Month: July 2018

LOI SUR L’ÉTAT NATION: RÉPONSE MUSCLÉE À LA DÉLÉGITIMATION D’ISRAËL

RÉACTIONS APRÈS L’ADOPTION DE LA LOI SUR L’ÉTAT-NATION JUIF

Times of Israel, 19 juil., 2018

 

Les réactions à l’adoption, par la Knesset, dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi, de la loi sur l’État-nation juif, étaient mitigées selon les partis. Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu a salué « un moment charnière dans les annales du sionisme et de l’État juif ».

Les députés ont approuvé le texte, qui consacre Israël comme « foyer national du peuple juif dans les lois fondamentales, qui ont une valeur quasi-constitutionnelle, en seconde et troisième lectures à 62 voix pour et 55 contres, et deux abstentions, après des heures de débat houleux dans le plénum de la Knesset.

La radio publique a souligné que sur les 120 députés, 45 parlementaires juifs d’opposition avaient voté contre la loi.

Le texte amendé affirme que « l’Etat considère que le développement des implantations juives relève de l’intérêt national et que l’Etat prendra les mesures pour encourager, faire avancer et servir cet intérêt ». (La loi parle d’établissements, hityashevout, nom donné à toutes les agglomérations en Israël, et non pas d’implantations ,  hitnahalouyot, qui désignent les localités juives en  Judée et en Samarie – note de la rédaction de l’ICRJ.)

Alors que la coalition a célébré l’adoption de la loi, les membres de l’opposition ont déclaré qu’elle était nationaliste, séparatiste et qu’elle menaçait la démocratie.

Netanyahu a déclaré : « nous avons inscrit dans la loi le principe fondamental de notre existence. Israël est l’État-nation du peuple juif, qui respecte les droits individuels de tous ses citoyens. C’est notre état, l’État juif. Ces dernières années, certains ont tenté de remettre cela en question, d’ébranler notre raison d’être. Aujourd’hui, nous en avons fait une loi : c’est notre nation, notre langue et notre drapeau.

Le principal parrain de cette loi au fil des années, l’ancien chef du Shin Bet Avi Dichter, a déclaré qu’elle venait répondre à tous ceux qui estiment que la viabilité d’Israël n’est que temporaire, en référence aux propos du député arabe Jamal Zahalka, qui avait déclaré que les Arabes survivront aux Juifs dans le pays.

« Tout ce que vous pouvez être, c’est une minorité égale, pas une nationalité égale », a déclaré Dichter.

« Contrairement à la désinformation et aux fake news qui ont inondé [la conversation], la Loi Fondamentale n’affecte pas les cultures minoritaires d’Israël », a-t-il affirmé. Il a ajouté que le texte n’enlève rien au statut de la langue arabe.

L’une des clauses de la loi rétrograde la langue arabe de langue officielle et lui octroie un statut « spécial, mais stipule également que « cette clause ne porte pas atteinte au statut de la langue arabe avant l’entrée en vigueur de la loi.

Le président de la Knesset Yuli Edelstein (Likud) a également célébré cette adoption, affirmant que l’assemblée générale était entrée « dans l’histoire » et a jugé que cette nouvelle législation était « l’une des lois les plus importantes à avoir été adoptée par la Knesset ».

Le ministre du Tourisme Yariv Levin a condamné l’opposition manifestée par la faction de l’Union sioniste, et notamment par le parti travailliste, son principal détracteur.

« Dites-nous honnêtement, les travaillistes : contestez-vous le droit du peuple juif sur la terre d’Israël ? Est-ce notre État-nation ? Notre drapeau n’est-il pas accepté par vous ? Il n’y a jamais eu un tel rejet des valeurs sionistes par le parti travailliste. »

Les opposants ont estimé que la loi était discriminatoire envers les Arabes israéliens et les autres minorités, et provoquaient inutilement ces minorités en mettant en exergue une attitude préférentielle envers le judaïsme.

Shelly Yachimovich, de l’Union sioniste, a déclaré : « personne ne pense que [la coalition] est intéressée par la nationalité et l’État d’Israël », ajoutant que la loi encourage une forme de nationalisme « dévaluée » qui « hait l’Autre ».

La députée Tzipi Livni a déclaré que la loi dans sa forme actuelle plaçait la politique au-dessus du contenu. « Quand j’ai demandé aux députés pourquoi ils ne soumettaient pas une version de loi qui pourrait rassembler une centaine de députés, ils ont souri sarcastiquement et m’ont dit que Netanyahu voulait une loi qui crée des dissensions. « Autrement, comme les gens sauront qu’il est plus patriote que toi ? Que tirerions nous du soutien [à cette loi] ?’ Voilà la méthode. »

Isaac Herzog, chef sortant de l’opposition et nouveau chef de l’Agence juive, a été plus ambivalent mais a exprimé ses craintes.

« La question qui se pose, c’est : est-ce que la loi va blesser ou renforcer Israël », a-t-il dit. « L’histoire en sera juge. J’espère vraiment que l’équilibre délicat entre les aspects juif et démocratique [d’Israël] n’en sera pas perturbé. »

Le député Elazar Stern, du parti d’opposition Yesh Atid, a déclaré que la loi était une insulte « à nos frères druzes et bédouins qui servent à nos côtés à l’armée et au sein des services de sécurité ».

Benny Begin, seule voix dissidente au sein du Likud, a déclaré que cette loi n’était pas ce qu’il attendait de son parti, et a averti qu’elle pourrait aggraver les tensions sociales et renforcer le nationalisme extrémiste.

La chef du Meretz Tamar Zandberg a également déploré « une nuit honteuse » et « une loi dévaluée et contaminée ».

La critique la plus vive a été prononcée par la Liste arabe unie, qui a qualifié la loi d’ « anti-démocratique, colonialiste, raciste, au caractère d’apartheid très prononcé ».

« Cette loi ne mentionne ni le mot démocratie ni le mot égalité, et s’engage à une emphase brutale de la suprématie ethnique, ne laissant aucun doute sur le fait qu’il y ait des types de citoyenneté – les Juifs de première catégorie et les Arabes de seconde catégorie », a déclaré le parti.

Ayman Odeh, chef de la Liste arabe unie, a déclaré dans un communiqué qu’Israël a adopté une loi de suprématie juive et a affirmé que nous [les minorités] seront toujours des citoyens de seconde classe… Le régime de Netanyahu crée un puits de peur, de racisme, d’autoritarisme, afin de nous diviser ».

Il a ajouté que « nous n’autoriserons pas la majorité à nous humilier et à nous détruire » et s’est engagé à se battre pour « un futur pour nous tous, dans la démocratie, l’égalité et la justice ».

Un autre député arabe, Youssef Jabareen, a affirmé que cette loi encourageait « non seulement la discrimination, mais aussi le racisme, elle va perpétuer le statut d’infériorité des arabes en Israël », l’Etat hébreu agissant comme « un mouvement juif et colonial, qui poursuit la judéisation de la terre et continue à voler les droits de ses propriétaires ».

Cette loi est « dangereuse et raciste par excellence », a fustigé le secrétaire général de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), Saëb Erekat, sur son compte Twitter, affirmant qu’elle légalisait « officiellement l’apartheid ».

Selon lui, le texte « dénie aux citoyens arabes leur droit à l’autodétermination qui n’est plus déterminé que par la population juive ».

Pour Shuki Friedman, membre du groupe de réflexion Israel Democraty Institut, la loi a un caractère avant tout symbolique, mais elle va contraindre les tribunaux à prendre en compte le caractère juif de l’Etat ce qui va aboutir à une « interprétation plus restrictive des droits des Arabes ».

En soulignant le caractère juif de l’Etat, cela « réduit, indirectement, son caractère démocratique », a ajouté Shuki Friedman.

L’Union européenne s’est dite « préoccupée » par l’adoption de cette loi car cela risque de « compliquer » la solution à deux Etats pour régler le conflit israélo-palestinien, et la Ligue arabe, la jugeant « dangereuse », a jugé qu’elle consolidait des « pratiques racistes ».

 

COMPRENDRE LE DÉBAT AUTOUR DE LA LOI FONDAMENTALE SUR L’ETAT-NATION

Pierre Lurçat

Vue de Jerusalem, 22 juil., 2018

 

Pour comprendre les tenants et les aboutissants du débat actuel sur la nouvelle “Loi fondamentale – Israël Etat-nation du peuple Juif”, il est essentiel de s’arrêter tout d’abord sur ses aspects juridiques et constitutionnels, avant d’envisager l’aspect politique de ce débat. Cette loi s’inscrit en effet dans la droite ligne de plusieurs autres textes fondamentaux, sur lesquels l’Etat d’Israël fonde son existence juridique en droit international. L’idée d’un “Etat-nation pour le peuple Juif” n’est pas une invention récente, motivée par d’étroites considérations politiciennes, comme voudraient le faire croire les opposants à la loi. Cette notion est un des fondements du sionisme politique et de l’existence de l’Etat d’Israël.

D’emblée, le mouvement sioniste a en effet revendiqué la création d’un foyer national, ou d’un Etat (la formule exacte ayant varié au fil du temps) pour le peuple Juif. Cette revendication a reçu un début de consécration avec la Déclaration Balfour en 1917, puis avec le mandat sur la Palestine, avant même la création de l’Etat d’Israël et le vote historique des Nations unies le 29 novembre 1947.

Comme le rappelle la Déclaration d’indépendance de l’Etat d’Israël, “En 1897, inspiré par la vision de l’État juif qu’avait eue Theodor Herzl, le premier congrès sioniste proclama le droit du peuple juif à la renaissance nationale dans son propre pays. Ce droit fut reconnu par la déclaration Balfour du 2 novembre 1917 et réaffirmé par le mandat de la Société des Nations qui accordait une reconnaissance internationale formelle des liens du peuple juif avec la terre d’Israël, ainsi que de son droit d’y reconstituer son foyer national…

Le 29 novembre 1947, l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies adopta une résolution prévoyant la création d’un État juif indépendant dans le pays d’Israël et invita les habitants du pays à prendre les mesures nécessaires pour appliquer ce plan. La reconnaissance par les Nations Unies du droit du peuple juif à établir son État indépendant ne saurait être révoquée. C’est de plus, le droit naturel du peuple juif d’être une nation comme les autres nations et de devenir maître de son destin dans son propre État souverain”. (C’est nous qui soulignons).

La notion d’un Etat-nation pour le peuple Juif n’est donc nullement une invention du gouvernement actuel, motivée par des considérations politiques : elle a été réclamée par le mouvement sioniste depuis 1897, acceptée par le concert des nations en 1917 et en 1947 et consacrée par la proclamation de cet Etat le 14 mai 1948. Elle est juridiquement fondée, selon les termes de la Déclaration d’indépendance, tant sur le droit historique et naturel que sur le droit international.

Pourquoi une Loi fondamentale sur l’Etat-nation du peuple Juif? Dans ces circonstances, demandera-t-on, pourquoi était-il nécessaire de réaffirmer une réalité juridique et politique qui existe déjà, avec la sanction du droit international ? La réponse est double. Sur le plan international tout d’abord, la légitimité de l’Etat d’Israël a été remise en cause à de nombreuses reprises depuis 1947, au sein de l’ONU et des autres instances internationales. Rappelons la sinistre résolution “Sionisme = racisme” de 1975, de triste mémoire, et les multiples autres résolutions du même acabit, votées par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies et par d’autres forums internationaux, comme l’UNESCO. Ces résolutions n’ont certes pas atteint la légitimité de l’Etat juif sur le plan du droit international, mais elles ont fragilisé son statut politique. Mais c’est aussi et surtout sur le plan interne à l’Etat d’Israël que la notion même d’Etat juif a été érodée au cours des dernières décennies.

C’est en effet la Cour suprême, instance judiciaire suprême de l’Etat d’Israël, qui s’est employée depuis le début des années 1990 et notamment depuis 1992 (date de la “Révolution constitutionnelle” initiée par le juge Aharon Barak), à porter atteinte au caractère juif de l’Etat d’Israël, pour le transformer en “Etat de tous ses citoyens”, au nom d’une conception partisane et radicale de l’égalité des droits de la minorité arabe. C’est ainsi que le consensus sioniste sur lequel reposait le fragile équilibre politique et social, à l’intérieur de la société israélienne a été remis en cause, au nom de cette idéologie d’inspiration post-sioniste et post-moderne.

Contrairement à une conception largement répandue, en effet, la nouvelle Loi ne vient pas bouleverser un équilibre existant, mais rétablir le statu quo ante : elle vient réaffirmer la notion d’Etat juif, contestée et fragilisée par ses adversaires au sein même de la société israélienne. C’est là que réside toute l’importance de cette Loi fondamentale sur Israël Etat-nation du peuple Juif. En vérité, comme nous le montrerons dans la suite de cet article, cette loi ne fait que réaffirmer, en grande partie, des principes qui figuraient déjà en toutes lettres dans la Déclaration d’indépendance de 1948. Mais cette réaffirmation est un acte juridique qui revêt une grande importance, à la fois symbolique et concrète.

Réaffirmer les principes de la Déclaration d’Indépendance

Dès lors que le consensus national autour des valeurs fondamentales du sionisme, exprimées dans la Déclaration d’indépendance, a été érodé et contesté de manière grandissante au cours des 25 dernières années, au point que de larges parties des élites médiatiques, juridiques ou universitaires israéliennes ne croient plus à ces valeurs, il importait que la Knesset réaffirme de manière forte ces valeurs essentielles, sans lesquelles l’existence d’Israël en tant qu’Etat juif est menacée. A quoi bon, en effet, réclamer de nos ennemis arabes qu’ils reconnaissent notre existence en tant qu’Etat juif, si cette même reconnaissance est contestée à l’intérieur même de l’Etat d’Israël et de la société juive?

La nécessité d’une réaffirmation des principes de la Déclaration d’indépendance par la Knesset est devenue une nécessité impérieuse, qui permettra à la majorité silencieuse de retrouver confiance en ses élus et en ses institutions. Face à la Cour suprême, qui s’est érigée ces dernières années en “pouvoir suprême” anti-démocratique, par un véritable putsch judiciaire, la Knesset se devait de reprendre la place qui lui revient dans le débat public : celle de représentant du peuple et de la vox populi. C’est la signification du vote de la Loi fondamentale sur Israël, Etat-nation du peuple juif. Elle vient redire, de la manière la plus solennelle et la plus incontestable, ce que chaque Juif sioniste, israélien ou non, ressent intimement dans son for intérieur : le peuple d’Israël est souverain sur sa terre.

 

 

LA LOI SUR L’ETAT-NATION EST APPROPRIÉE ET NON RACISTE

Freddy Eytan

Times of Israel, 24 juil., 2018

 

a loi fondamentale sur l’Etat-nation a provoqué inutilement un tollé général en Israël et à l’étranger. Elle a approfondi des querelles et amplifié la haine contre l’Etat d’Israël. Un déluge de critiques et de condamnations en vain, puisqu’il semble que la majorité des opposants n’ont vraiment pas lu attentivement tous les 11 articles de la loi.

La proclamation établissant l’Etat d’Israël, signée le 14 mai 1948, constituait l’impératif historique de la renaissance de la nation juive et de la langue hébraïque sur sa Terre trimillénaire. L’Etat juif, seul Etat démocratique de la région, est toujours fondé sur la Liberté, la Justice et la Paix et cette nouvelle loi le confirme en dépit de toutes les critiques.

Ces jours-ci, nous pouvons constater, aussi avec étonnement, qu’il y a juste 1948 ans que le Second Temple fut détruit et que nous venons de célébrer le 70ième anniversaire de notre Etat. Ces dates et faits historiques sont toujours ignorés et délégitimés par nos ennemis et détracteurs, et certains souhaitent l’anéantissement de notre Etat. La minorité arabe vivant en Israël, et dont les représentants siègent librement à la Knesset, pensait transformer cet Etat pour tous ses citoyens et ainsi gommer son caractère juif. Il existe aussi une minorité druze et bédouine qui sert fidèlement l’Etat et participe dans les rangs de Tsahal à la défense du pays. La nouvelle loi ne devrait pas changer ou modifier le statu quo existant ni leur merveilleuse contribution à l’essor du pays.

Soulignons clairement qu’être Juif ne signifie pas seulement pratiquer une religion et croire en un seul Dieu, mais appartenir à la Nation juive dans le sens étatique et national du terme. La comparaison qui est faite en évoquant la France catholique et non laïque est injuste et dévoile une méconnaissance totale de la spécificité de la nation juive.

La majorité des musulmans considèrent toujours le judaïsme comme minorité religieuse sans patrie, sans drapeau, hymne ou armée, et donc refuse de reconnaître Israël comme un Etat à part entière et à caractère juif. Les Palestiniens, eux, refusent cette reconnaissance pour pouvoir aussi appliquer un jour le Retour de tous les réfugiés vers la Palestine qui devrait être, selon eux, en majorité écrasante : non-juive.

Pour clarifier, une fois pour toute, la spécificité de l’Etat d’Israël, et rejeter toute revendication contraire, il était donc impératif de promulguer une loi fondamentale au Parlement puisque nous n’avons pas de Constitution et nous nous basons que sur la Proclamation du 14 mai 1948. Depuis, les données ont été modifiées et 70 ans après nous sommes toujours en conflit permanent avec les Palestiniens.

Les réactions de la part de l’opposition israélienne furent exagérées et souvent hystériques et hypocrites. Il était préférable que ces partis soient associés à la coalition pour renforcer le caractère juif de l’Etat d’Israël. Il s’agit bien d’un sujet existentiel sur tous les plans et notamment sur l’aspect démographique.

Rappelons que durant plusieurs années ce texte a été minutieusement étudié et vérifié par les parlementaires et les experts juridiques, et donc la Cour Suprême de Justice ne devrait pas en principe intervenir. Il se peut que la formulation de certains mots et phrases ne satisfait pas les opposants, mais la clarification était nécessaire et la loi est sans doute appropriée dans le contexte actuel.

Aujourd’hui, quand l’évidence même devient floue et fragile, il est nécessaire de la réaffirmer et de la dévoiler au grand jour. C’était d’ailleurs le cas sur la reconnaissance de Jérusalem comme notre capitale. A chaque occasion où nos détracteurs tentent d’ébranler et de secouer en vain les piliers de notre démocratie et les valeurs du judaïsme, il est nécessaire de les mettre en place, et remettre à l’heure les pendules de l’Histoire.

Quant à la presse internationale, particulièrement européenne, elle devrait se préoccuper de ses affaires et non se mêler de nos problèmes intérieurs. D’ailleurs, la Chancelière Merkel a bien précisé cet important point.

Non, l’Etat juif n’est pas raciste et ne peut jamais l’être en raison de sa démocratie exemplaire et de sa société civile harmonieuse en provenance du monde entier, et ce, malgré les divergences idéologiques et politiques profondes.

Il est aussi regrettable que certains chefs de partis, pour des raisons de politique politicienne, tentent de récupérer les voix de la hargne et de la grogne des homosexuels après le vote par la Knesset de la loi sur la GPA.

Soulignons une fois encore que chacun dans ce pays a le droit de pratiquer à sa manière sa vie privée, mais il doit aussi respecter les convictions et les sensibilités d’autrui. La tolérance demeure solide malgré les inévitables dérapages. Ainsi, si une loi devrait être modifiée pour l’intérêt public, elle le sera mais pas par des querelles inutiles et des récupérations politiques.

En dépit du caractère juif de notre Etat, les homosexuels jouissent d’une liberté totale et notamment lors des défilés de la gay pride.

Non, ce gouvernement ne pratique pas l’Apartheid, ce sont bien des mouvements européens comme le BDS qui pratiquent la ségrégation.

Oui, la langue hébraïque, celle de la Bible, est bien notre langue officielle et non l’arabe que chacun peut librement pratiquer.

En conclusion, la loi sur l’Etat-nation ne change en rien le statu quo mais réaffirme justement le caractère juif et légitime de l’Etat d’Israël.

 

ISRAËL: LE MINISTRE DES FINANCES APPELLE À AMENDER LA LOI SUR L'”ETAT-NATION”

i24NEWS, 26 juil., 2018

 

Le ministre israélien des Finances, Moshé Kahlon, a appelé jeudi à amender la loi controversée sur l'”Etat-nation” adoptée la semaine dernière par le Parlement israélien (Knesset), estimant qu’elle est susceptible de nuire à la population druze, qui reproche au texte de faire d’eux des “citoyens de seconde zone”.

Cette loi votée jeudi dernier par le Parlement israélien déclare que l’établissement de “localités juives (sur le territoire israélien) relève de l’intérêt national” -une clause contestée et modifiée par la suite- et fait de l’hébreu la seule langue officielle du pays, alors que l’arabe avait auparavant un statut identique.

Les druzes, citoyens israéliens à part entière, qui vivent principalement en Galilée, dans le nord d’Israël, parlent l’arabe et professent une foi issue d’un islam très hétérodoxe.

Contrairement aux Arabes israéliens, ils servent dans l’armée et sont particulièrement nombreux parmi les soldats de carrière et dans la police.

Kahlon, interviewé jeudi par la radio publique, a jugé que le texte, adopté il y a une semaine, “avait été passé dans la hâte et devait être amendé”.

“La dernière chose que nous voulons c’est porter atteinte à la communauté druze”, a dit M. Kahlon, chef du parti de centre-droit Koulanou, deuxième force politique de la coalition du Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahou.

Mercredi, le ministre de l’Education Naftali Bennett, chef de file du parti nationaliste religieux Foyer juif avait déjà estimé dans un tweet, que la loi dans sa forme actuelle était “très préjudiciable” pour les druzes “et quiconque a lié son destin à celui de l’Etat juif”.

“Il s’agit de nos frères avec qui nous combattons coude à coude sur le champ de bataille (…) nous avons la responsabilité de trouver un moyen de combler le fossé (avec eux)”.

Une rencontre sur le sujet est prévue jeudi après-midi entre des députés druzes, Benyamin Netanyahou, Moshé Kahlon et le ministre de la Défense Avigdor Lieberman.

Des responsables de la communauté druze, qui compte plus de 130.000 membres en Israël, ont lancé une campagne pour protester contre une loi qui selon eux, les transforme en “citoyens de seconde zone”.Ils ont annoncé une grande manifestation samedi 4 août dans le centre de Tel-Aviv.

 

 Actualité 

 

DES CENTAINES DE PERSONNES SE RECUEILLENT EN MÉMOIRE DU SERGENT AVIV LEVI

I24, 22 juil, 2018

 

“Tu étais notre rayon de lumière, éblouissant et souriant. Nous avons adoré te regarder grandir pour devenir l’homme que tu étais. Tu étais le sel de la terre et tu as payé le prix le plus cher parce que tu étais brillant”, a-t-il continué.

“Tu ne cherchais pas à éviter la moindre mission, grande ou petite. Tu prenais soin de tes amis. Nous ne sommes pas séparés – tu seras avec nous pour toujours”, a-t-il encore dit.

Levi, a été tué vendredi par des tirs de terroristes palestiniens durant une opération près de la bande de Gaza contrôlée par le mouvement terroriste du Hamas, était l’aîné d’une fratrie de quatre frères et sœurs.

“Ce n’était pas ton heure de nous quitter. Tu étais un frère merveilleux, un modèle à admirer, un garçon réfléchi et un homme très élégant et spécial”, a pour sa part déclaré Noy, la sœur de Levi.

Dans un entretien avec le site d’information Ynet, l’oncle de Levi a parlé d’un soldat qui comprenait ses responsabilités, affirmant que “le chef du bataillon a dit qu’il avait autant confiance en lui qu’en ses supérieurs”.

“Orian, son frère qui sert dans la brigade Golani, a reçu un appel de son commandant vendredi. Il lui a demandé de rentrer chez lui. Quand il est arrivé à la maison, des représentants de l’armée l’attendaient”, a répété Noam Levi.

Il s’agit du premier soldat israélien tué près de Gaza depuis la guerre qui a opposé, en 2014, Israël au mouvement islamiste Hamas qui contrôle ce territoire palestinien, selon un porte-parole militaire.

 

 

ISRAËL: ORBAN TERMINE SON SÉJOUR PAR UNE VISITE AU MUR DES LAMENTATIONS

I24, 20 juil, 2018

 

Le Premier ministre hongrois Viktor Orban, accompagné de son épouse, s’est rendu vendredi au Mur des Lamentations, lieu le plus saint du judaïsme au coeur de Jérusalem, au terme d’une visite controversée en Israël.

Pas de kippa pour M. Orban, mais c’est avec un chapeau noir qu’il se couvre la tête tel que le veut la tradition juive, et glisse un mot, prière ou voeux, dans les fissures du mur. A ses côtés, le rabbin du site sacré, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Arrivé mercredi soir, le Premier ministre hongrois s’est défendu des accusations d’antisémitisme dans son pays, liées à une campagne contre le milliardaire juif américain d’origine hongroise, George Soros.

“Je peux assurer que la Hongrie a une politique de tolérance zéro envers l’antisémitisme”, a-t-il déclaré.

Le Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou a également pris sa défense jeudi lors d’une rencontre chaleureuse à Jérusalem, qualifiant le dirigeant hongrois de “vrai ami d’Israël”.

“Vous avez défendu Israël à de nombreuses reprises dans les forums internationaux. Nous vous en sommes reconnaissants”, a notamment dit M. Netanyahou.

Le chef du gouvernement israélien a par ailleurs souligné que la Hongrie avait dépensé des millions d’euros pour la rénovation de synagogues dans ce pays.

Le convoi de M. Orban a cependant été brièvement bloqué plus tard à sa sortie de Yad Vashem, le mémorial de la Shoah dans la capitale israélienne, par des manifestants le qualifiant de “dictateur”.

