Month: November 2017


Turkey Islamizes Denmark with More Mosques: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 20, 2017— "Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.'

Erdoğan’s Kurdish Gambit: Burak Bekdil, BESA, Nov. 15, 2017— In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, the main Kurdish insurgency group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), ended a ceasefire it had declared two years prior.

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017 — On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park…

Portents of Quagmires in Syria: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017— Is the war in Syria won?


On Topic Links


Turkey: Trial of Banker is Plot Schemed by US-Based Cleric: Suzan Fraser, Fox News, Nov. 30, 2017

Turkey Rejects "Moderate Islam": Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 30, 2017

Some Urgent Questions About Turkey: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017

Turkey’s Bluster Exposes its Delusions of Grandeur: Simon Waldman, Globe and Mail, Oct. 11, 2017





Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 20, 2017


"Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.' Islam can only be one thing," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 9. "Recently the concept of 'moderate Islam' has received attention. But the patent of this concept originated in the West… They are now trying to pump up this idea again. What they really want to do is weaken Islam…"


Erdogan is working on strengthening Islam in the West, something he does, among other ways, by building Turkish mosques in Western countries. It is hardly surprising that he does not want the West to "weaken Islam", but at the moment there seems little risk of that happening. The establishment of Turkish mosques in Western countries appears to be proceeding apace with very little opposition. Conversely, building Western churches in Turkey is inconceivable.


Erdogan clearly sees Turks living in the West as a spearhead of Islam. "Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don't assimilate yourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of our culture and our identity", Erdogan told Turks in Germany as early as 2011. This year, he told Turks living in the West: "Go live in better neighborhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you."


Erdogan is evidently working to ensure, by continuously building new mosques and expanding old ones across Europe, that Muslims will indeed be the future of the continent. One Western country where Erdogan is ramping up Islam is Denmark. Two new Turkish mosques are about to open in the Danish cities of Roskilde and Holbæk; in the past year, two Turkish mosques opened in the cities of Fredericia and Aarhus. New Turkish mosques were opened in Ringsted and Hedehusene in 2013; and in Køge the existing mosque opened a cultural center. There are 27 Turkish mosques in Denmark; eight of them are expanding or wish to expand.


The new mosque in Roskilde, complete with minarets, is owned by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). The inclusion of minarets is due to second- and third-generation Turkish immigrants, who wanted the mosque to look like a "proper mosque". "It is a general trend in all of Europe that Diyanet is expanding physically with new mosques, and through [the mosques] also religiously, politically and culturally" said professor Samim Akgönül, of the university of Strasbourg. He has analyzed the Friday sermons that Diyanet sends to mosques all over Europe; his analyses show that the sermons are full of political and nationalistic messages favoring Erdogan's regime.


According to Tuncay Yilmaz, chairman of the board of Roskilde's Ayasofya Mosque, "Diyanet is not political, I can promise you that. Obviously they belong to the Turkish state, but they are independent of the government". That statement is false. Diyanet is an agency of the Turkish government — and an extremely active one. As Gatestone's Burak Bekdil has noted:


"In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15… Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine".


In Denmark, nonetheless, the newest Turkish-state mosque was welcomed with open arms. The mayor of Roskilde, Joy Mogensen, who knew that the Turkish government owned the mosque, participated in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone in February 2016. She claims that the very fact that she and the city's bishop were invited to the ceremony meant that there were "good people" in the mosque working for "integration" — otherwise they would not have allowed "a Christian woman like myself without a headscarf" to participate in their ceremony…

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






Burak Bekdil

BESA, Nov. 15, 2017


In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, the main Kurdish insurgency group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), ended a ceasefire it had declared two years prior. Just a few months earlier, there had been hope for peace. Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fiercest critics praised him when he bravely launched a difficult process meant to finally bring peace to a country that had lost 40,000 people to ethnic strife. His government negotiated with the Kurds and granted them broader cultural and political rights, which his predecessors had not. The PKK would finally say farewell to arms.


Instead, it took up arms once again. Since July 2015, Turkish (and Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish) cities have again become battlegrounds in an almost century-old Turkish-Kurdish dispute. Kurdish militants have attacked security forces countless times since then, while the Turkish military has buried fallen soldiers and raided Kurdish guerrilla camps in northern Iraq as well as inside Turkey. Reports of casualties on both sides are a regularity most Turks now grudgingly ignore.


Erdoğan, an Islamist, had miscalculated again. He had thought he could solve the dispute through his usual “religious lens.” He would use Islam as the glue to keep Muslim Turks and Muslim Kurds united, because after all, why should they fight? They are all Sunni Muslims. Erdoğan believed Islam had to take a central role if a historic end to the conflict was to be achieved – one in which the Kurds would surrender their arms and live peacefully with their Turkish Muslim brothers. He wished, accordingly, to restructure Turkey along multi-ethnic lines, but with a greater role for Islam. But he relied too much on religion to resolve what is essentially an ethnic conflict. The experiment resulted in sprays of bombs, suicide attacks, bullets, rockets, and coffins.


The parliamentary elections that took place on June 7, 2015 marked a radical shift for Erdoğan from his usual religious nationalism to ethnic nationalism (both of which have always been part of his ideological policy calculus, to varying degrees). On that date, his Justice and Development Party (AKP), after having sought peace with the Kurds for the previous two years, lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since it came to power in November 2002. With 41% of the national vote (compared with 49.8% in the 2011 general elections), the AKP won eighteen fewer seats than were necessary to form a single-party government in Turkey’s 550-member parliament. More importantly, its seat tally fell widely short of the minimum number needed to rewrite the constitution in such a way as to introduce an executive presidential system that would give Erdoğan almost uncontrolled powers.


Amid a fresh wave of Kurdish violence, Erdoğan gambled on new elections, calculating that the uptick in instability and insecurity would push frightened voters towards single-party rule. His gamble paid off. The elections of November 1, 2015 gave the AKP a comfortable victory and a mandate to rule until 2019. His new ethnic nationalist and anti-Kurdish policy won hearts and minds among Turkish nationalists. They then proceeded, two years later, to support constitutional amendments that paved the way for Erdoğan’s ultimate goal of one-man rule.


Between June 7 and November 1, 2015, Erdoğan’s AKP increased its votes by nearly nine percentage points. More than four points of that rise came from votes from its nationalistic rival, the Nationalist Movement Party, which shares more or less the same voter base with the AKP. Even some Kurds, weary of renewed violence, shifted from a pro-Kurdish party (for which they had voted on June 7) to the AKP (on November 1).


Since 2015, Erdoğan has been enjoying the fruits of his newfound ethnic nationalism. He has ordered the security forces to fight the PKK “till they finish it off,” and has pursued hawkish politics via the judiciary he controls. Several leading Kurdish MPs are now in jail on terrorism charges. More than 1,400 academics who signed a petition “for peace” have been prosecuted and/or dismissed from their universities. Talking about Kurdish rights is now almost tantamount to bombing a square in Istanbul.


Across Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi borders, Erdoğan has also recalibrated his policy in line with a reprioritizing of security threats. A Kurdish belt along Turkey’s southern borders is now perceived as the top threat – worse than ISIS, or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s pro-Shiite (and therefore anti-Sunni, anti-Turkish, and anti- Erdoğan) regime in Damascus, or the growing Shiite military presence in northern Iraq (Hashd al-Shaab). In the hope of countering what he considers the worst of all possible threats, Erdoğan is now a reluctant partner in the Russia-Iran-dominated Shiite theater in northern Iraq and Syria.


In Erdoğan’s view, the emergence of a near-state Kurdish actor in Mesopotamia would be an existential threat to Turkey. Hence his radical retaliation against the Iraqi Kurdish referendum of September 25, along with his reluctant alliance with Tehran and Tehran-controlled Baghdad. But there is more for Erdoğan to calculate. When he devises his policy calculus towards the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, he must also keep an eye on the Turkish Kurds, whose votes he will need in 2019 when Turks go once again to the ballot box. Election 2019 will be the most historic race in Erdoğan’s political career – an election he knows he cannot afford to lose. He needs every single vote, from Islamists to liberals to nationalists to Kurds. And that makes things tricky…

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





Sophia Pandya

Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017


On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park, apparently a testament of Turkey’s acceptance of other faiths…At the garden’s inauguration ceremony in 2004, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised that he would “remove any remaining obstacles to religious freedom in Turkey,” and stated that Turkey would be “the guarantor of peace and brotherhood in its region.” Unfortunately, that was a blatant lie.


According to the recently published US State Department’s Turkey 2016 International Religious Freedom Report, Turkey, along with China and Saudi Arabia, represses its religious minorities. Since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the Turkish-Jewish community has been grappling with an uptick in anti-Semitic acts. This reflects populist (now-president) Erdoğan’s power-hungry pivot towards fascism and nativism, which involves unifying Turks through identifying scapegoats (Jews, Kurds, Alevis, and the Gülen Movement) to blame for the country’s problems. While he immediately blamed the Sufi-inspired Gülen Movement for the plot, social media users and journalists also pointed at other religious minorities, including the Ecumenical Patriarch, and, unsurprisingly, the Jews. In fact, the tension has caused many Jews to leave Turkey for Israel or elsewhere, or at least to apply for foreign passports in case a quick departure becomes necessary.


This is tragic, given the long and stable presence of Jews in the Anatolian region, which served as a haven for small confessional groups such as the Jews, who were granted refuge there by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II during the 1492 Spanish Inquisition. During the Ottoman period, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Bosnians and other minority communities, lived under Ottoman rule as part of the millet system, in which non-Muslim minority groups had separate legal courts and thus were able to govern themselves. During WWII, Turkey served as a safe transit and refuge for Jews fleeing the Holocaust, saving lives. Given that the global Jewish population is estimated (as of 2016) at around 14 and a half million, it is significant that approximately 18,500 Jews still reside in Turkey today, especially since Turkey is a Muslim majority country. Most live in Istanbul, and are Sephardic Jews, whose Ladino-speaking ancestors were allowed refuge during the Spanish expulsion, although a few are Ashkenazi.


Yet anthropologist Marcy Brink-Danan refers to the prevailing myth—that Jews have always lived free of discrimination in the Anatolian region—as the “tolerance trope.” During the Ottoman period Jews were respected, along with Christians, as “people of the book,” or ehl ul kitab in Turkish. However, this did not grant them equality to the Muslim majority, but rather religious accommodation, as “different yet protected” people. While the treatment of non-Muslim citizens was better than that of minorities elsewhere, it was not equitable. While Muslim men received the title of “Sir” or “Pasha,” (efendi or paşa), non-Muslim men were referred to simply by their trade. In 1942, Jews and other non-Muslims in Turkey were forced to pay a “wealth tax,” which functioned to financially weaken and thus marginalize them.


Despite celebrating (in 1992) 500 years of refuge in Turkey from the Spanish Inquisition, the Jewish community has continually faced degrees of discrimination in Turkey, also due largely to the legacy of ethnocentric and nationalistic Kemalist policies. The Republic of Turkey (established in 1923) was constructed on ideas of ethnic Turkish superiority. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the nation’s founder, used social engineering strategies towards unifying the state, which emphasized its homogeneity and “pure” Turkishness. This included the systematic violation of minority rights, expulsions, population exchanges, and the suppression of language, minority religions, and non-Turkish ethnic identities. In 1930, Atatürk’s Justice Minister Mahmut Esat Bozkurt (1882-1943), stated, “Those who are not of pure Turkish stock can have only one right in this country, the right to be servants or slaves.”


Indeed, even today many Jewish institutions in Istanbul are unmarked and protected by barbed wire and armed guards. When Turkish Jews wear or display Judaica they often do so privately, i.e., wearing a Star of David inside clothing, or hanging mezuzot inside their homes. Their indigenousness and loyalty to Turkey are challenged, and they are increasingly vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks. For example, in 1986, twenty-two Jews were killed by Palestinians at Neve Shalom (ironically, this translates from Hebrew to “oasis of peace”), the largest synagogue in Istanbul. Subsequent attacks on synagogues include the 1992 Quincentennial anniversary attack, carried out by Hezbollah, which again took place at Neve Shalom (but with no casualties). In 2003, two car bombs exploded, one outside of Neve Shalom while approximately 400 people were inside, and the other at the back of Beit Israel Synagogue, while filled with 300 people. The blasts killed at least 20, and injured around 300 others. As recent as April of 2013, Turkish police foiled plots by al-Qaeda to bomb a synagogue in Istanbul’s Balat district. According to a 2014 poll carried out by the Anti-Defamation League, as much as seventy percent of Turkish citizens hold anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews.


After July 15, the source of new anti-Semitic attacks does not emanate externally (i.e. Hezbollah) but from ordinary Turks, many of whom, newly emboldened to transcend “holding an attitude,” have loudly engaged in fomenting a toxic and dangerous environment for ethnic and religious minorities. The Turkey 2016 International Religious Freedom Report cites numerous instances of anti-Semitic discourse, including threats of violence, in social media and even in government-friendly media. The Neve Shalom Synagogue was again attacked by ultranationalists on July 22, 2017. Ironically, when Erdoğan attributed the putsch attempt to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement he inspired, this only made things worse for Jews. Some anti- Gülen forces have labelled the Muslim cleric a “crypto-Jew,” whose mother is a Jew (she is not). In December, 2016, a columnist from the government-backed Sabah, a prominent newspaper, wrote that Gülen “quickly smells of money and power. Because he is a Jew.” According to former parliamentarian Aykan Erdimir, the situation for religious minorities has “gone from bad to worse within the last year…

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




Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017


Is the war in Syria won? The images broadcast this week from Sochi, the Russian vacation town on the Black Sea coast, were pictures of victory – for the bad guys. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood beside his Syrian client, President Bashar Assad, who licked Putin’s boots, as well he should have. Assad owes his regime and his life to Putin.


The next day, Putin was joined by his allies – the presidents of Iran and Turkey. Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the pilgrimage to Sochi to stand at Putin’s side and declare victory in the war and dedicate themselves to the cause of “peace and reconciliation” in post-war Syria. To achieve their lofty goals of peace and reconciliation, Putin and his partners declared that, in the near future, Sochi will be the sight of a peace conference where all the relevant factions in Syria will be represented. The parley they described is set to take place parallel to – and one assumes at the expense of – the sixth round of Syrian reconciliation talks scheduled to take place under UN auspices next week in Geneva.


Several Israeli commentators viewed Putin’s Sochi talks precisely as he wished them to. Ehud Yaari, Reshet/Keshet’s veteran Arab affairs commentator declared: The US is finished in the Middle East! The capital of the Middle East is now located in Sochi, he proclaimed in back-to-back newscasts. In certain respects, Yaari is right. Things are looking good these days for the axis of evil. Wednesday was a particularly good day for Iran. Not only did Rouhani do his victory dance with Putin and Erdogan, but as they were showering themselves in triumph in Sochi, Iran’s Lebanese puppet, Saad Hariri, was returning to Beirut after his misadventures in Saudi Arabia. As expected, Hariri canceled the resignation he announced dramatically a week-and-a-half earlier in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after accusing Iran and its Hezbollah army of controlling Lebanon. On the surface, Hariri’s return is a boon for Iran. If he had remained in Saudi Arabia, Iran would have lost its fig leaf. Hariri’s duty as prime minister is to snow the West into believing that his government and the Lebanese Armed Forces are a counterweight to Iran and Hezbollah, even though they are controlled by Iran and Hezbollah…


As for Erdogan, he arrived in Sochi a spent force. Erdogan is perhaps the biggest loser of the war in Syria. He was the principal sponsor of the anti-Assad opposition that morphed into Islamic State. Erdogan’s cooperation owes mainly to his lack of better options. The US stopped supporting his campaign in Syria two years ago. Since the failed military coup against him in July 2016, Erdogan has become ever more hostile to the US. This hostility informed his recently concluded deal with Putin to purchase Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system. The S-400 threatens every fighter craft in the US arsenal. US officials have responded to his move by seriously considering the possibility of canceling the sale of 100 F-35s to Turkey.


Turkish expulsion from NATO – once a taboo subject – is now regularly discussed in Washington policy circles. The main reason Erdogan has sided with Putin in Syria is because the US has sided with Syria’s Kurds. Erdogan views the Syrian Kurds as a threat to the stability of his regime. He expects Putin to support his determination to destroy Kurdish autonomy in Syria. If Putin fails to meet his expectations, Erdogan may abandon his new friends. Or he may stick with them and just become ever more dependent on Putin. Whatever the case, he won’t be empowered by his membership in Pax Putin…

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





On Topic Links


Turkey: Trial of Banker is Plot Schemed by US-Based Cleric: Suzan Fraser, Fox News, Nov. 30, 2017—A senior Turkish government minister on Thursday branded the New York trial of a Turkish bank executive on charges of violation of sanctions against Iran as a new attempt by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to harm Turkey's government.

Turkey Rejects "Moderate Islam": Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 30, 2017—At a conference on women's entrepreneurship, held in Ankara on November 9 and hosted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected the concept of "moderate Islam".

Some Urgent Questions About Turkey: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017—Turkey has been a vital ally of the United States since World War II. It fields NATO’s second-largest army, after America’s, and anchors the alliance’s eastern flank. It hosts military bases that are central to American operations in the Middle East, including Incirlik, where some 50 tactical nuclear weapons are stationed, and serves as a bridge between the Muslim world and the West. After Recep Tayyip Erdogan took office in 2003 and began reforms, Turkey seemed on course to becoming a model Muslim democracy.

Turkey’s Bluster Exposes its Delusions of Grandeur: Simon Waldman, Globe and Mail, Oct. 11, 2017—Turkey is embroiled in yet another spat with a western country. This time, Turkey arrested a U.S. consular employee for alleged links to the Gulen movement, followers of Turkish Islamic preacher and U.S. resident Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara claims is behind last July's attempted coup. Calling the move arbitrary, the United States suspended non-immigrant visa applications, and Turkey reciprocated.






