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

Month: August 2017

HEZBOLLAH—DEDICATED TO THE ELIMINATION OF ISRAEL— IS ESSENTIAL TO IRAN’S GOAL OF REGIONAL HEGEMONY

Iran Out to Remake Mideast With Arab Enforcer: Hezbollah: Ben Hubbard, New York Times, Aug. 27, 2017— For three decades, Hezbollah maintained a singular focus as a Lebanese military group fighting Israel.

With Win Over Islamic State, Hezbollah Gains New Sway in Lebanon: Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 31, 2017— Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia has branded the recent expulsion of Islamic State’s militants from their main stronghold in the country as a “great victory” akin to forcing out Israel’s occupation forces in 2000.

Israel and Hezbollah: The Battle Before the Battle: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2017— During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli military actions were limited by the broader diplomatic situation.

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri Joins With Hezbollah to Con Donald Trump: Tony Badran, Tablet, Aug. 2, 2017 — The day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with President Trump at the White House, a member of his delegation saluted Hezbollah on social media from Washington.

 

On Topic Links

 

Victory for Israel in the Security Council: Nitsan Keidar, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 30, 2017

Why Did Syria, Hezbollah Bus ISIS Fighters Near Iraq?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2017

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Aug. 31, 2017

The Next War Against Hezbollah: Strategic and Operational Considerations: Udi Dekel and Assaf Orion, INSS, 2017

 

 

 

IRAN OUT TO REMAKE MIDEAST WITH ARAB ENFORCER: HEZBOLLAH

Ben Hubbard

New York Times, Aug. 27, 2017

 

For three decades, Hezbollah maintained a singular focus as a Lebanese military group fighting Israel. It built a network of bunkers and tunnels near Lebanon’s southern border, trained thousands of committed fighters to battle Israel’s army and built up an arsenal of rockets capable of striking far across the Jewish state. But as the Middle East has changed, with conflicts often having nothing to do with Israel flaring up around the region, Hezbollah has changed, too.

 

It has rapidly expanded its realm of operations. It has sent legions of fighters to Syria. It has sent trainers to Iraq. It has backed rebels in Yemen. And it has helped organize a battalion of militants from Afghanistan that can fight almost anywhere. As a result, Hezbollah is not just a power unto itself, but is one of the most important instruments in the drive for regional supremacy by its sponsor: Iran. Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda.

 

Founded with Iranian guidance in the 1980s as a resistance force against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah became the prototype for the kind of militias Iran is now backing around the region. Hezbollah has evolved into a virtual arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, providing the connective tissue for the growing network of powerful militias. Months of interviews with officials, fighters, commanders and analysts from nine countries, and with members of Hezbollah itself, bring to light an organization with new power and reach that has not been widely recognized. Increasingly, Iranian leaders rely on it to pursue their goals.

 

Iran and Hezbollah complement each other. Both are Shiite powers in a part of the world that is predominantly Sunni. For Iran, a Persian nation in a mostly Arab region, Hezbollah lends not just military prowess but also Arabic-speaking leaders and operatives who can work more easily in the Arab world. And for Hezbollah, the alliance means money for running an extensive social services network in Lebanon, with schools, hospitals and scout troops — as well as for weapons, technology and salaries for its tens of thousands of fighters. The network Hezbollah helped build has changed conflicts across the region. In Syria, the militias have played a major role in propping up President Bashar al-Assad, an important Iranian ally. In Iraq, they are battling the Islamic State and promoting Iranian interests. In Yemen, they have taken over the capital city and dragged Saudi Arabia, an Iranian foe, into a costly quagmire. In Lebanon, they broadcast pro-Iranian news and build forces to fight Israel.

 

The allied militias are increasingly collaborating across borders. In April, members of a Qatari royal hunting party kidnapped by militants in Iraq were released as part of a deal involving Hezbollah in Syria. In southern Syria, Iranian-backed forces are pushing to connect with their counterparts in Iraq. And in the battle for Aleppo last year — a turning point in the Syrian war — Iranian-supported militants hailed from so many countries their diversity amazed even those involved. “On the front lines, there were lots of nationalities,” said Hamza Mohammed, an Iraqi militiaman who was trained by Hezbollah and fought in Aleppo. “Hezbollah was there, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis – everyone was there, with Iranian participation to lead the battle.”

 

The roots of that network go back to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Iran called on Hezbollah to help organize Iraqi Shiite militias that in the coming years killed hundreds of American troops and many more Iraqis. Recent wars have allowed Iran to revive and expand the web, and some of the groups Hezbollah trained in Iraq are now returning the favor by sending fighters to Syria.

 

More than just a political alliance, Hezbollah, whose name is Arabic for Party of God, and its allies have deep ideological ties to Iran. Most endorse vilayat-e-faqih, the concept that Iran’s supreme leader is both the highest political power in the country and the paramount religious authority. They also trumpet their goal of combating American and Israeli interests, while arguing that they fill gaps left by weak governments and fight Sunni jihadists like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Many wonder what these tens of thousands of experienced fighters will do after the wars in Syria and Iraq wind down. Hezbollah leaders have said they could be deployed in future wars against Israel…

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

 

 

Contents

WITH WIN OVER ISLAMIC STATE,

HEZBOLLAH GAINS NEW SWAY IN LEBANON

Yaroslav Trofimov

Wall Street Journal, Aug. 31, 2017

 

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia has branded the recent expulsion of Islamic State’s militants from their main stronghold in the country as a “great victory” akin to forcing out Israel’s occupation forces in 2000. Now the question for Lebanon and the wider region is whether Hezbollah—dedicated to the elimination of Israel and considered a terrorist organization by Washington—translates this triumph of arms into lasting political gains.

 

On Saturday, parallel operations by Lebanon’s army from inside Lebanon and by Hezbollah fighters advancing from Syria cleared out Islamic State’s redoubt in the mountainous Qalamoun region straddling the border. Controversially, a deal struck by Hezbollah allowed hundreds of Islamic State militants to move to the extremist group’s remaining territory in eastern Syria. The decision, which was criticized by Hezbollah’s political opponents inside Lebanon, prompted the U.S. to launch two U.S. airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday aimed at stopping the convoy carrying the fighters and their families.

 

Iran-backed Hezbollah lost much of its luster in the wider Middle East once it sided with the Syrian regime after the revolution there erupted in 2011. But as the increasingly bloody Syrian conflict flooded tiny Lebanon with refugees—and Sunni extremists—the group has managed to position itself as the defender of the region’s minorities, particularly Christians. That, in turn, has generated domestic support well beyond Hezbollah’s Shiite home base. Such an ability to build a broader consensus at home has provided Hezbollah, whose militia is one of the Middle East’s most formidable fighting forces, with unparalleled political sway. After a two-year delay, the group’s preferred candidate, Christian former army chief Michel Aoun, was elected as Lebanon’s president in October 2016.

 

Long-postponed elections for a Lebanese parliament that would name a new government are slated for May 2018, and the giant victory rally Hezbollah is slated to hold in the eastern town of Baalbek on Thursday is widely viewed as the kickoff of a campaign to broaden its power—and its alliances. Hezbollah’s achievement in Qalamoun “will be regarded not only as the growth of its military might, but also of its political influence,” said Imad Salamey, director of the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. “This victory will add to Hezbollah’s ability to gain influence within its own Shiite community and will also strengthen its Christian allies.”

 

Not everyone agrees. Many Lebanese were upset with how Hezbollah unilaterally negotiated with Islamic State—an approach that seemed to undermine the authority of the Lebanese army and the Lebanese state.  “Hezbollah has behaved as a parallel state,” said Basem Chabb, a Christian lawmaker and a member of the Sunni-led coalition of current Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “And now that ISIS is out of the way, even some of its Christian allies may become alarmed.” Regardless of such resentment, nobody in Lebanon today appears in a position to resist Hezbollah’s strategic choices, especially now that its status has been consolidated by the outcome of its Qalamoun campaign. “After this, opposing Hezbollah’s political will in Lebanon will be even more difficult. Hezbollah is gaining additional cards in Lebanese politics,” said Ali Abdallah Fadlallah, an expert on the group and a professor at the American University in Beirut.

 

One added complication is Lebanon’s relationship with Washington. President Donald Trump described Hezbollah as “a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region” during his meeting with Mr. Hariri in July, and U.S. officials are looking for ways to punish the group as part of a broader campaign to roll back Iranian influence in the region. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, meanwhile, recently praised Mr. Trump for his determination in fighting Islamic State, and for having described the militant group as a creation of the Obama administration…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                

 

Contents

 

ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH: THE BATTLE BEFORE THE BATTLE                                                              

Jonathan Spyer                               

Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2017

 

During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli military actions were limited by the broader diplomatic situation. The expulsion of Syria from Lebanon had taken place a year earlier. The government of then-prime minister Fuad Siniora in Beirut was considered one of the few successes of the US democracy promotion project in the region. As a result, pressure was placed on Israel to restrict its operations to targets directly related to Hezbollah activity alone.

 

Ten years is a long time. Today, the view in Israel is that the distinction between Hezbollah and the institutions and authorities of the Lebanese state has disappeared. But while the government of Lebanon is no longer a particular protégé of the US and the West, the position taken in Western capitals regarding the Lebanese state and, notably, its armed forces remains markedly different from that taken in Jerusalem. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) continues to be a major beneficiary of US aid.

 

This gap in perceptions reflects different primary security concerns. For Israel, altering this perception in the West before the next conflict with Hezbollah is a primary strategic task. So what are the facts of the case? One of the basic expectations of a functioning state is that it exercise a monopoly on the use of violence within its borders. From this point of view, the Lebanese state ceased to function some time ago. As the 2006 and subsequent events graphically demonstrated, Hezbollah and its patrons could operate an independent foreign and military policy without seeking the permission of the official authorities in Beirut.

 

What has happened in the intervening decade, however, is that Hezbollah and its allies, rather than simply ignoring the wishes of the state, have progressively absorbed its institutions. The events of May/June 2008 in Beirut finally demonstrated the impotence of “official” Lebanon in opposing the will of Hezbollah and its allies. Then, on the official political level, Hezbollah and its allies prevented the appointment of a Lebanese president for two years, before ensuring the ascendance of their own allied candidate, then-Gen. Michel Aoun, in October 2016. For good measure, the March 8 bloc of which Hezbollah is a part ensured for itself eight portfolios in the 17-person Lebanese cabinet. Of these, two are directly in the hands of Hezbollah.

 

So at the level of political leadership, it is no longer possible to identify where the Lebanese state begins and Hezbollah ends. And the organization has long enjoyed a de facto, physical dominance, both within Lebanon and in terms of its actions across and beyond its borders (against Israel, in its intervention in the Syrian civil war, and in its involvement with other pro-Iranian militia groups in Iraq and Yemen). What of the issue of security cooperation between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces? No serious observer of Lebanon disputes that open cooperation between the two forces has increased over the last half decade. The background to this is the threat of Sunni jihadist terrorism from Syrian Salafi groups engaged in the Syrian civil war. A series of bombings in Shi’a south Beirut and in border communities triggered the joint effort by Hezbollah and the LAF.

 

Of course, the bombings were taking place as retaliation by Syrian Salafi groups for Hezbollah’s own involvement in the war in Syria on the regime side. The Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah cooperated on the level of intelligence sharing and scored a number of successes in locating and apprehending Salafi cells on Lebanese soil. As a result of the increasingly overt cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia ended its military assistance to the LAF, canceling a $3 billion pledge in February 2016. The cancellation was a tacit admission of defeat by the Saudis, an acknowledgment that their project of exerting influence and power in Lebanon through their clients had failed.

 

The US, however, has continued its relationship with the LAF, which was the recipient of $200 million in assistance from Washington last year. Last December, the US dismissed Israeli assertions that M-113 armored vehicles displayed by Hezbollah in a triumphant parade in the town of Qusayr in Syria came from LAF stocks. The Lebanese Armed Forces, according to a statement by John Kirby, then-State Department spokesman, has an “exemplary record” in complying with US end-use guidelines and restrictions.

 

A statement by President Aoun in February appeared to confirm the situation of cooperation between the forces. Aoun told the Egyptian CBC channel that Hezbollah’s arms “do not contradict the state… and are an essential part of defending Lebanon. As long as the Lebanese army lacks sufficient power to face Israel, we feel the need for Hezbollah’s arsenal, because it complements the army’s role.” The difference of opinion between the US and Israel in this regard is of growing importance because of the emergent evidence of hitherto unreported Hezbollah activities. In particular, there is deep disquiet in Israel regarding revelations of an Iranian- supported, homegrown Hezbollah arms industry. This, combined with what may be the beginnings of a slow winding down of the Syrian war, raises the possibility of renewed tensions with Hezbollah.

 

This does not mean that war is imminent. But from an Israeli point of view, the gap in understanding and perception between Washington and Jerusalem on the Lebanese Armed Forces, and by definition on the current nature of the Lebanese state, is a matter requiring urgent attention. It is currently one of the missing pieces in the diplomatic structure which alone can make possible the kind of war that Israel will be wanting to fight next time round, should Hezbollah attack or provocation come. This is intended to be a war on a scale and dimension quite different from 2006. The intention will be to dismiss any distinction between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state, and to wage a state-to-state war against Lebanon, on the basis that the distinction has become a fiction. This would involve an all-out use of military force that will be intended to force a relatively quick decision…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                       

                                                                       

 

Contents

LEBANESE PM SAAD HARIRI JOINS WITH HEZBOLLAH TO CON DONALD TRUMP                                                                 Tony Badran

                                                 Tablet, Aug. 2, 2017

 

The day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with President Trump at the White House, a member of his delegation saluted Hezbollah on social media from Washington. Last Wednesday, former minister and current adviser to the Lebanese president (a Hezbollah ally), Elias Bou Saab, tweeted a salute to “every resister”—a euphemism for Hezbollah fighter—and “every soldier” fighting in the outback of the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal, on the border with Syria. Later that same day, Bou Saab, who is the executive vice president of the American University in Dubai, and is widely seen in Lebanon as a sympathizer of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, posed for a picture with a journalist from the pro-Hezbollah TV channel NBN. The journalist posted the photo on her Facebook page. It shows Bou Saab and the journalist on a street in Washington, holding a placard with another salute to Hezbollah. It reads: “From the outback of Washington, a salute to the heroes in the outback of Arsal.”

 

Bou Saab’s boss, Hariri, was only slightly more reserved in his public alliance with the Lebanese terror army—aka “the resistance.” After his press conference with President Trump, in which the U.S. president described Hezbollah as a regional menace and long arm of Iran, the prime minister told Lebanese reporters, “We fight ISIS and al-Qaida. Hezbollah is in the government and part of parliament and we have an understanding with it.” An understanding with Hezbollah sounds about right. Hariri’s visit with Trump was part of a coordinated, multifaceted information campaign to swindle the U.S. government into continuing its military support and extending political cover for the evolving pro-Iran order in Lebanon and Syria. Everyone—Hariri, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and its supporters and publicists in Washington—is in on the con. Everyone benefits—except, of course, the people who continue to suffer and die in the region.

 

Let’s trace back the timeline of the Hariri-Hezbollah campaign, whose primary aim was apparently to game Donald Trump and his generals. At the end of June, the LAF raided a Syrian refugee camp in the Arsal region in northeastern Lebanon, near the Syrian border. The raid was accompanied by a large, coordinated PR effort to whip up patriotic fervor, in which Syrian refugees were used as props. A few days later, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah emerged with a televised address in which he announced the imminent start of the battle around Arsal. A few days after that, military operations begin, with Hezbollah receiving air support from the Assad regime on the Syrian side and artillery support from the LAF on the Lebanese side, demonstrating the high level of coordination between these two forces, which are fast becoming one under Iranian leadership. The timing of this operation—or demonstration—was hardly accidental, either: Hariri was making his pitch in Washington for continued support to Lebanon and the LAF, and for watering down U.S. sanctions against Hezbollah.

 

The second act of the Lebanese con game began while the Hariri delegation was still in Washington. The Lebanese foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, a close Hezbollah ally who accompanied Hariri, tweeted the LAF’s next move from Washington: Attack the second pocket held by a so-called ISIS affiliate outside Ras Baalbeck, north of Arsal. In an interview in Washington, Hariri explained how, “the army is going to take over the whole thing, and Hezbollah is going to withdraw, because the fighting is going to continue with ISIS, and we believe this is the real battle.” In other words, Washington was supposed to see that, Hezbollah’s joint operation with the LAF in Arsal notwithstanding, ISIS is the real enemy—and it’s the LAF that will handle this next, crucial battle. The LAF should, therefore, receive more U.S. money and weapons, regardless of its political obedience to a terrorist group with the blood of hundreds of Americans on its hands.

 

By the time Hariri’s interview came out, the brief operation in Arsal had already ended—with a negotiated settlement with the group formerly known as the Nusra Front. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, a Hezbollah ally who heads Lebanon’s General Security, handled the negotiations. The Nusra fighters received safe passage out of the area to Idlib province and exchanged prisoners and bodies with Hezbollah. That Hezbollah’s show focused only on the Nusra pocket near Arsal and avoided the second, ISIS-held pocket farther north was by design. The strategy here was not directed at either of these groups, but at Washington. The Nusra pocket had been involved in these negotiations for a while, but Hezbollah forced the issue—early in the operation, a mediator, a local municipal official from Arsal, was targeted in his car and killed, with some accusing Hezbollah of the murder—at this precise moment, in order to set up a binary choice for Hariri to present in Washington: the LAF vs. ISIS.