Le rapprochement diplomatique entre les deux pays s’est notamment traduit en décembre dernier par l’abstention de la Hongrie lors du vote à l’ONU qui condamnait la reconnaissance par les Etats-Unis de Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël.

Contrairement au protocole ordinaire des dirigeants européens en visite dans la région, aucun entretien n’était prévu avec des responsables palestiniens en Cisjordanie lors de cette visite.

 

 

ISRAËL SALUÉ POUR AVOIR SAUVÉ DES CASQUES BLANCS SYRIENS

Times of Israel, 22 juil., 2018

 

Dimanche, on a rendu hommage à Israël pour avoir évacué des centaines de travailleurs humanitaires civils syriens du sud de la Syrie vers la Jordanie à la demande de pays occidentaux.

Fondée en 2013, la Défense Civile Syrienne, ou les Casques Blancs, est un réseau de premier secours qui porte assistance aux blessés à la suite de frappes aériennes, d’obus ou d’explosions dans les territoires tenus par les rebelles.

Tsahal les a fait sortir de Syrie et les a escortés vers la Jordanie à travers Israël. La Jordanie a dit que 800 sauveteurs Casques Blancs et leurs familles avaient été autorités à entrer dans le pays et qu’ils seraenit finalement emmenés en Grande-Bretagne, en Allemagne et au Canada.

D’après le quotidien israélien Haaretz, les évacués, dont l’armée israélienne avait une liste des noms, ont convergé vers deux points de rassemblements distincts. L’armée a ouvert ces deux passages et fait monter les personnes dans des bus qui les ont transportées directement à un poste-frontière avec la Jordanie.

L’opération a eu lieu dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche, d’après Haaretzqui assure que la plupart des passagers étaient des enfants.

Le Premier ministre israélien a salué l’opération d’évacuation des secouristes.

« Ces personnes ont sauvé des vies et la leur était maintenant en danger, c’est pourquoi j’ai accepté de les emmener via Israël vers un pays tiers », a déclaré Benjamin Netanyahu.

« Nouvelle fantastique, nous – le Royaume-Uni et des alliés – avons assuré l’évacuation des Casques Blancs et de leurs familles – merci à Israël et à la Jordanie pour avoir réagi aussi rapidement à notre demande », a écrit Jeremy Hunt, le nouveau ministre des Affaires étrangères, sur son compte Twitter.

« Les [Casques Blancs] sont les plus courageux des courageux et dans une situation désespérée, ils sont au moins un rayon d’espoir », a ajouté Hunt.

Niels Annen, un ministre d’état du Bureau Fédéral des Affaires étrangères d’Allemagne, a aussi salué Israël pour la mission d’évacuation.

Tsahal a déclaré s’être impliqué dans ce geste « pas habituel » étant donné le « risque immédiat » qui pesait sur la vie des civils, alors que les forces du régime soutenues par la Russie se rapprochent de la zone. L’armée israélienne a souligné qu’elle n’est pas intervenue dans le conflit qui se déroule en Syrie.

Emmanuel Nahson, le porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères, a déclaré que la mission de secours a été réalisée à la demande des Etats-Unis, du Canada et de pays européens.

Chrystia Freeland, la ministre Canadienne des Affaires étrangères, a dit qu’elle « invitait les dirigeants du monde à soutenir et à aider ces héros », lors du sommet de l’OTAN, la semaine dernière.

Soulignant qu’un groupe de pays s’est « engagé à réinstaller un certain nombre de membres des Casques blancs », une porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères, Elizabeth Reid, a indiqué que le Canada réinstallerait « jusqu’à 50 membres des Casques blancs ainsi que leurs familles, et travaille avec la communauté internationale pour évaluer les autres besoins potentiels ».

La chaîne publique CBC a précisé que le total des personnes accueillies par le Canada pourrait atteindre 250.

« Le Canada appuie les Casques blancs sans équivoque. Lors d’une réunion des ministres des Affaires étrangères dans le cadre du sommet des dirigeants de l’OTAN tenu à Bruxelles il y a une semaine, j’ai recommandé que les dirigeants fassent preuve de leadership à l’échelle mondiale pour appuyer et aider ces héros », a-t-elle indiqué.

« Le Canada est un partenaire clé des Casques blancs, et il est fier de leur avoir fourni du financement en soutien à leur formation d’urgence et en vue d’augmenter le nombre de femmes qui en font partie. Nous ressentons une responsabilité morale profonde envers ces personnes qui font preuve de bravoure et d’altruisme », a ajouté la ministre, en assurant que son pays continuerait à « fournir de l’aide humanitaire significative aux personnes affectées par le conflit en Syrie. »

Le gouvernement du Premier ministre Justin Trudeau a accueilli plus de 40 000 réfugiés syriens depuis novembre 2015.

 

ENCORE UNE BONNE RAISON POUR BENJAMIN NETANYAHOU DE BOMBER LE TORSE LORS DE CONFÉRENCES INTERNATIONALES.

Israel Valley, juil., 2018

 

La résilience de l’économie israélienne a été saluée par l’Agence de notation Moody’s qui a donné une meilleure note à Israël. La note est passée à « positive ». Elle était auparavant classée « stable ».

La notation est une appréciation de Moody’s sur la volonté et la capacité d’un émetteur à assurer le paiement ponctuel des engagements d’un titre de créance, tel qu’une obligation, tout au long de la durée de vie de celui-ci.

L’échelle de notation, qui va d’un maximum de Aaa à un minimum de C, se compose de 21 crans (notch) et de deux catégories : la catégorie d’investissement et la catégorie spéculative. La notation la plus basse de la catégorie d’investissement est Baa3. La notation la plus élevée de la catégorie spéculative est Ba1.

Catégorie investissement de Moody’s : Aaa – valeurs de tout premier ordre (« gilt edged »), Aa1, Aa2, Aa3 – haut de la fourchette (« high-grade »), A1, A2, A3 – notation intermédiaire (« upper-medium grade »). Israël est classé en à A1.

Moody’s, officiellement Moody’s Corporation, est le holding de Moody’s Analytics, un fournisseur de solutions de gestion des risques, et Moody’s Investors Service, société active dans l’analyse financière d’entreprises commerciales ou d’organes gouvernementaux.

Moody’s est également connue pour ses notations financières standardisées des grandes entreprises en fonctions du risque et de la valeur de l’investissement. Elle a 40 % de parts de marché dans le domaine de l’estimation de crédit au niveau mondial. Ses principaux concurrents sont Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Fitch Ratings et Dagong.

 

LIVRAISON PAR DRONES? FLYTREX, UN SERVICE À LA DEMANDE BASÉ À TEL AVIV.

Israelvalley, 21 juil., 2018

 

C’est un oiseau ?  C’est un avion ? Non, c’est un drone qui livre ma pizza aux quatre fromages.

Ce scénario pourrait bientôt devenir une réalité grâce à la technologie de pointe développée par une société de logistique israélienne cherchant à développer les commandes par drone de repas et de biens de consommation dans les années à venir.

Flytrex, un service à la demande basé à Tel Aviv qui cherche à améliorer l’efficacité des livraisons de produits alimentaires et de consommation – que ce soit des sushis, un nouveau téléphone ou un pack de six bières – dit qu’il peut gérer cette demande en un temps très court, jusqu’à quatre minutes et demie dans certains des endroits les plus éloignés.

La société a jusqu’à présent travaillé sur son système de livraison principalement en Islande, à travers AHA, l’une des plus grandes entreprises de commerce électronique du pays. Mais il cherche à élargir ses horizons.

En Mai, Flytrex a été sélectionné pour participer à un programme pilote d’intégration de systèmes d’aéronefs sans pilote mis en place par la Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pour étendre les tests des drones commerciaux aux côtés de géants technologiques tels que Google, Intel et Uber. Le programme permet à 10 gouvernements étatiques, locaux et tribaux de «s’associer à des entités du secteur privé, telles que les exploitants ou les fabricants d’UAS, pour accélérer l’intégration des UAS en toute sécurité», affirme la FAA.

Les sites sélectionnés à travers les États-Unis pour les entreprises participantes comprennent Raleigh, Caroline du Nord; San Diego, Californie; Reno, Nevada; Durant, Oklahoma (Nation Choctaw de l’Oklahoma); Topeka, Kansas; et Memphis, Tennessee.

Le programme est important pour l’entreprise de drone tech car il rapproche l’entreprise de son objectif de percer le marché des États-Unis. Bien que cela ait été accepté dans le programme pilote, le PDG et cofondateur de Flytrex, Yariv Bash, dit à NoCamels que la société est en train de finaliser les détails avec la FAA.

« Nous devrions piloter des drones sur les livraisons réelles d’ici la fin de l’année », estime-t-il. Si cela arrive, Bash cloturera 2018 en fanfare. Son autre projet, la start-up israélienne SpaceIL, qu’il a co-fondée en 2010 avec Kfir Damari et Yonatan Weintraub, a récemment annoncé son intention de lancer un vaisseau spatial sur la Lune d’ici décembre 2019. Si cela se produit, Israël deviendra le quatrième pays au monde à effectuer un atterrissage contrôlé sur la Lune.

En ce qui concerne les atterrissages contrôlés de drones, Bash indique que Flytrex va « changer la façon dont nous consommons les marchandises », ajoutant que c’était une période passionnante pour l’entreprise.

« De la même façon que les voitures ont commencé par rouler sur des chemins de terre et qu’aujourd’hui nous avons des feux de circulation et des panneaux, nous verrons une évolution similaire dans les besoins de gestion du trafic aérien pour tous les drones – compagnies de livraison, drones d’inspection, premiers secours et autres qui partageront le même espace aérien », explique-t-il.

La FAA a travaillé avec la NASA (Administration Nationale de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace) pour développer un système universel de gestion du trafic aérien pour les drones qui ne sera achevé qu’en 2020, ce pour quoi Bash dit être « très impatient ».

 

ANTISEMITISM IS FUELING FAR-LEFT PROTESTS AGAINST ISRAEL’S “JEWISH NATION-STATE LAW”

J Street Can’t Stand That Israel is a Jewish and Democratic State: Bradley Martin, The Hill, July 24, 2018 —On the day of Israel’s passing the “Jewish Nation-State Law”, J Street tweeted that the bill “was born in sin.”

The Discriminatory Attacks on Israel’s Nation-State Law: Judith Bergman, New York Daily News, July 24, 2018 —Is the international outrage against Israel’s nation-state law really about the law itself, or is it actually about the problem the international community has with accepting the reality of a Jewish state?

The Perils Facing Anglo Jewry: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, July 16, 2018— Over 10 years ago, I warned that the passivity of the Anglo-Jewish leadership would likely lead to disastrous political consequences and negatively impact the younger generation, which was being inadequately educated to face its challenges.

Time for the Democratic Party to Recognize its Antisemitism Problem: Ari Liberman, Front Page Magazine, July 16, 2018— Jewish constituents who had previously been loyal to Labour to a fault, defected en masse to conservatives, and Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn gave them virtually no choice.

 

On Topic Links

Boycott Israel Founder Confirms BDS Is About Ending the Jewish State: Paul Miller, American Spectator, July 12, 2018

Skewed focus in study of German anti-Semitism: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, July 3, 2018

Facing Chorus of Criticism Over UK Labour Antisemitism, Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn Announces ‘Disciplinary Action’ Against Prominent Jewish Critic: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 19, 2018

Ireland’s Anti-Israel Bill and the Muslim Brotherhood: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, July 23, 2018

 

J STREET CAN’T STAND THAT ISRAEL

IS A JEWISH AND DEMOCRATIC STATE

Bradley Martin

The Hill, July 24, 2018

 

The Israeli Knesset passed a landmark piece of legislation that enshrines the State of Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people.” The “Jewish Nation-State Law” officially declares that Israel is both a Jewish and democratic state, protecting the right of the Jewish people to exercise self-determination. On the day of its passage, J Street tweeted that the bill “was born in sin.” The so-called “progressive” lobbying group would go on to claim that “its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens.”

Contrary to J Street’s assertions, this law does not violate the civil rights of non-Jewish Israeli citizens. Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of the Kohelet Policy Forum explains that there is nothing undemocratic about this legislation and that it is quite commonplace among Western democracies. “The law does not infringe on the individual rights of any Israeli citizen, including Arabs; nor does it create individual privileges,” writes Prof. Kontorovich. “The illiberalism here lies with the law’s critics, who would deny the Jewish state the freedom to legislate like a normal country.” In the European Union alone, at least seven countries have similar constitutional provisions that define nationhood as it applies to their respective contexts. A major difference is that Israel’s Declaration of Independence ensures complete social and political rights “to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”

Israel is undoubtedly the best place in the region for its Arab citizens to practice their religion and lead prosperous lives. The Jewish state is home to over 400 mosques, a fivefold increase since 1988. The Israeli government also provides the salaries of approximately 300 imams and muezzins, as well as funding for Islamic schools and colleges throughout the country. In Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem, only Muslims are legally allowed to pray on the Temple Mount in order not to offend Islamic sensibilities. Despite the Temple Mount being Judaism’s holiest place, the site is managed by an Islamic religious committee (waqf) with a history of destroying priceless Jewish artifacts unearthed at the site.

The Jewish state displays more respect for the civil rights of its Muslim citizens than they receive in Saudi Arabia, the most Islamic country in the world. According to the U.K.-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, over 90 percent of Saudi Arabia’s historical and religious sites have been destroyed since 1985. A Hilton hotel now stands on the site of Islam’s first caliph, while the house of Muhammad’s first wife has been turned into a block of toilets.

Throughout the Middle East, Islamic persecution against Christians has resulted in the population plunging from 14 percent in 1910 to less than 4 percent today. Yet since Israel declared independence in 1948, its Christian population increased over five-fold. Compared to any other religious group in Israel, the Christian minority fares the best in terms of education and can be found in every facet of Israeli life. Yet in the neighboring Palestinian-controlled territories, ethnic cleansing and persecution have reduced the Christian population from 15 percent of the population to less than 1.3 percent today. It is also absurd for J Street to accuse Israel of marginalizing its LGBT minority when Israel grants asylum and permanent residency to hundreds of gay Palestinians fleeing persecution.

On university campuses across the U.S., J Street supports groups that promote BDS, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, some of which openly call for Israel’s destruction. J Street co-founder Daniel Levy put it this way: “There’s no reason a Palestinian should think there was justice in the creation of Israel.” Unless a cure is found for J Street’s anti-Israel derangement syndrome, this organization cannot possibly be considered pro-Israel, pro-peace… or even pro-progressive.

 

Contents

 

THE DISCRIMINATORY ATTACKS ON ISRAEL’S

NATION-STATE LAW

Judith Bergman

New York Daily News, July 24, 2018

 

Israel’s nation-state law has been widely condemned — with the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and a number of American Jewish organizations leading the denunciations. But is the international outrage really about the law itself, or is it actually about the problem the international community has with accepting the reality of a Jewish state?

The EU expressed concern that the law would “complicate or prevent” the two-state solution, whereas the OIC called the law “racist, void and illegitimate.” The ADL said that elements in the law “could undermine Israel’s cherished democratic character,” whereas the Union for Reform Judaism declared that the law would do “enormous damage… to the values of the state of Israel as a democratic and Jewish nation.”

The denunciations of the law have centered on two elements: The first is section 4 of the law, which says, “The state’s language is Hebrew.” This is no different from the French constitution, which provides that French is the language of France, or the Spanish constitution stipulating that Castilian is the official language of Spain.

The concern that the law will lead to discrimination of the Arab minority in Israel flies in the face of the guarantee contained within the law that the status given to the Arabic language before the law came into effect will not be harmed and that Arabic has a special status within the state. The international hysteria surrounding the provision is not based on facts, but on suppositions fueled by political agendas, which lead us to the second point of criticism.

The second point centers on the unique right to the exercise of self-determination in the state of Israel that the law bestows on the Jewish people. It is, again, completely uncontroversial under international law that the majority nationality of a nation-state enjoys the unique right to exercise its self-determination and the national sovereignty that flows from it.

It simply means that Israel is the sovereign state of the Jewish people — hardly a legal innovation. In Spain, for example, the constitution specifies that national sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, and this principle — whether codified or not — is generally followed by European nation-states, which do not, as a rule, grant self-determination to the various minorities, even large ones, who are living in their territories. The international community, however, is outraged that the Jews would apply to themselves the same principle that is considered perfectly acceptable for the rest of the world.

Crucially, Arabs enjoy full state sovereignty in 21 Arab states, covering the territory of more than 13 million square kilometers (5 million square miles). In contrast, there is one Jewish state covering a territory of 22,000 square kilometers (8500 square miles). The international community, evidently, is finding it hard to stomach the existence of that minuscule Jewish state as an equal sovereign state.

The problem, therefore, is not that the nation-state law is discriminatory, or unique to Israel, but that large segments of the international community are determined to treat Israel in a unique and discriminatory manner, compared to how it treats all other nation-states. The uproar over the nation-state law, in this sense, is no different from the constant singling out of Israel for condemnation at the United Nations, especially at the UN Human Rights Council, a discriminatory practice that contributed to the decision of the U.S. to withdraw from the organization. The Palestinian Authority, with PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat at the forefront, has seized the momentum of the international condemnations and is reportedly planning to take the law to the UN, claiming it violates the UN charter, and planning to petition the International Court of Justice for an opinion on it. The international community has once again done what it does best, when it comes to Israel: Fueled the conflict.

 

Contents

 

THE PERILS FACING ANGLO JEWRY

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, July 16, 2018

 

Over 10 years ago, I warned that the passivity of the Anglo-Jewish leadership would likely lead to disastrous political consequences and negatively impact the younger generation, which was being inadequately educated to face its challenges. I described Anglo-Jewish leaders as “trembling Israelites, whose uppermost objective was to lie low and, above all, avoid rocking the boat.” The policy for confronting anti-Israel or antisemitic adversaries was summed up by then-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Henry Grunwald as the “softly softly” approach, generally opposing demonstrations and urging “not to shout when a whisper can be heard.” It was a classic case of shtadlanut – avoiding any public display and attempting to resolve problems by silent intercession.

Despite dissent from Jews at a grassroots level, the prevailing tendency of the leadership was also to ignore the fierce waves of antisemitism and hostility rising from both Muslim immigrants and the Left. At the time, Ken Livingstone, a 21st-century Oswald Mosley, was the mayor of London, ranting his anti-Israel and antisemitic utterances. The Jewish leadership sought to ignore him. When the Muslim leadership called for the abolition of Holocaust Memorial Day, the cowardly Board of Deputies leaders responded with an apologetic press campaign claiming that Holocaust Memorial Day was no longer restricted to Jews but also “covers Cambodia, Rwanda, the Balkans and elsewhere.” To enhance their social acceptability and approval ratings in the anti-Israel media, some Jewish leaders also publicly condemned Israel. Tycoon Mick Davis, then chairman of Anglo Jewry’s United Jewish Israel Appeal, made comments at the time unprecedented for a mainstream Jewish leader. Davis proclaimed that Israel was in danger of becoming an “apartheid” state and warned the Israeli government that its “bad” actions directly impinged on him in London. The Jewish leadership failed to condemn Davis for his remarks or request him to withdraw them.

In 2006, Melanie Phillips wrote Londonistan, a book predicting the growth of Islam in the UK and the consequent dangers facing society. She was immediately assailed by the Jewish leadership, which publicly condemned her as a mad extremist. Yet less than a decade later, the reality proved to be even worse than her nightmarish prophecies had predicted. The community was stunned when the Labour Party elected as its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who would qualify as a modern Trotskyist. He was a staunch supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and made no secret of his hatred of Zionism. On various occasions, he associated with a variety of antisemites and even Holocaust deniers. He also supported terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, which he maintained were committed to peace.

British Jews, the majority of whom were longtime Labour supporters, were shocked. More so after many Labour MPs uttered antisemitic remarks, leading to a pseudo-investigation by the party, after which a few of the most extreme were suspended but the majority were considered kosher on the tenuous basis that their comments were anti-Zionist rather than antisemitic. More recently, the party diluted the internationally accepted definition of antisemitism by removing references such as accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to their own country; claiming that Israel’s existence is a racist endeavor; applying a double standard to Israel; and comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

As a consequence, Jews have defected from Labour in droves, and in the last election the clear majority voted for the Conservative Party, whose leaders, especially David Cameron, were all highly supportive of the Jewish community. In 2015, Jonathan Arkush was elected president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. After a series of cowardly leaders, who refused to speak out or protest against those promoting antisemitism, Arkush proved to be a courageous leader and boldly confronted antisemites, especially Corbyn. Since his assuming the position, the Board of Deputies has emerged as a true representative of the community. This, hopefully, will be maintained by his recently elected successor, Marie van der Zyl.

But the current situation is seriously worrying. Anglo Jewry faces grave threats. If an election were held today, there is every possibility that the next prime minister would be an outright antisemite. However, aside from that, an additional serious peril facing the community is the atmosphere from within. I refer to fringe groups like Yachad that publicly criticize Israel. Over 500 Jews signed a petition condemning the Board of Deputies for chastising Hamas and failing to deplore the Israeli killings of those attempting to penetrate Israel’s borders and engage in terrorist attacks. But the most worrisome development is the status of the younger generation, whose members have been influenced by leaders over the years to accept their fate and remain silent. Antisemitism at the universities has risen to record levels, and many, if not most, Jewish students simply lie low and try to avoid confrontations with anti-Israel Muslims and radicals. Moreover, even many committed Jews seeking social acceptability feel the need to be publicly critical of Israel.

Last month, there was an extreme display of this when a group of over 50 youngsters protested Israeli policy outside Parliament and then, emulating their American counterparts, named the individual Hamas terrorists killed trying to breach Israel’s border and recited kaddish for them. They also chided the Jewish community for not condemning “the Israeli occupation and the disproportionate force of the Israeli regime,” and expressed anger at Jewish leaders “for refusing to speak about the Nakba and refusing to listen to Palestinian initiatives.” Their behavior, which received national and even global exposure, shocked and embarrassed most Jews, but what occurred subsequently was even worse. Most of the youngsters involved were members of the Reform youth group Netzer, which purports to be Zionist. One of them, Nina Morris-Evans, had been appointed as a leader of a youth tour of Israel, but she was informed that her actions made her ineligible for this position. This led to a petition addressed to the Jewish leadership from over 100 signatories describing themselves as “past and present leaders from a range of Zionist youth movements.” They conveyed outrage at being “abused, harassed and bullied online – particularly in a violent, misogynistic manner extending even to death threats.” They pledged not to bow to intimidation and, as “Zionists,” would insist on supporting a plurality of narratives, including those critical of Israel.

What was significant about this petition was that all the participants were either former or current Zionist activists, including a small number from Habonim, the Labor Zionist youth movement, who were apparently unaware that their own party in Israel would have condemned them. But the majority were from Netzer, who obviously had the imprimatur of their rabbis, which accounted for the large number who signed such a hostile anti-Israel petition.

For the record, Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Geoffrey Marks, the chairman of Reform Jewry, described the abuse of Morris-Evans as “misogynistic and violent,” condemning the critics as “bullies,” stressing that Reform Judaism would encourage young people to express their views publicly. The reality is that today, most Reform rabbis are non-Zionist, and though paying lip service to love of Israel, they are in many cases outrightly critical and even anti-Israel. These elements are supported by Davis, now chief executive of the Conservative Party, who condemned those “seeking to hound kaddish participants from their jobs.” He added that there was an absence of Zionist leadership for which one turns “to Israel but finds little to inspire.” The response from the leadership was muted, and there is yet to be heard a reprimand by the Zionist Federation pointing out that such behavior is incompatible with purporting to be a Zionist. The Jewish Chronicle editorial adopted a neutral position, conceding that most Jews would consider the kaddish for Hamas warped, but claimed that the open letter reflected “a potentially seismic change in the community” and called for “goodwill on all sides.” Anglo Jewry is confronting painful challenges. The fact that “Zionist” youth can publicly express such hostility toward Israel reflects a breakdown in education.

While most British Jews remain committed to Israel, in most cases, the leadership fails to publicly confront and dissociate itself from anti-Israel Jews. It legitimizes them when applying the policy that the community must tolerate the presence of extremists within the “big tent.” There will be disastrous long-term consequences if demented fanatics like the Jewish deviants reciting kaddish for Hamas or those who, in the name of pluralism, demand toleration of such views are enabled to remain within the Jewish or Zionist mainstream. In this climate of overt antisemitism in the Labour Party, coupled with the inadequate education of its Zionist youth, the Jewish leadership faces its greatest challenge. If it fails, all that will ultimately remain of Anglo Jewry will be clusters of haredi communities.

 

Contents

 

TIME FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO RECOGNIZE ITS ANTISEMITISM PROBLEM

Ari Lieberman

FrontPage Magazine, July 13, 2018

 

In early May 2017, Britain’s Labour Party suffered humiliating reversals in local elections and failed in their bid to wrest control of the council of Barnet from conservatives. Labour candidates campaigning in areas with substantial Jewish constituencies were handed stinging defeats. In West Hendon, which is an area of Barnet, all three candidates fielded by the Labour Party lost. West Hendon was thought to be a safe Labour bastion. The Party had retained these seats for nearly 40 years.

The reason for Labour’s defeat was obvious. Jewish constituents who had previously been loyal to Labour to a fault, defected en masse to conservatives, and Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn gave them virtually no choice. Corbyn has referred to Hezbollah as his “friends,” and has spoken of Hamas in glowing terms. He defended a rabidly anti-Semitic mural depicting Jewish bankers counting money and playing monopoly on the backs of people with dark complexions. He joined Facebook groups dedicated to propagating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and was dismissive of claims that members of his own party engaged in Holocaust revisionism.

