Month: June 2018


The Situation in Germany Is Deteriorating for Jews — and Everyone: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, June 20, 2018— “The twelve years of national socialist rule was a speck of bird poop compared to the more than thousand years of Germany’s glorious past.”

The Migration Crisis Will Shatter Europe: Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail, June 25, 2018— As politicians wrangle behind closed doors, the MV Lifeline is in limbo.

Europe’s Vanishing Calm: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, June 7, 2018— The Rhone River Valley in southern France is a storybook marriage of high technology, traditional vineyards, and ancestral villages.

Parshat Balak: A People That Dwells Alone: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, June 28, 2018 — This is an extraordinary moment in Jewish history, for good and not-so-good reasons.

On Topic Links

Bureaucracy Preventing Ingathering of the Nicaraguan Exiles: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2018

The Palestine Pavilion – 1924-25: Saul Jay Singer, Jewish Press, June 20, 2018

Spain: Ground Zero for Europe’s Anti-Israel Movement: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, June 23, 2018

Sidestepping Standard Procedure, Austrian Chancellor Visits Western Wall: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2018



FOR JEWS — AND EVERYONE                                                           

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Algemeiner, June 20, 2018

“The twelve years of national socialist rule was a speck of bird poop compared to the more than thousand years of Germany’s glorious past.” This graphic statement was made by Alexander Gauland, the co-chairman of the German extreme right-wing AfD party, at an official party conference earlier this month. A German government spokesman called Gauland’s remark shameful, and the statement also led to condemnations from a variety of politicians, media outlets, and others. It was criticized from within the AfD as well.

Gauland reacted by saying that he did not deny Germany’s responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis. He also remarked that his words expressed extreme repugnance for National Socialism, since he compared it to animal excrement. Yet as so often happens, this issue was treated largely as an isolated incident rather than seen in a much wider context.

The impact of Holocaust-related traumas reemerges regularly in Germany in many different ways. Now Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “welcome policy” on immigration has added another recurring problem: the partly insolvable challenges that will result from Germany’s massive refugee influx. Since September 2015, at least 1.3 million asylum seekers — mainly Muslims from countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan — have entered Germany. In the September 2017 elections, the AfD received 12.6% of the vote and became Germany’s third largest party. Without Merkel’s immigration policy, this right-wing anti-Islam party would probably have had difficulty passing the 5% parliamentary entrance threshold.

As a populist and nationalist party, the AfD promotes extreme national identity and rejects supranational Europeanism. Yet Gauland’s remark and the many negative reactions from his colleagues show that the party knows it must tread carefully. Still, popular support for the AfD continues to increase. A recent poll gave it 16% of voters’ support, close to that of the country’s declining second party the SPD socialists. German acquaintances keep telling me that numerous people in the mainstream intend to vote for the AfD. Part of the reason is that they see no other alternative to express their wish to stop the inflow of refugees.

Although Merkel has walked back her refugee policy somewhat, many Germans remain dissatisfied, partly because the media publicity about murders and other major crimes committed by Middle Eastern immigrants is widespread. The stable Germany of recent decades is changing and Germany is becoming a country in flux. Domestic and international problems have piled up rapidly. The government parties no longer have a majority in the polls. The national refugee agency BAMF is under scrutiny for a major scandal; the head of the agency has been fired. There are also important policy and personal tensions between the two Christian parties — Merkel’s CDU and the Bavarian CSU.

When it comes to Germany’s foreign relations, the situation is deteriorating as well. In Italy, a populist government wants to transgress the European Union’s financial rules. The United Kingdom is negotiating its departure from the EU. Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran has led Tehran to threaten to abandon its commitments under the deal unless the Europeans compensate it for American sanctions. The newly imposed US tariffs on steel and aluminum may soon be followed by tariffs on cars, which will hit Germany hard. Trump also has so little respect for Germany that he has even stated that the country’s citizens don’t support the government on the immigration issue.

A strong Germany is crucial for Israel’s position in Europe. Internal tensions can become bad for the country’s Jews. All one can conclude is that developments in Germany should be watched closely by both Israel and local Jewish organizations.




Margaret Wente

Globe & Mail, June 25, 2018

As politicians wrangle behind closed doors, the MV Lifeline is in limbo. The Lifeline is a rescue ship that picked up 234 migrants off the Libyan coast last week. Normally it would have docked in Italy. But Italy’s new hard-line government turned it away. No one wants the passengers, who are mostly young African men. Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has already threatened to deport hundreds of thousands of migrants unless Europe gets serious about sharing the burdens of intercepting and processing them. Last week, he posted a video on his Facebook page in which he called the passengers of the Lifeline “human meat.”

Attitudes have hardened on migration across Europe – not only in Hungary and Poland, which have had little tolerance for foreigners, but also in France and even tolerant Sweden. The top two issues in most countries are immigration and terrorism, pollsters find. Experts can lecture all they want about how immigration, terrorism and crime are really pseudo-problems, whipped up to serve the interests of the populists. But the truth is that Europe’s leaders have failed miserably to come up with any common solution to the migration problem. That’s why support for national populists is rising and why centre-right parties are shifting farther right.

The absolute numbers of asylum seekers have fallen dramatically since 2015 – the year of the great surge to Germany. Even so, as the Financial Times says, “The impact of migration on European politics has become truly poisonous.” In Sweden, the once-shunned anti-immigrant right is heading for a breakthrough in September’s elections. In Germany, Angela Merkel’s job is in jeopardy if she can’t manage to placate her coalition partners in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, who are being challenged by the far right. They’re threatening to close the borders if they don’t get new assurances on immigration – a move that would be a devastating blow to the European Union’s open-borders policy.

Anti-immigration sentiment in Germany is also fuelled by violent crime. Recently, a young Iraqi man was apprehended for the violent rape and murder of a 14-year-old German girl – a graphic reminder to many people that the government can’t control who is living within its borders. “The government should beg for forgiveness from Susanna’s parents, ” said Bild, a popular daily newspaper.

Ms. Merkel is pushing for a common approach and united solutions to Europe’s migration problems. But that’s looking like a lost cause. The idea of “burden-sharing” – which would require every country to take its fair share of asylum claimants – has been a flop, because countries such as Hungary and Bulgaria believe their fair share is zero. Asylum claimants themselves are only interested in going to northern countries with good welfare benefits. Other ideas involve massively beefing up policing of Europe’s external borders – if only they can figure out who will pay and what will become of the migrants who are intercepted. The Italians are now proposing “reception centres” – perhaps located in Europe, or perhaps North Africa, where people can be housed (or detained, depending on your point of view) while their claims are processed.

None of these solutions address the bigger problem, which is that there is today a near-infinite supply of both economic migrants and asylum seekers, that the distinction between the two can be somewhat arbitrary and that hundreds of millions of people in the most decrepit and dysfunctional places on Earth are now equipped with cellphones that allow them to see how the First World lives. Africa’s population, now about 1.25 billion, is expected to double by the year 2050. That’s a lot of overloaded dinghies.

Even in the case of genuine refugees – of which the world has some 62 million at the moment – it’s clear that the welcome mat has grown thin. The reality is that the post-Cold-War paradigm doesn’t work anymore. The 1951 Refugee Convention “was never designed for huge masses of people outside of the West,” writes political scientist Ivan Krastev in his penetrating book, After Europe. His message: Don’t blame the far-right fringes for Europe’s discontent. Blame the oblivious elites. “The inability and unwillingness of the liberal elites to discuss migration and contend with its consequences, and the insistence that existing policies are always positive sum (i.e., win-win), are what make liberalism for so many symbolic with hypocrisy,” he writes. Can liberalism survive the challenge? We’ll find out. Meanwhile, another refugee ship is adrift on the Mediterranean, looking for a place to land. There will be many more.





EUROPE’S VANISHING CALM                  

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review, June 7, 2018

The Rhone River Valley in southern France is a storybook marriage of high technology, traditional vineyards, and ancestral villages. High-speed trains and well-designed toll roads crisscross majestic cathedrals, castles, and chateaus. Traveling in a Europe at peace these days evokes both historical and literary allusions. As with the infrastructure and engineering of the late Roman Empire right before its erosion, the Continent rests at its pinnacle of technological achievement.

There is a Roman Empire-like sameness throughout Europe in fashion, popular culture, and government protocol — a welcome change from the deadly fault lines of 1914 and 1939. Yet, as in the waning days of Rome, there is a growing uncertainly beneath the European calm. The present generation has inherited the physical architecture and art of a once-great West — cathedrals, theaters, and museums. But it seems to lack the confidence that it could ever create the conditions to match, much less exceed, such achievement.

The sense of depression in Europe reminds one of novelist J. R. R. Tolkien’s description of the mythical land of Gondor in his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings. Gondor’s huge walls, vaunted traditions, and rich history were testaments that it once served as bulwark of a humane Middle-earth. But by the novel’s time, the people of Gondor had become militarily and spiritually enfeebled by self-doubt, decades of poor governance, depopulation, and indifference, paradoxically brought on by wealth and affluence.

Europeans are similarly confused about both their past and present. They claim to be building a new democratic culture. But the governing elites of the European Union prefer fiats to plebiscites. They are terrified of popular protest movements. And they consider voters little more than members of reckless mobs that cannot be properly taught what is good for them.

Free speech is increasingly problematic. It is more dangerous for a European citizen to publicly object to illegal immigration than for a foreigner to enter Europe illegally. Elites preach the idea of open borders. But people on the street concede that they have no way of assimilating millions of immigrants from the Middle East into European culture. Most come illegally, en masse, and without the education or skills to integrate successfully.

Oddly, less wealthy Central and Eastern Europeans are more astutely skeptical of mass immigration than wealthier but less rational Western Europeans. Europeans claim to believe in democratic redistribution, but apparently not on an international level. They are torn apart over a poorer Mediterranean Europe wishing to share in the lifestyles of their northern cousins without necessarily emulating the latter’s discipline and work ethic.

Germany wishes to be the good leader that can live down its past by virtue-signaling its tolerance. Yet Berlin does so in an overbearing, almost traditional Prussian fashion. It rams down the throat of its neighbors its politically correct policies on Middle Eastern immigration, mandatory green energy, virtual disarmament, mercantilist trade, and financial bailouts. Rarely has such a socialist nation been so hyper-capitalist and chauvinist in piling up trade surpluses.

The world quietly assumes that the rich and huge European Union cannot and will not do much about unscrupulous Chinese trade practices, radical Islamic terrorism, or Iranian and North Korean nuclear proliferation. Such problems are left to the more uncouth Americans. That unspoken dependency might explain why many Europeans quietly concede that the hated Donald Trump’s deterrent foreign policy and his economic growth protocols could prove in the long term a better deal for Europe than were the beloved Barack Obama’s lead-from-behind and redistributionist agendas.

The European Union’s sole reason to be is to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 20th century, in which many millions of Europeans were slaughtered in world wars, death camps, and the great Communist terror in Russia. Yet paradoxically, the European reaction to the gory past often results in an extreme Western sybaritic lifestyle that in itself leads to decline.

European religion has been recalibrated into a secular and agnostic political correctness. Child-raising, if done, is often a matter of having one child in one’s late thirties. Buying a home and getting a job depend more on government ministries than on individual daring and initiative. Yet the more credible European lesson from the last century’s catastrophes is that too few 20th-century European democracies stayed militarily vigilant. In the 1930s, too few of them felt confident enough in Western democratic values to confront existential dangers, such as Hitler and Stalin, in their infancy. Atheistic nihilism and a soulless modernism — not religious piety and a reverence for custom and tradition — fueled German and Italian fascism and Russian Communism. Contrary to politically correct dogma, Christianity, military deterrence, democracy, and veneration of a unique past did not destroy Europe.




Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jewish Press, June 28, 2018

This is an extraordinary moment in Jewish history, for good and not-so-good reasons. For the first time in almost 4,000 years we have simultaneously sovereignty and independence in the land and state of Israel, and freedom and equality in the Diaspora. There have been times – all too brief – when Jews had one or the other, but never before, both at the same time. That is the good news.

The less-good news, though, is that Anti-Semitism has returned within living memory of the Holocaust. The State of Israel remains isolated in the international political arena. It is still surrounded by enemies. And it is the only nation among the 193 making up the United Nations whose very right to exist is constantly challenged and always under threat. Given all this, it seems the right time to re-examine words appearing in this week’s parsha, uttered by the pagan prophet Balaam, that have come to seem to many, the most powerful summation of Jewish history and destiny:

From the peaks of rocks I see them,

from the heights I gaze upon them.

This is a people who dwell alone,

not reckoning themselves one of the nations. (Num. 23:9)

For two leading Israeli diplomats in the twentieth century – Yaacov Herzog and Naphtali Lau-Lavie – this verse epitomised their sense of Jewish peoplehood after the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. Herzog, son of a Chief Rabbi of Israel and brother of Chaim who became Israel’s president, was Director-General of the Prime Minister’s office from 1965 to his death in 1972. Naphtali Lavie, a survivor of Auschwitz who became Israel’s Consul-General in New York, lived to see his brother, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, become Israel’s Chief Rabbi. Herzog’s collected essays were published under the title, drawn from Balaam’s words, A People that Dwells Alone. Lavie’s were entitled Balaam’s Prophecy – again a reference to this verse.

For both, the verse expressed the uniqueness of the Jewish people – its isolation on the one hand, its defiance and resilience on the other. Though it has faced opposition and persecution from some of the greatest superpowers the world has ever known, it has outlived them all.

Given, though, the return of Anti-Semitism, it is worth reflecting on one particular interpretation of the verse, given by the Dean of Volozhyn Yeshiva, R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv, Russia, 1816-1893). Netziv interpreted the verse as follows: for every other nation, when its people went into exile and assimilated into the dominant culture, they found acceptance and respect. With Jews, the opposite was the case. In exile, when they remained true to their faith and way of life, they found themselves able to live at peace with their gentile neighbors. When they tried to assimilate, they found themselves despised and reviled.

The sentence, says Netziv, should therefore be read thus: “If it is a people content to be alone, faithful to its distinctive identity, then it will be able to dwell in peace. But if Jews seek to be like the nations, the nations will not consider them worthy of respect.”[2]

This is a highly significant statement, given the time and place in which it was made, namely Russia in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. At that time, many Russian Jews had assimilated, some converting to Christianity. But Anti-Semitism did not diminish. It grew, exploding into violence in the pogroms that happened in more than a hundred towns in 1881. These were followed by the notorious Anti-Semitic May Laws of 1882. Realising that they were in danger if they stayed, between 3 and 5 million Jews fled to the West.

It was at this time that Leon Pinsker, a Jewish physician who had believed that the spread of humanism and enlightenment would put an end to Anti-Semitism, experienced a major change of heart and wrote one of the early texts of secular Zionism, Auto-Emancipation (1882). In words strikingly similar to those of Netziv, he said, “In seeking to fuse with other peoples [Jews] deliberately renounced to some extent their own nationality. Yet nowhere did they succeed in obtaining from their fellow-citizens recognition as natives of equal status.” They tried to be like everyone else, but this only left them more isolated.

Something similar happened in Western Europe also. Far from ending hostility to Jews, Enlightenment and Emancipation merely caused it to mutate, from religious Judeophobia to racial Anti-Semitism. No-one spoke of this more poignantly than Theodore Herzl in The Jewish State (1896):

We have honestly endeavored everywhere to merge ourselves in the social life of surrounding communities and to preserve the faith of our fathers. We are not permitted to do so. In vain are we loyal patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow-citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame of our native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade and commerce. In countries where we have lived for centuries we are still cried down as strangers … If we could only be left in peace … But I think we shall not be left in peace.

The more we succeeded in being like everyone else, implied Herzl, the more we were disliked by everyone else. Consciously or otherwise, these nineteenth century voices were echoing a sentiment first articulated 26 centuries ago by the prophet Ezekiel, speaking in the name of God to the would-be assimilationists among the Jewish exiles in Babylon: You say, “We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.” But what you have in mind will never happen. (Ez. 20:32)…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links

Bureaucracy Preventing Ingathering of the Nicaraguan Exiles: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2018—While the political situation in Nicaragua rages out of control, a small community of Jews and non-Jews in the process of conversion is struggling to make aliyah to Israel. Their lives are threatened but the doors for them to return to their people are jammed shut with paperwork.

The Palestine Pavilion – 1924-25: Saul Jay Singer, Jewish Press, June 20, 2018—After WWI, Great Britain was highly motivated to stage an international exhibition.

Spain: Ground Zero for Europe’s Anti-Israel Movement: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, June 23, 2018—Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, has approved a motion to boycott Israel and slander it by declaring the city an “Israeli apartheid-free zone.” The move comes days after Navarra, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, announced a similar measure.

Sidestepping Standard Procedure, Austrian Chancellor Visits Western Wall: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2018—Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Western Wall on Sunday, the first time in recent memory a leader of a European Union country visited the holy site, even for what is being billed only as a “private visit.”



Turkey’s Election: Stockholm Syndrome at Its Worst: Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, June 26, 2018— Nothing could have better explained the Turks’ joy over their president’s election victory on June 24 than a cartoon that depicts a cheering crowd with three lines in speech balloons: “It was a near thing,” one says.

The Iran-Turkey Switcheroo: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, June 25, 2018— Bernard Lewis issued a startling prediction in 2010: Iran—the land of scowling ayatollahs and flag burnings—would abandon Islamism by the end of the decade…

Trump Arms an Adversary: Bret Stephens, New York Times, June 22, 2018 — The Turkish Air Force took delivery of its first F-35A stealth plane this week at an elaborate rollout ceremony in Texas…

Anti-Semitism is on the Rise, from Berlin’s Streets to Turkish Grocery Stores: Robert Fulford, National Post, June 15, 2018— In Germany, of all places, anti-Semitism has recently made a fresh and ominous appearance.

On Topic Links

After Erdogan’s Victory, What Should Israel Do?: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2018

Turkey: Glorification of Murder, Martyrdom and Child Soldiers: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, June 19, 2018

U.S. Islamists Ignore Erdogan’s Authoritarianism, Celebrate Win: IPT News, June 26, 2018

Turkey Seeks Arrests of 138 for Links to US-Based Cleric: National Post, June 26, 2018



Burak Bekdil

Gatestone Institute, June 26, 2018


Nothing could have better explained the Turks’ joy over their president’s election victory on June 24 than a cartoon that depicts a cheering crowd with three lines in speech balloons: “It was a near thing,” one says. “We would almost become free.” And the last one says: “Down with freedoms!”

Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won 52.5% of the national vote in presidential elections on June 24. That marks a slight rise from 51.8% he won in presidential elections of August 2014. More than 25 million Turks voted for Erdoğan’s presidency. His closest rival, social democrat Muharrem Ince, an energetic former schoolteacher, won less than 16 million votes, or nearly 31% of the national vote. The opposition candidate admitted that the election was fair. There have been no reports of fraud from international observers, at least so far.

Despite the defeat, Ince was one of the many winners of Election 2018. For the first time since 1977 a social democrat politician won more than 30% of the vote in Turkey. Ince’s party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) won only 22.6% of the vote in the parliamentary race.

Despite Erdoğan’s clear victory, his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) performed worse than expected: It won 42.4% of the vote in parliamentary elections, down eight percentage points from the 49.5% it won in the previous parliamentary race in November 2015. That decline deprived the AKP of winning parliamentary majority, with 295 seats in Turkey’s 300-member house. Instead, AKP’s right-wing partners, the National Movement Party (MHP) unexpectedly won 49 seats, bringing the total number of seats controlled by the governing bloc up to 344, a comfortable majority.

The AKP-MHP alliance marks the official birth of Turkey’s new ruling ideology: A bloc of Islamists and nationalists that traditionally represent Turkey’s lowest educated rural population. Erdoğan may not be too happy having to share power with a party that was last in a coalition alliance in 2002 but with his AKP lacking a parliamentary majority he will have to keep the nationalists in partnership. He may also have to give them high-profile seats like vice-president and/or ministerial positions.

After election results on June 24 Turkey will be further dragged into authoritarian politics with the blend of Islamism and nationalism emerging as the new state ideology. Deep polarization in the Turkish society will probably get deeper. There are already signs. In a victory speech in the evening hours of June 24 Erdoğan’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said that the losers of the election were the “terrorists”. In this politically-divisive, pathetic logic, 47.5% of Turks are terrorists: that makes about 38.5 million people.

The national joy over the re-election of a man known best to the rest of the world for his authoritarian, sometimes despotic rule, is not surprising in a country where average schooling is a mere 6.5 years. As recently as April 2017, the Turks had already given up the remaining pieces of their democracy when they voted in favor of constitutional amendments that made Erdoğan head of the state, head of government and head of the ruling party all at the same time. The amendments gave the president almost unchecked powers and the authority to rule by decree.

In its “Freedom in the World 2018” report, Freedom House categorizes Turkey as a “not free” country due to “due to a deeply flawed constitutional referendum that centralized power in the presidency, the mass replacement of elected mayors with government appointees, arbitrary prosecutions of rights activists and other perceived enemies of the state, and continued purges of state employees, all of which have left citizens hesitant to express their views on sensitive topics”. Turkey also tops Freedom house’s list of countries where democracy has been on decline for the past decade. Ironically, even civil war-torn Syria is at the bottom of the list (meaning its democracy has declined the least among the countries surveyed).

Erdoğan’s Turkey was galloping toward dictatorship even before the Turks gave him the powers he wanted in the April 2017 referendum. Millions of anti-Erdoğan Turks are now terrified of the prospect of further torment under an Islamist-nationalist coalition show run by a president with effectively no checks and balances. Ince, the opposition candidate against Erdoğan has vowed to fight back. Let us hope he does not have to fight back from where many Erdoğan opponents have been locked up.




THE IRAN-TURKEY SWITCHEROO                                                           

Sohrab Ahmari

Commentary, June 25, 2018

Bernard Lewis issued a startling prediction in 2010: Iran—the land of scowling ayatollahs and flag burnings—would abandon Islamism by the end of the decade, while Turkey—Washington’s stalwart Cold War ally—would turn away from the West and burrow deeper into its Muslim identity. Lewis is no longer with us, and there are still a few years left in his wager, but events in both countries are proving him remarkably prescient.

On Turkey, Lewis has already been vindicated. Witness the ballot-box triumph of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, or AKP. In the presidential contest over the weekend, Erdogan thumped his opponent, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People’s Party, 53% to 31%. A smattering of pro-Kurdish and secular candidates divided the remaining ballots. Erdogan’s AKP and its allies also locked a majority of seats in Parliament.

The elections were not exactly fair. As the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observed, the state of emergency imposed following a 2016 coup attempt constricted “freedom of expression and assembly” for the opposition. Erdogan has used the emergency laws to dismiss more than 100,000 soldiers, teachers, police officers, and journalists. And some 50,000 people have been jailed and are awaiting trial, according to rights groups. With numerous opposition reporters languishing in prison, it came as no surprise that the ruling party dominated the media landscape, which led European Union officials to conclude that “conditions for campaigning were not equal.”

All this is par for the course with Erdogan, who first launched his power-grab in 2008. The opposition is right to complain of Erdogan’s efforts to hollow out Turkey’s independent institutions and remove checks on the AKP. Yet the fact remains that a substantial majority of Turks continue to elect Erdogan and the AKP in one plebiscite after another. In Erdogan these voters see, not a corrupt would-be dictator, but a visionary who has delivered jobs and growth and reasserted Turkey’s long-suppressed Islamic identity. A majority of Turks prefer a pious Turkey anchored in its Muslim neighborhood rather than in Europe. It is high time to recognize that, for now, Turkey is lost to the West.

That doesn’t mean the West should instantly sever all diplomatic, economic, and military ties to Turkey. But the old arrangements lack the sentimental and ideological glue that once held them together. Everything is fragile and tentative and subject to revision by the majoritarian strongman in Ankara—and the voters who form his durable base.

So far, the Bernard Lewis scenario has been borne out by events in Turkey. But what about Iran? There, too, events are tending in the direction foreseen by the great historian…(T)he Islamic Republic faces a profound legitimacy crisis at home, with not a day going by without some explosion of popular discontent. The ideological currents tossing the mullahs this way and that, I argue, are strongly nationalist. The slogans that daily ring out from the streets point to a growing revulsion with the regime’s Shiite-expansionist project, which has starved the national fisc, not to mention the population, and left the country sanctioned and isolated.

The latest slogan: “Death to Palestine!” You read that right. In a country that has become synonymous with Holocaust-denial cartoon contests and threats to wipe Israel off the map, people are chanting “Death to Palestine.” Iranians don’t have a beef with Palestinians, of course. But they have had it with their regime’s decades-long underwriting of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Palestinian terror groups. Why is our national wealth going to Gaza, they ask, rather than to Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz? The regime has no good answer to such questions. It has to resort to the truncheon, and that may work for a time, perhaps for many more years. But not forever. Bernard Lewis is surely smiling somewhere.




Bret Stephens

New York Times, June 22, 2018

The Turkish Air Force took delivery of its first F-35A stealth plane this week at an elaborate rollout ceremony in Texas that featured, according to one report, “traditional music and song together with a dancer who performed … while wearing a pair of massive leather wings.” If the performance was bizarre, the underlying politics ranged from the incompetent to the perverse. In a word: Trumpian. In an era of American baby prisons and Melania meta-messaging, it can be difficult to pay attention to the things that used to matter. So here’s a quick primer on our former ally Turkey, which on Sunday goes to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections.

Its economy is in crisis. The leader of a major opposition party is in prison. A state of emergency, in force since a failed 2016 military coup, has resulted in the estimated detention of nearly 140,000 people, the closure of 189 media outlets, and the arrest of more than 300 journalists.

