Month: May 2018

IN IRAQ, ELECTION RESULTS SHOCK IRAN & U.S., KURDS IN “DISARRAY” & CHRISTIANS DISAPPEARING

The Populist Revolt Reaches Iraq: Michael J. Totten, World Affairs Journal, May 22, 2018— The worldwide populist revolt toppling conventional politicians in the United States, Europe and even the Philippines has now reached Iraq.

The Results of the Iraqi Elections? A Slap in the Face to Iran: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, JCPA, May 22, 2018— The results of the Iraqi legislative elections have taken both Iran and the United States by surprise.

Kurds in Iraq Adrift After Iraqi Election: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2018— At a meeting of Kurdistan Democratic Party officials on Saturday in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq, the party sought Kurdish unity in negotiations with Baghdad.

Iraq’s Christians: Eighty Percent Have “Disappeared”: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 1, 2018— Persecution of Christians is worse today “than at any time in history”, a recent report by the organization Aid to the Church in Need revealed.

On Topic Links

Once Hated by U.S. and Tied to Iran, Is Sadr Now ‘Face of Reform’ in Iraq?: Margaret Coker, New York Times, May 20, 2018

Iraqi Election Opens New Chapter: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, May 20, 2018

The ISIS Tactics That Have Left Iraqi Special Forces Weakened: Chirine Mouchantaf, Defense News, May 8, 2018

A Future for Kurdish Independence?: Michael Eppel, Middle East Quarterly, Mar. 01, 2018

 

THE POPULIST REVOLT REACHES IRAQ

Michael J. Totten

World Affairs Journal, May 22, 2018

 

The worldwide populist revolt toppling conventional politicians in the United States, Europe and even the Philippines has now reached Iraq. Most Westerners still following Iraqi politics assumed that incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory coalition would handily win the parliamentary election, but nope. Abadi’s coalition came in third. Firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairun coalition came in first.

You remember Moqtada al-Sadr. He’s the guy who mounted an Iranian-backed Shia insurgency against the United States, the Iraqi government and his Sunni civilian neighbors between 2003 and 2008. He’s a very different person today. He still raises and shakes his fist in the air but today he’s shaking it at crooked elites, and he’s shaking it at his former Iranian patrons. “If corrupt (officials) and quotas remain,” Sadr declared, “the entire government will be brought down and no one will be exempt.” In other words, drain the swamp.

He’s Iraq’s version of the rabble-rousing populist: fundamentalist, anti-establishment and anti-foreigner. A champion of the working class and a declared enemy of liberal Western ideas. His list even included Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the colorful journalist who famously threw a shoe at President George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad in 2008.

He would of course be nowhere without the Westerners he despises. Americans, after all, cleared Saddam Hussein’s totalitarian Baath Party regime out of the way and established the election system that put him on top. He’d also be nowhere without Iran. His former allies in the Islamic Republic next door armed his Mahdi Army militia and gave him refuge when the Americans were coming to get him. Now that the United States is (mostly) gone from Iraq, and now that Iran has been mucking around in Iraqi politics to disastrous effect for more than a decade, Sadr has become as anti-Iranian as he is anti-American. He’s not at all happy with a foreign capital using his government as a hand-puppet, whether that foreign capital is Washington, DC, or Tehran.

No need for surprise here. Many in Iraq’s large Shia majority feel a natural kinship with the even larger Shia majority in Iran, but ethnic tension between Arabs and Persians has been a feature of Middle Eastern geopolitics for as long as Arabs and Persians have inhabited the region, and nationalist tension between Iran and Iraq has been present throughout Iraq’s entire (albeit brief) history as a modern nation-state. Shia Iraqis and Shia Iranians are natural allies, but at the same time, Arab Iraqis and Persian Iranians are natural enemies.

Sadr is painfully reactionary and more than a little bit dangerous. He’s also complicated. He is a Shia sectarian whose militia brutally “cleansed” Sunnis from neighborhoods in and around Baghdad but he’s also what passes today for an Iraqi nationalist, disavowing violence against all Iraqis and opposing all foreign influence. “We won’t allow the Iraqis to be cannon fodder for the wars of others nor be used in proxy wars outside Iraq,” says Sadrist movement member Jumah Bahadily of the Syrian civil war. He also forged an alliance with communists—a horrifying ideological cocktail from the point of view of any liberal-minded Westerner, but alas there are few Jeffersonian democrats in old Mesopotamia. There are however, some secular reformists and technocrats, and they also formed an alliance with the Sadrists. Tehran has taken notice and isn’t happy about it. “We will not allow liberals and communists to govern in Iraq,” says Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iranian ruler Ayatollah Khamenei.

Precious few Americans would enjoy living under a government run by Sadrists. Even so, his pushback against Iran is nothing to sniff at. Westerners and Arabs alike have bemoaned Iran’s rising influence in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam, thanks in large part to Sadr’s own Mahdi Army, yet no one is resisting Iranian influence in Iraq as successfully right now as he is. Sure, the Sunni parties are pushing back as they always do, but the Sunnis are a small minority. Nearly all Iranian influence in Iraq comes through the Shias. Only they can successfully resist Tehran because they’re the only ones who can enable Tehran in the first place. With Sadr’s movement in the saddle, Iran faces the most formidable obstacle in Baghdad since Saddam flitted from palace to palace.

Sadr will not be Iraq’s next prime minister. His list won the most votes but he himself did not stand for election. He could be the next kingmaker, so to speak, but even that’s not guaranteed. While his party won more seats than the others, it did not win the majority. It’s still possible that the others will unite in a coalition against him. Nobody knows yet. Whatever ends up happening, the main takeaway here ought to be this: Iraq isn’t even in the same time zone as high-functioning liberal democracies like New Zealand and France, but we can parse the result and guess at the ultimate outcome of its fourth consecutive election as if it were.

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THE RESULTS OF THE IRAQI ELECTIONS?

A SLAP IN THE FACE TO IRAN

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

JCPA, May 22, 2018

 

The results of the Iraqi legislative elections have taken both Iran and the United States by surprise. The party of Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American and anti-Iranian Shiite cleric, succeeded in winning 54 out of the 329 seats in the newly-elected Iraqi parliament. By doing so, his Sairoun party list (Arabic for “going forward”) became the biggest parliamentary faction. Al-Sadr’s Sairoun beat the favorite pro-Iranian parties headed by Hadi al-Amiri, commander of the pro-Iranian Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi (Arabic for “popular mobilization units”) militia, which took part in crushing ISIS and presented itself under the name Al-Fath (Arabic for “conquest”), which lost by seven seats (47). Another party led by a pro-Iran candidate, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, won 26 seats.

The final results were published on May 19, 2018, seven days after the election day, due to allegations of massive fraud within the Kurdish-populated provinces of Kirkuk and Dahuk. The tabulations confirmed the partial results, which were published immediately after the elections, and the projection that Muqtada al-Sadr’s faction was the biggest parliamentary group. Although al-Sadr will not become prime minister since his name was not included in the list, he will likely play the role of the “kingmaker” behind the scenes and form the next Iraqi government – if Iran does not succeed in blocking him. In 2010, that is precisely what Iran did after Ayad Allawi won the most seats but could not form a government. Instead, Iran intervened and presented another pro-Iranian alternative. Indeed, despite the fact that al-Sadr’s faction is the biggest in the coming parliament, under the Iraqi constitution a larger coalition of factions is tasked with forming a new government.

Muqtada al-Sadr (born 1973) became famous in 2003 after the U.S. invasion of Iraq as the leader of a militia who led two armed uprisings against the U.S. forces. He also incited sectarian violence but rebranded himself as a champion of the poor, promoter of social protests, and corruption fighter. Al-Sadr was also vehemently anti-Iranian and criticized Iraqi politicians who became vassals of the Ayatollahs in Iran. Muqtada al-Sadr’s success stems primarily from the fact that the 44.25 percent election turnout was the lowest since 2003 and a drop from 62 percent in 2014, which played in al-Sadr’s favor since his followers voted en masse while others either abstained or showed a lack of interest…Moreover, Muqtada al-Sadr called on all “patriotic” factions, while emphasizing his rejection of the two main pro-Iranian blocs – Hadi al-Amiri’s Al-Fath list and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s “State of Law Coalition” to join his coalition in order to restore to Iraq its dignity, independence, and freedom of choice.

By the end of the week (May 18, 2018), al-Sadr scored yet another victory by rallying Ammar al-Hakim, a cleric and politician, former leader of the Islamic Council of Iraq (2004-2017), and head of the “National Wisdom Movement” (Al Hikma), who won 19 seats in the elections and agreed to explore establishing a united faction. Ammar al-Hakim was part of Haider al-Abadi’s coalition in 2014, but he decided to split away before the 2018 elections. Muqtada al-Sadr, whose list included Communists and liberal factions, has called to form a technocratic government to fight party corruption. He emphasized in his Tweets after the elections the need to restore the independent identity of Iraq, “making Baghdad the capital of our identity” and pointing very clearly at the need to depart from Iranian tutelage…

Muqtada al-Sadr’s goal is to reach a coalition of 165 seats (which represent a majority of one seat in the 329-seat Parliament) to assure his government a majority and to block any attempts from pro-Iranian factions to form an alternative pro-Iranian government. To do so, he still needs to rally a plethora of petty political factions, such as Osama al-Nujaifi’s al-Qarar al-Iraqi alliance (14 seats ), Hanan al-Fatlawi’s Eradaa bloc (two seats), former Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi’s list (two seats), and the Kurdish Shasour Abd el-Wahed’s faction (one seat). There is no doubt that negotiations between the parties will last a long time. However, the chances are that those petty lists will agree to join the coalition in the “biggest bang” of politics in Iraq since the American invasion of 2003…

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

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KURDS IN IRAQ ADRIFT AFTER IRAQI ELECTION

                                                Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2018

 

At a meeting of Kurdistan Democratic Party officials on Saturday in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq, the party sought Kurdish unity in negotiations with Baghdad. Two weeks after the May 12 election, the Kurdish parties, of which the KDP is the largest, are trying to determine how they can continue to play a central role in the coalition building that must take place for a new government to be formed.

But Kurdish politics has been in disarray since the independence referendum last September, and critics say the current discussions with Baghdad look more like begging for a role than playing the kingmaker as Kurds once did. The KDP came in fourth in the election, worse than Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon party, Hadi al-Amiri’s Fateh alliance and Haider al-Abadi’s Victory alliance. With 25 seats in the unicameral, 329-member legislature, they have the same strength as Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition. Maliki, Amiri, Sadr and Abadi all run parties whose main supporters are Shi’ite Arabs.

Together, all these other parties could simply run the country, without the Kurds or the Sunni Arabs. But politics isn’t so simple in Iraq. Amiri’s and Maliki’s parties are very close to Iran, while Sadr’s positioned itself as a nationalist party opposed to both Iranian and American influence in Iraq. This gives the Kurds the ability to sign on with one camp or another.

The current position of the Kurds illustrates how much things have changed in the last decade and a half since Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. In the parliamentary election of December 2005, Massoud Barzani, leading a united Kurdish list, came in second with 53 seats. Since then the myriad Kurdish parties have increasingly contested the elections on their own, with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan taking around 20 seats each time and the smaller Kurdish Islamic parties and the Gorran (Change) movement taking a dozen seats between them. The fragmentation has weakened the Kurdish bargaining power in Baghdad.

During the four years of war against ISIS, this weakened bargaining power mattered less, because Baghdad’s policies appeared to have failed Iraq and allowed ISIS to take control of a third of the country.

In those years it was common to hear Kurdish Peshmerga on the front line say that Iraq was finished as a country; how could it recover from the divisions created by ISIS. Increasing Iranian influence and the growth of sectarian militias, called the Popular Mobilization Units, appeared to show that Iraq was slipping into corruption and chaos. Kurds could point to their region in the northeast as the one stable and economically viable area. The stability in the Kurdish region began to change after the referendum, when Baghdad took advantage of Kurdish divisions to retake Kirkuk in October 2017 from the Peshmerga, who had defended it against ISIS. Anger over late payment of salaries and accusations of corruption at the highest levels led to a series of mass protests in December.

It was in this context that Kurdish parties contested the recent election. But any thought that voters would punish the leading KDP and PUK parties did not materialize. Instead the traditional parties performed as expected. Nevertheless the bitterness from the fall of 2017 remains. After the election in Sulaimaniya, the Gorran party headquarters was fired upon. Four smaller Kurdish parties (Gorran, Coalition for Justice and Democracy, Kurdistan Islamic Union and Kurdistan Islamic Group) met with US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk this past Tuesday, demanding the election results be annulled due to allegations of fraud. It’s unclear why they thought McGurk could get the results changed, he’s ostensibly in Iraq to coordinate the anti-ISIS fight, but there is widespread perception that he is there to represent US interests in coalition building after the election.

The KDP and PUK pursued a different avenue. On Wednesday, Sadr met with representatives of the PUK and KDP, and on Thursday the two leading Kurdish parties met with Maliki and Amiri in Baghdad. It’s not entirely clear what came out of the meetings between the Kurdish parties; it wasn’t so long ago that Maliki and Amiri were despised in Erbil; Maliki accused of being an Iranian pawn, and Amiri’s Shi’ite militias seen as a Shia version of ISIS. But power politics now takes precedence over old biases. There are rumors that Iran would like to see a coalition without Sadr, which would include the Kurdish parties and the other Shi’ite parties. But there are also rumors that the Kurdish parties could work with Sadr to undermine Iran’s influence.

Either way, Erbil’s demands appear to be mostly about salaries and economic rights. The region exports oil and wants its public salaries paid by Baghdad. The region is holding out hope that the new US strategy on Iran will mean more support for the Kurds as a traditional ally of Washington. The Kurdish region can only hope that it is needed as a coalition partner in Baghdad and by Washington to continue playing a vital role in Iraq.

 

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IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS: EIGHTY PERCENT HAVE “DISAPPEARED”

Giulio Meotti

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 1, 2018

 

Persecution of Christians is worse today “than at any time in history”, a recent report by the organization Aid to the Church in Need revealed. Iraq happens to be “ground zero” for the “elimination” of Christians from the pages of history. Iraqi Christian clergymen recently wore a black sign as a symbol of national mourning for the last victims of the anti-Christian violence: a young worker and a whole family of three. “This means that there is no place for Christians,” said Father Biyos Qasha of the Church of Maryos in Baghdad. “We are seen as a lamb to be killed at any time”.

A few days earlier, Shiite militiamen discovered a mass grave with the bodies of 40 Christians near Mosul, the former stronghold of the Islamic State and the capital of Iraqi Christianity. The bodies, including those of women and children, seemed to belong to Christians kidnapped and killed by ISIS. Many had crosses with them in the mass grave. Not a single article in the Western mainstream media wrote about this ethnic cleansing.

French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia made an urgent plea to Europe and the West to defend non-Muslims in the Middle East, whom he likened to Holocaust victims. “As our parents wore the yellow star, Christians are made to wear the scarlet letter of nun” Korsia said. The Hebrew letter “nun” is the same sound as the beginning of Nazareen, an Arabic term signifying people from Nazareth, or Christians, and used by the Islamic State to mark the Christian houses in Mosul.

Now a new report by the Iraqi Human Rights Society also just revealed that Iraqi minorities, such as Christians, Yazidis and Shabaks, are now victims of a “slow genocide”, which is shattering those ancient communities to the point of their disappearance. The numbers are significant. According to the report, 81% of Iraq’s Christians have disappeared from Iraq. The remaining number of Sabeans, an ancient community devoted to St. John the Baptist, is even smaller: 94% have disappeared from Iraq. Even 18% of Yazidis have left the country or been killed. Another human rights organization, Hammurabi, said that Baghdad had 600,000 Christians in the recent past; today there are only 150,000.

These numbers may be the reason Charles de Meyer, president of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient, has just spoken of the “extinction of Christians”. Father Salar Kajo of the Churches’ Nineveh Reconstruction Committee just spoke of the real possibility that “Christianity will disappear from Iraq”. Many ancient Christian churches and sites have been destroyed by Islamic extremists, such as Saint George Church in Mosul; the Virgin Mary Chaldean Church, attacked by car bomb, and the burned Armenian Church in Mosul. Hundreds of Christian homes have been razed in Mosul, where jihadists also toppled bell towers and crosses. The Iraqi clergy recently warned, “The churches are in danger”.

Tragically, Christians living in lands formerly under the control of the “Caliphate” have been betrayed by many actors in the West. Governments ignored their tragic fate. Bishops were often too aloof to denounce their persecution. The media acted as if they considered these Christians to be agents of colonialism who deserved to be purged from the Middle East. And the so-called “human rights” organizations abandoned them. European public opinion, supposedly always ready to rally against the discrimination of minorities, did not say a word about what Ayaan Hirsi Ali called “a war against Christians”.

Some communities, such as the small Christian enclaves of Mosul, are now lost forever. Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said there is a “real danger” Christianity could just become a “museum” in the Middle East. He noted that Iraq has lost 80-90% of its Christian population. A few Christian villages have begun a slow and painful process of reconstruction with funds donated mainly by international relief organizations such as the US Knights of Columbus and Aid to the Church in Need. US Vice President Mike Pence recently promised to help these Christians. Action now must follow words. Christians who escaped and survived ISIS cannot depend today only on aid from churches and private groups.

Among European governments, only Hungary took a principled position and openly committed itself to save Iraqi Christianity from genocide. Recently, the Hungarian government opened a school for displaced Christians in Erbil; Hungary’s Minister of Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, attended the event. Imagine if all the other European countries, such as France and Germany, had done the same. The suffering of Christians in Iraq would today be much less and their numbers much higher.

The West was not willing to give sanctuary to these Christians when ISIS murdered 1,131 of them and destroyed or damaged 125 of their churches. We must now stand by their side before it is too late. After the mass displacements and the mass graves, we must help Christians rebuild in the lands where their people were martyred. Otherwise, even the smallest hope of hearing the sound of Christian church bells in the ancient lands of the Bible will be forever lost.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Once Hated by U.S. and Tied to Iran, Is Sadr Now ‘Face of Reform’ in Iraq?: Margaret Coker, New York Times, May 20, 2018

Iraqi Election Opens New Chapter: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, May 20, 2018— During the British House of Commons’ stormy debate on 29 August 2013 on whether or not to intervene in Syria to stop further chemical weapon massacres by President Bashar al-Assad, the then leader of the opposition Ed Miliband boasted that he could prove intervention wrong by just one word: Iraq!

The ISIS Tactics That Have Left Iraqi Special Forces Weakened: Chirine Mouchantaf, Defense News, May 8, 2018— It took Iraqi forces three years to significantly drive Islamic State militants out of the country, but the group’s nontraditional tactics have damaged Iraq’s special forces, according to one major Iraqi military commander.

A Future for Kurdish Independence?: Michael Eppel, Middle East Quarterly, Mar. 01, 2018— The Kurdish independence referendum of September 25, 2017, has proven thus far to be an ill-conceived high-risk gamble.

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

Reviewing a Month of Hypocrisy and Moral Decadence: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, May 28, 2018

New Analysis Confirms Hamas Organized Violent Gaza Border Riots: IPT News, May 29, 2018

Netanyahu: ‘Israel is a Global Technological Power!’ (Video): Breaking Israel News, May 30, 2018

The Unknown Richard Pipes: Dr. Jiri Valenta, BESA, May 29, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“One thing is clear. When they test us, they pay an immediate price…It they continue to try us, they will pay an even harsher price…The IDF has reacted strongly, since yesterday, to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip by attacking dozens of terrorist targets. It’s the harshest blow we have dealt them in years…Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations are responsible for the escalation…I don’t intend to provide details of our plans, because I do not want the enemy to know what is in store for him…I offer strength the IDF fighters and all the security forces as well as praise for the resilience of the residents of the south.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What appeared to be a cease-fire brought a sudden halt to Hamas rocket fire against Israel and IDF retaliatory strikes against Gaza. It was the worst exchange of fire since 2014. This week, Hamas fired some 180 Iranian-made mortar shells from Gaza into southern Israel. In response, Israel struck 65 Hamas targets in Gaza, including a dual-purpose tunnel dug one kilometer into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and then 900 meters into Israeli territory. (Jerusalem Post, May 30, 2018)

“The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza.” — U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. The UN Security Council is to meet for an emergency session Wednesday in response to a request by the U.S., which called on the world body to convene to discuss the rocket and mortar attacks by Gaza terrorists fired at Israel. Haley, blamed “Palestinian militants” for the barrages, which reportedly struck the yard of an empty kindergarten, among other areas, and wounded at least five.  (Politico & Jewish Press, May 30, 2018) 

“I am deeply disappointed that Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling for an ‘international investigation’ into Israel’s actions, and that Senator Bernie Sanders has now gone so far as to call for the Palestinian ‘right of return’ to Israel…Calling for the ‘right of return’ is essentially calling for the destruction of Israel…The problem is that Senator Sanders, in many ways, is setting the tone for the policies of the entire Democratic Party” — Israeli Deputy Cabinet Minister Michael Oren. Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders’ office last week circulated a video highlighting the “right of return.” When pressed by reporters, he declined to say whether he endorses or opposes it. In a May 15 tweet, Sanders also declared: “It’s important to understand the desperate situation out of which these protests have arisen.” (Algemeiner, May 25, 2018)

“It’s painfully shocking that (ADL) head Jonathan Greenblatt recently wrote…“It is a horrific tragedy that so many people have been killed and wounded at the Gaza border.” This broad statement was not limited to the tiny minority who were not members of a terrorist group. (And even that minority joined violent riots whose goal was to breach Israel’s border fence and descend upon nearby Jewish communities, schools and day-care centers—and all of Israel—to murder innocent Jews.)…How is the death of mostly Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists a “horrific tragedy?” In fact, the deaths of these terrorists prevented a real “horrific tragedy”—the murder of thousands of innocent Jews who would have been slain if Hamas’s violent rioters had succeeded.” — Morton A. Klein, Elizabeth A. Berney. (Jewish Press, May 27, 2018)

“I do not think that there is a causal link between the transfer of the U.S. Embassy, ​​or at this very moment just its embryo, to Jerusalem and the events in Gaza. The Middle East conflict has been at varying levels for many years. The relocation of the U.S. Embassy was thus only used by the terrorist organization Hamas, which has full control the Gaza Strip, to exacerbate even more intense events that had been organized long before…The fact is that Hamas, which is also recognized by the European Union as a terrorist organization and which still does not recognize Israel, is the only real ruler of the Gaza Strip, and as such is fully responsible for the form and objectives of the violent actions that have taken place on the border between Israel and Gaza for weeks.” — Foreign Affairs Minister Martin Stropnicky of the Czech Republic. (Jewish Press, May 24, 2018)

“The weapons Hezbollah had before the Israeli withdrawal were few and incomparable with the amount it currently has…When I get asked about a war with Israel, I say that, if it happens – I’m certain of our victory.” — Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah. In a televised speech aired as part of Lebanon’s commemoration of 18 years since the Israeli withdrawal from its territory, Nasrallah said Hezbollah does not seek a military conflict but is not afraid of one. Addressing the new sanctions placed on him by the US, Nasrallah said they will not have any effect on Hezbollah. “They’re meant to isolate us, but we don’t want to visit Europe as tourists anyway,” he said. (Jerusalem Online, May 25, 2018)

