Month: August 2018


Trump’s Demise has Been Greatly Exaggerated: Kyle Smith, New York Post, July 28, 2018— This time they’ve surely got him. Pack your bags, Mr. President. The game is up.

The Clinton Campaign Sought Dirt on Trump From Russian Officials. Where’s the Outrage?: Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post, Aug. 2, 2018— All of Washington is waiting with bated breath to find out whether the Mueller investigation will provide evidence proving that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Trump Is Right: We Need a Space Force: Noah Rothman, Commentary, Aug. 9, 2018— When President Donald Trump first floated the idea of creating an entirely new branch of the United States armed forces dedicated to space-based operations in March, the response from lay political observers was limited to bemused snickering.

Trump’s Foreign Policy is Actually Boosting America’s Standing: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Aug. 11, 2018 — A story is supposed to have  two sides, but there is only  one when it comes to President Trump’s foreign policy.

On Topic Links

U.S. President Trump: A Balance Sheet: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2018

Chomsky Calls Russian Interference a Joke – Blames Guess Who?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 3, 2018

The Legacies of Robert Mueller’s Investigations: Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness, Aug. 13th, 2018

The Myth of a Rising ‘Alt-Right’: Jonathan S. Tobin, New York Post, Aug. 13, 2018



Kyle Smith

New York Post, July 28, 2018


This time they’ve surely got him. Pack your bags, Mr. President. The game is up. Because this week we learned that . . . that . . . well, there’s this tape, see, recorded by Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in September 2016, during which the then-presidential candidate discussed setting up a company for the purpose of paying off alleged former paramour Karen McDougal to make her go away.

Did Trump and Cohen actually pay her off? No, but . . . but . . . c’mon, it would have been a campaign finance violation! If it had happened. Or it was sort of a campaign finance violation once removed, because the company that owns the National Enquirer paid for the rights to the McDougal story but then never ran anything on it, and maybe Trump knew about this!

Trump-is-doomed stories are one of the media’s favorite fairy tales. Remember when you saw “Peter Pan” when you were 4 and you actually thought that clapping for Tinkerbell would bring her back to life? Pundits think that if they cheer loudly enough for Trump to get eighty-sixed, it’ll happen. His (first?) term in office is more than a third over, and the Very Serious Commentators have been ushering him out the door the entire time. Or at least they’ve been trying to. It turns out that Trump doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the usher-pundits.

“Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency,” ran a headline in The New Yorker. That was back on April 14. Writer Adam Davidson gravely averred, “This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth.” Can something really be a “certainty” if its odds are still “increasing”? Death is a certainty. The likelihood of it occurring is, however, quite stable.

But, hey, Davidson could be right. Remember when Karl Marx said it was an inevitable historical fact that capitalism would die? It’s only been 150 years — give the man time! By contrast, recall that, a year before Davidson turned The New Yorker into his personal prophecy-delivery system, The Independent promised (May 18, 2017), “This is how Donald Trump’s presidency will crumble in the next year.” Amateurish. Never supply an expiration date that could falsify your claim. Be thunderously certain, pundits — but be vague in your certainty.

Another favorite pundit trick is the “closing wall” metaphor. Stand clear of your closing walls, Mr. President! New York City Congressman Jerry Nadler said on May 21 that Trump “is very upset that the walls are closing in, and that the investigators are closing in on him.” Nadler was echoing Stephen Colbert, from April 11 (“The walls have been closing in on the president, and he’s not happy,”) and The Daily Beast of March 12 (“The Walls Are Closing in on Trump”). These walls are certainly taking their time. “The walls are closing in on Donald Trump — and he’s starting to lose it,” claimed The New Republic back on May 18, 2017. That was a year and a quarter ago. Have you ever heard of closing walls that moved so imperceptibly that after 15 months, there was still no movement discernible to the naked eye? These walls are moving more slowly than the plot of “Blade Runner 2049.”

There’s really no need for the walls to smush Trump, though, because the noose will surely get him first. Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC said on Jan. 10, “The noose is tightening around the Trump White House and the Trump family.” Trump is “shocked that the noose is tightening,” said Mika Brzezinski on “Morning Joe.” That was back on Dec. 5. Senator and not-quite-vice-president Tim Kaine detected the noose way back in May 2017, when he said, “We have a deeply insecure president who understands the noose is tightening because of this Russia investigation.” This was about 65 weeks ago, when Trump fired James Comey. Remember how that was absolutely definitely certainly going to bring down Trump?

It was the Daily Kos that really had Trump nailed, in a piece called “Trump Endgame.” This one warned us that “events are escalating rapidly with the Trump regime” and that “Trump is not capable of a slow stripping of democratic norms, processes and rights . . . he wants to win it now . . . we are in a struggle, the fate of the nation is at stake.” Etcetera. Etcetera. This piece (which speculated hopefully that maybe “Trump is forced out in a coup”) ran on Jan. 30, 2017 — 10 days into the Trump presidency.

Don’t despair, activists and fantasists and rageaholics. Keep clapping like you did for Tinkerbell when you were 4. If you ever lose faith in fairy tales and it occurs to you that Trump isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, though, there is something you can do. You can keep smashing up Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a pickax. That’ll show him!






Marc A. Thiessen

                                                Washington Post, Aug. 2, 2018


All of Washington is waiting with bated breath to find out whether the Mueller investigation will provide evidence proving that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. So far, Exhibit A against President Trump is the meeting Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had with a group of Russians claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. That meeting should never have happened. When you get an email offering to provide “very high level and sensitive information” from the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” that could “incriminate Hillary” Clinton and is part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” you don’t reply by saying “I love it.” You call the FBI.

The president claims he did not know about the meeting. His former lawyer Michael Cohen says he did. Whether he knew is beside the point. Senior officials of his campaign were willing to accept help from Vladimir Putin; they were saved only because the meeting was a bust. The Russians didn’t end up providing any dirt. But as bad as the Trump Tower meeting was, it took place at the request of the Russians. They were the ones who approached the Trump campaign, not the other way around.

By contrast, the Clinton campaign proactively sought dirt on Trump from Russian government sources. They did it through cutouts. In April 2016, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias retained opposition research firm Fusion GPS to compile incriminating information on Trump. Fusion GPS in turn hired Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 operative with sources among Russian government officials. The result was the salacious dossier, whose sources included “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” and “a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin.” Steele’s work was paid for by Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. That means a paid agent of the Clinton campaign approached Russian officials for damaging material on Trump.

Clinton claims she did not know about Steele’s work. It doesn’t matter. Imagine if Cohen, or another lawyer paid by the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee, had hired a former British spy with campaign money to collect dirt on Clinton from Russian intelligence and foreign ministry officials. Do you think that everyone in Washington would be saying: “There’s no evidence Trump knew, so no big deal — nothing to see here”? Of course not.

Moreover, Clinton officials have defended Steele’s actions. Brian Fallon, Clinton’s campaign spokesman, has said he “would have volunteered to go to Europe and try to help” Steele and would happily have spread dirt obtained from the Russians. “Opposition research happens on every campaign,” he told The Post. He also said: “I am damn glad [Elias] pursued this on behalf of our campaign and only regret more of this material was not verified in time for the voters to learn it before the election.” In other words, “I love it.”

We also know that the Democrats covered up their involvement. The dossier was published by BuzzFeed in January, but it was not until Oct. 24, 2017 — more than nine months later — that Americans learned it was the DNC and the Clinton campaign that paid for it. If it did nothing wrong, why did Team Clinton leave Americans in the dark about its involvement for so long? Let’s be clear: None of this excuses the Trump campaign’s reprehensible behavior in accepting a meeting with Russians claiming to be government agents offering dirt on Clinton. Mueller’s investigation is not a witch hunt. If Mueller finds that anyone on the Trump campaign entered into a criminal conspiracy with Russia, they should go to jail.

Furthermore, none of this calls into question the intelligence community’s assessment that the Russians wanted Trump to win — something Putin publicly confirmed in his Helsinki news conference with Trump. But the intelligence community assessment also found that the Kremlin expected Clinton to win. The Russians are not stupid. They were preparing for the prospect of a Clinton presidency, and they played both sides. That’s why millions of dollars in Russian cash were sloshing around Clinton World — including $500,000 Bill Clinton received for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin.

Russians continue to pose a threat. Their goal, according to our intelligence community, was not just to help Trump but also to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.” They are playing a long game. If we are to counter the Russian threat, we need to understand its complexities — and that means we have to look beyond Trump.



                                                  TRUMP IS RIGHT: WE NEED A SPACE FORCE

                                                         Noah Rothman

                                                                        Commentary, Aug. 9, 2018


When President Donald Trump first floated the idea of creating an entirely new branch of the United States armed forces dedicated to space-based operations in March, the response from lay political observers was limited to bemused snickering. That mockery and amusement have not abated in the intervening months. Thursday’s announcement by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, that the administration plans to establish a sixth armed forces branch by 2020, occasioned only more displays of cynicism, but it shouldn’t have. This is deadly serious stuff. The expansion and consolidation of America’s capacities to defend its interests outside the atmosphere is inevitable and desirable.

Though you would not know it from those who spent the day chuckling to themselves over the prospect of an American space command, the militarization of this strategically vital region is decades old. Thousands of both civilian and military communications and navigations satellites operate in earth orbit, to say nothing of the occasional human. It’s impossible to say how many weapons are already stationed in orbit because many of these platforms are “dual use,” meaning that they could be transformed into kill vehicles at a moment’s notice.

American military planners have been preoccupied with the preservation of critical U.S. communications infrastructure in space since at least 2007, when China stunned observers by launching a missile that intercepted and destroyed a satellite, creating thousands of pieces of debris hurtling around the earth at speeds faster than any bullet.

America’s chief strategic competitors—Russia and China—and rogue actors like Iran and North Korea are all committed to developing the capability to target America’s command-and-control infrastructure, a lot of which is space-based. Trump’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified in 2017 that both Moscow and Beijing are “considering attacks against satellite systems as part of their future warfare doctrine” and are developing the requisite anti-satellite technology—despite their false public commitments to the “nonweaponization of space and ‘no first placement’ of weapons in space.”

Those who oppose the creation of a space branch object on a variety of grounds, some of them merit more attention than others. The contention that a sixth military branch is a redundant waste of taxpayer money, for example, is a more salient than cynical claims that Trump is interested only in a glory project. “I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions,” Sec. Mattis wrote in October of last year. That’s a perfectly sound argument against excessive bureaucratization and profligacy, but it is silent on the necessity of a space command. Both the Pentagon and the National Security Council are behind the creation of a “U.S. Space Command” in lieu of the congressional action required to establish a new branch of the armed forces dedicated to space-based operations.

As for bureaucratic sprawl, in 2015, the diffusion of space-related experts and capabilities across the armed services led the Air Force to create a single space advisor to coordinate those capabilities for the Defense Department. But that patch did not resolve the problems and, in 2017, Congress’s General Accountability Office recommended investigating the creation of a single branch dedicated to space for the purposes of consolidation.

It is true that the existing branches maintain capabilities that extend into space, which would superficially make a Space Force seem redundant. But American air power was once the province of the U.S. Army and Navy, and bureaucratic elements within these two branches opposed the creation of a U.S. Air Force in 1947. The importance of air power in World War II and the likelihood that aircraft would be a critical feature of future warfighting convinced policymakers that a unified command of operations was critical to effective warfighting. Moreover, both Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman believed that creating a separate branch for airpower ensured that Congress would be less likely to underfund the vital enterprise.

The final argument against the militarization of space is a rehash of themes from the Cold War. Low earth orbit, like the seafloor and the Antarctic, is part of the “global commons,” and should not be militarized on principle. This was the Soviet position, and Moscow’s fellow travelers in the West regularly echoed it. But the argument is simply not compelling.

The Soviets insisted that the militarization of space was provocative and undesirable, but mostly because they lacked the capability to weaponize space. The Soviets regularly argued that any technology it could not match was a first-strike weapon. That’s why they argued vigorously against deploying missile interceptors but voiced fewer objections to ground-based laser technology. As for the “global commons,” that’s just what we call the places where humans do not operate for extended periods of time and where resource extraction is cost prohibitive. The more viable the exploration of these hostile environments becomes, the less “common” we will eventually consider them.

Just as navies police sea lanes, the inevitable commercialization of space ensures that its militarization will follow. That isn’t something to fear or lament. It’s not only unavoidable; it’s a civilizational advance. Space Force may not be an idea whose time has come, but deterrence is based on supremacy and supremacy is the product of proactivity. God forbid there comes a day on which we need an integrated response to a state actor with capabilities in space, we will be glad that we didn’t wait for the crisis before resolving to do what is necessary.





Michael Goodwin

New York Post, Aug. 11, 2018

A story is supposed to have two sides, but there is only one when it comes to President Trump’s foreign policy. Most American media treat his every effort as a savage assault on a harmonious world order. Whether it’s the trade dispute with China, his pushing North Korea to scuttle its nukes or his demand that NATO members spend more on defense, the headlines sound the same shrieking note: “Trump inflames . . . Trump escalates . . . Trump doubles down . . . Trump risks . . .”

The parade of horribles continues to this day, but it will be hard to out-fear-monger a Time magazine headline from May: “By Violating Iran Deal, Trump Jeopardizes National Security.” But since the world hasn’t ended and since we’re not dead yet, I humbly suggest it’s time to take a deep breath and consider the other side of the story.

We don’t have to look far. Numerous signs are popping up that the impact of Trump’s policies is far from the disastrous scenario the media predict. By wielding America’s power instead of apologizing for it, and by keeping his focus on jobs and national security, Trump is making progress in fixing the ruinous status quo he inherited. America First, it turns out, is more than a slogan. It is a road map to reshaping America’s relationship with friend and foe alike.

Take China. Despite press accusations that Trump risks a global recession with tariffs on Chinese imports, recent reports from China say there is growing criticism there over how President Xi Jinping is handling Trump. One brave professor published an essay citing “rising anxiety” and “a degree of panic” about Xi’s combativeness on the issue and his autocratic ways. Others told the New York Times and CNBC that China’s leaders should be flexible toward Trump’s push for a more equal trading system. They said boasts and threats from Chinese officials and retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans and other products are raising fears that Xi is courting chaos by overestimating China’s international clout. “China should adopt a lower profile,” one foreign policy expert there told the Times. “Don’t create this atmosphere that we’re about to supplant the American model.”

Turkey is testing Trump by seizing an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and refusing to release him. Instead of paying a ransom or making concessions, Trump’s team levied sanctions on two Turkish cabinet members and doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum, which sent panic through currency markets. The Turkish lira lost 13 percent of its value against the dollar in one day and inflation stands at an ­estimated 85 percent. The erratic Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has silenced nearly all opposition but revealed the pressure he’s feeling when he cryptically declared, “If they have their dollars, we have our people, our God.” He urged Turks to exchange gold and other valuables for the lira in hopes of stopping the rout. Good luck with that.

Then there’s Iran. Notwithstanding Time magazine’s scare claim, Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord and last week’s imposition of sanctions aimed at the government and certain industries are adding to the economic pressure on the mullahs. For months, demonstrations and strikes have focused on inflation, water shortages and rampant corruption, all amplified on social media. Some protesters criticize Iran’s involvement in Syria and its support of Hamas in Gaza while neglecting despair at home. Even before the sanctions, the Iranian rial lost 80 percent of its value against the US dollar and Forbes estimates inflation exceeds 200 percent.

Trump tweeted that the sanctions, which had been lifted by President Barack Obama, are just the first step and that a bigger round starts in November. “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” he wrote. “I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” That was a reference to his ­offer to talk to Iran’s leaders about a new nuclear deal. So far, the Iranians have sent mixed signals, but some observers believe the bite of sanctions will force them to the table. Already some European firms that rushed to do business in Iran after the nuclear deal was signed are pulling out because they fear being blacklisted by the US Treasury. And regime attempts to blame everything on Trump are failing, with most of the public blaming the mullahs for the crisis. As The Atlantic magazine notes, Trump’s approach to Iran resembles his approach to North Korea: “Saber rattling followed by summitry.” The magazine reports that North Korea’s foreign minister visited Tehran last week…

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


On Topic Links

U.S. President Trump: A Balance Sheet: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2018 —U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin served to increase the paranoia about him to an all-time high. He was accused of “failing America,” acting “shamefully” and “disgracefully,” and even committing “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Former CIA chief John Brennan went so far as to call his performance “treasonous.”

Chomsky Calls Russian Interference a Joke – Blames Guess Who?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 3, 2018—Noam Chomsky has gone off the deep end once again. This time he claims that in “most of the world” the issue of Russian interference in U.S. elections is “almost a joke.” The real villain, according to him, is, of course, Israel — as it almost always is with Chomsky. According to the world’s “top public intellectual,” Israeli intervention in U.S. elections, “vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done.”

The Legacies of Robert Mueller’s Investigations: Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness, Aug. 13th, 2018—Some 450 days ago we were treated to melodramatic announcements from the media about the start-up of Robert Mueller’s “dream” and “all-star” team. Reporters gushed in the general hysteria of the times that Mueller would no doubt soon indict President Trump, some of his family, and almost anyone else in his campaign—and therefore end the Trump aberration.

The Myth of a Rising ‘Alt-Right’: Jonathan S. Tobin, New York Post, Aug. 13, 2018—It was inevitable that the anniversary of last year’s racist march in Charlottesville, Va., would be treated as a watershed. The horrifying torchlight parade of neo-Nazis and Klansmen shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans was straight out of our collective nightmares about the past.


In Saudi-Canada Standoff, Riyadh Should Stand Down: Jonathan Schanzer & Varsha Koduvayur, New York Post, Aug. 9, 2018— The last time Canada undertook an act of aggression was in 1999, when it declared war on the United States — in the comedic universe of “South Park,” that is.

Saudi Arabia’s Global Ambitions Leave No Room for Meddling: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Aug. 9, 2018 — The diplomatic fight between Saudi Arabia and Canada bears watching, and not for the astonishing novelty that anyone could really take offence at our prime minister, whose prime directive is generally not to give offence.

Saudi Arabia and Israel: Know Thine Enemy: Dr. Edy Cohen, BESA, July 20, 2018— Saudi Arabia and Israel do not maintain official relations, but by the time Crown Prince Abdullah published the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, bilateral ties between the two countries had already been established behind the scenes.

‘Unite with the Devil’: Yemen War Binds US, Allies, Al-Qaida: Maggie Michael and Trish Wilson and Lee Keath, Washington Times, Aug. 7, 2018— Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.

On Topic Links

Why Has Canada Spent Billions of Dollars Buying Saudi Arabian Oil?: Tristin Hopper, National Post, Aug. 8, 2018

Good Riddance to Our Ties with Saudi Arabia: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Aug. 7, 2018

Saudi Arabia Cuts Exports to Canada Over Raif Badawi: Daniel Bordman, Post Millenial, Aug. 6, 2018

US Withdrawal From Iran Deal Helping Wind Down Yemen War, Officials Say: Hollie McKay, Fox News, Aug. 7, 2018   



Jonathan Schanzer & Varsha Koduvayur

New York Post, Aug. 9, 2018

The last time Canada undertook an act of aggression was in 1999, when it declared war on the United States — in the comedic universe of “South Park,” that is. But few were laughing Monday when Saudi Arabia shockingly cut ties with Canada and enacted severe punitive measures against Ottawa.

Riyadh’s gripe? A Canadian Foreign Ministry tweet criticizing the kingdom’s arrests of several human-rights activists. After new arrests last week, the total number of detained activists is now 18. In retaliation for what it described as Canadian meddling, Riyadh divested from its Canadian assets, froze new trade and investment, halted flights to the Great White North and recalled Saudi doctors and students from Canadian hospitals and universities.

The kingdom called Canada’s response an “unacceptable affront” and a direct violation of its sovereignty. That’s a valid, diplomatic response. But every other measure is utterly disproportionate. Riyadh’s actions undercut its recent unprecedented progress. Women finally got behind the wheel of their cars in June — legally. Movie theaters opened. Western visitors have lined up. The once-dreaded religious police have been effectively declawed. And many regulatory changes have been implemented to open up the Saudi economy for foreign investment.

Mohammed bin Salman, the energetic crown prince helming this vast metamorphosis, has articulated his vision to put the kingdom on the right track. He vowed to roll back fundamentalist Islam and return the kingdom to a “tolerant, moderate Islam” — unprecedented words from a Saudi leader, given the kingdom’s historical role in spreading Wahhabism. Saudi reform could have enormously positive consequences for the region. Which is why MbS, as he’s known, should be lauded every time he takes a step in the right direction, and why legitimate criticism is important, too.

Of course, the Saudis don’t always take criticism well. In 2015, Riyadh temporarily recalled its envoy to Sweden after the latter criticized human-rights violations, and last November it recalled its ambassador to Germany after its foreign minister protested Riyadh’s meddling in Lebanon. Saudi Arabia even blacklisted some German companies as a result.

Such moves may play well in Saudi Arabia, but may not have much of an impact in the current fracas. Riyadh is Canada’s 17th-largest trade partner, and total trade last year amounted to $3 billion. That may sound like a lot, but compared to the $673.9 billion that Canada traded with the US in 2017, that’s a drop in the bucket for Ottawa. Saudi institutions shed their Canadian asset holdings, but these divestments will likewise be small. Similarly, the Saudi decision to halt wheat and barley imports from Canada will not have a severe effect given that the kingdom had already been importing less in recent years.

Pulling Saudi students and doctors from universities and hospitals could have more of an impact: In 2017, Saudis made up about 2 percent of Canada’s international students. Yet yanking them from their studies undercuts the kingdom’s goal of creating a knowledge economy more than it will affect Canadian universities’ bottom lines. Whether this holdout lasts for a semester, a year or longer, it’ll deprive the kingdom of the talent and knowhow that it needs to increase private-sector employment.

Neither is Canada likely to feel much of a pinch from the drop in 75,000 to 80,000 barrels of Saudi crude that it imports per day. That’s less than 10 percent of Ottawa’s total oil imports and a gap that could be plugged by the US. But for Riyadh, that’s a loss of $2.48 billion. Perhaps that’s why the Saudi energy minister put out a quick message that this diplomatic spat will “not, in any way, impact Saudi Aramco’s relations” with Canadian customers. More concerning for Ottawa would be an $11 billion arms deal to supply the Saudis with light-armored vehicles, which it doesn’t want to lose.