Britain’s Labour Party membership, taking cue from Corbyn, is rife with antisemitism and this deleterious trend shows no sign of abating. If anything, it is intensifying. Labour MP Naz Shah, who previously espoused anti-Semitic memes and complained on social media about “Jews” skewing online polls, was recently appointed Labour’s shadow equalities minister. Even more disquieting is the fact that the Labour Party recently adopted a very watered down definition of antisemitism which omits critical defining elements of Jew-hatred.

There are worrying signs that America’s Democratic Party is following in the footsteps of its Labour Party cousin across the Atlantic. Radical elements within the Party are increasingly pulling Democrats farther to the Left. They are calling for open borders, the dismantling of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, an end to free enterprise and single payer healthcare. Radical Intersectionalists have also latched themselves on to the Palestinians, viewing them as victims of Israeli and Jewish aggression, colonialism and imperialism.

Israel still enjoys widespread bipartisan support from both parties but there are worrying trends occurring within the Democratic Party demonstrating an erosion of support, and often, that erosion is accompanied by anti-Semitic rhetoric grounded in hate and conspiracy. […]

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Boycott Israel Founder Confirms BDS Is About Ending the Jewish State: Paul Miller, American Spectator, July 12, 2018—Supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement claim that BDS is about a two-state solution and bettering the lives of the Palestinian people. But if you take the word of BDS founder Omar Barghouti, peaceful coexistence is the last thing BDS is about.

Skewed focus in study of German anti-Semitism: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, July 3, 2018—Any realistic study on anti-Semitism in Germany should conclude that migrants from Muslim countries have more anti-Semitic attitudes and disproportionately to their size in the population commit more extreme anti-Semitic acts than native Germans.

Facing Chorus of Criticism Over UK Labour Antisemitism, Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn Announces ‘Disciplinary Action’ Against Prominent Jewish Critic: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 19, 2018— As the antisemitism scandal that has engulfed Britain’s opposition Labour Party for the last three years reached a fever pitch on Thursday, party leader Jeremy Corbyn remained defiant, threatening disciplinary action against one of his Jewish critics after she called him an “antisemite and a racist.”

Ireland’s Anti-Israel Bill and the Muslim Brotherhood: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, July 23, 2018—On July 11, the Irish Senate approved a bill criminalizing local companies that engage in commerce with Israeli firms based in Judea and Samaria. Introduced in the body’s Upper Chamber by independent member Senator Frances Black, the bill passed initial muster, in a 25-20 vote with 14 abstentions.

ARAB WORLD CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE EIGHT YEARS AFTER “ARAB SPRING”

A Message to the Pope: Peace in the Middle East Cannot Be Built With Platitudes: Abraham Cooper & Yitzchok Adlerstein, JNS, July 17, 2018 — Save the date. On February 13, 2019, an Israeli-built unmanned spacecraft is expected to land on the moon…

The End of the Democratic Dream: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, July 13, 2018 — Most Western countries yearn for the day that democracy is established in the Arab and Islamic world.

What are the American and Israeli Challenges in the Middle East Now?: Eric R. Mandel, Jerusalem Post, June 20, 2018— People who think they know what will happen in the Middle East this summer are either prophetic or simply fooling themselves.

Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean Alliance: John M. Nomikos, BESA, July 17, 2018— Concrete steps over the past three years have set the foundations of an Eastern Mediterranean Alliance (EMA) comprising Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.

On Topic Links

Israel’s Ultimate Battle: Right to Exist: Michael Oren, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2018

A Sliver of Good News for Israel from the Trump–Putin Summit: Mosaic, July 24, 2018

Is Southern Syria Heading For ‘Lebanonization’?: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2018

The US in Eurasia: New Challenges: Emil Avdaliani, BESA, July 24, 2018

 

A MESSAGE TO THE POPE: PEACE IN THE

MIDDLE EAST CANNOT BE BUILT WITH PLATITUDES

Abraham Cooper & Yitzchok Adlerstein

JNS, July 17, 2018

 

Pope Francis, arguably the world’s most influential religious leader, offered platitudes in his prescription for peace in the strife-torn Middle East. The pope recently spoke to a convocation of Christian clergy from the region. Because so many calamities are playing out there simultaneously, it was not always apparent to which disaster he was referring when he declared, “Let there be an end to using the Middle East for gains that have nothing to do with the Middle East.”

Who did he mean? The Ayatollahs, Putin, Trump, Erdoğan? “You cannot speak of peace while you are secretly racing to stockpile new arms. This is a most serious responsibility weighing on the conscience of nations, especially the most powerful,” he said. Secretly stockpiling? The only Middle East country secretly stockpiling weapons is Iran. And it is unlikely that the pope wished to further inflame a regime that actively persecutes Christians and Baha’i.

Could he have been referring to Western powers? Is he suggesting unilateral disarmament of NATO or even perhaps the United States? We too pray for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s vision of beating swords into plowshares, but until the Messiah shows up, it’s unlikely that the evil-doers would follow suit. Does not the Church, to its credit, teach about the diabolical power of evil, and that until a time of universal redemption arrives, evil must be resisted and contained?

Concerning one part of the Middle East, the pope left little room for doubt: “No more occupying territories and thus tearing people apart!” He could have meant the Turkish occupation of a good chunk of Cyprus or even the Chinese occupation of Tibet. From another reference to “walls,” however, it seems that he meant the Jewish State of Israel. Could he really have said something so simplistic? Has he not noticed that the Palestinians have indeed been torn apart by the deadly power struggle between Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the kleptomaniacs of the Palestinian Authority? Does he need a refresher course in history to remind him that before anyone could spell “occupation,” Arab armies promised to eradicate Israel in a bloodbath of unseen proportions?

The worst line: “Truces maintained by walls and displays of power will not lead to peace, but only the concrete desire to listen and to engage in dialogue.” If only there were a truce. But since the return of the Jewish people to its homeland of thousands of years by acclamation of the world community in 1947, there have been no truces; indeed, Israel has not enjoyed one day of quiet without its neighbors planning her demise. More importantly, walls may be unsightly and disruptive, but they work. Vatican City is surrounded by walls. Walls keep the crowds away from the pope when he blesses them in St. Peter’s Square. After Mehmet Ali Ağca tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, the would-be assassin spent 29 years in a prison cell. It had walls. And a locked door.

In the case of Israel, the wall that Francis detests has kept suicide bombers out of shopping malls and Christian holy places. In an imperfect world, walls are a necessity. The pope has not yet proposed an alternative.

Pundits think that the Church has lost so many adherents in the West because it is too restrictive about behavior and too demanding about belief in dogma. But many people would stay the course if they received satisfying answers to questions about meaning and purpose, and practical advice on how to live a more elevated life. Religion fails when it gets mired in scandal or offers empty slogans. “Peace in our time!” “Workers of the world, unite!” Make love, not war!” (These prove that one-liners often make matters worse.) When religious leaders offer nothing but platitudes instead of practical ideas that can work, many of the faithful tune out or just check out altogether.

What’s a pontiff to do? Stick to basics. The word “peace” in the Hebrew Bible (shalom) relates to the word shalem or “whole,” “complete.” It suggests that peace will never come to the world until people are truly fulfilled and self-actualized. That is where Francis’ own personal example could be so effective. No one will ever feel let down by learning from Francis to live more simply and humbly, and to delight in being able to help those in need. His contribution, alongside other religious leaders, should be instructing more people how to become shalem, one by one, and therefore capable of peace.

With millions of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim lives in the Middle East hanging in the balance, what’s wrong with admitting that bringing peace to that region may be above even the pope’s pay scale? Sometimes, Your Holiness, “silence is golden.” Sometimes, that response will resonate with the faithful. It is certainly a better strategy than articulating simplistic and inaccurate formulas.

 

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 THE END OF THE DEMOCRATIC DREAM

                                                         Dr. Mordechai Kedar

                                                               Arutz Sheva, July 13, 2018

 

Most Western countries yearn for the day that democracy is established in the Arab and Islamic world. Democracy means freedom to vote, a legitimate regime, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, the rule of law, equality among citizens, free press and all the other wonderful characteristics that make it fulfilling and desirable to live in the West.  To Western eyes, democracy is the only way to run an organized, sustainable and respectable state.

When the “Arab Spring” broke out towards the end of 2010, many Western observers thought they saw the buds of democracy beginning to flower at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, soon to make the Middle Eastern deserts bloom, while butterflies born during the Tunisian youth march fluttered above the cruel political systems of the region’s countries. And when the Muslim Brotherhood began to rule Egypt in the middle of 2012, democratically, of course, the democracy seers called Turkey an Islamic democracy, not at all a bad thing.

Eight years have passed since then and what has become clear is that ruling dictators were definitely deposed – either entirely or partially – in five Arab states (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria) but that what took their place can hardly be called democracy. Instead, there are a variety of dictatorships: ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Al Sisi in Egypt, terror in Libya, war in Lebanon and total destruction in Syria. Turkey, the mother of Islamic democracy, has become an Ottoman Erdogan-style Sultanate, a goal achieved, of course, by democratic means.

In the Arab world when the call to separate religion and state was sounded (in Egyptian Arab socialism, the Syrian and Iraqi Baath party), religion became a means to create even more despotism, not a way to advance democratic fairness.

While governability deteriorates in the Arab world, Iranian interference becomes more and more pervasive,  entering the Arab states by way of ever-widening holes in their shaky social structure. Iran sends its militias to these countries to set up strongholds for future use, and in every place reached by Iran, the wars become crueler and harder to bring to an end. The enormous sums of US cash money – over 100 billion dollars –  that Obama gave the Iranians funded boiling oil feeding the fires of the Middle East. Now Iran demands 300 million Euro from Germany. To what purpose?

The Arab public is not blind, nor is it deaf or stupid. It understands full well what is happening, and the ensuing despair all over the Middle East about the possibility of finding a solution to the region’s woes through nice, desirable European solutions such as democracy, is the reason for the waves of migrants to Europe.

In previous articles written over the past few years, I described the difficulty in adapting a solution that reflects European culture to the Middle East’s problems. The culture gap is simply too large and too deep. Elaph, the first and largest independent daily online newspaper in the Arab world, recently ran a survey whose results were very worrying. They bear out my claim that democracy is not applicable in this region.  The survey is brought below almost in its entirety, as published in Elaph by Khian Alajeri, with my additions in parentheses.

“When elections result in a handicapped child! The Arab majority says No, No! And does not believe in democratic fairness in our land.” Elaph asked its readers: “Do you believe democratic equitability can exist in Arab states? ” An overwhelming majority answered in the negative. This is, to all intents, in opposition to the Arab Spring which destroyed countries, exiled their residents and spawned handicapped children who do not believe in democracy.

Once the spark of new Arab revolutions was lit by the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia, and signs of an Arab Spring were seen on the horizon after a long winter of dictatorship, a large proportion of Arabs were informed about the proposed democratic changes – without the use of jaded expressions such as “the needs of the period” and the usual war-against-Israel excuse for shutting mouths and postponing democracy.

The winds, however, blew in a direction unacceptable to the Arab junior fleet which yearned for a pluralistic political society, for freedom of opinion, for enhanced social and economic development based on ending the regime’s monopolies, war economy and state of emergency that went from temporary to permanent while the volatile regimes stabilized…

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

 

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WHAT ARE THE AMERICAN AND ISRAELI

CHALLENGES IN THE MIDDLE EAST NOW?

Eric R. Mandel

Jerusalem Post, June 20, 2018

People who think they know what will happen in the Middle East this summer are either prophetic or simply fooling themselves. Western analysis has been inaccurate so many times that the forecasts seem more akin to throwing darts. From the unanticipated Iranian Revolution of 1979, to the unexpected Arab Spring, all analysts should be humbled by the past before speculating about the future. The situations this summer in Israel, Gaza, Syria, Iraq, etc. all could change at a moment’s notice.

When ISIS inevitably strikes in Europe or America this summer, America needs to resist being blinded by the horrific images of a terrorist attack and losing sight of the Pentagon’s new national defense strategy, which prioritizes “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism (as) the primary concern in US national security.” Iran’s rise in the Levant was a direct consequence of the previous strategy of prioritizing the defeat of ISIS over Iranian expansionism in Syria and Iraq.

America should be very concerned about the outcome that may emerge later this summer as a result of the recent Iraqi election, with the formation of a philo-Iranian parliament. The Iranian-controlled Hadi Al Amiri’s Fatah Alliance, which includes radical groups like Asaib Ahl al-Haq, has tentatively joined together with American nemesis Moqtad Al Sadr (Saeroon list) and his anti American platform.

Can America figure out a way this summer to encourage the Iraqi Arab Shi’ites to remain more independent from their Iranian non-Arab Persian Shi’ite co-religionists? Grand Ayatollah Sistani, the most important Iraqi Arab religious figure, has been against Iranian influence in Iraq. Can Secretary of State Mike Pompeo find any economic or other leverage to work against further Iranian encroachment? Interests create strange bedfellows in this region.

This is really an uphill task. Even the currently more pro-American Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi felt compelled to legalize incorporation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard-controlled Popular Mobilization Unit Hashd al-Shaabi militia into the Iraqi Army, in essence, a permanent Iranian military presence within Iraq.

As for Syria, America must make it clear to all parties this summer that American interests demand that its forces remain within Syria not only until ISIS is defeated, but until all Iranian, PMU and Hezbollah forces and bases have left Syria. Hopefully, Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton can convince US President Donald Trump of this necessity.

IF THERE is war this summer in Israel’s North, calling it the “Third Lebanon War” would be a misnomer. It will be a regional war involving Syria, Lebanon, Iran and possibly Turkey, Iraq, Russia and Jordan. Israel needs to continue its preparation for the new challenges it faces since the last Lebanon war of 2006, with the possibility of massive tunnels, advanced GPS-guided long-range missiles, and Hezbollah chemical weapons inherited from Syria. One of the most crucial questions for the summer, as it affects every player in the region, is who will succeed ailing Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomenai? Will it be Ebrahim Raisi, another hardliner who this year stood on the Israeli-Lebanese border and said, “Soon we will witness the liberation of Jerusalem”?

American interests in the Mediterranean are complicated by the combination of Israel’s new relationship with Cyprus and Greece at the expense of NATO ally Turkey over access to Israel’s Mediterranean gas fields. Add the newly upgraded Russian naval base in Syria and Hezbollah threats against Israeli gas fields, and the next war could begin at sea. This summer, proactive diplomacy should be explored to lessen the possibility of this being the catalyst for the next war. Will there be war this summer in Israel? It may not take much to set off the Northern front with Lebanon and Syria, with Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization Unit soldiers reportedly putting on Syrian regime uniforms and moving to within a few kilometers from the Israeli Golan border. Israel and America seek to avoid hostilities for as long as possible, but Iran is continually testing Israeli red lines in deconfliction zones, so miscalculations could spiral out of control.

Whether we like it or not, Russia has been made a player, with its American-sanctioned deescalation zones in Syria. Russia’s interest is stability in Syria to solidify its gains, especially its warm-weather port in Latakia. It is said that Russia is not a natural ally of Iran. Is there a way for America and Israel to leverage that natural division?…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]            Contents

   

GREECE AND THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN ALLIANCE

John M. Nomikos

BESA, July 17, 2018

Concrete steps over the past three years have set the foundations of an Eastern Mediterranean Alliance (EMA) comprising Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. The convergence of the three nations is the natural outcome of close democratic similarities and a joint desire for stability and progress in a region tormented by perennial Middle East strife, radical Islamism, and the morphing of Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic autocracy.

The EMA is emerging at a time of increasing global instability. American retrenchment from traditional postwar strategic arrangements, the resurgence of Russia, a troubled EU, the illegal migration crisis, China’s rise as a global power, and much else leave little room for complacency.

Israel, Greece, and the Republic of Cyprus are the only Eastern Mediterranean actors that are firm democracies. As such, they do not only see a common interest in promoting peace, security, and environmental stability in the region, but also seek to promote strong economic bonds following the discovery of rich hydrocarbon deposits in their respective Exclusive Economic Zones.

While each of the EMA partners faces individual challenges, all three are united against the regional spoiler and strutting Islamic “superpower” of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey. The Turkish president misses no opportunity to vow that Ankara will “take what is rightfully hers” – and is just a step away from declaring the international treaties that settled Turkey’s fate after WWI null and void.

From the Greek perspective, the EMA initiative is indispensable. Greece’s sovereign debt crisis and its bankruptcy in 2010 put its relationship with the northern EU members under severe strain. At present, Athens faces the unpalatable prospect of long-term foreign fiscal “monitoring” and significant limitations placed upon its economic policies. Because present and future Greek governments must function while in the vise of EU “monitoring,” Athens seeks to promote alternative bilateral and multilateral initiatives outside the narrow Brussels-dominated space – and the EMA fits this bill perfectly.

Greece’s most pressing strategic concern is Ankara’s expressed purpose of “re-Turkifying” space once in Ottoman possession. Erdoğan’s incursion into Syria, his plans for militarily “stabilizing” northern Iraq, his expanding subversive and Islamicizing activities in the Balkans, and the daily violations by Turkey of Greek sovereign air and sea space leave little hope for a peaceful future. Greece also faces an impasse with the philo-Turkism of many of its “allies” despite waning Turkish fortunes in Europe and Ankara’s dead-in-the-water application to join the EU.

Thus, the EMA has emerged as the most strategically significant anchor of Greek security and economic progress. The discovery of hydrocarbons in Israeli and Cypriot waters has literally put the EMA on the map, stimulating strong interest in the politics, economics, and security of the region from the US and Russia as well as from countries that had been neutral towards the Eastern Mediterranean. Athens needs to tread a delicate path vis-à-vis Jerusalem and Cairo, the latter of which is gravitating towards the tripartite EMA. Both Israel and Egypt are involved in ongoing disputes in the Middle East, a factor that traditionally “pro-Arab” Greece will need to handle with political and diplomatic finesse.

In any case, recent EMA summit meetings have concluded with optimistic declarations of purpose stressing the developing geopolitical cooperation of Jerusalem, Athens, and Nicosia. Central to these positive developments is the planned construction of the EastMed pipeline, which will bypass Turkey, despite increased cost, and thus enhance security in the Eastern Mediterranean by removing Turkey’s control over the EMA centerpiece.

Erdoğan’s electoral victory on June 24, 2018 strengthened his sultanic and Islamist aspirations and gives added urgency to the promotion of the EMA strategic project. A stronger Erdoğan means a faster transition for Turkey to Islamic fundamentalism. This in turn threatens to bring radical Islam to Europe’s doorstep while exponentially increasing the danger posed by Turkey to the EMA partners. With Erdoğan confirming, with every passing day, his rejection and condemnation of Western values, his hatred for the Jewish state, and his elevation of fundamentalist Islamism as the driving force behind the neo-Ottoman Türkiye, there is little room for compromise with Turkey’s emerging Islamic republic.

In the final analysis, it is not the EMA’s purpose to resolve the issue of Turkey, which is the thorniest security problem for the Western alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The EMA’s core mission is to promote and secure the collective interests of its partners, to encourage the primacy of international law over irredentist and aggressive policies irrespective of their source, and to create and strengthen a superstructure of economic initiatives of irrefutable strategic value to Europe and the US. In the meantime, as Federiga Bingi of Johns Hopkins put it, “Europe and NATO cannot afford to be checkmated by Erdoğan.” They should act accordingly.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Israel’s Ultimate Battle: Right to Exist: Michael Oren, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2018—Asked why his forces killed thousands of innocent Arab civilians, the military spokesman replied, “When you have an enemy that uses noncombatants as collateral damage, it is difficult to completely avoid any casualties.”

A Sliver of Good News for Israel from the Trump–Putin Summit: Mosaic, July 24, 2018—A week before the U.S.–Russia meeting in Helsinki, Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin in an attempt to secure some guarantees for Israel in southern Syria, and later reported the terms they had settled upon to Donald Trump.

Is Southern Syria Heading For ‘Lebanonization’?: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2018—The raid on the T4 base at Tiyas in southern Syria this week was, according to global media reports, the third such action by Israeli air power against this facility in the course of 2018.

The US in Eurasia: New Challenges: Emil Avdaliani, BESA, July 24, 2018—From WWII through the breakup of the Soviet Union, the US shared world dominance with its major competitor in Moscow. Despite the numerous local conflicts that took place during those 40 or so years, the two powers’ relatively equal strength gave the world geopolitical stability.

 

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

Iran: Khamenei’s New Poem – Pure Wine and Deadly Poison: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, July 25, 2018

Trump Isn’t the First President to Embarrass America by Cozying Up to Putin: Marc Thiessen, Fox News, July 18, 2018

New York Times Loses It Over Israel’s ‘Incendiary’ Nation-State Law: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, July 22, 2018

Ireland’s Anti-Israel Bill and the Muslim Brotherhood: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, July 23, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“During the time of the [2015] nuclear deal, Iran’s increased oil revenues could have gone to improving the lives of the Iranian people…Instead they went to terrorists, dictators, and proxy militias. Today, thanks to regime subsidies, the average Hezbollah combatant makes two to three times what an Iranian firefighter makes on the streets of Iran…a third of Iranian youth are unemployed, and a third of Iranians now live below the poverty line…Our hope is that ultimately the regime will make meaningful changes in its behavior both inside of Iran and globally…As President Trump has said, we’re willing to talk with the regime in Iran, but relief from American pressure will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies.” — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo told an audience in Simi Valley, CA., that in the light of recent anti-regime protests, along with “forty years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran.” Pompeo continued: “The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you.” (Algemeiner, July 23, 2018) 

“The Americans must fully understand that peace with Iran is the mother of all the peace, and war with Iran would be the mother of all wars…We don’t give in to threats but stand up to bullying…One who understands politics even a little bit wouldn’t say ‘we will stop Iran’s oil exports,’” — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani also scoffed at the notion that Israel is a model of democracy in the region. Pointing to Israel’s new Nationality Law, he asked, “Is there any doubt that Israel is a model of apartheid in the region?” Rouhani expressed his country’s wish to live in peace with its neighbors, stressing that “if a neighbor like Saudi Arabia does away with its stubbornness and expresses willingness toward [friendly] relations, we must resolve the differences and establish friendship…This is also the case with the [United Arab] Emirates and Bahrain, and under the new circumstances, we are seeking to reform our relations with these countries,” he added. (Jewish Press, July 22, 2018) 

“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE…WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” — U.S. President Trump. Trump told Iran it risked dire consequences if the Islamic Republic made more threats against the United States. His words, spelled out in capital letters in a late night Twitter message, came hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Trump that hostile policies toward Tehran could lead to “the mother of all wars.” (Globe & Mail, July 23, 2018)

“The United States provided the last shred of credibility that the council had, but that was precisely why we withdrew.” — U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Haley defended the U.S. decision to quit the United Nations Human Rights Council last month as a stand against “political corruption and moral bankruptcy” and the organization’s “anti-Israel bias.” In her most extensive public remarks on the U.S. decision to date, the American ambassador to the UN said that the council and some nongovernmental organizations displayed their political bias against Israel when they worked “publicly against our reforms, telling other countries to work against us.” The U.S. envoy argued that the organization had been corrupted by the inclusion of countries that are some of the “worst human rights violators,” repeatedly referring to China, Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia. (Bloomberg, July 18, 2018)

“Mark Zuckerberg is wrong. Holocaust deniers only come in two flavors — those who don’t want to believe there was an Auschwitz and those who want to finish the job, like Iran…Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news’…The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in history, allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of ‘free exchange of ideas’ when the idea itself is based on a falsehood.” — Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came under fire after saying that posts by Holocaust deniers should not be deleted from his social media platform. Zuckerberg said, “I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” (Algemeiner, July 19, 2018)

“As (a) police source told the (National) Post, “Is he Muslim? Yes. Does he probably know Muslim extremists? Yeah. Is he mentally ill? Yeah, probably. Does he have access to guns from the guys in his neighbourhood? Yeah. But be real careful what road you go down. We may never know what was going on in his mind.” In other words, Faisal Hussain was complex, not just one thing, not a one-dimensional, cardboard cutout. He was just like most everyone else, in other words complicated.” — Christie Blatchford. Faisal Hussain (29) has been identified as the gunman in the Toronto shootings Sunday night. Two people, 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, were killed in the rampage. (National Post, July 25, 2018)

“Regarding the Gaza Strip, we must ask ourselves four basic questions: Is the State of Israel interested in a war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip? The answer is no. Are we deterred from [engaging in a military] campaign in the Gaza Strip? Here too, the answer is no…Are we prepared to accept a reality in which there is fire, incendiary kites and friction along the fence? The answer is no. Have we done everything we can to prevent a war in Gaza? The answer is yes…So everything that happens from here on in with regard to the Gaza Strip is solely the responsibility of the Hamas leadership.” — Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. On Saturday, as part of an Egypt-brokered understanding, Hamas agreed to halt its violent attacks against Israel, which has included rockets, mortars, flaming kites and balloons. There have also been repeated infiltration attempts and violent riots at the Gaza-Israel border. (Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2018)

“I want to thank you for defending Israel…You have stood up for Israel time and time again in international forums. It is deeply appreciated and it is an important goal of Israeli foreign policy to change not only our bilateral relations with so many countries and indeed our relations are flourishing as never before, but also to change the way Israel is treated in international forums and on this Hungary has led the charge many, many times and I thank you for it.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu welcomed the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, to Israel, commenting that Budapest was the birthplace of Theodor Herzl, the first founding father of the modern state of Israel. “We spoke also of the tragedies that afflicted the people, the Jewish people on the soil of Hungary and I heard you speak, as a true friend of Israel, about the need to combat antisemitism,” Netanyahu said of his own visit to Hungary. The Israeli prime minister noted that this month, Hungary sponsored a statement in the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) condemning antisemitism. (Jewish Press, July 20, 2018)

