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

Month: October 2017

WESTERN LEADERS & PROGRESSIVES DENY ISLAM-TERROR CONNECTION AND SUPPORT NIQAB

Surprise! Study Shows Islamic Terrorism is Islamic: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 31, 2017— Western leaders insist that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

The Jewish Blindspot to the Horrors of the Niqab: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 31, 2017— Sir Salman Rushdie spoke at Montreal’s Jewish Public Library last week. We were two of an estimated 700-strong (mostly Jewish) audience.

Burkas, Niqabs Pose Public Safety Risk: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Oct. 24, 2017— The slur of "racism" has been hurled at Muslims who support Quebec's Bill 62 — the new law banning face coverings, for example the burka and niqab, when giving or receiving government services.

Islamic State Threat is Alive at Israel’s Doorstep Despite Terror Group’s Losses Elsewhere: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, Oct. 26, 2017— During the last several months, Islamic State has seen its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria erode at the hands of a U.S.-backed coalition.

 

On Topic Links

 

Via Rail Plotters Weren’t Sick or Addicted — They Were Evil, FBI Undercover Agent Says: Tom Blackwell, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: The Role of Islamist Terrorists: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 25, 2017

Saudi Women Behind the Wheel: Prince Mohammed’s Litmus Test: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Oct. 4, 2017

New Study: Most UK Jihadists Tied to Non-Violent Islamism: IPT News, Oct 2, 2017

 

           

SURPRISE! STUDY SHOWS ISLAMIC TERRORISM IS ISLAMIC                                                                      

Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 31, 2017

 

Western leaders insist that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. Evidence to the contrary appeared again this week from Mohamad Jamal Khweis, an ISIS recruit from the United States who said in a 2016 interview with Kurdistan24, "Our daily life was basically prayer, eating and learning about the religion for about eight hours." Khweis was sentenced to 20 years in prison on October 27 for providing material support to ISIS, according to CBS News. As early as 2001, immediately after 9/11, then-President George W. Bush gave a speech in which he claimed that in the United States, the terrorist acts in which over 3,000 people were killed "violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith" and that "Islam is peace".

 

Twelve years and many spectacular terrorist attacks later, in 2013, when two jihadists murdered Lee Rigby in broad daylight in London, the prime minister at the time, David Cameron, declared that the attack was "a betrayal of Islam… there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act". In January 2015, jihadists in Paris shouting "Allahu Akbar" attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, murdering 15 people. French President François Hollande said that the jihadists had "nothing to do with the Muslim faith". Two years later, when a jihadist targeted the very heart of European democratic civilization, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge, British PM Theresa May said: "It is wrong to describe this as Islamic terrorism. It is Islamist terrorism and the perversion of a great faith".

 

In the face of hundreds of Muslim terrorists yelling "Allahu Akbar" while bombing, shooting, stabbing, and car-ramming thousands of innocent civilians to death and wounding thousands of others, it would be reasonable to assume that elected representatives might feel obliged to put their denial of reality on hold long enough to read at least bits of the Quran. They might start by reading the commands in "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…" (9:5), or, "So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah" (8:39).

 

If that is asking too much, perhaps they might be willing to consider a recent study by Islamic theologian and professor of Islamic religious education at the University of Vienna, Ednan Aslan, which was commissioned by the Austrian ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the 310-page study, which was conducted over 18 months and involved interviews with 29 Muslims who were all jailed or in juvenile detention (over half for having committed terrorist offenses) was reportedly to investigate the role that Islam plays in the radicalization of young Muslims in Austria. The study showed that jihadists are not, as Western leaders claim, ignorant of Islam and therefore "perverting" it. On the contrary, the jihadists apparently have a deep understanding of Islamic theology. Aslan explicitly warns against reducing the issue of Islamic terrorism to questions of "frustrated individuals, who have no perspective, are illiterate and have misunderstood Islam".

 

The study found that three factors were particularly relevant to the radicalization process of the interviewees. The first factor was Islam itself: The interviewees had actively participated in their own radicalization, by engaging with the content, norms and standards of Islamic doctrine, and had apparently found this engagement to be a positive turning point in their lives. The study describes the approach to Islam of these men as "Salafism", which it defines as the view that Islam comprises all aspects of life, religious, personal and societal. Moreover, the majority of the men evidently came from religious Muslim homes and were therefore already familiar with the foundations of Islam. The study explicitly states that the prevailing assumption that the majority of radicalized Muslims know very little about Islam could not be confirmed by the interviewers' findings.

 

The second factor was the environment: the specific mosques and imams to which the men went and on which they relied. Although the internet evidently did play a role in the radicalization process, the study showed that face-to-face encounters were more important, and that dawa, proselytizing Islam, played a central role in this process, as the men themselves became missionaries for Islam. Notably, the study showed that the level of theological knowledge determined the individual's role in the hierarchy — the more knowledge they had of Islam, the more authority they had. The third factor was the establishment of a "them and us" distinction between the radicalized men and the rest of the world, especially the belief that the West is an enemy of the Muslim world. The distinction also involved a rejection of democracy and a commitment to the establishment of a caliphate governed by sharia law, which the men want to bring about either through dawa (proselytizing) or violence (jihad)…

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

                                                                       

Contents

THE JEWISH BLINDSPOT TO THE HORRORS OF THE NIQAB                                                  

Barbara Kay

National Post, Oct. 31, 2017

 

Sir Salman Rushdie spoke at Montreal’s Jewish Public Library last week. We were two of an estimated 700-strong (mostly Jewish) audience. Rushdie’s insightful and entertaining address on “literature and politics in the modern world” was excellent, but the evening’s most noteworthy moment arrived with the Q&A, when, inevitably, his response was solicited regarding Quebec’s new Bill 62, which bans face coverings in the realm of public services. Rushdie gracefully sidestepped any comment on the law itself, but did express a robust opinion on the niqab.

 

His own family, Rushdie said, ranged from atheism to full Islamic practice, but “Not even the religious members would accept wearing a veil. They would say it is an instrument of oppression.” My husband and I applauded loudly, but few others did. Rushdie added, “Muslim women in the West who see it as an expression of identity are guilty of what Karl Marx called ‘false consciousness.’ A lot of women are forced to wear the veil. To choose to wear it, in my view, assists in the oppression of their sisters in those parts of the world.”

 

At this point I clapped even more enthusiastically and (alone) bellowed, “Bravo!” But most of the audience continued to sit on their hands. To say I was disappointed in my fellow Jews is an understatement. Here, after all, is a man who knows Islamic fundamentalism and oppression first hand, having endured 20 years of tense vigilance following fatwas against his life for the alleged crime of insulting Islam.

 

The tepid reaction to Rushdie’s statements thus struck me as a rebuke both to Rushdie’s personal ordeal and to the wisdom he brings to the face-covering debate as a critical insider. It’s also proof that even someone of Rushdie’s moral authority is powerless to shift liberal Jews’ reflexive instinct to identify with a perceived underdog, whatever the actual stakes at issue. I even had the sneaking suspicion that if a niqab’d woman in the audience had risen to shake her fist at Rushdie, she would have sparked an approving ovation.

 

I understand why young people are loath to criticize any cultural practice by the Other. They’ve long been steeped in cultural Marxism, which encourages white guilt and forbids criticism of official victim groups, including Muslims (but not Jews). But how did so many of my pre-Marxist, classically liberal Jewish contemporaries, who were, age-wise, disproportionately represented in the audience — especially the women, feminists one and all — fall for what public intellectual Phyllis Chesler calls a “faux feminism” that is “Islamically correct”?

 

I had assumed that my opinion on Bill 62 — that it is a fair law that privileges socially-level communications over a misogynist tribal custom — had solid, if minority, support in my community. The Rushdie evening disabused me of that illusion. Yet, I remain bewildered that Rushdie’s words don’t ring as true to my peers as they do to me. And not just Rushdie. Many Muslims are as “triggered” by the niqab as I am, and for better reason: they came to Canada to escape what it represents in those Islamic countries where it is customary (or obligatory) to wear it. They’re eager to speak up, but most media are too busy romancing the niqab-wearers to hear them.

 

Here’s a thought experiment I’d put to my progressive Jewish friends: How do you feel about the “frumqa”? “Frum” means religious in Yiddish. A frumqa is the Jewish burqa, worn by a few hundred Haredi women in Jerusalem who are sometimes called the “Taliban women.” The frumqa’s creator, Bruria Keren says she wears it “to save men from themselves. A man who sees a woman’s body parts is sexually aroused … Even if he doesn’t sin physically, his impure thoughts are sin in themselves.”

 

I’m glad the frumqa exists for one reason: I can say I find it disturbing in itself and abusive to girls without being called Islamophobic. I can freely say that Haredi fundamentalism and the obsessive gender extremism it incubates is a blot on the Jewish halachic and cultural landscape. Please don’t speak to me of a Jewish woman’s “right” to wear such a travesty of “tzniut” (modesty in dress and behaviour). Indoctrinated women, like inebriated women, are not competent to give informed consent to practices that reduce them to sexual and reproductive “things.”

 

I’d wager there isn’t a single Jewish woman in that Rushdie audience who wouldn’t privately express her visceral disgust with the frumqa, and who furthermore wouldn’t turn a hair if it were banned in Israel (it can’t be: the Haredim hold too much political power there). But over the Other’s burqas they draw a politically correct veil. Forgive me if I conclude it isn’t just Muslim women in the West who are guilty of false consciousness.

 

Contents

BURKAS, NIQABS POSE PUBLIC SAFETY RISK

Tarek Fatah

Toronto Sun, Oct. 24, 2017

 

The slur of "racism" has been hurled at Muslims who support Quebec's Bill 62 — the new law banning face coverings, for example the burka and niqab, when giving or receiving government services. From Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne to Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, many white politicians and liberal media commentators have been quick to label any support of Bill 62 racist.

 

Since I, a Muslim, support Bill 62, I guess that makes me a racist. Indeed, it's not uncommon to hear whispers suggesting Muslims like me who support the burka and niqab ban are "sell-outs" within the Muslim community. And that white politicians who oppose Bill 62 are trying to salvage the reputation of our community, despite our supposed betrayal.

 

Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown are fierce political rivals, but both have been quick to label any support of Bill 62 racist. After all, what do these politicians have to lose? The political race to the bottom to curry favour with the so-called "Muslim vote bank" in Canada, as they see it, has worked well for both Conservatives and Liberals, charmed as they are by many second-generation radical Muslims who were born in Canada, some of whom hate Western civilization more than their parents do.

 

But none of the attacks on Quebec's burka/niqab ban were more disingenuous than one told by a well-coiffed hijabi on Canadian television recently, dismissing the public safety aspect of people wearing facemasks. This young Muslim woman claimed there has not been a single incident where someone wearing a burka committed a crime. To set the record straight, here are just a few examples of criminal activities committed by men and women wearing burkas and other face coverings in Canada:

 

Two months ago, on Aug. 17, 2017, an armed robbery took place at a Scotia Bank branch in Milton, Ontario. Police said one of the two suspects was wearing a balaclava; On Sept. 9, 2015, two burka-wearing male teens charged into a Toronto bank in the Yonge Street and Highway 401 area. Both were later arrested in Ajax; On Oct. 14, 2014, two men wearing burkas robbed a Toronto jewelery store in the York Mills and Leslie Street area, and walked away with $500,000 worth of gold and precious stones; On Aug. 18, 2010 an armed robbery by two masked men took place at a Scotiabank branch in Vaughan, north of Toronto; Ottawa police have in the past cited a handful of robberies in that city involving male suspects using Muslim women's religious garments as disguises.

 

Some of us will never forget how a young Toronto Muslim woman, Bano Shahdady, threw off her burka as she was divorcing her husband, only to be stalked by him disguised in a burka. He entered her apartment building and killed her in July 2011. It was a story few media were willing to delve into, but because I knew the family, one journalist did report about this burka-related murder that almost went unreported.

 

Around the world, numerous criminals have fled arrest wearing burkas, everywhere from London's Heathrow airport to the infamous Lal Masjid armed revolt by jihadis in Islamabad. My plea to vote-grabbing Canadian politicians of all political stripes in English-speaking Canada is, for once, be honest. Put the racist card aside and recognize burkas and niqabs pose a serious public safety risk.

 

 

Contents

ISLAMIC STATE THREAT IS ALIVE AT ISRAEL’S DOORSTEP

DESPITE TERROR GROUP’S LOSSES ELSEWHERE

Yaakov Lappin

JNS, Oct. 26, 2017

 

During the last several months, Islamic State has seen its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria erode at the hands of a U.S.-backed coalition. With the recent liberation of Islamic State’s de-facto capital in Raqqa, Syria, by coalition forces, many experts see the jihadist group attempting to bounce back by shifting from “state-building” to bolstering its terror network, including by exploiting lawless areas of the Middle East.

In Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, despite ongoing efforts by the Egyptian military, an Islamic State-affiliated terror group continues to deliver a succession of painful, deadly attacks on the Arab country’s security forces. With Islamic State’s losses in Syria and Iraq piling up, the Sinai remains an area where the terrorist organization is active and on the attack.  Occasionally, Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate, known as Sinai Province, fires rockets into southern Israel—including an attack in mid-October, sending residents of the Eshkol region fleeing for cover.

 

Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, pointed out that Egyptian authorities do not operate in the Sinai like they do in the Egyptian heartland. Egypt’s counter-terrorist campaign “has some achievements, but not enough to solve the problem and to significantly lower ISIS’s activities.”

 

Egypt has struggled to integrate its security forces effectively, or deploy sufficient special forces, but has been able to cause real damage to Sinai Province during the past year and a half, Schweitzer said. “I don’t think Sinai Province is getting stronger. To a certain extent, it is weaker, but not enough to be repressed,” he told JNS.org. Egypt’s efforts are now receiving support from Bedouin tribes in the Sinai—like the Tarabin tribe—who have grown resentful of Islamic State’s presence, said Schweitzer, a former head of the Counter International Terror Section in the IDF. “The effort is better, but we see that terrorism isn’t breaking,” he said.

 

“They are still able to strike and kill soldiers in high numbers. The Egyptians can’t solve this problem,” Schweitzer added. One possible reason for this, he said, is the fact that Egypt “still doesn’t see Sinai as central enough. So long as there are not massive attacks in the Egyptian heartland, hitting senior government officials or tourist sites, this view will not change.”

 

An Israeli security source closely familiar with the Sinai sector offered rare confirmation of what she described as “tactical cooperation” between Israeli and Egyptian security forces on the border. “We have the same interests,” the source told JNS.org. “We both want to defend the border. We both understand that we are targets for terrorism. Hence we coordinate. It is clear to everyone who the enemy is, and that it is not us or them.” As evidence, the source pointed out that for the past year and a half, Egypt’s border police forces have constructed posts so that their openings face the Israeli side. “They did this out of an understanding that we have a common interest,” she said. “They understand that Israel is the safe side.”

 

The Israeli security source said that once in a while, Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate finds “ways to signal to us that we are in their crosshairs.” Israel does not confirm or deny reports that it launches air strikes on Islamic State in the Sinai, though the terror organization has accused the Jewish state of doing so repeatedly. It is difficult to estimate the size of Sinai Province, but assessments range from between hundreds and a few thousand members, the Israeli source stated. “Its weapons capabilities are varied. It has explosives that are both industrial and homemade, and a rocket stockpile that is not large,” she said. 

 

Asked about the scope of the threat to Israel, the source said, “As of now, our understanding is that Sinai Province’s leadership has issued a directive to focus efforts against the Egyptian security forces. We see that this directive is being followed.” The source was quick to point out that “this does not mean they like us. We are taking into account the fact that a decision, and having the ability, is what separates us from an attack against us.”

 

The IDF is building up its ability to deal with a variety of potential attacks from terrorists in the Sinai—including attempts to infiltrate into Israel and conduct a major attack. “Anything that approaches this sector comes under intense surveillance,” the source said. The Israeli military’s surveillance goes far beyond the Israel-Egypt border fence; any unusual movements are “checked thoroughly,” the source said. Various Israeli intelligence forces have joined forces to keep the area “clean from terrorism,” she added.

 

The source does not believe that Islamic State is getting stronger in the Sinai, but rather, that the terror group has succeeded in maintaining its power there, while it grows weaker in the rest of the Middle East. “They created an ability to continue attacking, keeping up their ‘output,’ and it turns out they can continue to recruit successfully,” she said. “This has not happened in other ISIS zones.” One reason for Islamic State’s continued presence in the Sinai, said the source, is that “for many years…Sinai has been the backyard of Egypt. There was no orderly Egyptian political sovereignty there. This created fertile ground for terrorism to grow uninterrupted.”

 

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Via Rail Plotters Weren’t Sick or Addicted — They Were Evil, FBI Undercover Agent Says: Tom Blackwell, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017—By the time he was sentenced to life in prison for plotting to wreck a Via Rail train and other terrorist acts, Chiheb Esseghaier had been diagnosed as psychotic, having gone on incoherent rants, spit at a witness and fallen asleep during his trial.

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: The Role of Islamist Terrorists: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 25, 2017—Although the media has extensively covered the Burmese Army's expulsion of Muslim Rohingya people from Rakhine Province in Myanmar — and although no one is recommending the horrors of murder or mass expulsions — little attention has been paid to Rohingya ties to international Islamic terrorism.

Saudi Women Behind the Wheel: Prince Mohammed’s Litmus Test: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Oct. 4, 2017—If last week’s national day celebrations, during which women were for the first time allowed to enter a stadium, is anything to go by, opposition to the lifting of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women’s driving is likely to be limited to protests on social media.

New Study: Most UK Jihadists Tied to Non-Violent Islamism: IPT News, Oct 2, 2017—Ties to non-violent Islamism are strongly associated with an eventual embrace of jihadism, according to a new study that explores the trajectories of British jihadists.

 

 

 

FALL OF I.S. IN IRAQ & SYRIA, AMIDST ONGOING SECTARIAN CONFLICT, STRENGTHENS SHIITE AXIS

ISIS: Some Things Cannot Be Killed Off: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, BESA, Oct. 26, 2017 — As the city of Raqqa, the capital of the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” falls to the Free Syrian Army, made up primarily of Kurdish and Syrian militias, the question is what the aftermath of ISIS will look like.