The Turkish military nearly came to blows last year with U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria. It also intends to purchase advanced Russian antiaircraft missiles that are incompatible with NATO systems. An American pastor, Andrew Brunson, has been held in a Turkish prison for nearly two years — hostage to the Turkish government efforts to extradite dissident cleric Fethullah Gulen from his home in Pennsylvania.

All this has been the doing of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist and vitriolic anti-Semite (he once decried the “Jewish capital” allegedly financing The Times), who has steadily consolidated authoritarian power over 15 years in power. Erdogan was once genuinely popular, but his recent electoral victories have been increasingly marred by serious allegations of voter intimidation and electoral fraud.

Good news? Well, yes, there is some. Precisely because Erdogan has driven the economy off a cliff, there’s a modest chance he’ll have to face a runoff election next month, and a decent chance his A.K.P. party won’t get a majority in Parliament. Opposition candidates are more united against Erdogan than they’ve ever been, and they’ve drawn huge numbers at their rallies.

What’s an American administration to do? Turkey poses honest quandaries for U.S. policymakers. Are we better off, to use Lyndon Johnson’s line about J. Edgar Hoover, with Erdogan “inside the tent, pissing out, than outside pissing in”? Turkey dominates NATO’s southern flank, and the air base at Incirlik has served a useful role in the fight against the Islamic State. There have been calls to kick Turkey out of the Alliance — exactly how isn’t clear — which might be emotionally satisfying and morally justified. But it would do nothing to improve Ankara’s domestic or international behavior and would probably worsen it.

None of that means, however, that the U.S. should lift a finger on Erdogan’s behalf. Barack Obama tried to embrace him early on as a model for Muslim democracy, a policy that proved to be nearly as fruitless as the Russia Reset. Trump, who has yet to appoint an ambassador to Turkey, has gone further, fulsomely calling Erdogan “a friend of mine” who gets “very high marks” for his leadership.

That may not be surprising, since Trump seems never to have met a thug he doesn’t want to imitate and flatter. What’s inexplicable is why the administration, led by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, would go ahead with the F-35 deliveries after Republican and Democratic senators tried to block the delivery until Turkey releases Pastor Brunson, drops its bid to buy Russian missiles, and improves its overall behavior.

The F-35 was leverage. We just squandered it. Worse, we did it just days before the election, handing Erdogan a political prize that he can wield as evidence that the United States doesn’t dare to oppose him and that he can continue to behave as he pleases. In the meantime, a country now moving into Russia’s orbit will acquire one of the most sophisticated pieces of military hardware ever made.

If and when Erdogan goes fully anti-American — he’s already nine-tenths of the way there — what’s to keep him from allowing Russian technicians to take a closer look, so they might gain a better idea of how to shoot it down? Or from using it against American allies in the region, including Israel? If Obama were making this delivery today, Republicans would call it treason.

It will be a lucky thing for Turks if Erdogan fails to win another mandate for five more years of political, social and ethnic repression. Turkey is a beautiful country of remarkable people that could yet show that a Muslim state can also be prosperous, tolerant and democratic.

Should that happen, history will record that the United States did nothing to help, and much to hinder, the forces of freedom. As with so much that the Trump administration does, it’s not a surprise, but it’s still a shock.






Robert Fulford

National Post, June 15, 2018


In Germany, of all places, anti-Semitism has recently made a fresh and ominous appearance. It became clear when mobs in Berlin reacted to U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by waving Palestinian flags while burning Israel’s flag beneath the Brandenburg Gate.

This is one of many countries where a revived anti-Semitism is apparent — Canada and the U.S. are others, where anti-Jewish vandalism is increasing. The German government considers it so disturbing that a commission has been created to deal specifically with prejudice against Jews. Polling in recent years indicates that old stereotypes still live on in the German imagination. For instance, about 10 per cent of the population apparently believes that Jews are now too powerful in Germany.

Sawsan Chebli, a deputy minister in the Berlin government, has argued that Germans should know more about the Holocaust, the central crime of their history. She thinks every student in Germany should make at least one visit to a death camp — a fairly sure way of grasping the emotional and moral impact of triumphant anti-Semitism.

Chebli is a 39-year-old German-born daughter of Palestinian asylum seekers. She’s said that, “My father is a pious Muslim, hardly speaks German, can neither read nor write, but he is more integrated than many functionaries of the AfD (the powerful, popular Allianz für Deutschland).” By “integrated” she means he grasps the meaning of German history.

The AfD, a right-wing party proud of its patriotism, holds that Germany is self-destructively obsessed with the Nazi past. While not anti-Semitic, it holds that Germany should be seen as a “normal” state, rather than a place known mainly for its shameful behaviour. But is it possible to kill six million people and be judged “normal” seven decades later? The AfD hopes to forget the past, not really a possibility.

But if Germany has a troubling amount of anti-Jewish bigotry, Turkey is experiencing a tidal wave. Attacks on synagogues are reported, and programming on the government-owned TV network is clearly anti-Jewish. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other politicians from the ruling AKP use Jews and Israel as scapegoats in campaigning for the general election on June 24. The state-controlled media recently blamed the “Jewish lobby” for the sudden drop of the value in Turkish currency.

On social media the treatment of Jews is outrageous. “Hitler and Nazi Germany will be known and remembered with gratitude and respect” is one line that appears. Another is a quote attributed to Hitler: “One day you will curse me for every Jew I did not kill.”

In Turkey, Adolf Hitler has become a hero and a best-seller. Mein Kampf sells as many as 50,000 copies a year. Publishers feverishly pursue Hitler’s admirers. Thirty-five separate publishing houses have printed translations by at least 21 different translators. Eight new editions came out in 2016, nine in 2017. Hitler’s manic memoirs are now on sale not only in bookstores but also in supermarkets, including the 1,800 stores in the Migros chain.

After all these years, what can they find in Hitler, these Turkish readers? Perhaps they are simply looking for confirmation of what they have always believed. Prejudice teaches envy, which leads to malice. Jews are seen as too prosperous and too powerful. Reuven Brenner, a management professor writing last week in the Wall Street Journal, sees this as a result of Jewish history.

“Self-reliance has been a necessity,” he explains. The Jews were never numerous enough to achieve much in politics or through military power. They focused on scientific, commercial and financial success. “Jews’ success through ages and countries despite severe discrimination” encourages jealousy in those who blame others for their own lack of achievement. Anti-Semitism is in essence a narrative of vain ambitions and failed dreams. It is immune to rational argument but that’s part of its power: it appeals to those who would like to think but cannot.




On Topic Links

After Erdogan’s Victory, What Should Israel Do?: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2018—Gazans might have shot off fireworks in celebration, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may have put in a congratulatory call, but there was obviously no joy in Jerusalem on Tuesday at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory – and that of his party – in Sunday’s election.

Turkey: Glorification of Murder, Martyrdom and Child Soldiers: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, June 19, 2018—Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz recently announced that the government was shutting down a Turkish nationalist mosque in Vienna and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community that runs six mosques, according to the Associated Press. “Parallel societies, political Islam and tendencies toward radicalization have no place in our country,” Kurz told reporters.

U.S. Islamists Ignore Erdogan’s Authoritarianism, Celebrate Win: IPT News, June 26, 2018—A number of American-Islamists are hailing Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s election Monday to a new five-year term as a win for democracy.

Turkey Seeks Arrests of 138 for Links to US-Based Cleric: National Post, June 26, 2018—Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued initial detention warrants for 138 people, including military personnel, for suspected links to a network led by a U.S.-based cleric who Turkey accuses of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup attempt.



On Topic Links

Erdogan Wins in Turkey, Gets Ready to Assume Sweeping Powers: Suzan Fraser, National Post, June 25, 2018

Turkey’s Future Just Got a Whole Lot Scarier: Editorial, New York Post, June 26, 2018

An ‘Israeli’ Port In Cyprus: Kicking The Gaza Can Down The Waterway?: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, June 26, 2018

The Gazan Kite Offensive and the Arc of Human Progress: Dan Feferman, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2018




“Turkey made its choice in favour of a more determined fight against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and (Gulenists)…We will go after terror organizations with stronger determination.” — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s President. Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for the past 15 years, will extend his rule and take on sweeping new powers after his election victory. Erdogan’s win will usher in a new system in which the prime minister’s post is eliminated and executive powers are transferred to the president. His win could deepen Turkey’s rift with its Western and NATO allies, who are already concerned by the country’s setbacks in democracy and human rights as well as Turkey’s closer ties with Russia. Erdogan pledged a more “determined” fight against outlawed Kurdish rebels and alleged members of a movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup. Gulen denies involvement. (National Post, June 25, 2018)

“After election results on June 24 Turkey will be further dragged into authoritarian politics with the blend of Islamism and nationalism emerging as the new state ideology. Deep polarization in the Turkish society will probably get deeper. There are already signs. In a victory speech in the evening hours of June 24 Erdoğan’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said that the losers of the election were the “terrorists”. In this politically-divisive, pathetic logic, 47.5% of Turks are terrorists: that makes about 38.5 million people.” — Burak Bekdil. (Gatestone Institute, June 26, 2018)

 “Erdogan has been quite consistent on the issue of Jerusalem and Gaza…It has benefits both in the domestic audience and in the Muslim world for him, but he also genuinely believes he should confront Israel on these issues. The fact that he both believes in this cause and it has dividends for him reinforces his stance.” — Gallia Lindenstrauss, a fellow at the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies (INS). It is uncertain what, if any, effect Erdogan’s electoral victory will have on Ankara-Jerusalem ties. He has been a vehement critic of Israel and an advocate of the Palestinian cause, which he uses to whip up support among voters. (Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2018)

“What’s inexplicable is why the administration, led by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, would go ahead with the F-35 deliveries after Republican and Democratic senators tried to block the delivery until Turkey releases Pastor Brunson, drops its bid to buy Russian missiles, and improves its overall behavior. The F-35 was leverage. We just squandered it. Worse, we did it just days before the election, handing Erdogan a political prize that he can wield as evidence that the United States doesn’t dare to oppose him and that he can continue to behave as he pleases. In the meantime, a country now moving into Russia’s orbit will acquire one of the most sophisticated pieces of military hardware ever made. If and when Erdogan goes fully anti-American — he’s already nine-tenths of the way there — what’s to keep him from allowing Russian technicians to take a closer look, so they might gain a better idea of how to shoot it down? Or from using it against American allies in the region, including Israel? If Obama were making this delivery today, Republicans would call it treason.” — Bret Stephens. (New York Times, June 22, 2018)

“Today’s resolution is another important step in our efforts as we change the rules of the game at the UN…Less than two weeks ago, a plurality of members in the General Assembly voted to denounce Hamas, and now today’s resolution explicitly condemned terrorists for the despicable double war crime of hiding behind women and children while attacking civilians…There is much work to be done…but this milestone accomplishment brings us closer to the day when the UN will focus on truly bringing security and stability to the world.” — Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s UN envoy. Danon hailed the General Assembly’s passage of an update of its Global Counter Terrorism Strategy that features a condemnation of the use of civilians as human shields by terror groups. He credited the Israeli UN Mission for the inclusion of the “unprecedented” paragraph on human shields. The Global Counter Terrorism Strategy is reviewed every two years. The update decries the use of “schools and hospitals, for military purposes such as launching attacks and storing weapons,” as well as the use of “civilians to shield military objectives from attacks.” (Algemeiner, June 26, 2018)

“One of the more bizarre contradictions from supposedly pro-Palestinian groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, the International Solidarity Movement, and others is that while they all pretend to want peace, when something that resembles actual peace occurs, they are either silent (J Street) or upset (Students for Justice in Palestine). Recently in Israel, there have been visits by a group of professionals from Morocco, as well as a major Muslim leader from Indonesia. These types of visits, which could help lead the Muslim world to accept Israel as a permanent part of the Middle East and a nation to be cooperated with, are exactly what any “pro-peace” group should want…Still, despite their anti-Israel efforts, these types of visits and peaceful exchanges continue to happen, which obviously upsets the crowd that wants Israel destroyed in the name of “peace.” — Elder of Ziyon. (Algemeiner, June 20, 2018) 

“One of the biggest problems (for Canadian soldiers in Mali) isn’t that we have really tough rivals but that we have really bad allies…Those groups are implicated in cocaine trafficking and illicit business and have become financially incentivized to maintain the status quo…We got into bed with some pretty rough characters…I’m deeply concerned that our men and women in uniform would be put into a situation where they’re potentially being handed an unwinnable war.” — Aisha Ahmad, a terrorism researcher who regularly travels to Mali. Starting in August, Canadians are taking part in an aviation mission in Mali, relieving German troops who are part of a multinational UN mission that’s been in place since 2013. In the bigger sense, Canada is part of a wider mission to support a five-year-old peace agreement. But the parties which signed that agreement, including pro-government groups and separatist and rebel factions, are seen to be breaking it on nearly a daily basis. (National Post, June 26, 2018)

“The politically correct on campus should not think that they can defame people, slander people and bully people implicitly and explicitly with impunity…This isn’t just some internet troll mouthing off in a way that no one pays attention to and doesn’t give any credence to. These are professors and head of gender equity studies making comments that are atrocious about Dr. Peterson who is one of if not Canada’s most prominent intellectual.” —Howard Levitt. U of T Prof. Jordan Peterson has launched a $1.5-million defamation suit against Wilfrid Laurier University, two of its professors and a former gender and equity manager for suggesting he was “analogous to Adolf Hitler.” The statement of claim, prepared by Levitt, says Peterson was falsely labelled as incompetent, sexist, misogynist, dangerous and racist in a disciplinary meeting with Wilfrid Laurier teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd. Shepherd was disciplined for showing students a TV clip of Peterson discussing gender-neutral pronouns, something the university later apologized for. (Toronto Sun, June 21, 2018)

“In May, when the outrage over the separation of migrant children from their parents was beginning to boil, President Trump’s secretary for Homeland Security shrugged off accusations that it was a “form of state terror.” After all, she said, “We do it every day in every part of the country.” On this point, the secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, is right. Family separation is a fact of life here, happening hundreds — if not thousands — of times a day. “In the United States,” she said, “we call that law enforcement.” Advocates for criminal justice reform have argued that Americans appalled at the treatment of immigrant families at the border should realize that prosecutors and the police routinely separate children from their parents. It happens when parents or children are arrested, it happens when incarcerated women give birth — it can even be triggered when a pregnant woman fails a mandatory drug test, or when a child skips school. It comes with no warning, sometimes in the middle of the night.” — Shaila Dewan. (New York Times, June 22, 2018)

“Israel’s remarkable story is partly one of remembering this terrible past but, also, looking forward to a much more hopeful future. There is – and I’ve seen it already – an essential vibrancy to this country…From the early stories of the kibbutzim; to the revival of Hebrew as a living, modern language; to the hi-tech economies that we see around us here in Tel Aviv — the modern story of Israel is one of inventing, creating, innovating, and striding confidently into its future.” — Britain’s Prince William. William promised Britain’s support in the quest for peace between Israel and its neighbors. And at the only public speech during his official visit to Israel this week — the first ever by a member of the royal family — William also pledged to uphold the memory of the Holocaust. Ties between the UK and Israel “have never been stronger,” the future king went on, citing record levels of trade and investment, cooperation in science and technology, and robust bilateral security ties. On Thursday, he is scheduled to visit the grave of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who is considered by Yad Vashem a “Righteous Among the Nations” for saving Jews during the Holocaust. (Times of Israel, June 26, 2018)






IRANIANS PROTEST DWINDLING ECONOMY, SHOUT ‘DEATH TO PALESTINE’ (Tehran) — Thousands of Iranians returned to the streets of Tehran in response to the significant devaluation of the country’s currency, the rial, which is disrupting business by driving up the cost of imports. “Death to Palestine,” “Help us, not Gaza,” and “Leave Syria alone and deal with Iran,” protesters shouted, calling on the Iranian regime to invest in its own economy rather than interfering in other spheres. These were the first large-scale demonstrations since December 2017 when protests erupted which were violently contained by Iranian security forces. (Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2018)

 REPORT: ISRAEL-SUPERVISED GAZA SEAPORT TO BE BUILT IN CYPRUS (Jerusalem) — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has struck an agreement with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to begin plans to build a seaport for Gaza that will operate in Cyprus and will be supervised by Israel. According to Channel 2 News, within three months the blueprint for the construction of the seaport will be presented which will include an Israel supervision apparatus to ensure that the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group is unable to exploit the new port for smuggling weapons into the strip. (Ynet, June 26, 2018)

NETANYAHU AND KING ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN MEET (Amman) — Prime Minister Netanyahu paid an unannounced visit to Amman for a meeting with King Abdullah II. According to the statement, the two men discussed “regional developments and advancing the peace process, and bilateral relations.” The meeting comes prior to the scheduled arrival this week in the region of US officials Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt to discuss Trump’s long-awaited peace proposal. The PMO said that Netanyahu reiterated in his meeting with Abdullah Israel’s commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem, an issue of sensitivity to the Jordanian king. (Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2018)

U.N. ACCUSES SYRIAN ARMY, AND REBELS, OF WAR CRIMES (Damascus) — The UN said Syrian army and rebel forces committed war crimes as they fought over a Damascus suburb gripped by the longest siege in modern history. Hundreds of civilians were killed earlier this year during the government’s months-long offensive to push rebel groups from Eastern Ghouta. In a 23-page report, investigators from the U.N. said the Syrian campaign to seize Eastern Ghouta after five years of rebel control involved indiscriminate attacks on civilian homes, markets and hospitals. Under international law, the panel said, those attacks amounted to war crimes. The U.N. panel also said that hard-line rebel forces had arbitrarily arrested and tortured civilians in areas under its control. (Washington Post, June 20, 2018)

2 ISRAELI MISSILES REPORTEDLY HIT AREA NEAR DAMASCUS AIRPORT (Damascus) — Two Israeli missiles struck an area near the Damascus Airport Tuesday, Syria state media reported, but didn’t name a specific target. It was the latest strike on Syrian territory blamed on Israel. Such strikes have increased in frequency amid soaring tension between Israel and Iran. Israel has warned that it sees Iranian influence in Syria as a threat and has in recent weeks targeted suspected Iranian targets in Syria. The offensive shattered a truce negotiated in the area by the U.S., Russia and Jordan last July. There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely responds to the claims. (National Post, June 26, 2018)

ISRAEL STRIKES GAZA SITES IN RESPONSE TO AIRBORNE ‘ARSON KITES’ (Jerusalem) — Israel’s military says it has struck Gaza after Palestinians tried to launch flaming kites into its territory. It said aircraft targeted “infrastructure” without elaborating. It said the strike came after Palestinians attempted to launch “arson kites” into Israel. Israel has been battling large fires caused by kites and balloons rigged with incendiary devices or burning rags launched from Gaza that have destroyed forests, burned crops and killed wildlife and livestock. (CBC, June 21, 2018)

TERRORISM IN ISRAEL HIGHEST IN OVER TWO YEARS (Jerusalem) — The Israel Security Agency recorded 365 attacks in May, representing a 40 percent increase from April, when 223 attacks were reported. 271 of the attacks in May were firebombs, including incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza. An IDF soldier was killed in May when a marble slab was dropped on his head from the third floor. One soldier was injured by an explosion in Jerusalem. Three soldiers and a civilian were injured by rockets launched from Gaza. This is the highest number of attacks in one month since October 2015 when 620 attacks were recorded. (Breaking Israel News, June 24, 2018)

POLAND MAKES PARTIAL U-TURN ON CONTROVERSIAL HOLOCAUST LAW (Warsaw) — The lower house of the Polish parliament has voted to decriminalise the false attribution to Poland and Poles of crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, signalling a partial retreat on contentious legislation enacted this year. The legislation, which had envisaged prison terms of up to three years for those who contravened the regulations, sparked a war of words between Polish and Israeli politicians, and an outpouring of antisemitic rhetoric in Poland. The legislation also appears to have placed strain on Poland’s relationship with the US, amid reports that the government had been warned that high-level contacts with US officials would be affected until the issue was resolved. (Guardian, June 27, 2018)

U.S. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN (Washington) — A sharply divided Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries. The 5-4 decision was a big victory for Trump in the court’s first substantive ruling on one of his administration’s policies. It also was the latest demonstration of a newly invigorated conservative majority and a bitter defeat for the court’s liberals. The policy applies to travellers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries, blocking travellers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. A sixth majority Muslim country, Chad, was removed from the list in April. (CTV, June 26, 2018)

ALGERIA ABANDONS 13,000 MIGRANTS IN THE SAHARA (Algiers) — Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the Sahara Desert over the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children, expelling them without food or water and forcing them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, under under temperatures of up to 48 C. Algeria’s mass expulsions have picked up since October 2017, as the European Union renewed pressure on North African countries to head off migrants going north to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea or the barrier fences with Spain. (CBC, June 25, 2018)

INDONESIA GIVES DEATH SENTENCE TO CLERIC LINKED TO ATTACK (Jakarta) — Radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman was sentenced to death by an Indonesian court for ordering I.S.-affiliated terrorists to carry out attacks including the 2016 suicide bombing at a Starbucks in Jakarta. Police say he is a key ideologue for I.S. in the world’s largest Muslim nation. Prosecutors said Abdurrahman’s instructions from prison, where he was serving a terrorism-related sentence, resulted in several attacks in Indonesia. They included the Starbucks attack, an attack on a bus terminal in Jakarta that killed three police officers and an attack on a church that killed a two-year-old girl. (CBC, June 22, 2018)

CANADIAN PROF. BLAMES JEWISH FAMILIES FOR ‘ISLAMOPHOBIA INDUSTRY’ (Lethbridge) — A Canadian professor under investigation over allegations of Holocaust denial has been condemned by B’nai Brith for “peddling fresh antisemitic conspiracy theories.” In an episode of his online show False Flag Weekly News, Anthony Hall of the University of Lethbridge accused “philanthropic families of Jewish background” of funding “the Islamophobia industry.” B’nai Brith Canada also helped expose his controversial views on Mideast affairs, the 9/11 attacks, and the Holocaust — including his call for “open debate” on the genocide in video testimony. (Algemeiner, June 25, 2018)

BULGARIA TO PUT ‘HONORARY CONSULATE’ IN JERUSALEM (Sofia) — Bulgaria will, “as a first step,” open an honorary consulate in Jerusalem that will not only deal with Bulgarian interests in the capital, but throughout the country. Diplomatic sources, however, said that the move has little real significance. The Czech Republic made a similar move last month. Bulgaria’s Embassy is currently located in Tel Aviv. Bulgaria voted in the UN General Assembly in December to condemn the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It was one of 22 EU countries that voted for that resolution, as opposed to only six EU countries – including the Czech Republic – that abstained. (Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2018)

HERZOG ELECTED JEWISH AGENCY CHAIRMAN (Jerusalem) — The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel unanimously elected MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) to succeed Natan Sharansky as Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive. The board effectively rejected Netanyahu’s choice for the job, Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz (Likud). The selection of Herzog, who is the Knesset opposition leader, is viewed as retaliation from the board for Netanyahu’s “betrayal” of US Jewry over the status of non-Orthodox denominations in Israel and their access to a mixed-sex portion of the Western Wall. (Jewish Press, June 24, 2018)    

EL AL TO REMOVE PASSENGERS WHO REFUSE SEATS (Tel Aviv) — El Al will “immediately” remove any passenger who refuses to sit next to another passenger for any reason, the Israeli airline’s CEO announced after Israeli tech company Nice Systems said it would no longer fly its employees on the carrier. Nice’s decision came days after an El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv was delayed by more than an hour after four ultra-Orthodox men refused to take their assigned seats next to women. Two women eventually agreed to change their seats in order to allow the flight to take off. A year ago, an Israeli court ruled that El Al cannot ask women to move seats to accommodate a man who does not want to sit next to a woman, in response to a lawsuit filed by a Holocaust survivor in her 80s. (Ha’aretz, June 26, 2018) 

ISRAEL RECEIVES THREE MORE F-35 ADIR JETS (Jerusalem) — Israel received three more F-35 Adir stealth fighter jets, just days after the world’s most advanced jet was rolled out in neighboring Turkey. With the arrival of the three jets the country currently boasts 12 Adir aircrafts. The IAF is expected to receive a total of 50 planes to make two full squadrons by 2024. In December, Israel become the first air force outside the United States to declare Initial Operational Capability of the jet and last month the IAF announced that Israel has struck targets in the Middle East with the F-35 Adir jet twice, making the Jewish state the first country to use the stealth fighter in a combat role in the region. Israel is one of 12 countries participating in the F-35 program. (Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2018)

On Topic Links

Erdogan Wins in Turkey, Gets Ready to Assume Sweeping Powers: Suzan Fraser, National Post, June 25, 2018—Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for the past 15 years, will extend his rule and take on sweeping new powers after his victory in the country’s landmark presidential and parliamentary elections.

Turkey’s Future Just Got a Whole Lot Scarier: Editorial, New York Post, June 26, 2018—In a region where democracy is scarce, it just got scarcer — with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming victory in last weekend’s presidential election and vowing to “rapidly” usher in a new era of presidential authoritarian rule.

An ‘Israeli’ Port In Cyprus: Kicking The Gaza Can Down The Waterway?: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, June 26, 2018—Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly has advanced a proposal to establish a port in Cyprus that would be used to supply the Gaza Strip with humanitarian assistance.

The Gazan Kite Offensive and the Arc of Human Progress: Dan Feferman, Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2018—A recent episode of Israel’s political satire show Eretz Nehederet (It’s a Wonderful Land) featured a comedic and tragically accurate representation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The “Trump Doctrine” for the Middle East: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, June 13, 2018— After three successive American Presidents had used a six-month waiver to defer moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem for more than two decades, President Donald J. Trump decided not to wait any longer.

Protests in Iran Prove Trump is Getting it Right: Benny Avni, New York Post, June 25, 2018 — While Team Trump is divided over Iran policy — some say negotiate, others advocate pressure aimed at regime change — defiant Iranians taking to the streets of the capital are resolving that dispute decisively in favor of the latter.

