is about to be resolved due to a series of missteps by the ISIS branch in Sinai involving the Bedouin Tarabin tribe, the largest tribe in Sinai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EUROPE, DESPITE ONGOING ISLAMIST TERRORISM, VILIFIES DEMOCRATIC ISRAEL

Carnage, Memory and Manchester: Bret Stephens, New York Times, May 25, 2017 — To witness a suicide bombing up close is to understand, at its etymological root, the meaning of the word “carnage.”

France: Macron, President of the Elites and Islamists: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, May 26, 2017— Emmanuel Macron — whose victory in the French presidential election on May 7, 2017 was declared decisive — was presented as a centrist, a newcomer in politics with strong ties to the business world, and a man who could bring a new impetus to a stagnant country.

Crooked Europe: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, May 8, 2017 — What do dictatorships such as Iran, China, Qatar, Sudan have in common with one of the most advanced democracies in the world, Sweden?

Words Matter: Robert Lantos, National Post, May 25, 2017 — Simon Wiesenthal was a man of action.

 

On Topic Links

 

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, May 22, 2017

French Jews Certainly Wanted Macron Over Le Pen, but Friction May Lie Ahead:  Cnaan Liphshiz, Times Of Israel, May 9, 2017

The Drumbeat Against Jewish Ritual in Europe Sounds Once More: Ben Cohen, JNS, May 12, 2017

An Auschwitz Magician’s Greatest Trick: Holding the Horrors at Bay: Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, May 6, 2017

 

 

 

CARNAGE, MEMORY AND MANCHESTER

Bret Stephens

New York Times, May 25, 2017

 

To witness a suicide bombing up close is to understand, at its etymological root, the meaning of the word “carnage.” A bomb packed with nails, ball bearings and metal scraps — the sort that Salman Abedi detonated in Manchester on Monday night — doesn’t just kill. It shreds. Human beings are turned, instantly, into scraps of bone, organ and flesh. The smell of explosives mingles horribly with that of charred skin, burned metal, melted plastic and enormous quantities of blood. Cafes, buses, markets and concert halls become abattoirs, public and obscene. The bomber dies, too. The act turns the perpetrator into somebody’s martyr while denying his victims the possibility of justice. Mockery from beyond the grave thus compounds the nihilism of the act: “I got you; you can never get me.”

 

Thirteen years ago, on Azza Street in Jerusalem, I saw a man’s body on a blown-up bus swaying back and forth, as if reciting a final prayer. He was one of 11 victims that day, in a bombing that took place a block from where I lived. It’s a sight that’s never left me. I offer this description to make the point that our intellectual understanding of terrorism will be stunted if we lack a visceral understanding of it. The standard definition of terrorism — “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims” — anesthetizes reality.

 

Reality, in Manchester, is Saffie Rose Roussos, gone at the age of 8. It is Marcin and Angelika Klis, a Polish couple killed while waiting for their two children, now orphans, to emerge from the Ariana Grande concert. Nineteen others are also gone, along with over 60 wounded and hundreds bereft. Any discussion of the bombing that subsumes these realities in the stock pieties of politicians (“Our hearts are broken but our resolve has never been stronger,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader), or the analysis of “terrorism experts,” obscures our vision and loses the plot.

 

What won’t lose the plot? To start: Terrorism is not, in the manner of Carl Von Clausewitz’s definition of war, a continuation of politics by other means. More often than not, it is the negation of politics — by any means. Also: Any analysis of the Islamic State’s motives and strategy, however tactically intriguing, has limited utility. Its murder sprees are incidentally instrumental but fundamentally self-justifying. It kills to kill.

This being so: The Islamic State and other jihadist groups do not require pretexts for violence. The core jihadist objection to the West concerns our values, not our policies. The brave journalists at Charlie Hebdo weren’t murdered for advocating neoconservative positions. Closing the United States prison at Guantánamo, whatever else might be said for it, will not mollify the next Abedi.

 

Further: Let’s stop calling terrorists “thugs and killers,” as Barack Obama used to do. Let’s not call them “losers,” either, as Donald Trump did this week. Suicide bombing involves a form of immortality seeking that has religion deep in its roots. Only some sort of God could summon, and justify, such promiscuous savagery.

Moreover: Elaborate semantic evasions of the word “Islamic” fool nobody and help nothing. To note that Hamas, Al Qaeda or Islamic State are, by their own emphatic declarations, Islamist enterprises shouldn’t be politically controversial. Communism could not have been defeated without an ideological struggle that picked away at its moral assumptions. The struggle against Islamism isn’t so different.

 

That said: The death cults driven by millenarian impulses are a universal phenomenon, perniciously present within the Islamist fold today but not culturally or historically unique to it. The black banners that are emblems of terror in this century are merely the continuation of the red banners that defined terror in the previous one.

 

For your reading list: Skip the jihadist propaganda. Turn instead to Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent,” published in 1907. “They depend on life … whereas I depend on death, which knows no restraint and cannot be attacked.” An anarchist professor who goes about with a bomb in his pocket utters those words, but they are what Hamas leaders say as well. Love does not conquer hate: If it did, the only casualty in Manchester would have been Abedi himself. To seek to overcome terrorism by pledging, as Obama did in 2013, to move on from it, mainly succeeds in tempting its return. The Islamic State, it still bears repeating, was once somebody’s J.V. team.

 

What conquers hate is the only defensible form of hate: hatred of evil. Without such hatred, the Manchester Arena becomes just another site of random but predictable outrage, along with the Bataclan theater, the Pulse nightclub, the Zaventem airport, the promenade in Nice, the school in Peshawar, the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv. It goes down the memory hole, and makes a mockery of our collective promise to never forget. I wish I’d never seen what I saw that morning in Jerusalem, but there is no such thing as unseeing. The carnage inflicted on Manchester can still serve a purpose if we try not to avert our gaze too soon.

 

 

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FRANCE: MACRON, PRESIDENT OF THE ELITES AND ISLAMISTS

Guy Millière

Gatestone Institute, May 26, 2017

 

Emmanuel Macron — whose victory in the French presidential election on May 7, 2017 was declared decisive — was presented as a centrist, a newcomer in politics with strong ties to the business world, and a man who could bring a new impetus to a stagnant country. The reality, however, is quite different. His victory was actually not "decisive". Although he received a high percentage of the votes cast (66%), the number of voters who cast a blank ballot or decided to abstain was the highest ever in a French presidential election.

 

Although his opponent, Marine Le Pen, tried to dissociate herself from the anti-Semitism of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, she was treated as a walking horror by almost all politicians and journalists during the entire campaign. That she nevertheless drew 34% of the votes was a sign of the depth of the anger and frustration that has been engulfing the French people. More than half of those who chose Macron were apparently voting against Marine Le Pen, rather than for Macron. Macron, who won by default, suffers from a deep lack of legitimacy. He was elected because he was the last man standing, and because the moderate right's candidate, François Fillon, was sabotaged by a demolition operation carried out by the media and by a political use of justice. Significantly, the legal prosecution of Fillon stopped immediately after he was defeated.

 

Macron is not a centrist: he was discreetly supported throughout the campaign by most of the Socialist Party's leaders and by the outgoing Socialist President, François Hollande. The day after the election, during a V-E Day ceremony, Hollande could not hide his joy. A few days later, on May 14, when he handed the office of the president over to Macron, Hollande said that what was happening was not an "alternative" but a "continuity". All Macron's team-members were socialists or leftists. Macron's leading political strategist, Ismael Emelien, had worked for the campaign that led to the election of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

 

Macron's entire program is socialist. Proposals for additional public expenditures abound. "Climate change" is defined as "the key issue for the future of the world". The proposed changes to the Labor Code and the tax system are largely cosmetic and seem intended more to give an illusion of change than to bring about real change. While Macron does not reject a market economy, he thinks that it must be placed at the service of "social justice", and that the government's role is to "guide", to "protect", "to help" — not to guarantee freedom to choose. Significantly, the economists who participated in the elaboration of Macron's program are those who had drawn up Hollande's economic program in 2012.

 

Even if he is young, Macron is not a newcomer to politics and does not embody renewal. He not only worked with Hollande for five years, but those who shaped his political ascent have long careers behind them: Jacques Attali was President François Mitterand's adviser in the 1980s ; Alain Minc worked with all French Presidents since Valery Giscard d'Estaing was elected in 1974, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet was the cabinet director for Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the late 1990s. Just after the election, three documentaries were broadcast on French television explaining in detail how Macron's campaign was organized. Macron is the pure product of what analysts described as the "French nomenklatura" — an arrogant élite, composed of senior officials, political power-holders and the businessmen working in close collaboration with them.

 

Macron can only be described as close to the business world if one understands how things work in France. The French economy is a mixed system where it is almost impossible to succeed financially without having close relations with political leaders who can grant favors and subsidies, and either authorize, prohibit or facilitate contracts or hinder them. During the years he spent at Hollande's side, Macron helped various French businessmen. They thanked him by massively contributing to his campaign. It would be surprising if they do not expect a "return on investment". The operation that allowed Macron's election could be described in business language as a takeover. Almost all French private media outlets belong to those who supported Macron and were part of the takeover.

 

Macron is not supposed to bring any new impetus to business, but to ensure and consolidate the power of those who placed him where he is. Their goal is to create a large, single, center-left, technocratic political party that will crush the old political parties and that will be installed in a position of hegemony. The party's slogan, "En Marche!" ("On the Move!"), was established to go forward in that direction; the old political parties have been almost destroyed. The official Socialist Party is dying. The main center-right party, The Republicans, is in disarray. One of its leaders, Edouard Philippe, was appointed Macron's Prime Minister. Another, Bruno Le Maire, is now Finance and Economy minister: he will have to apply quite a different policy from those defined by his original party. The rightist National Front and the radical left will be treated as receptacles of anger: everything will be done so that they stay marginalized.

 

Another goal is to entrust ever more power to the technocratic unaccountable, untransparent and undemocratic institutions of the European Union: it is a goal Emmanuel Macron never stopped emphasizing. On May 7, as soon as the election result was known, the leaders of the European Union showed their enthusiasm. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spoke of "a signal of hope for Europe". On May 15, immediately after the inauguration, Macron went to Berlin, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said that he hoped for a rapid "strengthening of the Union". Macron says he wants the creation of an EU Ministry of Finance, whose decisions would have binding force for all member states.

 

A deliberate side-effect of Macron's policies will be population change. Like many European leaders, Emmanuel Macron seems convinced that the remedy for the demographic deficit and the aging of ethnic European populations is more immigration. On September 6, 2015, he stated that "immigration is an opportunity for all of us". On February 12, 2017, he said, "I will propose to the Algerian government the creation of a Franco-Algerian Bureau of Youth, to encourage mobility between the two shores of the Mediterranean". A few weeks later, he declared that "the duty of Europe is to offer asylum to all those who seek its protection" and that "France must take its fair share of refugees"…

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

 

                                                                       

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CROOKED EUROPE

Giulio Meotti

Arutz Sheva, May 8, 2017

 

What do dictatorships such as Iran, China, Qatar, Sudan have in common with one of the most advanced democracies in the world, Sweden? A vote at Unesco which last Monday canceled the Jewish roots of Jerusalem, accusing Israel of being “the occupying power” in its own capital and holy city (“fake history” as Benjamin Netanyahu responded). That's what. Stockholm, in fact, was the only European country to vote in favor of the resolution of the UN agency for "culture" and science alongside the Arab-Islamic regimes on the day celebrating the independence of the Jewish State (my country, Italy, finally voted against the resolution, while France abstained).

 

The Israeli government summoned Swedish Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser to condemn his government's “hypocrisy” (a few hours before the vote, Nesser had posted a video on Facebook wishing a happy Independence Day to the Israelis). But Sweden did better during that same week; it was not only able to vote alongside hateful Islamist regimes which want to destroy Israel, like Iran. At the UN Commission on Women's Rights the Swedes were masters of duplicity. This commission has just been admitted to membership, for a period of four years, a regime where women may not drive, where they may not move out of the house without their husbands and that is 134th out of 145 countries according to the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Rating:

 

Saudi Arabia, or as Algerian novelist Kamel Daoud said, “an ISIS who made it”. Ryadh managed to enter the UN commission that should defend women's rights through the betrayal of some European countries, including – probably – Sweden (Sweden has refused to confirm whether it voted in favor). Same silence from England and Ireland. “Sweden has voted for the Saudis, 90% sure”, said Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, while Wikileaks has offered $10,000 to anyone who would reveal the Stockholm vote.

 

There is certainty about a known European country that voted in favor of the Saudis: Belgium. Prime Minister Charles Michel issued an “apology” for the decision. But it was not a “mistake”. The Brussels' delegation was explicitly asked to vote in favor of the Saudis and to even let the Saudis know it, as the leaks outlined these days revealed. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynder said the delegation sought to “inform the various candidates, including Saudi Arabia” about its support, despite the vote being secret. A year ago, the English government of David Cameron gave the green light for the Saudi entry into another commission, the one for Human Rights, located in Geneva.

 

There is nothing that petroleum dollars can not buy, even the famous Swedish foreign policy in the name of “feminism,” tolerance and human rights. Belgium is a great Saudi ally in Europe since 1974, when King Baldovino offered the Saudi House to them, in exchange for important energy supplies, the Pavillon du Cinquantenaire with a lease of 99 years. Two hundred meters from the headquarters of the European Union stands what is known as the Great Mosque through which the Saudis became the de facto Islamic authority of Belgium. 40 years later, the keepers of Mecca continue to collect their bills, at the cost of the shameful betraying of the best of European values.                                             

 

Contents                                                                                                                                               

 

                                                        WORDS MATTER

  

Robert Lantos

National Post, May 25, 2017

 

Simon Wiesenthal was a man of action. Not content to let complacent governments deal with the butchers of the Holocaust, he hunted them and forced them to face justice. In so doing, he announced to the world that from now on, there is a high price to pay for harming Jews.

 

With his help, the Mossad captured the mass murderer Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. I was then attending school in neighbouring Uruguay, where Israel’s covert operation caused massive outrage. It was a tense time to be the only Jew in my school. But I felt proud. For the first time in two thousand years, the world understood that if you mess with us, there are consequences. That Jews can — and will — deal with those who intend to harm them. That Jews are no longer at the mercy of their tormentors. That Jews fight back.

 

I was born in Hungary, where Jew hatred has a long and blood-drenched history. A country whose Jews took comfort in being the most assimilated in Europe. They were convinced that their social status and achievements made them untouchable. Yet, the majority of the Jewish population was massacred in a matter of weeks. We must learn from the lessons of history, so that our children and their children never face the horrors that my parents witnessed. Today, Jews face two wars. The permanent armed struggle in defence of Israel, a battle that Israel can never afford to lose. And the war of words, throughout the diaspora — and right here in Canada.

 

Words matter. They are powerful weapons. Words can legitimize the criminal and vilify the just. Words can provide the fuel for hate and the alibi for persecution and violence. Libelous fabrications, like “Israel Apartheid” and “Zionist aggression,” are the pretext for the BDS movement, whose stated objective is the destruction of the Jewish State. Their false narrative has hijacked progressive hearts and minds and become gospel in politically correct circles. It feeds the new wave of Jew hatred sweeping across Europe, where, in many countries, synagogues and Jewish institutions can now only function under military protection. The false narrative thrives on our own campuses, where we must expose its lies and confront it with the most powerful weapon at our disposal, namely, the truth. Because as we know, and as Barbara Kay has written, “what ends in law, often begins in academia.”

 

Since its inception, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions. Of those, 68 condemn Israel. The following is a list of some of the enlightened democracies that are current or past members of the UN Human Rights Commission: Sudan, Congo, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, Russia. It is with these champions of human rights that today’s left aligns itself: authoritarian regimes, which persecute the LGBTQ community, are intolerant of women’s rights, of freedom of the press and of freedom of expression.

 

The so-called progressives who denounce Israel are unfazed by the jailing of dissenters in Iran, oblivious to the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, blind to the incarceration and torture of gay men in Qatar, accepting of widespread female genital mutilation and unperturbed by the persecution of Christians in several Islamic countries. Their single fixation is on the Jewish state, a country whose laws treat all citizens equally, regardless of gender or religion and guarantee them education, healthcare and civil liberties. A country where freedom of expression is sacred. It is time to stop kidding ourselves and to call all those with such selective social conscience the anti-Semites we all know they are. Hitler and the Nazis were vanquished but Jew hatred was not. It has found renewed vigour in an unholy partnership between the jihadists and the proverbial useful idiots, who hide under the progressive mantle.