Real Threat to the West: Why Can’t Britain See It?: Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 26, 2017 — Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has been making some remarkable comments.

Israel Takes On the Shia Crescent: Joseph Klein, Frontpage, Oct. 2, 2017 — Despite Israel's repeated warnings, Barack Obama's reckless appeasement of the Iranian regime has enabled its rise as a hegemonic threat in the Middle East region as well as a threat to international peace and security.

Why There Is No Peace in the Middle East: Philip Carl Salzman, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 14, 2017— Living as an anthropologist in a herding camp of the Yarahmadzai tribe of nomadic pastoralists in the deserts of Iranian Baluchistan clarified some of the inhibitions to peace in the Middle East.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Fall of Kirkuk: An IRGC Production: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 22, 2017

What Iraq’s Recent Moves Against Kurds Mean for Israel and Region: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 26, 2017

The U.S. is on a Collision Course with Iran in the Middle East: Liz Sly, Washington Post, Oct. 26, 2017

Between the Iranian Threat and the Palestinian State Threat: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 22, 2017

 

 

 

ISIS: SOME THINGS CANNOT BE KILLED OFF

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

BESA, Oct. 26, 2017

 

As the city of Raqqa, the capital of the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” falls to the Free Syrian Army, made up primarily of Kurdish and Syrian militias, the question is what the aftermath of ISIS will look like. The answer is threefold and involves the organization, its members, and its ideology.

 

The organization may well be routed and eradicated. The large swathe of territory it controlled will be divided among Syria, Iran, Turkey, and the Kurds, and its government institutions will become relics of the past. The attempt to reestablish the Islamic caliphate failed because the Muslim world – not only the “infidels” – despised its gruesome, seventh-century execution methods.

 

Most of the organization’s members are already elsewhere, however, and they carry a sense of righteousness in their hearts. They feel betrayed and will seek revenge against all those who attacked them. Those include the Kurds and the coalition countries; Muslims who stood by and did not help them, such as former Soviet bloc countries; and countries that helped but then abandoned them along the way, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

 

These jihadists have dispersed in many countries. They are establishing proxies in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, Mali, the Philippines, and elsewhere, with each branch adjusting its structure and activities to the environment in which it operates. Variables include the degree to which local governments effectively wield power, the degree to which the local Muslim population is supportive, and the degree to which a terrorist organizational infrastructure already exists and can be utilized. We saw a similar phenomenon after the defeat of al-Qaida in Afghanistan in late 2001, when one of its offshoots settled in Iraq and joined with the local Sunni population and the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s army to form ISIS. Beginning in April 2003, it began exploiting the weak central government in Baghdad, and in March 2011, the government in Damascus.

 

Every local proxy, however, will suffer from the same fundamental problems prevalent in any radical Islamic group. There will be disagreements within the group over Sharia law and its implementation; over ruling a territory or remaining a non-sovereign jihadist entity; the severity of punishment for offenders; the title of leader (whether he will be named caliph or not) and his authority; the group’s relations with similarly minded organizations; the status structure within the organization (Arabs versus non-Arabs, Muslims by birth versus Muslims by conversion), and more. There will also be the problem of hostility between the Islamic organization and the local population, Muslim or otherwise, over which it wants to rule. In addition, the international community’s traditionally negative view of Islamic terrorist organizations could lead to all-out war.

 

Another question is how the Islamic world will be affected by the dashed dream of a caliphate. The fall of ISIS will assuredly bolster those who oppose political Islam. On the other hand, the fall of the Sunni organization strengthens the Shiite axis. The slow crawl of Sunni leaders (Turkey and Saudi Arabia) towards Iran is one sign of the Shiite axis’s growing power at the expense of the Sunnis. (US President Donald Trump’s recent speech might slow this trend down, depending on the action the US takes.)

 

The idea of an Islamic caliphate is not dead. It is alive and well in religious scriptures, textbooks, Friday sermons, internet forums, and the hearts of many millions. In the near or distant future it will be resurrected, shake off the memory of recent events, and begin anew. There will always be people who dream of ancient glory, of the resurrection of ancestral Salafism and its forefathers – the prophet Muhammad and his cohort, who “lived an ideal and proper lifestyle and showed us the right path for any place, time and environment.”

 

What is clear is that the fight against the “heretic, permissive, hedonistic, materialistic, drugged and inebriated West” will persist through lone-wolf or small-cell terrorist attacks. Countries around the world will continue to suffer from ramming attacks, stabbings, shootings, rapes, violence against women and children, public vandalism, and other variances of jihad against all those who do not belong to the religion of Muhammad. ISIS may well disappear as an organization, but the world is likely to continue feeling the evil ideology this organization has instilled in the hearts and minds of too many Muslims.     

 

Contents

REAL THREAT TO THE WEST: WHY CAN’T BRITAIN SEE IT?

                                       Melanie Phillips

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 26, 2017

 

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has been making some remarkable comments. In an interview with The Guardian, the recently designated heir to the Saudi throne said the desert kingdom had been “not normal” for the past 30 years. He blamed the extremist Wahhabi form of Islam, which successive leaders “didn’t know how to deal with” and which had created a problem around the world.

 

“Now is the time to get rid of it,” he said. Saudi Arabia would now revert to “what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions. Seventy percent of the Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly, we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts. We will destroy them now and immediately.”

 

Open to all religions? Churches and synagogues in Saudi Arabia? An end to the Wahhabi extremism which has spawned jihadism across the globe? Can he be serious? We know the prince is a reformer. Aware that the oil weapon is fast disappearing as the price of crude falls, he wants to open up the economy. That means modernization. Recently, Saudi women were given the right to drive. Religious police have been reined in and deprived of their powers of arrest. Small moves maybe, but anathema to the hard-line clerics.

 

Is it possible, though, to close Pandora’s jihadi box? Was Saudi Arabia ever religiously moderate? The prince says it became extreme only in response to the 1979 Iranian revolution. That is not quite true. The creed of Wahhabi Islam, which seeks to proselytize via the sword both non-Muslims and not-extreme-enough Muslims to its ferocious dogma, was imposed under the chieftain Muhammad al-Saud in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

 

After the Iranian revolution, an attempt was made to overthrow the House of Saud on the grounds that it had deviated from the true Wahhabi path. In a deal made with the clerics, the Saudi rulers not only hardened religious rules at home but poured money into spreading the jihad through mosques, madrasas and universities across the world.

 

The prince’s reformist agenda goes hand in hand with the kingdom’s tactical alliance with America in the common fight against Saudi Arabia’s arch enemy, Iran – in which it is cooperating below-the-radar with Israel, too. To the British government, with its close economic ties with Saudi Arabia, these reformist noises come as a relief, since Saudi human rights abuses continue to cause it severe embarrassment. Nevertheless, Britain is not on the same page as Saudi Arabia in trying to constrain Iran. Perversely, Britain remains intent upon a course of action that is instead empowering Iran by continuing to support the cynical and dangerous nuclear deal the UK helped US president Barack Obama broker in 2015.

 

President Donald Trump has now refused to certify Iran’s compliance with that deal, saying Iran has breached it several times by exceeding the limits it set on heavy water and centrifuge testing. More remarkably, the deal’s own terms allow Iran to make a mockery of its fundamental purpose in constraining Iran’s nuclear weapons program, for the inspection procedure takes place only at sites where Iran has agreed to allow inspection. These exclude its military sites. The deal’s proponents can claim that a robust inspection is being applied, while Iran is able to evade inspection of the sites that really matter.

 

Recently the International Atomic Energy Authority stated it could not verify that Iran is “fully implementing the agreement” by not engaging in activities that would allow it to make a nuclear explosive device. When it came to inspections, said the IAEA, “our tools are limited.” According to the Institute for Science and International Security, as of the last quarterly report released in August, the IAEA had not visited any military site in Iran since implementation of the deal.

 

In any event, the deal does not prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, because its “sunset clause” allows it to do so in 10 or 15 years’ time – and reports suggest it has the capacity to develop them extremely quickly. Worse still, the deal allows Iran to develop ballistic missiles. Sanctions relief has enabled it to pour money into its proxy army Hezbollah, promote Hamas terrorism and spread its influence and terrorism into Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

 

Yet the British government not only helped create but still implacably supports this terrible capitulation to Iranian power. Parting company with Trump, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the nuclear deal is “a crucial agreement that neutralized Iran’s nuclear threat” which has “undoubtedly made the world a safer place.” What planet is he living on? Iran is marching toward regional hegemony. In Iraq, there are reports that its Quds Force has been coordinating with Iraqi government officials to recruit the most effective ISIS fighters and release them from Iraqi prisons. These fighters are being organized, trained, and equipped to attack US and other regional forces.

 

Despite all this, however, the threat that worries Britain most is not Iran, but the prospect of war against Iran. The fact that Iran has been waging war against the West since 1979, in the course of which it has repeatedly attacked Western targets, murdered countless civilians and been responsible for the deaths of many British and American soldiers in Iraq, is brushed aside. Unless it really does reform itself, Saudi Arabia will continue to pose a threat from its religious extremism. Nevertheless, it is an ally against the greater enemy at this time: Iran. The Iranian regime must be defeated. It is shocking that, unlike President Trump, Britain is intent on appeasing it.                                                                    

 

Contents

ISRAEL TAKES ON THE SHIA CRESCENT                                                   

Joseph Klein

Frontpage, Oct. 2, 2017

 

Despite Israel's repeated warnings, Barack Obama's reckless appeasement of the Iranian regime has enabled its rise as a hegemonic threat in the Middle East region as well as a threat to international peace and security. In 2009, Obama turned his back on millions of dissidents in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, who were peacefully protesting the rigged election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. In 2011, Obama precipitously removed the remaining U.S. combat troops from Iraq, giving rise to ISIS’s re-emergence in Iraq from its bases in Syria. The radical Shiite Iranian regime purported to come to the “rescue” of both countries from the Sunni terrorists, turning Iraq into a virtual vassal state of the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the process. Obama's disastrous nuclear deal with Iran legitimized Iran's path to eventually becoming a nuclear-armed state, while immediately filling its coffers with billions of dollars to fund its aggression.

 

Meanwhile, Syria has become ground zero for Iran's execution of its regional ambitions, which is to establish its Shiite Crescent connecting with its allies, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This plan has included the establishment of a land route that Iranian-backed militias secured in June, beginning on Iran’s border with Iraq and running across Iraq and Syria all the way to Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This road makes Iran’s job easier in supplying arms by land, as well as by air and sea, to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and to equip Iran’s own forces fighting inside of Syria in support of Assad. This helps explain why Iran has placed so much importance on helping the Syrian regime establish control over the Deir ez-Zor area in eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border.

 

“Everything depends now on the Americans’ willingness to stop this,” said an Iraqi Kurdish official who was quoted in a New Yorker article. However, U.S.-led coalition forces apparently have done next to nothing to stop this major advance in Iran’s Shiite Crescent expansion. “Obama ran down our options in Syria so thoroughly, by the time this administration took over,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The Iranian influence is spreading because they are so heavily involved in regime activities,” Tabler added. “It’s a new monster.”

 

Furthermore, Iran has funded and armed its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which has sent its militia from its home base of Lebanon to fight alongside Assad's forces.  And Iran has used Syria as a transit point for shipment of sophisticated rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon for future use against Israeli population centers. Despite the fact that Hezbollah has American blood on its hands, the U.S.-led coalition has chosen not to do anything about Hezbollah’s presence in Syria, bought and paid for by Iran.

 

While Israel chose not to take sides in Syria's civil war with military intervention of its own, it has bombed weapons storage facilities and convoys inside Syria for its own protection. Just recently, on September 7th, Israeli jets struck a Syrian weapons facility near Masyaf, which was reported to have been used for the production of chemical weapons and the storage of missiles. Israel will also do what is necessary to repel Iranian-backed forces if they edge too close to areas near the Golan Heights, shrinking the buffer between Israel and Iranian controlled territories.

 

However, such tactical measures may not be enough to thwart Iran’s larger ambitions. In light of intelligence reports that Assad may be ready to invite Iran to set up military bases in Syria, Israeli leaders have concluded that they cannot wait until the Trump administration decides to deal more forcefully with Iran's growing use of Syria as a staging area for carrying out its expansionist Shiite Crescent strategy.  “Their overriding concern in Syria is the free reign that all the major players there seem willing to afford Iran and its various proxies in the country,” wrote Jonathan Spyer in an article for Foreign Policy. As long as nobody else is addressing the concern Iran’s growing control raises in a satisfactory manner, “Israel is determined to continue addressing it on its own.”

 

At least, Israel has a more sympathetic ear in the Trump administration than it did in the Obama administration for raising its concerns about Iran’s growing threat, not only to Israel but to U.S. interests in the region and beyond. President Trump’s sharp denunciation of the Iranian regime during his address to the UN General Assembly represented a welcome departure from the Obama administration’s milquetoast approach to Iran.

 

As the U.S.-led coalition continues to drive ISIS from its bases of operation in Syria, the Trump administration has proclaimed its intention not to allow Iran to turn Syria into its own satellite, as Iran has essentially done in Iraq. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the “so called liberation of areas by Assad’s forces and Iranian proxies could actually accelerate the cycle of violence and perpetuate conflict rather than get us to a sustainable outcome.” He claimed that the Trump administration’s “objectives are to weaken Iranian influence across the region broadly,” without discussing the means to accomplish those objectives. Whether the Trump administration follows through remains to be seen. In the meantime, Israel will have to deal with the fallout of Iran’s ambitions in Syria itself.

                                                                       

 

Contents

WHY THERE IS NO PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Philip Carl Salzman

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 14, 2017

 

Living as an anthropologist in a herding camp of the Yarahmadzai tribe of nomadic pastoralists in the deserts of Iranian Baluchistan clarified some of the inhibitions to peace in the Middle East. What one sees is strong, kin-based, group loyalty defense and solidarity, and the political opposition of lineages, whether large or small. This raised the question how unity and peace could arrive in a system based on opposition.

 

Peace is not possible in the Middle East because values and goals other than peace are more important to Middle Easterners. Most important to Middle Easterners are loyalty to kin, clan, and cult, and the honour which is won by such loyalty. These are the cultural imperatives, the primary values, held and celebrated. When conflict arises and conflict-parties form based on loyal allegiance, the conflict is regarded as appropriate and proper.

 

The results of absolute commitment to kin and cult groups, and the structural opposition to all others, can be seen throughout Middle Eastern history, including contemporary events, where conflict has been rife. Turks, Arabs and Iranians have launched military campaigns to suppress Kurds. Meanwhile, Christians, Yazidis, Baha'is and Jews, among others, have been, and continue to be ethnically cleansed. Arabs and Persians, and Sunnis and Shiites, each try to gain power over the other in a competition that has been one of the main underlying factors of the Iraq-Iran war, the Saddam Hussein regime, and the current catastrophe in Syria. Turks invaded Greek Orthodox Cyprus in 1974 and have occupied it since. Multiple Muslim states have invaded the minuscule Jewish state of Israel three times, and Palestinians daily celebrate the murder of Jews.

 

Some Middle Easterners, and some in the West, prefer to attribute the problems of the Middle East to outsiders, such as Western imperialists, but it seems odd to suggest that the local inhabitants have no agency and no responsibility for their activities in this disastrous region, high not only in conflict and brutality, but low by all world standards in human development.

 

If one looks to local conditions to understand local conflicts, the first thing to understand is that Arab culture, through the ages and at the present time, has been built on the foundation of Bedouin tribal culture. Most of the population of northern Arabia at the time of the emergence of Islam was Bedouin, and during the period of rapid expansion following the adoption of Islam, the Arab Muslim army consisted of Bedouin tribal units. The Bedouin, nomadic and pastoral for the most part, were formed into tribes, which are regional defense and security groups.

 

Bedouin tribes were organized by basing groups on descent through the male line. Close relatives in conflict activated only small groups, while distant relatives in conflict activated large groups. If, for example, members of cousin groups were in conflict, no one else was involved. But if members of tribal sections were in conflict, all cousins and larger groups in a tribal section would unite in opposition to the other tribal section. So, what group a tribesmen thought himself a member of was circumstantial, depending on who was involved in a conflict.

 

Relations between descent groups were always oppositional in principle, with tribes as a whole seeing themselves in opposition to other tribes. The main structural relation between groups at the same genealogical and demographic level could be said to be balanced opposition. The strongest political norm among tribesmen was loyalty to, and active support of, one's kin group, small or large. One must always support closer kin against more distant kin. Loyalty was rewarded with honour. Not supporting your kin was dishonourable. The systemic result was often a stand-off, the threat of full scale conflict with another group of the same size and determination acting as deterrence against frivolous adventures. That there were not more conflicts than the many making up tribal history, is due to that deterrence…

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

 

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

The Fall of Kirkuk: An IRGC Production: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 22, 2017—Iraqi forces took Kirkuk city from the Kurds this week with hardly a shot fired. Twenty-two Kurdish fighters were killed in the sporadic and disorganized resistance, while seven Iraqi soldiers also lost their lives.

What Iraq’s Recent Moves Against Kurds Mean for Israel and Region: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 26, 2017—On Sunday, Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi began a historic visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is meeting the king of Saudi Arabia and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The U.S. is on a Collision Course with Iran in the Middle East: Liz Sly, Washington Post, Oct. 26, 2017—President Trump’s assertive new strategy toward Iran is already colliding with the reality of Tehran’s vastly expanded influence in the Middle East as a result of the Islamic State war.

Between the Iranian Threat and the Palestinian State Threat: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 22, 2017—The greatest threat to Israel’s existence is neither Shiite militias on the Golan border nor the Iranian nuclear threat, which are of physical and military nature.

 

 

 

ON 100TH ANNIVERSARY, BALFOUR DECLARATION & RUSSIAN REVOLUTION CONTINUE TO SHAPE MODERN HISTORY

Honouring Lord Balfour, Who Made Israel Possible: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017 — This coming November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration…

The Enemy of My Enemy: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 24, 2017— The dramatic swing to the Right in the recent Austrian elections is likely to have widespread repercussions throughout Europe.