“As members of the Labor movement, we have a responsibility to formulate and present a political approach that would fit a reality that has changed beyond recognition, and therefore we must become disillusioned with the Oslo idea…The current imperative is to adopt a new strategy, based on the understanding and internalization of the fact that at this juncture there is no leadership on the Palestinian side that truly wants or is able to be a partner to a peace agreement with us.” — Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who has been serving in the Knesset since 1996. Cabel published an op-ed in Ha’aretz titled: “My Fellow Labor Members, It’s Time to Sober Up,” comparing his party’s dedication to the Oslo agreement’s 2-state solution to Israel’s conceptual failure that had led to the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Cabel’s new political program begins with the item he calls “Giving up on the vision of signing peace agreements on the White House lawn.” Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay rejected Cabel’s missive, published in Haaretz, with Gabbay saying that “Cabel’s views are not acceptable to the party.” (Jewish Press, May 25, 2018 & Jewish Press, May 28, 2018)

 

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SHORT TAKES

 

RUSSIA AND ISRAEL ‘AGREE DEAL’ TO HOLD BACK IRANIAN MILITIAS (Moscow) — Russia and Israel have reportedly reached a deal which would allow Bashar al-Assad’s forces to take remaining rebel territory in southern Syria – so long as Iranian fighters do not participate. Moscow appears to have capitulated to Israeli demands to hold back Tehran-backed militias 15 miles from the occupied Golan Heights. In return, Israel will not stand in the way of any Syrian regime offensive on the city of Deraa and territory along the Israeli and Jordanian border. Russia said only Syrian army troops should be on the country’s southern frontiers, which appeared to be directed at Iran. (Telegraph, May 29, 2018) 

IDF SOLDIER WHO WAS ATTACKED DURING WEST BANK RAID DIES OF INJURIES (Jerusalem) — An Israeli soldier from the elite unit Duvdevan died from critical injuries he sustained during a military raid on a West Bank refugee camp near Ramallah.  Ronen Lubarsky, 20, from Rehovot, was critically injured when a heavy stone slab was thrown from a building during arrests at the refugee camp. The army unit was unable to pursue the attacker as they could not identify who had thrown the slab. The raid targeted members of a cell involved in recent shooting attacks against Israelis. Three Palestinian suspects were taken to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.  (Ha’aretz, May 26, 2018)

MUCH OF GAZA BLACKED OUT AFTER MORTAR HITS POWER LINES (Gaza) — A rocket fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip has damaged three power lines leading into the coastal territory, knocking out power for tens of thousands of Palestinians, according to Israel’s Electric Company. The damage is the latest example of terrorists in Gaza sabotaging critical infrastructure for its residents. Earlier this month, Palestinian mobs acting under instructions by Hamas attacked the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel, which provided vital humanitarian goods to those in the coastal territory. Israel provides up to 120 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip. (JNS, May 29, 2018)

ISRAELI NAVY ENFORCES GAZA MARITIME BLOCKADE, STOPS FLOTILLA (Gaza) — The Israel Navy enforced its maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, stopping a boat of 17 Gazan protesters seeking to breach Israel’s naval barrier nine nautical miles off the Gaza coast. Organizers of the protest, affiliated with the “Great March of Return,” said a large Gazan fishing boat would carry a group of Gazans hoping to receive medical treatment or study abroad. The boat’s intended destination was said to be Cyprus, and it set off from a Gaza port surrounded by dozens of smaller boats manned by supporters of the effort. Activists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLFP attended a ceremony for the “flotilla.” Images of the boat prior to departure showed Hamas officials on board. (Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2018)

ISRAEL DESTROYS ‘UNIQUE’ HAMAS TUNNEL EXTENDING INTO ISRAEL VIA EGYPT (Gaza) — The Israeli army struck what it said was a Hamas tunnel in the Gaza Strip that extended hundreds of meters into Egypt and Israel. The IDF said the U-shaped attack tunnel destroyed near the Kerem Shalom border crossing was still under construction and not yet usable. The military said the “unique” tunnel crossed from Gaza into Egypt and from there into southern Israel, and was intended both for smuggling weapons and for attacks against Israel. Its full length was around 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), the army said, and the segment inside Israeli territory was 900 meters (half a mile) long. (Times of Israel, May 29, 2018)

ISRAEL TO ISSUE ITS OWN REPORT ON GAZA RIOTS (Jerusalem) — Israel will not collaborate with the UN Human Rights Council on an investigation into the riots on the Gaza border. Instead, it will issue its own report on the events. Around a hundred Palestinians were killed in the riots, most of them terrorists. The events were marked by attempts to breach the border fence and the use of kites equipped with incendiary devices. The UNHRC recently voted to establish a committee to investigate the riots, with only the US and Australia opposing the idea. (Algemeiner, May 27, 2018)

ISRAELI FARMERS PLAN TO SUE HAMAS OVER FIREBOMB KITE TERROR TACTICS (Jerusalem) — Israeli farmers who own land near the Gaza border plan to sue Hamas in the International Criminal Court. Among the terrorists who will be mentioned in the suit are the group’s leader, Yahya Sinwar, and Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh. The farmers claim that the flaming kites that were flown into Israel from Gaza constitute clear violations of the ICC. In the past month, some 300 firebomb kites have been flown into Israel, resulting in about a hundred fires. It is estimated that the fires have caused property damage of tens of millions of shekels. (Jerusalem Online, May 27, 2018)

U.S. WEIGHS CUTTING FUNDS TO UN AGENCIES (Washington) — The U.S. is considering whether to cut funding to two UN agencies and the chemical weapons watchdog after the Palestinians joined the organizations. In a move aimed at boosting their international profile, the Palestinians have joined the UN trade development organization UNCTAD, industrial development agency UNIDO and the Chemical Weapons Convention which is upheld by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). US legislation bars funding for UN agencies or affiliates that grant membership to Palestine, which has the status of a non-member observer state at the UN. (Times of Israel, May 24, 2018)

REPORT: IRANIAN FORCES, SHIITE MILITIAS BANNED FROM USING AIRBASES IN SYRIA (Damascus) — The Syrian Air Force has reportedly banned Iranians and Shiite militias from using its military airbases. Citing a “well-informed” source, a Syrian opposition newspaper said that the decision was made in light of the “series of Israeli strikes in the last few weeks amid rising tensions between Iran and Israel.” On Thursday, an airstrike was carried out on Iranian bases near Homs that are manned by the Hezbollah terrorist group, according to Syrian media. While Syria and Iran are claiming that the IDF was behind the attack, Israel has refused to comment on the reports, and a spokesperson for the Pentagon stressed neither the US nor its allies had attacked Syria. (Jerusalem Online, May 28, 2018)

SYRIA TAKES OVER AS CHAIR OF DISARMAMENT BODY (Geneva) — The U.S. led protests as Syria took over the rotating presidency of the Conference on Disarmament at a time when Damascus is accused of using chemical weapons. The US ambassador to the UN said it was “a travesty” that Syria would head the Conference on Disarmament, leaving when the Syrian representative took the floor. The CD chair rotates every four weeks and Syria’s turn came round this week. The CD is a multilateral disarmament forum that meets in three sessions a year in Geneva. It negotiates arms control and disarmament accords and focuses on the cessation of the nuclear arms race. (Telegraph, May 29, 2018)

MH17 SHOT DOWN WITH RUSSIAN MISSILE LAUNCHER:  INVESTIGATORS (Moscow) —An international investigation has said the Russian military brought the missile that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 into eastern Ukraine, leading to the tragedy that killed 298 people. The Dutch-led Team said last year the Buk 9M38 surface-to-air missile in question arrived from Russia and was fired from territory held by Russia-backed separatists. But Thursday’s press conference in the Netherlands for the first time implicated the Russian military, of which president Vladimir Putin is the commander in chief, in the catastrophe that shocked the world in July 2014. (Telegraph, May 24, 2018)

BELGIUM ATTACK LEAVES TWO COPS DEAD (Liege) — A man shouting “Allahu Akbar!” launched a terror attack in Belgium on Tuesday, killing two policewomen and a civilian. The extremist, identified as 36-year-old Benjamin Herman, was shot dead by police. He had been temporarily released from a prison, where he’d been serving time for drug offenses, and was classified as “marginal and violent,” Belgian media reported. Herman followed two police into a cafe, stabbing them in the back with a blade. The man then grabbed one of their handguns and shot both women dead. Herman then walked down the street and fatally fired at a 22-year-old man. (New York Post, May 29, 2018)

TERROR ATTACK IN MALI: MORE THAN 20 DEAD (Bamako) — At least 20 people have been killed in a militia attack on an ethnic Tuareg organization in Mali’s Gao region, which has witnessed a surge of violence between armed groups even as French and West African troops are carrying out anti-jihadist operations in the area. Violence in Mali’s Gao and Menaka regions has escalated in recent weeks, killing scores of civilians from Tuareg and Fulani communities. The clashes occurred as a French military operation targeting I.S. in the Greater Sahara is underway. The al-Qaeda affiliated organization Group of Support for Muslims and Islam, known as JNIM, is also active in the region. There have been at least 94 extrajudicial killings in the Menaka region since the beginning of the year. (Bloomberg, May 28, 2018)

CBC BROADCASTS JEWISH CONSPIRACY THEORY (Toronto) — CBC’s “The Weekly” news program aired a news report and interview that was nothing short of a Jewish conspiracy theory. The CBC program centres on how wealthy Jews (specifically casino magnate Sheldon Adelson) effectively control President Trump and his inner circle which was “instrumental in persuading Trump” to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. The CBC report also implies that Adelson tacitly controlled Stephen Harper and impacted his views on Israel and the Middle East when he was a sitting Canadian prime minister. Watch the CBC program here: (Honest Reporting, May 24, 2018)

B’NAI BRITH CONDEMNS ANTISEMITIC POSTERS (Toronto) — On Monday, a local resident alerted B’nai Brith to neo-Nazi propaganda posted on public property in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood. The stickers claim that “The Nazi youth are here” and present the Jewish Star of David as a symbol of “degeneracy.” Some of the stickers also contain links to neo-Nazi websites. A similar poster was placed in a restaurant bathroom. Last week, B’nai Brith received complaints from the Davisville area about posters urging residents to boycott the Aroma coffee chain, which is based in Israel. The posters call for a boycott of other Israeli products. (B’nai Brith, May 28, 2018)

UC PROGRAM CANCELS ISRAEL EVENT DUE TO GAZA VIOLENCE (Los Angeles) — An event celebrating 50 years of study in Israel through the University of California Education Abroad Program was canceled after alumni questioned holding the event as violence raged on the Gaza border. A new event celebrating 50 years of educational partnership with Hebrew University was scheduled in its place on the same date, June 2. The cancellation on May 16 of the original event was linked to the deaths of Palestinian protesters at the border fence between Israel and Gaza, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported. The event was set to take place at UCLA’s Hillel. (Times of Israel, May 23, 2018)

HOLOCAUST-DENYING VIDEO-MAKER CONVICTED FOR HATE CRIMES (London) — A 53-year-old British woman was convicted in court on hate crimes charges related to three antisemitic music videos she posted on Facebook in 2016. Alison Chabloz — a self-described “Holocaust revisionist” — was found guilty of three counts of “improper use of a public electronic communications network” by publishing “grossly offensive, indecent or obscene” content. In her songs, Chabloz called the Holocaust the “Holohoax,” referred to Auschwitz as a “theme park,” mocked Holocaust survivors Irene Zisblatt and the late Elie Wiesel, and challenged the validity of Anne Frank’s diary. (Algemeiner, May 25, 2018)

WWII-ERA CARDINAL CLOSER TO SAINTHOOD DESPITE ANTI-JEWISH ACTS (Warsaw) — A World War II-era Polish cardinal who was hostile to Jews was recognized by Pope Francis as having “heroic virtues,” the first step to sainthood. In a 1936 letter, Hlond condemned Judaism and called for a boycott of Jewish businesses. Hlond refused to meet with Polish Jewish leaders 10 years later over concerns about the accusations of ritual murder ahead of Passover and the danger of pogroms. Hlond was the highest ranking church official in Poland from 1926 to 1948, and is credited with protecting church autonomy during the Nazi occupation and postwar communism. (Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2018)

DUTCH CHRISTIANS PRESENT ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL’ CAKE AT PARLIAMENT (Hague) — A group of Christians in the Netherlands celebrated Israel’s 70th birthday by passing out 2,000 pieces of cake in front of the Hague. Parliamentarians entering the Binnenhoff were greeted with two enormous cakes decorated with Israeli flags. The Binnenhoff is located in the Hague, the seat of the Holland’s government. The city is also home to the UN’s International Court of Justice, headquartered in the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court. The ceremony was accompanied by Israeli songs and blowing of a shofar (ram’s horn). (Breaking Israel News, May 17, 2018)

CHELSEA OWNER ABRAMOVICH IMMIGRATES TO ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) — Russian-Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich, owner of London’s Chelsea soccer club, has immigrated to Israel. Abramovich, 51, landed in Tel Aviv and received an Israeli identity card under the Law of Return, which allows Jews to become citizens of Israel. The move to Israel comes after Abramovich was unable to extend his visa in the UK amid a diplomatic spat between London and Moscow. Abramovich, worth $12.5 billion according to the British press, instantly became the richest person in Israel Monday. He will live in a mansion in Tel Aviv’s neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, a former hotel he purchased from Israeli Hollywood actress Gal Gadot, Ynet reported. (Times of Israel, May 28, 2018)

RICHARD PIPES, HISTORIAN WHO HELPED SHAPE SOVIET POLICY, DIES AT 94 (Boston) — Richard Pipes, a pre-eminent Harvard scholar of Russian and Soviet history, whose forceful opposition to accommodation with the Soviets was a cornerstone of President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, died May 17 at a nursing home in Belmont, Mass. He was 94. A son, historian and writer Daniel Pipes, confirmed the death and said there was no specific cause. Dr. Pipes was perhaps best known for his magisterial studies of Russia before and after the 1917 revolution, which he called “arguably the most important event” of the 20th century. (Washington Post, May 19, 2018)

On Topic Links

Reviewing a Month of Hypocrisy and Moral Decadence: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, May 28, 2018—Never have we witnessed such morally decadent political behavior as what has transpired these past weeks. Paradoxically, this occurred in the wake of a series of incredible Israeli achievements.

New Analysis Confirms Hamas Organized Violent Gaza Border Riots: IPT News, May 29, 2018—The vast majority of Palestinian fatalities during violent demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border were members or affiliates of terrorist organizations – primarily Hamas. Of the 112 reported deaths from March 30 to May 14, 93 people (83 percent) belonged to or were associated with terrorist groups…

Netanyahu: ‘Israel is a Global Technological Power!’ (Video): Breaking Israel News, May 30, 2018 —Quoting his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi during an address at the International Ministerial Scientific Conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel has been a “global technological power” despite its small size.

The Unknown Richard Pipes: Dr. Jiri Valenta, BESA, May 29, 2018—Pipes’s scholarship provides a key to understanding Russia’s expansion not only in Christian Europe but also in the Muslim border areas in the direction of the Middle East.

 

ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY PROPELS DIPLOMACY AND BRINGS INNOVATION TO THE WORLD

Tapping into the Brilliance of Israel and the Zionist Dream: Asaf Romirowsky, JNS, May 13, 2018—As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday, the global Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement has been propagating the idea of ”anti-normalization,“ advocating for complete and total isolation of Israel…

Business Ties to Arab World Skyrocketing, Says Venture Capitalist Margalit: Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018— As Israel marked Independence Day, the country was benefiting from ever-growing business ties with the Arab world, according to one Israeli executive who has helped paved the way for the budding rapprochement.

Israeli Startups Lead the Way in Car Tech Revolution: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, May 24, 2018— Throngs of investors and entrepreneurs hobnobbed at the EcoMotion conference in Tel Aviv this week at the nation’s largest smart-transportation event on Wednesday.

Kosher Travel and Israeli Technology: A Match Made in Heaven: Carl Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2018— Okay, now here’s something you don’t read about every day. Indeed, you have probably never read about anything quite like this before.

On Topic Links

Three Myths About Israeli Startups Busted – and One Confirmed: Ruti Levy, Ha’aretz, May 21, 2018

Vroom, Vroom: Israeli Tech Is At The Forefront Of The Newest Mobility Trends: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, May 24, 2018

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, April 8, 2018

Netanyahu Celebrates Growing Trilateral Ties With Cyprus and Greece: Breaking Israel News, May 8, 2018

 

TAPPING INTO THE BRILLIANCE OF ISRAEL AND THE ZIONIST DREAM

Asaf Romirowsky

JNS, May 13, 2018

As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday, the global Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement has been propagating the idea of “anti-normalization,” advocating for complete and total isolation of Israel, rejecting any interaction between Arabs and Jews, and underscoring that Jews cannot be or have a nation-state.

At every stage of normalizing Palestinian relations with Israel, especially during the Oslo years, extremist factions opposed the very idea of talking with Israelis. This is now the core mission of the BDS movement. Moreover, at every juncture where Israel tries to highlight its global contributions and humanism, it gets slapped for hiding its true “evil nature.” One example is highlighting Israel’s enlightened treatment of gays by declaring it “pink-washing.”

Overcoming the anti-normalization is not a simple task, but it begins with demanding normalization and acceptance. This necessity is illustrated in Avi Jorisch’s latest book, Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World. Jorisch selected 15 technological innovations and their entrepreneurs from such fields as pharmaceuticals, solar power, defense, agriculture and cyber-security. Through personal stories, Jorisch is able to share compelling individuals who are the ingenuity and tenacity of Israel and Israelis.

What makes this book unique is that it is a clear departure from the author’s previous work. Jorisch, a seasoned Middle East analyst with an expertise in Hezbollah and Iran, is no stranger to the Middle East or its threats. The book was born in the summer of 2014 during “Operation Protective Edge,” when Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza. Jorisch had a firsthand experience with Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system, which intercepted the missiles while Jorisch was carrying his son to a shelter. This led him to tell the Iron Dome tale and the race to create other systems throughout the country.

He tell the story of Eli Beer from the United Hatzalah ambulance service, who created “ambucycles”—motorcycles equipped with first-responder apparatus enabling EMTs to evade traffic and arrive on the scene in the first critical moments—what Jorisch correctly calls “the Uber of Ambulances.” In another example, the author shares the Israeli-made Emergency Bandage that saved the life of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot back in 2011 in a parking a lot of supermarket in Tucson Arizona where she was to address a crowd. The uniqueness of the bandage, developed by Bernard Bar Natan, consists of a sterile pad that medics apply to the wound with a special built-in handlebar that can provide up to 30 pounds of pressure to firm the bleeding. The bandage has saved countless lives all over the world, and is a required instrument in the tool box of the Israel Defense Forces, the U.S. Armed Services and the British Army.

Israelis crave being seen as a normal people and country, and to share their experience with the world. At the same time, the reality of being a tiny country with few natural resources—though abundant human capital—has driven innovation. Highlighting normalization and innovation are functions of not wanting to be defined by the Arab-Israeli conflict, while at the same time demonstrating how they excel despite it. Israelis are burdened with the need to fight for survival as well as excellence. The Zionist dream did not end in 1948; its redefinition seven decades later depends on finding a happy medium between defeating its strategic threats and advocating its ability to be an active contributor to community of nations. Innovation is key to this process.

The book is a welcome addition to goals of appreciating the Zionist dream and the increasing the normalcy of Israel, while underscoring the abnormal conditions in which these inventions came about. It highlights Israel’s current reality. At the end of the day, Jorisch correctly states that “Israel does not have a monopoly on good ideas or proper execution. All countries would benefit from tapping into their own cultures in order to apply their own lessons to the industries and professions they have excelled in for centuries. With this said, the Jewish state’s achievements for the benefit of mankind should be celebrated and emulated by the global community.” Internalizing this message may help combat growing anti-normalization and overcome BDS. It will certainly bring important innovations to the rest of the world.

Asaf Romirowsky is a CIJR Academic Fellow

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BUSINESS TIES TO ARAB WORLD SKYROCKETING,

SAYS VENTURE CAPITALIST MARGALIT

Max Schindler

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018

As Israel marked Independence Day, the country was benefiting from ever-growing business ties with the Arab world, according to one Israeli executive who has helped paved the way for the budding rapprochement. “It’s taken 70 years but we’re starting to see signs of normalization,” said former Labor MK and venture capitalist Erel Margalit, who travels often throughout the Middle East to meet with emirs, monarchs and Arab business leaders. “We saw it in the beginning of the ‘90s with Oslo, it [normalization] crashed and now it’s reemerging.”

Both Israel and Sunni Arab states are seeing a convergence of threats, mainly stemming from the shared menace both face from Shi’ite Iran and its proxies. Yet geopolitical interests may not fully explain burgeoning ties with the Arab world. “When I go to Europe, and I was just in Brussels, I meet with key Arab leaders, both in their countries and in other parts,” said Margalit. He chuckled that it is easier for him to meet in a business capacity than in his previous role as parliamentarian to discuss economic projects in water, food security and cybersecurity.

Globally, with the digital economy taking over brick-and-mortar shops, Israel’s stature as the “Start-Up Nation” could play a key role in disrupting key industries – healthcare, retail, automotive, food and agriculture. Other countries are clamoring for those technologies. “In the last 20 years, Israel has taken the technology developed in defense, in universities, and transitioned that into the hi-tech world,” said Margalit, who founded Jerusalem Venture Partners, which invests in many of these tech firms. “In the communications industry, Israel is the single-most influential country, to change telephony… to data, to video, to fiber-optics, wireless. The technologies that changed the battlefield are changing the world.”

Outside of the Middle East, Israeli technology is propelling diplomacy with sometimes-erstwhile European allies. Israeli expertise in big data, business intelligence and artificial intelligence is of great interest to European and Arab countries. In meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders, Margalit has often made that point. “Innovation is becoming the name of diplomacy as well. If France wants to compete with Germany for hegemony in Europe – and Germany is very strong in industry – the only chance France has is to bring innovation to the table, and Israel can help unlock that.”

In the Middle East, Margalit publicly named Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi as countries that seek to incorporate the Israeli homegrown tools. The executive has also met with leaders from Oman and Tunisia. Margalit recently visited Qatar to participate in a regional development conference, the first appearance of an Israeli leader in 10 years. With Saudi Arabia now developing a $500 billion smart city mere kilometers from the southern city of Eilat, Israeli companies are in a prime place to bid for contracts and services.

A number of Israeli companies are talking to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund – the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia – about developing the proposed 26,500-sq.km. “smart city” zone, Margalit previously told The Jerusalem Post. Nicknamed NEOM, the smart city plans to host hi-tech companies working in a range of fields, including solar energy, water, biotechnology, robotics and food technology, all of which are fields where Israeli start-ups and firms are more established than competitors in Arab countries.

Another sign of the incipient normalization was Saudi Arabia recently allowing Air India to cross its territory in flying to Tel Aviv. For Margalit, burgeoning business ties will pave the way for political opportunities to reach a regional peace agreement with Arab countries.

WHAT TROUBLES Margalit lies outside of hi-tech – the large swaths of the local populace that are being left out in the cold. “Thirty percent of Israel’s kids are not getting attention, are sometimes not bringing sandwiches to school, are not standing by the criteria of the basic tests in the schools,” said Margalit. “They don’t have a chance to finish the bagrut [high school matriculation exam] – to be a part of the 21st century and economy.”

Margalit stepped down from the Knesset last fall after losing the primary to lead the left-leaning opposition Labor Party. Despite being out of the political realm, Israel’s social inequalities continue to nag at him. That has led Margalit as an executive and philanthropist to promote subsidizing Israeli hi-tech firms to set-up in the country’s periphery.