 

In a sermon in Montreal, at the Al-Andalous Islamic Center, Imam Sayed al-Ghitawi included the following supplications: “Oh Allah, destroy the cursed Jews.”//“Oh Allah, show us the black day you inflict on them.”//

“Oh Allah, make their children orphans and their women widows.” This sermon was delivered in 2014, but it was not until it recently surfaced online, that the Al-Andalous Islamic Center distanced itself from it. I do not propose to paint all Muslims with this imam’s brush. I assume he does not speak for mainstream Islam. My point is that there has been no outcry in the halls of power in Ottawa. The story barely made the news. Parliament is not about to introduce a law criminalizing Jew hatred.

 

Which brings us to our campuses, where Jewish students are harassed and intimidated if they state pro-Israeli views. At McGill, my alma mater, the Daily, on whose editorial board I once served, now refuses to publish any opinion piece that “promote a Zionist worldview.” Three months ago, Igor Sadikov, a member of the Student Society of McGill University’s legislative council, urged one and all to “punch a Zionist today.” He subsequently resigned from the council, but he remains a McGill student in good standing.

 

On the other hand, shortly thereafter, Andrew Potter, the former director of McGill’s Institute for the Study of Canada, was unceremoniously dumped from this position for writing a critical piece about Quebec society. The same administration that took instant and drastic action against a director for voicing peaceful social criticism is content to allow someone who incites violence against Jews to roam on its campus. These back-to-back events crystallize the new double standard in academia: zero tolerance for any offence, however slight, whether perceived or real, against any community or any people — except for the Jews.

 

Many on the left have come to believe that in order to burnish their progressive credentials, they must distance themselves from Israel. The real travesty is that they link arms with those who enslave women, those who torture and jail dissenters, those who censor freedom of expression, those who persecute members of other religions and those who incite the genocide of the Jewish state. The most important lesson of the Holocaust is that it must never again happen. That if your enemies threaten to kill you, you should take them seriously. Simon Wiesenthal understood this lesson and acted upon it.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, May 22, 2017—April 1. The British Home office stripped Sufiyan Mustafa, 22, of his UK passport after he traveled to Syria to fight with jihadists. Mustafa is the youngest son of the cleric Abu Hamza, who was sentenced to life in prison in the United States after being convicted of terrorism charges. Mustafa complained that he is now stateless and stranded in Syria.

French Jews Certainly Wanted Macron Over Le Pen, but Friction May Lie Ahead:  Cnaan Liphshiz, Times Of Israel, May 9, 2017— French Jews may have voted en masse for Emmanuel Macron in the final round of France’s presidential elections, but that doesn’t make him their dream president.

The Drumbeat Against Jewish Ritual in Europe Sounds Once More: Ben Cohen, JNS, May 12, 2017—This past week, Jewish ritual observance came under attack in both Belgium and Norway. While there is nothing suggesting that the respective moves against shechita (kosher slaughter) in Belgium and brit milah (Jewish circumcision) in Norway were coordinated, both speak to an ingrained tendency in Europe that dismisses these core requirements for Jews as no more and no less than cruelty of a particularly Jewish sort.

An Auschwitz Magician’s Greatest Trick: Holding the Horrors at Bay: Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, May 6, 2017—“All right, pick a card,” Werner Reich said, fanning out a worn deck of cards in his Long Island home to demonstrate a trick he’d learned in an unlikely place: on the top of a bare wooden bunk in the concentration camp barracks at Auschwitz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANTISÉMITISME: À DROITE OU À GAUCHE?

  

    

 

 

 

 

 

                     

L'APRÈS-GAZA: UN ANTISÉMITISME NOUVEAU                                                                        

Lise Noël                           

 

21 février 2009 

          

Exclue de la Tchétchénie de Poutine, de l'Ouzbékistan d'Islam Karimov ou de la Chine de Hu Jintao, qui tous oppriment des populations musulmanes, Amnistie internationale mène librement son enquête à Gaza. Avant même que cette dernière ne débute, le jugement de sa principale déléguée pour Israël et les territoires palestiniens paraît arrêté: «[Les Israéliens] qui ont donné les ordres, et même ceux qui ont appuyé sur la gâchette, ne devraient pas planifier de vacances à l'étranger.»

 

De son côté, l'Espagne du socialiste José Zapatero ne voit rien d'indécent à juger des

Israéliens pour leur rôle présumé dans des incidents survenus à Gaza en 2002, cette Espagne dont Léon Poliakov disait qu'elle pratiquait, quatre siècles après avoir expulsé ses Juifs et livré les «convertis» aux bûchers de l'Inquisition, «un antisémitisme sans Juifs». L'Espagne est typique de la gauche occidentale actuelle, adepte de ce que Michel Foucault qualifiait de «polyvalence tactique du discours», soit l'art de cibler indéfiniment la même victime tout en recyclant ses arguments selon les théories du jour.

 

Pour la première fois dans l'histoire, l'antisémitisme est devenu global. Passé de la droite à la gauche en Occident, il rejoint l'antijudaïsme de l'Islam radical. Distinct de l'antisionisme jusqu'à récemment, il va maintenant de pair avec lui.

 

L'antisémitisme nouveau est postmoderne. C'est un syncrétisme, un mélange disparate de causes justes et de prétentions totalitaires. Il défend pêle-mêle l'environnement, les pays sous-développés, l'islamisme et les idéaux égalitaires de la gauche; il professe le pacifisme dans le même souffle qu'il s'accommode de l'attentat suicide comme «arme des faibles»; il condamne la mondialisation sauvage et le capitalisme, mais aussi la «conspiration juive» comme concurrente des aspirations avouées des djihadistes d'établir une «République islamique» à l'échelle de la planète; il pourfend l'Occident et son appendice «impérialiste» Israël, dont l'existence même lui semble une violation intolérable de la «terre d'Islam», terre pourtant elle-même conquise par l'impérialisme arabe, puis musulman, à partir du VIIe siècle.

 

Polyvalent dans son discours syncrétique, l'antisémitisme du XXIe siècle regroupe tactiquement les mouvements les plus hétéroclites: l'islamisme radical (qu'il soit chiite, comme celui du Hezbollah ou d'Ahmadinejad, qui réclament l'anéantissement d'Israël, ou sunnite, à l'instar du Hamas, dont le but est de tuer tous les Juifs de la terre); la droite révisionniste, qui met en doute la réalité de l'Holocauste bien que l'Allemagne elle-même reconnaisse l'avoir perpétré et enseigne ce fait dans ses écoles; le mouvement altermondialiste, auquel appartiennent des Juifs de gauche, qui dénonce la protection excessive que recevrait Israël des États occidentaux, tout en disant ce pays trop petit (tiny) pour pouvoir résister à un boycottage qu'il appelle de tous ses voeux; des pacifistes de la trempe de ces Québécois qui prêchent la retenue aux Israéliens victimes des roquettes palestiniennes depuis huit ans mais qui, exaspérés après seulement quelques jours d'un blocus établi par les «Warriors» mohawks, lançaient des pierres sur les voitures évacuant des grands-mères amérindiennes de Kahnawake.

 

Il y a aussi les Chamberlain de notre époque, tel Jimmy Carter qui, n'ayant rien appris de la prise en otages des membres de l'ambassade américaine par Téhéran pendant sa présidence, affirme aujourd'hui croire en la parole du Hamas qui lui a promis de tenir un référendum à Gaza et en Cisjordanie, ce Hamas même qui massacra ses opposants du Fatah un an après avoir pris le pouvoir démocratiquement.

 

Jacques Brassard citait récemment Lénine, expert en manipulation s'il en est, qui se riait de ces idéalistes gauchisants, de ces «idiots utiles» qui ouvraient la voie aux bolcheviques. Ne savent-ils donc pas tous, ces Jimmy Carter obstinément crédules, ces altermondialistes et ces intellectuels juifs qui font carrière, avec pension à la clé, dans les universités et les médias d'un Occident qui leur laisse la liberté de le vitupérer sans représailles physiques; ne sont-ils donc pas conscients, ces pacifistes à l'abri de tout danger qui font payer par d'autres le prix de leur bonne conscience, ou ces militants gais qui dénoncent Israël à San Francisco aux côtés de partisans du Hamas pour qui Dieu les regarde «avec dédain»; ne se rendent-elles donc pas compte, ces féministes émues (avec raison) à la vue d'enfants palestiniens blessés, mais insensibles au fait que certains ont été recrutés comme soldats ou promis en bas âge à l'attentat suicide; sont-ils donc aveugles, ces défenseurs des droits et des libertés individuels si chèrement acquis depuis quatre siècles en Occident; ignorent-ils donc tous, ces militants et ces penseurs, qu'ils collaborent à leur propre oppression et qu'ils seront les premiers à être égorgés par des obscurantistes barbares dont ils épousent, avec un vague sentiment de culpabilité, la complainte misérabiliste qui leur fait préférer à l'effort de l'excellence un fanatisme menant au culte de la mort?

 

N'ont-ils pas vu le témoignage de ce père qui fêtait, comme s'il s'agissait d'une noce, la mort de son fils dans un attentat suicide, ou celui de cette mère qui, après avoir embrassé son adolescent en route vers l'explosion qui le déchiquettera, se disait prête à sacrifier ses autres garçons si besoin était?

 

Ne saisissant pas que, pour les Juifs, vivre, surtout depuis l'Holocauste, constitue une forme de résistance, les islamistes y voient un signe de faiblesse. Choisissant la voie facile de chercher la cause des maux de leur société dans des «complots» de tous ordres, ils taxent les Juifs de parasitisme et, oubliant que ce 0,0024 % de la population mondiale gagne 18 % des prix Nobel (27 % aux États-Unis pour 2 % de la population du pays), ils les accusent de «ne rien produire».

 

Qu'on comprenne bien: il ne s'agit en aucune façon d'attribuer à l'ensemble des musulmans les convictions médiévales et les comportements violents des islamistes, dont ils sont les premiers à souffrir. Il n'est pas question non plus d'épargner à Israël les critiques qu'il mérite.

 

Mais il faut mettre fin à l'indignation sélective d'un altermondialisme qui trahit sa mission en s'acharnant sur ce pays démocratique, au détriment des innombrables victimes de régimes tyranniques qui soustraient systématiquement leur sort abominable à l'oeil des caméras. Et il s'impose de mettre un terme, non pas à la critique de l'Occident, mais à une haine suicidaire et porteuse de décadence qui, ne pouvant tolérer la vue d'imperfections, certes multiples et immenses, nous incite à nous faire les complices d'une idéologie mortifère dont le discours, apparemment favorable aux «damnés de la terre», peut séduire par son origine plus lointaine.

 

Ne répétons pas l'erreur des générations récentes qui ont succombé aux sirènes de l'URSS stalinienne, du Cuba castriste (répressif, bien que moins meurtrier) ou de la Chine maoïste, avant que n'ait pu se manifester au grand jour l'horreur des dizaines de millions de morts que les beaux appels à l'égalité avaient dissimulée.

 

 

 

L’ANTISÉMITISME DE GAUCHE N’A RIEN DE NOUVEAU

Daniel Hannan

Contrepoints, 1 aout, 2014

 

 

« Comment, en tant que socialiste, pouvez-vous ne pas être antisémite ? », demandait Adolf Hitler à ses partisans en 1920. Et personne ne considérait la question comme bizarre. L’antisémitisme était en ce temps compris comme partie prenante de l’ensemble du mouvement révolutionnaire contre les marchés, la propriété et le capital.

 

L’homme qui a forgé le terme de « socialisme », le révolutionnaire français du XIXème siècle Pierre Leroux, avait déclaré à ses camarades : « Quand nous parlons des Juifs, nous voulons dire l’esprit juif : l’esprit du profit, du lucre, du gain, de la spéculation ; en un mot, l’esprit du banquier ».

 

L’homme qui a popularisé le terme d’« antisémitisme » suivait une ligne similaire. Wilhelm Marr, un gauchiste radical allemand du XIXème siècle, n’a peut-être pas été le premier à utiliser ce mot, mais c’est lui qui l’a fait connaître d’une large audience, en l’approuvant : « L’antisémitisme est un mouvement socialiste, plus noble et plus pur encore dans sa forme que la sociale-démocratie » déclarait-il.

 

C’est prendre la mesure de la domination culturelle de la gauche aujourd’hui que de constater l’ampleur de la dissonance cognitive provoquée par le seul fait de citer ces mots. Pour le centenaire de l’Affaire Dreyfus en 1998, le premier ministre d’alors, Lionel Jospin, a affirmé négligemment une extraordinaire distorsion de la réalité, à savoir que « la Gauche était pour Dreyfus, et la Droite était contre lui ». Si quelques courageux radicaux ont en effet fait campagne pour l’officier juif lésé, de nombreux journaux et politiciens socialistes étaient fièrement antidreyfusards, sous prétexte que les « Juifs riches » manipulaient le système judiciaire contre les travailleurs ordinaires.

 

Comme l’écrivait le député socialiste, puis communiste, Pierre Myrens en 1911, « le Youtre est un Israélite par sa religion, un Juif par sa race, et, qui plus est, un capitaliste ! ». Cette ligne de pensée gauchiste française a été reprise avec enthousiasme dans la Syrie baassiste et, plus encore, en Algérie, avec des conséquences que nous voyons encore autour de nous.

Que nous ayons largement effacé ces faits de notre mémoire collective est très révélateur des préjugés politiques modernes. Dans la formulation puérile qui semble dicter nos définitions, « de gauche » signifie bon et « de droite » signifie mauvais, donc, puisque l’antisémitisme est mauvais, il doit être de droite. Ce raisonnement n’est pas tenu que par des septuagénaires moralement arrogants ; curieusement, il a conquis une grande part de nos discours publics.

 

Il est vrai, bien sûr, qu’il y a toujours eu des Juifs socialistes. Mais, et cela peut être difficile à comprendre aujourd’hui, sans doute plus encore pour des non-Juifs, certains d’entre eux étaient bel et bien antisémites. Je ne veux pas dire par là qu’ils voulaient nuire aux autres personnes d’origine juive. En fait, ils voyaient la religion de leurs parents comme retardée et superstitieuse, un fardeau qui aurait confiné les Juifs dans leurs shtetl tandis que l’Europe embrassait les Lumières. L’émancipation religieuse, espéraient-ils, mènerait à une assimilation complète et à la disparition du concept même de judéité. Ce qui frappe toutefois, c’est la rapidité avec laquelle ce sentiment pouvait basculer vers des slogans anti-Juifs.

 

Karl Marx lui-même en était assez typique, dont les écrits sur « La question juive » ont, eux aussi, été remisés loin du souvenir populaire. Petit-fils de deux rabbins, toutes les religions lui déplaisaient, mais il réservait au judaïsme une véhémence qu’on ne trouve jamais dans ses écrits sur le christianisme (à propos duquel il pouvait être assez sentimental, bien qu’il déplore sa corruption par « l’esprit juif »). En 1844, ce parasite odieux écrivait :

 

    L’essence du judaïsme et la racine de l’âme juive sont l’opportunité et l’intérêt personnel ; le Dieu d’Israël est Mammon, qui se manifeste dans la soif de l’argent. Le judaïsme est l’incarnation des attitudes anti-sociales.

 

Quelques apologistes ont tenté de faire valoir que leur patriarche ne désignait par là que quelques riches financiers juifs et non les Juifs en général, mais leurs excuses ne tiennent pas. Écoutez donc ce que Marx et Engels ont écrit des Juifs de Pologne, alors les plus pauvres et les plus opprimés de toute l’Europe : « Le Juif-usurier polonais triche, fausse ses poids, rogne ses pièces, se livre de façon routinière à l’escroquerie ».

 

Je pourrais continuer, mais je trouve tout cela de très mauvais goût, et je l’espère vous aussi. Il suffit de dire que, peut-être pour la première fois de sa brillante carrière d’écrivain à contre-courant, Brendan O’Neill sous-estime l’affaire quand il se demande : « La gauche est-elle antisémite ? Hélas elle se dirige dans cette direction. ».

 

rené antisémitisme de gaucheJe n’ai jamais cru que critiquer la politique israélienne, ou même d’ailleurs avancer que l’ensemble de ce territoire devrait être palestinien, vous rend anti-juif. On peut être antisioniste sans être le moins du monde antisémite. Et, même si presque personne ne l’indique, l’inverse est aussi vrai. Hannah Arendt a noté comment, à son procès, Adolf Eichmann, qui avait lu quelques tracts sionistes et appris des rudiments d’hébreu et de yiddish, a avancé non sans une certaine sincérité que, en cherchant à éliminer les Juifs d’Europe, il espérait réaliser la vision d’un État juif en Palestine. De même, quand le père du sionisme, Théodore Herzl (avec sa barbe à l’Assyrienne) protesta auprès de fonctionnaires du Tsar contre les pogroms, il lui fut répondu qu’ils étaient destinés à donner à « votre peuple » un coup de pouce dans la bonne direction.