 

No sooner had Hariri wrapped up his visit than the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington put out a report on why, because of this supposed looming battle with ISIS, the United States should continue, even increase, its support for the LAF. Tying a neat ribbon on the Lebanese information campaign, the report, written by a promoter of the pro-LAF policy who works closely with the LAF command, completed Hariri’s pitch: Supporting the LAF is not just necessary because the LAF will soon fight ISIS, but also because Hezbollah otherwise would win the so-called battle of narratives with the Lebanese state, which it, in fact, controls. It’s a spectacular con…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Victory for Israel in the Security Council: Nitsan Keidar, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 30, 2017— Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, on Wednesday welcomed the adoption of a new UN Security Council resolution regarding the mandate of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Why Did Syria, Hezbollah Bus ISIS Fighters Near Iraq?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2017— In 2009, before the Syrian civil war, a bus ride from Homs to Deir al-Zor on the Euphrates River would take around five or six hours. There was a stop for refreshments just outside of the historic city of Palmyra. Now fighters from Islamic State are taking that bus route.

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Aug. 31, 2017— In defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah and its Iranian patron, with the assistance of the Bashar Assad regime, are filling Lebanon with surface-to-surface projectiles, and aiming them at population centers and strategic sites in Israel.

The Next War Against Hezbollah: Strategic and Operational Considerations: Udi Dekel and Assaf Orion, INSS, 2017— The IDF does not hide the fact that it is preparing for war in Lebanon. These preparations take the form of learning and applying the lessons of the Second Lebanon War while incorporating the modifications required in light of changes in the region’s strategic reality, especially in Israel’s northern theater.

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

On Topic Links

           

Iran in Syria: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2017

If You Want to Accuse Someone of Prejudice, Use the Right Word: John Robson, National Post, Aug. 23, 2017

This Missile Could Reach California. But Can North Korea Use It With a Nuclear Weapon?: New York Times, Aug. 22, 2017

The Greatest Danger with North Korea is Accidental War: Mitchell Lerner, Washington Post, Aug. 24, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"The U.N. has failed with regard to Israel. UNESCO is making a mockery of world heritage when it denies the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem…The U.N. is in charge of peace, but it allows Palestinian hatred to flourish in its institutions. The time has come to restore moral clarity to the U.N." — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who arrived in Israel on a three-day visit. This is Guterres' first visit to the Jewish state since taking office. The meeting focused largely on Iran's efforts to entrench itself militarily in Syria and Hezbollah's armament efforts in Lebanon.  Iran is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of using them against Israel, Netanyahu told Guterres. He further warned that Iran was turning Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel…This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the U.N. should not accept," Netanyahu said. (Washington Post, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

“We are seeking a dramatic change in the way the UN treats Israel. It’s time to place the issue squarely on the table and address it head-on…if the UN does not drastically change its behavior it will lose both support and funding…It’s no longer just us threatening this…The US position has changed. Led by Nikki Haley, they have made clear that they will not tolerate bias against us and will no longer be giving an open check.” — Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. Briefing journalists ahead of Guterres’ first visit to Israel, Hotovely said two key issues would be addressed during the visit: ending “anti-Israel bias” at the UN, and changing the UNIFIL mandate for UN activities on Israel’s northern border. (Times of Israel, Aug. 27, 2017)

 

"General Beary says there are no Hezbollah weapons…That’s an embarrassing lack of understanding on what’s going on around him…Hezbollah openly brags about their weapons. They parade them before TV cameras. The secretary general’s reports have confirmed this. For the UNIFIL commander to deny it…shows that we need to have changes in UNIFIL." — Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN. Haley leveled harsh criticism at Irish Major General Michael Beary, the commander of UN forces in Lebanon, accusing him of turning a blind eye to Iran's covert arming of Hezbollah. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 25, 2017)

 

“Today, the relationship with Iran is excellent, or very excellent…Thousands of people work every day to make rockets, (dig) tunnels and train frogmen…The relationship with Iran is in this context.” — Yehiyeh Sinwar, Hamas’ new leader in the Gaza Strip. Sinwar said his group has repaired relations with Iran after a five-year rift and is using its newfound financial and military aid to gear up for new hostilities with Israel. Iran was once the top backer of Hamas, but Hamas broke with Iran in 2012 after the group refused to support Iran’s close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad. During a four-hour meeting with journalists, Sinwar said those ties have been restored and are stronger than ever. He added that the Islamic Republic is “the largest backer financially and militarily” to Hamas’ military wing. Before the 2012 breakup, Iran provided an estimated $50 million a month to Hamas. (National Post, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

“We are not going to state what the outcome has to be…It has to be workable to both sides. That’s the best view as to not really bias one side over the other, to make sure that they can work through it.” — U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. Committing to the two-state solution would bias Washington in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, Nauert said last week, as a high-level delegation arrived in the region. Her comments came as Palestinians have increasingly complained over the White House’s refusal to endorse the two-state solution, breaking with longstanding US policy and an international consensus. Nauert’s comments appeared to reflect recognition of a lack of support for the two state solution in Israel’s government. (Times of Israel, Aug. 24, 2017)

 

“The BDS movement does not only strongly resemble the ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ argumentation of former times of the National Socialists, but the movement is built on the same toxic ground and it is poisoning the social climate in the same dangerous way…That’s why we decided to ban any municipal funding or the renting of rooms for any activities of groups or individuals, who support the antisemitic BDS movement….We also instructed our city-owned companies and called upon private landlords to act in the same way.” — Uwe Becker, Frankfurt’s deputy mayor and city treasurer. Frankfurt has become the first German city to pass a bill outlawing municipal funding for the anti-Israel BDS movement’s activities. Frankfurt, which has a population of about 730,000, is the main financial and economic center of Germany. Munich is expected to pass a similar measure. (Algemeiner, Aug. 27, 2017)

 

“If Republicans on Capitol Hill get nothing done and continue to be attacked by their party’s president, their reelection will be endangered. Mr. Trump may be ensuring that Democrats retake Congress in 2018. Does he understand that the first thing they’ll do when they assume power is launch investigations and move to impeach him? They’ll do it for at least two reasons. One is that hating Mr. Trump is one of the few things that unites their party. The other is that busying themselves with impeachment will allow Democratic leaders to avoid hard fights over what their own party stands for. For it too is warring and riven. But Democrats don’t have to face that while they’re busy with the Trump Removal.” — Peggy Noonan. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 26, 2017)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

U.S. REPORTEDLY CONFIRMS FUNDING OF UNRWA WILL CONTINUE (Washington) — President Trump has promised that annual U.S. funding of $300 million to a UN agency that caters solely to Palestinian refugees will not be halted. The decision puts the US at odds with the Israel. While Israel has historically recognized the stabilizing role played by UNRWA in providing key services to the 750,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants — who now number around five million people — more recently, it has urged that the agency be dissolved into the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which caters to the remainder of the world’s current 65 million refugees. Canada also announced that it will provide a further $25 million to the agency. (Algemeiner, Aug. 25, 2017)

 

US DENIES YIELDING TO PALESTINIAN DEMANDS (Washington) — A White House official denied reports that the US had made a commitment to submit a plan to advance the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians, in exchange for a Palestinian commitment to hold back on their threat to take unilateral diplomatic initiatives against Israel. A senior Palestinian official said that such a deal was reached between Jared Kushner, a top adviser to Trump, and PA head Abbas during their meeting in Ramallah. The Palestinians have expressed displeasure and set preconditions, including an ultimatum that unless progress towards a two-state solution is made within 45 days, the Palestinians will consider themselves no longer committed to US mediation. (World Israel News, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

RABBIS CANCEL ANNUAL CALL WITH TRUMP (Washington) — Top rabbis are refusing to hold an annual call with Trump over his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va. Rabbis from four Jewish organizations said they won’t hold the annual call with the president to mark the upcoming Jewish holidays because they found his response was “lacking in moral leadership and empathy.” The rabbis — representing groups like the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Rabbinical Assembly — said they pray that he “will recognize and remedy the grave error he has made in abetting the voices of hatred.” Trump is facing backlash after he blamed “both sides” for the violence. One woman was killed and more than a dozen others injured when a car was driven into counterprotesters. (The Hill, Aug. 23, 2017)

 

COURT SENDS 5 RELATIVES TO PRISON FOR FAILING TO STOP MURDERER (Jerusalem) — A court convicted five relatives of Omar al-Abed, the 20-year-old terrorist who murdered three members of the Solomon family in Neveh Tzuf last month, of failure to prevent a crime. The five, his mother, father, two of his brothers and an uncle, were convicted because the court ruled they had known of his intention to carry out the attack and did not inform authorities to prevent it. The indictments were filed after it was determined that they had read Al-Abed’s Facebook post before the attack, in which he declared that he he intended to carry out an attack. (Jewish Press, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

SUICIDE ATTACK ON SHIA MOSQUE IN KABUL KILLS AT LEAST 30 (Kabul) — A suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of a Shia Muslim mosque in Afghanistan's capital as other attackers stormed the building, killing at least 30 people as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers. I.S., which has launched several attacks against minority Shia targets in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility, the jihadist group's news agency said. Police said they rescued more than 100 worshippers. (CBC, Aug. 25, 2017)

 

I.S. CLAIMS BRUSSELS KNIFE ATTACK ON SOLDIERS (Brussels) — I.S. claimed the knife attack against soldiers in Brussels, an assault that came just hours before a sword-wielding assailant wounded police outside London's Buckingham Palace. The knifeman in Brussels, who hurt a soldier on Friday in what authorities said was an "attempted terrorist murder", was shot dead, while police in London overpowered a man who injured three unarmed officers outside the royal residence with a four-foot (1.2-metre) blade. The two attacks come as much of Europe is on high alert following a string of deadly assaults over the past two years – most of which have been claimed by jihadists. (Telegraph, Aug. 27, 2017)

 

LEBANESE BEAUTY QUEEN STRIPPED OF TITLE FOR VISITING ISRAEL (Beirut) — The winner of a Lebanese beauty pageant has been stripped of her title after it was revealed she had visited Israel. Dual Swedish-Lebanese citizen Amanda Hanna, who won the Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2017 competition earlier this month, was told she would be stripped of her title after visiting Israel, using her Swedish passport on an academic trip in 2016. It is illegal for Lebanese citizens to travel to the Jewish state. In 2015, Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, nearly lost her title after she posted a photo on social media appearing with Miss Israel. Lebanon also banned the blockbuster “Wonder Woman” movie due to the casting of Gal Gadot, an Israeli actress, in the movie’s lead role. (United With Israel, Aug. 24, 2017)

 

PORN STAR CLAIMS I.S. THREATENED TO BEHEAD HER (New York) — I.S. threatened to behead Lebanese-American porn star Mia Khalifa with a mocked-up execution photo. The terrorist group sent a “photoshopped picture of me being beheaded” via social media, and “threatened that would happen to me,” Khalifa said. The mocked up shot shows the porn-star turned sports pundit’s head pasted onto the body of a prisoner in an image taken from an I.S. execution video. Khalifa’s controversial performances during a three-month stint in the porn industry catapulted her into the limelight. She now lives in Austin, TX, and has millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter. (New York Post, Aug. 26, 2017)

 

BERLIN MAYOR MAY BE INCLUDED ON LIST OF ANTISEMITIC/ANTI-ISRAEL CASES (Berlin) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center is considering the inclusion of Berlin’s Mayor Michael Mueller on its list of the top-10 worst cases of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity in 2017 because of an epidemic BDS in the German capital. Berlin has been a hotbed of pro-BDS and antisemitic activities, including nearly 600 Hezbollah supporters and members who marched in Berlin’s al-Quds Day rally calling for the destruction of Israel. Mueller declined to criticize the al-Quds Day. Mueller also declined to oppose a planned fund-raising event for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and EU. The PFLP has murdered scores of Israelis since the 1970’s. Its supporters operate in Berlin and have held events in Berlin. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

GERMAN MAGAZINE SLAMMED FOR TRUMP “NAZI SALUTE” COVER (Berlin) — This week’s cover of a popular German news magazine depicting President Trump draped in the U.S. flag while giving a Nazi salute is drawing criticism from a prominent Jewish group. Stern magazine’s illustration is part of a cover story headlined “Sein Kampf,” which translates as “His Struggle” and is a play on Adolf Hitler’s infamous “Mein Kampf.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center said “the depiction of the president as a latter-day Hitler by a major German publication is untrue and beyond the pale.” It says “Germans must surely know that by misappropriating” Nazi symbols “they belittle and becloud” past crimes. (Washington Post, Aug. 25, 2017)

 

TURKEY CHARGES US PASTOR (Istanbul) — An American pastor imprisoned in Turkey for nearly a year on what he says are trumped-up terrorism charges is facing new charges, including espionage. Pastor Andrew Brunson was detained in October and then accused of “membership in an armed terroristic organization." Last week, the government filed four new charges against Brunson, including acquiring secret political and military information and attempting to overthrow the Turkish Parliament. Brunson has denied all the charges. The pastor, who has lived and worked in Turkey as a missionary for 23 years, was pastoring a Presbyterian congregation in Izmir when he was detained Oct. 6. (Fox News, Aug. 29, 2017)

 

NEXT TARGET GUAM, NORTH KOREA SAYS (Pyongyang) — North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan was a prelude to more military operations directed at the American territory of Guam, North Korean state media warned. The country's state-run news agency reported leader Kim Jong Un presided over the launch Tuesday of the "ultra-modern rocket system," the first missile ever fired from the capital Pyongyang. The intermediate-range missile, identified by the North Koreans as the Hwasong-12, flew over Japan, further fueling tensions between North Korea and the United States and its allies, Japan and South Korea. Early Wednesday, the US conducted a test intercept of a medium range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii, according to a statement from the US Missile Defense Agency. (CNN, Aug. 30, 2017)

 

TIME TO JOIN U.S. BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENCE: DALLAIRE (Ottawa) — Retired general and senator Romeo Dallaire says Canadians can't just assume the U.S. will shoot down a missile heading towards Canada, and that it is time for this country to finally embrace continental missile defence. His comments come amid growing concerns that Canada could be caught in the middle of a conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. invited Canada to join its continental missile-shield system more than a decade ago, but then-prime minister Paul Martin opted against it in 2005 following an extremely divisive national debate. Since then, Canada has sat on the sidelines as the U.S. has spent more than $100 billion building a series of land- and sea-based interceptors that could stop the type of limited attack North Korea might launch. (CTV, Aug. 24, 2017)

 

ISRAEL TO BUY 17 NEW F-35 (Jerusalem) — Israel will purchase an additional 17 Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighter aircraft. The acquisition will bring the number of F-35s in service in Israel to 50 and complete the Israel Air Force’s second F-35 fighter wing, at a cost of under $100 million per aircraft. The planes will be delivered by the end of 2024. Lockheed Martin says the F-35 is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Israel has so far taken delivery of five F-35s, the first batch of a 33-plane order to be delivered by the end of 2021. (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

US ARMY CLOSE TO GIVING GO-AHEAD TO INSTALL ISRAELI TANK TECHNOLOGY (Washington) — After testing Israel’s Trophy active protection system, the US Army is close to having it installed on the M1A1 Abrams tank. The US Army would then be the first army outside the IDF to use the system. Designed to detect and neutralize incoming projectiles, the Trophy system has four radar antennas and fire-control radars to track incoming threats such as antitank guided missiles (ATGMs) and rocket-propelled grenades. Once a projectile is detected, the Trophy system fires a shotgun-type blast to neutralize the threat. The Trophy Active Protection System (APS) is installed on Israel’s Merkava tanks and is the only fully operational and combat-proven APS in the world. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2017)

 

GILEAD BUYS KITE PHARMA, FOUNDED BY ISRAELIS, FOR $11.9 BILLION (Jerusalem) — The almost $12 billion that Gilead Sciences agreed to pay for Kite Pharma is testament not only to Israeli innovation but also to the entrepreneurship of Kite’s Israeli founder and CEO, Prof. Arie Belldegrun. Gilead said it had agreed to pay $11.9 billion in cash for Kite, which is based in California and is developing immunotherapy-based cancer treatments. Kite’s biggest shareholder is the U.S fund Capital group, which holds 19.9 percent of the company. The biggest Israeli stockholder is Menorah Insurance, with a 2 percent stake worth $222 million. (Ha’aretz, Aug. 29, 2017)  

 

ISRAELI DOCTORS IMPLANT DEVICE FOR CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE (Jerusalem) — Millions of people around the world suffer from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow. However a new Israeli patent, implemented for the first time at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, can change this situation said the cardiologist who invented it. Robert McClaken, 72, of Canada recently made history by becoming the first person to undergo the surgery for cardiac insufficiency. McClaken reported a significant improvement in his condition and in a few days he will be discharged and return home to Canada. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 29, 2017)

 

EMPEROR JUSTINIAN MOSAIC INSCRIPTION UNEARTHED NEAR DAMASCUS GATE (Jerusalem) — A 1,500-year-old mosaic floor, with a Greek inscription, was discovered this summer following groundwork for cable infrastructures near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to Dr. Leah Di Segni of the Hebrew University, “This inscription commemorates the founding of the building by Constantine, the priest. The inscription names the emperor Flavius Justinian. It seems that the building was used as a hostel for pilgrims.” Di Segni added, “‘Indiction’ is an ancient method of counting years, for taxation purposes. Based on historical sources, the mosaic can be dated to the year 550/551 AD.” (Jewish Press, Aug. 23, 2017)

 

HELP THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF HOUSTON (Houston) — As the full extent of the damage from Hurricane Harvey is being assessed, the Jewish community in Houston, Texas has once again found itself in the crosshairs of a devastating storm that will likely cause even more damage. As a community, this is our opportunity to stand together and show our brothers and sisters in Houston that we stand with them in the spirit of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh – that all of our people stand together as one. Emergency fundraising campaign: the Orthodox Union’s full emergency fundraising campaign will launch with the next 24-48 hours. But for now – please click here to donate to the Orthodox Union’s disaster relief fund in support of the Jewish community in Houston. (Jewish Press, Aug. 28, 2017)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Iran in Syria: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2017 —Russian President Vladimir Putin is well aware that Iran’s influence in Syria is a major concern in Jerusalem. The question is whether Putin can do anything about it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed the extent of Israeli concerns to the Russian leader when he traveled to Putin’s summer holiday resort in Sochi last week. He made it clear to Putin that Israel would not tolerate the establishment of a permanent and significant Iranian presence in Syria that includes military bases and missile launcher sites.

