Month: February 2019

Daily Briefing vol #4502- IDF EYES SYRIAN,LEBANESE, AND GAZA BORDERS

IDF EYES SYRIAN, LEBANESEAND GAZA BORDERS

Hezbollah’s Tunnels Offer Sneak Peek at Looming Major Conflict with Israel:   Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck (Ret.), Lt. Gen. Michael Tucker (Ret.), and Lt. Col. Geoffrey Corn, The Hill, Feb. 25, 2019 — For weeks, Israeli and Lebanese soldiers have eyed each other uneasily at close range while Israeli engineers neutralize cross-border infiltration tunnels.

Israel Reveals More about Its Military Engagement with Iran in Syria:  Jamie Dettmer, VOA, Jan. 18, 2019 — Israel has been conducting military operations against Iran on Syrian soil for more than two years.

How Does Israel’s Military Compare To Iran?:  David Brennan, Newsweek, June 6, 2018 – Relations between Israel and Iran are at breaking point. The multinational nuclear deal signed with Iran is on the verge of collapsing—partly thanks to Israeli lobbying against it. Iranian leaders have warned that if it fails, the country will resume its uranium enrichment program, a step Israel considers a threat to its very existence.

A Secret Military Unit Drives Israel’s Surge in Cutting Edge Tech: Mehul Srivastava, OZY, Nov. 27, 2018 When Ofir Schlam, co-founder of Taranis, an Israeli agriculture tech startup, was growing up on a farm in Israel, he would regularly wake at 5 a.m. to search through the crop for the tiniest caterpillars, pests and rot.

On Topic Links

Israel’s Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges: JINSA’s Gemunder Center Hybrid Warfare Task Force, Oct. 28, 2018

Why Is The U.S Buying Israeli Missile Defense Systems – Beyond the Matrix: Israel News Talk Radio, January 31, 2019 Audio

IDF Changing of The Guard Comes as U.S. Military Leadership Unravels:  Anna Aronheim, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 13, 2019

The Secret Reason Israel’s Military Is One of the Best on the Planet:  Charlie Gao, The National Interest, May 1, 2018

   HEZBOLLAH’S TUNNELS OFFERS SNEAK PEEK AT LOOMING MAJOR CONFLICT WITH ISRAEL

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck (Ret.) et al

The Hill, Feb. 25, 2019

For weeks, Israeli and Lebanese soldiers have eyed each other uneasily at close range while Israeli engineers neutralize cross-border infiltration tunnels. These sophisticated tunnels, clearly intended to attack civilians, embody Hezbollah’s ongoing efforts to threaten substantial harm to Israel. They are also a reminder of that border’s fragile calm, and the potential for major destruction and suffering that would befall both Israeli and Lebanese civilians in another conflict on Israel’s northern front.

Israel undoubtedly could deal Hezbollah a crippling military blow in such a conflict. Indeed, Hezbollah has no illusion of military victory. Instead, it will seek to delegitimize Israel in the court of public opinion by illegally exposing civilians to harm on both sides of the border and then exploiting widespread misunderstanding about the laws of war.

These concerns were central to the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s (JINSA) Hybrid Warfare Task Force and its fact-finding mission to Israel earlier this year. The ensuing task force report examined the operational and legal challenges Israel would face in another northern war.

Though unknown by us or the public during our visit, the ongoing discoveries of these terror tunnels offer valuable glimpses into this looming war. For the first time since 1973, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confronts the very real prospect of a sizable incursion. Years of fighting alongside Russian and Iranian forces in Syria have transformed Hezbollah into a formidable military force capable of launching such a raid, relying on coordinated infantry, artillery, and even armor and drones. This represents a major leap from Hezbollah’s small hit-and-run tactics in the 2006 Lebanon war.

The tunnels are integral to this new threat. Built in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibiting Hezbollah’s rearmament in this area, they are reportedly wide enough to move heavy military equipment and large troop units. Yet even in the unlikely event Israel locates every tunnel (five have been uncovered thus far), Hezbollah will still use the terrain and towns of Southern Lebanon to complicate Israeli counterattacks and maximize civilian casualties.

Hezbollah is under no illusion such tactics will produce anything close to decisive military victory. Instead, these raids will target Israeli civilian communities where Hezbollah will seek to inflict as many casualties, take as many hostages and cause as much destruction as possible before ultimately being annihilated or withdrawing.

By inflicting significant casualties and “planting its flag” on Israeli territory, even briefly, Hezbollah will burnish its credentials as the only force capable of standing up to Israel. This also will compel Israeli leadership to respond forcefully in self-defense. When Israel responds, Hezbollah will exploit Lebanese civilians’ suffering – brought about primarily by its own illicit tactics of using these civilians to shield military assets – to delegitimize Israel’s self-defense…. [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

ISRAEL REVEALS MORE ABOUT ITS MILITARY ENGAGEMENT IN SYRIA

Jamie Dettmer

 VOA, Jan. 18, 2019

Israel has been conducting military operations against Iran on Syrian soil for more than two years. Many missions have been shrouded in secrecy, but this week the Israelis offered rare confirmation of an airstrike on an Iranian weapons cache located near Damascus’ international airport. And Israel’s outgoing military chief, General Gadi Eisenkot, went into greater public detail about the conflict before handing off to his successor, General Aviv Kochavi, a 54-year-old former paratrooper.

With Syria’s long-running civil war winding down and Israel determined to thwart Iran from entrenching militarily near its borders, the unusual admission about the air raid last Sunday and the readiness of Eisenkot to discuss how Israel has been striking at Iran inside Syria highlights the risks of escalation, say analysts.

Eisenkot, who retired Tuesday after 40 years of service in the Israeli Defense Force, told Britain’s Sunday Times, “In January 2017 we began attacking the infrastructure the Iranians were building in Syria. The critical mass was from mid-2017. We began attacking systematically a number oftimes each week. Without making any statements. Beneath the radar.”

Both Israel and Iran, Russia’s partner in propping up the government of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, are maneuvering as they draw up their strategies to secure their national interests for dealing with post-civil war Syria. Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, an influential research institute with Tel Aviv University, argued this week in its annual assessment that “Israel needs to prepare for the possibility that its battle to keep Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria may have to be expanded to Lebanon or to Iran directly.”

“Most of the fronts facing Israel are very volatile: Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. In all three, despite the existence of mutual deterrence between the sides, there is a potential for escalation toward a broad confrontation and a general war, more than one front at a time,” the institute said.

According to the institute’s report, which was released at the official residence of Israel’s prime minister, the most serious threat facing Israel would be an all-out war in the north that would include Iran, Hezbollah and Syria. “Such a confrontation would also likely spill over to the south, and Israel would additionally find itself battling terrorist organizations from the Gaza Strip,” it warned. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

HOW DOES ISRAEL’S MILITARY COMPARE TO IRAN?

David Brennan

Newsweek, June 6, 2018                                                                    

Relations between Israel and Iran are at breaking point. The multinational nuclear deal signed with Iran is on the verge of collapsing—partly thanks to Israeli lobbying against it. Iranian leaders have warned that if it fails, the country will resume its uranium enrichment program, a step Israel considers a threat to its very existence.

Meanwhile, multiple Israeli strikes have sought to dislodge Iranian forces from Syria, where Tehran enjoys increasing influence. Israeli leaders are fighting hard to stop Iranian soldiers deploying along its northern border.  

Though it would appear that neither nation wants a full-scale war, the potential for miscalculation and escalation remains. Both nations have considerable military clout, and any prolonged confrontation between them would be bloody.