The Israeli government has adopted parts of Margalit’s idea. While Beersheba is focusing on cybersecurity in the South and Haifa is specializing in healthcare IT in the North, Margalit’s pet project is food-tech for the northernmost city of Kiryat Shmona. “It has a chance to position Israel as the food-tech center – turning the food-tech category into a startup investment in the Galilee,” said Margalit. “That would create 15,000 to 20,000 jobs if we do it right in the next several years.” That represents what Margalit calls “centers of excellence,” sprinkled around the country.

“The young woman who graduated from Kiryat Shmona is just as talented as one who graduated from a top school in Herzliya,” Margalit said. “But she doesn’t have a chance to succeed there, up north, she must go to New York or San Francisco. So why not bring the Technion and University of Haifa to her?”

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ISRAELI STARTUPS LEAD THE WAY IN CAR TECH REVOLUTION                                         Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, May 24, 2018

Throngs of investors and entrepreneurs hobnobbed at the EcoMotion conference in Tel Aviv this week at the nation’s largest smart-transportation event on Wednesday. Technologies were debated and cards exchanged as talk of opportunities and joint ventures filled the packed hall on Wednesday. In just a few years, Israel, which has no car manufacturing activities to speak of, has become an unlikely leader in technologies that look set to transform the vehicles we know.

The Startup Nation’s foray into the field started with the electric car company Better Place, which in spite of its high-profile bankruptcy in May 2013, is credited with putting Israel’s automotive tech scene on the map. Google bought the Raanana-based mapping company Waze for a reported some $1 billion in 2013. And in March last year, Intel agreed to acquire the self-driving car technology powerhouse Mobileye, located in Jerusalem, for a whopping $15.3 billion. BMW, Ford, General, Honda, Motors, Uber, Volkswagen and Volvo are all paying attention, and have been investing in Israeli technology since 2016.

On Tuesday, Germany’s Volkswagen Group officially opened its “innovation campus” in Tel Aviv, which will be the focus of its research and development activities in Israel. And BP Ventures, the venture arm of the British multinational oil and gas firm BP plc, said, also on Tuesday, it has invested $20 million in Israeli startup StoreDot, which is developing ultra-fast battery charging technology that can be used for electric vehicles.

“We recognize Israel as a top innovation hub in the world where we will find some of the technology that will build the car of the future,” Matthieu De Chanville, the deputy head of Alliance Ventures, the venture arm of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which is scouting for Israeli technologies, said in an interview with The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

There are 423 active companies in Israel in the field of automotive, autonomous-cars, connected cars, transportation and mobility, according to data provided by Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization. There were just 207 in 2011. Israel’s auto-tech industry raised $814 million in 2017, triple the amount it raised in 2015, and $182 million in the first quarter of 2018, in line with last year’s pace, according to Start-Up Nation Central.

Gett, Via, Innoviz Technologies, Valens and Moovit are the startups with the largest funding rounds, while the most active investors in the sector in Israel include OurCrowd, Maniv Mobility, Magma Venture Partners and Aleph, according to Start-Up Nation Central data.

Among the foreign visitors to the EcoMotion event is an Italian delegation of mobility industry representatives looking for Israeli automotive technologies, especially in the fields of autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) in cars, new materials and alternative fuels. The Italian delegation is led by Italy’s second largest bank, Banca Intesa San Paolo.

On Wednesday, the innovation center of the bank signed an accord with Jerusalem-based crowdfunding venture capital fund OurCrowd to increase cooperation between Israeli and Italian startups and boost commercial opportunities in Europe in the areas of automotive, fashion technologies, food technologies and manufacturing, OurCrowd said.

Here are some of the revolutionary things that the Israeli startups are doing: Alerts for forgotten babies in cars: Tel Aviv-based startup Guardian Optical Technologies has developed a car sensor that it says is capable of saving lives of infants accidentally left in cars, by detecting the smallest heartbeat. The company’s sensor uses optical motion analysis to detect the tiniest movement within the car, including an infant heartbeat. When it detects motion, it can notify a driver who has already left the car and automatically turn on the air-conditioning.

In addition, said Gil Dotan, the CEO of Guardian, the startup is working to make the sensor, which is placed on the inside of the car roof, a collector of such data as number of people in the car, their size, position and posture, so as to enable the monitoring of what is going on in the car. This information can be used to trigger alerts about violence within the car or bus, or about forgotten items to help fleet managers of autonomous cars monitor their fleet. It will also allow insurance companies to better tailor their policies based on data of how and when and who uses the car, he explained.

The sensor is at the pilot stage and the startup is working with automakers in Europe, Japan and the US and with Tier 1 companies that supply systems to car makers, to try out the product, which Dotan hopes will be commercialized in 2021. The company has raised $8.5 million to date from investors including Maniv Mobility and Mirai Creation Fund, marking the first time that Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. have invested in an Israeli company…

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

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KOSHER TRAVEL AND ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY:

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

Carl Hoffman

Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2018

Okay, now here’s something you don’t read about every day. Indeed, you have probably never read about anything quite like this before. An Israeli travel agency that caters primarily to Orthodox Jews – which organizes things like “kosher cruises” and annual Passover programs in several hotels throughout Israel – decides one day to install a solar-powered electrical system in a poor African village’s elementary school, raises money for the project, visits the village for the inauguration of the school’s electrical system, fixes the school’s classroom floors, and plans to remotely monitor the project from Israel to make sure the solar-powered electrical system continues to work properly.

Strange as it may seem, the story is true. The travel agency is Eddie’s Kosher Travel – specializing, they say, in serving “the discerning observant Jewish traveler”; the village is Dembo, in the poverty-stricken African country Malawi; and the project is being conducted in conjunction with Innovation: Africa, a Herzliya-based NGO that has thus far impacted the lives of over 1,000,000 people by bringing innovative Israeli solar and water technologies to remote African villages.

HOW DID this come about? Says David Walles, Australian immigrant and CEO of Eddie’s Travel, “We run annually numerous Passover programs at five hotels around Israel in which hundreds of families from around the world join us. Every year, we look for ways to enrich these programs by having guest speakers come to give inspirational talks. These are guest scholars, rabbis, lecturers, etc.

“One of the speakers who came to Hotel Hacienda in Ma’alot last Passover was the founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, Sivan Ya’ari. My wife and I were very impressed by her story and what she has achieved out there. She spoke with no view to take it any further. It just filled a slot on a main evening of Passover, where we had 350 people listening to her talk. She captivated our audience.

“People kept coming up to us over the course of the rest of Passover and asked, ‘What can we do? How can we get involved here?’ So we sat down with Sivan, and she told us that, through our business, we can adopt a village school in Africa.” Ya’ari told the Walleses that for no more than $20,000, Innovation: Africa would install a fully functioning electrical system, powered by solar panels, sponsored by Eddie’s Travel and dedicated to it. “She said we’d be changing the lives of hundreds of people in that village,” Walles says.

Ya’ari recalls, “Eddie’s Travel decided to adopt a school. So we gave them a list of many schools that are waiting for light. Children that have never seen light at night. We are operating in eight African countries, and as you can imagine, we have many, many villages waiting. David, his wife, Chana, and their kids decided to adopt one in Malawi. I was very happy about this because Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. They decided to bring Israeli solar technology to power the school, to power the house of the teachers, to bring enough energy to run computers.”

And having decided to do that, the Walleses went to work. “So we put the idea out there, and the response was overwhelming. We put in some significant seed money of our own, and we encouraged others to do the same. And we raised that money,” David says…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Three Myths About Israeli Startups Busted – and One Confirmed: Ruti Levy, Ha’aretz, May 21, 2018—The hype around Israel’s high-tech sector is real, but the true story is often in the details. That’s what the Central Bureau of Statistics report on the industry for the years 2011-16 that was released Monday showed.

Vroom, Vroom: Israeli Tech Is At The Forefront Of The Newest Mobility Trends: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, May 24, 2018—Tel Aviv is on track to become a capital of mobility, placing Israel as a leader and trendsetter on a global scale in the automotive tech and smart transportation sector.

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, April 8, 2018—The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Netanyahu Celebrates Growing Trilateral Ties With Cyprus and Greece: Breaking Israel News, May 8, 2018—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the growing trilateral ties between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, during a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and before a trilateral summit including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

AS ISRAEL TARGETS IRAN IN SYRIA, IRAN-BACKED HEZBOLLAH CONSOLIDATES POWER IN LEBANON

Israel’s Syria Strategy: Yossi Melman, Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2018—The first two weeks of May were very hectic and dramatic for Israeli leaders and security chiefs in dealing with Iran.

Whoever you Vote For – Hezbollah Wins: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, May 16, 2018— Lebanon’s May 6 elections have resulted in the further consolidation of Hezbollah and its associated movements within the legal frameworks of the state.

The Travesty of the Lebanese Elections: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, May 16, 2018— Tehran is delighted with the purported victory of the Hezbollah-Amal alliance, which it backed, in the recent Lebanese parliamentary elections.

On This Memorial Day, Consider What We Owe America’s Veterans: Rena Nessler, New York Post, May 27, 2018— The numbers are sobering…

On Topic Links

Report: Iranian Forces, Shiite Militias Banned From Using Airbases in Syria: Becca Noy, Jerusalem Online, May 28, 2018

Israel’s Attacks on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Syria Spur Internal Disputes in Iran: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Orly Ram, JCPA, May 16, 2018

After 7 years, Syrian Government Declares Damascus Back Under its Full Control: Zeina Karam, Times of Israel, May 22, 2018

With Hezbollah Officially in Charge, Will the U.S. Finally Stop Arming Lebanon?: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, May 13, 2018

 

ISRAEL’S SYRIA STRATEGY

Yossi Melman

Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2018

The first two weeks of May were very hectic and dramatic for Israeli leaders and security chiefs in dealing with Iran. On May 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Mossad operatives had stolen Iran’s central nuclear archive, proving that the Islamic Republic had violated its nuclear deal with the six major world powers. A week later, in light of the revelations, and more importantly, the contents of the stolen documents and disks, the US cancelled and pulled out of the deal.

A few hours after President Donald Trump announced his decision, Israeli intelligence prevented a revenge attack by Iran. The Israel Air Force (IAF) attacked and destroyed an Iranian mobile launcher in Syria that carried rockets slated to be fired against Israel. Twenty-four hours later, the intelligence proved insufficient. From another base in Syria, Iran launched 32 rockets against Israeli military positions on the Golan Heights. Four rockets were intercepted and the rest fell in Syrian territory.

Within hours, Israel retaliated by attacking 70 Iranian positions in Syria. The targets were intelligence installations, rocket depots, army bases, logistic warehouses that Iran had built in the last year in Syria, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft systems, which fired at the Israeli planes. The operation, code-named “House of Cards” by the IDF, was the largest Israeli attack on Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War – and the closest Israel and Iran have come to the brink of a direct confrontation.

But the factor that likely played the greatest role but was most overlooked in galvanizing Israel to act against the Iranian presence in Syria is Russia. Hours before the IAF launched its massive strike, Netanyahu flew to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and attend the annual Victory Day military parade commemorating Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany. It was their ninth face-to-face meeting in the last 32 months – since Russia deployed its forces in Syria to save the regime of Bashar Assad.

Following the meeting, a senior Russia official said that his country was not negotiating a deal to supply the Syrian army with advanced S300 anti-aircraft systems. Israel has consistently opposed the deal, fearing the batteries would limit IAF freedom of action and maneuverability over the Syrian sky. Later, a senior IAF officer, briefing Israeli reporters, admitted that Israel had coordinated in advance with Russia without telling it when and where the House of Cards operation would take place in general terms, without providing exact details.

All these factors taken together, it seems that the Kremlin has slightly changed its double game in Syria with regard to Israel. Originally, the double game meant that while Russia cooperated militarily with Iran to help the Assad regime in its war against Syrian rebels, it tolerated and turned a blind eye to Israeli strikes against Iran.

Russia still needs Iranian advisers and commanders and their proxies – Shi’ite militias from Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Pakistan and Afghanistan – to be present in Syria as “boots on the ground.” But as the Assad regime extends its control over more territory, Russia needs Iran to a lesser extent. In a cynical way, Russia no longer cares, and maybe it is even happy, if the growing Iranian presence and influence in Syria is challenged and blocked by Israeli military actions.

Iranian-Syrian relations have come a long way to reach their present peak. Since 1970, Syria has been ruled by a family dynasty – the Assads, who belong to the Alawite sect, which is an offspring of the Shi’ite community. But it isn’t only religious roots that bind the two regimes. They were also tied in the past by a common rivalry with Iraq and hatred of its late leader, Saddam Hussein. The late Syrian president Hafez el-Assad, who died in 2000, respected but also suspected Iran. His cooperation with the country was cautious and limited. Even his son and heir, Bashar Assad, didn’t fully trust Iran when he came to power. He concealed from Iran his ambitious and secret program to build nuclear bombs, a plan that was destroyed in September 2007 when the IAF demolished Syria’s nuclear reactor.

But after that, Bashar strengthened his relations with Iran. He allowed Iran to use Syria as a hub for resupplying Hezbollah with rockets and missiles after the Lebanese Shi’ite movement suffered a blow at the hands of Israel in the 2006 war. But the turning point came after the eruption of civil war in Syria in March 2011. Fearing he would lose power to the mosaic of rebel groups, including al-Qaeda (and later ISIS) supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the US, Assad asked Iran to help repel his enemies.

Iran gladly agreed. First, it sent Hezbollah warriors to salvage the Syrian regime, then its own advisers and commanders, and eventually, Shi’ite militias to serve as cannon fodder. Indeed, Iran and its proxies, together with a later Russian intervention, rescued Assad. As the combined efforts repelled and defeated ISIS, and as the Assad regime regained more territory, Iran moved to phase two of its plan. It began deepening its military deployment in Syria with three aims. One, to establish a land corridor from its territory via Iraq to Syria and then to Lebanon, as part of its expansionist policy to set strong footholds in the entire Middle East by reaching the Mediterranean and the Red Sea via Yemen.

The second aim is to reap economic benefits in Syria, particularly by gaining oil and gas concessions as well as construction deals. The third aim is to have a military presence near the Israeli border in order to threaten the Jewish state from three directions: long-range missiles from Iran; the huge missile and rocket arsenal (120,000) of Hezbollah in Lebanon; and the Hezbollah presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights…

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

 

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WHOEVER YOU VOTE FOR – HEZBOLLAH WINS

Jonathan Spyer

Breaking Israel News, May 16, 2018

Lebanon’s May 6 elections have resulted in the further consolidation of Hezbollah and its associated movements within the legal frameworks of the state. The movement and its allies won over half of the seats in the 128-seat parliament. At the same time, the 2018 elections do not appear set to usher in any fundamental alterations to the status quo in Lebanon.

The majority achieved was not sufficient as a basis for constitutional change to alter the rules of the game related, for example, to the sectarian power-sharing agreements that underlie Lebanese political life. However, Hezbollah and Amal and co will have comfortably more than their own “blocking third” in parliament, sufficient to prevent any changes not to their liking. Hezbollah and Amal swept the boards in the Shia parts of the country, confirming and consolidating their domination of this sector. Hezbollah general secretary Hassan Nasrallah declared himself satisfied with the results, saying they confirmed Beirut as a “capital of the resistance.”

The biggest losers were the Future Movement of Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri. This list saw its representation in parliament decline from 34 seats to 21, with Hariri-supported candidates losing to Hezbollah supported Sunnis in Beirut and Tripoli. The decline in Hariri and al-Mustaqbal’s levels of support reflect the sense that the March 14 project of which they were a part is a busted flush.

Following the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, and the subsequent assassination of then-prime minister Rafiq Hariri, March 14 sought to stand for a notion of Lebanon as a sovereign state, run by its institutions, and with weaponry kept out of politics. This is a project that has clearly failed. Its first testing point was in 2006 when Hezbollah carried out the attack on an IDF patrol on the Israeli side of the border which precipitated the 2006 war. This incident indicated that despite March 14’s nominal role as the governing authority, it was incapable of preventing a political party with its own militia and backed by a foreign power (Iran) from going to war at a time and in a manner of its choosing.

Its second testing point came in May of 2008 when it was established that March 14 had no ability to challenge Hezbollah writ within Lebanon, as well as on the matter of the movement’s violent campaign (or “resistance” as it prefers to term it) against Israel. At that time, the March 14 led government sought to act against Hezbollah’s de facto control of the Beirut International Airport. Amal and Hezbollah then took over west Beirut in 48 hours, forcing the government to reverse its planned measures. The third and final burial of the March 14 project for the normalization of Lebanon came with the Syrian civil war. At that time, Hezbollah was tasked by Iran with helping to make up for the Assad regime’s shortfall in manpower. It proceeded to do so, placing the population of Lebanon including its Shia constituency at acute risk, again with no permission sought.

All these facts explain the eclipse of March 14 and Hariri. They are, quite simply, a project that has failed. What will result from the elections will be a coalition government likely to include both Hezbollah and its allies, and the defeated remnants of the March 14 alliance, whose main component, the Future Movement, is led by Sa’ad Hariri. It is possible that Hariri will himself return as prime minister in the new coalition to be formed. But because of the new parliamentary arithmetic, Hezbollah and its allies will have a higher representation in the new coalition.

Analyses by Lebanese commentators of the elections have been as ever characterized by nuance, subtlety and sophisticated understanding of the sometimes labyrinthine nature of Lebanese politics. As ever, however, they have tended to focus on the minutiae of levels of support and hence of representation in the next coalition, noting the role of a new election law this time in necessitating new tactical electoral alliances, and hence breaking down the old clear structures of March 14 and its rival March 8 movement. Analysis of minutiae and process, while worthwhile, can also play the role of obscuring the larger picture and its implications. It is therefore important also to note these. The forced resignation and then rapid non-resignation of Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri in November 2017 demonstrated the essential powerlessness of the Lebanese Prime Minister on crucial matters.

The elements other than Hezbollah and its allies in the Lebanese governing system are there to play the role of convincing the world that something of the state remains and that the country has not simply become a fully fledged puppet of Tehran and its militias. For this purpose, elections are held, in line with international norms, parties contest constituencies, real issues are also at stake. There is a large swathe of national policy entirely off limits to the political discussion, and not contested by it. This is the sphere of foreign policy and “national security.”

In this regard, a governing coalition in which Hezbollah is stronger will play the role of further integrating national institutions with those of the “resistance.” But even if this were not the case, the “resistance” bodies are already stronger than those of the state, these bodies are decisive in the decision of when and with whom to make war, and this is not a reality subject to change at the ballot box. That is the salient truth regarding Lebanon today, and its presence should not be obscured by a focus of discussion on electoral laws, constituencies, and alliances…

This has been the reality for some time. Israeli planners are well aware of it. In the West, however, there are those who have yet to acknowledge the situation, despite its plainness. From this point of view, Lebanese parliamentary elections are not quite the empty charade of polls in autocratic countries – but like such sham elections, they serve to obscure the core truths of who wields power in the system, and who does not. That is, in Lebanon, in 2018, whoever you vote for – Hezbollah (i.e. Iran) wins.

 

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THE TRAVESTY OF THE LEBANESE ELECTIONS

                             Prof. Hillel Frisch

BESA, May 16, 2018

Tehran is delighted with the purported victory of the Hezbollah-Amal alliance, which it backed, in the recent Lebanese parliamentary elections. But this victory was hardly a model of democracy in action. Beyond the fact that Hezbollah is the strongest military force in Lebanon, there are precious few unimpeachable truths to be found in that beleaguered country – least of all the claim that Hezbollah-Amal won the elections in a fair fight.

To understand why Lebanese elections are a travesty, one must attempt to assess the size of the country’s population. The latest estimate by the official Central Administration of Statistics, compiled with the help of UN agencies, was 3,157,100 in 2007. The CIA estimates that that figure had grown to 4,132,000 by July 2014. But “estimate” is the critical word. A proper census (headcount), which, in most states on similar levels of development as Lebanon, typically occur at the beginning of every decade, has never taken place in the nearly one hundred years of Lebanon’s existence as a modern state. Even the much vaunted 1932 census, which produced the fictional parity between Christians and Muslims, never deserved the name.

That no census has ever been carried out in this relatively advanced state is not due to oversight. This tiny heterogeneous country is the size of Rhode Island and composed of 14 historic religious groups, each keen to preserve its exclusive identity and power. Demography has thus always been one of the most sensitive political issues in Lebanon. Little wonder that the Central Administration is ensconced in the Office of the President.

It is the mystery of Lebanon’s true population that exposes the travesty of the Lebanese elections. According to official sources, there were 3,665,514 registered voters in the recent elections to the 128-member parliament. If the estimates cited above are correct, the Lebanese population grew by roughly 100,000 persons annually since 2014. This would mean the Lebanese citizenry grew from 4,132,000 to a little over 4.5 million (though falling birth rates suggest more subdued growth).

Here’s the problem. The voting age in Lebanon is 18. The 2007 survey and the subsequent 2009 labor force survey clearly indicate that at least 35% of the population is below the age of 18. Thirty-five percent of a population of 4.5 million equals 1.575 million. The maximum possible number of registered voters stands at fewer than three million, a discrepancy of over 665,000 registered voters. This means that over one-sixth of the registered voters were resurrected from the dead.

Even more remarkable is the breakdown of registered voters by district. According to official election data, in the mostly rural Baalbek-Hermel district, which is composed almost exclusively of Shiites and is a Hezbollah stronghold, there were over 345,000 registered voters and 11 seats. Compare this to the less than half a million voters for the two voting districts that make up the city of Beirut and its immediate environs, for a total of 19 seats. Yet in the 2007 survey, the total population of Beirut was nearly double the population of the Beq’a province, of which the Baalabek-Hermel district is one small part.

The same can be said of the Nabatiya district in the south, another Hezbollah stronghold and another small district of the Beq’a province. There were 460,491 registered voters there, for a total of 11 seats – nearly the same as the total number of registered voters in all of Beirut. These two districts, which account for no more than 14% of the Lebanese population, had more registered voters than Beirut, which accounts for nearly half the country’s population. A vote in the Hezbollah strongholds is worth at least double the value of a vote in Beirut…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]  Contents

   

ON THIS MEMORIAL DAY, CONSIDER WHAT

WE OWE AMERICA’S VETERANS

Rena Nessler

New York Post, May 27, 2018

The numbers are sobering: More than 1 million men and women have given their lives serving in our military during wartime, with thousands more dying in other conflicts. Many died long ago in some of our nation’s — and world’s — most-well-known conflicts. Some died during operations few will ever hear about in history class. And, unfortunately and inevitably, more will die serving our country honorably battling terrorism, tyranny and threats to the American way of life. None will be forgotten.

Officially recognized as first having been celebrated upstate in Waterloo in 1866, Memorial Day — then known as Decoration Day — was a community remembrance. When the first official Decoration Day ceremonies were held at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868, James A. Garfield, a future president and a Civil War combat veteran, told the thousands gathered, “For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

Today, we still remember their patriotism and virtue, and that of the scores who have selflessly sacrificed since to make this the greatest country in the world. It is a blessing to count myself among those who served our nation and came home to enjoy all that America has to offer. While many have been so lucky to return, there are countless others who have struggled with the lasting effects of conflict, both physical and emotional.