If You Want to Accuse Someone of Prejudice, Use the Right Word: John Robson, National Post, Aug. 23, 2017—Can we just clarify here that Islam is not a race? It’s a religion. So whatever concern about Islam may be, it’s not racism.

This Missile Could Reach California. But Can North Korea Use It With a Nuclear Weapon?: New York Times, Aug. 22, 2017—North Korea is speeding toward a goal it has sought for decades: the ability to hit a major American city with a nuclear weapon.

The Greatest Danger with North Korea is Accidental War: Mitchell Lerner, Washington Post, Aug. 24, 2017 —In the midst of the vitriol flying between Washington and Pyongyang, a number of voices have emerged to assure the world that war is indeed unlikely.

 

TRUMP, FOREIGN POLICY: PEACE PROCESS “GOING NOWHERE”, RUSSIAN RELATIONS AT A LOW POINT, LITTLE PROGRESS FIGHTING ISLAMISM

Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It.: Benny Avni, The Daily Beast, Aug. 28, 2017 — Jared Kushner's second visit to the Mideast is widely perceived as a Seinfeld-like show about nothing—and the Israelis love it.

Russia Feels American Pressure: Emil Avdaliani, BESA, August 16, 2017 — Recent tensions between Moscow and Washington could drive the two superpowers to a deadlock.

On Radical Islam, Trump Has Lost His Focus: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 11, 2017 — Candidate Donald Trump vowed to take a fresh approach to Islamic extremism.

Trump’s Foreign Policy: The Conservatives’ Report Card: Bret Stephens, New York Times, July 21, 2017 — If you’re a liberal judging Donald Trump’s foreign-policy record at the six-month mark, it’s not hard to guess the grade you’d give him.

 

On Topic Links

 

Keep Telling the Horrific Truth About North Korea: Benny Avni, New York Post, Aug. 15, 2017

U.S. Policy in Lebanon Is Now Helping Hezbollah and Iran: Matthew R.J. Brodsky, Weekly Standard, Aug. 16, 2017

Name-Calling Critics Fail to Refute ZOA’s Concerns About McMaster: Morton A. Klein, Elizabeth Berney and Daniel Mandel, Algemeiner, Aug. 27, 2017

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 14, 2017

 

 

 

JARED KUSHNER’S MIDEAST PEACE PUSH

IS GOING NOWHERE. THAT’S WHY ISRAELIS LOVE IT.

Benny Avni

The Daily Beast, Aug. 28, 2017

 

Jared Kushner's second visit to the Mideast is widely perceived as a Seinfeld-like show about nothing—and the Israelis love it. Seeking President Trump’s “ultimate deal”—peace between Israelis and Palestinians—Kushner arrived in Jerusalem and Ramallah this week, where few could point to any progress made in promoting a deal between the parties. White House officials say they're keeping mum on progress by design, but commentators in the Israeli and Palestinian press claim there is little substance behind the first son-in-law’s diplomacy.

 

And that's just fine by Israeli government officials, who quietly express hope that Kushner's latest trip, and perhaps future ones as well, will yield no earth-shaking results. “Past American administrations jumped into the peace process pool before checking if there’s any water in it; we jumped after them and cracked our heads,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told The Daily Beast. He commended Kushner’s go-slow approach, saying, “Perhaps he’ll realize there’s no water in this pool, and so there's no reason to jump in.”

 

Publicly, after meeting with Kushner, Jerusalem and Ramallah officials made statements that were remarkably similar, using words diplomats have long employed to obscure content. Privately, however, several Israeli officials say they expect no progress. Further, they're grateful the Trump administration, unlike previous ones, exerts no pressure on them to make major concessions. Political conditions are far from optimal for a meaningful peace process. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under unprecedented pressure, as investigations of various alleged wrongdoings mount against him. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, is unpopular and weak.

 

While Kushner and international negotiator Jason Greenblatt do their best not to discuss the substance of their talks—saying they would rather conduct quiet diplomacy—critics note that not too long ago Kushner told White House interns, in a conversation that was leaked to the press, that there may be “no solution” to the Israeli Palestinian problem. Dayan—a former leader of Yesha, the West Bank settler movement—said that rather than seeking a final deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute once and for all, Kushner should seek smaller victories. Dayan cited a deal reached recently about water-sharing between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “You won’t get a Peace Nobel for things like that, but they may be more achievable" and helpful, he told The Daily Beast.

 

The Palestinians fear that kind of approach would muddy their goal: to be recognized as an independent state. In a recent State Department briefing, spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to endorse the two state solution, a formula expressed by three prior administrations that calls for the creation of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state next to the Jewish state of Israel. “We are not going to state what the outcome has to be,” Nauert said, adding, “It has to be workable to both sides.” Palestinians were outraged. Even as Kushner met for several hours with Abbas in Ramallah Thursday, demonstrators, said to be organized by Abbas’ own lieutenants, gathered outside the presidential headquarters, known as the Muqata, with some reportedly carrying anti-Trump signs, including one depicting the president as being led on a leash by daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner.

 

A White House official close to the negotiations noted however that Abbas has threatened—as he’s often done in the past—to resign and dissolve the Palestinian Authority if Kushner declined to push hard on the peace process. But then, the official said, "Abbas didn’t pull out,” which indicates that the talks are substantial after all. “This shows it’s not about nothing," the official added. The official asked to speak on background as part of Kushner’s and Greenblatt’s expressed desire to keep the content of the negotiations under wraps. This, the official said, may be the reason many feel no progress is being made, but it is a deliberate strategy.

 

Past administrations “put process ahead of results. It was about a road map, time lines, impositions of deadlines,” the official said, adding that past diplomacy “suffered from a constant effort to show some achievement,” which doomed it to failure as the parties pushed back against public statements in Washington. Critics however say that the current diplomatic ambiguity may lead to failure. “You have to say publicly where you want to go,” said Gilead Sher, a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. Kushner, he says, is undermining progress by not stating what the American goal is. “When no one knows which way America is sailing, it’s impossible for all to steer their boats," he added…

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

                                                                       

 

 

Contents

RUSSIA FEELS AMERICAN PRESSURE

Emil Avdaliani

BESA, August 16, 2017

 

Recent tensions between Moscow and Washington could drive the two superpowers to a deadlock. On July 30, Russia retaliated against the US by ordering 755 American diplomats to leave the country. Moscow’s move came after Washington toughened its own anti-Russia sanctions (although the Russian move was intended more as a countermeasure against former US President Barack Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in late 2016).

 

Moscow cannot afford to impose serious countersanctions, as they would cause greater harm to the much-troubled Russian economy than they would to the US. Consider, for example, the case of NASA, which depends largely on Russian engines. Stopping their export could cause significant difficulties for the US aerospace industry, but for the Russian economy, it would represent a loss of approximately $1 billion in revenues in a couple of years.

 

The relationship, troubled as it is, has not necessarily hit rock bottom. On August 1, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “the [US-Russia] relationship was at a historic low since the end of the Cold War, and it could get worse.” On August 3, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev tweeted that any hope for improvement in relations was lost with Trump’s sanctions. There are reasons for Moscow to be worried. American politicians openly state how supportive the US will be towards eastern European countries and Georgia in the event that Russia increases its military capabilities in the region. This US resolve was highlighted recently when VP Mike Pence visited Estonia, Georgia, and Montenegro.

 

A steady US/NATO military and security buildup is underway in eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Georgia, for example, hosted the biggest military exercises ever held on its soil, in which US forces took part along with other allies. Washington has also outlined its position that any progress with Moscow would depend entirely upon the latter’s ceasing its military and financial support for pro-Russia separatists in east Ukraine, Georgia’s breakaway territories of Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

 

Rather than compromise, the Russians have in fact expanded their military bases in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and other breakaway territories across the former Soviet space. As an international relations realist, Putin knows the only hope of pressuring Washington is to gain an advantage in other theaters where Moscow has significant political leverage. However, despite strained relations, Moscow and Washington still share similar – if limited – perspectives in several areas. Syria is first among several potential points of cooperation. Russia and the US share a vision of defeating ISIS, and there was even a joint announcement of a ceasefire in southwestern Syria in early July. To both countries’ credit, the ceasefire still holds.

 

East of the Syrian battlefield, Afghanistan could be another theater for cooperation. Russia fears a spillover of militancy from both the Taliban and ISIS across the Afghan border into Central Asia, and would not oppose a US presence in Afghanistan as a bulwark against it. Yet another geographic area of possible Russian-American cooperation could be the Korean peninsula, where the situation is heating up. The Pyongyang leadership is rigorously pursuing its nuclear program and has made significant progress in successfully testing its ICBM. Both Moscow and Washington are concerned that North Korea’s military capabilities could deal a final blow to the policy of non-proliferation.

 

However, there are limits to these areas of converging interests. In Syria, for instance, Russia’s grand strategy of linking the Syrian crisis with the Ukrainian one in order to gain diplomatic advantage in negotiations with the west has failed. In Afghanistan, the US suspects Moscow of providing military support to the Taliban, while in North Korea, Washington does not openly rely on Russian support. Washington recently criticized both Moscow and Beijing for not doing enough to stop the North Korean nuclear program.

 

Russian-US relations have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. There do exist several theaters in which the two superpowers can work together, but there are significant limits that will block any breakthroughs. There is thus little possibility for any rapprochement between the two powers across the former Soviet space. Different geopolitical readings on Ukraine, Georgia, and wider eastern European security make near-term progress in Russia-US relations improbable at best.                      

 

 

Contents

ON RADICAL ISLAM, TRUMP HAS LOST HIS FOCUS                                                                              

Ayaan Hirsi Ali                                         

Wall Street Journal, Aug. 11, 2017

 

Candidate Donald Trump vowed to take a fresh approach to Islamic extremism. He ditched the politically correct language of the Obama administration by declaring that we were mired in an ideological conflict with radical Islam, which he likened to the totalitarian ideologies America had defeated in the 20th century. Mr. Trump also promised, as part of his immigration policy, to put in place an “extreme vetting” system that screens for Islamic radicalism. He vowed to work with genuine Muslim reformers and concluded with the promise that one of his first acts as president would be “to establish a commission on radical Islam.”

 

Mr. Trump has had more than six months to make good on these pledges. He hasn’t gotten very far. The administration’s first move—a hastily drafted executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries—backfired when it was repeatedly blocked in court. Worse, subsequent moves have tended to run counter to Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges. Aside from a new questionnaire for visa applicants, there has been no clarity regarding the promised “extreme vetting” of Muslim immigrants and visitors. The promise to work with and empower authentic Muslim reformers has gone nowhere. The status of the promised commission on radical Islam remains unclear. Perhaps most discouragingly, the administration’s Middle Eastern strategy seems to involve cozying up to Saudi Arabia—for decades the principal source of funding for Islamic extremism around the world.

 

Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems. But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest. Is all hope of a revamped policy on radical Islam lost? Not necessarily. Prominent members of Congress—among them Sens. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Reps. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) and Trent Franks (R., Ariz.)—understand that Islamism must be confronted with ideas as well as arms.

 

And this need not be a partisan issue. In the early years after 9/11, Sens. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) worked together to analyze the threat of Islamist ideology. Even President Obama’s former representative to Muslim communities, Farah Pandith, who visited 80 countries between 2009 and 2014, wrote in 2015: “In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence . . . Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams.” In 2016, addressing the Council on Foreign Relations, Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) sounded the alarm over Islamist indoctrination in Pakistan, noting that thousands of schools funded with Saudi money “teach a version of Islam that leads . . . into an . . . anti-Western militancy.” We have already seen one unexpected outbreak of bipartisanship in Washington this summer, over tightening sanctions on Russia in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin’s many aggressions.

 

I propose that the next item of cross-party business should be for Congress to convene hearings on the ideological threat of radical Islam. “Who wants America on offense, with a coherent and intelligible strategy?” Newt Gingrich asked in 2015, when he called for such hearings. Then as now, if the executive branch isn’t willing—if the president has forgotten his campaign commitments—lawmakers can and should step up to the plate.                                                                          

 

 

Contents

TRUMP’S FOREIGN POLICY:

THE CONSERVATIVES’ REPORT CARD                                                                   

Bret Stephens

                      New York Times, July 21, 2017

 

If you’re a liberal judging Donald Trump’s foreign-policy record at the six-month mark, it’s not hard to guess the grade you’d give him. An F is too generous for your taste. An F-minus? How about a negative F? What if you’re conservative? Here your grade will depend on what kind of conservative you happen to be.

 

(1) You’re a Trumpkin. What’s not to like? Wasn’t it Machiavelli — or some other Italian with a similar-sounding name — who said, “it is much safer to be feared than loved”? Isn’t it about time that Bashar al-Assad fears us? Isn’t it about time we have an American president who couldn’t care less whether he’s loved in Paris or Brussels — capitals our soldiers once liberated only so that they could repay us with freeloading and condescension? And isn’t it about time we throw our weight around the world on our own behalf, and not for the sake of some make-believe “international community”? Grade: The easiest A since you took “rocks for jocks” in college.

 

(2) You’re not a Trumpkin, but you’re happy Hillary Clinton isn’t president. Well, what did you expect? We all knew he was a policy neophyte, with some bad ideas but reasonably decent instincts. And, on the whole, his instincts are serving us well. What, you have an objection to Jim Mattis at Defense, John Kelly at Homeland Security, Mike Pompeo at C.I.A. and H. R. McMaster as security adviser? The Clinton team would have consisted of Brookings Institution types trying to extend the Obama administration’s legacy of American retreat — of appeasing adversaries, alienating allies, and turning us into a country whose enemies didn’t fear us and whose friends didn’t trust us. It’s been only six months, and Trump still has a lot to learn. But he’s jettisoned some of his worst ideas — on NATO being obsolete, for instance — while taking a more muscular approach against the Islamic State, Iran and North Korea. Grade: B.

 

(3) You’re the sort of conservative who doesn’t believe we should grade college students on a curve, much less our commander in chief. Yes, Machiavelli did say it was better to be feared than loved. But the great Florentine also said, “a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred.” The United States has had unpopular presidents. But not one — not Richard Nixon in the Watergate crisis; not George W. Bush at the worst moments of the Iraq war — inspires the sort of hatred that Trump does.

 

Much of this is self-inflicted. Trump didn’t need to start his presidency by infuriating the president of Mexico on the eve of a planned visit to Washington, or by comparing the American intelligence community to Nazi Germany, or by throwing a tantrum with the prime minister of Australia. He didn’t need to demand that Seoul pay for missile defenses that would protect American troops in the event of war with North Korea, or toy with our NATO allies as he mulled whether to reaffirm our mutual-defense obligations.

 

Trump could have avoided all of this. He didn’t, either because his personality is defective or because he thinks humiliation is an appropriate tool of presidential power. Character is destiny, conservatives used to think. We are living this destiny.

 

Conservatives must also wonder what happened to the “conservative” foreign policy they were promised in the campaign. The administration certified this month that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal; according to the Institute for Science and International Security, it isn’t fully. We were supposed to support our allies in Syria fighting both the Islamic State and Assad; we ditched them. We were supposed to get serious about the threat from Russia. In Hamburg this month, Trump again showed how eager he was to oblige his man-crush in the Kremlin, this time at the expense of Israel.

 

But the deeper flaw of Trump’s foreign policy isn’t psychological. It’s philosophical. The Trump administration is the first to make an open break with the anti-isolationist postwar consensus of Harry Truman, Arthur Vandenberg and Dean Acheson. “The world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage,” McMaster and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. Mark this as the shift from internationalism to transactionalism; from a values-based foreign policy rooted in Alexis de Tocqueville’s notion of “self-interest, rightly understood” to an approach that might be called neo-Maguirism, after “Jerry Maguire.” To wit: “Show me the money!”

