Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Month: December 2018

YEAR IN REVIEW: PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE MASSACRE TOPS LIST OF ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS

Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Tops Wiesenthal Center List of 2018’s Worst Antisemitic Outrages: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 25, 2018— 2018 will be remembered as the year when the word “antisemitism” became a constant feature of the global news cycle…

Successes in the Fight Against Antisemitism: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 25, 2018— In 2018, there were a variety of important actions against antisemitism.

Agenda for 2019: Defend Jewish Interests, Not Partisanship: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Dec. 27, 2018— 2018 will go down as a year in which hyper-partisanship reached new heights in the United States.

Some Predictions for the Exciting Year to Come: Conrad Black, National Post, Dec. 21, 2018 — It is time for a few predictions for 2019.

On Topic Links

Amos Oz, Israeli Author and Peace Advocate, Dies at 79: New York Times, Dec. 28, 2018

The Top 10 Worst UN Actions of 2018: UN Watch Briefing, Dec. 27, 2018

Best of 2018: 15 ‘Superhero’ Israeli Startups Changing The World: Diana Rabba, NoCamels, Dec. 27, 2018

Ortona, 75 Years Later: The Tragedy of Canada’s ‘Little Stalingrad’: Eric Reguly & Shawn McCarthy, Globe & Mail, Dec. 26, 2018

 

 

PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE MASSACRE TOPS WIESENTHAL CENTER LIST OF 2018’S WORST ANTISEMITIC OUTRAGES

Ben Cohen

Algemeiner, Dec. 25, 2018

2018 will be remembered as the year when the word “antisemitism” became a constant feature of the global news cycle, with reports of outrages against Jewish communities around the world, many of them violent, on a near-daily basis. Fittingly, the annual list of the top 10 anti-Jewish incidents released on Tuesday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) — the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization — was a disturbing mix of deadly new challenges alongside the re-appearance of several well-known offenders.

Unsurprisingly, the SWC placed the Oct. 27 massacre of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue at the top of its 2018 list. The most lethal attack on Jews in the history of the US was carried out by a neo-Nazi gunman, Robert Bowers, who entered the city’s Tree of Life synagogue brandishing an assault rifle and three handguns while screaming “All Jews must die!” Addressing the national sense of bewilderment that American Jews would be the target of an unprecedented atrocity like the one in Pittsburgh, the SWC asked: “Why now?” The group continued: “With hate crimes on the rise in the U.S., including a 57 percent rise in antisemitic incidents, the shooting in Pittsburgh illustrates the dangers of a society in which openly espousing hatred and intolerance on social media — and in the real world — are no longer taboo.”

In a further acknowledgement of rising antisemitism in America, the veteran Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — who last made the SWC’s top-10 list in 2012 — came in at number two this year, while the spate of swastikas appearing on US college campuses appeared at number three. Charging the 85-year-old Farrakhan with “deploying Nazi propaganda,” the SWC highlighted the NoI chief’s “slanderous attack” in an October speech comparing Jews with “termites.”

“Throughout the 1930s, before the Holocaust, Nazi propaganda serially demonized Jews as vermin and rats, seeking to dehumanize German Jews in the eyes of their neighbors,” the SWC said. “In May, Farrakhan lost his Twitter account status after ranting about ‘satanic Jews’ during a three-hour speech. Despite all this and Farrakhan’s screaming ‘Death to America’ during a visit to Iran, he received a seat of honor in August at the funeral of Aretha Franklin, near former President Bill Clinton. The vile Farrakhan continues to draw accolades from the founders of the Women’s March on Washington, many elected officials and members of the entertainment community.”

British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn — who is fast becoming a fixture of the SWC’s annual list, having first appeared in 2015 — came in at number four. Corbyn was accused of being “directly responsible” for the wave of antisemitism that has enveloped his party in the three years since he was elected leader. “In July, Britain’s three leading Jewish newspapers published a joint article warning of ‘the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Corbyn government,’” the SWC stated. “A poll conducted at the end of summer concluded that 40% of the Jewish community would consider leaving the UK if Labour took the election.” That outcome looks increasingly possible in 2019, as the UK teeters on the edge of a disastrous exit from the European Union with no deal with Brussels in place.

Antisemitism fused with hatred of Israel was another strong theme in 2018’s list. UNRWA — the UN refugee agency dedicated to the descendants of the Palestinian refugees of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence — came in at number five, denounced by the SWC as a “de facto enabler of Hamas’ terrorist fiefdom in Gaza.” The international accommodation agency Airbnb, which enables travelers to rent short-term apartments and houses around the world, came in at number six, over its decision in November to ban listings in Israeli communities in the West Bank. “The Wiesenthal Center is urging its 400,000 members to book their travel elsewhere,” the SWC said.

At number seven was Germany’s Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (“Bank for Social Economy”) for its continuing provision of banking services to groups supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel. “The prominent German LGBT organization, Magnus Hirschfeld, named after a victim of the Holocaust, cancelled its account with the bank to protest the bank’s pro-BDS business,” the SWC reported. “Protests from the leadership of German Jewry have fallen on deaf ears, while two pro-Israel organizations in Germany, Keren haYesod and the Jewish National Fund, have canceled and closed accounts linked to the bank.”

Episcopalian Bishop Gayle Harris of Massachusetts was listed at number eight, after she falsely claimed last July that she had personally witnessed Israeli soldiers arresting a three-year-old Palestinian child and shooting a Palestinian teenager in the back. Harris admitted that she fabricated the incidents after being pressed by the SWC, saying that she had been “ill-advised to repeat the stories without verification.”

Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska Institute, which announces the annual Nobel Prize in Medicine, made the SWC list in 2018 at number nine for far less edifying reasons. “The head of neurosurgery has systematically discriminated against three Jewish doctors, blocking them from helping their patients and even hindering continued research at the Institute,” the SWC said. “Two of the doctors left the hospital, fed up with the intimidation and discrimination. But when the neurosurgery department head posted blatant antisemitism on his Facebook page, the Wiesenthal Center was asked to intervene.” The SWC added that despite a meeting between Rabbi Abraham Cooper, its associate dean, and the hospital’s CEO, “the scandal remains unresolved after 11 months.”

Coming at number ten was another familiar figure — the former Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters, arguably the most well-known musician promoting the BDS campaign. “Waters, whose signature pig (adorned with a Star of David) floats above his concerts across Europe, was confronted by protesters in Latin and South America,” the SWC stated. “He continues to pressure fellow entertainers to boycott the Jewish state.”

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SUCCESSES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ANTISEMITISM                                                                   Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 25, 2018

In 2018, there were a variety of important actions against antisemitism. Summarizing the main ones at the end of the year provides some counterweight to the annual report of the worst antisemitic incidents — regularly increasing in pages — published now for a number of years by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

 

One important development is the expanding acceptance of the definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition (IHRA). One cannot try to fight antisemitism effectively unless there is a common measure of what it entails. By now the IHRA antisemitism definition had been formally adopted for internal use by the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Scotland, Romania, Germany, Bulgaria, Lithuania and the formerly Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It has also been accepted by a wide array of others such as universities and towns including the cities of London and Berlin.

A second substantial development was successes in the fight against the BDS movement which aims to delegitimize the State of Israel. Legal measures play an important role in hampering BDS. In November 2018, Kentucky became the 26th American state to pass legislation to ban awarding state contracts to companies that endorse the BDS movement. The governors of all 50 US states have signed a declaration condemning the BDS movement as antithetical to American values. Chile has recently forbidden its municipalities to boycott Israel by aligning themselves with the BDS movement as a reason not to conduct business with Israel. Various municipalities in Spain have also tried to apply BDS to their practices. However, a number of courts have voided these measures, for instance, in Barcelona.

Yet another positive development is the appointment of antisemitism commissioners in Germany. This occurred at the national level but also in a variety of federal states. National commissioner Felix Klein has already addressed many aspects and incidents of antisemitism in Germany. He has, for instance, indicated that he intends to tackle the political distortion of reported statistics of antisemitic acts. Crimes against Jews by unknown perpetrators are registered as having been committed by extreme right-wingers, while attacks on Jews by Muslims are far more numerous than what is recorded. Among the state commissioners, Ludwig Spaenle of Bavaria has initiated a monitoring function that is slated to become operational next year.

The European Commission had already in 2015 appointed Katharina von Schnurbein as the coordinator for combating antisemitism. She has undertaken various initiatives, however has not been given anywhere near adequate resources to fulfill her task in exposing the massive antisemitism among the more than 500 million EU citizens. A fourth important development is the increasing assurance of the security of synagogues and other Jewish institutions. Switzerland has been extremely negligent in this area. Finally this year, the first Swiss city, Basel, belatedly decided to join this process and assign police officers to guard the synagogue. This is an important precedent and challenge for other towns in the country.

A fifth important development is the publication of additional studies on antisemitism. In December, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) released a report it claims is the largest study on antisemitism ever undertaken. It investigated twelve European Union countries and is titled: “Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism.” The study found that the most common antisemitic statement encountered by Jews in Europe is that Israelis behave like Nazis toward the Palestinians. Muslim antisemitism is mentioned as the dominant identified source of harassment of Jews in Europe. It is followed by left-wing antisemitism and right-wing antisemitism. It is a Europe-wide problem that due to poor follow up, most victims of antisemitic incidents do not complain to the authorities.

There are many other incidental or smaller issues of importance. One was a French manifesto against Muslim antisemitism that was signed by 250 Jewish and non-Jewish personalities. This document sums up the main elements of violence and incitement against Jews emanating from parts of this immigrant community. One can only hope next year others will follow in those footsteps and expose what a variety of European governments try to hide or whitewash. Fifteen years too late, French President Emmanuel Macron has formally accepted that the murder of Jewish disk jockey DJ Sebastien Sellam in 2003 by a Muslim neighbor was an antisemitic act.

The Council of the European Union (EU) approved the first declaration of its kind to fight antisemitism and strengthen the security of Jewish communities in Europe. Outgoing US Ambassador Nikki Haley castigated the UN saying, “We will not tolerate a situation that a world body of 198 countries can spend half their time attacking one country: Israel.” British media such as The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph have exposed the substantial antisemitism in the British Labour Party, which is led by Jeremy Corbyn, a friend of genocidal terrorists, associate of Holocaust deniers, anti-Israel inciter and part-time antisemite.

There are many other meritorious acts against antisemitism by individuals. Alyssa Milano refused to speak at the Women’s March in the US after two of its leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour refused to break ties with the leading US antisemite Louis Farrakhan. Another important development was the firing of extreme anti-Israel inciter Marc Lamont, by CNN. It should become a tradition to not only publish major antisemitic slurs at the end of each year. There is now also a possibility to publish successes in the fight against antisemitism.

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AGENDA FOR 2019: DEFEND JEWISH INTERESTS, NOT PARTISANSHIP

Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, Dec. 27, 2018

2018 will go down as a year in which hyper-partisanship reached new heights in the United States. Those on one side of the divide blame it all on Donald Trump. His supporters blame it on the “resistance.” But as the secular calendar year ends and a new one begins, it’s time to think about the role many of us have played in worsening the situation. The problem is not that Americans are divided on the issues. There’s nothing new about that. The problem is that those disagreements have escalated beyond the normal contention that is, like it or not, part and parcel of life in a democracy. While most venerate the notion of compromise and pay tribute to gestures of bipartisanship, there is nothing wrong with sharp and even bitter disagreements in a free society.

But as we look back on the events of the past 12 months, among the most dangerous trends in Jewish life was the growing willingness of Jews to prioritize their partisan loyalties over those of their community. I’ve written repeatedly about how some on the left have chosen to ignore the growing and increasingly loud instances of antisemitism on that end of the ideological spectrum. The willingness of some Jewish liberals to ignore the antisemitism that exists on the left is a disgrace. By that I refer to both the BDS movement, which is steeped in Jew-hatred, as well as the willingness of some to wink or excuse the blatant antisemitism of the leaders of the Women’s March, the group that organized the largest protests against Trump.

The danger here is that some Jews who wouldn’t otherwise be caught dead in an alliance with open antisemites are so angered by Trump that they are willing to make common cause with anyone who shares that sentiment. So when a group like the National Council of Jewish Women isn’t prepared to stop working with the Women’s March — in spite of the fact that its most visible members are supporters of hatemonger Louis Farrakhan, and have reportedly been caught spreading his lies about Jews — that should scare you no matter where you stand on Trump. The same criticism should apply to Jewish groups willing to embrace the two newcomers to the House of Representatives who are open supporters of BDS — Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — simply because of party affiliation.

But while Jewish conservatives have rightly chided liberals about this, in the last week we’ve learned that some of them are capable of making the exact same kind of error and for the same unacceptable reason: partisanship. Last week’s decision by Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria showed that he is still a welter of contradictory impulses that can sometimes lead him to do the right thing (moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal), but, as with Syria, can just as easily impel him to make a terrible mistake. The move is good for ISIS, which has been badly beaten, but is by no means finished and can easily be revived by a George W. Bush-style “mission accomplished” blunder based on Trump’s abhorrence for nation-building. It also is good for Iran, which saw the US presence as an obstacle to its bid for regional hegemony; good for Turkey, which hopes to use this opportunity to wipe out the Kurds, who have been America’s brave allies in the fight against ISIS; and very bad for Israel, which now finds itself more isolated just at the moment when its northern front has started to look even more dangerous.

The point here is not so much that Trump is wrong, but that too many of his Jewish supporters are so deeply immersed in the partisan battle against his opponents that they are unwilling to speak out against a policy that they wouldn’t have hesitated to criticize if it was a Democrat ordering the pullout. Many on the Jewish right have tied themselves in knots as they sought to justify the unjustifiable by claiming that Trump’s moves are good for Israel, even though the president resorting to his neo-isolationist tendencies on foreign policy is a potential disaster for the Jewish state. That they have done so even after we’ve learned that the decision was preceded by a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also discouraging, because pleasing Erdogan is the last thing those who support the interests of the United States or the Jewish state should want. Yet they’ve either kept silent or resorted to disingenuous and contradictory arguments that are as unpersuasive as they are embarrassing.

They, like their liberal co-religionists, are part of a political culture in which there is no middle ground, and in which every event or policy is evaluated solely through the prism of being pro- or anti-Trump. But just as it was wrong for some friends of Israel to oppose the president’s laudable gesture on Jerusalem and his decision on the Iran deal simply because they despise him, so too is it dead wrong to give Trump a pass on Syria because you may have liked other things he’s done…

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

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SOME PREDICTIONS FOR THE EXCITING YEAR TO COME

Conrad Black                                           

National Post, Dec. 21, 2018

It is time for a few predictions for 2019. I’ll confine myself to political and economic matters. The economic picture in Canada will be satisfactory enough as we receive the customary spinoff from a continuing full-employment, non-inflationary economic boom in the U.S. That economy will grow at about three per cent (an additional US$700 billion of GDP, while the population grows by only half of one per cent). The U.S. workforce will continue to expand and the only unemployed people will be those changing jobs. The U.S. trade deficit will shrink by 50 per cent, energy imports will continue to decline, the federal deficit will be reduced by about a third. No one will remember the Obama “new normal” of flat-lined disposable income in buying power for the middle and working classes, two-per-cent economic growth at best, and the accompanying shrinkage of the work force, trillion-dollar federal deficits, and rising crime rates. With the Trump boom, Canadian public finances would have to be very severely mismanaged for this country not to do tolerably well. In keeping with Canada’s frequent incongruities in the appreciation of our fortunes, we will not moderate our disdain for President Trump, and will also fail to see that he is chiefly responsible for Canada’s relatively high standard of living.

It is relatively high, but it is impossible to be optimistic about Canada overhauling some of the countries whose standards of living (GDP divided by the population) have surged ahead of ours in the past 20 years, such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Australia, and Austria. These setbacks have all been due to mismanagement in both the private and public sectors in this country. Fifty years ago, Ireland and Taiwan were poverty-stricken and had never known anything but poverty; Germany and the Netherlands had been rebuilt after the war, but the Dutch, like the Austrians, have almost no resources and Germany has had to assimilate the dead weight of the Communist economic and sociological basket case of East Germany. Australia is rich and unscarred by war, but not as rich as Canada, less populated, and not on the doorstep of the world’s greatest market. To be fair, the World Economic Forum (a distinctly fallible and in some respects ludicrous organization, but statistically thorough), rates Canada’s quality of life as exceeded only by Finland. All the G7 countries are in the Top 20, according to their three criteria: basic human needs (medical care, housing, sanitation); foundations of well-being (education and technology); and opportunity (social equality, legal system, general fairness).

…(I)t suffices that Canada by the usual criteria ranks very highly, and always has, and its leading cities, even by the most sophisticated standards, are very respectable. It is a splendid country, as we all know. But economically, we have lost ground, which is regrettable in itself, unnecessary, and potentially conducive to apologia-based theories that wealth is mitigated by evenness of distribution and that Canada is, the prime minster has said, a “post-national” country. Wealth and income disparity are legitimate issues, but we must be wary of weak excuses for inadequate economic growth, which is all that raises prosperity and finances creativity and all comforts. There is, of course, no such thing as a post-national country, and nor should any such concept be aspired to or even accepted. There are scores of pre-national countries; sovereign countries that have emerged from disbanded colonial empires or have languished as isolated sovereign states for long periods (Myanmar, Liberia, Paraguay), or been patched together in the chancelleries of the Great Powers without a thought to the ethnic and demographic facts on the ground. (All the countries created after the First World War have disintegrated: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Syria and Iraq.) Canada has been at it for over 150 years, longer than any large country with continuous political institutions except the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. We have much to be proud of in our ancestors and ourselves, as well as to be grateful for in our circumstances, and post-nationalism could throw a lot of it away…

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

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Happy New Year!

The Daily Briefing will return on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019

 

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On Topic Links

Amos Oz, Israeli Author and Peace Advocate, Dies at 79: New York Times, Dec. 28, 2018—Amos Oz, the renowned Israeli author whose work captured the characters and landscapes of his young nation, and who matured into a leading moral voice and an insistent advocate for peace with the Palestinians, died on Friday. He was 79.

The Top 10 Worst UN Actions of 2018: UN Watch Briefing, Dec. 27, 2018—In September 2018, Venezuela’s Maduro regime was legitimized in an official report by Alfred de Zayas, the UN Human Rights Council’s Cuban-sponsored expert on ensuring “a democratic and equitable international order.”

Best of 2018: 15 ‘Superhero’ Israeli Startups Changing The World: Diana Rabba, NoCamels, Dec. 27, 2018—Israel’s leading role as a breakthrough technological innovator spans across fields ranging from medical research and cybersecurity to automotive and robotics. The country’s know-how and entrepreneurial spirit also extend to social challenges and generally improving quality of life. In 2018, a number of Israeli initiatives have had a deep impact on the lives of people around the globe, and are on track to change the world with innovative solutions and services.

Ortona, 75 Years Later: The Tragedy of Canada’s ‘Little Stalingrad’: Eric Reguly & Shawn McCarthy, Globe & Mail, Dec. 26, 2018—The Canadian war monument in the heart of Ortona, the Italian city on the Adriatic coast, does not paint a picture of glory. It depicts a Canadian infantryman on his knees comforting a fallen comrade who lies before him, dying. The monument, installed in Ortona in 1999 by the battle’s Canadian veterans, is called the Price of Peace.

IN EUROPE, “WIDESPREAD” ANTISEMITISM & POSSIBLE CORBYN GOVERNMENT THREATEN ISRAEL AND JEWS

Corbyn to Use his Power to Harm Israel – Be Ready: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2018— Imagine that in considering its responses to Palestinian shooting attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria, or Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels in northern Israel, or Hamas’s rocket barrages into southern Israel, Israel was required to take British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s positions into account.

Widespread Anti-Semitism in the Netherlands: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 19, 2018— A recent survey revealed a slew of data on Dutch Jewish perceptions of anti-Semitism in their country.

The Canary in the French Mine: Amir Taheri, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 16, 2018— Normally, this time of the year, the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris has a festive air with Christmas decorations and happy shoppers looking for last minute presents.

Rescuing The Jews Of Denmark: Rhona Lewis, Jewish Press, Dec. 24, 2018— In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, there is no way to go on pretending that right-wing anti-Semitism isn’t alive and still presents a deadly threat to Jews

On Topic Links

Pop Islam: How Germany is Tackling the New Islamic Antisemitism: Daniel Rickenbacher, Fathom, Dec. 2018

Survey Showing Persistent Antisemitism in Europe a Grave Warning for Canada, B’nai Brith Says: Daniel Koren, B’nai Brith Canada, Dec. 10, 2018

Anti-Semitism in Europe Today Comes Mostly from the Left: Fiamma Nirenstein, JCPA, 2018

Political Divisions in Germany Have Implications for the Middle East: Noah Phillips, BESA, Dec. 3, 2018

 

CORBYN TO USE HIS POWER TO HARM ISRAEL – BE READY

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2018

Imagine that in considering its responses to Palestinian shooting attacks against Israelis in Judea and Samaria, or Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels in northern Israel, or Hamas’s rocket barrages into southern Israel, Israel was required to take British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s positions into account. How would Corbyn’s leadership of Britain – the US’s closest ally and Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe – affect Israel’s maneuver room?

Following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s far-from-resounding victory in the no-confidence vote her Conservative Party colleagues conducted against her, this question needs to be considered urgently. May’s victory Wednesday did not stabilize the political situation in Britain. The fact that 117 Conservative lawmakers voted to unseat her, and the fact that May felt compelled to commit not to seek reelection in 2022, showed how tenuous her grip on power is today.

Whether the government falls over the Brexit vote in March, or limps into the 2022 elections, one thing is clear enough: The Tories’ divisions work to Labour’s advantage. The weaker and more incompetent the Conservatives appear, and the more incoherent their governing ethos becomes, the stronger and more competent Corbyn and his Labour Party will look and the more compelling its message will become. As a consequence, the time has come for Israel to take a long, hard look at the implications for Israel of a Corbyn government.

Generally speaking, most of the conversations about the implications of a Corbyn government revolve around the fate of British Jewry. And this makes sense. Over the summer, pollsters found that nearly 40% of British Jews will consider emigrating if Corbyn becomes prime minister. It is certainly reasonable to assume that if and when Corbyn becomes prime minister, there will be a wave of British aliyah unprecedented in scale. And Israel must prepare for their arrival, just as it must prepare for the arrival of tens of thousands of Jews from France, Germany and Belgium.

But the prospect of mass migration of Jews out of Britain in response to Corbyn’s rise to power is but one aspect of the overall and entirely negative impact a Corbyn government will have on Israel. Britain isn’t Turkey. Britain is a global power and a key player not only in Europe, but throughout the world. It is America’s closest ally and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. With Turkey, Israel took a major hit and continues to suffer the aftershocks of Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s transformation of Turkey from a key strategic ally of Israel’s into a large and rapidly expanding threat to the Jewish state. Yet for all the damage Erdogan has caused and continues to cause Israel, the hit Israel took with him is nothing compared to hits it will take from Britain if and when Corbyn forms a government.