By sheer force of numbers Iran is a much larger country with a far greater population than Israel, but numbers alone do not dictate military capability—combat technology and experience are vital factors too. Technological capability is even more important in an era where technology is changing the way war is waged, allowing nations to hit each other harder, from further away and with less human involvement.

A small nation with a population of just 8.5 million, Israel’s military punches significantly above its weight. Formed amid a war with seven Arab neighbors, the country’s short history is punctuated with conflicts fought for its survival. This tough history combines with a burgeoning technology sphere and close relations with powerful western nations to create one of the world’s most formidable fighting forces.

According to Global Firepower, Israel has approximately 170,000 active personnel with a further 445,000 in reserve. Conscription exists for all non-Arab citizens of Israel over the age of 18, giving the country a large and well-trained pool of fighters to call up in the event of war.

Though less sophisticated than Israel, the Iranian military is a force to be reckoned with. Its large population—around 82 million—enables Tehran to maintain a standing force of around 534,000 soldiers, with a further 400,000 in reserve, making it the largest force in the Middle East.

In a drawn-out engagement, national manpower becomes an important issue. Iranian available manpower is around 47 million compared with just 3 million for Israel. Of course, how important this is will depend on the nature of any war being fought.

In 2017, Israel spent $16.5 billion on its armed forces, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Iran was not far behind on $14.5 billion. Though this does not seem like a big gap, the fact that Israel is spending billions more than Iran on a smaller military indicates the gulf in the quality of equipment used.

“The militaries of Israel and Iran are very different,” said Richard Baffa, a senior researcher at RAND Corporation. “In the conventional arena, Israel has the far superior military.” Israeli military might is underscored by its “top notch military-industrial complex,” he continued, “capable of producing high end, high-tech weapons.”

By contrast, Iran’s conventional forces are “ageing and sub-par, due in part to long-standing sanctions and arms embargoes.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

                                                       

   A SECRET MILITARY UNIT DRIVES ISRAEL’S SURGE IN CUTTING EDGE TECH

                      Mehul Srivasstava

                      OZY, Nov. 27, 2018

When Ofir Schlam, co-founder of Taranis, an Israeli agriculture tech startup, was growing up on a farm in Israel, he would regularly wake at 5 a.m. to search through the crop for the tiniest caterpillars, pests and rot. Years later, when he joined the military and was attached to the prime minister’s office, he adapted that skill set to analyze thousands of surveillance images, looking for the smallest anomaly.

One of Schlam’s key senior executives at Taranis, AmihayGornik, developed his expertise working at large aerospace companies, designing imaging parts for military drones. Gornik figured out a way to make a fast-moving camera think it was standing still by nestling it inside a proprietary pod he had fitted with a gyroscope, which helped cancel out vibrations and resulted in less blur.

At Taranis they insert the pods onto Cessna aircraft, fly them up to about 100 feet and then zoom over tens of thousands of acres of farmland at 120 miles per hour, taking photographs with an off-the-shelf camera. Even at that speed, their software can spot the tiniest pests or signs of disease, and the planes can map thousands of acres in the time it takes for drones to travel just a few. More scale, more caterpillars caught.

The element that makes Taranis possible, says Schlam, is the melding of their uniquely Israeli experiences and the way they have applied them to business. “It’s a small place,” he says. “And yet, it’s not that hard to find someone who’s into farming, into tech and has done this kind of thing before — maybe in the army, maybe at another startup.”

It is those experiences that have helped such a tiny country become a leader in one of the most promising frontiers in the technology world: computer vision. Despite the unwieldy name, it is an area that has come of age in the past few years, covering applications across dozens of industries that have one thing in common: the need for computers to figure out what their cameras are seeing, and for those computers to tell them what to do next.

The biggest success story is Mobileye, which uses a dozen cheap cameras to see the traffic around prototype autonomous cars and then guides them through traffic. In 2017, Intel paid $15.3 billion to acquire the technology, as carmakers plunge billions of dollars into building self-driving cars.

Computer vision has become the connecting thread between some of Israel’s most valuable and promising tech companies. And unlike Israel’s traditional strengths — cybersecurity and mapping — computer vision slides into a broad range of different civilian industries, spawning companies in agriculture, medicine, sports, self-driving cars, the diamond industry and even shopping.

In Israel, this lucrative field has benefited from a large pool of engineers and entrepreneurs trained for that very task in an elite, little-known group in the military — Unit 9900 — where they fine-tune computer algorithms to digest millions of surveillance photos and sift out actionable intelligence … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

On Topic Links

Israel’s Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges: JINSA’s Gemunder Center Hybrid Warfare Task Force, Oct. 28, 2018Israel may not be interested in war, but war is now almost certainly interested in it. As Bashar al-Assad brutally regains control over Syria, his Hezbollah shock troops and their Iranian overlords will turn their attention and arsenals to Israel. Any friction – a routine border patrol gone awry, drones penetrating Israeli airspace, Israeli airstrikes in Syria – could spark uncontrolled escalation and a catastrophic conflagration.

Why Is The U.S Buying Israeli Missile Defense Systems – Beyond the Matrix: Israel News Talk Radio, January 31, 2019 Audio — Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon interview Dr. Stephen Bryen, former Reagan era Defense Official, premier military technology expert and columnist for the Asia Times.

IDF Changing of The Guard Comes as U.S. Military Leadership Unravels:  Anna Aronheim, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 13, 2019 On Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi will enter the 14th floor of the Kiryain Tel Aviv to take over as the IDF top officer from Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who will be exiting the building for the last time.

The Secret Reason Israel’s Military Is One of the Best on the Planet:  Charlie Gao, The National Interest, May 1, 2018 The Israel Defense Forces field a wide variety of American military equipment, due to significant amounts of American military aid to Israel.

Daily Briefing vol # 4501 Weekly Quotes

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY  QUOTES

Jared Kushner Interview Transcript: ‘We’ve been working hard on the peace initiative for two years now’ – The National, Feb. 26, 2019
Outlaw Hezbollah: What Took so Long?: Jerusalem Post editorial, Feb. 27, 2019
Jordan Expands Managing Body of Temple Mount to Stop #Israel from Changing Status Quo: Lenny Ben David, Threadreader, Feb. 19, 2019
Labor Supports Bennett’s Accusation: Lapid, Gantz, Only Seeking Likud Jobs: David Israel, Jewish Press, Feb. 25, 2019

WEEKLY QUOTES

“Iran has clearly and blatantly ignored the call by the international community to cease this type of activity [Iran’s failed attempt in the beginning of Feb. to launch a satellite into space carried by a rocket that is capable of carrying a nuclear head] that is capable of that violates Security Council Resolution 2231, which accompanies the nuclear agreement with the superpowers. The international community should view this as another provocative act that is part of Iran’s hostile ballistic missile program, Iran’s efforts to promote this plan not only threatens its neighbors and the entire Middle East, but also a large portion of European countries….Iran has become the main supplier of ballistic missile technologies to Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq, while providing these capabilities to non-state actors and terrorist operatives … [the Security Council should] join countries that have already taken measures to curb the threat posed by Iranian missiles.” (New York) — Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon sent a letter to the members of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, calling on them to act against Iran’s nuclear threat. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2019)

“My concern is not that Iran violates the [nuclear] deal. My concern is that Iran keeps the deal. I think it’s a horrible deal, because I think it paves the way to the nuclear arsenal…. Iran got billions and billions of dollars for (accepting the deal). Where did the money go?… It went into the Houthis, it went into Hizbullah. It went into Iraq, it went into Syria for these Shiite militias. It didn’t go to the people of Iran… Iran has been systematically liquidating – that means murdering – Iranian citizens, dissidents who have a different view…. We’ve prevented quite a few of these murders of Iranians from taking place in European capitals. So, I’ve asked the European leaders, on the week that we have exposed these plots to murder people on your own soil, you’re meeting with representatives of the Iranian regime to help them circumvent the American action?” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Voice of America Persian during the Warsaw Summit. (VOA, Feb. 16, 2019)