“All of the Jewish citizens in Hungary are under the protection of the government…“We are proud that in Hungary, self-identifying Jews, who celebrate and preserve Jewish tradition can feel safe.” — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Paying a reciprocal visit to Israel a year after hosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Budapest, Orban reaffirmed that Hungary would show “zero tolerance” for antisemitism. Last year, Orban raised concerns in Hungary’s Jewish community when he praised the country’s interwar leader Miklos Horthy, a Hitler ally, and used an image of Jewish U.S. financier George Soros in an anti-immigration billboard campaign. The World Jewish Congress estimates the Jewish population in Hungary at between 75,000 and 100,000. (Reuters, July 19, 2018)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

IDF SOLDIER KILLED BY GUNFIRE ON THE GAZA BORDER (Gaza) — An Israeli soldier was killed Friday when he was hit by Hamas gunfire along the Gaza border, according to the Israeli army. The soldier, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was on the border in active duty as weekly demonstrations dubbed “March of Return” were taking place. The soldier, killed by Palestinian sniper fire, was named by the IDF as Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi. Levi, a 21-year-old from Petah Tikva, was an infantry soldier in the Givati Brigade. Levi was the first IDF fatality on the Gaza front since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Four Palestinians were also killed in the exchange. (Ha’aretz, July 24, 2018 & Times of Israel, July 21, 2018)

ISRAEL SHOOTS DOWN SYRIAN FIGHTER JET PENETRATING ISRAELI AIRSPACE (Damascus) — Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet that penetrated Israeli airspace on Tuesday, the Israeli army said. It said that the Russian-made Sukhoi was under surveillance when it entered some two kilometers into Israeli airspace. An IDF spokesman said the plane was either a Sukhoi 22 or 24 and that it crashed in Syrian territory in the southern portion of the Syrian Golan Heights, although the fate of the pilots was not known. Last week, Israel used its David’s Sling missile-defense system operationally for the first time, firing at two Syrian surface-to-surface missiles. (Ha’aretz, July 21, 2018) 

ISRAEL EVACUATES 800 OF SYRIA’S WHITE HELMETS AND THEIR FAMILIES (Aleppo) — Israel transported several hundred Syrian civil defense workers and their families from southwest Syria to Jordan Saturday, saying it participated in “a humanitarian effort” at the request of the United States and European countries. The IDF said it engaged in the “out of the ordinary” gesture due to the “immediate risk” to the lives of the civilians, as Russian-backed regime forces closed in on the area. It stressed that it was not intervening in the ongoing fighting in Syria. According to Jordan’s media, the evacuees included 800 White Helmets personnel and their families.  (Times of Israel, July 22, 2018)

CBC CALLED OUT FOR COVERAGE OF ISRAEL’S RESCUE OF SYRIA’S WHITE HELMETS (Toronto) — Though Israel won widespread praise for its leading role in the daring rescue of hundreds of individuals associated with Syria’s White Helmets, a CBCNews.ca report failed to even mention Israel’s efforts at all. The story lead by mentioning: “Canada is among three Western nations that will accept hundreds of volunteer emergency workers plucked from Syria under the cover of darkness in a dramatic international rescue…” Untold in the entire article was that it was Israel who evacuated 400 White Helmets rescuers and their families from Syria to Jordan overnight at the request of the United States, Canada and European countries. Subsequent to a complaint filed by Honest Reporting, the CBC updated its report to acknowledge Israel’s integral role. (Honest Reporting, July 24, 2018)

ISRAEL REJECTS RUSSIA’S PROPOSED 100 KM BUFFER ZONE (Aleppo) — Israel has rejected a Russian proposal to create a 100 kilometer (62 mile) buffer zone that would distance Iranian forces from Syria’s border with Israel in the Golan Heights. Israel is remaining firm on a demand that Iran not be allowed any foothold whatsoever along its northern border, regardless of where in Syria that might be. Furthermore, Israel is demanding that all long-range missiles be removed from Syria, and all factories that produce such missiles and/or precision-guided projectiles, be closed down. (Jewish Press, July 23, 2018)

‘PALESTINE’ TO HEAD BLOC OF 134 NATIONS AT UN (New York) — The “State of Palestine” will reportedly preside next year over the largest bloc of developing nations at the UN. Palestine — which is not a member state of the UN but has observer state status — was chosen to head the so-called Group of 77, a consortium now consisting of 134 nations that often speaks in one voice at the UN General Assembly, starting January 1, 2019. The UN General Assembly in 2012 voted overwhelmingly in favor of granting Palestine “non-state observer status.” Three years later, the GA also voted to allow the Palestinian flag to be raised outside the UN’s building in New York. (Times of Israel, July 25, 2018)

PAKISTAN: 31 DEAD AS BOMB ATTACK MARS VOTING (Islamabad) — A suicide bomber killed at least 29 people near a polling center as Pakistanis voted on Wednesday in a general election pitting cricket hero Imran Khan against the party of jailed ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack that hospital officials said killed 29 people and wounded 35 in the city of Quetta. Security sources said the bomber drove his motorcycle into a police vehicle. Earlier this month, a suicide bomber killed 149 people at an election rally in the town of Mastung in Baluchistan. That attack was also claimed by Islamic State. (Globe & Mail, July 25, 2018)

AFGHAN VICE-PRESIDENT ESCAPES ATTACK AT KABUL AIRPORT (Kabul) — Afghan Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum narrowly escaped a suicide attack at Kabul airport as he returned home from exile in Turkey over allegations of torturing and abusing a political rival. Dostum, who left Afghanistan last year after heavy pressure from Western donors including the U.S., drove away from the airport in a motorcade before the explosion, which police said killed at least 14 people and wounded more than 50. He was unharmed in the blast, which was claimed by I.S. (Globe & Mail, July 22, 2018)

KOREA APPEARS TO BE DISMANTLING KEY PARTS OF LAUNCH SITE (Pyongyang) — North Korea appears to have started dismantling key facilities at its main satellite launch site in a step toward fulfilling a commitment made by leader Kim Jong Un at his summit with Trump in June. A North Korean website said commercial satellite images indicate the North began dismantling key facilities at the Sohae launch site. The facilities being razed or disassembled include a rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles and a rail-mounted processing building where space launch vehicles were assembled. (Huffington Post, July 24, 2018

ISRAEL’S AMB. CONVINCES JEWISH MUSEUM TO CANCEL SPEAKER (Berlin) — Israel’s ambassador to Germany complained to the head of the Jewish Museum in Berlin about an anti-Israel speaker, prompting the museum to cancel the talk. The talk was to be delivered by the US-based Sa’ed Atshan, a Swarthmore College professor who said in 2014: “We all know Israel is an apartheid state and should be boycotted.” Atshan, born in Ramallah, was to give the talk “Being Queer and Palestinian in East-Jerusalem” as part of the exhibit “Welcome to Jerusalem.” (Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2018)

NORWEGIAN HOSPITALS REFUSE TO ASSIST IN CIRCUMCISIONS (Oslo) — At least two hospitals in Norway are breaking Norwegian law by refusing to help parents who wish to have their sons circumcised. Stavanger University Hospital in the country’s west and Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen are not cooperating on the non-medical circumcision of boys younger than three years. The ban is in violation of Norwegian law, which requires public hospitals to offer ritual circumcision services either through their own facilities and staff or through a contractor. In Judaism, circumcision is performed on 8-day-old boys provided they are healthy. (Times of Israel, July 11, 2018)

MOSSAD THWARTED IRANIAN ATTACK IN FRANCE (Paris) — A terror cell headed by an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna planned last month to attack a conference of opponents of the Tehran regime that was to be held in a town near Paris. Mossad agents, together with their Belgian, French and German counterparts, conducted a hunt of the terror cell across several countries. The operation, which included tracking, wiretapping and listening, led to the capture of members of the terror cell with their communications and explosive devices. In addition to two suspects arrested in Belgium, an Iranian diplomat stationed in Austria was arrested in Germany on suspicion of heading the terror cell that planned to set off an explosive device. Another Iranian was arrested in France. (Jewish Press, July 20, 2018)

3 JEWISH MEN ASSAULTED IN POSSIBLE ANTISEMITIC ATTACK (Vienna) — An Austrian man of Turkish descent allegedly assaulted three Jewish men in a neighborhood of Vienna where many Jews live. The incident occurred on Tabor Street in front of a kosher restaurant. Police are looking into the possibility that the attack was antisemitic. The perpetrator, a 24-year-old unemployed Austrian with Turkish roots, was identified only as “Burkay S.” All victims wore a kippah. None of the victims suffered serious injuries. The suspect was arrested at a subway station. (Times of Israel, July 21, 2018)

IRELAND’S SENATE ADVANCES BILL THAT BANS ISRAELI SETTLEMENT GOODS (Dublin) — Ireland’s Senate approved a bill making it illegal to purchase products and services from Israeli settlements. The measure would make it illegal “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.” The term occupied territories includes eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. It must advance several more steps before it can be signed into law by President Michael Higgins. Israel has not yet said how it will respond to the legislation. (JTA, July 11, 2018)

JUDO COMPETITIONS CANCELLED OVER TREATMENT OF ISRAEL (Abu Dhabi) — The International Judo Federation suspended planned competitions in Tunisia and the UAE after the hosts failed to confirm that Israeli athletes would receive equal treatment. The IJF had asked judo officials in both nations to provide guarantees that the Israeli national anthem and flag could be included in the events. Last October, organizers of a tournament in Abu Dhabi refused to play Israel’s national anthem when Tal Flicker won a gold medal. Flicker was wearing an International Judo Federation uniform and received his medal under an IJF flag while the anthem of the federation was played. (Arutz Sheva, July 21, 2018)

TZIPI LIVNI TO REPLACE HERZOG AS HEAD OF OPPOSITION (Jerusalem) — Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay and Hatnua’s Tzipi Livni agreed that the latter will serve as leader of the opposition instead of Isaac Herzog, who stepped down after being appointed to head the Jewish Agency. Gabbay and Livni also decided that they would maintain their political alliance under the banner of the Zionist Union in their effort to unify their electoral base and threaten Netanyahu’s Likud in the 2019 elections. Livni has occupied some of Israel’s most prominent political posts, including heading the Foreign Ministry and serving as chief negotiator in the peace talks brokered by the US. (Times of Israel, July 23, 2018)

HUGE STONE DETACHES FROM WESTERN WALL (Jerusalem) — A large stone detached from the Western Wall early Monday, shattering in the egalitarian prayer area, only a few meters away from one of the women praying there. No one was hurt. In the wake of the unusual incident, the mixed-gender prayer area was closed, and Israel Antiquities Authority personnel were called to the scene to assess the situation. The massive rock fell just hours after the evening prayer that concluded the Tisha B’Av fast, when the Western Wall is particularly crowded with worshipers. (Ynet, July 23, 2018)

ISRAEL’S UNDER-20 BASKETBALL TEAM WINS EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP (Munich) — Israel’s under-20 national basketball team won the European championship on Sunday evening in Chemnitz, Germany, beating the Croatian team 80-66 for the gold medal. The Israeli team is coached by Ariel Beit-Halahmi. The game was Beit-Halahmi’s first crack ever at the European championship and the second year in a row in which the Israeli team trounced France in the semifinals, this year by a score of 83-57. (Ha’aretz, July 23, 2018)

On Topic Links

Iran: Khamenei’s New Poem – Pure Wine and Deadly Poison: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, July 25, 2018 —The annual poetry congress in Tehran, held at the beginning of July, included what state-owned or controlled media have described as an “historic literary event,” which, according to one establishment literary commentator, Muhammad-Ali Mujahedi, electrified those present.

Trump Isn’t the First President to Embarrass America by Cozying Up to Putin: Marc Thiessen, Fox News, July 18, 2018—The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result…

New York Times Loses It Over Israel’s ‘Incendiary’ Nation-State Law: Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, July 22, 2018 —Of the many virtues of the Israeli parliament passing a law declaring Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, not least is the entertainment value of observing the New York Times in what I call full-fledged frothing freakout frenzy mode.

Ireland’s Anti-Israel Bill and the Muslim Brotherhood: Lawrence A. Franklin, Gatestone Institute, July 23, 2018—On July 11, the Irish Senate approved a bill criminalizing local companies that engage in commerce with Israeli firms based in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Introduced in the body’s Upper Chamber by independent member Senator Frances Black, the bill passed initial muster, in a 25-20 vote with 14 abstentions.

ISRAEL, AN INNOVATION POWERHOUSE, AIMS FOR HISTORIC MOON LANDING

Israeli Spacecraft Aims for Historic Moon Landing… Within Months: Stuart Winer & Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, July 10, 2018— Save the date. On February 13, 2019, an Israeli-built unmanned spacecraft is expected to land on the moon…

A Match Made in Hi-Tech Heaven: Israel and South Korea: David Lee, The Media Line, July 5, 2018 — Israel and South Korea top the list of countries that spend the most on science and technology R&D.

IDF’s Cyber Defenders Prepare Their Responses for the ‘Unknown Threat’: Yaakov Lappin, JNS, July 4, 2018— The cyber defenders of the Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deal with future unknown threats that will not resemble the dangers known today, a senior cyber officer has told JNS.

Is Desalination the Answer?: David Brummer, Breaking Israel News, July 11, 2018— Over the last two decades, desalination has appeared to be the answer to Israel’s urgent potable water shortfall, but in reality it has produced damaging and problematic unintended consequences.

On Topic Links

Israeli Technology Providing Vital Communications Link to Cave-Trapped Thai Boys: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, July 5, 2018

Israel’s Ladder to Space: Andy Blumenthal, Times of Israel, July 12, 2018

Israel70 | Innovation: Africa: Sivan Ya’ari, Fathom, July, 2018

8 Israeli Startups On World Economic Forum’s 2018 Technology Pioneers List: NoCamels, June 21, 2018

 

ISRAELI SPACECRAFT AIMS FOR HISTORIC

MOON LANDING… WITHIN MONTHS                                    

Stuart Winer & Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, July 10, 2018

Save the date. On February 13, 2019, an Israeli-built unmanned spacecraft is expected to land on the moon, having blasted off from Earth two months earlier, project managers said at a news conference Tuesday. If all goes well, the SpaceIL spider-like craft will give Israel entry into the exclusive club of just three nations that have so far achieved a controlled landing on the moon’s surface.

The probe will be launched sometime in December from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, officials said during the media event, held at an Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) space technology site in Yehud. It is scheduled to land on February 13, 2019. The project, begun seven years ago as part of a Google technology contest to land a small probe on the moon, was conducted together with IAI. “We will put the Israeli flag on the moon,” said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL.

“As soon as the spacecraft reaches the landing point it will be completely autonomous,” Anteby said. “The motor will brake the craft and it will reach the ground at zero speed for a soft landing.” “In the first stage the Israeli flag will be put on the moon,” he said. “During the landing the craft will photograph the landing area with stills and video and even record itself.”

The spacecraft will carry out a Weizmann Institute of Science experiment to measure the moon’s magnetic field, finishing its mission within two days. SpaceIL’s vehicle is just two meters in diameter and 1.5 meters tall standing on its four legs. It weighs 600 kilograms, making it the smallest craft to touchdown on the moon.

Israeli billionaire philanthropist and SpaceIL President Morris Kahn, who donated some $27 million to the project, told a gathering of journalists: “We are making history.” The idea, he said, is to inspire youth in Israel to take up science studies and to have the impact the Apollo lunar mission had in 1969, when astronauts landed on the moon, with people remembering forever where they were on that day. “This is a tremendous project,” Khan said. “When the rocket is launched into space, we will all remember where we were when Israel landed on the moon.”

The Israeli government has promised to fund 10% of the project, he said, but the money still has to come. “The government should recognize that space is very important for the future,” he said. “This is national history,” said IAI director Yossi Weiss. “The path to the moon is not easy. It is a very complicated route.” “The cooperation between SpaceIL and IAI is an example of the amazing abilities that can be reached in civil space activities — activities that combine education, technology, industry, knowledge and a lot of initiative.”

Whereas other previous moonshot spacecraft have taken just days to reach their target, SpaceIL will be fired into an elliptical orbit to gradually bring it closer to the moon, a journey that will take two months but will save on carrying the fuel needed for a quicker passage. Even so, the craft will travel at a speed that is 13 times faster than the maximal speed of an F-15 fighter jet, steering itself to the moon, which is some 384,000 kilometers (239,000 miles) from Earth, about 10 times the distance between Earth and communication satellites orbiting it. Through its elliptical journey, the Israeli spacecraft will cover some 9 million kilometers, the project managers said.

The Falcon 9 launch rocket’s primary load will be a much a larger communications satellite. The craft itself — the very same one that will land on the moon — was displayed in a so-called “clean room” on site. Journalists and visitors had to don white robes and hats and cover their shoes before accessing the space. Shiny gold insulating paper covered its spiderlike legs. The gold paper will cover the whole of the craft once it is finally ready, the creators said.

The spacecraft’s design and development is all Israeli, the organizers explained. The fuel is contained in balloon-like devices within the lightweight metal frame of the craft, with one engine at its center, and smaller engines on the side. The craft is equipped with solar panels, avionics, electronics and a control system – all of which were developed in Israel. It is also equipped with cameras and communication equipment so it can continuously be in touch with its operators on Earth.

The project is making “the moon reachable, which it never was before,” said IAI’s  Weiss at the event. “Going to the moon was a hugely expensive government-run mission. And this is going to be the first privately run mission to the moon.” This is the first time an enterprise, not a country, has gone to the moon at a reasonable cost, and it is “going to show the way for the rest of the world on how space is much more than just satellites.” Humanity is looking for ways to make it easier to get to the moon and other planets, he said, and this mission paves the way for that.

In the coming months the spacecraft will undergo a series of intensive checks and tests at IAI, including with the use of simulators, to prove that it will withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions, said SpaceIL’s Anteby at the event. In November the spacecraft will be sent to Cape Canaveral to ready it for the launch in December.

SpaceIL began in 2011 when engineers Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub decided to compete in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, an international contest with a $20 million prize for the first privately funded team that puts a small, mobile craft on the moon. Although the Google contest was eventually scrapped in March 2018 after none of the teams managed to launch their probes before the deadline, the SpaceIL group kept going with its project, gaining funding from various donors including Kahn and the Adelson family. In total the project has cost some $95 million.

Only three countries have made soft landings of craft on the moon — Russia, the US, and China. The Russians were first in February 1966 with their Luna 9 probe followed by the US in June the same year with Surveyor 1, and then the Chinese with the Chang’e 3 craft in 2013. Other countries have succeeded in crashing scientific probes into the surface. Only the US has landed people on the moon, with the first human steps on the surface taken by Neil Armstrong on July 21, 1969, when he famously declared, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

 

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A MATCH MADE IN HI-TECH HEAVEN: ISRAEL AND SOUTH KOREA                                                         David Lee

                                                               The Media Line, July 5, 2018

 

Israel and South Korea top the list of countries that spend the most on science and technology R&D. Israel and South Korea have more in common than one would expect. Both are democratic countries that declared their independence in 1948 – the former gaining it only three months before the latter. Both countries also oversee some of the world’s most militarized borders.

They furthermore have strong economies supported by thriving hi-tech industries. According to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Israel and South Korea spend the same proportion of its GDP towards Research and Development (R&D) – 4.2 percent, the highest in the world.

For the past three to five years government ministries and companies around the world have been eyeing hi-tech’s steady march forward in the two countries, which have also not been shy about working together. Indeed, some would say it’s a match made in heaven. The Israel Innovation Authority reported that more than 140 joint Israeli-Korean technological innovation projects were launched in 2016 involving a total sum of $54 million. “Israel is the fourth-leading exporter [among Middle Eastern countries] to South Korea,” said Cho Kyung Jin, a senior manager at KOTRA, an agency that promotes South Korean trade and investment with other countries.

Cho’s office – a branch of KOTRA based in Tel Aviv – provides buyer and market information to companies in Israel and South Korea. “We observe the Israeli market for Korean companies so these companies can make appropriate adjustments to the local Israeli market,” Cho told The Media Line. He explained that the main Korean exports to Israel included automobiles, mobile phones, and household appliances. In fact, one of five cars sold in Israel is reportedly from Korea. Additionally, Korean mobile phone sales gained more than 50% of the Israeli market.

Korean companies, by contrast, were interested in about 3,500 Israeli venture groups in the areas of bio-tech, medical equipment, renewable energy and aerospace. Itzik Yona, the CEO of Yonaco, an Israeli consulting agency for businesses that are eyeing South Korea, told The Media Line that “Koreans cannot work without face-to-face interactions; the country has a very unique business culture.”

Yona got the idea of starting his own consulting firm when many Israeli businessmen came to him for help on how to navigate South Korea’s business culture. “For the last 15 years with Yonaco I’ve been negotiating transactions and promoting businesses in Korea. It started with Israeli companies wanting to do business and invest in South Korea. Now we have clients in Europe, Singapore and the United States,” said Yona.

He added that Israel was a powerhouse for innovation in medical devices, green technology, pharmaceuticals and robotics. Yet, Israelis face some setbacks after the innovation phase. “People in Israel are building companies to do one of two things: either to sell them or take them to an IPO [an initial public offering]. This means that after these companies reach a certain maturity and other interested parties step in, their technologies often exit Israel, the place where they originated.” He continued, “Koreans know how to take core technologies and make them into a product. The capabilities in South Korea are to design a product, execute quality control over the product and order the production chain in a very efficient way.”

While both countries have their strengths and weaknesses, Yona said they complement each other almost perfectly. “South Korea knows how to take core technologies and make products, while Israel knows how to make core technologies.” There are others avenues through which this type of joint cooperation runs. Korean conglomerates make investments in Israeli startups through venture companies. Another popular option for big names in South Korea, such as Samsung and LG, is to open up accelerators in Israel.

“Accelerators are [investment and support] initiatives that provide small companies with about $50,000 to examine their technology for six to eight months. They can screen technology and get closer to it,” explained Yona. Samsung Next and the LG R&D Center are examples of these accelerators which directly involve Israeli startups that want to work under the umbrella of tech-giants such as Samsung.

South Korea’s heavy investment in Israeli technology in the past few years may have been influenced by the aggressive investment strategies from its neighbors China and Japan towards the global market. Yet South Korea has a smaller stake of interests in Israel than do China, Japan and India. “While South Korea is not among the countries doing the most trade with Israel, I think this economic partnership will continue to grow exceptionally,” said Yona.

Sageworks, a company that provides financial analysis to hi-tech firms, reported that information-technology was the fastest-growing industry in the US. With businesses relying heavily on the fast pace of information exchange, it seems that this sector – which is dominant in both Israel and South Korea – will expand much more in the future. “Some industries in South Korea consider it a crucial strategy to trade in technology, consumer electronics, mobile technologies and networks. So, these Israeli companies will do business with South Korea for a long time to come,” said Yona…

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

 

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IDF’S CYBER DEFENDERS PREPARE THEIR

RESPONSES FOR THE ‘UNKNOWN THREAT’

Yaakov Lappin

JNS, July 4, 2018

The cyber defenders of the Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deal with future unknown threats that will not resemble the dangers known today, a senior cyber officer has told JNS. Military assessments place cyber warfare on par with the potential damage that conventional weapons can incur. In some cases, cyberattacks can surpass the damage caused by known threats like missiles. A cyber arms race rages between Israel and its foes, parallel to the conventional arms race that is under way.

At a cybersecurity conference late last month in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the challenges Israel and all developed countries face from adversaries now bent on cyberattacks. “We cannot go back to the world of levers, pulleys and couriers. Since we are going forward, we are absolutely vulnerable,” he said. “Our airlines can be brought down; our fighter planes can be brought down.”

Netanyahu—who said that Israel receives about 20 percent of the global investment in the sector, and who noted Israel’s cybersecurity center in Beersheva that combines military, business and high-tech know-how—added that there is “no silver bullet” against cyber threats. “This is a supreme test for our civilization. It’s going to be tested not only by criminal organizations, by terrorists, but by other states. We have to combine forces,” said Netanyahu.

Sgt. 1st Class M, the head of the Cyber Department in the IDF’s Hoshen Unit, leads personnel that defend the military’s sensitive communications networks, without which the Israel Defense Forces could not function. Whether wireless, wired, or using satellites and phones, the Hoshen Unit is involved in enabling military communications, and its personnel are aware of the fact that Israel’s enemies are keen on being able to shut down the IDF’s networks if they could.

“One can naturally understand that the IDF has been marked as a priority [target],” M said. “We are the focus of enemies. So we must act all day and night proactively, to defend and track, and be able to intervene in case of an incident.” As part of that effort, the unit invests a great deal of thought into meeting threats that do not currently exist, he stated. “I can say that we are, all of the time, thinking about what will arrive tomorrow morning, about the non-trivial things. We use red teams [personnel that simulate the enemy] to attack ourselves, and we conduct surprise exercises on ourselves, at 2 a.m. on a summer night, when incidents come as a surprise. That is how we know what our defense levels are,” the officer said.

Last month, Hoshen’s Cyber Department organized a competition for all of the military’s cyber defenders to get them to think out of the box and prepare for tasks they are not used to carrying out. The “Capture the Flag” competition was hosted by Cisco Systems, an American networking hardware giant, at its offices in Netanya. Cisco works closely with the Hoshen Unit, as its association with the event symbolizes. “We took a whole day and brought personnel from across the whole of the military, split them up into groups and gave the participants cyber riddles with varying difficulty levels,” M said. “The goal was to win as many points as possible.”

The event included the participation of classified units, as well as cyber personnel from the Israeli Air Force and Navy. The goal was to get them to develop new abilities, M said. “Everyone has their forte—some are experts on the web, some do programming. Our goal was to take them out of their routine and expose them to things they don’t usually deal with on a day-to-day basis, so that they won’t be weak in those areas.” The event also took IDF engineers who don’t work directly in cyber warfare and gave them a crash course in the world of cyber defenses. “They came out of this on a higher level,” said M, “and that’s what matters.”