The Peril of Politicized Antisemitism: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2018— A Google search of the terms “Trump Nazi,” brings up 70,900,000 results.

The Liberal Contribution to Trump’s Reelection Campaign: John Podhoretz, Commentary, June 25, 2018— In 2016, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio tried to get himself back in the game by ridiculing Trump in Trump-like fashion in the 1,875th Republican debate.

On Topic Links

Moving the Goalpost: The Much-Anticipated U.S. Peace Plan: Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2018

Leading Scholar: Trump’s Embassy Move, Recognition of Jerusalem Represent ‘Important Turning Point’: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, May 14, 2018

Obama’s Failures Created Trump’s New Middle East: Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, June 13, 2018

Suicide of West Can Be Averted By Policies of Trump: Conrad Black, New York Sun, June 21, 2018



Guy Millière

Gatestone Institute, June 13, 2018

After three successive American Presidents had used a six-month waiver to defer moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem for more than two decades, President Donald J. Trump decided not to wait any longer. On December 7, 2017, he declared that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the official embassy transfer took place on May 14th, the day of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

From the moment of Trump’s declaration, leaders of the Muslim world expressed anger and announced major trouble. An Islamic summit conference was convened in Istanbul a week later, and ended with statements about a “crime against Palestine”. Western European leaders followed suit. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said that President Trump’s decision was a “serious mistake” and could have huge “consequences”. French President Emmanuel Macron, going further, declared that the decision could provoke a “war”.

Despite these ominous predictions, trouble remained largely absent. The Istanbul statement remained a statement. The “war” anticipated by Macron did not break out. The Islamic terrorist organization Hamas sent masses of rioters from Gaza to tear down Israel’s border fence and cross over, to force Israeli soldiers to fire, thereby allowing Hamas to have bodies of “martyrs” to show to the cameras. So far, Hamas has sent 62 of its own people to their death. Fifty of them were, by Hamas’s own admission, members of Hamas. Palestinian terrorist groups fired rockets into southern Israel; Israeli jets retaliated with airstrikes. Hamas sent kites, attached to incendiary devices and explosives, over the border to Israel. So far, 200 of the fire-kites that Hamas sent have destroyed 6,200 acres of Israeli forests and farmland.

Pundits who predicted more violent reactions have been surprised by the relatively quiet reaction of the Palestinian and Muslim communities. The reason might be called the “Trump Doctrine for the Middle East”. One element of it consisted of crushing the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. President Trump had promised quickly to clear the world of what had become a main backbone of Islamic terrorism. He kept his promise in less than a year, and without a massive deployment of American troops. Trump has shown the strength of the United States and restored its credibility in a region where strength and force determine credibility.

Another element of it was put in place during President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia in May 2017. President Trump renewed ties which had seriously deteriorated during the previous 8 years. Trump more broadly laid the foundation for a new alliance of the United States with the Sunni Arab world, but he put two conditions on it: a cessation of all Sunni Arab support for Islamic terrorism and an openness to the prospect of a regional peace that included Israel.

Both conditions are being gradually fulfilled. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman chose his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as heir to the throne. MBS started an internal revolution to impose new directions on the kingdom. The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, created on December 15, 2015, was endorsed by the United States; it held its inaugural meeting on November 26, 2017. In addition, links between Israeli and Saudi security services were strengthened and coordination between the Israeli and Egyptian militaries intensified.

An alliance between Israel and the main countries of the Sunni Arab world to contain Iran also slowly and unofficially began taking shape. MBS, calling called Hamas a terrorist organization, saying that it must “be destroyed”. He told representatives of Jewish organizations in New York that Palestinian leaders need to “take the [American] proposals or shut up.” Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was summoned to Riyadh twice — in November and December 2017; and it appears he was “asked” to keep quiet. Never has the distance between Palestinian organizations, and Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab world, seemed so far. The only Sunni Arab country to have maintained ties with Hamas is Qatar, but the current Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani, has been under pressure to change his stance.

Immediately after President Trump left Riyadh, a third element emerged. The US presidential plane went directly from Riyadh to in Israel: for the first time, a direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel took place. President Trump went to Jerusalem, where he became the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall, the only historical remains of a retaining wall from the ancient Temple of King Solomon. During his campaign, Trump had referred to Jerusalem as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people”, implicitly acknowledging that the Jews have had their roots there for 3,000 years…

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




PROTESTS IN IRAN PROVE TRUMP IS GETTING IT RIGHT                                                      

Benny Avni

New York Post, June 25, 2018

While Team Trump is divided over Iran policy — some say negotiate, others advocate pressure aimed at regime change — defiant Iranians taking to the streets of the capital are resolving that dispute decisively in favor of the latter. Tehran’s grand bazaar was shut down Monday as merchants joined street protests and thousands defied thuggish regime riot police trying to quell the rebellion. Other big cities joined Tehran as well.

Protesters carried signs like “Leave Syria alone, think of us.” Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the Houthis — all proxy arms of the Islamic Republic’s strategy of spreading its version of the “Islamic revolution” across the region — weren’t spared protesters’ ire either. In a modification of the regime’s “death to Israel” staple, some merchants raised “death to Palestine” signs on Monday. And worse, from the regime’s point of view: “Death to the dictator.”

Iranians have been protesting all year. Truck drivers, unable to afford gasoline, have been on strike. Others, including past regime supporters, also turned against Tehran’s pricey adventurism in the region while ignoring troubles at home. Much of it is because the mullahs can’t manage their moola. In anticipation of new US sanctions set to hit in August, the Iranian rial is sinking fast: 42,890 rials could buy a dollar at the end of 2017. Now the dollar is worth 90,000 rials. For ordinary folks, such hyperinflation means thinner dinner, if at all.

But it isn’t just the economy. Women have been increasingly removing their hijab in public, in defiance of the law. The regime was recently forced to allow women to publicly cheer their World Cup soccer team. The games are televised in stadiums, where until recently only men were admitted. But until now, much of the protest mostly stayed in small peripheral towns. Monday’s demonstrations mark a new phase, says Masih Alinejad, the Brooklyn-based Iranian woman widely credited with launching the powerful anti-hijab movement.

“What the regime feared most is happening,” Alinejad tells me. “Tehran had stayed calm as nationwide protests at the beginning of the year engulfed 80 cities. Now an impromptu protest in Tehran by merchants against economic mismanagement has turned into a massive anti-regime event, with chants of death to dictator and death to Palestine.” On Sunday, she added, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif railed against regime change, and “that to me suggests the regime is very worried.”

President Trump, meanwhile, is reportedly eager to prove his deal artistry prowess and renegotiate his predecessor’s nuclear pact with Iran while top administration officials support a turn to diplomacy. The argument was crystallized by President George W. Bush’s former ambassador in Iraq and Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, in a recent Washington Post op-ed: “Trump’s pressure tactics likely won’t bring Iran to its knees or facilitate the overthrow of the regime in the foreseeable future — but his approach might bring the Iranians to the negotiating table.”

Others in the administration, however, agree with National Security Adviser John Bolton, who, at least until joining the Trump team, was an avid proponent of regime change in Iran. Is it feasible? Is it advisable? Regime change has suffered bad PR since Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. But take a look at the carnage in Syria, where America decided to sit out an age-defining struggle against an evil regime.

So far on Iran, we’re doing the right thing: Pressure the regime for spreading evil around the region and the globe, while allowing space for Iranians to determine their future without us. Trump has amped up pressure on the regime while not overtly advocating regime change. Staying this course will help Iranians articulate their growing disdain for their oppressors.

Some in the administration are pushing Trump to offer to negotiate with Khamenei & Co., betting Tehran will summarily reject a gesture prompted by “global arrogance.” This way, the argument goes, we could convince Europeans and others that we tried diplomacy but Iran didn’t budge, so they should join our pressure. This gambit may work. But even if so, a gesture toward the Tehran clerics will legitimize them — and discourage a swelling number of Iranians who yearn to end their exclusive hold on power. Here’s a Cold War lesson: Realists can’t easily envision it, but dictators can suddenly fall. And then realities change very quickly.



Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2018

A Google search of the terms “Trump Nazi,” brings up 70,900,000 results. There are a number of distressing aspects to this state of affairs. First and foremost, it is pure libel to call US President Donald Trump a Nazi. His daughter Ivanka is Jewish. His daughter-in-law is Jewish. Half his grandchildren are Jewish and his non-Jewish ex-daughter-in-law is half Jewish. How many Nazis have Hanukka celebrations in their homes starring their Jewish grandchildren?

Beyond his Jewish immediate family, Trump has shown extraordinary friendship to the Jewish state. It isn’t simply that Trump kept the promise none if his predecessors kept and moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, although that would have sufficed to prove his friendship. Trump shows his friendship and respect for Israel every single day. Last week he agreed to sell Israel mid-air refueling planes. His predecessor, Barack Obama, refused to sell Israel the aircraft in order to protect Iran’s nuclear sites from Israeli air strikes. Trump agreed to sell them to enable such Israeli strikes in the event they become necessary.

This week, Trump approved UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s determination that the US should withdraw from the institutionally antisemitic UN Human Rights Council. The Obama administration joined the council claiming it would use its membership to influence the council for the better and proceeded to legitimize council’s anti-Jewish witch hunt for eight years.

The people of Israel recognize Trump’s friendship. Nearly 80% of Israelis view him as a friend. So what explains the 70,900,000 results to the “Trump Nazi” Google search? One answer came this week with the media outcry over the US government policy of separating illegal immigrant minors from their illegal immigrant parents. The policy is cruel. Indeed, recognizing its cruelty, Trump signed an executive order banning the practice.

But the policy isn’t new. This was the Obama administration’s policy following a court order prohibiting children from joining their parents in detention. Rather than soberly acknowledge that law enforcement, including immigration law is often a cruel business and recognize that to remain a state of laws sometimes authorities undertake difficult and harsh actions, the anti-Trump media ignored reality and went straight for the kill. David Remnick, Frank Bruni and countless others didn’t care that the Obama administration separated children from their parents, placed them in cages and wrapped them in aluminum foil.

As far as they are concerned, the continuation of the same cruel policy under Trump is proof that Trump is a Nazi. Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA and the CIA posted a photo of the entrance to Auschwitz on his Twitter feed with a caption “Other governments have separated mothers and children.” As much as Hayden and his comrades hate Trump, by claiming that enforcing laws of Congress is Nazi behavior, they are demonizing the US and engaging in rank antisemitism. Mexican children separated from their parents because they broke properly constituted laws of a liberal republic are not the moral equivalent of the million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis for the “crime” of breathing while Jewish. Congress is not the Reichstag. And the Rio Grande is not Auschwitz.

Hayden and his comrades are not idiots. So why are they making these unhinged, libelous claims? The answer is that their actions are part of a wider move by Democrats to politicize antisemitism. Much has been made of the fact that support for Israel is becoming a partisan issue. Whereas Republicans are almost unanimous in support for the US alliance with Israel, support among Democrats is flagging and becoming a minority view on the rapidly growing far Left. What has gone largely unmentioned is that antisemitism is also becoming a partisan issue. As their party becomes more hostile to Israel, Democrats are increasingly highlighting the neo-Nazi elements at the fringe of the Republican Party as a means of implicating the entire Republican Party – led by Trump – as antisemitic and dangerous.

At the same time, even as leading members of the Democratic Party like Keith Ellison and luminaries like Linda Sarsour openly espouse anti-Jewish sentiments and propagate antisemitic conspiracy theories, Democrats ignore, whitewash, deny and minimize the significance of the swelling chorus of antisemitism within their ranks. Compare the responses of Democrats and Republicans to the appearance of antisemites on their ballots.

In the current election cycle, three white supremacists have sought office as Republican candidates. Arthur Jones, a 70-year-old white supremacist Nazi, running for Congress in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional district ran a stealth campaign for the safe Democratic seat. He quietly collected the requisite signatures to file his papers with the state election commission, blindsiding the GOP, which had not planned to field a candidate to run against incumbent Dan Lipinski who has won the last seven elections by a 70-30 margin. In response to Jones’s maneuver, the state and national GOP condemned and disavowed him in the harshest terms. The state party announced it would field an independent candidate to run in the general election against Jones and Lipinski.

Then there is Patrick Little. Little, another Nazi, ran in California’s open primary for Senate as a Republican. Ten other Republicans also ran. In one poll, which included Little and one other Republican candidate only, he was the top ranked Republican candidate in the open Senate race against Democratic incumbent Diane Feinstein. Rather than acknowledge the poll’s statistical insignificance, the Forward, Newsweek and Yahoo news ran stories about Little and the poll claiming that it proved that empowered by Trump, Nazis are taking over the Republican Party. The fact that the California GOP forcibly removed Little from their state convention was barely reported in the national media…

In the Democratic tent itself, things are a bit different. Rising stars in the Democratic Party, including Rep. Ellison and Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour along with the Congressional Black Caucus embrace Louis Farrakhan, and defend his notorious, virulent hatred of Jews. They demonize Israel and its Jewish supporters. Far from being attacked or otherwise denounced for their actions, these Democrats are advanced and promoted. Ellison is the vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mallory and Sarsour, Maxine Waters and other members of the CBC are feted by party leaders including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren…

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





John Podhoretz

Commentary, June 25, 2018

In 2016, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio tried to get himself back in the game by ridiculing Trump in Trump-like fashion in the 1,875th Republican debate. This was the notorious “hand size” moment—and Trump responded exactly as Rubio wanted him to, by defending himself on the most ludicrous grounds. But the attack didn’t take and, in short order, Rubio apologized for it. He said his wife was unhappy he’d done it and he wouldn’t stoop to Trump’s level again. And that was that for Marco Rubio.

You cannot shame the shameless, and you cannot make unacceptable someone who has not only resorted to but has embraced conduct everyone else deemed unacceptable—and has not only survived but thrived because of it. That was Rubio’s mistake. By behaving like Trump, Rubio erased whatever advantage he might have had from not being like Trump (and remember, that was not nothing; after all was said and done, Trump only got 45 percent of the primary vote). It was probably worth a shot, but as it didn’t work, it’s probably not worth a second shot.

And yet that is exactly the path Democrats and liberals seem to be stumbling onto in their battle against Trump and the GOP. They have decided that the offenses of Trump and his administration against the good and the true and the beautiful are so horrific that anyone officially associated with him is to be harassed in public. Desperate times call for desperate measures, apparently.

The tactic of making the political personal in the most direct and unpleasant of ways is nothing new, of course. The home of my late sister, married to Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs at the height of the U.S.-Sandinista clashes, was picketed by protestors in 1987. He was away while she and her three children under the age of six sat inside hearing their husband and father denounced as a murderer. In a residential neighborhood in D.C. That was nice, huh? Three little kids.

The comedian Seth Rogen recently bragged about refusing to take a photo with Paul Ryan in the presence of Ryan’s kids. He confessed to feeling bad about it, but also to thinking that it would be good if Ryan’s kids knew people who make movies and TV don’t like their dad. There’s a word for someone who brags about how he went and taught someone else’s kids a lesson in this way: The word is “asshole.”

This is what happens when you dehumanize your opposition. But anyone who professes to admire Trump should tread carefully when expressing outrage over the mistreatment of Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at the Red Hen restaurant this weekend because the dehumanization of the opposition is key to Trump’s communications and base-pumping strategies. And if you thrill at him for his conduct and find the treatment of Sanders unspeakable, there’s a word for you too, and it’s “hypocrite.”

The point Trump’s opposition fails to grasp is this: By imitating Trump, you are doing exactly what you fear the media are doing. You are normalizing him. You are making this kind of conduct the political baseline for both parties and both ideological tendencies. And let’s face it: You’re just not going to do it as well as Trump does. It’s like trying to follow in the footsteps of Al Jolson, a huge star who was also insufferable and immensely annoying. Nobody did Jolson like Jolson—but who would want to?

By affirming the notion that Americans are now divided into enemy camps, and each should treat the other as though it is beneath contempt, Democrats and liberals are making an in-kind contribution to the GOP’s 2018 midterm campaign and the 2020 Trump campaign. This is how you’re going to get Trump again.



On Topic Links

Moving the Goalpost: The Much-Anticipated U.S. Peace Plan: Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2018—Sometime in the coming weeks, the US will present the much-anticipated peace plan it has been working on since President Donald Trump entered the Oval Office 18 months ago. What the plan exactly contains remains a mystery, but based on rumblings in Washington and Jerusalem, it has the potential to shake up the region.

Leading Scholar: Trump’s Embassy Move, Recognition of Jerusalem Represent ‘Important Turning Point’: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, May 14, 2018—President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital represented an “important turning point” and “act of courage and integrity,” a leading scholar told The Algemeiner.

Obama’s Failures Created Trump’s New Middle East: Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, June 13, 2018—The search for explanations and scapegoats for the rejection of President Obama’s worldview in the 2016 election continues.

Suicide of West Can Be Averted By Policies of Trump: Conrad Black, New York Sun, June 21, 2018—It is distasteful to return to my exchange with my esteemed National Review colleague Jonah Goldberg about the column he wrote several weeks ago likening President Trump’s reference to the implantation of FBI informers in his campaign as “Spygate” to McCarthyism.



Don’t Separate Families at the Border — But Don’t Expropriate the Holocaust Either: Abraham Cooper, Algemeiner, June 21, 2018— As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ invocation of the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the US at the Mexican border.

Trump’s Wise to Quit the UN Human Rights Council — It’s an Oxymoron Not Worthy of Our Respect or Support: Anne Bayefsky, Fox News, June 20, 2018— President Trump has rightly decided to terminate U.S. membership in what U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called the “misnamed” U.N. “Human Rights” Council.

A Week of Infamy at the United Nations: David Gerstman, Tower, June 4, 2018— When Syria ascended to the role of presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for one month on Monday, Robert Wood, the United States ambassador to the conference, called it “one of the darkest days in the history of the Conference on Disarmament.”

A Tribute to Charles Krauthammer: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018— Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live.

On Topic Links

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Intellectual Provocateur, Dies at 68: Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, June 21, 2018

Ending The ‘Theater of the Absurd’ At The UNHRC: Gregg Roman, The Hill, June 20, 2018

Why are We Backing UNRWA, the United Nations’ Permanent Inciter?: Bradley Martin, American Spectator, May 23, 2018

Conference: Reforming UNRWA (Video): BESA Center, March 18, 2018





Abraham Cooper

Algemeiner, June 21, 2018

As an Orthodox rabbi, it is not for me to comment on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ invocation of the New Testament to justify separating children from parents who were caught trying to illegally enter the US at the Mexican border. Suffice it to say that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who represents 2.6 million Catholics, called the crackdown “unbiblical.”

Speaking for our constituency at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we said the following: Like millions of Americans on both sides of the political divide, we want our leaders to solve the humanitarian crisis at hand. No matter what the divisions are over immigration policies, it is unacceptable to separate little children from their parents. That isn’t what America stands for. Those are not our values. We urge immediate steps to ameliorate this situation and for the Administration and Congress to finally take the necessary steps to end this problem.

We are not naïve, and know full well that it will take nothing short of a miracle to triangulate the divergent views of Democrats, Republicans, and President Trump and come up with a comprehensive solution to all the issues related to illegal immigration. Now in the midst of the contentious debate, there are some thoughtful legislators, including Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mark Meadows, who are weighing in to deal with the children caught in the middle. And yesterday, Donald Trump issued an executive order that he claimed would end the practice of parents being separated from their children.

Without action on immigration, our society will lurch from emotional and incendiary crisis to crisis — sometimes focusing on an innocent child’s wail, sometimes on the sobs of a bereaved family robbed of a loved one by a criminal who never should have been in the United States in the first place.

But there is another victim of the children at the border debate: historic truth. Those entrusted with protecting the memory of the six million victims of the Nazi Holocaust — and teaching lessons from history’s greatest crime, which included the mass murder of 1.5 million Jewish children — are shocked by the wholesale and dishonest expropriation of the symbols and imagery of the Holocaust by critics of the treatment of children at the US border.

For starters, Wikipedia now includes the detention centers where these children are held in the article about Concentration and Internment camps. Social media has been abuzz with comparisons including to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where innocents were beaten, starved, and gassed to death. No less than former CIA Director Michael Hayden, now a CNN pundit, posted a picture of the entrance to the infamous Auschwitz death camp. He later offered an “apology” that read more like gloating over “overachieving.” A more apt lesson for Hayden from that era was the failure of the CIA’s World War II predecessor, the OSS, to do anything to stop or slow down the Nazi genocide of Jews.

Then there was MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough who opened “Morning Joe” last Friday by declaring: “Children are being marched away to showers — just like the Nazis said they were taking people to the showers, and then they never came back. You’d think they would use another trick.” On Sunday, another cable commentator insisted, “Increasingly, Donald Trump is turning this nation into Nazi Germany and turning these [detention centers] into concentration camps.” Social media postings invoked the same imagery and talking points.

For 25 years, our Museum of Tolerance has educated millions of visitors, including 160,000 law enforcement officials, about Auschwitz, Anne Frank, and the murder of 1.5 million Jewish children and their families by the Nazi perpetrators of the genocidal “Final Solution.” Visitors also learn about today’s real-time civil and human rights crises, and contemporary mass murder and genocide. But we would never tell a young visitor that every human rights outrage is equivalent to Auschwitz. That is a lie. We can only hope that the depths of its moral depravity will never again be repeated in our world.

Finally, the images emanating from along the Texas border are powerful enough to inspire people to act without deploying Holocaust imagery that demonizes other Americans and debases the memory of six million murdered Jews. US border guards and Homeland Security personnel are not Nazis. Critics should stop slandering them. We live in the world’s greatest democracy. Our elected officials have the tools to fix what’s broken.




IT’S AN OXYMORON NOT WORTHY OF OUR RESPECT OR SUPPORT                                                             

Anne Bayefsky

Fox News, June 20, 2018

President Trump has rightly decided to terminate U.S. membership in what U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called the “misnamed” U.N. “Human Rights” Council. The move comes after the Trump administration gave the council 17 months to get serious about reform and to stop spreading anti-Semitism under the false flag of promoting human rights.

Many believed it was 17 months that the U.N. didn’t deserve. U.S. membership on the council legitimized an especially treacherous adversary to liberal democracies: the faux human rights victim. But in response, U.N. actors squandered the more than generous opportunities for change provided during hundreds of meetings and are left with no one to blame but themselves. The Human Rights Council was the U.N.’s cure for the Human Rights Commission – presided over by Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya shortly before somebody noticed it lacked credibility.

Other than the name change from “Commission” to “Council,” the other big difference was that when the the commission ended in 2006, its members included China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and when the General Assembly elected the members of the new Council, they chose China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia. (No joke.) Now among the 47 U.N. states calling the shots on the organization’s top human rights body are such human rights paragons as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Qatar and Venezuela.

The Trump administration tried hard to address the conditions for membership on the council. While the General Assembly was first drafting the rules for the council back in 2005, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton (currently President Trump’s national security adviser) worked tirelessly to do the same. During a five-year “review” to fix the council back in 2011, the Obama administration pushed for membership reform as well. They all failed, Democrat and Republican alike.

The main distinction between Republican and Democratic approaches to the council was over the issues of whether to join it and whether to foot the bill. President George W. Bush said that if the council was a tool for human rights abusers to masquerade as human rights authorities, and to foment anti-Semitism by using the Jewish state as a proverbial scapegoat, the leader of the free world would not join or legitimize the council. President Obama said it’s better to engage, just as it was better to engage and empower Iranian sponsors of terrorism, to engage and enable Syrian dictator Bashar Assad “the reformer,” and to engage and reset relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin until he felt secure enough to invade his neighbors.

There is no doubt that the U.N. Human Rights Council is a productive tool for anti-Semites. Discrimination against the Jewish state is baked into procedures and output as well as into its composition. The council reserves one permanent agenda item for every one of its regular sessions for condemning only Israel. All other 192 U.N. member states are considered together under a separate item, if they are discussed at all. The council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on Earth, and nothing condemning almost 90 percent of the world’s states. The council has held more emergency special sessions on Israel than on any other country, including Syria – where at least 500,000 have died and up to 12 million people have been displaced.

But even beyond the disturbing fact that anti-Semitism thrives at the United Nations under the guise of human rights is that the “human rights” experts, the nongovernmental organizations and the academic entourage surrounding this whole apparatus, have the council’s back. For months, they have been flooding the airwaves and Haley and Pompeo’s email inboxes begging the Trump administration to stay on the council.  In a nutshell, they make one basic point: the demonization of Israel, even if undeserved, is peripheral to the common good.

Pompeo and Haley have courageously decided to set them straight. Equal rights cannot be built on inequality for Jews and the Jewish state. Playing minority groups against each other is not progress, it’s discrimination. And unless and until the common good has no Jewish exemption clause, the U.N. “Human Rights” Council is an oxymoron that does not deserve our respect or support.




David Gerstman

Tower, June 4, 2018

When Syria ascended to the role of presidency of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for one month on Monday, Robert Wood, the United States ambassador to the conference, called it “one of the darkest days in the history of the Conference on Disarmament.”

The week at the U.N. did not get better. Syria assumed the role of presidency of the conference, despite committing the war crime of deploying chemical weapons against civilians, by virtue of its place in the alphabet — it followed Switzerland. The New York Times explained that the reason for the rotating scheme was “to prevent major powers dominating the forum.” The problem is that the U.N., according to its charter, was founded, in part, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”

How does giving a regime that uses prohibited weapons presidency over a conference devoted to abrogating such weapons save anyone from “the scourge of war?” As the Times subsequently pointed out, Syria only agreed to join the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, one of the treaties authored by the conference that prohibits the manufacturing, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons, AFTER the regime was found to have used sarin in a 2013 attack on a Damascus suburb that killed 1,400 people. Even once Syria joined the treaty, investigators have documented more than 30 additional chemical weapons attacks carried out by the Syrian government.