 

Beaucoup de gens sont préoccupés, ce qui est compréhensible, par les pertes civiles à Gaza, ou sont plus généralement pacifistes, ou soutiennent par défaut l’outsider, sans être du tout antisémites. Les partisans d’Israël font le raccourci parfois un peu rapidement ; mais là encore, ils ont de bonnes raisons. La détestation que Marx avait du judaïsme n’est pas restée confinée à ses livres ampoulés. Elle a trouvé une expression dans les campagnes antisémites des régimes du Comecon : les purges des Juifs par les communistes polonais, les simulacres de procès menés en Tchécoslovaquie et en Hongrie contre des « espions israéliens », le « complot des blouses blanches » de Staline qui accusait des médecins juifs de conspirer pour assassiner les dirigeants communistes, et qui a été conçu comme prélude à la déportation de masse des Juifs soviétiques en Sibérie (heureusement, le vieux monstre est mort avant de mettre son plan à exécution, et Khrouchtchev a abandonné cette idée). Dans tous ces cas, « Sioniste » a été utilisé comme un mot cache-sexe pour « Juif ». Il n’est guère surprenant que, en entendant les héritiers idéologiques du Parti Communiste dénoncer le sionisme, de nombreux Juifs y voient des sous-entendus.

 

Ces jours-ci, toutefois, ce ne sont pas que des sous-entendus. Écoutez les manifestants du mouvement Occupy dans ce clip. Lisez cet article glaçant d’un journal chaviste au Venezuela. Pire encore, considérez les slogans chantés par les foules à travers l’Europe en attaquant des boutiques juives. Méditez ces déclarations honteuses que Yad Vashem, l’organisation qui s’occupe de la mémoire de la Shoah, s’est senti obligé de déplorer. Il ne s’agit plus d’Israël, là, si jamais ça l’a été un jour. Il s’agit de quelque chose de bien plus ancien et ignoble.

 

Nos opinions politiques reflètent souvent nos traits de caractères. Si vous êtes une personne généreuse et optimiste, si vous prenez plaisir à voir autrui réussir, alors vous avez de bonnes chances d’être réjoui par l’histoire du peuple juif, leurs succès envers et contre tout, leur contribution intellectuelle démesurée à l’humanité. Loin de décrier les réussites commerciales et financières, vous les reconnaissez comme une source de bonheur pour chacun.

 

Si, au contraire, vous êtes déterminé à voir tout échange comme une forme d’exploitation, tout succès comme l’échec de quelqu’un d’autre, tout commerce comme une arnaque, alors les mêmes impulsions qui vous font détester Israël pourraient bien vous rendre antisémite. C’est une maladie tragique, une forme de jalousie existentielle, et elle remonte, à en croire le Livre d’Esther, à au moins 2500 ans :

 

    Aman leur exposa la splendeur de sa fortune et la multitude de ses enfants, et comment le roi l’avait distingué et élevé au-dessus des grands et des officiers royaux ; et Aman ajouta : « Bien plus, je suis le seul que la reine Esther ait invité avec le roi au festin qu’elle a préparé ; et demain encore je suis convié par elle avec le roi. Mais tout cela est sans prix à mes yeux, tant que je vois ce juif Mardochée assis à la porte du roi.

 

 

 

L’EXTRÊME DROITE EN A RÊVÉ, L’EXTRÊME GAUCHE L’A FAIT

Gérard Bensussan

Liberation, 22 juillet 2014

 

 

 

Après les violentes manifestations de la dernière semaine, où des synagogues ont été attaquées sans vergogne, je voudrais revenir sur ce qui me paraît relever d’une forclusion généralisée et retracer, très sommairement, la généalogie d’un phénomène singulier, inquiétant, attristant – auquel divers éléments (les déclarations d’un élu écolo du 93 ou encore les récents propos de Gianni Vattimo) ajoutent encore un affligeant relief. Il est clair désormais que les extrêmes droites dieudonnéisées ou soralisées sont parvenues à intégrer, à leurs discours et pratiques, des pans idéologiques entiers de provenance d’extrême gauche.

 

Un premier point : il est de peu d’intérêt de s’indigner contre le déferlement antisémite et de le faire dans l’habituelle rhétorique sans pensée, c’est-à-dire bien-pensante, de l’«antifascisme» militant, si l’on n’est pas capable de méditer encore et à nouveau l’effet de choc produit, il y a quelques années, par les développements badiousiens sur les «portées du mot «juif». Ce texte constitue un tournant – dont on peut mesurer l’effet de brèche. Lorsqu’on écrit, en dépit de tout bon sens, que «le nom de juif» est «une création politique nazie» sans référent préexistant, qu’il constitue une invention hitlérienne au service de l’extermination, quand on affirme que «juif» est désormais le signifiant-maître des nouveaux aryens, que les Israéliens sont tout sauf juifs (à la limite le seraient seuls Spinoza, Marx, Freud et quelques autres Ehrenjuden !), quand on claironne qu’Israël est un pays antisémite, quand on pose avec une telle assurance «ontologique» tant de sottises, on donne à la logique diabolique du retournement, soit de la perversion, le statut d’une figure de pensée : non seulement les «juifs» ne sont pas juifs, mais ils sont, eux, les véritables nazis. Et, par voie de «conséquence», ceux qui les combattent, ici, là-bas, sont d’authentiques antinazis, courageux et exposés à la vindicte haineuse et meurtrière des juifs-nazis ou des nazis-juifs.

 

Cet ectoplasme de pensée est devenu, en quelques années, un topos de l’idéologie et de l’action d’extrême gauche, décliné sous tous les registres et tous les tons. On ne le doit pas, me semble-t-il, à la seule force de conviction de Badiou (ses hypothèses, sur ce point précis, sont vraiment indigentes), mais à une conjoncture, à un climat, à un état des forces politiques, à une sinistre mutation. L’analyse politique, «l’analyse concrète d’une situation concrète», comme nous disions jadis et naguère, doit s’entendre et se pratiquer comme une pensée des circonstances de l’agir. Autrement, la politique n’est plus une politique, mais un principe d’indétermination abstrait qui distribue une même substance (le capital, par exemple) sous des accidents divers mais substantiellement identiques, la démocratie et le fascisme, les CRS et les SS, Gaza et le ghetto de Varsovie. Sous ce préalable et cette mémoire, que s’est-il passé, il y a quelques mois, politiquement, culturellement, idéologiquement autour de «l’affaire» Dieudonné ? Que recèle et que montre ce «moment» insigne ?

 

Il a signifié, aux naïfs, dont je suis, une surprise, une prise inattendue dans le retour d’un contenu refoulé, comme si du coup l’affaire Dieudonné venait inscrire une césure, un retournement (une quenelle ?), une «libération» du discours raciste – expression dont on voit bien qu’elle indique un dé-foulement de ce qui aura été originairement réprimé, la liquidation violente d’instances de censure désuète, comme balayées par une vague immense.

 

Pour la première fois depuis très longtemps, le pavé parisien a retenti en janvier, puis de nouveau ces jours-ci, de cris de haine et de mort, «mort aux juifs», «juifs hors de France». Rien de neuf d’une certaine façon, simplement, au contraire, un retour à la normale, la restauration publique et politiquement assumée d’une très ancienne détestation après une brève interruption d’une cinquantaine d’années – d’où l’effet de souffle d’une parole «libérée». Mais le progressisme «spontané» qui gouverne de façon pavlovienne notre saisie des événements politiques avait persuadé que le temps de ce vieil antisémitisme européen était aussi révolu que la lampe à huile ou l’aéroplane de grand-papa. Or, il ne suffit pas d’avoir établi l’inanité philosophique de ce progressisme pour en avoir fini avec les illusions et aveuglements qu’il provoque et charrie.

 

Il convient, peut-être, de se remémorer le mot de Lénine à propos de l’antisémitisme. Ce dernier, disait-il, est «éternellement nouveau». C’est dire que sa pérennité même ne se peut qu’à la condition de son renouvellement et que ses avatars signalent moins d’authentiques différences que des modulations temporalisées d’une même continuité «éternelle». Le «moment» Dieudonné, sa «nouveauté», la pensée qui l’autorise, ses retombées en cascade obligent à regarder en face la nécessité, douloureuse, d’avoir à penser les extrêmes droites dans leur intime connexion avec les extrêmes gauches.

 

Je me souviens d’une génération, celle des grands aînés, Sartre («pas un Français ne sera en sécurité tant qu’un juif, en France et dans le monde entier, pourra craindre pour sa vie») ou Blanchot («la renaissance de l’Etat d’Israël, ainsi que la conscience plus vive que nous avons de ce qu’est une condition d’oppression peuvent nous faire avancer») – génération pour laquelle le soutien au mouvement d’émancipation nationale du peuple palestinien pouvait aller avec un attachement inconditionnel à l’existence de l’Etat d’Israël. Ceci semblera aux plus jeunes incongru ou intenable. C’est qu’entre-temps, et l’intervention badiousienne joue un rôle crucial à cet égard, sous le couvert d’un antisionisme parfois furieux, l’extrême gauche, ou plutôt une certaine extrême gauche, pas toute, mais presque, aura contribué à redonner à l’antisémitisme le plus plat une légitimité dont la vieille extrême droite rêvait et que le gauchisme aura donc fait ou refait. Car il est vrai aussi qu’il renoue ainsi avec les courants antisémites les plus forcenés, de Proudhon à Dühring en passant par beaucoup d’autres, qui ont toujours été implantés dans les mouvements socialistes européens. C’est là que se profile, selon moi, une menace croissante, à en juger par la nature de certains propos venus de l’«islamo-gauchisme», pour utiliser une expression sans doute trop indéterminée. Le péril, c’est que la jonction finisse par se produire entre une extrême gauche «antisioniste» et l’antisémitisme d’extrême droite (ce que plusieurs manifestations récentes ont partiellement réussi dans la rue et ce dont elles sont le prodrome voire le premier symptôme effectif). Si cette condensation devait parvenir, comme force politique, à rassembler la jeunesse déshéritée, ou une partie d’entre elle, alors les conséquences en seraient vraiment redoutables.

 

 

 

L’ANTISÉMITISME DE GAUCHE, CETTE MATRICE

PARMI D'AUTRES DE L’ANTISÉMITISME ISLAMISTE

Marc Crapez

Atlantico, 8 mai, 2017

 

 

L’antisémitisme de gauche a été l’une des matrices de l’antisémitisme islamiste. Insultes, intimidations, violences et terrorisme, engendrent un sentiment de vulnérabilité, indéniable et inadmissible. Comme l’explique le journaliste Gideon Kouts : « En Israël aussi, il y a beaucoup d’insécurité mais elle n’est pas du même ordre. Là-bas, les juifs se sentent appartenir à une société qui subit le même sort. En France, les forces armées patrouillent devant les écoles juives –  pas devant les autres18 ».

En France, nombre d’écrivains classés à gauche sont peu ou prou antisémites, tels Jules Vallès, Georges Darien, Hugo, Zola, Maupassant, Renard, Gide, Duhamel, Genet. Ailleurs, l’étude de Victor Teboul, Mythe et images du Juif au Québec, publiée en 1975, montre dans maints romans québécois des stéréotypes antisémites.

 

Les choses sont complexes. Les paradoxes abondent. Il n’y a pas toujours de logique d’ensemble, ni de solidarité entre les victimes de discrimination ou, du moins, de groupes plus ou moins lésés à certains moments historiques. Une thèse s’intitule « Retorica de la Misoginia Y El Antisemitismo En la Ficcion Medieval ». Mais cette association ne va pas toujours de soi. Historiquement, on pourrait s’attendre à ce que les fortes personnalités féminines, généralement féministes, se soient opposées au racisme… mais on trouve, en réalité, de très nombreux exemples en sens inverse ! Mentionnons, par ailleurs, Gide et Genet, qu’on pourrait qualifier d’écrivains homosexuels à tendances antisémites.

 

Outre les changements en cours de route (ainsi Georges Darien, qui a cessé d’être antisémite), on pourrait énumérer des cas de figure qui ne sont pas seulement des exceptions confirmant la règle : des racistes non antisémites (Gobineau) ; des antisémites non racistes (Zola) ; des xénophobes antiracistes (Barrère) ; des racistes théoriques mais pas effectifs (Jules Verne véhicule tous les poncifs antisémites et certains négrophobes, mais prend position contre l’esclavage à l’occasion de la guerre de Sécession et quoiqu’antidreyfusard plaide pour la révision). Sans oublier les racistes effectifs non-théoriciens, voire censément anti-antisémites. Bernard Lewis formule un paradoxe qui, dit-il, peut surprendre, sinon choquer. À savoir qu’il est parfaitement possible de haïr et de persécuter les Juifs sans nécessairement être antisémite.

 

 

 

Actualité 

 

 

 

GAD ELMALEH AU CHABAD DE MONTREAL :

RETROUVAILLES ET RETOUR AUX SOURCES

Charles Lugassy

Times of Israel, 18 mai, 2017

 

 

 

C’est un Gad volubile, enthousiaste et manifestement heureux de retrouver les siens, qui s’est produit lundi 15 mai 2017 au Centre Chabad de Cote St Luc à Montréal, Canada.

 

Devant un parterre trié sur le volet, soirée bénéfice oblige, Gad a révélé combien sa tendre enfance au Maroc avec le Rabbin Raskin père, avait été un moment charnière dans sa jeunesse.

 

Déjà à l’époque, il imitait le Rabbin Raskin à l’accent Yidish prononcé qui s’évertuait à réclamer des enfants, qu’ils accomplissent des mitsvot. Qui ne se souvient du fameux chant (WE WANT MASHIAH NOW) entonné, à l’époque, dans plusieurs langues notamment le judeo-arabe.

 

Gad a même gratifié l’audience, de sa version en arabe du We want Mashiah Now, en fin de spectacle. Un spectacle au demeurant donné dans un cadre convivial voire familial et où le stand-up comic s’est livré à une discussion à bâtons rompus avec l’audience, comme on le ferait au tour d’un verre de thé à la menthe.

 

C’est un Gad conscient de ses origines juives marocaines, qui s’est produit devant un auditoire fortement composé de séfarades marocains et de quelques ashkénazes venus supporter l’œuvre du Rabbin Raskin de Cote St Luc.

 

Il a longuement fait état de son installation à New-York et a ainsi produit un spectacle bilingue passant, allègrement de l’anglais au français. Un anglais bien articulé, sans accent et qu’il maitrise parfaitement bien qu’il s’en défende.

 

Il a aussi rappelé son passage à Montréal durant son adolescence où il a fréquenté l’école séfarade Maimonide, le Cegep St Laurent et même l’Université de Montréal.

 

Gad qui s’exprime en arabe marocain, en hébreu, en français et en anglais, a rappelé qu’il avait effectué son premier voyage à New-York à l’occasion d’une visite du Rabbi Loubavitch Menachem Schneerson, depuis Montréal ,voyage au cours duquel le Rabbi lui avait remis un dollar.

 

Le Rabbin Raskin de Montréal lui a remis notamment un encadrement de cette visite au Rabbi à New-York ainsi qu’une paire de Tefilines pour l’encourager à les porter. Il a déclaré qu’il le ferait BLI NEDER…

 

Gad Elmaleh a innové en matière de show STAND UP COMIC… En ce qu’il a marqué une pause durant son spectacle pour inviter l’audience à lui poser des questions : c’est généralement inusité en ce sens que les stand up comic préfèrent ne pas se faire interrompre durant leur show afin de ne pas perdre le fil des idées. Mais lui, n’a pas hésité à échanger avec l’assistance, tant il se sentait en terrain de connaissance, voire presque en famille !

 

Ce qui ressort de ce spectacle d’une heure au Centre Chabad de Montréal, spectacle offert par Gad, c’est qu’il a effectué une espèce de retour aux sources et des retrouvailles avec un milieu qui lui est familier. C’est un Gad attaché à ses origines juives séfarades marocaines, versé dans la connaissance de la Torah et qui nous a dévoilé un aspect de sa personnalité peut être un peu méconnue.

 

Un peu la rançon de la gloire : son ascension dans les hautes sphères du monde artistique donnait l’impression qu’il avait pris ses distances par rapport à ses origines séfarades marocaines : il n’en est rien comme il l’a habilement démontré durant son dernier spectacle au Centre Chabad.

 

Certes, Gad par sa notoriété a-t-il évolué dans des milieux non-juifs, mais il reste qu’on a senti un grand sentiment d’appartenance à la fois au judaïsme mais aussi au Maroc, son pays natal.