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IS DESALINATION THE ANSWER?

David Brummer

Breaking Israel News, July 11, 2018

Over the last two decades, desalination has appeared to be the answer to Israel’s urgent potable water shortfall, but in reality it has produced damaging and problematic unintended consequences. It is time to rethink Israel’s water strategy, especially in light of the April 2018 storms when millions of cubic meters of urban runoff simply flowed into the sea, rather than being redirected to replenish diminishing natural underground water reserves (aquifers). And beyond re-thinking the strategy, there are challenging questions about why Israel is proceeding with hugely expensive and energy-inefficient desalination rather than a proven cheaper and better alternative.

For at least the last five years, an acute lack of rainfall in drought conditions and an accelerating water deficit has been overtaxing Israel’s desalination and wastewater treatment plants. The received wisdom is that the only answer lies in the construction of more desalination plants, and indeed Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry has announced its intention to build two further such plants, which would be the sixth and seventh respectively – at a cost of approximately US$400 million each. Is this the most efficient and cost-effective response?

With the political and military temperature rising, and a standoff with Iran now teetering, investment in less targetable and more energy efficient water purification and storage sites would seem logical and appropriate. So why, when there is growing and significant evidence for more effective, cost-efficient and equitable solutions to the water crisis is there a myopic focus on the perceived impregnability of water desalination?

For Dr. Yaron Zinger, from the Center for Water Sensitive Cities in Israel (a unique platform, cooperating with Water Sensitive Cities Australia and headed by KKL-JNF, in collaboration with the Hebrew University, the Technion in Haifa and Ben-Gurion University), a number of pilot programs and field studies point to the efficacy and potential widespread implementation of biofiltration, which converts wasted urban runoff into a new secure water resource.

Biofiltration is the process of using selected plants and different soil densities to remove impurities from rain or storm water.  And it is an Australian model that provides the inspiration – Australia leads the world in biofiltration with thousands of bio-filtration systems in the city of Melbourne and many more in the city of Adelaide where hundreds of Dunams use biofiltration to create drinking water.

Zinger and Prof. Ana Deletic, a world-renowned academic and expert in water engineering, were part of a team that conducted a case study in Melbourne, and found that growing plants in certain areas and filtering rain and drainage runoff water through them, resulted in several positive outcomes: primarily, the treated water was cleaned, purified and stored; and secondarily, the ambient temperature surrounding biofiltration sites was reduced, and the vegetation and foliage at the sites enhanced the attractiveness to residents of nearby areas. A 2010 agreement between Water Sensitive Cities Australia and KKL-JNF to establish a joint Australia-Israel research center also led to examining broader questions about urban planning and use of water…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Israeli Technology Providing Vital Communications Link to Cave-Trapped Thai Boys: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, July 5, 2018—Rescuers working to save a Thai youth soccer team trapped deep inside a flooded cave are using an Israeli technology to maintain communication with the 12 boys and their coach.

Israel’s Ladder to Space: Andy Blumenthal, Times of Israel, July 12, 2018—Wow, what an unbelievable announcement in the last day that Israel is planning a lunar landing from aboard a SpaceX rocket taking off from Cape Canaveral towards the end of the year.

Israel70 | Innovation: Africa: Sivan Ya’ari, Fathom, July, 2018 —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited African three times in the last 18 months, with the continent increasingly being perceived as a strategic asset. BICOM CEO James Sorene spoke to Sivan Ya’ari the founder of Innovation: Africa, a New York based non-profit that brings Israeli solar, agricultural and water technologies to rural African villages.

8 Israeli Startups On World Economic Forum’s 2018 Technology Pioneers List: NoCamels, June 21, 2018—June 21, 2018 | Eight Israeli startups were on the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers cohort of 2018 list, which was unveiled Thursday.

TRUMP’S CRITICS WRONGLY ACCUSE HIM OF BETRAYING THE U.S. & ALLIES OVER RUSSIA AND NATO

Who is Betraying America?: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2018 — Did US President Donald Trump commit treason in Helsinki when he met Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin? Should he be impeached?

NATO has Weaknesses, and Trump Right to Prod It: Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, July 15, 2018 — As President Trump put Germany and other allies on notice for the harm they are doing to NATO with their failure to spend adequately on our common defense, Democrats in Washington came to Germany’s defense.

Pivots and Pitfalls as President Trump Eyes New Mideast Peace Push Through Gaza: Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, The Hill, July 12, 2018 — Gifting an Elton John CD to “Little Rocket Man,” pulling the plug on the Iran nuclear deal, slapping billions of dollars in tariffs on China, shaking up NATO’s status quo, downsizing the State Department.

Is Donald Trump the Oscar Wilde of Our Degraded Digital Age?: Dominic Green, CapX, July 16, 2018— Observers of the diplomatic tour that sacked Brussels, laid waste to Britain, and then ended on a nuclear-tipped grand finale in Helsinki know that, like Oscar Wilde, Donald Trump travels the world with nothing to declare but his genius.

On Topic Links

Listening to the Prophetic Voice: Tisha B’Av 5778: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, July 21, 2018

What, If Anything, Did Trump and Putin Agree On in Helsinki?: Seth Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2018

After Brussels, Trump Will Have Few Offerings for Putin: Aurel Braun, Globe and Mail, July 12, 2018

Donald Trump and the Carl Schmitt Spectrum: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, July 22, 2018

 

WHO IS BETRAYING AMERICA?

Caroline Glick

Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2018

Did US President Donald Trump commit treason in Helsinki when he met Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin? Should he be impeached? That is what his opponents claim. Former president Barack Obama’s CIA director John Brennan accused Trump of treason outright. Brennan tweeted, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki [with Putin] rises to and exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.”

Fellow senior Obama administration officials, including former FBI director James Comey, former defense secretary Ashton Carter, and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates parroted Brennan’s accusation. Almost the entire US media joined them in condemning Trump for treason. Democratic leaders have led their own charge. Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee insinuated the US military should overthrow the president, tweeting, “Where are our military folks? The Commander-in-Chief is in the hands of our enemy!”

Senate minority leader Charles Schumer said that Trump is controlled by Russia. And Trump’s Republican opponents led by senators Jeff Flake and John McCain attacked him as well. Trump allegedly committed treason when he refused to reject Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the US elections in 2016 and was diffident in relation to the US intelligence community’s determination that Russia did interfere in the elections.

Trump walked back his statement from Helsinki at a press appearance at the White House Tuesday. But it is still difficult to understand what all the hullaballoo about the initial statement was about. AP reporter John Lemire placed Trump in an impossible position. Noting that Putin denied meddling in the 2016 elections and the intelligence community insists that Russia meddled, he asked Trump, “Who do you believe?”

If Trump had said that he believed his intelligence community and gave no credence to Putin’s denial, he would have humiliated Putin and destroyed any prospect of cooperative relations. Trump tried to strike a balance. He spoke respectfully of both Putin’s denials and the US intelligence community’s accusation. It wasn’t a particularly coherent position. It was a clumsy attempt to preserve the agreements he and Putin reached during their meeting. And it was blindingly obviously not treason.

In fact, Trump’s response to Lemire, and his overall conduct at the press conference, did not convey weakness at all. Certainly he was far more assertive of US interests than Obama was in his dealings with Russia. In Obama’s first summit with Putin in July 2009, Obama sat meekly as Putin delivered an hour-long lecture about how US-Russian relations had gone down the drain.

As Daniel Greenfield noted at Frontpage magazine Tuesday, in succeeding years, Obama capitulated to Putin on anti-missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, on Ukraine, Georgia and Crimea. Obama gave Putin free rein in Syria and supported Russia’s alliance with Iran on its nuclear program and its efforts to save the Assad regime. He permitted Russian entities linked to the Kremlin to purchase a quarter of American uranium. And of course, Obama made no effort to end Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

Trump in contrast has stiffened US sanctions against Russian entities. He has withdrawn from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. He has agreed to sell Patriot missiles to Poland. And he has placed tariffs on Russian exports to the US. So if Trump is Putin’s agent, what was Obama? Given the nature of Trump’s record, and the context in which he made his comments about Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, the question isn’t whether he did anything wrong. The question is why are his opponents accusing him of treason for behaving as one would expect a president to behave? What is going on?

The answer to that is clear enough. Brennan signaled it explicitly when he tweeted that Trump’s statements “exceed the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’” The unhinged allegations of treason are supposed to form the basis of impeachment hearings. The Democrats and their allies in the media use the accusation that Trump is an agent of Russia as an elections strategy. Midterm elections are consistently marked with low voter turnout. So both parties devote most of their energies to rallying their base and motivating their most committed members to vote.

To objective observers, the allegation that Trump betrayed the United States by equivocating in response to a rude question about Russian election interference is ridiculous on its face. But Democratic election strategists have obviously concluded that it is catnip for the Democratic faithful. For them it serves as a dog whistle. The promise of impeachment for votes is too radical to serve as an official campaign strategy. For the purpose of attracting swing voters and not scaring moderate Democrats away from the party and the polls, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer say they have no interest in impeaching Trump. Impeachment talk, they insist, is a mere distraction.

But by embracing Brennan’s claim of treason, Pelosi, Hoyer, Schumer and other top Democrats are winking and nodding to the progressive radicals now rising in their party. They are telling the Linda Sarsours and Cynthia Nixons of the party that they will impeach Trump if they win control of the House of Representatives. The problem with playing domestic politics on the international scene is that doing so has real consequences for international security and for US national interests…

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

 

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NATO HAS WEAKNESSES, AND TRUMP RIGHT TO PROD IT

Marc A. Thiessen

Washington Post, July 15, 2018

 

As President Trump put Germany and other allies on notice for the harm they are doing to NATO with their failure to spend adequately on our common defense, Democrats in Washington came to Germany’s defense. “President Trump’s brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement.

Sorry, Trump is right. The real embarrassment is that Germany, one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, spends just 1.24 percent of its gross domestic product on defense — in the bottom half of NATO allies. (The U.S. spends 3.5 percent of GDP on its military.)

A study by McKinsey & Co. notes that about 60 percent of Germany’s Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets and about 80 percent of its Sea Lynx helicopters are unusable. According to Deutsche Welle, a German parliamentary investigation found that “at the end of 2017, no submarines and none of the air force’s 14 large transport planes were available for deployment due to repairs,” and “a Defense Ministry paper revealed German soldiers did not have enough protective vests, winter clothing or tents to adequately take part in a major NATO mission.”

To meet its promised NATO commitments, Germany needs to spend $28 billion more on defense annually. Apparently Germany can’t come up with the money, but it can send billions of dollars to Russia — the country NATO was created to protect against — for natural gas and support a new pipeline that will make Germany and Eastern European allies even more vulnerable to Moscow.

Sadly, Germany is not alone. Belgium, where NATO is headquartered, spends just 0.9 percent of GDP on defense — and fully one-third of its meager defense budget is spent on pensions. European NATO allies have about 1.8 million troops, but less than a third are deployable and just 6 percent for any sustained period. When Trump says NATO is “obsolete,” he is correct — literally. This is not a new problem. I was in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and vividly recall how, when it came time to take military action in Afghanistan, only a handful of allies had any useful war-fighting capabilities they could contribute during the critical early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom.

At NATO’s 2002 Prague summit, allies pledged to address these deficiencies by spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense and investing that money in more usable capabilities. Instead, defense investments by European allies declined from 1.9 percent of GDP in 2000-2004 to 1.7 percent five years later, dropping further to 1.4 percent by 2015.

Little surprise that when NATO intervened in Libya a decade after 9/11, The Washington Post reported, “Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in sustaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time.” An alliance whose founding purpose is to deter Russian aggression could not sustain a limited bombing campaign against a far weaker adversary.

President Barack Obama called NATO allies “free riders,” and President George W. Bush urged allies to “increase their defense investments,” both to little effect. But when Trump refused to immediately affirm that the United States would meet its Article 5 commitment to defend a NATO ally, NATO allies agreed to boost spending by $12 billion last year. That is a drop in the bucket: McKinsey calculated that allies need to spend $107 billion more each year to meet their commitments.

Since polite pressure by his predecessors did not work, Trump is digging in on a harder line: Last week in Brussels, he suggested NATO members double their defense spending targets to 4 percent of GDP. This is not a gift to Russia, as his critics have alleged. The last thing Putin wants is for Trump to succeed in getting NATO to spend more on defense. And if allies are concerned about getting tough with Russia, there is an easy way to do so: invest in the capabilities NATO needs to deter and defend against Russian aggression.

Trump’s hard line also does not signal that he considers NATO irrelevant. If Trump thought NATO was useless, he would not waste his time on it. But if allies don’t invest in real, usable military capabilities, NATO will become irrelevant. An alliance that cannot effectively join the fight when one of its members comes under attack or runs out of munitions in the middle of a military intervention is, by definition, irrelevant. NATO needs some tough love, and Trump is delivering it. Thanks to him, the alliance will be stronger as a result.

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PIVOTS AND PITFALLS AS PRESIDENT TRUMP

EYES NEW MIDEAST PEACE PUSH THROUGH GAZA

Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper

The Hill, July 12, 2018

Gifting an Elton John CD to “Little Rocket Man,” pulling the plug on the Iran nuclear deal, slapping billions of dollars in tariffs on China, shaking up NATO’s status quo, downsizing the State Department. Forget tweets. When it comes to foreign policy, President Donald Trump continues to shake well and stir, often shocking friend and foe alike. Now there are signs the Trump administration is about to nudge the Middle East’s Richter scale with a push for peace that focuses on … Gaza?

Yes, Gaza. Led by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, it appears the United States, with the support or understanding of Israel and key Gulf states, will seek ways to improve the daily lives of Gaza’s people, starting with their electrical grid and water services. Yes, the same Gaza that is ruled with an iron fist by Hamas, a duly-elected terrorist organization whose genocidal, Jew-hating charter calls for Israel’s destruction and invokes the classic anti-Semitic screed, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The same Hamas that has barred Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from setting foot in the Gaza Strip since his election more than a decade ago.

Is there a method to this new madness? Actually, yes. The Abbas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) never liked President Trump’s views on the Middle East; Abbas and the PA heaped scorn on the U.S. ambassador to Israel even before the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Furthermore, Hamas has made clear it considers any Trump peace plan dead on arrival. Finally, the PA’s ambassador to Tehran has declared President Trump “is a tool of international Zionism.” So, instead of following the well-trodden path of previous U.S. presidents and many European leaders, who have sweetened the PA coffers every time that Abbas cried wolf, the Trump team has decided to bypass Abbas’ West Bank-based regime and instead offer long-suffering Gaza residents hope for a better future.

Israelis would welcome a quiet southern border without having to launch a major military incursion. Gulf states, already pouring millions of dollars into Gaza, would welcome some stability for Palestinians and the region. Working closely with Israel to confront the existential threats from Iran, the United States also could set the stage for open economic and diplomatic relations between Israel and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and, ultimately, Saudi Arabia. The Trump team believes such seismic developments would force the PA into the game, or sideline it permanently.

This represents a visionary approach, but the Trump administration should keep in mind a few words of caution. First, Team Trump will discover there is no reliable interlocutor on the ground in Gaza. Qatar, a major donor in Gaza, is unlikely to be a reliable partner; it is openly playing a double game, cozying up to Washington and Tehran simultaneously. Second, the administration should not expect any meaningful support from the United Nations. If ever there was an opportunity for the United Nations to live up to its charter, this is it. But, sadly, abject failure to pave the way for long-term peace that recognizes the Jewish state’s right to security and sovereignty is part of the United Nations’ DNA.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency is the largest single employer in Gaza but, rather than playing a moderating influence, UNRWA is de facto controlled by Hamas’ diktats. Witness UNRWA schools closing on May 14-15, the bloodiest days of Hamas-driven riots at the Israeli border; Hamas wanted as many kids at the border, with the hope of driving up the death toll beyond Hamas’ members. Meanwhile UNRWA’s alleged new peace curriculum is actually a war curriculum; not a single map in its new textbooks mentions Israel but there’s still mention of “martyrs” (read “killers of Israelis”).

Every international drive to help the people of Gaza rebuild homes after the last war with Israel resulted in building materials diverted by Hamas to its network of underground terror tunnels. Major humanitarian donors, from the Gulf States to the European Union to Japan, acknowledge there is precious little transparency on how funds are actually spent. So, while it may be worthwhile for President Trump and his team to think out of the box to create new paths toward peace, a good place to start is by acting out of the box. The worst thing America can do is to write another “trust me” check to Hamas. Suits and ties do not transform terrorists into statesmen.

If Hamas really wants to play ball, it must return Israelis — dead and alive — still held hostage in Gaza. And the dropping of its charter must precede any involvement of Hamas in the U.S. plan. If Hamas won’t act in good faith, then the United States should find and empower Palestinians who’ve had enough of terrorist rule. Bolstering Gaza with huge funds could backfire, not only by reversing Israeli success in degrading Hamas’ paramilitary capability, but also by allowing Hamas to emerge the big winner in the West Bank. By swapping an enfeebled Abbas with the Hamas-aligned Muslim Brotherhood, we would enable terrorists to threaten Israel’s heartland…

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

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IS DONALD TRUMP THE OSCAR WILDE OF OUR DEGRADED DIGITAL AGE?

Dominic Green

CapX, July 16, 2018

Observers of the diplomatic tour that sacked Brussels, laid waste to Britain, and then ended on a nuclear-tipped grand finale in Helsinki know that, like Oscar Wilde, Donald Trump travels the world with nothing to declare but his genius. And, like the divine Oscar, the less-than-divine Donald is a comedian who mistakes himself for a philosopher, and who knows that if you want to tell people the truth, you should make them laugh. None of the leaders of NATO laughed when Trump told them to raise their defence budgets to 2 per cent of GDP.

Neither did Theresa May double up when Trump mused on an open mike in the garden of Chequers about Boris Johnson’s suitability for her job. Nor did the collective heads of the chuckle fest that is the European Union surrender to a spontaneous outburst of collective jollity when Trump described the EU as an American “foe” when it came to trade. But these are the jokes, folks. There is much truth to all these statements, and much more truth than the professional politicians dare to admit. The laughs, unfortunately, are on us, and all of them are rather bitter. Trump lies in the gutter press, while looking up at the stars and the autocrats.

Trump was accurate when he said that Theresa May’s latest proposals for Brexit aren’t really the Brexit for which her public voted in 2016 and elected her in 2017. Trump is accurate in noting that the EU’s trade regulations do not create a level playing field; African farmers might well agree with him. And Trump is right that most NATO members, and European states in general, have been passing the tab for their security to the US for decades. That includes “you, Angela”, as Trump referred to Angela Merkel, who presides over a massive budget surplus but last year spent only 1.25 per cent of GDP on defence.

This week, when NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg crawled from the smoking rubble of NATO’s headquarters, he protested that eight NATO states are on course to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence this year—an increase from three states in 2014. Those eight were Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, the UK and the US. Stoltenberg didn’t mention Turkey, which spent 3.1 per cent of GDP on defence last year. But then, every else would prefer it if Turkey spent a bit less.

The truth is that five of those eight states have raised their defence budgets because of Russian expansionism. And while Greece spends a lot on defence because it fears Turkey, Turkey in part spends a lot on defence because it fears Russia. Which brings us and The Donald to today’s meeting in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin.

Before the summit, Trump deployed his usual tactics. First he lowered expectations: there wasn’t a fixed agenda, and maybe nothing was going to come of it. Then he raised the ante, by warning that “NATO, I think, has never been stronger” since his recent dose of tough love. And then he raised it further by tweet, while changing the subject: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

This was a classic piece of Trump truth-telling. It started with a feeling of truthiness, but it wasn’t really true in objective terms, and it ended with raging subjectivity. It’s true that US-Russian relations have declined steadily since Putin came to power in 2000, and declined sharply since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014. It’s true that they are now as bad as at any point since the end of the Cold War. But they’re nowhere near as bad as relations between Khrushchev and Kennedy, who came close to war over the Cuban Missile Crisis…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Listening to the Prophetic Voice: Tisha B’Av 5778: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, July 21, 2018—At this time, as we recall the destruction of our two Temples, we read three of the most searing passages in prophetic literature, from the beginnings of Jeremiah and Isaiah.

What, If Anything, Did Trump and Putin Agree On in Helsinki?: Seth Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2018—US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Israel, Syria and Iran at their meeting in Helsinki on Monday and in subsequent comments to the press. The public comments provide some insight into their view of the future Middle East. With the Syrian regime conducting a major offensive in the south, the US deeply involved in eastern Syria and Israel demanding that the Iranians leave, these were central topics of concern.

After Brussels, Trump Will Have Few Offerings for Putin: Aurel Braun, Globe and Mail, July 12, 2018—Despite a most inauspicious start, this year’s NATO summit in Brussels turned out to be neither the train wreck that many feared nor an unalloyed success. All the members, it appears, can derive a degree of comfort from what essentially remains a difficult work in progress.

Donald Trump and the Carl Schmitt Spectrum: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, July 22, 2018—Has Donald Trump been reading Carl Schmitt in secret? The thought came to mind the other day when the US president was concluding his two-day “working visit” to the United Kingdom with a series of impromptu statements before flying to Scotland to play golf. It was by using the term “foe” to describe Russia, China and even the European Union that Trump reminded me of Schmitt.

 

 

 

LE RETOUR DES SANCTIONS AMÉRICAINES CONTRE LE RÉGIME DE TÉHÉRAN PORTE FRUIT

RETRAIT DE L’ACCORD DU NUCLÉAIRE:

TRUMP AFFIRME QUE L’IRAN EST DANS LA TOURMENTE

Times of Israel, 17 juil., 2018

Donald Trump a assuré lundi que l’Iran était agité par des émeutes depuis le retrait américain de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien, et que les Etats-Unis soutenaient les manifestants. « Ils ont des émeutes dans toutes leurs villes, l’inflation est galopante », a dit le président américain dans une interview à Fox News.

Et « ce régime ne veut pas que les gens sachent que nous sommes derrière eux à 100 %. Ils ont des manifestations à travers le pays (…). Et des batailles se sont produites depuis que j’ai mis fin à cet accord. Alors nous verrons », a dit M. Trump, qui s’exprimait juste après son sommet avec son homologue russe Vladimir Poutine à Helsinki.

Donald Trump a annoncé en mai le retrait de Washington de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien, conclu en 2015. Les Européens, la Russie et la Chine, signataires de ce texte, sont déterminés à sauver ce compromis historique limitant le programme iranien en échange de la levée des sanctions internationales. Début juillet, ils ont conforté le droit de Téhéran à exporter du pétrole et rester un acteur du commerce international.

Le retour annoncé des sanctions américaines a toutefois fait fuir les grands groupes étrangers revenus s’implanter en Iran en 2016 après l’entrée en vigueur de l’accord. Il a aussi contribué à affaiblir considérablement la monnaie nationale, le rial iranien, qui a perdu environ 50 % de sa valeur en neuf mois face au dollar sur le marché des changes.

Des manifestations de colère contre le pouvoir se sont produites en juin à Téhéran, et des affrontements ont opposé début juillet les forces de l’ordre à des protestataires dénonçant une pollution de l’eau dans le sud-ouest de l’Iran.

 

 

IRAN: DERRIÈRE LA LIGNE DURE DE TRUMP,

LA TENTATION D’UN CHANGEMENT DE RÉGIME?

Le Point, 9 mai, 2018

En se retirant de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien, Donald Trump se fie une fois de plus à une stratégie de “pression maximale” et libère les voix des “faucons” qui plaident purement et simplement pour oeuvrer à un changement de régime à Téhéran.

Le président des Etats-Unis a bien orchestré son annonce, précipitée pour coïncider, mardi, avec une “bonne nouvelle” pour la diplomatie américaine: la visite surprise de son secrétaire d’Etat Mike Pompeo en Corée du Nord afin de préparer son sommet à venir avec Kim Jong Un et obtenir la libération de trois prisonniers américains.

Le message est clair. Donald Trump pense que la “campagne de pression maximale” mise en place contre Pyongyang, mélange de sanctions internationales drastiques et de menace militaire porté par son propre discours musclé, a poussé le dirigeant nord-coréen à accepter de négocier une “dénucléarisation”.

Il semble donc vouloir réitérer son “coup” avec l’Iran, en rétablissant toutes les sanctions levées en échange de l’engagement de Téhéran à ne pas se doter de la bombe atomique et en laissant planer la menace de nouvelles mesures punitives.

Objectif affiché par son conseiller à la sécurité nationale John Bolton: “Mettre le plus de pression économique possible sur l’Iran” afin d’obtenir un meilleur accord que celui jugé “désastreux” par le président américain, et aussi pour mettre fin aux activités “déstabilisatrices” de Téhéran au Moyen-Orient.

C’est la mise en musique de sa “doctrine” officielle: “la paix par la force”. Seulement, si tant est que l’ouverture nord-coréenne porte ses fruits, les situations ne sont pas comparables. La Corée du Nord est déjà à un stade avancé pour être une puissance nucléaire, tandis que l’Iran s’était justement engagé par écrit à ne pas suivre cette voie.

Et si Washington a réussi à coaliser la communauté internationale contre Pyongyang, il se met à dos ses plus proches alliés européens en claquant la porte de ce compromis avec la République islamique arraché de haute lutte en 2015.

Sans l’appui de l’Europe, “toute la pression économique que pourront exercer les Etats-Unis sur l’Iran sera moins forte qu’avant l’accord”, notent dans une récente tribune dans le Washington Post Vipin Narang du Massachusetts Institute of Technology et Colin Kahl de l’université de Stanford.