 

It’s not that the administration has done everything wrong, at least by conservative lights: It’s always possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason. But if serious conservatives believe in anything, it’s that we really are, as Lincoln said, “the last best hope of earth,” and that our foreign policy should be equal to that hope. That’s “hope,” Donald, not “joke.” Grade: O.M.G.

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Keep Telling the Horrific Truth About North Korea: Benny Avni, New York Post, Aug. 15, 2017—Equating President Trump’s tough North Korea talk with Kim Jong-un’s bluster, as the president’s critics have done over the past week, is dumb — not least because it’s clear Trump’s tack is working. The White House’s hard-edged messaging knocked Pyongyang’s dynastic tyrant out of his comfort zone.

U.S. Policy in Lebanon Is Now Helping Hezbollah and Iran: Matthew R.J. Brodsky, Weekly Standard, Aug. 16, 2017—The U.S. is deploying special forces on the ground in Lebanon to provide training for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) for missions that partner with Hezbollah—Iran’s most valuable terrorist ally—against ISIS.

Name-Calling Critics Fail to Refute ZOA’s Concerns About McMaster: Morton A. Klein, Elizabeth Berney and Daniel Mandel, Algemeiner, Aug. 27, 2017—The Zionist Organization of America’s August 2017 report detailed US National Security Chief General H.R. McMaster’s troubling record regarding Iran, Israel and radical Islamist terrorism.

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 14, 2017—One of the most important chapters in the war on terror is being rewritten — with a moral inversion. Islamic terrorists who were arrested and deported have become "liberal causes célèbres", while agents of the CIA who questioned them are not only being condemned but also financially crushed by punishment and legal bills — for having tried, legally, to save American lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBI ATTACKED BY MEDIA, OPPOSITION, & LEFTISTS, DESPITE PAST DECADE OF “STABILITY & TRIUMPH” IN ISRAEL

Netanyahu's Strategic Achievements: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Aug. 11, 2017 — No one yet knows whether the current police investigations will land Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in court or bring about a change in government.

Netanyahu's Empathy for Trump: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 24, 2017— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was attacked by the media for not jumping on the bandwagon and condemning US President Donald Trump for his response to the far-right and far-left rioters in Charlottesville earlier this month.

Will Netanyahu Stand Up to Trump on Charlottesville?: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Aug. 24, 2017— During the eight years that he was saddled with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was bitterly criticized from the left by those who believed that he was endangering Israel’s vital alliance with the US.

Israeli Opposition Bets on Millionaire to Take it Back to Power: John Reed, Financial Times, Aug. 21, 2017 — Israel’s centre-left opposition, which was founded by eastern European socialists and once ruled the country for decades, has chosen an unlikely new leader: the son of Moroccan immigrants who rose from poverty to become a multimillionaire.

 

On Topic Links

 

Differing Scenarios for a Post-Netanyahu Government: Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, Aug. 9, 2017

Bouncing Bibi?: Jim Fletcher, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 15, 2017

Is Ehud Barak on his Way Back to the Knesset?: David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 15, 2017

Naftali Bennett's Fine Words: Jeff Barak, Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2017

 

 

NETANYAHU'S STRATEGIC ACHIEVEMENTS

David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, Aug. 11, 2017

 

No one yet knows whether the current police investigations will land Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in court or bring about a change in government. But what is intolerable is the false narrative of diplomatic delinquency that is being hurled at Netanyahu, in complete contradiction to the historical record. Day and night, opposition critics and left-wing former security types attack Netanyahu for "doing nothing." They assail his decade-long leadership as having "achieved nothing" and especially for having "missed opportunities for peace." They claim that Netanyahu has left Israel "isolated." They say he is driven only by personal calculations, or alternatively, by messianic ideologies, and is incapable of protecting Israel's interests.

 

Such criticism stems from a misreading of Israel's strategic situation, and belies a total unwillingness to consider Netanyahu's intelligent long-term strategy for securing Israel's security and global standing. This is unfortunate, because an honest look at Netanyahu's record suggests significant strategic accomplishments. As prime minister, Netanyahu has been confronted by many questions: How does Israel steer clear of Arab civilizational chaos while defending its borders in an extremely unstable and unpredictable security environment? How does Israel prevent runaway Palestinian statehood and the emergence of a radical state that prolongs and exacerbates conflict with Israel instead of ending it? How should Israel handle an impatient world community that has gotten into the habit of punishing Israel for the absence of unrealistic diplomatic progress with the Palestinians? And how does Israel stymie the rise of Iranian regional hegemony and prevent its development of nuclear weapons?

 

Netanyahu's approach to these challenges can summarized as: Apply caution alongside creativity. Navigate warily, yet maneuver innovatively. Netanyahu has sought to ride out the Middle Eastern storms by securing Israel's borders; refraining as much as possible from bloody wars; seeking out and securing new security and diplomatic alliances; and forestalling grandiose and dicey diplomatic experiments in Israel's heartland. At the same time, he has kept all Israel's options open, while ensuring domestic government stability and the growth of Israel's economy.

 

Wise and important actors around the world have come to accept Netanyahu's central strategic platform: the assertion that the main game in the region is no longer Israel versus the Palestinians or Israel versus the Arabs. Instead, the main basis for defense and diplomatic activity in the Middle East is an unofficial alliance between Israel and most of the Arabs (together with Western powers), against the Iranians and the jihadis. The forces of stability and moderation are pitted against the forces of violent and radical Islamic revolution. The same wise and important actors have come to appreciate Netanyahu as one of the free world's finest statesmen. From China, India, Russia and Africa, in addition to North America and even Europe, they are beating a path to Netanyahu's doorstep seeking opportunities to cooperate with Israel, not to isolate it. Behind the scenes, Israel's relations with Egypt and key Gulf states have never been better, according to all reports.

 

So there is an Israeli "grand strategy" of sorts, and it has been largely successful. It involves steadfastness, patience, and looking over the horizon. It involves being both flexible and firm. It involves positioning Israel as an anchor of sanity and a source of ingenuity. For many years, it involved bobbing and weaving around then-President Barack Obama in order to keep America on Israel's side. Alas, there is a big chink in this contention and in Israel's armor, which is the growing power of Iran and its allies (Hezbollah and Hamas) on Israel's borders. Netanyahu was unable to stop Obama's terrible deal with Tehran, and as a result Iran is more belligerently adventurous than ever. Israel's account with Iran, and with those in Washington and the West that continue to pump for Iran, remains open.

 

Many in liberal circles will acknowledge Netanyahu's acumen in advancing a broad strategic vision, but find it awkward to defend his policy towards the Palestinians. They fail to understand that the Israeli public elected Netanyahu largely in order to put a brake on the failed Oslo process. Netanyahu represents a majority of Israelis who felt that the repercussions of the breakdown of a bad peace process were incalculably less worse than its continuation. It is obvious that the Palestinians have been radicalized, and suffer from chronic leadership deficit. Their cloying victimhood clogs their ability to think straight. No Palestinian truly accepts Israel's deep historical and religious rights in the Land of Israel. Gaza seems permanently locked in the jaws of Hamas, and Islamists would capture the West Bank too if the IDF halted its nightly raids into Hebron and Nablus. This makes neat territorial deals and grand treaties of reconciliation with the Palestinians nearly impossible, and adds to the long-term fragility of Israel's frontiers.

 

So Netanyahu's go-slow posture in relation to the Palestinians makes a lot of sense. Anyway, the "Palestinian problem" has been marginalized as a priority issue for Middle East Arab leaders. In relative terms, and viewed in a broader context, Palestinian nationalism is one of the more controllable problems that Israel faces. The frictions can and are being managed. Beyond this, Netanyahu is essentially making an additional argument on Israel's behalf: that Israel should be judged on its many successes (in promoting regional stability, and in immigrant absorption, education, democracy, human rights, high-tech, bio-tech and cyber-tech, etc.), rather than on its failures in peacemaking with intransigent adversaries.

 

Evelyn Gordon wrote last year in Mosaic that when Israel's left-wing politicians "encourage the world to judge Israel on its peacemaking credentials rather than on the myriad positive goods Israel provides, they invite the perverse and false conclusion that the Jewish state has been a failure rather than a resounding success. Peace is obviously desirable, but Israel doesn't exist to achieve peace. It exists to create a thriving Jewish state in the Jewish people's historic homeland." And by extension, to contribute to the world in numerous ways. Israel is doing so famously.

 

An overwhelming majority of Israelis ascribe the last decade of stability and triumph to Netanyahu's leadership. He may not be the ultimate paragon of virtue, but which politician is? However, his prudence and professionalism have best served Israel's strategic needs. Netanyahu has not been "just playing petty politics in order to survive," nor has he mainly spent his time monkeying with the media or smoking cigars and drinking champagne. He has driven Israel forward on the basis of a coherent strategic worldview and improved Israel's fortunes.                                             

 

Contents

NETANYAHU'S EMPATHY FOR TRUMP

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 24, 2017

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was attacked by the media for not jumping on the bandwagon and condemning US President Donald Trump for his response to the far-right and far-left rioters in Charlottesville earlier this month. It may be that he held his tongue because he saw nothing to gain from attacking a friendly president. But it is also reasonable to assume that Netanyahu held his tongue because he empathizes with Trump. More than any leader in the world, Netanyahu understands what Trump is going through. He’s been there himself – and in many ways, is still there. Netanyahu has never enjoyed a day in office when Israel’s unelected elites weren’t at war with him.

 

From a comparative perspective, Netanyahu’s experiences in his first term in office, from 1996 until 1999, are most similar to Trump’s current position. His 1996 victory over incumbent prime minister Shimon Peres shocked the political class no less than the American political class was stunned by Trump’s victory. And this makes sense. The historical context of Israel’s 1996 election and the US elections last year were strikingly similar. In 1992, Israel’s elites, the doves who controlled all aspects of the governing apparatuses, including the security services, universities, government bureaucracies, state prosecution, Supreme Court, media and entertainment industry, were seized with collective euphoria when the Labor Party under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres won Israel’s Left its first clear-cut political victory since 1974. Rabin and Peres proceeded to form the most dovish governing coalition in Israel’s history.

 

Then in 1993, after secret negotiations in Oslo, they shocked the public with the announcement that they had decided to cut a deal with Israel’s arch enemy, the PLO, a terrorist organization pledged to Israel’s destruction. The elites, who fancied themselves the guardians of Israel’s democracy, had no problem with the fact that the most radical policy ever adopted by any government, one fraught with dangers for the nation and the state, was embarked upon with no public debate or deliberation. To the contrary, they spent the next three years dancing around their campfire celebrating the imminent realization of their greatest dream. Israel would no longer live by its sword. It would be able to join a new, post-national world. In exchange for Jerusalem and a few other things that no one cared about, other than some fanatical religious people, Israel could join the Arab League or the European Union or both.

 

From 1993 through 1996, and particularly in the aftermath of Rabin’s assassination in November 1995, the media, the courts and every other aspect of Israel’s elite treated the fellow Israelis who reject- ed their positions as the moral and qualitative equivalent of terrorists. Like the murderers of innocents, these law-abiding Israelis were “enemies of peace.” As for terrorism, the Oslo process ushered in not an era of peace, but an era of unprecedented violence. The first time Israelis were beset by suicide bombers in their midst was in April 1994, when the euphoria over the coming peace was at its height. The 1996 election was the first opportunity the public had to vote on the Oslo process. Then, in spite of Rabin’s assassination and the beautiful ceremonies on the White House lawns with balloons and children holding flowers, the people of Israel said no thank you. We are Zionists, not post-Zionists. We don’t like to get blown to smithereens on buses, and we don’t appreciate being told that victims of terrorism are victims of peace.

 

Trump likewise replaced the most radical president the US has ever known. Throughout Barack Obama’s eight years in office, despite his failure to restore America’s economic prosperity or secure its interests abroad, Obama enjoyed the sycophantic support of the media, whose leading lights worshiped him and made no bones about it. In one memorable exchange after Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, where he presented the US as the moral equivalent of its enemies, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas told MSNBC host Chris Mitchell that Obama was “kind of God.”…

 

In 1996, the Israeli elite greeted Netanyahu’s victory with shock and grief. The “good, enlightened” Israel they thought would rule forever had just been defeated by the unwashed mob. Peres summed up the results by telling reporters that “the Israelis” voted for him. And “the Jews” voted for Netanyahu. His followers shook their heads in mildly antisemitic disgust. Their mourning quickly was replaced by a spasm of hatred for Netanyahu and his supporters that hasn’t disappeared even now, 21 years later. The media’s war against Netanyahu began immediately. It was unrelenting and more often than not unhinged. So it was that two weeks after his victory, Jerusalem’s Kol Ha’ir weekly published a cover story titled, “Who are you, John Jay Sullivan?” The report alleged that Netanyahu was a CIA spy who went by the alias “John Jay Sullivan.” It took all of five minutes to take the air out of that preposterous balloon, but the media didn’t care – and it was all downhill from there…

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

                                                                       

Contents

WILL NETANYAHU STAND UP TO TRUMP ON CHARLOTTESVILLE?                                               

Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                                                 

JNS, Aug. 24, 2017

 

During the eight years that he was saddled with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was bitterly criticized from the left by those who believed that he was endangering Israel’s vital alliance with the US. Netanyahu’s critics warned that his public confrontations with the US president were both inappropriate, and had the potential to turn support for the Jewish state into a partisan issue — since some Democrats interpreted these disputes as a reason to accelerate their drift away from the pro-Israel camp.

 

Today, however, the same people who spent eight years slamming Netanyahu’s willingness to publicly take on a US president are now loudly lamenting his refusal to do just that. Netanyahu was slow to respond to the antisemitic and racist march in Charlottesville, Virginia — and Netanyahu’s refusal to issue any statement that could be interpreted as criticizing Donald Trump is being blasted as a betrayal of Jewish values and his country’s best interests. Are his critics hypocrites? Of course. Are they wrong? Not entirely.

 

What these people are demanding might create a dangerous breach with a US president who has seemed to support Israel in its conflicts with both the Palestinians and Iran. But a refusal to speak out against the US president would also conflict with Netanyahu’s own definition of his responsibility, which is to be not just the head of Israel’s government, but also a defender of the interests of all Jews. Obama came into office determined to achieve more “daylight” between Israel and the US. And as Obama’s quest for a rapprochement with Iran took shape, the hostility between the two leaders reached unprecedented levels.

 

Netanyahu’s decision to accept a Republican invitation to address Congress to urge it to reject the Iran nuclear deal enraged Obama and the Democratic Party. Though most Israelis agreed with Netanyahu’s arguments, many worried that he went too far in opposing Obama, and provided an excuse for those Democrats who wished to abandon Israel. Trump’s election provided a welcome change. The Palestinians were frustrated by what they saw as strong support for Netanyahu’s positions. So it is hardly surprising that Netanyahu has sought to avoid trouble with Trump. When American Jewish liberals were lobbing largely unjustified accusations of antisemitism at the president, Netanyahu stood by Trump.

 

Even after Charlottesville, that decision to avoid criticizing Trump remains the position of many on the Israeli right and diehard Trump loyalists. Many among the prime minister’s supporters probably also agreed with Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara when he said that the “terrific relations” with Trump mean “we need to put declarations about the Nazis in proper proportion.” As Lord Palmerston said, nations “have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” That aphorism can be used to justify embracing some strange bedfellows in the defense of Israeli security. But the problem for Netanyahu is that it ill behooves a prime minister who based his challenge to Obama on the need to defend the interests of all of the Jewish people, to now lose his voice with respect to antisemitism.

 

I believe that some on the Israeli left want to instigate a spat between Netanyahu and Trump, partly because they want Trump to put pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. In my view, they also don’t expect that any of the possible alternatives to Netanyahu would have the guts to challenge Trump. But critics are correct to note that Netanyahu staying silent after Trump displayed a degree of moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and their opponents is problematic. In my view, left-wing antisemites and Israel haters currently pose a more potent threat to Jewish interests than the Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and alt-right malcontents that marched in Charlottesville. But in the wake of Charlottesville, it’s no longer possible for the Jewish right — in either Israel or the US — to ignore the threat coming from these groups, now that they’ve received some encouragement from a sitting US president…

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

 

 

Contents

ISRAELI OPPOSITION BETS ON MILLIONAIRE TO TAKE IT BACK TO POWER

                                       John Reed

                              Financial Times, Aug. 21, 2017

 

Israel’s centre-left opposition, which was founded by eastern European socialists and once ruled the country for decades, has chosen an unlikely new leader: the son of Moroccan immigrants who rose from poverty to become a multimillionaire. But since Avi Gabbay, a former telecoms chief executive, emerged as the surprise victor of last month’s primary for the Zionist Union — formed after Labour merged with a smaller party — its sagging poll numbers have rebounded.