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


On Topic Links


Mosque Attack is a Testament to Egypt’s Impotence in Sinai: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017

With Iran on Its Doorstep, Israel Quietly Readies Game-Changing Air Power: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Nov. 21, 2017

The Wrong Way to Save Academia: F.H. Buckley, New York Post, Nov. 26, 2017

The Miracle of Israel Lives on 70 Years Later: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 28, 2017





"Within three months Egypt, with the help of God Almighty and with your efforts and sacrifices along with the civil police, will restore stability and security in Sinai…All brute force will be used. All brute force." — Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, after an attack on a mosque there on Friday left 305 people dead. No group has yet said it carried out the attack on the al-Rawda mosque, which saw gunmen fire on worshippers after setting off a bomb. But there is evidence pointing to an affiliate of I.S. It is believed the mosque was targeted because Sufis worshipped there. Jihadists consider the mystical form of Islam to be heretical. Sufi elders in al-Rawda are also reported to have been warned by the local IS affiliate, Sinai Province, to suspend their rituals before the attack. At a ceremony on Wednesday, Sisi told military Chief of Staff Gen Mohammed Hegazy that he wanted to make a commitment to the Egyptian people on his behalf. "You are responsible for restoring security and stability in Sinai, along with the ministry of the interior, within three months," he said. (BBC, Nov. 29, 2017)


“We call on men and youths of Sinai tribes to join their brothers…to coordinate for a major operation with the army.” — Statement from the Union of Sinai Tribes. In a bid for unity to defeat I.S.’s affiliate in the Sinai peninsula, Bedouin leaders have requested that people help the Egyptian military combat the insurgency. Al-Sisi has long pledged to crush a radical Islamist insurgency in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, particularly since the downing of a Russian Metrojet flight in 2015, which killed all 224 passengers and crew on board. The jihadi insurgency in Egypt’s Northern Sinai became emboldened after 2013, when Sisi, then chief of staff of the Egyptian military, ousted the country’s first-ever democratically-elected leader, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. (Newsweek, Nov. 27, 2017)


“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken…The bottom line is, it’s a continued effort to build a threat — a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace, and certainly, the United States.” — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday that flew both higher and longer than previous such launches, a bold act of defiance against President Trump after he put the country back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism. The president reacted cautiously to news of the launch, stating, “It is a situation that we will handle.” Mattis emphasized what he said were technical advances on display in the 53-minute flight, which began when the missile was launched northeast of the capital, Pyongyang, and ended nearly 600 miles to the east, when it landed in the Sea of Japan. (New York Times, Nov. 28, 2017)  


“President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Pence made the remarks in a keynote address at an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote for partition of Palestine, which led to the creation of the State of Israel. The UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947 passed a resolution adopting a plan on partitioning British-mandated Palestine to establish a Jewish state. “Israel didn’t need a resolution to call for its existence, because its right to exist is self-evident, and timeless,” Pence said. “While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven here, too.” In the keynote speech, Pence underscored US support for Israel, asserting that ties between the two countries have never been stronger than under Trump. “As President Trump says, ‘If the world knows nothing else, let them know this: America stands with Israel,'” he said. “Under our administration, America will always stand with Israel.” (Times of Israel, Nov. 28, 2017)


“Each of them said to me, you have to bomb Iran, it’s the only thing they are going to understand…Without exaggeration, the likelihood is very high that we would have been in a conflict.” — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry said that Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia encouraged the U.S. to “bomb Iran” before the 2015 nuclear deal was brokered by the Obama administration and other world powers. Prime Minister Netanyahu was “genuinely agitating towards action,” before the deal was finalized, said Kerry during the Ignatius Forum in Washington D.C. Kerry also stated that during his tenure as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Saudi King Abdullah, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Netanyahu all pushed for military action against Iran. (JNS, Nov. 29, 2017)


“Look at the American forces today. They are more than 1 million strong. But despite their numbers and their capabilities, they are cowards. When they arrived in Iraq, they brought diapers for their soldiers, so that they could urinate in them when scared…You, on the other hand, have achieved victory with light weapons, Why? Because you are willing to make sacrifices.” — Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s powerful Quds Force. Soleimani derided American soldiers as incontinent cowards in a speech to troops during an offensive to retake a strategic eastern Syria town from the Islamic State. In a speech posted online, Soleimani can be seen giving a pep talk to Iranian soldiers, apparently near al-Bukamal in eastern Syria, where Syrian regime forces and their allies have been fighting to recapture the town from Islamic State jihadists. (Times of Israel, Nov. 29, 2017)


“The UN’s assault on Israel today with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal…Even after Syrian president Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people within the past year, the UN is about to adopt a resolution — drafted and co-sponsored by Syria — which falsely condemns Israel for ‘repressive measures’ against Syrian citizens on the Golan Heights. It’s obscene…At a time when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his state-controlled media incite to the continued stabbing and shooting of Israeli Jews, the UN’s response is to reflexively condemn Israel in nine separate resolutions, each of them one-sided, each of them utterly silent on Palestinian abuses.” — Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch and a former CIRJ Dateline Middle East editor. Next month, the UN General Assembly is expected to affirm east Jerusalem’s status as “occupied territory,” call for international companies to boycott Israel, and condemn Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights. (Times of Israel, Nov. 10, 2017)


“We were hearing about safety concerns from Muslim students across campus.” — Dalhousie Student Union president Amina Abawajy. The Dalhousie Student Union is offering emergency hijab kits after Muslim women on campus reportedly had their head coverings pulled off and spat on, but the university says it doesn’t expect the kits will be used. Abawajy said the emergency hijab kits come in response to mounting harassment and violence against Muslim women on campus. A Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman said she wasn’t aware of any incidents related to head coverings being pulled off in the city. (National Post, Nov. 28, 2017)


“For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors. They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison.” — Adam MacLeod, professor of law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. MacLeod wrote an article for The New Boston Post in which he published a speech that warned his first-year law students he would not accept any words ending in “ism.” “Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated,” he wrote. (Daily Wire, Nov. 27, 2017)






ISRAEL TO HEAD OFF UN SETTLEMENT 'BLACKLIST' (Jerusalem) — Weeks ahead of the expected completion of a U.N. database of companies that operate in West Bank settlements, Israel and the U.S. are working to prevent its publication. Israeli officials fear its publication could have devastating consequences by driving companies away, deterring others from coming and prompting investors to dump shares of Israeli firms. Dozens of major Israeli companies, as well as multinationals that do business in Israel, are expected to appear on the list. Israel says that about 100 local companies that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have received warning letters that they will be on the list. In addition, some 50 international companies also have been warned. (National Post, Nov. 26, 2017)


US TO ALLOW PLO OFFICE TO REMAIN OPEN WITH ‘LIMITATIONS’ (Washington) — Israel had no immediate response to a US State Department decision to allow the PLO to keep its office in Washington open, despite threatening last week to close it. A spokesperson said the office will be allowed to remain open with limitations, including that the PLO’s activities there be “related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.” According to US law, the PLO cannot operate a U.S. office if it urges the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes against Palestinians. In an address to the UN in September, Abbas appeared to violate this law when he called on the ICC “to open an investigation and prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggression against our people.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2017)


ISRAELI MINISTER RESIGNS OVER SABBATH 'DESECRATION' (Jerusalem) — Israel’s health minister Yaakov Litzman, who heads a powerful ultra-Orthodox party in Netanyahu’s coalition, resigned saying he opposed work on the country’s railways on the Sabbath, when all labour is prohibited by Jewish law. Ultra-Orthodox parties have provided Netanyahu with support for his coalition. They have traditionally acted as kingmakers in Israel’s fractious coalition building and have in the past threatened to topple coalition governments by robbing them of their majority. (National Post, Nov. 26, 2017)


IRANIAN WRESTLER TOLD TO THROW MATCH TO AVOID FACING ISRAELI (Warsaw) — An Iranian wrestler appeared to throw a match at a tournament in Poland in order to avoid facing an Israeli opponent in the next round. Alireza Karimi-Machiani, who was leading against Russia’s Alikhan Zhabrailov, went on to lose the match after apparently being ordered to throw in the towel rather than square off against Israeli Uri Kalashnikov. In a video clip of the bout, a voice can be heard yelling “lose Alireza” as the Iranian pulls ahead. The treatment of Israeli athletes at international sporting events made headlines after Israeli medal winners at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament were prohibited from displaying the Israeli flag, and the national anthem was not played. (Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2017)


GERMAN TV PULLS SPONSORSHIP OF ROGER WATERS CONCERT OVER BDS (Cologne) — German public broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) withdrew its sponsorship of a Roger Waters concert in Cologne, Germany after local activists objected to the allocation of public funds to the former Pink Floyd frontman known for his support for the anti-Israel boycott campaign, German newspapers report. Earlier, a 48-year-old Cologne resident had started an online petition calling the broadcaster to sever ties with Waters. (Legal Insurrection, Nov. 27, 2017)


FURY GREETS ANNOUNCEMENT OF WEST END THEATER SHOW FOR LIVINGSTONE (London) — The former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone – long regarded as a foe of Britain’s Jewish community for his attacks on Zionism – was at the center of a new controversy after he was announced as the star of a political comedy show at a West End theater. Livingstone, who is currently suspended from the opposition Labour party over allegations of antisemitism, will appear in the annual show hosted by Matt Forde at the Leicester Square Theater. In April, 2016, Livingstone was suspended from the Labour party after he claimed in a radio interview that the Nazi dictator was “supporting Zionism” before “he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.” (Algemeiner, Nov. 28, 2017)


LETHBRIDGE PROF. ACCUSED OF ANTISEMITIC VIEWS REINSTATED (Calgary) — Anthony Hall, a professor accused of espousing antisemitic views, has been reinstated at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Hall was suspended last fall following comments he made in online articles and videos suggesting there was a Zionist connection to the 9-11 attacks and that the events of the Holocaust should be up for debate. He maintains the issue is academic freedom and that he should be allowed to promote his work as he sees fit. Hall is a tenured professor who has taught Native American studies, liberal education and globalization over his 26 years at the university. (CBC, Nov. 24, 2017)


BERKELEY PROFESSOR SLAMMED FOR ANTISEMITIC TWEET (Berkeley) — Jewish groups have strongly condemned a University of California-Berkeley professor who shared antisemitic images on Twitter that accused “Zionists” of illegally trafficking in human organs. Professor Hatem Bazian — a lecturer at UC-Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Department and a prominent campus advocate of BDS — shared the tweet on July 31. Accompanying a message built on words like “Zionist,” apartheid,” “genocide,” and “organ theft” was a photo that showed a smiling Hassidic Jew with the caption, “Look, Mom, I is chosen,” with the Twitter hashtag “#Ashke-Nazi.” As a graduate student, Bazian co-founded Students for Justice in Palestine, an infamous pro-Palestinian campus group. (Algemeiner, Nov. 22, 2017)


FATAH OFFICIALS ATTEND MEMORIAL FOR PERPETRATORS OF ATTACKS (Ramallah) — Last week, the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that a college in Ramallah had held a memorial for "martyred students", attended by Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen and the secretary of Fatah's branch in Ramallah, Muwaffaq Sahwil. Some of these students had been killed while trying to carry out stabbing or car-ramming attacks against Israelis. For example, Ahmad Jahajha was killed in 2015 while attempting to run over several Border Guard officers; Ali Al-Kar was killed by IDF fire in 2016 after stabbing a female soldier. (Memri, Nov. 22, 2017)


RELEASED PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS TO RECEIVE $10 MILLION (Ramallah) — Six-thousand Palestinian Authority terrorists released from Israeli prisons will receive $10 million dollars in special grants from the PA, according to a Makor Rishon report. In addition, the PA is working to pass a new law, named after the terrorist killed by IDF soldier Elor Azaria. PA officials hope the law will be the basis for prosecuting IDF soldiers who kill terrorists, in the International Criminal Court. The PA already has a law giving the death sentence to anyone who sells land to Jews. (Jewish Press, Nov. 24, 2017)


LIBYAN CONVICTED OF TERRORISM IN BENGHAZI ATTACKS BUT ACQUITTED OF MURDER (Washington) — A former militia leader from Libya was convicted of terrorism charges arising from the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. But he was acquitted of multiple counts of the most serious offense, murder. The defendant, Ahmed Abu Khattala, 46, was the first person charged and prosecuted in the attacks. Khattala was convicted on four counts — including providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to do so, destroying property and placing lives in jeopardy at the mission, and carrying a semiautomatic firearm during a crime of violence — but acquitted on 14 others. He faces life in prison. (New York Times, Nov. 28, 2017)


PAKISTANI COURT FREES ALLEGED MASTERMIND OF 2008 MUMBAI ATTACKS (Islamabad) — The alleged mastermind of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai — in which the Indian city’s Chabad center was one of the targets — was ordered released from house arrest by a Pakistani court on Wednesday. Hafiz Saeed — the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity said by the US to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group — has been under house arrest since January. On November 26, 2008, ten LeT operatives entered Mumbai by sea and launched a coordinated gun-and-bomb assault on multiple sites in India’s most populous metropolis, killing 166 people — including six Jews at the Nariman House. Saeed has denied involvement in the attacks. (Algemeiner, Nov. 22, 2017)


CANADA VOWS TO ASSIST WOMAN AND HER CHILDREN WHO ESCAPED I.S. (Montreal) —The Canadian government says it is committed to providing a 22-year-old Montreal woman and her two young children with consular services after they escaped I.S. territory in Syria, but it's not clear whether, upon her possible return to Canada, she will face charges for travelling overseas to join a terrorist organization. The woman, her two-year-old daughter and newborn baby are currently detained by Kurdish forces in Syria. The news of the woman's escape comes as the Liberal government faces questions regarding Canada's plan for returning foreign fighters. The Conservatives grilled Prime Minister Trudeau over his government's focus on reintegrating foreign fighters into Canadian society, rather than putting them behind bars. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 29, 2017)


NAVAL IRON DOME MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM COMPLETES TRIAL (Haifa) — The Israel Air Force and Israel Navy have completed a successful trial of its Iron Dome short range missile defense system intercepting rockets fired at sea. The IDF trial imagined a scenario similar to attempts by terrorist organizations in Gaza to strike marine targets during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. During the trial, an Iron Dome battery was placed aboard the Israel Navy's INS Lahav, which fired missiles to intercept both individual rockets and barrages of rockets. The IDF has completed preparations lasting 18 months aimed at possessing capabilities to intercept rockets fired at marine targets, such as cargo ships, Israel Navy boats and natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean. (Defense World, Nov. 28, 2017)


NETANYAHU ANNOUNCES OPENING OF EMBASSY IN RWANDA (Nairobi) — Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the opening of a new Israeli embassy in Rwanda while on a state visit to Kenya. The Israeli government recently made a deal with Rwanda to pay $5,000 for each African asylum seeker currently living in Israel that it would accept and absorb. According to the Interior Ministry, around 27,000 Eritrean nationals and 8,000 Sudanese nationals live in Israel. In August, the High Court of Justice ruled that they could be deported to a third country, but those who refused to go could not be jailed for more than two months. (Ha’aretz, Nov. 28, 2017)


ISRAELI RESEARCH FINDS DUAL VIRTUAL REALITY – TREADMILL EXERCISE HELPS PARKINSON’S PATIENTS (Jerusalem) — A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that a therapy that combines virtual reality and treadmill exercise dramatically lowers the incidence of falling among Parkinson’s patients by changing the brain’s behavior and promoting beneficial brain plasticity, even in patients with neurodegenerative disease. The research underlines the importance of combining cognitive rehabilitation with the motor rehabilitation of Parkinson’s disease patients. (Jewish Press, Nov. 29, 2017)


TURKISH SECURITY FORCES SEIZE 700-YEAR-OLD TORAH MANUSCRIPT (Istanbul) — Turkish security forces seized a Torah manuscript earlier this month that is thought to be at least 700 years old and that was up for sale for $1.9 million, Tukish media reported. Police, acting on an tip, reportedly detained four antique dealers after they tried to sell the manuscript to plainclothes detectives in Turkey’s southern Mugla province. In 2012, Turkish police arrested four people in the Mediterranean province of Adana for allegedly attempting to sell an ancient Torah scroll they said was nearly 2,000 years old, the private broadcaster NTV reported at the time. (Times of Israel, Nov. 28, 2017)


ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL ZIV NEVO KULMAN BIDS MONTREAL ADIEU (Montreal) — Ziv Nevo Kulman, Israel’s consul general for Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, will be leaving Montreal at the end of November, to head the cultural diplomacy bureau of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jerusalem. Kulman, who arrived in September 2014, had expected to remain in his current post until next summer, but this change represents a promotion for the 48-year-old career diplomat who has previously been responsible for cultural affairs at postings in Tokyo and Paris. An interim consul general will replace Kulman until next summer, when a permanent envoy will fill the vacancy. (CJN, Nov. 14, 2017)


On Topic Links


Mosque Attack is a Testament to Egypt’s Impotence in Sinai: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017—The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated. Rather than advanced military skills, the gruesome scene was testimony only to the moral blindness and cruelty of the perpetrators.

With Iran on Its Doorstep, Israel Quietly Readies Game-Changing Air Power: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Nov. 21, 2017—Iran has big plans to create a military outpost in Syria, right on Israel’s doorstep. From there, the Islamic Republic could threaten and attack Israel in the future.

The Wrong Way to Save Academia: F.H. Buckley, New York Post, Nov. 26, 2017 —Someone once said, “Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they don’t.” We’re supposed to think that life is self-correcting, that it’s darkest before the dawn.

The Miracle of Israel Lives on 70 Years Later: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 28, 2017—On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish, one Arab. Most Zionists accepted the deal, while Arabs almost universally rejected it and declared war.


Mosque Attack is a Testament to Egypt’s Impotence in Sinai: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017— The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated.

Why Does ISIS Kill Muslims?: Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017— On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo.

Egypt's Peace Interest: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, Nov. 28, 2017— Forty years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, and after a long hiatus due to the "Arab Spring" and ensuing "Islamic winter" that hit the country, Egypt has returned to playing a leading role in the region.

For How Long Will the Peace Treaty with Egypt be Robust?: Efraim Inbar, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2017— Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem, that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.