But whatever pain Saudi Arabia ultimately inflicts on Canada, the kingdom may get the worst of it. Western institutional investors, actors that avoid risk whenever they can, are undoubtedly spooked. Foreign investment in Saudi Arabia had already plummeted to a 14-year low after last year’s opaque anti-corruption purge that put a number of high-profile Saudis under house arrest. Riyadh certainly has a right to contest Canada’s statements. But it must find a way to climb down from this senseless escalation. And in the process, it wouldn’t hurt to reassure its supporters that it remains committed to reform, not to mention human rights.                                                             Contents



Father Raymond J. de Souza

                                                National Post, Aug. 9, 2018

The diplomatic fight between Saudi Arabia and Canada bears watching, and not for the astonishing novelty that anyone could really take offence at our prime minister, whose prime directive is generally not to give offence. His Indian tour was ridiculed precisely because he was too aggressively ingratiating.

It bears watching because it is an indication of a possible new configuration in the geopolitics of Islam. One hundred years ago, the end of the Great War effectively meant the demise of the Ottoman Empire, which had been the geopolitical expression of Islam for centuries. Since then, global Islam has sought different political expressions, the various developments of which have been a major factor in international relations.

So whatever may be at the heart of the completely unexpected fight between Saudi Arabia and Canada, it cannot be an offensive tweet from our foreign affairs ministry which, in the age of Trump, is not even in the minor leagues when it comes to offensive tweets. Somehow, Saudi Arabia’s ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, has decided that he needs to have a fight with someone even as he presents himself at home and abroad as a reformer who is out to change traditional Saudi ways.

MBS, as he and his admirers style him, is the next generation in a state that is really a family business, and not a very good one at that. His grandfather — Abdulaziz al Saud — was the founder of Saudi Arabia, and his father — Salman — is the current king, the last of the seven brothers who inherited the throne from their father. Salman has given MBS the scope to rule now as crown prince, and in future as king. In the massive Saudi royal family, with its hundreds of descendants of Abdulaziz, MBS was not the obvious successor, but was named that last year by Salman. He has been taking the kingdom and the world by storm ever since.

The House of Saud has ruled Saudi Arabia for a century by using the country’s massive oil wealth for two purposes. Spread around the family, it keeps dynastic struggles in check, as everyone has a stake in the ongoing chokehold they maintain on the country’s resources. And spread around the population in generous public benefits, it suppresses thoughts of revolution. But both the family and the country have grown too large for indefinite high living off oil alone, so the country’s economy must become more dynamic and diversified. Hence the new economic vision and reforms of MBS.

The other element keeping the House of Saud in business has been a pact with Wahhabi religious authorities. If the latter do not challenge the former’s legitimacy as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” as the king of Saudi Arabia is styled, in exchange the royal family will permit extreme Wahhabi mores to prevail in Saudi Arabia and be funded abroad. That’s why women weren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia until just six weeks ago, and why extremist madrassas are funded the world over.

That pact though prevents Saudi Arabia from leading the Islamic world. The majority of Muslims, who are Sunni, would prefer to see Saudi Arabia eclipse Iran, a Shia power, but from Egypt to Indonesia there is little appetite to elevate Wahhabism in Islam’s geopolitical leadership. So MBS is seeking both economic and social reform, which means less money to buy alliances and less power for the religious authorities. Hence he has trumpeted around the world his decision to allow women to drive. But all reform generates opposition, which MBS has dealt with by deposing rivals and imprisoning dissenters, including resorts to violence and torture.

Will MBS pull off his plan to make Saudi Arabia the new centre of global Islam? He has sought to reconfigure the politics of the Gulf States, and is open to alliances with Israel to contain Iran. When Obama was president, he went to Cairo in his first visit to the Muslim world. Trump made Saudi Arabia his first foreign visit to any country, the first of a three-part religious journey, completed later with visits to Jerusalem and Rome.

So there is an openness abroad to the rise of Saudi Arabia, both in economic and strategic relations. But friends abroad may embolden rivals at home. MBS needs their investment and diplomatic support, but not their meddling, from his point of view, in the security of his regime. Hence the decision to escalate this contrived fight with Canada. MBS wants a more dynamic, moderate Saudi Arabia to be the heir to Ottoman-era influence, an alternative to the militancy of Iran or the failed pan-Arab nationalism of the 1960s. But he wants on it on his own terms.                         Contents



                                                         Dr. Edy Cohen

                                                                        BESA, July 20, 2018

Saudi Arabia and Israel do not maintain official relations, but by the time Crown Prince Abdullah published the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, bilateral ties between the two countries had already been established behind the scenes. In 2015, ties increased and some were even made formal as a result of the joint effort by both countries against the Iranian nuclear program. Saudis visited Israel and there were reports that the late Mossad chief Meir Dagan visited Saudi Arabia to coordinate on the Iran issue. Over the past two years, ties have reportedly reached new highs, with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman allegedly holding a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

If there was once talk of a moderate Sunni alliance against Iran, this term has lost all meaning in the last two years. The Middle East is now divided into two camps: one made up of Turkey, Qatar, Iran, and Sudan, and the other made up of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The latter camp, which has the support of the US and Israel, imposed the boycott on Qatar  over its growing ties to Iran and Turkey.

There can be no doubt that the growing ties between Riyadh and Jerusalem are a result of the hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Tehran is aggressive in its attacks on Riyadh, including in the cyber arena. In 2012, a cyberattack on Saudi Arabia’s national petroleum and gas company Aramco caused unprecedented damage, partially wiping or in some cases completely destroying some 35,000 of its computers. There have also been reports of Iranian hackers breaking into the bank accounts of Saudi princes to reveal how much money they have at their disposal.

Faced with these threats, Riyadh established the National Cyber Security Authority to fight Iran and the hackers. In 2017, the authority was tasked with an additional goal – inciting the Arab world against Qatar. Abdullah adviser Saud bin Abdullah al-Qahtani is responsible for the unit, which, according to assessments, employs some 4,000 people.

The National Cyber Security Authority’s Twitter account has 400,000 followers. Employees operate online under false identities, and their job is to create hashtags that trend online. Their brief is to moderate and control public opinion and to vilify Qatar and its leaders. The agency’s Twitter account tweets daily, mostly against Qatar and Iran. It uses anti-Semitic terminology, referring to Qatar as “Qatariel,” a portmanteau of Qatar and Israel, and claiming the Al-Jazeera network “belongs to the Israeli Mossad.”

“The deal of the century” is a Qatari scheme to sell Palestine to the “Zionist entity,” one tweet reads, while another alleges that the “Zionist” Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the father of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is scheming to divide the Arab states to fulfill the dreams of the “Zionist entity” and Iran. In another tweet, the authority alleges Qatar is “trying to destroy the Arab world to serve the enemies of the Muslim world: Israel and Iran.” These statements penetrate deep into the Arab consciousness and increase their existing hatred towards Jews and Israel.

The Saudis are thus playing a double game. Behind the scenes, they send the Israelis the message that Tehran is a common enemy and goad it to fight Iran and Hezbollah. At home, however, they say that the enemy is first and foremost the State of Israel, followed by Iran. Their formula is clear: covert ties with Israel coupled with overt hostility to the Jewish state to satisfy the people, a majority of whom hate Israel.

The Saudi double game is sadly familiar. It is reminiscent of the Egyptian model under Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Hosni Mubarak: dozens of anti-Semitic articles were published on a daily basis, but the Israeli audience was not exposed to the phenomenon and the politicians closed their eyes. In the two-and-a-half decades since the onset of the Oslo “peace process,” successive Israeli governments have similarly turned a deaf ear to the vitriolic Palestinian incitement that has indoctrinated the residents of the West Bank and Gaza with implacable hatred for Israel and helped pave the road for the BDS movement. Jerusalem must not accept anti-Israel incitement, and that is also true where Saudi Arabia is concerned. Incitement translates into action, and that action comes at a deadly price.




Maggie Michael and Trish Wilson and Lee Keath

Washington Times, Aug. 7, 2018

Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West. Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.

That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself. These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day – and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.

The deals uncovered by the AP reflect the contradictory interests of the two wars being waged simultaneously in this southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. In one conflict, the U.S. is working with its Arab allies – particularly the United Arab Emirates – with the aim of eliminating the branch of extremists known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. But the larger mission is to win the civil war against the Houthis, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. And in that fight, al-Qaida militants are effectively on the same side as the Saudi-led coalition – and, by extension, the United States.

“Elements of the U.S. military are clearly aware that much of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that,” said Michael Horton, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. analysis group that tracks terrorism. “However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the U.S. views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen,” Horton said.

The AP’s findings are based on reporting in Yemen and interviews with two dozen officials, including Yemeni security officers, militia commanders, tribal mediators and four members of al-Qaida’s branch. All but a few of those sources spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. Emirati-backed factions, like most armed groups in Yemen, have been accused of abducting or killing their critics. Coalition-backed militias actively recruit al-Qaida militants, or those who were recently members, because they’re considered exceptional fighters, the AP found. The coalition forces are comprised of a dizzying mix of militias, factions, tribal warlords and tribes with very local interests. And AQAP militants are intertwined with many of them.

One Yemeni commander who was put on the U.S. terrorism list for al-Qaida ties last year continues to receive money from the UAE to run his militia, his own aide told the AP. Another commander, recently granted $12 million for his fighting force by Yemen’s president, has a known al-Qaida figure as his closest aide. In one case, a tribal mediator who brokered a deal between the Emiratis and al-Qaida even gave the extremists a farewell dinner. Horton said much of the war on al-Qaida by the UAE and its allied militias is a “farce.” “It is now almost impossible to untangle who is AQAP and who is not since so many deals and alliances have been made,” he said.

The U.S. has sent billions of dollars in weapons to the coalition to fight the Iran-backed Houthis. U.S. advisers also give the coalition intelligence used in targeting on-the-ground adversaries in Yemen, and American jets provide air-to-air refueling for coalition war planes. The U.S. does not fund the coalition, however, and there is no evidence that American money went to AQAP militants. The U.S. is aware of an al-Qaida presence among the anti-Houthi ranks, a senior American official told reporters in Cairo earlier this year. Because coalition members back militias with hard-line Islamic commanders, “it’s very, very easy for al-Qaida to insinuate itself into the mix,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under the terms of the briefing.

More recently, the Pentagon vigorously denied any complicity with al-Qaida militants. “Since the beginning of 2017, we have conducted more than 140 strikes to remove key AQAP leaders and disrupt its ability to use ungoverned spaces to recruit, train and plan operations against the U.S. and our partners across the region,” Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, wrote in an email to the AP. An Emirati government spokesman did not reply to questions from the AP.

But on Monday, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted that the UAE-backed counter-terrorism strategy is working. He said it had “removed” thousands of militants and deprived them of safe havens. AQAP is “at its weakest since 2012,” he wrote, adding that the UAE and its allies “have all lost troops in the fight.” Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki on Monday said the AP’s findings were “incorrect” and “not based on convincing facts and evidence.” “The coalition is waging a war on terrorist organizations in Yemen, like al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and the Houthi militia,” he said. “It continues to carry our joint operations with its friends and brothers to dismantle these groups’ capabilities.”

The coalition began fighting in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis overran the north, including the capital, Sanaa. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are determined to stop what they consider a move by their nemesis, Iran, to take over Yemen, and their professed aim is to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Al-Qaida is leveraging the chaos to its advantage.

“The United States is certainly in a bind in Yemen,” said Katherine Zimmerman, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “It doesn’t make sense that the United States has identified al-Qaida as a threat, but that we have common interests inside of Yemen and that, in some places, it looks like we’re looking the other way.” Within this complicated conflict, al-Qaida says its numbers – which U.S. officials have estimated at 6,000 to 8,000 members – are rising…

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



On Topic Links

Why Has Canada Spent Billions of Dollars Buying Saudi Arabian Oil?: Tristin Hopper, National Post, Aug. 8, 2018—As Saudi Arabia aggressively severs ties with Canada, the two countries’ trade relationship hangs in the balance. On one hand, Canada will lose out on Saudi foreign students, military contracts and sales of wheat and grain. On the other, Saudi Arabia will lose the billions of dollars it earns every year by selling oil to Canada.

Good Riddance to Our Ties with Saudi Arabia: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Aug. 7, 2018—Most Canadians were taken aback by the hostile reaction of Saudi Arabia towards Canada after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued statements late last week calling on Riyadh to release imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife, Ensaf Haider, and three children are Canadian citizens.

Saudi Arabia Cuts Exports to Canada Over Raif Badawi: Daniel Bordman, Post Millenial, Aug. 6, 2018—Many of us have been waiting around for Justin Trudeau’s administration to finally take a moral stand on the international stage.  Justin Trudeau has always shown a knack for lecturing countries with complete gender equality on their need for even more gender equality.  However, his first real foray into morality isn’t going so well.

US Withdrawal From Iran Deal Helping Wind Down Yemen War, Officials Say: Hollie McKay, Fox News, Aug. 7, 2018    —Despite Tehran’s repeated denials of arming Shiite Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, government and military officials insist President Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal has had an immediate impact in helping bring the four-year conflict at least a step toward closure.








Times of Israel, 17 fev., 2018

Il peut y avoir d’autres voies que la création d’un Etat palestinien coexistant avec Israël, dit l’administration Trump. Solution à un ou deux Etats, confédération, maintien du statu quo…: revue des options pour résoudre un des plus vieux conflits du monde.

La solution à deux Etats : Elle est retenue par la plus grande partie de la communauté internationale. Elle est endossée par la direction palestinienne internationalement reconnue, et par l’actuel Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, certes sans enthousiasme. Elle guidait la diplomatie américaine au moins depuis 2000 et jusqu’aux remises en question par l’administration cette semaine.

Un Etat palestinien serait créé, qui coexisterait avec Israël dans la paix, la sécurité et des frontières reconnues. Dans le scénario privilégié, il comprendrait la Cisjordanie, la bande de Gaza sous le contrôle du Hamas islamiste et aurait pour capitale Jérusalem-Est, annexé par Israël.

Deux Etats, mais des versions distinctes : La solution à deux Etats recouvre des réalités potentielles différentes selon les interlocuteurs. M. Netanyahu envisage pour les Palestiniens un « Etat moins », autrement dit un Etat qui n’en aurait pas tous les attributs, a rapporté la presse israélienne. Même en cas d’accord, Israël doit conserver le contrôle militaire de toute la Cisjordanie, territoire qui constituerait une bonne part d’un Etat palestinien, a-t-il dit mercredi.

Solution à un Etat : Plus de deux décennies de négociations, jalonnées de guerres et de violences, n’ont pas produit un accord final. Avec des réalités de plus en plus inextricables et la poursuite de la construction d’implantations israéliennes, beaucoup de diplomates s’alarment que la solution à deux Etats ne soit plus possible.

La solution à un Etat fut longtemps celle de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), avant que l’OLP ne finisse par reconnaître l’Etat d’Israël et soutenir la solution à deux Etats. Le Hamas continue à refuser de reconnaître Israël, et à vouloir un Etat sur toute la Palestine mandataire (y compris donc Israël).

Juif ou démocratique : Saëb Erekat, haut responsable de la direction palestinienne, disait mercredi que « la seule véritable alternative possible (à la solution à deux Etats) serait un Etat laïc et démocratique (sur les Territoires palestiniens et Israël) où Juifs, musulmans et chrétiens seraient égaux ».

Il signifiait par là qu’une telle hypothèse était exclue, tant elle supposerait qu’Israël accepte une remise en cause de son identité.

Les données démographiques sont sujettes à débat et à évolution, mais pour Israël la menace serait que la population arabe prenne le pas sur la population juive. Israël imposera alors un statut différent aux Juifs et aux Arabes, ce qui reviendrait à un régime d’apartheid, dit M. Erekat.

« Si on fait le choix d’un seul Etat, Israël pourra être soit juif, soit démocratique, il ne pourra pas être les deux », disait avant de partir l’ex-secrétaire d’Etat américain John Kerry.

Confédération israélo-palestinienne : Le président israélien Reuven Rivlin prône une confédération de deux Etats, israélien et palestinien, avec deux parlements et deux constitutions, mais une seule armée, israélienne.

Confédération jordano-palestinienne : Certains membres de la droite israélienne pensent que la Jordanie, qui contrôlait Jérusalem-Est et la Cisjordanie de 1948 jusqu’en 1967, pourrait offrir une issue.

La population jordanienne est majoritairement d’origine palestinienne. L’OLP et Israël avaient rejeté en 1972 une proposition de confédération. Mais en octobre 2016, un sondage auprès des Palestiniens de la bande de Gaza et de Cisjordanie indiquait que 46,1 % d’entre eux soutenaient la confédération de deux Etats indépendants avec des relations institutionnelles fortes. L’enquête ne précisait pas combien s’y opposaient.

Le statu quo : Israël continue à occuper la Cisjordanie et à maintenir la bande de Gaza sous blocus. La construction d’implantations se poursuit. L’envoyé spécial de l’ONU Nickolay Mladenov mettait en garde jeudi contre « l’illusion qui ferait croire qu’on peut gérer le conflit indéfiniment ».

Le risque, disait-il, est non seulement celui du « conflit perpétuel », mais de la montée des extrémismes.




Hadrien Gosset Bernheim

Nouvelobs, 14 juil., 2018

Au Proche-Orient, la solution dite “à deux Etats” a vécu, et avec elle, l’éventualité d’un Etat palestinien vivant en bonne intelligence avec son voisin israélien le long des frontières d’avant 1967 avance Stéphane Amar dans son dernier ouvrage “le Grand Secret d’Israël, pourquoi il n’y aura pas d’Etat palestinien” (Editions de l’Observatoire), à propos du processus de paix entamé il y a vingt-cinq ans, interrompu depuis, mais dont la communauté internationale continue de faire un principe.

L’enquête de ce journaliste – l’un des meilleurs spécialistes francophones de la question – montre au contraire que tout conduit à l’émergence d’un Etat unique dans lequel cohabiteraient Juifs et Palestiniens : au noyautage systématique de la Cisjordanie par les gouvernements israéliens successifs répondent en effet l’impossibilité pour les Arabes de faire leur deuil de l’ensemble de la Palestine historique, ainsi que la rupture définitive entre Gaza et la Cisjordanie. Dans la mesure où les deux peuples “réclament pour eux-mêmes l’intégralité du territoire”, comme l’explique l’auteur à “l’Obs”, comment croire à la possibilité d’un partage négocié ? Interview.

Il y a un an, la vice-ministre des Affaires étrangères israélienne, Tzipi Hotovely, assurait à “l’Obs” “qu’il n’y aurait pas d’Etat palestinien”. Loin d’être une voix isolée, elle mettrait en réalité, selon vous, des mots sur le véritable projet des Israéliens ?

Absolument. Hotovely dit tout haut ce que son gouvernement prépare tout bas. Israël mine méthodiquement toute possibilité de créer un Etat palestinien. Chaque année, des milliers de permis de construire sont délivrés dans les colonies. Des quartiers entiers sortent de terre avec les infrastructures correspondantes : routes, écoles, centres commerciaux, zones industrielles… Ces zones de peuplement se développent précisément au plus près des localités palestiniennes afin de briser toute continuité territoriale. L’Autorité palestinienne se résume aujourd’hui à quelques villes autonomes de plus en plus isolées les unes des autres. Officiellement, Israël soutient toujours la création d’un Etat palestinien. Dans la réalité, le gouvernement Netanyahou prépare l’annexion au moins partielle de la Cisjordanie.

Alors que faut-il comprendre lorsque les Israéliens disent vouloir la paix ? De quelle paix parlent-ils ? Les Israéliens considèrent qu’ils ont gagné la guerre de Cent Ans. Depuis la fin de la deuxième Intifada en 2004, les Palestiniens de Cisjordanie semblent avoir rendu les armes. Ils ne commettent quasiment plus d’attentat et l’Autorité palestinienne collabore activement avec les services de sécurité israéliens pour maintenir le calme. A Gaza, le Hamas poursuit le combat mais le rapport de force lui est spectaculairement défavorable. Les récents affrontements à la frontière l’ont bien montré : plus de 130 morts côté palestinien, aucun côté israélien.

Du coup, comme tous les vainqueurs, Israël entend dicter ses conditions à l’ennemi. Personne ne détient la formule miracle. Mais la fameuse “paix économique” dont parle souvent Netanyahou consiste visiblement à renforcer la présence israélienne en Cisjordanie tout en autorisant un nombre croissant de Palestiniens à venir travailler en Israël. Cela revient à une annexion rampante du territoire. Pour Gaza, les discussions sont bien engagées avec l’Egypte et la Turquie pour donner plus d’autonomie à l’enclave. Israël semble favorable à la création à Gaza d’un Etat démilitarisé dont les frontières resteraient étroitement contrôlées par ses voisins.

Les Palestiniens accepteraient-ils un tel scénario ? Ont-ils vraiment le choix ? Militairement, je vous l’ai dit, la domination israélienne est écrasante. Mais les Palestiniens sont aussi isolés diplomatiquement depuis que les pays arabes sunnites ont formé un front avec Israël contre l’Iran. Sans parler des Etats-Unis qui furent les parrains du processus d’Oslo et qui aujourd’hui soutiennent quasi-ouvertement la politique de colonisation et l’annexion de Jérusalem-Est.

Vous venez d’évoquer Oslo : il y a vingt-cinq ans, Israël était prêt à partager le territoire. Que s’est-il passé depuis ? La roue a tourné. A l’époque, l’Etat hébreu vivait sous la pression d’un mouvement national palestinien puissant, fédéré par le très charismatique Yasser Arafat. Ce mouvement est aujourd’hui considérablement affaibli et divisé. En outre, avant Oslo, la majorité des Israéliens croyaient au principe “paix contre territoires”. Or chaque concession territoriale de leur part a provoqué une dégradation de la situation sécuritaire : en Cisjordanie, à Gaza, au sud-Liban. Ceci explique les réticences à un nouveau retrait. Enfin, et c’est sans doute le paramètre le plus décisif, la dynamique démographique s’est inversée. Avec l’arrivée d’un million de Juifs russes dans les années 1990 et l’explosion du taux de natalité en Israël, la fameuse bombe démographique semble avoir changé de main.