Why Did Russian Jews Support the Bolshevik Revolution?: Michael Stanislawski, Tablet, Oct. 24, 2017 — When the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd on Oct. 25, 1917, the vast majority of Russia’s Jews opposed that takeover.

Lenin’s Deadly Revolution: Martin Amis, New York Times, Oct. 16, 2017— It was not a good idea that somehow went wrong or withered away. It was a very bad idea from the outset, and one forced into life — or the life of the undead — with barely imaginable self-righteousness, pedantry, dynamism, and horror.

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Do American Jews Idealize Soviet Communism?: Ruth R. Wisse, Tablet, Oct. 22, 2017

The First Totalitarian: Josef Joffe, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2017

Balfour’s Greatest of Gifts: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Was More than the Promise of One Nation: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, June 28, 2017

 

HONOURING LORD BALFOUR, WHO MADE ISRAEL POSSIBLE

Barbara Kay

National Post, Oct. 24, 2017

 

This coming November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which with its portentous words, “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” may be the most consequential foreign-policy statement in modern history. Theodore Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, famously said, “If you will it, it is no dream.” But without Lord James Arthur Balfour’s sympathy with Zionism, there would have been no Declaration, and more important, no British Mandate over the region of Palestine (there was then no country called Palestine). For it was the Mandate that gave the Declaration international standing, a status that cannot be legally abrogated.

 

In 1902, the British government, in which Lord Balfour served, had offered Zionist Jews land in East Africa (later Uganda) to found a national home as a response to murderous pogroms in Russia and eastern Europe. The offer was rejected, fully rousing Balfour’s curiosity about the Jewish question. I say “fully,” because Balfour had been happily immersed from childhood in Judaism’s sacred texts — the Bible, the psalms and the prophets.

 

And so, in 1906, with time on his hands after his government’s defeat, Balfour met with Israel’s future first president Chaim Weizmann, a Russian immigrant (via studies in Paris), who at the time was teaching chemistry at a Manchester university in Balfour’s constituency. This meeting was well documented in Weizmann’s memoirs. In a frequently-quoted exchange, Weizmann asked, justifying Zionists’ refusal of Uganda: “‘Mr. Balfour, supposing I were to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?’ He sat up, looked at me and answered: ‘But, Dr. Weizmann, we have London.’ ‘That is true,’ I said. ‘But we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh.’ He leaned back and continued to stare at me … I did not see him again till 1916.”

 

Weizmann’s insistence on the Jews’ legitimate moral claim for re-settlement in their ancient homeland was the right argument for Balfour. Balfour’s niece and biographer, Blanche Dugdale, wrote: “(Balfour) understood from that time forward that the Jewish form of patriotism would never be satisfied with anything less than Palestine. The more he thought about Zionism, the more his respect for it grew.” (When Balfour and Weizmann met again during the First World War, it was as though they had spoken days, not a decade, before. Balfour said to Weizmann, “You know, I was thinking of that conversation of ours and I believe that when the guns stop firing, you may get your Jerusalem.”)

 

Weizmann was Balfour’s first non-establishment and bullishly Zionist Jewish friend. Balfour frequently socialized with the Jewish elites of his generation, like the Rothschilds. But almost to a man, they were assimilated Reform Jews and virulently anti-Zionist. Indeed, when official negotiations with the Zionists began in 1917, high-status English Jews were incensed. The Jewish Board of Deputies, the equivalent of our Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, looked down on the Zionists from Eastern Europe as impoverished, insular and deluded. But, as Herzl noted, they at least were Jews who fully embraced their Jewish identity and “were not tortured by the idea of assimilation.”

 

One can see a contemporary parallel here in the division, especially on campus, between pro and anti-Israel Jews. Today, the battle lines are not drawn between rich vs. poor Jews, or smoothly integrated vs. unrefined immigrant Jews, and the stakes are not cultural acceptance or security. We are all accepted, we are all as secure as Jews have ever been. Today, the battle lines are ideological: progressive, anti-Zionist Jews vs. classically liberal, Israel-supportive Jews.

 

But there is one unifying theme to be found between the divided Jewish communities of 1917 and 2017. In both cases, one can see the same conceptual bright line between the two camps regarding the idea of a homeland for Jews. One thinks along social justice lines; the other along existential lines. And the two points of view cannot co-exist in harmony.

 

The social-justice school sees the Jews as one people amongst many, but one singled out for persecution and in need of a safe space, wherever that might be. In 1902, such Jews found no problem with Uganda as a solution to pogroms. Today’s social-justice Jews understand Israel’s rise to statehood as a response to the Holocaust (a view endorsed and articulated by former President Obama). They consider it was right and proper at that time for the world to recognize Jewish suffering with a safe space. Israel happened to be the obvious choice.

 

The problem with the sanctuary vision is that the national Jewish home is looked at as a gift rather than a right. What is given by others can be taken away by others. Israel’s moral legitimacy is contingent on its passing what is sometimes referred to as the Holocaust test: you Jews suffered violence, you may therefore not show violence to others, even in your own defence. The question of legitimacy is always on the progressive mind. Increasingly, Israel is perceived of as having failed that test…

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

 

Contents

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY

                                       Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 24, 2017

 

The dramatic swing to the Right in the recent Austrian elections is likely to have widespread repercussions throughout Europe. It will also oblige Israel to reconsider its current approach to far Right groups. While many readers may strongly disagree with my views, I feel that the time has come to face reality.

 

Israel is stronger today than at any time since it was founded, but the fact remains that despite a currently friendly US administration, most of the world continues to discriminate against and apply double standards to Israel. No other nation is confronted by fanatical cultures that extol evil and death and repeatedly and publicly bay for the destruction of their neighbor – to the indifference of most of the “civilized” world, which merely watches and at best remains silent.

 

In this environment, it is time for us to overcome inhibitions and intensify efforts to actively seek out alliances, with nondemocratic states or even those whose viewpoints on various issues we strongly oppose. Some would condemn such an approach as hypocritical and amoral realpolitik. Yet almost all Israelis are encouraged that our leaders have forged a positive relationship with an authoritarian Russia ruled by Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who currently displays philo-Semitic sympathies.

 

In general, Israelis are optimistic – and with good reason – about our relationship with Egypt headed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Yet antisemitism still dominates much of the state-controlled media as Egyptian society has been conditioned over the years to hate Israel and the Jews. This may change in time but the reason for the current rapprochement is primarily that we face common enemies.

 

The covert and somewhat schizophrenic new relationship with Saudi Arabia is even more bizarre. Fanatical Saudi Wahhabism is the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism and continues to promote it throughout the world. Its hatred of Israel and the Jews knows no bounds and is an integral component of the current Saudi educational curriculum, and its mullahs are notorious for calling on the faithful to murder Jews, “the descendants of apes and pigs.” Yet the emerging Iranian threat to impose regional hegemony induced the Saudi leaders to covertly cooperate with Israel. Israel has likewise been cultivating relations with India and China as well as other Asian, African and Latin American states, many of which are not even remotely democratic.

 

By and large, despite some of the problematic attitudes shared by these new allies, the clear majority of Israelis – across the political spectrum – consider these developments positive. However, the one region in which we seem to have made scant progress is Europe. The EU has in fact been pouring huge sums of money into NGOs that have actively undermined the Israeli government and shamelessly apply bias and double standards in all their dealings with Israel. For example, at a recent seminar in the European Parliament, a political group uniting leftists invited as one of its keynote speakers Leila Khaled, the notorious Palestinian terrorist who hijacked two civilian aircraft.

 

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, some of the Baltic states and now the Czech Republic are pro-Israel and distance themselves from the EU policies. Yet these are mainly right-wing nationalist governments bitterly opposed to the flood of Muslim immigrants that Germany and the EU seek to impose upon them. Accusations have been leveled that they are supported by neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers and, in some cases, that is probably true. Likewise, in Western Europe we are now also confronted with a host of right-wing populist opposition groups that are emerging in protest to the immigration. These populists are likely to grow stronger, gain influence and may alter the entire political spectrum in Europe.

 

Needless to say, no responsible Jew could contemplate any association or alliance with neo-Nazis or Holocaust deniers. But the fact that a percentage of such undesirable scum support a particular party should not disqualify that party any more so than it does the US Republican Party, which is supported by some fringe racists, or the Democratic Party, which is the political home of some vicious anti-Israel and antisemitic elements. Israel cannot simply distance itself from all of these right-wing groups and must review and weigh each case individually. It is clear that if leaders of governments include apologists for Nazis or outright Holocaust deniers, we can have no truck with them. However, the reality is that despite extremists and even antisemites supporting the emerging right-wing parties, many of these groups are overall less hostile to us than leftist governments that support the Islamists and are also becoming increasingly overtly antisemitic.

 

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front achieved 34% of the vote in the recent presidential runoff; in Italy, the Northern League has 19 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 12 in the Senate; Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom became the second largest party in the Dutch Parliament; and Alternative for Germany created an upheaval by emerging as the third largest party following the September federal election. The latest shock was in Austria where the hardright Freedom Party became the third largest party and will become a coalition partner to the winning conservative Austrian People’s Party. All these parties, except for the Dutch, at one time had fascist elements actively supporting them.

 

Although there are problematic components in the German and Austrian parties, by and large most continue to purge antisemites from their ranks, certainly more so than the British Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn. Significantly, Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom Party, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, as have most populist parties. There are of course boundaries and sometimes this is a gray area but the Holocaust is too deeply ingrained in our psyche to even contemplate an alliance with pro-Nazi politicians…

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

 

 

Contents

WHY DID RUSSIAN JEWS SUPPORT

THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION?                                                

Michael Stanislawski

Tablet, Oct. 24, 2017

 

When the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd on Oct. 25, 1917, the vast majority of Russia’s Jews opposed that takeover. Five years later, when the USSR was created at the end of a treacherously bloody civil war, the situation was reversed—not, as the Hebrew cliché has it, out of the love of Mordecai, but out of hatred of Haman.

 

It is difficult to paint a precise picture of the political views of Russian Jews at the time of the Revolution for the simple reason that we have relatively little precise information on the subject: From 1905 to 1917 the Jews voted in elections for the four parliaments (called Dumas) that were created in response to the 1905 Revolution. None of these elections were based on universal suffrage, first and foremost because women could not vote, and so we have no firm data whatsoever on the views of half of the Jewish population. Moreover, the franchise was more and more restricted as the years went by, and so the number of Jews voting for and being elected to the Duma went down, rather than up, during the 12 years of the parliaments’ existence. Twice in 1917, the Jews voted again, this time with female suffrage, but we still lack data on a very significant chunk of the Jewish population.

 

From the voting data we do have it is possible to conclude several crucial points: First, the Bolsheviks had very little support among the Jewish population, possibly the lowest amount of any of the multiple parties vying for support “on the Jewish street.” And this was despite the fact that many of the Bolsheviks’ most important leaders were Jews—though Jews who viewed their Jewishness as an incidental artifact of their birth, with no meaning for them either religiously (as they were atheists) or nationally (as they regarded themselves as internationalists). Most famously, when Leon Trotsky was asked what his nationality was, he replied “socialist.” More Jews, though hardly a great number, supported the Mensheviks, the less radically Marxist half of the Russian Social Democratic Party, headed by a Jew, Julius Martov, who opposed Lenin’s stance on violent revolution but shared the Bolsheviks’ anti-nationalist stance.  Far more Jews, though still a relatively small percentage of the population, supported the Bund—the Jewish socialist party whose stance on socialism was all but identical to the Mensheviks, but slowly adopted an idiosyncratic form of Jewish nationalism based on national cultural autonomy for the Jews of the Empire and dedication to Yiddish as the national language of the Jewish people. Thus, in toto, the Jewish population broadly rejected socialism in any guise, Jewish or not, as the solution to the problems of the Jews in Russia.

 

Far more Jews, though still a minority, supported the liberal party known as the Kadets (the acronym for the Constitutional Democrats), who were dedicated to liberal constitutionalism, universal suffrage, and equal rights for the minorities of the Empire. In its early years, the party included several prominent Jewish intellectuals and lawyers in its leadership ranks, a matter which attracted a great deal of support from the Jewish population as a whole. But in the years before the Revolution the Kadets became more and more conservative, often siding with the Octobrists, a right-wing party that supported the monarchy, and therefore lost a good deal of its appeal among Jews. A small specifically Jewish liberal party—the Folkspartei—shared the Kadets’ liberalism, to which they added support for national cultural autonomy similar to that of the Bund. They appealed to a very small sliver of the Jewish community—basically academics and other intellectuals.

 

Far more complicated to assess is the degree of support for Zionism at that time in the Russian Jewish community. To be sure, when Theodor Herzl founded the Zionist movement in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, the majority of his followers were from the Russian Empire, and the movement as a whole gained a large amount of support in Russia in the subsequent two decades. But what exactly it meant to belong to a Zionist party is far from clear: Many Jews bought the symbolic shekel which gained them a membership card, but that did not mean much in terms of their actual worldviews. And almost from the start, Russian Zionism split into a number of opposing factions: the “political Zionists,” who supported Herzl and his goal of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine; “cultural” or “spiritual” Zionists, led by Ahad Ha’am, who opposed mass Jewish migration to Palestine and the immediate creation of a state in favor of a cultural revolution among the Jews based on a radically secular new Hebraic culture; various socialist Zionist parties which attempted to synthesize conflicting views of social-democracy and Marxism with Zionism…

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

                                                                       

Contents

LENIN’S DEADLY REVOLUTION

Martin Amis

New York Times, Oct. 16, 2017

 

It was not a good idea that somehow went wrong or withered away. It was a very bad idea from the outset, and one forced into life — or the life of the undead — with barely imaginable self-righteousness, pedantry, dynamism, and horror. The chief demerit of the Marxist program was its point-by-point defiance of human nature. Bolshevik leaders subliminally grasped the contradiction almost at once; and their rankly Procrustean answer was to leave the program untouched and change human nature. In practical terms this is what “totalitarianism” really means: On their citizens such regimes make “a total claim.”

 

The following is from “the secret archive,” published as “The Unknown Lenin” (1996), and the entry is dated March 1922: “It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) …” At this point the unversed reader might pause to wonder how the sentence will go forward. Something like “pursue all avenues of amelioration and relief,” perhaps?

 

But no. This is Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the leader of “a party of a new type,” who continues: “… carry out the confiscation of church valuables with the most savage and merciless energy. … Precisely at this moment we must give battle to [the clergy] in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come. … The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.” Church records show that 1,962 monks, 2,691 priests and 3,447 nuns were killed in that year alone. Religion, you see, was part of human nature, so the Bolsheviks were obliged to suppress it in all its forms (including Islam and Buddhism).

 

“The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive” was edited by Richard Pipes, and Pipes was responsible for what is probably the most comprehensive account of the period, namely the trilogy “Russia Under the Old Regime,” “The Russian Revolution” and “Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, 1919-1924.” The two best single-volume studies known to me share the virtues of erudition and brio; and they very nearly share a title — “The Soviet Tragedy,” by Martin Malia, and “A People’s Tragedy,” by Orlando Figes. It was indeed a “tragedy” in the colloquial sense (“an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress”), but not at all in the literary sense, with its implicit pattern of crisis/hubris/nemesis. What is eloquent, in this case, is the word’s derivation: from the Greek tragoidia, “apparently from tragos ‘goat’ + oide ‘song.’” Song of the goat, the bleat as dirge — reminding us also that Russia was a rural society, and therefore the least eligible of the European powers for a “dictatorship of the proletariat”: There was a vast peasantry, but the proletariat was minuscule. The revolution came from above (a coup underscored by machine guns); the tragedy was experienced from below. “A People’s Tragedy,” then, is decidedly the more resonant.

 

Nowadays, of course, the “unknown” Lenin is unknown no longer — though as late as 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev was rereading the complete works of “Ilyich” (55 volumes in Russian) in search of some last-hour remedy, even as the U.S.S.R. was melting away all around him. Lenin bequeathed a fully functioning police state to Joseph Stalin ; thus the experiment, in its fulminant form, lasted from 1917 to 1953, by which time there were many millions of supernumerary deaths (and if Stalin hadn’t died in March of the latter year there would have been a second Jewish Holocaust by Christmastime). The verdict of history has at last been returned. But the jury — i.e., informed opinion in the First World — stayed out until the late 1970s. What took it so long?…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Why Do American Jews Idealize Soviet Communism?: Ruth R. Wisse, Tablet, Oct. 22, 2017—[In] this country there was a time when virtually all intellectual vitality was derived in one way or another from the Communist Party.

The First Totalitarian: Josef Joffe, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2017—Can first-rate history read like a thriller?

Balfour’s Greatest of Gifts: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2017—This week Israel’s judo team was harassed and discriminated against by UAE officials when they tried to board a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, en route to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Judo Grand Slam competition.

The Balfour Declaration Was More than the Promise of One Nation: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, June 28, 2017—In 1930, the British Colonial Office published a “white paper” that Zionists saw as a retreat from the Balfour Declaration.

 

 

 

 

LA RÉCONCILIATION PALESTINIENNE ACCROÎT LA MARGE DE MANOEUVRE DU HAMAS

  

    

 

 

 

LE FATAH ET LE HAMAS PALESTINIENS

SIGNENT UN ACCORD DE RÉCONCILIATION

Le Devoir, 13 Oct. 2016

  

Le mouvement islamiste Hamas et son rival palestinien du Fatah ont signé jeudi au Caire un accord de réconciliation destiné à mettre fin à une décennie de déchirements, en se laissant deux mois pour résoudre les problèmes les plus épineux.

 

Mais Israël a rapidement signifié qu’il ne traiterait pas avec un gouvernement d’unité palestinien si celui-ci ne reconnaissait pas Israël et ne désarmait pas le Hamas. Une réconciliation avec le Hamas « ne fait que compliquer » la recherche de la paix avec Israël, a estimé le premier ministre Benjamin Nétanyahou. Le Hamas et le Fatah, encore à couteaux tirés il y a quelques semaines, ont annoncé leur accord après deux jours de négociations tenues dans le plus grand secret au Caire.

 

L’Autorité palestinienne (AP), entité internationalement reconnue censée préfigurer un État palestinien indépendant, assumera d’ici au 1er décembre « toutes les responsabilités » dans la bande de Gaza, actuellement gouvernée sans partage par le Hamas, ont indiqué les Renseignements égyptiens, qui ont parrainé les négociations.