 

The 50-year-old is now pitching himself as a credible alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu, the rightwing prime minister, who opponents criticise for presiding over a country increasingly riven by disagreements over politics, religion and policies towards the Palestinians. “Israelis today are looking for someone who will unify them. It doesn’t matter if you are from the right side or the left side; people want to be unified again,” says Mr Gabbay in an interview with the Financial Times. “This is the opposite of what Netanyahu is doing.” He thinks his theory will be tested sooner rather than later.

 

The next election is scheduled for 2019. But with Mr Netanyahu increasingly tarnished by corruption probes, Mr Gabbay believes a vote could be held within a year, which would give him a chance of leading his party back to power. The prime minister has been named as a suspect in the probes but denies any wrongdoing Polls show the Zionist Union running either second or third behind Mr Netanyahu’s Likud, alongside Yesh Atid, a centrist party headed by former TV presenter and finance minister Yair Lapid. In Israel’s fragmented Knesset, Mr Gabbay estimates that his party would need 30 seats to win — a quarter of the total and the same number Likud holds. A victory of that scale would be a tall order for a party that has not headed a government since Ehud Barak’s stint as prime minister from 1999 to 2001. Likud and parties to its right have dominated Israeli politics since, winning over a critical mass of Israelis with hardline rhetoric on security issues. Before the last election in 2015, polls suggested the centre-left was set to win. But Mr Netanyahu turned the vote in his favour in the campaign’s final days with controversial remarks about Israeli Arabs voting “in droves” and dismissing the notion of creating a Palestinian state. These energised Likud’s political base.

 

Still, Mr Gabbay believes Israeli moderates can hold sway, adding that social media is amplifying the voices of the extremes. “The moderate people, who are the majority, don’t participate in these discussions [on social media], you don’t hear them, but they are the majority,” he says. “In Israel, more people than ever are participating less in this left-right discussion and [focusing] more on who is the leader, who will take care of us.” In a news cycle dominated by police probes into allegations that Mr Netanyahu received gifts from benefactors and sought a deal to garner favourable coverage from a leading newspaper, Mr Gabbay’s story has managed to surprise and disarm Israel’s often cynical urban elite. Mr Gabbay was raised in a family of 10 in a Jerusalem transit camp for Jewish immigrants, before being identified as a gifted child and tracked into elite schools. After working in the finance ministry he entered business, rising to head Bezeq, Israel’s biggest telecommunications group. In a party founded by Ashkenazi Jews of eastern European descent, he is only the second Labour leader of Middle Eastern Jewish background, representing a community whose members often face discrimination.

 

In his victory speech last month, Mr Gabbay coined a rhyming slogan picked up around Israel, when he promised “leadership that takes care of Dimona and not just of Amona” — referring to a working-class town in southern Israel and a West Bank settlement outpost whose fate recently monopolised political debate among the rightwing. He backs a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But also says he favours keeping Jerusalem unified “forever” and asserts that the city “cannot be capital of two states” — a view in keeping with the Israeli mainstream, but at odds with the Palestinian position.

 

Mr Gabbay entered politics before the last election, running in the centrist Kulanu party, then serving as environment minister when it joined Mr Netanyahu’s coalition in 2015. He quit last year after Mr Netanyahu installed Avigdor Lieberman, a hard right politician, as defence minister.  If elected, he says he would set an eight-year term limit for prime ministers, a dig at Mr Netanyahu who will be Israel’s longest-serving leader if he survives his current term until 2019…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Differing Scenarios for a Post-Netanyahu Government: Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, Aug. 9, 2017—The fact that Ari Harow has turned state witness against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu constitutes a strategic milestone in the investigations against Netanyahu.

Bouncing Bibi?: Jim Fletcher, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 15, 2017—Lots of fears out there that corruption charges will topple Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, and even perhaps repeat the fate of former premier Ehud Olmert, who went to prison for similar things.

Is Ehud Barak on his Way Back to the Knesset?: David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 15, 2017—Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak may be preparing for a return to politics, four-and-a-half years after he stepped down as Defense Minister and left the Knesset, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

Naftali Bennett's Fine Words: Jeff Barak, Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2017—Just in time for the start of the new school year, Education Minister Naftali Bennett laid down an important lesson in tolerance when he came to the defense of his lesbian spokesperson Brit Galor Perets earlier this month.

 

 

 

 

 

GRANDEUR ET DÉCADENCE D’AL JAZEERA

  

    

 

 

 

ISRAËL ANNONCE SON INTENTION DE FERMER LES

BUREAUX D'AL-JAZEERA (MINISTÈRE)

I24, 6 aout 2017

          

Israël a annoncé dimanche son intention de fermer le bureau de la chaîne d'information qatarie Al-Jazeera accusée par les autorités de se livrer à des incitations à la violence, a annoncé le ministère israélien des Communications.

 

Le ministère va notamment demander l'annulation des accréditations des journalistes ainsi qu'un arrêt des liaisons par câbles et satellitaires de la chaîne, a-t-il précisé dans un communiqué.

 

"Ces derniers temps, presque tous les pays de la région notamment l'Arabie Saoudite, l'Egypte et la Jordanie sont parvenus à la conclusion qu'Al-Jazeera incite au terrorisme et à l'extrémisme religieux, il était aberrant dans ces conditions que cette chaîne continue à émettre" à partir d'Israël, a-t-il ajouté.

 

Une procédure va être également engagée par le ministre de la Sécurité intérieure en vue de la fermeture des bureaux de la chaîne.

 

La semaine dernière, le ministre israélien des Communications, Ayoub Kara, avait déjà annoncé son intention – sur la demande du Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou – de faire fermer la chaîne qatarie, accusée depuis plusieurs années de partialité dans sa couverture du conflit israélo-palestinien.

 

Le Premier ministre israélien avait également fustigé la chaîne lors de la crise du Mont du Temple, pour avoir attisé les tensions autour des lieux saints de Jérusalem.

 

Al-Jazeera a immédiatement dénoncé la décision du gouvernement israélien, et a annoncé vouloir contester cette mesure en justice, selon un responsable de la chaîne.

 

"Al-Jazeera suivra le dossier via des procédures légales et judiciaires appropriées", a-t-il dit, critiquant une décision comparable aux "pays dictatoriaux qui ne reconnaissent pas la liberté d'expression".

 

Le responsable d'Al-Jazeera a également contesté les accusations israéliennes de partialité dans la couverture des évènements autour des lieux saints de Jérusalem.

 

"Notre couverture des évènements dans les territoires palestiniens est professionnelle et objective et les Israéliens l'ont reconnu plus d'une fois car nous sommes soucieux de présenter les opinions et leurs contraires", a-t-il estimé.

 

 

 

ABOU DHABI ACCUSE AL JAZEERA D’ANTISÉMITISME

ET D’APPELS À LA HAINE

Times of Israel, 12 juillet, 2017

 

 

Un haut responsable d’Abou Dhabi a accusé la télévision du Qatar Al Jazeera, dont la fermeture est demandée par l’Arabie saoudite et ses alliés arabes, d’antisémitisme et d’appels à la discrimination et à la haine.

 

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Dans une lettre publiée mercredi, le ministre d’Etat aux Affaires étrangères des Emirats Anwar Gargash répond à l’ONU, qui s’était inquiétée fin juin des appels à la fermeture d’Al Jazeera, y voyant une atteinte à la liberté de la presse.

 

« Al Jazeera a fait la promotion d’un antisémitisme violent en diffusant le prêche du chef spirituel des Frères musulmans Youssef al-Qaradoui dans lequel il a rendu hommage à Hitler, qualifié l’holocauste de ‘punition divine’ et demandé à Allah de prendre la bande du peuple juif et des sionistes (…) et de les tuer jusqu’au dernier », écrit M. Gargash.

 

La lettre, datée du 9 juillet et diffusée mercredi par le Conseil national des médias des Emirats arabes, accuse également Al Jazeera à travers d’autres exemples d’avoir « incité à la violence et à discrimination », comme en donnant la parole à l’ancien chef d’Al-Qaïda Oussama ben Laden.

 

Le 30 juin, le Haut commissaire de l’ONU aux droits de l’Homme Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein avait jugé « inacceptable » la demande de fermeture d’Al Jazeera.

 

« L’exigence d’une fermeture (…) est, à notre avis, une attaque inacceptable du droit à la liberté d’expression et d’opinion », avait-il affirmé.

 

Cette fermeture fait partie d’une liste de 13 demandes formulées par les adversaires du Qatar –l’Arabie saoudite, Bahreïn, les Emirats arabes et l’Egypte. Ces pays ont rompu le 5 juin avec Doha, en l’accusant notamment de « soutenir le terrorisme » et lui ont imposé des sanctions économiques.

 

Le Qatar nie ces accusations

 

 

LA CHAÎNE DE TV AL-JAZEERA ACCUSÉE DE FLIRTER AVEC LES IDÉES DE DAECH

RTS, 30 juin 2017

 

 

Al-Jazeera est opposée au régime irakien et aux milices chiites alliées de Bagdad, et la chaîne du Qatar, pays sunnite conservateur, le fait savoir. Dans le monde arabe, on l'accuse carrément de flirter avec les idées des djihadistes du groupe Etat islamique (EI).

 

Les forces irakiennes ont annoncé il y a trois jours avoir repris Falloujah à l'EI. Et pendant les affrontements, les journalistes de la plus grande chaîne d'information en langue arabe ont ainsi utilisé sur les réseaux sociaux un vocabulaire très proche de celui du groupe terroriste, employant des termes très agressifs et dénigrants contre les ennemis de Daech.

 

Par exemple, les membres des forces irakiennes sont qualifiées de "safavides" par un reporter, un terme insultant qui renvoie à une dynastie perse du 16e siècle et au conflit religieux. Dans le même esprit, sur Al-Jazeera, on parle parfois de croisés pour nommer la coalition occidentale contre l'EI, référence là aussi aux guerres de religion.

 

Le Printemps arabe a tout changé

 

Pour Yves Gonzalez, spécialiste du monde arabe, ce ne sont pas des dérapages isolés de journalistes. "Al-Jazeera est le révélateur de la décadence – ou en tout cas de la mauvais santé – des médias arabes qui sont en train de sombrer dans un langage sectaire au lieu d'informer la société, d'être un contre-pouvoir", estime-t-il dans l'émission Tout un monde.

 

Les médias arabes "sont en train d'allumer des incendies qu'on voit éclater dans toute la région et dont on se demande comment et quand ils pourront s'éteindre", regrette le chercheur à l'Université de Lyon II et animateur du blog "Culture et politique arabes". Et pour Al-Jazeera, "tout a basculé grosso modo avec le Printemps arabe", juge-t-il.

 

Un modèle devenu porte-parole du Qatar

 

Auparavant, la chaîne qatarie était en effet un modèle respecté dans le monde arabe et au-delà. Sa ligne éditoriale reflétait la diversité de la région, notamment au niveau idéologique. A partir de 2011 toutefois, "elle est devenue une chaîne comme il y en a beaucoup dans la région, une chaîne qui en fait est le porte-parole des intérêts de la diplomatie du Qatar."

 

Cette dernière est fortement engagée dans les événements en Egypte, en Syrie, au Bahreïn, au Yémen, en soutien aux opposants de ces régimes, en particulier les courants islamistes. Même si elle n'a bien évidemment pas inventé le sectarisme au Moyen-Orient, la chaîne relaie voire encourage ses pires manifestations, estiment les voix critiques.

Le double discours d'Al-Jazeera

 

Al-Jazeera est un important groupe médiatique qui vise aussi à s'adresser à l'extérieur du monde arabe, et en ce sens tous les canaux n'ont pas la même ligne éditoriale. La plateforme numérique AJ+, qui produit des formats courts pour les réseaux sociaux, axe ainsi ses thématiques sur les droits de l'homme, les réfugiés, le racisme.

 

Cela montre que le "soft power" du Qatar passe par un double discours selon les canaux d'Al-Jazeera, l'un populiste à destination d'une opinion arabe sunnite chauffée à blanc, l'autre qui vise le public occidental. Pour autant, affirme Yves Gonzales, il faut relativiser les ambitions actuelles du Qatar dans sa communication extérieure, ambitions largement revues à la baisse.

 

"Même si c'est moins visible que pour l'Arabie saoudite, le Qatar souffre de la baisse des prix du pétrole", remarque Yves Gonzalez. Le chercheur note par ailleurs qu'Al-Jazeera America a été un "fiasco retentissant" et que les tentatives d'ouvrir des canaux ailleurs dans le monde sont selon lui "au point mort".

 

 

 

 

AL-JAZEERA: UNE OBJECTIVITÉ MISE EN CAUSE

i24NEWS, Aug. 8, 2017

 

 

Alors que la guerre civile fait rage en Syrie entre les loyalistes du régime et les myriades de factions rebelles, une autre bataille est en train de se jouer dans le monde des médias. En prenant des mesures pour contrer la propagande du régime syrien, Al Arabiya et Al Jazeera, les deux chaînes basées dans le golfe qui dominent la sphère de l’actualité arabe, ont fini par déformer l’actualité presque aussi gravement que leurs opposants.

 

Ces géants des médias ont baissé leurs standards journalistiques, jeté les vérifications les plus rudimentaires aux orties et s’appuient sur des interlocuteurs anonymes et des vidéos non-vérifiées en lieu et place de reportages solides dans leur tentative de soutenir la cause des rebelles syriens.

Des chaînes arabes partisanes et à gros budget

Al Jazeera et Al Arabiya ont été fondées respectivement par des membres des familles royales qataries et saoudiennes, et leur couverture des événements syriens reflète fidèlement la position politique de leurs commanditaires. Il y a beaucoup d’argent derrière ces deux réseaux: Al Jazeera a été créée grâce à une allocation de 150 millions de dollars del’émir du Qatar en 1996, et les dépenses annuelles de ses multiples chaînes atteignaient presque 650 millions de dollars en 2010 selon l’entreprise de recherche marketing Ipsos.

 

L’histoire est sensiblement la même pour Al Arabiya, lancée en 2003 avec une mise initiale de 300 millions de dollars par un groupe d’investisseurs libanais et du Golfe dirigé par l’homme d’affaires saoudien Waleed al-Ibrahim, beau-frère de feu le roi saoudien Fahd. On ne connaît pas les chiffres exacts des budgets de fonctionnement de ces chaînes, mais il est fort probable qu’ils approchent les centaines de millions de dollars. À titre de comparaison, la gestion de la bien plus petite chaîne Alhurra, financée par le gouvernement américain, coûte autour de 90 millions de dollars par an.

La couverture du soulèvement syrien a épuisé les ressources de ces chaînes. Les publicités en prime-time ont été réduites ou carrément annulées, faisant chuter les revenus. À la place des reportages soigneusement travaillés, certains journaux télévisés ne s’appuient presque exclusivement plus que sur les récits de «témoins oculaires» de journalistes-citoyens et sur des séquences vidéos téléchargées sur Youtube.

 

 Pour le spectateur non-arabophone, la couverture de l’actualité sur ces chaînes s’apparente à l’iReport de CNN—la demi-heure mensuelle de journalisme-citoyen interactif, mais plusieurs heures par jour. Il n’est pas rare d’allumer une des deux chaînes et de constater que les 20 premières minutes du journal sont accaparées par des activistes syriens, dont certains ont des passés louches, basés soit hors de Syrie, soit à l’intérieur, en train de faire un reportage par Skype sur des événements qui se sont déroulés à des centaines voire des milliers de kilomètres de là.

 

La voix des rebelles syriens d'ici et d'ailleurs

 

Quand Al Arabiya et Al Jazeera commentent directement les affaires syriennes, elles ont tendance à passer sur les défauts des rebelles et à accentuer les lignes de faille religieuses du conflit. Les deux chaînes ont peut-être touché le fond dans leur couverture du soulèvement syrien en accordant une tribune au religieux extrémiste sunnite Adnan al-Arour, qui a dit un jour de la minorité alaouite syrienne que les Sunnites «les hacheraient dans des hachoirs à viande et donneraient leur chair à manger aux chiens» pour leur soutien au président Bachar al-Assad.

 

Tandis qu’Al Arabiya se référait au «cheikh» comme à un «symbole de la révolution,» Al Jazeera le présentait comme le «le plus grand instigateur non-violent opposé au régime syrien.»

 

Ces chaînes arabophones ont donné le pire d’elles-mêmes au moment où les enjeux politiques de la couverture médiatique qu’elles offraient étaient au plus haut. Début juillet, le brigadier général Manaf Tlass, ami proche de la famille Assad et fils d’un ancien ministre de la Défense syrien, s’est enfui en France.

 

Plusieurs semaines plus tard, il a rompu son silence sur les médias saoudiens et s’est embarqué dans un pèlerinage religieux vers le royaume, s’offrant à devenir une personnalité unificatrice pour diriger l’opposition syrienne dysfonctionnelle en exil. L’idée que les Syriens, qui ont sacrifié le sang de milliers d’entre eux pour faire chuter la dictature baasiste, puissent laisser un ancien du régime succéder à Assad relève du plus pur fantasme.