The idea that major powers shouldn’t dominate a U.N. conference may be reasonable. However, there should be some way to police who serves or presides over conferences based on their records. That Syria, which violated one of the primary objectives of the Disarmament Conference — the banning of chemical weapons — should preside over the conference is a travesty. Syria was not the only bad actor to avoid the consequences of its actions this week at the U.N. On Wednesday, Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist organization, was spared a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the latest barrage of rockets and mortars fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley responded to Kuwait’s veto, saying that condemning Hamas for firing rockets at civilians should have been a “no-brainer.” “Apparently, some Council members did not think Hamas launching rockets qualified as terrorism,” she added. “The United States begs to differ.” Again, if we look at the U.N. charter, one the goals stated is “to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used.” How does letting a terrorist group firing rockets and mortars at civilians without, at least, condemnation reinforce the message that “armed force shall not be used?”

If the U.N.’s week was marked by letting human rights abusers and terrorists off the hook, how could it be worse? Because European diplomats decided that Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, should continue to be singled out for special scrutiny and inevitable condemnation by the misnamed United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Colum Lynch reported Wednesday for Foreign Policy that unnamed “key European allies” would not support a U.N. General Assembly vote to remove UNHRC’s notorious Agenda Item 7, which singles out Israel — the only nation so treated — for special scrutiny by the council. Lynch described the motivation of the European diplomats, who are concerned that the U.S. initiative “could inflict long-lasting damage to the world’s principal human rights agency and undermine efforts to expose human rights violations elsewhere.” But Lynch also observed that the council was formed in 2006 to replace “the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, whose credibility had been tainted by the presence of member states with abysmal rights records.”

Currently, as UN Watch has documented, the new, “improved” council has such gross human rights violators  Qatar, Pakistan, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and UAE, to the council violating the “UN’s own basic membership criteria.” It’s hard to understand Europe’s concern about the possible “long-lasting damage” to the council when it appears that it is just as tainted with human rights abusers as its discredited predecessor was.

Agenda Items 7 doesn’t just single out Israel for scrutiny, it effectively prejudges Israel as guilty in any violence with the Palestinians.  Given that Israel is the only nation singled out, it also makes the agenda item discriminatory and anti-Semitic. Whichever European nations refused to support the U.S. initiative should have done so even if there wasn’t their misplace concern about damage to the council.

To refer again to the U.N.’s charter, the founders said that the goal of the organization is promoting “equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” A provision that singles out one nation — especially a free nation — for extra scrutiny and condemnation violates this vision of equal rights for all nations. By allowing Syria to assume the presidency of its Conference on Disarmament, the U.N. experienced a dark day. By subsequently refusing to condemn Hamas, and leaving Israel open to even more unjust vilification, the U.N. has darkened itself even further.





A TRIBUTE TO CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER                                                           

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018

Dr. Charles Krauthammer, perhaps the most luminous and incisive columnist of this generation, announced two weeks ago that he was stricken with terminal cancer and had only weeks to live. I feel an obligation to pay homage to this incredible man, and to add a Jewish, Zionist and personal angle to the many tributes to him that have rightly poured forth.

For 38 years, Krauthammer’s columns, essays, and lectures have stood as pillars of conservative principle and moral clarity. On foreign policy matters, he was unquestionably the most radiant intellectual hawk in America, and on Middle East affairs he was the most consistent defender of Israel and the US-Israel special relationship.

Two examples of his razor-sharp writing regarding Israel and American Mideast policy will suffice, among hundreds of exhibits. Krauthammer wrote in 2014 about “Kafkaesque ethical inversions” that make for Western criticism of Israel. “The world’s treatment of Israel is Orwellian, fueled by a mix of classic antisemitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog,” he wrote. He understood that eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties (such as recent Hamas assaults on the Gaza border) were “depravity.”

“The whole point is to produce dead Palestinians for international television; to deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed; indeed, moral and tactical insanity,” he said. “But it rests on a very rational premise. The whole point is to draw Israeli counter-fire; to produce dead Palestinians for international television, and to ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”

In 2015, he repeatedly skewered then-president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “the worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.” To Obama, he wrote accusingly: “You set out to prevent proliferation and you trigger it. You set out to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability and you legitimize it. You set out to constrain the world’s greatest exporter of terror threatening every one of our allies in the Middle East and you’re on the verge of making it the region’s economic and military hegemon.”

Krauthammer’s profound understanding of Jewish history, his admiration for Israel, and his very deep concern for its future were on fullest display in a magisterial essay he published in The Weekly Standard in 1998 entitled “At Last, Zion.” The essay conducted a sweeping analysis of Jewish peoplehood, from Temple times and over 2,000 years of Diaspora history to the modern return to Zion.

Krauthammer understood that American Jewry was dying. “Nothing will revive the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Islamic world. And nothing will stop the rapid decline by assimilation of Western Jewry.” The dynamics of assimilation were inexorable in America and elsewhere, he wrote. Israel, Krauthammer understood, was different. “Exceptional,” he called it – because Israel was about “reattachment of Russian and Romanian, Uzbeki and Iraqi, Algerian and Argentinean Jews to a distinctively Hebraic culture,” and this gave it civilizational and societal staying power for the long term.

Israel “is now the principal drama of Jewish history,” he wrote. “What began as an experiment has become the very heart of the Jewish people – its cultural, spiritual, and psychological center, soon to become its demographic center as well. Israel is the hinge. Upon it rest the hopes – the only hope – for Jewish continuity and survival.” However, because the “cosmology of the Jewish people has been transformed into a single-star system with a dwindling Diaspora orbiting around,” Krauthammer was apprehensive. It frightened him that “Jews have put all their eggs in one basket, a small basket hard by the waters of the Mediterranean. And on its fate hinges everything Jewish.”

Israel’s centrality, he feared, was a “bold and dangerous new strategy for Jewish survival” because of the many security threats posed to the country, chiefly among them the specter of Iranian nuclear weapons. Indeed, Krauthammer’s essay “thinks the unthinkable” and “contemplates Israel’s disappearance.” And while Jewish political independence has been extinguished twice before and bounced back following centuries of dispersion, Krauthammer doubted that the Jewish People could pull the trick again. “Twice Jews defied the norm [and survived Diaspora]. But never, I fear, again.”…


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Intellectual Provocateur, Dies at 68: Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, June 21, 2018—Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68.

Ending The ‘Theater of the Absurd’ At The UNHRC: Gregg Roman, The Hill, June 20, 2018—It is possible that there is no more misplaced and absurdly titled international body than the United Nations Human Rights Council. Though the name sounds noble, its work is anything but, so it is entirely correct that the United States no longer plays along with this macabre charade and has officially withdrawn from the organization.

Why are We Backing UNRWA, the United Nations’ Permanent Inciter?: Bradley Martin, American Spectator, May 23, 2018—After the latest violence in Gaza, it is clear that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s continuous support of Palestinian terrorism is a major cause of instability in the Middle East and should be defunded.

Conference: Reforming UNRWA (Video): BESA Center, March 18, 2018—“Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for 70 long years. Consider the ways: They should not even have been classified as refugees, they had the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA), and they uniquely can pass on the “refugee” status to future generations.


Hamas’s Kite Terrorism: A Threat that Requires a Decisive Response: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, June 20, 2018— Hamas’s setting of wildfires on thousands of hectares of natural woodland and farmland on the Israeli side of the Gaza border is a calculated and organized strategy.

The Decreasing Effectiveness of Hamas Terrorism: Hillel Frisch, Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2018— Hamas’s recent political setbacks are well known.

The Gaza Strip and “the Deal of the Century”: Yoni Ben Menachem, JCPA, June 21, 2018 — Senior figures in the Palestinian Authority are concerned about the visit of a U.S. team, led by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt…

Palestinians: How to Achieve a Better Life: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, June 21, 2018— In the past two weeks, Palestinians received yet another reminder that they are living under undemocratic regimes that have less than no respect for public freedoms.

On Topic Links

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, June 17, 2018

Palestinians: Victims of Arab Apartheid: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, June 18, 2018

Why Abbas Refuses to Ease Sanctions on Gaza: Yoni Ben Menachem, JNS, June 14, 2018

UN: ‘Great Return March’ Increased Abuse of Women in Gaza: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, June 13, 2018




Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

BESA, June 20, 2018

Hamas’s setting of wildfires on thousands of hectares of natural woodland and farmland on the Israeli side of the Gaza border is a calculated and organized strategy. The immense damage being caused to property, wildlife, and natural resources is gradually transforming the area around the Strip into a wilderness, undermining Israel’s ability to provide peace and security to its residents.

The kibbutz movement did well to demand an end to this new terrorist modus operandi. And while the rules of engagement are undoubtedly the exclusive prerogative of the Chief-of-Staff rather than a subject for public debate, by demanding action the kibbutz movement has proved yet again that in the enforcement of state sovereignty, especially in frontier areas, there is no substitute for civilian steadfastness and clinging to the land.

This stands in stark contrast to the withdrawal from al-Hama in April 1951 after an IDF force that had been sent to patrol an area that was under Israeli sovereignty ran into a Syrian ambush that killed seven soldiers. Had there been a civilian community there, the withdrawal might well have generated an outcry and a demand for a more determined military response. In this respect, the kibbutz movement’s demand for a decisive response is emblematic of the traditional pioneering role of frontier communities.

Hamas’s management of the struggle along the fence displays an impressive degree of systemic adaptation. Anxious to avoid an all-out war, and keenly aware of the necessity of finding new means of sustaining the struggle, Hamas has been quick to realize the immense potential of kite terrorism. On the physical level, this method exhausts Israeli security and emergency forces on a daily basis. On the cognitive and legal levels, the activities – which are in some cases carried out by young boys – place Israel in a difficult political and diplomatic position in the international arena.

Although kite terrorism is presented as posing no direct threat to human life, its scope and significance cannot be denied. The question is this: is the state entitled to protect its assets and sovereignty only in those cases where there is a clear danger to human life?

The Talmudic literature recognized the uniqueness of the frontier long ago and established special rules that facilitated its distinct struggle for existence. The Sabbath regulations, for example, include a special stipulation allowing frontier residents to fight on the holy day in defense of their property. In the words of the Holy Scriptures: “Robbers who attack frontier Jews on the Sabbath should be fought even if they only tried to rob straw and hay.”

In other words, even a minor matter that does not ordinarily involve a life-saving situation becomes sufficiently life-threatening whenever it applies to frontier areas and, as such, justifies violating the Sabbath. This encapsulates the underlying ethos of frontier existence: those who cannot protect their straw and hay will have a hard time protecting their lives.

Moshe Dayan, as the Chief-of-Staff who masterminded the retaliation strategy of the early 1950s, explained the rationale of the IDF’s action: “The Arab states will not fight the infiltrators or punish them unless they find this to be in their own interest. The Arab army will awake to the need to fight infiltration only when it realizes that stealing a cow in Ramat Hakovesh is liable to hurt Qalqiliya and that murdering a Jew in Ruhama endangers the residents of Gaza.” The stealing of a cow and the burning of a field are not in and of themselves an existential threat. But by accumulating into a critical mass, they pose a threat that no sovereign state can afford to leave unanswered.



THE DECREASING EFFECTIVENESS OF HAMAS TERRORISM                                       

Hillel Frisch

Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2018


Hamas’s recent political setbacks are well known. The most punishing was the downfall of Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammad Morsi and his replacement by President al-Sisi, who destroyed the tunnel industry from which Hamas derived most of its revenues to rule Gaza. This was supplemented by moves on the part of the Palestinian Authority to deny Hamas revenue by reducing salaries to 70,000 PA employees in Gaza, by far the largest group of consumers in Gaza. The goal was similar to al-Sisi’s intent – to reduce imports from Israel means also less tax revenue for Hamas.

The downturn in Hamas’ fortunes is not only political, but equally in the exercise of terrorism. Starting from very lethal suicide terrorism in the 1990s through the Second Intifada, the substitutes since then – ballistic, tunnel and now kite terrorism – are decreasingly effective.

How effective suicide attacks by Hamas and its Islamic Jihad ally were in the Second Intifada can be gauged in the numbers of its victims. In the course of three years, these two organizations were responsible for the murder of 400 Israeli citizens (and tens of foreigners), with Hamas doing the lion’s share of the bloodletting. Its effectiveness did not only end there. Suicide bombings brought about the only absolute contraction of the Israeli economy since the state’s inception – what no war with the Arab states brought about, including year-and-a-half-long War of Independence.

The effectiveness of suicide bombing, in fact, the very phenomenon of this lethal means, came to an end after Israel reconquered Area A in the Palestinian Authority in 2002, with nearly daily penetrations and arrests of would-be terrorists since then. The destruction of the sanctuaries that enabled Hamas to plan elaborate suicide bombings – coupled with the smashing of its human infrastructure through incessant arrests of its operants – considerably reduced the capabilities of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

When this happened, Hamas, like most violent organizations, looked for substitute means to hurt the enemy. The decline in suicide bombings was followed by the spectacular rise from 2004 in missile launchings and by continuous improvement in the payload they carried and in the distance they traversed – so much so that by 2006, the number of Israelis directly affected by the missiles increased from 25,000 inhabitants in the immediate areas bordering Gaza to hundreds of thousands who lived in major cities such Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon and beyond.

For all the feelings of terror that the launching of over 14,000 missiles between 2004-2014 engendered, the phenomenon largely came to an end after the third bout between Hamas and Israel in the summer of 2014. The effects of missile terrorism were not nearly as costly to Israel as suicide bombings. Military expenditures as a percentage of gross domestic product and as a percentage of total government expenditures continued to decline, whereas at the height of the Second Intifada they remained level. Missile terrorism was far less costly in human terms as well. Even if we take all the casualties of the three rounds of fighting between Israel and Hamas, mortalities add up to approximately 120, less than one-third the human price that Israel paid during the wave of suicide bombings. Note also the wave of missile terrorism took place over 10 years, compared to suicide bombing wave, which lasted three years.

Whereas the effectiveness of suicide terrorism was vastly reduced as a result of military punishment meted by the IDF and the Israel Security Agency, missile terrorism became less effective over time due to technological developments that denied Hamas much of the potency of this means of terrorism. BESA associate Uzi Rubin, in his extensive studies on the Iron Dome anti-missile system published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, plotted its growing effectiveness over time. In the flare-up in 2014, only two of the 72 Israeli deaths during the 55 days of fighting resulted from missile launchings. By then, Hamas had already figured out that tunnel attacks, at first considered a supplement to its arsenal, could become a major substitute for missile launchings.

Just as missile terrorism was far less effective than suicide bombing, tunnel terrorism was less effective than both, essentially foiled by technological developments. Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas scored successes in tunnel forays in 2006 with the killing of two tank crew members and the capture of a third, for which it successfully negotiated the release of over 1,000 Palestinian terrorists in 2011. During the course of the 2014 campaign, Hamas used tunneling to surprise Israeli forces and succeeded in killing 11 soldiers in three separate incidents.

Significantly, it never used the tunnels it dug into Israel territory, partially out of fear that Israel had developed means to monitor and mine them, as indeed it proved in the killing of at least 12 Islamic Jihad terrorists in October 2017. In any event, the price tag to Israel of tunnel terrorism was only a fraction of the costs of missile terrorism.

It is against the backdrop of the never-ending quest to find substitutes to increasingly ineffective terrorist measures that Hamas’ innovation of kite terrorism can be understood. Though it is too early to say conclusively that this means is the poorest substitute of all those that preceded it, it would seem that a solution will be found before it becomes lethal rather than merely destructive, as it is at present. Of course, a technological solution would be best, but in its absence, some innovative combat moves against the perpetrators would be welcome.  Increasingly admired as a military force that reacts effectively to the innovations of its enemies, the IDF is now faced with a golden opportunity to show that operating beyond enemy lines in daring and innovative ways is not only a legacy of the past.





Yoni Ben Menachem

JCPA, June 21, 2018

Senior figures in the Palestinian Authority are concerned about the visit of a U.S. team, led by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, to the region and American preparations for promoting President Trump’s peace plan, known as “the deal of the century.”  With this in mind, they see the June 18, 2018, meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman as an additional American-Israeli attempt to soften the King’s opposition to “the deal of the century” and an American effort to create a barrier between him and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Sources in the Authority do not dismiss the possibility that Prime Minister Netanyahu has soothed the Jordanian monarch’s concerns regarding anything challenging Jordan’s position as guardian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, in accordance with the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, and that Netanyahu has promised that Jordan’s position will not be harmed by “the deal of the century.”

The Palestinian Authority claims that the Trump administration is trying to use the Gaza Strip as a “key” to present to the leaders of the moderate Arab states to advance “the deal of the century.” These Arab leaders want complete calm in Gaza, and they are concerned that continued violence and the “return march” campaign will upset the stability in their own countries and will lead to a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas on the southern border, the results of which would be particularly hard on the Palestinians.

The fears of the senior PA officials are based on a report in the Haaretz newspaper on June 17, 2018, that, according to sources in the Trump administration, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt will try to raise between $500 million and $1 billion from Qatar and Saudi Arabia for a series of projects serving the Gaza Strip. It is hoped that these projects will quiet the security situation and create positive momentum for the presentation of President Trump’s “the deal of the century” plan.

Among other things, projects built in northern Sinai will provide the needs of the residents of Gaza, such as solar energy, a power station, and a seaport. Some of these ideas were presented to the U.S. team during a conference at the White House in March 13, 2018, by the then-coordinator of activities in the territories Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas was invited to the conference, attended by the representatives of 20 countries, but he boycotted it. Of course, implementing these ideas requires the agreement of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

A considerable part of “the deal of the century” deals with the Gaza Strip. According to PA sources, which learned about the plan from Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Gaza Strip will be declared an independent state together with parts of the West Bank, excluding east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The Palestinian capital will be located in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, along with several Arab neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem.

All of this is meant to solve the problems of the Gaza Strip and soften the resistance of Arab leaders to the new U.S. peace plan. Senior sources in the Palestinian Authority told the Al-Hayat newspaper on June 17, 2018, that Kushner and Greenblatt are working to raise Arab funding for essential projects in Gaza in order to put it at the center of a diplomatic solution in accordance with Trump’s “deal of the century.” Nabil Abu Rudeina, the PA chairman’s spokesman, claims that the United States and Israel are planning to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank under the headline “humanitarian aid for Gaza.”

He added that the Palestinian leadership warns against any measures where the objective is to bypass the Palestinian “national project” and perpetuate the division of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and to compromise on Jerusalem and the holy sites.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is continuing to boycott the Trump administration since its declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He also continues to rail against the administration and to “reveal” the details of “the deal of the century” plan even though he has never seen any of its details. Abbas is afraid of possible betrayal by the Arab leaders over the Palestinian problem because, for them, the Iranian danger takes priority.

Therefore, the senior officials of the Palestinian Authority make sure to issue regular reminders through the media that not only is the PA chairman opposed to “the deal of the century,” but so are all of the leaders of the Arab countries. Nabil Shaath, Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser for international affairs, told the Al-Hayat newspaper on June 17, 2018, that the Palestinians relied on the resistance of the Arab leaders to “the deal of the century” and that they promised to oppose any diplomatic plan that was not acceptable to the Palestinian leadership.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been working in recent months to build a Palestinian, Arab, and international consensus to torpedo “the deal of the century,” the motto of which is “there’s no state in Gaza, and there’s no state without Gaza.” The Trump administration is now working hard to break up this consensus. Hamas terror in the Gaza Strip is increasing the concerns of the leaders of the Arab world who want quiet, and it is most likely that they will cooperate with the ideas of President Trump.





                                                         Bassam Tawil       

Gatestone Institute, June 21, 2018

In the past two weeks, Palestinians received yet another reminder that they are living under undemocratic regimes that have less than no respect for public freedoms. The regimes of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip never miss an opportunity to remind their people of the dire consequences that await anyone who speaks out against the leaders. The two Palestinian regimes have been forcing it down the throats of their people for many years.

Still, some Palestinians seem surprised each time the PA or Hamas send their police officers to break up (or, more precisely, to break bones in) a demonstration in Ramallah or the Gaza Strip. The streets of Ramallah and Gaza City showcase, yet again, that the Palestinians’ true tragedy over the past five decades has been failed and corrupt leadership — one that keeps dragging them from one disaster to another; one that never offers them any hope; one that has been radicalizing and brainwashing its people; one that steals large portions of the financial aid provided by the international community, and one that has brought them nothing but dictatorship and repression.

The Palestinian Authority is nearly 25 years old, but it continues to act as a corrupt dictatorship. Like most Arab regimes, the PA and its leaders have zero tolerance for any form of criticism. Ask Palestinian journalists, bloggers and pundits in the West Bank and they will tell you (in private and anonymously; they would like to save their skins) how the Palestinian Authority cracks down on them and imposes severe restrictions on their work. In the past year alone, at least 11 Palestinian journalists and political activists have either been arrested or summoned for interrogation by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. The charge: voicing various forms of criticism against the Palestinian Authority or one of its senior officials, including, of course, President Mahmoud Abbas.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority went one step further in demonstrating to its constituents what dictatorship looks like. Hundreds of Palestinians were staging a peaceful demonstration in the center of Ramallah to call on Abbas to lift the sanctions he had imposed on the Gaza Strip a year earlier. The sanctions, which severely aggravated the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, included firing thousands of PA civil servants and cutting off social assistance to many families. Abbas has also refused to pay for the electricity and medical care that Israel supplies to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas placed the sanctions on the Gaza Strip in the hope that affected Palestinians would revolt against his enemies in Hamas. So far, however, his measures seem to have backfired. Hamas is still in power and there is almost no real challenge to its rule over the Gaza Strip. Also, Abbas does not want to bear any responsibility for his people in the Gaza Strip; he wants the Gaza Strip to be the problem of Israel, Egypt and the rest of the world. Anyone who thinks that Abbas is eager to go back to the Gaza Strip is living in a dream world. (Hamas expelled the Palestinian Authority and Abbas from the Gaza Strip in 2007).

Abbas does not like to be reminded of his responsibility for what many describe as a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, and he does not want any Palestinians to protest the punitive measures he imposed on the Gaza Strip. First, Abbas issued a directive banning Palestinians from protesting in the major cities in the West Bank. His directive, however, did not stop hundreds of Palestinian activists from taking to the streets of Ramallah on June 13 to condemn Abbas’s sanctions. What was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned out to be one of the most violent clashes between Abbas’s security forces and demonstrators, whose only crime was that they were calling on their leader to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians in the West Bank are also trying to show solidarity with their brothers in the Gaza Strip. They seem to be beginning to realize that Abbas, instead of helping the people in the Gaza Strip, is actually punishing them by cutting off their salaries and denying them medical and humanitarian aid. The Ramallah protest also came amid growing criticism (mainly from the Gaza Strip) that the Palestinians of the West Bank are indifferent to the suffering of their brothers in the Gaza Strip. On instructions from Abbas, dozens of Palestinian policemen, both in uniform and civilian clothes, attacked the protesters with brute force, using clubs and tear gas. More than 44 protestors were arrested and 20 injured…

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


On Topic Links

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, June 17, 2018—The international community unleashed a new round of Israel-bashing at the UN General Assembly on June 14, 2018, on the issue of the Hamas-generated riots and demonstrations along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians: Victims of Arab Apartheid: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, June 18, 2018—Lebanon is one of several Arab countries where Palestinians are subjected to discriminatory and apartheid laws and measures. The plight of Palestinians in Arab countries, however, is apparently of no interest to the international community, pro-Palestinian activists and groups around the world.

Why Abbas Refuses to Ease Sanctions on Gaza: Yoni Ben Menachem, JNS, June 14, 2018 —The two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are paying the price for the political rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. This week, the Israeli government’s Security Cabinet decided not to make any further humanitarian concessions to Gaza as long as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas stands firm in his refusal to remove the sanctions that he imposed on Gaza a year ago.

UN: ‘Great Return March’ Increased Abuse of Women in Gaza: Elder of Ziyon, Algemeiner, June 13, 2018—The United Nations Population Fund has written a report about the dangers to Gaza’s women as a result of the “Great Return March.” The report proves that Palestinian society is pretty sick — and it identifies four groups of Gazan women that were negatively impacted by the riots.