“We won’t form a government with the Arab parties, we will contact Likud — the post-Netanyahu Likud, that is — to form a national unity government at this time of division and rifts … Netanyahu won’t stay if he loses… It will be a very broad government that will be capable of accomplishing many goals. Of course, Likud will be … if not the first phone call to form a government. Likud is, after all, an important Zionist party, it has good people and its slate for the next Knesset is not bad. We would definitely be happy to contact them.” — Yair Lapid, the co-leader of the newly formed Blue and White party. (Times of Israel, Feb. 25, 2019)

“By speaking up against antisemitism you are a target. I don’t take it lightly. The more I speak, the more abuse I get, and the more abuse I get the more I speak. It’s got to the point where I can’t look at my Twitter feed any more. It’s just a constant stream.” — Rachel Riley, host of the UK television show “Countdown.” She and actress Tracy Ann Oberman are preparing to take legal action against those who have targeted them on Twitter with abusive remarks over their efforts to call out antisemitism in the Labour party. Mark Lewis, the pair’s lawyer, said he was contacting “between 60 and 70 people” who are “almost exclusively Labour supporters” for alleged libel or harassment of his two Jewish clients, according to the Daily Mail. (Algemeiner, Feb. 22, 2019)

“The views of Otzma Yehudit [long-time followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane] are reprehensible. They do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel. The party might conceivably gain enough votes to enter the next Knesset, and potentially even become part of the governing coalition.” – American Jewish Committee (AJC) on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to partner with Otzma Yehudit in the April 9th election. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tweeted, “We agree with AJC. AIPAC has a longstanding policy not to meet with members of this racist and reprehensible party.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 22, 2019)

“My office was created by law and designed to protect the Jewish people throughout the world. Think about that. The world’s greatest power is focused, by law and design, on protecting the Jews. It’s something not to be taken for granted… [the president] could not be more passionate about the issue” of fighting antisemitism and had spent considerable time speaking about antisemitism in his State of the Union address.” — Elan Carr, State Department’s new envoy on antisemitism addressing American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. The envoy was hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (JTA, Feb. 21, 2019)

“There are many, many Palestinians that would like to be freed up to engage in business ventures with Israelis, and they’re entitled to that opportunity,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told a forum to encourage such business links. Thousands of Palestinians work in Israeli communities and industrial parks in the West Bank, often in manufacturing or construction jobs which offer higher wages than similar jobs in Palestinian cities. Haldun al-Husseini, a Palestinian garment manufacturer from Jerusalem, says business with Israelis is key to improving the Palestinian economy. “Most of my business comes from Israelis. If we don’t work together, we will not improve Palestinian lives.” (Reuters, Feb. 21, 2019)

“We are a small, but huge, country – huge in initiatives, huge in its ability to do things, huge in achievements. There are four countries that have launched spacecraft to the moon. One is 800 times larger than us, one is 500 times larger than us and one is a little less… This only shows who our people are … with very deep roots in our heritage, with aspirations to reach higher and higher.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking on the launching of Israel’s first lunar spacecraft. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feb. 22, 2019

“As a member, Denmark will work for a council that treats all states in an equal and fair manner. It undermines the credibility of this council and its members when it insists on singling out one country, Israel, a democracy, under its own agenda item … All countries should be treated on an equal footing. Therefore, we will not speak under Item 7, but address the situation in Israel/Palestine under other country-specific items [Agenda Item 4] where it belongs. We encourage others to do the same.” — Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen calls out UNHRC on its insistence that alleged Israeli human rights abuses must be debated at each session under Agenda Item 7. Only Israel is singled out with its own separate listing on the agenda. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne added: “It is our firm view that a separate agenda item focusing on a single country situation – in this case Israel – is inappropriate. It does not occur in any other context for any other country.” (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2019)

SHORT TAKES

POLL: BLUE AND WHITE PARTY LEADS OVER LIKUD (Jerusalem) — According to the poll, if elections were held today, Blue White would win 35 seats. The Likud wins 29 seats, Labor for 9 seats, United Torah Judaism 7 seats, Hadash-Ta’al – 7, the New Right – 6 seats, Shas 5 seats, the Jewish Home-National Union-Otzma alliance 5 seats, Ram-Balad 5, Kulanu 4, Yisrael Beyteinu 4 seats and Meretz 4 seats. Zehut and Gesher do not pass the electoral threshold. The poll also found that the balance between the blocs remains unchanged: The right-wing bloc has 48 seats and the center-left bloc 48 seats, the Haredim 12 seats and the Arabs 12 seats. (Israel National News, Feb. 24, 2019)

TRUMP SELECTS NEW US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN (Washington) – President Trump selects Ambassador Kelly Craft, the US Ambassador to Canada to replace Nikki Haley. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had backed Craft for the post, and she also has the support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Craft, a Kentucky native, was a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. General Assembly under President George W. Bush’s administration. (WIN, Feb. 24, 2019)

US WILL KEEP 400 TROOPS IN SYRIA (Washington) — The Trump administration, which abruptly announced in December that it was pulling out of Syria, has now agreed to leave 400 troops in Syria – 200 in a multinational force in the northeastern part of the country and another 200 at the outpost in al-Tanf in the southeast, where they will seek to counter Iran’s influence. A senior administration official said that Trump recognizes there are still supporters of the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and is willing to maintain a combat-ready American ground force there to prevent the extremist fighters from regrouping. The U.S. will also continue to provide air support to strike Islamic State targets. (NYT, Feb. 22, 2019)

IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF RESIGNS: NETANYAHU TWEETS ‘GOOD RIDDANCE’ (Tehran) –A day after Mohammad Javad Zarif announced his resignation on Instagram, the foreign minister of Iran is receiving support from members of parliament in Tehran amid calls for the president not to accept his decision. President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi even initially denied that the resignation had taken place. It is also reported that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, had a say in Zarif retaining his post. Meanwhile, up to 150 members of parliament have reportedly signed a letter urging Rouhani to reject the resignation. There are 290 seats in parliament. Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to the announcement by tweeting: “Zarif has gone. Good riddance.” President Rouhani did not accept Zarif’s resignation. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2019)

TO TARGET ISRAEL, IRAN’S ‘SUITCASE’ GPS KITS TURN HEZBOLLAH ROCKETS INTO GUIDED MISSILES (Syria) — Senior Israeli military officers outlined new details about Iran’s plans to turn a vast arsenal of relatively dumb rockets in Syria and Lebanon into a deadly array of precision-guided missiles. The key, according to Israel, is a Global Positioning System (GPS) “kit” the size of small roll-aboard luggage. (The Daily Beast, Feb. 21, 2019)

AL-QUDS BRIGADES ANNOUNCED THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ACCURATE MISSILE CAPABLE OF REACHING TEL AVIV AND NETANYA (Tehran) – In a documentary broadcast on Iranian television, the Brigades’ military spokesman announced the development of this sophisticated new missile capable of turning Israeli cities into “hell” in any future confrontation, adding that the first missile to be launched by the movement towards Tel Aviv “will be Iranian-made.” (Asharq Al -Awsat, Feb. 26, 2019)