 

Gad Elmaleh est à l’heure actuelle, l’un des plus grands humoristes français et il a décidé de développer davantage sa notoriété en prenant d’assaut le géant américain : SKY IS THE LIMIT.

 

Durant tout le spectacle, il n’a cessé de clamer son admiration pour les mouvements Chabad et particulièrement celui du Maroc qu’il a fréquenté durant sa jeunesse.

Aussi, l’auditoire a-t-il eu droit au fameux clivage ashkenaze-séfarade… pour les dons aux synagogues…

 

Bref un retour aux sources empreint de cordialité, chaleur et un passage obligé avant de retrouver son univers artistique qui le mènera en tournée en Europe, aux Etats-Unis et au Canada prochainement.

 

Pour finir en apothéose sa tournée québécoise, Gad Elmaleh a été décoré par le Premier Ministre du Québec Philippe Couillard de l’insigne de Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec. Il avait été nommé Chevalier en 2014 mais, n’avait pu recevoir son insigne.

 

De passage au Québec pour le spectacle Bonne fête Montréal, qui célèbre les 375 ans de la métropole, l’humoriste et comédien a été officiellement accueilli au sein de l’Ordre.

 

Parmi les récipiendaires de ce titre, notons, Patrick Bruel, Isabelle Boulay et Kent Nagano. Il faut enfin souligner, que ce genre de titre est décerné à « des personnalités éminentes qui ont contribué à l’édification d’une société québécoise créative, innovante et solidaire ».

 

 

 

QUÉBEC SIGNE UN ACCORD COMMERCIAL DE 6 MILLIONS AVEC ISRAËL

Martin Croteau

La Press, mai, 2017

 

 

Le gouvernement Couillard approfondira ses relations bilatérales avec Israël, aujourd’hui, en signant une entente de coopération dotée d’une enveloppe de 6 millions. L’accord sera signé ce matin lors d’une rencontre du premier ministre Philippe Couillard avec le ministre israélien de l’Économie et de l’Industrie, Eli Cohen.

 

Il s’agit de la troisième entente bilatérale entre le Québec et l’État hébreu. La première a été conclue en 1997 par le gouvernement de Lucien Bouchard afin de resserrer les liens en matière de science, de technologies, de culture et d’éducation. La seconde, signée en 2007, visait à faciliter les collaborations dans différents secteurs économiques.

 

La troisième entente cible spécifiquement les relations en matière de recherche et d’innovation technologique. C’est la première qui prévoit des investissements gouvernementaux. Québec et l’Autorité d’innovation d’Israël débloqueront 3 millions chacun pour financer des projets de recherche. On calcule que le programme générera des investissements de 12 millions.

 

Le premier ministre a officiellement lancé sa mission économique en Israël, hier soir. Il avait prévenu la veille que le voyage avait davantage pour but de découvrir le modèle économique israélien que de signer des contrats. Mais les participants rencontrés hier se sont dits convaincus que le voyage entraînerait des retombées.

 

« Est-ce qu’on va voir ces avantages dans une semaine ? Non. Mais je suis convaincu que dans trois, cinq ou dix ans, on va voir que le mariage entre les entreprises israéliennes et québécoises va produire des fruits. Sinon, je ne serais pas ici. »

— L’homme d’affaires Mitch Garber

 

Celui qui est bien connu pour sa participation à l’émission Dans l’œil du dragon brasse des affaires en Israël, et s’est beaucoup impliqué dans la préparation de la mission au cours des derniers mois. Il a mis plusieurs entreprises en contact avec des entrepreneurs locaux.

 

Hubert Bolduc, de Montréal International, visite le pays pour la quatrième fois en huit mois. Il a bon espoir de voir des ententes se conclure, car la présence de politiciens peut s’avérer un précieux coup de pouce.

 

« Ça nous permet d’ouvrir des portes qu’on ne serait peut-être pas capables d’ouvrir si on n’était pas accompagnés par des hommes et des femmes politiques, a-t-il dit. Et ça permet possiblement, dans certains cas, de conclure des ententes qu’on a déjà entamées dans des missions précédentes. »

 

Philippe Couillard fera aujourd’hui un crochet en territoire palestinien, le seul de sa mission en Israël. Il rencontrera à Ramallah le premier ministre de l’Autorité palestinienne, Rami Hamdallah, et le ministre des Finances, Shukri Bishara. Lors de cette visite, l’Université Concordia signera un accord avec l’Université de Bethléem sur la mobilité étudiante.

 

 

LA LUNE DE MIEL ISRAÉLIENNE DE DONALD TRUMP

Pascale Zonszain     

ACTUJ, 24 mai 2017

 

Israël ne pouvait pas rivaliser avec la débauche d'ors et de fastes que l'Arabie Saoudite avait déployée pour impressionner son hôte américain. Même la plus luxueuse suite de l'hôtel King David ne pouvait éblouir le président milliardaire, qui a peut-être vu le chantier de la maison du président, dissimulée à la va-vite derrière des palissades, ou les fissures des dernières pluies de l'hiver dans les murs de la cour de la résidence du Premier ministre. Mais comme l'a reconnu une journaliste américaine qui suivait la visite présidentielle, la première vision qui saisit en arrivant de Riyad, ce sont les soldates israéliennes en jupe portant un fusil sur le tarmac de l'aéroport Ben Gourion, « une chose qu'on ne verra jamais en Arabie Saoudite ».

 

   Ce qui est certain, c'est que les habitants de Jérusalem, eux, ont été bluffés par le spectacle que leur a offert le président américain. Rues bouclées, barricades le long des trottoirs, magasins et cafés fermés partout où passait, toutes sirènes hurlantes, la gigantesque caravane de dizaines de véhicules de sécurité, israéliens et américains, qui composait le cortège présidentiel, comme une parade de cirque. Un petit goût de « show » à l'américaine, pour tous ceux qui n'étaient pas conviés aux cérémonies officielles. Ce qui n'empêchait pas les passants de se dévisser la tête pour tenter d'apercevoir Melania, mais surtout Ivanka et son petit chapeau, à travers les vitres blindées des deux monstrueuses limousines américaines.

 

La visite de Donald Trump en Israël était attendue comme un nouveau chapitre. Le nouveau chef de la Maison Blanche allait-il surprendre, rassurer ou revenir dans le chemin balisé de décennies de politique américaine au Proche-Orient ? Sur le style, pas de doute, le président des Etats-Unis est en rupture avec ses prédécesseurs. Il ne dédaigne pas le franc-parler qu'il préfère au langage diplomatique. La paix entre Israël et les Palestiniens n'est plus un enjeu stratégique mais un « deal », peut-être « le plus compliqué du monde ». En homme d'affaires avisé, il ne veut pas imposer un programme de négociations mais plutôt convaincre les parties de ce qu'elles ont à gagner en concluant un accord.

 

Donald Trump que l'on ne connaissait pas aussi sensible à la spiritualité, a invoqué le Très-Haut dans toutes ses interventions, comme il l'avait fait en Arabie Saoudite. Sa visite au Kotel a favorablement impressionné les Israéliens. Il a été le premier président américain en exercice à se rendre sur le site le plus important du judaïsme. Même si sa visite avait un caractère privé, l'image forte du président Trump touchant les pierres du Kotel a fait le tour du monde.

 

Mais surtout, le chef de la Maison Blanche n'a pas hésité à changer la donne. « Il faut sortir des faux choix, entre le soutien à Israël ou aux Etats arabes. Non. Nous devons former une coalition », a affirmé Donald Trump dans son dernier discours au Musée d'Israël. La visite du président américain en Arabie Saoudite puis en Israël s'articule sur une nouvelle doctrine : celle d'une dynamique des intérêts communs, opposée à une stagnation sur les anciens clivages. Pour le président Trump, comme il l'a dit à Riyad, il faut trouver le dénominateur commun, celui du « combat du bien contre le mal ». Le camp du bien réunissant idéalement tous ceux qui rejettent l'extrémisme, le terrorisme islamiste et les ambitions hégémoniques de l'Iran. Il est convaincu que l'alliance des Arabes sunnites modérés avec Israël, parce qu'ils sont confrontés aux mêmes menaces, peut débloquer la situation et à terme conduire à une paix régionale. Les dirigeants iraniens « qui appellent à la destruction d'Israël » sont désignés comme les ennemis et le président américain en fait le serment, ils n'obtiendront pas l'arme nucléaire, « pas avec Donald J. Trump ! ». Apparemment, il considère aussi que les accords de vente d'armement pour près de 400 milliards de dollars conclus avec l'Arabie Saoudite, ne seront pas incompatibles avec l'engagement américain pour la sécurité d'Israël.

 

Devant le public israélien, le chef de la Maison Blanche n'a pas hésité à se mettre en avant pour faire oublier le souvenir mitigé laissé par Barack Obama. « Le partenariat sécuritaire entre les Etats-Unis et Israël sera plus fort que jamais. Et vous allez voir la différence avec mon administration. Une belle et grande différence ! », affirme le président Trump, qui souligne que la coalition régionale qu'il appelle de ses vœux, passera par « la reconnaissance du rôle vital de l'Etat d'Israël ». Ce que l'on retiendra enfin de cette visite étonnante, c'est que ni à Jérusalem avec les leaders israéliens, ni à Bethleem avec Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump n'a évoqué la solution à deux Etats. Mais cela signifie aussi qu'après les accolades et les embrassades, le président américain attend que tout le monde se mette sérieusement au travail.

 

 

Shabbat Shalom!
 

 

 

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U.S. M.E. POLICY “RECALIBRATED” AFTER OBAMA’S IRANIAN APPEASEMENT

After Trump Visit, the Onus Rests on Us: Isi Leibler, Algemeiner, May 24, 2017 — Overall, US President Donald Trump has delivered.

Trump’s Middle East Trip Was a Big, Surprising Success—and the Iranian Regime is Nervous: Lee Smith, Tablet, May 23, 2017 — “I want to tell you,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to President Donald Trump during a joint press conference Monday, “how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East.”

A Trump Doctrine for the Middle East?: Michael Doran, New York Times, May 19, 2017 — During his campaign, Donald Trump’s Middle East policy seemed to begin and end with his vow to “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State…

As the Middle East Petrostates Rush into Modernity, Their Indentured Servants Pay the Price: Robert Fulford, National Post, Apr. 13, 2017— The people who control the oil-rich states in the Arabian Gulf have learned that money isn’t everything.

 

On Topic Links

 

In Sign of Changing Region, Gulf States Float Major Upgrade in Ties with Israel: Tower, May 16, 2017

The Real Middle East Crisis:  James L. Gelvin, History News Newtowrk, May 21, 2017

Farewell to OPEC: Daniel John Sobieski, American Thinker, May 24, 2017

Why We Are Surprised by Surprises: Joshua Teicher, BESA, May 16, 2017

 

 

 

AFTER TRUMP VISIT, THE ONUS RESTS ON US

Isi Leibler

Algemeiner, May 24, 2017

 

Overall, US President Donald Trump has delivered. He will not have satisfied the delusional aspirations of Israel’s radical right but, despite some missteps before he arrived, highlighted by hostile and misleading press reports, the Trump visit was favorable for Israel and outlined parameters of what can be achieved with the Palestinians.

 

It was disappointing that he postponed transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem but there is still hope that this will happen during his presidency. We appreciate that he is the first sitting American president to visit Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall. We would have preferred him to be more explicit about the extent of terrorism in Israel in his address to the Muslim world. But he more than compensated in his extraordinarily warm address at the Israel Museum. There is also some concern that the substantial commercial and defense relationship with the Saudis ($380 billion in deals, including $110 billion in arms purchases) might impact Israel and will require steps to ensure that we maintain our qualitative military edge.

 

Trump did not try to force unreasonable or irresponsible concessions. A Palestinian state is not even on the horizon. Neither is there any indication of a return to former President Barack Obama’s policy of freezing all settlement construction. Indeed, the president expressed friendship and support for Israel in a far more open and positive manner than any of his predecessors. In his address to the leaders of 55 Muslim-majority countries, he reversed Obama’s moral-equivalence approach and described the conflict as being between the forces of decency on the one hand, and an evil death cult on the other. He urged the Arab and Muslim states to actively eradicate terrorism and extremism from within their ranks and places of worship. He specifically condemned Hamas and Hezbollah, together with ISIS and al-Qaeda. Notably, he explicitly called on Arab and Muslim leaders to combat antisemitism. No American president has ever spoken directly to the Arab world in such a blunt and forthright manner.

 

For the first time, the Saudis, backed by the Egyptians and Gulf states, appear to be promoting peace or at least easing the tension between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In his lengthy statement outlining the Saudi position prior to Trump’s address, King Salman only devoted one sentence to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but rather than condemning Israel, expressed the hope that peace will be achieved. This was a clear message as was the fact that Trump flew to Israel on the first ever direct flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv.

 

Whereas in the past the Arab states were a major element fanning Palestinian anti-Israel hostility, it may well be that the tide has changed. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Saudis no longer demand that Israel freeze all settlement construction. Instead, they propose that Israel restrict construction outside the settlement blocs and provide additional humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza. In return, the Saudis would inch closer to partial normalization and recognition by allowing Israeli aircraft to fly over their territory, set up direct telephone connection and even provide tourist visas for Israelis. While this was not officially confirmed, there were no denials, which tends to confirm the veracity of the report and suggests that the Saudis are willing to actively act as brokers by pressing the Palestinians to be more flexible.

 

To what extent this was the outcome of discussions with Trump’s representatives, or simply because the Saudis now recognize the value of Israel’s support against Iran’s efforts to achieve regional hegemony, is irrelevant. There have already been widespread rumors attesting to covert Saudi cooperation with Israel in relation to Iran and similarly with the Egyptians in the struggle against ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula. Whereas Trump demanded that the Palestinians cease the incitement and bring an end to rewarding murderers and their families with lavish pensions and sanctifying them as heroes, he avoided suggesting that Israel cease settlement activity. But he undoubtedly pressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move forward with confidence-building measures such as improving the economic conditions and social development among Palestinians.

 

At this potentially historic turning point, Netanyahu must stand firm against the radicals in his coalition and impose a limited freeze beyond the settlement blocs. The majority of the nation would endorse such a policy and if it brings down the government and forces elections, the nation will support him. We talk endlessly about the need for unity. At this crucial time, decision-making must reflect the views of the majority who are effectively the political centrists. No minority groups should be able to veto our national interest. Yair Lapid and his party, Yesh Atid, also embrace this centrist view. They should either join the government or support it on this issue. Even the non-delusional elements in Labor should support this process.

 

Of course, this is only the beginning. Before we engage in negotiating details, let us see Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas make some concessions. Let him recognize Israel as a Jewish state and abrogate the Palestinian refugee right of return. Then we can discuss borders and a demilitarized state. But in the meantime, we must demonstrate to the world and to Trump that we are reasonable and respond positively toward genuine Arab gestures…

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

 

 

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TRUMP’S MIDDLE EAST TRIP WAS A BIG, SURPRISING SUCCESS—

AND THE IRANIAN REGIME IS NERVOUS

Lee Smith

Tablet, May 23, 2017

 

“I want to tell you,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to President Donald Trump during a joint press conference Monday, “how much we appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East.”

 

So how is Trump’s first foreign trip as president playing out? Suddenly, the scandal-mired President seems like a plausible world leader. He is certainly a more welcome guest in the capitols of America’s traditional allies than his predecessor, President Barack Obama. In addition to enjoying the show, viewers at home—the ones who voted for Trump last fall—likely appreciate the $110 billion arms deal Trump struck with Saudi Arabia. With another $350 billion to come over the next decade, those contracts will certainly help put assembly-line Americans back to work.

 

Trump’s speech before a worldwide audience about terrorism and Islam was a useful initiative that will also put some of the dozens of Muslim leaders who attended the speech on notice. Acknowledging that Jerusalem is in Israel is a break with strict Obama policy. Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall. But having spent nearly a decade living in Cairo and Beirut, and traveling throughout the Middle East, I can easily imagine the spin that the region’s intellectuals are putting on the trip as they sit in their coffee houses and smoke Gitanes:

 

    “Habibi, the Saudis just paid the Americans nearly half a trillion dollars to keep them safe from Iran, right? But Iran was nothing before Obama built them up with $150 billion. It’s only because Obama kept paying Iran—first to stay in negotiations over the nuclear program and then as a reward for signing the deal—that Iran was empowered. Obama and his pallets of cash helped Iran extend its reach from the Persian Gulf to the eastern Mediterranean.

 

    Iran thought that it got the better of the Americans, but the Americans played them for suckers! The CIA had something up their sleeves the whole time! They just wanted the Arabs to pay even more to defend them from Iran. So the Americans created this Iranian bogeyman and then they sent the Arabs a bill to make the Iran problem go away. They drove up the price! It’s a protection racket, don’t you see? And the Americans cleared nearly $300 billion. Oh man, you can be sure Trump and Netanyahu are laughing it up in Jerusalem. Very clever, those Americans!”