 

Des chaînes qui donnent leur version des évènements

 

On dirait bien pourtant qu’Al Jazeera et Al Arabiya prennent non seulement ce scénario au sérieux, mais même qu’elles le soutiennent. Les deux chaînes ont commencé par couvrir abondamment la défection de Tlass, mais lorsque ce dernier a choisi de ne parler qu’aux médias saoudiens, à Al Arabiya et au journal Asharq al-Awsat, Al Jazeera s’est mise à l’éviter. Al Arabiya a qualifié la défection de Tlass, qui ne détenait pas le moindre pouvoir à l’époque de son départ, de «coup sévère» porté à la puissance militaire syrienne. La chaîne a également rapporté que plusieurs membres de sa famille s’étaient opposés au régime, mais sans mentionner son oncle Talal, qui remplit aujourd'hui les fonctions de ministre adjoint à la Défense.

 

Il est vrai qu’il est périlleux de faire du journalisme depuis l’intérieur de la Syrie. Le pays est d’ailleurs l'endroit le plus dangereux du monde pour les reporters, à en croire le Comité pour la protection des journalistes. Bloggeurs et journalistes ont été régulièrement emprisonnés par le régime depuis le début du conflit, et au moins 18 journalistes ont perdu la vie en Syrie depuis le mois de novembre. En outre, ceux qui reçoivent l’autorisation d’entrer dans le pays sont escortés 24 heures sur 24 par des gardes du gouvernement.

 

 

 

Actualité 

 

 

 

"L'IRAN CHERCHE À 'LIBANISER' LA SYRIE EN Y IMPLANTANT UNE ARMÉE" (NETANYAHOU)

I24, 23 aout 2017

 

 

Le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou a estimé mercredi que l'Iran cherche à "libaniser" la Syrie en y installant une véritable armée, lors d'une conférence de presse téléphonique qui a suivi sa rencontre avec le président russe Vladimir Poutine à Sotchi, station balnéaire sur les rives de la mer Noire.

 

"L'Iran n'essaie plus d’ouvrir un front terroriste en Syrie, mais plutôt d'établir une force militaire", a-t-il souligné.

 

"(L'Iran) cherche à créer un lien territorial entre l'Iran et la Méditerranée, renforcer sa présence militaire dans la mer, sur terre et dans les airs, avec notamment des dizaines de milliers de soldats des milices chiites", a-t-il ajouté.

 

"Ce changement de statut est crucial pour nous : l'entrée des forces chiites dans une région sunnite a plusieurs conséquences (les réfugiés, le terrorisme), mais elle est également dirigée contre nous et nous ne resterons pas inertes. C'est le message que j'ai transmis au président Poutine", a-t-il encore dit.

Plus tôt, devant Poutine, Netanyahou a dénoncé le renforcement de la présence iranienne en Syrie, la qualifiant de "menace" pour "le monde entier".

 

"L'Iran fait d'énormes efforts pour renforcer sa présence en Syrie", a assuré M. Netanyahou.

"Cela représente une menace pour Israël, pour le Moyen-Orient et pour le monde entier", a-t-il souligné lors de cette rencontre.

 

La Russie est, avec l'Iran, l'un des principaux alliés du régime de Damas, et a déclenché en septembre 2015 une intervention militaire en soutien aux forces du président Bachar al-Assad.

 

Benyamin Netanyahou a jugé "très importants" les efforts internationaux visant à combattre le groupe djihadiste Etat islamique (EI).

 

"Mais ce qui est négatif, c'est que l'Iran s'implante là où on a vaincu l'EI", a estimé le Premier ministre israélien.

 

Depuis le début de la guerre en Syrie en 2011, Israël suit avec la plus grande attention l'évolution de la situation chez son voisin, veillant à ne pas être aspiré dans le conflit tout en frappant ponctuellement des convois d'armes à destination du groupe terroriste libanais Hezbollah combattant aux côtés de l'Iran, ou des positions des forces régulières syriennes.

 

En juillet, M. Netanyahou a ainsi exprimé son opposition à une trêve initiée par les Etats-Unis et la Russie dans le sud de la Syrie, estimant qu'elle renforce la présence de l'Iran dans le pays.

Un cessez-le-feu initié par les Etats-Unis, la Russie et la Jordanie est entré en vigueur le 9 juillet dans les provinces de Soueida, Deraa et Qouneitra. Il est globalement respecté.

 

Israël a frappé à plusieurs reprises des positions de l'armée syrienne — notamment dans la localité de Qouneitra, théâtre de combats entre le régime et les rebelles — après des tirs sur des positions israéliennes dans le plateau du Golan.

 

 

 

MORDECHAI SE MOQUE D’ABBAS QUI ENVOIE DE L’AIDE MÉDICALE AU VENEZUELA ET PAS À GAZA

Dov Lieber

Times of Israel, 21 aout, 2017

 

 

Un général israélien a sèchement critiqué le président de l’Autorité palestinienne Mahmoud Abbas lundi après que celui-ci a envoyé de l’aide médicale au Venezuela alors qu’il a réduit drastiquement son assistance à la bande de Gaza assiégée.

 

« Nous attirons l’attention de l’Autorité palestinienne sur le fait qu’aller de Ramallah à Gaza ne prend qu’une heure tandis que la distance entre le Venezuela et Ramallah est de plus de 10 000 kilomètres », a écrit le coordinateur des activités gouvernementales dans les territoires (COGAT) Yoav Mordechai sur sa page Facebook officielle.

 

Le COGAT est le département du ministère de la Défense qui a la charge des affaires civiles palestiniennes.

 

Dimanche, le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’AP, Riyad al-Maliki, et le ministre de la Santé Jawad Awwad ont annoncé qu’ils allaient faire parvenir trois cargaisons d’aide médicale au Venezuela, notamment des antibiotiques, des médicaments pour soigner les maladies chroniques et « tout ce qui est nécessaire pour les cas urgences ». Ces cargaisons devaient faire le voyage dimanche vers le port israélien d’Ashdod, puis partiront de là au Venezuela.

 

Le post de Mordechai paru sur les réseaux sociaux incluait une image de Awwad et Maliki épinglant des messages sur l’un des containers avec la légende « Abbas aide le Venezuela en lui donnant des fournitures médicales. Mais que deviennent les Palestiniens ? »

 

Maliki a expliqué qu’il avait reçu l’ordre d’Abbas d’envoyer ces dons et a qualifié le Venezuela « d’ami qui s’est tenu aux côtés du peuple palestinien à de multiples reprises dans l’épreuve qu’il a traversée et dans celle qu’il traverse encore ».

 

Maliki a noté le don de 15 millions de dollars opéré par le Venezuela et qui est actuellement utilisé pour construire un hôpital spécialisé dans l’ophtalmologie dans le village de Turmus Ayya, à proximité de Ramallah.

 

Le Venezuela souffre actuellement d’une pénurie alimentaire et de médicaments, renforcée par les répercussions d’une bataille politique sur l’avenir du pays.

 

La bande de Gaza souffre d’un grave manque d’approvisionnement médical depuis plusieurs mois. Le Hamas et les ONG internationales ont accusé l’AP d’avoir drastiquement réduit l’aide traditionnelle amenée à la Bande dans le cadre d’une série de mesures punitives qui ont pour objectif de contraindre le groupe terroriste à abandonner le contrôle sur l’enclave palestinienne.

 

Selon des informations données à l’organisation PHRI (Physicians for Human Rights Israel) par le ministère de la Santé dirigé par le Hamas à Gaza au mois de juin, « un tiers des médicaments essentiels et plus de 270 objets d’équipement médical pour les salles d’opération et les unités de soins intensifs ne peuvent plus être obtenus dans les réserves du ministère de la Santé et dans les hôpitaux de Gaza ».

 

Le PHRI, citant les statistiques du ministère dirigé par le Hamas, a fait savoir que la majorité des malades du cancer à Gaza ne sont plus en mesure de recevoir un traitement approprié en raison de la pénurie.

 

L’un des groupes les plus durement touchés par ces manques sont les malades, majoritairement des enfants, souffrant de mucoviscidose chronique qui ne peuvent plus bénéficier des pilules et des vitamines dont ils ont besoin, a ajouté le PHRI.

 

L’Autorité palestinienne a également coupé les paiements versés aux Palestiniens qui doivent quitter la bande de Gaza pour se faire soigner en Israël et à l’étranger.

 

 

LE COMIQUE JUIF JERRY LEWIS, 91 ANS, EST MORT, LAISSANT SON RIRE EN HÉRITAGE

Jordan Hoffman

Times of Israel, 21 août 2017

 

 L’acteur, comédien, réalisateur, inventeur, philanthrope juif américain et l’un des derniers liens au vaudeville Jerry Lewis est décédé dimanche à l’âge de 91 ans. Et c’est le monde entier qui aura perdu un peu de sa drôlerie.

 

 

Lewis, né Joseph Levitch à Newark dans le New Jersey, a grandi dans une famille du show-business. Son père, Daniel Levitch, travaillait dans le vaudeville et sa mère, Rae, était pianiste pour la station de radio WOR, qui existe encore de nos jours. Comme le veut la légende, il est monté pour la toute première fois sur une scène à l’âge de cinq ans, entonnant la chanson « Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? » et a accidentellement fait tomber une rampe lumineuse. Sa réaction de surprise a fait rire le public et ouvert la voie à une carrière de comique exceptionnelle.

 

Il a abandonné le lycée à l’âge de 15 ans et aiguisé ses talents d’acteur. Son jeu le plus connu ? Il mettait un électrophone et faisait un play-back exagéré. Cela paraît simple mais en voyant la manière dont Jerry Lewis pouvait tordre les traits de son visage, la raison de son extrême popularité devient compréhensible. Il travaillait dans le « Borscht Belt » juif, dans les montagnes de Catskills (il s’est longtemps arrêté à l’hôtel Brown de Lake Sheldrake) et, en 1945, à l’âge de 15 ans, il a commencé à fréquenter Dean Martin.

 

Le beau chanteur italo-américain (né Dino Crocetti) était le pendant parfait au personnage farfelu, anarchique et gamin de Lewis. Leur spectacle sur scène s’est construit sur l’improvisation, dans laquelle Lewis apportait un aimable désordre dans les performances vocales plutôt élégantes de Martin. Martin et Lewis ont connu rapidement le succès comme duo se présentant dans des spectacles organisés dans les discothèques, à la radio, lors des premiers jours de la télévision et finalement à Hollywood, dans des films de fiction. Si leurs premières apparitions au cinéma ont fait partie d’un ensemble (avec « Ma bonne amie Irma », en 1949), ils sont rapidement devenus, par eux-mêmes, des stars.

 

Ils ont fait 15 films dans les années 1950 et sont devenus les acteurs les plus rentables de Hollywood. Ils ont même eu l’honneur d’être les personnages principaux d’une BD de super-héros. Mais les singeries de Lewis volaient tellement la vedette à Dean Martin qu’une séparation du couple est devenue inévitable (quelle que soit la « vraie » raison à l’origine de la séparation, aucune des deux parties ne l’a jamais divulguée). Mais avant que le partenariat ne s’achève au mois de juin 1956, ils ont fait ensemble « Artistes et modèles » et « Un vrai cinglé de cinéma » et c’est là que Jerry Lewis a rencontré celui qui allait devenir son deuxième grand collaborateur, Frank Tashlin.

 

Tashlin était un ancien animateur de Looney Toons et était lui aussi originaire du New Jersey, monté à Hollywood. Lorsque Dean Martin s’est retiré du duo pour continuer sa carrière de chanteur et de star dans des films tels que « Comme un torrent » et « Rio Bravo » en s’immergeant davantage dans la culture du ‘rat pack’ aux côtés de Frank Sinatra et de Sammy Davis, Jr., Lewis et Tashlin ont inventé les films en technicolor – plus élaborés et hautement mis en scène – qui avaient bien plus de style que les comédies de studio habituelles réalisées à l’époque.

 

Le cliché entretenu par certains est qu’il suffisait à Jerry Lewis de courir en hurlant pour que les critiques français le qualifient de génie. Mais une fois qu’il a commencé à travailler avec Tashlin, il a alors véritablement commencé à créer des films de cinéma extraordinaires, qui n’avaient plus rien à voir avec le baratin sorti dans les night-clubs : Regardez – pour le plaisir – la scène de danse de « Cendrillon aux grands pieds » (en 1960) ou le gag de la machine à écrire dans « Un chef de rayon explosif » (1963).

 

Après un certain nombre de films avec Tashlin, et même s’il a continué à travailler à ses côtés de temps en temps, Lewis a commencé à réaliser ses propres oeuvres. Le premier, « Le dingue du palace », tourné à l’hôtel Fontainblue de Miami, était d’abord un projet parallèle (Il avait donné des spectacles dans le night-club de l’établissement). Au cours des jours de tournage, il a principalement assemblé des sketchs dans lequel son personnage (un groom niais) n’avait pratiquement aucun dialogue.

 

Peu de choses importantes sont survenues à ce moment-là. Lorsque le studio avec lequel il travaillait depuis des années, Paramount, s’est lassé de financer un film en noir et blanc majoritairement muet, Lewis a avancé l’argent qui manquait lui-même (et a fait des bénéfices énormes). Et, puisqu’il jouait tout en réalisant, il a créé un système de play-back en vidéo grâce auquel il pouvait voir ce qui venait d’être filmé, sans attendre, sur le plateau. A cette époque-là, les réalisateurs devaient attendre le développement du film et voir les « rushes » de ce qui avait été tourné. Mais pour les sketchs exubérants de Lewis (particulièrement de la danse), cela ne fonctionnait pas. Personne n’avait imaginé faire cela auparavant et cette technique est devenue rapidement une composante essentielle de la réalisation de films qui aura perduré jusqu’à l’émergence du numérique.

 

Après « Le dingue du palace », a été tourné le premier chef d’oeuvre de Lewis : « Le tombeur de ces dames ». Film aux couleurs fortes et brillantes, le personnage enfantin de Lewis se trouve opposé à une maison-close remplie de jeunes femmes. (Ce n’est pas trop lubrique et Lewis maintient dans l’ensemble une attitude façon « Beurk, c’est dégoûtant, les filles ! »).

 

Un grand nombre des influences de Lewis sont manifestes comme l’était la comédie chaotique et perçante d’Adam Sandler. Mais « le tombeur de ces dames » et son énorme maison de poupée ouverte ont directement inspiré « La vie aquatique » de Wes Anderson. Les performances de Lewis, admettons, ne sont pas pour tout le monde mais sa technique cinématique est véritablement extraordinaire.

 

En 1963 est sorti le plus grand carton de Lewis, « Docteur Jerry and mister love ». Ce conte relevant du Docteur Jekyll et mister Hyde (qui sera repris plus tard par Eddie Murphy) a été notable parce qu’en plus d’interpréter le scientifique planant et maladroit, il jouait aussi le débonnaire Buddy Love, prouvant que Lewis pouvait jouer comme un adulte et même se révéler assez… bel homme ?

 

Lewis a enseigné dans des écoles de cinéma à la fin des années 1960 et ses élèves de l’Université de Californie comptaient dans leurs rangs George Lucas et Steven Spielberg. Son livre sorti en 1971, « The Total Film-Maker », pouvait présenter un titre un peu pompeux mais s’est révélé très utile pour les jeunes réalisateurs à un moment où il y avait finalement peu de textes mis à leur disposition.

 

A travers les années 1960, Lewis est constamment apparu dans des talk-shows à la télévision et a organisé le téléthon au nom de l’Association de lutte contre la dystrophie musculaire, devenu une tradition du week-end de la fête du Travail à partir de 1966 jusqu’en 2010. Avant la télévision par câble, cette émission, qui durait toute la nuit, mélangeant une diffusion nationale émise depuis Las Vegas et des interventions locales, était très populaire. Le terme « les gosses de Jerry » était utilisé pour décrire les enfants aidés par le programme (il était devenu également une insulte banale dans les cours d’école).

 

Malgré sa philanthropie, Lewis est devenu, aux yeux du public, plus qu’un perfectionniste : Un râleur. Personne ne savait combien cette attitude était surjouée au nom de la comédie, mais il s’est penché sur ce phénomène en 1983 avec une performance étonnante dans le film de Martin Scorsese « le roi de la comédie ». Où, il jouait un animateur las et inamical de talk-show kidnappé par deux fans déments (Robert DeNiro et Sandra Bernhard.)

 

Lewis le grincheux a atteint le summum de son personnage lors d’une interview accordée au Hollywood Reporter en décembre 2016. Qu’il ait plaisanté ou non au cours de cet entretien est encore âprement débattu (et si c’était les deux ?…)

 

Lewis a réalisé treize films comme réalisateur, même si un n’a jamais été découvert par le public – une comédie mal conçue sur l’Holocauste. « The Day The Clown Cried » est l’un des projets les plus célèbres de l’histoire du cinéma. Dans la mesure où Lewis travaillait en indépendant, il a pu estimer que le film qu’il était en train de réaliser ne fonctionnait tout simplement pas. Même s’il ne se distinguait pas dans son approche du film de 1998 « La vie est belle » (qui avait remporté deux Oscars à sa star et réalisateur Roberto Begnini), « The Day The Clown Cried » raconte l’histoire d’un artiste de cirque qui tente d’arracher un sourire aux enfants d’Auschwitz. Pendant des décennies, les journalistes ont demandé à Lewis s’il sortirait un jour le film, et la réponse a toujours été « non ».