Surtout, “que veut exactement obtenir l’administration Trump ?”, s’interroge Patrick Clawson, du Washington Institute for Near East Policy, doutant que sa décision réponde à “une stratégie structurée et documentée”.

“Les Européens découvrent progressivement la doctrine +de la patate chaude+ qui guide Trump”, explique Célia Belin, de la Brookings Institution. “Il ouvre de nouveaux fronts diplomatiques, en bousculant des situations souvent stables et en ouvrant des phases d’incertitude et d’instabilité dans le système international, tout en laissant à d’autres, amis ou rivaux, le soin d’avancer des solutions.”

A moins que, glisse-t-elle, l’administration Trump n’ait en fait comme vrai objectif de parvenir à “un changement de régime” à Téhéran. Deux petites phrases ont instillé cette idée, chargée de symboles depuis l’intervention de 2003 en Irak pour renverser Saddam Hussein, aujourd’hui largement considérée comme une erreur, y compris par Donald Trump.

D’abord celle de Rudy Giuliani, son avocat personnel, qui devant des opposants iraniens en exil a fait l’éloge le week-end dernier d’un président “dur” qui est “déterminé à aboutir à un changement de régime”.

Puis celle du président lui-même qui, dans son discours mardi, a menacé le “régime” de “problèmes beaucoup plus gros que jamais” tout en estimant que le peuple iranien “mérite une nation qui rende justice à leurs rêves”.

Veut-il donc faire tomber le régime né de la Révolution islamique de 1979, à la suite de laquelle les relations américano-iraniennes ont été rompues ? “Oh, je suis sûr qu’il adorerait”, répond Robert Malley, ex-conseiller de Barack Obama et actuel président de l’International Crisis Group.

Dans un entretien avec l’AFP, il relève qu’autour de M. Trump, John Bolton et Mike Pompeo, deux “faucons” qu’il vient de nommer à des postes-clés, “n’ont jamais fait mystère de leur certitude que la seule manière de changer la situation est de changer le régime voire d’intervenir militairement”.

Et à Téhéran, ajoute-t-il, le guide suprême Ali Khamenei “a certainement entendu Rudy Giuliani” et a probablement interprété l’annonce de Donald Trump “comme la première salve d’une tentative de saper voire de renverser le régime”.

 

Dossier

 

IRAN : LE RÉGIME DES AYATOLLAHS TIRE-T-IL À SA FIN ?

Dreuz, 13 juin, 2018

Le 28 décembre 2017, de grandes manifestations contre le régime iranien ont éclaté à Mashhad et se sont rapidement étendues à de nombreux autres centres urbains. De simplement bruyantes la plupart du temps, certaines sont devenues violentes et finalement le Corps des Gardiens de la Révolution Islamique (IRGC) y a mis fin en tuant des contestataires et en en arrêtant des milliers d’autres. Les protestations ont continué, mais les nouvelles à leur sujet se sont faites rares. Comment doit-on les considérer ?

On peut faire des parallèles intéressants avec le crépuscule du régime est-allemand. Par coïncidence, le régime iranien est dans sa quarantième année et le régime de l’Allemagne de l’Est s’est soudainement effondré juste après que ses dirigeants eurent organisé une grande fête pompeuse de son quarantième anniversaire dans la capitale, Berlin-Est.

Au moment de sa chute, le gouvernement et l’appareil de sécurité de la soi-disant « République Démocratique Allemande » semblaient être, comme toujours, complètement maîtres de la situation, mais il a suffit de quelques occasions pour que soit déclenché un effet domino qui l’a emporté. Il y a eu d’abord la vague des vacanciers qui conduisaient leurs «Trabis» polluantes vers la Hongrie ou la Tchécoslovaquie et de là, via l’Autriche, vers l’Allemagne de l’Ouest, parce que ces pays d’Europe de l’Est avaient cessé de les en empêcher. À partir du 4 septembre 1989, il y a eu les marches du lundi qui débutaient après la prière du matin à l’église Saint-Nicolas de Leipzig.

La célébration du quarantième anniversaire eût lieu le 6 octobre. Le 9 octobre, la marche du matin à Leipzig comprenait 70 000 personnes. En un revirement décisif, les dirigeants locaux du régime avaient décidé de ne pas envoyer la police par peur de pertes massives. Par la suite, les marches étaient sans limites et pas seulement à Leipzig. Le 9 novembre, un porte-parole du gouvernement, essayant d’apaiser les citoyens en leur accordant une mince concession, a bredouillé une annonce concernant le fait qu’il était plus facile d’obtenir des permis pour visiter l’Allemagne de l’Ouest. Les Berlinois de l’Est se sont mépris, comprenant que la frontière était maintenant ouverte et ils se sont précipités vers les checkpoints de Berlin-Ouest. Les gardes, eux aussi dans la confusion, les ont laissé passer. Là où une centaine de milliers de personnes avaient défilé le 6 octobre pour célébrer le régime, des dizaines de milliers de personnes ont commencé à circuler quotidiennement dans les deux sens.

En un an, l’Allemagne était réunifiée. L’arbre vigoureux qu’était l’Allemagne de l’Est s’est effondré à cause de quelques rafales de vent parce qu’il avait été miné de l’intérieur par la fin de l’estime que les citoyens avaient pour leurs dirigeants ou par le fait qu’ils avaient cessé de s’identifier à l’idéologie dominante (du régime).

Il est crucial de comprendre que ni en Allemagne de l’Est ni en Iran, le régime n’est arrivé au pouvoir grâce aux agissements d’une petite clique, comme lors de la Révolution russe d’octobre, mais en vertu d’une base idéologique qui a reçu un soutien populaire considérable. C’est le déclin de ce soutien qui a transformé l’Allemagne de l’Est en un arbre creux et qui menace maintenant de faire de même en Iran. Considérons d’abord le cas allemand. Nous verrons ensuite le cas iranien.

Le parti communiste allemand avait été un mouvement de masse dans la République de Weimar. Lors des élections fédérales allemandes de novembre (versus celles de mars) 1932, les résultats des plus grands partis étaient: Nazis 196 (-34), Sociaux-démocrates 121 (-12), Communistes 100 (+11) sur 584 (-24) . Ainsi, aucune coalition majoritaire ne pouvait exclure à la fois les nazis et les communistes. Ce qui a amené Hitler au pouvoir, c’est que le président Hindenburg a, cette fois, invité Hitler à diriger une coalition de droite avec une petite majorité, alors que dans les précédents parlements, il avait invité un politicien centriste à la tête d’un gouvernement minoritaire. Ceci, en dépit du fait que les nazis avaient perdu des sièges et que les communistes en avaient gagné.

Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l’Union Soviétique a permis à plusieurs partis d’avant-guerre d’exister (au moins nominalement) dans la zone allemande occupée, mais a fait pression sur les anciens Sociaux-Démocrates et sur les communistes en avril 1946 pour les obliger à fusionner avec le Parti socialiste unifié (SED: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands). Ce parti (au moins nominativement) régna alors tout au long de l’existence de la République Démocratique Allemande (DDR: Deutsche Demokratische Republik), la zone soviétique ayant été renommée en octobre 1949. Le parti ainsi constitué hérita d’une certaine légitimité de la République de Weimar. les composantes avaient été les principaux partis et leur programme commun annoncé comprenait des politiques socialistes typiques de la période de Weimar.

Bien sûr, le SED et le DDR se sont rapidement révélés être des instruments du totalitarisme communiste et de l’impérialisme soviétique (ou plutôt russe). Cependant, pour ceux qui avaient commencé et persévéré à se bercer d’illusions, le régime n’était pas entièrement privé d’une base idéologique authentique. C’est pourquoi la désaffection ne fût pas écrasante au départ, mais un lent processus d’évidement qui s’était établi chez les opposants idéologiques tranchés, s’est étendu au nombre croissant de victimes malheureuses, déçues et désillusionnées, et a finalement sapé l’enthousiasme même des fidèles du régime.

Quelques exemples illustreront comment l’évidement a fonctionné. Une de mes connaissances à Berlin-Ouest avait l’habitude de faire de nombreuses visites au DDR pour des raisons familiales. Selon elle, le moment décisif de la décadence est venu précisément lorsque le régime a cru qu’il avait atteint tous ses objectifs initiaux. En dépit de la nationalisation générale de l’industrie et des services, qui avait également eu lieu dans une certaine mesure sous les gouvernements socialistes d’Europe occidentale, les très petites entreprises locales avec une poignée d’employés étaient légalement autorisées depuis longtemps. En définitive, le régime a annoncé la perfection du socialisme mettant ainsi fin à ces derniers vestiges du capitalisme. Après cela, dit-elle, une apathie générale s’est installée.

Un deuxième exemple concernait la fourniture universelle de logements subventionnés. Le régime était très inefficace pour faire réparer tous ces bâtiments. Comme les résidents payaient peu pour leur logement, ils avaient les moyens de les repeindre eux-mêmes, mais estimaient que ce n’était pas à eux de s’en occuper. C’est pourquoi, lors de l’ouverture de la frontière, les visiteurs ont été choqués de voir partout les façades écaillées et le délabrement des maisons solidement construites à l’origine. Les chefs-d’œuvre architecturaux étaient dans un état catastrophique de délabrement. Par exemple, il a fallu 25 ans après la réunification allemande pour restaurer le célèbre quartier hollandais de Potsdam.

Un troisième exemple vient d’un autre visiteur, qui a offert en cadeau à ses hôtes de l’argent de l’Allemagne de l’Ouest. Comme dans d’autres parties de l’empire soviétique, ils ont pu alors se rendre dans des magasins spécialisés où les biens étrangers n’étaient accessibles qu’à ceux qui avaient de fortes devises étrangères. Là, ils ont acheté des denrées alimentaires. Les conserves et les boîtes vides ont ensuite été placées de façon décorative sur la cheminée du salon à côté d’objets plus anciens. Interrogé à ce sujet, les hôtes ont dit qu’une fois la nourriture consommée, il semblait dommage de jeter les conteneurs avec leurs extérieurs joliment conçus. Le visiteur a ensuite remarqué que d’autres ménages avaient des petites «décorations» similaires. La nourriture de base subventionnée, emballée dans des contenants neutres, avait peut-être autrefois gagné leurs cœurs, mais maintenant leurs cœurs avaient évolué.

Le régime iranien actuel a également commencé avec un certain degré de légitimité et une auto-justification plausible. Ce fait crucial doit être expliqué puisqu’il semble être inconnu des politiciens étrangers qui traitent du régime et des commentateurs de l’Iran à partir de leurs lointains pays. En particulier, c’est une erreur de rejeter la révolution de 1979 comme une prise illégitime du pouvoir par des fanatiques religieux dépassés. Au lieu de cela, en un mot, la révolution de 1979 était initialement largement considérée – et pas seulement par les ayatollahs – comme la réintégration légitime de la révolution constitutionnelle avortée de 1906.

Dans ces premiers jours, la dynastie régnante était les Qajars. Son fondateur, Mohammad Khan Qajar, avait mené une campagne particulièrement brutale durant quinze ans pour envahir tout le pays, où il avait commis des massacres de populations entières et l’aveuglement de 20 000 hommes à Kerman, une ville qui lui avait résisté. Heureusement pour les autres Iraniens, il fût assassiné en 1797 un an après son couronnement. Son neveu et successeur s’est distingué en produisant entre cent et quatre cents enfants dans un harem où il avait jusqu’à 1000 femmes et en perdant un vaste territoire lors de deux guerres désastreuses avec la Russie. Les dirigeants ultérieurs de la dynastie étaient diversement corrompus ou incompétents ; ils ont également essayé de financer leurs dépenses excessives en accordant des concessions aux gouvernements étrangers. À la fin du dix-neuvième siècle, il n’est pas surprenant qu’un puissant mouvement constitutionnaliste se soit développé en Iran. Ses objectifs étaient d’introduire un gouvernement parlementaire sur le modèle européen et de libérer le pays de la servitude envers les étrangers.

 

Actualité 

 

RÉACTIONS APRÈS L’ADOPTION DE LA LOI SUR L’ÉTAT-NATION JUIF

Times of Israel, 19 juil, 2018

Les réactions à l’adoption, par la Knesset, dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi, de la loi sur l’État-nation juif, étaient mitigées selon les partis. Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu a salué « un moment charnière dans les annales du sionisme et de l’État juif ».

Les députés ont approuvé le texte, qui consacre Israël comme « foyer national du peuple juif dans les lois fondamentales, qui ont une valeur quasi-constitutionnelle, en seconde et troisième lectures à 62 voix pour et 55 contre, et deux abstentions, après des heures de débat houleux dans le plénum de la Knesset.

La radio publique a souligné que sur les 120 députés, 45 parlementaires juifs d’opposition avaient voté contre la loi.

Le texte amendé affirme que « l’Etat considère que le développement des implantations juives relève de l’intérêt national et que l’Etat prendra les mesures pour encourager, faire avancer et servir cet intérêt ».

Alors que la coalition a célébré l’adoption de la loi, les membres de l’opposition ont déclaré qu’elle était nationaliste, séparatiste et qu’elle menaçait la démocratie.

Netanyahu a déclaré : « nous avons inscrit dans la loi le principe fondamental de notre existence. Israël est l’État-nation du peuple juif, qui respecte les droits individuels de tous ses citoyens. C’est notre état, l’État juif. Ces dernières années, certains ont tenté de remettre cela en question, d’ébranler notre raison d’être. Aujourd’hui, nous en avons fait une loi : c’est notre nation, notre langue et notre drapeau. »

Avi Dichter, a déclaré qu’elle venait répondre à tous ceux qui estiment que la viabilité d’Israël n’est que temporaire, en référence aux propos du député arabe Jamal Zahalka, qui avait déclaré que les Arabes survivront aux Juifs dans le pays.

« Tout ce que vous pouvez être, c’est une minorité égale, pas une nationalité égale », a déclaré Dichter.

« Contrairement à la désinformation et aux fake news qui ont inondé [la conversation], la Loi Fondamentale n’affecte pas les cultures minoritaires d’Israël », a-t-il affirmé. Il a ajouté que le texte n’enlève rien au statut de la langue arabe.

L’une des clauses de la loi rétrograde la langue arabe de langue officielle et lui octroie un statut « spécial, mais stipule également que « cette clause ne porte pas atteinte au statut de la langue arabe avant l’entrée en vigueur de la loi.

Le président de la Knesset Yuli Edelstein (Likud) a également célébré cette adoption, affirmant que l’assemblée générale était entrée « dans l’histoire » et a jugé que cette nouvelle législation était « l’une des lois les plus importantes à avoir été adoptée par la Knesset ».

Le ministre du Tourisme Yariv Levin a condamné l’opposition manifestée par la faction de l’Union sioniste, et notamment par le parti travailliste, son principal détracteur.

« Dites-nous honnêtement, les travaillistes : contestez-vous le droit du peuple juif sur la terre d’Israël ? Est-ce notre État-nation ? Notre drapeau n’est-il pas accepté par vous ? Il n’y a jamais eu un tel rejet des valeurs sionistes par le parti travailliste. »

Les opposants ont estimé que la loi était discriminatoire envers les Arabes israéliens et les autres minorités, et provoquaient inutilement ces minorités en mettant en exergue une attitude préférentielle envers le judaïsme.

Shelly Yachimovich, de l’Union sioniste, a déclaré : « personne ne pense que [la coalition] est intéressée par la nationalité et l’État d’Israël », ajoutant que la loi encourage une forme de nationalisme « dévaluée » qui « hait l’Autre ».

La députée Tzipi Livni a déclaré que la loi dans sa forme actuelle plaçait la politique au-dessus du contenu. « Quand j’ai demandé aux députés pourquoi ils ne soumettaient pas une version de loi qui pourrait rassembler une centaine de députés, ils ont souri sarcastiquement et m’ont dit que Netanyahu voulait une loi qui crée des dissensions. « Autrement, comme les gens sauront qu’il est plus patriote que toi ? Que tirerions nous du soutien [à cette loi] ?’ Voilà la méthode. »

Isaac Herzog, chef sortant de l’opposition et nouveau chef de l’Agence juive, a été plus ambivalent mais a exprimé ses craintes.

« La question qui se pose, c’est : est-ce que la loi va blesser ou renforcer Israël », a-t-il dit. « L’histoire en sera juge. J’espère vraiment que l’équilibre délicat entre les aspects juif et démocratique [d’Israël] n’en sera pas perturbé. »

Le député Elazar Stern, du parti d’opposition Yesh Atid, a déclaré que la loi était une insulte « à nos frères druzes et bédouins qui servent à nos côtés à l’armée et au sein des services de sécurité ».

Benny Begin, seule voix dissidente au sein du Likud, a déclaré que cette loi n’était pas ce qu’il attendait de son parti, et a averti qu’elle pourrait aggraver les tensions sociales et renforcer le nationalisme extrémiste.

La chef du Meretz Tamar Zandberg a également déploré « une nuit honteuse » et « une loi dévaluée et contaminée ».

La critique la plus vive a été prononcée par la Liste arabe unie, qui a qualifié la loi d’ « anti-démocratique, colonialiste, raciste, au caractère d’apartheid très prononcé ».

 

RENCONTRE TRUMP-POUTINE AVEC À LA CLÉ UN SUCCÈS DIPLOMATIQUE DE…BINYAMIN NETANYAHOU!

Shraga Blum

LPH, 16 juil, 2018

A l’occasion de leur première rencontre officielle, le président américain Donald Trump et son homologue russe Vladimir Poutine se sont entretenus durant plusieurs heures à Helsinki. Au menu, les questions différentes questions – et divergences – bilatérales, l’économie et le commerce, le combat contre le terrorisme, les questions nucléaires avec l’Iran et la Corée du Nord ainsi que la situation en Syrie.

Lors de la conférence de presse, le président russe a créé la surprise en révélant que lors de son entrevue avec Donald Trump, ce dernier a évoqué à plusieurs reprises les exigences sécuritaires d’Israël. Vladimir Poutine lui-même, en évoquant la situation en Syrie, a indiqué que le président Trump et lui avaient convenu de sécuriser la frontière de l’Etat hébreu avec la Syrie conformément aux accords de cessez-le-feu de 1974, allusion aux velléités iraniennes.

Le président Donald Trump, de son côté, a notamment souligné que tant Vladimir Poutine que lui-même s’étaient entretenus avec Binyamin Netanyahou avant ce sommet. Il a rajouté: “C’est une chose merveilleuse que de travailler avec Israël. Les Etats-Unis comme la Russie sont intéressés à cette coopération”.

Ces propos tenus par les deux présidents marquent incontestablement un succès diplomatique pour Binyamin Netanyahou, dont on sait les liens étroits avec l’Administration américaine mais aussi les excellentes relations qu’il entretient avec Vladimir Poutine. Le Premier ministre était il y a quelques jours encore à Moscou pour s’entretenir une nouvelle fois avec le président russe et lui rappeler la position israélienne face à ce qui se passe en Syrie.

Binyamin Netanyahou a réagi avec satisfaction sur sa page Facebook: “Je me félicite de l’engagement profond des États-Unis et du président Trump envers la sécurité d’Israël, exprimé lors de la rencontre entre le président Trump et le président Poutine. L’amitié entre Israël et les États-Unis n’a jamais été aussi forte (…) J’apprécie également grandement la coordination sécuritaire entre Israël et la Russie et la position claire du Président Poutine sur la nécessité de mettre en œuvre les accords de séparation de 1974 entre Israël et la Syrie”

Evoquer publiquement les exigences d’Israël lors d’un tel sommet entre les chefs des deux grandes puissances du monde est un signe qu’Israël est définitivement une pièce centrale sur l’échiquier mondial, une situation à mettre sans aucun doute au crédit de Binyamin Netanyahou.

 

ISRAËL VA MARCHER SUR LA LUNE

Jacques Benillouche

16 juil, 2018

Quels seront les impacts politiques et techniques de cette mission qui propulsera Israël parmi les grands?

Israël a prévu de lancer une mission lunaire depuis Cap Canaveral, en Floride, en décembre, pour alunir le 13 février 2019. Ce sera le quatrième pays à atteindre la Lune après les États-Unis, la Chine et la Russie. L’impact politique et technique de cette mission est évident puisqu’elle propulsera Israël parmi les grands. La question reste de savoir si cette expérience scientifique ne déclenchera pas une nouvelle course aux armements. Israël dispose déjà d’une large avance sur les pays arabes et sur l’Iran dans les questions nucléaires. Ces nouveaux progrès scientifiques pourraient raviver les tensions.

Ce lancement a été préparé par des entreprises privées, SpaceIL et IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries), qui ont collaboré pendant huit années. Le vaisseau spatial sera lancé comme une charge utile secondaire sur une fusée SpaceX Falcon 9 et son voyage vers la Lune durera environ deux mois. Ce vaisseau spatial lunaire israélien, d’un poids de 600 kilos, sera le plus petit à alunir.

Le processus de conception et de développement de l’engin spatial a commencé en 2013 à l’usine IAI. D’une hauteur de 1,5 mètre, d’un diamètre de 2 mètres, 75% de son poids représente le carburant qui lui permettra d’atteindre sa vitesse maximale de plus de 36.000 kilomètres par heure.

Prouver ses capacités dans les hautes technologies

Le vol long et complexe comportera deux temps. Lancé à une altitude de 60.000 kilomètres, l’engin commencera d’abord à orbiter autour de la Terre. Dès réception d’une commande de la salle de contrôle, le vaisseau spatial entrera dans une orbite elliptique d’altitude plus élevée autour de la planète bleue, pour atteindre un point proche de la Lune. À ce stade, il allumera ses moteurs, réduira sa vitesse pour permettre à la gravité de la Lune de le capturer. Il commencera alors à orbiter autour de la Lune, jusqu’au moment approprié pour commencer le processus d’alunissage. Le mécanisme d’approche sera exécuté de manière autonome par le système de contrôle de navigation du vaisseau spatial. L’ensemble du voyage, du lancement à l’alunissage, prendra près de deux mois.

Le vaisseau spatial, flanqué d’un drapeau israélien, alunira le 13 février 2019 pour effectuer un certain nombre de mesures dans le cadre d’une expérience scientifique menée en collaboration avec l’Institut de recherches Weizmann. Morris Kahn, milliardaire israélien d’origine sud-africaine, président de SpaceIL, a été à la tête de donateurs privés qui ont financé le projet pour un montant de 95 millions d’euros. Josef Weiss, président d’IAI, a déclaré: «L’État d’Israël, déjà fermement implanté dans l’espace militaire, doit mobiliser des ressources au profit de l’espace civil, moteur de l’innovation, de la technologie et de l’éducation. Révolutionnaire dans le monde entier».

Les trois jeunes scientifiques israéliens, Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari et Yonatan Winetraub, qui préparent le lancement de l’engin, veulent stimuler la science en Israël pour prouver les capacités de leur pays dans le domaine des hautes technologies bien qu’Israël soit déjà réputé pour ses développements techniques évolués. Ils n’ont pas hésité à frapper à la porte du plus grand groupe aéronautique IAI qui s’est associé à eux. Yossi Weiss, directeur général d’IAI a une grande ambition que certains pourraient considérer comme utopique: «Conquérir l’espace n’est pas seulement un moyen de prouver ses capacités technologiques mais aussi un besoin urgent pour la race humaine qui dilapide rapidement les ressources naturelles de la Terre. Nous devons penser à des plans de secours, la Terre rétrécit et l’avenir de l’humanité est dans l’espace». Selon Morris Kahn, «si nous voulons continuer à être la start-up nation, nous devons avoir des ingénieurs».

Shabbat Shalom!

ERDOGAN CONSOLIDATES HIS FAR-REACHING POWER IN POST-ELECTION TURKEY

Erdogan, Flush With Victory, Seizes New Powers in Turkey: Carlotta Gall, New York Times, July 19, 2018— Even before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was inaugurated last week, he began elbowing his way into the front ranks of the globe’s strongmen.

Why Turkey Will Not Be Another Iran: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, July 2, 2018— Is Turkey going to be another Iran?

Post-Election Turkey: The Birth of an Islamist-Nationalist Alliance: Burak Bekdil, BESA, June 29, 2018— Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 sent messages on many wavelengths.

NATO’s Real Crisis Is Turkey, Not Trump: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, July 11, 2018 — From the perspective of Europe, the crisis within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has a name: Donald Trump.

On Topic Links

DEBATE: What’s Next for Turkey?: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, July 19, 2018

Is Turkey Playing a Double Game with NATO?: Debalina Ghoshal, Gatestone Institute, July 2, 2018

Time to Wake Up to Erdogan’s Turkey: Sarah N. Stern, Breaking Israel News, July 11, 2018

Is Turkey Safe for Israelis and Jews?: Kristina Jovanovski, The Media Line, June 16, 2018

 

ERDOGAN, FLUSH WITH VICTORY, SEIZES NEW POWERS IN TURKEY                             Carlotta Gall

New York Times, July 19, 2018

Even before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was inaugurated last week, he began elbowing his way into the front ranks of the globe’s strongmen. Hours before taking the oath of office — after 15 years already in power — Mr. Erdogan published a 143-page decree changing the way almost every government department and public body in the country operates. In the days since, he has issued several equally lengthy decrees and presidential decisions, centralizing power and giving him the ability to exert control in nearly all areas of life with almost unchecked authority.