First of all, there is the issue of Israel’s bilateral ties to Britain. Last month, Liam Fox, Britain’s secretary for international trade, visited Israel to conduct negotiations toward a post-Brexit bilateral free trade deal with Israel. Britain is Israel’s largest European trading partner. Trade between the two countries has increased massively over the past several years. Last year bilateral trade stood at $9 billion. In the first half of 2018, British exports to Israel increased 75% over the same period in 2017. All of this will be jeopardized if and when Corbyn comes to power. In a speech in 2015, Corbyn expressed support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. In his words, “I think the boycott campaign, divestment campaign, is part and parcel of a legal process that has to be adopted.”

He added, “I believe that sanctions against Israel, because of its breach of the trade agreement, are the appropriate way of promoting the peace process.” At the Labour Party conference in September, Corbyn pledged to recognize “Palestine” as soon as he forms a government. The economic hit that Israel is liable to take from reduced trade with Britain is dwarfed by the blow a Corbyn government will cast on its military and intelligence interests.

At the Labour Party conference, Labour members voted in favor of a motion to ban military sales to Israel. The measure didn’t come out of nowhere. Corbyn speaks frequently about banning such sales. This past April, shortly after the Hamas regime in Gaza initiated its operations against Israel along the border wall separating Gaza from Israel, Corbyn called for a review of British arms sales to Israel and attacked Israel’s efforts to keep the rioters from overrunning its territory as “illegal and inhuman.” He referred to the Palestinian rioters as “unarmed Palestinian demonstrators.”

He also called on the May government to support an “independent and transparent” UN investigation of the border clashes. From 2015 through 2017, UK weapons sales to Israel totaled $445 million. Much of Britain’s arms exports are not stand-alone systems. Rather, they are components in larger US platforms. For instance, 15% of the F-35 is made by British firms BAE and Rolls Royce. Components of F-16s and drones are likewise produced in Britain. Does Israel have a ready alternative supplier to replace the British if and when Corbyn takes over?

Then there is the issue of intelligence cooperation. There are contradictory indications in everything related to intelligence cooperation between Israel and Britain. On the one hand, British and Israeli intelligence officials have acknowledged close cooperation between their agencies. On the other hand, documents published by Edward Snowden exposed widespread British espionage against Israel. Israeli targets exposed by the Snowden documents include Israeli diplomatic personnel in key African countries, MASHAV-Israel’s agency for international development, Israeli scientific research centers, particularly at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and defense firms.

There is nothing surprising about Britain’s spying. Britain has traditionally had a love-hate relationship with Israel, where it cooperates with Israel at the same time it undercuts it. And yet, for all of Britain’s two-facedness, there is still a difference between an untrustworthy ally that knows your intelligence capabilities and operations and a hostile power having that information. This is doubly true in Corbyn’s case given his pronounced support and friendship for Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran and Russia.

Corbyn’s most powerful adviser is his communications guru Seumas Milne. Milne, who served in the past as opinion editor at The Guardian, is ferociously anti-Israel. Among other things, Milne has argued that Israel has no right to defend itself, and that Palestinian terrorism is justified. Officials in Jerusalem see his relationship with Corbyn as a sign that if and when Corbyn rises to power, diplomatic relations between the two countries will effectively end. And ending Britain’s ties with Israel is just the tip of the iceberg. The UK is a global power. The first place his impact will be felt is among members of the British Commonwealth, particularly Australia and Canada.

In Australia’s case, this week most of the discussion relating to Australian-Israel relations revolved around the dispute brewing between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government on the one side and Australia’s foreign policy establishment on the other. Morrison and his colleagues wish to recognize that Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem. The foreign policy establishment opposes the move vociferously…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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WIDESPREAD ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE NETHERLANDS                                                                Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 19, 2018

A recent survey revealed a slew of data on Dutch Jewish perceptions of anti-Semitism in their country. The study was carried out by the TV program, EenVandaag, with the assistance of the Jewish umbrella organization, CJO and the Jewish Social Organization (JMW).

Due to the fact that the interviewees were mainly selected among those who belong or are known to Jewish organizations the figures in the study are not statistically representative. Organized Jewry does not include more than 30% of those who selfidentify as Jews in the Netherlands. As far as relative data are concerned, the survey provides however important indications of the widespread anti-Semitism in the Netherlands. Mentioning the numbers found shows thus mainly the relative importance of issues.

In 2015 during his parliamentary campaign, Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Liberals) said that the Netherlands was an “incredibly marvelous” country. Such hyperbole is easily disproven when looking at the experiences of Jews in the Netherlands. The survey’s findings provide an unpleasant perspective on the Dutch reality. Seventy-seven percent of Jews interviewed said that antisemitic sentiment is rife in the Netherlands. When asked where these anti-Jewish sentiments appear, 82% responded “social media”.  Fifty-nine percent referred to the media, i.e., many of the Dutch TV stations and leading newspapers.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said that anti-Semitism manifests itself in the streets and 42% in politics.  Although respondents were not asked to identify which political parties promote anti-Semitism, it is evident that the prime promoter is a small Muslim party, Denk, which holds 3 seats out of 150 in the Lower House of the Parliament. In 2017, CIDI (The Center for Information and Documentation about Israel) has accused Denk of anti-Semitism in parliamentary questions and remarks.

The Dutch parliament recently voted in favor of a motion to recommend use of the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The proposal was opposed by Denk, Labor, (PvdA) and the left socialist party (SP). Furthermore also by the left liberal D66 party, which is a member of the government coalition as well as the uniquely Dutch phenomenon, The Party for the Animals.

The survey also asked participants to identify who is responsible for the anti-Jewish sentiment. Seventy-seven percent of the respondents saw education as the culprit, 71% blamed the media, and 65% believed that multiculturalism in the Netherlands is at fault. The latter can best be translated as “part of the Dutch Muslims.” The Muslim population accounts for approximately 6% of the about 17 million Dutch citizens. Forty-seven percent of respondents blamed the schools for anti-Semitism and 40% saw the political system as a culprit.

Frequent efforts are made, mainly by the Dutch left, to claim that anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism are different phenomena. After the Holocaust many people consider anti-Semitism not to be politically correct. Thus anti-Semitism often morphs into anti-Israelism, which does not carry the same stigma. Yet many claims against Israel and how the country is singled out are clear mutations of antisemitic motifs. One can easily identify anti-Semitism when Israel is criticized for acts while other nations with similar behavior are not blamed. The definition of anti-Semitism of the IHRA which required approval in its Board of all the 32 member countries – including the Netherlands – states that this singling out is an explicit example of anti-Semitism.

Dutch Jews are often reluctant to publicly mention the problems of Islamization. Dutch historian Els van Diggele who spent a year interviewing people in the Palestinian territories wrote a book, We hate each other more than the Jews. Referring to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict she says: “The picture I obtained from conversations with cooperative Palestinians is greatly different from what we have been told during the past fifty years by the State News Service NOS and the major Dutch newspapers.”

The findings of the survey also show the overlap of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Respondents were asked what antisemitic experiences they have encountered. 89% answered that they have dealt with reproaches about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How can one make, if one is a honest person, such a reproach against a Dutch Jew who has never been a citizen of Israel, and who has no voting rights there? If one were to interview Italians living in the Netherlands at the time of the Berlusconi government, how many of them would have heard reproaches about what was going on in Italy? Italians abroad have voting rights in Italy but few if any at all would have been confronted in this manner. Other antisemitic experiences mentioned include: 86% heard stereotypes about Jews, 71% were subjected to nasty remarks about Jews in general, 51% experienced nasty remarks about Jews in the Second World War, 34% had been insulted because they are Jews and 11% have experienced violence because they are Jews. In the recently published study on European anti-Semitism by the Fundamental Rights Agency, the overwhelming majority of Dutch Jewish interviewees said that anti-Semitism in the country has increased in the last five years…

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

   

THE CANARY IN THE FRENCH MINE

Amir Taheri

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 16, 2018

Normally, this time of the year, the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris has a festive air with Christmas decorations and happy shoppers looking for last minute presents. This season, however, what the French like to boast about as “the most beautiful avenue in the world” looks more like a war zone. The reason is the phenomenon labeled “les gilets jaunes” or “yellow vests”, a movement that started as a protest against an increase in the price of diesel and quickly galumphed towards an all-out attack on the French political system. At first glance one might say: we have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt! Setting fire to parked cars and city dustbins, shattering shop windows and looting stores are old tactics of French protest movements, as witnessed on numerous occasions, most recently 2003 and 2005. However, the current uprising, now in its sixth week, is different from previous protests for a number of reasons.

The first is that the “yellow vests” started not in Paris but in the provinces. That in itself is quite new. Ever since it emerged as nation-state in the 14th century, France has always been a Paris-centered polity. The great revolution of 1789 started in the capital, as did its miniaturized successors in 1830 and 1848. The Paris Commune of 1871 was, as its name indicates, also a Parisian affair. The protests that led to the emergence of the Popular Front in 1936 was also the work of Parisian elites. Finally, the last great French insurrection, known as the May 1968 revolution, was also centered on the capital.

The second difference is that, unlike previous revolutionary and/or insurrectionary episodes, the “yellow vests” movement, mobilizing around 130,000 activists in 11 cities throughout the nation, has an unexpectedly small socio-political base, a fact camouflaged by the energy devoted to destructive activities. Because of its basically provincial persona, the movement reminds one of the old French tradition of rural revolts known as “jacqueries“, first launched in 1380, in which poor peasants cast themselves as bandits to fight, and rob, their feudal barons. Like historical “jacqueries,” the current “yellow vest” campaign is capable of inflicting much economic damage but is unable to offer an alternative vision of society.

The third difference is that it comes in the context of a society in which, for the first time in history, a majority of people could be regarded as privileged, at least in relative terms. A nation that had lived through almost four centuries of intermittent wars, including two world wars and half a dozen colonial wars, has been at peace for an unprecedented six decades. France today is one of the richest nations in the world with perhaps the most generous welfare system anywhere. It has the world’s shortest work week, longest annual holidays, earliest retirement age, and some of the best education and health facilities in history. The French today are better fed, better housed, better clothed and better entertained than any time in their history. They are also in better health and live a staggering 20 years longer than they did at the start of their Fifth Republic. Also worth noting is that France is perhaps the only country in the world where scores of small and medium-sized towns and cities have virtually all the facilities of a modern metropolis. Yet, opinion polls show that almost two-thirds of the French have some sympathy with the “yellow vests”…

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

Contents

   

RESCUING THE JEWS OF DENMARK

Rhona Lewis                                                         

Jewish Press, Dec. 24, 2018

It was 1943. Inge Sulzbacher and her twin sister were five years old. Members of the Danish resistance helped them escape the Nazi round-up in Copenhagen by huddling them underdeck in a fishing boat crossing the choppy Øresund Strait to Sweden. Shulamit Kahn wasn’t quite seven. “Some memories are etched into your mind and you never forget them,” says Shulamit. The Danish resistance movement, along with many ordinary Danish citizens, managed to evacuate 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews. It was the largest action of collective resistance in the countries occupied by Nazi Germany. And we haven’t forgotten it.

Jewish history in Denmark dates back to 1622 when King Christian IV sent a message to the leaders of the Sephardi community in Amsterdam and Hamburg inviting Jews to settle in the township of Gluckstadt. Jews who accepted this invitation began trading and manufacturing operations there. The King built the famous Round Tower, an astronomical observatory, on which the letters yud keh vav keh can be clearly seen, to show his recognition of their contributions. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Jews from Eastern Europe continued arriving and settled in Copenhagen where they enjoyed a warm welcome.

Gittel Davidson, whose father was a member of the Machzikei Hadas Shul founded in 1910, shares a memory: “During the First World War, when no lulavim were available, my grandfather paid the curators of the Copenhagen Botanical Gardens to be allowed to pick lulavim from the palms in the hot house for tropical plants,” she says.

This idyllic stability was rocked on April 9, 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded Denmark. With little choice, the Danish government surrendered and Denmark became a “model protectorate.” Model meant that some sort of quasi-cordial relationship was maintained. While Germany sent 22,000 officials to occupied France, a mere 89 officials were sent to Denmark. During the early years of the occupation, Danish officials repeatedly insisted to the German occupation authorities that there was no “Jewish problem” in Denmark.

The Germans looked the other way for several reasons. They recognized that further discussion was a possibly explosive issue, one that had the potential to destroy the “model” relationship. In addition, the Reich relied substantially on Danish agriculture, meat and butter. Despite this leeway, resistance to German rule bubbled strongly in Denmark. In the summer of 1943, when it seemed that the war was going against the Reich, members of the Danish resistance became bolder. The Germans hit back. In August, they presented the Danish government with new demands to end resistance activities. The Danish government refused to meet the new demands and resigned. That same day, the Germans took direct control of administration and declared martial law. Plans for the arrest and deportation of Danish Jewry got underway… and were foiled from the inside.

German naval attaché Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, leaked word of the planned deportation to Hans Hedtoft, chairman of the Danish Social Democratic Party. Hedtoft contacted the Danish Resistance Movement and the head of the Jewish community, C.B. Henriques. Henriques alerted the acting chief rabbi, Dr. Marcus Melchior. On September 29, erev Rosh Hashana, during Selichos, Jews were warned by Rabbi Melchior of the planned German action and urged to go into hiding immediately. The word spread. The Danish Underground and regular citizens – intellectuals, priests, policemen, doctors, blue-color workers – worked together to track down Jews and find ways to hide them. Some simply contacted friends and asked them to go through telephone books and warn those with Jewish-sounding names to go into hiding. It was a national refutation of Nazi Germany and a reaffirmation of democratic and humanistic values…

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

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Pop Islam: How Germany is Tackling the New Islamic Antisemitism: Daniel Rickenbacher, Fathom, Dec. 2018—Several incidents in 2018 have highlighted the problem of Islamic antisemitism in Germany. In April, a Syrian immigrant attacked a young Israeli wearing a kippa in Berlin.

Survey Showing Persistent Antisemitism in Europe a Grave Warning for Canada, B’nai Brith Says: Daniel Koren, B’nai Brith Canada, Dec. 10, 2018—A major survey of Jews in Europe has painted a harrowing account of what it’s like to be Jewish in the European Diaspora.

Anti-Semitism in Europe Today Comes Mostly from the Left: Fiamma Nirenstein, JCPA, 2018—Against all odds, after only 70 years since the Holocaust’s massacre of six million Jews, including two million children on European soil, anti-Semitism is dramatically on the rise in thought, rhetoric, and deed.

Political Divisions in Germany Have Implications for the Middle East: Noah Phillips, BESA, Dec. 3, 2018—Announced in the wake of a Bavarian regional election that saw immense losses for the centrist German bloc, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned resignation in 2021 marks the conclusion of a unique era of bipartisanship in Germany.

ISRAËL: RÉTROSPECTIVE DE L’ANNÉE 2018

RÉFUGIÉS PALESTINIENS :

POURQUOI TRUMP COUPE LES VIVRES À L’UNRWA

Pierre Rehov

Figaro, 18 jan., 2018

Dans le cadre de coupes budgétaires annoncées, l’administration américaine va réduire de façon drastique sa participation financière à l’UNRWA, l’Agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés palestiniens. L’ambassadrice aux Nations unies, Nikki Haley, souhaitait la suppression pure et simple des 364 millions de dollars attribués chaque année à l’agence onusienne, tant qu’elle n’aurait pas mis en œuvre les réformes nécessaires à son bon fonctionnement et à sa transparence, mais le secrétaire d’État aux affaires étrangères Rex Tillerson, s’est contenté pour l’instant de réduire de moitié la première tranche d’aide, originellement fixée à 125 millions.

Au cœur de cette affaire, il y a évidemment la volonté du président Trump d’arrêter de financer toute agence et organisation internationale qui ne contribuerait pas directement aux intérêts américains. Mais il y a surtout le virage à 180 degrés de des USA dans le conflit israélo-arabe depuis que la nouvelle administration s’est engagée à ne pas refaire les mêmes erreurs que les gouvernements précédents.

Créée en décembre 1949 pour un mandat d’un an, la «United Nation Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East» ou «Office de secours et d’aide des Réfugiés palestiniens», avait pour but à sa naissance d’aider à s’établir les quelque 600 000 Arabes de Palestine ayant fui la zone de conflit à la renaissance de l’État d’Israël.

Parmi ces réfugiés, selon un article de Tibor Mende dans Le Monde en 1951, «certains ne voulaient pas vivre dans un État juif, d’autres ont fui la bataille et, une fois celle-ci terminée, n’ont pas pu rentrer chez eux. Beaucoup plus nombreux sont ceux qui sont partis parce qu’on leur avait dit que c’était pour quelques jours, quelques semaines au plus, et qu’ils reviendraient avec les armées arabes triomphantes»

On s’étonnera du fait qu’aucun office n’ait été créé en parallèle pour prêter secours aux 870 000 Juifs expulsés et spoliés par la majorité des pays arabo-musulmans entre 1948 et 1974, y compris ceux chassés militairement de Judée-Samarie par le royaume Hachémite, qui s’empressa de renommer cette région «Cisjordanie» après l’avoir annexée.

Ces Juifs en exode furent accueillis par l’État d’Israël et dans le monde occidental tandis qu’à l’exception de la Jordanie, aucun pays arabe limitrophe de l’État hébreu ne fit le moindre geste pour ses propres victimes du conflit, préférant au contraire, pour des raisons politiques, les laisser croupir dans les pires conditions.

Tant que nous compterons sur l’ONU pour faire quelque chose de sérieux pour l’établissement des réfugiés, nous ne ferons que nous leurrer, car l’ONU est une organisation politique.

En 1950, alors que le général canadien Kennedy, et Sir Henry Right, premiers responsables de l’UNRWA, devaient constater que leur travail était rendu impossible par la politisation de la crise humanitaire dont ils avaient la charge, et que leur mandat ne pourrait s’achever en un si court laps de temps, un parlementaire anglais travailliste, Richard Crossrian, fut appelé à expliquer leur échec devant la Chambre des Communes.

Sa réponse fut éloquente: «Tant que nous compterons sur l’ONU pour faire quelque chose de sérieux pour l’établissement des réfugiés, nous ne ferons que nous leurrer, car l’ONU est une organisation politique. Il y a la ligue arabe, et toute la politique de la ligue arabe. La ligue arabe a besoin du problème des réfugiés pour maintenir la cohésion contre Israël. L’établissement des réfugiés la priverait de son sujet de plainte le plus important…»

Depuis 70 ans, la petite agence humanitaire est devenue un monstre.

L’UNRWA a aujourd’hui la charge de plus de cinq millions d’âmes, dont seulement quelques 20 000 devraient être considérés comme réfugiés selon la définition internationale des Nations unies, qui s’applique aux millions d’exilés dans le monde… Exception faite des Palestiniens.

Le statut de «réfugié» ne saurait être transmissible de génération en génération, comme c’est les cas pour les Palestiniens aujourd’hui.

Un Palestinien possédant un passeport européen, américain ou jordanien n’a donc aucune raison d’être considéré comme réfugié. Sauf pour l’UNRWA.

Que l’on compare alors quelques chiffres de la plus haute importance.

– Tous les réfugiés de la planète (à l’exception des Palestiniens) sont pris en charge par le Haut Conseil aux Réfugiés des Nations unies (UNHCR). Un staff de 10 966 cadres et employés tente de porter secours à 65,6 millions de victimes, depuis le Congo jusqu’à Myanmar.

– L’UNRWA quant à elle déploie 30 627 exécutifs et 21 571 chargés d’éducation pour s’occuper des descendants de «réfugiés» palestiniens, dont le nombre quoiqu’en inflation à cause de la nature perverse du système, reste dix fois inférieur à celui de tous les autres déplacés.

Autrement dit, chaque bénéficiaire reçoit une aide en assistance humaine et en argent environ 50 fois supérieure à celle d’un Africain ou d’un Asiatique directement victime de persécutions!

Le budget annuel de l’UNRWA avoisine le milliard de dollars. Dont, nous l’avons vu, plus d’un tiers est financé par les USA. Mais il y a plus. Contrairement aux autres agences humanitaires onusiennes, celle en charge des descendants de réfugiés palestiniens dispose d’un fonds de pension et de retraite placé en bourse dans divers pays pour un montant de plus d’un milliard et demi de dollars.

Ces chiffres astronomiques ne font que souligner et compléter plusieurs aberrations de l’UNRWA.

Tout d’abord, et non des moindres, selon l’UNRWA “un réfugié de Palestine est une personne dont le lieu de résidence habituelle était la Palestine entre juin 1946 et mai 1948 et qui a perdu à la fois son domicile et ses moyens de subsistance en raison du conflit israélo-arabe de 1948.»

Les Palestiniens se sont mis à enterrer leurs morts la nuit, sans les déclarer, afin de se partager leurs rations.

Clairement, tout travailleur immigré ou visiteur, quelle que soit son origine, pouvait entrer dans les statistiques de l’UNRWA et transmettre ce droit, dès lors qu’il pouvait justifier avoir passé ces deux dernières années à l’intérieur de ce qui était devenu Israël.

Interrogé sur ce sujet par l’auteur de cet article, le biographe d’Arafat et ancien conseiller de Saddam Hussein, Saïd Aburish, lui-même réfugié de la région du nord d’Israël, a révélé d’autres aberrations du même ordre.

«Dès lors que l’ONU les a pris en charge, les Palestiniens se sont mis à enterrer leurs morts la nuit, sans les déclarer, afin de se partager leurs rations. Ce qui fait que pendant près de 20 ans, le taux de mortalité officiel dans les camps était proche de zéro. De plus, il y avait beaucoup de mouvements entre les camps. Mais ces déplacements étaient rarement répertoriés, de sorte qu’un Palestinien pouvait apparaître dans plusieurs camps au même moment, multipliant ainsi les aides financières auxquelles il avait droit.»

Mais dès qu’il s’agit de l’UNRWA, les termes employés pour décrire leur mission perdent rapidement leur sens. Par exemple, les banlieues de Djénine et de Ramallah, composées de petites maisons cossues, avoisinant quelques résidences surpeuplées, continuent d’être appelées «camps de réfugiés» alors que les tentes et les réchauds ont depuis longtemps été remplacés par des constructions en dur, le tout à l’égout et l’électricité.

Dans les années soixante, l’administration israélienne avait développé un projet humanitaire destiné à l’auto-réhabilitation des réfugiés de Gaza. L’idée était simple: il s’agissait de construire des quartiers résidentiels modernes dans les terrains encore inexploités de l’enclave. Les 160 000 Palestiniens vivant alors dans des camps auraient obtenu des prêts gratuits, leur permettant d’accéder rapidement à la propriété, tandis que nombre d’entre eux auraient participé à la construction des unités, des infrastructures, des écoles et des hôpitaux, en échange d’un salaire qui leur permettrait de rembourser le prêt. La réaction ne se fit pas attendre. Yasser Arafat en appela immédiatement à la ligue arabe qui fit aussitôt pression sur les Nations unies, entraînant l’organisation à condamner Israël une fois de plus pour son initiative, et concluant sa résolution par l’injonction suivante «Renvoyez les réfugiés dans les camps!»