Vous voulez dire qu’une annexion des territoires palestiniens ne menacerait pas Israël ? Les démographes sont pourtant formels : bientôt les Palestiniens seront majoritaires entre la Méditerranée et le Jourdain. En cas d’annexion, il faudra leur donner le droit de vote. En l’absence d’un Etat palestinien, comment imaginer qu’Israël puisse rester un Etat juif et démocratique ?

C’est évidemment la question centrale. Concernant les démographes, ils n’ont cessé de se tromper ; tout le temps. Il y a vingt ans, les experts cités aujourd’hui dans la plupart des médias prédisaient que les Palestiniens seraient majoritaires en 2018. On en est loin. L’an dernier le taux de fécondité des femmes juives a dépassé celui des femmes arabes. Les Juifs des colonies font plus d’enfants que les Palestiniens de Gaza, par exemple. Mais surtout, en se retirant de Gaza en 2005, Ariel Sharon a sorti deux millions de Palestiniens de l’équation démographique. En rupture avec l’Autorité palestinienne depuis plus de dix ans, Gaza se détache inexorablement de la Cisjordanie et évolue comme vers un Etat indépendant. Ce sera cela l’Etat palestinien : uniquement la bande de Gaza.

Vous oubliez les 2 millions et demi de Palestiniens de Cisjordanie. Les imaginer accepter de devenir citoyens israéliens, n’est-ce pas un peu naïf ?

Contrairement à un a priori tenace, Israéliens et Palestiniens peuvent parfaitement coexister pacifiquement. L’Etat d’Israël compte un million et demi de citoyens d’origine palestinienne : les Arabes israéliens. Ils jouissent du droit de vote. Ils sont parfaitement loyaux et bien intégrés notamment dans la police, dans le monde médical et même dans la mythique “start-up nation”. Un exemple parmi tant d’autres : le numéro deux d’Apple, le bras droit de Tim Cook, est un Arabe israélien né à Haïfa. Israël fait le pari de transformer progressivement les Palestiniens de Cisjordanie en Arabes israéliens.

Ce qui se profile, c’est donc un Etat unique ?

Il n’y a guère d’autre solution. Toutes les tentatives de partition ont conduit au bain de sang. Car chacun des deux peuples réclame, pour lui-même, exactement la même chose : l’intégralité du territoire. Pour les Palestiniens, Haïfa ou Jaffa dans la banlieue de Tel-Aviv comptent au moins autant que Ramallah ou Naplouse. Leurs dirigeants ne cessent de le répéter mais, en Occident, on refuse de les entendre.

Quant aux Israéliens, ils ne renonceront jamais aux lieux fondateurs de leur identité : le mur des Lamentations à Jérusalem, le caveau des Patriarches à Hébron ou le tombeau de Joseph à Naplouse. Par un tragique pied de nez de l’Histoire, ils sont tous situés en Cisjordanie. Je ne sais pas quelle forme institutionnelle prendra cet Etat unique : fédération, confédération, autonomie… Une seule chose est sûre : la solution à deux Etats a vécu.





Shraga Blum

LPH Info, 9 aout, 2018

01h20: nouveau miracle à Sederot: une roquette s’abat à l’entrée d’une maison sans faire de victimes.

01h12: plus de cent roquettes tirées en six heures!

01h00: les sirènes d’alerte se suivent à un rythme d’une toutes les 2-3 minutes.

00h56: une roquette s’abat dans la cour d’une maison de Sederot. Par miracle, il n’y a pas de victimes.

00h50: le terroriste éliminé par Tsahal dans le nord de la bande de Gaza est Ali al-Andur, qui est le fils du commandant du Hamas dans le nord de la bande de Gaza, Abu Anas al-Andur.

00h42: nouvelles alertes dans les kibboutzim de la bordures, à Sderot, la région Shaar Hanéguev et la région Eshkol.

00h34: Tsahal effectue des raids successifs sur des objectifs du Hamas dans le nord de la bande de Gaza.

00h30: un appareil de Tsahal a visé un véhicule dans lequel se trouvaient des terroristes qui venaient de tirer des roquettes. Nouvelles alertes dans le sud dont l’une à Kerem Shalom. Le Hamas fait état d’un terroriste éliminé lors de l’une des attaques de représailles de Tsahal.

00h19: le porte-parole de Tsahal Ronen Manelis a tenu à apporter une précision sur la situation: “Tsahal réagit avec force aux attaques des organisations terroristes mais les information quant à une opération qui aurait débuté sont inexactes”.

00h17: jusqu’à cette heure-ci, on compte au moins soixante-dix roquettes et obus de mortier qui ont été tirés en direction d’Israël. Le système Dôme de Fer a réussi à en intercepter onze. La plupart se sont abattus dans des terrains vagues.

23h47: alertes Tseva Adom dans les région de Shaar Hanéguev et Sedot Néguev.

23h45: la direction du Hamas a publié mercredi soir un communiqué comportant les conclusions de la réunion tenue il y a quatre jours à Gaza. Parmi les décisions: ne pas laisser Israël fixer les règles du jeu lors des affrontements.

23h42: les choses se précisent. C’est maintenant le Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou qui convoque dans l’heure qui vient une réunion de crise à la Kirya à Tel-Aviv. Seront présents le ministre de la Défense Avigdor Lieberman, le chef d’Etat-major Gadi Eizencot, le directeur du Shin Bet Nadav Argaman et le conseiller à la Sécurité nationale Meïr Ben-Chabbat.

23h40: le ministre Ouri Ariel appelle le cabinet à laisser enfin Tsahal vaincre le Hamas. “Il est insupportable de voir le Hamas se comporter comme s’il était le maître des lieux”, a dit le ministre de l’Agriculture.

23h30: les sirènes d’alerte ne cessent de retentir: ‘Hof Ashkelon et Sederot. Une roquette s’est abattue sur une maison à Sederot. Pas encore d’information sur d’éventuelles victimes.

22h26: les organisations terroristes de Gaza ont tiré au moins cinquante roquettes et obus de mortier sur le sud d’Israël, dont certaines se sont abattues dans la ville de Sederot. Entre six et neuf personnes ont été blessées, certaines par des éclats, d’autres en tombant dans leur course vers les abris, mais aucune n’est dans un état grave. Par ailleurs, treize personnes sont en état de choc. Il y a eu des nombreux dégâts matériels.

En représailles, Tsahal a visé une douzaine d’objectifs du Hamas dans la bande de Gaza dont un tunnel sous-marin qui devait permettre à des terroristes de pénétrer en Israël. Les sirènes d’alerte ont une nouvelle fois retenti ensuite dans plusieurs régions de la bordure mais également dans le centre du Néguev et même la région de Lakhish.

Le ministre de la Défense Avigdor Lieberman a réuni les responsables de Tsahal et des services de renseignements pour envisager la suite des événements. Des sources militaires indiquent que cette fois-ci, Tsahal ne pourra pas cette fois-ci se contenter d’une réaction limitée de crainte de perdre encore davantage la dissuasion face au Hamas. L’objectif serait une opération courte mais forte qui ferait comprendre au Hamas qu’il ne peut plus fixer les règles du jeu comme il le fait jusqu’à présent.





AFP, 6 aout, 2018

Le réalisateur Moshé Mizrahi, seul cinéaste israélien à avoir reçu un Oscar, est décédé vendredi à l’âge de 86 ans et sera inhumé lundi à Tel-Aviv, ont annoncé ses proches.

Moshé Mizrahi avait reçu l’Oscar du meilleur film étranger en 1978 pour l’adaptation du roman de Romain Gary “La vie devant soi”, qu’il avait réalisée en France.

Le long métrage avait également valu à Simone Signoret, qui interprète Madame Rosa, le rôle principal, de remporter le César (équivalent des Oscars en France) de la meilleure actrice la même année.

Le cinéaste israélien est décédé à Tel-Aviv où il vivait. Né en 1931 en Egypte, il avait émigré vers la Palestine mandataire en 1946 avec sa mère et son jeune frère. Ce dernier sera tué par une attaque aérienne égyptienne en 1948 durant la guerre israélo-arabe suivant la déclaration d’indépendance de l’Etat d’Israël.

C’est en France, dans les années 1950, que Moshé Mizrahi étudie le cinéma et devient réalisateur. Il partagera sa vie entre Israël et la France.

Deux autres de ses films, “Rosa, je t’aime” (1972) et “La maison de la rue Chelouche” (1973) ont été nommés pour l’Oscar du meilleur film étranger.

Il a dirigé certains des plus grand acteurs français comme Bernadette Lafont, Jean Rochefort, Pierre Richard et Annie Girardot mais aussi l’acteur américain Tom Hanks qu’il a fait jouer dans “Every Time We Say Goodbye”, une co-production israélo-américaine en 1986.

La comédienne Guila Almagor qui a joué dans plusieurs de ses films a confié au site d’informations israélien Walla que “Mizrahi avait apporté une touche européenne au cinéma israélien”.

“Je lui suis reconnaissante de m’avoir offert certains de mes plus beaux rôles au cinéma”, a ajouté l’actrice, héroïne principale de “La maison de la rue Chelouche”, film autobiographique sur la vie d’un adolescent qui arrive avec sa mère d’Egypte en Palestine mandataire.

Moshé Mizrahi a également enseigné le cinéma à l’Université de Tel-Aviv pendant plusieurs années.

Son ancienne collègue, Régine-Mihal Friedman, universitaire et spécialiste du cinéma israélien a déclaré à l’AFP que “Moshé Mizrahi était une personnalité extrêmement spéciale dans le cinéma israélien et bien au-delà”.

Elle a par ailleurs souligné la place importante que le cinéaste accordait aux femmes dans son œuvre.

Divorcé de la romancière et scénariste Rachel Mizrahi, il était remarié avec l’actrice et réalisatrice israélienne Michal Bat Adam.



Jewpop, 31 juil., 2018

Jewpop a sélectionné pour vous des livres à emporter dans vos valises et à dévorer sous votre parasol ! 

Juifs sans argent

Juifs sans argent de Michael Gold (éditions Nada) publié en 1932 aux USA, est l’autobiographie romancée du « chef de file de la littérature prolétarienne américaine ». L’auteur, célébré aux États-Unis mais totalement méconnu en France, méritait largement cette réédition, près de 80 ans après sa première traduction française. Celui qui deviendra porte-parole du Parti communiste américain démonte ici avec force tous les clichés sur la prétendue richesse des Juifs, brossant un tableau du Lower East Side de son enfance époustouflant et picaresque. Un grand livre, à découvrir absolument.

Me voici Sfoer

Me voici, de Jonathan Safran Sfoer (éditions de l’Olivier), confirme l’extraordinaire talent de l’auteur de Tout est illuminé. Dans ce roman qui a pour cadre un couple juif de Washington au bord de l’explosion, et où se télescopent réflexions acerbes sur l’identité, l’héritage familial, la diaspora, l’enfance et l’adolescence, Israël, les relations conjugales et filiales… Sfoer fait preuve d’une incroyable virtuosité. D’une construction parfaite et d’un verbe brillant, Me voici alterne micro-tragédies humaines, géopolitique-fiction effrayante et pages désopilantes – en particulier sur le sexe – qui font immanquablement penser au Roth de Portnoy. Tout simplement éblouissant.

Le nez juif

Le nez juif (éditions de l’Antilope), encensé à juste titre par la critique – qui compare volontiers son auteur à Woody Allen – est le premier roman de Sabyl Ghoussoub. Ce court et hilarant récit autofictionnel pose un regard sensible sur les questions universelles d’identité, le « nez juif » de l’écrivain d’origine libanaise maronite lui servant d’absurde faux passeport, tantôt traité de « sale Juif » ou de « sale Arabe » (lire l’interview de Sabyl Ghoussoub sur Jewpop). 

La médecine de Maimonide

La médecine de Maïmonide (éditions In Press), du Dr Ariel Toledano, passionnera aussi bien les lecteurs avides de « livres de santé » que ceux de pensée juive. Dans cette très originale biographie centrée sur les ouvrages médicaux du philosophe et talmudiste, on découvre – ce qui peut sembler aujourd’hui une évidence – combien l’auteur du Guide des égarés était moderne et le reste encore. De la méditation prônée pour lutter contre l’anxiété à l’éthique des soins, en passant par le régime alimentaire qui stimule la libido, Maïmonide avait déjà (presque) tout prescrit dans ses Traités.

Les guerres de mon père

Colombe Schneck poursuit l’exploration de son histoire familiale, pour le plus grand bien des lecteurs. Avec Les guerres de mon père (Stock), elle brosse un portrait d’une rare sensibilité de Gilbert Schneck, ce père mort trop tôt qui dissimula sous son élégante insouciance les traumatismes d’une enfance cachée pendant la guerre, d’une adolescence bouleversée par le meurtre d’un père homosexuel qui fit la une des quotidiens, et des horreurs de la guerre d’Algérie qu’il vécut appelé, comme jeune médecin . Cette plongée dans les souvenirs, témoignages et archives, en quête de paix mais aussi de reconnaissance pour tous ceux qui ont permis à l’enfant Gilbert Schneck de survivre, offre un très beau moment d’émotion.

Cosette Harcourt

Cosette Harcourt, de Guillaume Evin (Hugo Doc), nous emmène sur les traces du plus célèbre studio photo français, et surtout sur celles de sa créatrice. Les amateurs de biographies se régaleront avec l’histoire – méconnue – de Germaine Hirschfeld aka Cosette Harcourt, jeune juive allemande qui deviendra la « mademoiselle Chanel » de la photographie. Son entreprise mouvementée, des années 30 aux sixties, en passant par l’Occupation, nous fait croiser stars de cinéma et personnalités politiques, que Guillaume Evin, en excellent narrateur, fait revivre sous nos yeux éblouis (lire la chronique du livre sur le site Les Boomeurs).

Kant Marie Robert

Philo et plage font bon ménage avec Kant tu ne sais plus quoi faire, il reste la philo (Flammarion/Versilio) de Marie Robert. L’auteur a eu les honneurs des pages de nombreux magazines – et c’est amplement mérité – depuis la sortie de son réjouissant essai, qui vous fera définitivement aimer la philosophie comme guide de vie, même si vous comatiez près du radiateur en terminale (lire l’interview de Marie Robert sur Jewpop).

Daniel au pays de la déco

Avec Daniel au pays de la déco (éditions Ovadia), Cathie Fidler livre une biographie hors-norme d’un personnage hors du commun. Daniel, c’est Daniel Rozensztroch, le « pape du stylisme déco » français, à qui l’on doit notamment la direction artistique du concept-store Merci à Paris. Ce petit livre plein d’esprit et d’anecdotes, joliment illustré façon ligne belge par Sibylle Ristroph, ravira tous les amateurs de style et de tendances.

Les Goldman

Dans Les Goldman, la journaliste Ambre Bartok propose une histoire parallèle de la célèbre fratrie : Pierre, le militant passionné et écrivain de Souvenirs obscurs d’un juif polonais né en France et de L’Ordinaire mésaventure d’Archibald Rapoport, assassiné en 1979, et son demi-frère Jean-Jacques. L’auteur revient avec justesse sur l’importance de leur environnement familial, et célèbre les deux frères comme une adoratrice, avec une admiration sans bornes. Un livre qui comblera les fans de l’artiste préféré des Français, et qui permettra à ceux qui connaissent moins Pierre Goldman de trouver matière à le lire.



Hamas-Israel Truce Would Be “Painkiller, not Antibiotic”: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Aug. 9, 2018— Intensive efforts are underway to reach a long-term, comprehensive truce arrangement between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Was the Peace Process Doomed to Failure From the Start?: Charles Bybelezer, Media Line, Aug. 1, 2018— The international community spearheaded by its professional peace processors are feverishly working to prevent another full-blown war between Israel and Hamas.

The IOI — ‘If Only Israel’ — Syndrome: David Harris, Times of Israel, July 18, 2018 — IOI is the misguided notion, peddled in the name of Israel’s “best interests” by some in the diplomatic, academic, and media worlds, that if only Israel did this or that, peace with the Palestinians would be at hand.

US Peace Initiatives – Quo Vadis?: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, July 17, 2018 — All US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives, initiated by Democratic and Republican Presidents, aimed at advancing the cause of peace, while enhancing the US strategic stature. However, all failed on both accounts.

On Topic Links

Israelis and Palestinians Must Unite Against Shared Threat: Jason Greenblatt, CNN, Aug. 9, 2018

Where is Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan?: Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2018

Does Trump’s ‘Ultimate Deal’ Reject PLO Propaganda?: David Singer, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 5, 2018

Philip Riteman, Holocaust Survivor Who Taught Canadians ‘It Is Better to Love Than to Hate,’ Dies at 96: Aly Thomson, National Post, Aug. 9, 2018



Yaakov Lappin

BESA, Aug. 9, 2018

Intensive efforts are underway to reach a long-term, comprehensive truce arrangement between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Former members of the Israeli defense establishment have expressed skepticism that such a truce is feasible. In their view, a limited truce might be more realistic. Reaching a broad cease-fire arrangement would be “a very complex maneuver,” said Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, former deputy head of the National Security Council of Israel.

Egypt is leading the attempt, mediating talks and hosting senior Palestinian delegations in Cairo. A high-ranking UN coordinator in the region, Nickolay Mladenov, is also involved. Shay, who today serves as director of research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) in Israel, pointed out that a long-term arrangement for Gaza would be possible only if two components are put into place. The first is a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, and the second “is a period of calm between Hamas and the State of Israel. The two things are interlinked,” Shay said.

“In order to obtain a long-term period of calm, there needs to be major investment in the Gazan economy and infrastructure,” he went on. “That means bringing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza. Because this is a condition, it is very problematic. If you look back, ever since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, there have been countless attempts, led by Egypt, to reach Palestinian national reconciliation.” None of them have succeeded, Shay pointed out.

Today, while Hamas has an interest in reaching reconciliation with its Palestinian rival, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has no similar sentiment. “Abbas is dragging his feet because he has no interest in promoting this procedure, which would give Hamas gains, but not the PA,” said Shay. “If internal Palestinian reconciliation is the condition for an Israel-Hamas arrangement, then very large question marks will remain over this.”

On the other hand, a more limited truce involving the end of Gazan border demonstrations – and the cessation of incendiary kite and balloon attacks from Gaza, which have burned large swaths of Israeli farmland, harmed wildlife, and affected Israel’s honey production before Rosh Hashanah – is feasible. In exchange, Shay said, Israel could reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing, allowing more materials to flow into Gaza, and expand the fishing zone for Palestinian fishermen.

“The more limited the agreement, the more limited its ability to improve the Gazan economic situation,” he cautioned. Therefore, “it is like a painkiller, not an antibiotic. It does not significantly change the situation on the ground.” Any such arrangement should also include the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in combat during the 2014 Gaza conflict, in addition to the return of two Israeli nationals being held captive by Hamas. “This must be a condition,” Shay said.

Echoing Shay’s assessment, Dr. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, one of the designers of the security coordination between the IDF and the PA, said any attempt to reach a full agreement was very likely to end in failure. “There are a number of arenas involved; each is more complex than the other,” said Elad, currently a lecturer at Western Galilee College. Hamas and the PA have failed at all previous attempts to settle their differences, and “this time will be no different,” he said.

On the Israel-Hamas front, Israel will want “full quiet” as part of a large package deal. But “Hamas has never agreed to full quiet,” Elad noted. “I don’t remember it ever agreeing to this.” “There are smaller [armed] groups in Gaza that are known as the rebellious groups. The truth is, if Hamas wants to, it can rein them in. But the problem is that Hamas does not want to stop them. It wants to use them to threaten Israel. Israel will insist on full quiet. It will insist that not even a single shot is fired. Hamas won’t agree to that,” Elad said.

All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal – an improvement in water and electricity supplies, the construction of a seaport, the cancellation of debts owed by the Hamas government, a relaxation of the Israeli security blockade – hinge on a PA-Hamas agreement, but Elad does not see “any intention” by the PA to agree to this since Abbas would emerge as “the main loser.” “What incentive does he have for it to succeed?” he asked.

At best, if Hamas finds its back to the wall, it might agree to freeze the activities of its military wing and place its members on leave, said Elad. “But they will never disband the military wing” as the PA has demanded. Doing so would symbolize “cancelling the resistance” from Hamas’s perspective, which would be unthinkable for the hardline Islamist organization. According to Elad, recriminations over “why this didn’t work out” will likely emerge within days.




Charles Bybelezer

                                                Media Line, Aug. 1, 2018


The international community spearheaded by its professional peace processors are feverishly working to prevent another full-blown war between Israel and Hamas. As part of this effort, United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov has been conducting intensive shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem, Gaza City and Cairo in a bid to forge a long-term ceasefire agreement.

According to media accounts, ideas being floated include the immediate cessation of hostilities, specifically the launching from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel of primitive incendiary objects and corresponding Israeli military strikes on Hamas assets; the complete re-opening of Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which thousands of trucks of goods enter the Palestinian enclave; and expanding the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast.

This, within the broader context of major Gaza rehabilitation projects being dangled in front of Hamas. Concurrently, a parallel, although intersecting, initiative is underway to end the decade-long divide between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction and Hamas. Among the issues purportedly being negotiated are removing Ramallah’s sanctions on Gaza; restoring PA administrative rule over the Strip; and disarming Hamas. Essentially, these constitute the same terms of a failed intra-Palestinian reconciliation accord signed this past October in Cairo, and, beforehand, formed the basis of an original deal agreed to four years ago under the auspices of Qatar.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual in the Israeli political arena, with the Left promoting the unilateral removal of the blockade on Gaza without explaining why Hamas might subsequently be expected to reform itself; whereas, on the other end of the spectrum members of the Right are engaged in familiar one-upmanship, as Education Minister Naftali Bennet tries to outflank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attempts to outdo them both. This dynamic is comparable to that of 2014, when Bennett and Liberman pressured the premier to take a harder line on Hamas, effectively resulting in an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza during the 50-day conflict. One year later, Hamas had essentially reconstructed its war machine.