In the same way we must not forget the sacrifice of those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms, we proud Americans and New Yorkers must not turn our backs on our veterans and military members in need. We owe it to our veterans grappling with post-traumatic stress to continue researching new treatment options. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, between 11 and 20 percent of our Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans deal with PTS. It is estimated that about 30 percent of our Vietnam veterans have had PTS at some point, according to the VA.

We owe it to our veterans who have fallen into homelessness or are on the verge of homelessness to ensure that they do not continue to slip through the cracks. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated in 2017 that more than 40,000 veterans were homeless on any given night, with more than 1,200 veterans experiencing homelessness in New York. As a state and a nation, we must get our arms around this crisis and implement the proper policies to make sure vets have what they need long before they reach the point of homelessness or penury. We can’t wait until people are in crisis before we help them.

We owe it to all veterans and their families to ensure they receive the benefits they’re entitled to. No veteran should have to worry that red tape will keep them from accessing health care, education, insurance and the many other benefits we offer those who served. Just as I am a proud New Yorker, American and veteran, I am a proud member of the American Legion, an organization that for nearly 100 years has advocated for veterans and active-duty military members to ensure that all sacrifices are remembered. As we near our centennial celebration in 2019, I encourage all New Yorkers — not just those who are eligible to join us — to learn more about our advocacy, programs and benefits-assistance efforts…

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

 

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On Topic Links

Report: Iranian Forces, Shiite Militias Banned From Using Airbases in Syria: Becca Noy, Jerusalem Online, May 28, 2018—The Syrian Air Force has banned Iranians and pro-Tehran Shiite militias from using its military airbases, Zaman al-Wasl reported Monday.

Israel’s Attacks on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Syria Spur Internal Disputes in Iran: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Orly Ram, JCPA, May 16, 2018— Iran’s response to Israel’s extensive attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guard targets in Syria on May 9, 2018, reflects growing confusion and dissent within its leadership and security service…

After 7 years, Syrian Government Declares Damascus Back Under its Full Control: Zeina Karam, Times of Israel, May 22, 2018—Syria’s military on Monday captured an enclave in southern Damascus from Islamic State militants following a ruinous monthlong battle, bringing the entire capital and its far-flung suburbs under full government control for the first time since the civil war began in 2011.

With Hezbollah Officially in Charge, Will the U.S. Finally Stop Arming Lebanon?: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, May 13, 2018—Lebanon held elections for its parliament on Sunday for the first time since 2009. Not unexpectedly, Hezbollah was the big winner. Hezbollah’s representatives and allies now control a majority of the seats in Lebanon’s parliament. Sunni candidates allied with – or rather controlled by – Hezbollah won seats that had been controlled by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement.

 

ANTI-ISRAELI LEFT & MUSLIM EXTREMISTS ARE THE PRE-EMINENT THREATS TO JEWISH PEOPLE

Zionism and the Wedge Between US and Israeli Jews: Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, May 24, 2018— In Mandatory Palestine, Jews began to accumulate power – economic, political, and military – which caused other Jews to immediately question the enterprise itself.

The Disintegration of American Jewry: Isi Leibler, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2018 — American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding.

Why Do You Hate Israel?: Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, Apr. 11, 2018— Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does?

Bernard Lewis: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018— One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey.

On Topic Links

Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101: Douglas Martin, New York Times, May 21, 2018

An Open Letter to Natalie Portman: Amichai Shikli, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018

Why the Left Buys Into Every Anti-Israel Smear: Gil Troy, New York Post, May 20, 2018

Cornell Student Presents Senior Thesis In Her Underwear: Dennis Prager, Townhall, May 15, 2018

 

ZIONISM AND THE WEDGE BETWEEN US AND ISRAELI JEWS

Dr. Asaf Romirowsky

BESA, May 24, 2018

In Mandatory Palestine, Jews began to accumulate power – economic, political, and military – which caused other Jews to immediately question the enterprise itself. Old anti-Semitic tropes came to the fore, like the notion that a Jewish state would be based on “exploitation” or even Zionist “world domination”. The prospect of a Jewish state generated non-Jewish hostility and, among a Jewish minority, feelings of guilt. Decades before the state was founded, Judah Magnes anxiously said: “It is not only the end which for Israel must be desirable, but what is of equal importance, the means must be conceived and brought forth in cleanliness.”

But no state has or could achieve that desired level of purity, particularly one surrounded by implacable enemies. Powerlessness was the preferred – even the ideal – situation, and the rootlessness that accompanied it.

A century after Balfour, the strength of his declaration is grounded in the political understanding that Jews are indeed a nation. Zionism is thus Jewish nationalism in its purest form. Yet today, the word Zionism is unique. No other term for a national movement evokes such a visceral reaction. No other word has been infamously defined in the UN as “a form of racism and racial discrimination” by a coalition of racists led by the Soviet Union, as occurred in 1975. No other national movement has a global boycott movement aimed against it that positions itself on a moral pedestal and strives to rewrite history and control the definition of Zionism itself.

Among the most pernicious consequences of the BDS movement is the wedge that has been driven between Israel and liberal Americans, including liberal American Jews. The relentless misappropriation of human rights and anti-racist discourse, the slanderous talk of Israeli “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide,” and the bitter ad hominem attacks on Israelis, their international supporters, and the peace process itself have taken a severe toll on American civil discourse.

Jews and Israelis are now called upon to demonstrate their “moral fiber” by using their own Jewish identity as a vehicle to question Israel and its legitimacy. More perverse are the use of Jewishness to passionately make pleas for the Palestinian cause and the assertion that Jewishness is somehow based on pro-Palestinian beliefs as a “progressive” value.  For Jews on the far Left, as for Arab Palestinians, the events of 1948 are the original sin.

Seen through a colonialist prism, Western powers implanted a Jewish state in the Middle East to control the region. Jews, the true indigenous population, are cast as doubly illegitimate. Jewish apathy, religious ignorance, and the deliberate substitution of “social justice” for traditional Jewish liturgy account for the decline – and show the danger of placing antipathy towards the Jewish state of Israel at the center of religious belief.

Historically, from before 1948 all the way through the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, there was an appreciation of Israel – not only as the fulfillment of the ancient longing for return, but also as a haven. In the aftermath of the Holocaust the threat of annihilation was understood to be real. Moreover, Zionism was viewed as part and parcel of American Jewish identity, especially in the years leading up to 1967. There was no contradiction between being a liberal American and a Jew.

Justice Louis Brandeis expressed this well: “Let no American imagine that Zionism is inconsistent with patriotism…There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modern and essentially American…Indeed, loyalty to America demands rather that each American Jew become a Zionist. For only through the ennobling effect of its striving can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance.”

Albert Einstein had a similar appreciation for Zionism and the Jewish State: “Zionism springs from an even deeper motive than Jewish suffering. It is rooted in Jewish spiritual tradition, whose maintenance and development was for Jews the raison d’être of their continued existence as a community. In the re-establishment of the Jewish nation in the ancient home of the race, where Jewish spiritual values could again be developed in a Jewish atmosphere, the most enlightened representatives of Jewish individuality see the essential preliminary to the regeneration of the race and the setting free of its spiritual creativeness.”

Both Brandeis and Einstein clearly understood the need to maintain and incorporate Zionism within their Jewish identity even if they did not agree with certain policies of the State of Israel and its leadership. The Zionism of 1948-1967 is not the Zionism of 2018; each generation needs to find its own form of Zionism. But eliminating Zionism in the name of Judaism negates Jewish history instead of embracing and remembering it. As Yigal Allon correctly stated, “Zionism is, in sum, the constant and unrelenting effort to realize the national and universal vision of the prophets of Israel.” Many of the problems faced by Israel at 70 are manifested within the Jewish community, above all a false distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. At the end of the day it will have to be understood that hatred of Israel can no longer be separated from loathing of Jews, even by Jews themselves.

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THE DISINTEGRATION OF AMERICAN JEWRY

Isi Leibler

Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2018

American Jewry, apart from the Orthodox and a minority of committed non-Orthodox, is demographically imploding. Paradoxically, this is taking place at a time when support for Israel among the American people is at an all-time high and traditional anti-Semitism is at its lowest level. Jewish education among non-Orthodox Jews is catastrophic with widespread ignorance of Judaism and understanding about Israel. Assimilation is rampant with intermarriage levels reaching 70%.

Although right-wing racist anti-Semitism has made headlines, the real threat emanates from the viciously anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Left and the growing numbers of Muslim extremists. Under normal circumstances, a proud Jewish community supported by most Americans could neutralize these negative elements. However, the crisis is largely internal. In the past, American Jews, with valid historical justifications, have always had a penchant for liberalism. Their attachments to Israel and Judaism were synonymous and liberal political forces were Israel’s strongest supporters, while conservatives were less inclined to support the Jewish state.

However, over the past two decades, the far Left has become viciously anti-Israeli, even supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and depicting Israel as an imperialist occupier. This trend reached a climax under U.S. President Barack Obama, who made overtures to the Iranians and treated Israel politically as a rogue state. Aside from ZOA head, Morton Klein, not a single mainstream Jewish leader had the courage to stand up and protest Obama’s bias against Israel and his constant bracketing of Israeli defensive actions as morally equivalent to the actions of terrorists.

Despite this, incredibly, aside from African-Americans, the Jews remained consistently Obama’s greatest supporters. When Donald Trump was elected president, the hatred manifested against him from the bulk of the Jewish leadership reached hysterical levels. Many of the so-called leaders intensified the anti-Israeli hysteria by falsely accusing Trump of fascism and even anti-Semitism – despite his Jewish friends and family members and outstanding support for Israel. In fact, the administration’s wholehearted ongoing support for the Jewish state even seemed to intensify their anti-Israeli inclinations.

The Anti-Defamation League, headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, relinquished any pretense of being apolitical. It continuously lashed out against the administration and behaved like an extension of the extreme anti-Trump opposition. The ADL frequently seemed more inclined to defend Muslim extremists than Jews, maintaining that organizations like Canary Mission, which exposes anti-Semitism on college campuses, are Islamophobic and racist. It also ignored or dismissed much of the left-wing anti-Semitism and soft-pedaled its criticism of Black Lives Matter, an organization that accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and exaggerated the influence of far-right radicals, seeking to link them to Trump. The ADL also took upon itself to repeatedly condemn Israeli policies and the so-called “occupation.”

The Reform movement leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, behaved similarly, usually with the support of leaders of the Conservative movement. Jacobs initially even condemned Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this environment, the anti-Israeli-government J Street was absurdly promoted by sectors of the establishment as a moderate and a legitimate vehicle to soften the more delusional Jewish groups openly seeking the demise of Israel and even defending Hamas.

By remaining silent and appealing for tolerance even toward groups castigating Israel like Jewish Voice for Peace, the Jewish establishment created a defeatist climate, paving the way for the chaos currently prevailing in the Jewish community. This has impacted on large numbers of Jews, especially youth with virtually no Jewish education and for whom Israel has already become a marginal factor. In turn, this has strengthened the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and created an atmosphere in which it is chic for unaffiliated Jews to distance themselves from, or in some cases even publicly condemn, Israel.

Twenty years ago, it would have been inconceivable to have any other than delusional Jewish fringe groups attacking Israel. Today, especially on campuses, it requires courage to even stand up against these perverted anti-Israeli Jews. These self-hating Jewish deviants have combined with Muslim extremists and the far Left to intimidate Jews committed to Israel, making life for them unbearable particularly on campuses. They are at the forefront of the BDS movement, deny Israeli spokesmen the right to speak, disrupt their lectures and support the depiction of Israel as an “apartheid state.” The extent of the madness is reflected in groups of Jewish radicals publicly reciting kaddish for Jihadist Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers defending their borders.

Sadly, many Jewish leaders urge supporters of Israel to be tolerant of these hostile Jewish groups and, rather than confronting them, entreat them to engage in dialogue. Regrettably, many Hillel groups encourage and provide venues for such dialogue. It is hardly surprising that, in such an environment encouraged by the anti-Israeli media and the radical wing of the Democratic Party, whereas in the past Jewish support for Israel was almost a given, today the preponderance of liberal Jews – especially their leaders – feel awkward supporting Israel. Wishing to conform to their self-image as “enlightened,” in most cases they feel comfortable publicly condemning the Israeli government.

The current, almost unprecedented unity of the Israeli people transcends politics over issues such as war and peace, defense of the borders and deterring terrorism, including the violent efforts by Hamas to breach Israel’s borders. This is ignored by many liberal American Jews living in an atmosphere in which they not only feel the need to conform and condemn Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his democratically elected government but in many cases, go even further, castigating the IDF for allegedly responding disproportionately to terrorists who use human shields as a tactic in their warfare…

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

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WHY DO YOU HATE ISRAEL?

                              Brendan O’Neill

Spiked, Apr. 11, 2018

Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does? Why do Israel’s military activities aggravate you and disturb your conscience and provoke you to outbursts of street protesting or Twitter-fury in a way that no other state’s military activities do? These are the questions that hang darkly over today’s so-called progressives. Which eat away at their self-professed moral authority, at their claims to be practitioners of fairness and equality. They are the questions to which no satisfactory answer has ever been given. So they niggle and fester, expertly avoided, or unconvincingly batted away, a black question mark over much of the modern left: why Israel?

The question has returned in recent days, following violent clashes on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Like clockwork, with a predictability that now feels just mostly depressing, these clashes that resulted in the deaths of many protesting Palestinians magically awoke an anti-imperialist, anti-war instinct among Western observers that was notably, stubbornly, mysteriously dormant when Turkey recently laid waste to the Kurdish town of Afrin or during any of the recent Western-backed Saudi barbarism visited upon the benighted people of Yemen. A member of the IDF raises his gun and suddenly the right-minded of the West switch off Spotify, take to Twitter, engage their emotional fury, and say: ‘NO.’ Their political lethargy lifts, their placards are dusted down, and they remember that war and violence are bad. They even go on to the streets, as people did in London and across Europe in recent days. This is evil, they declaim, and that question rises up again, silently, awkwardly, usually ignored: why is this evil but Turkey’s sponsored slaughter of hundreds of Kurdish civilians and fighters in Afrin was not? Why Israel?

Israeli activity doesn’t only elicit a response from these campaigners where Turkish or Saudi or Syrian activity does not – it always elicits a visceral response. The condemnation of Israel is furious and intense, the language used about it is dark, strikingly different to the language used about any other state that engages in military activity. Israel is never just wrong or heavy-handed or a country that ‘foolishly rushes to war’, as protesters would say about Tony Blair and Iraq, and very occasionally about Obama and Libya, and, if they were pressed for an opinion, would probably say about the Turks and the Saudis, too. No, Israel is genocidal. It is a terrorist state, a rogue state, an apartheid state. It is mad, racist, ideological. It doesn’t do simple militarism – it does ‘bloodletting’; it derives some kind of pleasure from killing civilians, including children. As one observer said during the clashes at the Gaza border, Israel kills those whose only crime is to have been ‘born to non-Jewish mothers’. Israel hates. This Jewish State is the worst state, the most bloodthirsty state.

Following the deaths of 18 Palestinians on the Gaza border, Glenn Greenwald denounced Israel as an ‘apartheid, rogue, terrorist state’, like a man reaching for as many ways as possible to say ‘evil’. One left-wing group says Israel’s behaviour at the Gaza border confirms it is enforcing a ‘slow genocide’ on the Palestinians. The ‘scale of the bloodletting’ is horrifying, says one radical writer. Israel loves to draw blood. A writer for Al-Jazeera says the clashes are a reminder that Israel has turned Gaza into ‘the biggest concentration camp on the surface of the Earth’, and that question, that unanswerable, or certainly unanswered, question, rises up once more: why is Gaza a concentration camp but Yemen, which has been subject to a barbaric sea, land and air blockade since 2015 that has resulted in devastating shortages of food and medicine, causing famine and the rampant spread of diseases like cholera, is not? By any measurement, the blockade on Yemen is worse than any restrictions that have been placed on Gaza. People in Gaza are not starving to death or contracting cholera in their tens of thousands, as Yemenis are. Yet Gaza is a concentration camp while Yemen, when they can be bothered to comment on it, is a war zone…

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

 

Contents

   

BERNARD LEWIS

Editorial

Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018

One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey. Lewis, who will be buried at the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv on Thursday, had a major impact on US foreign policy, particularly under the presidency of George W. Bush. He briefed vice president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His phrase, “the clash of civilizations,” was made famous by American political scientist Samuel Huntington, who argued that cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era.

Lewis attributed the 9/11 attacks to a decaying Islamic civilization that enabled extremists such as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to conduct an international terrorist campaign. The solution to the growing problems of fundamentalist Islamic ideology was, in a word, democracy. “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us,” Lewis wrote. In many ways he was a modern-day prophet, although he was sometimes wrong and was often accused by his academic colleagues of being Eurocentric. “For some, I’m the towering genius,” Lewis told The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2012. “For others, I’m the devil incarnate.” He warned in 2006 that Iran had been working on a nuclear program for some 15 years. But he wrongly predicted that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be planning an apocalyptic attack, perhaps against Israel, on August 22, to coincide with Muhammad’s night flight to Jerusalem.

As Israel deliberates again whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it is timely to recall that in the first editions of his well-known book, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Lewis described that genocide as “the terrible holocaust of 1915, when a million and a half Armenians perished.” In later editions, he changed the text to “the terrible slaughter of 1915, when, according to estimates, more than a million Armenians perished, as well as an unknown number of Turks.” Critics accused him of “historical revisionism.” In a visit to The Jerusalem Post in 2007, the London- born Lewis eloquently discussed the situation in an interview with then-editor David Horovitz and reporter Tovah Lazaroff. He predicted that one way for Muslims to alleviate their growing rage would be “to win some large victories, which could happen. They seem to be about to take over Europe.”

Lewis was asked what that meant for Jews in Europe. “The outlook for the Jewish communities in Europe is dim,” he replied. “Soon, the only pertinent question regarding Europe’s future will be, ‘Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?’” In reviewing Lewis’s 2010 collection of essays – Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East – Post International Edition editor Liat Collins pertinently noted a line of thought appearing throughout the essays was that the Western concept of separating church and state was not compatible with Islam.

“The emergence of a population, many millions strong, of Muslims born and educated in Western Europe will have immense and unpredictable consequences for Europe, for Islam and for the relations between them,” Lewis wrote. Collins commented: “I don’t want to hear a ‘Told you so’ so much as an update in the wake of the current mass migration to Europe’s shores.” Although he didn’t get everything right – who can? – Collins added that his special touches are well-worth noting, such as this classic quotation: “In America one uses money to buy power, while in the Middle East, one uses power to acquire money.”…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Bernard Lewis, Influential Scholar of Islam, Is Dead at 101: Douglas Martin, New York Times, May 21, 2018—Bernard Lewis, an eminent historian of Islam who traced the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to a declining Islamic civilization, a controversial view that influenced world opinion and helped shape American foreign policy under President George W. Bush, died on Saturday in Voorhees Township, N.J. He was 101.

An Open Letter to Natalie Portman: Amichai Shikli, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018—It would take more than one infuriating statement to make me lose my deep affection for Natalie Portman. She’s talented, gorgeous and genteel – but in the present case, she happens to be wrong and misleading. I’m not bothered by the fact that she’s given BDS – a movement that has lost its momentum and vitality and is doomed to failure – further ammunition with which to attack Israel.

Why the Left Buys Into Every Anti-Israel Smear: Gil Troy, New York Post, May 20, 2018—Eight armed Hamas terrorists fought Israeli troops last Monday. All were killed — then counted in the day’s death toll of “60 protesters.” Hamas itself identified 50 of the 60 “martyrs” as Hamas members and admitted to “terminological deception,” because it was deploying “peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force.”

Cornell Student Presents Senior Thesis In Her Underwear: Dennis Prager, Townhall, May 15, 2018—The most remarkable thing about the title of this column, “Cornell student presents senior thesis in her underwear” is that not one reader thinks it’s a joke. That, my friends, is further proof of the low esteem in which most Americans hold our universities.

 

 

HOLLYWOOD BIEN, BOLLYWOOD MIEUX, PALLYWOOD IMBATTABLE!

DÉCLARATION DU PREMIER MINISTRE AU SUJET

DE LA VIOLENCE SURVENUE DANS LA BANDE DE GAZA

16 mai, 2018

 

Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a fait aujourd’hui la déclaration suivante au sujet de la violence survenue dans la bande de Gaza :

 

« Le Canada déplore la violence survenue dans la bande de Gaza qui a mené à la perte tragique de plusieurs personnes et fait de nombreux blessés. Nous sommes profondément inquiets de cette situation. C’est avec consternation que nous avons appris que Dr Tarek Loubani, un citoyen canadien, se trouve parmi les blessés, tout comme plusieurs personnes qui étaient non armées, dont des civils, des journalistes, des premiers répondants et des enfants.

 

« Nous faisons tout notre possible pour aider Dr Loubani et sa famille, et pour déterminer comment un citoyen canadien a pu être blessé. Nous sommes en contact avec les autorités israéliennes pour mieux comprendre comment ces événements ont pu se produire.

 

« L’emploi présumé d’une force excessive et de munitions réelles est inexcusable. Il est impératif d’éclaircir les faits concernant la situation à Gaza. Le Canada réclame qu’une enquête indépendante soit réalisée immédiatement afin d’évaluer la situation sur le terrain, notamment la violence, l’incitation à la violence, et l’emploi de force excessive.

 

« Le Canada est prêt à contribuer à cette enquête. Nous travaillerons de près avec nos partenaires internationaux et au sein d’organismes internationaux afin de répondre à cette grave situation. »

 

LE CIJA CRITIQUE LA DÉCLARATION DU GOUVERNEMENT SUR LES AFFRONTEMENTS ENTRE ISRAËL ET LE HAMAS

CIJA, 16 mai, 2018

 

Le Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes (CIJA) a critiqué aujourd’hui une déclaration émise par le premier ministre Justin Trudeau au sujet des récentes violences à la frontière entre Israël et Gaza. Le CIJA a demandé une réunion urgente avec le premier ministre pour lui transmettre les préoccupations de la communauté juive à ce sujet.

 

Le PDG du CIJA, Shimon Koffler Fogel, a fait la déclaration suivante:

 

« Nous sommes profondément déçus que la déclaration du gouvernement ignore la responsabilité directe du Hamas pour les récentes violences à la frontière entre Israël et Gaza. Ceci contredit la position de longue date du gouvernement selon laquelle, en tant qu’allié proche et démocratie libérale, Israël peut compter sur le soutien du Canada lorsque sa sécurité est menacée. En outre, la déclaration du premier ministre ne tient pas compte des affirmations du Hamas selon lesquelles 50 des 62 victimes des dernières tentatives de violation de la frontière étaient des membres du Hamas.

 

« Le Hamas n’a laissé aucune autre alternative à Israël que le recours à la force pour protéger les dizaines de milliers d’Israéliens qui vivent près de Gaza. Nous sommes indignés et attristés que le Hamas utilise de nouveau des boucliers humains civils. Pour les Israéliens et la communauté juive, les pertes palestiniennes sont des tragédies douloureuses. Pour le Hamas, les pertes palestiniennes sont de répugnants succès de relations publiques. Transférer la faute à Israël risque d’encourager le Hamas à alimenter la violence, à rendre la paix plus difficile à atteindre et à imposer des épreuves supplémentaires aux Gazaouis – qui sont les premières victimes de la tactique du Hamas ».