At a moment when democratic systems around the world are under increasing pressure, Mr. Erdogan, who was re-elected in June, is among those leaders, like Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Viktor Orban of Hungary, who are using the levers of democracy to vastly expand their authority. Among the changes Mr. Erdogan has put in place under the new presidential system are these:

The prime minister’s office has been abolished; The military has been brought under firmer civilian control; The president will draft the budget, choose judges and many top officials; The president can dismiss Parliament and call new elections at will; The president appoints the head of the National Intelligence Agency, the Religious Affairs Directorate and the Central Bank, as well as ambassadors, governors and university rectors, among other top bureaucrats; Virtually none of the president’s appointments require a confirmation process. None of the amendments Mr. Erdogan decreed were subject to public debate before becoming law. The vast accumulation of power fulfills Turkey’s shift from a parliamentary system to the presidential one that was narrowly approved by voters in a referendum last year.

The voluminous decrees, analysts say, promise months of administrative upheaval as agencies are abolished and government employees reassigned. Critics have voiced concern at the lack of checks on the president’s increased powers. “The state is being reorganized around Tayyip Erdogan,” the columnist Asli Aydintasbas wrote in the secular opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet last week. Many of the changes, analysts point out, merely formalize what was already the case: It is Mr. Erdogan who makes the decisions. But the consolidation of his power is far-reaching.

Mr. Erdogan has also amended the counterterrorism law in expectation of lifting the state of emergency, which expires on Thursday and was put in place two years ago after a failed military coup against him. The new measures bring the powerful Turkish military firmly under civilian control — a step that the president says is in line with changes required under the European Union’s accession process. The bloc has dangled admission before Turkey for years.

But Mr. Erdogan and his fellow Islamists have long called for a presidential system and for greater civilian control over the military. Turkey’s recent history has been filled with military coups, and the Islamists chafed more than others under military rule. Mr. Erdogan has placed the chief of staff of the armed forces under control of the Defense Ministry, and the Supreme Military Council, which decides senior appointments in the armed forces, has been reconfigured to include more civilian ministers than military commanders.

Mr. Erdogan appointed a loyalist, the former chief of staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, as his first defense minister under the new system. General Akar opposed the 2016 coup — he was taken prisoner on the night of the failed coup by rogue officers — and has overseen a comprehensive purge of the armed forces in the two years since. “It seems Erdogan has planned the transition to be as smooth as possible by naming Akar, Turkey’s top soldier, as the defense minister,” the columnist Murat Yetkin wrote in The  Hurriyet Daily News.

Mr. Erdogan outlined his own powers in one new decree after his inauguration. He will appoint the chief of staff of the armed forces — along with the commanders of the land, air and naval forces and the deputy chief of staff — by presidential decision, which needs no confirmation process. The president will also make promotions in the upper ranks of the security forces from colonel upward. Decree 703, issued just before Mr. Erdogan was sworn in to his new term, also removed many of the regulations in the selection process for appointments. For instance, the president will appoint the rectors of Turkey’s public and private universities, without the usual shortlisting procedure by the university and Higher Education Board.

“Yes, U.S. President Trump can appoint a replacement to a vacant seat in the Supreme Court, but he does not appoint a police chief in Massachusetts or a public theater director in Boston,” Ms. Aydintasbas commented in Cumhuriyet. “He cannot appoint a state governor or even a university rector,” she added. The decree also lowers the qualifications for judges appointed to the government’s administrative courts, which regulate government departments. Previously, judges had to hold law or political science degrees, but they can now be drawn from any degree program, as the Justice Ministry sees fit…

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

 

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WHY TURKEY WILL NOT BE ANOTHER IRAN

 Amir Taheri

Gatestone Institute, July 2, 2018

Is Turkey going to be another Iran? With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest electoral victory the question is making the rounds in Western political circles. Despite the fact that Sunday’s election gives Erdogan immense new powers, my short answer to the question is a firm: no!

In analyzing the nature of political power in any form the first question to ask concerns the provenance of that power. For where does power comes from determines where it may go. In Iran in 1979 power was like a box of jewels thrown in the street, ready for anyone to pick up. The Shah had left the country and most members of the Council of Monarchy he had appointed were in the French Riviera, while the army Top Brass had declared “neutrality” which meant the military wouldn’t stop anyone from picking up the box of jewels in the street.

By a fluke of fate and a combination of bizarre circumstances, it was Ayatollah Khomeini who had the nerve and the imagination to pick up the box after the Shah’s last Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar had also gone into hiding waiting to be spirited out of Tehran to Paris.

However, Erdogan, unlike Khomeini has obtained his box of jewels in the form of 52 per cent of the votes cast in an election boasting one of the highest turnouts in Turkish history. Even if we make allowances for abstentions and real or alleged irregularities in the process, none could deny that Erdogan enjoys a solid support base from at least 32 per cent of the Turkish electorate.

In contrast, unlike Erdogan who has been on the Turkish political scene for almost three decades, including 15 years at the top, Khamenei, when he seized power, was a largely unknown figure to most Iranians. The best surveys we had at the time was that the exiled mullah would not collect more than five to 10 percent of the votes in any free and fair election.

Khomeini’s support came from Tehran and a few other big cities, notably Isfahan, while Erdogan’s support base is in rural areas and small and medium cities. The uprising that brought Khomeini to power was a largely urban middle class affair while Erdogan depends on the rural population, the working classes and the petty-bourgeoisie for support. Khomeini was solidly backed by all shades of leftist parties and ideologies from social democrats to Maoists to Islamic-Marxists. Erdogan, on the other hand, is the bête-noire of the Turkish Left.

While Khomeini and his entourage adopted a good chunk of the lexicon of the left, including such worn-out clichés as “the downtrodden (Mustazafin) and “Imperialism” (Istikbar), Erdogan’s political vocabulary owes more to populism than to proto-Marxism. Khomeini’s entourage featured numerous theologians and so-called Islamic scholars while a variety of violent Islamist groups, including the Fedayeen Islam, the Hezbollah (founded in 1975), the Islamic Coalition and the Hojjatieh Society.

In contrast there are hardly any theologians or religious scholars in Erdogan’s entourage. Despite his occasional penchant for Islamist shibboleths, Erdogan faces stiff opposition from a wide range of Islamist groups, starting with the Hizmet, khidmah in Arabic (Service) movement led by exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, not to mention the 100 or so Sufi fraternities and the crypto-Shiite Alawite community. In fact, Turkey’s Islamic networks fear the take-over of their organizations and businesses by the state while Erdogan adopts a pious pose and makes occasional noises against Kemalist secularism.

To most Iranians, Khomeini was an unknown quantity and his seizure of power more like a lottery than a rational choice. Warts and all, Erdogan, however, is well-known to Turks who have had time to see him in action as party leader, Mayor of Istanbul, Prime Minister and President. Khomeini showed disdain for economic issues, once declaring that “economics is for donkeys” and boasting that his revolution was not meant to bring prosperity but a chance for martyrdom.

In contrast, Erdogan played the card of economic development from the start when he transformed Istanbul from a decrepit almost bankrupt urban sprawl into a bustling megapolis with global ambitions. Under the Khomeinist system, Iran today is at least 40 per cent poorer in real terms than it was under the Shah, according to surveys by the central Bank of Iran. Under Erdogan’s stewardship, in contrast, the Turkey has experienced a doubling of its annual Gross Domestic Product, a performance better than the so-called “Chinese miracle.”

Right from the start, Khomeini’s message met with thinly disguised hostility by Iran’s ethnic minorities. And for years after seizing power the ayatollah and his clan had to use the utmost violence to crush the minorities through mass executions, widespread arrests and even full-size military operations against Iranian-Arabs in Khuzestan, Iranian Kurds in three provinces, Iranian-Turcomen in Golestan province and Iranian Baluch in Sistan-and-Baluchistan.

In contrast, Erdogan owed his initial access to power to massive support among Turkey’s Kurdish minority. The subsequent wars he has waged against armed Kurdish groups, mostly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), does not nullify the fact that even in the latest election and his AKP party did well in most Kurdish-majority areas of Anatolia…

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

 

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POST-ELECTION TURKEY:

THE BIRTH OF AN ISLAMIST-NATIONALIST ALLIANCE

Burak Bekdil

BESA, June 29, 2018

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 sent messages on many wavelengths. The voters asserted the unchallenged popularity of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the longest-serving Turkish leader since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. They welcomed an infant center-right party, IYI (“good” in Turkish); recognized the country’s Kurds as a legitimate political force; and gave a cautious nod to an emerging social democrat politician, Muharrem Ince, Erdoğan’s closest presidential rival.

More strategically, Election 2018 marked the official birth of an Islamist-nationalist alliance that will recalibrate Turkey’s foreign policy calculus in line with the strong wave of religious/nativist nationalism that brought this alliance to power. In power since November 2002, Erdoğan easily won the presidential race with 53.6% of the national vote in the first round (any number beyond the 50% mark would have sufficed). But his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won only 42.5% of the parliamentary vote, down seven percentage points from its result in the elections of November 2015. The AKP won 293 seats in Turkey’s 600-seat house, falling short of a simple majority of 301.

Had this been just another parliamentary election, the AKP would be unable to form a single-party government. But legislative changes that followed the April 2017 referendum now allow political parties to enter the parliamentary race in alliance with other parties. Erdoğan chose as his ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has its ideological roots in the militantly ultranationalist, pan-Turkic ideology of the 1970s. On June 24 the MHP won 11.1% of the national vote and 50 seats, bringing up the “allied” (i.e., the governing) seats to 343 – which gives the AKP-MHP alliance a comfortable parliamentary majority.

Four decades after emerging as marginal parties in the 1970s, Turkey’s militant Islamists and militant ultranationalists won a combined 53.6% of the national vote and 57% of parliamentary seats. Erdoğan has said in the past that he would put foreign policy “in line with what my nation demands,” highlighting the Islamist sensitivities of his voter base. He will now be adding nationalist sensitivities to that foreign policy calculus. This is likely to mean confrontations, perhaps bold ones, with several nations both inside and outside Turkey’s region.

Turkey’s new ruling ideology will, first of all, make it practically impossible to return to the negotiating table for peace with the Kurds. That is an MHP red line that Erdoğan will prefer not to cross. MHP’s militaristic posture will also boost Ankara’s desire to show more muscle in Kurdish-related disputes in northern Syria and northern Iraq. (MHP’s only solution to the Kurdish dispute is military might.)

Turkey’s decades-long, obsessive foreign policy goals include making Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian state, asserting an ideological kinship with Hamas, stoking sectarian hostilities against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and making threats about drilling off the shores of the divided island of Cyprus. To these will probably be added an “Uighur cause,” a subject about which the MHP is particularly sensitive.

The AKP’s election manifesto stated an intention to “overcome problems and improve bilateral relations with the United States.” But the manifesto also said Turkey would make an effort to “improve bilateral relations with Russia.” It said, “We will continue our close coordination with Russia on regional subjects, especially on Syria.”

In practice, Erdogan’s balancing act between Russia and the US resembles Brazilian dictator Getulio Vargas’s “pendulum policy” during WWII. Vargas offered support to Hitler and Mussolini at times, but ended up siding with the Allies. MHP’s involvement in government policy will be totally irrelevant when it comes to operating the modern-day Turkish pendulum.

Erdoğan’s relations with the US are ideologically hostile but de facto transactional. They will remain so. His relations with Russia are largely transactional and will probably gain further ground, politically as well as militarily, as the discrepancy between Turkish and western democratic cultures widens. Erdoğan ideologically belong to the strongmen’s club.

As Turkey’s gross democratic deficit, largely created under Erdoğan’s governance, is blended with MHP’s notoriously isolationist, xenophobic ideology, Turkey’s theoretical goal of accession into the European Union (EU) will gradually become null and void. Erdoğan will soon announce plans to shut down the ministry dealing with accession negotiations with the EU and turn it into “a department of the Foreign Ministry.” This should not surprise anyone.

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NATO’S REAL CRISIS IS TURKEY, NOT TRUMP

Eli Lake

Bloomberg, July 11, 2018

From the perspective of Europe, the crisis within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has a name: Donald Trump. It’s easy to understand why. The U.S. president calls the European NATO members freeloaders. He declined at last year’s summit to reiterate the entire point of the alliance, that an attack on one is an attack on all…

Yet while the rhetoric is dangerous, U.S. policy — so far — has not reflected Trump’s tantrums. U.S. forces remain in Poland (and Germany, for that matter). The sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea, meddling in Eastern Ukraine and its interference in the 2016 U.S. election remain. The U.S. has supported the accession of Macedonia into NATO and sold Ukraine anti-tank missiles. The weak link in the alliance, in fact, is Turkey. Here is a country slipping into the sphere of influence of Russia — the very country that NATO was created to deter.

In December Turkey finalized a deal to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Moscow, and in April the Turks broke ground on a Russian-made nuclear power plant. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who last month won an unfree and unfair election, has recently held talks with Putin to discuss the future of Syria. Russia’s attempt to “flip” Turkey — the term used by U.S. NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison — is extraordinary considering the two countries came close to war in 2015 when a Turkish jet shot down a Russian one that had flown into Turkish territory.

Ideally, this week’s NATO summit would be an opportunity for the U.S. president to cajole European allies into presenting a unified opposition to Erdogan’s conduct. There is no mechanism for kicking a member out of the alliance, but Turkey should at least begin to feel some pain and pressure for its drift toward Russia. Trump has not availed himself of that opportunity. Just look at his confrontational remarks on Wednesday about Germany or his tweet on Tuesday complaining that NATO allies are “delinquent” in their defense spending.

Past presidents, including Trump’s immediate predecessor, have lodged similar complaints about Europe not paying its fair share. But context matters. Trump doesn’t prod allies behind the scenes; he issues tweets and diktats aimed at maximizing humiliation. Any chance to shift the focus to Turkey is lost. “The president’s seeming inability to draw a distinction between democrats and authoritarians has meant that Erdogan is getting away with murder not only domestically but also within NATO by playing footsie with Russia and Putin,” says Gary Schmitt, a scholar and strategist at the American Enterprise Institute. The emphasis of this NATO summit, he says, should be as much on Turkey’s misbehavior as on members’ defense spending.

The irony is that, for all of his brashness, Trump can claim some success with his campaign to get the allies to pay more for defense. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the summit’s opening that member states are no longer cutting military spending. Eight allies are expected this year to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, the longstanding benchmark for the alliance. Meanwhile, NATO has committed to have 30 air squadrons, 30 combat vessels and 30 mechanized battalions ready to deploy within 30 days to defend the Baltic States by 2020.

Any other American president, presented with this evidence of Europe’s renewed commitment to the 70-year-old trans-Atlantic alliance, would be happy to take yes for an answer. Trump is not, to state the obvious, like any other American president. As he treats the NATO summit as a stage for a play about Europeans ripping off America, Turkey is drifting ever closer to Russia.

 

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On Topic Links

DEBATE: What’s Next for Turkey?: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, July 19, 2018—Q: Turkey’s fate has been associated with that of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ever since 2002. After having won multiple elections and referenda and surviving an attempted coup d’état in July 2016, he is consolidating power in an unprecedented manner. The elections of June 24, 2018 were his most recent test, and he passed it successfully.

Is Turkey Playing a Double Game with NATO?: Debalina Ghoshal, Gatestone Institute, July 2, 2018—In January, 2018 Turkey reportedly awarded an 18-month contract for a study on the development and production of a long-range air- and missile-defense system to France and Italy, showing — ostensibly — Turkey’s ongoing commitment to NATO.

Time to Wake Up to Erdogan’s Turkey: Sarah N. Stern, Breaking Israel News, July 11, 2018—On June 25, we awoke to the somber news that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had secured a victory in Turkey’s presidential elections. The reason this news is so grim is because he is a very dangerous man who wants to establish a Turkish Islamist caliphate, as he has simultaneously been eroding human rights inside Turkey and grabbing more power for himself.

Is Turkey Safe for Israelis and Jews?: Kristina Jovanovski, The Media Line, June 16, 2018—Amid the most recent diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel, journalist Ohad Hemo with Israel’s Channel 2 was preparing for a live broadcast in the center of Istanbul when he noticed a crowd gradually gathering around him and his cameraman.

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

How the World Really Views Israel: Shoshana Bryen, Gatestone Institute, July 18, 2018

Why Russia Needs Israel: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, July 16, 2018

Is Russia “Buying” the West?: Peter Huessy, Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2018

Is Southern Syria Heading For ‘Lebanonization’?: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

“President Putin also is helping Israel…And we both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu, and they would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel…So in that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. And Israel would be working with us. So both countries would work jointly…I think that working with Israel is a great thing. And creating safety for Israel is something that both President Putin and I would like to see very much.” —US President Donald Trump. At a joint news conference in Helsinki dominated by Trump’s insistence that Russia did not interfere with the 2016 election, both Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were keen to stress their agreement on other areas as well, including Israel’s security and the wider situation in the Middle East. Trump specifically referenced Iran’s military presence in Syria, pledging that the US would not permit the Tehran regime “to benefit from our successful campaign against ISIS…We have just about eradicated ISIS in the area,” he said. (Algemeiner, July 16, 2018)

“Trump is becoming politically toxic in Western Europe…No one wants to be seen smiling with him after being berated on Twitter. Even more, Mr. Trump’s insults and his unpopularity among European voters make it harder for European leaders to do what he wants them to do, like increase military spending, even when they think they should do it.” — Tomas Valasek, the director of Carnegie Europe, a foreign policy think tank. After Trump split with the Europeans on issues like climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, Valasek said, “leaders don’t want to be associated with anything he wants; it’s the kiss of death.” (New York Times, July 13, 2018)

“(Europe) cannot formulate self-confident and achievable goals…and above all seems unable to stand up for itself against the criminals of the world” — John C. Kornblum, a former American ambassador to Germany. Kornblum, who still lives in Germany, said that “the real problem is that postwar Europe seems not to have regained a sense of purpose and direction.” The European nations’ great accomplishments — continental peace and social welfare — have led them “to become self-righteous in their pride about them, but in reality these steps forward were only possible within an American bubble,” Kornblum said. And now Trump has called them out on it and “spoken the unspeakable,” he said, and it is both unwelcome and uncomfortable. (New York Times, July 13, 2018) 

“If they decide there won’t be quiet, then we’ll do what is necessary to bring quiet…What we saw this weekend was not [our] full force.” — Senior IAF official. The IAF carried out dozens of strikes against Hamas infrastructure targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. After a ceasefire went into effect following this weekend’s round of escalation, set off by a grenade attack that wounded an IDF officer on the Israel-Gaza border, IAF said it was prepared to act again if Hamas committed further violence. Saturday saw the most extensive set of strikes conducted in Gaza by the IAF since the summer of 2014. On Sunday, IAF planes twice fired toward a group of Gaza terrorists who were launching kite bombs and incendiary balloons toward Israel. (Algemeiner, July 15, 2018) 

“Over Shabbat, we hit Hamas in a significant way and hard. Our policy is clear: whoever hurts us, we will hit them with great strength. This is what we did yesterday. The IDF dealt Hamas the harshest blow since [the 2014] Operation Protective Edge. I hope that they got the message; if not, they will get it later. I heard it being said that Israel has agreed to a ceasefire that would allow the continuation of terrorism by incendiary kites and balloons; this is incorrect. We are not prepared to accept any attacks against us and we will respond appropriately.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jewish Press, July 15, 2018)

“Supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement claim that BDS is about a two-state solution — and bettering the lives of the Palestinian people. At least that’s what leftist college students, progressive activist groups, and most media outlets want to believe. But if you take the word of BDS founder Omar Barghouti, peaceful coexistence is the last thing that BDS is about… The idea of coexistence or a two-state solution is thrown out the window when Barghouti claims, “Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine,” adding that, “Palestinians and Arabs in general have never, and will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” To hear him describe Zionism as a myth and still believe that the goal of the BDS movement is peaceful coexistence with Israel is a case study in denial.” — Paul Miller, president of the Haym Salomon Center. (Algemeiner, July 13, 2018)

“I told the conference today that the JCPOA is in the intensive care unit because it has lost its balance as a result of US withdrawal from the deal.” — Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister. Araghchi was speaking in Vienna following talks convened at Tehran’s request with the remaining parties to the deal — China, Russia, France, the UK and Germany. The US withdrew from the deal on May 8, when Trump refused to renew sanctions waivers on Iran and imposed tough new sanctions instead. Because of the American measures, a number of major European corporations, including German engineering company Siemens and French oil giant Total, have abruptly pulled out of business deals with Iran that were agreed after the majority of the sanctions were lifted in 2015. Araghchi said that Friday’s talks were intended to establish whether the remaining signatories “can provide us with a package which can give Iran the benefits of sanctions lifting.” He remarked that if the other signatories of JCPOA wanted to stabilize the deal, they had to “sacrifice more” in this respect. (Algemeiner, June 22, 2018)

“…One year ago in this chamber I asked the Arab states a simple question: ‘Where are your Jews?’ My question was met with dead silence. Millions of people worldwide watched the video, witnessing for themselves the hypocrisy and double standards that characterizes much of what is said and done here. Today I have come to provide the answer to my question. Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya—your Jews fled as refugees after suffering persecution and deadly pogroms like the Farhud of Baghdad in 1941. Fortunately, countries like Israel, the U.S., Canada, France and others opened their doors, offering citizenship and equal rights. These Jewish refugees from Arab lands—whose suffering and losses the UN has never addressed—put their hardship behind them and built great lives for their families. Now let us contrast this with the situation of those descended from Arab refugees who fled the area of British Mandatory Palestine during the invasion of nascent Israel by Arab armies. What is holding them back? The answer is simple. Palestinians are the only population in the world not eligible for services by the UN refugee agency. Instead these descendants are governed by UNRWA, which holds generation after generation trapped in refugee camps, denied integration in the Arab countries they were born in and denied resettlement elsewhere. Some of UNRWA’s donors are waking up to the problem. As the Swiss Foreign Minister recently has put it: ‘By supporting UNRWA, we are only keeping the conflict alive.’” — UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, at the UN Human Rights Council. (UNWatch, July 18, 2018)

“It’s over, we’re finished. They’re giving up Syria…We’re cornered and the entire country has been handed over. We can’t do anything anymore despite having weapons. [The rebel leaders] took the pay cheque.” — Mouawiya Syasneh, a fighter with the Free Syrian Army. Syasneh had vowed to battle on until victory or death. But the young man credited with helping spark the civil war with a small act of defiance with friends in 2011 – spraying anti-Assad graffiti at his school – was now preparing for defeat. The civil war, now in its seventh year, has claimed killed more than 500,000 people and left many thousands more maimed and injured. Whole cities have been flattened and more than a quarter of the country’s 21 million have fled. “I’ve known nothing but war. At the beginning I was proud to fight in it for the cause, now it is hard to feel that way,” Syasneh said. Until this week he thought he would fight to the last. “I’d prefer death to reconciliation…We have no friends any more,” he said. “This is where it all ends.” (Telegraph, July 12, 2018)

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SHORT TAKES

22 KILLED, INCLUDING 9 IRANIANS, IN SYRIA STRIKE BLAMED ON ISRAEL – REPORT (Aleppo) — Syrian rebel forces claimed that 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in an overnight strike in northern Syria blamed on Israel, al-Jazeera reported. Syrian media has accused Israel of carrying out the bombing of a military position in Aleppo province Sunday, in what would be a rare Israeli attack so far north in the war-ravaged country. The position is a logistics hub used to provide equipment and food to pro-regime forces, but it did not store weapons. The base was reportedly previously struck by Israel on April 29 as part of a large raid that also targeted weapons depots near Hama. There was no immediate comment from Israel, which rarely confirms such attacks. (Times of Israel, July 16, 2018)

FORMER PM IN CUSTODY AFTER 132 DIE IN PAKISTAN ELECTION VIOLENCE (Islamabad) — Disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in custody after the deadliest attacks in Pakistan’s troubled election campaign killed more than 130 people. In the province of Baluchistan, a suicide bomber killed 128 people Friday, including a politician running for a provincial legislature. Four others died in a strike in Pakistan’s northwest. The attacks came hours before Sharif returned from London along with his daughter Maryam to face a 10-year prison sentence on corruption charges. I.S. claimed responsibility for the bombing in Baluchistan that wounded 300 people. (New York Post, July 14, 2018)

NGO GETS COURT ORDER TO SEIZE GAZA FLOTILLA (Jerusalem) — An NGO obtained an unusual court order to seize a flotilla – which is trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza – in order to provide assistance to terrorist victims, even though those boats have not yet been captured by the IDF. Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center, representing terrorist victims’ families, got Jerusalem District Court to issue a temporary seizure order for two Norwegian ships, which are due to reach Gaza’s maritime area as part of the flotilla. The interim court order means that the ships, the Karstein and Freedom, will be initially designated to be sold, the proceeds going to benefit the victims of Hamas terrorism, should the IDF capture them while trying to break the blockade. (Jerusalem Post, July 13, 2018)

KNESSET RESCINDS PM’S RIGHT TO DECLARE WAR (Jerusalem) — The Knesset has revoked the prime minister’s right to declare war without the approval of a full cabinet vote. The clause that allowed Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman the ability to declare war in an emergency situation had originally been approved by the Knesset on April 30. Tuesday’s vote rescinding the clause passed amid heightened tensions on Israel’s southern border with Gaza, where it seems increasingly likely that another war may indeed break out. Under the law effective immediately, the Cabinet must approve a decision to go to war, or to initiate an action that could lead to war. (Jewish Press, July 18, 2018)

PETA CONDEMNS USE OF ‘TERROR FALCON’ BY HAMAS (Jerusalem) — Tying flammable material to a falcon and sending it over the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel border with intent to start a fire in Israel was deemed an “unacceptable” use “as weapons of war” by PETA, the organization said. After that occurred, social media users reached out to PETA to condemn the action. On Monday, an employee from the National Parks Authority discovered the bird after extinguishing a fire near the Gaza Strip. Nearly 10,000 dunams (2,471 acres) of land on nature reserves and national parks near the Gaza Strip have been burnt due to incendiary kites, balloons and condoms. (Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2018)