All of this comes on the backdrop of the Trump administration’s ongoing work on an Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, dubbed the “deal of the century.” While the plan reportedly contains some “out-of-the-box” suggestions to resolve longstanding “final status” issues, the fact of the matter is that almost nobody believes that either side is in a position to deliver. Netanyahu is hamstrung by the make-up of his coalition and his own stringent demands on the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and future security arrangements that are anyways non-starters for the PA. For his part, Abbas is constrained by his regime’s indoctrination of the Palestinian public to oppose outright the notion of Jewish sovereignty.

In other words, then, it appears as though absolutely nothing new under the sun is being proposed along any of these three diplomatic tracks, thus begging the question: Has the process morphed into an end in itself, devoid of any realistic expectations of success?

In this respect, it seems increasingly unlikely that Mladenov and Co. will be able to prevent the next round of fighting in Gaza, which most maintain is inevitable for widely-cited reasons even though neither Israel nor Hamas wants any part of it. At the same time, it is unreasonable to assume that Abbas will suddenly accept responsibility for governing Gaza when Hamas still refuses to cede its weapons or allow PA security forces to deploy to the enclave.

Finally, in terms of forging a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace, it can only be viewed as a pipe-dream considering the above-mentioned, less complicated issues—which, for that matter, are integral components of a potential wider deal—remain unsettled. Notably, that the PA continues to boycott the US administration has conveniently been swept under the rug…

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



                    THE IOI — ‘IF ONLY ISRAEL’ — SYNDROME  

                                                  David Harris

                                                Times of Israel, July 18, 2018

IOI is the misguided notion, peddled in the name of Israel’s “best interests” by some in the diplomatic, academic, and media worlds, that if only Israel did this or that, peace with the Palestinians would be at hand. But since it doesn’t, then Israel constitutes the principal, perhaps the only, real obstacle to a new day in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Striking, isn’t it? Poor Israel. If only it had the visual acuity of these “enlightened” souls, including, most recently, a slim majority of Irish senators, then all would be hunky-dory. After all, according to them, Israel holds all the cards, yet refuses to play them. The thinking goes: Why can’t those shortsighted Israelis figure out what needs to be done — it’s so obvious to us, isn’t it? — so the conflict can be brought to a screeching halt?

Thus, if only Israel reversed its settlements policy. If only Israel understood that Gaza’s tunnel-diggers and kite-flyers are just exercising their right of “peaceful protest.” If only the IDF restrained itself. If only Israel stopped assuming the worst about Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. If only Israel went the extra mile with President Mahmoud Abbas. If only Israel got beyond its Holocaust trauma. If only Israel ______ — well, go ahead and fill in the blank.

The point is that for the IOI crowd, it essentially all comes down to Israel. And the IOI syndrome has only been strengthened by its adherents’ assessment of the current Israeli government, of course. After all, many media outlets, from the Associated Press to CBS News to Der Spiegel, branded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “hardline” from the get-go. Their word choice simply reinforces the notion that the conflict is all about alleged Israeli intransigence, while generally avoiding any descriptive judgement of Abbas and his entourage.

At moments like this, it’s important to underscore a few basic points too often lost in the din. First, the Netanyahu government follows on the heels of three successive Israeli governments that sought to achieve peace based on a two-state settlement with the Palestinians — and failed. Each of those governments went far in attempting to strike a deal, but, ultimately, to no avail.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, joined by President Bill Clinton, tried mightily to reach an agreement with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. As confirmed by Clinton himself, the answer was a thunderous rejection, accompanied by the launching of a deadly wave of terror attacks on Israel. And, not to be forgotten, a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon also took place during the Barak era. It was met by the entrenchment of Hezbollah, committed to Israel’s destruction, in the vacated space.

Then, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon defied his own Likud Party — indeed, he left it to create a new political bloc — and faced down thousands of settlers and their supporters to leave Gaza entirely. It was the first chance ever for Gaza’s Arab residents to govern themselves. Had Gazans seized the opportunity in a responsible manner, they could have created unstoppable momentum for a second phase of significant withdrawal from the West Bank. Instead, Gaza quickly turned itself into a terrorist redoubt, realizing Israelis’ worst fears.

Finally, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, joined by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and urged on by Washington, pressed hard for a deal with the Palestinians on the West Bank. According to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Israeli offer “talked about Jerusalem and almost 100 percent of the West Bank.” Not only was the far-reaching offer not accepted, but there wasn’t even a counter-proposal from the Palestinian side.

Prime Minister Netanyahu inherited a situation in which: (a) Hamas holds the reins of power in Gaza, spends precious funds on digging tunnels to attack Israel, flies kites to set extensive fires in Israel, and teaches kids to aspire to “martyrdom”; (b) Hezbollah is continuing to gain strength in Lebanon, thanks to Iranian largesse, and has tens of thousands of missiles and rockets in its arsenal; (c) the Palestinian Authority has been AWOL from the negotiating table; and (d) Iran continues to call for Israel’s destruction, while enhancing its military capability, entrenching itself in Syria, and funding Hamas. So before Israel gets any further lectures on what needs to be done, perhaps we should take stock of what’s transpired — and why. There have been at least three bold Israeli efforts since 2000 to create a breakthrough — and three successive failures. And that’s not to mention Netanyahu’s ten-month settlement freeze and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to seize this opportunity to break the stalemate.

The vast majority of Israelis yearn for peace and understand the considerable price the country will have to pay in territory and displaced population. Poll after poll proves their readiness, but only if they are assured that lasting peace, not new phases in the conflict, will be the outcome. Tellingly, few see that possibility on the horizon anytime soon. Israelis don’t have to be pushed, prodded, nudged, cajoled, or pressured to seek a comprehensive peace beyond the current treaties with Egypt and Jordan. More than any other nation on the planet, they have lived with the absence of peace for 70 years, and know full well the physical and psychological toll it has inflicted on the country. Rather, they must be convinced that the tangible rewards justify the immense risks for a small state in a tough area. Those rewards begin with its neighbors’ acceptance of Israel’s rightful place in the region as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders. And that, far more than settlements, checkpoints, or any of the other items on the IOI bill of particulars, gets to the essence of the conflict.

The Gaza disengagement in 2005 demonstrated that settlements and checkpoints can be removed when the time comes. But unless and until the Palestinian side recognizes Israel’s legitimacy, and stops viewing the Jewish state as an “interloper” that can be defeated militarily or swamped by “refugees”— who are in most cases third- and fourth-generation descendants of the original refugees from a war started in 1948 by the Arab world — then whatever the IOI folks call for will inevitably be a secondary issue in the real world. Only when this recognition is reflected in Palestinian textbooks, where children have been taught for generations that Israelis are modern-day “Crusaders” to be driven out, can there be hope for a brighter future…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




Yoram Ettinger

Jewish Press, July 17, 2018


All US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives, initiated by Democratic and Republican Presidents, aimed at advancing the cause of peace, while enhancing the US strategic stature. However, all failed on both accounts. The well-intentioned US peace initiatives were doomed to failure by the tendency to downplay the complex intra-Arab/Muslim Middle East reality, since they conflicted with the eagerness to advance peace ASAP, wishful-thinking and oversimplification.

US peace initiatives were the casualties of the inherent conflict between Western eagerness for quick-fix and short-term convenience, on the one hand, and the long-term and complicated nature of the intricate reality and national security, on the other hand. US peace initiatives were frustrated by the tectonic forces which have shaped the well-documented intra-Arab/Muslim labyrinth since the birth of Islam in the 7th century: explosive unpredictability, violence, intolerance (religiously, ethnically, politically and socially), absence of peaceful-coexistence domestically and regionally, minority/rogue regimes, disregard of civil liberties, brutal domestic fragmentation (tribally, ideologically and religiously) and the tenuous/provisional nature of regimes, policies and agreements.

Moreover, the US peace initiatives were further derailed by the politically-correct assumptions that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been “The Middle East Conflict” and that the Palestinian issue has been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core-cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making. Such assumptions have been dashed against the rocks of Middle East reality, as highlighted by the 2010 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami (erroneously named “the Arab Spring”), which has been totally unrelated to the dramatically less significant Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue. Furthermore, the preoccupation with the Palestinian issue – at a time when the Middle East and the US are confronted with significantly more pivotal national and homeland security challenges/threats – has damaged the US posture of deterrence and its regional and global standing.

All US peace initiatives attempted to force Israel into making major concessions to the Arab/Palestinian side, thus rewarding systematic Arab aggression, which encouraged further aggression. These initiatives exhibited the self-defeating moral equivalence between (Arab) aggressors and the intended (Israeli) victim; between the most effective, unconditional strategic ally of the US (Israel), and a close ally of enemies and rivals of the US, such as Nazi Germany, the USSR, the Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela (the Palestinians); and between the role model of counter-terrorism (Israel) and a role model and a major training ground of anti-US terrorists and a shrine of hate-education (the Palestinians).

The subversive and terroristic track record of the Palestinians, and their closest allies, sheds light on the inherent contradiction between the need to minimize Middle East instability and violence, on the one hand, and the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, on the other hand. US peace initiatives have forced the Palestinians, in particular, and the Arabs, in general, to outflank the (“infidel”) US from the maximalist/radical side, thus further intensifying conflict and disagreements. Contrary to the well-meant goal of the US peace initiatives, this added fuel – not water – to the fire, exacerbated instability and undermined US diplomatic and geo-strategic posture and interests.  One may note that in spite of the US presidential recognition of the PLO, its support for the idea of a Palestinian state and sustained pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the US has been systematically terrorized by Shite and Sunni Islamic terrorism…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links

Israelis and Palestinians Must Unite Against Shared Threat: Jason Greenblatt, CNN, Aug. 9, 2018 —With the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, it is hard to imagine that deadly fires brought the two groups together — not once, but twice — in a display of shared humanity. Yet, in 2010 and again in 2016, Palestinians fought fires in northern Israel alongside their Israeli neighbors, saving lives and property.

Where is Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan?: Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2018—US President Donald Trump’s plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace may be the most closely guarded policy secret in Washington these days, 18 months in the making and yet still known only to the small handful of men behind it. Senior administration officials describe the plan as detailed, pragmatic, and essentially complete. All that prevents them from publishing it is their sense that the timing is off.

Does Trump’s ‘Ultimate Deal’ Reject PLO Propaganda?: David Singer, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 5, 2018 —President Trump’s as-yet unannounced “ultimate deal” to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict has received a setback following Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reassuring Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Saudi Arabia would oppose any Trump peace plan that did not accept the PLO stance on East Jerusalem becoming the capital of an independent Palestinian Arab state.

Philip Riteman, Holocaust Survivor Who Taught Canadians ‘It Is Better to Love Than to Hate,’ Dies at 96: Aly Thomson, National Post, Aug. 9, 2018—Holocaust survivor Philip Riteman, who spent 30 years speaking to young people about his experience in concentration camps and ardently urging love over hate, has died.






Moscow on the Golan: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2018 — Russia has deployed Military Police to eight observation points on the Golan.

Hezbollah Likely to Replace ISIS North of Israel: Yoav Limor, JNS, Aug. 6, 2018 — The Syrian army is expected to complete its takeover of the country’s southwest, near the border with Israel, in the coming days, according to the IDF.

The Great British Foreign Office Fantasy: Douglas Murray, Gatestone Institute, July 24, 2018— According to the British Foreign Office, the Golan Heights are ‘occupied’.

A Top Syrian Scientist Is Killed, and Fingers Point at Israel: David M. Halbfinger and Ronen Bergman, New York Times, Aug. 6, 2018— Aziz Asbar was one of Syria’s most important rocket scientists, bent on amassing an arsenal of precision-guided missiles that could be launched with pinpoint accuracy against Israeli cities hundreds of miles away.

On Topic Links

Expert Warns of Negative Consequences for Israel From Assad’s Takeover of Border Area: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, July 31, 2018

Neutralized at the Last Minute: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Aug. 9, 2018

The Coming Battle for Idlib: Mona Alami, Al-Monitor, August 2, 2018

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




Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2018


Russia has deployed Military Police to eight observation points on the Golan. For the first time, Israeli and Russian forces are directly across from each other at a border. This has the makings of a new strategic alignment in Syria, potentially reducing Iran’s presence and bringing stability, or the opposite – increasing tensions with Moscow and its rising power in the region.

Over the last five years as Russia deepened its involvement in support of its ally in Damascus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has navigated a complex conflict through high-level bilateral discussions in Moscow. This involves a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that is based on many visits and discussions – and respect between the two countries and their interests.

Although Israel and Russia do not always see eye to eye on Syria, and although Russia has tensions with Jerusalem’s closest ally in Washington, a beneficial relationship has nevertheless been created. During the conflict, this was built on de-confliction and understandings about southern Syria. Potential conflict was reduced and Moscow emphasized that it understood Israel’s concerns about Iran. But Iran is an ally of Bashar Assad and therefore a partner of Moscow in the Syrian war. It is also part of the Astana talks that have sought to advance some kind of an agreement in Syria between Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Israel is never part of these discussions; its dialogue about Syria is always one-on-one, either with Moscow or with Washington. Israel doesn’t speak to Tehran or Damascus, but it can make its views known through third-party channels. Reports indicate that this has happened as Israel uses a variety of public statements – and sometimes threats, private channels and kinetic power, including air strikes – to make its policies clear.

Israel and Russia have now reached an understanding regarding the 1974 cease-fire lines on the Golan. Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren met Russian journalists recently in southern Russia. “We coordinated the arrangement under which Russia pledged to make sure, as it were, that the Syrian Army will not cross the cease-fire line established under the 1974 agreement,” he said, according to the Russian news agency Tass. “It looks like everything is functioning for the time being.”

Jerusalem still demands that all Iranian troops be withdrawn from Syria. Alexander Lavrentiev, Putin’s special envoy to Syria, has indicated that Iranian forces and the militias linked to it have withdrawn 85 km. from the border. “There are no units of heavy equipment and weapons that could pose a threat to Israel at a distance of 85 km. from the line of demarcation,” he was quoted as saying.

With Russian observers on the Golan, the chance of chaos and instability directly in the border area is reduced. This is because it is in Moscow’s interest that Syria not be destabilized by Israeli retaliation for any sort of violation of the 1974 lines. In the first days after the Syrian regime returned to the border in July, there were scenes of jubilation. Assad’s image and government flags were waved from Quneitra. In addition, Syrian media reports that residents are returning to the border area. The concern is that Iran or Hezbollah may try to exploit this return.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was at the border area on Tuesday visiting with the Armored Corps on the Golan Heights and meeting with chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. He stressed that the Syrian Army is being strengthened and that the regime wants to fully control its territory. This was a way to indicate that the Assad regime is strong enough to control its own territory and therefore does not need Iran and Iranian-backed militias to help it control areas. The regime has leaned on Iran under the notion that it needed its ally to defeat the rebels and ISIS. But Liberman was asserting that now that the regime is strong enough, it’s time for the Iranians and all their tentacles to go home.

At the Knesset on Wednesday, Eisenkot said the IDF was better prepared than it has been in the last 20 years. Israel has a military edge over its opponents and has developed the best weapons systems to defend against threats and strike the enemy. Nevertheless, Israel’s enemies will always seek new ways to carry out attacks. To restrain them, Jerusalem can work judiciously with Moscow and also with Washington to prevent the next war.




Yoav Limor

                                                JNS, Aug. 6, 2018


The Syrian army is expected to complete its takeover of the country’s southwest, near the border with Israel, in the coming days, according to the IDF. This will allegedly restore a familiar situation, in which Syria’s regime is once again stable, even if under the auspices of Russia.

On it’s face, this would seem to be an ideal situation — especially if reality on the ground reverts to the one that existed before the war began in 2011, when Syria and Israel both adhered to the 1974 cease-fire agreement in full. This would restore peace and quiet to the Golan Heights, which could once again become Israel’s most tranquil frontier.

The key word here is “if.” Unfortunately, the chances of this becoming reality are slim. The Syrian army may regain control on the ground, but it will not be the only armed presence near the border. Russia will be there, too, and its presence is both a blessing and a curse. The Russian presence — ostensibly meant to inspire restraint on all sides — will only be effective if Russia agrees to act on Israeli intelligence and thwart anti-Israeli incidents. But if the Russians prove to be a modern version of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon — which sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil —  then Israel will find itself in a terrible predicament, as its presence will make it difficult for Israel to act independently.

Russia, however, is the easy part. The bigger problems are Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. Iranian forces are unlikely to be able to reach the Syria-Israel border, because Israel, Russia, and even Syria — which would prefer not to be dragged into a conflict with Israel — will work to prevent that from happening. Israel insists on the complete removal of Iranian forces from Syria, which is unlikely to happen. The last Russian offer on that issue was to keep Iran 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border. This can be used as a starting point for negotiations, but those will be exhausted sooner rather than later.

Hezbollah is a different story. The Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group is already in Syria. Its operatives are fighting alongside the Syrian army, and it has several hundred local villagers on its payroll. This was a strategic decision by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who wants to turn the Golan border into an active war zone with Israel.

Hezbollah is likely to employ its familiar methods: joining local militias, importing its tactical abilities — anti-tank missiles, explosives, and snipers — from Lebanon, and importing ground troops. The first stage has already been completed, the second stage is in full swing, and — unless Hezbollah is stopped — the third stage will become a reality in a few short years.

Stopping Hezbollah in its tracks is Israel’s main challenge, and doing so will become exponentially more difficult once the Syrian civil war officially ends. Until now, Israel has been able to use the chaos north of the border to eliminate any risk from that direction, but once the war ends, any Israeli use of force would have to be justified to other parties.

Legitimizing Israeli operations on this front is likely to become far more complex, and the risk for a security escalation will be greater. This will require Israel to use more carrots and sticks opposite everyone involved, as well as adamantly enforce its red lines.

Israel will also soon end the humanitarian-aid campaign that it has been carrying out on the border. The IDF hopes that the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force stationed in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria will be able to resume its operations in full, both lending a hand to the local Syrian population, and providing them with an incentive not to back the anti-Israeli elements in the area. But the situation for Israel looks to be extremely perilous.




                                                  Douglas Murray

                                                Gatestone Institute, July 24, 2018


According to the British Foreign Office, the Golan Heights are ‘occupied’. They have been ‘occupied’ — according to the logic of the UK Foreign Office — since 1967, when Israel took the land from the invading forces of Syria. Ever since then, the Israelis have had the benefit of this strategic position and the Syrian regime has not. This fact, half a century on, still strikes the British Foreign Office as regrettable, and a wrong to be righted in due course.

Of course, since the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the official position of the UK government has become ever-harder to justify. For example, if the Israeli government were at some point over the last seven years suddenly to have listened to the wisdom of the Foreign Office in London and handed over the strategic prize of the Golan, to whom should it have handed it? Should Israel be persuaded to hand over the territory to the Assad regime in Damascus? It is true that, throughout the course of the Syrian civil war, the one bit of territory to which the Syrian regime has laid claim and which it has not been able to barrel-bomb and otherwise immiserate the people there has been the Golan Heights. Only in the Golan has anybody in this ‘Greater Syria’ been able to live free from the constant threat of massacre and ethnic, religious or political cleansing.

Other candidates for the territory naturally presented themselves across the same time-frame. The armies of ISIS came right up to the villages on the Syrian side along the borders of the Golan. There, they were able to bring that form of peace-through-barbarism which the world has come to know well. If ISIS had triumphed in the Syrian conflict rather than suffering repeated set-backs, would the UK Foreign Office have handed them the territory by way of reparational justice, or victor’s prize? If not them, then perhaps the armies of Iran or Russia could have been the recipients of this feat of restorative diplomacy? Perhaps anyone who wished to lay claim to the Golan could have had it. So long as it was not the Israelis.

The ongoing madness of the British Foreign Office’s position has been highlighted in recent days thanks to a request which came from the British government, as well as the governments in other European capitals and in Washington. A request which also involved the Golan.

Over the weekend, it emerged that the British government was among foreign governments to have made a dramatic request of the Israelis. As the war in Syria appears to be clarifying towards its end-point, a group of around 800 members of the ‘White Helmets’ and their families had reportedly become trapped near the southwestern border near the Golan Heights. The White Helmets only operate in ‘rebel areas’ and are despised by the Assad regime. With Syrian government forces moving in, a massacre may well have been about to occur.

At the request of these foreign governments, the Israelis just carried out an extraordinary and unprecedented mission. In recent days, a reported 422 of the intended evacuees and their family members were saved by the Israelis. The other — almost half — of the intended number appears already to have been cut off by other forces. Nevertheless, those who did make it out were transferred by Israeli forces across the Golan and have now reportedly arrived safely in Jordan where their future status will be determined. Some may stay in Jordan; others will be moved abroad to Western countries.

The painful irony of this situation should be clear to all observers. If the Israelis did not lay claim to the Golan, there would have been no means to have got the White Helmets and their families out of Syria. Had Israel not made the Golan the peaceful and thriving area it is, it would simply be another part of Syria in which different sectarian groups were slaughtering other sectarian groups.

As it is, the area is in the control of Britain’s most reliable ally in the region. An ally which — even as it is lectured by Britain — agrees to requests from the British government that takes advantage of a strategic reality, one which the British government still refuses to accept. The Israeli government has given the British government what it wanted. Perhaps now would be a good time for the British government to reciprocate in some way? There could be no better means of doing so than by admitting that the British policy of the last half a century has been a Foreign Office fantasy and a wholesale dud of ‘realist’ regional thinking. The Foreign Office will have to back out of its self-imposed corner regarding the Golan at some point and accept the reality on the ground. How much better it would be if it did so now in a spirit of goodwill and reciprocity, rather than later on in a spirit of inevitable and grudging defeat.




David M. Halbfinger and Ronen Bergman

New York Times, Aug. 6, 2018


Aziz Asbar was one of Syria’s most important rocket scientists, bent on amassing an arsenal of precision-guided missiles that could be launched with pinpoint accuracy against Israeli cities hundreds of miles away. He had free access to the highest levels of the Syrian and Iranian governments, and his own security detail. He led a top-secret weapons-development unit called Sector 4 and was hard at work building an underground weapons factory to replace one destroyed by Israel last year. On Saturday, he was killed by a car bomb — apparently planted by Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.

It was at least the fourth assassination mission by Israel in three years against an enemy weapons engineer on foreign soil, a senior official from a Middle Eastern intelligence agency confirmed on Monday. The following account is based on information provided by the official, whose agency was informed about the operation. He spoke only on the condition of anonymity to discuss a highly classified operation.