 

 

 

UNE SCÈNE QUE LES MÉDIAS INTERNATIONAUX NE MONTRERONT JAMAIS

Shraga Blum      

LPH Info, 14 mai, 2018

 

Le site www. mivzakim.co.il a diffusé sur sa page Facebook un nouvel épisode du feuilleton interminable Pallywood, destiné à tromper l’opinion internationale et attirer les condamnations  contre Israël. Dans cette nouvelle et courte vidéo, l’on aperçoit un jeune homme de Gaza qui marche difficielement en s’aidant de béquilles et narguant les soldats de Tsahal. Soudain, “l’handicapé” recouvre l’usage de ses jambes et se met à courir à toute vistesse. S’il avait été abattu, le Hamas aurait diffusé des images montrant un “malheureux handicapé froidement abattu par les soldats israéliens”.

Voir le video ici : https://www.mivzaklive.co.il/archives/174298

 

 

ÉMEUTES À LA FRONTIÈRE ENTRE LA BANDE DE GAZA ET ISRAËL, FACE À UNE INSTRUMENTALISATION CRIMINELLE DES GAZAOUIS PAR LE HAMAS TERRORISTE, VOIR LE DOCUMENTAIRE DE PIERRE REHOV

Hélène Keller-Lind

Des Infos, 14 mai, 2018

 

« Des dizaines de Palestiniens, dont des enfants, tués et des centaines de blessés, par des tirs israéliens lors de manifestations de masse se déroulant près de la clôture de Gaza », déclare la représentante et vice-présidente de l’Union européenne en ce 14 mai 2018, pour en appeler toutes les parties à « la plus grande retenue », demandant à Israël de « respecter le droit à manifester pacifiquement et le principe de proportionnalité dans l’utilisation de la force. » Le Hamas, poursuit-elle, « doit s’assurer que – les manifestations- restent strictement non-violentes et ne soient pas exploitées à d’autres fins. »* Bel exercice en hypocrisie.

 

Calquées sur la déclaration de ce jour de Federica Mogherini, grande admiratrice et inconditionnelle de Yasser Arafat puis de Mahmoud Abbas, celles de maints pays européens seront tout aussi hypocrites dans leur déformation voulue des faits. Dans sa déclaration faite le même jour, pour sa part, Jean-Michel Le Drian, ministre français des Affaires étrangères, ne se donnera même pas la peine de faire mine d’interpeller le Hamas, organisation terroriste, qui règne d’une main de fer, sur la Bande de Gaza…Il en profite pour redire que « La France désapprouve la décision américaine de transférer l’ambassade des Etats-Unis en Israël de Tel Aviv à Jérusalem, comme l’a rappelé à plusieurs reprises le président de la République. » Comme si ce transfert et cette reconnaissance de la réalité par les États-Unis, soucieux de réitérer dans le même temps leur volonté de paix, à savoir que Jérusalem est la capitale d’Israël, avaient provoqué des émeutes qui durent depuis des lustres, avec des variations dans leur intensité et leur violence. Car tout prétexte est bon pour le Hamas pour organiser des émeutes, l’ouverture de l’ambassade des États-Unis dans la capitale d’Israël n’en étant qu’un parmi d’autres. Mais une occasion à saisir au mieux, ici au pire avec le plus de victimes possibles, alors que l’attention des médias est tournée vers Israël.

Derrière l’écran de fumée

 

Le cinéaste Pierre Rehov, dont on connaît les documentaires essentiels sur cette région du monde, qui démontent point par point les mythes et la propagande palestiniens, trop souvent repris comme vérités par les médias,, a réalisé un court-métrage d’un peu plus de dix minutes avec des images tournées dans la bande de Gaza, qui remettent les pendules déréglées de la plupart des Européens à l’heure : « Behind the Smoke Screen », « Derrière l’écran de fumée ». Une référence aux nuages épais de fumée que provoquent les centaines de pneus brûlés près de la clôture qui sépare la bande de Gaza et Israël, avec ses villages, ses habitants et leurs cultures à moins de 2 kilomètres de là. On y voit l’endoctrinement systématique des habitants de Gaza, dès leur jeune âge. Parfois bonhomme, autour d’un thé ou d’un pique-nique à la campagne, avant de passer à l’action avec l’utilisation éhontée d’enfants comme boucliers humains. Parfois barbare, comme avec ce dirigeant du Hamas qui incite à renverser la clôture pour aller « arracher le cœur des corps » des Juifs massacrés. On y voit des matrones inciter à « brûler vif les Juifs », ces « sales Juifs impurs », entre autres exemples d’un antisémitisme primitif brutal. Et, bien entendu, c’est toute la terre d’Israël, terre « volée » selon eux, qu’il faut « purger des Juifs », autrement dit annihiler Israël. Une incitation passée sous silence par des Européens de ce fait complices des violences, comme on le voit plus haut. Même silence des écologistes à propos de la catastrophe écologique provoquée par ces volutes de fumée dangereuses. Et complicité aussi des médias qui font leurs gros titres du nombre de morts et blessés – vrais ou faux-, la plupart des membres du Hamas, ce qui est rarement dit- sans aucune analyse, sans condamner l’instrumentalisation des Gazaouis par leurs dirigeants sans scrupules, dont le seul propos est qu’il y ait le plus de morts possibles pour faire condamner Israël… Les victimes ou leur famille seront rétribuées. Et, bien entendu le Paradis leur est promis, promesse faite de longue date par l’Autorité palestinienne, comme on en voit un exemple ici. Des victimes ces habitants de Gaza, certes, mais de leurs dirigeants qui utilisent cette chair à canon crédule…

 

Voir le video ici : http://www.desinfos.com/spip.php?article62107

 

 

10 VÉRITÉS SUR GAZA QUE VOUS NE LIREZ PAS (OU PRESQUE) DANS LA PRESSE FRANÇAISE

Pierre Lurçat

Times of Israel, 20 mai, 2018

 

. Les récents événements à la frontière avec Gaza : il ne s’agit pas d’une lutte pacifique mais d’une lutte armée, comme vient de le reconnaître le dirigeant du Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Zahhar dans une interview sur Al-Jazira (traduite par MEMRI)[1].

 

Recevez gratuitement notre édition quotidienne par mail pour ne rien manquer du meilleur de l’info   Inscription gratuite!

 

  1. Israël n’a pas commis un “massacre” ou un “bain de sang” (titre du journal Le Monde), mais a riposté aux attaques du Hamas sur sa frontière, conformément au droit international qui autorise tout Etat à défendre et protéger ses frontières, si besoin est par la force.

 

  1. Les victimes du côté palestinien ne sont pas des “civils sans défense” mais pour la plupart des militants et combattants du Hamas[2], organisation terroriste islamiste mue par une idéologie djihadiste radicale, guère différente de celle des autres mouvements islamistes radicaux qui commettent des attentats sur le sol français.

 

  1. L’objectif du Hamas n’est pas de résister à une agression israélienne ou de s’opposer au “blocus” ou à l’occupation (qui n’existent plus à Gaza depuis 2006), mais bien d’attaquer militairement Israël, quitte à sacrifier leurs civils et leurs combattants, chair à canon du djihad[3].

 

  1. La “crise humanitaire” régulièrement dénoncée par les médias et dirigeants occidentaux n’existe qu’en raison du cynisme brutal des dirigeants du Hamas, qui attaquent régulièrement le point de passage de Keren Shalom utilisé par Israël pour envoyer des vivres et des médicaments à Gaza.

 

Résultat de recherche d’images pour “charte hamas”

 

  1. Le Hamas n’a pas pour objectif de créer un Etat palestinien vivant en paix aux côtés d’Israël, mais de détruire l’Etat juif existant pour le remplacer par un nouvel Etat arabe islamiste s’étendant sur toute la Palestine, du Jourdain à la mer (conformément à l’article 11 de sa Charte qui précise que la Palestine est un waqf, c’est-à-dire une terre musulmane inaliénable).

 

  1. La “solution politique” réclamée par les dirigeants français pour mettre fin au conflit est rejetée systématiquement par le Hamas, pour la simple et bonne raison que cette notion n’existe pas dans leur lexique politique et dans leur conception du monde.

 

  1. La guerre est en effet conçue par le Hamas comme l’état naturel et normal du monde, et la paix n’est jamais qu’une situation provisoire, selon les règles du droit musulman de la guerre et conformément au modèle de la hudna (trêve) [4]. Cette conception est évidemment totalement opposée à celle qui prévaut aujourd’hui en Occident.

 

  1. Plus précisément, le Hamas considère la guerre contre Israël et contre les Juifs comme un impératif non seulement politique, mais eschatologique, c’est-à-dire lié à sa vision de la Fin des Temps. Celle-ci est exposée à l’article 7 de la Charte du Hamas, qui cite un Hadith bien connu à ce sujet, « Le Prophète, que la prière et la paix soient sur Lui, a dit : Le Temps ne viendra pas avant que les Musulmans ne combattent les Juifs et les tuent ; jusqu’à ce que les Juifs se cachent derrière des rochers et des arbres, et ceux-ci appelleront : O Musulman, il y a un Juif qui se cache derrière moi, viens et tue-le !«

 

  1. L’antisémitisme du Hamas n’est donc pas un aspect accessoire, mais bien un élément fondamental de son discours et sa conception du monde. L’invocation par la Charte du Hamas de l’impératif de la “guerre contre les juifs” rappelle les conceptions hitlériennes de l’affrontement quasi-métaphysique entre l’Allemagne et les Juifs. Je renvoie à ce sujet à mon article “Le Hamas, un mouvement islamiste apocalyptique”.

 

“CERTAINS MÉDIAS ONT AIDÉ LE HAMAS EN PUBLIANT SES MENSONGES” (PORTE-PAROLE DE TSAHAL)

i24NEWS

21 mai, 2018

 

Le brigadier-général israélien Ronen Manelis a publié dimanche une longue tribune au sein du quotidien américain The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

 

L’occasion pour le porte-parole de Tsahal de revenir sur l’escalade de violences qui a lieu chaque semaine à Gaza depuis le début des protestations de la Marche du retour, et sur la responsabilité de certains médias quant à leur couverture de ces événements.

 

Dès le début de son intervention dans le WSJ, le brigadier-général rappelle qu’en tant qu’ancien chef du renseignement de la division de Gaza (2012 – 2014) il a appris à connaître le fonctionnement du Hamas et de ses porte-paroles tels que Sami Abu Zuhri.

 

Pour Ronen Manelis, “leur modus operandi est simple: mentir”. Selon le brigadier-général, “leurs mensonges soutiennent l’objectif déclaré du Hamas: la délégitimisation et la destruction d’Israël”.

 

Et pendant des semaines, de nombreux médias internationaux ont été aveuglés par cette propagande, estime-t-il.

 

Les communicants du Hamas “se sont rués vers la presse la semaine dernière pour déplorer la mort de civils innocents. Mais un haut responsable du Hamas, Salah Bardawil, a déclaré dans une interview accordée à une chaîne de télévision palestinienne le 16 mai: ‘Lors des derniers affrontements, si 62 personnes sont mortes en martyres, 50 d’entre elles faisaient partie du Hamas’”.

 

Le mouvement palestinien “a lui-même confirmé que 80% des personnes tuées lors de ses violentes émeutes lundi dernier étaient des membres d’un groupe terroriste, et non des civils innocents”, ajoute Ronen Manelis dans sa tribune.

 

Plusieurs autres victimes ont quant à elles été revendiquées par le Djihad islamique palestinien.

 

Le 13 mai, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, co-fondateur du Hamas, a déclaré dans une interview à Al Jazeera: “Quand nous parlons de ‘résistance pacifique’, nous trompons le public”, précisant que les mouvements de protestations étaient soutenus par les armes.

 

“Mise en scène et propagande”

 

“Les porte-paroles du Hamas ont orchestré une opération de propagande terroriste bien huilée”, estime Ronen Manelis. “Derrière la mise en scène, il y avait un plan qui menaçait la frontière israélienne et les civils”.

 

Dans sa tribune au Wall Street Journal, le brigadier-général précise que le Hamas a fourni un transport gratuit aux civils – comprenant des femmes et des enfants – depuis leurs domiciles jusqu’à la barrière de sécurité.

 

“Le Hamas les a embauchés comme des figurants, payant 14 $ par personne ou 100 $ par famille pour leur présence – et 500 $ à ceux qui ont réussi à se blesser. Le Hamas a forcé tous ses commandants et ses agents à se rendre à la frontière habillés en civils, chacun servant comme directeur d’une zone, comme pour diriger leurs propres opérations”.

 

“Le public, c’était les médias internationaux. Le Hamas a donné à tous ceux qui avaient accès à une caméra vidéo un accès à une pièce avec une connexion Wi-Fi gratuite”, précise le brigadier-général.

 

Selon lui, l’armée israélienne possédait alors des informations précises selon lesquelles les émeutes violentes masquaient un plan d’infiltration massive en Israël afin de perpétrer un massacre contre les civils israéliens. “Le Hamas a qualifié cette manifestation de ‘protestation pacifique’ et une grande partie du monde s’est tout simplement laissée tomber dans le piège”, précise Ronen Manelis.

 

“L’idée qu’il s’agissait d’une manifestation pacifique est le plus grand mensonge de tous […]. Sous le contrôle du Hamas, il n’y a pas de liberté de parole, pas de liberté de réunion, pas de liberté de religion, pas de liberté de la presse. Il ne peut y avoir de protestation pacifique à Gaza, mais seulement des rassemblements organisés, sanctionnés et financés par le Hamas”, poursuit le porte-parole de Tsahal.

 

“Au cours des multiples assauts sur la frontière ce printemps, le Hamas a utilisé des mitrailleuses, des cocktails Molotov, des engins explosifs improvisés et des grenades. Des centaines de Gazaouïs ont tenté de faire exploser ou de détruire la clôture entre Gaza et Israël, avec l’intention d’infiltrer notre territoire souverain et d’atteindre des Israéliens innocents qui vivent à quelques minutes de la frontière”, ajoute Ronen Manelis dans sa tribune au quotidien américain.

 

MAHMUD HAMS (AFP) A Palestinian woman holding her national flag takes part in anti-Israel protests near the Gaza Strip border on May 14, 2018 as clashes erupt nearby

MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)

 

“Le 6 avril, le chef politique du Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, a déclaré: ‘Nous allons démolir la frontière [avec Israël] et nous arracherons leurs cœurs de leurs corps […]. Sur Facebook, le Hamas a posté des cartes indiquant les itinéraires les plus rapides menant aux foyers israéliens, aux écoles et aux garderies près de la frontière. Cela vous semble-t-il une protestation pacifique ?”, questionne le brigadier-général au sein du Wall Street Journal.

 

“Certains médias ont aidé le Hamas en publiant ses mensonges plutôt que les faits. Le Hamas a obtenu une couverture médiatique négative envers Israël dès les premières émeutes violentes, le 30 mars, premier jour de cette opération de propagande. Le Hamas aurait alors pu revendiquer une victoire de propagande, stopper les violences et empêcher de nombreux morts. Mais pour le Hamas, les mensonges sont plus importants que les vies”, estime Ronen Manelis.

 

“Si pour gagner la guerre de propagande internationale j’ai besoin de mentir comme le Hamas, alors je préfère dire la vérité et perdre […]. La vraie différence entre Monsieur Abu Zuhri et moi, est qu’il s’endort chaque nuit en souhaitant la destruction de mon pays et la mort de mes enfants. Je vais me coucher avec l’espoir d’une vie meilleure pour ses enfants et les miens. Et c’est la vérité”, indique le porte-parole de l’armée israélienne, en conclusion de sa tribune.

 

 

Actualité 

 

 

DÉCÈS DE PHILIP ROTH, L’UN DES PLUS GRANDS

ÉCRIVAINS DE L’AMÉRIQUE CONTEMPORAINE

Times of Israel, 23 mai, 2018

 

Géant de la littérature américaine et mondiale, Philippe Roth est mort mardi à l’âge de 85 ans, six ans après avoir arrêté l’écriture et sans jamais avoir obtenu le Prix Nobel pour lequel il avait été si souvent cité. Sa mort a été annoncée mardi soir par plusieurs médias américains, dont le New York Times et le magazine New Yorker.

 

Après un demi-siècle à imaginer des histoires qui l’ont rendu célèbre dans le monde entier, et deux ans après son dernier roman Némésis, il avait annoncé en 2012 qu’il n’avait plus l’énergie de gérer la frustration qui accompagne la création littéraire.

 

Une décision qu’il justifiait encore ces dernières années: « Raconter des histoires, cette chose qui m’a été si précieuse durant toute mon existence, n’est plus au coeur de ma vie », expliquait-il au journal français Libération. « C’est étrange. Jamais je n’aurais imaginé qu’une chose pareille puisse m’arriver ».

 

Régulièrement, presqu’inlassablement, l’écrivain aux multiples récompenses (Pulitzer en 1998 pour Pastorale américaine, National Book Award en 1960 pour Goodbye, Columbus et en 1995 pour le Théâtre de Sabbath) était donné favori pour le Nobel. Mais le prix lui a toujours échappé.

 

Grand ténébreux au sourcil broussailleux, petit-fils d’immigrés juifs d’Europe de l’Est, Philip Roth a écrit, debout à son pupitre, près de 30 romans: récits provocateurs des moeurs de la petite bourgeoisie juive américaine, satires politiques, réflexions sur le poids de l’Histoire ou sur le vieillissement, ses oeuvres sont presque toujours entre autobiographie et fiction.

 

Sa plume exigeante et sa lucidité implacable sur la société américaine ont fait de lui une figure majeure de la littérature d’après-guerre. C’est le seul écrivain vivant dont l’oeuvre a été éditée par la Library of America. En France, il commencé d’être édité dans la prestigieuse collection de La Pléiade.

 

Né le 19 mars 1933 dans un quartier juif de Newark (New Jersey), fils d’un agent d’assurances, il publie son premier ouvrage, « Goodbye, Columbus » en 1959, après quelques années à enseigner la littérature.

 

Ce recueil de nouvelles lui vaut un premier succès, mais aussi de premières accusations d’antisémitisme.

 

Un malentendu qui reviendra avec Portnoy et son complexe, paru en 1969, qui fait scandale mais lui vaut aussi succès immédiat et notoriété mondiale.

 

Son jeune héros y aborde sans détour face à son psychanalyste les affres de la masturbation et son rapport obsessif à sa mère, à l’Amérique et à la judéité.

 

Des représentants de la communauté juive le jugent teinté d’antisémitisme. D’autres dénoncent de la pornographie pure et simple.

 

« J’adore écrire sur le sexe. Vaste sujet! Mais la plupart des événements racontés dans mes livres n’ont jamais existé. Même s’il faut quelques éléments de réalité pour commencer à inventer », dira plus tard Philip Roth.

 

A la fin des années 1970, influencé entre autres par le romancier juif américain Saul Bellow, Roth commence une série de neuf livres ayant pour personnage central un jeune romancier juif, Nathan Zuckerman, son double.

 

Parmi ces romans, trois de ses plus grands succès: Pastorale américaine (1997), sur les ravages de la guerre du Vietnam dans la conscience nationale, J’ai épousé un communiste (1998) sur le maccarthysme, et La tache (2000) qui dénonce une Amérique puritaine et renfermée sur elle-même.

 

Il y eut aussi Les faits (1988), une autobiographie sur les 36 premières années de sa vie, entamée après une dépression. Et Opération Shylock: une confession (1993), où le narrateur se nomme…Philip Roth, encore un double de l’écrivain.

 

Le complot contre l’Amérique, sorti en 2004, imagine le destin d’une famille juive de Newark si les Etats-Unis avaient élu l’aviateur Charles Lindbergh, aux sympathies pro-nazies, plutôt que de réélire Franklin D. Roosevelt en 1940.

 

Ce roman, qui brouille constamment la frontière entre fiction et réalité, est revenu récemment dans l’actualité: beaucoup y ont vu des correspondances avec l’élection de Donald Trump.

 

Philip Roth, qui vivait seul entre sa maison du Connecticut rural (nord-est) et son appartement à Manhattan, était néanmoins sorti de sa retraite fin janvier pour balayer toute analogie avec l’accession au pouvoir du milliardaire.

 

Tandis que Lindbergh était « un grand héros » avec de la « substance », écrivait-il au New Yorker, Trump est un président « ignorant du gouvernement, de l’histoire, de la science, de la philosophie, de l’art, incapable d’exprimer ou de reconnaître une subtilité ou une nuance » et utilisant « un vocabulaire de 77 mots ».

 

Si la politique et la société américaine ont été au coeur des oeuvres de Philip Roth, la vieillesse et la mort ont hanté ses récents ouvrages comme Un homme (2006) ou Le rabaissement (2009).

 

En 2012, il annonce avoir renoncé à écrire et explique que Nemesis, paru en 2010, était son dernier roman.

 

« Je n’ai plus l’énergie pour supporter la frustration. Ecrire est une frustration quotidienne, et je ne parle pas de l’humiliation », explique-t-il alors au New York Times. « Je ne peux plus passer des jours à écrire cinq pages, que je jette ensuite ».

 

En 2014, il raconte au quotidien suédois Svenska Dagbladet avoir relu ses 31 livres pour « savoir si j’avais perdu mon temps. On ne peut jamais être sûr, vous savez ».

 

Et ce génie littéraire, sans enfant, d’ajouter avoir ressenti « un énorme soulagement: c’est une expérience presque sublime de n’avoir plus à s’inquiéter que de la mort ».

 

LES 6 SIGNES QUI MONTRENT QUE TU N’AS

PAS ENCORE SURMONTÉ TON COMPLEXE D’ŒDIPE

Henriette Jurmann

Jewpop, 9 avr., 2018

 

Si Œdipe était Grec, c’est bien notre cher coreligionnaire Freud qui l’a glorieusement érigé en « complexe ». L’une des plus belles déclarations d’amour jamais écrite de la littérature française est celle d’un autre grand homme issu de chez nous, Romain Gary, à sa mère, l’unique femme chère à son cœur à qui il dédiera sa vie : « Avec l’amour maternel, la vie vous fait, à l’aube, une promesse qu’elle ne tient jamais ».

 

Alors, non, on a beau être pathologiquement ethno-centré, les juifs n’ont pas (dieu merci) le monopole de la passion pour son parent du sexe opposé… Mais comme pour tout problème, nous avons ce don, magistral, de nous l’approprier et de l’assaisonner à notre sauce. Voici les six signes qui montrent que toi aussi, tu as un peu de mal à couper le cordon.

 

 

Quand tu réalises, éberluée, à plus de vingt ans qu’en fait, non TON PAPA NE SAIT PAS TOUT !! (Mais bon, presque hein, et de toute façon ce truc là qu’il ne savait pas, c’était un truc nul et pas important).

Garçon

 

Quand tu as 37.7° de température, un peu mal à la tête et le nez qui coule, que tu restes au lit, au seuil de la mort et du désespoir, et que tu comptes sur ta mère (ou ta copine si tu as coupé une petite partie du cordon) pour :

 

1) T’écouter te plaindre toute la journée et te consoler

 

2) Te préparer ton bol de céréales au chocolat préféré

 

3) Te laisser ne rigoureusement rien faire comme corvée à la maison pour au moins les quinze prochains jours, le temps que tu te remettes.

 

Quand tu te rends compte, le jour où tu quittes enfin le nid familial, que tu ne sais pas monter une tringle à rideaux et que de toute façon tu n’as pas de perceuse, que tu sens monter une crise de panique à l’idée que demain, tu as ta livraison IKEA qui arrive alors que de toute ta vie tu as monté une vis pour rigoler… Et que tu finis par appeler papa parce que quoi qu’il arrive, lui, il trouvera forcément une solution.