 

No, of course it wasn’t really a CIA shakedown orchestrated over two presidencies. And yet Trump’s maiden foreign presidential venture, or at least the first two stops, is indeed all about the new Administration’s determined recalibration of American Middle East policy after eight years of Obama’s adventurism—especially regarding Iran. Trump made his intentions toward Iran pretty clear in his Riyadh speech. “For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” said Trump. “It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”

 

The visuals from Riyadh and Jerusalem were even more important than the speeches. After all, you can reassure your allies on the phone—to scare your shared adversaries, you create a photo album and broadcast it on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s the president of the United States being celebrated in Saudi Arabia with a sword dance. And clearly, this is not the secretary of state’s first ardha. As a famous oil man who is always welcome to visit the global swing producer of oil, Rex Tillerson knows all the steps already. See him dancing with Wilbur Ross? The Americans and Saudis are like family.

 

And look—the president of the United States actually has Jews in his family. Here is a picture of his daughter praying at the Western Wall. Here is a picture of the president also at the Western wall wearing a kippah. And oh, look—Trump has made it his status picture on Twitter. The Iranian regime isn’t very happy. Trump’s photo ops stole the entire foreign policy news cycle from an Iranian regime that wanted a few days of good press after its rigged presidential elections last Friday. The message that Tehran received from the presidential pomp and circumstance in Riyadh is that things are different now.

 

The Obama administration moved quietly behind the scenes to reorient American policy toward Iran, while it pulled the rug out from under traditional American allies. Among other things, the Obama White House leaked Israeli strikes against Hezbollah convoys, it coordinated operations with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, and it stood aside as Bashar al-Assad waged a genocidal campaign in Syria so as not to affect the prospects of the nuclear deal with Iran. The Iranians know how much they owe the Obama administration—whether it was air support for Qassem Soleimani in Tikrit, legitimization of Iranian interests in Yemen, deterring Israel from striking their nuclear facilities, turning a blind eye as they built a highway from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut. Now the Americans are dancing with the Arabs and praying with the Jews, and Iran is on its own again.                                      

Contents   

                       

A TRUMP DOCTRINE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST?

Michael Doran

New York Times, May 19, 2017

 

During his campaign, Donald Trump’s Middle East policy seemed to begin and end with his vow to “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State — a pledge that played well with his base but unsettled establishment foreign policy experts, who worried that the collateral damage would include everything else America has been trying to build in the region.

 

The establishment was giving itself too much credit: Our policies in the Middle East have been blowing themselves up for a good while. As Mr. Trump embarks Friday on his first foreign trip, including stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia, he has a chance to put in place a new long-term vision. In fact, the outlines of one are already in place. Despite the controversies at home, Mr. Trump may come away with a legacy-cementing achievement: a Trump Doctrine for the Middle East.

 

The Middle East is complex, but Mr. Trump’s predecessors stumbled for a singular reason: the rise of Iran. As a senior official in the George W. Bush administration, I saw firsthand how President Bush’s democracy project in Iraq diverted attention from countering Iran and its proxies. Mr. Bush seems to have believed that a robust democracy in Iraq would serve simultaneously as a bulwark against Sunni Islamic extremism and Iranian power. In the end, Iran slipped into Iraq under Mr. Bush’s nose, subverted the project, and recruited proxy militias to promote its interests.

 

Mr. Bush let Iran in by miscalculation. President Barack Obama, by contrast, embraced Iranian ascendancy with open arms — and not just in Iraq, but in Syria as well. Mr. Obama dropped efforts to contain Iran and sought a nuclear accord that would allow the West to normalize relations because he was convinced that recognition of an Iranian sphere of influence would persuade Tehran to function as a partner in stabilizing Iraq and Syria. This was another miscalculation, and it led directly to the Russian-Iranian military alliance in Syria.

 

Mr. Obama, like Mr. Bush before him, put a lot of effort into resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — a worthy but useless undertaking that diverted them further from addressing Iran’s regional ascent and, later, Russia’s. We still don’t know the full details of Mr. Trump’s approach to the Middle East, but his hard-nosed ethos and willingness to question foreign policy dogmas offer an opportunity, in principle, to dispel several fallacies that led to these strategic blunders.

 

First, it is false that American “soft power” is the key to stabilizing the region. Our ideals, such as promoting democracy, will work to our advantage only if we first restore order — a project that rests on American hard power. What’s more, the use of force is not inherently counterproductive. Look at Russia’s campaign in Syria, which shows that in the hands of a good tactician like President Vladimir Putin, military superiority produces results.

 

Next, it is false that our support for our longtime friends is a cause of instability, and that by distancing ourselves from them while reaching out to our enemies we can make the world a safer place. (It’s an even worse fallacy to imagine that we can create a Middle East without enemies.) And it’s just as wrong to assume we can cleverly pull Russia away from Iran in Syria. The tensions between them are insignificant compared with their shared interest in propping up the Bashar al-Assad regime and eroding American influence.

 

Finally, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the center of gravity in the Middle East, nor is it ripe for solution. It is not clear that Mr. Trump recognizes all of these fallacies. If he does, he will be far ahead of the game. But recognizing mistakes is just the first step. Step 2 requires rejecting the temptation, to which Mr. Obama succumbed, of defining the defeat of the Islamic State as the pre-eminent strategic goal. If Mr. Trump destroys the group, but fails at the same time to build a stabilizing regional coalition, his victory will be very short-lived. The next Islamic State will rise from the rubble, and Russia and Iran will exploit the ensuing chaos.

 

The third step is to build that coalition. Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates can help, but only three American allies can project power beyond their borders: Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia. True, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are not always trustworthy, because their interests do not align seamlessly with American interests. Sidelining them, however, will make them only more, not less, troublesome. Their saving grace is that, unlike the Russians and Iranians, they will accept an American-dominated order.

 

By embarking for Saudi Arabia and Israel close on the heels of a meeting in Washington with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Mr. Trump is clearly signaling an appreciation of this elemental fact. He must now build on that fact to develop a Trump Doctrine, based on shoring up traditional allies against Iran. Such a plan, built on painstaking coalition building and maintenance, isn’t glamorous or inspiring. But good statesmanship requires recognizing the limits of what is possible. The choices in the Middle East are between very bad and much worse. Mr. Trump promised us steely-eyed realism. Here’s hoping he delivers on that pledge.                                                         

 

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AS THE MIDDLE EAST PETROSTATES RUSH INTO MODERNITY,

THEIR INDENTURED SERVANTS PAY THE PRICE

Robert Fulford

National Post, Apr. 13, 2017

 

The people who control the oil-rich states in the Arabian Gulf have learned that money isn’t everything. For one thing, it doesn’t impress the world, since the world assumes (wrongly) that it’s easy to dig oil from the ground or the ocean floor. So in recent years the Gulf princes and their advisers have decided they want something more. Prestige, for instance, and culture, and influence. They want others to think well of them. They want to be civilized and they think they know how to do that: buy some civilization from countries that have too much of it but not as much money as they think they need.

 

Qatar, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and other states in the Gulf are frantically busy re-inventing themselves, changing their image. They are becoming up-to-the-minute modern states with universities, museums, skyscrapers, high-quality architecture and European-style tourist hotels. The 2020 World Expo is coming to Dubai and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Even the Louvre Abu Dhabi is there, with the help of the Louvre Paris, “Bringing Cultures Closer Together in the First Period of Globalisation” — a unique and universal museum, according to their website.

 

Everywhere new buildings are rising, with more promised for the future. The Gulf states see themselves as winners among the nations but unfortunately the losers are the people who literally build the buildings — the many thousands of exploited, indentured migrant workers who lack the protection of governments or unions. They come to the Gulf, make a pittance to send home and eventually depart, still poor. Foreign architects, designers and planners who work in the Gulf try to avoid labour issues. The late Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born British architect who was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize, was asked about it in 2014. She replied: “I have nothing to do with the workers. I think that’s an issue for the government to take care of. It’s not my duty as an architect to look at it.”

 

This week New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights released a highly negative report, Making Workers Pay: Recruitment of the Migrant Labor Force in the Gulf Construction Industry. The Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman — are developing with the furious energy of states that have glimpsed their destiny and want to achieve it as soon as possible. The workers, typically from small villages in Bangladesh and India, are often illiterate and not hard to scam.

 

They are most obviously cheated when they pay for their own recruitment, according to the Stern report. Agents are commissioned to find them, screen them for appropriate skills, arrange their visas and travel. The agents demand that the workers pay the bill for everything, roughly one or two thousand dollars. That often requires that the worker take out an expensive loan, which puts him in the category of indentured labour. In a recent interview a 24-year-old Pakistani talked about arriving in 2014 to work on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. He reported that he had paid more than $2,200 to a Lahore-based recruiter, which meant it would take him four years or more to break even. Outside the job, he said, “I have only time to eat and sleep.”

 

In all the Gulf countries, the Stern report says, local employers automatically acquire significant power over their workers. It becomes difficult for a migrant to change jobs, lodge a complaint or even return home without permission from the employer (who may be holding the migrant’s passport). The housing for workers is cramped and uncomfortable, the meals inadequate — and there’s no authority to negotiate for better conditions. There are laws protecting the workers, but they are at best unevenly enforced. In some cases the planning for much of this development has been so grandiloquent that it turns into a kind of comedy. Nobody in the Gulf seems to believe that slow and easy does the job but Abu Dhabi has set new records for hurried, exaggerated plans, royal pomposity and sheepish apology.

 

A few years ago the crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, set forth the future for Saadiyat Island, a $27-billion development. He decreed that it would include luxury hotels and a boutique shopping quarter. But the crucial section was a cultural district with a Guggenheim museum at its core. It would, if everything worked out, stimulate a modern Arab Renaissance. What could go wrong? Everything…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

In Sign of Changing Region, Gulf States Float Major Upgrade in Ties with Israel: Tower, May 16, 2017 —Arab Gulf states have offered to improve ties with Israel if it intensifies efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The potential steps could include allowing Israeli planes to fly over their territory, establishing direct telecommunication access to Israel, easing some limits on trade, and issuing visas to Israeli sports teams and trade delegations.

The Real Middle East Crisis:  James L. Gelvin, History News Newtowrk, May 21, 2017 —Poison gas. ISIS. Terrorism. The Arab Middle East has experienced more than its share of attention-grabbing horrors. But the twenty-four hour news cycle, with its relentless focus on the here and now, obscures the greatest problem the region faces: The threat to human security.

Farewell to OPEC: Daniel John Sobieski, American Thinker, May 24, 2017—Maybe the fly on the wall knows, because nothing was leaked to the New York Times or Washington Post, but one of the topics that may have come up in meetings between American and Saudi officials during President Trump’s historic visit is the energy revolution unleashed by President Trump that is sure to make the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries an energy relic.

Why We Are Surprised by Surprises: Joshua Teicher, BESA, May 16, 2017—Researchers and decision-makers are regularly taken by surprise by the collapse of regimes and by military moves with long-term geopolitical and traumatic consequences. They are hit “out of the blue” and awakened from their status quo illusions. This trend is in fact likely to accelerate during times of increasing uncertainty, when there is a greater likelihood of potential danger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

MANCHESTER, UNITED IN GRIEF AND KINDNESS

Howard Jacobson

New York Times, May 23, 2017

 

Too cruel anywhere. Any attack on the innocent, whatever the location, whatever the time, and whatever the ideology it serves, offends us to our very souls. But a bomb whose target is the innocent young — children leaving a concert, excitedly full of what they’d seen, looking for their parents who had come to take them home — is outrage piled upon outrage. Twenty-two are dead, at least 50 others injured, in last night’s terrorist attack at a concert venue in central Manchester. With every hour, we hear another fraught eye-witness account, learn of another father or mother in despair, another child still to be accounted for. I have family in Manchester. They are all right. But it isn’t only for oneself one worries. For others, too, the heart will break.

 

The eruption of indiscriminate violence in a peaceful place is terrorism’s purpose and our greatest dread, the horrible intrusion of menace where we had no reason to expect it, no matter how often we tell ourselves that nowhere is safe now. The unnaturalness of terrorism is its essence. It means to strike out of a clear blue sky. It means to shatter those bonds of commonality we have to take for granted or we cannot live. So, this is terrorism’s perfect expression: the random massacre of kids coming out of a pop concert they’d no doubt been looking forward to and talking animatedly about for weeks, kids united only moments before in music and fun.

 

Manchester, my home town, is a music city, at the forefront of musical innovation for decades. When I was growing up there, those who weren’t aspiring musicians themselves lived next door to someone who was. I was exceptionally unmusical, but my brother played lead guitar for a well-loved band called the Whirlwinds which, after time, morphed into 10cc. They practiced in our living room.

 

Liverpool had The Beatles but Manchester had The Hollies, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, Herman’s Hermits. Later, there was punk: Something about its harsh sardonic insolence — born of early de-industrialization, low wages and even lower clouds — made Manchester a congenial venue. Manchester’s music scene exploded again in the 1980s and ’90s, thanks in large measure to the legendary entrepreneur Tony Wilson.

 

All that Manchester was best at, all its versatility and unexpectedness, all its artfully concealed sophistication, found a home in Tony Wilson, who read English at Oxford, taught drama at a school in Oldham, near Manchester, and founded Factory Records and the Hacienda Club. If I had to define the soul of modern Manchester, I’d point to Tony Wilson: down to earth and dandified, of the people and rarified, all at once; sharp-tongued, honorable, hedonistic, more interested in art and conversation than celebrity and wealth. It was thanks to Wilson that Manchester became known as “Madchester.”

 

And it’s a city of young people. Even on the most forbidding winter nights, the young congregate outside the bars and clubs, wearing not very much. The less you shiver, the harder you are. We will hear more over the coming days about Manchester’s indomitable nature. How the city will not bend to terror. How death shall have no dominion; nor, either, the faceless men of violence. And it will be as true of Manchester as it can be of anywhere. But there’s a suggestion of bravado, always, about these promises not to bend. Yes, we will overcome; but that’s because we have to. When those we are defying aren’t listening, we might as well be whistling into the wind.

 

Manchester has been bombed before. In 1996, the Irish Republican Army set off a truck bomb in the center of the city. Aiming at causing maximum damage rather than fatalities, the terrorists telephoned warnings of what was about to happen. There were many injuries but no one died. The wreckage was immense and, in the way of these things, rebuilding presented an opportunity for much-needed regeneration. It would be perverse to attribute Manchester’s economic success to that attack, but the city has indeed, and with proud self-assertion, risen phoenix-like from the ashes.

 

What has just happened at the Manchester Arena after a concert given by Ariana Grande is another order of catastrophe. There was no warning. The aim wasn’t publicity through destruction of property, but publicity through destruction of life. It is not to forgive the one to insist on how much worse the other is. Terrorists talk of themselves as soldiers, but something like spite enters acts of terrorism of this sort. Though the killing is indiscriminate, it is also personal. Life itself, and the living who exemplify life, are the targets. There is, then, a sense in which Manchester, though it now belongs to a long list of terrorist casualty cities, can think of itself as picked out. It is a city possessed of a rare vigor. And a music arena lies close to the heart of that vigor.

 

So, yes, this has been an attack on the city’s very vitality. But the risk we face today is universal. If we want to find some consolation, it won’t be in speeches of municipal defiance, but in the stories, now coming thick and fast, of the assistance rendered not only by the emergency services, but by Mancunians of courage and goodwill who obeyed their deepest instincts in the face of danger and did all they could to comfort the injured and distraught. All is sorrow, but we still have kindness and pity.