BRITISH SPY CHIEF MADE SECRET VISIT TO ISRAEL AMID IRAN NUCLEAR ACTIVITY (Jerusalem) — Israel’s Channel 13 News reported that Great Britain’s MI6 intelligence chief Alex Younger met with Mossad head Yossi Cohen and other Israeli security leaders. Israel’s evaluation is that Tehran is “making preparations” within the specifications of the 2015 deal, and is “getting ready,” but has yet to display weapons. The report said that Iran recently renewed its production of centrifuges “and is gearing up for the renewal of uranium enrichment,” in accordance with the nuclear agreement that the United Kingdom supports. (WIN, February 23, 2019)

ISRAEL BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF SMART FENCE ALONG GAZA BORDER (JERUSALEM) – Israel began working on the final component of the barrier project along the Gaza border. The new barrier will be 65 kilometers long, stretching along the route of the border from the new sea barrier near Zikim beach in the north to Kerem Shalom crossing in the south. Made from galvanized steel, it will weigh about 20,000 tons and will reach a height of about six meters. The smart-fence is the above-ground part of Israel’s underground barrier, which has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2019)

NEWLY APPOINTED CHIEF OF STAFF ORDERS MAJOR SURPRISE TRAINING EXERCISE FOR ISRAELI MILITARY (Israel) – A month after Gen. Aviv Kochavi was sworn in as the new IDF chief of staff, the IDF began a surprise training exercise on Sunday across Israel that involved several branches of the military, with infantry, armor, artillery, and air force units all participating. The exercise will reportedly emphasize a possible conflict with Hamas in Gaza. (Jewish Press, Feb. 24, 2019)

UK BANNING HEZBOLLAH TERROR GROUP (UK) — A draft order, laid in the UK Parliament, declares Hezbollah in its entirety—political and military arms, as well as two other Islamist terror groups: Ansaroul Islam, and Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, terror organizations. Starting this Friday, subject to Parliament’s approval, being a member, or inviting support for Hezbollah or either of the other two groups will be a criminal offense in the UK, subject to a prison sentence of up to 10 years. (Jewish Press, Feb. 25, 2019)

NINTH UK LABOUR MP QUITS PARTY OVER ANTISEMITISM (London) — Ian Austin, the ninth lawmaker to quit the Labour Party this week, attributed his resignation to the party’s failure to root out antisemitism within its ranks. On Thursday, David Hirsh, a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and author of the 2017 book “Contemporary Left Antisemitism,” announced that he was leaving Labour, ending a decades-long membership since he was 18. (Haaretz, Feb. 24, 2019)

NAFTALI BENNETT SEES TRUMP PLAN AS ‘CLEAR AND IMMEDIATE DANGER’(Jerusalem) – Responding to statements made by Jared Kushner regarding President’s Trump upcoming peace deal, Education Minister and Chairman of the “New Right” Party, Naftali Bennett told Sky News Arabic that Israel is facing a “clear and immediate danger right before our eyes, and that is the establishment of a Palestinian State.” (Jewish Press, Feb. 25, 2019)

PALESTINIANS ARRESTED IN FRESH TEMPLE MOUNT CLASHES (Jerusalem) — Palestinian worshipers clashed with Israeli police on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount trying to force their way into an area of the flash-point holy compound that has been closed for years. Police said 19 Palestinians were arrested. The incident follows a similar confrontation on Monday in which Palestinians tried to break the gate that Israel placed on the closed area last week after the Muslim Waqf religious council broke into the area and held prayers there. (Times of Israel, Feb. 20, 2019)

US ARMY COL. RABBI JACOB GOLDSTEIN’S GRANDSON RECEIVES RED BERET (Jerusalem) — Joe Brickman, a native of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, NY was one of 35 soldiers from the haredi Hetz paratrooper company to receive their red berets. His grandfather, Col Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, was the former chaplain of the NY Army National Guard. Hetz is the Hebrew acronym for “Haredi Tzanhanim” – Haredi Paratroopers. The unit was founded at the start of 2017 following the success of the haredi Netzach Yehuda (Nahal Haredi) Brigade. (Jewish Press, Feb. 23, 2019)

SISI: IF JEWS RETURN TO EGYPT, WE’LL BUILD SYNAGOGUES (Cairo) — If Jews are interested in establishing a Jewish community in Egypt, the government will build synagogues and other communal institutions, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told a US delegation during a two-hour meeting last week. The delegation was made up of the Anwar Sadat Congressional Gold Medal Commission that advocated the granting of the US Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the slain Egyptian president who made peace with Israel. Its members traveled to Egypt to invite Sisi to the ceremony in the fall, when the medal will be given to Sadat’s wife, Jehan. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 25, 2019)

ISRAEL TO CONQUER QUARTER OF US MARKET WITH GENERIC EPIPEN (Jerusalem) — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has projected that its generic version of the Mylan EpiPen will capture about one-quarter of the U.S. market by the end of 2019, announced CEO Kare Schultz. The EpiPen, short for epinephrine auto-injector, is a medical device that injects doses of adrenaline for those who have severe allergies. The U.S. EpiPen market is valued at around $750 million annually. (WIN, Feb. 24, 2019)

UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH SOCIETY (Essex) — Although it was previously voted against by about 200 students, leaders from the university’s Students’ Union ratified the society following a discussion with the Trustee Board and a public outcry over the initial poll. The English school also launched a probe into antisemitism and suspended a lecturer accused of sharing hostile posts on the Holocaust, Jews, and Israel. In an email sent earlier on Friday to all students and staff, Vice Chancellor Anthony Forster denounced antisemitism and said the week’s events “raised important questions for us.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 22, 2019)

NYU TO HOST LINDA SARSOUR DESPITE HER ANTISEMITISM CONTROVERSIES (New York) — Linda Sarsour, who has been dogged by accusations of antisemitism, will speak next month at a New York University program on immigration. The March 25th event, sponsored by NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, makes no reference to Sarsour’s divisive views. Instead, an NYU statement describes her as a “racial justice and civil rights activist” who is “[b]est known for her intersectional coalition work and efforts to build bridges across racial, ethnic, and faith communities.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 22, 2019)

RESIDENTS OF CANADIAN TOWN SHOCKED BY APPEARANCE OF SWASTIKA FLAG (Prince Edward Island) — Residents of Charlottetown were stunned last week when a swastika flag was sighted prominently flying in a resident’s backyard. In response to the outcry, the local police force spoke with the owner of the property to persuade him to lower the offensive flag. The flag was removed and replaced with the flag of Prince Edward Island. (Algemeiner, Feb. 24, 2019)

CHIEF RABBI OF ARGENTINA VIOLENTLY BEATEN IN HIS HOME (Buenos Aires) – Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, was severely beaten at his home in the early hours of Monday morning, and has been hospitalized with “serious injuries” according to the capital’s Jewish Community Center (AMIA). Davidovich’s wife was tied up during the break-in and the assailants stole money and other possessions from the home, while telling him: “We know that you are the AMIA Rabbi,” according to AMIA’s statement. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2019)

On Topic Links

Jared Kushner Interview Transcript: ‘We’ve been working hard on the peace initiative for two years now’ – The National, Feb. 26, 2019 — Jared Kushner, the White House senior adviser, spoke about America’s Middle East peace plan and his tour of the region in an interview with Sky News Arabia while visiting Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Outlaw Hezbollah: What Took So Long?: Jerusalem Post editorial, Feb. 27, 2019 — Good news out of England – Parliament is expected to approve a motion to ban Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Jordan Expands Managing Body of Temple Mount to Stop #Israel from Changing Status Quo: Lenny Ben David, Threadreader, Feb. 19, 2019 — What’s “Bab al-Rahma?”
Labor Supports Bennett’s Accusation: Lapid, Gantz, Only Seeking Likud Jobs: David Israel, Jewish Press, Feb. 25, 2019 — Labor MK and opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich on Monday morning tweeted: “The positions of Blue and White have been revealed. Even before the end of the writing of their joint platform, Yair Lapid makes clear in the recordings that we brought to Kan News – the new list will not create a blocking alliance with the Arab parties and will turn to the Likud to form a national unity government.”