Garçon

 

Quand, à vingt-sept ans, tu te décides à prendre ton envol, et à vivre dans ton propre chez toi et qu’un an plus tard, tu as perdu 10 kg. Bah oui… t’avais arrêté de manger vu que y avait plus personne pour faire la cuisine ! Tu n’as survécu que grâce aux réserves prises chaque shabbat chez maman et aux Tupperwares™ qu’elle te donnait en cachette pour que tu tiennes la semaine !

 

Quand tu cherches un garçon sérieux, gentil, attentionné, avec qui tu pourrais bâtir un foyer juif avec une ribambelle d’enfants comme ta mère l’a fait avant toi mais que le seul mec qui t’attire est un beau gosse rêveur, qui (rayer la mention inutile)

 

1) Est marié et heureux père de deux enfants

 

2) Part dans trois mois pour un tour du monde d’une durée indéterminée

 

3) Projette d’abandonner son poste d’ingénieur chez EDF pour partir en tournée avec son orchestre Klezmer

 

4) Est depuis 2 ans en procédure de divorce après dix ans de mariage

 

5) A juste envie de te sauter

 

6) N’est pas juif alors que pour toi c’est un critère essentiel… Because, your heart belongs to daddy

 

Quand tu laisses le choix aux filles que tu rencontres entre être ton amie ou ton plan Q, parce que tu sais au fond de toi que jamais elles ne sauront assouvir cette soif d’amour inconditionnel que seule ta maman a su étancher à gros coups de « Tu es le plus beau mon fils ! » « Mon fils le docteur, c’est le meilleur gynéco de tout Paris ! » « Tu n’as que la peau sur os, tiens reprends du couscous/pkeila/tcholent/gefilte fish/ poulet au curry (bah oui quoi, il faut bien changer un peu de temps en temps) ».

Les parents, moteur irremplaçable pour avancer dans la vie, ont parfois suivi la même formation que Maginot et Vauban pour bâtir devant nous des murailles apparemment infranchissables. Reste que ni les forts Vauban ni la ligne Maginot n’ont jamais permis d’arrêter le moindre envahisseur… Alors promis, un jour, on finira par grandir !

Shabbat Shalom!

 

EGYPT FIGHTS ISLAMISTS & IRANIAN EXPANSION; ISRAEL BECOMING “KEY PLAYER” IN AFRICA

Gaza’s Agony is Egypt’s Calling: Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2018— “Man fears time, and time fears the pyramids,” goes an Arab saying that salutes the imposing structures’ longevity, and ridicules their tenants’ hope to avoid death.

Why Egypt Supports U.S. Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, May 22, 2018— President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal focused understandable attention on the parties which negotiated it.

The New Iranian Expansion into the Sahara: Amb. Dore Gold & Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, May 9, 2018— Iran’s regional ambitions in the Middle East from Syria and Lebanon to Yemen are well known.

Israel Tries to Expand Power in Africa: Raluca Besliu, Yale Global, Apr. 10, 2018— An Israeli campaign is underway in sub-Saharan Africa on winning over African nations, which, partly due to significant Muslim minority populations, have often constituted a bloc of opposition at the UN.

On Topic Links

Hamas Will Always Win the PR War, Even as Israel Wins the Military Victories: Barbara Kay, National Post, May 22, 2018

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018

Israel and United States Military Assistance to Egypt: Shimon Arad, INSS, Apr. 29, 2018

The Sinai Bedouins: An Enemy of Egypt’s Own Making: Hilal Khashan, Stratfor, Apr. 01, 2018

 

GAZA’S AGONY IS EGYPT’S CALLING

Amotz Asa-El

Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2018

“Man fears time, and time fears the pyramids,” goes an Arab saying that salutes the imposing structures’ longevity, and ridicules their tenants’ hope to avoid death. Curiously, the pharaohs who hoped to defy time were succeeded by Greeks who defied space. That is how Alexander the Great built Alexandria, making the previously insular Egyptians look north, to their Mediterranean shore and to the foreign world that sprawled beyond it. “Consider the world as your country, where the best will govern regardless of tribe,” Alexander told his lieutenants in 324 BCE, thus pioneering the first era of globalization, in which Alexandria would become the heartbeat of a tri-continental civilization.

Egypt would later repeatedly revert to its founders’ introversion, most fatefully in the 1580s, when one Ottoman faction scuttled a rival faction’s plan to link the Mediterranean and Red seas by digging a canal at Suez. The ones who would reopen Egypt to the outer world would be Christian foreigners – first Napoleon, who defeated a local army at the pyramids’ foothills, and then the European entrepreneurs who carved the Suez Canal. Now, an Egyptian leader has an opportunity to become the first locally bred Alexander, one who would redefine his country as the fulcrum of a brave new era. The man is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and his opportunity lies in Gaza.

Monday’s violence in Gaza left Israelis throwing up their arms in despair. Say what you will about how Israel treats its enemies, there is no arguing the Jewish state goes out of its way to protect its own citizens, often at great risks and exorbitant costs. Gaza has just displayed this attitude’s perfect inversion. The sight of youngsters being bussed for pay to their enemy’s border and then thrust toward its gun barrels by leaders who themselves hide in bunkers – made us feel Hamas’s moral bankruptcy has never been more complete and peace could not be more distant.

What have we not tried? First we invited Gazans to work in Israel. Then we built an industrial zone at Erez. Then we opened an airport at Dhaniya. And finally, we pulled out some 10,000 civilians and troops, only to see that coastal swath turn into a militarized powder keg. Last fall, we watched Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah land in Gaza, hoping his much-heralded visit would be followed by some civic delivery. A roadside bomb near his motorcade in March put an end to that, leaving Gaza to languish in its squalor, self-pity and despair.

Now, facing European and American critics, not to mention Turks who count Gazan bodies at the fence and cite their number as proof of our “crimes” – a logic by which Germany was the moral side in the Battle of Britain because the Luftwaffe lost many more pilots than the Brits – many of us feel alone in this war. Well we are not alone.

With us in this showdown are Arab leaders who realize Gaza’s mess is no longer about nationalism or freedom, but about fundamentalism and general troublemaking which can easily torch Arab cities elsewhere. That is why Egypt played such an effective role in quelling this week’s mayhem. Seen from President Sisi’s window, Hamas is an offshoot of, and inspiration for, the Muslim Brotherhood that is his nemesis. That – and no pro-Israeli sentiment – is what made Egyptian intelligence force Hamas’s retreat from the fence.

The Egyptians, then, bring both motivation and clout to the Gaza crisis that threatens them no less than it threatens us. What they lack is a plan, a vision that would offer Gaza’s young adults – 65% of them jobless – an alternative to fundamentalist escapism. So here’s a blueprint for an Egyptian plan: Build a Riviera of hotels and resorts to Gaza’s immediate west, along the sparsely settled northern Sinai’s pristine, 270 km-long coastline; sprinkle farms behind them, and factories beyond the farms; restore the defunct railway between Gaza and Port Said, and admit through it daily thousands of Gazans to work in the new factories, farms and resorts along the reactivated railway before climbing the train to commute back home.

On both sides of the Egyptian-Gazan border, north of Rafah, build a jointly run seaport, and use it to export Gaza’s redoubled produce and manufactures, much the way the ancient Egyptians did west of here, when their ships sailed past the majestic, 40-ft. tall Lighthouse of Alexandria. This development drive’s initial phase can be completed within several years, and immediately put to work all of Gaza. The consequent capital inflows will then fuel Gaza’s rehabilitation, beginning with a modern sewage system, new power stations, a chain of desalination plants and water purification stations, and then proceeding to roads, sidewalks, schools, housing projects and shopping centers.

For now, Egypt is merely treating the symptoms of Gaza’s political disease, passively watching its passions simmer and then helping put the lid back on it once its wrath boils over. Developing northern Sinai would reboot the Middle East, much the way Sisi is striving to reinvent Egypt by launching ambitious economic reforms, housing projects and family planning programs designed to defuse Egypt’s population explosion.

Northern Sinai’s development would not only salvage Gaza, and it would not only become a catalyst of Egyptian prosperity; it would restore Egypt’s status as a regional leader; it would place it in a position to broker new Palestinian-Israeli accommodation; it would make it an engine of global tolerance; and it would fashion Egypt as a pacifying alternative to meddlesome Turkey and warmongering Iran.

Cutting the Sinai-Gaza seaport’s red ribbon, and recalling Hamas’s fallen rule, Sisi will then quote Alexander, the man who married the daughter of his Persian enemy Darius, in the spirit of the great conqueror’s statement, “I do not distinguish among men as the narrow-minded do.” And then, looking west to northern Sinai’s unfolding Riviera and industrial plants; and east, to Gaza’s emerging office towers, recreational parks and seaside promenade, the Egyptian president will say: “Gazans, Egyptians, Arabs – consider the world as your country.”

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WHY EGYPT SUPPORTS U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Hany Ghoraba

IPT News, May 22, 2018

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal focused understandable attention on the parties which negotiated it. But the move also carries implications for other regional states, including Egypt. In 2015, Egypt welcomed any initiative to stop a nuclear arms race in the region, but viewed the negotiations skeptically. “We would hope that the agreement reached between the parties would be comprehensive and fulfilling that would prevent an arms race in the Middle East and the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons,” said Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Bader Abdul Atti. Three years later, former Egyptian Foreign Minister and incumbent Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed the same skepticism, saying the agreements focus solely on the nuclear program; it “is not the only element that should be pursued with Iran because it implements policies in the region that lead to instability.”

While the deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment for a limited time, Iran never stopped supporting terrorist groups targeting Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizballah. And the deal failed to address Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region. Egypt has been in conflict with Iran’s Islamist regime since the 1979 revolution ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to Ayatollah Khomeini’s ascent to power. Egypt provided refuge to the dethroned Shah a year after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel at Camp David in 1978. In response, Iran ended direct flights to Egypt in 1979, and broke off all diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1980. Egypt remains the only Arab country without an embassy in Tehran.

Iran provoked Egyptians years later by naming a main street in Tehran in honor of Khalid Islambouli, an Egyptian terrorist who assassinated President Anwar Sadat during a 1981 military parade. The street name remains, despite an Iranian promise aimed at improving relations, and new larger-than-life wall graffiti of the terrorist decorate buildings in Tehran. That form of animosity from Iran was met by Egypt’s full support to the Iraqi state war against Iran (1979-1988) in which Egypt sold Iraq large amounts of its surplus Soviet-made weapons. Despite being in a major feud with Iraq as a result of Iraq’s role in rallying the Arab states to boycott Egypt after the Camp David treaty, Egypt still chose to support Iraq against the Islamist regime, recognizing the greater long-term threat of Iran on Egypt and the entire region.

Iranian espionage operations in Egypt spiked with multiple Iranian cells uncovered trying to infiltrate Egyptian society and institutions. In one example, Iran used a former Muslim Brotherhood member to attempt to establish a radical Shiite Islamist political party in Egypt under the name Shiite Liberation Party to promote Iranian Islamic revolution policies. Hizballah, Iran’s terrorist proxy, planned terrorist attacks against Egyptian targets. Egyptian authorities arrested 49 Hizballah members in 2009 for planning three bombings in Taba, a city that borders Israel. The cell’s members managed to escape and flee the country after Hamas terrorists broke into the Wadi Al Natroun jail in January 2011 amid the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak’s government. One, Sami Shehab, appeared later in Lebanon at a Hizballah celebration.

Iran frequently hosts and supports Muslim Brotherhood leaders including former spokesman Kamal Al Hilbawy and Swiss-based financier Youssef Nada. Nada claims that he is simply seeking peace initiatives between Arabs and Iranians, but in reality he worked to bolster Iran’s regional influence by routing intelligence from Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in Arab countries to Iranian operatives. During a 2016 meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Hilbawy described Ayatollah Khomeini as being his mentor as influential to Muslim Brotherhood members as their founder Hassan al-Banna and Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb. “We always say that we learned from Imam Khomeini as much as we learned from Imam Hassan al-Banna, Imam Maududi, Imam Sayyid Qutb … and we are still learning from our brothers who are alive here [in Iran],” Hilbawy said.

He reaffirmed Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian animosity towards the United States: “We saw with our own eyes how the Soviet Union collapsed thanks to God … and I pray to God Almighty we would witness the renaissance of Islam and unity of the Muslim Ummah, so we can see with our own eyes the overtaking of the remaining superpower (USA) as it falls and divides in front us day after day.” Iran, Hilbawy said, is the only country that the West fears and he hopes Iran becomes a model for the rest of the Arabic and Islamic world.

For nearly three decades, Iran has been a major financier for Hamas – the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian terror wing, which has been an obstacle for a sustainable peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Hamas also has worked to destabilize Egyptian national security and the peace agreement with Israel. It compromised Egyptian national security by digging tunnels to smuggle personnel, weapons and commodities, which has led the Egyptian army to launch a major campaign to destroy thousands of these tunnels across the Egyptian/Gazan border in the past years.

Critics say the nuclear deal’s terms gave Iran a clear path toward developing a bomb once the deal ends. Egypt is well aware of this fact and the threat posed by Iran’s developing ballistic missiles capabilities. The Khorramshahr medium-range missile tested last September can travel 2,000 kilometers with a payload of 1,800 kilograms. Once operational, it can reach Tel-Aviv. If it can travel 700 kilometers further, it can reach Cairo. Egypt, therefore, is understandably concerned about sanction relief that helps Iran fund such offensive missile technology. Furthermore, Iran’s hegemonic ambitions include financing Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi rebels who toppled their government in 2014 and controlled the Yemeni capital Sana’a. That move gave Iran control of the Bab-al Mandeb strait and thus threatens Egypt’s military and commercial interests in the Red Sea…

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

 

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THE NEW IRANIAN EXPANSION INTO THE SAHARA                                        Amb. Dore Gold & Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira                                                                                JCPA, May 9, 2018

 

Iran’s regional ambitions in the Middle East from Syria and Lebanon to Yemen are well known. What is new is that Tehran is widening the geographic scope of its expansionism into North Africa as well. In the last two weeks we have seen definitive proof that the Iranian regime seeks to intervene in the conflict over the Western Sahara by backing the Polisario forces fighting the army of Morocco, a long-term Western ally.

This is not just another obscure conflict thousands of miles away. Iran’s goal is to destabilize this area. It is working with Algeria, Morocco’s eastern neighbor, whose leadership has been at the forefront of radical Arab politics for decades.  The Polisario seek to break off the area of the Western Sahara from Morocco, creating an irredentist movement that will threaten the territorial integrity of the Moroccan Kingdom.

Iran used its embassy in Algeria to advance its aims, making it a conduit for the supply of weapons and financial aid. The Iranians utilized their traditional proxy, Hizbullah, for this operation. Hizbullah is a critical arm for Iran in the Middle East since their operatives speak Arabic, as opposed to Farsi (Persian), the language spoken in Iran. Morocco now has documentation of arms deliveries that were made by Hizbullah to the Polisario. These included SAM-9 and SAM-11 surface-to-air missiles, and not just the older-generation SAM-7 (Strela) missiles that have previously proliferated throughout the Middle East. These missiles could take down commercial aircraft.

One of the key figures at the nexus of the Iranian-Polisario relationship is Iran’s cultural attaché in its embassy in Algiers, Amir Mousavi. It is no wonder that upon learning what Iran was up to, Morocco cut off diplomatic relations with Tehran on May 1. Hizbullah has provided training to the Polisario since 2016. A Hizbullah delegation visited the Polisario headquarters in the Tindouf area in western Algeria. Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita disclosed that the first shipment of Iranian weaponry was sent to the Polisario in April 2018. Iranian civilian assistance in Africa has been going on for years. In 2009, Tehran took over an Israeli hospital in Mauritania to the south of Morocco.

The consequences of this escalation in the Sahara are well known to policymakers. Iran’s involvement in Iraq and Syria led to a wave of mostly Sunni Arab refugees in the eastern Mediterranean who poured into Europe. In recent years there also has been a growing wave of African migrants traveling via Libya to Italy. A new conflict over the Western Sahara could potentially create an additional center of instability leading to a further wave of refugees into Europe. Morocco sits across the Straits of Gibraltar, roughly 9 miles from Spain, and could present a new focal point for refugees in the aftermath of any destabilization. The suggestion appearing in the Arab press that the Iranians hope to recruit terrorists for destabilizing the Middle East and even threatening Europe should not be dismissed.

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ISRAEL TRIES TO EXPAND POWER IN AFRICA

Raluca Besliu

Yale Global, Apr. 10, 2018

An Israeli campaign is underway in sub-Saharan Africa on winning over African nations, which, partly due to significant Muslim minority populations, have often constituted a bloc of opposition at the UN. In June 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first non-African leader to participate in a Summit of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS. The following November, he attended Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony in Nairobi, joining leaders from other African countries and holding several bilateral meetings. In 2016, Netanyahu had already become the first Israeli prime minister in three decades to travel to Africa, visiting Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. According to Atlantic Council expert J. Peter Pham, such encounters “represent a remarkable testament to how much of a priority the Israeli government has made of Africa.” In April of this year, Netanyahu announced a deal with the UN refugee agency to resettle African asylum seekers, keeping 16,000 in Israel and sending 16,000 to Western countries. The next day, under political pressure in Israel, he suspended the deal, outraging Israeli human rights activists. While the suspension holds for now, the prime minister emphasized that it would be reexamined.

With growing investments in East and West African countries, Israel is becoming a key player on the continent. Israel’s expansion in Africa, like that of China, India and Turkey, is facilitated by relative pullback by the United States and France. The involvement focuses on geostrategic and security interests, particularly forming allies to support Israel in international bodies and fight against jihadist movements to gaining new trade partners and access to markets. So far, the strategy is working as African countries embrace this role.

Historically, Afro-Israeli relations have fluctuated. In the 1960s, Israel provided assistance to newly independent African states in varied fields, ranging from agriculture and medicine to defense and infrastructure construction. More than 30 Israeli diplomatic missions operated in Africa until the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and the Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria. In the war’s wake, the Organization of African Unity instructed its members to cease diplomatic ties with Israel. All except Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland did so. Israeli-African collaboration continued in some fields, including agriculture and development. Israel, fearing opposition forces in states such as Chad, Togo and the former Zaire, also ensured military support to mainly authoritarian regimes. Most African countries resumed diplomatic relations with Israel in the 1990s. Israel currently has ties with 40 out of the 48 sub-Saharan African countries, yet only 10, including Kenya and Senegal, have embassies. Israel is now pushing to regain observer status in the African Union, after losing this role when the Organization of African Union was replaced by the AU.

Securing Israel’s diplomatic interests represents the main official reason behind Netanyahu’s visits and renewed African focus. Before attending the ECOWAS, he told Israeli media that he aimed to “dissolve … this giant bloc of 54 African countries that is the basis of the automatic majority against Israel in the UN and international bodies.”

Israel’s diplomatic rapprochement may be reaping fruits. In 2015, Israel resisted an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution demanding it open its undeclared nuclear facilities to UN inspectors, partly because several African states abstained or voted against it.  Even on issues as tense as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some progress can be seen. In December, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly rejected a resolution recognizing Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, and Pham suggests it was a small victory for Israel that only 27 of the 44 members of the Africa Group who are not also members of the Arab League voted in favor. For years, African states had mostly supported Palestinian self-determination, not surprising given that sub-Saharan Africa is home to a considerable Muslim population…

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

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Hamas Will Always Win the PR War, Even as Israel Wins the Military Victories: Barbara Kay, National Post, May 22, 2018

—In his May 16 column, Terry Glavin takes Israel to task for the deaths and injuries of Gazan Palestinians sustained in the border clashes he concedes that Hamas orchestrated.

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018—The Muslim Brotherhood has managed to weather many storms during nine decades in Egypt. Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak all tried to contain and suppress the Islamist movement, which ultimately seeks a global Muslim Caliphate.

Israel and United States Military Assistance to Egypt: Shimon Arad, INSS, Apr. 29, 2018—In January 2018, with little fanfare, the United States and Egypt signed a bilateral communications security agreement known as the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), which protects and regulates the use of sensitive American avionics and communications systems.

The Sinai Bedouins: An Enemy of Egypt’s Own Making: Hilal Khashan, Stratfor, Apr. 01, 2018—Violence in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been steadily growing over the past seven years, despite repeated military campaigns to quell it. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced a massive air, sea and land operation on Feb. 9 to drive the Islamic State from the region. Not six months earlier, he ordered the army to eradicate the jihadist group following an attack on a packed mosque in north Sinai. Yet each campaign overlooked a critical factor behind the region’s unrest: the government’s failure to understand and accommodate the Sinai Peninsula’s Bedouins.