 

On Topic Links

 

Manchester: Europe Still 'Shocked, Shocked': Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, May 24, 2017

The Malicious and Dishonest Media Really Are, as Trump Says, ‘Enemies of the People’: Conrad Black, National Post, May 19, 2017

The Guardrails Can’t Contain Trump: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 18, 2017

How Can Canada Pretend That Saudi Arabia is an Honourable, Peaceful Country?: Robert Fulford, National Post, May 12, 2017

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“We have so many opportunities in front of us. But we must seize them together. We must take advantage of the situation and there are many, many things that can happen that would never have been able to happen before and we understand that very well.” — U.S. President Donald Trump, on an official visit to Israel this week. Regarding a potential Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Trump stated, “I have a feeling we’re going to get there eventually, I hope.” In his speech at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s residence, Trump said he was deeply encouraged by his conversations with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia. “Many expressed their resolve to help end terrorism and the spread of radicalization. Many Muslim nations have already taken steps to begin following through on this commitment,” he said. “There is a growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran…Most importantly, the United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon – never, ever – and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately,” he said. (Algemeiner, May 22, 2017)

 

“I look forward to working closely with you to confront the dangers we face together in this violent and volatile Middle East…I believe that together we can roll back Iran’s march of aggression and terror in this region and we can thwart Iran’s unbridled ambition to become a nuclear weapons state…deep commitment to Israel’s security, its well-being and its future.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After their meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu thanked President Trump for his “reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East…I have no doubt that as we work together, you and I, the alliance between our countries will grow ever stronger.” (Algemeiner, May 22, 2017)

 

“This younger generation sees Israel much more in terms of practical alliances…So suddenly Israel is not seen in that one-dimensional term of being the occupier of Palestinian land, but rather as a potential partner against the greater evil, if you will, which is Iran.” — Stephen A. Seche, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen. Jordan and Egypt have longstanding peace agreements with Israel, and both have stepped up their coordination with Israel against terrorist groups on the Sinai Peninsula and in Syria. But the most significant changes in recent years have been in gulf countries, where a younger generation of leaders, like Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, have recognized the role Israel could play in their economic and security policies. (New York Times, May 23, 2017)

 

“There has to be a fundamental change if we are going to have peace in a deal brokered by this administration…It’s not going to be another piece of paper, it’s not going be a nice summit somewhere. If this happens it’s going to happen for real, because we have the world’s best dealmaker, but it has to happen only after certain things change with regard…to terrorism, payment of terrorist families, and other key issues.” — Sebastian Gorka, a deputy adviser to Trump. Gorka indicated in an interview that the president had registered Israel’s broader anxieties over dealing with the PA – particularly over its payments to terrorists and their families, described by Prime Minister Netanyahu as “the first test of peace” in a recent interview. (Algemeiner, May 21, 2017)

 

“I’m very pleased that the United States understands the severity of the Palestinian Authority paying salaries to terrorists and the need for fundamental changes by the PA…President Trump should demand of the PA that before Israel even sits down and talks to them, they should change the names of the 28 schools named after terrorists and the three schools named after Nazi collaborators…If the PA can live up to these conditions it may be the beginning of a peace process.” — Itamar Marcus, Director of the Israeli monitoring organization Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which tracks terror incitement. (Algemeiner, May 21, 2017)

 

“Israel, the invading country, the cancerous tumor – which we have already called a cancerous tumor in the past – many intellectuals today talk about coexistence and offering our hands in peace, and [say] Israel is part of the region. The noblest Arabs in terms of their Arabness were those who spoke up and said: ‘Israel does not exist!’ Those who did not say that were ostracized. Now, whoever says that Israel should exist is met with approval… They [the Jews] are usurers. See, the usury money and usurer banks, those who control the money in the world can be counted on one hand – a few individuals – and all of them belong to the Jewish world. They control the media, the money, the press, the resources, the plans.” — Imad Hamato, on official PA TV. Last March, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas appointed antisemitic PA TV Islamic teacher Imad Hamato to the post of dean of the Al-Azhar Institutes, a system of schools that prepare students for studies at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza. As dean of students, Hamato now has the opportunity to transmit his venomous anti-Semitism to Palestinian Authority youth. (Jewish Press, May 16, 2017)

 

“This rubbish about cultural appropriation, if taken seriously, would produce not broad views but unimaginable narrowness, a death by suffocation of dialogue and sympathy. What would To Kill a Mockingbird be without black characters? Or Invisible Man without white ones? If we share Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of judging people by the content of their character not the colour of their skin, we should do the same with books, including efforts to see the world through the eyes of others to explore questions of morality and culture. Like, say, Percy Jackson’s half-brother Tyson struggling against bigotry because he’s … a cyclops.” — John Robson. (National Post, May 18, 2017)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

MANCHESTER BOMBER WAS LOCAL MAN OF LIBYAN DESCENT (Manchester) — The man who police say blew himself up in a packed concert arena in Manchester, killing 22 people, was named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. Manchester Police on Tuesday named Abedi as the suicide bomber who struck an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, wounding 59 people in addition to those he killed. I.S. claimed responsibility, although the claim could not be verified. Abedi was a British citizen of Libyan descent. In the south Manchester suburb of Chorlton on Tuesday, police arrested a 23-year-old man in a supermarket then searched an apartment in a nearby area. British media reported that the apartment belonged to Abedi's brother, Ismail. (New York Times, May 23, 2017)

 

ROUHANI WINS RE-ELECTION IN IRAN (Tehran) — Iran’s state television declared incumbent President Hassan Rouhani the winner of the country’s presidential election on Saturday, giving the 68-year-old cleric a second four-year term to see out his agenda calling for outreach to the wider world. More than 40 million Iranians voted in Friday’s election. That puts turnout above 70 percent. In 2013, Rouhani won the presidential election with nearly 51 percent of the vote. Turnout for that vote was 73 percent. Iran’s president is the second-most powerful figure within Iran’s political system. He is subordinate to the supreme leader, who is chosen by a clerical panel. (New York Post, May 20, 2017)

 

MB INVOKES ANTISEMITISM IN PRO-HAMAS STATEMENT (Cairo) — The Muslim Brotherhood advocates for "resistance" against Israel and more support to Hamas until "Islamic land is liberated from the usurping Zionists" in an Arabic language statement. The reference to "usurping Zionists," a form of antisemitic incitement, is clearly omitted from the Brotherhood's English language statement. The statement was released to congratulate Hamas after electing Ismail Haniyeh to lead the terrorist group's political wing. Both the English and Arabic language statements include a Brotherhood call for "legitimate resistance" – a term Islamists often use to vaguely reference violence and terrorism aimed at destroying the Jewish state. Hamas recently planned to rescind its status as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to alleviate tensions with Egypt. (IPT, May 17, 2017)

 

SYRIAN CONVICTED OF TERROR IN GERMANY (Berlin) — A Syrian was convicted in Germany of membership in a terrorist organization after he served in I.S. in his homeland and later helped plan an attack in Berlin that was never carried out. 20-year-old Shaas al-Mohammad was sentenced under youth guidelines to five years in prison. During his Berlin criminal court trial, prosecutors said al-Mohammad joined I.S. as a teenager in Syria in 2013 before seeking asylum in Germany two years later. The court found that once in Berlin, he passed information about "soft targets" in the German capital to the group in apparent preparation for an attack. The trial comes as Germany remains under a high-threat terrorist alert following a series of attacks which hit the country in the past year. (Arutz Sheva, May 20, 2017)

 

NDP LEADERSHIP HOPEFUL SLAMMED FOR 'SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS' (Toronto) — The decision by a federal NDP leadership candidate to attend a rally “in support of Palestinian terrorists” was strongly denounced by B’nai Brith Canada. In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said NDP MP Niki Ashton’s actions suggest that people should commemorate and mourn the Arab world’s inability to successfully commit a genocide against the Jewish people. Ashton posted on Facebook that she was honoured to stand with those remembering the Nakba. “It was also powerful to join many at a rally in solidarity with those on hunger strike in Palestine today. The NDP must be a voice for human rights, for peace and justice in the Middle East,” she posted. Nakba is an Arabic term that mourns the reestablishment of the Jewish State of Israel. (Toronto Sun, May 19, 2017)

 

AUSTRIA WARNING SAUDI WOMEN THEIR BURQA IS NOW ILLEGAL (Vienna) — The Saudi Embassy in Vienna has alerted its citizens regarding the Austrian Parliament’s passing of burqa ban. Beginning on October 1, Austrian police will be fining women (and men) who are caught wearing clothes that obstruct their facial features. The $166 fine would also be charged to women wearing a burqa-the enveloping outer garment, and niqab-veil in universities, courts, or on public transportation. Austria followed Switzerland, Belgium, France, and some Spanish regions in banning the burqa and the niqab in public places, as well as other religious symbols. (Jewish Press, May 18, 2017)

 

FLORIDA MAN KILLS NEO-NAZI ROOMMATES OVER ISLAM DISRESPECT (Miami) — A young man arrested after leading police to the bodies of his two roommates told officers he killed them because they were neo-Nazis who disrespected his recent conversion to Islam. The Tampa Police Department says 18-year-old Devon Arthurs told police he had until recently shared his roommates' neo-Nazi beliefs, but that he converted to Islam. Arthurs told police he was angry about anti-Muslim sentiment. Police identified the victims as 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk. (CBS, May 22, 2017)

 

DUTERTE DECLARES MARTIAL RULE IN BESIEGED SOUTH PHILIPPINES (Manila) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country’s south under martial rule for 60 days after Muslim extremists allied with I.S. laid siege to a southern city. Martial rule took effect Tuesday in the southern region of Mindanao “on the grounds of existence of rebellion.” Defense Secretary Lorenzana said troops raided the hideout of a top terrorist suspect in southern Marawi city, sparking a gunbattle. Several terrorists were killed in the fighting in Marawi city, about 830 kilometers (520 miles) south of Manila, but others continued to lay siege to the largely Muslim city of more than 200,000 people, officials said, adding that power was cut in the city in a chaotic scene. (Washington Post, May 23, 2017)

 

INDIA AND ISRAEL INK $630M MISSILE DEAL (Jerusalem) — Indian state enterprise Bharat Electronics Limited signed a $630 million contract with Israel Aerospace Industries to jointly produce four long-range surface-to-air missile systems for the Indian Navy. Under the contract, BEL will produce a major portion of the multifunction active electronically scanned array naval radar system, or MF-STAR, and the rest of the weapon control systems. The company will also carry out system integration and commissioning activities. The LRSAM system is meant for both Indian and Israeli defense forces. Each unit comprises one command and control system, an MF-STAR radar system and two launchers that can send eight 150-kilometer-range radio frequency surface-to-air missiles. (Defense News, May 22, 2017)

 

OVER 100,000 PALESTINIAN PATIENTS TREATED IN ISRAEL IN 2015 (Jerusalem) — In 2015, Israeli hospitals treated over 97,000 Arabs from the West Bank (allowing over 100,000 people to accompany them). In addition, over 31,787 Gaza patients and escorts arrived in 2015. At any given time there are 60-70 Gazans receiving care at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv alone. Only 10% of the cost comes from the PA. The rest is paid for by Israeli taxpayers. (Jewish Press, May 17, 2017)

 

IVANKA AND MELANIA TRUMP PRAY AT WESTERN WALL (Jerusalem) — On Monday, Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to visit the Western Wall while in office. Trump, after hearing a lengthy explanation from the Wall’s rabbi, walked solemnly to the wall and stood by the ancient remain of the Jewish temple for about a minute. He then followed the Jewish tradition and inserted a note into the crevice of the wall. Trump’s wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner stood alongside the president as he listened to the explanation at the entrance plaza, but when it came time for prayer at the wall, the group split up. Trump walked by himself to the wall, while his wife and daughter were taken to the separated part of the wall designated for women’s prayer. (Forward, May 22, 2017)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Manchester: Europe Still 'Shocked, Shocked': Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, May 24, 2017—When ISIS attacked the Bataclan Theater in Paris in November 2015, it did so because, in its own words, it was "where hundreds of pagans gathered for a concert of prostitution and vice." A year earlier, ISIS had forbidden all music as haram (forbidden). Many Islamic scholars support the idea that Islam forbids the 'sinful' music of the West.

The Malicious and Dishonest Media Really Are, as Trump Says, ‘Enemies of the People’: Conrad Black, National Post, May 19, 2017—Even allowing for the astonishing pyrotechnics of current American politics, the Canadian journalistic reaction has been rather disappointing. Canadians have a unique ring-side seat on American personalities and events, and flatter themselves that they know that country better than any other foreigners do.

The Guardrails Can’t Contain Trump: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 18, 2017 —The pleasant surprise of the First 100 Days is over. The action was hectic, heated, often confused, but well within the bounds of normalcy. Policy (e.g., health care) was being hashed out, a Supreme Court nominee confirmed, foreign policy challenges (e.g. North Korea) addressed.

How Can Canada Pretend That Saudi Arabia is an Honourable, Peaceful Country?: Robert Fulford, National Post, May 12, 2017—If you believe the official word from Ottawa it appears Saudi Arabia and Canada are on good terms. A Canadian government website, dealing with trade, takes care to assert that we share with the Saudis “many peace and security issues, including energy security, humanitarian affairs (including refugees), and counter-terrorism.” It also says admiringly that “The Saudi government plays an important role in promoting regional peace and stability.”

TRUMP’S ISRAEL VISIT COINCIDES WITH 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF JERUSALEM REUNIFICATION

Trump’s Vision of Peace: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2017 — Maybe US President Donald Trump really believes that, given recent developments in the region, peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible.

Can Trump’s Outside-In Formula Work?: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, May 22, 2017— Much of the attention being given to President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East has focused on whether his first foreign trip will provide much of a distraction from his growing domestic troubles.

Re-Liberating Jerusalem: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, May 15, 2015 — It's been almost 50 years since Israel unified Jerusalem and turned it from a dusty and depressed backwater into a truly radiant international capital city sparkling with energy and creativity.

Preparing For War: Jerusalem, 1967: Abraham Rabinovich, Jewish Press, May 19, 2017— As tensions mounted in late May, 1967, Jerusalem was pervaded by a feeling that if war came it would be a bloody block-by-block battle in which no quarter would be given.

 

On Topic Links

 

Full Text & Video: US President Donald Trump’s Address in Riyadh at Arab Islamic American Summit : Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, May 21, 2017

Trump Rebukes Abbas and the Palestinian Authority During Bethlehem Visit :  Jewish Press, May 23, 2017

Trump Can Break the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse: A.J. Caschetta, Gatestone Institute, May 22, 2017

Israel Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem: JCPA, 2017

 

 

TRUMP’S VISION OF PEACE

Editorial

Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2017

 

Maybe US President Donald Trump really believes that, given recent developments in the region, peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible. Maybe he sees a successful conclusion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a necessary preamble to economic cooperation and resurgence in the region led by the US. Maybe he sees it as a personal challenge – the ultimate deal.

 

Whatever the reason, US President Donald Trump is remarkably focused on the goal of bringing together Israelis and Palestinians and resolving once and for all a conflict that has received the attention of every US president in recent history. And when Trump talks of peace he is taken seriously. When Barack Obama or John Kerry invested time, energy and clout in bringing together Israelis and Palestinians they were said to be naive, messianic and dangerous to Israel’s security. Yet, when the same optimism is expressed by Trump, the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Palestinians and Israel keep an open mind.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun using “peace” again, a word which tends to elicit cynicism on the Right due to the bad track-record of peace initiatives. If peace is mentioned at all these days it is normally in conjunction with “security.” Yet during a meeting with Trump in Jerusalem on Monday night, Netanyahu said, “I also look forward to working closely with you to advance peace in our region… The Arab leaders who you met yesterday could help change the atmosphere and they could help create the conditions for a realistic peace.”

 

Trump seems to have been impressed by his meeting with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia and their willingness to engage with Israel. But unlike Netanyahu who envisions peace with the Palestinians as an extension of improved relations with the Arab nations of the region, Trump and the Arab leaders he met in Riyadh view resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian as a precursor to better ties between the Jewish state and the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan will not facilitate an atmosphere more conducive to peace between Israel and the Palestinians by improving ties with the Jewish state. Rather, open relations between Israel and “moderate” Sunni states will be conditional upon headway in peace talks with the Palestinians.

 

For its part, Israel has agreed to make some confidence building gestures. Trump asked for, and received, a promise from Israel that it would slow down building in Judea and Samaria. On Sunday, the security cabinet voted in favor of a package of steps that included easing travel restrictions for Palestinians on Allenby Bridge which connects the West Bank to Jordan, the development of two new job-producing industrial zones, and new allowances for Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control.

 

Trump has called on the Palestinian Authority to stop incitement against Israel. He also criticized Palestinian funding of imprisoned terrorists. Speaking alongside PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Trump condemned the terrorist attack in Manchester that killed 22 and left dozens injured. Trump noted that “peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.” This was a clear reference to Palestinian society’s glorification of terrorists who murder Israelis and the PA ’s funding of the families of “martyrs” who died carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel or prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails for terrorist activities.

 

As Trump takes leave of the region and heads to Italy, his major contribution to the peace process so far has been his successful resuscitation of non-cynical discourse on the prospects of peace. But the truly hard work has barely begun. Will Palestinian leaders take Trump’s advice and stop glorifying terrorists? Can Israel make additional gestures that would make Palestinians’ lives easier? If there is goodwill on both sides, perhaps Trump’s self-confidence and optimism are not so misplaced after all.

 

 

Contents   

                       

CAN TRUMP’S OUTSIDE-IN FORMULA WORK?

Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, May 22, 2017

 

Much of the attention being given to President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East has focused on whether his first foreign trip will provide much of a distraction from his growing domestic troubles. But the real substance centers on his plan to solve a problem that has eluded all of his predecessors: the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The key to Trump’s foray is an effort to forge an “outside-in” breakthrough, in which bilateral talks will be shelved in favor of an attempt to use the leverage of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab nations over the Palestinians to forge a pact with Israel. But the problem is that, like other peace plans, it seeks to finesse the main obstacle to peace rather than to confront it. As long as Palestinian national identity is inextricably linked to their war on Zionism, this effort will fail as miserably as its predecessors.

 

Though Israel is often portrayed in the press as isolated, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has actually made substantial progress in its outreach efforts. The most remarkable diplomatic breakthrough involves some of Israel’s most bitter Arab foes, such as Saudi Arabia, becoming tacit allies. Netanyahu doesn’t deserve credit for this since the Saudis have been looking for a way out of the dead-end conflict with Israel for years and were pushed into the arms of the Israelis by President Barack Obama’s efforts to appease Iran. But however favorably Arab governments have come to view Israel, their populations are still being raised on antisemitic incitement against Jews. They can’t formalize their ties with Israel so long as the Palestinians still seek the Jewish state’s destruction to the cheers of the Arab street.

 

That’s why many serious people believe the Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians can supply the diplomatic muscle to finally push the Palestinians to take yes for an answer and end the conflict. Since it is clearly in the interests of these nations to remove the one barrier to better relations with a Jewish state that they view as a security and economic partner, they hope to convince the Palestinians that peace with Israel will be beneficial for them too. That’s a logical concept, but if common sense determined the course of Middle East history, the Arabs would have embraced the Jewish state decades ago.

 

Still, Trump’s effort is not based entirely on the delusions that led Obama to believe pressure on Israel would convince the Palestinians to meet him halfway. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the Saudis and other Gulf nations are putting forward a scheme in which they would make strides toward normalizing relations with Israel in exchange for Netanyahu enacting a partial settlement freeze in the West Bank and entering talks with the Palestinian Authority.

 

This is a far cry from the blind faith that some in the US foreign policy establishment have in the idea that the 2002 Saudi peace initiative is a game-changer. In theory, that plan called for complete Arab recognition for Israel in exchange for a complete withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. But what the Arab states are offering may actually be a way for them to sideline the Palestinians and avoid dead-end peace talks rather than to jumpstart them.

 

The Saudis understand that no matter how much money they give the Palestinians, any negotiation that depends on the Fatah and Hamas movements being willing to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state and ending the conflict will ultimately founder. Nor are Sunni nations thrilled with the idea of creating yet another unstable Arab state that might fall under the influence of Islamist terrorists and/or the Iranians. What they may really want is not so much the real estate deal of the century that Trump dreams about, but an effort to keep the conflict under control. That’s why the Saudis are asking for a lot less from Israel than the peace processors thought. Like Netanyahu, they may want to manage an unsolvable conflict rather than a pyrrhic quest to end it.

 

Israel has good reason to do what it can to work with the Saudis. But the idea that the “outside-in” concept will transform Trump into the prince of peace is a pipe dream. Let’s hope the president won’t let his ambition to achieve a deal — one that must await a sea change in Palestinian political culture that is nowhere in sight — get in the way of a less grandiose effort that makes sense.

 

Contents   

                       

 

RE-LIBERATING JERUSALEM

David M. Weinberg

                                     Israel Hayom, May 15, 2015

 

It's been almost 50 years since Israel unified Jerusalem and turned it from a dusty and depressed backwater into a truly radiant international capital city sparkling with energy and creativity. There is more to come. The dynamic vision for Jerusalem 2020 in the transportation, cultural, recreational and business fields unveiled this week by Mayor Nir Barkat is exciting and uplifting.

 

Yet as we approach Jerusalem Liberation Day…hefty question marks hang over the city's future. These uncertainties stem from government hesitations in the face of international and Arab pressure for re-division of the city (Heaven forbid). Instead of acting decisively to buttress Israel's sovereignty, security, economy and social vibrancy in Jerusalem, we have a stalemate in government decision-making. In fact, the threats to Jerusalem as a living, breathing, growing, safe and open city — and to Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and the epicenter of the global Jewish community — come mainly from neglect on Israel's part. The fourth Netanyahu government…must rebuff deleterious foreign pressures, stop dithering and act to re-establish forward motion, Zionist momentum, in Jerusalem. Here's how:

 

Housing: Except for luxury skyscrapers and fancy villas in central Jerusalem that are purchased by very rich (and mostly foreign) buyers, there is no significant new building underway in the city or its immediate environs for young families. For fear of international censure, the government has shrunk from critically needed expansions of peripheral, middle-class neighborhoods like Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, Pisgat Ze'ev, Gilo and Givat Hamatos (all of which are over the stale "Green Line"). No new neighborhoods have been established in the city since Netanyahu's first term in the late 1990s (Har Homa). For the same reason, successive governments going back to Yitzhak Rabin have failed to follow through on plans to build housing in the large E1 quadrant on the eastern slopes of the city (along the road toward Maaleh Adumim).

 

Netanyahu threatened to build in E1 if the Palestinian Authority sued Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court, then failed to follow through on his threat even when the PA launched an ICC assault. But this only highlights the fact that the expansion of Jerusalem eastward, so critical to the viability and livability of the city for the long term, is being held hostage to global politics. Jerusalem also has been boxed into an affordable housing stalemate by environmental lobby groups who want to protect the green mountains to the west of the city, and who have stymied all plans for significant housing projects in this area (adjacent to Tzur Hadassah, Mevasseret Zion and more). Netanyahu's new government must move to break these "settlement" logjams.

 

Security: Just this week, security services broke up a big terrorist cell operating out of Silwan. But cars and buses traveling to or parking near the Western Wall are regularly stoned, and almost every Jerusalem light rail streetcar has been hit with stones in the north of the city. Travel to the hallowed ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives is extraordinarily risky; Jewish mourners are sure to be assaulted. As a result, almost nobody ventures there. The few, brave bereaved families who do so travel in organized convoys with bullet- and stone-proof windows. There is also frequent Arab vandalism of the graves.

 

This is, of course, a shameful abdication of Israeli sovereignty and Jewish national dignity. Were such violence against Jews or vandalism against a Jewish cemetery to occur regularly abroad, it would be an international scandal. Even though he was from a "nationalist" political party, the previous public security minister took a light policing approach to the lawlessness in Jerusalem. He and his police brass wanted to avoid incidents that could become major conflagrations and international trouble for Israel. While understandable, this low-profile strategy is no longer sufficient.

 

Netanyahu's new government must devote much more attention to the re-securing (dare I say, re-liberation) of Jerusalem, by boosting the manpower, resources and authority of the Jerusalem police force, and by renewed enforcement of civil law in the Arab neighborhoods of the city, including building and tax codes, noise pollution bylaws and traffic rules. Some will say that another part of the answer is the devotion of more municipal services and funds to the eastern parts of the city. That's true, but let's face it: The developmental gap is not why the violence is growing. Barkat is indeed advancing Arab neighborhoods of the city, through more money for education and infrastructure.

 

The Temple Mount: Netanyahu's new government must also redress the gross violations of Israeli sovereignty and Jewish rights implicit in the prevailing situation on the Temple Mount. Jewish visitors to the mount — the very few who are occasionally let in — are systematically accosted by paid professional Islamic provocateurs, while the police stand aside. It goes without saying that the almost five-decade-long ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount outrageously remains in place, lest the Arabs become too angry. And of course, illegal Waqf excavations continue on the Temple Mount without Israeli archaeological supervision. We know that over the past decade the burrowing out by the Waqf of the underground Solomon's Stables has wantonly destroyed thousands of years of Jewish relics and history.

 

Jewish prayer should be facilitated in some symbolic way on the vast Temple Mount plaza. This can be effected either through a time-sharing arrangement similar to that in place at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, or through a small synagogue tucked away on the fringes of the plaza that will not overshadow the two large Muslim structures on the Mount. Waqf violence should be dealt with compellingly.

 

The bottom line is that to hold on to a united Jerusalem, Israel needs to act. It must build homes extensively to keep the city alive and young. It must wield a big baton against Arab insurgents and radicals. It must restore its full and active jurisdiction and reassert Jewish national rights in all parts of the city. These initiatives will engender Palestinian (and American) resistance, but with both resoluteness and sensitivity Israel can succeed and overcome the opposition. Jerusalem is still a consensus issue in Israeli society and politics. The new Netanyahu government would enjoy widespread public backing for action to shore up Israel's stake in the holy city.                                                                

 

Contents                                                                                                        

PREPARING FOR WAR: JERUSALEM, 1967

Abraham Rabinovich

                      Jewish Press, May 19, 2017

 

As tensions mounted in late May, 1967, Jerusalem was pervaded by a feeling that if war came it would be a bloody block-by-block battle in which no quarter would be given. Unspoken but widely envisioned was the image of the Warsaw Ghetto; buildings turned to rubble from which the battle would continue. The municipality began to bulldoze a hillside near Mount Herzl to prepare gravesites. The slope chosen was out of sight of the Jordanian lines to prevent a repetition of 1948 when, at funerals of people killed by shelling, the mourners themselves came under fire.

 

Some officials expected 2,000 dead in Jerusalem. These were the optimists who assumed the Jordanians would not attempt aerial bombardment because of the proximity of Arab neighborhoods. The pessimists, those who believed the Arabs would bomb anyway, estimated 6,000 dead and several times that number in wounded in Jerusalem alone. Events had taken on a momentum of their own beyond either side’s calculation. In the Arab world, rhetoric was whipping passions into white heat. “If you want war,” declared Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in a public challenge, “we are ready for you.”

 

Israel did not want war. The likely price even for victory was grim. Six thousand Israelis, one in every 100, had died in the victorious War of Independence, a conflict that had seen little air action. When Israel had next gone to war, in the 1956 Sinai campaign, it had been on only one front and in collusion with two powers, England and France. Even so, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had insisted that France station air squadrons in Israel to protect its cities from air strikes.

 

Now, in 1967, Israel stood alone against what was beginning to look like a broad Arab coalition with three times as many tanks and warplanes as Israel. Moshe Dayan, on the eve of being named defense minister, estimated that there could be tens of thousands dead. “An entire generation of paratroopers and tank crews will be lost,” he told the general heading Israel’s Southern Command, “but you will win.” Despite this dire casualty estimate, the general, Yeshayahu Gavish, found solace in the remarks because Dayan at least predicted victory. Not all national leaders were sure of that. Even IDF chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin was pushed to the edge of nervous collapse by the responsibility that had fallen on him.

 

In search of reassurance, Rabin called on Ben-Gurion, now retired, for an informal chat. It turned out to be the most traumatic meeting of Rabin’s life. Ben-Gurion was as decisive as Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was hesitant, but his decisiveness lay in warning against going to war without the support of a foreign power. Otherwise, it would be an adventure that risked national disaster, he said, and the responsibility would be Rabin’s. The chief of staff had made a grave mistake, said Ben-Gurion, in ordering mobilization and thereby accelerating the war momentum.

 

Rabin was shaken by Ben-Gurion’s remarks. His air force commanders were promising dramatic results if Israel struck the first blow. The army commanders likewise expressed confidence in victory. Rabin was not sure the government would permit a first strike, but even if it did he could not be certain that the generals’ predictions would prove realistic when put to the test. Against this uncertainty, Ben-Gurion’s powerful “thou shalt not” was a warning Rabin could not shrug off. Ben-Gurion had proved prophetic in the past. If he was correct now, Rabin could be leading the nation to another Holocaust.

 

On May 22, Egypt announced the Straits of Tiran would be closed to Israeli shipping from the following day. The closure was a clear casus belli. To let it pass without a military response would be a devastating sign of weakness. Eshkol told a ministerial meeting the following day that Washington had asked Israel not to attempt to send a ship through the straits while the U.S. attempted to resolve the matter by diplomatic means. In the mood of indecision that prevailed, the American request offered a welcome respite. Rabin was subdued during the meeting with the ministers. He chain-smoked and his face was taut. In the evening, he asked General Ezer Weizman, head of operations on the general staff, to come to his home. Speaking candidly of the strain he was under, Rabin asked Weizman whether he believed that he, Rabin, should resign. Weizman, a former air force commander, persuaded Rabin that he needed only a brief rest.

 

Mrs. Rabin, concerned at her husband’s distress, called the IDF’s chief medical officer who diagnosed “acute anxiety.” The doctor sedated him and Rabin slept until the next afternoon. Word was put out that Rabin had been temporarily incapacitated by nicotine poisoning. When he returned to his headquarters, he was calm and knew what had to be done. There was no way out but war. With moblization, the largest source of manpower remaining in Jerusalem were yeshiva students exempt from the draft. Of the 2,000 volunteers who turned out each day for trench-digging in areas without shelters, 500 were yeshiva students. On the Sabbath after the closing by Egypt of the Tiran Straits passageway to Eilat, the civil defense commander in the Katamon quarter was amazed to see a group of yeshiva students being marched to a digging site by two bearded rabbis.

 

The prohibition against working on the Sabbath is one of the strictest injunctions of Judaism, but the rabbinate had declared the crisis one of pikuach nefesh (life or death) in which vital work is not only permissible on the Sabbath but mandatory. The two rabbis took off their jackets and joined the students in the trenches with shovels…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Full Text & Video: US President Donald Trump’s Address in Riyadh at Arab Islamic American Summit : Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, May 21, 2017—U.S. President Donald Trump urged leaders of Arab nations in his speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on Sunday to “drive out” terrorists from their places of worship, their communities, from their “holy land,” and ultimately from “this Earth.”

Trump Rebukes Abbas and the Palestinian Authority During Bethlehem Visit :  Jewish Press, May 23, 2017—President Trump rebuked PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority at their joint statement in Bethlehem on Tuesday morning. During his talk, Abbas talked about easing the conditions for the PA’s terrorists being held in Israeli jails, some of whom are currently holding hunger strikes so they can get more cable TV channels and earn college degrees. Many of these jailed terrorists are mass murderers.

Trump Can Break the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse: A.J. Caschetta, Gatestone Institute, May 22, 2017—In Saudi Arabia on Sunday, President Trump declared unswerving American commitment to help Riyadh in "confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamist and Islamic terror of all kinds." A new coalition of American lawmakers believes he should make an equally important commitment to Israel when he lands there today.

Israel Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem: JCPA, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACADEMIC BDS STILL PERVASIVE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, MUST DO MORE TO STOP IT

Controversy Erupts Over Dartmouth Appointment of Anti-Israel Dean: Paul Miller, New York Observer, April 8, 2017— One of the nation’s most prestigious colleges has come under fire for appointing a prominent advocate of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to the position of dean of faculty.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Jewish Problem: Zoe Kellner, Algemeiner, May. 3, 2017— In late March, representatives of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s student government proposed a resolution: “Social Responsibility and University Divestment from Corporate Human Rights Abuses.” The measure claimed to target human rights abuses committed by corporations in which UW may be invested. In reality, the measure clearly singled out the State of Israel.

Israel’s Wrongheaded Retreat on BDS: Evelyn Gordon, Commentary, Apr. 26, 2017 — Regardless of whether you support or oppose a new law allowing Israel to bar entry to prominent supporters of anti-Israeli boycotts, one outcome was eminently predictable: Israel would lack the guts to enforce it even when doing so was most justified.

Linda Sarsour’s CUNY Speech: A Moral Disaster: Jeffrey S. Weisenfeld, The Forward, May. 10, 2017 — In Linda Sarsour’s case, CUNY selects an honoree who proclaims, “You can’t be a feminist in the United States [and not] stand up for the rights of Palestinian women,” and that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” They celebrate a woman who said of anti-Islamist writer and politician Ayaan Hirsut Ali and conservative journalist Brigitte Gabriel, “I wish I could take their vaginas away.” Sarsour also called Palestinians who threw stones at Jews “courageous.”

 

On Topic Links

 

Not So Safe Space [WATCH]: Eliana Rudee, Israel Video Network, Mar. 30, 2017

Northwestern Students Mourn Terror Victims Ahead Of Rasmea Odeh Talk:  JTA, May 17, 2017

BDS Suffers Another Defeat at University of California-Santa Barbara; Divestment Resolution Gets Zero Votes in Favor: Rachel Frommer, Algemeiner, May 11, 2017

New Jersey University Rejects BDS Motion: Israel National News, Apr. 29, 2017

 

CONTROVERSY ERUPTS OVER DARTMOUTH

APPOINTMENT OF ANTI-ISRAEL DEAN

Paul Miller

New York Observer, Apr. 8, 2017

 

One of the nation’s most prestigious colleges has come under fire for appointing a prominent advocate of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to the position of dean of faculty. By naming N. Bruce Duthu as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon has brought into question the college’s commitment to academic freedom. Duthu is a co-author of the “Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions” by the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA).