 

Lewis a visité Israël pour la première fois en 1981, même s’il a affirmé avoir acheté un billet d’avion en 1967 au moment où la guerre des Six Jours avait éclaté. Son oeuvre a rarement été explicitement juive mais, comme les Marx Brothers, elle peut se lire facilement de cette façon.

 

Parmi les distinctions qu’il aura reçues, un Oscar honoraire, la légion d’honneur en France et le Hall of Fame du New Jersey. Il laisse derrière lui son épouse, SanDee, et une fille, Danielle, ainsi que cinq fils (dont Gary Lewis de Gary Lewis and the Playboys) d’un précédent mariage. Ce soir, poussons un cri perçant, cognons-nous : Ce sera la plus belle manière de lui rendre hommage.

 

 

 

Nous vous souhaitons Shabat Shalom!
 

 

Nous vous souhaitons Shabat Shalom!

 

 

 

 

 

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“PEACE PROCESS?” ABBAS, TEMPLE MOUNT RIOTS, UNESCO, LEFTIST IDEOLOGY— ALL PROVE THAT A PEACE AGREEMENT IS NOT AN OPTION

The Never-Ending Peace Process Farce: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 23, 2017— Unless the US is willing to bite the bullet and finally confront Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority…

The Temple Mount Riots: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Aug. 6, 2017— On July 14, two Israeli police officers were murdered in Jerusalem.

Three Ideas Undermining Canada, America, and the West: Philip Carl Salzman, CIJR, 2017— Far more dangerous than a handful of terrorist bombers and assassins are insidious ideas pervasive in universities and the media that undermine and weaken Canada, America, and the West generally.

We Must Leave UNESCO at Once: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, July 21, 2017 — Once again, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has rolled up its sleeves to advance its mandate…

 

On Topic Links

 

The Left's Threat to Western Civilization (Video): Dennis Prager, Youtube, Aug. 10, 2017

UNRWA Condemns the Palestinians to Refugee Status in Perpetuity: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Aug. 15, 2017

We Arabs are Damn Lucky that Jews do not Behave Like Arabs: Fred Maroun, Times of Israel, July 8, 2017

Poet Simcha Simchovitch Immortalized Those Lost in the Shoah: M.J. Stone, Globe and Mail, Aug. 22, 2017

 

 

THE NEVER-ENDING PEACE PROCESS FARCE

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 23, 2017

 

Unless the US is willing to bite the bullet and finally confront Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, the forthcoming mission to the region by US representatives Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt to “restart the peace process” on behalf of President Donald Trump may prove to be highly counterproductive.

 

Abbas is coming to the end of his reign. A brutal and corrupt dictator, he is determined that his legacy be that of an embattled “freedom fighter” committed to reversal of the Nakba, his ultimate objective being the restoration of Arab hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. His means to achieve this necessitate the dismemberment of the Jewish state in stages through terrorism and international pressure.

 

Until now, he has basically ignored Trump’s requests and demands. Incitement and calls for “resistance” via the media and imams urging Palestinians to kill Israelis and become shahids (martyrs) have reached a record high. Abbas himself whipped up religious hysteria based on the false cry that Jews were taking over and desecrating the Aksa mosque, thus triggering the recent riots and encouraging further terrorist attacks. Children are brainwashed into regarding Jews as subhuman descendants of apes and pigs, propaganda reminiscent of and frequently replicated from Nazi sources.

 

The PA and its leaders continue honoring mass murders as freedom fighters, dedicating mosques, city squares, schools and other institutions in their names to commemorate their murderous acts. Despite personal demands from Trump, Abbas has vowed that he will never close the Palestine National Fund, which provides generous pensions and massive financial awards for imprisoned or killed terrorists and their families, the amounts proportionate to the success of the terrorist act. Incarcerated murderers top the list with monthly payments of NIS 11,000 (more than $3,000), which is augmented with $25,000 if they are released from jail. This year the fund has distributed $345 million, comprising half of the $693m. the PA receives in foreign aid. Thus the US and European countries have effectively been providing funds to incentivize Palestinians to murder Israelis.

 

The US Congress has now passed legislation to deduct an equivalent of these funds from aid provided to the Palestinians. The Europeans have taken no action, although Germany, the UK and Norway are “reviewing” the situation. Abbas has responded by vowing to maintain the payouts, which he describes as “social welfare,” and in recent weeks has even increased the payments.

 

His recent proclamation that security arrangements with the Israelis had been terminated was never effectively implemented. The reality is that the Abbas regime would be undermined if it annulled the security coordination whereby police constrain the enormous popular resentment by the people against the regime. While the security arrangements did reduce pressure on the IDF, the party with the most to lose if it were terminated would be the corrupt PA – which would then probably collapse or be taken over by Hamas.

 

Abbas has now condemned the US as being biased and unfit to act as an intermediary. The Israelis, on the other hand, appreciate that with the Trump administration in disarray, mixed messages have emerged in relation to the peace process. Trump repeatedly reaffirms that he stands by Israel, but he has yet to fulfill his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has been exceptionally forthright; the recent flow of statements from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his departmental releases, however, are highly disconcerting and ominously reminiscent of the Obama era.

 

Tillerson informed the Senate that the Palestinians were moving forward positively in the peace process and had undertaken to bring an end to “martyr” payments. This was promptly denied. In July, the State Department released a report commending Abbas for having “significantly” addressed incitement. The report also stated that Palestinian terrorism was prompted “by a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Temple Mount and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.” Such observations could match those issued two years ago, at the height of then-president Barack Obama’s diplomatic campaign against Israel.

 

This should not be interpreted as an indication that the US has abandoned Israel. It merely reflects the divisions inside the administration, which were unlikely to have emerged had Trump not been diverted by the chaos in other areas. Fortunately, Tillerson has largely been excluded from direct engagement in peace negotiations and Trump has now authorized Kushner and Greenblatt “to restart the peace process.” They will visit the region in the next few days.

 

To further complicate matters, both the Palestinians and Israelis are entangled in domestic turmoil. Abbas, the duplicitous rogue with the forked tongue, rules as a dictator and has created a culture of death. However, he is aged and his people realize that his time in office is limited. He has never been willing to make any meaningful concessions to Israelis, who were desperate to separate themselves from the Palestinians, and is now unlikely to make any moves in that direction. On the contrary, he has been actively strengthening relations with the Iranians and the Turks, who now support him as well as Hamas. But the people are restless and there is already jockeying among those seeking to replace him…

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

 

Contents

THE TEMPLE MOUNT RIOTS

Manfred Gerstenfeld

 BESA, Aug. 6, 2017

 

On July 14, two Israeli police officers were murdered in Jerusalem. They were members of the Druze community, a religious and ethnic minority. The three Muslim murderers came from the town of Umm al-Fahm in the north of Israel. They had hidden their weapons on the Temple Mount, where the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is managed by the Waqf, a Muslim religious trust, stands.  The three terrorists were killed by Israeli police. The day before the killings, one of the perpetrators published a selfie in which he stands before al-Aqsa. The photo is accompanied by the text, “Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful, God willing.”

 

Israel reacted to the murders by increasing security measures through the installation of metal detectors. The alternative would have been to wait passively until the next contingent of terrorists arrived, ready to employ the proven formula of bringing in weapons and hiding them at that place of worship. The installation of metal detectors led Palestinian preachers to call upon the worshipers to pray publicly outside the mosque on the morning of Friday, July 21. Riots followed during which three Palestinians were killed and a number wounded. On the same day, a Palestinian terrorist murdered a Jewish father, seriously injured his wife, and killed their two adult children in the village of Halamish during their Shabbat meal. It is estimated that this terrorist’s family will receive more than $3000 per month from the Palestinian Authority for many years to come. These payments are co-financed by Western countries.

 

In the meantime, the metal detectors have been removed. Due to the riots, Israel has opted instead to install more expensive and technologically advanced tools to detect weapons from entering the holy site in the future. Despite the removal of the detectors, Palestinian riots in Jerusalem have continued.

 

When we examine the reactions of the actors in this saga, it becomes possible to discern recurring patterns. In the past, the PLO-dominated Palestinian Authority was able to control riots. A typical case in point was the “al-Aqsa Intifada,” which began in late September 2000. Though presented as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, several PLO/PA officials (including Marwan Barghouthi and Minister of Communications Imad Faloudji) were to admit that the violence had been planned well in advance by Yasser Arafat. All that was required was a handy pretext to start it.

 

Since then, the stature in the western world of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has steadily increased. In 2016, many members of the European Parliament gave Abbas a standing ovation after a speech in which he made the vile anti-Semitic accusation that an Israeli rabbi had urged Israelis to poison the water of the Palestinians. Two days later, Abbas had to admit that his libel was a complete falsehood.

 

In contrast to his glowing image among Europeans, Abbas is seen by most Palestinians as very weak. His Fatah movement supports the riots, partly because it fears losing even more influence if it does not. He is playing a dangerous game, however. If the riots continue, Abbas may lose control over them. If it is true that he has canceled the PA’s security collaboration with Israel, he might find himself in immediate danger. If he is without the protection of the Israeli security services, it will be much easier for Hamas sympathizers to target him. Another recurrent pattern is the abuse of holy or protected places. During Israel’s military campaigns against Hamas, the terrorist group often hid weapons in mosques, universities, and schools. This included schools of the UN agency UNRWA. During the December 2008-January 2009 exchange, several Hamas leaders hid in a Gaza hospital because they knew Israel would not target it. Hamas also uses civilians as human shields.

 

Yet another recurrent pattern is the behavior of foreign governments and leaders. Many excuse and condone Palestinian terror, incitement, and violence. Others feel the need to step in with condemnations or recommendations. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for example, is a staunch supporter of Hamas, using any available opportunity to condemn Israel. This time, he said:  “By occupying the al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel has exceeded the boundaries.” France issued an anodyne statement mainly to create the illusion that it is still an important international player while it struggles with critical domestic issues. Still another recurrent pattern is the behavior of foreign media, which habitually turns aggressors into victims and vice versa. The media watch organization Honest Reporting Canada created a detailed list of many such distortions in the Canadian media alone during the first days of the riots.

 

In view of these recurrent patterns, a peace agreement is likely to be useless. The Palestinians may one day sign such an agreement, and indeed maintain quiet for a while – but they will ultimately resort once again to riots, violence, and murder, as they invariably have in the past. The Temple Mount riots created a perfect model for such a pattern. Commit a crime against Israel related to al-Aqsa. If Israel reacts with enhanced security measures, incite rioting by declaring the mosque to be in danger. Israel cannot undo the concessions it makes for “peace.” Those concessions are likely to include the removal of isolated West Bank settlements and an exchange of land in return for the larger settlement blocs. The Temple Mount riots provide tangible evidence that as matters stand now, a peace agreement is not a credible option.      

 

 

Contents

THREE IDEAS UNDERMINING WESTERN CIVILIZATION

Philip Carl Salzman                                                                                                                

CIJR, 2017

 

Far more dangerous than a handful of terrorist bombers and assassins are insidious ideas pervasive in universities and the media that undermine and weaken Western civilization generally. Three of the most destructive of these ideas are that the ills of the world are the result of Western and especially American imperialism, that all cultures are inherently valid and equally valuable, and that any criticism of Islam is either racism or madness or both.

 

The idea that everything wrong with any country is the result of Western or American imperialism has been reified into an academic theory called “postcolonialism.” The point is that terrible things were done all around the world by Western colonial powers, and that any current problem can be seen as an effect of Western imperial and colonial acts. This postcolonial theory is widely held by academics in Middle East Studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, and cultural studies, as well as in the humanities.

 

Postcolonial theory derives in base from Marxist-Leninist theory, which argues that capitalist societies externalize exploitation and class conflict to Third World colonies outside the home country. After the Soviet Union fell, marxists in Western universities felt the need to obscure their debt to communist theory, and so re-labelled their approach with such terms as “political economy,” “political ecology,” and postcolonialism.

 

Postcolonialism was developed eloquently in Middle East Studies by Edward Said, a Professor of English at Columbia University, a specialist in Jane Austen. Said wrote several books about the Middle East, although he had no training in Middle East Studies or in any social science discipline. One of his books, Orientalism, became, astonishingly, the most influential book on the Middle East in the last two decades of the 20th century. Orientalism asserts, with alleged examples, that all Western ideas about the Middle East are projections of Western desires and vices, and biased distortions of imagined evils, projected onto the Middle Eastern Other in order to provide justification for attack, invasion, occupation, exploitation, and extermination of defenceless and blameless Middle Easterners. Knowing the Middle East accurately, beyond the Western bias, was impossible, according to Said, because of its diversity.

 

Edward Said became the great hero American Middle East Studies, feted and honoured by the Middle East Studies Association. His books, but especially Orientalism, were widely taught and references in North American universities. A student once told me that she had been taught that Said was a god. Clay feet, I thought. Said=s motivation to venture into fields beyond his competence was his identification as a Palestinian, although he had grown up in a well-to-do family in Egypt, and had lived his adulthood as a privileged professor in a distinguished American university. Said’s writing was defensive, attempting to reject and refute the negative image of the Middle East and Middle Easterners.

 

Said’s publications, and the postcolonialism to which he was a mighty contributor, was and is above all partisan, taking the part of the Middle East and Middle Easterners against the West. Its point is to rehabilitate the reputation and honour of the Middle East. Its strategy to allocate all ill motivation and dastardly deeds to the West, picturing Middle Easterners as hapless and blameless victims of Western imperial and colonial machinations. We cannot find any disinterested and objective research and analysis in postcolonialism; the conclusion is determined a priori: all evil comes from the West. This means that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is entirely the fault of Israel. Any criticism of Palestinian or Arab politics or actions is disallowed, and attributed to racism or fascism. The brutal barbarism of the Islamic State is attributed to previous actions of America, Israel, and other Western intruders. If South Asians murder their daughters because they fell in love with boys from the wrong caste, it is fault of the British, who, according to postmodernists, invented the caste system, and presumably the ideas of karma and dharma as well. If there are tribal wars in Africa, it is the fault of the British, who, according to postmodernists, invented tribes. If Palestinian men beat up their wives, it is the fault of Israel. No one in the Third World, it appears, is responsible for their actions; it is always the fault of someone else. That such a view takes away the agency and humanity of people in the Third World, and ignores the understandings, beliefs, values, injunctions of their cultures, does not seem to trouble postmodern theorists.

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

                                                                       

           

Contents

WE MUST LEAVE UNESCO AT ONCE                                                  

Paul Merkley

                      Bayview Review, July 21, 2017

 

Once again, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has rolled up its sleeves to advance its mandate – “to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.”

 

To accomplish this, it has cast out the Bible of the Jews and the Christians as a source of truth for anybody on earth. And, in the same act, it has declared invalid, every other source that contains information that anyone might think can be historically proved, and has put in their place fantasies about the glorious prehistoric past of Islam – fantasies that take us back to about twenty-five centuries before Muhammad existed. Once again there has been no hint of complaint from any person or institution whose credibility stands upon either the authority of science or the authority of Scripture.

 

A few months ago, UNESCO piled yet another Resolution on top of the long sequence of Resolutions condemning the State of Israel for its oppression of the “Palestinian people”– the aboriginal inhabitants of what people like to call the Holy Land. (See my essay, UNESCO CASTS OUT CHRISTIANITY,” www.thebayviewreview.com, November 22, 2016.) This purpose it accomplished by its reference to the sites upon and around the Temple Mount exclusively by their Muslim names. This has the intended effect of erasing memory of the Temple and of any belonging of Israel and the Jews – defining Jerusalem as exclusively “Palestinian” and the State of Israel’s presence as that of an illegal occupier. Israelis claim that such a declaration obviously takes away all legitimacy from Israel; furthermore, it legitimizes terrorist acts against the illegal Jewish state and it anathematises all of Israel’s self-defensive activity. And so Israel holds UNSCO responsible for murderous attacks that have taken place recently against the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

 

At the same time, these UNESCO declarations cast out the Old Testament and New Testament texts which amply describe the presence of the Jewish People and of their Temple – not incidentally   leaving Christianity as a religion based on falsehood and undeserving of belief.  In place of all the evidence of Jewish presence in Jerusalem (archeological and literary, including the testimony of both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible) they have put in place simple assertion that the entire region was the habitat of “the Palestinian people”– the exclusive aboriginal denizens of the Holy Land.

 

To accomplish these and similar victories, the Muslim bloc depends on two circumstances: the first is the willingness of a majority of the United Nations to line up, on no notice at all, in support of anything that serves to denigrate Israel and the Jews; the second is the unwillingness of leaders of all nations having Christian majorities to appear friendly towards Christian faith. The Muslim claim to historical primacy in the lands described in our Bible is strictly and merely a theological assertion, utterly incompatible with the historical record, but designed to fill the ideological vacuum left as Western intellectuals cast theology out of consideration. Among the few intellectuals in our part of the world who thinks this is worth challenging is Guy Milliere, a Professor at the University of Paris, who notes:

 

“Although Europe claims to respect human rights and the rights of peoples, it has been a party to violating the most essential right of the Jewish people: the recognition of its existence for more than 3,000 years, and the anchoring of this existence to its sacred monuments. Worse, Europe does so in the name of a people fictitiously invented less than 50 years ago. No serious scholar can find any trace of a “Palestinian people” before the 1960s. Europe has apparently been all too happy to accept lies”…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

                                   

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

The Left's Threat to Western Civilization (Video): Dennis Prager, Youtube, Aug. 10, 2017—Dennis Prager speaking about the Left's threat to Western Civilization at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Aug. 3rd evening honoring Dr. Robert Shillman in Newport Coast, California.