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

The Implications of Mike Pompeo’s 12-Point Speech: Doron Feldman, BESA, May 23, 2018

The Western Nakba: Hating Israel: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, May 18, 2018

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide – It’s About Time: Israel W. Charny, Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2018

Malaysia: The Return of an Anti-Semitic Prime Minister: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, May 22, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Bernard Lewis was one of the great scholars of Islam and the Middle East in our time. We will be forever grateful for his robust defense of Israel…I will always feel privileged to have witnessed firsthand his extraordinary erudition and I gleaned invaluable insights from our many meetings over the years. I was also deeply moved by his wide-ranging conversations with my late father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bernard Lewis, renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East, died Saturday at age 101. Lewis is credited with coining the controversial term “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West in a 1990 piece in The Atlantic titled “The Roots of Muslim Rage.” (Haaretz, May 21, 2018) 

“Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East…This is just the beginning. The sting of sanctions will be painful. These will be the strongest sanctions in history when complete… You know, the list is pretty long, but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements…The length of the list is simply a scope for the maligned behavior of Iran. We didn’t create the list, they did…It is America’s hope that our labors toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran.” — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo laid out a list of changes the US is demanding of the Iranian regime — from respecting the sovereignty of the Iraqi government to pulling its troops out of Syria. He said Iran must also release all American prisoners and prisoners of US allies. A number of provisions relate to Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well, with Pompeo vowing that the country would have “no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever.” If not, “we will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them,” Pompeo ​said. (New York Post, May 21, 2018)

“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them…Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?…History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles.” — Ismail Kowsari, a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iranian media also carried a statement from the foreign ministry, which said Pompeo’s remarks revealed the “poor intelligence, weak oversight, analytical backwardness and confusion in decision-making processes in the United States.” The US, the statement went on, was “not entitled” to tell Iran what policies it should adopt in its own region, given that “all the problems facing the Middle East… emanate from the interference and encroachment of Washington and the medieval dictatorial governments of its allies.” Iran, by contrast, was bringing “stabilizing and anti-terrorism measures” to the world. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

“The fact that this shameful decision was made even after Hamas officials admitted that the vast majority of those killed were terrorists proves, once again, that nothing can separate this council from its hatred of Israel…The day this Council investigates the war crimes of Hamas is the day it can be called the Human Rights Council.” — Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. Danon condemned the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday after it approved a decision to open an independent investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes on the Gaza border. Earlier this week, mass riots on the Gaza-Israel border led to 60 Palestinians being killed and more than 1,700 wounded. The demonstrations, known collectively as “The Great March of Return,” coincided with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The protests had been held every week since March 30, with more than 100 people being killed and thousands injured during that time. The scope of the violence hit its peak last Monday, culminating in the bloodiest day in Gaza since 2014. (Jerusalem Post, May 18, 2018)

“International investigations play into the hands of terrorists…International investigations play into the hands of terrorists…We are not talking about demonstrations. We are talking about Hamas using these demonstrations for terrorism, to send their Nukhba forces to fire at troops and try to kidnap soldiers…In the past we had waves of hostilities [in the West Bank] and we should be ready for that. It would serving their interest to put the Palestinian issue back into the international discourse.” — Former Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon. Ya’alon made the statement after the U.S. blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for an independent probe into the deadly violence which left more than 60 Palestinians dead on Monday. The call for the independent investigations was supported by the United Kingdom and Germany. (Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2018)

“In the wake of recent events in Gaza, it is clear that the terrorist organisation Hamas bears direct moral responsibility and culpability for the senseless loss of life…Hamas has long incited violence and intentionally used civilians, including vulnerable persons, children, and even infants as a smokescreen for its attempts to breach the Gaza-Israel border for the purpose of committing terrorist acts in Israel. Reports that Hamas itself proclaims that most of the Gazans killed were active members of Hamas demonstrate this fact. Credible reports state that Hamas has used Gaza’s civilian population, including women and children, as human shields, laying truth to Hamas’ longstanding policy of capitalizing on the deaths of Gazan civilians as political cover for its terrorist activities. It is clear that Hamas continues to be the source of enormous pain to Gazans, and a threat to the safety of civilians in both Gaza and Israel. Its actions require condemnation. Hamas’ stated aims of the destruction of Israel and the murder of Israelis lay bare its goal in fuelling these violent protests. Israel has every right to defend the integrity of its borders, as any country does, in the face of such activities. The bloodshed resulting from Hamas’ incitement is untenable, for both Israelis and Gazans. At this difficult time, we stand with Israelis in calling for an end to the incitement and violence…” — Statement by Canadian MPs Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt. (May 17, 2018)

“The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis. But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk? Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.” — Bret Stephens. (New York Times, May 16, 2018)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES 

PARAGUAY PRESIDENT INAUGURATES JERUSALEM EMBASSY (Jerusalem) — Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes inaugurated his country’s new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, following the same move made by the U.S. and Guatemala. Prime Minister Netanyahu attended the inauguration ceremony at the Malha Technology Park, near the new Guatemalan embassy. Last week, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was in Israel to inaugurate his own country’s embassy in the capital, two days after the American embassy opened in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018) 

ISRAEL THE FIRST IN THE WORLD TO CONDUCT STRIKES WITH F-35 JET (Jerusalem) —Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin revealed that the F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions, which he said made Israel the first country to use the American-made stealth aircraft operationally. The Israeli military later went further, saying that this was the first operational use of the fighter jet in the world, not only in the Middle East. The air force chief did not specify when those two attacks took place, but said the F-35 did not carry out strikes during Israel’s massive bombardment of Iranian targets in Syria on May 10. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

HAMAS: 50 OF THOSE KILLED IN GAZA MONDAY WERE MEMBERS (Gaza) — Fifty of the Palestinians killed in a protest in the border region between the Gaza Strip and Israel last week were Hamas members, a Hamas member said. Many Palestinians in Gaza have participated in protests in the border region to support the return of Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes in Israel and pressure the Jewish state to lift its restrictions on the movement of people and goods out of the coastal enclave. The IDF described the protests as “a violent riot,” asserting that participants tried to enter Israel, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and placed a bomb near the border fence. (Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2018)

TRUMP MIDEAST PEACE PLAN TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH: REPORT (Washington) — Reports that the Trump administration is set to release its much-awaited Middle-East Peace Plan next month indicate that it will come as a disappointment to the Palestinians. A report cited five U.S. officials and a congressional aide who said that the plan, composed by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, should be made public by late June. The Palestinian Authority is already at odds with the White House over the opening of the US Embassy in Washington which led to President Mahmoud Abbas recalling the chief of the PA Mission in Washington last Monday. (Breaking Israel News, May 21, 2018)

ABBAS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL FOR THE THIRD TIME IN A WEEK (Ramallah) — PA President Mahmoud Abbas was taken to a Ramallah hospital for the third time in a week. Sources said that he was suffering from chest pains. A Palestinian official said had a fever. Last Tuesday Abbas, 83, underwent surgery in his ear which he described as “minor,” saying he was in good shape. On Saturday he was briefly taken to hospital again, with his office saying he had gone to follow up on the operation. Abbas has not designated a successor, and the Palestinians have not held presidential elections since 2005 because of the split between Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas, which rules Gaza. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

ABBAS SHOWN READING NEWSPAPER WITH ANTI-ISRAEL CARTOON (Ramallah) — Pictures of Abbas walking around the hospital and reading a newspaper were published in an apparent attempt to calm rumors that his condition was serious. The newspaper Abbas was reading prominently carried a large cartoon on its back page, facing the camera, showing an Israeli soldier taking a baby’s milk away from her and ramming poison down her throat instead. The cartoon referred to reports that 8-month-old Layla Ghandour died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops during violent protests on the Gaza border last week. A Gazan doctor said that Ghandour had a preexisting condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by the gas. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

SYRIAN AND RUSSIAN FORCES LAUNCH ATTACK ON PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP (Yarmouk) — Syrian and Russian forces have launched a large-scale attack on a Palestinian refugee camp under the control of I.S. Pro-government troops fired a barrage of air strikes and surface-to-surface missiles into Yarmouk camp in southeast Damascus, as they rid the areas of jihadists. Air strikes have levelled more than 60 per cent of the camp, leaving the civilians that remain trapped in uninhabitable conditions. Before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Yarmouk was home to around 160,000 Palestinian refugees. More than 100,000 Syrians also lived in the area. (Telegraph, May 16, 2018)

EX-LONDON MAYOR WHO SAID HITLER WAS ONCE A ZIONIST QUITS UK LABOUR (London) — Former London mayor Ken Livingstone quit the Labour Party, saying his 2016 suspension for alleged antisemitic comments had become a “distraction” to a party dogged by allegations that its leader Jeremy Corbyn is failing to tackle antisemitism in its ranks. Livingstone, the mayor of the capital between 2000 and 2008, denied that he had “brought the Labour Party into disrepute,” and that he was “in any way guilty of anti-Semitism.” Livingstone, 72, was suspended after saying that when Hitler won power in Germany, “his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.” (Times of Israel, May 21, 2018)

TORONTO SCHOOL REMOVES JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH BANNER (Toronto) — The principal of a Toronto public school removed a banner made by students for Jewish Heritage Month, a decision upheld by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The banner had hung at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, a Toronto high school with a large Jewish population, before being removed. When questioned by students and parents, Principal Reiko Fuentes told them that, although originally approved, the banner was “too controversial” because it resembled the Israeli flag. (B’nai Brith, May 23, 2018)

B.C. PREMIER HAILS IMAM WHO SLAMMED “MALEVOLENT JEWS” (Victoria) — B.C. Premier John Horgan is standing by its praise of a Vancouver imam who slammed “malevolent Jews” and “criminal Zionists” in a public prayer session and urged congregants to send weapons to Palestinians. Tarek Ramadan, of the Kingsway Mosque, made the comments in 2017. The Muslim Association of Canada described his remarks as “inappropriate” and said Ramadan would be suspended from delivering sermons. Nevertheless, Horgan lauded Ramadan’s “work as a community activist,” striving to “ensure our province is a place of acceptance and vibrancy.” (B’nai Brith, May 16, 2018)

U.S. ISLAMISTS CELEBRATE AN ANTISEMITE’S ELECTION (Kuala Lumpur) — Malaysia’s newly elected leader never kept his antisemitism a secret, yet his election is feted by U.S. Islamists. In 2003, Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad said that “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.” He has also said, “I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.” Malaysia has been in the news following outrage by Hamas over the assassination there of a Hamas operative, and has been noted as a hotbed for Hamas activity. Despite the antisemitic rhetoric, U.S. Islamists feted the Malaysian’s return to government. Hussam Ayloush and Mongi Dhaouadi, officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) posted approvingly about Muhamad’s win. (IPT News, May 16, 2018)

REFUGEES ADMITTED TO THE U.S. HAS FALLEN, ESPECIALLY AMONG MUSLIMS (Washington) — The number of Muslim refugees admitted to the United States in the first half of fiscal 2018 has dropped from the previous year more than any other religious group, falling to nearly 1,800 compared with the roughly 22,900 admitted in all of fiscal 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The low point in Muslim admissions was set in the year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The number of refugees who enter the U.S. in fiscal 2018 is expected to fall below the previous year’s total (53,700) because President Donald Trump’s administration capped admissions at 45,000 this year. (Pew Research, May 3, 2018)

OIL GIANT TO PULL OUT OF IRAN (Paris) — Total SA, the first major oil and gas company to sign a deal with Tehran after the nuclear agreement in 2016, “will not be in a position to continue” its work in Iran in light of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord, the firm said. The French oil giant relies on US financial institutions. Trump’s announcement that he would snap back sanctions on Iran that were in place before the nuclear deal means that those banks would no longer be accessible to Total, or to any other companies, should they continue to engage in the Iranian marketplace. Total’s $2 billion deal with Tehran was in partnership with a subsidiary of Chinese company CNPC. The Chinese have indicated they will take over Total’s stake in the project should it choose to leave. (Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2018)

FOUR MEN SHOT DEAD AFTER I.S.-CLAIMED ATTACK IN INDONESIA (Jakarta) — Four men who attacked an Indonesian police headquarters with samurai swords were shot dead and one officer also died, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by I.S. rocked the country. The assault in Pekanbaru saw a group ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers with the swords. It was not clear if the incident was linked to other attacks which saw two families stage suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya. (Telegraph, May 16, 2018)

ALLEGED IS SUPPORTER ACCUSED OF URGING PRINCE GEORGE ATTACK (London) — An alleged supporter of I.S. went on trial in London, accused of encouraging attacks on 4-year-old Prince George. Prosecutors say 32-year-old Husnain Rashid provided an “e-toolkit for terrorism” on an online channel he ran under the name the Lone Mujahid. The prosecutor told a jury that Rashid encouraged attacks on a range of targets, including “injecting poison into supermarket ice creams and targeting Prince George at his first school.” Rashid, a mosque teacher from northwest England, is accused of encouraging “lone wolf” attacks and providing advice on using bombs, chemicals and knives. (CTV, May 23, 2018)

TURKISH BANKER IN IRAN SANCTIONS-BUSTING CASE SENTENCED (New York) — A Turkish banker who was convicted of taking part in a billion-dollar conspiracy to violate United States sanctions on Iran was sentenced to 32 months in prison, a far shorter term than prosecutors had sought. The trial of the banker, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, depicted high-level corruption in Turkey, riveted the Turkish public and strained that country’s relations with the United States. Atilla was the deputy general manager for international banking at Halkbank, a Turkish state bank that American prosecutors alleged was at the center of the broad sanctions-evasion scheme. (New York Times, May 16, 2018)

ISRAEL TO DEBATE RECOGNIZING ARMENIAN GENOCIDE (Jerusalem) — Israel’s parliament will debate recognizing the Armenian genocide, amid a diplomatic spat with Turkey over the deaths of Palestinians in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border. It is the first time in years that the foreign ministry has not objected to a debate on the Ottoman massacre of some 1.5 million Armenians in  during World War One. Israel has refrained from formally recognizing the genocide due to its diplomatic ties with Turkey and Azerbaijan. But the fragile Israel-Turkey relationship was thrown into disrepair last week as Ankara condemned the deaths of 60 Palestinians in Gaza border clashes as a “massacre”, withdrawing its ambassador from Israel and kicking out Israel’s envoy a day later. (I24, May 22, 2018)

PHILIP ROTH, AWARD-WINNING NOVELIST, DIES AT 85 (New York) — Philip Roth, who charted post-World War II America in self-referential literary novels with themes of sex, politics and secular Judaism, has died. He was 85. Roth burst into consciousness in 1969 with “Portnoy’s Complaint,” a satiric psychoanalyst’s couch monologue set in Newark, New Jersey, Roth’s own hometown. Because it depicted secular Jews, much of Roth’s early work, especially “Portnoy’s Complaint,” was interpreted by some as an attack on traditional Judaism. Gershom Scholem wrote in Haaretz that Portnoy “is the book for which all anti-Semites have been praying.” (Bloomberg, May 23, 2018)

On Topic Links

The Implications of Mike Pompeo’s 12-Point Speech: Doron Feldman, BESA, May 23, 2018—Mike Pompeo’s assertive and exhaustive 12-point speech of May 21, 2018 was an important step in the realization of the Trump Doctrine. Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation, the former CIA director unveiled the administration’s nuclear nonproliferation strategy against Iran, which strives to exert constant pressure on Tehran so as to goad it into a new nuclear deal without resorting to armed force.

The Western Nakba: Hating Israel: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, May 18, 2018 —After the clashes in Gaza that cost the lives of 62 Palestinians Arabs (a Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, said on television that 50 of the victims were members of the terrorist group), a series of diplomatic crises have taken place. While the African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa, compared Israel to Nazis, Turkey humiliated the expelled Israeli ambassador at the airport.

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide – It’s About Time: Israel W. Charny, Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2018—The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem welcomes warmly the proposed recognition by Israel of the Armenian Genocide. The genocide of course was against the Armenian people, but also included millions of other peoples, especially the Assyrians and Greeks. The guiding motif was to remove all non-Islamic peoples, and even more so to be rid of all those who were not “real Turks.”

Malaysia: The Return of an Anti-Semitic Prime Minister: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, May 22, 2018—Ninety-two-year-old Muhammad Mahathir has come out of retirement. He has won the Malaysian parliamentary elections and become the country’s prime minister once again. Mahathir has a long record of extreme anti-Semitic statements. One in particular stands out because it was made at a gathering of almost all the Muslim countries.

 

TRUMP SUCCEEDING IN BRINGING U.S. BACK TO FOREFRONT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA

Mike Pompeo Just Gave the Iran Speech Kerry Should Have Given: Jonathan Schanzer, New York Post, May 21, 2018 — In his first major speech as secretary of state — a searing 20-minute stemwinder — Mike Pompeo on Monday laid out the new US strategy toward Iran, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Donald Trump’s National Security Doctrine: Doron Feldman, BESA, May 11, 2018— President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA)…

Trump and America’s Centripetal Foreign Policy: John Podhoretz, Commentary, May 8, 2018— Donald Trump’s remarkable announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Iran deal is an indication that the centripetal force of America’s consensus foreign policy dating back to 1980 is pulling Trump inexorably toward its center.

Trump’s International Art of the Deal: Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, Apr. 29, 2018 — It’s really not that complicated.

On Topic Links

Stopping Robert Mueller to Protect Us All: Mark Penn, The Hill, May 20, 2018

The Next Victim of Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Strategy: Iran’s Violent Regime: Austin Bay, Observer, May 17, 2018

Trump’s Foreign Policy: Jarring, Juvenile – and Possibly Effective: Derek Burney & Fen Osler Hampson, Globe & Mail, Apr. 23, 2019

Truly Grand Strategy: Aaron Maclean, Weekly Standard, Apr. 7, 2018

 

MIKE POMPEO JUST GAVE THE IRAN SPEECH

KERRY SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

Jonathan Schanzer

New York Post, May 21, 2018

 

In his first major speech as secretary of state — a searing 20-minute stemwinder — Mike Pompeo on Monday laid out the new US strategy toward Iran, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement. Pompeo unveiled Washington’s plan to deploy intense economic warfare against the Islamic Republic until it halts a wide range of nuclear and non-nuclear activity. But the speech was more than just that; it was the one Pompeo’s predecessor, John Kerry, should have delivered in 2013.

Kerry, of course, was the nation’s top diplomat when America announced its interim deal with Iran that year. To reward the mullahs merely for coming to the table, he said the United States would pay hundreds of billions of dollars in blackmail to the Islamic Republic — the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism — in exchange for a temporary and reversible halt to its nuclear activity. Fast forward two years, and Kerry bound America to a more permanent arrangement, offering more than $150 billion in blackmail, while recklessly agreeing to limits on Iran that would expire within a decade. Worse, Kerry failed to address issues like missiles, terrorism and other malign activity that Iran carries out to destabilize the Middle East. We were told it was the best deal we could get.

Pompeo on Monday put an end to all that. He declared that his goal was to return to “the global consensus” before the deal. No longer will the United States tolerate Iran’s rogue behavior, which he detailed. This includes Iran’s quest for the bomb, but also the support Iran has been providing to terrorist groups in Yemen (the Houthis), Syria and Iraq (Shi’ite militias and Hezbollah) and the Gaza Strip (Hamas). Pompeo vowed to “crush” these proxies and declared that Iran would never get a nuclear bomb. “Not now, not ever.” The new secretary announced that the US Treasury would unleash “the strongest sanctions in history,” unless the regime in Tehran yields. If it doesn’t, Pompeo warned, the regime will “be battling to keep its economy alive.” Good for him. Fact is, this is the only kind of language — and policy —that could get Iran to change course.

In short, the objective is what it should’ve been in 2013 —to put Iran’s leaders to a fundamental choice: Face a withering campaign of sanctions, led by the United States and increasingly adopted by its allies, or engage in constructive diplomacy that ultimately puts the Islamic Republic on a path toward peaceful coexistence with the United States, the broader Middle East and the rest of the world. And this is not based on a vague notion of peace. Pompeo delineated a dozen areas where the Iranians need to fall in line. In exchange, he said, the Trump administration would agree to the “re-establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations.”

Critics will rightly point out that the Iranians, reeling from Trump’s decision, are not likely to rush to the negotiating table. To save face, they need to find some negotiating leverage. And that leverage traditionally comes from malign activities, such as nuclear advances, missile tests or destabilizing the Middle East. But the Iranians are now racing against the clock. Their currency, the rial, has been in a free-fall since the president announced his withdrawal from the deal. Inflation is through the roof. True, the Iranian economy was already tanking, thanks to mismanagement by the regime, and this has sparked public protests in recent months. But Trump’s sanctions have accelerated the decline, and it’s now safe to say that whatever economic improvement the 2015 nuclear deal may have yielded has effectively vanished. In this way, even before sanctions are fully implemented, the new policy is already making an impact.

Critics also point out that we can’t do this alone. The Europeans, in particular, are still stinging from Trump’s withdrawal from the deal. The Chinese and Russians are also not pleased, given the time and effort they invested in it. All are now considering plans to work around US restrictions on trade with Iran. And Pompeo offered little to indicate that they will acquiesce. But never underestimate the fear that can be sown by American sanctions. Ours is still the most important economy in the world. And as long as it is, the United States is right to use that as leverage to get a meaningful deal with Iran. Pompeo made it clear that this is America’s strategy. It’s the strategy we always should have pursued.

 

Contents

DONALD TRUMP’S NATIONAL SECURITY DOCTRINE

Doron Feldman

BESA, May 11, 2018

 

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA), and to renew harsh economic sanctions in order to force Tehran to accept significant changes to the deal, exemplifies Trump’s inclination to carve out new patterns of diplomatic achievement. His ability to do this has been facilitated by the stabilization of his administration in the domestic arena.

In an albeit unique way, Trump and his administration operate in a rational, orderly, and calculated manner, notwithstanding the stigma that has adhered to them because of the president’s extrovert nature and unorthodox language. The “Trump Doctrine” consists of commitments to preserve American interests, keep election promises to the voters, and implement policy.

According to this doctrine, America should, wherever possible, avoid direct long-term commitment of troops to conflicts abroad while at the same time maintaining the military capabilities for rapid intervention if required. These forces serve primarily to deter. Should they need to intervene, the object is to achieve a quick result through a concentration of forces and the use of innovative fighting technologies – and then to cut off contact as soon as possible and return to the rear bases.

In this way, the administration is succeeding in bringing the American giant back to the forefront of the international arena (particularly in Asia and the Middle East) after the retreat that occurred under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump is accomplishing this without entering into unreasonable commitments, and without forcing American taxpayers to pay huge sums to finance the ongoing expenses of the American Expeditionary Force.

The foreign policy of the eight-year Obama administration was and remains highly controversial. Having stirred worldwide euphoria upon his first election (he even received the Nobel Peace Prize before being able to do anything), Obama left his successor a disastrous international legacy. He miserably failed to deal with the “Arab Spring,” made critical mistakes vis-à-vis the region’s numerous conflicts (notably the Syrian civil war), and undermined the balance of power among the superpowers (China, Russia and the US). This led, on the one hand, to Beijing’s first military engagement in the Middle East, and on the other, to renewed Russian engagement – for the first time since the Cold War – in both the Middle East and other regions of the world (Eastern Europe, Antarctica, North Africa). The Obama administration cut the budget of the US Army and the NASA program, inhibiting technological and scientific development.

All told, Obama’s policies damaged the American image both internally and externally. In addition, the administration allowed nuclear threshold states, such as North Korea and Iran, to become militarily powerful, to threaten their neighbors, and to tread the nuclear path. This was all undertaken by Obama at the expense of Washington’s closest allies (Japan, South Korea, Israel, and Saudi Arabia), which were perceived by the administration as obstacles rather than assets. At home, Obama ramped up a socialist tone with regard to the economy and society, leaving deep rifts in the culture and contributing to a decline in citizens’ economic position.

American foreign policy and its ability to influence world powers, regional powers, and regional actors depends, first and foremost, on the ability of the administration to function internally. More than a year into Trump’s term, the relationship between the president and the US Senate appears to have normalized. Trump has support, if limited, among conservative circles in the Democratic Party as well as traditional Republican elites that were hostile to him after the election. This has enabled him to secure the necessary majority to get his tax reform agenda through the Senate, to make progress on the new immigration law, to overcome budget crises, and to stand firm in the face of domestic tensions. When the Trump administration came out with the upper hand on these issues, it was credited with achievements in domestic policy. This in turn strengthened its international standing, enabling it to begin to act more decisively in that arena…

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

 

Contents

   

TRUMP AND AMERICA’S CENTRIPETAL FOREIGN POLICY                                                                            John Podhoretz                                                                                                                                        Commentary, May 8, 2018

Donald Trump’s remarkable announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Iran deal is an indication that the centripetal force of America’s consensus foreign policy dating back to 1980 is pulling Trump inexorably toward its center. That is not the place Trump wanted to be when he ran his campaign. He certainly seemed to want to pursue a far more isolationist path, which is exactly the path that the post-war foreign policy of the United States rejected. But here we are, and here are the elements of Trump’s foreign policy that demonstrate continuity with the past consensus:

 

Sanctions against Russia for its behavior in Ukraine; Permitting arms sales to Ukraine; Some level of friendship toward Israel; Hostility toward Cuba’s totalitarian regime; Fighting Islamist terrorism—on the ground in Syria, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan; Finding points of commonality with Arab regimes that are not explicitly anti-American; Viewing Iran as a serious antagonist.

With some exceptions (like the elder Bush’s administration in relation to Israel), every element on this list (if in some cases you substitute the Soviet Union for Russia pre-1991 and Libya for Islamist terror) was to some degree at play in American foreign policy from 1981 until 2008. Such has been the powerful logical flow of American foreign policy since the election of Ronald Reagan. This consensus ebbed and flowed depending on the circumstance, of course, and the parallels are not perfect. What Trump has done, and I don’t think strategically or with any grand design, is to place far greater stock in both the unilateralist and the realpolitik aspects of American foreign policy than his predecessors in the Reagan and post-Reagan era. He views enduring alliances more as constraints than grand benefits, which is perhaps the primary way in which he differs from the consensus. But his attacks on those alliances have basically ceased, which is itself a striking change from candidate Trump’s approach.