Daily Briefing Vol 4500 -IS THE GAZA STRIP SPIRALING TOWARDS AN ESCALATION WITH ISRAEL ?

Can Israel Defeat Hamas Without Toppling It?:

Yaacov Lappin, Algemeiner, Feb. 25, 2019 —

Despite its radical Islamist ideology and long-term commitment to Israel’s destruction, Hamas in the Gaza Strip is — for now — avoiding high intensity armed conflict.
IDF Warns Hamas Likely to Spark War in Gaza in Bid for International Support: Judah Ari Gross, The Times of Israel, Feb. 14, 2019 — The Hamas terror group may seek to spark a war with Israel in the near future in an attempt to elicit international sympathy and an influx of international aid money to the Gaza Strip, which it controls, according to an Israeli Military Intelligence assessment released Wednesday.
Looking at the Gaza Strip: From Short Term to Long Term: Kim Lavi and Udi Dekel, INSS Insight, Nov. 20, 2018 — The most recent escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip (November 11-12, 2018) erupted as progress was underway in the ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement between the parties.
Uniting Iran, Lebanon and Gaza Against Israel: Dr Adnan Abu Amer, Middle East Monitor, Jan. 28, 2019 — While I was writing this article, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced that any operation launched by Israel against Lebanon will be dealt with as a declaration of war. If Israel makes any mistakes, he claimed, the entire “axis resistance” is ready to retaliate.

On Topic Links

Hamas’s Popularity: A Reality Check: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Feb. 20, 2019
Hamas and Salafi Jihadi Groups: Aymenn Jawad Al- Tamimi, Quilliam, Jan. 28, 2019
Palestinian Terror Advances In Gaza, Held In Check In West Bank – Report: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2019
Russian Mediation: The Critical Messages of the Hamas-Fatah Talks in Moscow: Ramzy Baroud, Counterpunch, Feb. 22, 2019

CAN ISRAEL DEFEAT HAMAS WITHOUT TOPPLING IT?
Yaacov Lappin Algemeiner, Feb. 25, 2019

Despite its radical Islamist ideology and long-term commitment to Israel’s destruction, Hamas in the Gaza Strip is — for now — avoiding high intensity armed conflict. Hamas’ leader, Yahya Sinwar, has expressed an awareness of the futility of a new war with Israel at this time. Instead, he is focused on other goals: ending the organization’s regional isolation, strengthening its iron grip on Gaza, and avoiding an economic meltdown in the Strip, which could endanger his regime.
Hamas is relying on low intensity pressure tactics, such as weekly border rioting, to promote these goals. It is also actively trying to set up terrorism cells throughout the West Bank and plot mass casualty attacks, which the Shin Bet intelligence agency prevents to a very large degree. Hamas’ object is to weaken its arch West Bank rival, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and promote the cause of jihadist violence against Israel — and do all this without leading a trail of fire back to Gaza.
The Gaza-Israel border violence that Hamas has fomented for nearly a year represents a calculated high-risk approach. It is designed to apply pressure on Jerusalem and Cairo to ease security restrictions on Gaza, without allowing the situation to deteriorate into a new war. Hamas’ attempts to reconcile with the PA in Ramallah, which holds the key to budget allocations for Gaza, have failed, and the group is now engaging with Israel and Egypt to rescue Gaza’s economy.
A shared Israeli-Hamas interest in preventing an economic collapse of Gaza has led to regular injections of Qatari cash, a development that has politically damaged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It has also led to some criticism of Hamas by Gazans, who ask whether the border violence and the casualties it causes are all just for the sake of Qatari money.
At the same time, Hamas, together with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest armed faction in Gaza, has embarked on an ambitious military build-up program involving the domestic production of some 20,000 surface-to-surface rockets, the digging of a network of combat tunnels crisscrossing Gaza, and intensive war training for armed Gazan battalions.
The result is an inherently unstable Gaza arena that could rapidly shift from low-level confrontation to high-intensity armed conflict, sparked by any number of localized tactical incidents. Therefore, now is the crucial time for Israel to consider the end objective of any future armed conflict in Gaza, despite the lack of any will on Jerusalem’s part to enter into one.
In recent years, the IDF Southern Command, which is responsible for much of the war planning for Gaza, has identified a long-term truce as the best of the bad options for Israel. This is based on the understanding that an Israeli invasion of Gaza and subsequent destruction of the Hamas regime would leave Israel in the unenviable position of being directly in charge of some two million mostly hostile Gazans. This could lead to an open-ended and draining military occupation. It would be extremely difficult to find alternative rulers for Gaza, with the PA likely unwilling or unable to “ride into Gaza on Israeli tanks” and assume a governing role. The PA would risk its legitimacy and be exposed to even harsher criticism from its Islamist rivals, who are always keen to depict it as a collaborator with Israel. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

IDF WARNS HAMAS LIKELY TO SPARK WAR IN GAZA
IN BID FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
Judah Ari Gross
The Times of Israel, Feb. 14, 2019

The Hamas terror group may seek to spark a war with Israel in the near future in an attempt to elicit international sympathy and an influx of international aid money to the Gaza Strip, which it controls, according to an Israeli Military Intelligence assessment released Wednesday.

The Israel Defense Forces believes Hamas or the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terror group in Gaza, could attempt to draw Israel into a war by conducting an attack along the border — another anti-tank missile strike on a bus, an ambush from an as-yet-undiscovered tunnel or a similar low-level but significant attack. According to the intelligence assessment, parts of which were distributed to reporters on Wednesday, while the Israeli military sees the northern arena — Lebanon and the Iranian entrenchment in Syria — as the larger challenges facing the Jewish state, the more immediate threats come from the Gaza Strip.

In light of this view, IDF chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, whose tenure began last month, called for the military to update operational plans for fighting in the Gaza Strip. “Gaza, as it is noted in the annual intelligence assessment, is the most volatile region, and there is a risk of terror group’s initiating action [against Israel]. The chief of staff identified an improvement of readiness in that region as a top priority,” the military said. “The identification of targets will be increased — both for retaliatory strikes and to assist in ground forces maneuvering within the Strip,” the army said.

Kohavi also called for the military to purchase two more Iron Dome missile defense systems. Currently, the Israeli Air Force possesses eight batteries — six that are operated by conscripts and two by reservists. “By the end of 2019, 10 batteries are intended to be deployed across the country — eight staffed by conscripts and two by reservists,” the army said.

The IDF believes the terror group is not interested in entering a long conflict with Israel but envisions a short period of intense fighting after which it would be able to negotiate a ceasefire agreement that would improve its overall economic and political standing.
Adding to the potential for war in Gaza, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in recent months has proven itself to be increasingly willing to clash with Israeli troops, despite Hamas’s opposition. Earlier this month, a sniper from the Iran-backed terror group opened fire at an IDF officer, hitting him in the helmet, causing light injuries.

This in part seems to come from the fact that Israel officially holds Hamas responsible for all violence coming from the Gaza Strip and thus directs its retaliatory strikes against Hamas targets and bases, meaning PIJ can carry out attacks without immediate consequences.
This represents a change from the IDF’s assessments in recent months, which had held that while Hamas wanted to maintain pressure on Israel with border violence, it was not interested in all-out conflict.

Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since it overthrew the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2007, has faced increasing domestic pressure as the Strip’s economy has deteriorated during the interim 12 years in the face of a naval blockade by Israel and Egypt, which the countries say is necessary to prevent the terror group from importing large amounts of weaponry and war materiel into the coastal enclave.

International aid groups have warned in recent months that the Gaza Strip, which already has sweeping unemployment and limited access to electricity and water, is heading for a full humanitarian crisis… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

LOOKING AT THE GAZA STRIP: FROM SHORT TERM TO LONG TERM
Kim Levi and Udi Dekel
INSS Insight, Nov. 20, 2018

The most recent escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip (November 11-12, 2018) erupted as progress was underway in the ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement between the parties. The behavior of Israel and Hamas during this episode attests to a mutual desire to reach understandings (both parties reject the notion of a “settlement,” as it would be interpreted as mutual recognition) that include a ceasefire and a significant easing of the closure of the Gaza Strip. The current sense is that both Israel and Hamas are not interested in paying the price of a war that will ultimately return them to square one.

The clash between Hamas and an IDF force operating in Khan Yunis was exploited effectively by Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, in an effort to prove to his critics that he has not abandoned the path of armed resistance. He likewise was eager to demonstrate to Israel that Hamas will not exercise restraint in response to IDF operations in the Gaza Strip conducted under the cover of ceasefire understandings. Hamas’s decision to fire a massive barrage of some 500 rockets at Israel over two days reflected Hamas’s assessment that what was required was a painful blow to Israel but limited in rocket range so as to retain the ability to return to the ceasefire understandings. In turn, Israel’s response was strong yet measured, reflected in the relatively low number of people killed in the Gaza Strip as a result of the IDF attacks (and the “roof knocking” practice to provide advance warning of attacks in residential areas).

For a number of months, Egypt, in conjunction with UN emissary Nickolay Mladenov, has tried to promote a settlement in the Gaza Strip through mediation between Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority (PA). A settlement between Israel and Hamas will undermine the status of the PA as the sole representative of the Palestinians and will perpetuate Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, an internal Palestinian reconciliation agreement between the PA and Hamas would harm Israel’s ability to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. Therefore, and despite Israel’s and Hamas’s refusal to engage in mutual recognition, negotiations – albeit indirect – are underway between these parties, without the involvement of the PA. Since the onset on March 30 of the mass demonstrations along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel (the “Marches of Return”), Hamas has tried to achieve a settlement with the aim of providing “calm in exchange for lifting the blockade” on the Strip and beginning significant reconstruction in the area.

For its part, Israel has presented a clear equation of “calm in exchange for calm” and has conditioned progress on the return of the missing individuals and the bodies of the soldiers held by Hamas. It is also unwilling to allow Hamas to score successes that would strengthen it in the domestic arena and validate the violence it exercised along the border. At the same time, the PA has refused to help promote a settlement that will give Hamas legitimacy and strengthen its rule in the Strip and has made all progress toward a settlement conditional upon internal Palestinian reconciliation and restoration of all of its authorities, including security powers, to administer the Strip… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

 

UNITING IRAN, LEBANON AND GAZA AGAINST ISRAEL
Dr. Adman Abu Amer
Middle East Monitor, Jan. 28, 2019

While I was writing this article, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced that any operation launched by Israel against Lebanon will be dealt with as a declaration of war. If Israel makes any mistakes, he claimed, the entire “axis resistance” is ready to retaliate.

Nasrallah made his statement after a silence of several months. It coincided with the annual strategic assessment issued by Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. “Tension also exists between very strong basic deterrence, which prevents Israel’s adversaries from initiating wide scale military action, and the military and security challenges that lie below the threshold of war,” said the Institute. “These tensions contribute to potential volatility on all of Israel’s main fronts: Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. In spite of the ‘mutual deterrence’ that exists, these fronts are also characterised by the potential for deterioration into large scale confrontation and outright war, which might occur on more than one front at a time.”

Israel believes that if this scenario of a comprehensive military confrontation comes into being, then it could find itself facing an “all party war” against Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in the north and the Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza in the south. It needs to be prepared for them all.

The statements by archenemies Israel and Hezbollah prompt a number of questions. Will, for example, Israel launch an attack on these fronts collectively or individually, or will these fronts launch a collective attack on Israel? What is the Palestinians’ position on joining Iran and Hezbollah? What will Iran and Hezbollah’s position be in the event that Gaza is attacked by Israel?

These developments have been preceded by the Israelis ending “Operation Northern Shield”, the campaign to expose Hezbollah’s tunnels. The Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese positions indicate the potential for engaging in a multi-front confrontation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on this by saying that, “Israel is operating divisively and responsibly on all fronts simultaneously.” It was as if he was suggesting the possibility of the opening of other fronts in Gaza or Syria if a war between Hezbollah and Israel erupts.

Hezbollah is apparently monitoring Israel’s moves on all fronts: “We are an integrated chain, and we cannot separate Gaza from Lebanon. Our enemy is one regardless of the number of fronts involved. We will not let one front face Israel alone.” This indicates the position of the axis, led by Iran, on the potential to engage in fighting on multiple fronts and opens the door to discussions about such a scenario. Are Hamas and the Palestinian factions prepared for this?… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

On Topic Links

Hamas’s Popularity: A Reality Check: Prof. Hillel Frisch, BESA, Feb. 20, 2019 — Hamas did its best to create the impression that enormous, enthusiastic crowds attended its recent 31st anniversary commemoration in Katiba Square in Gaza.: Aymenn Jawad Al- Tamimi, Quilliam, Jan. 28, 2019 —

What has been the nature of relations between Hamas and Salafi jihadi groups? The question is worth examining because Hamas is sometimes equated with the latter ideologically while on other occasions a strict dichotomy of enmity and opposition is painted between Hamas and the Salafi jihadi groups.
Palestinian Terror Advances In Gaza, Held In Check In West Bank – Report: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2019 —

While the Shin Bet has kept Hamas in check in the West Bank, the terror group has maintained a destabilizing conflict with Israel via Gaza, a new intelligence center report said.
Russian Mediation: The Critical Messages of the Hamas-Fatah Talks in Moscow: Ramzy Baroud, Counterpunch, Feb. 22, 2019 — The Russian-sponsored Palestinian unity talks in Moscow on February 11 were neither a success nor failure. Uniting Palestinian factions was not the main objective of the Moscow conference, in the first place.

Daily Briefing Feb 25th 2019 -CONFRONTING IRANIAN AGGRESSION: NEW ALLIANCES

CONFRONTING IRANIAN AGGRESSION: NEW ALLIANCES

What Washington—and Iran—Should Take Away from the Warsaw Conference: Dennis Ross, Washington Institute, Feb. 19, 2019 — “Takeaways” is the classic Washington term used to encapsulate the outcomes of high-profile diplomatic gatherings. Last week, I was invited to moderate a panel at the “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” cohosted in Warsaw by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz on February 13-14.
Why Are Leading European Countries Helping Iran?: Joshua S. Bloch, Algemeiner, Feb. 21, 2019 — In an extraordinarily blunt speech at the US-hosted Middle East conference in Poland, Vice President Mike Pence lashed out at some of America’s closest allies for shielding the doomed 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.
Nine Months Later, Trump’s Iran-Deal Withdrawal Is a Clear Success: Fred Fleitz, National Review, Feb. 7, 2019 — Despite howls of protest by the Left, the foreign-policy establishment, and European leaders, and contrary to misleading assessments by U.S. intelligence agencies, it is now clear that President Trump’s decision last May to withdraw the United States from the controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) was the right call and is a huge policy success.
The Iranian Modus Operandi: Lt. Col. Dr. Dany Shohan, BESA, Dec. 7, 2018 — Iran considers Israel an archenemy, and it is a highly sophisticated and clever antagonist.