 

Les deux camps se donnent jusqu’à cette date pour régler tous leurs différends. Une nouvelle réunion est prévue au Caire le 21 novembre pour discuter de la formation d’un gouvernement d’unité. Les termes de l’accord ont été divulgués de manière fragmentaire et des questions essentielles semblent rester en suspens.L’accord a suscité des scènes de joie dans la bande de Gaza, où des milliers de personnes sont descendues dans la rue, certaines chantant des chansons célébrant l’unité palestinienne et distribuant des confiseries.

 

Dans ce qui serait une manifestation spectaculaire de ce rapprochement, le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, devrait se rendre prochainement à Gaza, pour la première fois depuis au moins dix ans. Autre avancée de la réconciliation, 3000 policiers de l’Autorité vont être déployés dans l’enclave palestinienne.

 

Les forces de l’Autorité vont reprendre d’ici au 1er novembre le contrôle des points de passage entre Gaza et Israël, selon le chef de la délégation du Fatah, Azzam al-Ahmed. Le Hamas avait évincé l’Autorité palestinienne et ses forces de sécurité de Gaza en 2007, au prix d’une quasi-guerre civile avec le Fatah. Des questions aussi cruciales et compliquées que le contrôle de la sécurité à Gaza et le sort des 25 000 hommes du bras armé du Hamas semblent avoir été remises à plus tard.

 

Évoquant la possibilité que le Hamas reste en charge de la sécurité, M. Abbas avait prévenu qu’il n’accepterait pas « qu’on clone l’expérience du [mouvement chiite] Hezbollah au Liban ». Le Hamas a signifié de son côté que la question de ses armes n’était pas négociable.

 

Aucune date n’a par ailleurs été fixée pour la levée des sanctions imposées ces derniers mois par M. Abbas pour faire fléchir le Hamas. Or les conditions de vie à Gaza, encore aggravées par ces mesures, sont un enjeu immédiat de la réconciliation.

 

 

 

LE BUT DE L’ACCORD D’UNITÉ EST DE « TRAVAILLER ENSEMBLE CONTRE L’ENTREPRISE SIONISTE »

Times of Israel, 12 oct., 2017

 

 

Le Hamas a signé un accord de réconciliation avec le Fatah, le parti du président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, afin que toutes les forces palestiniennes puissent « travailler ensemble contre l’entreprise sioniste », a déclaré Saleh al-Arouri, le leader politique adjoint du Hamas.

 

Arouri, qui a dirigé la délégation du Hamas qui a négocié l’accord, a déclaré que l’unité palestinienne était essentielle « pour que nous puissions tous travailler ensemble contre l’entreprise sioniste qui cherche à anéantir et à piétiner les droits de notre peuple. »

 

« Nous, au Hamas, sommes déterminés, sérieux et sincères cette fois et, comme chaque fois, pour mettre fin à la division », a déclaré Arouri. « Nous avons adopté la stratégie d’une étape à la fois afin que la réconciliation réussisse. » Assis à ses côtés, Azzam al-Ahmad, chef de la délégation du Fatah lors des pourparlers, a déclaré qu’il avait été chargé par Abbas de mettre fin à la fracture entre les factions rivales afin que toutes les forces du peuple palestinien puissent être unifiées et « dirigées par le Fatah et Hamas ».

 

Le groupe terroriste islamiste Hamas a pris le contrôle de Gaza des mains du Fatah d’Abbas lors d’un violent coup d’État en 2007. Il a depuis été confronté à trois conflits contre Israël qu’il cherche ouvertement à éliminer. Israël s’est toujours opposé à tout gouvernement palestinien « unifié » où le Hamas joue un rôle.

 

Tout comme une grande partie de la communauté internationale, Israël a exigé, comme conditions préalables pour accorder de la légitimité au Hamas, que le groupe renonce au terrorisme, accepte le droit d’Israël à exister et accepte les précédents accords israélo-palestiniens.

 

Les médias égyptiens, cité par la radio israélienne, ont indiqué jeudi que le Hamas n’était pas prêt à se désarmer. Le groupe terroriste islamiste aurait plutôt accepté, en vertu de l’accord de réconciliation, de ne pas utiliser ses armes à moins qu’un recours à la force n’ait été approuvé par une commission mixte. Il n’y avait aucune confirmation officielle immédiate de cette information.

 

On ne sait pas non plus ce que deviendrait l’aile militaire du Hamas, et les 25 000 hommes des Brigades Ezzedin al-Qassam. Abbas avait déjà exigé que le Hamas se désarme. Le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Guterres, a félicité jeudi, lors d’un entretien téléphonique, le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, pour l’accord de réconciliation palestinien signé au Caire, a indiqué son service de communication.

 

Antonio Guterres s’est dit « encouragé par les progrès récents qui permettent au gouvernement palestinien de prendre ses responsabilités à Gaza » et « salue les efforts de l’Egypte pour atteindre cet objectif », précise un communiqué de l’ONU. Pour le secrétaire général, « il reste urgent de s’occuper de la crise humanitaire » dans la bande de Gaza, notamment dans le domaine de l’électricité et pour améliorer les possibilités d’entrée et de sortir de ce territoire, ajoute le texte.

 

Arouri, qui, au cours des dernières années, a été chef des opérations de la Cisjordanie, a été nommé leader politique adjoint de l’organisation. Arouri sert donc sous Ismail Haniyeh, qui a lui-même remplacé Khaled Meshaal à la tête du bureau politique du groupe en mai.

 

Israël soupçonne Arouri d’avoir planifié de nombreuses attaques terroristes, y compris l’enlèvement et le meurtre en 2013 de trois adolescents israéliens en Cisjordanie — Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach et Naftali Fraenkel — qui ont conduit à la guerre entre Israël et le Hamas. Il a été expulsé de Doha en juin avec d’autres responsables du Hamas en raison des pressions exercées par d’autres États arabes du Golfe. Il se serait installé au Liban. Il a été vu publiquement à Beyrouth en août. Le ministre de la Défense, Avigdor Liberman, a déclaré qu’Arouri continue de planifier des attaques terroristes contre Israël et qu’il a tenté de « renforcer les relations entre le Hamas et le Hezbollah » avec le soutien iranien.

 

Arouri a purgé plusieurs peines de prison dans les prisons israéliennes et a été libéré en mars 2010 dans le cadre de l’échange de prisonniers pour la libération de Gilad Shalit, un caporal de l’armée israélienne enlevé par le Hamas en 2006. Arouri a été impliqué dans la négociation de l’accord qui a permis la libération de plus de 1 000 prisonniers palestiniens des prisons israéliennes en échange de la libération de Shalit.

 

Il a opéré pendant plusieurs années depuis la Turquie à l’époque où les relations diplomatiques entre Jérusalem et Ankara étaient au plus bas, mais il a été obligé de partir lorsque les deux Etats se sont réconciliés en 2016. Il a ensuite déménagé au Qatar avant d’être expulsé en juin de cette année. La Dixième chaîne a précisé la semaine dernière que les responsables israéliens craignaient que la position puissante d’Arouri au sein du Hamas ne provoque une recrudescence de la terreur si la réconciliation Fatah-Hamas avait lieu car le Fatah pouvait donner au Hamas une plus grande flexibilité et plus de liberté en Cisjordanie.

 

Les célébrations ont commencé dans la bande de Gaza après l’annonce de l’accord jeudi, avec des habitants brandissant des drapeaux de l’Egypte, de la Palestine, du Fatah et du Hamas. Les négociations devraient maintenant débuter sur la formation d’un gouvernement d’unité, avec les divers mouvements politiques palestiniens invités à une autre réunion au Caire le 21 novembre.

 

 

AVEC LA RÉCONCILIATION PALESTINIENNE,

QUELLE RELATION AVEC LE HAMAS ?

Times of Israel, 13 oct., 2017

 

 

Les progrès de la réconciliation entre les deux principales factions palestiniennes incitent le reste du monde à se demander quelle place serait faite au groupe terroriste palestinien du Hamas, qui refuse l’existence d’Israël.

 

Israéliens, Américains et Européens ainsi que l’ONU suivent attentivement les discussions entre le Hamas et le Fatah, conscients des implications d’un rapprochement, qui dépasseraient largement le cadre palestinien.

 

Après dix années de déchirements et maintes tentatives avortées de réconciliation, la prudence est de mise. Cela n’empêche pas de commencer à envisager le jour d’après, indique-t-on de sources diplomatiques.

 

Tout en saluant les avancées enregistrées, plusieurs diplomates occidentaux expriment leur préoccupation devant l’éventualité que le Hamas, considéré comme terroriste par Israël, les Etats-Unis ou l’Union européenne, entre dans un gouvernement d’union.

 

Le Fatah et le Hamas se sont entendus au Caire pour que la formation terroriste, qui dirige sans partage la bande de Gaza depuis dix ans, transfère d’ici au 1er décembre « toutes les responsabilités » à l’Autorité palestinienne présidée par Mahmoud Abbas, à la tête du Fatah.

 

Des discussions vont s’engager en vue de former un gouvernement d’union. Le retour effectif de l’Autorité, évincée de Gaza en 2007 par le Hamas qui s’était vu privé de sa victoire électorale aux législatives de 2006, constituerait un développement attendu de longue date par la communauté internationale.

 

L’Autorité, entité intérimaire internationalement reconnue et censée préfigurer un Etat indépendant, n’exerce son contrôle que sur des fragments de la Cisjordanie, distante de Gaza de quelques dizaines de kilomètres. Le secrétaire général de l’ONU Antonio Guterres a salué les progrès du Caire en insistant sur leurs retombées humaines et la « nécessité de répondre urgemment à la crise humanitaire à Gaza ».

 

Le retour de l’Autorité à la bande de Gaza permettrait en particulier une ouverture plus constante du poste de Rafah vers l’Egypte, soulageant les Gazaouis, éprouvés par les guerres israéliennes, l’enfermement dû aux blocus israélien et égyptien, le chômage et les pénuries.

 

Pour l’ONU et les autres, instruits par les déconvenues antérieures, il est trop tôt pour préjuger de la réussite de la réconciliation et pour en anticiper toutes les conséquences, notamment la formation d’un gouvernement d’union.

 

Mais, les analystes palestiniens conviennent que le Fatah et le Hamas n’ont plus guère d’options. Le Hamas a pris conscience qu’il valait mieux ne pas assumer l’impopularité liée à la gestion des affaires courantes, disent-ils.

 

Cependant, les annonces du Caire laissent en suspens des questions épineuses, à commencer par celle consistant à savoir si le Hamas est disposé à céder le contrôle de la sécurité. Le Hamas, avec une aile armée forte de 25 000 hommes, des milliers de roquettes et un réseau de tunnels à vocation militaire, a prévenu que la question des armes n’était pas négociable.

 

Un diplomate européen dit se méfier d’une situation à la libanaise, où le groupe terroriste chiite libanais du Hezbollah dispose d’une branche armée indépendante du gouvernement. Les Européens voudront voir le Hamas renoncer ostensiblement au contrôle quotidien de la sécurité avant de financer d’importants projets de développement, dit-il.

 

La formation d’un gouvernement d’union pose aussi la question du maintien de l’aide américaine, capitale pour l’Autorité. La loi américaine interdit tout soutien matériel ou financier aux organisations terroristes.

 

Des diplomates évoquent des arrangements possibles : un peu comme en 2014, on pourrait travailler avec un gouvernement incluant des membres du Hamas ayant quitté le mouvement, reconnu Israël et renoncé à la lutte armée.

 

L’un des grands enjeux demeure l’entreprise de paix avec Israël, moribonde. Les dissensions palestiniennes passent pour un obstacle majeur à un règlement, tant les positions du Fatah et du Hamas divergent.

 

Le Hamas a présenté en mai une plate-forme cherchant à atténuer le ton belliqueux de sa charte fondatrice. Mais Israël reste une « entité usurpatrice » et « illégale », le but du Hamas reste « de libérer la Palestine », et « la résistance et le Jihad » demeurent « un droit légitime, un devoir et un honneur ».

 

Aussi la réconciliation Fatah/Hamas ne fait-elle « que compliquer encore davantage la recherche de la paix », a réagi le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu. « Se réconcilier avec des meurtriers en série fait partie du problème, pas de la solution », a-t-il dit.

 

 

 

 

NE VOUS LAISSEZ PAS TROMPER PAR LA

« RÉCONCILIATION » DU HAMAS ET DU FATAH

Dreuz, 4 oct., 2017

 

 

Ne vous laisser pas tromper par ce geste. Le Hamas a fait ce geste sous condition qu’il maintienne le contrôle de la «sécurité» à Gaza. Cela signifie que son infrastructure terroriste, son recrutement, son entraînement et son budget terroriste resteront en place.

 

Sinwar, en réalité, copie l’exemple du Liban où le Hezbollah est la puissante influence, mettant en danger les civils libanais avec leurs activités terroristes anti-israéliennes. À Gaza, l’Autorité palestinienne va balayer les rues et s’occuper des problèmes d’eau et d’électricité, tandis que le Hamas sera libre de continuer à accumuler des armes avec l’aide de l’Iran qui fournit à cette organisation terroriste près de 70 millions de dollars par an, ce qui en fait le plus important fournisseur financier et d’armes, avec les régimes du Qatar et de Turquie, qui soutiennent également le Hamas.

 

Le Hamas continue de développer son infrastructure terroriste de tunnels avec un immense réseau souterrain servant de centres de commandement, d’entreposage d’armes, de tunnels défensifs pour permettre à leurs terroristes de se déplacer d’un endroit à l’autre sans être détectés, de tunnels de contrebande pour fournir des armes, des explosifs et des terroristes dans le Sinaï pour commettre des attentats en Egypte, et des tunnels d’attaque pour frapper des cibles civiles israéliennes.

 

Israël a une frontière de 240 km avec le Sinaï. Alors que la dissuasion qu’Israël a créée au cours de la guerre du Hamas en 2014 fonctionne, le Hamas envoie des terroristes dans le Sinaï pour aider la présence croissante de l’Etat islamique. Bien que le Hamas considère l’ISIS comme un danger pour son contrôle au sein de la bande de Gaza, il utilise le Sinaï comme une valve d’évacuation en permettant à ces terroristes palestiniens rivaux d’exprimer leur idéologie islamiste au Sinaï, qui est un territoire égyptien.

 

Si ISIS perd du terrain en Irak et en Syrie, ils créeront sans doute de nouvelles bases dans le Sinaï. Israël construit une barrière massive contre les tunnels avec des dispositifs de capteurs et de surveillance, sous et au-dessus du sol le long de la frontière avec la bande de Gaza. Ce projet prendra encore deux ans pour être terminé et sera étendu à la Méditerranée pour empêcher les incursions terroristes et les infiltrations de Gaza en Israël par voie maritime.

 

 

 

LES NON-DITS FONDAMENTAUX DE L’ACCORD PALESTINIEN

Jacques Benillouche

Times of Israel, 22 oct., 2017

 

 

Sur le papier, il est certain que la signature de l’accord de réconciliation entre le Fatah et le Hamas constitue une avancée dans leurs relations mais encore faut-il être sûr que les deux parties iront jusqu’au bout de leurs engagements.

 

Les non-dits risquent au final de faire capoter la bonne volonté réciproque. Le scepticisme persiste car il s’agit du troisième accord intervenant en six ans entre les deux clans irréductibles. Jusqu’à présent, les signataires n’ont jamais honoré leurs paraphes sans compter qu’aujourd’hui, ce qui n’est pas écrit pèse lourd dans la balance.

 

L’accord porte sur des éléments consensuels qui ne prêtent pas à contestation. Les hommes de l’Autorité palestinienne pendront le contrôle de la bande de Gaza au plus tard le 1er décembre ce qui implique qu’à compter de cette date, ils auront la responsabilité de l’éducation, des services sociaux, du tourisme, de l’électricité, de la construction des logements et des routes et du traitement des eaux usées. Sur ce plan, leurs divergences s’estompent face à l’intérêt de la population civile prime.

 

Le seul point d’achoppement pourrait concerner le contrôle non armé des points de passage de Erez et de Kerem Shalom confié à l’Autorité palestinienne. En fait, il s’agit d’une formalité puisque l’Autorité est déjà responsable de ces points de passage, souvent doublés par des avant-postes tenus par des fonctionnaires du Hamas. La nouveauté reste la prise de contrôle par le Fatah du passage de Rafah avec l’Égypte.

 

C’est une décision importante car il s’agit de la seule ouverture vers l’extérieur pour les habitants de Gaza. Sur ce point, le Hamas semble encore réticent et c’est pourquoi les négociateurs ont accepté de ne pas mentionner par écrit la date du transfert de responsabilité qui a cependant été envisagée pour le 21 novembre.

 

Mahmoud Abbas avait bien précisé qu’il ne voulait en aucun cas une «libanisation» de Gaza avec des milices armées omniprésentes et omnipuissantes. Alors pour éviter un blocage au Caire, rien n’a été signé sur la destination des armes de Gaza, sur l’avenir des brigades Ezzedine al-Kassem, sur les fusées stockées dans les bunkers souterrains et enfin sur les tunnels qui continuent à être creusés. Or, c’est sur ces questions fondamentales que l’accord peut exploser.

 

Le problème des forces de sécurité du Hamas n’a pas été abordé. L’Autorité palestinienne souhaiterait les faire fusionner avec les forces nationales. Mais on voit mal comment ces troupes aguerries, qui ont fait de leur combat contre Israël leur raison d’être, pourraient accepter de disparaître ou de se fondre au sein d’une entité qui n’a pas leur réputation dans la guerre.

 

Par ailleurs, sur le plan parlementaire, aucune date n’a été arrêtée pour la tenue d’élections législatives et présidentielles. Mahmoud Abbas n’a, depuis plusieurs années, aucune légitimité à son poste qu’il n’est pas prêt de quitter. En fait, le parrain de la réunion, le président égyptien Al-Sissi, expert en négociations, voulait adopter la politique des petits pas en laissant les questions critiques pour des négociations ultérieures.