On Topic Links


Islam and Freedom of Religion: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Oct. 25, 2017

In Egypt, Furious Retaliation but Failing Strategy in Sinai: Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017

Egypt-Israel Cooperation Likely to Increase after Sinai Massacre: United With Israel, Nov. 27, 2017

Remembering Anwar Sadat’s Legacy: Yehuda Yaakov, Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 2017







Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017


The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated. Rather than advanced military skills, the gruesome scene was testimony only to the moral blindness and cruelty of the perpetrators. First, they set off two bombs inside the mosque, which was thronged with Friday worshipers. Then, when the survivors streamed toward the exits, terrorists waited outside in all-terrain vehicles, picking off those who emerged.


In that fashion, some 305 people were killed and 128 wounded. Based on assessments on social media, before the attack, Bir al-Abd was a town of some 1,500 souls, meaning that about one in three of its residents was a casualty. As of Saturday evening, there had been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but the immediate suspicion falls on Islamic State’s Sinai Province, the group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Its leader, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Osama (his real name is Muhammad al-Isawi), took over after his predecessor, Abu Du’a al-Ansari, was assassinated in August 2016.


The pretext for Friday’s attack was likely the mosque’s affiliation with Islam’s mystical Sufi stream. It is known as the birthplace of Sheikh Eid al-Jariri, considered the founder of Sufism in the Sinai. The Islamic State, like al-Qaeda and other radical Sunni organizations before it, has denounced the Sufis. But for IS it isn’t merely about religious differences: In the past two years, the Sufis have worked in tight cooperation with Egyptian security forces in the peninsula in an effort to counter the Islamic State and curb recruitment among the local Beduin.


Recent months have also seen a clan war that has pitted several tribes (notably Tarabin) against the Islamic State. The spate of mutual killings, which has included beheadings (not only on the part of IS), may also be connected to Friday’s attack. Last May, tribesmen executed eight Sinai Province operatives in retribution for a car bomb the terror group detonated near a Tarabin encampment. Among the triggers for those incidents was Sinai Province’s effort to take control of smuggling along the border with the Gaza Strip and to stem the flow of cigarettes, which they forbid, into the Sinai. Those restrictions threatened the livelihood of the Tarabins, who responded with violence.


But beyond IS cruelty and inter-tribal strife, what this attack drives home – and not for the first time – is the extent of the difficulty facing the Egyptian army in its efforts to counter the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai. Indeed, the frequency of attacks in mainland Egypt has gone down of late, and even within the Sinai the military has been able to operate relatively unmolested. Yet, Egyptian intelligence has come up against obvious difficulties in its effort to gain a real foothold in the peninsula, including amassing sufficient human and technological assets to clamp down on terrorism there.


In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared a new military onslaught against the perpetrators. Hours later, reports emerged of airstrikes against terror targets and dozens of dead among the insurgents. The question is what prevented Egypt from taking such action before the attack, and why previous efforts in the wake of earlier attacks did not yield significant gains.


Egypt has long refrained from embarking on an extensive operation, in the vein of the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. Perhaps the cost of such a campaign would be prohibitive, or maybe it’s that as long as terrorism is more-or-less confined to the northeastern Sinai, Cairo doesn’t care as much. Eventually, though, those same terrorists who decimated the small town of Bir al-Abd will target vacationers on the sunny shores of the Red Sea, and then in Cairo itself.





Raymond Ibrahim

FrontPage Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017


On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo. They managed to massacre at least 305 people, 27 of whom were children. "The scene was horrific," said Ibrahim Sheteewi, an eyewitness. "The bodies were scattered on the ground outside the mosque. I hope God punishes them for this."


Not only is this considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt, but one of the strangest as well. As the NYT explains, "The scale and ruthlessness of the assault, in an area racked by an Islamist insurgency, sent shock waves across the nation — not just for the number of deaths but also for the choice of target. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the Islamic State has targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims but avoided Muslim places of worship." Indeed, whereas the bombing and burning of churches and the slaughter of Christians in Egypt at the hands of, not just ISIS, but Muslim mobs and murderers, is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Egypt, attacks on mosques in the name of jihad naturally are.


ISIS does not view its Muslim victims as true Muslims. One Muslim cleric from the region who requested anonymity best voiced the general view: "I can't believe they attacked a mosque." In the West, this selfsame shock of Muslim on Muslim terrorism is used to support the politically correct mantra that terror groups such as the Islamic State truly have nothing to do with Islam—otherwise they would not bomb mosques and kill fellow worshippers of Allah. Because the attack occurred late Friday—and, as of this writing, it is only Sunday, meaning still the weekend—capitalizing on this tragedy as a way to distance Islam from terrorism has not yet begun in the West; but, if precedent is any indicator, it soon will.


For example, last year during the closing days of Ramadan, a spate of terror attacks occurred in Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—all Muslim nations; these were followed by a media outpouring of "told you Islam wasn't responsible for terrorism," or, to quote Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, "Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act. They [Islamic State] do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism." Speaking after the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, Barrack Obama agreed: "ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death… Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim." After the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, which left 130 people dead, the UK's Independent published an article titled, "Paris attacks: Isis responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims." And the Daily Beast argued that, "Before the Paris horror, ISIS was killing Muslims on a daily basis. We Muslims despise these crazy people more than anyone else does…. But the number one victim of this barbaric terror group is Muslims. That's undisputed."


Along with distancing Islam from violence—real Muslims are not supposed to kill other Muslims in the name of jihad—this argument further clouds the issue of who is the true victim of Islamic terrorism: Why talk about the Muslim slaughter of non-Muslims—whether Western people, Israelis, or Christian minorities under Islam—when it is Muslims who are the primary victims most deserving of sympathy?


Killing 'fellow Muslims' doesn't make ISIS un-Islamic. The problem with this argument, however, is that the Islamic State does not view its victims as Muslims. Indeed, mainstream Sunni Islam—the world's dominant strand of Islam which 90 percent of the world's Muslims, including ISIS, adhere to—views all non-Sunnis as false Muslims; at best, they are heretics who need to submit to the "true Islam." This is largely how Sunnis view Shias and vice versa—hence their perennial war. While Western talking heads tend to lump them all together as "Muslims"—thus reaching the erroneous conclusion that ISIS is un-Islamic because it kills "fellow Muslims"—each group views the other as enemies.


A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad even validates this: "This umma [nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell." When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, "al–jama'a," that is, the group which most literally follows the example or "sunna" of Muhammad.


Overall, then, when Sunni jihadis slaughter Shias—or Sufis, Druze, and Baha'i—they do so under the exact same logic as when they slaughter Christian minorities, or European, American, and Israeli citizens: all are infidels who must either embrace the true faith, be subjugated, or die.


Concerning Sufis in particular, last January an ISIS commander situated in Sinai "outlined the group's hatred for Sufis and their practices, including the veneration of tombs, the sacrificial slaughter of animals and what he termed 'sorcery and soothsaying.'" The Islamic State has further referred to Sufism as a "disease" that needs to be "eradicated." Accordingly, a year ago, ISIS beheaded Sulayman Abu Hiraz, a Sufi cleric reportedly over 100 years old, on the charge of sorcery.


The argument that ISIS and other jihadi organizations kill fellow Muslims proves nothing. Muslims have been slaughtering Muslims on the accusation that they are "not Islamic enough" or the wrong "kinds" of Muslims from the start: So what can the open non-Muslim—such as the Western infidel—expect? Indeed, if anything, that ISIS kills other "Muslims" only further validates the supremacist and intolerant aspects of Sunnism, which is hardly limited to ISIS. Just look to our good "friend and ally," Saudi Arabia, the official religion of which is Sunni Islam, and witness the subhuman treatment Shia minorities experience. In the end, it's just jihad and more jihad, for all and sundry.






Prof. Eyal Zisser

Israel Hayom, Nov. 28, 2017


Forty years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, and after a long hiatus due to the "Arab Spring" and ensuing "Islamic winter" that hit the country, Egypt has returned to playing a leading role in the region. More specifically, in the Israeli context, Egypt is also an integral part of U.S. efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.


For the most part, the Arab world has grown weary of the Palestinian issue. Most Arab countries are preoccupied with their own troubles, with problems that are more urgent and more important to them than helping the Palestinians resolve their internal disputes or the conflict with Israel.


For Egypt, however, this matter is neither distant nor irrelevant. From its perspective, pushing the peace process forward could help Egypt cope with a bevy of serious problems knocking on its doorstep. First, the threat of jihadist terrorism, which has hit the country repeatedly and just last week claimed the lives of hundreds of Sinai residents in a horrific slaughter at a mosque. In Egypt's view, Islamic State and its "Sinai branch" are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt proper. For Cairo, Islamic State is a terrorist organization that perpetrates attacks in the distant Sinai Peninsula, while the Muslim Brotherhood is a potentially lethal cancer eating at the heart of the Egyptian body.


Hamas is a sister movement of the Muslim Brotherhood and in the past has aided Islamic State in Sinai. Like Israel, Egypt recognizes reality and understands that Hamas will not suddenly disappear from the face of the earth. Egypt hopes that a peace process, preceded by an inter-Palestinian reconciliation process, would "contain" the Hamas threat and perhaps, in the long term, even pave the way for the Palestinian Authority to oust the terrorist organization from Gaza. The Egyptians are not naive, but their national interest is to lower the flames, and any progress or even discussion of peace can help them.


In contrast to his predecessor Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi is determined to improve the Egyptian economy, a requirement for ensuring the country's long-term stability. But for this to happen, Sissi needs an atmosphere of peace. Even more importantly, he needs generous monetary aid from the United States – Russia, after all, can provide weapons, not dollars.


Egypt used to be leader of the Arab world. Now, though, it looks on longingly as Iran and Turkey try to claim the leadership crown for themselves. Egypt's return to the helm of the Arab world and Middle East depends on how it fares against Iran and Turkey, unlike in the past when it largely depended on conflict with Israel. This too, requires a diplomatic process.


These are all good reasons for Egypt to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians; it certainly will not be upset if a peace agreement is reached.






Efraim Inbar

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2017


Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The move by Egypt, the largest and strongest Arab state, changed the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Sadat violated the Arab taboo against good neighborly relations with the Jewish state and opened the way for additional peace agreements. The defection of Egypt from the Arab military coalition eliminated the option of a two-front conventional war against Israel and saved the Israeli taxpayer billions of dollars. The heavy price paid by Israel to Egypt was total withdrawal from the Sinai and removal of settlements. But, in retrospect, it worked out well, turning Israel into “the land had peace for forty years.”


The peace treaty withstood many difficult tests: Israel’s strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1982, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the 1987 Palestinian uprising, Israeli measures against the Palestinian terrorism campaign since 2000 and the Israel-Gaza wars. Even the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt (2012-13) did not cancel the peace treaty.


Unfortunately, Israeli expectations for normal inter-state and people-to-people interactions were not realized. The rooted cultural and religious barriers to having good relations with the Jewish state have been too difficult to overcome. In the Arab world, Israel is mostly seen as an alien body. For Egypt, this has not changed after 40 years of formal peace. In the absence of drastic change in the Arab educational systems, these perceptions of Jews and their state will continue. Hopes for peaceful relations with Arab countries – such as between the US and Canada – are fanciful dreams. This insight should be taken into consideration when calculating the Israeli price for Arab peace offers.


Moreover, the robustness of the peace treaty is not self-evident. History teaches us that most wars break out in violation of a peace treaty. The survival of the peace treaty seems threatened by several developments. We have to remember that the change in Egypt’s position toward Israel was a result of Cairo gradually preferring the US to the Soviet Union.


Egypt realized that the US had greater leverage on Israel in its attempt to gain back the Sinai. However, its pro-American orientation is not a constant. Nowadays, the US seems to have become a less desirable ally. Its international standing has deteriorated and its Middle East policy, under presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, favors disengagement rather than involvement.


At the same time, Russia has become more influential in the region. Egypt seems to sense the change and now buys Russian weapons. It also purchased two Russian nuclear reactors, which has created a long-term dependency upon Moscow. A change in Egypt’s foreign policy orientation also affects its relations with Israel. The region, whose character is changing due to the ascendance of Iran, also provides reasons to worry.


States in the region are aware of a projected American weakness and are left with only two choices when facing an Iran that cooperates with Russia. They can form an alliance to curb Iranian influence (the choice of Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf States) or get closer to Iran (the choice of Turkey and Qatar). Egypt is usually seen as part of the Sunni moderate camp that fears greater Iranian clout. Egypt is much more dependent upon financial support from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Nevertheless, Egypt supported Bashar Assad in Syria – an Iranian ally. If the Gulf region falls under Iranian influence, Cairo might have to adopt a different posture and also look for support in Tehran. This might put an end to the peace treaty with Israel.


Finally, the large growth of the Egyptian military and its modernization is a source of concern. The growth of the Egyptian air force, navy and land forces remains a mystery, particularly with no enemy on Egyptian borders in sight. The investments in logistics infrastructure from Cairo eastwards and the building of tunnels under the Suez Canal seem to have no reasonable civilian rationale. Moreover, the demilitarization of Sinai, the most important stabilizing element in the peace treaty, has been eroded, as Israel agreed to the infusion of Egyptian units into the Sinai to fight the radical Islamic insurgency.


While an Egyptian-Israeli military confrontation is unlikely, we see the emergence of conditions that make an Egyptian attack easier. Everything must be done by Jerusalem to preserve the peace treaty with Egypt, but Israel should still prepare itself for worst-case scenarios.




On Topic Links


Islam and Freedom of Religion: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Oct. 25, 2017—Islam is difficult for Westerners to understand because we view it through our own cultural categories. Our categories have been formed by the post-Enlightenment and post-industrial revolution in the West. Modern Western society has been organized on the basis of occupational specialization and division of labour. This is why we see our societies divided among distinct spheres of activity: familial, economic, political, cultural, and religious.

In Egypt, Furious Retaliation but Failing Strategy in Sinai: Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017—After militants massacred 305 people at a packed mosque on Friday in a stunning assault on a sacred place, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi responded as he knows best.

Egypt-Israel Cooperation Likely to Increase after Sinai Massacre: Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2017—After terrorists killed more than 300 people during prayers at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Friday, experts say that weaknesses in the Arab country’s counter-terrorism operations will likely lead to increased Israeli-Egyptian security cooperation.

Remembering Anwar Sadat’s Legacy: Yehuda Yaakov, Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 2017—Forty years ago — on Nov. 19, 1977 — Egyptian President Anwar Sadat embarked on a groundbreaking visit to Jerusalem. The 1979 peace treaty he later signed with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin set in motion the unmistakable dynamic of the Israeli-Arab rapprochement we witness today.


What Canada Can Learn From Israel's Entrepreneurial Ethos: Rick Spence, Financial Post, Nov. 21, 2017— In the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a ruined citadel called David’s Tower.

Why You Should Support Cancer Research in Israel: Benjamin Brafman, JTA, Nov. 15, 2017— As a busy criminal defense attorney with a roster of high-profile clients, I am not known to shy away from a fight.

How President Rivlin Could Revive the Israeli Presidential Conferences: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2017— With the termination of Shimon Peres’ presidency, his initiative of Israeli presidential conferences ended as well.

As Buildings Evolve in Startup Nation, Architects Create Space for Work and Play: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017— Driving up Route 4 from Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, it is impossible not to notice — especially at night when it is all lit up — a square glass box of a building with vaguely egg-shaped windows that dominates the landscape.


On Topic Links


Israel Successfully Launches First Space Lab (Video): Arutz Sheva, Nov. 27, 2017

87 Global Corporations Flocked To Israel For Tech And Talent In Past Three Years: NoCamels, Nov. 07, 2017

US-Israel Fund Invests $4.8m in Clean Energy: Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live, Nov. 9, 2017

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017





Rick Spence

Financial Post, Nov. 21, 2017


In the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a ruined citadel called David’s Tower. Fought over by King David himself, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans and Israelis, it’s now a museum spanning 4,000 years of history. But the castle is soon to assume another identity: as home to a startup accelerator specializing in virtual reality.


High tech/Old City is a fitting symbol for today’s Jerusalem. Since the publication of the 2008 best-seller Startup Nation, Israel has revelled in its reputation as an innovation power. But with most of that activity in Tel Aviv, Israel is now creating an innovation cluster in Jerusalem. It’s a city divided by history, faith and politics. But Israel’s innovation leaders hope this ongoing culture clash is a creative cauldron from which edgy, innovative ideas can emerge. Think Austin, Tex., or Boulder, Colo., but with more edge. (And hummus.)


Proof? Three months ago, Silicon Valley goliath Intel acquired Jerusalem-based Mobileye for US$15 billion (equivalent to the combined market cap of Canada’s Shopify and BlackBerry). A leader in computer vision and artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles, Mobileye spun out of the computer science department of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University — an institution founded in 1918 (30 years before Israel itself) by such visionaries as Einstein and Freud. (So there’s Lesson 1: To become a Startup Nation, put education first.)


To defend its title, Israel annually selects entrepreneurs from around the world to visit the country to study its startup secrets and meet its coolest entrepreneurs. It also sponsors a journalist from each of those countries to cover “their” entrepreneur’s journey. I joined the tour this month along with Toronto entrepreneur Maayan Ziv, founder of an accessibility app called AccessNow. Although the propaganda was predictably heavy-handed, I came away convinced that Israel has much to teach Canada about innovation. And seeing Israel through Ziv’s eyes revealed how Canadians can better compete.


On Day One of our five-day tour, my group of 22 journalists got some startling stats from Ran Natanzon, head of innovation and brand management (Lesson 2: Marketing matters!) for Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs. Natanzon said Israel ranks first in the world in R&D spending as a percent of GDP. And it’s third, behind the U.S. and China, in the number of companies it has listed on NASDAQ. In 2016, venture capitalists invested US$6 billion in Israeli deals. That’s twice the US$3.2 billion invested last year in Canada (even though our GDP is five times Israel’s). Clearly, Israel breeds aggressive entrepreneurs the way Canada produces hockey players. Natanzon listed numerous reasons for Israel’s entrepreneur surplus. Among them:


Israel has few natural resources, which means entrepreneurs have to create new value;  A limited domestic market means Israelis have to focus on exports; Israelis display can-do attitude and a culture of challenging authority. They also have chutzpah, a unique confidence that Merriam-Webster defines as “flagrant boldness.”; The flip side of Israel’s small market size means it’s easy to connect with influencers, because you already know someone who knows them; Every Israeli youth is required to serve in the military (or another form of national service). Forced exposure to team-building, shared purpose, mission-planning and execution produces focused leaders at an early age.