On Topic Links

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, June 17, 2018

Human Rights: Other Views – Part I: Denis MacEoin, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 27, 2018

Canada Comes to Its Senses on Iran: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, June 13, 2018

Turkey: Election Time Again: Burak Bekdil, BESA, June 17, 2018



“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.” — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. The U.S. is leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with Haley calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” Haley, Trump’s envoy to the UN, said the U.S. had given the human rights body “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes. She lambasted the council for “its chronic bias against Israel” and lamented the fact that its membership includes accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley said. (National Post, June 19, 2018)

“We have no doubt that there was once a noble vision for this council…But today, we need to be honest: The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights…The (HRC) enables abuses by absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those that committed no offense…Its membership includes authoritarian governments with unambiguous and abhorrent human rights records, such as China, Cuba, and Venezuela. There is no fair or competitive election process, and countries have colluded with one another to undermine the current method of selecting members.” — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Realclearpolitics, June 19, 2018)

“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7.” — UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson tore into the UNHRC, vowing to vote against any resolution offered under the anti-Israel “Agenda Item 7.” Agenda Item 7 requires that the HRC feature a debate on “Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians during each of its sessions.” The agenda item was put in place in 2007, and since then, Israel has faced a deluge of antisemitism, three times per year, from at least 35 other member nations. (Daily Wire, June 18, 2018) 

“You are all members of parliaments, but as far as I am concerned, you are all ambassadors. You are ambassadors of Israel and of truth. Please tell the citizens of your countries. It is very important for us that people see Israel as it is…Here is something about Israel…You are now in the seat of the Israeli government. It is here in Jerusalem. Close to us is the Knesset, our parliament. Close to that is the Supreme Court, which is also in Jerusalem, and the President’s residence, which is also in Jerusalem…Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It will always be Israel’s capital, as it has been for 3,000 years… I am very happy that Guatemala and Paraguay moved their embassies, and I ask of you, on top of being ambassadors for Israel, to ask your governments to move their embassies to Jerusalem so that we may say ‘next year in Jerusalem!’,”— Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu met with a delegation from various Latin American parliaments last week. The premiere urged the diplomats to ask their governments to move their embassies to Jerusalem. (Jewish Press, June 13, 2018)

“Make no mistake…hate crimes are violent crimes, and reducing violent crime is a top priority of ours…According to the FBI…religious hate crimes are second only to racial hate crimes in the United States today. Since January of 2017, the Department [of Justice] has brought hate crime charges against 27 defendants and obtained 25 convictions…We remain vigilant, in particular, against antisemitic hate crimes, which remain the most common religiously-motivated hate crimes, and which increased by 12% from 2014 to 2016. This administration is animated by that same American view that has led us for 242 years — that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square.” — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an address to an Orthodox Union gathering in Washington, DC. (Algemeiner, June 13, 2018)

“We have nothing to learn about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming, and solidarity from anyone.” — Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. A day after French President Macron said Rome had acted with “cynicism and irresponsibility” by closing its ports to a migrant ship, Italy’s economy minister cancelled a Paris meeting with his counterpart. Salvini, who is also deputy premier and the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, said he was not prepared to take criticism from a country which regularly stopped migrants on their shared border. The row centres on the charity ship Aquarius, which both Italy and Malta refused to let dock at their ports. It was carrying 629 migrants. The ship arrived at the Spanish port of Valencia. (Globe & Mail, June 13, 2018)

“Shabbat wasn’t great. I spent almost all of it in my tank, sleeping on the border of Gaza…My girlfriend is at her apartment, probably enjoying the beach…and almost all of my friends were out for the weekend, some marching to share their pride. At the same time, many Jews across America are calling me an occupier and a murderer. Through all of this my officer has been reminding us all how important our jobs are here. If we weren’t here eating shit on Shabbat, there wouldn’t be an apartment for my girlfriend to go home to…There wouldn’t be a NYC parade to share our pride. There wouldn’t be a place for us to call home. We, the soldiers of Israel, have given up living at home as well as a lot of our freedoms so others can have theirs. We are sleeping in tanks and on the dirt 10 meters from Gaza so no one else has to. We are sitting here in this summer heat so no Jew has to fight for their right to live. We are here so you don’t have to be. To the all the Jews that disagree with the actions of the IDF, you’re welcome for keeping you safe on Birthright. You’re welcome for protecting your friends on gap years, on summer vacations, on family trips, and every other reason to enjoy this beautiful country we all call home. You’re welcome for ensuring we have a home.” — Letter from an IDF tank soldier at the Gaza border. (June, 2018)

“I don’t think Iraq and Israel are enemies, I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other…But there are a lot of Iraqi people who don’t have a problem with Israel or with the Jewish people. There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here.” — Miss Iraq 2017 Sarah Idan. During her visit to Israel, Idan reunited with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, with whom she had shared a selfie that generated a storm and forced Idan’s family to flee from Iraq. Idan posted the photo, along with the caption “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” She faced threats but refused to remove the Instagram image. Like many Arab countries, Iraq does not recognize Israel. However, Israel and Iraq’s Kurds enjoy warm relations. (United With Israel, June 13, 2018)

“The Arabs must realize that Iran is more dangerous than Israel, in particular [Iran’s] ideology that it is advancing through expansion [and through obtaining] control and influence, and there is a great deal of proof for this. It has turned its slogan ‘Death to Israel’ into justification for the fundamental assumption of [its] ideology, for its sectarian oppression and discrimination, and for its recruitment of cells [in the Arab world] for carrying out its great project. Today, the Arabs have no choice but to reconcile with Israel, and to sign a comprehensive peace agreement [with it], in order to free themselves up for confronting the great Iranian plan in the region, and [Iran’s] nuclear program, and to end [Iran’s] intervention in Arab affairs.” — Ahmad Al-Jumay’a, the former deputy-editor of the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, in an article titled “The Al-Dhahran Summit: Peace with Israel, Confrontations with Iran.” (Memri, May 29, 2018)

“We wish them death and they bless us with life. I am ashamed to be Iranian.” — Internet user commenting on Netanyahu’s video offer of Israeli water technology-sharing with Iran. Netanyahu’s video offer drew 5 million views in its first five days online, 1.6 million of which on Netanyahu’s own social media channels, reports Israel Hayom. Nearly 100,000 Iranians joined Israel’s Farsi-language Telegram account within 24 hours of the video going live. While Tehran officially rejected Netanyahu’s offer, Iranians welcomed the idea and criticized their own government. Another posted: “God will bless Israel and Netanyahu. I’m sure that Iran and Israel will once again be allies.” (Arutz Sheva, June 18, 2018)





45 ROCKETS LAUNCHED AT ISRAEL FROM GAZA (Gaza) — Some 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israeli towns on Wednesday, prompting rounds of Israeli airstrikes on Hamas military sites in Gaza. At least six rockets fired from the coastal enclave landed inside Israeli communities adjacent to the border, including one that struck just outside a kindergarten, Israeli officials said. The IDF said fighter jets struck at total of 25 targets in various military bases belonging to the Hamas terror group from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip in response. (Times of Israel, June 20, 2018) 

ISRAEL BUSTS WEST BANK-BASED HAMAS TERROR CELL (Nablus) — Israeli authorities have broken up a West Bank-based Hamas terror cell that was planning suicide bombings, among other attacks. According to the Shin Bet, the cell was plotting bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as a string of attacks against Israeli targets across the West Bank. More than 20 suspected members of the cell were arrested two months ago, including its leaders. (Algemeiner, June 17, 2018) 

PALESTINIAN SUSPECT REMANDED IN TEEN STABBING ATTACK (Nazareth) — The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Monday extended by one week the remand of a Palestinian man suspected of stabbing and critically injuring a teenage girl in the northern city of Afula. Details of the investigation are protected under a gag order. Police have said they are treating the June 11 attack on Shuva Malka, 18, as a suspected act of terrorism. The suspect, Nour al-Din Shinawi, a Palestinian man in his 20s from the West Bank city of Jenin, had entered Israel without a permit, police said. (Times of Israel, June 18, 2018)

FILMING IDF SOLDIERS IN ACTION COULD SOON BECOME A CRIME (Jerusalem) — Recording or taking unauthorized pictures of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians could soon bring criminal charges. The proposal seeks to criminalize the filming and/or distribution of images and video footage showing certain Israeli military operations – if the aim is “hurting a soldier’s spirit” or “harming national security.” A conviction for such crimes could carry prison terms of five to 10 years. The legislation, which must be approved by the parliament, appears to be an attempt to curb organizations critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. (National Post, June 18, 2018)

CZECHS REOPEN HONORARY CONSULATE IN JERUSALEM (Prague) — The Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, after President Milos Zeman said his country wishes to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Founded in the 1990s, the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem was closed in 2016 due to the death of the honorary consul. Czech President Milos Zeman made the announcement at an event in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday. Last month, Paraguay became the third nation to open an embassy in Jerusalem, following the U.S. and Guatemala. Other countries have expressed desire to move their embassies, including Romania and Honduras. (The Tower, May 30, 2018)

BILL TO COUNTER PA TEXTBOOKS THAT ‘DEMONIZE ISRAEL’ INTRODUCED (Washington) — Members of Congress have brought forward a bipartisan bill to review textbooks used in Palestinian schools that promote extremism. The Palestinian Authority Educational Curriculum Transparency Act — introduced by Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) — calls on the US State Department to annually verify whether educational resources published by the PA and the UN in the West Bank and Gaza continue to encourage “violence or intolerance toward other nations or ethnic groups.” If passed, the State Department will be required to inform Congress whether any US aid was used to fund the inciting materials, and of any steps the PA has taken to address the situation. (Algemeiner, June 12, 2018)

TRUMP SIGNED SECRET PLEDGE TO PROTECT ISRAEL’S NUKES: REPORT (Washington) — President Trump has reportedly signed a secret letter pledging not to strong-arm Israel into relinquishing its nuclear weapons. Trump’s backing came after Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. reportedly pressured the administration last year, raising the ire of U.S. officials. The rare moment of tension between the Israeli government and Trump White House came a month after Trump entered office and was said to devolve into yelling and profanity. According to the report, Israel was looking for the fledgling Trump administration to sign off on an understanding first reached between Prime Minister Golda Meir and US president Nixon, whereby Israel would neither declare, test, or threaten to use nuclear weapons in exchange for the US not pushing Israel to join the non-proliferation treaty. (Times of Israel, June 19, 2018)

FORMER MINISTER ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF SPYING FOR IRAN (Jerusalem) — Former government minister Gonen Segev has been charged with spying for Iran. The former energy and infrastructure minister – who also spent time in jail for drug smuggling, forgery and fraud – was arrested on suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war, spying against Israel, and providing intelligence to the enemy. Segev is suspected of providing his Iranian handlers with intelligence related to Israel’s energy industry, security sites, buildings and officials in Israel. (Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2018)

PARLIAMENT VOTES AGAINST RESTORING RELATIONS WITH IRAN (Ottawa) — Canadian MPs joined forces to support a motion that condemns Iranian-backed terrorism and which calls on the government to “immediately cease…negotiations with…Iran to restore diplomatic relations.” In a 248-to-45 vote, MPs approved a motion that “strongly condemns the current regime in Iran for its ongoing sponsorship of terrorism around the world, including instigating violent attacks on the Gaza border.” The motion demands the release of Canadians held in Iran while recognizing the Iranian people’s fundamental rights to freedom of conscience and religion. (CJN, June 14, 2018)

THE UK CRACKS DOWN ON HEZBOLLAH (London) — The UK is finally on the path to ban the Iranian-backed, Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah in its entirety. The Home Secretary plans to certify Hezbollah as an illegal entity and extend the current ban to the “political wing” of the group later this year. The development comes days after pro-Hezbollah protesters marched once again through the streets of London on the annual Al-Quds Day. Israel “should be wiped off the map,” a leading speaker at the rally demanded. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the crowd responded, advocating for the annihilation of the Jewish state — under the waving flag of Hezbollah. (Algemeiner, June 15, 2018)

EID IN AFGHANISTAN MARRED BY DEADLY BOMBING (Kabul) — As onlookers lauded reports of Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces embracing during a ceasefire to mark Eid, a deadly bombing in eastern Afghanistan marred celebrations. The Afghan Taliban called last week for its fighters to observe a three-day truce to coincide with a 10-day ceasefire declared by the Afghan government for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan. The mood of optimism was overshadowed by a blast Saturday in Nangarhar province, with both Taliban and civilians among at least 30 people killed. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack. (CNN, June 16, 2018)

SAUDI-BACKED YEMENI FORCES TAKE BACK AIRPORT FROM REBELS (Sanaa) — Government forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition reportedly took the Hodeida airport in Yemen’s main port city from Houthi rebels Saturday. Houthi-linked civil aviation authorities denied that the Iran-backed rebels lost control of the airport, but said airstrikes had completely destroyed it. The attacks came on the fourth day of the coalition’s assault. The port city on the Red Sea handles more than 70 percent of the country’s imports. Fierce fighting to control the city of 600,000 continues, disrupting the main gateway for food shipments to the starving nation. (New York Post, June 16, 2018)

40 HEZBOLLAH, IRANIAN MILITIA DEAD IN ATTACK AT SYRIA-IRAQ BORDER (Damascus) — The US-led coalition attacked one of the Syrian Army’s positions in Deir Ezzor, near the Iraqi border, leaving 40 dead. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Lebanese Hezbollah and other militias loyal to the regime were targeted by warplanes at the Syrian–Iraqi border. A local source cited by Reuters claimed as many as 95 dead. I.S. has reportedly been able to seize large quantities of weapons, ammunition, and equipment during its recent attacks on regime forces, and it is mobilizing its men and vehicles for an attack against the regime forces, Iranian forces, Hezbollah and the foreign militias. (Jewish Press, June 18, 2018)

NATO FORCES DEPLOYED ELBIT SYSTEMS’ SEAGULL USV (Haifa) — Elbit Systems said that its Seagull™ Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) was deployed by NATO forces in a recent joint Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercise. The ASW force included the Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigate Victoria, the Royal Navy’s Type-45 HMS Duncan as well as the Seagull USV. Having a far greater endurance than ASW helicopters often used in similar missions, the Seagull USV performed anti-submarine area sanitizing as part of the ASW forward picket force. (Jewish Press, June 18, 2018)

PRINCE WILLIAM’S ITINERARY REFERS TO OLD CITY AS ‘OCCUPIED’ (London) — The itinerary of Britain’s Prince William in his visit to Israel will include a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, which the document refers to as “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” a characterization that set off criticism in Israel. Prince William will first travel to Jordan on June 24, arriving in Israel on a visit that will last until June 27. William will also meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, and make a stop at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. In Ramallah, William will meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. (JNS, June 18, 2018)

1,000-YEAR-OLD ARABIC CLAY AMULET UNEARTHED IN CITY OF DAVID (Jerusalem) — A rare clay Arabic amulet unearthed by archaeologists in the last days of Ramadan brings an unexpected 1,000-year-old blessing from Allah. Discovered last week in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavations near the Old City of Jerusalem, the minuscule Arabic-inscribed piece of clay bears an unusual two-line personal prayer that reads, “Kareem Trusts in Allah; Lord of the Worlds is Allah.” The amulet was uncovered in the flooring of an Abbasid-period structure (circa 9th-10th centuries CE), alongside several pottery sherds and an almost entirely intact oil lamp. (Times of Israel, June 14, 2018)

LIBRARY FACES CHALLENGE OVER CANCELLED SCREENING OF ANTI-ISLAMIST FILM (Ottawa) — The organizer of a screening of the controversial film Killing Europe at the Ottawa Public Library last November has applied for a judicial review of the library’s decision to cancel the showing. Madeline Weld claims that the library’s decision to cancel “violated (her) constitutional right to free expression” as well as the rights of the audience to see the film. Weld is the founder of ACT for Canada’s Ottawa chapter. Killing Europe is a documentary by Danish ex-patriate Michael Hansen, which purports to warn of the dangers of the “Islamification” of Europe. (London Free Press, June 13, 2018)

PETITION TO THE CITY OF TORONTO ON AL-QUDS DAY (Toronto) — B’nai Brith is asking you to sign a petition to take action against the annual Toronto al-Quds Day. “We will not tolerate genocidal rhetoric against Israelis or Jews, nor will we accept this shameful display of support for the antisemitic Hezbollah terrorist organization. The city’s inaction is particularly galling since the al-Quds Day organizers do not even attempt to secure a permit for their rallies. This is unsurprising, given that the rallies violate your Human Rights and Anti-Harassment Policy. It is totally unacceptable that the City of Toronto has…failed to act against an event that year after year promotes hatred and violence against our fellow citizens,” the petition reads. Sign the petition here: B’nai Brith.

On Topic Links

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, June 17, 2018—The international community unleashed a new round of Israel-bashing at the UN General Assembly on June 14, 2018, on the issue of the Hamas-generated riots and demonstrations along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Human Rights: Other Views – Part I: Denis MacEoin, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 27, 2018 —The history of human rights, albeit fragmented, is a long and often honourable expression of religious and civic endeavour.

Canada Comes to Its Senses on Iran: Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary, June 13, 2018—I have never been mistaken for a fan of Justin Trudeau, nor will I ever be so mistaken.

Turkey: Election Time Again: Burak Bekdil, BESA, June 17, 2018—Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has not lost a single election since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002.


Israel’s ‘Different’ Eurovision Winner Has a Message for Jerusalem Too: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, May 13, 2018— This was always going to be a tumultuous week for Israel, with our capital in the eye of the storm.

To Understand Israel, Listen to its Pop Music: Matti Friedman, Globe & Mail, May 11, 2018 — An article about Israel on the occasion of the country’s 70th birthday seems to demand some or all of the following words: Trump, war, Iran, Gaza, Netanyahu, Palestinians, Syria, Jerusalem.

What Critics Left and Right Get Wrong About ‘Fauda’: Josef Joffe, Tablet, June 11, 2018— If a Jew sympathetic to Israel and a pro-Palestinian critic writing for the Guardian both dislike the Netflix hit Fauda, now in its second season, it can’t be all bad.

What are the Most Important Finds of Israeli Archaeology?: Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel, April 19, 2018— November 29, 1947. Even as the United Nations voted to end British Mandatory rule and establish two states — Jewish and Arab — in Palestine, the founder of Jewish archaeology in the Land of Israel held in his hands one of the greatest historical treasures of all time: the Dead Sea Scrolls.

On Topic Links

Why is This Israeli Drama Such a Hit with Palestinians? Because it Tells the Truth: James Delingpole, Spectator, June 9, 2018

The Art Awakening that’s Transforming Jaffa: Rebecca Stadlen Amir, Israel21c, May 21, 2018

Holy Streets, Ink and Israeli Art: Hagay Hacohen, Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2018

A Jew, an Early Christian and a Roman Meet in Archaeological Park to Be Built on Evacuated Prison: Ruth Schuster, Ha’aretz, Mar 09, 2018




David Horovitz

Times of Israel, May 13, 2018


This was always going to be a tumultuous week for Israel, with our capital in the eye of the storm. Jerusalem Day on Sunday — when celebrations of Israel’s reunification of the city in the 1967 war often spill over into violence between Jew and Arab in a capital that, in reality, is far from united.

US embassy inauguration day on Monday — with President Donald Trump coming through on his promise to formalize his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving the embassy from Tel Aviv… “Nakba” Day on Tuesday — the annual Palestinian commemoration of what they regard as the “catastrophe” caused by the establishment of Israel 70 years ago. Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers are encouraging Gazans to march on the border fence and break through in their masses en route to the “liberation of Palestine.”…

As it turned out, however, the drama kicked off even earlier than expected, on Saturday night, when Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision Song Contest with a demonstrably irresistible song at least partly highlighting female empowerment amid its chicken noises. Overwhelmed by her victory but still retaining her composure, Barzilai in her moments of triumph proved an admirable Israeli icon, praising her country, showing generosity to her defeated rivals, and hailing the contest and its voters for embracing the difference and diversity she champions. “Thank you so much for choosing difference,” she enthused to the watching world (an estimated 200 million people). “Thank you so much for accepting differences between us. Thank you for celebrating diversity. Thank you. I love my country. Next time in Jerusalem.”

Unsurprisingly, the backlash was not long in coming. Anti-Israel activists, notably from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, are vowing to utilize the fact that Jerusalem will now host next year’s contest to mount a major campaign highlighting ostensible Israeli “apartheid” policies regarding the Palestinians. (The charge does not withstand serious scrutiny: For all the complexity and argument surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the bottom line is that Israel does not claim sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza, and its key caveat over partnering the Palestinians to statehood is the eminently reasonable demand that their state not come at the expense of ours.)

But Barzilai’s victory already constituted a stinging defeat for the BDS campaigners, who had urged Eurovision participants to boycott Israel’s entry by giving it zero points. In the event, the juries from the participating nations elevated Israel to an impressive third place, and it was then the viewers’ votes in those 43 countries that lifted Barzilai into top spot — a win by genuine public acclaim.

Eurovision nerds spend hours analyzing the politics behind the votes, and there was certainly national self-interest at play in some of the scoring, but the vast margin of Israel’s victory — with 529 points, compared to runner-up Cyprus’s 436 — underlined that this was a genuine phenomenon, a song and an artist that captured the imagination, and whose supporters would not be deterred. (The contest’s official video of Barzilai’s performance had almost five million YouTube views in its first 12 hours.)

Indeed, the singer and her theme showcase a very different Israel from the widespread international mis-perception of the country as primarily a combat zone — albeit a democratic, feisty, innovative one. But we are not without our flaws, and if next year’s contest is indeed hosted in Jerusalem, it could usefully highlight the imperative for tolerance in a city where religious pluralism is a battlefield issue, advertisements featuring women can be banned from buses and are routinely defaced, and where 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed to death at the Pride Parade three years ago.

Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem who rapidly hailed Barzilai’s victory and promised to put on a great Eurovision next year, won’t actually be running the city by then. He’s stepping down ahead of the October municipal elections, and aiming for national office. One has to hope that the differences and diversities hailed by Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest winner will be firmly protected under the next mayor, when the contest won by the admirable Netta Barzilai comes to our endlessly tumultuous capital in 2019.



TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL, LISTEN TO ITS POP MUSIC                                                    

Matti Friedman

Globe & Mail, May 11, 2018

An article about Israel on the occasion of the country’s 70th birthday seems to demand some or all of the following words: Trump, war, Iran, Gaza, Netanyahu, Palestinians, Syria, Jerusalem. But Israel isn’t a geopolitical problem – it’s a country, and the tendency to limit discussion of this country to those terms renders invisible much of what makes it interesting. What I find most remarkable, having lived here for the past 23 years, is Israel’s bewildering and fast-moving society, the complexities of which are usually overlooked by observers. The question of what “Israeli” means in 2018, and how that’s changing and why, are particularly important ones at this anniversary. One good way to answer is to listen to pop music.

A telling cultural moment occurred at the official anniversary gala, a glitzy musical extravaganza televised from Jerusalem on April 18 (the date of Independence Day on the Hebrew calendar). The opening number was, predictably, a Hebrew classic, From the Songs of my Beloved Land, with lyrics by Leah Goldberg, a revered poet who features on our 100-shekel banknote. The song describes her “homeland, a land of beauty and poverty,” a place with “seven spring days every year, and cold and rain all the rest.” Goldberg came to Israel from Lithuania, and the words describe her old homeland, not this one; Israel has many problems, but cold and rain aren’t among them. The song is an expression of Israel’s founding generation, orphaned children of eastern Europe. That was the song’s spirit when it became a mainstream hit in 1970 as performed by the singer Hava Alberstein, who’d come to Israel as a child from Poland.

But the singer in a shiny white gown who belted out a cover for a national TV audience was Sarit Hadad, one of Israel’s biggest pop stars and the queen of a genre called “Mizrahi,” or “eastern.” In the hands of Ms. Hadad, who has the style and vocal power of the great divas of the Arab world, and with the addition of instruments such as the oud, the poet’s words were transformed into a song of the Middle East.

Ms. Hadad’s reinterpretation of Beloved Land drew more attention here than you might expect, because it was understood to be more significant than just a song. Israel tends to think of itself as a Western country, and still explains itself with stories about Europe: the dreams of the Vienna visionary Theodor Herzl, the socialist communes of the kibbutz movement, the Holocaust. But the country was founded in the Middle East, not in Europe, and about half of the Jews in Israel have roots not in Europe but in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa, in cities including Baghdad, Aleppo, and Casablanca. People from those Jewish communities – known these days by the generalization “Mizrahi” – were uprooted by Muslim majorities in the mid-20th century amid rising nationalism and a backlash against Israel’s creation. Most ended up in Israel, turning the country into a more Middle Eastern place than its European Zionist founders had imagined.

The division between Jews from Europe and from the Islamic world remains one of Israel’s most painful fault lines, and it has played out in pop music. For many years, the Mizrahi sound was scorned by the curators of Israeli culture and kept on the margins. In record stores, you’d have a section for “Israeli” music, meaning mostly music by artists of European ancestry and orientation, and a separate section for “Mizrahi” or “Mediterranean” music, even though this music, too, was in Hebrew and produced in Israel. There was a time when you could barely get Mizrahi music played on the radio, and anyone who wanted to keep up with the latest hits had to go to a cluster of scruffy cassette shops around the Tel Aviv bus station. That reality was an expression of the broader disenfranchisement of Israelis from the Islamic world, who were rarely spotted in the academy or in the corridors of power.

Recent years have seen a reversal. Mizrahi music is now the country’s leading pop genre. When the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot published a list of the most-played songs of the year in 2017, the paper’s political reporter Amihai Attali remarked on Twitter that all 15 of the artists were Mizrahi: “Anthropologically, it’s an incredible statistic,” he wrote. These days, it’s Mizrahi performers who fill the biggest venues. Stalwarts of the old music scene line up for collaborations with stars such as Ms. Hadad, which would have been unthinkable 10 or 15 years ago.

The Israeli army’s official 70th anniversary song (yes, there is such a thing), released in early March and sung by a military entertainment troupe, is also a cover of an Israeli classic, Don’t Worry, a comic number popular after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In the song, a soldier at the front writes to reassure his girlfriend that he has plenty of time to rest “between bombardment and barrage,” and asks her to send fresh underwear. The original is very much a product of the style and sentiment of the young Israel. But the new cover makes it a product of the present by adding a reggae beat and a Mizrahi twist, featuring two up-and-coming Mizrahi singers doing their mandatory army service, and adding warbling Mideastern-style vocals.

Not everyone loves this development, or what it signifies. Asked last month for his opinion of a different Mizrahi cover by Ms. Hadad, this one of a 1974 hit by the beloved Israeli rock band Kaveret, band member Efraim Shamir called the new version “a musical ISIS” – that is, a particularly Middle Eastern kind of desecration. He was echoing an infamous comment from Tommy Lapid, a late politician and Cabinet minister born in Yugoslavia : Asked for his take on a Mizrahi song, Mr. Lapid joked, naming a Palestinian city, that “we didn’t conquer Tulkarm, Tulkarm conquered us.”