 

Il voulait marquer une première étape symbolique avec la signature d’un accord, certes bancal, mais qui ouvre des perspectives pour l’avenir. Il voulait bannir le tout ou rien en misant sur une nouvelle cohabitation des deux clans qui favoriserait à long terme la résolution des questions difficiles.

 

Alors dans l’immédiat, l’accord peut paraître satisfaisant mais encore faut-il que l’administration du Hamas accepte d’être mise à l’écart et de confier ses postes principaux à ses rivaux de toujours. Israël a son mot à dire dans cette affaire. Il semble pour l’instant vouloir temporiser pour jauger comment les choses évoluent à Gaza sans indisposer l’allié égyptien.

 

Mais les dirigeants israéliens sont intransigeants sur plusieurs points : «Toute réconciliation entre l’Autorité palestinienne et le Hamas doit inclure le respect des accords internationaux et le respect des conditions du Quatuor, principalement la reconnaissance d’Israël et le désarmement du Hamas.

 

Continuer à creuser des tunnels, fabriquer des fusées et lancer des attaques terroristes contre Israël sont contraires aux conditions du Quatuor et aux efforts américains pour renouveler le processus politique. Israël exige l’accomplissement de ces conditions, ainsi que la libération immédiate des soldats de Tsahal Oron Shaoul et Hadar Goldin, ainsi que des civils Ibrahim Mengistu et Hicham al-Sayed, qui sont détenus par le Hamas.

 

Tant que le Hamas ne désarme pas et continue d’appeler à la destruction d’Israël, Israël le considère comme responsable de tous les actes de terrorisme émanant de Gaza. Israël examinera les développements sur le terrain et agira en conséquence». Les responsables israéliens insistent sur le fait que l’Autorité Palestinienne ne doit autoriser aucune activité terroriste du Hamas à partir de ses territoires en Cisjordanie et à Gaza.

 

La question ouverte reste de savoir si ce troisième accord entre les deux clans aura le même avenir que les précédents qui ont été jetés dans la poubelle de l’Histoire. Mais en cas de nouvel échec, Al-Sissi a promis de mettre en œuvre son plan B en favorisant la prise de pouvoir de Mohamed Dahlan, l’ennemi juré de Mahmoud Abbas.

 

Mais sous la pression égyptienne, Fatah et Hamas semblent vouloir trouver un symbole fort pour prouver que les bonnes volontés existent. Un voyage de Mahmoud Abbas à Gaza dans le cadre de sa première visite sur place en plus de dix ans est prévu.

 

Il devra résoudre le dilemme d’un Hamas qui a choisi la résistance armée et d’un Fatah ouvert à la paix des braves. Pour laisser l’accord décanter, l’Égypte appelle à une nouvelle rencontre de tous les partis le mois prochain au Caire pour résoudre les points litigieux restants.

 

Tout est donc repoussé à la prochaine réunion bloquant ainsi toute nouvelle avancée concrète. Israël examinera les développements et agira en conséquence.

 

 

 

 

Actualité 

 

 

 

MALGRÉ L’OPPOSITION ARABE, ISRAËL A ÉTÉ ÉLU AU COMITÉ DE L’ESPACE DE L’ONU

Times of Israel, 18 oct. 2017

 

 

Surmontant l’opposition des diplomates palestiniens et de plusieurs états arabes, un représentant israélien a été élu mardi par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies pour siéger au Comité des Nations unies pour l’utilisation pacifique de l’espace extra-atmosphérique (COPUOS).

 

Keren Shahar, qui dirige le département des traités du ministère des Affaires étrangères sera le représentant d’Israël au bureau du comité, ce qui fera de l’Etat juif l’un des six pays à diriger l’organisation de 84 membres. En plus d’Israël, le Brésil, le Mexique, la Pologne, l’Afrique du Sud et l’Indonésie ont aussi été élus mardi au bureau du COPUOS. Israël a d’abord rejoint l’organisation spatiale en 2015.

 

Le COPUOS est chargé par les Nations unies de « gouverner l’exploration et d’utilisation de l’espace pour le bénéfice de toute l’humanité, d’examiner la coopération internationale de l’usage pacifique de l’espace extra-atmosphérique, d’encourager la recherche spatiale, et d’étudier les problèmes juridiques provenant de l’exploration de l’espace extra-atmosphérique », selon la charte de l’organisation.

 

Selon la mission d’Israël aux Nations unies, « nos adversaires ont mené des efforts pour empêcher l’élection malgré le fait qu’elle avait été choisie par le groupe régional d’Europe de l’Ouest et autres en tant que candidate pour le poste. »

 

L’ambassadeur israélien Danny Danon a salué l’élection. « Nous avons prouvé une fois encore qu’Israël peut réussir à tous les postes puisque nous menons de nouvelles initiatives positives en tant que partenaire égal des Nations unies. Nous continuerons à nous opposer à toute tentative de nuire à Israël sur la scène internationale », a-t-il dit.

 

En juin 2016, Israël a été élu pour la première fois à la tête d’une commission permanente de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies, malgré des efforts intenses des pays arabes et musulmans pour empêcher cette nomination.

 

 

 

 

ISRAËL: LES IMPLANTATIONS SONT LE

"BEAU VISAGE DU SIONISME", ESTIME AVI GABBAY

I24, 20 oct., 2017

 

 

Le chef du parti travailliste israélien, Avi Gabbay, a qualifié jeudi les implantations israéliennes en Cisjordanie de "visage beau et dévoué du sionisme" et a déclaré qu'Israël doit garder le contrôle sur la vallée du Jourdain dans tout accord de paix avec les Palestiniens. "Le mouvement des implantations reste le visage beau et dévoué du sionisme", a-t-il souligné dans une vidéo à l’occasion d’un évènement célébrant les 50 de retour d’Israël dans la vallée du Jourdain.

 

"Au fil des années, peu importe le parti au pouvoir, le mouvement des implantations a toujours fait la démonstration de l'engagement, de la détermination et de l'amour du pays. Vous, les résidents des implantations, êtes les pionniers de nos générations futures. Des personnes qui agissent face à l'adversité, qui font fleurir le désert et qui réalisent l'impossible", a-t-il ajouté.

 

Les remarques de Gabbay, à gauche dans l’échiquier politique israélien, interviennent quelques jours après que ce dernier a déclaré qu'il serait opposé à l’évacuation des implantations en Cisjordanie dans tout accord de paix avec les Palestiniens, marquant une rupture dramatique par rapport à la position historique du parti travailliste.

 

Au cours de la semaine dernière, Gabbay a également fait savoir que s’il devait diriger une coalition dans le gouvernement, il n’inclurait en aucun cas dedans la Liste arabe unie. Il a par ailleurs indiqué qu'il n'était pas sûr qu'Israël dispose d'un partenaire viable du côté palestinien pour un accord de paix.

 

Les commentaires de M. Gabbay plus tôt cette semaine ont été perçus par beaucoup comme une preuve supplémentaire du virage à droite du parti travailliste depuis qu'il a été élu président en juillet dernier.

 

Jeudi, M. Gabbay a également déclaré dans sa vidéo qu'Israël devait maintenir le contrôle de la Vallée du Jourdain en tant que zone "tampon orientale de sécurité d'Israël" dans le cadre d'un futur accord de paix, faisant écho à un sentiment exprimé par les précédents dirigeants travaillistes, notamment Yitzhak Rabin.

 

"Pour nous, la vallée du Jourdain était et restera le tampon oriental de sécurité d'Israël", a-t-il déclaré ajoutant que "la sécurité du peuple juif sur son territoire exige non seulement des tanks et des clôtures, mais aussi l'unité nationale".

 

"Sans unité, il n'y a pas de nation et pas d'Etat", a conclu le chef du parti travailliste. S'exprimant jeudi lors de l'événement marquant les 50 ans du retour d’Israël dans la vallée du Jourdain, le Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou a qualifié la région de "ceinture défensive stratégique" pour Israël et a déclaré que l'Etat juif ne renoncerait jamais à son contrôle.

 

"La vallée du Jourdain joue un rôle majeur dans la sécurité de l'État d'Israël. Le Moyen-Orient est instable et violent. La vallée du Jourdain est une ceinture défensive stratégique pour notre État", a déclaré Netanyahou.

 

"Si nous ne sommes pas ici, ce sera Téhéran et le Hamastan qui y seront à notre place. Nous ne permettrons pas que cela arrive ", a-t-il ajouté. "La Vallée du Jourdain fera toujours partie de l'Etat d'Israël."

 

 

 

 

GROSSE « GAFFE » RÉVÉLATRICE DE L’AUTORITÉ PALESTINIENNE

Shraga Blum

LPH, 20 oct., 2017

 

 

La représentation de l’Autorité Palestinienne en Colombie a publié jeudi soir un tweet sur son site officiel citant Yasser Arafat déclarant: « L’objectif final auquel aspirent les Palestiniens est la fin de l’Etat d’Israël. Il n’y aura pas de compromis. Nous ne voulons pas la paix, nous voulons la guerre jusqu’à la victoire« .

 

Curieusement, le tweet a été retiré quelques heures plus tard, après que la chaîne israélienne Aroutz 1 ait révélé l’affaire. Le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères a vivement dénoncé ce tweet qui « illustre parfaitement le testament de haine et de mort laissé par Yasser Arafat à ses successeurs ». De son côté, l’ambassadeur d’Israël à Bogota, Marco Sermoneta a contacté les autorités colombiennes pour attirer leur attention sur cette publication et leur faire prendre conscience qu’il faut croire les Arabes palestiniens lorsqu’ils s’expriment de la sorte.

 

 

 

 

NETANYAHU : LE MONDE DOIT SE SOUCIER DE L’AVENIR DES KURDES

Times of Israel, 25 oct., 2017

 

 

Le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu a affirmé mardi que le monde devait se préoccuper de l’avenir des Kurdes d’Irak, qui ont organisé un référendum d’indépendance dans leur région autonome malgré l’opposition de Bagdad.

 

Israël avait été le seul pays à soutenir publiquement cette consultation initiée par le président de la région autonome du Kurdistan irakien, Massoud Barzani, dont la tenue le 25 septembre a déclenché une crise sans précédent avec le pouvoir central.

 

« Les Kurdes font montre d’une maturité à la fois nationale et internationale », a déclaré M. Netanyahu, cité dans un communiqué de son bureau. « Nous sympathisons avec leurs désirs et le monde doit se préoccuper de leur sécurité et de leur avenir ».

 

Il s’exprimait dans le cadre d’une cérémonie en souvenir d’un ancien ministre israélien d’extrême droite, Rehavam Zeevi, assassiné par des Palestiniens en 2001 et qui était allé en mission secrète dans la partie kurde de l’Irak dans les années 1960. « Cette visite avait eu un profond impact sur (Rehavam Zeevi) », a ajouté M. Netanyahu. « Il avait perçu (là-bas) des manifestations chaleureuses de soutien à Israël qui s’expriment encore aujourd’hui ».

 

Le mois dernier, M. Netanyahu s’était prononcé en faveur des « efforts légitimes du peuple kurde pour atteindre son propre Etat », prenant le contre-pied de la quasi-totalité des dirigeants internationaux.

 

Selon des experts, le soutien d’Israël à la cause kurde est motivée par l’espoir d’endiguer l’influence de l’Iran et de l’islam radical.

 

Depuis le référendum au Kurdistan irakien, Bagdad a envoyé ses troupes reprendre le contrôle de zones du nord du pays dont les combattants kurdes s’étaient emparés ces dernières années, bien qu’elles étaient situées en dehors des frontières administratives de la région autonome.

 

 

 

JUDO: L'ISRAÉLIEN TAL FLICKER

REMPORTE LA MÉDAILLE D'OR À ABU DHABI

I24, 26 oct. 2017

 

 

 

Le judoka israélien Tal Flicker a remporté jeudi la médaille d'or au tournoi du Grand Chelem d'Abu Dhabi dans la catégorie des moins de 66 kg, après que la judokate Gili Cohen remporte celle de bronze, dans le tournoi féminin 52 kg.

 

Il avait déjà remporté en août une médaille de bronze aux Championnats du monde de judo, battant l’un des judokas les mieux classés lors du match pour la troisième place. Chez les femmes, l’Israélienne Gili Cohen terminait alors à la 5e place du classement dans la catégorie des moins de 52 kg.

 

Flicker a cependant dû célébrer sa victoire sous le drapeau de la Fédération Internationale de Judo (IJF), et se priver de l'hymne israélien, en raison de l'interdiction des symboles israéliens par l'émirat. Le judoka avait posté lundi sur sa page Facebook qu'"il n'y avait rien de plus doux que le moment de la victoire".

 

"Avec ou sans drapeau je ferai face à tout adversaire", avait-il assuré. "Tout le monde sait d'où nous venons et le pays que nous représentons", avait-il poursuivi. "Je suis le plus fier du monde à être Israélien", avait-il ajouté.

 

Les concurrents israéliens n'ont pas non plus été autorisés à porter des symboles israéliens sur leurs tenues lors de la compétition, et ont été inscrits au tournoi comme représentants de la Fédération Internationale de Judo.

 

Shabbat Shalom!

 

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Sally F. Zerker: I Don’t Want an Apology from Justin Trudeau

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Want an Apology from Justin Trudeau

By

Sally Friedberg Zerker

 

Canadian governmental spokespeople have been active lately in apologizing for historical wrongs. Everybody was getting into the act; Trudeau with regard to mistreatment of Indian immigrants, Wynne with respect to exploitation of native peoples, Toronto’s chief of police for a raid on a gay bathhouse long ago. Now, Justin Trudeau is considering an apology for Canada’s turning aside a boatload of Jews seeking asylum in Canada from Nazi persecution in 1939.

 

Let me say right up front. I don’t want an apology although the Canadian government did me irreparable harm by their rejection of Jewish immigrants during the 1930’s and well into the 1940s. The refusal to allow the entry of the Jewish escapees from Hitler on the ship St. Louis was only one part of a larger discriminatory policy of the Liberal government in power.

 

What malice was inflicted on me personally by the Canadian government? It was responsible for the early deaths of my aunt, uncle, and their children—my cousins. Of course, the Canadian authorities didn’t directly murder these members of my family, but nevertheless they were responsible.

 

How? My aunt Chaya was my father’s sister, she was married to Alter , and they had five healthy, bright children, who undoubtedly would have been a great asset to Canada.  Chaya and Alter lived in Lodz, Poland. In the 1930’s, they were all set to join their parents and siblings in Canada. By then, my father’s whole extended family, with the exception of Chaya’s, was already settled in Toronto, Canada.

 

My parents migrated to Canada in 1927, to join both their maternal and paternal parents and siblings. My father’s three brothers and one sister were newcomers to Canada. As you can imagine, these new immigrants were doing everything possible to earn a living. But they were determined to assemble enough money to bring their remaining sibling and her family to Canada. Unfortunately, it took a few years to accumulate the required amount.

 

By that time, in the thirties, the Canadian policy, with regard to Jews wanting to settle here, was in the hostile hands of Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Frederick Blair, head of immigration, who had the support of the Liberal cabinet and the caucus. They didn’t want any Jews to enter Canada. None! The result was that Canada had the worst record for the entry of Jewish refugees of any nation during the Nazi years.

 

The application of Chaya’s family to migrate to Canada was made in the normal way, and to my father’s surprise and disappointment, their visas were denied. An expert on immigration was hired to appeal the decision, but that too failed. A reason given for the rejection was that Alter, the husband and father of the family, had a limp, and was therefore liable to have tuberculosis of the limbs, which could threaten other Canadians. I don’t know how they came up with this excuse because it was a complete falsehood.  I know this for certain, because one cousin who survived the holocaust, and who came to Canada after liberation, was able to confirm that this accusation was utter nonsense. Her father was strong and young, was fully competent to work, walk and run, and with healthy legs.

 

Why then is it that I don’t want an apology for this cruel act? Because an apology can’t right this wrong.  It will not retrieve my relatives for me nor offer me any solace. Instead, it will whitewash a government and a Liberal Party that continued to do nothing to amend the type of antisemitism that was endemic in Canada until the 1970s. It is a shallow, empty, meaningless act for my extended family who lost part of this family for no reason except Jew hatred. It’s not as if Canada would have known any additional cost for my aunt’s family. In those days sponsorship meant total responsibility and upkeep for those committed to the newcomers.

 

And Canada was the undoubted loser. My father’s family of Friedbergs produced a generation that contributed very well to Canada’s interests. In total my cousins and I have three Ph.Ds in various fields, one Rabbi who led the largest Conservative congregation in Canada, two outstanding medical doctors, one excellent dentist, four who earned different kinds of post-graduate degrees, and were fruitfully employed in their respective areas of expertise, and a couple of cousins who took their talents to the USA, one who was a violinist in a Chicago orchestra. I often am filled with remorse for the loss to the Jewish community and to Canada that might have been had the bigotry and hatred not impaired the creativity and talent from thousands of Jewish refugees who were rejected. If Trudeau is set on making an apology, it is owed to Canada, not from Canada, and it should be in the name of the Liberal Party.

 

Dr. Sally F. Zerker is professor emerita at York University, Toronto, an economist with specialty in the international oil industry.

EUROPE VILIFIES ISRAEL BUT FAILS TO ADDRESS DEADLY MUSLIM ANTISEMITISM

Mind-Boggling European Union Chutzpah: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 19, 2017— Israel should repulse the escalating European Union campaign of intimidation.

The Norwegian Elections, Israel, and the Jews: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, October 19, 2017— The current prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, leader of the Conservative Party (Hoyre), and three potential coalition parties unexpectedly won Norway’s September 11 elections…

Europe Has a ‘Jewish’ Soccer Team Problem: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, Oct. 24, 2017— Seventeen-year-old Sjuul Deriet, standing outside this port city’s main soccer stadium on a rainy Sunday, vividly explains why he hates the people he calls “the Jews.”

In France, a Deadly Mix of Antisemitism, Islamism, and Family Violence: Michel Gurfinkiel, Jewish Chronicle, Oct. 19, 2017— "Burning hatred against France and against Jews, and an orgy of domestic violence."