The rest of our week in Jerusalem was a whirlwind of meetings and open houses. We visited a rehab hospital that’s now commercializing its breakthroughs – such as a $100 wheelchair made of plastic; Hebrew U’s tech-transfer office; and an accelerator that is bringing entrepreneurship training to a downscale neighbourhood, with special programs for primary schools, women and the oft-neglected Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations.


We met with such companies as Mobileye and its spinoff firm, OrCam Technologies, which uses Mobileye’s vision systems and AI to create an eyeglass-shaped device that reads signs, text and money, reading everything aloud to the wearer, giving new mobility to the visually impaired. (An IPO is in the works.) We also met Jon Meved, the founder of OurCrowd, an equity crowdfunding platform for global startups and accredited investors. And within the stone walls of the Tower of David, we met virtual-reality entrepreneurs who are out to revitalize the museum experience and change the way you shop.


Meanwhile, my designated entrepreneur, Maayan Ziv, was on a mission of her own. She is still trying to monetize her AccessNow app, which enables users to rate buildings and locations anywhere in the world on their accessibility to people with disabilities. Ziv herself lives with muscular dystrophy, which has left her needing to get around in a wheelchair. With two Israeli-born parents, she speaks Hebrew and knows the culture, so she was eager to meet potential Israeli partners or investors. Ziv says she was truly impressed by Israel’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “The thing that struck me most is the way they think globally from day one. They are constrained; even if they want to trade with their neighbours, they can’t. I think that’s why they’re so successful.”…

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






Benjamin Brafman

JTA, Nov. 15, 2017


As a busy criminal defense attorney with a roster of high-profile clients, I am not known to shy away from a fight. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up in Brooklyn, the scrappy son of immigrants and Holocaust survivors. But nothing could have prepared me for the fight of my life, when my wife, Lynda, was diagnosed with breast cancer early on in our marriage. We had two young kids at home, and Lynda had to undergo a radical mastectomy and a year of chemotherapy before she was declared cancer-free and cleared for reconstructive surgery. I credit her oncologist, Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, with saving Lynda’s life.


What I did not realize at the time was that Lynda’s lifesaving treatment was made possible by the yeoman’s work of scientists working long hours in unglamorous labs trying to understand the biological forces that drive cancer – and how to stop them. So when God blessed me with professional success, I resolved to join the fight against this scurrilous disease. I turned to Dr. Hirshaut for advice on where to direct my support. His answer surprised me: Israel.


Though a tiny state with a population of just over 8 million, Israel has made disproportionately large contributions to the fight against cancer. A breakthrough in the 1980s by an Israeli scientist, Eli Canaani, was critical to the development of Gleevec, a drug that has saved the lives of millions diagnosed with leukemia. Velcade, a drug used to treat bone marrow cancer, was based on the research of two Israeli professors, Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, and their collaborator Irwin Rose, who went on to win the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2004.


Israeli scientists discovered the role that mutations in the p53 gene play in causing cancerous tumors, and how a minor mutation in the RAD51 gene increases the risk of breast cancer in women with the BRCA2 gene mutation. It was ICRF-supported scientists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center who contributed to the platform science that resulted in the development of Doxil, the first drug encapsulated in a microscopic fat bubble for direct delivery to a tumor site. In case after case, significant advances in the science of cancer began in Israel. And then there is this important fact: Because of a lower salary structure and overhead costs, research dollars go much further in Israel than in almost any other developed nation.


So if you want your support to have maximal impact, Dr. Hirshaut told me, invest in Israel. This, too, animates my support of Israeli science. Despite a spirit-rending campaign in some quarters to isolate the Israeli academic and research community, Israelis continue to make remarkable advancements in technology, medicine, and science – advancements that accrue to the benefit of all humankind.


Want to know what goes on at Israeli institutions of higher education? Learning. Insight. Imagination. Discovery. Healing. The best way to improve Israel’s image around the globe? Support its life-saving science.


For me, the question wasn’t whether to invest in Israel, but where? So many Israeli institutions are doing promising cancer research. How could I choose? Put me in a courtroom and I know my way around. A research lab, not so much. Dr. Hirshaut introduced me to the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), which raises funds to support the most promising scientific and medical research at institutions across Israel.


The idea for the fund came in 1975 from a group of American and Canadian researchers, oncologists and supporters looking for ways to bolster the fight against cancer while combating the problem of “brain drain” from Israeli research institutions. In the four decades since its establishment, ICRF has distributed more than $60 million through 2,300 research grants to scientists at 24 Israeli institutions — from post-doctoral fellows to Nobel Prize-winners.


To identify the most deserving recipients, several dozen esteemed scientists and doctors from throughout North America meet annually in New York for a rigorous two-day proposal review. The decision-making can be wrenching because life and death hangs in the balance. That’s because every year, dozens of promising proposals go unfunded for one simple reason: We don’t have enough money. Who knows whether one of those deserving, unfunded requests could have yielded clues to overcoming the early-detection problem of lung or ovarian cancer, or the stubborn lethality of pancreatic cancer?


The simple fact is this: Israel’s government alone cannot meet the needs of scientific research in Israel. Without extra support from Diaspora Jews, Israel risks losing these scientists and humanity risks losing critical, life-saving advancements in the fight against cancer. At times of crisis, Israel is often among the first countries to step up, from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the recent earthquakes in Mexico. Israel even extends a helping hand to Syrians, whose country is hostile to the Jewish state. We need to step up for Israel. There’s no better cause, and no better place to invest in the fight against cancer. I rest my case.






Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2017


With the termination of Shimon Peres’ presidency, his initiative of Israeli presidential conferences ended as well. Five such gatherings took place between 2008 and 2013. President Reuven Rivlin would do well to reinstate these annual conferences. The potential to benefit Israel is enormous.


To obtain the maximum benefit for Israel, the formula devised under Peres would require significant changes. In the past, the conferences included a strange mix of both topics and invitees. By far the best sessions of the past conferences were those that addressed the newest developments and expectations for the future in several advanced scientific fields. If one did not come early to the sessions there would be no remaining seats. The panels consisted of both foreign and Israeli scientists. In those that I attended, the Israeli presentations were as insightful and impressive as those by scholars from abroad.


On the other hand, there were some sessions on world Jewry in which the panelists were mainly rehashing what one could regularly read in Jewish media. There are enough other gatherings where these issues can be discussed. One also got the impression that the organizers had minimized the number of Orthodox and Center- Right speakers. Once, absurdly enough, an extreme critic of Israel, Peter Beinart, was invited.


Also, some of the goals announced were greatly overstated. Did the discussions at these conferences really – as suggested in 2013 –“engage the central issues that will influence the face of our future: geopolitics, economics, society, environment, culture, identity, education, new media and more”? It would have been much better to have been a bit more modest.


What would be the best new strategy for these conferences? First, it would be important to identify the areas in which Israel is at the world’s forefront. There should be sessions on topics concerning recent advances and possible future directions. The panels should consist of leading foreign and Israeli participants. Determining where Israel is a world leader or co-leader is crucial. Some very diverse areas are obvious candidates. For instance, cybersecurity, water technology, trauma treatment and the setting up of field hospitals. There are, however, many others which do not immediately come to mind. Identifying those areas of knowledge and expertise where Israel is among global leaders would rapidly create a long list.


Once one has identified the fields in which Israelis are among the world leaders, the next step would be to ask the country’s top experts in these areas who to invite from abroad. The conferences would be broadcast in real time to receive as wide an audience as possible. In previous conferences the speakers included politicians, writers, actors, a vulgar American comedian and so on. Such people could also attend, but there would no opening session where well-known invitees express their truisms and platitudes. Distinguished cultural performances could however be a welcome addition.


The conference core of topics in the above categories could be complemented with discussions about crucial world issues. To mention a few almost at random: the future of liberal democracy, sovereignty versus globalization, which type of multiculturalism could be viable, and truth versus fake news. It wouldn’t take much effort to define a few more.


One of the huge advantages for the participants in the panels would be the greatly varied interdisciplinary character of the conference’s speakers. Top people in a certain field usually participate in conferences where the attendees are mainly from professions close to their own. This diversity would increase the attractiveness of the conference for the panelists.


President Peres found generous patrons who financed the conferences he initiated. There is no reason why such a prestigious conference under the auspices of President Rivlin would not find similar donors. His international prestige would be enhanced by these gatherings as well. Regarding the technicalities of the conference, one could learn much from the experiences of staff members who were been part of the organization of the previous conferences.


There are many potential advantages for Israel. With the right public relations these conferences would expose to the world a broad spectrum of Israeli knowledge and inventiveness, including much that was greatly beneficial to people worldwide. As Israel is frequently attacked by a wide range of enemies and opponents, the conferences could, to a certain extent, also be a counterweight to this hatred and defamation. President Peres had a preference for interviewing some leaders of science during the conferences. This however was an extra and the conference could have proceeded easily without it. The important thing is that President Rivlin take the initiative, that the invitations to the conference go out in his name, and that he presides over the conference.                             





Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017


Driving up Route 4 from Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, it is impossible not to notice — especially at night when it is all lit up — a square glass box of a building with vaguely egg-shaped windows that dominates the landscape. It is the new local headquarters of SAP, the German software giant: the name, shining at the top of the structure, serves as a reminder that the so-called Startup Nation is a magnet for tech conglomerates who set up operations in Israel in a bid to tap into its technological prowess.


There are some 286 active multinational corporations in Israel today, according to Start-up Nation Central, a nonprofit that tracks the tech industry in Israel; some 87 have opened shop over the past three years. They mainly operate research and development centers, and most started their activities via the acquisition of local startups. Giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon and Intel are competing for Israeli talent. They draw inspiration from the brash Israeli can-do-it-all attitude and chutzpah, but they also infuse the local tech ecosystem with different management styles, an alternative corporate culture, and a new approach to the way they want their office buildings to look and feel.


These cash-rich technology firms are building or have built bold headquarters in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, flagship symbols of what their firms want to convey to their clients and employees. Apple workers this year started moving into their massive new headquarters nicknamed the “spaceship” in Cupertino, California. It’s designed by UK architect Lord Norman Foster, who worked closely with Apple’s legendary CEO, the late Steve Jobs, to come up with a symphony of glass, steel, stone and trees. Cloud-computing firm Salesforce has also set up a new steel-and-glass headquarters in San Francisco, while ride-sharing firm Uber has designed an entirely see-through head office.


As these multinational tech firm make homes for themselves in Israel, either through designing their own towers as SAP did or by renting office space in new structures, or renovating old ones, they bring with them their different standards, requirements and demands. And this is starting to revolutionize how office buildings are being built and designed. And it’s not only multinationals: homegrown firms, like auto-technology company Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel Corp. in March for a whopping $15.3 billion, are also setting up new headquarters with specifications that are changing the look and feel of local office buildings. And while to some the Israel-designed structures may not embody the beauty and the boldness of London’s Gherkin tower or the Louvre Pyramid and its fellow edifices of the 1980s Grands Projets in Paris, they may be a harbinger of exciting designs to come.


For technology firms, the architecture of their buildings needs to reflect “the spirit of the firm. The trend in general, for high-tech buildings, whether they are rented office spaces or built specifically for that corporation, is to enrich the experience of the workplace,” said Avner Yashar, owner of Tel Aviv-based Yashar Architects Ltd., whose office planned the SAP building and is working on the building that will hold Microsoft’s new office space in Herzliya. The architect was also the designer behind Apple’s R&D center in Herzliya, the US giant’s second-largest center in the world. While SAP commissioned the architect to build its project from scratch, both Microsoft and Apple decided to rent space in buildings already under construction, that were adapted to meet the US giants’ specifications, Yashar explained…

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




On Topic Links


Israel Successfully Launches First Space Lab (Video): Arutz Sheva, Nov. 27, 2017

87 Global Corporations Flocked To Israel For Tech And Talent In Past Three Years: NoCamels, Nov. 07, 2017—At least 87 multinational corporations have opened up R&D or innovation centers in Israel over the past three years, a majority after acquiring an Israeli startup. This is according to a new study showing the scale of foreign interest in Israeli technology and talent by Start-up Nation Central, an Israel-based non-profit that tracks the Israeli innovation ecosystem.

US-Israel Fund Invests $4.8m in Clean Energy: Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live, Nov. 9, 2017 —A programme funded by the US and Israeli Governments has announced $4.8 million (£3.6m) for five new clean energy projects. The Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy programme is a joint partnership between the US Department of Energy, the Israel Ministry of Energy and the Israeli Innovation Authority.

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017—While the Donald Trump era has brought a new level of hysteria to U.S. political discourse, the attempts to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the seemingly weekly revelation of yet another corruption scandal have only slightly dented his popularity. According to an October 5 poll by Israeli television’s Knesset Channel, when people were asked, “Have the publications on Netanyahu and his family on the various investigations against them changed your opinion of him?” 64 percent said no.










Shraga Blum

LPHinfo, 18 nov. 2017


Sur directive du président Donald Trump, l’Administration américaine a lancé un avertissement à l’Autorité Palestinienne. Les Etats-Unis menacent de fermer les bureaux de l’OLP à Washington si l’AP refuse de reprendre les pourparlers directs avec Israël et si elle ne renonce pas à ses démarches entreprises pour traîner des responsables israéliens devant la Cour pénale internationale de La Haye.


Le secrétaire d’Etat Rex Tillerson a précisé que la loi américaine autorise la fermeture des bureaux de l’OLP au cas où les dirigeants de l’AP continuent à vouloir poursuivre des responsables politiques ou militaires israéliens.


Nabil Abou-Roudeineh, le porte-parole du chef terroriste a réagi à cet avertissement en déclarant que « Donald Trump a perdu son statut de médiateur honnête pour la paix au Proche-Orient ». Il a accusé cet ultimatum de « chantage américain ».


De son côté, Saeb Arekat, secrétaire-général du comité exécutif de l’OLP a menacé les Etats-Unis (sic) de « geler le dialogue avec Washington si l’autorisation d’ouverture des bureaux de l’OLP n’est pas reconduite ».


En Israël, le Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou a félicité l’Administration américaine pour sa fermeté et a indiqué qu’Israël est prêt à revenir sans délai ni conditions préalables à la table des négociations. Il a toutefois interdit à ses ministres de s’exprimer sur ce sujet du fait de « son aspect délicat et crucial ».

Cet avertissement américain intervient quelques jours à peine après que le Congrès US ait entériné la loi Taylor Force  qui autorisera les Etats-Unis à déduire de l’aide versée à l’AP les sommes que cette dernière verse aux terroristes détenus en Israël sous forme de salaires.


Au nom de Mahmoud Abbas, son conseiller Nabil Shaat a prévenu que l’AP ne cessera pas cette pratique en faveur de ceux qu’il a qualifiés de « héros ».





Times of Israel, 21 nov., 2017



Les Palestiniens ont décidé de geler les rencontres avec les officiels américains après l’annonce par l’administration Trump de la fermeture à venir de la représentation palestinienne à Washington, ont indiqué mardi des responsables.


« A quoi bon les rencontrer alors qu’ils ferment notre bureau », a dit le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’Autorité palestinienne Riyad al-Malki dans un message à l’AFP. « En fermant le bureau (de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine – OLP) ils gèlent eux-mêmes toutes les rencontres. Nous ne faisons qu’officialiser cet état de fait », a-t-il ajouté.


« Nous continuons d’être en contact avec les responsables palestiniens sur le statut du bureau de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP) à Washington ainsi que sur nos efforts plus larges pour promouvoir une paix globale et durable », a déclaré un responsable américain sous couvert d’anonymat. « Ces discussions sont en cours ».


A l’instant même où ce gel était annoncé par le ministre palestinien des Affaires étrangères Riyad al-Maliki, le président Mahmoud Abbas évoquait en Espagne sur un ton plus conciliant les « efforts américains continus » en faveur de la paix et affirmait sa volonté de parvenir à un accord avec Israël « sous les auspices du président Donald Trump ».


Un porte-parole de l’OLP, Achraf Khatib, a indiqué à l’AFP que le président de l’OLP Mahmoud Abbas avait donné pour instructions de « couper les lignes de communication avec les Américains ». Les Palestiniens mettent à exécution les menaces proférées en fin de semaine passée, après que l’administration Trump les eut informés de son intention de fermer le bureau de représentation de l’OLP, sorte d’ambassade de l’organisation reconnue par l’ONU comme la représentante des Palestiniens.


Les responsables palestiniens ont ouvertement exprimé leur colère après cette annonce de l’administration américaine. Les Etats-Unis ont refusé de renouveler l’autorisation permettant à l’OLP d’avoir une représentation à Washington, une première depuis les années 1980, avait auparavant dénoncé le ministre palestinien des Affaires étrangères Riyad al-Malki.


Le secrétaire général de l’OLP, Saeb Erekat, avait ainsi affirmé vendredi sur une vidéo publiée sur Twitter que les Etats-Unis avaient été officiellement informés que si la mission palestinienne est fermée « nous suspendrons toutes nos communications avec l’administration américaine. »


Saeb Erekat avait qualifié la décision américaine de « très regrettable et inacceptable », l’imputant à des pressions exercées par le gouvernement du Premier ministre israélien, Benjamin Netanyahu.


« A un moment où nous nous efforçons de coopérer pour parvenir à un accord (de paix avec les Israéliens), ils décident de telles démarches qui sont à même de saper la totalité du processus de paix », a déploré M. Erekat. « L’Autorité palestinienne a reçu il y a deux jours une lettre du département d’Etat (américain) indiquant que le secrétaire d’Etat n’avait pas trouvé suffisamment de raisons de garder ce bureau ouvert », a affirmé M. Malki.


« Ceci ne s’est jamais produit dans le passé et nous avons demandé des clarifications au département d’Etat et à la Maison Blanche », a-t-il ajouté. « Ils nous ont répondu qu’il y aurait une réunion d’experts de haut niveau lundi et ils nous donneront alors une réponse claire », a ajouté le ministre palestinien.