And what of 2008 to 2016? Barack Obama, schooled in 1970s liberal foreign-policy shibboleths, came at this consensus and flipped it—not entirely on its head, more like about 140 degrees. We went at Israel, we went light on Russia, we sought a concord with Iran, and Obama was celebrated for his acceptance of the monsters of Havana. Most notably, he accepted the left-liberal critique of postwar American foreign policy’s supposedly bad actions in the world and sought to apologize or make implicit amends for them. Viewed in this light, it’s the Obama years that represent the jarring discontinuity from the consensus path and not the election of the X-factor Trump.

We’ll have to see how this North Korea business goes to better understand Trump. (And certainly Trump’s trade practices mark him as very different, though there’s an argument that’s more an economic than a foreign policy.) There’s no reason to believe any of this is conscious or deliberate or designed. There is no Trump Doctrine. But there might be one yet, and it might be more familiar than we had any right to expect.

 

 

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TRUMP’S INTERNATIONAL ART OF THE DEAL

Daniel Greenfield

Sultan Knish, Apr. 29, 2018

It’s really not that complicated. But President Trump’s Syria strikes have reopened the debate over what defines his foreign policy. Is he an interventionist or an isolationist? Foreign policy experts claim that he’s making it up as he goes along. But they’re not paying attention.

President Trump’s foreign policy has two consistent elements. From threatening Kim Jong-Un on Twitter to moving the embassy to Jerusalem to bombing Syria, he applies pressure and then he disengages. Here’s how that works.

First, Trump pressures the most intransigent and hostile side in the conflict. Second, he divests the United States from the conflict leaving the relevant parties to find a way to work it out. North Korea had spent decades using its nuclear program to bully its neighbors and the United States. Previous administrations had given the Communist dictatorship $1.3 billion in aid to keep it from developing its nuclear program. These bribes failed because they incentivized the nuclear program.

Nukes are the only thing keeping North Korea from being just another failed Communist dictatorship. Instead, Trump called North Korea’s bluff. He ignored all the diplomatic advice and ridiculed its regime. He made it clear that the United States was not afraid of North Korean nukes. The experts shrieked. They warned that Kim Jong-Un wouldn’t take this Twitter abuse and we would be in for a nuclear war.

But the Norks folded. The Communist regime held high level talks with the United States and South Korea. It’s reportedly planning to announce an official end to the war. That probably won’t amount to much in the long term, but it shifts more of the responsibility for the conflict away from the United States and to the Koreas.

Trump accomplished more with a few tweets than previous administrations had with billions of dollars. An instinctive negotiator, Trump’s realpolitik genius lay not in ideology, but in grasping the core negotiating strategy of the enemy and then negating it by taking away its reason not to make a deal. When Trump called North Korea’s bluff, its nuclear weapons program was transformed from an asset that it used to blackmail aid from its potential targets into a liability that could end with its destruction.

Trump did the same thing with Jerusalem. The PLO had refused to make a deal with Israel because its constant refusals to negotiate allowed it to keep escalating its demands. The more it sabotaged negotiations, the better the offers became. The PLO’s Palestinian Authority didn’t have nukes, but its weapon of choice was terrorism. And it had played the same game as North Korea for decades. It would begin negotiations, demand payoffs, then sabotage negotiations, threaten violence, and demand an even higher payoff for ending the violence. The PLO/PA knew that it could get the best possible deal by not making a deal.

Just like North Korea, Trump cut the PLO down to size by negating its negotiating strategy. Instead of the deal getting better and better, Trump showed that it would get worse by taking Jerusalem off the table. Previous administrations had rewarded the PLO/PA for its refusal to make a deal by sweetening the pot. Instead Trump threatened to take away Jerusalem, the biggest prize in the pot. And then he warned that the PLO would lose even more of its demands if the terrorist group continued to refuse to make a deal.

Unlike Clinton, Bush and Obama, Trump did not overcompensate for the US-Israel relationship by pressuring the Jewish State to make a deal with the PLO so as to seem like an “honest broker”. Instead he leveraged that relationship to move the United States away from the conflict.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem sends the signal that the US-Israel relationship doesn’t depend on a deal with the PLO. That’s the opposite of the messages that Clinton, Bush and Obama had sent. Their old failed diplomacy that made the US-Israel relationship dependent on a deal with the PLO had given the terrorists control over our foreign policy. The US and Israel were perversely forced into appeasing the terrorists of the PLO just to be able to maintain a relationship with each other. Trump kicked the PLO out of the driver’s seat. And the terrorist group is becoming isolated.

Saudi Arabia and its allies are much more focused on Iran than the old proxy war against Israel. And, for the moment, that leaves the PLO with few allies. If it doesn’t make a deal, then the United States will rebuild its relationship with Israel around regional security issues. And the Saudis have signaled that they are willing to do the same thing. Then everyone else exits the conflict except Israel and the PLO. Trump left it to the South Koreans to decide the conflict with North Korea. Ditto for Israel.

The United States will put forward proposals, but the long game is to get America out these conflicts. And Trump does that by turning the United States from an eager mediator to a bully with a big stick. He made it clear to Kim Jong-Un that he would have a much easier time negotiating with South Korea than with America. And he’s made it equally clear to the PLO that it’s better off turning to Israel than to its allies in the State Department. The message is, “You don’t want to get the United States involved.”

Previous administrations believed that the United States had an integral role in resolving every conflict. President Trump’s America First policy seeks to limit our involvement in foreign conflicts without robbing us of our influence by making those interventions as decisive and abrasive as possible. It breaks every rule of contemporary diplomacy. But it has plenty of historical precedents. And it works…

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

 

 

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Stopping Robert Mueller to Protect Us All: Mark Penn, The Hill, May 20, 2018—The “deep state” is in a deep state of desperation. With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying, they know a reckoning is coming.

The Next Victim of Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ Strategy: Iran’s Violent Regime: Austin Bay, Observer, May 17, 2018—Indignant media elites and European toffs continue to scorn President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the “Iran nuclear deal,” but they are once again missing the big news: The Trump administration has launched another “maximum pressure” foreign policy operation, this time targeting the heinous religious dictators and Al Quds terrorists commanding the Iranian regime.

Trump’s Foreign Policy: Jarring, Juvenile – and Possibly Effective: Derek Burney & Fen Osler Hampson, Globe & Mail, Apr. 23, 2019—It may be difficult to assume that any rational thought lies behind Donald Trump’s foreign-policy impulses, but consider the following…

Truly Grand Strategy: Aaron Maclean, Weekly Standard, Apr. 7, 2018—Until the late 1990s, John Lewis Gaddis enjoyed a reputation among his fellow historians for careful—even exquisitely careful—evenhandedness.

WESTERN MEDIA PLAYS INTO HAMAS’ PROPAGANDA AND “DEAD BABY STRATEGY”

Why Does the Media Keep Encouraging Hamas Violence?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, May 17, 2018— If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas.

The Media War on Palestinian Agency: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, May 14, 2018— Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people.

Media Goes Wild in Anti-Trump, Anti-Israel Fervor: Ben Shapiro, The Hill, May 15, 2018 — On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran with another of its desperate appeals for circulation.

Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy: Matti Friedman, New York Times, May 16, 2018— During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story.

 

On Topic Links

‘Canada Would Do Exactly the Same Thing’: Israel’s Deputy Minister Defends Gaza Border Violence (Interview): CBC, May 16, 2018

Guardian Editorial on Gaza Perfectly Shows the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias and Hatred: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 16, 2018

Hamas Official: Majority of Palestinians Killed in Violent Protests are Our Men: IPT News, May 16, 2018

Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, May 16, 2018

 

WHY DOES THE MEDIA KEEP ENCOURAGING HAMAS VIOLENCE?

Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, May 17, 2018

 

If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas. The most recent Hamas provocations — having 40,000 Gazans try to tear down the border fence and enter Israel with Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons — are part of a repeated Hamas tactic that I have called the “dead baby strategy.” Hamas’ goal is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so that the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line, while their own fighters hide behind these human shields.

Hamas leaders have long acknowledged this tactic. Fathi Hammad, a Hamas Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated as far back as 2008: “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘we desire death like you desire life.'”

Hamas used this tactic to provoke two wars with Israel in which their fighters fired rockets from civilian areas, including hospitals, schools and mosques. When Israel responded, it tried its best to avoid civilian casualties, dropping warning leaflets, calling residents of potential targets and dropping non-lethal noise bombs on the roofs of houses that were being used to launch rockets and store explosives. Inevitably, some civilians were killed, and the media blamed Israel for these deaths, despite the precautions it had taken. The same was true when Hamas built terror tunnels used to kidnap Israeli civilians. The entrances to these tunnels were in civilian areas as well, including mosques and schools. Using their own civilians as human shields, while targeting Israeli civilians, is a double war crime. Yet, the media generally focuses on Israel’s reaction to these war crimes, rather than Hamas’ war crimes.

The cruel reality is that every time Israel accidentally kills a Gaza civilian, Israel loses. And every time Israel kills a Gaza civilian, Hamas wins. Israelis grieve every civilian death its army accidentally causes. Hamas benefits from every death Israel accidentally causes. That is why it encourages its women and children to become martyrs. Calling this the “dead baby strategy” may seem cruel, because it is cruel. But don’t blame the messenger for accurately describing this tactic. Blame those who cynically use it. And blame the media for playing into the hands of those who use it by reporting only the body count and not the deliberate Hamas tactic that leads to one-sided body counts.

It is true that Gaza is in a desperate situation and that it is wounded. But the wound is self-inflicted. When Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip — removing every single soldier and settler — Gaza could have become the Singapore of the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful area with a large seacoast. It received infusions of cash and other help from Europe. Israel left behind agricultural equipment and greenhouses. But instead of using these resources to feed, house and educate its citizens, Hamas built rockets and terror tunnels. It threw dissenters off roofs and murdered members of the Palestinian Authority who were willing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it.

Hamas rejects the two-state solution or any solution that leaves Israel intact. Its only solution is violence, and the events at the fence these past days are a manifestation of that violence. Would any country in the world allow 40,000 people, sworn to its destruction, to knock down a border fence and attack its citizens living peacefully near the border? Of course not. Could Israel have done more to reduce casualties among those trying to breach the border fence? I don’t know, and neither do the legions of armchair generals that are currently criticizing Israel for the steps it took to prevent a catastrophe among the residents of villages and towns that are proximate to the border fence.

One thing is crystal-clear: Hamas will continue to use the dead baby strategy as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line. Perhaps Israel could do a better job in defending its civilians, but it is certain that the media can do a better job in accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.

There is a marvelous cartoon that illustrates the difference between Hamas and Israel. It shows an Israeli soldier standing in front of a baby carriage with a baby in it, shielding the baby. Then it shows a Hamas terrorist standing behind a baby carriage with the baby in it, using the baby to shield him. This cartoon better illustrates the reality that is occurring at the Gaza fence than most of the “objective” reporting by the media.

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THE MEDIA WAR ON PALESTINIAN AGENCY

Sohrab Ahmari

Commentary, May 14, 2018

Palestinian Arabs are human beings, which means they are possessed of free will, agency, and the natural capacity to reason like any other people. This basic, incontestable anthropological reality needs to be frequently restated today since our media and foreign-policy establishment has apparently concluded the opposite. The latest media assault on Palestinian agency came Monday, as Israelis celebrated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, while Palestinians attempted to infiltrate en masse the barrier fence that separates the Jewish state from the terrorist-run Gaza Strip to the south.

By the Western media’s dim lights, the blame for Hamas’s criminal stunt and the casualties it caused lay with . . . anybody and everybody but Hamas and the Palestinians. The narrative emerged early on Twitter, and the social-media platform’s deplorable tendency to flatten reality into cheap, emotive images no doubt accelerated its dissemination. The juxtaposition–of “Jivanka” and Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating in Jerusalem while Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians at the Gaza border–proved irresistible to reporters. The BBC’s Katty Kay, for example, was quick to point out that President Trump’s warm words for the Jewish state came while there were “41 dead on the Israel Gaza border today.” An AFP White House correspondent posted the two sets of images side-by-side–a smiling and clapping Bibi next to a photo of fire and smoke from Gaza–with the words: “Quite the disconnect.” He had garnered more than 2,600 retweets as of this writing.

Then there was Peter Beinart (Marshall, declined): “While Jewish + Christian bigots celebrate an occupied city, Jewish soldiers kill people fleeing an open-air prison. As a great lover of Zion said long ago, ‘This is not the way.’” Yes, “fleeing.” That is an interesting way to describe a concerted, Iranian-regime-funded operation to violate Israeli sovereignty and do “whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones,” as the Washington Post quoted one of the “protesters” describing the movement’s goals.

The Palestinians’ more sophisticated friends know what Hamas is all about. They understand that young men whipped into a frenzy by an organization that exists to destroy world Jewry, per its charter, aren’t exactly latter-day Freedom Riders. But they think that the Palestinians can’t help themselves. While they expect Israel–a state encircled by hostile populations and threatened with nuclear extinction by the Iranian mullahs–to behave like Norway, of the Palestinians they have the most dismal, if any, expectations.

Thus Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer tweeted: “The Palestinians killed today knew Israeli Defense Forces would use lethal force in response to their demonstrations. It didn’t stop them. They felt hopeless.” The Mideast reporter Sulome Anderson echoed his sentiments: “Imagine the desperation it takes to walk into live gunfire from the Middle East’s most powerful fighting force, armed with nothing more than rocks & the occasional Molotov or grenade. Try to conceive of the circumstances that could drive so many human beings to such an act.”

Or maybe try to conceive of the poisonous power of Hamas’s anti-Semitic ideology and the Palestinians’ permanently aggrieved mentality, which has allowed the conflict to fester despite numerous peace offers from the Israeli side. There are desperate people all over the world who never translate their frustration into suicide bombing, stone throwing, border-rushing, and violent “Days of Rage.” It does the Palestinians no good to treat them as children entitled to tantrums, as permanent wards of the international community or, worst, as wild men bereft of reason. Then again, such highhanded pity isn’t really about helping the Palestinians so much as it is about flattering their Western friends.

Meanwhile, Israel has good reason to celebrate: 70 years of independence, a dynamic economy, an innovative tech industry, a vibrant public square, a globally influential culture, demographics that are the envy of the West, burgeoning alliances with former enemies, and now American recognition of its capital. Leave it to the New York Times to frame the anniversary as a moment of “peril” and a “nightmare taking shape.” The Times dispatch, by David Halbfinger, acknowledges these successes. But it claims that “Israelis seem not to know what to feel” and quotes historian Tom Segev, who says that the “future is very bleak.” This is a distorted picture of Israeli sentiment. Massive celebrations have been going on for weeks, involving hundreds of thousands of people. It does, however, reveal the psychological anguish in the Times newsroom over the Jewish state’s triumph.

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MEDIA GOES WILD IN ANTI-TRUMP, ANTI-ISRAEL FERVOR                                                               Ben Shapiro                                                                                                                       The Hill, May 15, 2018

 

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran with another of its desperate appeals for circulation. This time, it blamed Ivanka Trump for Hamas-generated violence in the Gaza Strip. The cover featured a grinning Ivanka, dressed to the nines, at the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. But instead of her gesturing to the placard featured on the new embassy, the Daily News photoshopped in a photo of a wounded Palestinian on the Gaza border — so now Ivanka was gesturing at Palestinian suffering, a smile spread broadly across her face. The headline: “DADDY’S LITTLE GHOUL.”

This is absolutely abhorrent. It’s also reflective of the media coverage of both the Trump administration and Israel overall. The media have been repeating Hamas propaganda — and, presumably, they know it. They’ve been claiming that Israel is killing “protesters,” even though these are Hamas-led riots. They’ve been claiming that Israel has been targeting civilians, when it is clear this is not the case. And now they’re claiming that the Trump administration is to blame. The Washington Post headlined, “Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza protesting U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem.”

The violence in the Gaza Strip has been ongoing for weeks, and has been entirely orchestrated by Hamas. Palestinians, including Hamas terrorists, have been throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops, as well as explosive devices and stones; they’ve been burning tires and attempting to cut through the border fence with wirecutters. The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Ronen Manelis, says Hamas is paying families to protest, and that they have intelligence that Hamas seeks to kidnap an Israeli soldier.

Hamas’ leadership has announced that it seeks to promote violence along the border, and has activated tens of thousands of Palestinians as public cover for that violence. Hamas’s leader, Yahya Sinwar, said last month, “We will take down their border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al Zahhar openly told al Jazeera, “This is not a peaceful resistance … when we talk about peaceful resistance, we are deceiving the public. This is peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies and enjoying tremendous public support.” Palestinian participants know this. NPR asked a Gazan flying a kite with a swastika about his motivation. His answer: “We want them to burn.” Mohammed Mansoura, a 23-year-old “protester,” explained, “We are excited to storm and get inside … whatever is possible, to kill, throw stones.”

Palestinian rioters captured by Israel have said the same thing. According to the Israeli Security Agency, Yahiya Eijle, a Hamas member arrested on April 29, told them that Hamas was instructing its activists to cut the fence, that they want their activity to be seen “in the international media as a popular uprising, and not as violent action led by its militants,” and that Hamas members are embedded in the general population for purposes of public relations. Another Palestinian terrorist captured by Israel stated that “Hamas militants in civilian clothes encourage children to try to cross the fence in order to steal IDF equipment.”

Yet according to the media, all of this is Israel’s fault — or the fault of the dastardly Trump administration. Never mind that Hamas has participated in ongoing war with Israel since its election in 2006, the year after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Never mind that Hamas routinely locates terrorists among civilians in order to mislead the media into believing that Israel targets civilians. (Hamas hid its headquarters during the 2014 Gaza war in a hospital). No, it must be Ivanka Trump’s fault.

Let’s be clear: Ivanka Trump’s presence in Israel to announce the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has nothing to do with the violence. Blaming Ivanka Trump for the situation in Gaza isn’t just politically illiterate, it’s utterly immoral. Ivanka is Jewish; her husband is Jewish; they were in Israel to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. To photoshop her on the cover of a newspaper grinning as she gestures to a picture of a wounded Palestinian is nothing less than a blood libel. But all’s fair in love and anti-Trump garbage these days

 

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FALLING FOR HAMAS’S SPLIT-SCREEN FALLACY

Matti Friedman

New York Times, May 16, 2018

During my years in the international press here in Israel, long before the bloody events of this week, I came to respect Hamas for its keen ability to tell a story. At the end of 2008 I was a desk editor, a local hire in The Associated Press’s Jerusalem bureau, during the first serious round of violence in Gaza after Hamas took it over the year before. That conflict was grimly similar to the American campaign in Iraq, in which a modern military fought in crowded urban confines against fighters concealed among civilians. Hamas understood early that the civilian death toll was driving international outrage at Israel, and that this, not I.E.D.s or ambushes, was the most important weapon in its arsenal.

Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll. The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.

Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance. The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.

The next step in the evolution of this tactic was visible in Monday’s awful events. If the most effective weapon in a military campaign is pictures of civilian casualties, Hamas seems to have concluded, there’s no need for a campaign at all. All you need to do is get people killed on camera. The way to do this in Gaza, in the absence of any Israeli soldiers inside the territory, is to try to cross the Israeli border, which everyone understands is defended with lethal force and is easy to film. About 40,000 people answered a call to show up. Many of them, some armed, rushed the border fence. Many Israelis, myself included, were horrified to see the number of fatalities reach 60.

Most Western viewers experienced these events through a visual storytelling tool: a split screen. On one side was the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem in the presence of Ivanka Trump, evangelical Christian allies of the White House and Israel’s current political leadership — an event many here found curious and distant from our national life. On the other side was the terrible violence in the desperately poor and isolated territory. The juxtaposition was disturbing.

The attempts to breach the Gaza fence, which Palestinians call the March of Return, began in March and have the stated goal of erasing the border as a step toward erasing Israel. A central organizer, the Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar, exhorted participants on camera in Arabic to “tear out the hearts” of Israelis. But on Monday the enterprise was rebranded as a protest against the embassy opening, with which it was meticulously timed to coincide. The split screen, and the idea that people were dying in Gaza because of Donald Trump, was what Hamas was looking for.

The press coverage on Monday was a major Hamas success in a war whose battlefield isn’t really Gaza, but the brains of foreign audiences. Israeli soldiers facing Gaza have no good choices. They can warn people off with tear gas or rubber bullets, which are often inaccurate and ineffective, and if that doesn’t work, they can use live fire. Or they can hold their fire to spare lives and allow a breach, in which case thousands of people will surge into Israel, some of whom — the soldiers won’t know which — will be armed fighters. (On Wednesday a Hamas leader, Salah Bardawil, told a Hamas TV station that 50 of the dead were Hamas members. The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed three others.) If such a breach occurs, the death toll will be higher. And Hamas’s tactic, having proved itself, would likely be repeated by Israel’s enemies on its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Knowledgeable people can debate the best way to deal with this threat. Could a different response have reduced the death toll? Or would a more aggressive response deter further actions of this kind and save lives in the long run? What are the open-fire orders on the India-Pakistan border, for example? Is there something Israel could have done to defuse things beforehand?

These are good questions. But anyone following the response abroad saw that this wasn’t what was being discussed. As is often the case where Israel is concerned, things quickly became hysterical and divorced from the events themselves. Turkey’s president called it “genocide.” A writer for The New Yorker took the opportunity to tweet some of her thoughts about “whiteness and Zionism,” part of an odd trend that reads America’s racial and social problems into a Middle Eastern society 6,000 miles away. The sicknesses of the social media age — the disdain for expertise and the idea that other people are not just wrong but villainous — have crept into the worldview of people who should know better.

For someone looking out from here, that’s the real split-screen effect: On one side, a complicated human tragedy in a corner of a region spinning out of control. On the other, a venomous and simplistic story, a symptom of these venomous and simplistic times.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

‘Canada Would Do Exactly the Same Thing’: Israel’s Deputy Minister Defends Gaza Border Violence (Interview): CBC, May 16, 2018—Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren blames Hamas for the bloodshed at the Israel-Gaza border this week, and says the media is doing the militant group’s bidding. Israeli forces killed at least 60 Palestinians, most by gunfire, and injured more than 2,700 since Monday during protests near the border.

Guardian Editorial on Gaza Perfectly Shows the Media’s Anti-Israel Bias and Hatred: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, May 16, 2018—The first thing that stands out in The Guardian’s latest official editorial on the Gaza border riots is the absence of even one use of the word “Hamas” in more than 600 words of text, despite the fact that the violence has been organized and funded by the terror group.

Hamas Official: Majority of Palestinians Killed in Violent Protests are Our Men: IPT News, May 16, 2018—Hamas official Salah Bardawil may have destroyed the narrative that Israel is indiscriminately killing non-violent protesters at the Gaza border. The vast majority of Palestinians killed, Bardawil told a Palestinian interviewer, were Hamas fighters.

Why Is Hamas So Interested in Palestinian Deaths?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, May 16, 2018—Hamas defined the day of violent clashes at Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, on May 14, 2018, during which some 59 Palestinians were claimed to have been killed, as living proof of a victory for jihad and the armed struggle against Israel. It openly admitted that these were not spontaneous demonstrations but a campaign orchestrated by Hamas and other Palestinian organizations defined as terrorist groups in the West.