The attack took place on Saturday night in Masyaf, where Syria’s military research organization maintains one of its most important weapons-development facilities. It quickly prompted finger pointing at Israel by both Syria and Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Islamic militant group whose fighters have played a major role in the Syrian civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad. In this case, the accusations were well founded: The Mossad had been tracking Mr. Asbar for a long time, according to the Middle Eastern intelligence official.

The Israelis believed that Mr. Asbar led the secret unit known as Sector 4 at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center. He was said to have free access to the presidential palace in Damascus and had been collaborating with Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, and other Iranians to begin production of precision-guided missiles in Syria by retrofitting heavy Syrian SM600 Tishreen rockets. Mr. Asbar was also working on a solid-fuel plant for missiles and rockets, a safer alternative to liquid fuel.

An official from Syria and Iran’s alliance, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to Western journalists, said he believed Israel had wanted to kill Mr. Asbar because of the prominent role he played in Syria’s missile program even before the current conflict broke out in 2011.

Under Israeli law, the prime minister alone is authorized to approve an assassination operation, euphemistically known as “negative treatment” within the Mossad. Spokesmen for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. Mr. Lieberman, however, earlier in the day dismissed suggestions in the Syrian and Lebanese news media that Israel was behind the blast, which also killed Mr. Asbar’s driver. “Every day in the Middle East there are hundreds of explosions and settling of scores,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 News. “Every time, they try to place the blame on us. So we won’t take this too seriously.”

As one of the directors of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, Mr. Asbar had for years been active in the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons production program, working mainly in Al Safir, outside of Aleppo, and in the city of Masyaf, west of Hama, farther to the south. He was also involved in coordinating Iranian and Hezbollah activities in Syria, according to the intelligence official. More recently, as leader of Sector 4, Mr. Asbar was primarily engaged in adapting Syria’s arsenal of low-technology rockets to make them capable of striking long-range targets with far greater accuracy — a danger that Israel has devoted enormous energy and resources to countering.

Israel is making a broad effort against Iranian and Hezbollah forces, which it began after their forces entered Syria to help the Assad government battle rebel fighters. The fear in Jerusalem is that, after the civil war ends, those forces would turn their energies against Israel. Israeli officials also worry that Iran might seek to create a permanent presence inside Syria, effectively creating a second front along Israel’s northern border.

The Iranian presence in Syria is deeply troubling to Israel. Israel’s air force has repeatedly attacked targets in Syria that it sees as a strategic threat. Among them are weapons storehouses for Iran and Hezbollah; convoys carrying arms from Iran to Syria and Hezbollah; bases for Shiite militias from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps; and Syrian air bases used to house Iranian aerial vehicles. The Israelis also discovered that weapons factories were being set up in facilities of the Scientific Studies and Research Center for the benefit of Mr. Assad’s forces, Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps stationed in Syria. Last September, Israel attacked and destroyed most of the weapons factory in Masyaf where Mr. Asbar was a senior manager. This summer, though, the Iranians began to rebuild it, this time underground. In the meantime, production machines had been transferred elsewhere for storage. But Israel destroyed many of those in a missile strike on July 23.

Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center has long been a focus of Western intelligence agencies and is subject to financial sanctions in the United States and France. Before the civil war, it operated Syria’s main manufacturing and storage sites for chemical weapons, many of which have since been destroyed or abandoned. It employed around 10,000 people developing and producing missiles, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons…

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



On Topic Links

Expert Warns of Negative Consequences for Israel From Assad’s Takeover of Border Area: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, July 31, 2018 —Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s successful takeover of the area adjacent to the border with Israel marks a “very painful strategic failure” for the Jewish state, an Israeli expert told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

Neutralized at the Last Minute: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Aug. 9, 2018 —The final stage of the Syrian civil war offers an opportunity, maybe the last one, for any entity that wants to eliminate threats without paying too high a price. The moment the war officially ends, which will happen soon, everything will become more complicated, from airstrikes to assassinations.

The Coming Battle for Idlib: Mona Alami, Al-Monitor, August 2, 2018—The fall of Daraa governorate, including the Golan Heights border region, to forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on July 31 paves the way for the next battle, in Idlib.

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.


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


On Topic Links

Even After Signs of Progress, Saudi Arabia Has a Long Way To Go: Robert Fulford, National Post, July 6, 2018

Hysteria Over Nation-State Law: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2018

Israel’s Mighty Army is no Match for Hamas’s Flaming Condom Bombs: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Aug. 3, 2018

Britain Welcomes Radicals – Again and Again: Douglas Murray, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 4, 2018




“As we continue applying maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime…I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism.” — US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to restore nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, increasing economic pressure on Tehran and renewing his criticism of what he called a “horrible, one-sided” nuclear deal, the White House announced Monday. The sanctions target the use of dollars in Iran, the automotive sector and trade in gold and precious metals. A second round of more comprehensive sanctions will go into effect on November 5. The objective, the administration has indicated, is to change Iranian behavior. “Reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions through today’s actions further intensifies pressure on Tehran to change its conduct,” Trump said Monday. (Times of Israel, Aug. 6, 2018)

“I praise President Trump and the American government for making the important decision to restore sanctions on Iran. This is an important moment for Israel, the United States, the region and the entire world. It symbolizes the determination to block Iran’s aggression around the region, as well as Iran’s plans to obtain nuclear weapons…I call on European countries, who speak so often about stopping Iran, to join this action. The time for talking has past; the time for action is now. This is exactly what the United States has done and it is what Europe should do as well.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Online, Aug. 7, 2018) 

“Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense. They are imposing sanctions on Iranian children, patients and the nation… If you’re an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.” — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani spoke after Trump signed an executive order to restore nuclear-related sanctions on Tehran. Rouhani fell back on the rhetoric of many of his predecessors by referencing the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew Iran’s elected prime minister and cemented the shah’s rule. “I have no pre-conditions” for negotiating with America “if the US government is ready to negotiate about paying compensation to the Iranian nation from 1953 until now,” Rouhani said. “The US owes the Iranian nation for its intervention in Iran.” (Times of Israel, Aug. 6, 2018)

“The Gulf States and Iran will have to deal with much future suffering if things continue as they are now, but if the regime falls, a new horizon will open up for cooperation in every area and to everyone’s benefit. I have said it before and am even more convinced that my observations were on the mark: Iran does not need nuclear arms nor does it need to be obsessed with military might. Iran is in possession of resources and a demographic makeup that allows for great economic growth, especially if there is a real development plan based, among other things, on cooperation with its neighboring states…I believe that once the nuclear weapons are dismantled, a new and positive spirit will emerge.” — Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran. Pahlavi is the last heir apparent to the defunct throne of the Imperial State of Iran and is the current head of the exiled House of Pahlavi. Pahlavi is a prominent critic of Iran’s Islamic Republic government. (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 6, 2018) 

“As the imposition of sharia law shows in Iran and territories ruled by Islamist groups, sharia law is not solely about placing religious leaders in positions of power to rule the nation; it is also about controlling people’s day-to-day activities, and every aspect of their lives, including their bodies. That is why radical teachings in schools and mosques should be halted, before the sharia dominates the state.” — Majid Rafizadeh. In July, an Iranian court ordered Shaparak Shajarizadeh, 43, to prison for two years, with 18 years’ probation, for removing her headscarf in public. (Gatestone Institute, Aug. 5, 2018)

“The Syrian army is not making do with taking control of all of Syria’s territory, instead explicitly building up a broad, new ground army that will resume its prior dimensions and even surpass it.” — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The Assad regime is rebuilding its military power after recapturing most of Syria’s territory from rebel groups, according to Lieberman. At the end of July, Syrian government forces retook positions along the border after I.S. gave up the last pocket of territory in the area, state media reported. (Ha’aretz, Aug. 7, 2018)

“We are always going to speak up for human rights, we are always going to speak up for women’s rights and that is not going to change.” — Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Freeland said Ottawa will wait to hear more details from Saudi Arabia before responding to the country’s decision to freeze new trade deals and expel Canada’s ambassador. Saudi Arabia also said flights to and from Canada would be suspended. The Saudis made the decision in retaliation to a Global Affairs Canada tweet that expressed concerns about the arrests of activists in the kingdom. “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi,” the tweet said. “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.” (National Post, Aug. 5, 2018)

“What I’m trying to show is that historically speaking, the Palestinian cause has lost time and again because of the extremists, not because of the moderates. Because of the extremist loudmouths … Israel has never benefited from the moderates, but from people who scream: ‘The Deal of the Century? No to peace!…Today, when you go to Jerusalem and the West Bank, you see that they have changed entirely. The number of settlers has reached one million, and they will never leave. These are no longer prefabricated structures, like they were at the beginning. Now it is all concrete. No hill is left vacant. So unless we turn to the kind of reasonable thinking that we have lacked for a century, we will continue to accuse the voices of reason of being traitors, criminals, and collaborators, in order to walk in the path of extremism, which always ends in a catastrophe.” — Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sami Al-Nesf.  Al-Nesf warned in an interview translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) that it is extremists, and not moderates, who have harmed the cause of people in the Palestinian Authority. (Jewish Press, Aug. 1, 2018)

“Antisemitism exists in Europe. This is not an isolated incident…What is happening to my father’s home is a small indication of what is happening on a continental level. Both Holocaust memory and Jews are under attack.” — Elisha Wiesel, the only child of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. Wiesel has responded to the antisemitic desecration of his father’s childhood home in northwestern Romania over the weekend. Among the messages daubed on the small structure in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei was, “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler” and “Public toilet, antisemite pedophile.” Elie Wiesel and his family were deported in 1944 to Auschwitz. While he and two of his sisters survived, his father, mother and younger sister were murdered there. (Algemeiner, Aug. 5, 2018)




INCENDIARY BALLOONS SPARK 40 FIRES IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL OVER WEEKEND (Jerusalem) — Over forty fires broke out in southern Israel over the weekend sparked by incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, firefighters battled 10 fires in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and over 30 fires the day before, Kan reported. The broadcaster said it was the highest number of arson attacks since Hamas declared an unofficial ceasefire with Israel last month. In response to the continued launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza, the IDF on Saturday said it struck two separate cells of Palestinians flying the devices over the border. (Times of Israel, Aug. 4, 2018)

SYRIA BLAMES ISRAEL FOR ASSASSINATION OF TOP SCIENTIST (Damascus) — Syria has pointed the finger at Israel as being behind the assassination of Dr. Aziz Asbar, a senior Syrian scientist who was killed in a car bomb in Homs province. Syria’s al-Watan newspaper said that Israel’s Mossad secret service agency was behind Asbar’s assassination, which also killed his driver. Asbar was one of the directors of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center in Masyaf. He is believed to have been in charge of managing Hezbollah warehouses and headed Department 4 at the Center which focuses on the development of all of Syria’s ballistic missile and rocket programs and was reportedly involved the development of medium and long range missiles with Iranian experts. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2018)

IDF KILLS 7 TERRORISTS IN SOUTHERN SYRIA ALONG ISRAEL’S BORDER (Damascus) — Seven Islamic State terrorists were killed in an Israeli attack last week in Syria’s Golan Heights. The terrorists came as close to 200 meters to the Israel-Syria border when Israeli troops launched an attack against them. The group was fleeing fighting against the Assad regime, the IDF noted, adding that it found five firearms and belts containing explosive devices. (Ha’aretz, Aug. 2, 2018)

SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 3 NATO TROOPS ON DAY OF VIOLENCE IN AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) — A suicide bomber struck a joint patrol of NATO and Afghan forces just outside the Afghan capital on Sunday, killing at least three NATO service members and injuring three others, officials said, on a day that saw deadly violence across the country. An Afghan soldier was killed in the eastern city of Jalalabad trying to stop a suicide bombing at a checkpoint, and in the south, the Taliban continued a bloody assault on the district of Chinarto, in Uruzgan Province. All three service members killed were from the Czech Republic, according to the Czech Army’s chief of general staff. (New York Times, Aug. 5, 2018)

BIN LADEN’S SON MARRIES 9/11 LEAD HIJACKER’S DAUGHTER (Kabul) — Usama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, reportedly married the daughter of the lead hijacker of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The late Al Qaeda leader’s half-brothers said Hamza, who has said he wants to avenge his dead terrorist dad, married the daughter of Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian who hijacked and flew the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001. Hamza bin Laden, officially designated a terrorist by the U.S., surprised his family by going to Afghanistan where he has become an Al Qaeda leader under Ayman al-Zawahiri, The Guardian reported. (Fox News, Aug. 6, 2018)

MANCHESTER BOMBER WAS RESCUED FROM LIBYA BY BRITISH NAVY IN 2014 (London) — The man who killed 22 people in an attack in Manchester, UK, at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 was rescued from the civil war in Libya three years earlier by the British navy. Salman Abedi, a British citizen born to Libyan parents, is believed to have been on holiday in Libya in August 2014 when fighting broke out and British officials offered to evacuate U.K. citizens stranded there. Abedi and his younger brother were reportedly among 100 citizens rescued from Libya and taken home to Britain. 22 people were killed in the Manchester attack and hundreds were injured. (Daily Beast, Aug. 1, 2018)

NORTH KOREA HAS NOT HALTED NUCLEAR MISSILE PROGRAMME: UN REPORT (Pyongyang) — North Korea has not halted its nuclear missile programme and is trying to sell weapons to the Middle East and Africa, a UN report has found. The isolated nation is also defying sanctions and continues to cooperate militarily with Syria although it is banned, according to the confidential 149-page report. Among the groups North Korea is trying to sell weapons to is Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, it said. Independent experts submitted the report to the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee. The North Korean mission to the UN did not comment. (Sky News, Aug. 4, 2018)

MAORIS HOLD APOLOGY CEREMONY OVER NEW ZEALAND’S OPPOSITION TO ISRAEL AT UN (Auckland) — A group representing the Maori people of New Zealand held this week a traditional ceremony of apology for the country’s opposition to Israel at the UN. According to J-Wire, the whakapāha ritual particularly emphasized New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UNSC Resolution 2334, which labeled all territory captured in the Six-Day War in 1967 as “occupied Palestinian territory,” including eastern Jerusalem and the Old City. J-Wire reported that in recent years “increasing numbers of Māori have become more vocal and active in their support for Israel.” (Algemeiner, Aug. 1, 2018)

IAF GETS FIRST-EVER FEMALE SQUADRON COMMANDER (Washington) — The Israeli Air Force has appointed the first female squadron commander in its 70-year history. The commander, who for security reasons is referred to only as “G.,” will be promoted to lieutenant colonel and put charge of the 122nd Squadron, known as “Nachshon.” The squadron is composed of planes specifically geared toward intelligence gathering. The 34-year-old G. has been active in the Air Force since 2003, and has served in several command positions, including deputy commander of the “Nachshon” Squadron itself. (Algemeiner, Aug. 7, 2018)

YANKEES LEGEND RIVERA SHOWS SOLIDARITY WITH IDF, VISITS ARMY BASE (Tel Aviv) — Former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera visited an IDF base in northern Israel to lend solidarity to Israeli soldiers. Rivera, who played 19 seasons with the Yankees and was widely regarded as one of the best closers in baseball, was in Israel as part of a spiritual interfaith mission led by the New York Board of Rabbis. As part of this mission, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) arranged a base visit, where Rivera and mission participants learned about the FIDF programs. Among the FIDF programs are courses that help new immigrants and soldiers from minority groups learn Hebrew. (United With Israel, Aug. 3, 2018)

ISRAELI TEAMS DEFEAT TOP EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES IN DEBATE (Tel Aviv) — Two Israeli teams were crowned champions of the European Universities Debating Championship in Serbia last week after a grueling nine-round tournament against the best debaters from across the continent. Noam Dahan and Tom Manor of Tel Aviv University competed alongside native English speakers. Despite the language barrier they won in the competition, beating out some lead universities, such as University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. Amichay Even-Chen and Ido Kotler, also from Tel Aviv University, won in the “English as a Second Language” category this year. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2018)

ISRAELI MEN’S GYMNASTICS TEAM WINS GOLD (Tel Aviv) — Mazel Tov! For the first time ever, Israel’s men’s gymnastics team won a gold medal at the World Championships. They defeated powerhouses such as China and Russia. Watch the video here. (Breaking Israel News, Aug. 6, 2018) 

HUCKABEE SAYS HE WANTS HOLIDAY HOME IN WEST BANK (Washington) — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) told a crowd in Israel that he dreams someday of owning a vacation home in Efrat, an Israeli settlement south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Huckabee used a trowel to help pave a wall at a building ceremony before telling a crowd that he was investing in his possible future home. Efrat is located about seven and a half miles south from Jerusalem in the West Bank. Huckabee, however, pointed to Efrat as “really a bridge to peace” during his remarks on Wednesday. He said more than 1,000 Palestinians that are employed there, some as construction workers, in the town of around 9,000. The mayor of Efrat has previously touted the statistic. (The Hill, Aug. 1, 2018)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: “From the early 1990s, and particularly after the beginning of the Oslo process in 1993, the mantra of a “demographic threat” was again widely repeated in the media and cited in diplomatic circles as a reason for ever greater Israeli territorial concessions to Yasir Arafat’s PLO. Yet every such concession made by Israel in those years was met by a hardening of the PLO’s demand for a complete withdrawal to the state’s pre-1967 borders and for granting a “right of return” to all descendants of the 1948-9 Arab refugees. To Arafat, who understood this process perfectly, the goal was to break the spirit of the Israelis, as he stated explicitly in a February 1996 speech to Arab diplomats in Stockholm: ‘The PLO will now concentrate on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps [i.e., for and against concessions]. . . . We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs.’ “— Ofer Haivri, “Israel’s Demographic Miracle”, Mosaic, Aug.7, 2018.

On Topic Links

Even After Signs of Progress, Saudi Arabia Has a Long Way To Go: Robert Fulford, National Post, July 6, 2018 —The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman (a.k.a. MBS), has been getting great reviews from the media in the West for his plans to modernize his kingdom.

Hysteria Over Nation-State Law: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2018 —It is inevitable – and laudable – that there are debates and differences over most new legislation. However, that does not justify the global hysteria generated over the recently passed nation-state law, which the clear majority of Israelis support.

Israel’s Mighty Army is no Match for Hamas’s Flaming Condom Bombs: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Aug. 3, 2018 —Late afternoon last Wednesday, I climbed a sandy knoll at the edge of Sderot, a town of 25,000 in southern Israel, four kilometres from the border with the Gaza Strip.

Britain Welcomes Radicals – Again and Again: Douglas Murray, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 4, 2018 —It is more than a year since the UK suffered three Islamist terrorist attacks in quick succession. It is also more than a year since the Prime Minister, Theresa May, stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced that ‘enough is enough’. Yet the striking aspect of the last year has been how little has changed.



Iran Has Only Begun to Feel the Pain of Trump’s Sanctions: Benny Avni, New York Post, Aug. 6, 2018 — As the Iranian regime reels under the strain of renewed sanctions, the Trump administration is already preparing the next phase.

What Trump Could Do For Iran: Amir Taheri, Aawsat, Aug. 3, 2018 — “To resist or not to resist?” In Tehran’s political circles these days that is the question.

The Preeminent Challenge: Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh, Weekly Standard, Aug. 3, 2018 — The biggest foreign-policy challenge before Donald Trump isn’t North Korea, where the usual pattern of diplomacy and deception persists.

Why Iran Supports Palestinian Terror Groups: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, July 19, 2018— While the United Nations, Israel and the US are proposing plans to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Iran is pledging to continue its financial and military aid to Palestinian terror groups.

On Topic Links


Netanyahu Warns Iran Against Blocking Maritime Oil Route: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018

Talking to Rouhani: Is Trump Shooting from the Hip or Reading from a Script?: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Aug. 5, 2018

With U.S. Sanctions Looming, Iran Faces a Potentially Explosive Economic Crisis: Mohsen Milani, World Politics Review, Aug. 2, 2018

The Iranian Crown Prince’s Speech: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Breaking Israel News, July 30, 2018



Benny Avni

New York Post, Aug. 6, 2018

As the Iranian regime reels under the strain of renewed sanctions, the Trump administration is already preparing the next phase. We see too little of it in our press, but Iranians are increasingly taking to the streets and the clerics’ hold on power is weakening. And it’s about to get worse for the regime. A new round of US sanctions, announced in advance, kicked in Monday. It restricts currency transfers and bans trade in gold, silver, aluminum, steel and other metals.

Most of the new sanctions have already been factored in, changing the way the world does business in Iran. European politicians, who’ve sanctified President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, are calling on companies to stay put and do business in Iran, as the seven-party Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action dictates. But business is business.

After the nuke deal was signed, France’s Renault was eager to position itself for the day all sanctions would be removed, cutting deals to dominate Iran’s car market. Anticipating Monday’s sanctions, however, Renault announced an end to all its Iran businesses in July — even though it sells no cars in America.

Meanwhile, under US pressure, Germany’s central bank last week announced new limits on foreign access to cash, blocking a desperate attempt by cash-strapped Tehran to withdraw 300 million euros ($375 million) from a Hamburg-based Iranian-controlled bank.

European politicians, still bitter over the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal and reimpose sanctions, like to issue defiant press releases. But the American squeeze is working. “We know Iran is increasing activities throughout Europe, and so we must be vigilant,” US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told me Monday.

Buckle up. The next sanctions phase, due in November, will hit Iran’s only viable source of income: oil. Iran’s oil exports are expected to be halved. Saudis, Russians and Americans will seek to fill the void, making sure Iran, not global consumers, feels the pain. So you’d think (and the regime had hoped) Iranians would blame America. Instead, striking truck and taxi drivers, workers in faraway dusty towns, environmentalists, women, bazaar salesmen — all blame the regime.

With good reason. Obama’s generous JCPOA-related gifts to the regime, more than $100 billion in cash, never trickled down to the people. The money was spent on regional wars, propping up global terror organizations and lining the pockets of regime bigwigs. The Iranian people no longer buy the “Great Satan” trope. “Even the bazaaris [who strongly supported the regime] know that impediment to normal life is not international, but domestic,” says Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran watcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. And as protests swell, “many of the enforcers, those who joined the Basij and Revolutionary Guards because it was their only employment option, may also defect and join the uprising,” says the Israeli Farsi broadcaster Menashe Amir. “After all, they’re Iranian too.”