Un responsable du département d’Etat avait expliqué que « certaines déclarations faites par les dirigeants palestiniens sur la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) » étaient à l’origine de cette décision. Il avait également lié la poursuite des activités de l’OLP à la relance des négociations de paix avec Israël.


Lors de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU en septembre, M. Abbas avait appelé la CPI « à ouvrir une enquête et à poursuivre les responsables israéliens pour leur implication dans la colonisation et les agressions contre » la population palestinienne.


Un article de loi voté en 2015 par le Congrès interdit au gouvernement d’autoriser la mission de l’OLP si les Palestiniens « influencent » l’ouverture une enquête de la CPI sur des crimes israéliens présumés. Les Etats-Unis, comme Israël, ne reconnaissent pas la CPI, premier tribunal permanent chargé de juger les génocides, crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’Humanité.


La présidence américaine qui avait appelé à la fermeture de ce bureau, avait décidé dans un premier temps de conditionner son maintien à une autorisation renouvelable tous les six mois auprès du département d’Etat. « C’est la première fois depuis les années 1980 qu’il y a un retard pour obtenir cette autorisation nécessaire au fonctionnement du bureau », a souligné M. Malki.


Selon M. Maliki, le bureau de l’OLP peut continuer à fonctionner « de manière réduite » encore 90 jours. C’est le délai maximum pour que le président Donald Trump détermine si les Palestiniens « se sont engagés dans des négociations directes et sérieuses avec Israël », avait expliqué le responsable du département d’Etat.


Les Etats-Unis « ne rompent pas les relations avec l’OLP, ni n’ont l’intention d’arrêter de travailler avec l’Autorité palestinienne », avait souligné le responsable. « Nous restons concentrés sur une paix globale entre Israéliens et Palestiniens qui résoudra les problèmes essentiels entre les deux parties ».


En septembre, M. Trump avait assuré qu’un accord de paix israélo-palestinien était « possible ». Il a chargé son gendre et conseiller Jared Kushner de relancer le processus de paix. Mais l’administration Trump s’est gardée jusqu’ici de soutenir la solution à deux Etats, suscitant la frustration des dirigeants palestiniens.






Shraga Blum      

LPHinfo, 18 nov., 2017



La chaîne de télévision Aroutz 2 a révélé les grandes lignes du « Plan Trump » pour une solution du conflit israélo-palestinien. Ce plan se base sur les nombreuses discussions qu’ont tenues les émissaires américains Jason Greenblatt et Jared Kushner à Jérusalem, Ramallah et Riyad.


Elles sont les suivantes:


    Acceptation par l’AP d’une relance des négociations sous 90 jours sous peine de fermeture des bureaux de l’OLP à Washington.

    Reconnaissance par Israël d’un Etat arabe palestinien en Judée-Samarie mais non basé sur les lignes d’avant le 4 juin 1967.

    Prise en compte des besoins sécuritaires d’Israël avec notamment maintien de Tsahal dans la Vallée du Jourdain

    Aucune localité juive ne sera évacuée.

    Jérusalem restera indivise et capitale d’Israël avec transfert ultérieur de l’ambassade américaine.

    Echanges de territoires.

    Aide financière de centaines de millions de dollars des pays sunnites à l’Etat « palestinien ».

    Plan régional incluant un rapprochement des pays sunnites avec Israël avec l’Arabie saoudite comme axe central

    Le plan ne fait pas mention d’un « droit de retour » pour les « réfugiés » arabes palestiniens.


Des sources en provenance de l’Administration américaine ont tenu à préciser qu’il s’agit encore « d’idées » et non d’un plan définitif. A Jérusalem, le Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou a réagi positivement en indiquant qu’Israël n’obtiendra jamais une proposition aussi avantageuse de la part d’une administration américaine.


Aucune réaction encore à Ramallah ou à Gaza bien qu’il est évident que les Arabes palestiniens n’accepteront jamais une telle formule.


En Israël, quelques réactions, négatives elles-aussi ont été entendues, à droite comme à gauche. Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) plus royaliste que le roi, estime que « ce plan est fantaisiste car le conflit ne sera jamais résolu tant que l’occupation israélienne n’aura pas entièrement cessé ». « Il faut démanteler les localités juives et diviser Jérusalem pour qu’une paix réelle puisse s’installer » rajoute Zehava Gal-On qui pour l’occasion se prend pour le porte-parole de l’Autorité Palestinienne.


Même son de cloche chez la députée arabe israélienne Aïda Toumah-Suleiman qui dénonce un plan… »pro-israélien ». Elle accuse le président américain de « profiter de la situation régionale chaotique pour imposer aux Palestiniens un plan qui va à l’encontre de leurs besoins nationaux et porte gravement atteinte à leur droit à la liberté, à l’indépendance et à l’autodétermination ».


Pour la députée de la cinquième colonne, « tout accord de paix devra se baser sur un retrait israélien total sur les lignes d’avant 1967, le démantèlement de toutes les localités juives, la partition de Jérusalem en deux capitales et une ‘solution honnête’ à la question des réfugiés… ».


A droite, c’est également l’opposition, pour des raisons inverses. Les coprésidents du Lobby parlementaire pour Erets Israël, Betzalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehoudi) et Yoav Kich (Likoud) ont fait savoir: « Nous n’accepterons jamais la création d’un Etat palestinien à l’ouest du Jourdain ou la cessions de terres d’Erets Israël à l’Autorité Palestinienne. Ce plan est un Oslo 3 qui se heurtera à une opposition déterminée ».


De son côté, le ministre de l’Agriculture Ouri Ariel (Habayit Hayehoudi) a prévenu que son courant du Ihoud Haleoumi ne siègera pas dans un gouvernement qui reconnaîtrait de quelque manière que ce soit un Etat de Palestine en Judée-Samarie ».


Sur le plan tactique, le Premier ministre israélien a joué un excellent coup en se disant à-priori favorable à une telle solution car la partie réfractaire sera à n’en pas douter l’Autorité Palestinienne. La centrale terroriste ne peut souscrire à un plan qui mettrait fin au conflit et ne constituerait pas un tremplin vers la fin de l’Etat d’Israël. Contraitement à ce qui se passait sous l’Administration Obama, ce n’est pas Israël qui sera accusé de traîner les pieds.




40 ans après Sadat, Netanyahu dit ne pas avoir rencontré le « Sadat palestinien »

Times of Israel, 21 nov., 2017



Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu a déclaré mardi aux membres de la Knesset ne pas avoir « encore rencontré le Sadat palestinien, qui proclamera son désir de mettre fin au conflit ».


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Lors d’une session extraordinaire en l’honneur des 40 ans de la visite du président égyptien Anwar Sadat en Israël, en 1977, pour lancer les négociations de paix, Netanyahu a déclaré : « Nous devons toujours être assez forts, pour nous assurer que l’existence d’Israël ne soit pas remise en question ».


« Nos voisins palestiniens refusent de reconnaître le droit d’Israël à exister », a réaffirmé le Premier ministre.


« Je n’ai pas encore rencontré le Sadat palestinien, qui proclamera son désir de mettre fin au conflit, qui reconnaîtra l’État d’Israël quelles que soient ses frontières, et notre droit à la sécurité et à la paix », a-t-il ajouté.










Times of Israel, 19 nov. 2017



Le Liban est sous le « contrôle total » du groupe terroriste chiite libanais du Hezbollah pro-iranien, a accusé dimanche le chef de la diplomatie de Bahreïn, pays allié de l’Arabie saoudite, lors d’une réunion extraordinaire de la Ligue arabe au Caire.


Cheikh Khaled ben Ahmad Al-Khalifa a également accusé le Hezbollah d’être une organisation terroriste, dans son discours à la réunion organisée à la demande de l’Arabie saoudite pour discuter des « atteintes » du rival iranien à la sécurité régionale.


Le ministre saoudien des Affaires étrangères a accusé vendredi à Madrid le Hezbollah de prendre le Liban en otage, utilisant ses ports pour le trafic de drogue et ses banques pour blanchir l’argent.


« Il n’est pas possible qu’une milice armée opère en dehors du contrôle du gouvernement », a déclaré le ministre saoudien Adel al-Jubeir après une rencontre avec son homologue espagnol Alfonso Dastis.


« Nous voyons le Hezbollah utiliser le système bancaire libanais pour blanchir de l’argent, les ports du pays pour le trafic de drogue, nous le voyons mener des activités terroristes et s’ingérer en Syrie, à Bahreïn et au Yémen », a-t-il affirmé.


« Si le Hezbollah ne désarme pas et ne devient pas un parti (purement) politique, le Liban sera l’otage du Hezbollah et par extension de l’Iran. Ce n’est pas acceptable pour nous ni pour les Libanais », a ajouté le chef de la diplomatie saoudienne.


Le Premier ministre libanais Saad Hariri a annoncé sa démission surprise le 4 novembre dernier à la télévision saoudienne, dénonçant la mainmise de cette milice, qui fait partie du gouvernement, sur la vie politique au Liban.


Ryad ne restera pas « les bras croisés » face aux « agressions » de l’Iran


Le chef de la diplomatie saoudienne Adel al-Jubeir a affirmé que son pays ne resterait pas « les bras croisés » face à la politique « agressive » de l’Iran, lors d’une réunion extraordinaire dimanche de la Ligue arabe au Caire.


« Garder le silence face aux agressions iraniennes à travers ses agents dans la région ne rendra aucune capitale arabe à l’abri des missiles balistiques », a dit M. Jubeir.


Les tensions se sont exacerbées ces derniers mois entre l’Arabie saoudite sunnite et l’Iran chiite, les deux poids lourds rivaux du Moyen-Orient qui s’opposent sur plusieurs conflits dans la région, dont les guerres au Yémen et en Syrie, ainsi que sur le dossier libanais.


Dans un communiqué final au terme de la réunion, la Ligue arabe a condamné le « tir de missile balistique de fabrication iranienne depuis le Yémen », et dénoncé une « agression flagrante ».


La Ligue arabe rejoint ainsi la position de Ryad, comme l’avait dit plus tôt son secrétaire général Ahmed Aboul Gheit: « les capitales arabes sont dans la ligne de mire des missiles balistiques de Téhéran ».


Le communiqué final affirme aussi le droit de Ryad et de Manama à la « légitime défense » de leurs territoires.


Il accuse en outre « le Hezbollah et les Gardiens de la révolution iraniens de financer et d’entraîner des groupes terroristes à Bahreïn » et « fait assumer au Hezbollah, un partenaire dans le gouvernement libanais, la responsabilité de fournir aux groupes terroristes dans les pays arabes des armes sophistiquées et des missiles balistiques ».


Le chef du Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, doit prononcer lundi un discours sur la crise politique libanaise et les tensions irano-saoudiennes.


Le 4 novembre, l’armée saoudienne a intercepté au-dessus de l’aéroport de Ryad un missile tiré par les rebelles du Yémen. Les autorités saoudiennes affirment que ce missile est de fabrication iranienne, ce que Téhéran a démenti.


Après le tir du missile le 4 novembre, le prince héritier saoudien, Mohammed ben Salmane, a accusé Téhéran d’être derrière cette « agression militaire directe », qui « pourrait être considérée comme un acte de guerre contre le royaume ». L’Iran a ensuite appelé Ryad à ne pas jouer avec le feu.


De leur côté, les autorités de Bahreïn ont accusé l’Iran d’être responsable de l’incendie qui a interrompu momentanément le 11 novembre l’approvisionnement de ce royaume du Golfe en pétrole saoudien. Là aussi, Téhéran a démenti toute implication.


Bahreïn, dirigé par une dynastie sunnite, accuse régulièrement l’Iran de liens avec des Bahreïnis chiites poursuivis par les autorités pour des « violences ». Ce petit royaume est secoué par des troubles depuis 2011, la majorité chiite réclamant des réformes.


Outre les dossiers yéménite et syrien, les deux rivaux se sont livrés à de vifs échanges doublés d’une dispute sur le Liban où Ryad accuse l’Iran de visées hégémoniques. La démission surprise du Premier ministre Saad Hariri le 4 novembre et son séjour prolongé à Ryad ont plongé le Liban dans la crise.


La classe politique libanaise est divisée entre le Hezbollah et ses alliés d’une part, et une coalition appuyée par les Saoudiens, dirigée par M. Hariri d’autre part. Le chef de la diplomatie libanaise, Gebrane Bassil, n’a pas participé à la réunion du Caire. Le Liban n’a pas endossé les points du communiqué de la ligue arabe concernant le Hezbollah.





Times of Israel, 20 nov., 2017


Israël a des liens secrets avec « plusieurs » pays arabes mais ne dit pas lesquels à la demande de ces derniers, a affirmé dimanche le ministre de l’Energie Yuval Steinitz sur la radio militaire.


Cette déclaration intervient quelques jours après un rare entretien accordé par le chef d’état-major israélien à un site d’information, Elaph, fondé par un homme d’affaires saoudien et basé en Grande-Bretagne, qui avait alimenté les spéculations sur un rapprochement entre l’Etat hébreu et l’Arabie saoudite contre leur ennemi commun, l’Iran.


« Nous avons des liens, certains secrets, avec plusieurs pays arabes et musulmans », a déclaré le ministre israélien.


Interrogé sur d’éventuels contacts avec l’Arabie saoudite, il a répondu que son pays respectait « les souhaits de l’autre partie ».


Bien qu’ils n’aient pas de relations diplomatiques, les Saoudiens et les Israéliens cherchent à contrer l’influence de l’Iran au Moyen-Orient.


Les tensions entre l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite se sont exacerbées au cours des dernières semaines, notamment après la démission surprise, annoncée depuis Ryad du Premier ministre libanais Saad Hariri.


M. Hariri, qui est soutenu par Ryad, a accusé l’Iran de « mainmise » sur son pays au travers de son allié du Hezbollah.


Le groupe terroriste chiite libanais du Hezbollah est aussi un ennemi juré d’Israël. Son chef Hassan Nasrallah a affirmé le 10 novembre détenir « des informations selon lesquelles l’Arabie saoudite a demandé à Israël d’attaquer le Liban », une accusation reprise par le président iranien Hassan Rohani.






Jessica Steinberg

19 nov., 2017


Le chanteur de rock australien Nick Cave a évoqué son amour pour Israël et sa décision de prendre position contre le BDS lors d’une conférence de presse qui a eu lieu avant les deux concerts qu’il donnera à Tel Aviv dimanche et lundi soirs.


Cave a expliqué que son lien avec Israël a commencé il y a des années lors d’une visite.

« On parle d’aimer une nation – mais j’ai véritablement ressenti une connexion que je n’ai pas été en mesure de véritablement décrire », a fait savoir Ynet.


Cave s’est souvenu que son album sorti en 1997 « The Boatman’s Call » n’avait pas véritablement fonctionné au sein de l’Etat juif et qu’il n’avait pas, en conséquence, inclus Israël dans la tournée – parce qu’il pensait que sa musique n’y était pas populaire et en raison des complications logistiques entraînées par une tournée dans le pays.


Informations sur les Publicités Twitter et confidentialité


« Et si vous venez ici », a-t-il ajouté, « vous devez vivre une humiliation publique à travers Roger Waters et ses partenaires et personne n’a envie de se faire humilier publiquement comme ça ».

Le chanteur australien a subi les foudres des militants en faveur du boycott d’Israël pour les deux concerts de cette semaine. L’organisation Artists for Palestine au Royaume-Uni a demandé au leader des Bad Seeds d’annuler ses spectacles pour protester contre le traitement par Israël des Palestiniens.


« Pendant vingt ans, je me suis dit ‘on laisse tomber’ », a expliqué Cave en évoquant ses plans de venir en Israël.


« Il y a quelques années, Brian Eno m’a envoyé une lettre et m’a demandé de la signer pour exclure Israël, et j’ai renvoyé un courrier en disant que je ne la signerais pas. J’ai compris que je ne la signerais pas mais également que je ne jouerais pas en Israël – et il m’a semblé que j’agissais ainsi par peur. Alors, j’ai appelé mon équipe et j’ai demandé qu’on monte sur scène en Israël. Je suis là parce que j’aime Israël et qu’il est important de prendre position contre ceux qui veulent exercer des contraintes contre des musiciens. Alors, d’une certaine manière, je suis là à cause du BDS ».




Shabbat Shalom!



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Time for a Peace Process Paradigm Change: Jonathan S. Tobin, Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2017 — What are the details of the Middle East peace plan that President Donald Trump will use to craft what he hopes is the “ultimate deal?”

A Palestinian Arab State – Enhancing or Eroding US National Security?: Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, BESA, Nov. 18, 2017— The choice of business and social partners should be based – objectively – on a proven track record, not – subjectively – on unproven hopes and speculation.

Belief in Palestinian Openness to Two-State Solution Amounts to Insanity: Efraim Karsh, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2017— I never thought I would concur with anything written by veteran Israeli “peace” activist Uri Avnery…

Why Palestinian Delusions Persist: Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2017— In 1974, Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle.


On Topic Links


US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative: Middle East Forum, Nov. 16, 2017

Back to Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations? – Some Basic Truths: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 14, 2017

Palestinians: If You Do Not Give Us Everything, We Cannot Trust You: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 21, 2017

Before Any Talks, the Palestinians Must Move From Rejection to Recognition: Avraham Neguise, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017



AS WE GO TO PRESS: AT LEAST 235 KILLED IN EGYPT ATTACK — Egypt is reeling from the bloodiest terror attack in its history after suspected I.S. fighters slaughtered at least 235 people during prayers by detonating explosives inside a Sinai mosque and then killing the worshippers in a hail of gunfire. The terrorists struck a mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed in northern Sinai where hundreds of people had gathered for prayers on Friday. The attack began with a powerful explosion at the al-Rawdah mosque and gunmen leapt out of vehicles to kill people as they fled. More than 100 were wounded. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but suspicion fell on the I.S. affiliate in the Sinai desert, which has waged a bloody insurgency against the Egyptian military and the country’s Christian minority. (Telegraph, Nov. 24, 2017)   





Jonathan S. Tobin

Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2017


What are the details of the Middle East peace plan that President Donald Trump will use to craft what he hopes is the “ultimate deal?” Sometime in the next few months, they will be unveiled as part of an effort to revive the dead-in-the-water peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Though we’ll have to wait and see what exactly is in the proposal being cooked up by a team led by presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt, the only two things that seem certain are that it is likely to be acceptable to Saudi Arabia and that it will have zero chance of success.