 

Regarded by pro-Israel advocates as a movement born out of anti-Semitism, BDS singles out the Jewish state for condemnation while ignoring atrocities committed by other countries such as Iran, Syria and North Korea. Critics of the Duthu appointment view Hanlon’s decision as the latest chapter in the school’s history of anti-Semitism.

 

“The message seems to be that Dartmouth is perfectly comfortable appointing a dean who is in favor of the anti-Semitic BDS movement and is unaware of or is unconcerned with the contradictory public positions he has taken with regard to his obligations as dean of the faculty,” Dartmouth Economics Professor Alan Gustman told the Haym Salomon Center. “I had hoped that the specter of past anti-Semitism had left Dartmouth. Now, I am not so sure.” Gustman shared his concerns with his Dartmouth colleagues in a May 3 email that reads in part:

 

“In advocating the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, BDS is anti-Semitic. The chant of the BDS movement, from the river to the sea, is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and profoundly anti-Jewish. It refers to sweeping the Jews out of Israel… I have no reason to believe that Professor Duthu is anti-Semitic. His friends and colleagues do not consider him to be anti-Semitic and are sincere in their opinions. What is relevant here is that he is supporting a movement that is substantially anti-Semitic and that he has taken a position with regard to the BDS movement that is in opposition to the position and responsibilities he will have as dean of the faculty. Most importantly, he has not publicly renounced his public NAISA statement on the BDS movement… Professor Duthu’s public advocacy of BDS and his responsibilities as dean of the faculty are in direct conflict.”

 

Susan Julien-Levitt, co-founder and executive director of Alums for Campus Fairness, shares Gustman’s concerns, noting the absurdity of targeting Israel “as a human rights abuser worthy of pariah status while ignoring the substantial ongoing human rights abuses occurring in Israel’s neighboring countries.” She adds, “Professor Duthu’s apparent belief that academics and academic institutions should be shunned based on the policies of their governments shows a disregard for the fundamental principles of academic freedom.”

 

Diana Lawrence, Dartmouth’s associate vice president for communications, provided the Haym Salomon Center an exclusive statement after an inquiry was sent to President Hanlon’s office. In December 2013, Hanlon made Dartmouth’s position clear on the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. He opposed it. As a member of the administration, Duthu firmly supports the institutional position.

 

In his capacity as associate dean for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs, Duthu has been instrumental in making Jewish Studies a success on campus. He has facilitated the often complex arrangements to bring visiting professors from Israeli universities to teach at Dartmouth, as well as graduate students and post-docs from abroad. Duthu has the full confidence of President Phil Hanlon, Provost Carolyn Dever, and the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. He has broad support among the faculty, including the leaders of the college’s Jewish Studies program. He has offered to meet with Alan Gustman to discuss his concerns; however, Professor Gustman has declined.

 

Gustman explained, “I refused to meet with Professor Duthu because the only adequate response to his public support for the BDS movement is that he publicly renounce his support for BDS or that he resign. I made that clear to Professor Duthu in a letter I wrote to him in response to his invitation to meet. It would not matter if he pledged to ignore the conflict between his public position supporting BDS and his responsibilities as dean. If he publicly renounced his support for BDS, I would be satisfied. I made that clear to the president and dean before going public, but there was no public renunciation.” Professor Duthu did not respond to our request for comment.

 

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THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON’S JEWISH PROBLEM

Zoe Kellner

Algemeiner, May 3, 2017

 

In late March, representatives of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s student government proposed a resolution: “Social Responsibility and University Divestment from Corporate Human Rights Abuses.” The measure claimed to target human rights abuses committed by corporations in which UW may be invested. In reality, the measure clearly singled out the State of Israel.

 

Not only were Jewish students hurt by the content of this hateful resolution, but we were also extremely disappointed by the undemocratic and unethical manner in which it was proposed. The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) representatives who proposed the measure neglected to engage with our community. Despite this — and with just 29 hours to prepare — we managed to mobilize approximately 130 students to attend the March 29 council meeting; more than 30 students, including myself, testified there during an open forum.

 

As I sat on the floor for six and a half hours — to ensure that my voice was heard — I found myself in a hostile environment, where I was clearly unwelcome. Although the resolution was tabled indefinitely by a 13-12-1 vote, everyone left that meeting hurt. And the damage will be lasting. The next ASM meeting was set to take place on April 12 — during the Jewish holiday of Passover. On April 7, a Jewish student representative, Ariela Rivkin, sent an email to ASM Chair Carmen Gosey informing her of the holiday, and asking the ASM to postpone any continuation of the March 29 meeting, so that Jewish students could participate. Gosey, however, ignored the request, and placed the divestment item on the agenda — thereby excluding many in the Jewish community.

 

Prior to this meeting, Badgers United Against Hate — an organization committed to fostering unity and inclusion on campus — worked with the authors of the initial ASM divestment legislation to try and craft a new resolution. And during the April 12 meeting, the authors claimed that Jewish students supported the new legislation.

 

That was a lie. In fact, the Jewish students’ comments, edits and feedback were not incorporated into the new legislation, and the Jewish community never signed off on it. Furthermore, according to the organization’s rules, it should have taken six weeks to pass the new legislation. However, the ASM suspended its rules to allow for an immediate vote on the resolution. Because of all these shenanigans, a student court ruled that the April 12 vote violated the rules, and blocked it from taking effect.

 

In late April, during the final ASM meeting of the semester, a resolution was proposed that calls for divestment from businesses involved with private prisons, arms manufactures, fossil fuels and border walls. This resolution, in its initial form, did not target Israel. Therefore, regardless of our deep disappointment with ASM’s past actions, the Jewish community showed up to voice our appreciation to the authors of this resolution for hearing our concerns.

 

To our dismay, ASM members then introduced amendments to this legislation that targeted Israel, and evoked strong anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment. These amendments were premeditated, and the sponsors of the resolution were not transparent about their true intentions.

The incredible tolerance of anti-Jewish rhetoric, and the direct harassment of Jewish students, on the part of ASM and the UW student population is a heartbreaking reminder of our provisional acceptance on campus. This student body has acted in a way that repeatedly excludes the Jewish community — and makes us feel targeted and unwelcome. And as a Jewish student, I feel deeply let down by my “representatives.”

 

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ISRAEL’S WRONGHEADED RETREAT ON BDS

Evelyn Gordon

Commentary, Apr. 26, 2017

 

Regardless of whether you support or oppose a new law allowing Israel to bar entry to prominent supporters of anti-Israeli boycotts, one outcome was eminently predictable: Israel would lack the guts to enforce it even when doing so was most justified. That was amply proven by Wednesday’s decision to grant a one-year work visa to Human Rights Watch researcher Omar Shakir. By this decision, Israel eviscerated the one crucial point the law got right, despite the many it got wrong: You cannot wage an effective war on the BDS movement while giving the people behind it a pass. As the old truism goes, people are policy.

 

Shakir is the epitome of someone who should have been denied entry, and his case exemplifies why the law’s basic assumption–that boycotters must be targeted personally–is 100 percent correct. He has given lectures on college campuses in which he accused Israel of being an apartheid state, advocated anti-Israel boycotts, compared Zionism to “Afrikaner nationalism,” rejected a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the grounds that it would “institutionalize injustice,” and called for ending Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. His resume also includes a stint as a legal fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization that provides legal assistance and training to BDS activists and files war crimes suits against Israeli defense officials. Nor would discovering all this require any great research skills on the part of government officials; it’s all in a handy memo, complete with links, that NGO Monitor published in December.

 

Yet in his new role as HRW’s “Israel and Palestine director,” Shakir is supposed to oversee the production of unbiased, objective reports about human rights violations in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Needless to say, the very idea is fatuous; when someone has already made up his mind that Zionism is racism, Israel practices apartheid and a Jewish state has no right to exist, expecting him to produce unbiased research on this subject is like expecting the head of the Ku Klux Klan to preside fairly over the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. Instead, Shakir will spend his year here producing reports full of vicious anti-Israel slurs. Thanks to the “halo effect” enjoyed by all human rights organizations, those findings will be treated as credible by numerous well-meaning people overseas and will further undermine Israel in the international arena.

 

In short, allowing Shakir to take up his post will do Israel incalculable harm. Yet, instead of doing the minimum research required to justify barring him as an individual, the border control authorities made a hasty decision in February to deny him a visa on the sweeping grounds that HRW is an anti-Israel organization. Clearly, accusing an entire organization of being anti-Israel is far harder to justify, even if it happens to be true (which, in HRW’s case, I believe it is). Doing so without exhaustive research and intensive preparation for the inevitable diplomatic backlash was insane.

 

The predictable result was that the State Department exerted pressure on HRW’s behalf since it’s an American organization. And then, instead of retreating to the narrower and more easily defensible position of barring Shakir on the grounds of his clear unfitness for his post, Israel capitulated completely. Thus instead of HRW being justly embarrassed at having chosen someone so patently unqualified as its “Israel and Palestine director,” boycott advocates were handed a totally unjustified and very public victory.

 

One might think this is simply a case of bureaucratic ineptitude that has nothing to do with the new law, especially since Shakir’s visa was initially denied before the new law even passed. But the new law actually makes such damaging outcomes even more likely. Why? Because it differs from the old law, which also allowed prominent boycott advocates to be denied entry, in one respect only: Instead of border control officials needing the interior minister’s permission to bar a prominent boycotter, they can now do so on their own authority, unless the government intervenes.

 

In other words, under the old law, visas were theoretically denied only in cases where the government had already decided it was prepared to stand behind the denial. By handing this authority over to relatively low-level officials, the new law makes it even more likely that the government will end up beating humiliating retreats from eminently reasonable decisions simply because they were made without the necessary research and preparation.

 

In all other respects, the new law is identical to the old. Like the old one, it applies only to the most prominent boycott advocates. Consequently, it accomplishes nothing except to further increase the likelihood of bureaucratic snafus, while also producing a lot of unfavorable publicity, upsetting even many of the country’s prominent defenders, giving extra ammunition to people who seek to tar Israel as anti-democratic, and creating unwarranted anxiety among well-meaning people who now fear being denied entry on grounds that aren’t even actionable under the law, such as a personal refusal to buy settlement products.

 

If Israel is to fight the BDS movement effectively, anti-Israel activists like Shakir must be called out as publicly as possible instead of being allowed to pose as objective researchers whose anti-Israel screeds should be considered credible. And barring them from entering the country, precisely because it’s such a high-profile step, can be an effective way of doing so. But if Shakir’s case is any example, the new law will at best contribute nothing to this essential effort, and, at worst, may even end up hindering it.

 

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LINDA SARSOUR’S CUNY SPEECH: A MORAL DISASTER

Jeffrey S. Weisenfeld

Forward, May 10, 2017

 

One can have visions of shenere un besere velt, a better and more beautiful world, as prophesied by the Workmen’s Circle, when reading the delusional praise of Linda Sarsour in the Forward by New York City Councilmember Brad Lander. Alas, his naive ilk bears historical precedence in bad Jewish outcomes. Before getting to the state of American Jewry, however, I must correct some misperceptions that Lander and so many others have regarding free speech on campus.

 

As a former trustee of CUNY, I can state categorically that claims of free speech in these matters are nonsense and amount to deliberate obfuscation by elected Democratic officials who have placed their chits with the radical left — to the detriment of Jews. Rare exceptions include Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who, in summing up Sarsour’s shortcomings, remarked that “surely CUNY can do better.”

 

CUNY Chancellor James Milliken’s declaration that “taking action… would conflict with the First Amendment and the principles of academic freedom” is a fallacious statement. The conferring of honorary degrees and commencement speeches are pure marketing tools designed to draw attention to a school and burnish its image. These are honors bestowed by a college or university; they have little to do with free speech. Instead, bestowing an honorary degree to Sarsour amounts to the administration making a value judgment.

 

In Linda Sarsour’s case, CUNY selects an honoree who proclaims, “You can’t be a feminist in the United States [and not] stand up for the rights of Palestinian women,” and that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” They celebrate a woman who said of anti-Islamist writer and politician Ayaan Hirsut Ali and conservative journalist Brigitte Gabriel, “I wish I could take their vaginas away.” Sarsour also called Palestinian thugs who threw stones at Jews “courageous.”

 

Lander cannot claim to be a feminist and a Zionist and then go on to “stand with Sarsour,” any more than I can be a Zionist and stand with Louis Farrakhan. Several years ago, when the CUNY School of Law wanted to honor Lynne Stewart, attorney for terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, aka the “Blind Sheikh” (who herself spent time in jail for illegally smuggling messages from her client to his rabid followers), the chancellor and the trustees at that time, including me, said no way. CUNY damages its brand when it associates with unworthy honorees.

 

As to the larger picture: I see the Jewish masses proudly marching, working, building coalitions with spurious partners — assisting the Black Lives Matter movement, cooperating with the likes of Sarsour, other participants in the BDS movement — in short, a potpourri of anti-Semites. Where is the simple instinct of dignity to at least demand reciprocity of Jewish goals in exchange for Jewish support, and to understand the needs of all Americans when advocating for actions that they believe are derived from Jewish law?

 

In the name of “social justice,” those very Jews fight government incentives that could benefit Jewish education while advocating for abortion rights and opposing charter schools.

 

Jewish liberalism and leftism may have made sense in the era before labor unions, Social Security and other components of the basic safety net, but today, they are a backbone of the BDS movement and other causes inimical to Jewish survival. What’s happened?

 

Jews in the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements were mostly in sync on core Jewish survival issues until about 50 years ago. However, as the Conservative and Reform movements began to see largely empty pews on the Sabbath, their leaders concocted out of whole cloth an expanded tikkun olam.

 

Tikkun olam is a simple, direct injunction proclaiming just that we should “repair the world by proclaiming God’s sovereignty,” nothing more, nothing less. In the past several decades, however, not only did application of the term expand, but it also did not possess the self-respect of insisting on reciprocity. To the contrary: Tikkun olam, as opposed to the direct and simple injunction of God’s sovereignty, has morphed into Palestinian rights, Black Lives Matter (no friends of the Jews), LGBT rights, abortion rights, etc. Many of these are legitimate social issues, but they have nothing to do with tikkun olam.

 

I am not some perfectly practicing Orthodox Jew, but the fact is that the Conservative and Reform movements are disappearing because their leaders have created an alternative religion through what the late economic professor of Stephen Plaut of Haifa University dubbed the “tikkun olam fetish.”

 

As Jews, we end up advocating for our enemies and expect no reciprocity, nor receive it; I call it, “Tikkun olam for thee, but not for me.” What other racial/ethnic/religious/national group would foolishly do for others while receiving betrayal in return, let alone reciprocity? For our critical role in the civil rights movement because it was right — not because of the tikkun olam fetish — we applaud Black Lives Matter partnering with our libelous enemies? If there is a majority of American Jews who wish to proclaim their liberalism, that’s their business — just don’t falsely attribute their philosophy and actions to Scripture. Our Scripture does remind us, “your enemies shall emerge from within you.”

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Our Office Will Be Closed on Monday for Victoria Day

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Not So Safe Space [WATCH]: Eliana Rudee, Israel Video Network, Mar. 30, 2017—This video satire on safe spaces shows a side-by-side comparison of the difference of responsibility between an Israeli 18 year old and an American 18 year old. Footage provided by the Sderot Media Center.

Northwestern Students Mourn Terror Victims Ahead Of Rasmea Odeh Talk:  JTA, May 17, 2017— Jewish students at Northwestern University organized a vigil for two Israeli students killed in a 1969 bombing ahead of a campus talk by a Palestinian activist, Rasmea Odeh, convicted of participating in the terrorist attack. Odeh was among the organizers of International Women’s Day in March.

BDS Suffers Another Defeat at University of California-Santa Barbara; Divestment Resolution Gets Zero Votes in Favor: Rachel Frommer, Algemeiner, May 11, 2017— Zero votes were cast in favor of a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) resolution at the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) early Thursday morning following a marathon debate between pro- and anti-Israel activists. Ultimately, 16 student representatives voted against the resolution, which was titled “Divest From Companies that Profit From Human Rights Violations in Palestine/Israel.” There were seven abstentions.

New Jersey University Rejects BDS Motion: Israel National News, Apr. 29, 2017— The student government at Montclair State University in New Jersey reportedly voted down a resolution calling on the school to boycott Israel. According to the report, the measure was defeated Wednesday by a vote of 11-1, with six abstentions.