The Western press largely ignores or belittles such tectonic shifts, but the Trump administration doesn’t. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Iranian-Americans in California, expressing support for the protesters. In a Sunday tweet, he backed “the Iranian people’s right to protest against the regime’s corruption & oppression without fear of reprisal.”

Trump’s strategy — turning to the Iranian people — is a major departure from Obama’s coddling of the clerics. Without declaring it outright, Washington has been encouraging regime change, or at least trying to force an end to the regime’s pursuit of nukes, missiles and Mideast aggression.

Sure, regime change could be chaotic, lengthy and bloody. It could lead to an even more repressive, dictatorial and cruel leadership than the current one. Then again, it may liberate the Iranian people and, more likely, end Tehran’s pursuit of the most dangerous arms and the spread of global violence and terrorism.

“Yes, it’s hard to get worse than the Islamic Republic, but the Mideast is full of surprises,” cautions Ben Taleblu. Yet, he adds, a new regime, “popular and representative, will benefit the Iranian people, the Mideast and the international community.” The potential risks are dwarfed by ample rewards, so by all means, tighten the screws. On to the next Iran sanctions phase.




                                                  WHAT TRUMP COULD DO FOR IRAN     

                                                  Amir Taheri

                                                Aawsat, Aug. 3, 2018

“To resist or not to resist?” In Tehran’s political circles these days that is the question. The prospect of fresh sanctions to be imposed by the United States and its allies has helped intensify the debate which has marked Iranian politics since the mullahs seized power in 1979.

At first glance the most common answer seems to be in favor of “resisting”, whatever form it might take. Over the past four decades the Khomeinist ruling elite has been divided between those called “the accommodationists” who have been prepared to seek a deal with the United States and those who refuse even talking to the “Great Satan”. The mullahs’ first Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, included five US citizens of Iranian origin and was thus dominated by the “accommodationists”. It contemplated a strategy of partnership with the United States to face the Soviet threat in the context of the Cold War. That strategy ever got off the ground as Bazargan and his pro-US group were swept away in the political tsunami triggered by the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran. Then began almost a decade of war and tension in which the pure revolutionists ran the show and marginalized the accommodationists. The sinking by the US navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard navy, followed by Khomeini’s abject retreat and subsequent death, closed that parenthesis as the “resistance” policy proved to be futile.

Then followed almost a decade of domination by the accommodationists who went to the extremes to befriend the ”Great Satan” on the sly. However, a decade of secret and later overt “dialogue” with the Great Satan proved equally fruitless, leading to a “resistance backlash” symbolized by the emergence of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President. As we know, that attempt at “resistance” also failed, doing possibly long-term damage to Iran’s economy and the nation’s social fabric.

The disastrous end of Ahmadinejad’s presidency gave the accommodationists a fresh chance to try their old and several times failed stratagems. The joint effort by US President Barack Obama and his Islamic counterpart Hassan Rouhani to dupe their respective audiences with the so-called “nuke deal” was hailed by many as an end of the vicious circle of accommodation-resistance. Now, however, we know that that chapter, too, has closed. Even the Islamic Foreign Minister Muhammad-Javad Zarif now admits that much. In a talk in Tehran last Sunday he claimed that even Obama, a “polite and friendly man”, had not been quite straight with his Khomeinist partners in duping the world.

Today, the Islamic Republic looks like a two-trick pony both of whose tricks have been exposed as sham and inefficient. It is, of course, not in the gift of a journalist to predict the future. But it seems to me that the Khomeinist regime will no longer be able to rely on either of its two tricks in the context of the usual cheat-and-retreat strategy to get itself off the hook at least for a while longer.

The reason for that failure is the regime’s inability to clearly spell out its case and tell the Iranians, and the world beyond them, why it is addicted to policies that have produced nothing but grief for all concerned.

It would be a good thing if the “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei were to appear on national television and tell Iranians precisely why it is in Iran’s interest to help Bashar al-Assad kill Syrians or what could be gained for prolonging the war in Yemen by supporting a rebel group that, regardless of the justice or injustice of their cause, have no chance of winning and, even if they won, would in no way contribute to Iran’s security and prosperity.

Until recently, one argument advanced by Khomeinists was that though the current policies, including a real or feigned enmity for the United States, may harm Iran’s interests as a nation they still serve the interests of ran as a vehicle for “Islamic Revolution.” In other words, sacrificing Iran’s national interests to the interests of the dominant ideology may have some rational explanation.

However, even that argument no longer holds. Thousands of deaths and billions spent in Syria have not only harmed Iran’s national interest but have also failed to secure any advancement for the Khomeinist ideology.

Having found a new and stronger protector in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Assad and his cohorts now regard the Islamic Republic as something of an embarrassment. It is no surprise that Assad has vetoed an Iranian plan to set up “cultural centers” in the so-called “newly liberated” areas of Syria, that is to say chunks of territory abandoned by the regime’s opponents. Iranian mullahs and their military associates are no longer flowing into Syria at will and when they arrive there, they are no longer treated with the deference they enjoyed five years ago.

Even in chunks of Yemen held by the Houthis, Iran is being pushed to the sidelines. In fact, the bulk of Iranian diplomatic and military personnel fanning the war in Yemen are now located in neighboring Oman.

Even in Lebanon, as a prominent pro-Tehran Lebanese newspaper editor noted recently, the Islamic Republic risks losing its influence because of the increasing difficulties it faces in paying its allies and mercenaries. The daily Kayhan, believed to reflect Khamenei’s views, still boasts about the Islamic Republic’s success in having Gen. Michel Aoun elected President of Lebanon. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that, while trying not to ruffle the mullahs’ feathers, Aoun is so full of himself as not to be a mere puppet for Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The looming crisis in Iran may be an opportunity for Iranians, both in the regime and those opposed to it, to decide whether they wish Iran to behave like a vehicle for a bankrupt ideology or like a nation-state with the legitimate, quantifiable and rationally analyzable interests of a nation-state…

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



Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh                           

Weekly Standard, Aug. 3, 2018


The biggest foreign-policy challenge before Donald Trump isn’t North Korea, where the usual pattern of diplomacy and deception persists. Nor is it Russia; it doesn’t have the muscle to take on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which isn’t dead yet. Nor is the most imminent problem China, which doesn’t have the navy and air force to tempt fate in the South and East China Seas. It will one day really challenge the United States and East Asia’s democratic and anti-Chinese authoritarian states—the type of fascist confrontation that could lead to carnage—but Washington probably has years to check Beijing’s ambitions.

The most troublesome, immediate challenge comes from Iran. Trump’s decision to walk away from his predecessor’s deeply flawed arms-control agreement will likely soon consume the administration’s attention since, depending on what the mullahs do, war may once more be on the horizon. If the president fails to corral the clerics and the Revolutionary Guards through sanctions and the threat of force, the reverberations will surely weaken, if not gut, the administration’s capacity to play hardball elsewhere. Barack Obama punted the Iranian nuclear problem down the road slightly (and didn’t really pivot to Asia). Trump has probably eliminated the possibility of punting. He now may have to deal with Iran more decisively than his predecessors.

So far, the administration has developed a somewhat contradictory yet potentially successful Iran policy. The White House has all the elements of a regime-change strategy despite its denials; yet Donald Trump aspires to new nuclear negotiations, even suggesting a meeting could take place with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani without prerequisites. Some have called this Reaganesque. After all, Ronald Reagan sought the end of the Soviet empire. “While we must be cautious about forcing the pace of change [inside the Soviet bloc], we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them,” he declared at Westminster in 1982. “It is time that we committed ourselves as a nation—in both the public and private sectors—to assisting democratic development.” Putting “Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history” clearly meant regime change in Mother Russia. Yet Reagan welcomed nuclear talks with an array of Soviet leaders, from Leonid Brezhnev to Mikhail Gorbachev.

Can Donald Trump tailor-make an approach to an Iran that is suffering from many of the same kind of authoritarian afflictions that the Soviet Union did in the 1980s? Can he, his senior staff, and the essential worker bees understand enough Iranian history—its peoples’ long quest for representative government—to realize that what Reagan envisioned for the Soviet empire is applicable to the Islamic Republic? Reagan’s vision—“The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means”—is within reach in Persia if the clerical regime starts cracking. Iran is an empire that has, at least at its core, become a coherent nation-state. It carries many of the Middle East’s cultural liabilities, but it manifestly isn’t a land of tribes and oil wells. That it had the Muslim world’s only Islamic revolution 39 years ago is actually an enormous asset in its continuing religious and political evolution. Unlike most Muslims, Iranian Shiites and Sunnis know what it’s like to live in a theocracy. Most have found it wanting.

Post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan, the primary American question is whether Washington’s political elite is capable of imagining interventionism. A successful regime-change approach isn’t likely if one doesn’t really believe, as Reagan did, that American aid to those seeking freedom is both good and strategic. The loss of faith in this idea within the United States is profound and dovetails with an analysis that depicts the Middle East as no longer a compelling strategic theater (killer drones and American military bases in Bahrain and Qatar can handle the post-9/11 threat and the oil of the Persian Gulf). Even the Iranian nuclear quest doesn’t disturb this mindset. The Iraq syndrome has convinced the foreign-policy establishment and a not inconsiderable segment of the American public that the Muslim Middle East is a hopeless mess.

Can Trump carve out a democratic exception for Iran, where religious dictatorship appears to be secularizing the society it rules? Trump seems to have a serious animus against the Islamic Republic—he isn’t in the revisionist right-wing and libertarian camps (see Tucker Carlson, Patrick Buchanan, the American Conservative, and the Cato Institute) that veer toward Obama in their reassessment of, or disinterest in, the mullahs’ ambitions. Can Trump energetically try to collapse the clerical regime and advance democracy there while forging a détente with the repressive Sunni states? Such a contradiction isn’t difficult to handle operationally. The issue is whether the White House can overcome those within the bureaucracies who resist anything too forward-leaning. It’s a good bet that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Emirati ruler Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who don’t want to see democracy bloom in their kingdoms, would be fine with American efforts to foster representative government in Persia…

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



Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, July 19, 2018

While the United Nations, Israel and the US are proposing plans to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Iran is pledging to continue its financial and military aid to Palestinian terror groups. Iran’s meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians is not new. The Iranians have long been providing Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups with money and weapons. Were it not for Iran’s support, the two groups, which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, would not have been able to remain in power in the coastal enclave.

Iran’s support for the Palestinian terror groups has a twofold goal: first, to undermine the Palestinian Authority, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, and which Tehran sees as a pawn in the hands of the US and Israel; and second, to advance Iran’s goal of destroying Israel. Just this week, we received yet another reminder of Iran’s true goal. The leader of Iran’s “Islamic Revolution,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the Palestinians will win over their enemies and will “see the day when the fake Zionist regime” vanishes. He said that US President Donald Trump’s “evil policy” is doomed to failure.

So, Iran does not care about the harsh conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Instead, its leaders are hoping that the Palestinians will live to see the day Israel is eliminated. This is also why Iran continues to support any Palestinian group that seeks to destroy Israel. On the same day that Khamenei made his statement in Tehran, one of his senior generals, Gholamhossein Gheybparvar addressed a conference held in the Gaza Strip and Tehran simultaneously. Gheybparavar is a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and commander of its Basij forces — the “Mobilization Resistance Force.” This force’s main mission is to suppress protests against the regime in Tehran.

In his speech via video conference, the Iranian general told representatives of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups that he was “proud” of their “resistance” against Israel. He said that the conference, which was being held under the title, “Wet Gunpowder/Resistance Is Not Terrorism,” was an expression of Arab and Islamic unity against the enemies of the Arabs and Muslims. The Iranian general said that Iran and the “axis of resistance” were not afraid of Trump’s “threats.” The Palestinian terror groups said after the conference that they were encouraged by the Iranian general’s pledge to support them in their fight against Israel and the US.

Khader Habib, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip, said that the Iranian-Palestinian conference was both “symbolic and significant.” The conference, he said, served as a reminder that Iran continues to support the Palestinian “resistance” and would deter Israel from attacking the Gaza Strip in response to terror attacks on its citizens. The speech by the Iranian general, he added, was aimed at sending a message to the many countries to support the Palestinian “resistance” groups in the Gaza Strip. “Israel is a potential threat to the Arabs and Muslims,” Habib said. Buoyed by the Iranian backing, several speakers at the conference called for the formation of a “unified Arab-Islamic front” against Israel and the US. They also stressed that the terror attacks against Israel would continue and praised Iran for its full support for the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

By promising to continue helping the Palestinian terror groups, Iran is offering the two million residents of the Gaza Strip more bloodshed and violence. The Iranian general did not offer to build the Palestinians a hospital or a school. Nor did he offer to provide financial aid to create projects that would give jobs to unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. His message to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: Iran will give you as much money and weapons as you need, as long as you are committed to the jihad (holy war) against Israel and the “big Satan,” the US…

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




On Topic Links

Netanyahu Warns Iran Against Blocking Maritime Oil Route: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Wednesday that any attempt to shut down a strategic maritime oil route would be met with an international coalition that would open the waterway to traffic.

Talking to Rouhani: Is Trump Shooting from the Hip or Reading from a Script?: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Aug. 5, 2018—President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is willing to meet unconditionally with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took many by surprise. It threatened to reinforce the impression, even among America’s closest friends in the Middle East, that Trump is a supportive but unpredictable and unreliable ally.

With U.S. Sanctions Looming, Iran Faces a Potentially Explosive Economic Crisis: Mohsen Milani, World Politics Review, Aug. 2, 2018—A few years after Iran’s 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini disregarded an aide who was worried about inflation by declaring that “this revolution was not about the price of watermelons.”

The Iranian Crown Prince’s Speech: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Breaking Israel News, July 30, 2018—The Shah of Iran, Mahmad Reza Pahlevi, was deposed in 1979 and exiled to Egypt with his family where he died one year later. Upon reaching the age of twenty, the late Shah’s son Reza Pahlevi II was crowned in his stead by those loyal to the monarchy, but the fact that the young prince was in exile robbed the move of any practical significance.




Times of Israel, 4 avr., 2018


Les nouveaux manuels scolaires de l’Autorité palestinienne (AP) pour les élèves d’écoles primaires diabolisent Israël et glorifient le « martyr », affirme un rapport publié dimanche, qui indique une « détérioration alarmante » depuis une étude précédente.

Le rapport, publié par l’Institut de suivi de la paix et de la tolérance culturelle dans l’éducation scolaire, affirme que le programme 2016 – 2017 pour les écoles élémentaires de l’AP « apprend aux élèves à être des martyrs, diabolise et nie l’existence d’Israël, et se concentre sur un ‘retour’ à un pays exclusivement palestinien. »

Le rapport du groupe de Jérusalem est publié au moment où les responsables palestiniens perpétuent, ce que les Israéliens voient comme un appel à la diabolisation d’Israël dans les manuels et d’autres documents destinés aux enfants. Ils affirment que les manuels sont une source cruciale d’incitation qui mène à des attaques terroristes.

Parmi les documents cités dans le rapport, il y a notamment des cartes dans lesquelles Israël ne figure pas et des passages qui semblent glorifier les attaquants.

Le rapport précise que, en plus de ne pas faire apparaître Israël sur les cartes, les villes israéliennes comme Haïfa et Jaffa sont présentées comme palestiniennes, un phénomène souvent retrouvé dans les documents scolaires de l’AP.

Les critiques palestiniens ont souligné que les cartes des manuels scolaires israéliens ne font généralement pas non plus la distinction entre Israël et les territoires considérés comme palestiniens, ni ne le font au niveau des villes.

Le rapport souligne la nouvelle importance donnée au « martyr» dans les manuels.

Pour corroborer cette affirmation, le rapport donne trois exemples, dont deux problèmes mathématiques, dans lesquels le martyr est au cœur de l’exercice.

« Le nombre de martyrs de la première Intifada, entre 1987 et 1993, était de 2 026, et le nombre de martyrs de l’Intifada d’Al-Aqsa, dans les années 2000, était de 5 050, et le nombre de blessés a atteint les 49 760. Combien de martyrs sont morts pendant les deux intifadas ? », trouve-t-on dans un manuel de CP.

Les Palestiniens utilisent généralement le terme « martyr » pour tout Palestinien tué par un Israélien, quel que soit le contexte de son décès.

Un autre exemple cité par le rapport est une image d’un manuel d’éducation nationale et de socialisation destiné aux enfants de neuf ans, dans laquelle on voit des enfants regarder le pupitre vide de leur camarade de classe avec une pancarte sur laquelle est inscrite « Martyr ».

« La détérioration importante, et même alarmante, du message des programmes fait peu de doute comparée à notre examen des textes précédents pour ces groupes d’âges. A cet égard, cela n’augure rien de bon pour les perspectives de paix », affirme le rapport.

Marcus Sheff, le directeur exécutif du groupe qui a rédigé ce rapport, a déclaré lundi au Times of Israël que les nouvelles références aux martyrs dans les manuels scolaires des enfants « mettent en lumière l’idée d’un enfant martyr ».

Cela envoie le message que « ces enfants sont potentiellement consommables », a-t-il déclaré.

Sheff a cependant noté que les nouveaux programmes mettent l’accent sur l’égalité des sexes, ainsi que sur l’importance de respecter l’autorité et l’environnement

Le gouvernement israélien affirme depuis longtemps que l’incitation à la haine et à la violence des manuels scolaires palestiniens est l’un des facteurs principaux contribuant à la haine et au terrorisme contre les Israéliens. Les responsables palestiniens répliquent que ce sont les mesures israéliennes draconiennes et les décennies d’occupation, et non l’incitation, qui instillent la haine et inspirent le terrorisme.

Le sujet a récemment pris de l’importance, car les membres du Congrès américain ont menacé de diminuer l’aide des Etats-Unis aux Palestiniens si l’incitation ne diminuait pas.

Le rapport, selon Sheff, a été discuté pendant 16 réunions avec des élus et des responsables à Washington, D.C., en mars.

Le Fatah, qui gouverne actuellement la Cisjordanie avec l’Autorité palestinienne, a reconnu l’existence d’Israël à la fin des années 1980, contrairement à son rival, le Hamas, qui dirige la bande de Gaza. Pourtant, l’AP a refusé les demandes israéliennes de reconnaître Israël en tant qu’Etat juif.

Reconnaître la judaïté d’Israël signifierait que l’AP renoncerait effectivement à sa demande d’un vaste « droit au retour » qui inonderait Israël de millions de descendants de réfugiés palestiniens.




David Sebban

Coolamnews, 13 mars, 2018


Mahmoud Abbas peut bien s’évertuer à tenter de convaincre les grandes chancelleries occidentales et les donateurs de la planète que son combat contre Israël est pacifique, les faits sont têtus.

Récidive ! Après avoir envoyé au pilon il y a un an, des manuels scolaires qui présentaient Israël comme un cancer implanté dans la région, l’Autorité palestinienne peine à trouver le ton juste. Régulièrement épinglé pour son narratif guerrier à l’égard d’Israël, le ministère de l’Education à Ramallah laisse passer intentionnellement, ou pas, des thèmes belliqueux dans les manuels scolaires  distribués dans les écoles.

On ne compte plus les cartes où Israël n’est même pas mentionné. On se souvient des cours de religion où Chrétiens et Juifs étaient assimilés dans les ouvrages, à des infidèles. Les élèves étaient mêmes invités à en guise d’exercice, à évoquer « les mensonges des autres religions ».

Le rapport, publié par l’Institut de suivi de la paix et de la tolérance culturelle dans l’éducation scolaire, affirme que le programme 2016 – 2017 pour les écoles élémentaires de l’AP « apprend aux élèves à être des martyrs, diabolise et nie l’existence d’Israël, et se concentre sur un ‘retour’ à un pays exclusivement palestinien. »

Calcul mental

Les incitations à la « résistance » contre l’occupant sont, elles, clairement exprimées. Les livres d’histoire regorgent d’anecdotes sur les chahidims qui ont donné leur vie pour le peuple palestinien. Des photos parfois choquantes pour des enfants, accompagnent les textes.

Cette fois, c’est dans un livre de mathématiques du primaire (CM1), que les jeunes palestiniens s’entrainent à un calcul très particulier.

Enoncée: « Sachant que le nombre de chahidims de la première intifada s’élève à 2026 et que celui de la seconde intifada est de 5050 chahidims, quel est le nombre total de victimes de la barbarie israélienne ?

Vous avez dit morbide ? Il ne se passe pas une année, sans que les observatoires indépendants qui enquêtent sur le contenu des manuels scolaires, ne tirent la sonnette d’alarme. Les autorités palestiniennes s’engage à modifier, à corriger mais en vain. A chaque livraison, le résultat est le même.

Doit-on rappeler que les manuels sont financés par les pays donateurs dont en grande partie…l’Union européenne.



Times of Israel, 8 juil., 2018


Le gouvernement britannique et d’autres donateurs du système d’éducatif palestinien vont mener une enquête sur l’incitation à la haine contre Israël et les Juifs présente dans les manuels palestiniens.

« Il n’y a pas de place dans l’éducation pour des manuels et des pratiques qui incitent les esprits de jeunes vers la violence », a déclaré Alistair Burt, membre du Parlement et ministre des Affaires étrangères lors d’un débat mené mercredi à la Chambre des Communes, la chambre basse du Parlement britannique, sur l’incitation à la haine dans les manuels de l’Autorité palestinienne.

« Notre soutien continu va de pair avec un défi fort et continue vis-à-vis de l’Autorité palestinienne sur l’incitation à la haine dans le domaine éducatif », a-t-il ajouté. Nous sommes dans les étapes finales de discussions pour proposer un examen des manuels conjointement avec d’autres donateurs ».

L’examen devrait être terminé d’ici septembre 2019, a-t-il précisé. L’examen sera « rigoureux et basé sur des faits », a également déclaré Burt.

La question a été discutée à la demande du législateur Joan Ryan, président des Amis Travaillistes d’Israël.

Ryan a cité des exemples d’un rapport d’octobre sur une réforme des programmes de l’Autorité palestinienne. Les changements qu’elle a apportés impliquaient que « la radicalisation se retrouve dans l’ensemble de ce nouveau programme, à un niveau plus important qu’avant », selon le rapport rédigé par l’Institut de Veille de la Paix et de la Tolérance Culturelle dans l’Education, institut basé en Israël.