.On Topic Links

The Iranian Land Bridge in the Levant: The Return of Territory in Geopolitics: Fabrice Balanche, TELOScope, Friday, September 14, 2018
The Iranians and the Russians Are Not Natural Allies: Dore Gold, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 19, 2019. Podcast
The American Intelligence Threat Assessment on Iran’s Nuclear Program: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 12, 2019
Chehabi Speaks on Panel at FDD on Islamic Republic of Iran: FDD, Feb. 13, 2019, Video

What Washington – And Iran – Should Take Away From The Warsaw Conference Dennis Ross
Washington Institute, Feb. 19, 2019

“Takeaways” is the classic Washington term used to encapsulate the outcomes of high-profile diplomatic gatherings. Last week, I was invited to moderate a panel at the “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” cohosted in Warsaw by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz on February 13-14. The panel included three senior Arab officials—Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, and Bahraini foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa. Afterward, I interviewed Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who also attended the event. These and other conversations yielded several interesting—and in many cases promising—takeaways.

First, the event was marked by a variety of convergences that should make Iran take notice. From the outset, Secretary Pompeo acknowledged the participants’ clear differences of opinion on certain regional issues, urging everyone to discuss these rifts openly and honestly as they worked to advance common positions. Regarding Iran, European ministers reemphasized that they would not walk away from the nuclear deal, yet they also embraced the need to counter unacceptable Iranian behaviors, including ballistic missile tests and threatening military actions in the Middle East.

Second, the Europeans were alarmed by the strikingly similar stories they have heard from Arab ministers and Netanyahu in describing Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region and exploit conflicts, whether by smuggling arms into Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, using Shia militias to coerce governments, providing missiles to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, encouraging terrorism and subversion, deploying missiles on bases in Syria and western Iraq, or developing factories to build precision guidance capabilities for thousands of rockets in Lebanon and Syria. In essence, those on the frontlines of regional conflicts told their European friends that Iran will not stop fomenting trouble abroad unless its costs for doing so become far more acute. Interestingly, Arab ministers noted that sanctions are only part of the solution; in their view, creating consequences for Iran also entails unifying their own efforts, portraying a solid, collective front of opposition, and doing much more to tell the Iranian public about the costs of their government’s adventures.

Third, the Arab-Israeli strategic landscape appears to be changing, even if the “new Middle East” envisioned by the late Shimon Peres is not yet in the offing. The Warsaw meeting was not like other international gatherings or peace conferences involving top Arab and Israeli officials. Beginning with Madrid in 1991 and stretching to Annapolis in 2007, past meetings involved each side giving set-piece speeches with no real discussion or engagement. Warsaw was different: it was about moderated questions and comments, with all participants sitting in closed settings and listening to each other directly, including Arab foreign ministers and Israel’s prime minister.

For example, during a discussion of how to counter Tehran’s low-cost tactic of using Shia militias abroad, I noted that Israel had carried out more than 200 operations against Iranian and proxy forces attempting to embed themselves in Syria. When I asked one of the Arab ministers for his reaction, he stated that Israel was exercising its “right of self-defense.” Netanyahu was present for that remark and other notable statements by the seven Arab ministers in attendance, consistently agreeing with their analysis in later comments he made to me and others. This may not be normalization, but it is creating a new normal.

Fourth, while the Palestinians made clear that they do not want any “new normal” to emerge so long as nothing is happening to advance peace or alter Israel’s occupation, they lost out by boycotting the conference. Ironically, if PA officials had simply shown up, all of the Arab and European ministers would necessarily have raised Palestinian concerns, and not just in passing. Instead, the issue was just an afterthought at best, subordinated to higher-priority threats. Although the Palestinians reaffirmed their reputation as masters of defiance, they once again failed to advance their national movement—the fatal flaw of any strategy based exclusively on defiance.

Fifth, the participants showed consensus on several key Syria items. Everyone favored implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for ceasing hostilities, drafting a new constitution, and implementing a political transition over eighteen months. No surprise there, but I was struck by another point of consensus: that Russian and Iranian interests in Syria diverge, and that those differences can be exploited to limit Iran’s presence and perhaps even advance Resolution 2254. But I am deeply skeptical that these differences can be widened anytime soon, even if one ignores the fact that Bashar al-Assad has no intention of stepping aside, and that Moscow has shown no sign of curtailing its support for him. So long as Syria is undergoing even low-level insurgency, Russia will need Iranian/Shia boots on the ground.

These doubts do not detract from the other Warsaw takeaways. In the end, however, the conference’s true test will be whether it results in tangible European steps to take tougher action against Iran’s regional meddling. Participants discussed certain measures toward that end (e.g., universally designating all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization rather than distinguishing between its political and military “wings”), but no conclusions were reached. It remains to be seen whether the working groups proposed in Warsaw are willing to convene soon and make progress on sensitive issues. In any case, unless Iran’s decisionmakers begin to see the costs—and not just the benefits—of foreign interference by the Qods Force and other organs, there is little prospect of the regime altering its behavior.

Dennis Ross is the counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute.

Why are Leading European Countries Helping Iran?
Joshua S. Bloch
Algemeiner, Feb. 21, 2019

In an extraordinarily blunt speech at the US-hosted Middle East conference in Poland, Vice President Mike Pence lashed out at some of America’s closest allies for shielding the doomed 2015 nuclear accord with Iran. Pence accused France, Germany, and the United Kingdom of launching a new financial mechanism in the hope of evading biting US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The European Union provided a much-needed financial lifeline to the regime in Tehran when it set up the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SVP) in January — a barter system that allows Europe and Iran to trade goods and forgo the use of currency. The mechanism, Pence charged, is “an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.”

Pence is correct in his premise. The European Union’s shameful conduct undermines bipartisan US efforts to hold Iran accountable for its illicit nuclear and non-nuclear activities. It’s also a massive slap in the face to ordinary Iranians, who want to live in peace and dignity.

Last week, Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But there’s nothing to celebrate about a regime that has plunged an entire country into darkness. Forty years later, the Iranian people are still fighting the same tyrants that deny them basic human rights. The claim of moderation is nothing but an illusion for this medieval regime.

The Paris-based watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) recently revealed that Iran arrested, imprisoned, or executed at least 860 journalists in the three decades between the 1979 revolution and 2009, according to leaked Iranian justice department documents. In addition, tens of thousands of Iranian citizens — including minorities, opposition members, journalists, and individuals accused of non-political crimes — have been illegally detained, tortured, or executed by the regime.

In the struggle for fundamental freedom, one would expect the European Union — an institution founded on the principles of liberty and democracy — to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people against their oppressors. Instead, Europe has so far sent the opposite message. Lured by lucrative trade deals with Iran, policymakers across Europe’s capitals have turned a blind eye to the suffering of peaceful Iranians who are lingering in prison or have ended up in unmarked graves.

Over the last few months alone, Iran has made headlines in the Western, Israeli, and Arab press for its use of terrorism. Whether reporting on Tehran’s assassinations of political opponents on foreign soil, terror plots in Europe, the fighters and ammunitions it sent to Syria, or inference in Yemen’s brutal civil war, Iran’s behavior just keeps getting worse.