The contentious politician responsible for this year’s anniversary celebrations – and for Ms. Hadad’s cover – is the Culture Minister, Miri Regev, a combative voice known for railing against the old cultural elites. Ms. Regev, who is of Moroccan descent, belongs to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, whose political base has traditionally been heavy on Israelis with roots in the Islamic world. Ms. Regev regularly stokes nationalist sentiment and is reviled on the left; the liberal daily Haaretz has called her “Trump in high heels.”

Ms. Regev has said publicly that Arabic music “has something to offer Israeli culture,” and, in her post at the Culture Ministry, has made it her business to push the Middle Eastern sound to center stage. Last year’s Independence Day celebration starred Nasreen Qadri, a popular performer in the Mizrahi genre who is Arab – something that didn’t seem to happen under culture ministers from the left, who might have wanted a peace agreement with the Arab world but didn’t think much of Arab culture, or of the Israeli Jews who share that culture. It’s a useful lesson for anyone who believes that Israel’s politics can be easily understood or categorized.

The rise of the Middle Eastern sound, impossible to ignore on this anniversary, shows how the margins here have moved to the centre. Ms. Hadad’s new Mizrahi cover of a classic about rainy Europe was akin to the planting of a flag, a way of saying, This country is mine, and so is this song. For years, some observers feared that Israel would tear along the ethnic fault line between Jews from the Islamic world and those from Europe, that the country’s constituent parts were simply too different from each other, and the effort to make them one people – Israelis – would fail. Despite regular tremors and jolts, that hasn’t happened. This society and its 70-year-old identity have proven strong enough, and flexible enough, to change and remain whole.




Josef Joffe

Tablet, June 11, 2018


If a Jew sympathetic to Israel and a pro-Palestinian critic writing for the Guardian both dislike the Netflix hit Fauda, now in its second season, it can’t be all bad. In fact, it is a series that like Homeland and Breaking Bad has cracked the mold and pushed the genre into uncharted TV territory.

Which binge watcher could have predicted the bizarre success of a shoot-‘em-up where they speak only Hebrew and Arabic, with tiny subtitles in English? Made with a modest budget by U.S. standards, Fauda (Arabic for “chaos”) does without Hollywood’s bag of shticks. There are no romantic vistas like Breaking Bad’s New Mexico skies–morning, day and starry night. Just the dusty roads of the West Bank and the treacherous warrens of Nablus. Why plunge into the nightmare of Middle East politics where, no matter how gingerly you tread, you are bound to offend one or the other side?

Writing in Tablet, Simon Israel Feuerman, pooh-poohs Fauda for showing the wrong kind of Jews. These are neither the “gentle, learned scholars“ his mother taught him to revere, nor the ”new Zionist heroes negating the old nebbishy Jewish stereotypes.“ Fauda’s main character, Doron, a member of an IDF hit team operating in the West Bank, is merely a “curious new form of the Jew as shlemiel.” He is a confused, angry dude who should be in therapy instead of roaming the Kasbah of Nablus with a Glock in his waistband. Doron’s wife cheats on him with a colleague, and he takes up with Shirin, a proud Palestinian princess right out of A Thousand and One Nights, but with an M.D. degree and a perfect command of French. Blindly obsessive in his quest to take down the Hamas or ISIS bad guy du jour, Doron keeps violating his commander’s orders, botching the team’s missions and leaving a trail of mayhem behind. Feuerman calls him a “shmendrik,” a bungler and boob.

Yet Doron, like so many flawed heroes, is anything but a shmuck, to add yet another sh-word. Hounded by demons, he just has to kill the abominable Hamas top operative Abu Ahmad, aka “The Panther,” in the first season. In the second, he goes after the self-appointed ISIS leader, al-Makdasi. An aside: The murderous Makdasi (Firas Nassar) makes a better heart-throb with his moist eyes and seductive smile than Omar Sharif in his glory days. To do what he has to do–to avenge his father, who has been decapitated by Makdasi on camera, Doron lies, betrays, and tortures. Meanwhile, his buddies, only slightly less adrenaline-driven, regularly go mano-a-mano with one another, fired up by jealousy or rivalry. The only balanced person in the anti-terror group is a woman, Nurit. A taciturn pro, she kills out of necessity, not fear or fury.

Shlemiels and shmendriks are victims, predestined losers. They don’t set elaborate traps, nor do they threaten their captives with immolation to make them talk. This is the West Bank, not a shtetl in the Pale where Jews had no choice but to cower before the Cossacks. These “shlemiels” are in fact third-generation Zionists who fight like their forefathers did–except with drones and data bases, not with home-made Sten machine guns.

Writing in the Guardian, Rachel Shabi, an Israel-born critic of Israel, gets it wrong, too–or “right” if you believe in the moral obtuseness of the Israelis and the justice of the Palestinian cause. Yes, the series makes an effort at evenhandedness, Shabi concedes. But it is still “overwhelmingly narrated from an Israeli viewpoint.” The “Israeli occupation is nowhere to be seen–there is no wall, no settlers, no house demolitions [and] none of the everyday brutalities of life under occupation.” This is a generic critique that affirms the author’s political bona fides. Yet to castigate Fauda for ignoring the occupation, which is actually the backdrop for every episode, is like faulting Richard III for failing to condemn the squalor and misery of 15th century England. These were indeed nasty times. But Shakespeare wanted to make a different point. Richard is about treachery, murder and unbounded ambition–about universal human traits.

For Fauda, the occupation is a given, hence not the core of the story. What distinguishes the series from a run of the mill tale of Good & Evil, is its ambivalence and its ever-changing perspective as the narrative switches back and forth between Israelis and Palestinians. That is its claim to originality and excellence…

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





Amanda Borschel-Dan

Times of Israel, April 19, 2018


November 29, 1947. Even as the United Nations voted to end British Mandatory rule and establish two states — Jewish and Arab — in Palestine, the founder of Jewish archaeology in the Land of Israel held in his hands one of the greatest historical treasures of all time: the Dead Sea Scrolls. In his journal that evening, Prof. Eleazar Sukenik wrote, “Today I have been shown a piece of a scroll. I do not dare to write down what I think of it.”

The next day, Jewish settlements throughout the land were attacked, but the Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor knew that, before the window of opportunity closed, he must travel to Bethlehem and purchase whatever fragments he could. Quickly, Sukenik sought safe passage advice from his son, an underground Jewish defense officer named Yigael Yadin (later a general, then a politician, who eventually followed in his father’s archaeological footprints). According to the transcript of a 1950s lecture, Yadin told his father, “As a military man, I answered that he ought not to make the journey; as an archaeologist that he ought to go; as his son — that my opinion had to be reserved.”

Sukenik retrieved the other scrolls and fragments held by a Bethlehem antiquities dealer. After careful study, he held a press conference to share his initial findings in the Jewish Agency building in the middle of war-torn Jerusalem. A lengthy 1955 New Yorker article paints a picture of daily shelling of New Jerusalem neighborhoods, “between three and five every afternoon” — exactly the time and location of the press event. “To attend it required some nerve. An American correspondent fainted in the street on the way, and had to be carried in by his colleagues. The reporters were flabbergasted when Sukenik, who seemed quite unperturbed by the flashing and banging about him, announced the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls,” writes journalist Edmund Wilson. As Sukenik described his discovery, “a shell burst. The reporters had at first been rather peevish at having been asked to risk their skins for old manuscripts, but they ended by being impressed by the scholar’s overmastering enthusiasm.”

Today, the Dead Sea Scrolls are widely heralded as the archaeological find of the 20th century. In parallel to the field of Israeli archaeology itself, entire scientific methods of study and technological innovations advancing their preservation have developed since the scrolls’ dramatic discoveries. Whereas scholars once sat, cigarettes drooping between their lips, touching the ancient scraps with their bare hands (and often seeing them disintegrate between their fingers), today the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls laboratory has a decidedly space-age feel. And little wonder: headed by Pnina Shor, the immaculate unit uses high-tech imaging techniques that stem directly from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Though the jewel in the crown of Israeli archaeology, the Dead Sea Scrolls are just one piece of an ancient puzzle researchers are deciphering as they revisit the past to paint a clearer picture of those who walked the land well before the founding of the Jewish state. Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, The Times of Israel asked leading archaeologists what they view as the most important finds or developments in the field of Israeli archaeology — and why.

When not excavating near Jerusalem’s Old City, Dr. Eilat Mazar sits in the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology at the Mount Scopus campus. A beautiful stone building, it’s almost a family estate. The groundbreaking researcher is the granddaughter of pioneering Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, a former president of the university, who led what is arguably the most significant excavation of a biblical site in Israel: his 1968-78 dig in the areas abutting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem…

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



On Topic Links

Why is This Israeli Drama Such a Hit with Palestinians? Because it Tells the Truth: James Delingpole, Spectator, June 9, 2018—‘The rule in our household is: if a TV series hasn’t got subtitles, it’s not worth watching,’ a friend told me the other day. Once this approach would have been both extremely limiting and insufferably pompous. In the era of Netflix and Amazon Prime, though, it makes a lot of sense.

The Art Awakening that’s Transforming Jaffa: Rebecca Stadlen Amir, Israel21c, May 21, 2018—When Stockholm art institution Magasin III began revamping an old restaurant space in a residential area of Jaffa, many neighbors had guesses as to what was about to come. One predicted a car showroom, another anticipated a display of kitchen and bath fixtures.

Holy Streets, Ink and Israeli Art: Hagay Hacohen, Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2018— Canadian filmmakers Igal Hecht and Aaron Daniel Mandel share a great passion for a value they believe Canada and Israel share – freedom. The two came to Israel to film the third season of Holy Art. Produced for faith-based Canadian broadcaster YES TV, the series documents Israeli artists of all faiths and backgrounds to explore the question of what religious or spiritual art might mean today.

A Jew, an Early Christian and a Roman Meet in Archaeological Park to Be Built on Evacuated Prison: Ruth Schuster, Ha’aretz, Mar 09, 2018—A prison built by the British on an archaeological site in northern Israel in the 1940s is finally going to be evacuated. The walls and barbed wire of Megiddo Prison will be replaced with an archaeological park featuring one of the earliest-known houses of Christian worship, which was found in the ancient Jewish village of Kefar Othnay (a.k.a. Kfar Otnai), as well as the remains of a vast Roman army base across the Qeni river, Megiddo Regional Council announced this week.





Likud, Israel’s Natural Party of Government: Micah Levinson, Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2018— P olls suggest that Likud is a shoo-in to win the next Knesset election, which will occur no later than November 2019.

Israel’s Battle of the Ex-Generals: Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor, June 11, 2018 — Israel’s political establishment is expecting the next elections to take place between March and June 2019…

Cyprus, Greece, and Israel Chart a Common Path: George N. Tzogopoulos, Algemeiner, June 12, 2018 — Cyprus, Greece, and Israel are steadily building a democratic geopolitical bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Who Leads Israel?: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2018— Israel has a problem with its security brass.

On Topic Links

Israel Needs ‘Iron Dome for Diplomacy,’ Deputy Minister Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 17, 2018

New Strategic Dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean: Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas, BESA, June 11, 2018

The Positive History of Israeli-African Relations: Benji Shulman, Algemeiner, June 6, 2018

Silicon Wadi: Israel’s Arab Tech Boom: Simone Somekh, Tablet, June 3, 2018




Micah Levinson

Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2018


Polls suggest that Likud is a shoo-in to win the next Knesset election, which will occur no later than November 2019. Although a week is an eternity in politics, Likud today boasts twice as much support as the runner-up, Yesh Atid, and enjoys systemic advantages that will prevent other parties from forming governments in the foreseeable future. The four factors likely to keep Likud in power include: (1) the Israeli political center-left’s fragmentation, (2) the decline of Shas, (3) the center-left’s alienation of religious Jews, and (4) the center-left’s reliance on the Arab parties to form a government.

After Knesset elections, the Israeli president invites the leader of the party most likely to be able to assemble a coalition representing a parliamentary majority to form a government. Because Israel uses a proportional voting system that guarantees a proliferation of parties across the ideological spectrum, the president, except for a unique case, simply invites the leader of the largest party to form a government.

Between 1973 and 1996, the Knesset contained only two large parties that could feasibly form a government. On the right was the religion and settlement friendly Likud while the Alignment (renamed Labor when its constituent parties merged in 1991), secular and more invested in the “land-forpeace” concept, dominated the left.

In recent years, however, the centrist Yesh Atid has joined the rank of first tier parties, finishing second in the 2013 election and polling second now. Militantly secular, but more nationalistic than Labor, Yesh Atid poaches more votes from Labor than Likud. Simultaneously, Yesh Atid loses many centrist votes to the medium-sized Kulanu party and some strident secularists to Yisrael Beiteinu.

Conversely, Likud’s competition on the right is declining. Traditional Jews originating from Muslim countries are an integral part of the Likud’s base. Consequently, former Sephardic chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef launching the Shas party in 1984 to represent the interests of religious Jews of Middle Eastern descent impaired Likud’s electoral performance. In 1999, Shas won 17 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats, only two less than Likud. However, since Yosef’s passing in 2013, Shas has been hemorrhaging voters to Likud, falling from 11 seats in the 2013 election to seven in 2015 and presently polling between four or five.

Although Shas’ influence is waning, the religious parties remain a potent bloc. To maintain majority support in the Knesset, Labor has always required the support of either Orthodox Jewish or Arab parties. Today, that poses an insuperable obstacle to the left gaining power. Any government excluding Likud would require Yesh Atid, whose uncompromising opposition to draft exemptions for yeshiva students makes a coalition with Shas or United Torah Judaism impossible.

Up until the 1970s, the Alignment included affiliated Arab parties, such as Progress and Development and the Arab List for Beduin and Villagers, in their governments. However, today’s Arab parties are explicitly anti-Zionist. Rabin’s 1992-1995 government was the only one to depend on such parties to remain in power and it compromised his government’s legitimacy in many Israelis’ eyes. The centrist Kulanu and probably even Yesh Atid would refuse to join a government reliant on these Arab parties, again making a coalition government excluding Likud impossible.

Theoretically, future breakaway parties from Likud could cancel out the effect of Shas’s demise. After Ariel Sharon created Kadima in 2005 to promote disengagement from the West Bank, Likud was reduced to just 12 seats in the subsequent election, the party’s worst performance in history. Likud also lost a few seats in the 1980s and 1990s to far-right splinter groups, such as Tehiyah and Herut, and centrist ones, like the Center Party. Such fragmentation, however, is much less likely now for two reasons: (1) A higher electoral threshold makes small splinter groups unfeasible. (2) Kadima’s establishment purged Likud of its moderates, making it nearly ideologically homogenous and immune from large splits.

Kulanu represents not so much a medium-sized centrist breakaway party from Likud than a case of a disgruntled ex-Likudnik founding a faction that includes no other Likudniks on its list and appeals to a different group of voters, namely lower-working class centrists who feel unrepresented by Lapid’s middle class centrist politics.

While Likud’s prospects look bright, some might assume that their continued success depends on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership. For years, Netanyahu has topped polls asking voters which party leader they would prefer as prime minister. Yet, some surveys show Likud winning even more seats with another leader at the helm. A Testnet poll released in April 2017 found Likud winning two more seats lead by Gideon Sa’ar than by Netanyahu and the margin increased to five seats in a November 2017 Maariv poll. It appears that, whether Netanyahu retires or is felled by the current corruption investigations, Likud will remain Israel’s ruling party for the foreseeable future.



ISRAEL’S BATTLE OF THE EX-GENERALS                                                                  

Ben Caspit

Al-Monitor, June 11, 2018


Israel’s political establishment is expecting the next elections to take place between March and June 2019, about half a year before the original date in early November. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon talks about the earlier election dates, as does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The most dramatic question of all is whether Netanyahu will still head the Likud list in the next elections. The answer to this question lies mainly with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Netanyahu will do everything possible to act before Mandelblit makes his decision of whether or not to indict him, and rush into the elections. The prime minister believes that he will emerge from early elections stronger than ever. For the moment, Mandelblit is taking his time and the chances are low that in the coming months he will come to a decision in regard to the investigations into the prime minister.

Behind the scenes, a real political battle is being waged: the battle of the generals. On the political stage stand former chiefs of staff, generals, defense ministers and Mossad higher-ups, all of whom want to jump into the political waters. What unites them is their bitter grudges against Netanyahu and their strong desire to bring about his replacement. What separates them is one thing: their egos.

The list includes former Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (Res.) Benny Gantz; his predecessor, former Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (Res.) Gabi Ashkenazi; Moshe Ya’alon, a former defense minister who also served as chief of staff; Deputy Director of Mossad Ram Ben-Barak; other former Mossad and Shin Bet personages and several junior has-beens. Even the name of Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff and defense minister who took a break from the political system in 2015, is still bandied about in this context.

Each party apart from the Likud dances around this company of generals in the hope that one of them will give the party an edge in the battle for second place (Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid is currently Netanyahu’s strongest rival in the polls) or help them publicly challenge Netanyahu’s position and status. Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be very worried. He has long since fortified his position as “Mr. Security.” This time, for a change, he is not dependent on external strengthening. The burden of proof is on the other side now.

To the electorate, the most interesting and attractive figure is Gantz. In recent months, Zionist Camp Chair Avi Gabbay has been pressuring Gantz to join the party. Gabbay’s position in the polls appears hopeless; he has completely lost the momentum he had created after conquering the Labor Party. To get back into the fray against Lapid, Gabbay needs Gantz. During advanced negotiations between them, an option was raised that Gantz be floated “above Gabbay’s head” and serve as the party’s candidate for prime minister while Gabbay retains the role of party chairman. Gabbay also floated this idea in a poll he recently ordered. It turns out that while Gabbay only brings about 15 Knesset seats or less to the party, Gantz would bring 25 to the 120-seat legislature. Party seniors are convinced that Gabbay and Gantz will close this deal soon. Gabbay denies this but does verify that Gantz is “becoming close” to the party.

The next in line, Ashkenazi, is playing hard to get. He has been in civvies for seven years already, enjoying his life, but the scars of the 2010 Harpaz affair have not yet healed. Ashkenazi, who is viewed as one of Netanyahu’s more stinging critics, will only roll up his sleeves to join a winning platform. He dreams that Lapid and Kahlon unite into one political entity, which he would be willing to join without any preconditions. Ashkenazi told Al-Monitor that such a unification would constitute a real alternative to the rulership that could bring about change and create new hope. Lapid was a predecessor to Kahlon as finance minister, and while they are friendly they lack mutual respect; it is mainly Kahlon who respects Lapid less. Thus, under the current circumstances, the chances are that Ashkenazi will prefer to remain a bystander.

A tragic figure is that of Ya’alon. After he was ousted from his position in 2016 by Netanyahu for the benefit of Avigdor Liberman, Ya’alon chose to quit the Likud altogether and become Netanyahu’s No. 1 nemesis. Ya’alon founded an association and spends his days and nights ploughing through the country and appearing almost every day before different audiences. But he still hasn’t seen positive results in the polls. Should Ya’alon’s takeoff continue to stall, there is a good chance that he will join one of the other existing forces on the ground, such as Yesh Atid. Lapid lacks a military background and thus is searching for an attractive general figure to retain his party’s electoral edge over Gabbay and create a springboard for himself in the battle for the premiership. He dreams about Ashkenazi, prefers Gantz, but will be happy to take Ya’alon with both hands.

The problem is really psychological in nature. Lt. Gen. (Res.) Ya’alon is the man who headed the commando unit that penetrated the villa of Khalil al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, and eliminated him 30 years ago in Tunis. A military senior of Ya’alon’s stature would have a hard time taking orders from someone like Lapid, a former military newspaper correspondent who is about 20 years younger and with far less experience. Nonetheless, Lapid hopes that Ya’alon will get used to the idea…

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





George N. Tzogopoulos

Algemeiner, June 12, 2018


Cyprus, Greece, and Israel are steadily building a democratic geopolitical bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean. They are exploring ways to collaborate in fields ranging from energy to communication technology and defense. Greek- and Jewish-American communities are exploiting the momentum to further boost the developing “triangle” and encourage US support. However, despite progress among the governments and the generally positive climate, warning signs of antisemitism in Greece underline the need for grassroots action to combine political achievements with wide public support.

The fourth Cyprus-Greece-Israel tripartite summit, which took place in Nicosia on May 8, 2018, made plain the determination of the three countries to deepen their cooperation. Nicos Anastasiades, Alexis Tsipras, and Benjamin Netanyahu discussed new fields of interest, including public security, cinema co-production, maritime pollution, telecommunications, and the reduction of data roaming costs. They agreed that the fifth trilateral summit will take place within a year in Beersheba, a place described by Netanyahu as “cyber city.” At that event, the parties plan to advance their dialogue on communication technologies.

At present, the countries are emphasizing their collaboration at the military level. Symbolically, Greek fighter planes participated in an Israeli Air Force aerial show to celebrate Israel and the IDF’s 70th Independence Day. Also, the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Lt. Gen. Alkiviadis Stefanis, visited Israel at the invitation of Maj. Gen. Yaacov Barak, the IDF’s Ground Forces Commander, who had already visited Greece in January. According to media reports, the two sides are discussing potential joint actions against new threats, as well as exchange programs. Staff talks involving representatives of the armed forces of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel took place in the Jewish state on May 9.

Energy remains at the center of attention. Cyprus and Israel currently disagree on the division of the Aphrodite reservoir and this disagreement could lead to international arbitration. Το avoid such a scenario, Nicosia and Jerusalem are engaging in a “transparent and productive dialogue,” as Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Shmuel Revel put it to the Cyprus News Agency. Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that companies should first attempt to reach settlements on gas quantities on their own, but this process has not yet begun.

This issue is not expected to be easily solved. Lakkotrypis sees it as “one of the most important differences” between Cyprus and Israel. His Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz declares, “Israel cannot give up, not even as a gesture of friendship, on its territories or its natural resources.” The lack of a sharing formula on the Aphrodite gas field does not prevent Cyprus, Israel, and Greece from examining the construction of an EastMed pipeline. Following the tripartite Nicosia summit, the Israeli ambassador to Greece, Irit Ben-Abba, spoke about a fast rhythm for the potential realization of this “adventurous project.”

An EastMed pipeline would cost more than a pipeline connecting Israel to Turkey, but would enhance security in the Eastern Mediterranean. That is why it is anathema to Ankara. Following the Nicosia meeting, the Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said EastMed might not function as a route to peace and advocated for the transportation of gas resources from the Levantine Basin to Europe via Turkey. Comments like these show Ankara’s unease with the evolving cooperation among Cyprus, Greece, and Israel. The creation of a democratic bloc in the Eastern Mediterranean does not serve Turkish President’s Erdoğan’s neo-Ottoman aspirations — indeed, it might disrupt them.

Executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) Endy Zemenides said in an interview that his organization and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) were coordinating an advocacy campaign in Washington to strengthen the Cyprus-Greece-Israel triangle with US support. A restriction on F-35 jet sales to Turkey and the end of the Cyprus Arms Embargo Act are among the goals. In May 2018, the fifth anniversary of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance was also celebrated in the US. The more Ankara’s tactics are exposed by Cyprus, Israel, and Greece, the more the international community becomes aware of Erdoğan’s motivations.

The fourth Cyprus-Greece-Israel tripartite summit took place on the same day that US President Donald Trump made his Iran speech. This led both Cyprus and Greece to take a public position on how they view Israel’s sensitivity towards the Iranian threat — despite their need to align their policies with that of the EU. President Anastasiades told i24NEWS that he “urged Iran to pursue good relations with all of their neighbors and to respect the principle of non-interference.” Prime Minister Tsipras underlined that he shared Prime Minister’s Netanyahu’s concern, but advocated for the preservation of the Iran nuclear deal. Greek companies like Hellenic Petroleum that are importing oil from Iran are reportedly coming up with alternative plans. Notwithstanding the strong momentum and high level of political support for the strengthening of the Cyprus-Greece-Israel geopolitical alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean, old stereotypes and prejudices are undermining wider acceptance.

Worryingly, signs of antisemitism are resurfacing, at least in Greece. Α Greek cartoonist recently compared the situation in the Gaza Strip with the Holocaust, and drew a parallel between Israeli policies and Nazi practices. Both the Central Israel Council of Greece and the Embassy of Israel criticized the comparison. However, the Greek blogosphere teems with articles calling the “targeting” of the cartoonist unfair and suggesting that he was correct in condemning Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians…

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




Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2018


Israel has a problem with its security brass. And this week we received several reminders that the situation needs to be dealt with. Since the Hamas regime in Gaza announced in March that it was planning to have civilians swarm the border with Israel, through this week’s Hamas-Islamic Jihad mortar and rocket assault on southern Israel, the IDF General Staff has been insisting there is only one thing Israel can do about Gaza.

According to our generals, Israel needs to shower Hamas with stuff. Food, medicine, water, electricity, medical supplies, concrete, cold hard cash, whatever Hamas needs, Israel should just hand it over in the name of humanitarian assistance. Every single time reporters ask the generals what Israel can do to end Hamas’s jihadist campaign, they give the same answer. Let’s shower them with stuff.

The fact that the Palestinian Authority is blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza makes no impression on the generals. For months now, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas has refused to pay salaries to Hamas regime employees or pay for Gaza’s electricity and fuel. Hamas, for its part, destroyed the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal two weeks ago, blocking all transfer of gas and food to Gaza. And this week it blew up its electricity lines with a misfired mortar aimed at Israel.

Hamas’s determination to use civilians as human shields for its terrorists is a pretty clear message that it does not care about the people it controls. But for whatever reason, it didn’t register with the General Staff. As residents of the South were rushing to bomb shelters every 10 minutes or so on Tuesday, generals were briefing reporters that Israel must give them medicine.

When Hamas then refused to receive medical supplies from Israel, the generals doubled down and said that the only card Israel has to play is to give Gaza humanitarian aid. And they told reporters that their job at the next security cabinet meeting will be to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers that Israel needs to give the Hamas regime stuff.