Dans un livre pour les élèves de Première, « Education islamique Volume 1 », on peut lire : « La corruption d’Israël dans la terre était et sera la cause de leur annihilation, et ce principe islamique s’applique à chaque tyran et oppresseur ».

Un autre livre pour les élèves de Seconde, intitulé « Langue Arabe Vol. 1 », ignore la présence juive en Terre d’Israël ou la présente comme une cause commune contre laquelle les Musulmans et les Chrétiens doivent se battre.

En avril, le même groupe de veille a déclaré que, l’année dernière, le gouvernement britannique avait accordé 20 millions de livres sterling aux écoles palestiniennes enseignant un programme qui soutient le jihad, omet des références aux accords de paix avec Israël et encourage le martyr, a annoncé le Sunday Times.

Le gouvernement israélien explique depuis très longtemps que l’incitation à la haine dans les manuels palestiniens constitue l’élément principal de la haine et du terrorisme contre les Israéliens. Des officiels palestiniens répondent que les mesures israéliennes draconiennes et des « décennies d’occupation », et non pas d’incitation à la haine, instillent la haine et inspirent le terrorisme.

La question a récemment pris une autre importance, lorsque des membres du Congrès américain ont menacé de diminuer l’aide américaine aux Palestiniens si l’incitation à la haine ne cessait pas.

Par ailleurs, Julie Bishop, la ministre australienne des Affaires étrangères a annoncé le 2 juillet que l’Australie arrêterait son financement à l’Autorité palestinienne à cause de salaires versés aux terroristes emprisonnés en Israël, y compris des meurtriers.



Actualite Juive, 17 mars, 2016


Le spécialiste des affaires palestiniennes de Kol Israël, Gal Berger, a récemment publié les résultats d’une étude qu’il a effectuée sur le contenu de quelque 70 manuels palestiniens, utilisés pour l’étude de différentes matières, dont l’histoire, la géographie et les études islamiques, dans les diverses classes.

Il a déclaré que ces livres passaient le plus souvent sous silence l’existence d’Israël et que la possibilité d’une coexistence entre un Etat palestinien et un Etat juif n’y était pratiquement pas évoquée. « Dans les manuels de l’Autorité palestinienne, il n’y a pas d’éducation vers deux Etats ou un Etat palestinien [aux côtés d’Israël] dans les lignes de 67 », a-t-il souligné.

Israël n’est pas sur les cartes

Les livres d’histoire ignorent systématiquement la Shoah dans les chapitres consacrés à la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Israël ne figure pas sur les cartes et les villes de l’Etat hébreu sont présentées comme des villes palestiniennes. Selon l’un de ces ouvrages, la “Palestine” a une superficie de 27 027 kilomètres carrés, soit la surface totale d’Israël et des territoires. Les manuels d’études islamiques glorifient les martyrs ou “chahids”.

Quelle contribution ces ouvrages apportent-ils à l’incitation à la violence ? Gal Berger affirme que ces livres posent les fondements idéologiques qui peuvent conduire un jeune Palestinien à mener une attaque.






Michèle Mazel

Jforum, 31 juil, 2018


Les faits d’abord. Enfin les faits vus par Le Figaro :  hier soir – jeudi – un Palestinien de 17 ans s’est infiltré dans une colonie et a attaqué des israéliens au couteau. L’un d’eux âgé de 31ans a succombé à ses blessures. Les deux autres ont été blessés, mais l’un a réussi à tirer. Le palestinien a été tué. Palestinien, Israéliens, colonie – tout est-il dit ? Hélas non.

Ce drame se déroule dans le petit village communautaire « Adam » qui compte environ cinq mille habitants. Une population « mixte » où religieux et laïcs vivent en harmonie.  Il se trouve en Cisjordanie. Une colonie donc, pas de doute. En regardant de plus près, on découvre que cette colonie se situe à un peu plus de deux kilomètres au nord-est de Jérusalem.

En grande banlieue sinon en banlieue tout court mais une colonie tout de même. L’Israélien tué, homme sans histoire, avait deux enfants très jeunes.  Selon la presse israélienne, il était sorti de chez lui pour aller préparer une surprise à sa femme.

Veuve aujourd’hui. Les petits réclament leur papa. Les funérailles se sont déroulées dans un village – pardon une colonie – en était de choc.

Il ne faudrait, pourtant pas, oublier l’autre dimension de ce drame. L’autre mort. Le terroriste, l’assassin palestinien pour les uns, le héros pour les autres et pour les siens. Celui qui a été tué avant de pouvoir continuer à frapper et faire d’autres victimes.

Il s’appelait Mohammed Tareq Yousef. Il avait tout juste dix-sept ans.  Encore au lycée ou l’équivalent local. Un visage buté, comme c’est souvent le cas chez des adolescents qui cherchent leur voie, une chevelure un brin romantique. Et l’inévitable page sur Facebook.

Seulement hier soir, ce garçon tranquille est sorti de chez lui avec un gros couteau. Il s’est dirigé vers le village et, arrivé devant la clôture de sécurité, a sauté sans difficulté par-dessus.

Une clôture à vrai dire bien modeste. Ni électrifiée ni dotée d’équipements sophistiqués pour détecter les intrus. Depuis sa création en 1983 le village – pardon la colonie – vivait en bon voisinage avec le Palestiniens d’alentour.  Et il a tué un père de famille de trente et un ans qu’il ne connaissait pas et n’avait jamais rencontré. Il a blessé deux autres personnes qu’il ne connaissait pas non plus.

Ah oui. Avant de partir il avait rédigé une longue tirade sur sa page, une diatribe plutôt, contre Israël et ses agissements à Gaza et en Cisjordanie. Il avait terminé en déclarant que le temps de la révolte était venu.

Sa famille est en deuil.  Son village est aussi est en état de choc. Peut-être pas tant du fait de sa mort que du fait des mesures répressives auxquelles il s’attend. Et personne ne va véritablement se demander pourquoi.

Pourquoi un adolescent, qui a toute la vie devant lui, prend la décision d’aller tuer des Juifs et s’en va seul dans la nuit.

Parce qu’il faudrait peut-être alors évoquer l’éducation à la haine depuis la tendre enfance, les livres de classe -publiés avec le financement de l’Union européenne – diabolisant Israël et les Juifs et leur déniant tout droit sur « la Palestine historique. » Evoquer aussi les prêches du vendredi, les stations satellitaires arabes et les discours d’un négationnisme de plus en plus virulent du président Abbas.




Jacob Magid       

Times of Israel, 31 juil, 2018

Après avoir rencontré mardi le chef d’état-major de Tsahal Gadi Eizenkot, le chef spirituel druze Sheikh Muafak Tarif a publié un message destiné aux membres de sa communauté qui accomplissent actuellement leur service militaire obligatoire, dans un climat de protestations des soldats druzes contre la loi récemment adoptée sur l’État-nation.

« Faites-nous confiance, nous nous battrons pour vous. Nous n’avons pas de problèmes avec l’armée – vous êtes des soldats et des commandants loyaux, et je compte sur vous pour rester, vous et l’armée israélienne, à l’écart du débat public », a déclaré le Sheikh Tarif.



coolamnews, 30 juil., 2018

Une manière originale de faire son entrée dans le monde diplomatique. Alors que le nouvel ambassadeur de Tanzanie présentait ses lettres de créance au président de l’Etat d’Israël, mercredi dernier, le diplomate n’a pas hésité à se coiffer d’une kippa (vidéo ci-dessous). Du 15 juillet au 15 août, Coolamnews publie ses meilleurs articles de l’année écoulée. Article publié le 17/06/2017.


Au moment de prendre la parole, le nouvel ambassadeur de Tanzanie sort de sa poche une kippa. Sur un morceau de papier est inscrite une prière en hébreu. Le diplomate prononce le texte, certes, avec quelques difficultés. Il s’avère qu’il s’agissait de la prière « Sheehéyanou », qu’on lit les jours de fête ou lorsqu’une situation nous procure de la joie (Lorsque nous voyons une personne que nous n’avons plus vu depuis au moins 30 jours, sur un nouveau fruit, sur un nouvel habit…).

Le président Rivlin joue le jeu et se coiffe à son tour d’une kippa. Aussitôt, il félicite sympathiquement son invité pour cette initiative. Une démarche qui aura eu le mérite d’être filmée et diffusée sur les réseaux sociaux. L’ambassadeur de Tanzanie aura ainsi fait une entrée remarquée à son nouveau poste.

La Tanzanie, un pays clé d’Afrique de l’Est

Les relations bilatérales entre Israël et la Tanzanie ont été rompues suite à la guerre de Kippour en 1973.  Pourtant, des relations ont été rétablies en 1995, mais depuis, Israël mène  ses relations avec la Tanzanie via Nairobi, au Kenya. La Tanzanie avait exprimé l’été dernier, son intention d’ouvrir une mission en Israël.

Benjamin Netanyahou s’est félicité de cette décision et a déclaré que la Tanzanie revêtait une grande importance dans la politique israélienne d’ouverture à l’Afrique notant la spécificité de la Tanzanie  par sa stabilité politique et son système démocratique.

En effet, ce pays d’Afrique de l’Est, situé en bordure de l’océan indien, est très important pour Israël. Il est situé à l’interface des mondes africain, arabe et indien.

Video :


Israel Rolls Out Election Campaigns, Scenting Early Vote: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Aug. 1, 2018— On July 27, Defense Minister Avigdor Libe

rman brought the members of his Knesset faction on a visit to the kibbutzim surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Opposition Took the Bait of Bibi’s New Law: Zev Chafets, Bloomberg, Aug. 3, 2018— The controversy over the nation-state law passed by Israel’s Knesset on July 19th continues to percolate. At first glance, it is hard to understand why.

Can Israel Be Both Jewish and Democratic?: Alex Grobman, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018— There seems to be no end to the myths surrounding the Jewish state.

Which Foreign Leaders Should Israel Welcome?: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 5, 2018— There were several negative reactions in Israel to the welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received during his recent visit to the country.

On Topic Links

Dangerously Disloyal Opposition?: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 3, 2018

Hypocrisy and Hysteria Regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 13, 2018

Livni Returns as Israeli Opposition Leader: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, July 24, 2018

Israel Is Losing the Social Media War: David Patrikarakos, Tablet, June 25, 2018



Mazal Mualem

Al-Monitor, Aug. 1, 2018


On July 27, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman brought the members of his Knesset faction on a visit to the kibbutzim surrounding the Gaza Strip. At Kibbutz Or HaNer, the Yisrael Beitenu chairman met with local residents who are frustrated after many long weeks of flaming kites destroying their fields and ruining their children’s summer vacations. Liberman sent the message that he is not afraid of taking the conflict with Hamas up a notch, making statements like, “If we get Code Red sirens here, it’ll get deep red in Gaza.”

Liberman and his staff have been making many such comments online and to journalists. During their visit to the south, the faction also held a private meeting in the restaurant on Kibbutz Bror Hayil. That evening, the News Company reported on a clash between Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting a few days earlier. Liberman wanted to deal a harsh military blow to Gaza, but Netanyahu blocked it.

According to the report, Liberman used the faction meeting to give his own account of the tension between himself and Netanyahu. He has a reputation for creating crises for his own political ends, so it is certainly safe to assume that the current one is another example. Liberman wants to present himself as taking a much more aggressive stance against Hamas than Netanyahu is, particularly since voters currently give the government low marks on this issue. According to a July 24 poll by the News Company, 70% of the public is unhappy with the way the flaming kites from Gaza are being handled by the government.

Liberman may sit in the Defense Ministry, but most people still do not consider him an authority on security matters. He is therefore trying to use the Gaza crisis to boost his standing. He will continue fighting with Netanyahu on this issue as long as it serves his interests.

Meanwhile, all signs on the ground seem to indicate that Liberman is preparing for early Knesset elections, as are all the other key players. His highly publicized clash with Netanyahu — the first of its kind since he became defense minister in May 2016 — is further evidence. Officially, the prime minister’s office denies any dispute, but a source close to Netanyahu has been quoted in the Israeli press as saying, “Liberman is a big talker but his actions are very much the opposite.”

All this happened one week after the Knesset began its summer recess July 22. While the coalition is still intact, there are still a lot of unresolved tension and conflicts that could come to a head when the Knesset begins its winter session Oct. 15. Then, many believe, some excuse will be found to dissolve the Knesset and the country will head to early elections. Since none of the major players want to be caught off guard, they launched their 2019 campaigns last week, even if unofficially.

Kulanu’s chairman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, was the quickest and also the most direct. Last week he hosted a festive inauguration of his election headquarters in Tel Aviv and plastered the streets with campaign posters.

But that was just the beginning. On July 29, hundreds of thousands of readers of Yisrael HaYom, the free newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson and usually identified with Netanyahu, came across a very unusual headline. It was actually a huge ad in disguise that took up the entire front page. It contained a long list of achievements attributed to Kahlon, drawn from every imaginable field: security, healthy and education. Kahlon’s boasting about achievements far beyond his own finance domain infuriated the other ministers, who claimed that he was taking credit for things that he did not do. “He always complains that Netanyahu does that to him, but now that he is facing election pressure, he is doing the exact same thing,” one Likud minister told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.

Kahlon isn’t too worried. In talks with his associates he expressed his belief that sometime in October, Netanyahu will find an excuse to hold an election before any recommendation to indict him is made. What will be the excuse for dissolving the government? Netanyahu has several options. In any case, he is acting as though he is preparing for early elections. He refuses to change the controversial recently adopted nationality law despite growing protests among the Druze community, because the new law is popular with Likud voters and Netanyahu believes that it will be a banner issue in his upcoming campaign. As he prepares to face off against HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett, with whom he will be competing for the right-wing vote, Netanyahu will try to resolve the problem with the Druze protests through dialogue, economic incentives and point-specific legislation, but he will not back down from the law. On the contrary, the Likud leader is already marketing the new law aggressively. A new video he posted online goes so far as to accuse the left of disseminating lies about it.

Then there are the LGBT protests over the last few weeks over the amended surrogacy law, which discriminates against gay men. Here, too, Netanyahu is not expected to surprise anyone with an about-face on policy. With elections in the offing, Netanyahu will not risk his alliance with the ultra-Orthodox parties, which he will need to put together his next government. Netanyahu will need to be fully confident that the ultra-Orthodox parties will continue be his partners if he forms his fifth government…

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




                                                  Zev Chafets

                                                Bloomberg, Aug. 3, 2018


The controversy over the nation-state law passed by Israel’s Knesset on July 19th continues to percolate. At first glance, it is hard to understand why. The bill seems superfluous. It starts by asserting three principles that have been the essence of Jewish nationalism for more than a century: The land of Israel is “the historical homeland of the Jewish people.” The State of Israel is “the national home of the Jewish people.” And, in that state, the Jewish people are uniquely entitled to “national self-determination.”

From there the law reiterates long-established facts of Israeli law. The flag, which it describes, is the same old Star of David. The national anthem remains the same. Saturday is the day of rest (with alternatives for non-Jewish citizens). Hebrew is the official language (Arabic enjoys the same special status it has always had). Israel encourages free Jewish immigration with the goal of gathering “exiled” diaspora communities. And so on.

This is Zionism 101. Since the founding of the state, it has gone without saying. So why did it need to be said now? The answer is a national election is on the horizon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an ex-special forces officer, always lays a few traps in the political battlefield beforehand. And his opponents consistently fall into them. That has happened again with the law. Bibi’s two main rival parties joined with the anti-Zionist Arab List and a hard-left fringe party, Meretz, in voting against the law. The final count was 62-55 in favor, with two abstentions and one absence.

A who’s who of Israeli writers and artists denounced the legislation as “a sin” and demanded it be rescinded forthwith. Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the international best-seller, “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind,” publicly refused an invitation to appear with Bill Gates at an event sponsored by the Israeli consulate in LA. Meanwhile, Israel’s airwaves and social media were dominated by commentators calling Bibi a fascist and the law a disgrace. The climate was hot enough that one or two of his centrist colleagues seemed to waver.

Then, at the weekly Sunday cabinet meeting, Bibi launched a counter-offensive. “Do not apologize” he ordered his ministers. “Attacks from the Israeli left, which calls itself Zionist, reveal how low it has sunk, how a basic tenet of Zionism — a Jewish nation-state for the Israeli people in its country — has become, for [the left] a rude and dirty term, a shameful principle. We are not ashamed of Zionism.”

Cabinet ministers heard the message and stood firm. The wisdom of Bibi’s approach was confirmed when the first post-legislation poll was published, showing 58 percent of the public favors the law, while just 34 percent (including 100 percent of Israeli Arabs) are opposed. Even more important, slightly more than half of Yesh Atid’s voters and a substantial number of Zionist Union supporters — the two main opposition parties who voted against the law — agree with the law.

These numbers will grow as Netanyahu relentlessly charges his opponents with abandoning the symbols and principles of the founding fathers. I don’t want to suggest that this is merely a cynical campaign strategy. Netanyahu, like every one of his predecessors (and the great majority of Israelis) believes that Israel is sui generis, a country founded with a specific purpose for a particular people. The law reflects that.

Israel is a democracy, but it’s not egalitarian. It is a Jewish democracy. All its citizens have civil rights (to vote, hold office, get a fair trial, speak freely and worship in their own way) but the Law of Return gives Jews anywhere in the world the right to automatic immigration. This is discrimination, plain and simple.

Members of the progressive intelligentsia and their Jewish counterparts abroad, want to see Israel drop its Zionist mission and become, like other modern democracies, simply a state of all its citizens. They argue that an officially Jewish state is both undemocratic and unattractive. In the long run, critics say, it could cost Israel its reputation and its American support.

Perhaps they are right about this. But the long run isn’t really the issue. Prime ministers stay in power one election at a time, and Bibi intends to win re-election to a fourth consecutive term. His right wing coalition partners will be with him because they have nowhere else to go. But if he makes inroads in the center, he can have the kind of broad government he has dreamed of. If that comes to pass, he will look back on the 19th of July, 2018 as the day his opponents walked into the trap by voting against a bill that happens to enshrine the most cherished values of the Israeli mainstream.




Alex Grobman

                                                Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018

There seems to be no end to the myths surrounding the Jewish state.  Israel is accused of being an apartheid state, an occupier of Palestinian Arab lands, and an international war criminal. On December 28, 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry added another canard to this litany when he warned that if Israel rejects a two-state solution, “it can be Jewish or it can be democratic-it cannot be both.”

Mr. Kerry, thereby, demonstrates his limited understanding of how Israel is governed as well as how against incredible odds the country remains both Jewish and democratic.  Nor did the Obama administration even attempt to draw such a distinction in its outright support of the Muslim Brotherhood-based government of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt.

Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US, observed that the U.S. Britain and Canada are among the few countries in the world that have had continual democratic governments. Although from inception Israel has been threatened with extinction, she has never yielded to the wartime demands of instituting onerous restrictive laws that often destroy other democracies.

If anything, the Palestinian Arab/Israeli conflict has “tempered” Israeli democracy, providing equal rights even to Arabs and Jews who refute her right to exist. “Is there another democracy,” Oren asks, “that would uphold the immunity of legislators who praise the terrorists sworn to destroy it? Where else could more than 5 percent of the population — the equivalent of 15 million Americans — rally in protest without incident and be protected by the police. And which country could rival the commitment to the rule of law…whose former president was convicted and jailed for sexual offenses by three Supreme Court justices — two women and an Arab? Israeli democracy, according to pollster Khalil Shikaki, topped the US as the most admired government in the world — by the Palestinians.”

What is equally remarkable Oren opines, is that Israel was founded by Jews from autocratic societies who were forced to grapple with issues of identity and security that would have overwhelmed even the most seasoned democracies. These discussions occurred at a time when they were occupied in absorbing almost two million Jewish immigrants from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

While Israel’s institutions and principles of governing are democratic, the Jewish state is nevertheless different. Like Bulgaria, Greece, and Ireland, Israel is a nation-state, but with a large Arab minority, whose national character and language are officially recognized. Though Judaism plays a preeminent role in the country’s public and political life, Judaism is not Israel’s national religion, unlike Denmark, Great Britain, and Cambodia, which have a national religion. And in contrast to the other democracies in the world, Israel has never lived in peace with her neighbors.  Israel continually struggles with balancing the responsibilities of preserving liberty, while safeguarding her national existence.

Israeli historian Alexander Yacobson and Amnon Rubinstein, a former Israeli Minister of Education, point out that except for Lebanon, the constitutions of the Arab countries acknowledge Islam as the state religion, and confer official status to Sharia law, albeit in different formulations. Syria’s constitution states that Islam is the religion of the head of state, while declaring Sharia is the primary source of legislation. Though some Western democracies have “official, established,” or state churches, this does not preclude freedom of religion for those practicing other religions.

Israel’s refusal to compromise democratic principles even during times of extreme national emergency has not gone unnoticed.  “Congress should have spent more time learning from the Israeli experience,” wrote Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow and Professor Gabriella Blum in 2006, noting that Israel provides broader rights to security detainees than the United States. In spite of the unrelenting and often existential nature of the threats confronting Israel, the country has maintained the standards established on the day of her independence. As Arab armies joined with local Arab forces in attempting to destroy the nascent state, Ben-Gurion determined that Israel “must not begin with national discrimination.’” Israeli Arabs vote and run for political office.

Contrary to a popular myth, Israel is not a theocracy.  More accurately, Israel is “a nation-state of the Jewish people,” including many who would not be considered Jewish according to Jewish law. In many areas, Israel is exceptionally liberal, with progressive legislation on gay rights, support for single-parent families, and abortion. Israel never had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for her military. Restrictions on gay enlistments were removed in 1993. Same-sex couples are granted the same rights as heterosexual couples, and Israel offers refuge to Palestinian Arab homosexuals fleeing from Islamists in Palestinian Arab controlled areas.