Le projet fut avorté après que seulement 7 500 Palestiniens ont pu en profiter.

Les partisans de l’Agence, tel le porte-parole des Nations Unies Stéphane Dujarric, ont cependant raison de dire que, d’une certaine manière «l’UNRWA est une présence stabilisante sur le terrain». Car, si demain les plus de 30 000 employés de l’UNRWA, à 95% palestiniens, se retrouvaient sans travail, tandis que les rations, aides, et accès à l’éducation pour les personnes à charge étaient supprimées, la situation déjà explosive dans les «camps» pourrait tourner au drame, et déclencher des vagues de violence sans précédent.

Le 12 février 2017, l’ONG «UN WATCH» a dénoncé auprès du secrétaire général des Nations unies Antonio Gutteres, la prise de position d’une quarantaine de responsables de l’UNRWA dont les pages Facebook font l’apologie du nazisme, vénèrent Hitler, appellent à l’extermination des Juifs, célèbrent le meurtre et l’enlèvement d’Israéliens, publient la propagande du Hamas à la gloire des «martyrs» et, plus généralement, refusent le droit à l’existence d’Israël, quelles que soient ses frontières.

Pendant les guerres opposant Israël aux organisations terroristes qui dirigent Gaza, des roquettes étaient couramment tirées depuis les écoles de l’UNRWA, ou à proximité de ses hôpitaux. Les accès à plusieurs tunnels ont été creusés sous ses infrastructures. Des munitions ont été retrouvées dans un collège. Évidemment, interrogés sur ce point, les responsables de l’UNRWA se sont empressés de condamner l’intolérable utilisation de leur neutralité à des fins guerrières. Ce qui n’a pas empêché l’UNRWA de rendre au Hamas les roquettes et autres mortiers trouvés dans ses infrastructures…

Plusieurs reportages vidéo conduits par le Center For Near East Policy auprès d’élèves d’écoles de l’UNRWA sont encore plus inquiétants. Aucun enfant, interrogé sur ce point, ne reconnaît le droit à l’existence d’Israël. Tous, filles comme garçons, rêvent de devenir un jour des martyrs à la cause palestinienne, certains affirment sans honte que leur plus grand souhait est de tuer des Juifs. Interrogés sur la source de leur motivation, la plupart répondent que leurs enseignants leur ont appris l’histoire de leur pays «volé par les Juifs».

Alors, que faire face à une telle situation?

Le retrait progressif des fonds alloués par les USA semble une mesure positive à condition toutefois que l’UNRWA réforme sa structure et son mode de fonctionnement.

Une première solution logique serait de fusionner l’UNRWA avec le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés, mettant ainsi fin à l’exception palestinienne, tout en étalant les budgets de façon plus équitables entre les vrais réfugiés souffrant les pires misères sur cette planète.

Malheureusement, l’UNRWA dépend de l’Assemblée Générale des Nations unies, où la majorité automatique anti-israélienne conduite par la ligue arabe empêche toute modification de son statut actuel.

Le retrait progressif des fonds alloués par les USA semble une mesure positive à condition toutefois que l’UNRWA réforme sa structure et son mode de fonctionnement.

Il s’agirait alors pour l’avatar onusien de faire preuve de transparence, de s’assurer qu’aucun membre d’aucune organisation terroriste ne fasse plus désormais partie de ses employés, de changer son curriculum scolaire douteux pour une éducation engageant à la paix, de dénoncer l’entraînement paramilitaire qui se déroule parfois dans la cour de ses écoles et, en gage de bonne foi, de commencer par annuler la tournée mondiale de son «jeune ambassadeur», Muhammad Assaf, qui, lors de ses interventions ne fait qu’encourager à l’insurrection et à la violence.

Concluons par une citation du porte-parole de l’UNRWA, Chris Gunness: «L’UNRWA continuera de travailler inlassablement pour s’assurer de l’application intégrale de notre mandat, tel que défini par l’assemblée générale».

Autrement dit, dans trente ans, si rien n’est fait, l’UNRWA gérera le destin de quarante millions de réfugiés palestiniens.

 

2018, UN TOURNANT DANS LA DIPLOMATIC D’ISRAEL ?

Albert Soued

Dreuz, 16 mai, 2018

Depuis sa renaissance, Israël était sur la bonne voie économique, mais c’est seulement en 2009 que le pays a amorcé la voie exponentielle qui l’a mené en moins de 10 ans à un revenu par habitant supérieur à celui de la France. La question qu’on se pose aujourd’hui concerne l’évolution de la diplomatie.

Informer les nations des problèmes de sécurité d’Israël est devenu une gageure. Car qui ne veut pas comprendre est atteint de surdité. Il faut vaincre les « mantras islamo-gauchistes », mais aussi les « affaires étrangères » (Quai d’Orsay, Foreign Office, Us State Department), les médias et les agences de presse, acquis à l’antisionisme pour des raisons diverses, pas forcément idéologiques. Sans tomber dans une vulgaire propagande, utilisée par l’ennemi, cette information nécessite beaucoup de relations et de persuasion. Et aujourd’hui le pays ne manque pas d’atouts matériels et immatériels pour parvenir à expliquer qu’il n’est plus candidat au suicide, et ne veut plus faire plaisir à une série d’antisémites attardés.

Bien que la diplomatie ne soit pas comparable à l’économie, il semble – depuis la venue au pouvoir d’une administration américaine favorable, notamment le couple Nikki Haley/Mike Pence (Nikki Haley est ambassadrice des Etats-Unis, à l’Onu et Mike Pence est vice-président) et la décision du gouvernement israélien de prendre le problème à bras-le-corps et d’y consacrer des moyens adéquats – que la situation évolue favorablement et qu’au printemps 2018, nous nous trouvons à un tournant décisif (voir en note 1, la série d’évènements  positifs qui se succèdent en peu de temps).

En fait, le pays avait des difficultés tant du fait de sa culture que de ses moyens. Un Juif n’aime pas faire de la propagande, considérant qu’il s’agit d’un moyen peu moral de leurrer l’autre, et le prosélytisme par exemple est interdit. L’Israélien est d’un abord difficile, ayant vécu en guerre imposée quasi permanente depuis de nombreuses générations. Ce problème de communication avec les pays tiers a néanmoins tendance à s’atténuer.

Mais les diplomates israéliens ne connaissent pas forcément la langue du pays où ils vont prêcher la bonne parole et défendre leur pays, ne connaissent pas les bons arguments pour répondre aux propos de leurs medias, ne traitent pas leurs interlocuteurs comme il faudrait le faire … Il y a encore du chemin à parcourir, mais Israël est un pays jeune qui a tout à apprendre. Aujourd’hui, vu les changements intervenus sur le plan international – dus en grande partie à la nouvelle administration américaine — certains pensent que dans une dizaine d’années même la majorité automatique à l’Onu se renversera en faveur d’Israël….

Israël a de meilleures relations avec les pays arabes sunnites au Moyen Orient, des relations avec Bahrein et Oman, ainsi que les Emirats (2). Le pays a construit des relations d’amitié avec de nombreux pays africains et asiatiques, notamment l’Inde et la Chine, avec les pays de l’Est et du Centre européen…., avec la Grèce et Chypre.

Mais les difficultés se situent surtout au niveau de l’Europe occidentale. L’engouement des technocrates européens et des élites occidentales, pour les citoyens d’un État de Palestine fantôme (3) et destructeur, au détriment du seul État démocratique du Moyen Orient, semble relever d’une ignorance de la situation sur le terrain, d’une corruption « qatarisée », d’un début de soumission à l’Islam ou d’un antisémitisme latent.

Elles se situent aussi au niveau de certaines universités en Occident où la propagande des groupes pro BDS (Boycott, désinvestissement, sanction), organisée par les Palestiniens, est virulente.

Néanmoins globalement, Israël est de plus en plus perçu objectivement comme un pays qui se construit, qui construit et aide de nombreux autres pays défavorisés à se construire, notamment sur le plan de la pénurie d’eau, de l’agriculture et de la santé. La concentration et le développement de « start-up » a contribué à donner au pays son vrai visage et une image très favorable.

Parallèlement, les exagérations dans la destruction et le mal entraînant la mort, des différentes composantes de l’Autonomie palestinienne ont aussi contribué à la détestation de ses citoyens par les pays arabes (4). La corruption de ses dirigeants a entraîné une forte diminution des contributions financières internationales, source de survie de cette entité.

Aujourd’hui, la diplomatie israélienne est devant un tournant très favorable pour l’écoute des menaces à l’égard du pays et des risques qu’il encourt au Moyen Orient et de la prise en considération de sa capacité à contribuer à l’essor d’autres nations (5)

Notes

(1) Evènements médatiquement favorables en peu de temps :

  • Le Mossad a osé en Iran la plus belle opération d’espionnage de tous les temps, une ½ tonne de documents et de CD-ROM secrets sur le nucléaire iranien enlevés en quelques heures la nuit.
  • L’armée Israélienne riposte en Syrie contre une attaque iranienne au Golan ratée: en 1h30 presque toute l’infrastructure de l’Iran en Syrie est détruite.
  • Trump donne raison à Benjamin Netanyahu et se retire de l’accord « pourri » appelé JCPOA, signé par Obama et menaçant Israël.
  • L’ambassade américaine à Jerusalem est inaugurée devant Ivanka, la fille de Trump, et son gendre Jared Kuchner, ainsi que les représentants d’une cinquantaine de nations et les journalistes du monde entier.
  • Israël a retrouvé sa terre depuis déjà 70 ans et la Knesset a déclaré Israël comme la nation juive.
  • Netanyahu est invité d’honneur par la Russie pour commémorer la victoire russe contre les nazis, et la Hatiqva jouée par l’orchestre de l’armée sur la Place Rouge.
  • Le Giro d’Italia part de Jérusalem et sillonne Israël pendant 3 jours
  • Eurovision est gagné par une Israélienne, Netta Barzilai

(2) – Le grand mufti d’Arabie saoudite, Cheikh Abdulaziz ibn Abdallah Al-Sheikh, a récemment émis une fatwa disant que « combattre les Juifs est contraire à la volonté d’Allah et le Hamas est une organisation terroriste ».

– De plus en plus de religieux et universitaires musulmans de par le monde, et en particulier Khalil Mohamed, professeur de Religion à « San Diego State University » , reconnaissent aujourd’hui que le Coran précise en pers versets que la Terre Sainte revient au peuple juif, le peuple de Moïse.

– Le journaliste koweitien Abdallah Al-Hadlaq dans le quotidien al Watan : «L’Unrwa est une organisation partiale et raciste qui perpétue ledit problème palestinien de réfugiés, qui obéit aux dictats du Hamas et a comme objectif l’élimination d’Israël… Il est grand temps d’arrêter de la financer et de l’aider, afin qu’elle s’écroule et disparaisse…. »

– Il y a au moins 8 sourates coraniques qui précisent qu’il est impératif que les Juifs reviennent sur la terre d’Israël (https://quran.com/5/20-26 )

– Suite à la décision américaine de reconnaître Jérusalem comme la capitale d’Israël, Abdulhamid Hakim, dirigeant du Centre d’études stratégiques et juridiques du Moyen-Orient à Jeddah, a déclaré sur la chaîne de TV al-Hurra : « Cette décision assénera un choc positif pour faire bouger les eaux stagnantes entourant les négociations. Nous, en tant qu’Arabes, devons parvenir à une entente avec l’autre bord et savoir ce que sont ses exigences de façon à pouvoir faire aboutir les négociations avec succès.  Nous devons admettre et réaliser que Jérusalem est un symbole religieux pour les Juifs qui est tout juste aussi saint pour eux que la Mecque et Médine le sont pour nous…La mentalité arabe doit se libérer de l’héritage de Gamal Abdel Nasser et de l’Islam politique des sectes aussi bien chiite que sunnite, qui ont instillé des intérêts purement politiques dans une culture fondée sur la haine des Juifs et qui ont dénié leurs droits historiques de vivre dans la région »

– Lors d’une rencontre qui s’est déroulée au Centre Simon Wiesenthal de Los Angeles, le Roi du Bahreïn Hamed ben Issa Al Khalifa a appelé à la fin du boycott arabe envers Israël. Rappelons que tous les citoyens du royaume de Bahreïn sont libres de se rendre en Israël.

– Mohamed ben Salman, héritier du trône d’Arabie et ministre de la Défense, dit MBS, cherche à restaurer l’Islam d’avant Médine, « à l’époque où on allait au théâtre avec les Juifs et les Chrétiens, en toute liberté et où le premier juge choisi était une femme… »

Il a dit aussi : « Le temps est venu où les Palestiniens doivent accepter les propositions qui leur sont faites et venir à la table des négociations, sinon, qu’ils la ferment et cessent de se plaindre… Il y a des sujets plus importants et plus urgents à traiter comme l’Iran! »

(3) Selon Maître Bertrand Ramas-Muhlbach, éminent juriste sur le plan international, la réalité juridique est que la Judée Samarie n’est ni palestinienne, ni occupée.

(4) La « Marche du Retour » qui consiste à envoyer, moyennant finances, le maximum de gens vers la barrière qui protège la frontière avec Israël, pour la démolir et pénétrer dans le territoire israélien, a été un échec flagrant. Elle a été payée par l’Iran, coûté plus de 100 millions $ et n’a entraîné que le 1/3 de manifestants attendus. Elle a tué plus de 100 citoyens, blessé des milliers, pollué l’atmosphère da Gaza par les incendies de pneus, brûlé quelques champs israéliens par des cerf-volant traînant des explosifs et donné quelques images sordides participant au « Palywood » quotidien.

(5) – Le ministre russe des Affaires Etrangères Sergey Lavrov : « titre « La Russie au Moyen Orient, jouant sur tous les tableaux »: « Nous avons déjà dit à plusieurs reprises que nous n’acceptons pas ces propos contre Israël, en tant qu’état sioniste, appelant à sa destruction et à son effacement de la carte. C’est la manière la plus erronée pour faire avancer ses propres intérêts »

– Leonid Frolov, vice-ambassadeur de Russie en Israël : “Si l’Iran attaque un jour Israël, Moscou se rangera du côté d’Israël. En cas d’agressivité iranienne envers Israël, ce ne sont pas seulement les Etats-Unis qui soutiendront Israël mais également la Russie… De nombreux concitoyens habitent en Israël et Israël est un pays ami de la Russie. Nous ne permettrons pas qu’Israël soit agressé”.

– John Bolton, ex-ambassadeur américain à l’Onu et conseiller de Donald Trump, lors d’un rassemblement de plus de 100 000 opposants iraniens à Paris : « Le régime des ayatollahs a échoué, à l’intérieur au niveau politique et économique, et sur le plan international ; ses échecs accélèrent sa chute et c’est pourquoi nous devons aujourd’hui saisir l’occasion pour renverser le régime des mollahs; je le dis déjà depuis 10 ans, car ce régime ne va jamais se modérer, ses objectifs étant immuables ; alors nous devons aider le peuple iranien à changer de régime, changement que nous célébrerons à Téhéran avant 2019… »

 

 

A LA VEILLE DU NOUVEL AN JUIF, LA POPULATION ISRAÉLIENNE AVOISINE LES 9 MILLIONS !

United With Israel, 5 sept., 2018

175 000 bébés sont nés en Israël au cours de l’année, et l’État hébreu peut se targuer du taux de fécondité le plus élevé de l’OCDE, une organisation internationale de pays développés, selon une enquête du Bureau central israélien des statistiques (CBS).

La population israélienne a augmenté a hauteur de 162 000 personnes depuis le dernier Nouvel An juif, soit une croissance de 1,9%, comparable à celle des années précédentes; 43 000 personnes sont décédées au cours de l’année.

Israël compte ainsi désormais 8 907 000 citoyens au total, dont la grande majorité (89%) définit son humeur personnelle comme «bonne» ou «très bonne» et un pourcentage similaire s’attend à ce que l’année juive 5779 soit au moins aussi bonne que l’année précédente.

La population juive représente 6 625 000 personnes, soit 75% de la population totale. Les citoyens arabes d’Israël constituent 20,9% de la population, soit environ 1 864 000 personnes. Les chréties non arabes et les autres groupes religieux représentent 4,7% de la population.

25 000 Juifs ont fait l’Aliyah (immigré en Israël) au cours de l’année écoulée.

Environ 3,5 millions de personnes ont fait leur Aliyah depuis 1948, soit 42% de la population totale.

Selon les prévisions de CBS, la population d’Israël dépassera la barre des 10 millions d’habitants en 2024 et la barre des 15 millions aux alentours de 2048, date du 100ème anniversaire d’Israël. La population de l’Etat hébreu atteindra 20 millions en 2065.

En 2018, plus de 70 ans après l’Holocauste, la plus grande population juive du monde vit en Israël. Ce chiffre représente 43% de la communauté juive mondiale.

La population d’Israël est jeune par rapport à d’autres pays occidentaux. Les enfants de moins de 14 ans représentent 28% de la population.

Ces chiffres ont été publiés par CBS via son rapport statistique traditionnel sur les citoyens d’Israël en l’honneur de Rosh Hashana, le nouvel an juif, qui sera célébré lundi et mardi.

Cette année, 52 809 couples se sont mariés; 14 819 ont divorcé.

 

ISRAËL: NUIT DE CÉLÉBRATIONS APRÈS LA VICTOIRE DE NETTA BARZILAI À L’EUROVISION

I24, 13 mai, 2018

20 ans qu’ils attendaient ce moment.

Deux décennies que les Israéliens rêvaient d’entendre à nouveau “Israël: 12 points”. Et leur souhait s’est réalisé.

Devant des dizaines de millions de téléspectateurs à travers l’Europe, Netta Barzilai a réalisé un exploit, celui d’apporter la 4ème victoire de l’Histoire de l’Etat hébreu à l’Eurovision.

Le suspens a été total, jusqu’à la dernière seconde.

Toute la journée les chansons israéliennes et chypriotes étaient au coude à coude sur les sites de paris en ligne.

A 1h40 du matin, alors que les jurys européens terminent de présenter leurs votes, Netta Barzilai est toujours dans la course. Il ne reste que deux résultats à annoncer: celui de Chypre et….d’Israël. Le pays qui récoltera le meilleur résultat l’emportera.

La tension est à son comble. Les Israéliens retiennent leur souffle…

La présentatrice portugaise finit par prononcer ces quelques mots: “Le pays qui est arrivé en seconde position est….Chypre”. Israël explose de joie. Netta remporte l’Eurovision 2018 avec 529 points, sa rivale chypriote devra se contenter de 436. Un immense écart.

La chanteuse israélienne monte sur scène en larmes, elle s’empare du micro et crie: “Merci d’avoir choisi la différence! Merci de célébrer les différences”, ajoutant “I love my country, next year in Jerusalem!”, “J’aime mon pays, l’an prochain à Jérusalem!”, avant d’interpréter à nouveau sa chanson, “Toy”.

A 2h30 à Tel Aviv, la Place Rabin est noire de monde. Dans quelques heures la majorité de cette foule ira travailler. Mais pour le moment tous veulent faire la fête.

Des drapeaux d’Israël emplissent les rues. Les automobilistes klaxonnent. Les voitures s’arrêtent. Les passants s’enlacent. Des inconnus dansent ensemble, crient, pleurent, s’embrassent. La scène ressemble à la victoire de la France lors de la Coupe du Monde de 1998.

Après avoir célébré cette victoire, en rentrant chez eux les Israéliens sont sur un nuage.

Tous savent désormais qu’un défi de taille les attend: organiser l’an prochain l’Eurovision 2019 dans l’Etat hébreu et pouvoir dire: “Bonsoir l’Europe, ici Jérusalem”.

 

 

ISRAËL: LE PARLEMENT VOTE POUR SA

DISSOLUTION ET POUR DES ÉLECTIONS LE 9 AVRIL

I24, 26 dec., 2018

Le Parlement israélien a voté en deuxième et troisième lecture en faveur d’un projet de loi visant à dissoudre cette assemblée et à organiser des élections anticipées le 9 avril.

La coalition du Premier ministre israélien Benyamin Netanyahou a décidé lundi de dissoudre le Parlement alors qu’elle ne disposait plus que d’une seule voix de majorité (sur 120) après la démission, le mois dernier, du ministre de la Défense et chef du parti Israël Beiteinou, Avigdor Lieberman.

Votée à 102 voix contre 2, cette loi prend effet immédiatement, le Parlement étant dissous jusqu’aux élections, tout juste quatre ans après le dernier scrutin en mars 2015.

Le gouvernement reste en place mais ne peut pas prendre des décisions nécessitant l’accord du Parlement comme le vote de nouvelles lois.

En poste depuis près de dix ans, après un premier mandat dans les années 1990, Benyamin Netanyahou, 69 ans, a récemment échoué à faire voter une loi sur la conscription des ultra-orthodoxes juifs dans l’armée, à laquelle s’opposent deux partis religieux de la majorité.

Le Premier ministre est par ailleurs menacé d’être inculpé pour “corruption” dans trois affaires, à la suite d’une recommandation de la police en ce sens.

La coalition actuelle conduite par M. Netanyahou est considérée comme la plus à droite de l’histoire d’Israël.

“Nous allons assister à une tentative de la gauche de renverser notre pouvoir avec l’aide des médias et d’autres”, a-t-il déclaré.

“Ils ne doivent pas réussir car sinon, le mouvement que vous représentez sera clairement en danger”, a-t-il ajouté.

Aucun des sondages ne prévoit cependant la fin du long mandat de Benyamin Netanyahou, qui serait alors en passe de battre le record de longévité (plus de 13 ans) du père fondateur de l’Etat d’Israël, David Ben Gourion.

Nous vous souhaitons Shabbat Shalom!

LEFTIST ANTISEMITES & THEIR JEWISH “APOLOGISTS” INCREASINGLY HOSTILE TO ISRAEL

Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes Toward Israel: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Dec. 27, 2018— As Arabs and Muslims warm to Israel, the Left grows colder.

Women’s March Facing Unknown Challenges With Antisemitism Allegations: Josefin Dolsten, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 24, 2018— When the Women’s March galvanized millions of women in 2017 as a response to the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, Jewish participants were loud and proud.

Is J Street Still Pro-Israel?: David M. Weinberg, JNS, Dec. 23, 2018— When it was founded 11 years ago, J Street claimed to be a pro-Israel and pro-peace organization.