 

On Topic Links

 

An Italian Soccer Club Struggles to Battle Anti-Semitism: Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner, Oct. 25, 2017

Europe: What do Islamic Parties Want?: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 29, 2017

This BBC Interview Perfectly Illustrates Britain’s Left-Wing Anti-Semitism Problem: Yair Rosenberg, Tablet, Sept. 26, 2017

A UK Angel for Angela?: Francesco Sisci, Settimana News, Sept. 29, 2017

 

 

 

MIND-BOGGLING EUROPEAN UNION CHUTZPAH

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 19, 2017

 

Israel should repulse the escalating European Union campaign of intimidation. You see, boycotts of Israeli products from Judea and Samaria no longer satisfy Brussels. Ramping-up its confrontation with Israel, the European Union has gone into the business of establishing “settlements” for the Beduin and Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, tower and stockade style.

 

This includes the wild Beduin building spurt that the EU has insolently funded in the strategic E1 quadrant between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, in entirely purposeful defiance of Israel. The IDF defines the area in question a pivotal part of Israel’s strategic depth, and essential to defensible borders for Israel. It is also in Area C under the Oslo Accords, which means that Israel holds exclusive civilian and military control.

 

Yet illegally established Palestinian villages and Beduin shantytowns have slowly closed the corridor between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, where a major highway runs, crawling to within several meters from it. These illegal outposts steal electricity from the highway lights, and water from Israeli pipelines. Civil Administration data, presented last year to the Knesset’s subcommittee on Judea and Samaria, showed that 6,500 Palestinians were living in some 1,220 illegally built homes in the area, and the number undoubtedly has grown since then – thanks to the EU.

 

The imperious EU has poured perhaps €100 million into EU-emblazoned prefabs, EU-signed roads, and water and energy installations – in E1, in Gush Etzion (near Tekoa), in the South Hebron Hills, and even in the Negev. Under the cover of diplomatic immunity, the EU’s settlement-building bosses audaciously thumb their noses at inspectors of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit. Then, they scream bloody murder when the IDF moves in, ever so minimally (– far too meekly and infrequently, I think!) to knock back a few of the most provocatively and problematically positioned EU illegal outposts.

 

Note that every prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin has promised and intended to build in the E1 quadrant as the eastern strategic anchor for Jerusalem and its critical connection to the Jordan Valley, only to be stymied by international protests. In short, the EU’s support of the Palestinians has graduated from passive diplomatic and financial assistance to subversive participation in the Palestinian Authority’s illegal construction ventures. The explicit EU intent is to erode Israeli control of Areas C and eastern Jerusalem while promoting Palestinian territorial continuity leading to runaway Palestinian statehood.

 

In June and August, the EU fiercely warned COGAT that Israel’s policy of demolishing illegal and unauthorized Palestinian construction is harming ties between Israel and the 28 EU member countries. According to Le Monde, eight EU member states this week took the further, unprecedented move of penning a letter to the Israeli Foreign Ministry demanding that Jerusalem reimburse (!) EU countries for the dismantling of infrastructure in the West Bank such as solar panels and mobile homes that were slated to serve innocent “local Arab schools.”

 

Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden – members of the so-called “West Bank Protection Consortium,” a body which coordinates “humanitarian assistance” to Beduin and Palestinian squatters in Area C – are now demanding that Israel pay them compensation of more than €30,000 each. Such mind-boggling chutzpah! First the EU builds illegal settlements in defiance of Israel, then it demands that Israel pay for these offenses when Israel acts against them.

 

How much more contemptuous can you get than that? The European position is that under the Geneva Convention, Israel is responsible for dealing with the everyday needs of the Palestinian population in Area C, and since it is “not doing so,” the European states are stepping in with humanitarian aid. But it’s clear to anybody with a brain that European activity in Area C is not “humanitarian assistance” but political activity that brazenly seeks to create “facts on the ground” – to strengthen the Palestinians’ hold on Area C. In doing so, the EU has thrown key cornerstones of peace diplomacy out the window.

 

“Not prejudging the outcome of negotiations,” and “direct negotiations between the parties without coercion” – are principles that no longer hold sway, at least as far as EU pampering of the Palestinians is concerned. Instead, collusion with Palestinians and defiance of Israel is in vogue. The EU superciliously ignores the fact that the Palestinian Authority has rejected Israeli offers three times (2000, 2001, and 2008) which would have given the Palestinians statehood, including possession of almost all the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem. They also fled from US secretary of state John Kerry’s talks in 2014, and have sought to grab international recognition of their “statehood” unilaterally, while demonizing and criminalizing Israel in international courts.

 

Then the Palestinians revel in useless peace confabs, like the conference that Paris convened last summer, because this diverts attention from their intransigence and heightens Israel’s diplomatic isolation without actually brokering a peace negotiation that the PA doesn’t want. But none of this bothers the EU. It’s just happy to push Israel toward essentially unilateral withdrawals – without any expectations of real moderation from the Palestinians. Obviously, Israel shouldn’t pay the EU one red cent in “compensation” for its confiscated, cheeky solar panels.

 

In-your-face EU diplomacy should be met with in-your-face Israeli diplomacy. Perhaps Israel should demand compensation from Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden for the Jews persecuted, the Jewish property confiscated, and the synagogues destroyed in their territories over the past 2,000 years. And if our government idiotically dares to settle with the EU, and shells out a single shekel, I am going to withhold paying my taxes in protest.

                                                                       

 

Contents

THE NORWEGIAN ELECTIONS, ISRAEL, AND THE JEWS                                                 

Manfred Gerstenfeld

BESA, October 19, 2017

 

The current prime minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, leader of the Conservative Party (Hoyre), and three potential coalition parties unexpectedly won Norway’s September 11 elections, receiving 89 out of 170 seats. Creating a government will not be easy, however. The Christian Democrat Party, a Solberg ally that barely passed the entrance threshold of 4%, is opposed to the anti-Islam Progress Party’s continuing in government.

 

A few months ago, polls indicated that Labor and its allies would return to power. Had that in fact occurred, Labor leader Jonas Gahr Stoere would have become prime minister. In that event, Norway would likely have joined Sweden sooner or later in recognizing a Palestinian Authority government that controls part of the Palestinian territories. In 2011, Anders Breivik murdered 77 people, mainly Labor Party youngsters. Then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg thereafter publicly proclaimed that Norway, despite this tragic event, would become an even more open democracy. In reality, dissenters who strongly opposed social-democratic rule were even more ostracized than before. (After his 2013 defeat, Stoltenberg became secretary general of NATO.)

 

As prime minister, Stoltenberg was not so much an anti-Israeli inciter himself as he was tolerant of such incitement by his party and allies. At several venues where he spoke, there were brutal verbal attacks on Israel, but he remained silent. By not confronting these attacks he condoned them. Moreover, the Stoltenberg governments were the only European ones to include the extreme left. Several ministers came from the SV party, some of the founders of which were Norwegian communists. These governments frequently applied double standards against Israel, a behavior that fits the European definition of anti-Semitic acts.

 

The Stoltenberg government proffered de facto legitimization on the Islamist Palestinian terror group Hamas on several occasions. It also called on Israel to take down the security barrier, which would, had Israel complied, have facilitated Palestinian terror attacks. In yet another example of the poor judgment of a democratic prime minister, the Stoltenberg government also organized major festivities on the occasion of the 150th birthday of the late writer Knut Hamsun, a fanatical admirer of Hitler.

 

As for Labor leader Stoere, his anti-Israelism reached an extreme point when he wrote a back-cover blurb legitimizing a book by two Norwegian Hamas supporters, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse. Writing on the 2009 Cast Lead campaign in Øyne i Gaza (“Eyes in Gaza”), they claimed that Israel had entered the Gaza Strip in 2009 to kill women and children. Stoere has always played both sides, however. In January 2009, the most anti-Semitic riots ever to have taken place in Norway occurred in Oslo. Muslims attacked pro-Israel demonstrators with potentially lethal projectiles. Stoere visited the Oslo synagogue afterward to express his solidarity with the Jewish community.

 

A study, paid for by the government, was published in 2012 by the Norwegian Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities. The study found that 38% percent of Norwegians believe Israel acts towards the Palestinians the way the Nazis behaved towards the Jews. During Erna Solberg’s tenure as prime minister, which began in 2013, extreme anti-Israelism among organizations mainly on the Norwegian left continued apace. The large trade union LO, which is a major force behind the Labor Party, came out in favor of totally boycotting Israel. In 2014, the Christian youth organization YMCA-YWCA voted in favor of a boycott on goods and services from the territories. (The Oslo chapter rejected the boycott.)

 

It is easy to underestimate the importance of Norway because it is not a member of the EU and has only about 5 million inhabitants. Yet its huge gas and oil income has enabled it to make major donations abroad, including to Palestinian causes. Labor governments did so extensively, and the Solberg government has continued the practice. In May of this year, however, Norway asked for funds it had donated to a center for women in the West Bank village of Barak to be returned. It had become known that the center was named for Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 massacre on a highway near Tel Aviv that killed 37 Israeli civilians, many of them children, and wounded dozens.

 

A recent study by Jonas Duc Enstad of Oslo University’s Center for the Study of Extremism stated that it seems that “most anti-Semitic incidents in Norway are caused by Arabs and left-wing radicals.” As Sweden’s government is currently the main anti-Israel inciter in Europe, it is interesting to note that before the elections, Norwegian Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug, of the Progress Party, kept warning that Norway should not allow “Swedish conditions” to develop. The Financial Times wrote: “That is code for the gang warfare, shootings, car burnings and other integration problems that Sweden has endured recently in the suburbs of its three largest cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.” One might also recall that Malmö is considered by many experts the anti-Semitism capital of Europe.

 

Listhaug traveled to Stockholm shortly before the elections and visited the extremely violent Rinkeby suburb. She made a point of noting that there are more than 60 no-go zones in Sweden. Sweden, with its 10 million citizens, is the dominant Scandinavian country, and many Swedes look down on Norway. This unusual Norwegian criticism hit Sweden below the belt, all the more so as it is largely true. If Solberg manages to govern for four years, this may enable Israel to further improve relations with Norway and better counteract its leftwing enemies there.                        

 

Contents

EUROPE HAS A ‘JEWISH’ SOCCER TEAM PROBLEM                                                                  

Cnaan Liphshiz

JTA, Oct. 24, 2017

 

Seventeen-year-old Sjuul Deriet, standing outside this port city’s main soccer stadium on a rainy Sunday, vividly explains why he hates the people he calls “the Jews.” “They have the money, they run the business from management positions and they think they’re better than blue-collar people like us,” said Deriet, who works at a catering business. Yes, the statement sounds like typical anti-Semitic cliches. But it has nothing to do with actual Jews, Deriet hastened to tell JTA. “I have nothing against your people. When I say I hate Jews, I just mean supporters of Ajax,” he said, referring to the Amsterdam soccer team that is an archrival of Deriet’s beloved Feyenoord Football Club of Rotterdam.

 

For the uninitiated: Fans of Ajax are often referred to as “the Jews,” likely because of the historical presence of Jews in the Dutch capital. As it happens, there are several soccer teams across Europe that are known as “Jewish” for similar reasons, including England’s Tottenham Hotspurs — they once had a strong fan base among the Jewish immigrants of North London — as well as Italy’s Roma and Germany’s Bayern Munich. Both supporters and detractors often call the clubs Jewish, leading to some complicated situations. For example, it’s not uncommon at matches for fans of these teams to wave Israeli flags or shout their adoration for “the Jews.” At the same time, however, the detractors often display acrimonious hatred of “the Jews” — an uncomfortable situation that, depending on whom you ask, is either fed by or feeding anti-Semitism’s seeming comeback in Europe.

 

“Anti-Semitism in the stadiums has allowed the hate songs to gradually seep into society at large,” Manfred Gerstenfeld, a researcher of anti-Semitism and fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, wrote in a 2011 research paper titled “Antisemitism and the Dutch Soccer Fields.” Gerstenfeld’s paper shows how the chant “Hamas, Jews to the gas” has moved in Holland from the soccer pitch to anti-Israel protests.

 

In the case of Ajax, its “Jewish” nickname dates to the 1970s. It has the Amsterdam locale, and the team has had several Jewish managers and players — notably the late Johnny Roeg and Daniël de Ridder — as Ajax archivist Wim Schoevaart told Israeli filmmaker Nirit Peled in 2012. Peled made a film,“Super Jews,” about the team’s Jewish ties. Ajax also had many Jewish fans because — ahem — “they played well and Jews like to get good quality for their money,” added Schoevaart, who died in 2013 at the age of 94. Supporters of England’s Hotspurs proudly call themselves “Yids.” Based in North London, where most of the city’s 250,000 Jews reside, the Tottenham club also earned its Jewish credentials because its three chairmen since 1982 have been Jews.

 

But nowhere is the Jewish affiliation stronger than among Ajax fans, who like the film call themselves “Super Jews.” They wave giant Israeli flags during matches, sing “Hava Nagila” in stadiums and wear Star of David pendants around their necks. “Maybe it sounds silly, but it was a uniting element that brought fans together,” veteran Ajax fan Ronald Pieldoor told Peled. “They sing about it, they wear the symbols, so it seems that it’s part of the identity of some Ajax supporters.” At the same time, however, this borrowing of Jewish symbols by non-Jews (or “Ajax Jews,” as hardcore supporters call themselves) is triggering some of the most explicit and provocative expressions of anti-Semitic speech seen on the continent.

 

On Twitter, ahead of Sunday’s match in Rotterdam — Ajax won, 4-1 — fans of the rival team widely shared a picture of two Lithuanian Jewish boys wearing yellow stars taken just before their murder by Nazi collaborators. Ridiculing their suffering, the picture was titled “Back when Amsterdam had only one star.” Jewish organizations decried the tweet as a new low point in a long list of offensive jokes and acts, including Nazi salutes in stadiums and hissing sounds, a reference to gas chambers, made by rivals when Ajax comes on the pitch. One popular anti-Ajax banner reads “Adolf, here are another 11 for you” — a reference to the team’s 11 players.

 

While similar phenomena occur with Tottenham and Roma, they are particularly loaded in the Netherlands, where Nazis and their collaborators murdered 75 percent of the country’s prewar Jewish population of 140,000 – the highest death rate in Nazi-occupied Western Europe. “It’s extremely hurtful,” said Ronny Naftaniel, a Dutch board member of CEJI, a Brussels-based Jewish organization promoting tolerance through education. Yet not everyone believes the chants are anti-Semitic, per se. To Pieldoor, the veteran Ajax fan, the offensive chants have nothing to do with Jews and everything to do with fans’ desire to provoke Ajax supporters.

 

Following deadly hooliganism in the 1990s, Dutch police imposed strict measures during games, including a ban on Ajax contingents attending Feyenoord home games and vice versa. “As police got better at keeping us apart, you could no longer have at it, you couldn’t throw bottles at each other, so the only recourse was verbal aggression,” Pieldoor said in the “Super Jews” documentary. Remarks that would be considered anti-Semitic in any other context are not necessarily so in soccer, he argued. Soccer clubs and stadiums in the Netherlands and beyond have banned several fans for chanting insults and praises about Jews. Several court cases for incitement to racial hatred have been opened in recent years against fans who shouted anti-Semitic slogans at soccer matches…

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

 

Contents

IN FRANCE, A DEADLY MIX OF ANTISEMITISM,

ISLAMISM, AND FAMILY VIOLENCE

Michel Gurfinkiel

Jewish Chronicle, Oct. 19, 2017

 

"Burning hatred against France and against Jews, and an orgy of domestic violence." That was how Anne Chenevat, a major witness, described the Merah family – a divorced mother, three sons and two daughters – to the Special Criminal Court of Paris last Tuesday. Mohamed Merah, the youngest of the family's sons, killed seven people – including three Jewish children shot at point-blank range – and maimed six others in the southern French towns of Montauban and Toulouse between March 11 and March 19, 2012. He was himself killed by security forces three days later.

 

The main defendants in the present trial, which started three weeks ago, are his older brother Abdelkader Merah and his older sister Souad. The siblings are accused of inspiring the killing spree. Abdelkader was arrested in 2012; Souad fled to Algeria. Anne Chenevat, a former partner of the eldest Merah brother, Abdelghani, testified about the toxic influence of the family's Algerian-born mother, Zuleikha Aziri. "I was routinely abused and spat upon by Zuleikha for being 'a dirty French woman' and a 'dirty Jewess'." Anne Chenevat's importance as a witness stems from the fact that she was for six years the partner of Abdelghani Merah, the eldest Merah brother. According to her, Zuleikha Aziri, the Algerian-born mother, would use electric wire to beat her children. Violence between the brothers was rampant: on one occasion, Abdelkader inflicted seven stab wounds on Abdelghani.

 

Hatred for the non-Muslim French and antisemitism were held as self-evident in the family." As a result, I was routinely abused and spat upon by Zuleikha for being 'a dirty French woman' and a 'dirty Jewess'," Chenevat said. A Catholic by birth, she once admitted to the Merahs that she had a Jewish grandfather. She left Abdelghani because of his addiction to alcohol and drugs and raised their son Theodore alone. Also called also as a witness to the trial, Abdelghani concurred with his former companion about the Merahs' ethnic and religious prejudices: "We all grew up hating France and the Jews, it is a fact."

 

According to him, Abdelkader turned to radical Islam in 2006 along with Souad and frequently visited salafist mosques and madrasas in Egypt, and was the main nefarious influence on Mohamed. Theodore Chenevat, the son of Anne Chenevat and Abdelghani Merah – now a 21-year-old business and economics student – chillingly told the Court that in order to indoctrinate him into jihad, his uncle Abdelkader shared with him videos of "Islamic beheading" and attempted to have him visit mortuaries. When the counsel of Mohamed Merah's Jewish victims, Elie Korchia, asked him whether Abdelkader and Mohamed should be seen as two heads of a single terrorist beast, he answered that the fugitive older sister Souad should be counted as a third and equally dangerous head. The trial, which is expected to last until early November, continues.

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

An Italian Soccer Club Struggles to Battle Anti-Semitism: Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner, Oct. 25, 2017—Lazio, a top flight Italian soccer club, is finally confronting the scourge of anti-Semitism.

Europe: What do Islamic Parties Want?: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 29, 2017—Sweden's brand new first Islamic party, Jasin, is aiming to run for the 2018 parliamentary elections.