That’s why instead of merely repeating the mistakes of its predecessors, the Trump team should try a paradigm shift that will predicate peace on a simple concept: the Palestinians have to admit they’ve lost their war on Zionism. Avoiding this admission in order to mollify them or their supporters or concentrating, as every US administration has done, on pressuring Israel to make concessions, merely makes it impossible for the Palestinians to accept the sea change in their political culture that is the only thing that will make peace on any terms possible.


It was this idea that brought two members of the Knesset — representing a larger group of legislators that come from six different parties that are in and outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government — to Washington to meet with several like-minded members of Congress to promote the concept of an Israeli victory in the long conflict rather than a self-defeating compromise. The launch of a joint #IsraelVictory caucus at the Capitol Hill gathering is a small step and, as of yet, hasn’t influenced the administration’s thinking. But the gathering, which was sponsored by the Middle East Forum think tank, is a long overdue effort to promote a concept Kushner and company ought to be thinking about.


Trump’s team is likely to embrace an “outside-in” strategy in which Arab states, principally the Saudis, will use their influence and money to pressure the Palestinians into finally accepting a two-state solution. In return, the US would get the Netanyahu government to agree to terms that are likely to largely resemble past plans floated by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Trump may think the missing ingredient for peace has been the absence of a master dealmaker, but this scheme has no more chance of working than the efforts of his predecessors.


The reason is that the essential element for peace is still missing. The Palestinians are still stuck in a mindset that rejects Israel’s legitimacy. The Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t accept a deal that ends the conflict for all time no matter where Kushner, Greenblatt and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman draw the borders between the two states, how much of Jerusalem the Palestinians receive, how many descendants of the 1948 refugees are allowed to “return” to Israel or even how much money is thrown at them. That’s because the Palestinians’ national identity as a people is still inextricably bound up in a futile century-old war on Zionism that its people have been taught to think they will eventually win.


At various times, the PA has declared a willingness to accept peace. Yet every such gesture has been undermined by its cradle-to-grave incitement that promotes a culture of hatred for Israel and Jews, and makes new rounds of bloodshed inevitable. The history of the last 24 years of negotiations since the Oslo Accords shows that peace is impossible so long as the Palestinians still hold onto hope of eventually winning this war. As with every other conflict, this one will only be settled when one side admits defeat and that is something no one, not even a Trump team that appears to be more realistic about Palestinian behavior and intentions than past administrations, seems willing to force them to do.


Critics of the #IsraelVictory idea mock its simplicity. But generations of would-be peacemakers have forgotten that it really is that simple. Once the Palestinians concede the war is lost rather than being paused and put aside their dreams of a world without a Jewish state, compromise would be possible. But if the compromises precede acknowledgement of an Israeli victory, then all the Jewish state will be doing is trading land for more terror, not peace. The Trump team may not be listening to the #IsraelVictory caucus as it hatches its plans. But if the White House ignores the basic truths the caucus proclaims, it will be wasting its time and making the next round of violence more, rather than less likely.






Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Arutz Sheva, Nov. 18, 2017


The choice of business and social partners should be based – objectively – on a proven track record, not – subjectively – on unproven hopes and speculation. Similarly, the assessment of the potential impact of the proposed Palestinian state on US national security should be based – objectively – on documented, systematic, consistent Palestinian walk (track record) since the 1930s, not – subjectively – on Palestinian talk and speculative scenarios. Furthermore, an appraisal of the Arab attitude toward a proposed Palestinian state should be based – objectively – on the documented, systematic and consistent Arab walk since the mid-1950s, not – subjectively – on the Arab talk.


Since the 1993 Oslo Accord, the documented track record of the Palestinian political, religious and media establishment has featured K-12 hate-education and religious incitement. This constitutes the most authoritative reflection of the worldview, state-of-mind and strategic goals of the proposed Palestinian state. Moreover, since the 1930s, the Palestinian track record has highlighted close ties with the enemies and adversaries of the US and the Free World.


For example, the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose memory and legacy are revered by the Palestinian Authority, embraced Nazi Germany, urging Muslims to join the Nazi military during World War II.  Moreover, in 2017, Hitler is still glorified by Palestinian officials and media, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a best-seller in the Palestinian Authority. During and following the end of WW2, the Palestinian leadership collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood – the largest intra-Muslim terror organization – which also aligned itself with Nazi Germany.  In fact, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas were key leaders of the Palestinian cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.


Throughout the Cold War, Palestinian leaders aligned themselves with the USSR and the rogue East European regimes. Thus, Mahmoud Abbas acquired fluent Russian and his Ph.D. at Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba University, publishing a thesis on “the myth of the Jewish Holocaust.”  Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO, and other Palestinian organizations, were trained by top Soviet Bloc experts on terrorism, subversion, intelligence, staff and command. It resulted – during the 1970s and early 1980s – in a series of PLO camps in Lebanon, training anti-US Asian, African, European, South American and Muslim terrorists and hijackers.


The PLO – which is legally superior to the Palestinian Authority – was an early supporter of the Ayatollahs, following their toppling of the pro-US Shah of Iran. At the same time, three PLO battalions participated in Saddam Hussein’s invasion and plunder of Kuwait, which triggered the First Gulf War. Since 1966, the Palestinian leadership has maintained close ties with North Korea, benefiting from military, economic and diplomatic support, and maintaining one – of only 25 – embassies in Pyongyang. The Palestinian Authority also sustains close ties with Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Iran.


While the Palestinian issue is pivotal in the Arab-Western talk, it is marginal in the intra-Arab walk. Pro-US Arab leaders are preoccupied with their primary, survival concerns – the lethal Arab Tsunami and the Ayatollahs’ machete at their throats – which are not related directly, or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue. While Western leaders are impressed with the generous pro-Palestinian Arab talk, they have ignored the harsh Arab walk, and the meager Arab financial assistance to the Palestinians (10% of the Saudi aid to the anti-Soviet Mujahidin in Afghanistan). Pro-US Arab leaders do not forget, nor forgive, the persistent Palestinian subversion and terrorism in Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970-1983) and Kuwait (1990)…


The aforementioned, Palestinian systematic rogue track record – against the backdrop of the rocky Hashemite-Palestinian relations – suggests that a Palestinian state could be the straw, which could break the Hashemite back. A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River and the Hashemite regime constitutes a classic oxymoron. It could transform Jordan into another platform of intra-Islamic terrorist warfare, establishing another anti-US Arab regime, which could be subservient to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ayatollahs (in neighboring Iraq) or ISIS, with lethal ripple effects into neighboring Saudi Arabia, all other pro-US Arab entities and the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea – a dramatic financial, national security and homeland security threat to the US and the globe.


A Palestinian state could provide docking and landing rights, and possibly a land-base, to Russia, and possibly China and/or Iran, which would destabilize the region, challenging the US military presence in the Mediterranean and Middle East. The aforementioned track record would result in an additional anti-US vote in the UN, and in the flight of the dwindling Christian community, which was a majority in Bethlehem before the 1993 Oslo Accord; now, reduced to a 15% minority and still declining in 2017. While Western conventional wisdom assumes that the Palestinian issue is a core-cause of Middle East turbulence, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the increasingly volatile Middle East reality pulls the rug from under such assumptions, documenting the Palestinian issue as a red herring, which diverts attention away from the clear and present, lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes…

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





Efraim Karsh

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2017


I never thought I would concur with anything written by veteran Israeli “peace” activist Uri Avnery, but I find myself in full agreement with his recent prognosis that “sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations” and that the longstanding rejection of the two-state solution has been nothing short of grand idiocy.


But it is here that our consensus ends. For rather than look at the historical record of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and draw the self-evident conclusions, Avnery retreats into the counterfactual fantasyland in which he has been living for decades. “When I pointed this out [i.e., the two-state solution], right after the 1948 war,” he writes, “I was more or less alone. Now this is a worldwide consensus, everywhere except in Israel.”


Ignoring the vainglorious (mis)appropriation of the two-state solution by the then 25-year-old Avnery, this assertion is not only unfounded but the inverse of the truth. Far from being averse to the idea, the Zionist leadership accepted the two-state solution as early as 1937 when it was first raised by a British commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel. And while this acceptance was somewhat half-hearted given that the proposed Jewish state occupied a mere 15% of the mandate territory west of the Jordan river, it was the Zionist leadership that 10 years later spearheaded the international campaign for the two-state solution that culminated in the UN partition resolution of November 1947.


Likewise, since the onset of the Oslo process in September 1993, five successive Israeli prime ministers – Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu – have openly and unequivocally endorsed the two-state solution. Paradoxically it was Yitzhak Rabin, posthumously glorified as a tireless “soldier of peace,” who envisaged a Palestinian “entity short of a state that will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its control,” while Netanyahu, whom Avnery berates for rejecting the two-state solution, has repeatedly proclaimed his support for the idea, including in a high-profile 2011 address to both houses of the US Congress.


By contrast, the Palestinian Arab leadership, as well the neighboring Arab states have invariably rejected the two-state solution from the start. The July 1937 Peel Committee report led to the intensification of mass violence, begun the previous year and curtailed for the duration of the commission’s deliberations, while the November 1947 partition resolution triggered an immediate outburst of Palestinian-Arab violence, followed six months later by an all-Arab attempt to destroy the newly proclaimed State of Israel. Nor was the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), established in 1964 at the initiative of Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel Nasser and designated by the Arab League in 1974 as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people, more receptive to the idea. Its hallowed founding document, the Palestinian Covenant, adopted upon its formation and revised four years later to reflect the organization’s growing militancy, has far less to say about Palestinian statehood than about the need to destroy Israel.


In June 1974, the PLO diversified the means used to this end by adopting the “phased strategy,” which authorized it to seize whatever territory Israel was prepared or compelled to cede and use it as a springboard for further territorial gains until achieving, in its phrase, the “complete liberation of Palestine.” Five years later, when president Carter attempted to bring the Palestinians into the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations, he ran into the brick wall of rejectionism. “This is a lousy deal,” PLO chairman Yasser Arafat told the American Edward Said, who had passed him the administration’s offer. “We want Palestine. We’re not interested in bits of Palestine. We don’t want to negotiate with the Israelis. We’re going to fight.” Even as he shook prime minister Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, Arafat was assuring the Palestinians in a pre-recorded Arabic-language message that the agreement was merely an implementation of the PLO’s phased strategy.


During the next 11 years, until his death in November 2004, Arafat played an intricate game of Jekyll and Hyde, speaking the language of peace to Israeli and Western audiences while depicting the Oslo accords to his subjects as transient arrangements required by the needs of the moment. He made constant allusions to the phased strategy and the Treaty of Hudaibiya – signed by Muhammad with the people of Mecca in 628 CE, only to be disavowed a couple of years later when the situation shifted in the prophet’s favor…

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




Daniel Pipes

Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2017


In 1974, Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle. He had rejected many attempts to inform him of Japan's surrender 29 years earlier. During those long years, he senselessly murdered about one Filipino and injured three others per year. Only a concerted effort by his former commander finally convinced Onoda that the emperor had accepted defeat in 1945 and therefore he too must lay down arms. The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are Onoda writ large. They formally acknowledged defeat by Israel 24 years ago, when Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn and recognized "the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." Trouble was, Arafat himself did not sincerely offer this act of surrender and most Palestinians rejected it.


Accordingly, the war continues, with Palestinians emulating that grizzled, vicious Japanese soldier: they too battle on for a failed cause, murder senselessly, and ignore repeated calls to surrender. Just as Onoda insisted on believing in a divine emperor, Palestinians inhabit a fantasy world in which, for example, Jesus was a Palestinian, Jerusalem was always exclusively Islamic, and Israel is the new Crusader state on the verge of collapse. (In this spirit, Iranian dictator Ali Khamene'i has helpfully provided the precise date of Sep. 9, 2040, when Israel will vaporize, and his acolytes built a large doomsday clock to count down the days.) Some imagine Israel already gone, with nearly every Arabic map of "Palestine" showing it replacing the Jewish state.


How do Palestinians ignore reality and persist in these illusions? Due to three main factors: Islamic doctrine, international succor, and the wariness of the Israeli security services. (The Israeli Left was once a major factor but it barely counts anymore.) First, Islam carries the expectation that a land once under Muslim control (Dar al-Islam) is an endowment (waqf) that inevitably must revert to Muslim rule. Bernard Lewis notes that Muslims historically responded to the loss of territories in Europe with the expectation that these were "Islamic lands, wrongfully taken from Islam and destined ultimately to be restored." This assumption of righteousness and inevitability has abiding power as shown by such aggressions as Turkey's in Cyprus and Syria's in Lebanon.


Jerusalem especially arouses intense Islamic sentiments. First exploited at a pan-Islamic conference in 1931 hosted by the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, many others since then – including Yasir Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – have picked up this rallying cry. July's Temple Mount fracas over metal detectors revealed the city's atavistic power, prompting such varied powers as Muslim Brotherhood theorist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Jordan's monarch, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation loudly to support the Palestinian position, no questions asked, as though it were still the 1950s with its shriek of unthinking rhetoric.


Second, assorted governments, Leftists, do-gooders, and other internationals encourage Palestinians to sustain the reverie of victory through a combination of obsessive anti-Zionism and the pretense that a "Palestine" exists. Athletes have represented the sham state of "Palestine" at the Olympics since 1996. Israel maintains diplomatic missions in just 78 countries compared to 95 for the Palestinian Authority. With a solitary exception in 2013, every critical UNESCO country-specific resolution in recent years has focused on Israel. This international support encourages Palestinian delusion. Third, despite recent polling that shows how a large majority of Israelis want to push Palestinians into recognizing that the conflict is over and Israel won, no Israeli government since 1993 has taken such steps. Why this persistent discrepancy? Because Israel's security services, which usually have the last word on policy, resist any steps that could possibly provoke Palestinian violence. "Things now are about as good as possible," they imply, "so please stay away with any hare-brained ideas about our getting tougher."


This reluctance explains why Jerusalem tolerates massive illegal housing, releases murderers from prison, provides water and electricity to Palestinians at advantageous terms, and urges international donors not just to subsidize the Palestinian Authority but to fund mega-projects of Israeli devising (such as an artificial island off Gaza). Contrarily, Israel's wizened security types nix any initiative that deprives the Palestinians of funds, punishes them more severely, or infringes on their existing prerogatives (such as control of the Temple Mount). Palestinian delusion results, then, from a toxic mix of Islamic doctrine, international succor, and Israeli timidity.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links


US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative: Middle East Forum, Nov. 16, 2017—Washington, DC – November 16, 2017 – An unprecedented joint declaration by members of Congress and Israel's Knesset has laid the core principles of a bold new approach to ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict ahead of an expected new push for Middle East peace by President Trump.

Back to Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations? – Some Basic Truths: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 14, 2017—The buzz and expectation in anticipation of the soon-to-materialize American plan1 for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians obviously should not be underestimated. “We’re working very hard on it,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said of the Middle East peace plan on November 13, 2017.

Palestinians: If You Do Not Give Us Everything, We Cannot Trust You: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 21, 2017—The Palestinians are once again angry — this time because the Trump administration does not seem to have endorsed their position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians are also angry because they believe that the Trump administration does not want to force Israel to comply with all their demands.

Before Any Talks, the Palestinians Must Move From Rejection to Recognition: Avraham Neguise, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017—In 2014, at the height of the Obama administration’s attempts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas scuttled any remaining hopes for progress by proclaiming his complete and utter rejection of recognizing Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo.





Riyadh Realpolitik: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, Nov. 17, 2017 — What are the Saudis trying to do in Lebanon? They have clearly forced the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

It’s Not the Saudis Destroying Lebanon — it’s Iran: Benny Avni, New York Post, Nov. 20, 2017— If you read media coverage of the latest crisis in Leba

non, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all pretty simple…

Hizballah's Firm Grip Over Lebanon Fuels Region's Sectarian Strife: Yaakov Lappin, IPT News, Nov. 14, 2017— Chief Iranian proxy Hizballah has a firm grip over Lebanon, and its bloody intervention in Syria was instrumental in preserving the brutal Assad regime.

Israel's Coming War with Hezbollah: Thomas Donnelly, American Interest, Nov. 3, 2017— Donald Trump’s feud with North Korea’s “Little Rocket Man” notwithstanding, the most likely major war on the horizon is one between Israel and Hezbollah…


On Topic Links


Lebanese PM Hariri lands in Beirut, Attends National Day Parade: Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2017

Iran Commander: Hezbollah’s Weapons are ‘Nonnegotiable’: Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017

Hezbollah Consolidates Its Stranglehold Over Lebanon: Michael J. Totten, World Affairs Journal, Nov. 7, 2017

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 8, 2017





Elliott Abrams

Weekly Standard, Nov. 17, 2017


What are the Saudis trying to do in Lebanon? They have clearly forced the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Do they want to destabilize the country? Destroy its government? Is the new Saudi approach another example of the often-alleged incompetence and overreach of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman? Does it show, once again, that he is in over his head? Not in my view. On the contrary, the new and tougher Saudi approach seems to me more realistic—and (unsurprisingly) in line with the new Israeli approach. And both are not actions but reactions to the reality that Hezbollah is in fact in charge of Lebanon.


First, a bit of history. In the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, Israel made a sharp distinction between Hezbollah and Lebanon. Israeli attacks decimated Hezbollah targets but did not focus on Lebanon’s infrastructure. For example, to put the Beirut airport out of use the Israelis hit the runway, making takeoffs and landings impossible. They did zero damage to the terminal and hangars, so that repaving the runway and opening the airport could be done fast when hostilities ended. Similarly, I recall visiting Beirut with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the conflict and seeing the tall lighthouse in the port. An Israeli missile had gone right through the lighthouse’s top and taken out its searchlight. There was no significant damage to the structure, so that all that was needed was a new searchlight for the lighthouse to be operational again. Israel made a special effort to avoid major damage to the Lebanese national infrastructure, despite claims to the contrary from the Lebanese government.