Anti-Semites and their Jewish Apologists: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, Dec. 9, 2018— In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, there is no way to go on pretending that right-wing anti-Semitism isn’t alive and still presents a deadly threat to Jews

On Topic Links

Women’s March Loses Donor, More Affiliates Over Anti-Semitism Concerns: IPT News, Dec. 26, 2018

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?: Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, Tablet, Dec. 10, 2018

In Democratic Circles, Anti-Semitism is Becoming Normal: Roger Kimball, Spectator, Nov. 14, 2018

Review: ‘To Heal the World? How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel’ by Jonathan Neumann: David Isaac, Free Beacon, Sept. 9, 2018

 

TECTONIC SHIFTS IN ATTITUDES TOWARD ISRAEL

Daniel Pipes

Washington Times, Dec. 27, 2018

As Arabs and Muslims warm to Israel, the Left grows colder. These shifts imply one great imperative for the Jewish state. On the first shift: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently pointed out “a great change” in the Arab world which has a growing connection to Israeli companies because it needs Israeli “technology and innovation, … water, electricity, medical care, and high-tech.” Explaining this normalization as a result of Arab states “looking for links with the strong,” Netanyahu was too tactful of American liberals to add another factor: Barack Obama’s policy of appeasing Tehran jolted the Arab states to get serious about the real threats facing them.

It is striking to note that full-scale Arab state warfare versus Israel lasted a mere 25 years (1948-73) and ended 45 long years ago; and that Turkey and Iran have since picked up the anti-Zionist torch. Nor is it just Israeli companies making inroads into Arab countries. The Israeli minister of sports broke into tears as Hatikvah, Israel’s anthem, was played in Abu Dhabi upon the victory of an Israeli athlete. Rumors are swirling about a handshake to come between Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) and Israel’s prime minister.

That Arab and Muslim enmity has fractured, probably never to be reconstituted, amounts to one tectonic shift in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The second, no less important, involves the global Left’s growing hostility to Israel. This pattern can be found consistently from South Korea to Thailand to South Africa to Sweden to Brazil. The Durban conference of 2001 initially brought this phenomenon to light. Among many other examples, the Black Lives Matter platform accuses Israel of “apartheid” and “genocide.” A communist labor union in India representing 16 million farmers, apparently joined the boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) movement.

Attitudes toward the Jewish state follow an almost linear progression of growing negativity as one goes from right to left. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey of American adults found 75 percent of conservative Republicans sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, followed by 60 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans, 47 percent of Independents, 46 percent of conservative and moderate Democrats, and 33 percent of liberal Democrats.

It was not always thus. Joseph Stalin was so instrumental to Israel’s birth in 1947-49 by providing diplomatic support and armaments that Abba Eban, Israel’s first UN ambassador, observed that “we couldn’t have made it, either diplomatically or militarily,” if not for Soviet help. Democrats Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy rank among the most pro-Israel of American presidents, but Republican Dwight Eisenhower was unquestionably the most antagonistic.

MbS versus Jeremy Corbyn symbolizes these two tectonic shifts, as does Israel now enjoying better relations with Egypt than with Sweden. The president of Chad turns up in Israel but a singer from New Zealand does not. Israel’s athletes compete in the United Arab Emirates but get banned in Spain. Muslims show increasing indifference to the breakdown in Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy, but Leftists express growing anger over it.

This last point has great importance: the rage against Israel is not about Ashkenazi-Sephardi relations, tensions on the Temple Mount, a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, or Israel’s own nuclear weapons. Rather, it almost exclusively concerns the status of some 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Thanks to a mix of Palestinian public relations expertise and continued antisemitism, the welfare of this small and powerless but fanatical population has transmogrified into the premier global issue of human rights, getting endlessly more attention than, say, Ethiopia – and motivates nearly all denunciations of Israel.

Therefore, when the Left, now largely excluded from power, eventually returns to office in countries like Japan, India, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Israel will face a crisis due to the unresolved situations in the West Bank and Gaza. Accordingly, a resolution of this issue should be an utmost priority for Israelis. That does not mean touting yet another “peace plan” doomed to crash on the hard rock of Palestinian intransigence. It does mean, whatever one’s favored plan might be, the need to end Palestinian aggression toward Israel: no more suicide attacks, kite bombings, and rockets. Only this will soothe Leftist rage. Only an Israel victory and a Palestinian defeat will achieve this. In other words, getting the Palestinians to cry uncle is an urgent priority for Israel and its supporters.

 

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WOMEN’S MARCH FACING UNKNOWN

CHALLENGES WITH ANTISEMITISM ALLEGATIONS                             

Josefin Dolsten

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 24, 2018

When the Women’s March galvanized millions of women in 2017 as a response to the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, Jewish participants were loud and proud. Synagogues and Jewish activist organizations sent large contingents to the main march in Washington and satellites around the country. Groups ranging from the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center to Chabad offered their support to marchers.

Two years later, the Women’s March is in disarray, with leaders facing allegations of mismanagement and local chapters seeking to go their own way out of either political or logistical self-interest. And for Jewish women there is an added layer of anguish: Top leaders of the main organization have been accused of engaging in or condoning antisemitism, and failing to heed the concerns of its thousands of Jewish backers.

“It’s bad for the movement,” Emiliana Guereca, the executive director of Women’s March Los Angeles, told JTA. Guereca’s chapter has a disclaimer on its website stating that it “has no affiliation and was never part of Women’s March Inc.” Still, most people don’t realize that the two are separate, and total donations to her chapter are down by about 60 percent, as are the number of organizations willing to partner with the group, Guereca said. “I think we’ve spent the entire month of December responding to all of this, and we’re going to continue to respond. That for us stops the work from happening,” she said.

The Los Angeles chapter isn’t the only one feeling the heat. Katherine Siemionko, founder of the Women’s March Alliance, which organizes the Women’s March on NYC, has a similar disclaimer on the website as the Los Angeles group. Siemionko says her group lost thousands of social media followers and newsletter subscribers, as articles have continued to come out criticizing the national organizers. Donors have also dropped out and celebrities turned down offers to speak at its 2019 rally, citing concerns about antisemitism. “It’s been a huge impact,” she said. “It’s shifted everything that we do.”

Gloria Moore, who is organizing a Women’s March in Atlanta, echoed the sentiments. After clashing with a local Women’s March affiliate, Moore went on to found March on Georgia, which is affiliated with Siemionko’s New York group. “All the articles that are being written, all the discussions that are taking place on social media, they are all negative about the national organization,” Moore said. “Because we’ve never been associated with them, we have no reason to be affiliated with them now, and from a local standpoint they have hurt us more than they have helped us.”

Last week, the Women’s March in Washington State cited antisemitism in its decision to sever its affiliation with the national Women’s March organization. “Continuing to be a part of the Women’s March with the blatant bigotry they display would be breaking a promise. We can’t betray our Jewish community by remaining a part of this organization,” board director Angie Beem wrote in a Facebook post announcing the decision. In November, Women’s March co-founder Teresa Shook called on the national co-chairs to resign, saying they “allowed antisemitism” and other hateful rhetoric. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano also said that she would not speak at the march if asked.

The controversy surrounding the march arose from organizer Tamika Mallory’s ties to antisemitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Earlier this year, Mallory was criticized for not speaking out after she attended an event during which Farrakhan said “the powerful Jews are my enemy” and accused “Satanic Jews” of having a “grip on the media.” Farrakhan has a long history of making antisemitic and homophobic statements. The organizers of the march later said the Nation of Islam leader’s statements “are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles,” but also defended Mallory against criticism. Mallory has defended her and her family’s association with Farrakhan.

Following Shook and Milano’s statements last month, organizer Linda Sarsour apologized on behalf of the Women’s March for being too slow to show its commitment to fighting antisemitism. The fire was further stoked by a report published earlier this month in Tablet that Mallory and fellow organizer Carmen Perez had made antisemitic statements at two Women’s March planning meetings. Tablet has an on-the-record account by a Jewish participant for each of the two meetings. These issues have only intensified frustrations among some local Women’s March chapters about the national organization’s behavior…

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

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IS J STREET STILL PRO-ISRAEL?

David M. Weinberg

JNS, Dec. 23, 2018

When it was founded 11 years ago, J Street claimed to be a pro-Israel and pro-peace organization. That was taken to mean partnering with the mainstream Israeli political left to build support in Washington for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Or so we were led to believe. Since then, alas, J Street has become something else altogether: an organization that spends almost all its time and money besmirching Israel, smearing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other leading American Jewish organizations, boosting U.S.-Iran relations and backing political candidates for whom promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is a badge of honor.

Its campus arm, J Street U, has become a primary vehicle for conveying the most poisonous messages against Israel to students and the sapping of support for Israel at American universities. I hear firsthand more and more about J Street U’s venomous campaigning and destructive activities—from young Israeli men and women who serve as Jewish Agency emissaries on campus, and Hillel and Orthodox Union professionals who work with students. Almost every truly pro-Israel activity they try to organize is opposed or disrupted by J Street U hatchet men and women.

About one year ago, J Street launched its “Stop Demolitions, Build Peace” campaign, designed to “challenge our communities to wake up to the omission and erasure of Palestinian perspectives and narratives, which create the environment that makes it easy to ignore demolitions, settlement expansion and occupation.” he younger J Streeters hosted teach-ins and sleep-ins, marched to Israeli embassies and called consulates, formed coalitions with progressive campus organizations across America, and pressed congressmen to speak out critically against Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria (which, of course, many J Streeters call by its U.N. moniker, the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” or OPT).

Now J Street is on a second phase of its campaign: to undermine the Birthright program because it serves the “right-wing annexationist agenda.” Birthright is one of the American Jewish community’s most important and successful initiatives of this generation; a lifeline in the difficult struggle to keep young American Jews Jewish and to give them some Zionist foundations. But J Street is not happy with Birthright because it and many other trips that bring some 50,000 students on tours of Israel are major sources of “omission and erasure,” i.e., the trips “omit Palestinian narratives in their programming and erase Palestinians and the occupation from our collective consciousness.”

I’m quoting here verbatim from J Street campus propaganda: “Birthright completely ignores the voices and experiences of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank. These trips therefore perpetuate the attitudes and politics that help make demolitions and occupation possible.” They might, God forbid, lead “our communities to feel no compulsion to speak out on behalf of Palestinian rights.” J Street claims it wants to reform Birthright content, but it hasn’t approached Birthright with thoughtful, constructive educational ideas; it’s just sought to sabotage the program. Dozens of campus professionals in the field tell me that J Street U activists work assiduously to undermine Birthright recruitment drives. They make life hell for potential participants.

So you see, “bringing home the realities of the occupation and mobilizing our communities to help bring it to an end” is the hostile hobgoblin that J Street has become. In the name of “our communities”—a term that J Street loves using, denoting a hard-left orbit of Jews and non-Jews for whom haranguing Israel is the psychoneurotic driving force in their lives—J Streeters are prepared to throw the baby out with the bathwater and kill Birthright. Crushing the “occupation” and promoting Palestinian independence-cum-dictatorship is more important than building basic Jewish identity and core Zionist sympathies.

The truth is that in historical perspective we can’t be too surprised that members of J Street’s younger generation have ended up so distant from Israel. Their elders certainly laid the groundwork over the past 20 years for such souring on Israel. Have you ever heard of a place where “fundamentalists and gangs” in a “surging tide of extremism,” “spit,” “beat,” “vandalize,” “assault,” “attack,” “fight” and “brutally abuse” innocent people? Are you familiar with a country (mention Afghanistan and Iran to hint at its nature) where “religious extremists” seek to “turn back the clock” (mention this three times for emphasis), notoriously practice “discrimination” (repeat four times), and otherwise seek to “impose,” “intimidate,” “demand,” “repress,” “coerce” and “dictate” (nine repetitions) their “intolerant” views on a beleaguered society?

Well, that was the language used by the New Israel Fund to describe Israel in a fundraising campaign launched in 1997 to “promote religious pluralism in Israel.” Israel was further described as a country that “shows the world a repugnant face of Judaism,” and where it is not safe to walk down the street without being “set upon by a gang of angry, enraged men.” All this hyperbolic, radical imagery, which wasn’t true then and it’s not accurate now either, had the long-term corrosive effect of painting Israel as a dark, extremist place. Think of Israel and think of cancer. Think of Israel, and think of intolerance and occupation. Who in their right mind wants to be associated with such a retrogressive, thuggish place?

It’s no surprise, then, that not a few sons and daughters of the Jewish leaders of yesteryear are J Street U, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow leaders today. They are next-generation poisoned fruit, carrying the demonization of Israel a step further. J Street campaigns love to reference the “character” of Israel; Israel’s “soul that is being corrupted,” as it were. They’re out to save Israel from rot, and they will fight on until Israelis realize just how good American-style religious pluralism really is or how wonderful full-fledged Palestinian statehood would be.

Of course, all Jews on either side of the Atlantic are entitled to their opinions and their political campaigns. But to spuriously malign Israel as medieval and militaristically criminal is beyond the pale. In painting the situation in such dire and apocalyptic terms, and by attacking Birthright, hard-left activists are cutting away the limb—love for and identification with Israel—upon which all pro-Israel Jewish community activity must be based.

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ANTI-SEMITES AND THEIR JEWISH APOLOGISTS

Jonathan S. Tobin

Jewish Press, Dec. 9, 2018

In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, there is no way to go on pretending that right-wing anti-Semitism isn’t alive and still presents a deadly threat to Jews, even if the numbers of its adherents remain small and marginalized in terms of their access to positions of influence or power. But when faced with the increased visibility and influence of those willing to openly advocate for the demonization and destruction of the one Jewish state on the planet, the reaction from some on the left has been not so much to discount this trend as to embrace it.

That’s the unfortunate conclusion to be drawn from reactions to last week’s controversy over now former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill and his anti-Israel tirade at the United Nations, as well as the open support for the BDS movement on the part of two new Muslim-American members of Congress. The most prominent example of this trend is New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg. In her latest column, she makes a straightforward argument for the proposition that support for the elimination of the Jewish state is not only not anti-Semitic, but also somehow more in keeping with the values of Diaspora Jews.

While this argument is framed in terms that attempt to depict Israel’s left-wing foes as advocates of liberal values, the opposite is the truth. Goldberg’s stand is one that justifies a form of bias that is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism. That she does so while depicting herself as a guardian of Jewish values is utterly despicable.

Goldberg’s argument has a precedent. Anti-Zionism was popular among some American Jews prior to World War II. But if anti-Zionist groups like the American Council for Judaism declined from mainstream status to a group of marginal cranks after the Holocaust, it was because the overwhelming majority of American Jews were capable of drawing obvious conclusions from historical events. They understood that the Zionists were right about the necessity for a Jewish state in a world where anti-Semitism was a virus capable of attaching itself to a variety of ideological movements. At a moment when Jew-hatred is on the rise, both in the Muslim world and the streets of Western European cities, that basic truth remains unchallenged even as Israel has become the stand-in for the stereotype of the homeless, despised Jew that had long sustained such hate.

Goldberg claims that opposing Jewish ethno-nationalism doesn’t make you a bigot. But those who wish to deny the Jews the right to their own state, as well as the right to live there in security—things they don’t seek to deny to other ethno-religious groups in this fashion—are singling them out in the same way anti-Semites have always done and are practicing a form of bias. And bias against Jews is anti-Semitism. That’s why the BDS movement, which can now count among its adherents two new members of Congress in Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, is not interested in changing Israel’s policies so much as it wants no Israel at all, and engages in anti-Semitic invective and violence to get its way. Yet to justify their stance and the notion that nice, liberal Diaspora Jews—as opposed to those nasty Israeli Jews who remain determined to defend their state against those who are still waging a century-old war on Zionism—should praise them for it, Goldberg distorts three basic issues.

One is that she gets the Israel-Palestine conflict dead wrong. The columnist claims that the Israeli government’s foreclosure of a two-state solution via settlements justifies the efforts of Palestinians to replace the Jewish state with a secular alternative. Yet in order to come to that conclusion, you have to forget the last 25 years of history during which the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected offers of an independent state. They did so because they were unwilling to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn. Israelis also saw what happened when they withdrew every soldier, settlement and settler from Gaza in 2005 and think that replicating the terrorist state that now exists there in the West Bank would be suicidal madness…

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

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Women’s March Loses Donor, More Affiliates Over Anti-Semitism Concerns: IPT News, Dec. 26, 2018—First, two high-profile liberal actors broke from the national Women’s March because of a pattern of anti-Semitism involving march leaders. Then a number of local Women’s March organizers either broke with the group or made it clear that they operated independently after a Tablet investigation provided detailed accounts of the anti-Semitism repeatedly exhibited among March leaders Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez. The story also uncovered some questionable financial structures established after the leadership pushed other founders aside.

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?: Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, Tablet, Dec. 10, 2018—On Nov. 12, 2016, a group of seven women held a meeting in New York. They had never worked together before—in fact, most of them had never met—but they were brought together by what felt like the shared vision of an emerging mission.

In Democratic Circles, Anti-Semitism is Becoming Normal: Roger Kimball, Spectator, Nov. 14, 2018—As people scramble to explain the sudden resurgence of socialism not only on America’s college campuses but also in the corridors of political power, it is worth noting the concomitant resurgence of anti-Semitism in those redoubts.

Review: ‘To Heal the World? How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel’ by Jonathan Neumann: David Isaac, Free Beacon, Sept. 9, 2018—Jonathan Neumann has written a splendid book. The first-time author has produced a devastating broadside against Jewish radicals who have co-opted tikkun olam—a Hebrew phrase meaning “to heal (or repair) the world”—to claim a special Jewish religious obligation to engage in left-wing politics.

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

The Danger of a Widening Iranian Corridor Through Syria: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Dec. 24, 2018

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?: Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, Tablet, Dec. 10, 2018

Women’s March, Sponsors Silent on Anti-Semitism Allegations: Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review, Dec. 20, 2018

Anti-Semitism Is an Integral Part of European Culture: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Dec. 20, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES 

“The decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria will not change our consistent policy — we will continue to act against Iran’s attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria, and to the extent necessary, we will even expand our actions there.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s decision to bring home the over 2,000 soldiers who had been working in northeastern Syria with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias in areas once held by ISIS drew a lukewarm response from Israel, which is concerned about Iran’s activities in its war-torn neighbor to the northeast. The Israeli leader went on to say that his country’s cooperation with the US would “continue in full and finds expression in many areas — operations, intelligence and many other security spheres.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 23, 2018) 

“Trump’s declaration on US forces withdrawal from Syria is a significant step, but there’s no reason to panic…2000 US troops came to Syria to fight against ISIS and had no authorities to act against Iran…Syria, Israel was and remains the only actor enforcing red lines on the Iranians. Israel has always been defending itself, and seeks no foreign forces’ defense. Not even by our greatest friend and ally, the U.S.” — Former Israeli Gen. Amos Yadlin. Yadlin remarked that “the important role of America is to push Iran diplomatically and by sanctions, and it’s important they continue, effectively and determinately.” Regarding the withdrawal itself, Yadlin said that is probably the U.S. President Donald Trump’s “drive to decrease U.S. presence and casualties, the U.S. people’s fatigue from the nation’s long wars, but perhaps mainly what looks like a ‘grand deal’ with Turkey.” (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 23, 2018) 

“The Jews in Israel kick people laying on the ground. In fact, Jews don’t kick men but also women and children when they fall on the ground…But as Muslims, will confront these people [the Jews] if they have courage to deal with us and we’ll teach them a lesson.” — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas, has long been a harsh critic of Israel and regularly likens its actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians to the mass Nazi murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later hit back at Erdogan, issuing blistering criticism of Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus and the Turkish military’s treatment of the country’s Kurdish minority as well as Kurds in neighboring Syria. “Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel,” the prime minister said in a statement. (Times of Israel, Dec. 2, 2018)

“I can say that today. In recent years I didn’t think it was right to talk about [it], [but] Israel’s deterrence in the region is very significant…For decades, we’ve been facing [the Syrian] front alone. The IDF operated independently throughout this period, including over the last few years with US and Russian forces present…the Russian presence in Syria created a new situation and was an influential factor in the way we operated. The way we prepared allowed us to operate for the sake of Israel’s security interests.” — IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot. Eisenkot referred to the US’ decision to withdraw forces from Syria, calling it a “significant event, but one that must not be exaggerated,” as Israel has maintained its freedom to act in the region. Referring to Operation Northern Shield, IDF’s campaign to expose and neutralize Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels, Eisenkot said that “it’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if hundreds of Hezbollah operatives had entered [Israel from Lebanon] through underground attack tunnels. We detected and prepared for this threat in secret.” The IDF also “acted successfully against the precision capabilities that [Hezbollah] tried to achieve and against their attempts to establish themselves on the Golan Heights front.” (United With Israel, Dec. 24, 2018)

“For almost 400 years, this country almost uniquely in the world has been a place of safety and security and a place where Jewish communities have thrived…In 2018, many in the Jewish community are questioning whether this will be the case into the future…And a disturbingly large number of young Jewish people are questioning whether they should remain in this country…Does the prime minister agree with me that 2019 has to be a year when we all stand up and be counted to ensure that those young Jewish people believe, and stay in this country, wishing to contribute and no longer fearing for their future?” — John Mann, a UK Labour MP questioning British Prime Minister Theresa May. Mann has been outspoken on the issue of antisemitism in his own party and British society at large. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

“Can I say to the honorable gentleman that I absolutely agree with him? Jewish people should be able to feel safe and secure in this country. I never thought I would see the day when Jewish people living in this country questioned whether they should stay in this country. I think this is a terrible state of affairs that we have come to…There’s no place for racial hatred in our society, it’s important that we all take every step to tackle it. … It is absolutely right when the honorable gentleman talks about the need for us all, every one of us, to stand up now, to stand up as we go into the new year, and say 2019 will be the year when we stand up and say there is no place for antisemitism or racial hatred in our society.” — British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

“And lo, unto her did appear a host of Corbyn defenders, who did descend upon her mentions, and she was not sore afraid, because she was used to it. And the host did sing with one voice, ‘ungodly woman, thou foolest us not. We know the true reason thou despisest Saint Jeremy.’” — Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. Rowling mocked the UK Labour party in a 16-part Twitter thread titled “The visitation of the Corbynites: a festive thread.” Turning to Labour’s antisemitism problem, she tweeted, “Yet must I protest, thou it breaketh my heart so to do, that this party of Labour, which I have so long loved, has become, under St Jeremy – ‘ ‘Speak not of the Jews!’ cried the host. ‘Why must thou speak so oft of the Jews?’ ‘Yea, I must speak,’ said she, ‘for when Jews no longer feel safe in Labour then I too must leave.’…“And one of the host did shout something about the Rothschilds,” Rowling continued, “and he was hastily hushed by his brethren, who did declare, ‘he is not one of ours, thou he sports a #JC4PM halo.’ And another did speak and he said, ‘it is not antisemitic to criticise Israel,’ and she did put her face in her hands and want to weep.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018) 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

ELECTIONS CALLED FOR APRIL 9 AS COALITION AGREES TO DISSOLVE KNESSET (Jerusalem) — Coalition leaders announced Monday that Israel will head to the polls within four months, with a general election set for April. Elections were previously slated for November 2019, and the announcement means that Knesset members will vote to dissolve parliament early. Opposition politicians said Netanyahu was going to the polls so as to be in a stronger position, as a re-elected prime minister, to battle possible indictments for corruption, as the attorney general weighs three corruption cases against him. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit is thought unlikely to decide on the cases ahead of the vote. (Times of Israel, Dec. 24, 2018)