This BBC Interview Perfectly Illustrates Britain’s Left-Wing Anti-Semitism Problem: Yair Rosenberg, Tablet, Sept. 26, 2017 —At the moment, the British Labour party is holding its annual conference, at which members have been tackling, among other concerns, internal hate speech guidelines.

A UK Angel for Angela?: Francesco Sisci, Settimana News, Sept. 29, 2017—Like many times in the past century, German internal political events toll a bell for Great Britain and the rest of Europe, while the world looks the other way.

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

On Topic Links

           

WATCH: Arab Minorities Celebrate Israeli Civil Rights, Refute Lies About Israel: United With Israel, October 22, 2017

Thanks to Obama, America is Two Steps Behind Iran in Middle East: John R. Bolton, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 24, 2017

Why the Israeli Air Force Destroys Its Enemies in Battle: Robert Farley, National Interest, Oct. 23, 2017

Honouring Lord Balfour, Who Made Israel Possible: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control." — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The U.S. is concerned that Iran will take advantage of gains against IS in Iraq and Syria to expand the influence it gained after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after IS seized a third of the country's territory, forming the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which receive funding and training from Tehran and have been declared part of the Iraqi security apparatus. A senior U.S. official said Tillerson had been referring to the PMF and the Quds Force, the foreign paramilitary and espionage arm of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). (Globe & Mail, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

"Exactly what country is it that Iraqis who rose up to defend their homes against ISIS return to? Shameful US FP, dictated by petrodollars." — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iraq's military, armed by the United States but supported by the PMF, ejected the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim I.S. from Mosul and other cities in northern Iraq this year. Several thousand U.S. troops are still in the country, mostly for training but also to carry out raids against IS. (Globe & Mail, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

"If it depended upon the United States, the Islamic State would still be expanding and winning in all of the countries of the region." — Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. Nasrallah also called on the Jews of Israel to return to the countries from which they came "to occupied Palestine." He warned "the Jews" not to push for a war with Syria or Lebanon, saying Israel would be trapped in a conflaguration that it would have no idea how to exit. The leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite militia that has spent decades fighting Israel, was speaking on the occasion of Ashura, a Muslim holiday. Addressing Israelis directly, he said if the Israel ventured into "an adventure" in Lebanon against Hezbollah, it would be wandering into something it knew how to get into, but not how to get out. Nasrallah said the Israeli government did not have “a correct assessment of where this war will lead if they ignite it.” (Ha’aretz, Oct. 1, 2017)

 

“Clearly, we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory…And there are, we believe, moderate voices among the Taliban, voices that do not want to continue to fight forever. They don’t want their children to fight forever. So we are looking to engage with those voices…There’s a place for them in the government if they are ready to come, renouncing terrorism, renouncing violence and being committed to a stable prosperous Afghanistan.” — Secretary of State Tillerson. Tillerson met with Afghanistan's president and Iraq's prime minister during unannounced trips to the region. “We did not support the Kurdish independence referendum,” Tillerson said at a news conference in Doha, before visiting Baghdad the next day. “We did not believe it was time given that the battle to defeat ISIS is still under way. And while there have been significant victories and significant progress in Iraq, that task is not yet complete.” Still, he said the Kurds have legitimate grievances that should be addressed within the framework of a unified Iraq. (National Post, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

“If Baghdad cannot guarantee the Kurdish people in Iraq the security, freedom and opportunities they desire, and if the United States is forced to choose between Iranian-backed militias and our longstanding Kurdish partners, I choose the Kurds. The clashes in Kirkuk are symptomatic of a deeper problem that the United States has failed to address for many years: Both within countries and between them, the regional order in the Middle East is rapidly collapsing. American power and influence is diminishing there, largely because over the past eight years the United States has withdrawn from the region. The resulting vacuum is being filled by anti-American forces.” — Republican Senator John McCain. (New York Times, Oct. 24, 2017)

 

“Seventy percent of the Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately…We are simply reverting to what we followed — a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions.” — Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bin Salman’s remarks indicated that he was committed to combating extreme interpretations of Islam. In a subsequent interview, he unexpectedly blamed Saudi Arabia’s arch enemy Iran for the kingdom's turn toward Wahhabism, an ultraconservative branch of Islam, which is being promoted by Riyadh both domestically and abroad. “What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. What happened in the region in the last 30 years is not the Middle East. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries — one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it,” said bin Salman. (Washington Post, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

“Mass immigration is “the most potent issue behind the rise of the far right in America and Europe” and “a core reason” why Donald Trump is president, contends Andrew Sullivan…The critical moment was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision “to import over a million Syrian refugees into the heart of Europe.” But “instead of adjusting to this new reality and listening to the electorate,” the Democrats “have moved ever farther to the left, and are controlled by ever-radicalizing activists.” Which is why he has “dwindling hopes” the Democrats “will be able to defeat Trump in 2020.” Indeed, the “concept of a nation whose citizens solely determine its future . . . is now deemed by many left-liberals to be a function of bigotry. This is the kind of madness that could keep them from power indefinitely.” — Editorial. (New York Post, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

AFGHANISTAN MOSQUE BOMBINGS LEAVE 72 DEAD (Kabul) — Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 72 people including children. One bomber walked into a Shi’ite mosque in Kabul as people were praying and detonated an explosive. At least 39 people died in the blast. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack. Shi’ite Muslims have suffered a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, many of them claimed by the Sunni Muslim militants.  Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in central Ghor province. (Global, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

AT LEAST 54 KILLED IN EGYPT AFTER POLICE OPERATION AMBUSHED (Cairo) — At least 54 policemen were killed when a raid southwest of Cairo was ambushed Saturday. The ensuing firefight was one of the deadliest for Egyptian security forces in recent years. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore all the hallmarks of I.S. A local affiliate of the extremist group is spearheading an insurgency whose epicenter is in the Sinai Peninsula. The country has been under a state of emergency since April, following a spate of suicide bombings targeting minority Christians that have killed more than a 100 since December. The attacks were claimed by I.S. (CBC, Oct. 21, 2017)

 

SYRIAN ROCKETS FALL IN GOLAN HEIGHTS (Damascus) — The IDF on Saturday destroyed three Syrian artillery cannons after four rockets landed in the Golan Heights. The rockets fell in an open area and did not cause damage or injuries. On Thursday, a rocket fired from Syria hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The rocket landed in an open field, and no injuries or damage were reported. Israeli army units returned fire, striking a Syrian army position. Earlier last week, a Syrian surface-to-air missile battery opened fire on Israeli aircraft flying over southern Lebanon. Israeli Air Force planes returned fire, destroying the surface-to-air missile battery which had attacked them. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 21, 2017)

 

10 I.S. TERRORISTS KILLED IN SUSPECTED ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE (Damascus) — At least 10 members of a jihadist faction linked to I.S. were killed Monday by suspected Israeli air strikes in southern Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit the town of Sahm al-Jolan in the west of Daraa province. 10 fighters from the Jaish Khaled Bin Walid group were killed, along with two women believed to be the wives of the fighters. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the report. The Observatory said the strike came several months after 16 fighters from the group were killed in suspected Israeli air strikes in the same area. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

AT LEAST 67 BODIES FOUND AFTER I.S. 'MASSACRE' IN SYRIA TOWN (Damascus) — The bodies of at least 67 Syrian civilians, many summarily killed by I.S., have been discovered in a central town in Syria that government forces retook from the extremists over the weekend. A Syrian official described the attack as a "shocking massacre," saying the search for and documentation of those killed in the town of Qaryatayn is still underway. I.S. has been retreating across Syria, days after having been defeated in Raqqa, the one-time "capital" of the group's caliphate. (CTV, Oct. 23. 2017)

 

KURDS OFFER TO SUSPEND INDEPENDENCE VOTE (Erbil) — Kurdish authorities in Iraq offered on Wednesday to put an independence drive on hold, stepping up efforts to resolve a crisis in relations with Baghdad via dialogue rather than military means. But an Iraqi military spokesman suggested an offensive — launched to wrest back territory after Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in a disputed referendum in September — would continue regardless. Baghdad declared the referendum illegal and responded by seizing back the city of Kirkuk, the oil-producing areas around it and other territory that the Kurds had captured from militant group Islamic State. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the KRG should cancel the vote's outcome as a pre-condition for talks. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

MCGILL SSMU BOARD MEMBER BANNED FOR BEING JEWISH (Montreal) — A Jewish member on the Board of Directors of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) in Montreal was removed from his position due to his involvement with the Jewish community. The decision was made at Monday’s Fall General Assembly. According to those who attended the meeting, students voted against having the Jewish member sit on the board, doing the same to two other board members seen as being supportive of Israel and the Jewish community. The students’ votes supported a campaign launched by a group that called for the removal of board members who support the anti-BDS initiative at McGill, reportedly calling it a “Jewish conflict of interest.” (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

"CZECH DONALD TRUMP" WINS LANDSLIDE VICTORY (Prague) — Populist tycoon Andrej Babis and his Eurosceptic political party have won the Czech Republic's parliamentary election — by a landslide — making the "politically incorrect" billionaire businessman the main contender to become prime minister after coalition negotiations. Babis's anti-establishment party ANO (which stands for "Action of Dissatisfied Citizens" and is also the Czech word for "yes") won nearly 30% — almost three times its closest rival — in elections held on October 20. The election outcome, the result of popular discontent with established parties, is the latest in a recent wave of successes for European populists, including in Austria and Germany. (Gatestone Institute, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

‘DIARY OF ANNE FRANK’ PASSAGES TO BE READ AT ALL ITALIAN SOCCER MATCHES (Rome) — A passage from “The Diary of Anne Frank” will be read before the start of all soccer matches in Italy after fans of one Rome team plastered a stadium with stickers showing the teenage Holocaust diarist wearing the uniform of a rival city club. Fans of the Lazio club posted the stickers around Rome’s Olympic Stadium showing Anne Frank wearing the shirt of the Roma team. The teams share the stadium. Roma is often associated with being left wing and Jewish. Lazio President Claudio Lotito said that in response to the incident, his club will take 200 fans every year to visit Auschwitz. (JTA, Oct. 24, 2017)

 

ISRAELI DELEGATION STORMS OUT OF CONFERENCE (St. Petersburg) — The Knesset delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) 137th Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia walked out of a plenary session after the organization approved a series of anti-Israel proposals. Among the proposals approved were calls for the release of convicted Palestinian terror leaders Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat, and a rebuke of Israel for holding members of the Palestinian National Council representing Hamas in administrative detention. A speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly shouted at the Israeli lawmakers that they were “child killers” and to “get out of the hall.” (United With Israel, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

ISRAEL APPROVES 176 NEW JEWISH HOMES IN EAST JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — Jerusalem authorities on Wednesday approved a major expansion of a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, signing off on plans to add 176 homes, the city’s deputy mayor said. The expansion would create the largest Jewish enclave inside an Arab neighborhood of the city, NGOs said, by allow the Nof Zion neighborhood to add the new housing units to 91 existing homes. Nof Zion is located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. (Times of Israel, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

PALESTINIAN ARRESTED AFTER STEALING TRUCK FOR RAMMING ATTACK (Ramallah) — Police on Thursday arrested a resident of Ramallah who was driving a stolen truck. He later admitted he had intended to carry out a terror attack with it. After being reported about the stolen vehicle, police located it in Rishon LeZion and began to chase the suspect. He refused to pull over, instead trying to flee the scene and hitting a police car and a private car. In his questioning, the driver admitted he had stolen the truck in order to use it to run over IDF soldiers. (Jerusalem Online, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

PALESTINIAN DROPS LARGE ROCK ON ISRAELI BOY, 12, IN HEBRON (Hebron) — A Palestinian man threw a large rock at a young Israeli boy playing in a spring in the West Bank city of Hebron, knocking him unconscious. The 12-year-old boy then fell into Abraham’s Well spring, located in the flashpoint city’s Jewish enclave. He was taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, where he required 10 stitches in his scalp. Footage from an army security camera appears to show the man hurling the rock into the spring from above before running away. (JTA, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

MEMORIAL TO SADDAM HUSSEIN UNVEILED IN WEST BANK (Qalqilya) — The Palestinian city in Qalqilya in the West Bank has unveiled a memorial to the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. The memorial depicts on one side a saluting Saddam in military uniform alongside the Iraqi and Palestinian flags. On the other side of the memorial, Saddam is shown brandishing a gun. The memorial bears the slogan “Saddam Hussein – The Master of the Martyrs in Our Age,” as well as “Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea,” which was one of the slogans regularly used by the dictator. (Algemeiner, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

ISRAELI JUDO TEAM NOT ALLOWED TO FLY TO TURKEY (Istanbul) — The Israeli judo team, which was supposed to fly to the United Arab Emirates via Istanbul for an event, was stranded at Ben Gurion Airport after Turkish Airlines refused to allow them on its plane. The 12 Israeli jukokas were supposed to receive their visas to the UAE in Istanbul. The team will now have to travel to Amman to receive the visas instead. The Israeli judo team will not be allowed to compete under the Israeli flag during the event and will not be allowed hear their national anthem, “Hatikvah," should they win. Among Israel’s delegation is Or Sasson, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. During those games, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands with Sasson. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

GERMANY PROBES KUWAIT AIRWAYS FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ISRAELIS (Berlin) — Germany is investigating whether Kuwait Airways, in violation of air traffic laws, has refused to sell tickets to Israelis. The probe follows a lawsuit filed by The Lawfare Project against the airline for alleged discrimination against an Israeli who sought to fly from Frankfurt to Thailand last summer but was denied a ticket purchase because of Israeli nationality.  According to a statement from The Lawfare Project, “Pressure is mounting on the Gulf state’s national airline to stop discriminating against would-be passengers purely on the basis of Israeli nationality. Cases have already been brought against Kuwait Airways in the United States and Switzerland, leading to the cancellation of the airline’s JFK-London Heathrow flight path.” (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY CANCELS EVENTS LINKED TO BDS (New York) — The American Jewish Historical Society has canceled two events associated with a Jewish group that supports BDS. The society announced last week that it was canceling a panel on the Balfour Declaration and a reading of a play. The panel, on the UK’s 1917 declaration of support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, featured two pro-Palestinian activists and was co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports BDS. The society also canceled the dramatic reading of “Rubble Rubble,” whose author, Dan Fishback, is a member of JVP. The play, according to the event description, is partially about “an American Israeli settler [who] welcomes her anti-Zionist nephew for a visit.” (JTA, Oct. 11, 2017)

 

PROF. ACCUSES ISRAEL OF SPARING PALESTINIANS IN ORDER TO CONTROL THEM (New York) — A professor is publishing a new book accusing the Jewish state of physically debilitating Palestinians in order to control them. The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, authored by Jasbir Puar — associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers — argues in part that the “IDF have shown a demonstrable pattern over decades of sparing life, of shooting to maim rather than to kill.” According to Puar, this is part of a “logic long present in Israeli tactical calculations of settler colonial rule—that of creating injury and maintaining Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated in order to control them.” The Right to Maim is set to be published by Duke University. (Algemeiner, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

ISRAEL ENGAGEMENT GROUP PULLS SUPPORT FOR EVENT ON ISRAELI MINORITIES (San Francisco) — The Stanford Israel Association (SIA), a student group at the California-based university, pulled its support for a program highlighting the stories of Israel’s minority populations. SIA cited “a combination of procedural issues and concerns raised by the University regarding past behavior by the organization due to speak,” Reservists on Duty (RoD). The event, “Stories From Israeli Minorities,” was scheduled to take place later at the campus’s Hillel facility. Instead, Stanford Chabad stepped in to host RoD, and the event went on as planned. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim IDF delegation was on campus to counter “Israeli Apartheid Week” events at the university. (JTA, Oct. 17, 2017)

 

ISRAEL JOINS THE UN SPACE COMMITTEE BUREAU (Jerusalem) — An Israeli representative has been elected to the bureau of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Keren Shahar, the Director of the Treaties Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will serve as Israel’s representative on the bureau. COPUOS is charged by the UN with governing the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity, reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, encouraging space research, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. Israel joined the 84-member organization in 2015. (Jewish Press, Oct. 18, 2017)

 

ISRAEL CULTIVATES ALLIES AT FIRST CHRISTIAN MEDIA SUMMIT (Jerusalem) — More than 130 journalists from 30 countries converged in Jerusalem this week for Israel’s inaugural Christian Media Summit, which was sponsored by the Israeli government’s Press Office. Among the topics discussed at the conference were Israel’s role as a model of religious tolerance and co-existence, as well as countering the inherent biases that the Jewish state often faces in international legal forums, such as the United Nations, and in the mainstream media. (Algemeiner, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

NETANYAHU TO GO TO LONDON FOR BALFOUR CENTENNIAL (Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Netanyahu will travel to London to take part in events marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Netanyahu is expected to meet with British PM Theresa May and other officials during the trip. May has rejected Palestinian demands that Britain apologize for the Declaration – the document issued on Nov. 2, 1917, that helped pave the way for the establishment of Israel – saying the declaration was “one of the most important letters in history.” Numerous events, both pro and con, are scheduled in the coming days to mark the declaration’s centennial. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn turned down an invitation to attend a dinner commemorating the anniversary. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

On Topic Links

 

WATCH: Arab Minorities Celebrate Israeli Civil Rights, Refute Lies About Israel: United With Israel, October 22, 2017—Israel-haters and their misinformed followers claim that Israel is an apartheid state that mistreats its Arab citizens and doesn’t provide them with the same basic rights as Jewish Israelis. Watch as Arabs from Muslim, Bedouin, Druze, and Christian backgrounds share their personal stories as Israeli citizens, refuting anti-Israel claims with cold, hard facts in support of Israel. An amazing watch!

Thanks to Obama, America is Two Steps Behind Iran in Middle East: John R. Bolton, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 24, 2017 —The fall of Raqqa, capital of the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, is unarguably an important politico-military milestone, albeit long overdue. Nonetheless, ISIS, a metastasized version of Al Qaeda, remains a global terrorist threat, and prospects for Middle Eastern stability and security for America's interests and allies are still remote.