In May 2008, Hezbollah ended a government crisis over its own powers by using its weapons—allegedly meant only to protect the country from Israel—to seize control of Beirut’s streets and effectively of the entire state. The New York Times quoted one expert on Hezbollah concluding back then, “This is effectively a coup.” In the near decade since, Hezbollah’s power has grown and so has its domination of Lebanon. During the war in Syria since 2012, Hezbollah has served as Iran’s foreign legion and sent thousands of Lebanese Shia across the border to fight. A story in the New York Times this August summed up the current situation:


[Hezbollah] has rapidly expanded its realm of operations. It has sent legions of fighters to Syria. It has sent trainers to Iraq. It has backed rebels in Yemen. And it has helped organize a battalion of militants from Afghanistan that can fight almost anywhere. As a result, Hezbollah is not just a power unto itself, but is one of the most important instruments in the drive for regional supremacy by its sponsor: Iran. Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda. That story concluded that “few checks remain on Hezbollah’s domestic power” in Lebanon. And throughout 2017, Israeli officials have been warning that the distinction between Hezbollah and Lebanon can no longer be maintained. Hezbollah is quite simply running the country. While it leaves administrative matters like paying government salaries, paving roads, and collecting garbage to the state, no important decision can be taken without Hezbollah’s agreement.


Lebanon’s president must constitutionally be a Christian, but today that man is Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah since 2006. That is why he got to be president in 2016. As an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel put it, “Hezbollah has been very squarely backing Aoun for president, and this was always the deal between Aoun’s party and Hezbollah. Hezbollah has upheld its end of the deal. With this election .  .  . you can see Hezbollah being consolidated in terms of its political allies as well as its position in Lebanon.” Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who specializes in Lebanon, concurred: “In terms of the actual balance of power, the actual power on the ground, regardless of the politics, regardless of the cabinets, regardless of the parliamentary majorities: It’s Hezbollah.”


The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), a recipient of U.S. assistance, is increasingly intertwined with Hezbollah. David Schenker of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy described the situation this way: [I]n April 2017, Hezbollah brought more than a dozen international journalists on a tour of Lebanon’s frontier with Israel, breezing through several checkpoints manned by national intelligence organs and LAF units, suggesting a high degree of coordination. The next month, Hezbollah turned over several of its Syria border observation posts to the LAF. .  .  . Finally, in late June, the LAF sent 150 officer cadets to tour Hezbollah’s Mleeta war museum, near Nabatiyah, a shrine to the organization’s “resistance” credentials vis-à-vis Israel. Where does all that leave Lebanon? Last summer Badran, in an article entitled “Lebanon Is Another Name for Hezbollah,” concluded, “The Lebanese state .  .  . is worse than a joke. It’s a front.”..

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




Benny Avni

New York Post, Nov. 20, 2017


If you read media coverage of the latest crisis in Lebanon, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all pretty simple: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pushing Lebanon to the brink of war that will involve Israel and perhaps even America. But that simplistic take ignores the fact that the crisis was instigated a while ago — by Iran.


It’s easy to see why the Saudis get blamed: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is scheduled to return to Beirut on Wednesday. He’ll officially hand in his resignation and return to Paris, where he’ll live comfortably from now on — all because his patrons in Riyadh, where the Hariri family acquired its considerable wealth, pushed him to quit. The Saudis, so the narrative goes, are intensifying this crisis even beyond Hariri’s resignation. They’re pulling cash from Beirut banks, calling on their citizens to avoid Lebanon’s posh hotels and withdrawing investments from the country. Lebanon’s ensuing economic collapse will intensify sectarian rivalries and embolden its most aggressive hotheads. And (in this narrative’s most ridiculous form) Israeli soldiers will next do Riyadh’s bidding and fight Hezbollah on behalf of the Saudis.


That last one, often heard in conspiratorial tones in Mideastern cafes, rings awfully familiar: From Pontius Pilate through the tsar to Washington’s neocons, Jews have long been accused of whispering evil in the king’s ear. Except in this version, the roles are reversed, and a young, irresponsible Saudi royal is pushing gullible Israelis and Americans into a proxy war in Lebanon. That, of course, isn’t how Riyadh sees it. Saudi officials point out it was their country that spent a fortune rebuilding Lebanon after the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah left it in ruins. But rather than regaining its status as “Paris on the Mediterranean,” Beirut became an Iranian stronghold and Hezbollah now controls every aspect of Lebanese life.


Which is true. Under plans enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions, the Lebanese Army was supposed to disarm all militias. Instead, Hezbollah now controls the army. What happened since the 2006 war was a spectacular Lebanese takeover by Hezbollah. America, which under President Barack Obama saw no evil coming from Tehran, allowed it to happen, blind to the Iranization of Lebanon’s politics, culture and military. (We still train and equip the Lebanese army.)


Meanwhile Hezbollah, created by Iran in the 1980s to counter Israel’s military power, has repurposed its mission. Arguing it must stay armed and dangerous as part of “resistance” to Israel, it in fact became Iran’s model proxy army and its global gun for hire. Far from a “Lebanese” power, it’s a Persian tool. When Tehran says jump, Hezbollah asks how high. Every Shiite Lebanese family has lost someone in Syria, where for over six years Hezbollah has been fighting to achieve Iran’s goal of securing Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power. Hezbollah agents train and supervise Iraqi forces, building Iran-affiliated militias in their own image. They’re in Iranian outposts in Asia, Africa and South America. They even tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, DC.


In Yemen, Hezbollah supervises the Houthis’ fight against Saudi-backed forces. Recently the Saudis intercepted Iranian-made missiles shot at Saudi territory from Yemen. No wonder the Saudis are fed up with Lebanon. True, Prince Mohammed is much better at diving into a crisis than at plotting a strategic way out of it. But it’s Iran, not him, that’s responsible for bringing us here.


And no, Israel isn’t being pushed by Saudis. Jerusalem has long known it one day might need to eliminate the estimated 150,000 Lebanese-based warheads Hezbollah has aimed at its urban centers. But Israel has long sought to postpone that war, knowing how bloody and painful it would be for both sides. After ignoring Iran’s ruinous Lebanese-centered strategy for over a decade, it’s time America woke up, too: The Saudis aren’t an enemy. They just decided to stop financing, aiding and giving diplomatic cover to a state that endlessly acts against their interests. Perhaps so should we.





Yaakov Lappin

IPT News, Nov. 14, 2017


Chief Iranian proxy Hizballah has a firm grip over Lebanon, and its bloody intervention in Syria was instrumental in preserving the brutal Assad regime. Yet Hizballah's meddling in other regions of the Middle East usually does not receive as much attention. That changed drastically earlier this month, when Saudi Arabia publicly accused the Shi'ite terrorist organization of firing a ballistic missile at its capital, Riyadh, from Yemen.


Saudi Arabia is alarmed at the rapid expansion of Iran and its proxies. It is leading a coalition of Sunni states in a war against the Iranian-supported Shi'ite Houthi radical organization, Ansar Allah, which has taken over parts of Yemen. "It was an Iranian missile, launched by Hizballah from territory occupied by the Houthis in Yemen," charged Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. A Saudi air defense battery shot the missile down before it struck Riyadh's airport, but the incident has seen Saudi- Iranian tensions, which were already high, spike. A United States Air Force source has reportedly confirmed the Saudi information about the Iranian origins of the missile.


Iran denied the Saudi accusation, and played down its links with the Houthis. But this denial flies in the face of mounting evidence of an important Hizballah and Iranian role in assisting Ansar Allah in Yemen. Some of this evidence comes from Hizballah itself, or more precisely, its unofficial mouthpiece in Lebanon, the Al-Akhbar newspaper. Editor Ibrahim Al-Amin published a boastful article in July 2017 detailing Hizballah's spread across the region. "In Yemen, Hizbullah has become a direct partner in strengthening the military capabilities of the Houthi Ansar Allah, who consider Hizballah to be their truthful ally," Al-Amin wrote. The same article proudly said that in Iraq, Hizballah's "experts are present in the biggest operations rooms … [Hassan] Nasrallah serves as the commander of the Popular Mobilization Units [the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias] in Iraq."


Hizballah's activities around the Middle East have become a controversial topic in Lebanon, where a portion of the population opposes its monopoly on political and military power, its militant ideology, and Iran's proxy control of the country. Last year, Future TV, a station owned by the recently retired Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (who quit in protest of Iran's takeover of Lebanon), broadcast what it said was a video of a Hizballah operative providing military-terrorist training to Houthi fighters. "So I have (for example) the assassination, God willing, of the head of the Saudi Border Guard," the Hizballah operative says in the video. "We take a group, a special unit, it goes in, assassinates, kills and plants a large bomb. This is what we call a special operation. I have a special operation in Riyadh".


At this stage in the video, the Hizballah member briefing the Houthis is interrupted with a question: "[Is this] a suicide operation?" He replies: "Possibly a martyrdom operation. We do not call it suicide. We call it a special operation." An examination of the flag used by Ansar Allah finds that its red and green colors are influenced by the Iranian flag, and more importantly, the motto etched on the flag: "Death to America, Death to Israel, A Curse Upon The Jews, Victory to Islam" is inspired by official Iranian mottos.


The Houthis have been influenced by Hizballah in more than one way, said Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel. "The group's use of militant anashid (jihadist anthems) in its videos further portrays it as more in line with Hizballah's models of 'resistance,'" he told the IPT. "Images depicting Houthi fighters with the sun as a background further draw a parallel to other Shi'ite jihadist groups, giving the Houthis spiritual legitimacy within the context of a Shi'ite jihadist organization." Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the current Houthi leader, delivers speeches in a style inspired by Hizballah's Nasrallah, Karmon said.


Houthi leaders also appointed a prominent Iranian-educated religious figure with close links to the Islamic Republic as the top Islamic authority in Yemen's capital, Sana'a. A May 2015 Financial Times report, "Lebanon's Hizballah and Yemen's Houthis open up on links," cited Hizballah members saying they have "played a more active role on the ground in Yemen. A Houthi official in Beirut said relations with the Lebanese movement span over a decade, while a Hizballah commander said Houthis and Hizballah trained together for the past 10 years in Iran, then in Lebanon and in Yemen." …


Earlier this year, Karmon assessed that "[a] physical Iranian presence based on a strategic cooperation with the Houthis, both ground and naval," in Yemeni ports on the Red Sea, as well as control over other strategic waterways "represent a direct threat to Israel's security and interests."The Houthi takeover of Yemen's capital and other regions increased Shi'ite Iran's influence there, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported. Based on publicly available information, it seems safe to conclude that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps uses Hizballah to strengthen the Houthis militarily in Yemen, and to help Iran increase its influence over this poor, war-torn state, which is also experiencing a humanitarian disaster on a grand scale due to the ongoing conflict. Hizballah's role as a regional proliferator of terrorism, radicalism, and high-level operational capabilities is a constant threat to the Middle East and beyond.




Thomas Donnelly

Weekly Standard, Nov. 3, 2017


Donald Trump’s feud with North Korea’s “Little Rocket Man” notwithstanding, the most likely major war on the horizon is one between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that, thanks to years of experience and an increasingly lethal arsenal, has become part of the vanguard in Iran’s drive for hegemony in the Near East. Indeed, such a war would be a huge next step for Iran after its rescue of the Assad regime in Syria and its increasingly powerful posture in post-ISIS Iraq. For just such reasons, this war would be a potential tipping point in the Middle East balance of power, a frightfully violent prospect that is equally ripe with strategic opportunity for the United States.


As Willy Stern chronicled in these pages last year (“Missiles Everywhere,” June 20, 2016), an Israel-Hezbollah conflict would be nasty and brutish but not short. Ever since its 2006 clash with Israel, Hezbollah has been stockpiling hundreds of thousands of rockets, missiles, and mortars capable of reaching not just border areas but deep into Israel. This arsenal includes hundreds of ballistic missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads—some of Assad’s chemical weaponry no doubt made its way to Hezbollah—as well as substantial conventional explosives. More important is their improved accuracy; Hezbollah might actually hit something for a change, and not just large cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv but military bases and airports. Despite Israel’s successful development of missile defenses like the “Iron Dome,” “Arrow,” and “David’s Sling,” it’s unlikely that an all-out or sustained series of attacks could be fully blunted.


Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has been making increasingly warlike comments in recent months and claimed in June that his men would be reinforced in battle by “tens .  .  . or even hundreds of thousands” of Shiite fighters from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Nasrallah may be boasting, but Israeli intelligence assessments put the likely strength of such forces at about 40,000. In addition to expanding the number of Hezbollah-like militias it commands, Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, has improved its ability to shuttle forces to decisive points. In the fight to evict ISIS from western Iraq, the Iranian proxy Popular Mobilization Units have played as critical a role as U.S. or Iraqi regular forces, not least in the recent clashes that drove Kurdish militias out of Kirkuk.


Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has long argued that the next Israel-Hezbollah conflict would be quite unlike the 2006 edition of this “forever” war or any of the recent Israeli campaigns against Hamas. The numbers of missiles, including anti-ship cruise missiles, would dwarf previous Hezbollah salvos and, including upgraded versions of the ubiquitous Scud, could be launched from deep within Lebanon at targets deep within Israel. And the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) could well confront its nightmare scenario—a two-front war in the form of simultaneous attacks launched from the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. As White and his colleague Michael Eisenstadt recently noted, an IRGC general was killed in a January 2015 IDF airstrike while he was touring the Syrian Golan with Hezbollah hosts.


Israel has not faced such a powerful threat since the 1973 war, and confronting the Iran-Hezbollah-Assad coalition will tax the IDF heavily. To begin with, even if its missile defenses live up to their advertising, they cannot obviate the need to conduct counterstrikes into Lebanon and Syria. While the Israeli air force has long ruled the local skies, the proliferation of advanced Russian-made air defenses calls into question how rapidly—and at what cost—the IDF can establish or sustain the kind of air supremacy it will need. The best way to remove the Hezbollah missile threat is to seek and destroy the launchers or to deny use of customary launch sites. The Israelis have worked very hard to improve their mobile-missile-hunting abilities, but this would be a risky mission.


Moreover, the best missile defense is a large-scale ground assault. Both sides know this, and Israel’s enemies have made strenuous preparations for the IDF counterattacks—again, simultaneously into Lebanon and Syria—that must come. The IDF has worked to improve the survivability of its mechanized infantry and armored forces and the responsiveness, lethality, and accuracy of its artillery. For its part, Hezbollah, which showed considerable tactical skill in defending southern Lebanon in 2006, has added advanced anti-armor weaponry and new layers of defenses. The terrain in southern Lebanon and on the Golan is well suited for such purposes; the IDF will have to pick its way forward cautiously, through ambush after ambush, and ultimately it may have to go farther north and east than in 2006.


These daunting tactical challenges also, as in the past, generate strategic and geopolitical problems. The perception of victory often counts more than the battlefield result, both in the region and in the larger international contest. Nasrallah excels at spinning defeat into victory. The 2006 war began when Hezbollah captured two IDF soldiers. In an unguarded moment shortly after the cessation of hostilities, he admitted that he did not anticipate, “even by 1 percent,” that the snatch “would result in such a wide-scale war, as such a war did not take place in the history of wars. Had we known” what would result, “we would not have carried it out at all.” But in short order, survival became triumph, a bit of propaganda that caught on in outlets such as the Economist, which declared, “Nasrallah wins the war.” By now even many Israelis, especially on the political left, concur; in an otherwise thoughtful analysis of the current situation, Ha’aretz concluded that the 2006 campaign “remains a resounding failure.” The standard of victory for Israel remains almost impossibly high…

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




On Topic Links


Lebanese PM Hariri lands in Beirut, Attends National Day Parade: Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2017—Saad al-Hariri attended independence day celebrations in Beirut on Wednesday after returning to Lebanon for the first time since resigning as prime minister in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia. Hariri, whose sudden resignation on November 4 pitched Lebanon into crisis, flew into Beirut late on Tuesday. He stood alongside President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at a military parade in central Beirut.

Iran Commander: Hezbollah’s Weapons are ‘Nonnegotiable’: Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017—The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday rejected the possibility of disarming the Iran-backed and Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization or entering into negotiations over its ballistic missile program.

Hezbollah Consolidates Its Stranglehold Over Lebanon: Michael J. Totten, World Affairs Journal, Nov. 7, 2017— Saad Hariri resigned his post as Lebanon's prime minister, citing an assassination plot brewing against him, presumably from his former government coalition partner Hezbollah.

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah Connection: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 8, 2017—The Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, has had enough. Last week, Iran finalized its takeover of Lebanon when Hariri resigned, and reportedly fled to Saudi Arabia.