POLLS PREDICT VICTORY FOR NETANYAHU’S LIKUD IN 2019 (Jerusalem) — In the upcoming general elections, Netanyahu’s Likud Party would receive between 27 and 30 seats in the Knesset, making it the largest party yet again, a sum of recent polls indicates. Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is predicted to receive between 15 and 18 seats. The Labor party is projecting roughly 11 parliament seats and a hypothetical new party by former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res) Benny Gantz would reach 15. The Jewish Home party is expected to grow slightly, reaching somewhere between 9 and 11 seats, as opposed to their current eight. (United With Israel, Dec. 26, 2018)

TERRORIST CAR RAMMING ATTACK FOILED (Jerusalem) — The Israeli military has neutralized a Palestinian who tried to ram his car into them in the West Bank, the IDF said Wednesday. “A Palestinian assailant from Nablus attempted to run over Israeli soldiers and civilians standing at a bus station in the Hativa Square, south of Nablus. IDF soldiers thwarted the attack,” the press service said. The attacker was reportedly killed and no Israelis were injured. The outlet further noted that Palestinian media identified the dead as 17-year-old Mohammed Ali el-Abassi. (Jerusalem Online, Dec. 26, 2018)

NETANYAHU GREEN LIGHTS NEW SETTLER HOMES (Jerusalem) — A day after announcing new elections, Netanyahu worked to advance and approve 2010 new settler homes. Separately he has fast-tracked the retroactive authorization of illegally built settler homes on private Palestinian property. The Prime Minister’s Office has also set up a special committee to examine such cases with an eye to legalizing them, based on the criteria of “good faith,” which is used to authorize such a construction within Israel, the state has informed the High Court of Justice. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 25, 2018)

ISRAEL RESUMES AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA WITH ATTACK OUTSIDE DAMASCUS (Damascus) — Israeli jets reportedly struck Hezbollah targets outside Damascus on Tuesday, reasserting Israeli airpower in Syria after several months of restraint following the accidental downing of a Russian military plane. The air raid was the first since Donald Trump announced he was pulling US troops out of Syria, prompting Israel’s government to say it would continue and expand its fight against Iran and its proxies in the country. The Israeli aircraft hit three Hezbollah arms depots south of Damascus. Syrian state media said three Syrian regime soldiers were wounded in the attack. (Telegraph, Dec. 26, 2018)

TRUMP WILL REPORTEDLY WITHDRAW HALF OF US TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) — The Trump administration is reportedly planning to pull roughly half of all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan — likely one of the first steps in ending the 17-year-long war in the country. About 7,000 American troops are expected to be brought home from the country in the coming months. The 14,000 troops currently in Afghanistan are split between counter-terrorism forces and soldiers that are training and advising Afghan fighters. President Trump made the decision at about the same time he decided to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria. (New York Post, Dec. 20, 2018) 

40 YEARS IN PRISON FOR JIHADI PLANNING ‘THE NEXT 9-11’ (New York) — The man who confessed to plotting the next 9-11 was sentenced to 40 years in prison for planning multiple attacks in New York City. Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 20, had “planned to detonate bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system, and to shoot civilians at concert venues,” said Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “El Bahnasawy aspired, in his words, to ‘create the next 9/11′.” El Bahnasawy, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in 2016 while traveling from Canada to New York. (Clarion Project, Dec. 23, 2018)

JEWISH MUSEUM SHOOTING SUSPECT APPEARS IN COURT (Brussels) — A man accused of shooting dead four people at a Jewish museum in Belgium in 2014 after fighting alongside extremists in Syria appeared in court, as preparations began for his trial next month. French national Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, is accused of “terrorist murder” for gunning down the four in the Brussels Jewish museum in May 2014. His alleged accomplice, Nacer Bendrer, 30, also appeared in court. The slaying was one of the first in Europe involving so-called foreign fighters — often young, radicalized people who trained or fought with the Islamic State group or other extremists — who returned home to commit atrocities like the November 2015 Paris attacks. (Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2018)

U.K. BRINGS IN ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY TO END GATWICK DRONE CHAOS (London) — The military equipment being used to stop further drone disruption at Gatwick Airport is believed to be capable of jamming signals to the rogue devices as well as tracking them. The Israeli-developed Drone Dome system is believed to be among the technology deployed at the airport by the British Army, and can detect and jam communications between a drone and its operator. The system, which is said to have a range of several miles, uses four radars to give 360-degree detection in order to identify and track targets. (Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2018)

SEVENTH “SHIMSHON” DELIVERED TO THE IAF (Haifa) — On Sunday, a ceremony was held at the Nevatim Airbase to mark the arrival of the seventh “Shimshon”, C-130J Super Hercules military aircraft, that had landed on Friday, December 21st. The “Shimshon” aircraft, made by the American Lockheed Martin, first arrived in Israel in 2014 and joined the heavy airlift array, which frequently operates in cooperation with Israel’s infantry and ground units. The aircraft improves the capabilities of the IAF and the heavy airlift array. Besides its military use, the Hercules is also used to fight wildfires. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 24, 2018)

UNRWA TWEETS IN SUPPORT OF TERRORIST, THEN DELETES IT (Jerusalem) — UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, posted a tweet glorifying a Palestinian terrorist, then deleted the tweet, blaming what it alleged was “brief, unauthorized access” to its Twitter account. The tweet was documented by the Geneva-based watchdog UN Watch. UNRWA’s tweet had glorified Ghassan Kanafani as a “famed” Palestinian writer, when in fact he was spokesman and right-hand man to the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, when it orchestrated the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972, in which 26 were killed and 80 injured. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 25, 2018)

WOMEN’S MARCH LOSES DONOR, AFFILIATES OVER ANTISEMITISM CONCERNS (Washington) — First, two high-profile liberal actors broke from the national Women’s March because of a pattern of antisemitism involving march leaders. Then a number of local Women’s March organizers either broke with the group or made it clear that they operated independently after a Tablet investigation provided detailed accounts of the antisemitism repeatedly exhibited among March leaders Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez. The National Organization for Women (NOW), perhaps the most prominent feminist organization in the country, also announced it would no longer provide financial support “until the current questions regarding leadership are resolved.” (IPT News, Dec. 26, 2018)

LAST WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING FIGHTER DIES (Jerusalem) — The last surviving resistance fighter from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 passed away in Jerusalem at the age of 94. Simcha Rotem, born Kazik Ratajzer in Warsaw in 1924, joined the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Combat Organization in 1942, after having been a member of a Zionist youth movement in his teen years and suffering the bombing of his home by the Germans. Rotem fought when the Nazis began to liquidate the ghetto in 1943, believing that it was better to die fighting than to be killed in Treblinka. After the war, Rotem made aliyah to Israel in 1946. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of Poland’s highest honors, for his part in the anti-Nazi war effort. (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 25, 2018)

HAMAS COMPARES PALESTINIAN TERRORISM TO WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING (Gaza) — The Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas compared itself to Jews who revolted against the Nazis during the Holocaust, amid a public relations effort on the 31st anniversary of its establishment. “If the Palestinian resistance is considered acts of terror, Can we call Nelson Mandela, who resisted the apartheid repression a hero? What can we call the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by the Jewish population against the Nazi repression?,” Hamas wrote on Twitter. Hamas often uses the term “resistance” as a euphemism for acts of violence against Israelis, including civilians. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

SWASTIKA, FECES FOUND AT KENT STATE (Columbus) — Police are probing an incident of vandalism involving a swastika at Kent State University in Ohio. Custodians at the school found a swastika on a glass window at Satterfield Hall, alongside feces on the floor and broken microwaves. The swastika and feces have since been removed.  An ADL report released earlier this year revealed an 89 percent rise in antisemitic incidents on campuses between 2016 and 2017. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

FUNDRAISING SITE DONORBOX SHUTS DOWN BDS ACCOUNT (New York) — The U.S. fundraising website Donorbox temporarily suspended the account of the BDS National Committee due to alleged terrorist ties and false claims over its nonprofit status. Donorbox announced the move after receiving evidence behind these claims, including backing U.S.-designated terrorist groups such Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The company said it will investigate the allegations. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2018)

EGYPTIAN SOCCER STAR SALAH MAY QUIT TEAM IF ISRAELI PLAYER JOINS (Liverpool) — Egyptian super-star Mohamed Salah has allegedly threatened to leave Premier League football club Liverpool if Arab-Israeli soccer player Moanes Dabour joins the team, Israeli media reported. According the report, Salah said that he will leave Liverpool should Dabour be signed. In the past Salah, refused to shake hands with Israeli players with the pretext of tying his shoes during a game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and FC Basel, his team at the time. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 25, 2018)

STAR NBA PLAYER LEBRON JAMES APOLOGIZES FOR ‘JEWISH MONEY’ POST (Los Angeles) — Lebron James, the star player of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, has deleted and apologized for an Instagram story he posted over the weekend in which he sang along to a song by rapper 21 Savage that includes a blatantly antisemitic lyric. James included a caption of the lyric – “We been getting that Jewish money, everything is kosher” – in his Instagram story. The controversy was James’ second in a week, after he lashed out several days earlier at team owners for having a “slave mentality” toward players, particularly the African-American ones. (Israel Hayom, Dec. 24, 2018)

JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL ANNOUNCES FIRST FEMALE CEO (Jerusalem) — For the first time in its 90-year history, the Jewish Agency for Israel will have its first female CEO and director general. Amira Aharonovich was named by Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog to the senior position. Aharonovich, 47, will become acting CEO and director general on Jan. 1, as her promotion is subject to formal confirmation by the Jewish Agency executive and board of governors, scheduled to meet in February. She will replace longtime CEO Alan Hoffmann. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2018)

ISRAEL RANKS AS THIRD MOST EDUCATED COUNTRY (Jerusalem) — Israel is the third most educated country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). OECD calculated the percentage of each country’s population between the ages of 25 and 64 who have completed a degree beyond high school – including both academic and vocational programs. 50.9 percent of Israelis in the target age bracket have a higher-education degree. The U.S. came in at 5, with only 46.4 percent of its population in the target age group having completed a higher-education program. Japan is 2 (51.4%) and the most educated country in the world is Canada (56.7.%). (Israel 21C, Dec. 20, 2018)

THOUSANDS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM WITH WANING CHRISTIAN POPULATION (Bethlehem) — Thousands of international visitors descended on Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas in the city feted as the birthplace of Jesus. While Christian tourism from abroad may be booming, the West Bank and Gaza’s local coreligionists have seen their numbers dwindling in recent years. Palestinian Christians currently make up just under 1% of the overall Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Authority Central Bureau of Statistics. There are 46,850 Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and 1,138 residing in the Gaza Strip, the PA body said in a report published in February. (Times of Israel, Dec. 25, 2018)

On Topic Links

The Danger of a Widening Iranian Corridor Through Syria: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Dec. 24, 2018—In responding to President Trump’s surprise announcement of a withdrawal of all US forces from Syria on Wednesday, Israeli PM Netanyahu issued a brief statement that contained two messages.

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?: Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, Tablet, Dec. 10, 2018—On Nov. 12, 2016, a group of seven women held a meeting in New York.

Women’s March, Sponsors Silent on Anti-Semitism Allegations: Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review, Dec. 20, 2018—It has been a week and a half since Tablet magazine detailed extensive allegations of anti-Semitism and financial corruption on the part of the Women’s March leadership.

Anti-Semitism Is an Integral Part of European Culture: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Dec. 20, 2018—On December 10, 2018, the Fundamental Rights Agency released a study on anti-Semitism in 12 EU countries entitled Experiences and Perceptions of Anti-Semitism. Branded the largest-ever survey on anti-Semitism, its figures have been quoted by many media outlets in various countries without attaching any critique to those figures.

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

How Israel’s Calls for Countries to Move their Embassies Has Boomeranged: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2018

Top Lebanese Politicians, Commentators Excoriate Hezbollah for Escalating Tensions With Israel Over Border Tunnels: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018

The BBC’s Spotty Coverage of Terrorism in Israel: November 2018: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018

Europe Wake Up!: Daniel Pipes, Controverso Quotidiano (Italy), Dec. 15, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“(The Lebanese military) very often cooperates with Hezbollah…It certainly doesn’t challenge Hezbollah. And it often directs its weapons against us…The Lebanese Army has been a total failure in this regard…They failed to take action to control their own territory. They failed to take action to prevent the use of their territory against the territory of a neighboring state. And they failed to dislodge the tyrannical Hezbollah. They haven’t even tried.” — Prime Minister Netanyahu. Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on the attack tunnels Hezbollah dug across the Lebanese-Israeli border, Netanyahu urged the international community to take decisive action against the Shiite terrorist group. Netanyahu called Hezbollah’s tunnel-digging an “act of war,” and accused the Lebanese Armed Forces of doing nothing to counter those acts. While Beirut did not know about the tunnels while they were being dug, its military now knows but still fails to act, he maintained. (Times of Israel, Dec. 19, 2018) 

“The paradox of current U.S. policy of “preserving the stability” of a country whose politics and armed forces are directly controlled by an Iranian terror group has created an open political farce. The two pillars of Washington’s policy of “stability” in Lebanon, UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), have been shown to be at best an embarrassing failure. At worst, they show the institutions of the Lebanese state to be actively shielding and facilitating Hezbollah’s military buildup. Not only were the tunnels that Israel is now destroying dug literally under UNIFIL’s nose, but Beirut Airport, where the Iranian flights are landing, is guarded by the LAF.” — Tony Badran. (Tablet, Dec. 13, 2018)

“Hezbollah’s 15,000 long-range, guided missiles are a problem, with which Israel will eventually deal with. I foresee the possibility of a massive Israeli assault in Lebanon. Because Hezbollah installs these missiles in villages and towns and next to hospitals – as they do in Gaza – this will result in a large-scale PR problem because specific civilian structures must be destroyed to root these missiles out. The challenge with Hamas is different…The IDF is responding in a limited way. I don’t like this…We must confront these terrorists vigorously. It’s the only way to handle things in the Middle East. Still, it’s not deterministic that we are going to war, even though the Middle East can erupt at any time even when it’s not intentional. I hope the government and the IDF will be able to change the rules of the game. The rules as they exist now are not in our favor.” — Former IDF Chief of Staff General Moshe (“Boogie”) Ya’alon, interviewed by Machla Abramovitz following his keynote address at the 30th anniversary gala of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR). (Community, Dec. 2018) 

“To our regret, within this positive news they made a mistake…There is no division between the east of the city and west of the city. Jerusalem is one whole, united. Israel‘s control over it is eternal. Our sovereignty will not be partitioned nor undermined. And we hope Australia will soon find the way to fix the mistake it made.” — Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel‘s minister for regional cooperation. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Canberra formally recognizes “West Jerusalem” as Israel‘s capital but reaffirmed his country’s support for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem under a two-state peace deal. Israel signaled displeasure with Australia’s recognition of west Jerusalem as its capital, saying it was a mistake to gainsay Israeli control over the whole city. A year ago, US President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, leaving open the question of its final borders. (Algemeiner, Dec. 16, 2018)

“The abandonment of Jihad leads to humiliation and death. Hence, resistance is the pinnacle of life. A person who lives under occupation, and who does not resist, is in fact dead…When did Israel withdraw from southern Lebanon? It wasn’t a result of negotiations — not in Madrid and not in Washington. It retreated as a result of resistance. When did it retreat from Gaza? After the [Second] Intifada in 2000 and the heroic resistance. Today we are being called and preparing to force Israel to retreat from Jerusalem and from the West Bank. Allah willing, this is on the way to its retreat from all of Palestine.” — Khaled Mashaal, former leader of the Hamas terror group. Mashaal called on West Bank Palestinians to prepare for “guerrilla warfare” in the West Bank and ongoing “resistance” to force Israel to retreat from the territory. Mashaal said this would be a step on the way to its retreat from “all of Palestine.” Speaking on Al-Jazeera, Mashaal, in a play on René Descartes’ famous philosophical proposition, said: “The Palestinians say ‘I resist, therefore I am.’” (Times of Israel, Dec. 15, 2018)

“Israel is a thriving, strong, prosperous country…It has always wanted peace with its neighbors. It has clearly demonstrated its willingness to make big sacrifices for peace, including giving up large areas of land. But Israel will not make a peace agreement at just any price, and it shouldn’t. No UN resolutions, antisemitic boycotts, or terrorist threats will ever change that. Throughout its existence, and even today, Israel has been surrounded by threats to its security. It would be foolish for it to make a deal that weakened its security. And yet, even in the face of constant threats, Israel has become one of the leading nations in the world. Israel wants a peace agreement, but it doesn’t need one.” — US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, in remarks delivered at her final appearance at the Security Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East. Haley, who will leave her post at the end of December, did not reveal specific details of the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan set to be unveiled by the Trump administration. Instead, speaking in generalities, she claimed the plan “embraces the reality that things can be done today that were previously unthinkable.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 18, 2018)

“Today, young, far-left candidates who reject any of Israel’s defensive measures against Palestinian aggression, or even its very right to exist, are welcomed into the (Democratic) (P)arty…Ilhan Omar, now representing Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, calls Israel an “apartheid state,” supports BDS…and believes that Israel conspires to prevent international criticism of its actions. During the last Israel-Gaza war, she outrageously tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them to see the evil of Israel.” Then there is Palestinian-American socialist and BDS activist Rashida Tlaib, who ran unopposed in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and recently spoke at an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rally in Detroit. She is a close associate of Dawud Walid, a local CAIR director, who stated in a sermon, “Who are those who provoked the wrath of Allah? It’s the Jews; it’s the Jews!” At her victory celebration, Tlaib delivered her acceptance speech with a Palestinian flag close at hand.” — CIJR Fellow Machla Abramovitz. (Community Magazine, Dec. 2018)

“The election of these two women represents a worrying trend…They may be exceptions; still, I worry that their vile anti-Israel and anti-Semitic opinions become mainstreamed and made palatable.” — Political Scientist and CIJR Fellow Julien Bauer. Bauer believes that should the Democratic Party continue tilting to the left and conferring power on these radicals, they will assuredly lose the next election. “Most Americans are centrists, and don’t relate to their far-left progressive agenda,” Bauer said. (Community Magazine, Dec. 2018)

“It’s a shonda [travesty] that a state such as New York elected Kirsten Gillibrand as Senator when she is drifting away from any support for Israel.” — Political Scientist and CIJR Fellow Harold Waller. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a potential 2020 Presidential candidate, is significantly reshaping the Democratic Party’s attitudes towards Israel. Gillibrand actively supports Women’s March leaders such as Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour who are proudly anti-Zionist, if not outrightly antisemitic. Sarsour recently proclaimed Zionism and feminism incompatible. Gillibrand also justifies her relationship with anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan who compared Jews to termites and recently chanted “Death to America” while in Iran. Despite this shift away from Israel, most US Jews continue to vote Democratic. Waller explains, “Liberal US Jews loathe Trump and remain committed to the domestic agenda of the Democrats. Many don’t fully appreciate the extent to which the Democratic Party moved away from the pro-Israel cause.” (Community Magazine, Dec. 2018)

“I have instructed the police to act in every way to restore our sovereignty on the area of the Temple Mount, which has been badly damaged…and to allow as many Jews as possible to visit the Jewish people’s most sacred place…I believe the time has come to reexamine the restrictions that are imposed on Jews who ascend the Temple Mount, to assess what is really necessary from a security viewpoint and what is practiced as a result of a discriminatory status quo that became entrenched over the years and that has no real justification.” — Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Speaking at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Erdan addressed the topic of the Temple Mount and the right of Jews to worship there. Erdan’s comments may signal the beginning of a change in Israeli policy, one that would herald a restoration of Jewish rights at Israel’s holiest site. (Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2018)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

US ‘QUICKLY’ PULLING OUT TROOPS FROM SYRIA (Washington) — The United States will withdraw its troops from Syria. The stunning move will have extraordinary geopolitical ramifications and could fuel Israeli concerns that its enemies — primarily Iran — could gain a further foothold in the neighboring country through its various proxies. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there…” Trump tweeted. About 2,000 US forces are in Syria, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting IS. A US presence in Syria is seen as key to pushing against Iranian influence in the country and across the region. Israel has been working itself to keep Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria, an effort that has been complicated by Russia. (New York Times, Dec. 19, 2018)

TURKEY VOWS TO TAKE ON US-BACKED KURDISH MILITIA IN SYRIA (Ankara) — Turkey will launch a new operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria “within a few days,” President Erdogan said. In recent months, Turkey has shelled Kurdish positions across the border in Syria and has threatened to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. Turkey has been incensed by U.S. support for the Kurdish-led forces. It has been frustrated by delays in the implementation of an agreement that was reached between Washington and Ankara that would effectively push the Kurdish militia out of the Syrian town of Manbij. (Washington Post, Dec. 12, 2018) 

2 ISRAELI SOLDIERS KILLED IN WEST BANK SHOOTING (Jerusalem) — Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others seriously injured in a shooting attack near a bus stop in the West Bank. The attack on Thursday occurred at a bus stop outside of the Givat Asaf settlement, about a mile down the same road from the settlement of Ofra. Ofra was the site of a shooting that left seven people, including a pregnant woman whose prematurely delivered baby died, wounded. (JTA, Dec. 13, 2018) 

IDF FINDS FOURTH HEZBOLLAH ATTACK TUNNEL (Jerusalem) — The Israeli military uncovered a fourth cross-border attack tunnel that it says the Hezbollah terror group dug into Israel from Lebanon. The IDF refused to specify where the tunnel was found. The IDF filled the tunnel with explosives — as it did with the three other tunnels it exposed — to ensure that it could not be used to carry out an attack. The attack tunnels were found as part of the army’s ongoing Operation Northern Shield, an effort to find and destroy passages dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon. (Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2018)

AIRBNB REFUTES CLAIM IT REVERSED SETTLEMENT BAN (New York) — Airbnb posted a statement explaining that it was boycotting West Best settlement listings. It issued the statement after Israel’s Tourism Ministry met with Airbnb officials in Israel. After the meeting, the ministry said that Airbnb “announced it won’t implement its decision not to list vacation rentals in Judea and Samaria.”  The Tourism Ministry insisted that its statement had come directly from Airbnb. Airbnb’s Israeli spokesperson said the company was now in dialogue with the government with regard to its settlement policy. Until that dialogue is finished, no further action will be taken to implement the policy. Airbnb in November stated it planned to boycott West Bank settlement listings. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2018)

U.S. NAVY MAY STOP DOCKING IN HAIFA AFTER CHINESE TAKE OVER PORT (Haifa) — The US Navy has acknowledged that its longstanding operations in Haifa may change once a Chinese firm takes over the civilian port in 2021, prompting Israel’s national security cabinet to revisit the arrangement. Haifa, the nation’s largest port city, regularly hosts joint US-Israeli naval drills and visits from American vessels. But a 2015 agreement between Israel and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) – a company in which the Chinese government has a majority stake – has raised intelligence and security concerns that are only now prompting an interagency review. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 15, 2018)