Why the Israeli Air Force Destroys Its Enemies in Battle: Robert Farley, National Interest, Oct. 23, 2017—Since the 1960s, the air arm of the Israel Defense Forces (colloquially the IAF) has played a central role in the country’s defense. The ability of the Israeli Air Force to secure the battlefield and the civilian population from enemy air attack has enabled the IDF to fight at a huge advantage. At the same time, the IAF has demonstrated strategic reach, attacking critical targets at considerable distance.

Honouring Lord Balfour, Who Made Israel Possible: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017—This coming November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which with its portentous words, “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” may be the most consequential foreign-policy statement in modern history.

 

WITH ASSAD’S VICTORY IN REACH, IRAN PLANS “LARGE & PERMANENT MILITARY FOOTPRINT” IN SYRIA

The Coming Confrontation Between Israel and Iran: Elliott Abrams, Atlantic, Oct 15, 2017— In the United States, discussions of Iran have, for the last few years, centered mostly around the JCPOA—the nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama.

In Syrian Barrage, a Confident Message Signed by Iran and Russia: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Oct. 22, 2017— It’s not clear if the sudden barrage of rockets “bleeding” into Israel from Syria Saturday had anything to do with the presence in Damascus of Iran’s defense chief.

Hizballah's Nasrallah Escalates Threats as Syria Turns Into Iranian Base: Burak Bekdil, BESA, Oct. 10, 2017— A recent speech by Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah contained unusually aggressive statements, calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel, and claiming that a future war would lead to Israel's "demise."

Russia’s Air Defenses in Syria: More Politics than Punch: Guy Plopsky, BESA, Oct. 18, 2017— In early October 2016, Russian Defense Ministry chief spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov warned the US-led anti-ISIS coalition that “Russian air defense crews are unlikely to have time to clarify via the [de-confliction] line the exact flight path of missiles and who their carrier platforms belong to,”…

 

On Topic Links

 

Golan Heights Residents on Edge After Latest Cross-Border Exchange of Fire: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Oct. 22, 2017

As ISIS’ Role in Syria Wanes, Other Conflicts Take the Stage: Anne Barnard & Hwaida Saad, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2017

Moscow Nears ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Syria: Sami Moubayed, Asia Times, Oct. 23, 2017

Iran Steps Up Its Economic Domination in Syria: Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, Oct. 19, 2017

 

 

THE COMING CONFRONTATION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND IRAN

Elliott Abrams

Atlantic, Oct 15, 2017

 

In the United States, discussions of Iran have, for the last few years, centered mostly around the JCPOA—the nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama. In the Middle East, things are different. This is because, while we have been debating, Iran has been acting—and Israel has been reacting. Israel has struck sites in Syria 100 times in the last five years, bombing when it saw an Iranian effort to move high-tech materiel to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Last month Israel bombed the so-called Scientific Studies and Researchers Center in Masyaf (a city in central Syria), a military site where chemical weapons and precision bombs were said to be produced. Now, there are reports…that Iran is planning to build a military airfield near Damascus, where the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) could build up their presence and operate. Fishman also wrote that Iran and the Assad regime are negotiating over giving Iran its own naval pier in the port of Tartus, and that Iran may actually deploy a division of soldiers in Syria.

 

Such developments would be unacceptable to Israel, and it will convey this message to Russia and to the United States. Russia’s defense minister will soon visit Israel, after which Israel’s defense minister will visit Washington. Previous Israeli efforts to get Putin to stop Iran (during Netanyahu’s four visits to Moscow in the last year) have failed, which suggests that Israel will need to do so itself, alone—unless the new Iran policy being debated inside the Trump administration leads the United States to seek ways to stop the steady expansion of Iran’s military presence and influence in the Middle East. Whether this happens remains to be seen. Whatever the debate over the JCPOA, there may well be a broader consensus in the administration that Iran’s growing military role in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the region must be countered.

 

Whatever the American conclusion, if Iran does indeed plan to establish a large and permanent military footprint in Syria—complete with permanent naval and air bases and a major ground force—Israel will have fateful decisions to make. Such an Iranian presence on the Mediterranean and on Israel’s border would change the military balance in the region and fundamentally change Israel’s security situation. And under the JCPOA as agreed by Obama, limits on Iran’s nuclear program begin to end in only eight years; Iran may now perfect its ICBM program; and there are no inspections of military sites where further nuclear weapons research may be underway. As Senator Tom Cotton said recently, “If Iran doesn’t have a covert nuclear program today, it would be the first time in a generation.” Israel could be a decade away from a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and bases in Syria—and could logically therefore even place nuclear weapons in Syria, just miles from Israel’s border.

 

Fishman, the dean of Israel’s military correspondents, wrote: “If the Israeli diplomatic move fails to bear fruit, we [Israel] are headed toward a conflict with the Iranians.” That conclusion, and the Iranian moves that make it a growing possibility, should be on the minds of Trump administration officials as they contemplate a new policy toward Iran’s ceaseless drive for power in the Middle East.

 

                                                           

 

Contents

IN SYRIAN BARRAGE, A CONFIDENT

MESSAGE SIGNED BY IRAN AND RUSSIA                                                           

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, Oct. 22, 2017

 

It’s not clear if the sudden barrage of rockets “bleeding” into Israel from Syria Saturday had anything to do with the presence in Damascus of Iran’s defense chief. But given Iran’s seemingly unstoppable drive to entrench itself militarily in the region, the Syrian regime’s newfound confidence, and some other suspicious factors, it’s likely the volley was more than just an accident.

 

Though inadvertent fire has hit Israel in the past, this incident doesn’t fit that mold, and seems more like a Syrian attempt to send a message. First, there’s the timing — around 5 a.m. Most of the fighting in the Syrian civil war has taken place in the daylight hours, certainly not before the crack of dawn. Second, none of the previous inadvertent volleys consisted of five consecutive rockets. Indeed, the incident appears to be connected to the anti-aircraft fire Syria directed at Israeli jets flying a reconnaissance mission over Lebanon last week, and a more aggressive recent tone from Damascus.

 

These developments are evident of the boost in self-confidence the Syrian regime is experiencing. Just Saturday, Assad’s army captured the Christian town of Qaryatayn, which had previously been taken by Islamic State and used as a base for the terror group. Assad may feel that victory in the civil war is within his reach thanks to having Tehran by his side, along with Shiite militias from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and 8,000 well-armed Hezbollah fighters. So maybe he considers this a good time to send Israel a defiant message.

 

It doesn’t hurt that the same day, Iranian defense chief Mahmoud Bagheri signed a memorandum of understanding with his Syrian counterpart, Ali Ayyoub. According to the Syria’s state-run SANA news outlet, the memorandum is meant to deepen ties between the countries in intelligence sharing, technology and military to “improve the fight against terror.” The statement also served as a reminder of how deeply Iran is managing to entrench itself unimpeded in Syria, as the US-led coalition and Kurdish militias wrap up their campaign to drive Islamic State out of the country.

 

For now, at least, it doesn’t seem there is anybody who can stop the spread of Iran’s influence in the region. Russia may be willing to turn a blind eye to the next Israeli airstrike, but that won’t torpedo Iran’s plan for Syria, which includes a broad and lasting military presence. As for the Americans: The US is increasingly seen as unwilling to intervene, even for its allies. That was made clear by the blind eye the Trump administration turned to the retaking of Iraqi Kirkuk from the Kurdish forces it had backed. The US sold the Kurds down the river in favor of a Baghdad government backed by Shiite militias supported by Iran, if only to keep the Iraqis close to Washington.

 

In many ways, the US abandonment of Kirkuk may come to echo the aftermath of the Ghouta chemical attack of 2013, when president Barack Obama failed to enforce his red lines. Then, to Moscow, Damascus and the rest of the Middle East, the lack of action translated into the idea that the US was afraid.

 

Russia, in contrast, hasn’t hesitated to step in and protect its allies, and it is Moscow’s assistance that is most credited with bringing Assad’s regime back from the dead. In a roundabout way, Assad has Islamic State to thank for bringing Russia riding in to save him. One of the main reasons for Moscow’s intervention in the war was the fear that IS could spread, both as a military power and as an idea, to the Allawite-majority region near the coast, where Russia has strategically important assets including a naval base.

 

There’s no reason to assume that had the Syrian regime been battling the Free Syrian Army or another moderate group, the Kremlin would have been so quick to jump into action to back Assad, one of the greatest tyrants of modern history, a man responsible for the death of some half a million people — many through torture, execution, and chemical attacks. Islamic State may have been the greatest threat to the Assad regime, but it was also his greatest lifeline.         

                                                                                   

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HIZBALLAH'S NASRALLAH ESCALATES THREATS

AS SYRIA TURNS INTO IRANIAN BASE                                                        

Yaakov Lappin

IPT, Oct. 8, 2017

 

A recent speech by Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah contained unusually aggressive statements, calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel, and claiming that a future war would lead to Israel's "demise." Nasrallah said Israeli Jews should "leave and return to the countries from which they came so they are not fuel for any war that the idiotic [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government takes them to… They will have no secure place in occupied Palestine."

 

The speech echoed rhetoric recently espoused by the Iranian regime and its military officials, who said Tel Aviv would be "destroyed" if Israel made "a mistake," and that Israel would not survive for more than 25 years. "Israel should remain silent and count down the days to its death, because any minor mistake would lead to its demise as fast as lightning," said Iranian army commander Maj.-Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi.

 

These threats contain two messages. The first message is a reaffirmation of the Shi'ite axis's jihadist, ideological, long-term commitment to Israel's destruction. The second message is more immediate; it is an attempt to deter Israeli decision makers from trying to stop Iran and its proxies from taking over Syria. Iran, together with its chief agent Hizballah and several other Shi'ite militias, are helping the Assad regime complete its victory in Syria, with the assistance of Russian airpower. This is a victory made possible by the mass murder and terrorization of Syria's Sunni population, and the ensuing mass movement of refugees out of the country.

 

The upsurge in war-like rhetoric towards Israel is a signal of growing Iranian-Hizballah confidence, fuelled by their victories in Syria. Radical Shi'ite forces – armed, funded, and commanded by Iran – are moving into the vacuum left behind by ISIS. Tehran's objective is to turn Syria into another Lebanon; a heavily armed outpost from which Iran can launch attacks against Israel.

 

So far, the international community has shown no interest or willingness to stop this development from happening. Despite the latest bluster, Nasrallah made sure to issue his statements from the safety of his Lebanese bunker – an indication he still fears Israel's powerful reach. Nasrallah and his Iranian masters have good reason to remain fearful of Israel, for it is the only state that has both the capability and determination to challenge their takeover of Syria.

 

There have been a series of reported Israeli precision strikes on weapons production centers and arms smuggling attempts in Syria. One strike reportedly targeted the Assad regime's Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) weapons facility, where chemical, biological, and advanced ballistic missiles are developed and manufactured. The targeted facility may have been where Iran tried to hand over powerful weapons to Hizballah.

 

Israel is running a low profile campaign against the dangerous buildup of Hizballah's weapons arsenal. These are arms that are produced in Iran and Syria, and trafficked to Lebanon. This Israeli campaign is a thorn in the side of the Shi'ite axis. There is a wider Israeli warning here: Jerusalem has no intention of sitting on the side and watching Syria turn into an Iranian-Hizballah base.

 

Israeli leaders are issuing their own warnings, making it clear that provocations by the Shi'ite axis can lead to devastation. "The next conflict, if it erupts, will have a completely different character. Our enemies will try first to strike our population centers and civilian infrastructure. And if our red lines will be breached, the other side must know in advance that it is going to pay very heavy prices," said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. In addition, Israel has stated it will not tolerate an approach to its border by Iranian or Hizballah forces operating in Syria.

 

Sunni states like Jordan and Saudi Arabia are equally disturbed by events in Syria. But Israel is the only regional state with the ability to stop the Iranian game plan. Only time will tell whether the world continues to turn a blind eye to the radical Shi'ite entrenchment in Syria, and leave Israel to deal with this mess by itself.

 

Meanwhile, recent comments by the head of the Mossad, Israel's overseas intelligence service, serve as a timely reminder of the fact that the Iranian nuclear program remains a threat. The nuclear program is only temporarily dormant. "Iran continues to possess a vision of having a significant nuclear capability, leading to a military nuclear ability," said Mossad chief Yossi Cohen in recent days.

 

"Iran continues to act with increasing aggression in activating military forces and operations in the Middle East, closer to our border than ever, in the Lebanese and Syrian arenas [which are] as one. Iran continues to support Hizballah, and recently, it is increasingly supporting Hamas. Iran continues to transfer advanced and precise weapons to terrorist organizations in our area," the Mossad chief said. The Mossad conducts "thousands of operations, some complex and daring, in the heart of enemy states," Cohen added.

 

This not-so-cold war between Israel and the Iranian axis looks set to continue. Lines are being drawn in Syria by both sides. Israel's lines are purely defensive, while Iran and its agents are following a belligerent, encroaching agenda, which threaten to destabilize the entire region.

 

 

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RUSSIA’S AIR DEFENSES IN SYRIA: MORE POLITICS THAN PUNCH

Guy Plopsky

BESA, Oct. 18, 2017

 

In early October 2016, Russian Defense Ministry chief spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov warned the US-led anti-ISIS coalition that “Russian air defense crews are unlikely to have time to clarify via the [de-confliction] line the exact flight path of missiles and who their carrier platforms belong to,” adding that “any air or missiles strikes on territory controlled by the Syrian government will pose a clear threat to Russian military servicemen.” The warning, issued in response to an accidental US strike against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad the previous month, renewed fears that Russia may attempt to target coalition and Israeli aerial assets.

 

Since then, however, both the US and Israel have struck pro-regime targets in Syria with no blowback from the Kremlin. Why has Moscow proven reluctant to respond? Concerns about Russia restricting coalition and Israeli freedom of action over Syria intensified in late November 2015, following the downing of a Russian Su-24M strike aircraft by a Turkish F-16. Commenting on the shoot-down, Lieut.-Gen. Sergey Rudskoy threatened that Russia would destroy “every target posing a potential threat.” Shortly afterwards, Russia deployed its much feared S-400 Triumf long-range SAM system at Khmeimim Airbase near Latakia.

 

The S-400 deployment created the impression that pro-Assad forces would benefit from Russia’s new SAM umbrella. However, numerous IAF strikes against weapons shipments destined for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group proved this assumption wrong. The strikes indicated that Moscow, despite its rhetoric, takes Jerusalem’s red lines seriously and does not wish to escalate tensions with Israel, a major regional power and key US ally. Moscow has no desire to see Israel expand its involvement in the conflict, especially given that the regional balance of power is not in Russia’s favor. A recent unanswered strike, allegedly executed by Israel, against a chemical and missile production and storage facility near Masyaf – just 13km from a new Russian S-400  site – appears to support this notion.

 

Several incidents have occurred involving Russian and Israeli military assets, including unconfirmed reports of Russian forces firing on Israeli aircraft. Yet Israeli and Russian leaders have held a number of meetings intended to, in the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “strengthen the security cooperation between us so as to avoid mishaps, misunderstandings, and unnecessary confrontations.” Furthermore, Israel and Russia established a deconfliction line in October 2015 that has helped reduce the risk of clashes.

 

Moscow’s warnings to Israel are therefore directed more towards the Syrian and Russian public than they are towards Jerusalem. Offering no threatening response to Israeli airstrikes would make the Kremlin appear weak, prompting pro-Assad factions to question Moscow’s commitment to the regime and weakening Russia’s influence. At the same time, Russia has been rebuilding Syria’s air defenses in the hope that they would deter both Israel and the coalition from further strikes. Russia’s Defense Ministry has mentioned Syrian air defenses in warnings directed at coalition forces and has pledged to “increase [their] effectiveness” following the April 7, 2017, US Navy Tomahawk cruise missile strike against al-Shayrat Air Base. Doing so could backfire for Moscow, however, given that it might prompt Israel or the US to target Syrian air defenses and possibly other regime military assets as well.

 

As for Russia’s own air defenses, Moscow has not utilized them to defend Assad’s forces and is unlikely to do so for fear of an armed confrontation with the US and its partners. Indeed, while Syrian fighters are known to have flown escort missions for Russian strike aircraft, the reverse has not occurred. Furthermore, like Israel, the US maintains a deconfliction line with Russia and has developed deconfliction agreements to avoid clashes.

 

Interestingly, a Russian TV special on Khmeimim Air Base, which aired on June 11, 2017, claimed Russia has agreed not to target coalition aircraft as long as they maintain a distance of 60 km or more from the base. The special featured Lieut.-Gen. Viktor Gumyonny, head of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (VKS) Air and Missile Defense Troops, who asserted that coalition aircraft approaching Khmeimim are tracked by Russian air defenses (presumably by the S-400’s fire control radar) and immediately leave the area. Coalition sources have confirmed neither the validity of these claims nor the truth of whether or not coalition aircraft have flown within close proximity to Khmeimim; nevertheless, such statements highlight Moscow’s reluctance to defend regime forces.

 

On June 18, a week after the airing of the TV special, a US Navy F/A-18E downed a Syrian Su-22 strike aircraft near Raqqa, prompting Russia’s Defense Ministry to issue another warning – one that seemed to convey a shift in Russia’s policy on targeting coalition aircraft. The warning asserted that “jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets.” However, as Western analysts were quick to point out, this rather ambiguous threat, like those before it, was intended primarily to reassure Russian and pro-Assad audiences, and to deter coalition forces from further strikes against regime forces. Moreover, though Russia threatened to cut the deconfliction line with the US, the line remained open…

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

 

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On Topic Links

 

Golan Heights Residents on Edge After Latest Cross-Border Exchange of Fire: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Oct. 22, 2017—Residents of Israel’s Golan Heights region are on edge following the latest exchange of fire on the border with Syria.

As ISIS’ Role in Syria Wanes, Other Conflicts Take the Stage: Anne Barnard & Hwaida Saad, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2017— American-backed forces have barely begun to clear the land mines from Raqqa after pushing the Islamic State from the city, the de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate.

Moscow Nears ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Syria: Sami Moubayed, Asia Times, Oct. 23, 2017— By the end of this year, Syria will be free of Islamic State, apart from small pockets that will disappear with time

Iran Steps Up Its Economic Domination in Syria: Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, Oct. 19, 2017— With the approaching military defeat of the Islamic State, Iran is stepping up its economic involvement in Syria.