Then there is the issue of terrorist bodies. Hamas holds the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, both killed in action during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Hamas also holds Israeli civilian hostages Avra Mengistu and Hisham a-Suwaid. In January 2017, the security cabinet decided that Israel will retain the bodies of terrorists rather than transfer them to Palestinian authorities for burial. The purpose of the decision was to pressure Hamas to release the Israeli hostages and remains of the IDF personnel it holds. Despite the cabinet decision, since the cabinet made its decision, Israel has transferred to Hamas the bodies of five terrorist murderers. Each time, the IDF General Staff stood behind the move.

Currently, the government is holding the body of Hamas terrorist Aziz Awisat who just died in prison. Media reports indicate the IDF is pushing for the government to appease Hamas again and transfer his body to Gaza for burial. To block the move, Goldin’s parents petitioned the High Court on Monday and demanded the government inform them 72 hours in advance of any transfer of a terrorist’s body to Hamas. The government agreed to the Goldin family’s demand on Thursday morning. It is inarguable that these bodies of terrorists are valuable bargaining chips in the government’s efforts to repatriate its hostages and the remains of its soldiers. The fact that the IDF General Staff repeatedly undercuts the government’s efforts to secure their release, by surreptitiously transferring the terrorists’ bodies to Hamas, is of a piece with its irrational belief that it is Israel’s responsibility to ensure a quality of life for denizens of Hamasland…

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



On Topic Links

Israel Needs ‘Iron Dome for Diplomacy,’ Deputy Minister Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 17, 2018—Israel needs to create an “Iron Dome” for diplomacy, to help the nation protect its image on the battlefield of public relations, Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy said on Sunday at a conference on terrorism and cybersecurity in Tel Aviv.

New Strategic Dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean: Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas, BESA, June 11, 2018—For the first time since the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Mediterranean is in the midst of a tectonic shift.

The Positive History of Israeli-African Relations: Benji Shulman, Algemeiner, June 6, 2018—Just last month Israel scored another big diplomatic win in Africa, when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin successfully toured Ethiopia. He took along a massive entourage, including government officials, business people, NGOs, and even Ethiopian-Israeli singer Ester Rada.

Silicon Wadi: Israel’s Arab Tech Boom: Simone Somekh, Tablet, June 3, 2018—Paulus VI is the single, narrow artery that snakes through the old city of Nazareth, choked with a seemingly endless line of vehicles. On either side of the thoroughfare, there is dust and noise and vendors chatting at high decibel in Arabic in relentless heat. For the last two years, a sign above a modern sand-colored building spells out in English, “Microsoft.”



Times of Israel, 6 juin, 2018


L’équipe de football d’Argentine, prise dans une controverse après l’annulation d’un match amical en Israël, veut vite oublier la polémique et se concentrer sur le Mondial en Russie, a assuré mercredi un porte-parole de la fédération.


« L’Argentine est à sept jours de la Coupe du monde. Nous devons nous focaliser sur ce qui est vraiment important et sur ce qui est devant nous », a déclaré à l’AFP un porte-parole de la fédération argentine de football (AFA).


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Quelques heures après l’annulation du match amical, l’ »albiceleste » de Jorge Sampaoli s’est entraînée normalement mercredi matin sur les installations du FC Barcelone, où la sélection argentine est depuis le 31 mai en stage de préparation avant le Mondial russe.


Le président de l’Association argentine de football (AFA) Claudio Tapia a assuré que l’annulation du match Israël-Argentine, servant à préparer le Mondial-2018, répondait à des considérations sécuritaires et que la décision devait être comprise comme un geste pacifique.


« Ma responsabilité comme président de l’AFA est d’œuvrer pour la sécurité de mes gens, c’est pour cela que j’ai pris cette décision. J’espère que ce sera perçu comme une contribution à la paix mondiale, le football est un jeu et va au delà des religions », a déclaré à la presse depuis Barcelone le patron du football argentin.


La sélection argentine est depuis le 31 mai en stage de préparation en Catalogne.


Le dirigeant argentin a ajouté: « les actions et les menaces nous ont conduits à prendre la décision de suspendre la rencontre ».


Il s’est dit désolé pour les passionnés de football qui avaient acheté un billet pour le match de samedi à Jérusalem et espéraient voir la sélection argentine. « Nous demandons pardon aux Argentins qui vivent en Israël et à la communauté israélienne », a-t-il dit.


Claudio Tapia a conclu son intervention en laissant la porte ouverte à un match amical contre Israël plus tard en 2018. La presse argentine évoque octobre.


La ministre de la Culture et des Sports Miri Regev a organisé une conférence de presse au cours de laquelle elle a fustigé la décision argentine, affirmant qu’ils avaient capitulé « face au terrorisme, pas au BDS ».


« Les Argentins n’avaient émis aucune objection à jouer à Jérusalem », a dit Regev. « Les menaces contre Lionel Messi ont surpassé le sport… C’est du terrorisme. »


Regev a affirmé que Messi avait été à l’initiative de ce match, parce qu’il souhaitait se rendre au mur Occidental avant la Coupe du monde.


La ministre a également fustigé les députés de la Liste arabe unie et d’autres députés de gauche, qui, dit-elle, avaient salué cette annulation.


Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu a déclaré que la décision de l’AFA pourrait créer un précédent.


« C’est possible qu’ils exercent une pression pour annuler d’autres évènements dans d’autres secteurs, et nous ferons ce que nous pensons être juste », a-t-il dit aux journalistes.


Le Premier ministre a qualifié cette décision de « décevante et malheureuse ».


Netanyahu a également défendu la ministre Miri Regev, qui a fait l’objet de critiques dans sa gestion de l’évènement, indiquant que son insistance à organiser le match à Jérusalem était « naturelle ».


Pour sa part, la Fédération israélienne de football a annoncé le dépôt d’une plainte auprès de la Fifa contre la fédération palestinienne à la suite de l’annulation du match amical de préparation au Mondial-2018 Israël-Argentine, en raison de « menaces » proférées selon elle contre les joueurs argentins.


« Nous avons affaire à un acte de terrorisme footballistique de la part de la fédération palestinienne de football et de son président. Il ne s’agit plus simplement d’un discours de plus devant le congrès (de la Fifa) ou d’une proposition de plus à l’agenda, mais de menaces contre les joueurs de football venant en Israël », a dit devant la presse le vice-président de la fédération israélienne Rotem Kamer.




Dreuz, Sep 05, 2017


L’économie d’Israël continue de croître malgré l’environnement chaotique de la région sous l’influence de l’islam terroriste.

Les exportations devraient atteindre 100 milliards de dollars d’ici la fin de l’année, bien que le fort shekel par rapport au dollar soit une préoccupation.

Les exportations d’Israël pour le premier semestre 2017 ont augmenté de six pour cent en dollars américains par rapport à la période parallèle l’an dernier et sont en avance sur les 100 milliards de dollars prévus d’ici la fin de l’année, selon l’examen semestriel de l’Institut d’exportation d’Israël, publié jeudi. Le chiffre serait un point de repère pour Israël.


  • Les exportations de marchandises ont augmenté de 4% pour s’établir à 29 milliards de dollars pour la période de janvier à juin suite à la croissance du secteur industriel.
  • Les exportations agricoles ont augmenté de 6,5% pour s’établir à 765 millions de dollars, ce qui a freiné une baisse du secteur au cours des années précédentes.
  • Les exportations de produits chimiques et de produits pétroliers ont augmenté de 12% pour s’établir à 4,3 milliards de dollars,
  • tandis que les exportations pharmaceutiques ont augmenté de 10% pour s’établir à 3,7 milliards de dollars.
  • Toutefois, les exportations de composants électroniques ont diminué de 20% pour s’établir à 1,8 milliard de dollars,
  • tandis que les exportations de diamants ont diminué de 3% pour s’établir à 4 milliards de dollars.
  • L’Export Institute a déclaré qu’il s’attendait à ce que les exportations de composants électroniques se redressent au second semestre et jusqu’en 2018.
  • Les exportations de services ont augmenté de 8% pour s’établir à 21 milliards de dollars grâce à une forte augmentation des services hi-tech et du tourisme.
  • Les exportations de services informatiques et de logiciels ont augmenté de 12% pour s’établir à 6,8 milliards de dollars,
  • tandis que le tourisme a grimpé de 16% à 3,2 milliards de dollars.

Tout ceci devrait donner des ulcères d’estomac à BDS, qui sème inlassablement ses graines antisémites sur le terreau le plus fertile : l’extrême gauche et les Verts.

Mais il n’en est rien. BDS, qui veut dire « boycott, désinvestissement et sanctions contre Israël et Israël seulement et surtout aucun des Etats criminels du monde », se sert du boycott comme alibi pour cacher son désir de voir les Juifs être chassés d’Israël et le pays rayé des cartes, afin qu’ensuite les Juifs soient expulsés vers des pays où BDS pourra plus facilement les persécuter dans l’objectif d’un prochain holocauste.






5 nov., 2015


Ceci est le texte de la conférence de Jean-Patrick Grumberg pour le FSJU

(Fond social juif unifié), lundi 2 novembre 2015, en Israël.

Je vais vous parler d’Israël sous un angle politiquement très incorrect et je m’en excuse. Je vais vous livrer des faits, et je vais éviter autant que possible de mélanger les faits avec mon opinion personnelle, afin que mon propos soit le plus objectif possible.

Le professeur Dov Maimon (Ben Gurion université, Jewish People Policy Institute) écrivait récemment sur sa page Facebook :

“je suis personnellement confiant pour l’avenir.

Plus le temps passe et plus l’idée que les Juifs sont là pour rester s’installe dans l’inconscient arabe et dans l’inconscient juif. Dans cent ans la question ne se posera plus. L’objectif pour nous est de tenir jusqu’à là.

Pour l’instant nous vivons dans un sourire divin, les ennemis qui menaçaient autrefois l’existence physique d’israël s’effondrent un après l’autre (Iraq, Syrie, Liban, Jordanie, Égypte).

La terre d’israël donne ses fruits (oranges mais aussi gaz pétrole et hi tech).

Les Juifs d’Europe qui commencent à arriver apportent à Israël des richesses intellectuelles et économiques exceptionnelles.

Daesh peut être éliminé en deux semaines et n’est pas une menace.

Nous devons travailler sur la conscience que nous sommes une seule chair, que les agnostiques et les ultra-orthodoxes les séfarades et les ashkénazes sont tous des Juifs égaux devant Dieu.”


Je disais que je vais vous parler d’un sujet hautement politiquement incorrect.

Depuis des années et des années, le peuple israélien se classe parmi les peuples les plus heureux au monde.

Selon le dernier index (2) Better life index de l’OCDE (3), les Israéliens sont le 5e peuple le plus heureux des 34 pays de l’OCDE.

En 2013, ils se classaient parmi les 10 peuples les plus heureux au monde sur l’index Gallup (7) qui recense 147 pays.

Ils étaient 9e en 2011 (1bis). 8e en 2010 (2bis).

Par comparaison, les Français se classent au 47 rang, les derniers des pays européens.

Dans sa dernière étude (1), le Pew Research center a comparé les populations de 40 pays occidentaux.

Le résultat est étonnant :

Largement en tête des pays occidentaux, la majorité (51%) des israéliens considère que leurs enfants auront un meilleur futur et une meilleure situation financière qu’eux. Cet optimisme dans l’avenir, malgré une situation sécuritaire instable et complexe, est deux fois plus élevé que la moyenne des pays européens et des Etats Unis.

Presque la moitié des Israéliens (49%) ont déclaré que leur économie se porte bien. Ils sont dépassés seulement par les Allemands.

En quoi est-ce intéressant ?

Il faut tenir compte du contexte :

  • Israël n’est pas seulement entouré de terroristes sur ses trois frontières sud (Hamas), nord (Hezbollah) et nord est (Etat islamique) qui jurent de l’éradiquer,
  • Israël n’est pas seulement le seul pays au monde cible de boycott,
  • Israël est le seul pays au monde où des millions d’euros sont versés par l’Europe à des ONG chargées d’“attraper les Juifs en train de faire quelque chose de mal” (à ce sujet, si vous lisez l’anglais je vous conseille le livre “ Catch the Jew ! ” de Tuvia Tenenbom).
  • Israël est le seul pays que l’Iran promet de rayer de la carte du temps lorsqu’il accèdera à l’arme atomique, et grâce aux accords voulus par Obama, il accèdera à l’arme atomique dans 10 ans au plus.
  • C’est le seul pays au monde dont l’existence est contestée dans l’enceinte de l’ONU.
  • Le seul pays au monde dont les citoyens sont victimes d’attentats au couteau en étant traités d’agresseurs.

Bientôt, qui sait, les médias exigeront peut-être des victimes juives qu’elles remboursent les couteaux abîmés…

C’est dans ce contexte que les israéliens sont l’un des peuples les plus heureux au monde…

Ce n’est pas qu’anecdotique, cela permet une meilleure compréhension de la société israélienne et de son futur.

D’après Gallup, les études montrent que les gens qui sont plus heureux sont en meilleure santé, ils sont plus productifs, et ils résistent mieux aux obstacles.

Et ce bonheur est même contagieux : il a atteint une partie des arabes palestiniens.

Un sondage, conduit en décembre 2014 par un statisticien arabe israélien, Yousef Makladeh (5), montre qu’une vaste majorité d’arabes qui vivent en Israël, y compris en Judée Samarie, préfèreraient vivre sous administration israélienne que palestinienne.

64% des arabes israéliens interrogés ont déclaré qu’Israël “ est un bon pays pour vivre ”. Seulement 21% ont déclaré être prêts à aller vivre dans un Etat palestinien.

Un autre sondage, conduit en territoires palestiniens (4) en juillet 2015 par le Centre palestinien d’opinion publique montre que 4 palestiniens sur 10, (37.7%), sont favorables à une solution à deux états, et 2 sur 10 (20%) une solution à un état. 37+20 = 57, cela veut dire que pour 4 palestiniens sur 10, la situation du statu quo actuel est satisfaisante.

A Jérusalem, où les palestiniens vivent dans la perspective d’une division de la ville, un palestinien sur deux, (52%) préfèrerait devenir “citoyen israélien avec les mêmes droits que les Juifs ”. (6).

En 2010, ils étaient deux sur trois à vouloir devenir citoyen palestinien plutôt qu’israélien.

Et pourtant, 8 palestiniens sur 10 (77%) approuvent les tirs de roquettes depuis la bande de Gaza … ce qui explique la complexité de la situation, que beaucoup résument d’une phrase : “ ici, c’est le Moyen Orient, pas le pays de Descartes. ”


  • La croissance économique est de 3.6% en 2015. En France elle va osciller entre 0.8 et 1%.
  • Vous connaissez la maxime : “Quand le bâtiment va, tout va”. Regardez autour de vous, n’importe où, vous voyez des grues de chantier. Et si vous regardez de plus près, vous constaterez que beaucoup sont des immeubles de bureau. Quand des tours de bureaux se construisent, c’est que la demande est forte, et que l’économie fonctionne bien. Et chaque tour, ce sont des centaines voire des milliers d’emplois nouveaux, et de la création de richesse.
  • Depuis que Benjamin Netanyahou est au gouvernement, les inégalités entre les revenus les plus élevés et les plus faibles ont été réduites de 0.51 à 0.47. (la France est à 0.48).
  • Le chômage a baissé de 9.4% à 5.7%, soit à peu près la moitié de la France.
  • Chez les jeunes, le chômage est de 10%, contre 25% en France (chiffres OCDE), et cela inclut les “chômeurs volontaires” à savoir les étudiants de Yeshiva.
  • Le nombre de personnes vivant sous le seuil de pauvreté a baissé de 20.5% à 18.6%, et il se cantonne essentiellement à deux minorités : les arabes israéliens, et les haredim. Pour les premiers, la cause est l’absence de diplôme et de qualifications professionnelles, pour les second, leur priorité est de faire beaucoup d’enfants et peu importe si les fins de mois sont dures et les placards à moitié vides.
  • Le nombre de familles qui ne sont pas propriétaires de leur appartement a baissé de 29.6% à 28%.
  • Le salaire minimum est passé de 4898 à 5340 shekels. (11)
  • Par ailleurs, Israël a plus de sociétés cotées au Nasdaq (12) que n’importe quel pays de l’OCDE. En dehors de l’Amérique, elle se place second derrière la Chine :

Chine : 151 entreprises cotées,

Israël 87

France 13

Allemagne 8

  • Israël a même plus de sociétés cotées au New York Stock Exchange, la première bourse au monde, que la France ou l’Allemagne ! 8 contre 7 et 5 respectivement …





Alexandre Devecchio

11 mai, 2018



FIGAROVOX/GRAND ENTRETIEN – Soixante-dix ans après sa création, Israël reste l’un des États les plus controversés du monde. Dans un récit en forme d’enquête, Israël 70 ans, 7 clés pour comprendre, Martine Gozlan déconstruit les préjugés sur cet État-nation qui s’assume et qui dérange.


FIGAROVOX – Dans Israël 70 ans, 7 clés pour comprendre (éditions de l’Archipel), vous tentez de déconstruire un certain nombre de préjugés sur Israël. Pourquoi ce pays est-il si controversé aujourd’hui en Europe? Comment expliquez-vous ce désamour d’une partie de l’Occident pour Israël?


Martine Gozlan: Israël est un cas singulier. Il n’existe aucun autre Etat fondé par les héritiers d’un peuple qui vécut plusieurs millénaires auparavant sur un territoire, en pays souverain, puis vassalisé, en fut chassé, mais ne l’oublia jamais. Car le «Souviens-toi!» – «Zakhor!»- est la clé de l’existence juive. C’est une histoire inouïe. Cette étrangeté radicale prolonge, pour le monde qui l’observe, l’étrangeté juive. De sorte qu’après une brève parenthèse d’empathie pour l’Etat hébreu, due à la réverbération effrayante de l’extermination, l’Occident, l’Europe se sont empressés d’appliquer à Israël la même grille d’élucidation qui fut utilisée avec les Juifs du passé. L’Etat juif leur demeure un mystère indéchiffrable. D’où cette antipathie dont les causes profondes sont innommées, tapies dans les profondeurs de l’inconscient, et les causes apparentes adossées à un certain nombre d’éléments géopolitiques qui ne produiraient pas le même effet s’ils s’appliquaient à un autre Etat.


Votre premier chapitre s’intitule «une mémoire qui dérange». Israël apparaît aujourd’hui comme un Etat-nation qui assume à la fois sa souveraineté et son héritage historique et culturel tandis que l’Europe post-nationale et post-historique semble avoir honte de son passé. N’est-ce pas cet attachement d’Israël à son identité nationale qui dérange autant? A tel point qu’un intellectuel comme Zeev Sternhell, dans une forme de paradoxe absolu, n’hésite pas à qualifier aujourd’hui Israël d’Etat «prénazi»…

Israël incarne ce que la culture politico-médiatique dominante s’acharne à flétrir depuis plusieurs décennies pour ce qui est de la France : la force de la transmission, la foi en ses valeurs …


Effectivement l’hypermnésie israélienne incommode les observateurs qui, par ailleurs, ne cessent de louer la légitimité du retour aux racines, de la célébration de l’héritage et des traditions d’un grand nombre d’autres peuples. C’est même là-dessus que s’appuie le multiculturalisme, si déférent par rapport au culte des ancêtres de populations avec lesquelles l’Europe entretient des rapports de culpabilité. Mais, en ce qui concerne Israël, c’est autre chose. Israël, c’est de l’Europe et de l’Orient, les descendants des victimes qui se sont redressés et ne le seront plus jamais. C’est la souveraineté assumée sans complexes sur les bases d’un héritage européen, en intégrant des populations juives orientales, face à un monde arabe et islamique encore dominé par tous les archaïsmes. Israël, démocratie occidentale, ne pratique pas la culture de l’excuse, ne s’interdit pas de riposter quand l’existence de ses citoyens est menacée aux frontières, fouille sans cesse son passé antique, une réalité dont l’Unesco a voulu faire une fiction en niant le lien des Juifs avec le mont du Temple/ Esplanade des mosquées. Il y a dans l’Etat hébreu un véritable amour de la patrie et il transcende les clanismes, les divisions bien réelles, souvent tragiques, des nouvelles tribus d’Israël. Le seul fait que cette magnifique expression semble obscène à certains, ici, en dit long sur notre propre malheur. Israël, en ce sens, incarne ce que la culture politico-médiatique dominante s’acharne à flétrir depuis plusieurs décennies pour ce qui est de la France: la force de la transmission, la foi en ses valeurs, le don de soi au pays en même temps que l’absolu bonheur d’être parmi les siens malgré les frictions inévitables. Je ne dresse pas un tableau idyllique: je dépeins un socle qui prolonge celui de la mémoire. Quant à Zeev Sternhell, son attitude, vue d’Israël, n’est pas étonnante: le judaïsme a l’habitude, et même la primeur, des imprécations apocalyptiques! Toute l’histoire juive, depuis l’Antiquité, est zébrée d’invectives internes, d’excommunications sans appel. Un premier ministre, Yitzhak Rabin, a été assassiné le 4 novembre 1995 par un jeune juif fanatique et ce n’était pas le premier assassinat politique. Zeev Sternhell, après tout, reflète une certaine normalité juive de la malédiction! C’est un Israélien à 100% mais qui exprime les sentiments de moins d’1% des Israéliens. Le problème, c’est que sa tribune, publiée en Israël, sort en France, immédiatement instrumentalisée par ceux qui haïssent l’Etat hébreu.



Vous montrez que l’antisionisme est souvent le faux nez de l’antisémitisme. Mais ne peut-on pas critiquer la politique d’Israël sans être accusé d’antisémitisme? Cet amalgame n’est-il pas contreproductif?


On le pourrait parfaitement si, depuis plusieurs décennies, la seule critique d’une politique n’avait pas été peu à peu instrumentalisée pour servir à la condamnation globale d’un Etat. La contestation s’est muée en diabolisation. Tout, absolument tout, est jugé mauvais de ce pays qui, par ailleurs, développe en matière de recherche scientifique, médicale, agricole, industrielles, des approches bénéfiques au développement de l’humanité. Cette diabolisation culmine avec l’absurde et imbécile campagne du BDS – Boycott, désinvestissement, sanctions- qui se nourrit de tous les ferments vénéneux de l’antisémitisme. En enquêtant sur les votes pro-Boycott dans plusieurs municipalités de la banlieue, j’ai découvert, chez les inspirateurs de ces motions désolantes, que la haine d’Israël se doublait de la haine de la France. Le soutien à la Palestine – légitime- a cessé depuis très longtemps d’être une cause pour devenir un alibi.


Beaucoup d’Israéliens me faisaient remarquer que Donald Trump ne devait pas se prendre pour Dieu en leur offrant une ville qu’ils chantaient quotidiennement depuis deux mille ans !

La décision de Donald Trump de déplacer l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Jérusalem a déclenché une réelle ferveur en Israël et réjouit une majorité des Juifs du monde entier. Comprenez-vous qu’elle puisse inquiéter une partie de l’Europe?


Cette décision s’est inscrite pour les Israéliens sur la sombre toile de fond du boycott que j’évoquais à l’instant et de la suspicion générale vis à vis des réalités de leur quotidien, du vote de l’Unesco sur la vieille ville, des menaces qu’ils doivent affronter. Leur exultation était à la mesure de la dénégation. Dans une atmosphère incandescente, j’ai moi-même été très inquiète. Beaucoup d’Israéliens me faisaient du reste remarquer que Donald Trump ne devait pas se prendre pour Dieu en leur offrant une ville qu’ils chantaient quotidiennement depuis deux mille ans! On peut donc comprendre l’appréhension. En même temps, on navigue entre les récifs d’une histoire réécrite par les uns et les autres. David Ben Gourion proclame Jérusalem – divisée- comme capitale en 1949! Tous les diplomates et les journalistes passent leur temps à Jérusalem pour rencontrer les politiques. Par ailleurs, les Européens ont-ils oublié que la liberté religieuse était inexistante à Jérusalem avant juin 1967? Les pélerins juifs n’avaient pas accès au Kotel Maaravi, le mur occidental, dernier vestige des murailles qui enserraient le mont du temple dans l’Antiquité, et appelé communément «Mur des lamentations». Toutes les synagogues de cette vieille ville où avaient vécu des milliers de Juifs, avaient été détruites par les Jordaniens. Quand se produisent les retrouvailles du peuple avec le lieu interdit, il se produit un choc sidéral dont les ondes se ressentent toujours aujourd’hui.


Donald Trump vient également de déchirer l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien au grand soulagement d’Israël. Pourquoi l’Iran est-il perçu comme le principal danger pour Israël?


La république islamique ne cesse de proclamer son intention de «rayer Israël de la carte du temps» pour reprendre la récente expression du Guide de la Révolution. Un pays confronté à des menaces si clairement exprimées s’inquiète à juste titre. L’Iran arme le Hezbollah depuis plusieurs décennies et a renforcé ses liens avec le Hamas. Mais cela ne suffisait pas. Au fur et à mesure que s’aggravait la guerre civile en Syrie, Téhéran, allié de Bachar el Assad, a installé ses bases en profondeur. L’Etat hébreu ne cherche pas la guerre et s’en est tenu à l’écart dans les premières années du conflit. Mais l’Iran poursuivait son avancée jusqu’à s’approcher dangereusement des frontières israéliennes. Les convois d’armes se sont multipliés. Le 10 février dernier, un drone iranien chargé d’explosifs a pénétré dans l’espace aérien israélien. C’était le premier acte de guerre signé officiellement de Téhéran. Quel est l’intérêt de la république islamique qui a réitéré ses attaques dans la nuit du 9 au 10 mai, déclenchant une riposte israélienne nourrie, sinon la volonté de frapper Israël?