NIGERIAN POLICE ARREST 51 BIAFRAN DEMONSTRATORS CLAIMING TO BE JEWISH (Lagos) — The Police in Umuahia, Nigeria, arrested 51 persons suspected of membership in the illegal Biafran separatist organisation Indigenous People of Biafra, who claim to be Jewish. They held a procession in Umuahia, and were carrying placards with inscriptions written in “Jewish Language,” presumably Hebrew. Igbo Jews are members of the Igbo people of Nigeria who practice a form of Judaism. The Igbo Jews either adopted Judaism in recent centuries, or are descendants of the Jews of Bilad el-Sudan, West African Jewish communities who were connected to known Jewish communities from the Middle East, North Africa, Spain and Portugal. (Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2018)

MORE THAN 160 COUNTRIES SIGN MIGRATION PACT (Geneva) — UN members adopted a deal aimed at improving the way world copes with rising migration, but almost 30 countries stayed away from the ceremony in Morocco. The pact, meant to foster co-operation on migration, was agreed in July by all 193 UN members except the U.S., but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting last week. Ten countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, have pulled out. Six more, among them Israel and Bulgaria, are debating whether to quit. Since July, the accord, which addresses issues such as how to protect migrants, integrate them and send them home, has been criticized by mostly right-wing European politicians who say it could increase immigration from African and Arab countries. (Globe & Mail, Dec. 10, 2018)

PARIS WOMAN’S NOSE BROKEN IN ALLEGED ANTISEMITIC ASSAULT (Paris) — A French-Jewish woman told police that two teenagers hurling antisemitic insults robbed and hit her on a main street of Paris suburb, breaking her nose. The woman, aged 20, said in her complaint to police that the incident happened in the heavily Jewish suburb of Sarcelles. Prying her cellphone out of her hands, the two assailants, whom she said were black, hit her face while saying: “Are you afraid, you Jewess?” she told police. France has reportedly seen an increase of 69 percent in the number of antisemitic incidents in the first 10 months of 2018 over the corresponding period last year. (Times of Israel, Dec. 19, 2018)

HOLOCAUST COBBLESTONE MEMORIALS STOLEN FROM STREET IN ROME (Rome) —20 small bronze cobblestones in Rome that serve as Holocaust memorials was uprooted and stolen. Police are regarding the theft of the Stolpersteine, or Stumbling Stones, as “theft aggravated by racial hatred,” according to Italian media. There are no suspects. The Stolpersteine project was begun in the 1990s by German artist Gunter Demnig. Brass plates, like cobblestones, are placed in front of the homes of people deported during the Holocaust, bearing the name, year of birth, and fate of the person memorialised. (Jewish News, Dec. 11, 2018)

SPANISH POLICE ARREST THREE BEHIND NEO-NAZI WEBSITE (Barcelona) — Spanish police announced the arrest of three men they said ran the Spanish section of  “one of the most influential neo-Nazi websites” in the world. The arrests were in Barcelona, Tarragona and Saragossa. Police said they had tracked down to Switzerland “the leader and ideologue of this section, a Spanish citizen considered a leading international neo-Nazi, with a network of more than 50,000 subscribers.” The suspects, aged from 21 to 23, had used false identities and servers based abroad to try to avoid detection, said the statement. (Times of Israel, Dec. 15, 2018)

MAN WEARING KEFFIYEH PHOTOGRAPHED WAVING MACHETE OUTSIDE SYNAGOGUE (Los Angeles) — A suspect was arrested after a man in a keffiyeh was photographed waving a machete in front of a sign outside a synagogue in Los Angeles. Images of the incident, which took place outside the Chabad of North Hollywood center, were circulated widely over the weekend. The eerie photos, reminiscent of Islamic State propaganda videos, were captured by a local resident.  Last month, a man was arrested for assaulting Orthodox Jewish women in the Los Angeles area. The suspect was believed to be behind a string of incidents in the North Hollywood-Valley Glen vicinity in which Orthodox Jewish women had their wigs ripped from their heads in public. (Algemeiner, Dec. 16, 2018)

CHARLOTTESVILLE KILLER CONVICTED OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER (Charlottesville) — A neo-Nazi who drove his car into a group of protesters, killing one, during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was found guilty of murder. James Alex Fields, 21, has been convicted of killing activist Heather Heyer when he plowed his Dodge Challenger into her and others during the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017. Fields is an avowed supporter of neo-Nazi beliefs. A jury found that Fields acted with premeditation when he backed up his car before barreling down a narrow street crowded with counterprotesters. He killed the 32-year-old Heyer and injuring 35 others. (New York Post, Dec. 7, 2018)

THE WEEKLY STANDARD WILL CEASE PUBLICATION (New York) — The Weekly Standard, a primary voice of conservative Washington, is ceasing publication after 23 years. The magazine’s parent company cited a steep decline in subscriptions and revenues. But editorial leadership had clashed with ownership in some instances over its critical coverage of Trump. Started by John Podhoretz and William Kristol, The Weekly Standard offered an alternative to the National Review hegemony of right-wing publications. It grew into a dominant organ of neoconservatism and a leading voice in favor of intervention in Iraq, helping to define politics in the George W. Bush era. (New York Times, Dec. 14, 2018)

ISRAEL’S ALEPH FARMS UNVEILS ‘WORLD’S FIRST’ LAB-GROWN STEAK (Tel Aviv) — Israeli clean meat company Aleph Farms has unveiled the first slaughter-free steak grown from animal cells to deliver “the full experience of meat with the appearance, shape, and texture of beef cuts,” the company said, essentially what it says is the first prototype of lab-grown steak in the world. 3D technology enables it to mimic traditional cuts of beef in both structure and texture, but without beef’s environmental impact, heavy resource requirements, or contribution to climate change. Aleph Farms was co-founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen. (No Camels, Dec. 12, 2018)

PATRIOTS STAR WEARS SPECIAL CLEATS TO HONOUR PITTSBURGH VICTIMS (Boston) — New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman wore special cleats in honor of the victims of the shooting attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As he showed in a tweet, Edelman’s cleats bore the words “In memory of The Tree of Life” written in Hebrew, the logo of the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation — the synagogue targeted in the mass shooting in October — and an Israeli flag, with the hashtag #strongerthanhate. His tweet also listed in alphabetical order the 11 victims of the October 27 attack. Edelman’s father is Jewish. (Ha’aretz, Dec. 18, 2018)

HAMAS PRAISED THE MURDER OF AN INFANT. IS THE UN READY TO CONDEMN NOW? (Jerusalem) — On December 9th, two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a bus station, wounding a 21-year-old pregnant woman, her husband (a Canadian-Israeli citizen) and five others. The baby of Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran has died. Hamas lauded the terrorists as “heroes” and urged other Palestinians to follow suit. Yet, when presented with a first opportunity to condemn Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted against denouncing Palestinian terror. If you are frustrated with the anti-Israel bias at the UN, sign a B’nai Brith petition to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by clicking the following link—ed. (B’nai Brith, Dec. 12, 2018)

 

On Topic Links

How Israel’s Calls for Countries to Move their Embassies Has Boomeranged: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2018—Canberra’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Saturday can best be seen as the return flight of a boomerang — a tool that likely originated among Australian Aborigine hunters.

Top Lebanese Politicians, Commentators Excoriate Hezbollah for Escalating Tensions With Israel Over Border Tunnels: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018—A growing number of Lebanese politicians and political commentators are openly accusing Hezbollah — the Iranian regime’s Shi’a proxy — of endangering their country’s security in the wake of the discovery of tunnels dug by the terrorist organization under the border with Israel.

The BBC’s Spotty Coverage of Terrorism in Israel: November 2018: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018—The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during November 2018 shows that throughout the month, a total of 645 incidents took place: 106 in Judea and Samaria, eight in Jerusalem, two within the “green line,” and 529 in the Gaza Strip sector.

Europe Wake Up!: Daniel Pipes, Controverso Quotidiano (Italy), Dec. 15, 2018Controverso Quotidiano: You have written much recently about Europe’s nativist-nationalist-populist-far-right parties, which you call civilizationist. Why do you use this term? Daniel Pipes: Because none of the other words you used describes these parties precisely; their focus is on preserving Western civilization, making civilizationist most accurate.

IN MIDDLE EAST, ISRAEL DEVELOPS TIES WITH ARAB COUNTRIES IN RESPONSE TO IRAN THREAT

Iran, Turkey, Russia Threaten Israel in Eastern Mediterranean: Efraim Inbar, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2018—The fifth Cypriot-Greek-Israeli summit will take place in Beersheba on December 20.

The True Arab Spring is the Dawning of Genuine Peace with Israel: Mike Fegelman, National Post, Nov. 30, 2018 — The sands have certainly shifted in the broader Middle East.

The Fragility of Middle East Alliances: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, November 12, 2018— Three recent developments lay bare the fragility of Middle Eastern alliances and a rebalancing of their priorities…

Praying for Israel: Interview with Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon: Machla Abramovitz, Community, Dec., 2018—…To assess the current state of Israel’s security, we sat down with former IDF Chief of Staff General Moshe (“Boogie”) Ya’alon, following  his keynote address at the 30th anniversary gala of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) in Montreal.

On Topic Links

Israel and the Arab States (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, Dec. 9, 2018

The Spring of Israel’s Relations with its Arab Neighbors: Elie Podeh, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 8, 2018

What Happened to Arab Support for the Palestinians?: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, Nov. 16, 2018

The Grim Cost of the “Oslo War”: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 14, 2018

 

IRAN, TURKEY, RUSSIA THREATEN ISRAEL

IN EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN  

Efraim Inbar

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2018

The fifth Cypriot-Greek-Israeli summit will take place in Beersheba on December 20. While much of Israel’s attention is focused on Iran’s proxies on the country’s northern and southern borders, this high-level trilateral meeting is a noteworthy strategic event. Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iranian militias in Syria, and Hamas in Gaza are serious military challenges along Israel’s northern and southern borders. They contribute to a new emerging threat in the eastern Mediterranean. Each of these bad actors is under Iranian influence.

Iran, which is seeking a Shi’ite corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, plans its own air and naval bases on the Mediterranean coast, too. This would allow Iran to project power into the Balkans along the Mediterranean shores, and further west, too, toward the Muslim communities in Europe. There are three Muslim states in the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo) that have already been penetrated by Muslim powers Turkey and Iran.

Turkey has adopted a neo-Ottoman foreign policy orientation and signaled its desire for expansion. It is a strong state with a long Mediterranean coast. Turkey’s military has invaded parts of Syria and Iraq, and it has had a long territorial dispute with Greece in the Aegean. Since 1974, Turkey has occupied the northern part of Cyprus, a strategic location in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey’s behavior is also motivated by Islamist instincts. It has supported the radical Islamic Hamas government in Gaza and nourished good relations with jihadist elements in Syria and Libya – both Mediterranean countries. Turkey is bolstering its naval capabilities, and has even threatened to send its navy to accompany ships that attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade around Gaza. Ankara’s Islamist preferences clearly put it at loggerheads with Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, the Mediterranean is no longer a Western lake. Over the Obama years, the US significantly retreated from the Middle East. President Donald Trump has also displayed isolationist sentiments, despite a commitment to enhance US military power. A weakened American military posture is reflected in that the US Sixth Fleet no longer has a permanent aircraft carrier presence in the Mediterranean. (This is also true of the Seventh Fleet in the Indian Ocean.) European naval fleets have similarly lost some of their capabilities and reduced their presence in the eastern Mediterranean.

Instead, the Russian eastern Mediterranean naval presence is growing. Russia secured for itself the naval base at Tarsus and the air base at Khmeimim in Syria, by intervening successfully in the Syrian civil war. Cyprus and Egypt also allow Russia use of their ports. The importance of the eastern Mediterranean in international affairs has grown due to the discovery of large underwater natural gas fields, with more likely to be yet discovered. These gas riches are coveted by Iran’s allies (Syria and Hezbollah) as well as by Turkey and Russia.

The eastern Mediterranean has always been important to Israel because over 90% of Israel’s foreign trade traverses this area. The gas fields discovered and now being mined in Israel’s Mediterranean economic waters have magnified the importance of the Mediterranean arena. The gas is expected to make a significant contribution to the well-being of Israel by providing cheap and clean energy, and by transforming Israel into an energy exporting country. However, Israel’s gas riches are under threat. Hamas and Hezbollah are investing in their naval forces. Hamas already has fired missiles against an Israeli-operated gas rig, and Hezbollah has threatened to do so. Russian and Turkish navies might yet adopt more adventurous postures, too. There may soon be an Iranian naval presence commensurate with Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions.

Thus, Israel has one more strategic flank to protect. Unfortunately, the naval component in the Israeli military has not been sufficiently prioritized. Israel needs a bigger and stronger navy. The rationale for a larger Israeli naval force is even more compelling given the enormous missile threat aimed at Israel, making Israel’s airfields and strategic ground assets ever more vulnerable.

Israel’s military deficit in the eastern Mediterranean is striking, in light of its diplomatic success. It became a close partner in an eastern Mediterranean alignment that consists of Greece and Cyprus. Egypt is indirectly also a member, although it prefers to interact separately with Israel. The four countries share similar concerns about Turkish foreign policy directions and have similar energy interests. Cooperation in Washington on eastern Mediterranean issues is also important; indeed, the US is mulling the option of joint military exercises with Israel and Greece.

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THE TRUE ARAB SPRING IS THE

DAWNING OF GENUINE PEACE WITH ISRAEL                                          

Mike Fegelman

National Post, Nov. 30, 2018

The sands have certainly shifted in the broader Middle East. Though peace and the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab and Muslim world have proceeded at a glacial and sometimes raucous pace, new relationships have been forged, and old, dormant ties, rekindled. Patience and steadfast determination seem to be a virtue.

The warming of ties between Israel and Sunni-majority Muslim nations and Gulf countries have taken place in the backdrop of shared concerns over Shia Iran’s destabilizing efforts, its supporting terror proxies, and quest for nuclear weapons. The Saudis, just like the Israelis, are grievously concerned about Tehran’s expansionist efforts to gain hegemony in the Middle East and its direct involvement in propping up Syria’s Assad regime, its fomenting violence in Iraq, and its supporting rebels fighting in Yemen and terror groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Hamas, and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Israel’s détente with its Arab neighbours, both publicly and pseudo-privately, is on full display for all to see. Many Arab world countries are co-operating with Israel on security and defence matters, as well as Israel’s growing high-tech industry. When the mainstream media claim that Israel is “isolated,” these journalists are simply detached from reality.

This past week, Chad President Idriss Déby visited Israel and sought to re-establish ties and relations with the Jewish state. Chad is one of the first majority-Muslim African states to re-establish diplomatic relations with Jerusalem. Chad is a member of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will soon pay a visit to the African nation to formalize the matter. It’s also speculated that Israel plans to establish ties with the Muslim-majority African countries of Sudan, Mali and Niger.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Economy Minister, Eli Cohen, received an official invitation to attend a conference in Bahrain next year, and it’s believed that Israel is working to normalize ties and sign a peace treaty with that Gulf nation. The event, dubbed the “Startup Nations Ministerial Conference,” is a perfect fit for Israel, which is regarded as the world’s leading “startup nation.” As to Bahrain, in May, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa wrote on Twitter, in a message intended for the whole world to see, that Israel has the right to defend itself against Iran.

Also in the news recently, Oman welcomed Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife, along with the head of the Mossad, in a surprise visit last month. This was viewed by regional experts as an apparent sign of Israeli progress in improving ties with Gulf countries and Oman, which has traditionally acted as a regional mediator. Israel’s Transportation Minister, Yisrael Katz, visited Oman for a transportation conference to present his plan for a rail link between Gulf Arab countries and Israel. Importantly, Netanyahu’s meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Oman serves as an epic failure for BDS activists who want the world to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. Ironically, it’s the Arab and Muslim world who are doing the opposite, and their BDS activism includes Buying, Developing and Supporting Israeli businesses and entrenching relations with Israeli politicians and diplomats.

In the United Arab Emirates, a scene once unthinkable occurred recently when Israeli Cabinet Minister Miri Regev proudly sang Israel’s national anthem “Hatikva” at a sports event in the heart of the Arab world and toured the grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Qatar warmly hosted an Israeli gymnastics team in October and Israelis have been invited to attend the World Cup there in 2022. Then there’s Air India’s historic announcement that it will operate a direct route between Tel Aviv and Delhi over Saudi Arabian airspace, which is seen as a game-changer. There was also news of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s secret visit to Tel Aviv. Israeli military chief Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot reportedly told a Saudi news outlet that he seeks closer ties with the kingdom, and there are continued rumblings about how the Saudis would let Israeli jets use their air space to attack Iran.

From former back-channels of communications to public appearances that have busted long-held taboos, we’re witnessing a remarkable regional shift from the Arab street with unthinkable invitations, gestures of genuine recognition and collaborative efforts where Jews and Muslims work to complement each other’s efforts, not work in contradiction. In recent years, Israel has entered into unprecedented relationships with Arab world countries to discuss security matters and to even share intelligence and co-ordinate security operations. In 2017, Prime Minister Netanyahu boldly stated during a visit to the White House that “for the first time in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy but, increasingly, as an ally.”

As Newsweek Magazine recently noted, Arab countries seek to establish direct telecommunication lines and abolish trade limitations with Israel. Additional normalization steps being weighed include the granting of visas to Israeli athletes and business people interested in visiting Gulf states. The signs of progress in the Persian Gulf and the warming of relations with the Jewish state yield the potential for a comprehensive peace to be procured in one of the world’s most volatile regions, abetted by cautiously employed and pragmatic, incremental steps.

Once taboo and clandestine, Israelis are cozying up with the Saudis, Emeratis and Gulf, African and Muslim nations, proving once and for all, that old wounds can be mended, and bitter rivals can become friends, albeit, when based on shared interests, not necessarily shared values. Interestingly, Iran may be the one to thank as its emboldened efforts were likely the catalyst for the public rapprochement that we are bearing witness to. Who would have thought that the long road to normalization between Israel and the Muslim and Arab world would run through Tehran!

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THE FRAGILITY OF MIDDLE EAST ALLIANCES

Dr. James M. Dorsey

BESA, November 12, 2018

Three recent developments lay bare the fragility of Middle Eastern alliances and a rebalancing of their priorities: the Russian-Turkish compromise on an assault on the rebel-held Syrian region of Idlib, the fate of troubled Abu Dhabi airline Ettihad, and battles over the reconstruction of Syria. These developments highlight the fact that competition among Middle Eastern rivals and ultimate power within the region’s various alliances is increasingly as much economic and commercial as it is military and geopolitical. Battles are fought as much on geopolitical fronts as they are on economic and cultural battlefields such as soccer.

As a result, the fault lines of various alliances across the greater Middle East, a region that stretches from North Africa to northwestern China, are coming to the fore. The cracks may be most apparent in the Russian-Turkish-Iranian alliance, but they also lurk in the background of Gulf cooperation with Israel in confronting Iran, as well as the unified front put forward by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Russia prevented, at least for now, a rupture with Turkey by delaying an all-out attack on Idlib despite Iranian advocacy of an offensive. Turkey, already home to three million Syrians, feared that a Syrian-Russian assault would push hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more refugees across its border. If Iran was the weakest link in the debate about Idlib, it stands stronger in its coming competition with Russia for the spoils of reconstruction of war-ravaged Syria. Similarly, Russia appears to be ambivalent towards a continued Iranian military presence in post-war Syria, a potential flashpoint given Israel’s opposition and Israeli attacks that led recently to the downing of a Russian aircraft.

By the same token, Turkey, despite its backing of Qatar in its 15-month-old dispute with a Saudi-UAE-led alliance that is boycotting the Gulf state diplomatically and economically, poses perhaps the greatest challenge to Qatari efforts to project itself globally by operating one of the world’s best airlines and positioning itself as a sports hub. Turkey, despite its failure to win the right to host Euro 2024 and its lack of the Gulf’s financial muscle, competes favorably on every other front with Qatar as well as the UAE, which is also seeking to project itself through soft as well as hard power. The UAE opposes Erdogan because of his Islamist leanings, ties to Iran, and support of Qatar. Turkey wins hands down against the small Gulf states when it comes to size, population, location, industrial base, military might, and sports performance.

That, coupled with a determination to undermine Qatar, was likely one reason why the UAE’s major carriers, Emirates and Etihad (which is troubled by a failed business model), have, despite official denials, been quietly discussing a potential merger that would create the world’s largest airline. Countering competition from Turkish Airlines, which outflanks both UAE carriers with 309 passenger planes that service 302 destinations in 120 countries, may well have been another reason. Emirates, the larger of the two Emirati carriers, has a fleet of 256 aircraft flying to 150 destinations in 80 countries.

These recent developments suggest that alliances, particularly the one that groups Russia, Turkey and Iran, are brittle and transactional. They are geared towards capitalizing on immediate common interests rather than shared long-term goals, let alone values. This is true even if Russia and Turkey increasingly find common ground in concepts of Eurasianism. It also applies to Turkey and Qatar, who both support Islamist groups, as well as to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who closely coordinate policies but whose different goals are on display in Yemen.

The fragility of the alliances is further underscored by Turkish, Russian, and Iranian aspirations of resurrecting their respective empires in a 21st century mold and the Saudi quest for regional dominance. Notions of empire have informed policies since long before the realignment across Eurasia as a result of the shift in the American focus from the Middle East to Asia, particularly the rise of China. Relations between the West and Russia have been increasingly strained, and Middle Eastern states like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran have been increasingly assertive…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

   

PRAYING FOR ISRAEL:

INTERVIEW WITH FORMER IDF CHIEF OF STAFF MOSHE YA’ALON

Machla Abramovitz                                                           

Community, Dec., 2018

…To assess the current state of Israel’s security, we sat down with former IDF Chief of Staff General Moshe (“Boogie”) Ya’alon, following his keynote address at the 30th anniversary gala of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) in Montreal…

Ya’alon is critical of the Obama administration’s Middle East policies. “Yasser Arafat’s duplicitousness didn’t matter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, as they were trying to curry support among the Arabs by propping up Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians. The JCPOA [the deal reached by the Obama administration with the Republic of Iran] is a disaster. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is doing wonderful things for Israel. Over 80 percent of Israelis support him.” The following is an edited transcript of the rest of our conversation with the General:

CM: Are wars between Israel and Iran, as well as Hamas, inevitable?

Ya’alon: Let’s distinguish between Iran and Hamas. The Iranians are trying to open another front against us in Syria. In 2015, they started launching missiles at Israel. In less than a year, this attempt ended after Israel hit back hard. This February, their units began launching drones and rockets. Subsequently, the IAF destroyed 15 Iranian units. Iran understands that they cannot successfully challenge Israel. Israeli power is superior to theirs militarily and intelligence-wise.