UNRWA Condemns the Palestinians to Refugee Status in Perpetuity: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Aug. 15, 2017—In all the various frameworks envisioned by the international community for reaching a peaceful settlement in the Middle East generally, and between Israel and the Palestinians in particular, the issue of refugees has been perhaps one of the most central and complex.

We Arabs are Damn Lucky that Jews do not Behave Like Arabs: Fred Maroun, Times of Israel, July 8, 2017—When I see Arab hatred directed at Israel, such as the Palestinian Authority’s repeated attempts through UNESCO to deny Jewish history in Jerusalem, I shake my head in disbelief. The hypocrisy is astounding.

Poet Simcha Simchovitch Immortalized Those Lost in the Shoah: M.J. Stone, Globe and Mail, Aug. 22, 2017—After the Nazis murdered his family, it was poetry that freed Simcha (Sam) Simchovitch from darkness and reaffirmed his faith. Although his work echoes Dante’s Divine Comedy, chronicling a descent into the inferno and subsequent rise back into the light, Mr. Simchovitch’s verse was not a fantastical depiction of hell’s deepest circles, but instead offered real-life observations of the diabolical Nazi nightmare that robbed him of everything he cherished.

 

 

 

 

 

Philip Carl Salzman: Three Ideas Undermining Canada, America, and the West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far more dangerous than a handful of terrorist bombers and assassins are insidious ideas  pervasive in universities and the media that undermine and weaken Canada, America, and the West generally. Three of the most destructive of these ideas are that the ills of the world are the result of Western and especially American imperialism, that all cultures are inherently valid and equally valuable, and that any criticism of Islam is either racism or madness or both.

 

Postcolonial Theory

 

The idea that everything wrong with any country is the result of Western or American imperialism has been reified into an academic theory called “postcolonialism.” The point is that terrible things were done all around the world by Western colonial powers, and that any current problem can be seen as an effect of Western imperial and colonial acts. This postcolonial theory is widely held by academics in Middle East Studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, and cultural studies, as well as in the humanities.

 

Postcolonial theory derives in base from Marxist-Leninist theory, which argues that capitalist societies externalize exploitation and class conflict to Third World colonies outside the home country. After the Soviet Union fell, marxists in Western universities felt the need to  obscure their debt to communist theory, and so re-labelled their approach with such terms as “political economy,” “political ecology,” and “postcolonialism.”

 

Postcolonialism was developed eloquently in Middle East Studies by Edward Said, a Professor of English at Columbia University, a specialist in Jane Austen. Said wrote several books about the Middle East, although he had no training in Middle East Studies or in any social science discipline. One of his books, Orientalism, became, astonishingly, the most influential  book on the Middle East in the last two decades of the 20th century. Orientalism asserts, with alleged examples, that all Western ideas about the Middle East are projections of Western desires and vices, and biassed distortions of imagined evils, projected onto the Middle Eastern “Other” in order to provide justification for attack, invasion, occupation, exploitation, and extermination of defenceless and blameless Middle Easterners. Knowing the Middle East accurately, beyond the Western bias, was impossible, according to Said, because of its diversity.

 

Edward Said became the great hero American Middle East Studies, feted and honoured by the Middle East Studies Association. His books, but especially Orientalism, were widely taught and references in North American universities. A student once told me that she had been  taught that Said was a “god.” Clay feet, I thought. Said’s motivation to venture into fields beyond his competence was his identification as a Palestinian, although he had grown up in a well-to-do family in Egypt, and had lived his adulthood as a privileged professor in a distinguished American university. Said’s writing was defensive, attempting to reject and refute the negative  image of the Middle East and Middle Easterners.


Said’s publications, and the postcolonialism to which he was a mighty contributor, was and is above all partisan, taking the part of the Middle East and Middle Easterners against the West. Its point is to rehabilitate the reputation and honour of the Middle East. Its strategy to allocate all ill motivation and dastardly deeds to the West, picturing Middle Easterners as hapless and blameless victims of Western imperial and colonial machinations. We cannot find any disinterested and objective research and analysis in postcolonialism; the conclusion is determined a priori: all evil comes from the West. This means that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is entirely the fault of Israel. Any criticism of Palestinian or Arab politics or actions is disallowed, and attributed to racism or fascism. The brutal barbarism of the Islamic State is attributed to previous actions of America, Israel, and other Western intruders. If South Asians murder their daughters because they fell in love with boys from the wrong caste, it is fault of the British, who, according to postmodernists, invented the caste system, and presumably the ideas of karma and dharma as well. If there are tribal wars in Africa, it is the fault of the British, who, according to postmodernists, invented tribes. If Palestinian men beat up their wives, it is the fault of Israel. No one in the Third World, it appears, is responsible for their actions; it is always the fault of someone else. That such a view takes away the agency and humanity of people in the Third World, and ignores the understandings, beliefs, values, injunctions of their cultures, does not seem to trouble postmodern theorists.

 

 What happened in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon; why have these countries fallen apart? The postcolonial answer is that it is all the fault of the West. It is the fault of Obama for pulling out of Iraq, or it is the fault of Bush for going into Iraq, or it is the fault of the artificial boundaries imposed by Western powers after the end of the Ottoman Empire. In fact, the boundaries established for the new states were a result of negotiation between the Western powers and local powers and peoples. The reality is that any state boundaries would have been artificial, for there had never been modern states in the central Middle East, and there was no ideal way to form new states and separate them from one another. Throughout the region the population was an ancient mix of tribes, sects, religions, and ethnicities. No nation-state with one culture, one language, one land was possible. If every group had been given its own state, there would have had to have been a hundred micro-states, if not more, none of them viable units. Was it really the fault of the West that Sunnis and Shiites had been, off and on, at each others’ throats for 1400 years? Is it really the fault of the West that Iranian speakers and Arabic speakers did not always get along? Or that Muslims thought that Christians and other minorities should obey them? Or that all of these tribes and sects could only live in peace and order when a tyrant imposed it on them?

 

One of the remarkable things about postcolonialism is that its historical compass reaches back only to the 18th century, the span of Western colonialism. There is no mention of the Roman occupation of ancient Israel (renamed “Palestine” by the Romans), the two hundred years of war with the Jews, and the dispersal of the Jews throughout the Empire. Taken as given and not worthy of comment is the Arab Empire, starting in the 7th century in Arabia, and spread by the sword from India to Iberia, and its colonization, largely intact, with the exception of Iberia and Sicily, to the present day. Nor coming under scrutiny is the Turkish Ottoman Empire, military master of the Balkans, Asia Minor, the Levant, and eastern North Africa for over 700 years, right up to the end of WWI. No postcolonial thinker considers the impact of these empires, and the Imperial Mongol invasions,  on local life in the Middle East. The view is that, somehow, when Europeans came to the Middle East, local society and culture was without history, was pristine and in harmony with human needs.


There has always been a collusion between Western leftist thinkers–socialists and communists–and Third World, postcolonial advocates and apologists. This is not surprising, given their common base in Marxist-Leninism. While always ready and eager to condemn the West, postcolonialists have ignored Russian and Soviet imperialism, and Chinese imperialism. The distinguished marxist anthropologist Eric Wolf, in his acclaimed survey of imperial and colonial impact, Europe and the People Without History, excluded any discussion of the U.S.S.R. and of China.

 

Postcolonial theory blames American and the West for every ill in the Third World, and exonerates people in the Third World from any responsibility for their own actions and their own conditions. In the postcolonial view, America is not only always in the wrong, it is always evil.

 

Relativism

 

Anthropologists invented cultural relativism. Founding figures of American anthropology, Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, the latter in her famous pre-war book Patterns of Culture, argued that you can only understand other peoples’ lives if you consider their cultures and their actions from their own points of view. In Clifford Geertz’s words, “from the native’s point of view,” whether that subject was a native of Maine or of Kyrgyzstan. This form of cultural relativism is a foundational principle of cultural anthropology and ethnographic field research.

 

In the latter decades of the 20th century, the idea of cultural relativism was expanded to moral or ethnical relativism. As we have our own values, and other people have different ones, no one being on neutral ground, the argument goes, on what basis can we bring judgement of the beliefs or actions of those in another culture? Every judgement is cultural. From this perspective, ethical judgement being culturally-based and thus inapplicable cross-culturally, every value or practice must be seen as good as every other practice. There is no way that we can judge some better or worse. Judgement of other cultures and those in them must be suspended entirely. There are no objective, non-cultural criteria to allow us to decide whether giving a widow a pension is better or worse than burning her alive on the pyre of her dead husband. There is no way to say whether grieving by taking the head of someone from another community is better or worse than lighting candles and praying for the dead. 

 

At the end of the 20th century, cultural relativism took its final step to epistemological relativism. This position is that all knowledge is culturally based, with no neutral platform for objective assessment. So whatever procedure for knowledge exists in one culture has to be considered equivalent in validity with whatever other procedure exists in another culture. For example, astrology and chicken oracles must be consider equally valid as, say, Western natural science. Witchcraft explanations of events have to be considered equivalent to sociological explanations of events. With epistemological relativism, relativism has been taken to its logical conclusion.


Cultural relativism has been built into public policy through “multiculturalism,” the official policy of Canada and the unofficial policy of many European countries. Multiculturalism is often thought of as the opposite of assimilation; that is, multiculturalism allows immigrants, past, present, and future, to live in their own culture, with their own values, rules, and customs. No longer would individual citizens be the measure; cultural communities, collectivities, would be the operative units of society. Note that the shift from individuals to collectivities is a major transformation of Western political philosophy, with people being judged not on their individual merits, but on the characteristics of their community. However, there is an alternative, assimilationalist  understanding of multiculturalism, one that is held, according to repeated polls, by a large majority of the Canadian population: we welcome people from all cultures to come to Canada and become Canadians.

 

In the case of multiculturalism, at least, Canadian common sense is on firmer ground than collectivist multiculturalist political philosophers, for multiculturalism is an incoherent concept. A culture is a distinct way of life; different cultures are distinct ways of life. For people to live together in society, they must at least to a degree share a common culture. An obvious but important example is language; people must be able to communicate in a common language. If immigrants from every origin were granted the demand that their language be recognized as an official language, used in education through university, and in all government business, a country would become a sinkhole of babel, and would grind to a halt. In Canada, already struggling with two official languages, Ukrainians, responding to the declaration of multiculturalism as an official policy, demanded that Ukrainian be recognized as an official language to be used in education and government. The government of the day, that had declared multiculturalism within a bilingual state as official policy, refused to institute Ukrainian, and entertained no requests from Germans, Finns, Vietnamese, Italians, Chinese or anyone else that their languages become officially instituted in Canada. The past Conservative Government of Canada advised immigrants that, whatever the laws, customs, and practices of their countries and cultures of origin, they must obey Canadian law. So, to take one more example, the Sharia law that anyone leaving Islam must be considered an apostate and be executed, is inconsistent with Canadian law, where executing an apostate would be considered, not a righteous deed, but murder. Similarly, “honour” killings of family members, regarded as proper in cultures of the Middle East and South Asia, are not acceptable in Canada. Three members of the Shafia family of Montreal were recently convicted of murdering four female family members who they deemed to have been insufficiently modest, or too Canadian.

 

We are urged by champions of multiculturalism to acknowledge that each immigrant cultural community has a right to pursue its vision, values, customs, and practices. So increasingly public institutions, such as the Toronto schools, are providing space and time for Friday prayers, with girls required to sit in the back, and menstruating girls excluded altogether. Demands in Ontario for Sharia family courts enforced by the state were almost instituted by the provincial government, but for a clamorous public opposition by an informal group of young Muslim women. Should we recognize the right of South Asian families to force marriages to insure that the caste hierarchy is respected? Recently two South Asians in British Columbia were convicted of murder of a junior member of the family, having killed in retaliation for marriage to a man of an “inappropriate” caste. Is forced marriage acceptable as the custom of a cultural community? Are hierarchies of purity, as in the caste system, acceptable in North America?


The exact nature of Canadian and American values is rightly subject to debate. But would it not be fair and accurate to say that Canadian and American values supported individual freedom over community dictate, representative democracy over traditional despotism, individual achievement over hereditary status, equality over hierarchy, laws from legislatures over those in sacred texts, science over traditional knowledge, gender equality over gender hierarchy, respect for sexual diversity over repression of sexual diversity. Some of the values are long standing, while others are more recent. But, as of now, these are Canadian and American values. Will we bow to multiculturalism and accept collectivism, despotism, hereditary status, hierarchy, religious law, anti-scientific traditional knowledge, gender hierarchy, and repression of sexual diversity? If we do, Canada will no longer be Canada, and America will no longer be America.

 

The most important idea countering relativism and multiculturalism is “human rights.” The position of human rights is an absolute one, arguing that every human being has certain rights by virtue of being a human being, notwithstanding their origin or cultural community. Absolutist human rights is the polar opposite to cultural relativism, especially in its ethical and epistemological versions. The human rights perspective argues that some rights are not relative, that the right not to be enslaved is universal by virtue of our humanity. Its most notable statement is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promulgated by the United Nations. The Preamble begins, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, ….” and continues in the final paragraph, “Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations,…” (http://www.un.org/en// documents/udhr) America and Canada, in this perspective, should measure its practices by the standards of the UDHR. By the same token, incoming immigrants and their cultural communities should be measured in their practices by the standards of UDHR. Even if we accept the criticism that the derivation of the  Declaration is less Universal than Western Enlightenment, America and Canada are children of the Enlightenment, and that therefore honouring the Declaration is being true to ourselves.

 

Islamophobia

 

Islamophobia is an idea recently invented and defused by apologists for Islam and Islamism to silence criticism of Islam. The term “phobia” indicates an irrational fear, which is how the users of the term hope than criticism of Islam will be understood. As is well known, criticism of Islam, of Allah, of Mohammed, or of the Qoran is forbidden by Sharia law, violators (or even those unjustly accused) of which are subject in Sharia law to summary execution. Where execution for this offense is rarer, due to its extralegality, such as in America and Canada, defenders of Islam have tried to avoid criticism by picturing themselves as unjust victims of persecution, and to use moral suasion through the concept of Islamophobia to silence criticism.

Islamophobia has become a standard topic in Middle East Studies and Islamic Studies courses, often presented in conferences and publications as a great threat to the well being of Muslims in North America. The official statistics on so-called hate crimes indicate that Jews are by far the main target, many cases perpetrated by Muslims, with Muslims being targets in a small minority of cases.


Some Middle East and Islamic Studies professors appear to believe that it is their job to present Islam in the best possible light. While daily Islamist militias and proto-states fight to conquer land and population in the name of jihad for the caliphate, Professors and media commentators claim that really jihad means inner struggle to submit to God. Our most prominent political leaders, in America and Europe, proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace, even as they contemplate going to war against jihadis. They further state that the Islamic state “has nothing to do with Islam,” although the IS justifies its policies and actions in detail with references to the foundational documents of Islam. The IS has distinguished models to follow: Did not Mohammed spur the military thrusts of the great Arab Muslim Empire, conquering land between India and Iberia for Allah? Does not the Qoran divide the world into the Dar al-Islam, the land of peace, and the Dar al-harb, the land of infidels and war?

 

From the Qoran to present day Muslim Imams and Ayatollahs, reported word for word in translation on the Middle East Media Institute (MEMRI), a prominent theme is the recommended killing of infidels, and the conquest of the world. This theme is repeated in the charters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and the works of bin Laden and myriad others, and repeated by preachers of Middle Eastern origin and funding in mosques throughout America and Canada. Attempts to monitor, such as were tried in New York by the police, are denounced by politicians, such as the mayor of New York. Fear of being accused of Islamophobia has become a serious inhibition to those charged with public safety, just has fear of being accused of racism has kept  government authorities from dealing with serious breaches of the law, throughout all of Europe, as well as in America and Canada. That is why forced abductions, forced marriages, gang rapes, and honour killings by Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants in Western countries are usually not stopped and often go unpunished by government agencies. North American feminists dare say nothing about abuse of women in the Muslim world, from the Qoran and Sharia law, to daily life in families, lest they be accused of Islamophobia. Western opinion leaders appear to be doing a good job for the Muslim Brotherhood forbidding criticism of Islam.

 

Conclusion

 

Powerful contemporary ideas, such as that all the ills in the world are the result of Western Imperialism, that all cultures are equally valid and desirable, and that any criticism of Islam is unjustified and motivated by madness or racism, are undermining American and Canadian values, and paralysing our opinion makers and public officials. Middle East Studies professors, and media commentators, both often of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin, are active and effective purveyors of these ideas. But the intellectual rot goes much farther, into social science and humanities “disciplines” that take their inspiration of the political left, and activists, such as feminists and gay rights activists, who refuse to apply their criticisms to Middle Eastern and Islamic countries. Who remains to defend American and Canadian values?