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


On Topic Links


The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Is a Warning Sign for Israel: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, BESA, Nov. 22, 2017

From Tehran to Quneitra: Iran’s ‘Land Bridge’ is Almost Complete: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 21, 2017

Russia-Iran-Turkey Meeting is Message to US: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 19, 2017

Here's Where Laurier Can Stick Their Apology to Lindsay Shepherd: Christie Blatchford, National Post, Nov. 21, 2017





"We have played a major role in the fight against [Islamic State], but it seems … some people have forgotten this." — Falah Mustafa Bakir, foreign minister in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). Bakir is calling on Canada to intervene in a growing conflict between the Kurds and Baghdad. "I believe the international community has a responsibility…this instability will provide room for terrorism and extremism to expand. [It] would lead to another wave of displacement and migration, and affect … energy supplies." Bakir accuses Baghdad of seeking to dismantle the KRG. "We have lost territory and lost control of oil fields…What we are asking [is that] our partners around the world be actively engaged to ensure that there will be an immediate permanent ceasefire, no use of force, no military advances, withdrawal and reduction of forces," Bakir said. He hopes Canada will one day resume its military advice to the Kurds. "We want our partners in the free world to look at what Kurdistan wants. We want to build a democracy and live in peace," he said. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 17, 2017)


“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed… It’s the other side that is interested in keeping the ties quiet. With us, usually, there is no problem, but we respect the other side’s wish, when ties are developing, whether it’s with Saudi Arabia or with other Arab countries or other Muslim countries, and there is much more…[but] we keep it secret.” — Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. Israel has maintained covert contact with Saudi Arabia regarding Iran and other areas of common interest, Steinitz revealed. Steinitz’s comments mark the first official disclosure of the Jewish state’s developing ties with Riyadh. Last week, Israel co-sponsored a draft resolution against Syria that was submitted by Saudi Arabia at the UN Human Rights Council. Israel’s co-sponsoring of the Saudi resolution came a week after the Foreign Ministry reportedly instructed its envoys to launch a global diplomatic campaign against Iran and Hezbollah, and in support of Saudi Arabia and its allies. (Breaking Israel News, Nov. 21, 2017)


"Today with God's guidance and the resistance of people in the region we can say that this evil has either been lifted from the head of the people or has been reduced…Of course the remnants will continue but the foundation and roots have been destroyed." — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani declared the end of I.S., while Major General Qassem Soleimani, a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, thanked the "thousands of martyrs" killed in operations organised by Iran to defeat I.S. in Syria and Iraq. The Syrian conflict has entered a new phase with the capture at the weekend by government forces and their allies of Albu Kamal, the last significant town in Syria held by I.S., where Soleimani was pictured by Iranian media last week. In his address on Tuesday, Rouhani accused the U. S. and Israel of supporting Islamic State. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 21, 2017)


“It is a norm now that the civilians are being targeted everywhere…and the international silence that follows such atrocities has become a norm as well.” — Shady al-Mahmoud, an activist from Atarib, Syria. A resurgence of deadly attacks by pro-government forces in de-escalation zones in Syria, including an airstrike on a busy marketplace that killed more than 50 people, is undermining an agreement portrayed by its sponsors as a crucial step toward ending the six-and-a-half-year civil war. But siege and bombardment tactics, mostly by the Syrian government against rebel-held areas, have continued despite the Astana accord, named for the Kazakh capital, where it was struck. (New York Times, Nov. 18, 2017)


“Every journalism school in the world should show its students a video clip of the moment when, on Nov. 11, a chirpy Polish state television reporter asks a man wearing a hat in the red-and-white national colours what it means to him to participate in this Warsaw march celebrating Poland's independence day. "It means," replies the middle-aged man, "to remove from power … [short dramatic pause] … Jewry!" Since Poland is governed by the right-wing populist-nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), the obvious next question is: Who exactly do you have in mind as world Jewry's current representative in power? The party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski? The prime minister, Beata Szydlo? Or do you mean someone in power elsewhere: Donald Trump, for example, or Theresa May, or Mark Zuckerberg? Or the Jews on Mars? Effortlessly passing up this rare journalistic opportunity to interview an anti-Semite ready to speak openly to cameras, the flustered reporter turns to a nearby woman, asking what it means to be a patriot marching here today…Call yourself a journalist? Actually, he's a hack working for a public TV channel, TVP Info, now degraded into a PiS propaganda conduit, and he is desperately sticking to the party line that this is just one great, warm, patriotic pride parade. The clip is a brilliant, 58-second lesson in how not to be a journalist.” — Timothy Garton Ash. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 17, 2017)


“Anyone who attended university in the past few decades in the US and the West in general has been subjected to the cult of Noam Chomsky, “the world’s top public intellectual.” Generations have been misled and encouraged to take the word of one man on a variety of the world’s conflicts and problems without even an iota of critique. Chomsky has fed a myth that he, and some other public intellectuals, can possess instant expertise on almost any topic from Kosovo to Latin America, class struggle, the “Arab Spring” and lately, the Syrian civil war. In his constant pushing of faux expertise he has done tremendous damage to the world of intellectuals, perpetuating a kind of Orientalism that posits that Western intellectuals like himself should be the go-to experts on everything that happens in the world, and that local experts who might have spent a lifetime living and studying their own societies can be ignored. Ironically this feeds the very Western edifice Chomsky sought to critique, and manufactures the consent he ostensibly opposed.” — Seth J. Frantzman. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 19, 2017)


“What (Lindsay Shepherd, a 22-year-old teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University) sees are students and faculty who are shut down or censored if they don't toe the party line. What she sees are burgeoning enforcement apparatuses for speech and conduct that, in the name of "diversity" and "equity," sometimes make genuine academic inquiry all but impossible. What she sees are university leaders who are hostage to the righteous insanities of the day…Large parts of academic life – as well as of administration – have been captured by far-left groupthink. "The problem doesn't come from this one incident," Ms. Shepherd says. "It's also reflected in the classes I take. Basically, they're all about identity politics." — Margaret Wente. The head of Wilfrid Laurier University has officially apologized to Shepherd for a meeting where faculty members dressed her down for showing students a video clip of a debate involving controversial professor Jordan Peterson. Shepherd aired part of a 2016 debate on gender-neutral pronouns that had aired on Ontario’s public broadcaster, TVO. The debate included Peterson, who’s become famous for his opposition to being required to use such pronouns, describing them as an expression of a radical left-wing ideology. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 21, 2017)


“Why do Departments such as Gendered Violence Prevention and Support, Equity Offices, and their multifarious ilk slip so often into patterns of inquisition and censorship, of ruthless thought and speech control? Why do they seek to bully the few students who have the wisdom and bravery to occasionally test questions of moment, rather than slumbering on the bed of dogma and pretentious pseudo-scholarship as so many “studies” programs are? Finally, how long are the humanities programs of so many universities going to oblige the anti-intellectualism, heresy hunting, and ridiculous hyper-reactions of immature and overzealous students and their allies in faculty positions?” — Rex Murphy. (National Post, Nov. 17, 2017)


“So at the end of the day there are two reasons why I am here. One is that I love Israel and I love Israeli people and two is to make a principled stand against anyone who wants to censor and silence musicians…So really you could say in a way that the BDS made me play Israel.” — Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave. The artist is popular in Israel and is set to perform a pair of nearly sold-out shows. Cave spoke about the pressure on artists by the movement that seeks to ostracize Israel by lobbying corporations, performers and academic institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state. He said record producer Brian Eno had asked him three years ago to sign a boycott list. “On a very intuitive level I did not want to sign that list, there was something that stunk to me about that list,” Cave said. He said it felt “cowardly” not to play in Israel. (Billboard, Nov. 20, 2017) 


“Today (November 19) we mark 40 years to the historic visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Jerusalem and Israel. President Sadat took a bold step, he came to the Knesset; he came to Israel. He was welcomed by the entire nation. Since then, the peace treaty with Egypt has survived despite its ups and down. Today, Egypt and Israel, as well as other countries, are on one side of the barricade in a stubborn struggle against the terror of radical Islam in its various fronts. This contributes significantly to the security of Israel. And I hope that in the future it will also contribute to the expansion of the circle of peace.” — Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Jewish Press, Nov. 19, 2017)






PA’S ABBAS FREEZES CONTACTS WITH WASHINGTON (Washington) — PA leader Mahmoud Abbas ordered representatives in the Palestine Liberation Organization to freeze all contacts with the U.S. The move came in response to a decision by the U.S. not to permit the PLO to keep its bureau open in Washington due to a violation by the PA of a 2015 Congressional mandate prohibiting any unilateral move against Israel. Abbas announced to the UN this past September that the PLO had “called on the International Criminal Court, as is our right, to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials” over the development of Jewish communities in the West Bank. (Jewish Press, Nov. 21, 2017)


ASSAD AND PUTIN MEET, AS RUSSIA PUSHES TO END SYRIAN WAR (Sochi) — Thanking Russia for the military intervention he credited for “saving Syria,” President Assad met with Putin amid preparations for new talks aimed at ending the civil war. Assad’s visit to the Russian town of Sochi was made public on Tuesday, a day before a summit meeting there for the leaders of Iran, Turkey and Russia, who have taken a prominent role in diplomacy with Syria while the U.S. has put Assad’s fate on the back burner. Parallel Russian- and American-led campaigns against I.S. have largely shattered the group’s territorial self-declared caliphate. But a solution to the underlying conflict — which began after Assad’s forces cracked down on political protests — has remained elusive. (New York Times, Nov. 21, 2017)


NATO APOLOGIZES TO TURKEY OVER REPORTS ERDOGAN SHOWN AS FOE (Ankara) — NATO’s secretary-general apologized to Turkey over military exercises in Norway during which Turkey’s founding leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were reportedly depicted as “enemies.” Erdogan said Turkey withdrew 40 of its soldiers participating in the drills at NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway, in protest of the incident and criticized the alliance. Details of the incident were sketchy. Erdogan said Ataturk’s picture and his own name were featured on an “enemy chart” during the drills. (Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2017)


NIGERIA MOSQUE TARGETED IN SUICIDE BOMBING (Abuja) — A suicide bomber set off explosives on Tuesday during prayers in a small, crowded mosque in Nigeria in a deadly attack that comes amid a raft of similar assaults on rural communities in the region. A spokesman for the police in Adamawa State, where the attack took place, said at least 50 people had been killed. Other officials could not confirm the death toll but blamed Boko Haram for the blast. Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group that has waged war for the past eight years in Nigeria and in neighboring countries, has dispatched suicide bombers in a wave of attacks in the past year on mosques, checkpoints, markets and even camps for some of the nearly two million people uprooted from their homes because of the conflict. (New York Times, Nov. 21, 2017)  


CANADA WANTS TO ‘REINTEGRATE’ RETURNING I.S. FIGHTERS (Ottawa) — The Canadian government has pledged to “reintegrate” Canadian-born I.S. fighters who want to leave the Islamic terror group and return to Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau said. Admitting that the return of I.S. fighters “may have security implications,” Trudeau promised the former terrorists would be monitored, but added, “We are also there to help them to let go of that terrorist ideology.” About 180 Canadian citizens traveled to the Middle East to join I.S. Most have been killed in fighting, but about 60 have returned. So far, only two have been prosecuted under Canada’s anti-terrorism act. (Breaking Israel News, Nov. 21, 2017)


GERMAN COURT RULES KUWAIT AIRLINE IS ALLOWED TO BAN ISRAELIS (Berlin) —  A German court ruled that Kuwait Airways had the right to refuse to carry an Israeli passenger due to his nationality, a verdict that Jewish groups said condoned antisemitism. The Frankfurt state court said the airline was merely respecting the laws of Kuwait, a country that does not recognize the state of Israel, and said it was not up to a German court to rule on Kuwaiti law. Germany's anti-discrimination law applies only in cases of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic background or religion, not citizenship, it said. The lawyer for the plaintiff, who was denied boarding on a flight to Bangkok, said he would appeal. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 16, 2017)


FRENCH PARTY EXPELS POLITICIAN OVER ANTISEMITIC TWEET (Paris) — The French politician at the center of a row over an antisemitic tweet was expelled from the country’s Socialist Party, hours after he found himself in a furious exchange with a presenter on an Israeli TV channel. Gérard Filoche — a member of the National Bureau of former President Hollande’s recently-ousted PS — sparked outrage across France with a tweet he posted promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories. The tweet showed French President Macron wearing a Nazi armband with the swastika altered to a dollar sign. Looming behind Macron were three prominent Jews — the economist Jacques Attali, the investor Patrick Drahi and the banker Jacob Rothschild — flanked by the U.S. and Israeli flags. Filoche added as a comment, “A dirty guy, as all the French people will know soon enough.” (Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2017)   


EDITOR OF YOUR WARD NEWS FACES HATE-RELATED CHARGES (Toronto) —  The editor and the owner of a Toronto publication that vilifies Jews, women and other groups is facing hate speech charges, escalating a years-long battle that hinges on competing interpretations of free speech and hate-speech statutes. James Sears, editor of Your Ward News, and Leroy St. Germaine, the owner and publisher, have been charged with willful promotion of hatred against Jews and willful promotion of hatred against women. Police have been inundated with complaints about Your Ward News since March, 2015, when residents noticed the paper's content morph from eccentric but harmless political screeds into a publication focused on maligning women, Jews, Muslims and the LGBTQ community. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 15, 2017)


ISRAEL A FASCIST STATE? SO SAYS PROF. SHIRA ROBINSON (Washington) — According to George Washington University history professor Shira Robinson, Israel has “abandoned democracy,” and is rapidly descending into a fascist state. Robinson recently delivered this dire verdict during a lecture titled, “Past as Present: Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of 1948.” Robinson argued that Israel is experiencing not only “creeping fascistization,” but that the Jewish state has never been a democracy: “For Jews, the increasingly racist, far-right turn of the state is fueling … an existential debate of sorts over whether the current moment represents a tragic perversion of the Zionist dream or its ultimate realization.” She left no doubt that she believes the latter. (Algemeiner, Nov. 17, 2017)


BDS RESOLUTION DEFEATED AT UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND (Baltimore) — The Student Government Association (SGA) of the University of Maryland, College Park decided not to support a resolution that accused Israel of violations of human rights and which called for the University of Maryland, College Park to divest from a range of U.S. companies investing in Israel. The resolution was introduced by Students for Justice in Palestine. It eventually gathered over 200 signatures from students. In response, nine members of the faculty signed a statement in opposition: A second petition opposing the BDS resolution was signed by over 100 members of the faculty. (Times of Israel, Nov. 18, 2017)


20 FRENCH/EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARIANS CANCEL TRIP TO ISRAEL (Paris) —  Twenty French and European parliamentarians and French mayors who planned to arrive in Israel to show their support for imprisoned Arab terrorists, and specifically meet with convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti, canceled their flight from France at the airport at the last minute. The anti-Israeli parliamentarians were informed that nine of their more prominent BDS-supporting members would be denied entry into Israel, so they made the group decision that none would go. Instead they decided they will hold a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in France on Sunday. (Jewish Press, Nov. 19, 2017)


KIDS’ BOOK ‘P IS FOR PALESTINE’ IS STIRRING UP OUTRAGE (New York) — A children’s book titled “P Is for Palestine” is infuriating some New York mothers — who charge that it’s nothing but antisemitic propaganda. The author, Golbarg Bashi, a Pace history professor, said that she “came up with the idea…after I couldn’t find a book about Palestine for children.’’ Her book, which features colorful illustrations of Palestinians, associates each letter of the alphabet with Palestinian culture: “A is for Arabic, my tongue, a language that’s the 4th biggest ever sung!” But some of the phrases are clearly anti-Israel. “I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!” Intifada refers to the two Palestinian uprisings against Israel, in the ’80s and 2000s. (New York Post, Nov. 19, 2017)


BOSTON ISLAMIC SEMINARY IS TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION OF EXTREMISTS (Boston) — New research has uncovered evidence of antisemitism among faculty members and guest speakers appointed by the Islamic Society of Boston to teach and promote its latest project: the Boston Islamic Seminary (BIS). Faculty listed on the BIS website include Yahia Abdul Rahman, who is described as an expert on “sharia-compliant” banking. Abdul Rahman has posted stories from “The Ugly Truth,” a website that describes itself as “intelligent ‘anti-Semitism’ for thinking Gentiles.” Elsewhere, Rahman has shared claims that any Muslim who fails to oppose Israel is no longer a Muslim, and is afflicted with a “Jewish heart.” Middle East Forum has uncovered several other examples. (Algemeiner, Nov. 17, 2017)


INDIA CANCELS DEAL FOR ISRAELI MISSILES: REPORTS (Delhi) — Indian media outlets reported that the country had scrapped a $500 million deal to buy anti-tank missiles from the Israeli Rafael weapons manufacturer in favor of developing missiles domestically. In response to the reports, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said it had yet to be “officially informed of any changes” to the contract. The initial deal for the Spike missile was signed in 2014. According to Indian media, the reversal was made this week in order to protect the government’s Defense Research and Development Organization, which is working on creating its own anti-tank guided missile. (Times of Israel, Nov. 20, 2017)


DIMONA NUCLEAR REACTOR’S LIFE TO BE EXTENDED TO 2040 (Beersheba) — The State of Israel is working to extend the operating license and life of the Dimona nuclear reactor until 2040, according to a report in Ha’aretz. The reactor will then be 80-years-old. The Dimona reactor was built in the fifties and went live in 1964. It was originally supposed to run for forty years. It’s also the oldest reactor of its type still active in the world. (Jewish Press, Nov. 19, 2017)


MISS IRAQ CLARIFIES SHE DOESN’T SUPPORT ISRAELI GOVERNMENT (Baghdad) — Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman made a new friend during the Miss Universe beauty pageant: Miss Iraq Sarah Idan. The two even shared a picture of themselves together on Instagram. However, Idan quickly found herself in a difficult situation in light of the negative online feedback and harsh criticism she received. Idan ended up having to upload another post in order to clarify the picture: “My stance is not a political one and I don’t support the Israeli government or its agenda. We are just sending a message of unity and peace.” (Jerusalem Online, Nov. 15, 2017)

On Topic Links


The US Betrayal of Kurdistan Is a Warning Sign for Israel: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, BESA, Nov. 22, 2017—The Kurdish people have an inalienable right to national self-determination, just like any other nation. The Kurds, who number some 30 million people, are the largest national group in the world to have no state of their own. The international community is obligated to see to it that they are done historic justice by supporting their dream of being a free nation in their own land.

From Tehran to Quneitra: Iran’s ‘Land Bridge’ is Almost Complete: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 21, 2017—In the east of Syria, the so-called race to Abu Kamal between the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces and the forces of Iran, the Assad regime and Russia appears to be close to conclusion – in the latter’s favor.

Russia-Iran-Turkey Meeting is Message to US: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 19, 2017—Turkish, Russian and Iranian diplomats will meet in Antalya on Sunday in the run-up to a major get-together in Sochi on November 22. The meeting is supposed to focus on Syria, but its real purpose is part of a larger effort by Moscow to illustrate its influence in the region.

Here's Where Laurier Can Stick Their Apology to Lindsay Shepherd: Christie Blatchford, National Post, Nov. 21, 2017— Wilfrid Laurier University teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd is undoubtedly a better human being than I am — and at 22, probably a more mature one — and may well accept the raft of apologies now coming her way, but I would tell them all to blow the mea culpas out their various bums.