We don’t want Iran to either violate our sovereignty or arm our enemies; any violations on their part contravenes what we call our Red Line Strategy. [Israel prevents the Iranians from shipping arms to Hezbollah by bombing their ammunition depots and highways traveled by convoys.] I don’t see a war with Iran coming soon. Hezbollah’s 15,000 long-range, guided missiles are a problem, which Israel will eventually deal with. I foresee the possibility of a massive Israeli assault in Lebanon. Because Hezbollah installs these missiles in villages and towns and next to hospitals – as they do in Gaza – this will result in a large-scale PR problem because specific civilian structures must be destroyed to root these missiles out.

The challenge with Hamas is different. Since 2014, Hamas didn’t shoot a single bullet; and they arrested any proxy group that did. They don’t want to escalate the situation to a full-scale war. During Operation Protective Edge, we destroyed over 10,000 buildings in Gaza. They’ve been reconstructing Gaza for 20 years. So, Gazans are now releasing dangerous, incendiary balloons and kites, and are demonstrating along the border to express their frustration. The IDF is responding in a limited way. I don’t like this. We should not have accepted this behavior from the onset. It’s impossible to intercept every balloon and every kite. We must confront these terrorists vigorously. It’s the only way to handle things in the Middle East. Still, it’s not deterministic that we are going to war, even though the Middle East can erupt at any time even when it’s not intentional. I hope the government and the IDF will be able to change the rules of the game. The rules as they exist now are not in our favor.

CM: Despite Israel’s ability to manage Iranian aggression in Syria, doesn’t Iran remain a severe threat to its security?

Ya’alon: Iran remains a crucial issue. Still, with enough pressure placed on it, I believe the current regime can be persuaded to act in Iran’s best interests. Iran suspended its nuclear project in 2003 when the US invaded Afghanistan. They were afraid of President George W. Bush. The project was renewed two years later when Ayatollah Khamenei saw that the US lost its stomach for war. In 2012, he decided to re-engage with America because of political isolation, crippling economic sanctions, a credible military option, and a fear of a general uprising among Iranians. His economists told him his regime could not survive another year if he continued with his expansionist policies. Unfortunately, President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry headed the negotiations. President Trump’s determination to renew the sanctions is an excellent idea. This “irrational” regime becomes very rational when presented with a dilemma, whether to continue with their hegemonic drive or choose to survive [due to the implosion of the economy and fear of a popular uprising.] I believe they will choose to survive…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Machla Abramovitz is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Israel and the Arab States (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, Dec. 9, 2018—An Insider’s View of Israeli Diplomacy. Dore Gold at the Hudson Institute, November 27, 2018

The Spring of Israel’s Relations with its Arab Neighbors: Elie Podeh, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 8, 2018—In the past few weeks it seems that Arab and Muslim countries have been competing with each other over Israel. Following news on back-channel intelligence ties with Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to a well-publicized visit to Oman.

What Happened to Arab Support for the Palestinians?: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, Nov. 16, 2018—Debate with Sarah Feuer, Jonathan Schanzer, Asaf Romirowsky, Michael Wilner, Hillel Frisch, Neri Zilber, James Dorsey.

The Grim Cost of the “Oslo War”: Guy Millière, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 14, 2018—September 13, 1993. Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands on the lawn of the White House. They have just officially signed the document that was supposed to start Peace: the Oslo Accord. The cogs of this machine began their work.

PRAYING FOR ISRAEL: INTERVIEW WITH FORMER IDF CHIEF OF STAFF MOSHE YA’ALON

Machla Abramovitz

Community, Dec., 2018              

…To assess the current state of Israel’s security, we sat down with former IDF Chief of Staff General Moshe (“Boogie”) Ya’alon, following  his keynote address at the 30th anniversary gala of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) in Montreal. General Ya’alon, 68, was born in Haifa, joined the Nahal Paratroop Regiment at age 18, and shortly afterward enlisted in Israel’s most elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. Ya’alon then served as Head of Military Intelligence, was later appointed IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff, and eventually was named IDF Chief-of-Staff.

Following his military career, Ya’alon became a politician, joining the Likud in 2008, and serving as Minister for Strategic Affairs and Vice Prime Minister. In 2013, General Ya’alon served as Minister of Defense, and a year later, he presided over Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s major military operation in Gaza aimed at destroying Hamas underground tunnels and ending rocket launches. In May 2016, he resigned from his position, and he recently founded a party named Manhigut Acheret (New Leadership.)

When asked about his position on the viability of a two-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, General Ya’alon explains that he supports the idea “in principle,” adding that he supported the 1993 Oslo Accords. “However,” he says, “today, nobody takes them seriously. Israelis are overwhelmingly unified on there being no Palestinian State under the present circumstances, and under any foreseeable leadership. The best we can do is give the Palestinians autonomy, help them develop economically, and hope for better leadership to arise.”

Ya’alon is critical of the Obama administration’s Middle East policies. “Yasser Arafat’s duplicitousness didn’t matter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, as they were trying to curry support among the Arabs by propping up Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians. The JCPOA [the deal reached by the Obama administration with the Republic of Iran] is a disaster. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is doing wonderful things for Israel. Over 80 percent of Israelis support him.” The following is an edited transcript of the rest of our conversation with the General:

CM: Are wars between Israel and Iran, as well as Hamas, inevitable?

Ya’alon: Let’s distinguish between Iran and Hamas. The Iranians are trying to open another front against us in Syria. In 2015, they started launching missiles at Israel. In less than a year, this attempt ended after Israel hit back hard. This February, their units began launching drones and rockets. Subsequently, the IAF destroyed 15 Iranian units. Iran understands that they cannot successfully challenge Israel. Israeli power is superior to theirs militarily and intelligence-wise.

We don’t want Iran to either violate our sovereignty or arm our enemies; any violations on their part contravenes what we call our Red Line Strategy. [Israel prevents the Iranians from shipping arms to Hezbollah by bombing their ammunition depots and highways traveled by convoys.] I don’t see a war with Iran coming soon. Hezbollah’s 15,000 long-range, guided missiles are a problem, which Israel will eventually deal with. I foresee the possibility of a massive Israeli assault in Lebanon. Because Hezbollah installs these missiles in villages and towns and next to hospitals – as they do in Gaza – this will result in a large-scale PR problem because specific civilian structures must be destroyed to root these missiles out.

The challenge with Hamas is different. Since 2014, Hamas didn’t shoot a single bullet; and they arrested any proxy group that did. They don’t want to escalate the situation to a full-scale war. During Operation Protective Edge, we destroyed over 10,000 buildings in Gaza. They’ve been reconstructing Gaza for 20 years. So, Gazans are now releasing dangerous, incendiary balloons and kites, and are demonstrating along the border to express their frustration. The IDF is responding in a limited way. I don’t like this. We should not have accepted this behavior from the onset. It’s impossible to intercept every balloon and every kite. We must confront these terrorists vigorously. It’s the only way to handle things in the Middle East. Still, it’s not deterministic that we are going to war, even though the Middle East can erupt at any time even when it’s not intentional. I hope the government and the IDF will be able to change the rules of the game. The rules as they exist now are not in our favor.

CM: Despite Israel’s ability to manage Iranian aggression in Syria, doesn’t Iran remain a severe threat to its security?

Ya’alon: Iran remains a crucial issue. Still, with enough pressure placed on it, I believe the current regime can be persuaded to act in Iran’s best interests. Iran suspended its nuclear project in 2003 when the US invaded Afghanistan. They were afraid of President George W. Bush. The project was renewed two years later when Ayatollah Khamenei saw that the US lost its stomach for war. In 2012, he decided to re-engage with America because of political isolation, crippling economic sanctions, a credible military option, and a fear of a general uprising among Iranians. His economists told him his regime could not survive another year if he continued with his expansionist policies. Unfortunately, President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry headed the negotiations. President Trump’s determination to renew the sanctions is an excellent idea. This “irrational” regime becomes very rational when presented with a dilemma, whether to continue with their hegemonic drive or choose to survive [due to the implosion of the economy and fear of a popular uprising.] I believe they will choose to survive. Still, at some point, we’ll have to deal with the Iranians. If the US cancels the JCPOA next month, as President Trump said they would, Iran will crank up its nuclear research again. At that point, Israel must act. It cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. If the US doesn’t act on this; Israel will.

CM: The accidental downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane by the Syrian Air Force resulted in the deaths of 15 Russian troops for which Israel was blamed. It also resulted in Russia’s decision to supply Syria with S-300, an advanced anti-aircraft missile system with a range of 400 miles capable of shooting down planes flying in and out of Ben-Gurion Airport. How do you explain this escalation in tensions?

Ya’alon: Russia and Israel are not on the same page regarding Syria. Despite that, Israel succeeded in establishing an understanding with Russia that they don’t interrupt Israel and Israel doesn’t interrupt them in their military activities there. If the Iranians approach Israel’s border where there are Russians present, Israel warns them before taking any military action.

Still, President Vladimir Putin is very frustrated. That’s why he sparked this latest crisis between Israel and Russia. Since moving into Syria in 2010, he declared victories many times, but Syrian President Bashar al Assad controls less than 50 percent of Syrian soil. Turkey controls less than 50 percent of the north, and the Kurds and Americans are in control of 7 percent of the land [a strip along the northeast border, which contains Syria’s abundant oil reserves.] Russia wants the oil. Subsequently, it launched an unsuccessful offensive using Russian mercenaries against Syrian anti-Assad forces that are supported by the Kurds and the US, which resulted in the deaths of 150 Russians. In this regard, Putin doesn’t benefit from Syria. [The Russians benefit from naval and air bases, which gives them an outlet to the Mediterranean.] The cost of intervention for Russia is very high in terms of money and human casualties. It is, subsequently, seeking an exit strategy. The Russians used the threat of giving the S-300 to Syria, which Israelis didn’t want them to do, as a means of pressuring the Americans to accept Syrian President Bashar al Assad and bring a quick end to the conflict.

CM: The Americans are arguing for Russian non-intervention in Idlib Province, which is the last remaining autonomous Syrian province, and the gathering place of all the anti-Assad forces. Moreover, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, both hawks, want the US to remain in Syria until Iran and Russia are out of the country. As for the S-300, even if the Syrians already have the missile system, which is not clear, they must be trained to use it. Time still exists for Russia and the US to make a deal. What will Israel do regarding the S-300 should the US and Russia not make a deal?

Ya’alon: Israel has known about these missiles for some time and is working on the electronic jamming of the system. Hopefully, by the time the Syrians are trained to use it, the system will be deemed useless.

CM: Would Russia abandon President Assad and Iran if the Americans made that a condition for a settlement?

Ya’alon: Putin is committed to Putin and no one else. From the very beginning, he was committed to a stable regime, even without Assad. Otherwise, he argued, we would see more and more Islamist factions. Russian intelligence knew of about 2000 jihadists from Chechnya and other places deployed with ISIS in Syria. He told us that he prefers to keep these jihadists in Syria rather than on Russian soil. He also wanted to benefit by demonstrating his partisan allegiance – “I’m loyal to my allies, unlike Obama who abandoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak” – as well as demonstrate his military capabilities, to be a player in the game. Considering Russia’s poor economic situation, he played his cards better than Obama did. Regarding Iran, Russia’s interest is not to have Iranian dominance in Damascus. However, he needs them for boots on the ground.

CM: Why is Israel concerned about China?

Ya’alon: China is inserting itself into the Middle East in many ways, least of which is through its control of ports. Over the past few years, they bought majority holdings in ports – in Somalia, Piraeus, Greece – and they administer them. This insertion is significant because the ports are military, and they are building up

their navy there. It’s the first time in their history that the Chinese are moving outwards, which is of some concern. On the other hand, Israel has excellent relations with China – military and technical. The Chinese are investing in Israeli corporations. Still, the relationship remains complicated because they also play up to the Arab States. That can be dangerous for Israel.

Machla Abramovitz is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

UN, ONCE AGAIN, CONDEMNS ISRAEL BUT IGNORES HAMAS AND OTHER SERIAL HUMAN RIGHTS OFFENDERS

Making History Amid the Same Old UN Farce: Editorial, New York Post, Dec. 7, 2018— UN Ambassador Nikki Haley this week warned the General Assembly, “Today could be a historic day at the United Nations, or it could be just another day.”

Human Rights Day Nothing to Celebrate: Gerald M. Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2018— International Human Rights Day – commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions on December 10, 1948 – is marked every year in the United Nations and by other organizations claiming to carry out its noble principles.

Why Do NGOs Sacrifice Palestinian Welfare Over Political Goals?: Jamie Berk, Algemeiner, Dec. 11, 2018 — During International Human Rights Week, we commemorate the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person in the world has the right to maintain an adequate standard of living, health, and protections in the event of illness or unemployment.

More UN Chicanery: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2018— In Britain, the rage over Muslim rape gangs and Theresa May’s Brexit foul-up is spreading.

On Topic Links

How Does Trump’s New U.N. Ambassador Stack up on Israel?: Josh Axelrod, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2018

Despite Support from Canada, U.S., UN Fails to Pass Anti-Hamas Resolution: JNS, Dec. 7, 2018

With Nikki Haley’s Resignation, We Israelis Lost A Hero: Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll, Forward, Oct.9, 2018

The Human Rights Declaration Turns 70: Sean Nelson, National Review, Dec. 7, 2018

 

MAKING HISTORY AMID THE SAME OLD UN FARCE        

Editorial

New York Post, Dec. 7, 2018

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley this week warned the General Assembly, “Today could be a historic day at the United Nations, or it could be just another day.” As things turned out, it was both. For the first time ever, an overwhelming plurality voted to condemn Hamas for its ongoing war of terror against Israel.

But a last-minute maneuver set an unusually high bar, a two-thirds vote, for passage. So the US-sponsored resolution officially failed. Then the General Assembly went on to approve another measure demanding “an end to the Israeli occupation” and a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders. Business as usual, that is, in a body that has passed over 700 resolutions condemning Israel — yet not one calling out Hamas.

Still, don’t underestimate the significance of the 87-57 vote (with 33 abstentions and 23 no-shows) citing Hamas for “repeatedly firing rockets into Israel” and calling on it and Islamic Jihad to “cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices.” Or the fact that the two-thirds requirement passed by a mere three votes.

Yet the fact remains that the UN continues to ignore terrorism directed against Israel — a maddening double standard that, as Haley declared, “is a condemnation of the United Nations itself.” It’s also painfully self-defeating, as she also noted, since those “who have suffered the most [from] Hamas are the Palestinians themselves.”

General Assembly resolutions aren’t binding, so the vote has little practical effect. But the Trump administration had lobbied hard for passage, eventually winning the support of the entire European Union. It would’ve been nice for Haley to finish her successful tenure at the UN with a crowning achievement — and she did come close. Instead, this goes down as another moral failure by the feckless world body, albeit with hope that justice may triumph someday.

 

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HUMAN RIGHTS DAY NOTHING TO CELEBRATE                                             

Gerald M. Steinberg

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2018

International Human Rights Day – commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions on December 10, 1948 – is marked every year in the United Nations and by other organizations claiming to carry out its noble principles. But in stark contrast to the self-congratulation and high-sounding rhetoric that characterize these events, the reality makes a particularly desolate picture.

If anything, this day is a timely reminder of the failures of the institutions that were created after the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust to protect and defend human rights. Indeed, 2018 was another dismal year, and there is little to celebrate. The massive government bureaucracies and millions provided to groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International did nothing to prevent the carnage in Syria that destroyed millions of lives. And the triumph of the Assad-Russia-Iran-Hezbollah coalition offers no hope for the future. In Venezuela, the tyranny of oppression and repression continues, and hopes that after the death of Hugo Chavez the situation would improve have been dashed.

Ignoring most of the victims around the world, the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva continues to be controlled by some of the worst violators, including Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia (a major offender long before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi), Egypt and China. The member-states and UN officials they appoint routinely exploit the rhetoric of international law to deflect attention from their own behavior, and obsessively target Israel. Syrian and Iranian diplomats take the floor to make poisonous accusations against Israel, while their governments make genocidal threats that turn the 1948 declaration into a mockery.

This year, the council voted to again conduct a pseudo-investigation of Israel, this time over the claims of excessive force and war crimes during the Hamas-orchestrated violent “Grand Return March” incidents along the Gaza border with Israel. Like the infamous (and eventually discredited) Goldstone Report published in 2009, the one-sided results of this version were decided before the commission members were named. For these reasons and more, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared “the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure.” After all efforts to enact reforms were rejected, the US suspended its membership, further diminishing the council’s legitimacy.

ADDING TO the disaster, powerful non-governmental organizations claiming to promote human rights, including Amnesty and HRW, promote the agendas of the dictatorships they are ostensibly monitoring. At the UN meetings, these NGOs routinely take the floor to repeat unsupported claims and denounce democracies, with a particular relish for reinforcing the attacks against Israel. After HRW sought funds from Saudi Arabia, referred to the Libyan dictator Ghaddafi as a “human rights reformer” and took a leading role in “turning Israel into a pariah state,” founder Robert Bernstein denounced his own organization. But nothing changed, and the same radical anti-Western and anti-Israel ideologues continue to lead HRW.

The plague of antisemitic attacks in 2018 from the extreme Right and Left that culminated in the massacre of worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue highlights another blatant failure of the human rights industry. The HRC has given the barest of lip service to attacks on Jews in Europe, North America and elsewhere, while a number of its member-states are flagrant violators. Antisemitism is not on the agendas of the NGOs such as HRW and Amnesty that claim to act in the name of the 1948 Universal Declaration, and which, in a number of cases, contribute to this hatred.

Amid these bleak developments, it is difficult to find a basis for optimism as we are about to enter 2019. The best hope comes from increasing exposure of those responsible for these moral failures who exploit the language of human rights and international law in order to justify their own roles in promoting hate and discrimination.

In a number of parliaments and among responsible journalists, the officials responsible for making policy and providing funding ostensibly designated for human rights are being held to account, which is an important beginning. Denmark and the Netherlands, for example, recently adopted criteria for NGO funding that will end support for the groups that promote hate – including the boycott movement against Israel – and violence. In addition, a growing number of countries and institutions have accepted the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA). If these trends continue, and go beyond empty declarations, perhaps by next year’s International Human Rights Day, enough will change to give us something to celebrate.

 

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WHY DO NGOS SACRIFICE PALESTINIAN WELFARE

OVER POLITICAL GOALS?

Jamie Berk

Algemeiner, Dec. 11, 2018

During International Human Rights Week, we commemorate the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person in the world has the right to maintain an adequate standard of living, health, and protections in the event of illness or unemployment.

In order to achieve these goals, the UN recognizes that economic growth can be “instrumental for the realization of human rights.” The UN’s 2030 goals for Sustainable Development build off this principle and call for an end to global poverty by creating social, economic, and environmental sustainability for all. Why then, do so many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that claim to help Palestinians fail to advance these goals?

Many NGOs that say they are focused on Palestinian rights have actually sacrificed economic development and peaceful relations with Israel in favor of their own radical and ideological objectives. For example, BDS and anti-normalization campaigns — which are promoted by a wide range of Palestinian and international NGOs — work to economically and socially isolate Palestinians from Israel and Israelis, eschewing peaceful neighborly relations, and curbing potential economic development.

For more than a decade, a number of Israeli and local Palestinian leaders lobbied the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with a plan to build sewage treatment and wastewater infrastructure plants in the Kidron Valley in Area B of the West Bank. Water is very scarce in this region, and due to the lack of infrastructure, many Palestinians are unable to utilize this resource — some even fall ill due to sewage and wastewater pollution. The proposed Israeli project aimed to solve this problem.

However, instead of helping to promote a solution, Dutch “development” and “peace” NGOs — such as Cordaid, the IKV Pax Christi, and the InterChurch Organization for Development — petitioned their government and a Dutch engineering firm to sabotage the initiative because Israel would be involved. This project would have truly benefited Palestinians in the area. Instead, the organizations’ political considerations outweighed improving the public health and sustainability of the Palestinian population. Finally, in April 2017, after 13 years of negotiation and impasse, and despite the best efforts of these NGOs, a plan to build Israeli and Palestinian pipelines to divert sewage from the Kidron Valley was approved by the PA.

A similar case occurred during the construction of Jerusalem’s light rail line. For more than a decade, numerous international and Palestinian NGOs protested the construction of the new transit system because it passes through east Jerusalem. The powerful French NGOs Ligue des droits de l’Hommes (LdH) and International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), as well as Swedish NGO Diakonia and Amnesty International, ran BDS campaigns against participation in the project, and successfully pressured French contractor Transdev to exit the light rail system in 2015.

Not surprisingly, the ideological convictions that drove these NGO campaigns ignored the needs of Arab Jerusalemites. Prior to the construction of the light rail, many residents of neighborhoods like Shuafat and Beit Hanina had few public transportation options. And today, a large portion of the 140,000 people who ride the train daily are members of Jerusalem’s Arab community. This doesn’t even mention the environmental benefits of the transit system, including a reduction in the level of pollution from private cars.

In 2012, the BDS National Committee (BNC), a leading BDS group, issued a statement decrying the Palestinian entrepreneur Bashar al-Masri. Al-Masri, a leader behind a new planned Palestinian city in the West Bank, was condemned by the group for participating in the “Israeli High Tech Industry Association” annual conference. For BNC, instead of seeing Rawabi and al-Masri’s efforts as an opportunity to improve the local economy, the group, like others, favored politics at the expense of development.

Oxfam International also placed politics over economic needs in 2014, when it protested the location of SodaStream’s manufacturing plant in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Oxfam argued that the facility furthered “the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities,” overtly disregarding the 600 Palestinians that worked at the Mishor Adumim factory. In 2016, SodaStream chose to move its factory to Israel’s Negev desert, resulting in the unemployment of many of its Palestinian workers. Moreover, Oxfam abandoned its rights-based approach to development, and its actions resulted in negative consequences for the people it was supposedly trying to help.

These few of many examples show that although the UN and international NGOs espouse “development,” this concept is often secondary to partisan political expediency. In reality, ending normalized relations with Israel and boycotts of the Jewish state take precedence, while infrastructure projects and employment opportunities for Palestinians are discouraged. During International Human Rights Week, it is important to remember that rights, such as development, should come before politics.

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MORE UN CHICANERY

Bruce Bawer                                                           

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 9, 2018

In Britain, the rage over Muslim rape gangs and Theresa May’s Brexit foul-up is spreading. In Germany, anger about Merkel’s recklessly transformative refugee policies is mounting. In France, the growing cost of immigrant freeloaders to taxpayers has sparked the most sensational public demonstrations since 1968. In Italy and Austria, opponents of the Islamization of Europe now hold the reins of power. Elsewhere in Western Europe, more and more citizens are standing up to their masters’ open-borders dhimmitude.