Aharon Barak, a former President of Israel’s Supreme Court, claims the emphasis on human rights is a direct result of the Holocaust from which Israel has learned “that human rights are the core of substantive democracy…without protection for human rights, there can be no democracy and no justification for democracy.” Religious parties participate in elections, and although the Chief Rabbinate wields broad influence regarding lifecycle events (marriage, burial), Israel’s secular legislative and judicial branches and security services have the definitive authority. In other words, “Israel has no official state religion, and Judaism does not enjoy any legally privileged status (other than that which derives, as a matter of course, from its being the religion of the majority)” asserts Amnon Rubenstein, a former dean of the Tel Aviv Law School…

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





Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 5, 2018

There were several negative reactions in Israel to the welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received during his recent visit to the country. The arguments brought forward included Orban’s rehabilitation of Hungary’s antisemitic leader and ally of Hitler, Admiral Miklós Horthy. There were also complaints about Orban’s illiberalism and the antisemitism in Hungary. It was 80 years ago in July that the Evian conference took place to discuss the fate of the Jewish refugees, who had nowhere to flee. Except for the Dominican Republic, no country was willing to accept them. The democracies at that time were unsavory nations, the others were usually worse.

Democracies and other states are still partly unsavory, be it in a mutated way. The big difference in the world is the arrival of biased supranational bodies. For instance, the voting pattern at the UN General Assembly concerning Israel, according to the prime definition of antisemitism – that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – leads to the conclusion that the UN is a frequently antisemitic institution.

In view of the superficial comments against Orban’s visit, it is worthwhile to try to establish more rational political criteria – in addition to business considerations – for welcoming visiting state leaders. These could include issues such as: 1) Does the government of the visiting leader financially support the Palestinian Authority, which enables it to free other monies to incentivize and pay murderers of Israelis and their families? 2) Does that country vote against Israel in the UN, and where relevant, in the EU? 3) Does that country’s government interfere in Israel’s internal affairs? 4) Has the country let in a massive number of Muslims without barring the antisemites among them? 5) Are Jews in the visiting leader’s country subject to violence? 6) Do the country’s leaders distort the Holocaust?

Other criteria could include: When country leaders visit Israel, do they also visit the Palestinian Authority, thereby placing it at the same level as Israel? Does their government support BDS-promoting organizations? As the level of sophistication in this investigating process increases, different weights can also be given to the various categories listed.

The reproach that Orban has rehabilitated Horthy, the antisemitic leader of his country from 1920 to 1944 is justified. Horthy applied antisemitic measures already before the Second World War. However, Hungary does not finance the Palestinian Authority, it usually does not vote against Israel in supranational institutions, it has not let in Muslim refugees and thus avoided the import of extreme antisemites among them. There is sizable verbal incitement against Jews in Hungary, but little or no violence against them. Orban’s government does not interfere in Israel’s internal politics. The Hungarian Prime Minister did not visit the Palestinian Authority. As far as I recall, the synagogues in Budapest I went to did not need security guards. The Hungarian government does not give money to BDS-supporting institutions.

Israel would gladly welcome French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. The Israeli opposition politicians who came out against Orban would most likely remain silent. On most of the other above criteria – except for the distortion of the Holocaust – France’s reality is far more negative than that of Hungary. France is the West European country where the majority of murders of Jews for ideological reasons in this century have taken place. No Western European country has such a significant percentage of Jews emigrating as France…

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



On Topic Links

Dangerously Disloyal Opposition?: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 3, 2018—The last week was one of immense sadness for me. It was a week in which I watched—incredulously—as a savage, mindless and hugely hypocritical attack was launched against a noble ideal to which I have devoted almost my entire adult life: The idea of a sovereign nation-state for the Jewish people in their ancient homeland.

Hypocrisy and Hysteria Regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, July 13, 2018—Heaps of hypocritical and hysterical bombast are being hurled at the government’s plans to constitutionalize Israel’s status as the Jewish nation-state, so it is important to explain why this law is necessary and must be passed into law next week. In short: The delicate balance between Israel’s Jewish and democratic characters has been upset over the past 25 years by the Israeli Supreme Court. Former Chief Justice Aharon Barak and his ultra-liberal successors have dramatically diluted the Jewish dimension of the Jewish-and-democratic equilibrium. Time for a reset.

Livni Returns as Israeli Opposition Leader: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, July 24, 2018—When Avi Gabbay defeated Isaac Herzog last year and was elected head of the Zionist Camp, he could not take over the position of Knesset opposition head, a post reserved for incumbent Knesset members. When the Jewish Agency approved Herzog as its chief in June, the issue of opposition head came up once again. A few weeks later, Gabbay decided that Tzipi Livni would replace Herzog in the post.

Israel Is Losing the Social Media War: David Patrikarakos, Tablet, June 25, 2018—Global outrage over last month’s peak to the so-called Great March of Return on the Gaza-Israel border was instant and understandable. Over 50 people died and hundreds more were injured on a single day. What happened was as viscerally unpleasant as civil strife gets. It was brutal.





The Holographic Nation-State Law: Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, July 27, 2018— There is no connection between the substance of Israel’s newly passed Nation State of the Jewish People law, and the debate its passage unleashed.

The Nation-State Law: Hollow Spins on the Left: Erez Tadmor, Jewish Press, Aug. 1, 2018— Let’s begin with the law “Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People”, itself.

From the Hebrew Press: On the Nationality Law: Dr. Mordechai Nisan, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 2, 2018 — The Knesset deserves much credit for performing an act of kindness towards the Jewish People this past week.

Hold the Heated Rhetoric, Please: David Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Aug. 3, 2018 — Take a deep breath, everybody.

On Topic Links

Netanyahu, Druze Leaders Reach Deal to End Rift Over Nation-State Law: Jewish Press, Aug. 1, 2018

Can Israel Be Both Jewish and Democratic?: Alex Grobman, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018

Glenn Greenwald Keeps the Ugly ‘Dual Loyalty’ Accusation Alive: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, Aug. 2, 2018

Only Fake Jews Are Afraid of a Jewish State: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, July 31, 2018



Caroline Glick

Jerusalem Post, July 27, 2018

There is no connection between the substance of Israel’s newly passed Nation State of the Jewish People law, and the debate its passage unleashed. On the one hand, supporters of the law led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insist that the law is a vital step in entrenching and protecting Israel’s Jewish identity. After the law passed last Thursday night, Netanyahu declared, “This is a pivotal moment in the annals of Zionism and the annals of the State of Israel. 122 years after [Theodore] Herzl published his vision [of a Jewish state] we affixed in law the founding principle of our existence.”

On the other hand, Arab members of Knesset theatrically condemned the law and claimed that with its passage, Israel had officially embraced “apartheid.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel is the heir of Nazi Germany. PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and his deputies said the UN should reinstitute its definition of defined Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement as a form of racism. Israeli leftists, including members of Knesset, the supposedly center-left Zionist Union Party, backed by Haaretz, parroted the Arab-Turkish talking points with Hebrew accents. The American-Jewish leadership, like the New York Times, argued that the passage of the law is proof that Israel is on the verge of rejecting democracy.

Given the unreconcilable claims of the Right on the one hand and the Arabs, the Left and American-Jewish leadership on the other, it is imperative to read the text of the law itself. In reading you discover something remarkable. This a nothingburger without a bun, or a patty, a plate or a pickle. It does nothing new and it says nothing new.

Israel was the Jewish state for 70 years before the law was passed and it remains the Jewish state a week after it passed. The clause in the law which is supposed to render Israel an “apartheid” state deals with Jewish settlement of the land of Israel. Its language is weak and declaratory. It refers to Jewish settlement as “a national value.” In contrast, the League of Nations 1920 Mandate for Palestine explicitly enjoined the British mandatory government to “encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land.” Because it does nothing, the Nation-State Law is like a hologram. It means whatever you want it to mean. Which means that the maelstrom surrounding it tells us more about the sides to the argument than it tells us about the law.

What does the vacuous law tell us about the nationalist camp that has championed it since its first draft was written 14 years ago? It’s possible that members of the nationalist camp that promoted the law didn’t understand what they were doing. They thought that by legislating the obvious, they were, in the words of George Orwell, performing “the first duty of intelligent men.” They thought that by legislating that “The land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, where the State of Israel was established,” would protect Israel’s status as the Jewish state from those who deny its right to exist.

The problem with the Right’s narrative – that Israel’s Jewish identity is under attack and that steps must be taken to protect it – is not that it is wrong. Israel’s Jewish identity is under assault from post-Zionists and anti-Zionists in Israel and abroad. The problem is that far from protecting Israel’s Jewish character, the Nation-State Law serves as a red flag for Israel’s detractors, inviting them to attack it. This brings us to the law’s three groups of opponents: the Arabs and their would-be savior Erdogan; the Israeli Left; and the American Jewish leadership.

The Arab members of Knesset, like Abbas and his deputies are using the law as a means to sell their rejection of Israel’s right to exist. Erdogan uses his hostility and rejection of Israel’s right to exist to advance his goal of leading the Sunni Arab world. While there is nothing new about their positions, the law has given the Arabs an excuse to ratchet up their assaults. The distressing fact that Arab lawmakers have convinced many of Israel’s Druze citizens and its Arab citizens who seek to integrate into Israeli society that the law harms their civil rights redounds directly to the Arab Israeli lawmakers’ cynical, but predictable exploitation of the law to bash the state.

The amazing thing about the rhetoric of leftist Israeli lawmakers is its radicalism. Without the Israeli accents, it would be hard to distinguish statements by Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg and editorials in Haaretz from denunciations of the law by Arab Joint List leader Ayman Odeh. The close resemblance of the Left’s talking points with the Arab narrative reflect a profound, and fast-paced process of radicalization that the Israeli Left has undergone over just the past few years. Case in point is the self-proclaimed “Zionist Union” Party’s response to the law.

In 2014, Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich wrote a letter regarding the then circulating draft of the law to the bill’s author, then-Kadima MK Avi Dichter. The draft bill circulating then was more substantive than the law passed last week. Yacimovich told Dichter that while she couldn’t see anything objectionable about the law, she couldn’t understand why its passage was necessary given that it was merely an aggregation of laws that were already passed.

In her speech in the Knesset plenary ahead of the law’s passage last week, Yacimovich did a full about face. She referred to the law that simply aggregates previously passed statutes, “racist” and “xenophobic.” Likewise, Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni condemned the law she once supported in the most extreme language. It is hard to align Yacimovich and Livni’s positions with even the lowest common denominator definition of Zionism. How can it be racist to define Jewish settlement of the historic Jewish homeland as “a national value”? Of course it is a national value. If it weren’t Israel would never have been established in the first place.

This brings us to the American-Jewish leadership. The Jewish Federations of North America lobbied strongly against the bill. In an email to members, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the JNFA Richard Sandler said the Jewish Federations, “were disappointed with the law that ultimately passed.” The Federation’s Israel office sent out a detailed explanation of the law to members. While the language was careful, it strongly intimated that the law is racist for making Israel’s Jewish character explicit. The Philadelphia Federation’s letter to its members alleged that the law’s provisions “are a dangerous check on Israel’s democratic principles.”

Like the self-proclaimed Zionist Union’s condemnation of the law as racist, the American-Jewish response marks a stark departure from past responses of the Jewish Federations and other Jewish groups to Israeli laws and policies. For Israel’s first 60 years, the Federations, like the other major Jewish groups weren’t quick to air their disagreements with Israel’s elected officials. Their gut response was to support Israel and let others attack it. Now the longstanding instinct has been turned on its head. Underlying the Federation’s reactions to the law is a profound discomfort with the fact that Israel is the Jewish state and intends to remain the Jewish state. This pronounced discomfort speaks to a profound shift in Federation values from Zionism to post-Zionism.

Moreover, as Sandler noted, the Federations were intensively engaged in the legislative process. As a consequence, their representatives and leaders knew the law changed nothing in the status of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens. That is, they knew that the law was an anodyne statement of principles that did nothing more than enshrine the situation that has existed in Israel since its founding. And yet, they hate it. From the nationalist camp’s perspective, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Nation-State Law and the controversy it sparked and intensified demonstrates that its members and leaders have forgotten the lessons of the past…

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





Erez Tadmor

 Jewish Press, Aug. 1, 2018


Let’s begin with the law “Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People”, itself. I have read the interesting arguments of the critics of the law and have not found a single practical argument that holds water. Nothing. Zilch.

The driving force behind the new left-wing hysteria is the protest of the Druze officers. The “Nation-State” law had been under discussion for four years. The drafting addressed countless objections over dozens of hours of debate and hundreds of columns in the press. A week after the draft was approved as law in its third reading in the Knesset, someone came up with the idea to get 100 Druze officers to say they are now second-class citizens. They then ran this spin over hundreds of hours of broadcast, culminating in a burst of kitsch sentimentality by Riyadh Ali of the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC).

Sometimes though, even the slickest of campaigns runs into a snag.  At precisely the same time in a competing channel, Shivel Carmi Mansur took the wind out of the sails of the campaign, stating that the Druze have no problem with the law and that there is nothing discriminatory about it. Facts are apparently irrelevant. When you want to, you can completely eliminate facts that were on a prime-time, ratings-leading Friday newscast, and thrust upon the agenda an emotional and heartbreaking monologue of Riyadh Ali from the ratings bottom-feeding IPBC Friday News broadcast.

So the left-wing’s current Ace in the hole is that the “Nation-State” law does not include a reference to the Druze, and thus turns the Druze into second-class citizens. This argument raises several questions: Why should the Druze be included in the particular law and not the Circassians? What about the Baha’i? Or the Bedouin? Many of whom serve the country. Or how about the Black Israelites? Not to mention the nearly two million Israeli Arabs that the left wing spin doctors tossed under the bus, just to trick some center-right people who feel bad about their Druze brothers-in-arms.

The answer is very simple: the “Nation-State” law does not deal with the Druze, the Bedouin, Circassians, Israeli Arabs, Baha’is or any minorities at all. What it does is pour content into the concept of the nation-state of the Jewish People and anchors it in a Basic Law that, in the Matrix created by former Chief Justice Barak, will eventually acquire the status of a constitution. The main purpose of the law is to determine that Israel’s national identity carries no less constitutional weight than the important weight given to individual rights.

The claim that this is a nationalistic law, racist or discriminatory, because it does not include the word ‘equality’, is absurd at best and a post-Zionist fraud in the more reasonable case. The reason for this is simple: the “Nation-State” law is not the only law in the book, nor is it the only Basic law in what is supposed to be the basis of the future constitution.

Alongside the “Nation-State” law is the existing Basic law: “Human Dignity and Freedom”. It doesn’t mention ‘equality’ either, and not by mistake. The term was dropped from that law after dozens of hours of discussions on the subject, precisely out of a concern that eventually came about: that if ‘equality’ had been included in the law, the courts would interpret it in opposition to the legislature’s intention and use it to sabotage the Jewish character of the state. The omission of the term ‘equality’ from the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty” did not help. The Supreme Court interpreted the law as if it meant ‘equality’, using this contrived value in an act of Judicial activism to pass obstructive rulings, such as in the Ka’adan v. Israel Lands Administration ruling, that undermined Jewish settlement.

Equal rights advocates are brewing up a public storm and trying to stick a wedge between the Druze public and the state, because the law that deals with the definition of national identity, makes no reference to equality. They never said a word over the 26 years in which there was no balance in Israel’s constitutional structure; when the rights of the individual were granted constitutional supremacy, and the Jewish identity of the state was trampled on by the judicial system over and over again.

The reason they are howling is clear: the “Nation-State” law does not create a constitutional distortion but instead corrects the existing constitutional distortion. It attempts to create a balance in a warped constitutional system, one in which individual rights have become an axe in the hands of the post-Zionist elite to chip away at the national identity of the state.

In the old situation, one Basic Law reigned supreme – the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom”. It allowed the judicial system to advance decisions without attaching even minimal consideration to ensuring the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. Now, the new situation created with the establishment of the “Nation-State” basic law, requires that the courts and state authorities act to ensure the preservation of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. If the State of Israel is a “Jewish and democratic state”, then the old situation was a distorted and unbalanced situation, while the new situation is a balanced one. Everything else is spin, demagoguery and sentimental drivel designed for useful idiots…

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




Dr. Mordechai Nisan

Arutz Sheva, Aug. 2, 2018


The Knesset deserves much credit for performing an act of kindness towards the Jewish People this past week. It passed a basic law establishing something that goes without saying, but it turns out that what goes without saying needed to be enunciated, stressed and cemented into law.

At a time when both official and unofficial elements, by means of obvious and secret machinations, have set the undermining of the definition of Israel as an unqualifiedly Jewish state as their objective, an ideological and national floodgate has been created in the name of a principle that is unequalled in its significance for Israel’s existence. This country, it avers, will not become just a “country of its citizens” whose main ideology is “man’s honor and freedom” nor will it become a bi-national state.

We will not have a state whose amorphously defined democratic regime feels it can freely threaten the Jewish-Zionist ethos of Israel. Facing the unceasing Arab struggle to uproot the country, along with the flood of foreign workers who have infiltrated from Africa, it is incumbent upon us to build an impenetrable wall, at least on declarative and ideological levels.

Every Israeli involved in what happens in the Jewish state can differentiate between those who identify with and contribute to its security, defending it internally and overseas, from those who try to harm it. The vote for the law is not an act against tried and true allies whose respect and support strengthen the state in its struggle to survive and grow. After all, in a lighter vein, when I chose to marry my wife, it did not mean that I hate all other women.

Our leaders do not have to apologize for passing a law whose aim is to establish the state solely on the basis of Jewish nationalism in the Land of Israel. The sky did not fall down, the tidings of the Jewish state’s miraculous rebirth can be broadcast with pride, the ingathering of the exiles will radiate the uniqueness of the Jewish people as they come home. This law is a cause for celebration, not for vilification and divisiveness as the left and center have tried to encourage since its passing on July 29,

What bore witness to the greatness of the hour, albeit by means of irony and intentional malice, was the sight of Arab MKs tearing the law to bits in front of the cameras. If anything, this showed beyond doubt how necessary and important the law is. The Arab MKs displayed their real opinion of Israel and their unending subversion, support for Hamas and the Mavi Marmara, their serving as microphones for terrorists and IDF haters, are justification enough for a clear and precise Nationality Law…

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





David Weinberg

Israel Hayom, Aug. 3, 2018

Take a deep breath, everybody. Israel is not on the edge of a precipice. Israeli democracy is not in a tailspin. The country is not going to soar or crash no matter what the Knesset decides on laws relating to the nation-state, surrogacy, haredi draft, illegal immigrants, conversion, settlement, or a pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall. Israelis are not making choices between good and evil. There are legitimate positions on all sides of these issues.

It must be said: Israel is more stable and moral, and much saner and more judicious in handling its external challenges and internal disputes than our politicians give it credit for, and certainly more so than what is believed by Israel’s overheated critics abroad, both Jewish and gentile. It is important to say this because desperate politicians are revving up hysterical campaigns that portray Israel as a country in danger of going down the drain; a country threatened by dark forces; a country where “religious extremists” and “ugly nationalists” seek to “turn back the clock” and to “impose” and “dictate” their “intolerant” views on a beleaguered society.

Haaretz newspaper, for example, contemptibly has taken to calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the “apartheid prime minister,” and wildly alleges that he has “given up on democracy.” The new opposition leader Tzipi Livni intemperately asserts that the government is driven by “radical nationalism,” and controlled by “extremist elements.” Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer of B’Tselem and the Israel Democracy Institute claims Israel is becoming a “darkness unto the nations.” U.S. Reform rabbi and former president of the Union for Reform Judaism Eric Yoffie insultingly says Netanyahu “serially chooses the path of stupidity, political convenience and moral obtuseness,” alongside the “weak, cowardly, unprincipled and self-serving politicians” of the current coalition.

From the other side the political spectrum, the invective is not much prettier. Base right-wing politicians have taken to labeling just about everybody in the opposition as “anti-Zionist” and “defeatists” who “steer Israel towards diplomatic suicide” and “want to bring back Marxism.” Radical ultra-Orthodox politicians smear anybody associated with liberal religious denominations in Israel or abroad as “assimilationist,” “neo-Christian,” and “worse than Hitler.”

As Israel moves into election season (probably this winter), I fear the overwrought rhetoric is only going to worsen. The choice before the electorate, we will be (wrongly) told, is between Zionism and extremism, between liberal democracy and illiberal theocracy. We’re going to be bombarded with bombast about this being a turning point in the battle for Israel’s “soul” and a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. All of this is nonsense, tempestuous and dangerous drivel. Not only should we ignore such defamatory talk, we must reject it from every flank of the political spectrum.

Instead, let us remind ourselves and outside observers that Israeli democracy has strong institutions and foundations, that there are reasonable points of view on all sides of the current debates, and that the public here is wiser and more substantive than the screechers give it credit for. Let us remember that the contours of Israeli diplomatic, military, economic and social policy are relatively constricted by realities – including regional threats, the fecklessness of Israel’s Palestinian neighbors, and the inevitabilities of coalition politics. The actual differences in policy between another Netanyahu-led coalition government and, say, an Avi Gabbay-led coalition government, are likely to be more cosmetic than real…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic Links

Netanyahu, Druze Leaders Reach Deal to End Rift Over Nation-State Law: Jewish Press, Aug. 1, 2018—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Druze leaders have reached an “historic” agreement over the rift caused by the recently-passed Basic Law: Nation-State of the Jewish People, one that involves a new plan to pass a law that anchors the status of the Druze and Circassian communities in Israel.

Can Israel Be Both Jewish and Democratic?: Alex Grobman, Jewish Press, Aug. 2, 2018—There seems to be no end to the myths surrounding the Jewish state.  Israel is accused of being an apartheid state, an occupier of Palestinian Arab lands, and an international war criminal. On December 28, 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry added another canard to this litany when he warned that if Israel rejects a two-state solution, “it can be Jewish or it can be democratic-it cannot be both.”

Glenn Greenwald Keeps the Ugly ‘Dual Loyalty’ Accusation Alive: Adam Levick, Algemeiner, Aug. 2, 2018—Even before the birth of the modern State of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not being sufficiently loyal to the nations in which they reside. Its contemporary manifestation, however, almost always centers around the notion of dual loyalty: a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.

Only Fake Jews Are Afraid of a Jewish State: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, July 31, 2018—The Palestinian Authority’s basic law and draft constitution states that “Palestine” is an “Arab” entity, that “Islam is the official religion”, that “Islamic Sharia” is the basis for its law and Arabic is its official language. Unlike Israel’s nation-state bill which defines the Jewish State as Jewish, there’s been no criticism of this PLO document. And the media has not labeled it as divisive or controversial.