Beaucoup d’observateurs estiment que l’Etat chiite n’a pas de réelle visée expansionniste et que le danger terroriste vient aujourd’hui principalement d’Arabie Saoudite…


La succession d’évenements auxquels nous assistons prouve le contraire. Ceci oblige à des révisions déchirantes. Car j’ai longtemps été convaincue effectivement que la menace iranienne était moins élevée que la menace djihadiste nourrie il n’y a pas si longtemps par les Saoudiens. L’extraordinaire soulèvement contre les mollahs qui s’est répété depuis 2009, dans un contexte tragique pour le peuple iranien, m’incitait à croire que la société civile, éclairée, émancipée, avide de sortir de la dictature religieuse pourrait faire tomber le régime. Hélas, cette perspective s’est faite lointaine. Les Gardiens de la révolution persistent dans leurs objectifs destructeurs, et la poussée hégémonique est manifeste, de l’Irak à la Syrie et au Liban. Israël est en première ligne. A l’inverse, les lignes bougent en Arabie Saoudite où le prince héritier Mohammed Ben Salman veut faire sortir son royaume du wahhabisme et se rapproche clairement d’Israël dont il reconnaît le droit à la souveraineté sur une partie de la terre sainte, ce qui est une révolution absolue, non seulement pour le wahhabisme mais pour l’islam au sens strict.


Les courbes démographiques basculent. La natalité juive en Cisjordanie est très élevée. Ce qui conforte les partisans de l’annexion de la zone C. Et ils sont de plus en plus nombreux.

La question des «colonies» (pour les Palestiniens) ou des «implantations» (pour les Israéliens) a participé au brouillage de l’image d’Israël. Quelle est votre point de vue sur la question? S’agit-il d’ «avant-postes défensifs» ou de grignotage du territoire palestinien? Existe-t-il toujours une volonté, de part et d’autre, d’une solution à deux Etats?


Quand on parle des colonies, il faut aller sur le terrain. Je parcours la Cisjordanie à intervalles réguliers depuis plus de trente ans. J’ai vu les générations se succéder. On en est à la troisième. 400 000 Israéliens vivent aujourd’hui dans cette région. Quand Israël a évacué Yamit, dans le Sinaï, en 1982, en application des accords de paix avec l’Egypte, il y avait 2500 personnes. Quand Israël a évacué Gaza, en 2005, une décision prise par Ariel Sharon et qui a divisé la société, il y avait 6500 personnes. La situation actuelle est sans commune mesure avec celles qui ont précédé. Dans notre esprit, bien sûr, la solution à deux Etats semble la plus juste et la plus claire. Mais elle s’éloigne au fur et à mesure, non seulement que la population juive s’accroit en Cisjordanie, mais aussi que le leadership palestinien s’enlise dans des mots d’ordre contre-productifs. On accuse Israël d’affirmer qu’en face il n’a pas de partenaire. Mais quel crédit accorder à un Mahmoud Abbas, le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, qui paie et honore les familles de terroristes et se répand en propos antisémites sur «la fonction sociale des Juifs» qui aurait conduit à la Shoah? Même s’il s’est excusé, trois jours après ces ignominies, le mal est fait. Il y a des personnalités magnifiques chez les Palestiniens mais elles ont toutes été écartées. Je pense au philosophe Sari Nusseibeh, qui fut longtemps membre du bureau politique de l’OLP: il a été chassé de l’université Al Quds par le Hamas et le Fatah ne l’a pas défendu. La solution à deux Etats ne peut ressusciter qu’avec des leaders pragmatiques. Ce n’est pas le cas en ce moment.

D’autre part, les courbes démographiques basculent. La natalité juive en Cisjordanie est très élevée. Ce qui conforte les partisans de l’annexion de la zone C. Et ils sont de plus en plus nombreux. Je ne pense pas que la mystique messianique soit leur argument principal. En réalité, ils s’appuient sur des éléments sécuritaires. Oui, la plupart des colonies se trouvent sur des collines. Les responsables de la sécurité de l’une d’entre elles, Bruchin, me désignaient il y a quelques années les tours de Tel-Aviv dans le lointain, depuis le poste de garde. Ils se demandaient ce qui se passerait si le Hamas prenait le contrôle de leur colline. On en est là. Mais on peut aussi tenter d’espérer. A Rawabi, près de Ramallah, se construit une ville nouvelle, pépinière palestinienne de start-ups où une nouvelle génération brillante et pacifique veut travailler en collaboration avec des Israéliens. Il y a des rencontres assez étonnantes en ce moment entre Israéliens des territoires et pacifistes palestiniens. Je ne parle pas des ONG israéliennes qui militent en faveur du retrait total, devenu à mon avis un mantra, mais bel et bien des habitants juifs et arabes d’une même zone. Dans ce sens, l’initiative du mouvement «Les Femmes font la paix» doit être saluée. Là, lors d’une marche dans le désert de Judée, j’ai été témoin d’une vraie convergence entre des juives, habitantes des colonies, et des arabes, habitantes des villages. Elles recrutent en Israël en dépassant les clivages politiques. Leur mouvement regroupe désormais 30 000 personnes, ce qui est considérable dans un contexte aussi âpre. L’avenir, si on peut l’envisager en dépassant la brume de sang, appartient à ceux, Palestiniens et Israéliens, qui aiment assez cette terre pour construire ensemble.


Regardons Israël, cette Babel où les exilés se sont rassemblés en provenance de 102 pays : le sentiment d’appartenance a fini par transcender les fractures …

Vous montrez également qu’Israël est une terre d’immigration. Existe-il un modèle d’intégration israélien où le pays est-il fracturé par le multiculturalisme comme les autres pays européens?


Le pays est basé sur l’immigration, l’alya, la montée vers la terre. Ce flux constant d’arrivées de tous les coins du monde a contraint l’Etat juif à se dépasser. Il a dû inventer sans cesse de nouvelles formes d’intégration pour absorber des citoyens séparés par la langue, la culture, les traditions et la couleur de la peau. Cela fut très dur. Le noyau européen – mais il y avait aussi un noyau de Juifs yéménites bien avant leur célèbre arrivée «sur les ailes de l’aigle» dans les années 1950- majoritaire a été accusé par les Juifs orientaux de les avoir négligés. Plus tard, le phénomène s’est reproduit avec les Juifs d’Ethiopie qui, en 1984 et 1991, arrivaient directement de l’âge des huttes de terre à celui des ordinateurs. Mais, en fin de compte, les orientaux, les séfarades, ont été totalement intégrés aux plus hauts niveaux de l’armée, qui est le vecteur d’excellence du pays. Pour les Ethiopiens, les Juifs noirs, c’est le même processus. A chaque phase, l’Etat a été contraint d’innover. Cinq ans après l’opération Salomon, en 1996, tous les enfants éthiopiens étaient scolarisés. 86% des familles pouvaient acheter un appartement! Bien sûr, il y a des manifestations, des accusations de racisme étayées, des blessures. Mais regardons Israël, cette Babel où les exilés se sont rassemblés en provenance de 102 pays: le sentiment d’appartenance a fini par transcender les fractures et c’est l’armée qui en est la preuve la plus spectaculaire. Car Tsahal, à côté de sa mission de défense, a aussi une mission d’éducation, de relève, d’intégration. De quoi effectivement faire réfléchir.


En réalité, la guerre laïcs- religieux est la plus grave car elle a traversé autrefois le peuple juif et l’a mis en danger.

Le fondamentalisme religieux juif, qui explique la bonne santé démographique d’Israël, est-il une menace pour

l’unité du pays, voire pour son caractère démocratique?


C’est la principale cause de discorde. Cela se traduit à tous les niveaux. Dans la bataille politique pour ou contre la conscription appliquée aux élèves des écoles religieuses. Dans la bataille des commerces ouverts ou fermés le shabbat. Dans la bataille pour un espace mixte de prières au Mur des lamentations. Dans la bataille pour que le mariage ne relève plus exclusivement de l’autorité rabbinique. Dans les frictions au sein d’un même quartier entre ultra-orthodoxes et laïcs. La société est clivée. Ce conflit est bien plus important que celui qui, croit-on, oppose le «camp de la paix» aux «faucons». En réalité, la guerre laïcs- religieux est la plus grave car elle a traversé autrefois le peuple juif et l’a mis en danger. Ehud Barak, l’ancien premier ministre travailliste et ex-ministre de la défense, me racontait sa hantise de voir ressurgir l’affrontement entre les zélotes et l’autre partie du peuple, avant la destruction de Jérusalem. David Ben Gourion n’avait pas anticipé la gravité de cette fracture. Pour calmer les religieux, il avait tissé un compromis qui comprenait l’exemption du service militaire et la pleine autorité rabbinique sur l’état-civil, de la naissance à la mort. Mais les religieux étaient peu nombreux en 1948. Selon les prévisions, ils constitueront un tiers de la population juive à l’horizon 2050. Vont-ils faire totalement basculer dans l’archaisme l’une des sociétés les plus libres et les plus innovantes du monde? Je ne le pense pas. Pour reprendre une expression de Shimon Peres, «la démographie est une science pour le passé et le présent mais une diseuse de bonne aventure quand il s’agit du futur». On observe aujourd’hui un début de sortie du milieu ultra-religieux dans la jeunesse. Dans un monde ultra-connecté, les ghettos s’ouvriront. La société civile demande la rédaction d’une constitution. De la gauche à la droite le besoin de l’unité sera le plus fort.


Comme disait Golda Méir, « un Juif ne peut pas se permettre le luxe d’être pessimiste !».

Comment expliquez-vous la résilience et l’optimisme d’Israël malgré la guerre? Qu’est-ce que l’Europe vieillissante et en crise peut apprendre de ce jeune pays fondé sur une histoire millénaire?


Comme disait Golda Méir, «un Juif ne peut pas se permettre le luxe d’être pessimiste!». Et Israël occupe la onzième place au hit-parade mondial du bonheur établi en 2018 par l’ONU pour 156 pays. Il y a dans ce pays une transmutation du danger en force, et du risque en plénitude. Il suffit de s’asseoir à une terrasse de Tel-Aviv: les Israéliens croient en l’instant, ils savent vivre et se sentent vivre. En même temps ils croient en la durée: ils sont reliés au passé, à la mémoire, à l’histoire et c’est ce qui les équilibre. Il n’y a pas de vide en Israël mais un trop-plein qui en fait le bouillonnement de toutes les expériences. C’est ce que traduit le jaillissement de la littérature dans une langue ressuscitée voici à peine plus d’un siècle, du cinéma, de la recherche, du high tech. En 1961, Joseph Kessel, qui couvrait le procès Eichmann, regardait avec stupeur le peuple de Jérusalem danser pour son treizième anniversaire. Pour ces 70 ans, les Israéliens dansent encore – «Danse encore», c’est le titre d’un recueil de nouvelles du cinéaste Nadav Lapid- même si la nuit est brève et qu’ils doivent combattre à l’aube. Ils savent que cette aube a un sens, même douloureux. C’est ce que l’Europe des donneurs de leçons a peut-être oublié.







I24, 9 juin, 2018


L’ambassadeur israélien à l’ONU, Danny Danon, a déclaré samedi aux membres du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies que la milice terroriste chiite du Hezbollah aide le Hamas à établir des “capacités” au Liban.


Danny Danon a affirmé que “le Hamas renforce actuellement ses liens avec le Hezbollah au Liban – avec l’approbation et le soutien de l’Iran – et travaille à établir des capacités à partir du territoire libanais”.


L’ambassadeur israélien a mis en garde le Conseil de sécurité contre” la coopération entre les organisations terroristes” et a signalé qu'” Israël ne restera pas les bras croisés face à ces nouvelles et anciennes menaces”.


“Israël fera tout pour assurer la sécurité de ses citoyens”, a-t-il ajouté.


Danon n’a pas précisé la nature de la relation présumée entre les deux organisations terroristes, mais cette déclaration est survenue après la parution d’un article dans le journal libanais Al Joumhouria, selon lequel Israël aurait fourni par l’intermédiaire du ministère des Affaires étrangères des preuves dans une lettre.


Selon le rapport, le document citait des renseignements suggérant que le Hezbollah avait établi des camps d’entraînement militaires au Liban pour les combattants du Hamas.


Les diplomates israéliens devraient intensifier les pressions sur l’ONU dans les prochaines semaines, selon le journal, avant que le mandat de la Force intérimaire des Nations Unies dans le sud du Liban (FINUL) ne soit renouvelé en août.


L’année dernière, le Conseil de sécurité avait à l’unanimité prorogé jusqu’au 31 août 2018 le mandat actuel de la Force intérimaire des Nations Unies au Liban, sans le modifier.


Le Conseil de sécurité avait demandé à la FINUL et à l’Armée libanaise de poursuivre leur dialogue stratégique. Il avait également demandé que l’appui international apporté à cette armée s’intensifie, en particulier dans les domaines de la lutte antiterroriste et de la protection des frontières.


Les Etats-Unis ont déjà révélé le soutien financier qu’apporte l’Iran au Hezbolalh libanais. Selon de hauts responsables américains, ce financement aurait triplé depuis 2011. L’influence iranienne est aussi présente au sud d’Israël, avec le Djihad islamique et le Hamas, et également en Syrie.





I24, 10 juin, 2018


L’armée israélienne a détruit, il y a une semaine, un tunnel sous-marin dans le nord de la bande de Gaza appartenant à l’unité de commando naval du Hamas, a révélé dimanche Tsahal.


Une frappe aérienne menée le 3 juin a détruit ce tunnel qui partait “de l’intérieur d’une base du Hamas (et allait) jusqu’à la mer” Méditerranée, a indiqué à des journalistes le porte-parole de l’armée, Jonathan Conricus.


“Le point d’entrée se trouvait à l’intérieur d’une installation du Hamas sur terre et le tunnel s’étendait sur plusieurs dizaines de mètres, le point de sortie se trouvant sous l’eau”, a affirmé Conricus.


Le tunnel détruit débouchait sous la mer, à environ trois kilomètres de la frontière israélienne, selon l’armée, qui affirme qu’il était “opérationnel” et servait à des entraînements du Hamas.


“L’objectif du tunnel était de permettre aux commandos navals du Hamas d’entrer dans l’eau et d’y passer inaperçus”, a-t-il expliqué.


Le porte-parole a affirmé qu’il s’agissait du premier tunnel de ce genre découvert par Israël et n’a pas exclu qu’il en existe d’autres.


Israel Defense Ministry Spokesperson Israel announced on May 27, 2018 that it began constructing a sea barrier along the Gaza Strip’s northern border.

Israel Defense Ministry Spokesperson


L’armée israélienne a annoncé en avril dernier avoir détruit un nouveau tunnel offensif du Hamas construit depuis Gaza et débouchant sur le territoire israélien.


Ce tunnel, situé au nord de la bande de Gaza au niveau de Nahal Oz et qui pénétrait sur quelques mètres sur le sol israélien, était relié à plusieurs galeries.


Les tunnels passant sous la barrière de sécurité qui ferme hermétiquement les frontières israéliennes de Gaza ont constitué aux mains des groupes terroristes palestiniens une arme redoutée pendant la guerre de 2014, et leur destruction s’est imposée comme l’un des objectifs prioritaire d’Israël.




Shraga Blum

LPH, 11 juin, 2018


L’Iran connaît depuis quelques années un phénomène de sécheresse sans précédent. Un documentaire diffusé le mois dernier sur la chaîne Arte, “L’Iran à court d’eau”, décrivait la situation de plus en plus préoccupante que connaît ce pays, avec toutes les conséquences économiques, écologiques, sociales mais aussi politiques.


Dans certaines zones du pays, les nappes phréatiques, les rivières, les étangs se dessèchent et les villages sont désertés. Ceci entraîne une ruée vers les villes où les besoins en eau grimpent en flèche. “L’Iran, avec ses sept mille ans d’histoire, ne sera plus vivable dans 20 ans”, affirmait même un expert local.


Inutile de dire que le régime des mollahs avec sa politique hégémonique et belliqueuse au Moyen-Orient consacre des budgets gigantesques pour soutenir les organisations terroristes et sa présence en Syrie, sans parler des programmes militaires, au lieu de les utiliser pour construire des infrastructures civiles adéquates. Des spécialistes iraniens tirent la sonnette d’alarme pour avertir que des millions d’Iraniens risquent de se retrouver à terme avec une grave pénurie d’eau.


Dans ce domaine aussi, Israël est à la pointe mondiale, et à développé des techniques d’avant-garde dans les domaines de l’irrigation, du dessalement de l’eau de mer et même dans la production d’eau à partir de l’air.


Dans une vidéo inédite diffusée depuis son compte Twitter, le Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou a décidé de s’adresser directement à la population iranienne pour lui proposer l’aide d’Israël dans ce domaine vital. Il y annonce notamment que le gouvernement va créer un site Internet en langue perse pour enseigner aux agriculteurs iraniens comment traiter les eaux, et ce malgré le boycott iranien de tout ce qui vient d’Israël.


Le message du Premier ministre est le suivant:


“Aujourd’hui, je veux faire une proposition sans précédent au peuple iranien. Il s’agit de l’eau. Le peuple iranien est soumis à un régime cruel et tyrannique, qui le prive d’eau. Israël soutient le peuple iranien et c’est pour cela que je veux aider à sauver un maximum de vies de citoyens iraniens. Comment cela? L’Institut iranien de météorologie a donné le chiffre de 96% du territoire du pays qui fait face à la sécheresse. Un ancien ministre de l’Agriculture, Issa Kalantari a parlé de cinquante millions d’Iraniens qui pourraient être forcés de quitter leurs maisons en raison des dommages environnementaux. Des millions d’enfants iraniens souffrent à cause de mauvaise gestion, d’incompétence et à cause du détournement des ressources vitales par le régime iranien.


Israël fait également face à des défis dans le domaine de l’eau, mais nous avons développé des technologies de pointe pour y remédier. Israël recycle près de 90% de ses eaux usées. C’est de loin le taux le plus élevé au monde. C’est nous qui avons inventé l’irrigation au goutte à goutte. Notre technologie a trouvé les moyens de savoir ce dont a besoin chaque plante et de lui fournir la quantité exacte de nutrition dont elle a besoin. Israël a donc le savoir-faire pour éviter une catastrophe environnementale à l’Iran. Je veux partager ces informations avec le peuple iranien. Malheureusement, l’Iran interdit toute visite de détenteur de passeport israélien. Alors, il faut être créatif. Nous allons créer un site en langue perse qui expliquera aux Iraniens comment ils pourront retraiter les eaux usées. Nous montrerons comment les fermiers iraniens pourront sauver leurs récoltes et nourrir leurs familles. Le régime iranien crie ‘Mort à Israël!’, mais en réponse, Israël dit ‘Vive le peuple iranien!‘ Le peuple iranien est bon et respectable. Il ne mérite pas de vivre sous un régime si cruel. Nous sommes avec vous et nous vous aiderons afin que des millions de personnes n’aient pas à souffrir. La haine que le régime iranien nous voue n’effacera pas le respect et l’amitié entre nos deux peuples.






Pierre Acher

Jewpop, 7 juin, 2018


La Fédération argentine de football l’a annoncé officiellement : le match qui devait opposer samedi soir à Jérusalem l’équipe d’Argentine – emmenée par la star Lionel Messi – à l’équipe d’Israël a été purement et simplement annulé. En exclusivité pour Jewpop, notre chroniqueur Pierre Acher a réussi à se procurer les enregistrements de la conversation (1) qui dévoile les vraies raisons de cette annulation. Jewpop vous livre quelques extraits des échanges animés entre Lionel Messi et le président de la Fédération de Football Argentine.


Le Président :  Buenos dias Léo, alors l’équipe est prête pour le match de samedi soir ?


Lionel Messi :  Senior Presidente, il faut annuler le match. On ne veut pas le jouer…


LP : Vous avez peur de l’équipe de foot d’Israël ?


LM : Vous rigolez ou quoi ? Vous savez avec qui je joue et contre qui je joue toutes les semaines ? Je me demande même si l’équipe des Herbiers ne serait pas plus redoutable…


LP : Mais alors c’est quoi le problème, Léo ? C’est quand même pas les menaces du pauvre type qui gère la Fédération palestinienne de football qui vont nous intimider (2) ?


LM : Justement si ! Il a appelé explicitement à brûler mon maillot et mes posters, et plus généralement il a réussi à mobiliser tout le monde arabe pour boycotter l’équipe d’Argentine et plus particulièrement moi-même, et à nous faire peur ! Vous allez sur Facebook et Twitter ? Sur les sites de foot ? Vous êtes au courant de ce qui se passe depuis plusieurs jours ? Vous avez saisi qu’il y a des types qui ont brandi mon maillot et l’ont maculé de sang sur notre lieu d’entraînement à Barcelone ?


LP : Mais enfin on a des engagements ! Ce match va nous rapporter au minimum 2 à 3 millions d’euros… (3)


LM : Et vous avez calculé combien on va perdre en parallèle ? Combien de sponsors perdus, de maillots qui ne seront plus vendus dans le monde arabe, sans compter l’image de notre équipe auprès de centaines de millions d’amateurs de football ?


LP : On s’en fout, nous, de leurs histoires. Les guerres entre Juifs et Arabes, ça ne nous concerne pas. Vous êtes des footballeurs, pas des hommes politiques ! On vous demande de jouer avec vos pieds, pas avec vos têtes.


LM : Justement, on a envie de protéger nos têtes. Et nos pieds aussi. Pas envie d’être menacés de mort comme ces derniers jours sur Internet ; pas envie de voir un dingue débouler dans un stade russe pendant la Coupe du monde pour nous égorger ; pas envie de recevoir des menaces sur nos femmes et nos enfants ; pas envie de voir nos bus caillassés pendant des années. Non, on veut juste préparer notre Coupe du monde dans la sérénité.


LP : Et bien moi je dis que vous allez jouer samedi soir, que vous le vouliez ou non !


LM : Vous ne pouvez pas m’obliger. Je dirais que j’ai une douleur à la cuisse. Je ne jouerai pas.


LP : Vous êtes tenus de jouer. C’est sur le contrat !


LM : On sera au moins 5 ou 6 à refuser de jouer, peut-être même une dizaine. On trouvera n’importe quel prétexte, une blessure, une douleur, une gastro, peu importe. Personne ne peut obliger un joueur à entrer en jeu. Ça n’existe pas, sur aucun terrain du monde.


LP : Alors on va céder à la pression de quelques abrutis ? Le Président de la FIFA n’aura hélas jamais les ‘cojones’ (4) d’exclure le type qui a demandé de brûler ton maillot…


LM : Les abrutis sont quelques dizaines, peut-être même des centaines de millions. La force du nombre. Vous n’y pouvez rien.


LP : Mais si on fait ça, on crée un précédent… Plus aucune équipe internationale n’acceptera de jouer à Jérusalem. À part les États-Unis et le Guatemala peut-être…


LM : J’en sais rien. Moi je suis footballeur, pas homme politique, c’est vous qui l’avez dit. Nous dans l’équipe, on veut juste préparer la Coupe du monde et essayer de la gagner. Jérusalem, la Palestine, les enfants de Gaza, la sécurité d’Israël, c’est pas notre problème ; mon problème c’est de savoir si Huguain et Aguero vont être dans les meilleures conditions physiques et psychologiques pour marquer des buts, c’est tout. On réclame de la tranquillité.


LP : Et les 20.000 fans qui ont acheté l’ensemble des billets en moins de 20 minutes, on leur dit quoi ?


LM : « Don’t cry for me, Israel ». Je reviendrai avec l’équipe de Barcelone un jour ou l’autre, bli neder (5). Ce n’est que partie remise…


LP : Moi qui me faisais une joie d’aller manger un schwarma-houmous à la Mamilla (6)… Ta décision est irrévocable ?


LM : Je vous parle en tant qu’homme, mais surtout en tant que capitaine de l’équipe. Le sélectionneur est d’accord avec moi et la plupart des joueurs aussi. Ce match, on ne doit pas le jouer. Et on ne va pas le jouer. On n’est pas des lâches, ni des militants engagés, on est juste des compétiteurs. C’est triste, peut-être, mais c’est comme ça…


  1. Il se trouve que Pierre Acher a un cousin de sa femme qui connait un type qui travaille au Mossad. Cette officine ayant des micros cachés dans à peu près tous les bureaux du monde, le cousin en question a pu récupérer les enregistrements. Ils sont forts, ces sionistes !


  1. Ce pauvre type s’appelle Jibril Rajoub. Sa biographie est disponible sur Wikipedia :


«Militant et homme politique palestinien. Il dirigeait les forces de sécurité palestiniennes en Cisjordanie jusqu’en 2002. Il a été élu au comité central du Fatah pendant le congrès de 2009. Il dirige la Fédération palestinienne de football et le comité olympique de Palestine. Biographie : En 1970, Rajoub lance une grenade sur un bus militaire israélien. Il est condamné à la prison à vie. Rajoub est libéré lors d’un échange de prisonniers en 1985. Accusé de participation à la première intifada par Israël, il est déporté au Liban en 1988. À la suite des accords d’Oslo de 1994, Rajoub est autorisé à rentrer en Cisjordanie. En 2001, 3 obus israéliens visent son domicile mais Rajoub s’en sort indemne. Fin 2016, Rajoub est réélu au comité central du Fatah, obtenant le deuxième total de voix derrière Marouane Barghouti. »


  1. La Fédération israélienne s’engage à payer davantage si Messi joue ! Business is business.


  1. Cojones, c’est de l’espagnol. Ai-je vraiment besoin de traduire ?


  1. Il a vraiment dit « bli neder » ??? Il faudra re-vérifier la transcription de l’enregistrement.


  1. La Mamilla : Rue piétonne de Jérusalem très fréquentée par les touristes du monde entier.


Shabbat Shalom!