Yet much of this principled and patriotic resistance may turn out to be for naught, thanks to the so-called Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which is scheduled to be signed by representatives of the UN member states at a December 10-11 conference. Supporters of the compact are quick to reassure its critics that it is not a binding treaty and that it reaffirms the concept of national sovereignty. Nevertheless, when you come right down to it, it is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.

As for the 34-page-long document itself, it is written in the kind of numbing, abstraction-heavy prose that will be familiar to anyone who has ever read anything issued by the UN. It declares that “migration is a defining feature of our globalized world, connecting societies within and across all regions, making us all countries of origin, transit and destination.” It states that the goal of the Global Compact is “to create conducive conditions that enable all [!] migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global levels.” It also affirms that:

“[w]e must save lives and keep migrants out of harm’s way. We must empower migrants to become full members of our societies, highlight their positive contributions, and promote inclusion and social cohesion. We must generate greater predictability and certainty for States, communities and migrants alike. To achieve this, we commit to facilitate and ensure safe, orderly and regular migration for the benefit of all.”

There is a lot more where this came from, and it is not entirely clear what most of it means. Is it just a load of empty, feel-good rhetoric, or is it meant to commit signatories to specific action? What does it mean to say that the Global Compact “mainstreams a gender perspective” or that “a whole-of-government approach is needed to ensure horizontal and vertical policy coherence across all sectors and levels of government”? On the other hand, the document certainly does appear to encourage illegal migration. It unambiguously urges governments to feed their citizens propaganda about the delights of migrants and migration and to “sensitiz[e] and educat[e] media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology” and, in effect, to strong-arm journalists who refuse to play ball. Some readers of the document say that it calls for the criminalization of any criticism of migration, although its backers deny this.

One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab. As the Guardian reported last year, Louise Arbour, the hack put in charge of this project, “regards the global compact as a chance to shift world opinion on the need to address future migration, in the same way that the UN had managed to persuade the world it needed to address climate change.” In short, this is yet another reminder that the UN is run by power-hungry busybodies who see it as their job not to respond to and act upon world opinion but to shape it and, if necessary, punish it.

It is something else, too: it is an effort to enhance the clout of the UN’s largest and most influential power bloc – namely, the Arab and Muslim states. Just check out the UN website devoted to this Global Compact — it’s illustrated by a picture of a young man and woman holding their index fingers and thumbs together to form a heart. She is in hijab. Repeat: she is in hijab. Briefly put, whatever this deal is or is not, it is definitely not good news for the West, for freedom, or for national identity and security. It seems fitting that the December 10-11 signing ceremony will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco.

US President Donald J. Trump, to his credit, saw through this mischievous piece of work last December, when he announced that the U.S. wanted nothing to do with it. He got flak for that move. In a UN vote this past July, the Global Compact was approved by every member nation except for the U.S. But then at least some media starting paying attention and a resistance formed. In recent weeks, more and more governments have said that they are not going to sign the deal after all. So far, the list includes Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

In several other Western European countries, the issue is still being debated. I suspect the situation in Norway, where I live, is not unique. Most of the political parties here ardently support the Global Compact and, in the run-up to the signing ceremony, have striven — with the collaboration of the country’s mainstream media — to keep this potentially controversial agreement out of the public eye in the run-up to the signing ceremony. After a handful of alternative news and opinion websites sounded the alarm about the deal, however, it was reported on December 5 that the Progress Party had forced the government to allow a parliamentary discussion of the proposed accord.

Alas, the Big Three countries of Western Europe are all in. Theresa May has committed her government to the deal. Ditto Angela Merkel. Emmanuel Macron has stuck to his line that the Global Compact is “admirable.” What’s more, thanks to Justin Trudeau, whose mantra continues to be “diversity is a source of strength,” Canada is on board as well. So while there is no need to worry that the Global Compact will supersede the U.S. Constitution any time soon, there is legitimate reason for concern that this devious deal will constitute yet another obstacle to citizens of the free world who care about protecting and preserving their countries — but whose elites are dead set on thwarting their will.

 

Contents

On Topic Links

How Does Trump’s New U.N. Ambassador Stack up on Israel?: Josh Axelrod, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2018—Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News reporter, will be replacing Nikki Haley as the next ambassador to the United Nations. With big shoes to fill, many Israelis wonder how Nauert will compare to her predecessor.

Despite Support from Canada, U.S., UN Fails to Pass Anti-Hamas Resolution: JNS, Dec. 7, 2018— The United Nations rejected a resolution on Thursday that required a two-thirds majority to pass condemning the terrorist group Hamas for launching rockets from Gaza into Israel in addition to its infrastructure such as building tunnels to infiltrate and attack the Jewish state.

With Nikki Haley’s Resignation, We Israelis Lost A Hero: Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll, Forward, Oct.9, 2018— It felt like a blow. “Nikki Haley resigned” kept popping up in my messages.

The Human Rights Declaration Turns 70: Sean Nelson, National Review, Dec. 7, 2018— This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

ISLAMIST “CYCLE OF TERROR” IN ISRAEL AND EUROPE: WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

As ‘Attacks Beget Attacks’ in West Bank, Army Must Break Cycle of Terror: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2018— The last quarter of 2018 has seen a significant rise in the level of violence in the West Bank, with growing concerns of another outbreak like that in late 2015 and early 2016, which saw regular stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

A Distinct Lack of Jewish Outrage: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Dec. 13, 2018 — American Jews have often been bashed for being too Israel-centric.

Strasbourg Attack Fits Previous Model of Criminal-Terror Nexus in Europe: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 12, 2018— On Tuesday, Cherif Chekatt, 29, shot at a crowd next to a Christmas market in central Strasbourg killing two, while a third person was brain-dead and being kept alive on life support.

Confronting the Darkness of Hate Together: Alan Herman, CIJR, Dec. 13, 2018 — On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Remembrance Day, Doris Epstein and myself, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s Toronto Co-Chairs, drove out on a cold and windy Sunday night to Grace Life Centre in Scarborough.

On Topic Links

After Antisemitic Attacks, Are Jews Safer in the East Than the West?: Sean Savage, Algemeiner, Dec. 13, 2018

When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Dec. 13, 2018

A Painful Reminder: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Dec. 11, 2018

The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 13, 2018

 

AS ‘ATTACKS BEGET ATTACKS’ IN WEST BANK,

ARMY MUST BREAK CYCLE OF TERROR  

Judah Ari Gross

Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2018

The last quarter of 2018 has seen a significant rise in the level of violence in the West Bank, with growing concerns of another outbreak like that in late 2015 and early 2016, which saw regular stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

This past week has been particularly deadly, and the military is engaged in a delicate balancing act — launching a large-scale effort to interrupt the cycle of violence in an attempt to stave off a wider conflict in the West Bank, but at the same time trying to limit the potential to inflame already heightened tensions in the restive region.

On Sunday, Palestinian terrorists opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside the Ofra settlement, injuring seven people, including a 30-weeks pregnant woman whose baby was delivered prematurely and died three days later. An assailant stabbed two border guards in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday, lightly injuring them, before he was shot dead. Also on Thursday, a gunman shot dead two Israeli soldiers and seriously injured a third serviceman and a civilian woman at a bus stop outside the Givat Assaf outpost, near Ofra. And a Palestinian attacker stabbed a soldier and bashed his head with a rock, seriously injuring him, at a military outpost near the Beit El settlement on Friday.

On Thursday, Israeli troops also shot dead a 58-year-old Palestinian man who they said attempted to ram them with his car in the town of el-Bireh, outside Ramallah. The man’s family denies that he tried to deliberately hit the soldiers with his car, and the military is reportedly investigating the possibility that it was indeed an accident.

Adding to the past week’s heightened tensions, Israeli security forces shot dead a suspected terrorist, Ashraf Na’alowa, who is believed to have committed a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone in October, killing two of his Israeli co-workers; the army said he opened fire at the troops who came to arrest him in the city of Nablus in the predawn hours of Thursday morning. Soldiers also arrested some of the terrorists responsible for the Ofra shooting on Wednesday night — one was also killed — while others are still believed to be at large.

But the escalation of violence in the West Bank has been coming for several months. Following a rocky May, which saw an increase in attacks apparently tied to the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the summer was relatively calm, with between 64 and 88 acts of violence each month, mostly in the forms of Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli cars and other low-level attacks, according to figures from the Shin Bet security service.

Beginning in September, this started to change, with more and more attacks recorded each month in the West Bank. November saw over 100, according to the Shin Bet, and December appears to be on track to have even more and deadlier attacks. The military is also in the midst of several other manhunts in the West Bank. Except for Thursday’s Old City stabbing, all the assailants managed to flee the scene of the attacks.

This tendency of one attack to lead to a second is generally attributed to three main sources. In some cases, it is the result of established terror groups, notably Hamas, taking advantage of a volatile situation and directing operatives to carry out attacks. There are also lone copycats with no ties to organized groups — often young men from bad family situations — but who are inspired by an act of terrorism and set out to commit their own. And there are acts of revenge, a brother or cousin of an assailant recently shot dead by Israeli troops who commit attacks as a form of retribution. The past week has seen the first two, according to Israeli defense officials.

The Hamas terror group, which has scaled down its violent activities in the Gaza Strip as it tries to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel, has been stepping up its efforts in the West Bank. “Hamas is the most violent group in [the West Bank], and it is trying to carry out terror attacks all the time,” a senior officer in the IDF Central Command said Thursday. The Israeli military said it believes a Hamas cell conducted the terror attack in Ofra on Sunday and that the terror group may have also committed the shooting in nearby Givat Assaf on Thursday. Other attacks this week appeared to have been committed by lone assailants with no direct ties to terror groups.

Military officials and analysts explain the increased violence of the past week as “terror attacks beget terror attacks” — or in Hebrew, “pigua rodef pigua”: that one incident often prompts another and another, until the pattern can be broken. The Israel Defense Forces is now attempting to do just that, though it is no easy task, with the potential for violence to escalate if either too much or not enough action is taken.

In its effort to both hunt the terrorists who fled and break the cycle of violence, the IDF has sent additional infantry battalions to the West Bank and established a dedicated command unit to spearhead the searches. The military has set up checkpoints at the entrances and exits to Ramallah and other nearby towns and villages; carried out extensive arrest raids in the West Bank, arresting some 37 Hamas members, including senior leaders; and has stationed additional troops around the West Bank’s roadways and inside settlements to both prevent attacks and respond more effectively to those that do occur…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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A DISTINCT LACK OF JEWISH OUTRAGE                                                             

Jonathan S. Tobin         

JNS, Dec. 13, 2018

American Jews have often been bashed for being too Israel-centric. But while there was a great deal to be said for arguments that the organized Jewish world needed to focus more on building up Jewish identity in America rather than live vicariously through Israel’s achievements and struggles, I’m beginning to think such criticism isn’t as valid as it once was.

In the last several weeks, Israelis have endured a massive rocket barrage from Gaza, the discovery of terror tunnels dug under their northern border by Hezbollah terrorists and a spate of deadly shooting attacks on Jewish civilians. Yet while hard-core pro-Israel activists follow these events closely, they haven’t generated much interest—let alone outrage—from the broader Jewish community, especially when compared to concerns about anti-Semitism in America.

Part of it has to do with a general numbness about such things that 70 years of conflict has engendered among those who observe Israel’s struggles from afar. Shootings, rockets and even the threat of an invasion by Hezbollah—Iran’s terrorist auxiliary in Lebanon—can be viewed as part of a narrative about a “cycle of violence” between Israel and its enemies that breeds a degree of complacence, if not apathy, even about such terrible events.

It’s also true that the policies of the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are generally unpopular among American Jews, even if he still retains broad support among Israelis, who appear likely to re-elect him next year. That has created a dynamic whereby all Israeli security concerns—whether on the strategic level, like the conventional and nuclear threats from Iran, or everyday terrorism from Hamas in Gaza—can be discounted or even to some extent ignored. For some critics of Israel, the strategic threats are seen as exaggerated because they conflicted, as was the case with Iran, with the position of popular U.S. politicians like President Barack Obama. Others see routine Palestinian violence directed at Israeli civilians as understandable, if not justified, because of their opposition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But it may also be more the result of a breakdown of a sense of Jewish peoplehood and identity due to assimilation than political disagreements. For those American Jews who are raised on universalist values, any sectarian or parochial concern can be seen as inherently racist. If that’s how you look at it, then you’re likely to view Israel’s troubles as either insignificant or illegitimate.

Of course, not all American Jews are apathetic. There are still many for whom support for Israel is the primary or even exclusive focus for their activism and even to some extent their identity. The same applies to some leading Jewish organizations that remain committed to bolstering the U.S.-Israel alliance and supporting the Jewish state in various ways.

Primarily, the idea that American Jews were obsessed about Israel to the exclusion of other concerns was always a myth. The energy and passion of pro-Israel activists often gave politicians the misleading impression that the conflict in the Middle East was the only thing Jews cared about it. But for most Jewish voters, the security of the Jewish state has always ranked rather low on their list of vital issues, if it made the list at all. Whatever they may think of Israel, after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October, American Jews are concentrating more on anti-Semitism. Though removed as we are from the rising tide of Jew-hatred that has swept from the Middle East and across Europe, there is no escaping the realization that even in a country where Jews are completely accepted, as they are in the United States, anti-Semitism is still present.

It’s understandable that the most deadly attack on American Jews in the history of the nation would concentrate our minds on threats to Jewish life here, whether from extremists on the far-right or from the left. But even as we contemplate that dismal reality—and spar about which form of anti-Semitism is more of a threat—it is vital that we recognize that what happens in the Middle East is an inevitable byproduct of the same hate that generates Jew-hatred on these shores. There are those who argue that foes of Israel are solely motivated by anger about the creation of a Jewish state in a region dominated by Islam, as well as by the dispossession of those who fled the country in 1948 during the War of Independence. They claim that the Palestinians have a genuine grievance rooted in things Jews did to them, rather than anti-Semitic myths about Jewish conspiracies.

But even a cursory examination of the arguments against Zionism shows that they are part of the same mindset of delegitimization of Jewish rights. That is why the Palestinian Arabs have consistently rejected every offer to share the country from the 1930s to the offers of statehood turned down by the Palestinian Authority in the last two decades. The rhetoric of even the moderate P.A. is just as steeped in the language of demonization of Jews as that of right- or left-wing anti-Semites in Europe or North America.

No matter what you think about Netanyahu or settlements, it’s important to remember that the Jews shot in the West Bank weren’t targeted because of their politics, but because they were Jews. The same is true for the ongoing efforts of Hamas and Hezbollah to threaten the existence of the one Jewish state on the planet. That’s why stories about rockets, tunnels and especially murderous shootings of Israelis deserve to be treated as more than just routine violence. It should merit attention from Americans. Israeli Jews are just as deserving of the right to live their lives in peace and security as Americans. And their enemies are motivated by the same kind of intolerance for Jewish rights as those who target Jews here. If you can’t work up any outrage about that, then you’re not paying attention to the truth about anti-Semitism.

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STRASBOURG ATTACK FITS PREVIOUS MODEL

OF CRIMINAL-TERROR NEXUS IN EUROPE

Seth J. Frantzman                 

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 12, 2018

On Tuesday, Cherif Chekatt, 29, shot at a crowd next to a Christmas market in central Strasbourg killing two, while a third person was brain-dead and being kept alive on life support. Six more victims are fighting for their lives. As of press time Wednesday, French security forces are still hunting the suspect, who is known to counter-terrorism services. He initially fled in a taxi from the city of 270,000 which is located near the German border.

According to reports, the perpetrator acted alone although four people were detained in connection to the attacks. He used a gun and knife. Security has been increased at Christmas markets. According to BBC, he was on a “fiche S” watch list for “potential threats to national security.” He shouted religious extremist slogans during the course of the attack. This conjures up memories of the murder of 12 people in the 2016 Christmas market attack in Berlin. The perpetrator in the Germany attack, who was born in Tunisia in 1992, had been in prison in Italy where he was allegedly “radicalized.” German security services had warned of his terrorist connections in the spring of 2016, and he was supposed to be deported.

According to France 24, the suspect in the Strasbourg shooting was also known to police. Born in Strasbourg, he was confronted by soldiers who have been deployed in French cities as part of Operation Sentinelle. These soldiers were deployed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130. The Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said the suspect “sowed terror” at three places in the city. The reference to “three places” leaves more questions about what happened. It appears that the reference is to the suspect coming into contact twice with security forces and exchanging fire with them.

As with many attacks in Europe over the last several years, the Strasbourg suspect was already known to security and police. He had served a sentence and been convicted of 27 unspecified crimes in France, Switzerland and Germany, according to reports. In 2016 he was “flagged by anti-terrorist services,” France 24 reported. “He had been reported by the General Directorate for Internal Security.”

The intelligence agency had visited him in prison and taken account of his “religious proselytism.” Yet, even with this long rap sheet and being monitored by security forces, he carried out an armed robbery on Tuesday before the attack. During a search of his apartment, grenades were found which raises the question how a man who was well known for violent proclivities and apparently religious extremism was able to acquire his arsenal.

The attack took place one km. from the European Parliament, which has taken the attack in stride. Antonio Tajani, the president of the parliament, tweeted the parliament would not be intimidated. “Let us move on,” he wrote. But residents and others may want more answers. One man told the BBC that he had attempted to aid a victim of the attack, waiting for 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. “A doctor told us on the phone that it was senseless,” to continue to aid the dead victim. This leads to questions about why medical services took so long to reach the scene.

The attack in Strasbourg is among the most serious incidents this year in Europe, after a spate of ISIS-inspired attacks between 2015 and 2017. However the background of the alleged perpetrator appears to fit a much larger pattern, particularly in France. Mohammed Merah, the perpetrator of the Toulouse and Montaubon attacks, was born in Toulouse. A petty criminal, he then went to Afghanistan and Pakistan and was placed under surveillance in 2006, and again in 2009. He went to Egypt and Pakistan, and was followed by security service upon his return in 2011. Yet despite all this he was able to acquire weapons and between March 11 and 19 went on a spree of killing, targeting soldiers and then a Jewish school…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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CONFRONTING THE DARKNESS OF HATE TOGETHER

Alan Herman        

CIJR, Dec. 13, 2018

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Remembrance Day, Doris Epstein and myself, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s Toronto Co-Chairs, drove out on a cold and windy Sunday night to Grace Life Centre in Scarborough. A Candlelight Vigil in commemoration of the victims of murders at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh was being held. Doris and I, along with Ann Samson of Congregation BINA, and Howard Kamen of Beth Torah were there to represent the Jewish community. The initiative was being organized jointly by proud Toronto Jewish leaders Shai Abraham and Ariella Daniels, and by Jay and Molly Banerjei of the Christian Music Festival. This vigil was a spontaneous reaction to the horrors of Pittsburgh and, for most of us, this was our first encounter with these Christian leaders. To say the least, we had no idea what to expect.

What struck me almost immediately, in addition to the large crowd that had turned up, was the diversity of the people in that audience. The audience was a distinct blend of Koreans, Filipinos, Jamaicans, Indo-Canadians, Sri-Lankans, French and Afghans. A sombre mood filled the air of the sanctuary, but informing it an excitement could also be felt. At the front of the room were eleven huge white Magen Davids, each with the name of a murdered congregant from Tree of Life. A lighted memorial candle was placed in front of each. Large Canadian and Israeli flags were proudly displayed in the background. The theme of the night was clear: I Stand With You.

Right off the top, Jay Banerjei began the night by marking the centenary of the end of World War I with a salute to the Veterans and a singing of O Canada. Immediately it not only reminded us of the many privileges we enjoy here in Canada, but it also acknowledged the unity of the audience as proud Canadians. From there, the evening began. Pastor after pastor, rabbi and community leader came to the front to express, through speech and song, their support and solidarity with the Jewish people. Grace Life Centre Choir, under the leadership of Pastor Andrew Eastman, sang Psalms 23, 121, 137; Molly Banerjei sang “One People”, a song that epitomized the spirit of the occasion. Striking performances also included solo vocalists and musicians; Ms. Nelly Shin sang Psalms and the Filipino dance ensemble “danced their way to Jerusalem”, raising the Israeli flag.

El male rahamim was sung by Howard Kamen, Cantor at Beth Torah Congregation. Spontaneously, the entire audience stood in honour of the Jewish victims. CIJR Co-Chair Doris Epstein, in her remarks, stated that antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem but rather one that starts with Jews does not end with Jews. “Fighting all forms of antisemitism is a matter of basic human decency, human rights and, in Canada, of the rule of law. Ann Samson from Congregation BINA explained the importance of combatting antisemitism “because history has a painful way of repeating itself”.

Shai Abraham, related an anecdote by Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov which interprets  the Hebrew Bible’s “love thy neighbour as thyself” as listening to and empathizing with one another, and acknowledging to all those who were present that evening that by their participation they were true neighbors, true friends. Molly Banerjei declared that this is not just a one-time event but a beginning of an ongoing, vocal and united movement to fight antisemitism and hate of all kinds. “This is just the first step,” she said. To conclude the evening, Howard Kamen led this audience of Jews and Christians in a passionate singing of HaTikvah, followed by a huge hora dance in the middle of the church.

Returning from this moving experience made me wonder, when was the last time I had heard such joy, enthusiasm, commitment and zeal for the Jewish people and Israel? I could remember Jerusalem auditoriums filled with thousands of youth, singing in Hebrew and waving flags during my long-ago Birthright Israel trip. I could remember the annual Israel Day rallies in Montreal that I looked forward to every year when I lived there. I also remember a sweltering summer’s day in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War when we rallied for Israel at Mel Lastman’s Square.

This vigil stands alongside these other proud memories. And it is just the start of a new alliance we, and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, shall continue to build. The fight against antisemitism, “the longest hatred”, is ongoing, and I look forward to having more to tell you in the months to come.

 

(Alan Herman and Doris Epstein are the

Canadian Institute for Jewish Research Toronto Co-Chairs)

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

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On Topic Links

After Antisemitic Attacks, Are Jews Safer in the East Than the West?: Sean Savage, Algemeiner, Dec. 13, 2018—The October attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh put a renewed spotlight on antisemitism in the United States, which has seen an uptick in recent years. But deadly attacks on Jewish people and institutions are far from a new occurrence in Europe, where Jewish communities across the continent have faced threats from radical Islam and other homegrown extremist groups for years.

When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Dec. 13, 2018 —In 2002, Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, was said to have given a speech noting that the creation of the state of Israel had spared his followers the trouble of hunting down Jews at “the ends of the world.”

A Painful Reminder: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Dec. 11, 2018—Every few weeks, the Israeli public receives a painful reminder that the most violent, deadly and complex sector is not the Gaza Strip or Lebanon, but Judea and Samaria. It happened two months ago, when two Israelis were murdered in a terrorist attack in the Barkan industrial zone, and it happened again Monday night, in the shooting attack at the bus stop in Ofra.

The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 13, 2018—It is clear by now that Hamas is behind some of the recent terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. These attacks serve the interests of Hamas and its friends and sponsors, especially the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization — and Iran.