IDF PREPARES FOR MILITARY OPERATION IN GAZA (Jerusalem) — Israel’s political leadership has reportedly instructed the army to prepare for a military offensive in the Gaza Strip if the launching of incendiary devices from the Hamas-run coastal enclave into Israeli territory continues. According to a report, Israel has set Friday as a deadline for the flaming kite and balloon launches to cease. If this does not happen, Israel may decide it has no choice but to embark on a military campaign in the Strip, the report said. Over the weekend, Hamas fired some 200 rockets and mortar shells at Israel and the IDF carried out multiple strikes inside the Palestinian enclave. (Jerusalem Online, July 18, 2018)

KEREM SHALOM, RAFAH CROSSINGS CLOSED, EXCEPT FOR FOOD, MEDICINE (Jerusalem) — As of Tuesday, the passage of goods between Israel and the Gaza Strip will be blocked, save for food and medicine, in retaliation for the continued firebomb kites and balloons terrorism against Israel. The Kerem Shalom crossing will be closed and the Rafah crossing, under Egyptian control, will remain closed. Food and medicine will be transferred only subject to approval. Each shipment of food and medicine will require the authorization of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. In addition, Gaza’s fishing area will be reduced from six miles to three miles. On Sunday, the IDF reported reinforcing the Iron Dome batteries in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and in southern Israel, as well as enlisting reserve duty soldiers to reinforce the air defense system. (Jewish Press, July 17, 2018)

HUNGARY TO QUIT U.N. MIGRATION PACT (Budapest) — Hungary will quit a U.N. migration pact before its final approval, calling the agreement a “threat to the world”. The Global Compact For Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved on Friday by all 193 U.N. member nations except the U.S., which pulled out last year. But Hungary, led by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has decided not to sign the final document. Hungary, along with Poland and Czech Republic, has taken a tough stand against the admission of migrants, putting it at odds with the EU, but striking a chord with voters by arguing that irregular immigration threatens European stability. (US News, July 18, 2018)

GERMAN POLICE BEAT JEWISH MAN AFTER HE’S  ASSAULTED BY A PALESTINIAN (Bonn) — Yitzhak Melamed, a Jewish professor visiting Germany, described being assaulted in a Bonn park — first by a Palestinian, then by police who slammed him to the ground and punched him in the face. According to Melamed, he was wearing a kippah when a self-identified Palestinian man asked if he was Jewish and then proceeded to shout things like “I f*** Jews” and “No Jews in Germany.” He then threw his kippah to the ground and pushed him three times. The attacker fled after hearing a police siren. Melamed wrote that two police officers ran past the attacker and tackled him instead, then two or three other policemen helped pin him to the ground and handcuffed him. (Jewish News, July 17, 2018)

CANADIAN ON TRIAL IN GERMANY FOR MAKING HOLOCAUST DENIAL VIDEOS (Munich) — The trial of two German-Canadian siblings charged with inciting hatred, stemming from their denial of the Holocaust, has begun in Munich. There was drama early in the proceedings, as co-accused Alfred Schaefer gave the Nazi straight-arm salute in the courtroom three times. Only a few days earlier, Schaefer gave the salute at a neo-Nazi rally in Nuremburg, where he reportedly said, “It’s time to exterminate the kikes!” Schaefer, 63, and his sister, Monika Schaefer, 59, are being tried together on six counts of “incitement to hatred,” for videos in which they denied the Holocaust. (CJN, July 12, 2018)

US JUDGE FINDS JEWS ENTITLED TO RACE-BASED CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS (Washington) — A federal judge found that Jewish people are entitled to protection from race-based employment discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marking what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind. Magistrate Judge Mark Hornsby — who is overseeing a civil rights lawsuit alleging that the president of a private Baptist college in Louisiana said he would not hire a qualified candidate because of their “Jewish blood” — acknowledged that despite an ongoing debate on “whether Judaism is a people, a religion, or both,” there is no doubt “that many people have and continue to view being Jewish as a racial identity.” (Algemeiner, July 17, 2018)

IROQUOIS TEAM ARRIVES IN ISRAEL TO COMPETE IN LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP (Tel Aviv) — The Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team has touched down in Israel for the men’s World Lacrosse Championships, defying pressure from the BDS campaign and making a conscious decision to attend the tournament in the Jewish State. The Iroquois team, composed of players from the indigenous Haudenosaunee Confederacy, travel on their own indigenous passports. Because their passports are not internationally recognized, the team was forced to forfeit their matches at the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships, after the United Kingdom refused them entry. Israel, however, chose to accept their passports, after last-minute high-level discussions between Israel and Canada. (The Tower, July 13, 2018)

IRANIANS POST VIDEOS OF THEMSELVES DANCING TO PROTEST TEEN’S ARREST (Tehran) — Iranians are posting videos of themselves dancing on social media to protest the arrest of a teenager whose seductive dance moves on Instagram landed her in police custody. Maedeh Hojabri’s Instagram account has since been shut down, and she was made to appear on state television after her arrest, where she expressed remorse. But before her detention, Hojabri, who is in her late teens, reportedly posted dozens of clips of herself dancing to Iranian pop music and Western tunes. Hojabri had been dancing in a public forum, which is frowned upon in conservative Iranian circles, and doing so without the headscarf prescribed by Iran’s clerical rulers. (Bloomberg, July 9, 2018) 

ISRAEL TO LAUNCH MOON MISSION FROM FLORIDA (Jerusalem) — Israel will launch a rocket from Florida in a bid to become the fourth country to reach the moon. Israel Aerospace Industries and the nonprofit SpaceIL announced they plan a December launch from Cape Canaveral. The landing would culminate eight years of collaboration on the $88 million project. Private donations mostly paid for the project, including from Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson. The U.S., Russia and China are the only nations to have landed on the moon. (JTA, July 10, 2018)

NASA AND ISRAEL SPACE SIGN AGREEMENT TO EXPAND COOPERATION (Jerusalem) — NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) signed an agreement Thursday to expand cooperation between the two agencies. NASA’s Director described U.S. plans to return to the moon and create a permanent base there in accordance with President Donald Trump’s vision. The two agencies discussed projects that include Israel taking part in the International Space Station, as well as the studies of life sciences while employing nano-satellites – a field in which Israel has extensive knowledge. (Jewish Press, July 12, 2018)

ELBIT ROLLS OUT HERMES 900 STARLINER, A UAV FOR CIVILIAN AIRSPACE (Jerusalem) — Elbit Systems recently developed a large unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Hermes 900 StarLiner intended to be used to assist security forces effectively and safely perform complex homeland and border security missions without disturbing commercial aviation. The new drone, the first such aircraft licensed to fly over urban areas, can fly in the same environment with commercial aircraft. The UAV is based on Elbit’s familiar Hermes drone, which is in wide use by the air force and foreign militaries and is capable of carrying out missions against distant targets such as Iran or eastern Syria. (Ynet, July 13, 2018)

IDF APPOINTS FIRST OPENLY GAY GENERAL (Jerusalem) — Colonel Sharon Afek, the Military Advocate General, was officially promoted to the rank of Major General Thursday, becoming the first gay general in the history of the IDF. Afek has served as Chief Military Attorney for the past three years. The term for his post has been upped to five years with an option for a sixth. As part of the decision taken in May, it was decided that the Military Advocate General’s office would be for a period of five years, with an option to extend the term by another year. (Jewish Press, July 13, 2018)

On Topic Links

How the World Really Views Israel: Shoshana Bryen, Gatestone Institute, July 18, 2018 —Israel and the Iroquois Nation came together this week — In Israel — at the Lacrosse World Championship.

Why Russia Needs Israel: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, July 16, 2018—Ever since September 2015, when Russia turned the tide of the Syrian civil war in the Assad regime’s favor through strategic air power (and subsequently on the ground, where it brokered truces and withdrawals of rebels from strategic areas in Syria to the rebel stronghold in Idlib)…

Is Russia “Buying” the West?: Peter Huessy, Gatestone Institute, July 17, 2018 —With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the official dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, NATO assumed that the newly freed countries…

Is Southern Syria Heading For ‘Lebanonization’?: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2018—The raid on the T4 base at Tiyas in southern Syria this week was, according to global media reports, the third such action by Israeli air power against this facility in the course of 2018.

AS EGYPT SUCCESSFULLY FIGHTS ISLAMISTS, MOROCCANS PROTEST AGAINST CORRUPTION

Five Years After the Revolution: Is Egyptian President El-Sisi Winning the Battle?: Zvi Mazel, JNS, July 15, 2018 —Recent weeks have brought welcome news to Egypt.

Egypt’s Islamist Televangelists Lose Clout: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, July 9, 2018— They once captured the hearts and minds of millions of Egyptians, but Islamist televangelists are losing popularity.

The Moroccan Boycotts: A New Model for Protest?: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, June 22, 2018— In Jordan recently, fury at tax hikes followed the classic pattern of sustained public protest.

How Qatar’s Jewish Strategy Backfired: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018— Six months ago, in January 2018, the world looked hopeful for Qatar.

On Topic Links

4 Years On, Egypt’s President Urges Patience Over Reforms: National Post, June 30, 2018

Egypt Tries To Reconcile ‘Coptic’ Churches To Non-Existence: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, June 16, 2018

Coal’s Coming Renaissance in the Middle East: Dmitriy Frolovskiy, Real Clear World, July 02, 2018

Many Egyptian Christians Feel Left Out of World Cup: Hamza Hendawi, National Post, June 22, 2018

 

FIVE YEARS AFTER THE REVOLUTION:

IS EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT EL-SISI WINNING THE BATTLE?

Zvi Mazel

JNS, July 15, 2018

Recent weeks have brought welcome news to Egypt. The fight against Islamic terror appears to be going well, and social and economic reforms are beginning to get results, though the president’s high-handed rule has drawn critics. In a televised speech on June 30 to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2013 events that led to the downfall of the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stated that it had been the “right revolution,” as opposed to the January-February 2011 demonstrations that brought down former President Hosni Mubarak as part of the so-called Arab Spring.

Those demonstrations endangered political stability and personal safety, and led to the rise of terrorism and the collapse of the economy, he said, but he was successfully working at correcting those ills with the help of the security forces and the support of the people. The president claims he saved his country from the establishment of an Islamic dictatorship and restored stability, but it came at a steep price. Hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were killed during violent protests. Nevertheless, he never lost sight of his goal of developing the economy and did not hesitate to tackle painful but necessary reforms.

Islamic terror in the Sinai Peninsula is still the main stumbling block after four years of fierce fighting against militants of the “Sinai district of the Islamic State.” Last February, the president launched Operation “Sinai 2018” to eradicate the organization and sent reinforcements to the detachments of his second and third army already there. Hundreds of terrorists were killed, communication and command posts destroyed, caches of explosives discovered, and hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles seized. This led to a drastic drop in terror activities, but did not eradicate the Islamic State.

El-Sisi cannot afford to dial down his troops whose continuous presence in the peninsula is a severe drain on the defense budget while preventing a return to normal life in the area. A five kilometer wide buffer zone has been established along the border to isolate Sinai from the Gaza Strip, and hundreds of families had to leave. A night curfew is in force in parts of northern Sinai, hampering the delivery of necessary goods and medicine to civilians. Schools and institutes of higher education were shut down to prevent terror attacks. Still, there has been a shift in the attitude of the mostly Bedouin population, traditionally suspicious of the central government, who are now joining the fight against jihadi militants following the deadly attack on the Rawda mosque last November that killed 311 men and women at prayer. Bedouin tribes are now cooperating with the army. Early this month, two high-ranking leaders of the Sinai district surrendered after a lengthy battle in the town of Rafah. This was apparently brokered by the Union of Sinai Tribes, which had called on the jihadis to surrender following their failures. Some of the strict security measures are now being lifted and some normalcy is returning to the region.

The Muslim Brotherhood remains a low-level threat. Five years after their ouster from power and the violent repression of their demonstrations, Muslim Brothers still refuse to accept their defeat and demand the release of ousted president Mohammed Morsi as a precondition to talks with the new regime. The events of 2011 propelled them to power after 80 long years during which they had twice been outlawed, their leaders executed, and their militants arrested by the thousands. In 2012, their first political party Freedom and Justice won the parliamentary elections and Morsi was elected president. Barely a year later the parliament was dissolved for technical reasons and Morsi was ousted and arrested following massive popular protests with millions of Egyptians taking to the streets with the support of the army led by el-Sisi, who was minister of defense at the time.

Today, the Brotherhood is in dire straits. It has been outlawed as a terror organization and thousands of its members arrested. Its political party and affiliate organizations were dissolved and all activity forbidden. Its offices and assets were seized, and a recent presidential decree allows the confiscation of the private assets of members who have been arrested and sentenced as soon as their sentence becomes final. Most of their leaders are in jail and face charges of treason and violence against citizens. Such is the case for former president Morsi, the supreme leader of the movement Mohamad mad Bad’ie and his deputies Khairat el Shater and Rashid el Bayomi, as well as other prominent personalities well-known in the Arab world. Morsi and Badi’e have already been sentenced to several life terms and even to death, but their appeals are still pending. Some low-ranking members try to generate a minimum of activities but are under close watch and their temporary offices are often shut down while they are arrested.

The few leaders who have managed to flee are seeking refuge in Turkey and Qatar, countries that support the Brotherhood. At this stage the organization has collapsed to all intents and purposes. Mahmoud Ezzat, one of the deputies of the supreme leader, avoided arrest and is reputedly hiding in Egypt, where he is attempting to assume the mantle of leader and keep the Brotherhood alive until better times without notable success because the chaotic situation has led to a de facto split in the movement. The younger generations looking for revenge found their leader in the person of Mohammad Kamal, one of the veterans who tried to reorganize Brotherhood institutions but failed and instead formed two violent groups: Liwa al Thawra (“Banner of the Revolution”) and Hism (“Decision”), which targeted security forces and public figures and carried out terrorist operations in Cairo and elsewhere on the Egyptian mainland. Kamal was killed in October 2016 in a police raid in Cairo, but the Hism group is still active.

The organization has trouble recruiting new members and is no longer able to launch protests as it did in 2015-2016. Attempts at reconciliation have failed because, though President el-Sisi is ready to talk, probably because he no longer sees the Brotherhood as an immediate threat, he refuses all preconditions such as releasing Morsi from jail. It would, however, be a mistake to dismiss a movement that has shown in the past remarkable recovery powers. Its ultimate goal, a return to the sources of Islam and the reestablishment of the caliphate, still exerts a powerful appeal in Egypt and other Arab countries where political parties affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood are having significant success.

The president is well aware that he will be judged on his economic and social achievements. There are already 100 million Egyptians, with one million being added every six months. At 3.3%, the birth rate remains high. A majority of the people earn less than $2 a day, which puts them below the poverty line as defined by the United Nations. Economic growth of 7% to 8% per year over several years would be needed to make up for the high birth rate and the damage caused to the economy by previous governments…

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

 

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EGYPT’S ISLAMIST TELEVANGELISTS LOSE CLOUT

Hany Ghoraba

IPT News, July 9, 2018

 

They once captured the hearts and minds of millions of Egyptians, but Islamist televangelists are losing popularity. They started to lose credibility during the June 2013 revolution that drove the Muslim Brotherhood from power and in the subsequent terrorist attacks after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.

“The state of abandonment of the Salafi preachers and the Muslim Brotherhood … is very good and serves the interests of the Egyptian, Arab and Islamic societies,” said former Muslim Brotherhood member Sameh Eid. “The exposure of the ideas of these preachers and their great dependence on a heritage that is no longer suitable for the present time and place make them a rare and ridiculous material on the pages of the media.”

Fewer people are watching the Islamist televangelists shows, Islamist groups researcher and former Brotherhood member Tarek Abou Saad, so they now resort to using historical tales of Islam’s grandeur to try to draw an audience. Despite those efforts, televangelist ratings during Ramadan were the lowest since 2011.

Egyptian media traditionally offered two main types of televangelists – Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated and Salafist (Wahhabi). Brotherhood clerics in modern clothes advocate a gradual Islamization of society while infiltrating Egypt’s more affluent society. Salafists successfully appealed to working class and more impoverished sectors of society.

The televangelist movement in Egypt was initiated by Omar Abdel Kafi who became extremely famous among the affluent. The radical preacher issued fatwas prohibiting greeting Christians and urging boycotting Jews. Egyptian authorities took him off the air in 1994, forcing him to work in exile from the United Arab Emirates. He follows the path of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Recently, his anti-Semitic statements, describing Jews as “aiming to control all the world’s money and lands then controlling all international politics,” got him banned from delivering a speech in Canada in April.

The rise of Islamist televangelists was cancerous to the fiber of the Egyptian society and fueled radicalization during the past two decades. Views toward women, Christians, art and the West all grew more strident. The new wave of preachers was first introduced in 2002 through the Saudi-financed religious network “Iqra [Read] TV.” By 2007, Time magazine listed Amr Khaled as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, calling him a “rock star” and “a needed voice for moderation from within the Muslim world.”

Forbes Arabia also identified Amr Khaled as one of the richest Islamist preachers that year, estimating his income at $2.5 million. He introduced a new form of preaching – which he called “Visual Da’wa” – emphasizing appearance as a way to inspire more religious adherence. He urged girls to wear the hijab, which he called a “walking symbol of the faith.” “Wearing your hijab at the beach, even if surrounded by semi-naked girls,” he said, will lead to society becoming more religious. This is the way to fix society.”

Most of the new breed of televangelists didn’t study Islamic theology at Al Azhar University like traditional preachers. Instead, they present themselves as average people who found religion through personal experiences. For example, televangelist Moez Massoud said that he became closer to God after losing friends in an accident and then surviving a health scare. This approach has attracted a younger audience than traditional religious programs.

While many view the new televangelists as sincere God-fearing preachers, others see actors performing a role. Amr Khaled has been mocked for fake piety repeatedly on social media for actions like praying only for his followers while in Mecca, excluding other Muslims. “l believe they put on an act and use a special voice tone to convey their message to the audience,” said Egyptian actress Laila Ezz Al Arab…

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

 

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THE MOROCCAN BOYCOTTS: A NEW MODEL FOR PROTEST?

Dr. James M. Dorsey

BESA, June 22, 2018

In Jordan recently, fury at tax hikes followed the classic pattern of sustained public protest. Protesters, in contrast to the calls for regime change that dominated the 2011 revolts, targeted the government’s austerity measures and efforts to broaden its revenue base. The protesters forced the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki and the repeal of proposals for tax hikes that were being imposed to comply with conditions of a $723 million International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to Jordan.

Austerity measures in Egypt linked to a $12 billion IMF loan also sparked protests in a country in which dissent is brutally repressed. Rare protests erupted last month after the government hiked Cairo’s metro fares by up to 250%. Now, with economists and analysts waiting to see how Egyptians respond to new austerity measures that include a 50% rise in gasoline prices (the third since Egypt floated its currency in 2016, with further hikes expected in July), Morocco may provide a more risk-free and effective model for future protest in one of the most repressive parts of the world.

An online boycott campaign fueled by anger at rising consumer prices that uses hashtags such as “let it curdle” and “let it rot” has spread like wildfire across Moroccan social media. A survey in late May by economic daily L’Economiste suggested that 57% of Moroccans were participating in the boycott of some of Morocco’s foremost oligopolies, which have close ties to the government.

The boycott of the likes of French dairy giant Danone, mineral water company Oulmes, and the country’s leading fuel distributor, Afriquia SMDC, is proving effective and difficult to counter. The boycott recently expanded to include the country’s fish markets. The boycott has already halved Danone’s sales. The company said it would post a 150 million Moroccan dirham ($15.9 million) loss for the first six months of this year, cut raw milk purchases by 30%, and reduce its number of short-term job contracts. Danone employees recently staged a sit-in that blamed both the boycott and the government for their predicament. Lahcen Daoudi, a Cabinet minister, resigned after participating in a sit-in organized by Danone workers.

The boycott has also affected the performance of energy companies. Shares of Total Maroc, the only listed fuel distributor, fell by almost 10% since the boycott began in April. The strength of the boycott, which was launched on Facebook pages that have since attracted some two million visitors, lies in the fact that it is difficult to identify who is driving it. No individual or group has publicly claimed ownership. The boycott’s effectiveness is enhanced by the selectiveness of its targets, which are described by angry consumers on social media as “thieves” and “bloodsuckers.”

Anonymity and the virtual character of the protest, in what could become a model elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, has made it difficult for the government to crack down on its organizers.Yet even if the government identified the boycott’s organizers, it would be unable to impose its will on choices that consumers make daily. The boycott also levels the playing field, with even the poorest able to affect the performance of economic giants. In doing so, the boycott strategy counters region-wide frustration with the fact that protests have either failed to produce results or, in countries like Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya, have led to mayhem, increased repression, and civil war.

“While boycotts solve some of the problems of protest movements…they also create new challenges…. Diffuse structures … limit their ability to formulate clear demands, negotiate on the basis of these demands, respond to criticism of the movement and, eventually, end the boycott. Boycotts against domestic producers are likely to face criticism that they are hurting the economy and endangering the jobs of their compatriots working in the boycotted companies,” cautioned Max Gallien, a London School of Economics PhD candidate who studies the political economy of North Africa.

The Moroccan boycott grew out of months of daily protests in the country’s impoverished northern Rif region. The government tried to squash those protests with a carrot-and-stick approach that involved the arrest of hundreds. Underlying the boycott is a deep-seated resentment of the government’s incestuous relationship with business, which has led to its failure to ensure fair competition. Many believe this has eroded purchasing power among the rural poor and the urban middle class alike.

Afriquia is part of the Akwa group owned by Aziz Akhannouch, a Moroccan billionaire ranked by Forbes. Akhannouch also serves as agriculture minister, heads a political party, and is one of the kingdom’s most powerful politicians. Oulmes is headed by Miriem Bensalah Chekroun, the former president of Morocco’s confederation of enterprises, CGEM. “The goal of this boycott is to unite Moroccan people and speak with one voice against expensive prices, poverty, unemployment, injustice, corruption and despotism,” said one Facebook page that supports the boycott. This is a message and a methodology that could resonate across a swath of land stretching from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Gulf.

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HOW QATAR’S JEWISH STRATEGY BACKFIRED

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018

Six months ago, in January 2018, the world looked hopeful for Qatar. The small Gulf state had been blockaded by its neighbor Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh’s allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke relations. Qatar, which hosts a large US base, invested millions in a public relations effort in the US to counter its enemies. In the last days of January the US secretaries of state and defense sat with the Qatari leadership for a US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue confab. Doha seemed on the road to victory.

US President Donald Trump hosted Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in April. It seemed the PR effort was paying off. Qatar wanted Americans to see the emirate as an ally and a victim. It was fighting terrorism, it said, and it had changed its ways in terms of being a conduit for alleged terrorism finance to groups such as Hamas. In mid-January Alan Dershowitz, writing on The Hill website about his trip to Qatar, even wrote that it was becoming the “Israel of the Gulf states” and claimed that Qatari officials had told him Hamas leaders had left Doha. Dershowitz was one of a long list of pro-Israel Americans, including prominent Jews, who went to Qatar in the fall of 2017 and first months of 2018. Qatar carried out its outreach to US Jews through various channels, one of which was Nick Muzin, who had formerly worked with Sen. Ted Cruz and ran a firm called Stonington Strategies.

On June 6 Muzin wrote on Twitter that “Stonington Strategies is no longer representing the State of Qatar.” He said he had gone into the work to “foster peaceful dialogue in the Middle East” and to increase Qatar’s defense and economic ties to the US. Muzin’s break with the emirate coincided with the Zionist Organization of America condemning Qatar for its “giant step backward.” Mort Klein, head of ZOA, wrote on June 6 that he had traveled to Doha in January “to fight for Israel, America and the Jewish people.” But Qatar had “failed to do the right thing.”

A week later a man named Joseph Allaham filed paperwork with the US Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit. He registered Lexington Strategies as working for the State of Qatar and noted that after doing initial work to promote the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, “the understanding was expanded to include relationship-building with the leadership in the Jewish community in the United States to better international relations.

Methods of performance included peaceful means of community engagement, charitable contributions and arranging meetings in the US and visits to Qatar.” Qatar had given a grant of $1.45 million, according to the document. In an email Allaham wrote that he is “proud of the work that Mort Klein has done and all the other Jewish leaders working in collaboration with the Emir and other members of the Qatari Royal Family.

Mr. Klein has made great strides for the American Jewish community and Israel. These accomplishments, some public and some will remain private- go far beyond what many other leaders of the Jewish community and state officials have achieved with Qatar.” The Allaham filing, disclosing his previous relationship, apparently marked the end of his work with Qatar. “I had planned for a while on announcing my resignation,” he wrote in a statement at MSNBC in the first week of June. He said it had nothing to do with “the Broidy case,” a lawsuit filed by Elliott Broidy against Qatar…

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

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On Topic Links

4 Years On, Egypt’s President Urges Patience Over Reforms: National Post, June 30, 2018—Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi urged citizens on Saturday to further endure economic reforms and austerity measures, including a recent wave of steep price hikes on fuel, electricity and drinking water.

Egypt Tries To Reconcile ‘Coptic’ Churches To Non-Existence: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, June 16, 2018—From attacks by Muslim mobs to closures by Muslim authorities, the lamentable plight of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt always follows a pattern, one that is unwaveringly only too typical.

Coal’s Coming Renaissance in the Middle East: Dmitriy Frolovskiy, Real Clear World, July 02, 2018—Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi faces little opposition as he begins his second term, but the former field marshal has an immediate challenge coming in just a few weeks’ time.

Many Egyptian Christians Feel Left Out of World Cup: Hamza Hendawi, National Post, June 22, 2018— Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years has captivated the soccer-crazy nation, with intense focus on the squad and the broader game.