These headlines bear witness to the fact that the Islamic Republic is the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world. In fact, Iran’s notorious Revolutionary Guard Corps is the largest terror organization on the planet, even bigger than the Islamic State and al Qaeda. The regime in Tehran has also committed innumerable terrorist attacks through its terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Arab states readily acknowledge the aid that Iran gives to these terrorist groups. Speaking at the Middle East conference in Poland, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates were united in their condemnation for Iran. Saudi’s foreign affairs minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, said that Iran’s belligerent activities destabilize the region, thus making Israeli-Palestinian peace impossible to achieve. “Look at the Palestinians: Who is supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and undercutting the Palestinian Authority? Iran,” he said, going on to cite conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, where Iran also plays a malignant role.

Meanwhile, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa noted, “We grew up talking about the Israel-Palestine issue as the most important issue.” However, he said, “then, at a later stage, we saw a bigger challenge, we saw a more toxic one — in fact the [most] toxic one in our history — that came from the Islamic Republic.”

With the launching of the SVP and Europe’s continued efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord, Iran has gained more time to surge forward in its nuclear pursuits, while retaining the dangerous infrastructure needed to stockpile more uranium and continuing to finance its deadly foreign adventurism.

It is truly shameful that European states continue to evade US sanctions as the regime in Tehran continues its march toward nuclear weapons, threatens its neighbors, denies the Holocaust, and suffocates its people.
Iran already possesses ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The Islamic Republic’s ongoing defiance of the world directly threatens US security interests and the security of regional allies. It is now up to America to say, “no more,” and for Europe to stop shielding a murderous regime.

Nine Months Later, Trump’s Iran Deal-Withdrawal is a Clear Success Fred Fleitz
National Review, Feb. 7, 2019
Despite howls of protest by the Left, the foreign-policy establishment, and European leaders, and contrary to misleading assessments by U.S. intelligence agencies, it is now clear that President Trump’s decision last May to withdraw the United States from the controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) was the right call and is a huge policy success.
Trump’s JCPOA withdrawal did not lead to war with Iran, as many critics predicted. Instead, Iran is far more isolated than it was when President Trump assumed office. The United States has worked to unite its Middle East allies, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, against Iran and, in Warsaw this month, will co-chair an international conference with Poland on the threat from Iran. Iran’s economy is under unprecedented pressure thanks to reimposed U.S. sanctions, especially oil sanctions, with negative 1.5 percent growth in 2018 and an expected negative 3.6 percent growth in 2019. Iran’s current year-on-year inflation rate through last month was 40 percent.
Some Trump critics predicted that any effort by the president to reimpose U.S. sanctions lifted by the JCPOA would have little effect, since other parties to the agreement — in particular the EU, Germany, France, and the U.K. — would not follow suit. But numerous European companies have resisted pressure from their governments to defy reimposed U.S. sanctions. On January 31, European leaders announced a special finance facility to help European firms skirt U.S. sanctions on Iran, but that initiative is months behind schedule and few experts believe it will work.
Instead, as a result of reimposed U.S. sanctions, European airlines Air France, British Airways, and KLM ended service to Iran last year. European companies Total, Siemens, and Volkswagen also withdrew from Iran, along with U.S. companies GE, Boeing, and Honeywell and the Russian oil firm Lukoil. In November, Germany’s Bundesbank changed its rules so it could reject an Iranian request to withdraw 300 million euros from Hamburg-based trade bank Europäische-Iranische Handelsbank, to protect the central bank’s relationships with institutions in “third countries.” That is, the United States.
Before the U.S. withdrawal, JCPOA critics made strong arguments about the accord’s weaknesses, especially Iran’s refusal to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to military sites. The lone exception is the Parchin military base, self-inspected by Iranians. There the IAEA obtained evidence of covert nuclear-weapons work. There were other credible reports of Iranian cheating before the U.S. withdrawal, including several from German intelligence agencies. Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and David Perdue raised Iranian noncompliance and cheating on the JCPOA in a July 2017 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
JCPOA supporters rejected those criticisms, noting that the IAEA repeatedly declared Iran to be in compliance with the nuclear agreement. However, they refused to admit that the IAEA reached its compliance findings by claiming that Iranian violations were not “material breaches” and by not asking to inspect Iranian military facilities (which Tehran has declared off limits) even though they are the likely locations of covert nuclear-weapons work. [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]
The Iranian Modus Operandi
Lt. Col. Dr. Dany Shohan
BESA, Dec. 7, 2018

Iran considers Israel an archenemy, and it is a highly sophisticated and clever antagonist. While in Lebanon and Syria, the rooting out of the Iranian threat is extremely complicated, it is an achievable goal in the Gaza
Strip (with Egyptian assistance). Iran has employed a consistent pattern in its long battle against Israel. In January 2000, a senior IDF intelligence officer told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee: “Consequent to the ongoing peace process between Israel and Syria, there is now, already, an appreciable Iranian-induced escalation of Hezbollah activity in Lebanon against Israel. And along with the progress of the Israeli-Syrian peace process, Iran will increase its terror activities against Israel, and there will be an elevation in sabotage events.” This is what indeed happened.

On October 27, 2018, while intensive contacts were being led by Egypt and the UN to reach an arrangement
between Israel and Hamas, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Media Branch at the IDF Spokesperson’s office, said (relying on IDF intelligence) that Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) had delivered heavy barrages of dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip while working “under guidance, instructions, and incentives from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, based in Damascus.” In other words, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force directly ordered Islamic Jihad and orchestrated the rocket fire. And while Hamas is regarded as responsible for all violence and provocations stemming from Gaza, by way of its control of the Strip since 2007, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis pointed out that “Islamic Jihad did not wait to get a green light from Hamas” to fire the rockets. Its activator was Iran, which precluded the necessity for Hamas approval.

Back in 1982 (just three years after the Islamic revolution), in response to the alliance formed in South Lebanon between Israel and the South Lebanon Army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) conceived and established the Shiite group Hezbollah to violently harass the IDF and South Lebanon Army forces who were trying to maintain that peaceful alliance. Hezbollah troops were organized and trained by a contingent of 1,500 Revolutionary Guards who arrived from Iran with the permission of the Syrian government, which was occupying Lebanon at the time. Fostered by the IRGC, Hezbollah gained power and influence to become the predominant entity in Lebanon and a serious threat to Israel.

Last year, Hezbollah, together with the IRGC, formed the Golan Liberation Brigade in Syria, an umbrella organization of Shiite militias that reportedly has many fighters at its disposal who can be activated on the Israeli-Syrian border.

Thirty years after the founding of Hezbollah, in 2012, the Shiite terrorist faction Sabireen was established by the IRGC in Gaza. Its full name is “Harakat al-Sabireen Nasran li-Filastin,” or “The Movement of the Patient Ones for the Liberation of Palestine.” Tehran created Sabireen on the heels of the November 2012 truce between Hamas and Israel that followed more than a week of fierce fighting…. [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

On Topic Links

The Iranian Land Bridge in the Levant: The Return of Territory in Geopolitics: Fabrice Balanche, TELOScope, Friday, September 14, 2018 — With the re-establishment of Bashar al-Assad’s power in Syria, the strengthening of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and finally the political and military victory of pro-Iranian forces in Iraq, it is clear that an Iranian axis now prevails in the Levant.
The Iranians and the Russians Are Not Natural Allies: Dore Gold, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 19, 2019. Podcast — Jerusalem Center President Dore Gold spoke at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on Feb. 12, 2019: Dore Gold: I think there is a very strong understanding between Israel and Russia about Israel’s freedom of action in Syria. At the same time, I think that there have been very difficult challenges and you’ve talked about the illusions that […]
The American Intelligence Threat Assessment on Iran’s Nuclear Program: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, February 12, 2019 — When presenting the American Intelligence Community annual threat assessment to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on January 29, 2019, Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, referred to Iran’s nuclear program.
Chehabi Speaks on Panel at FDD on Islamic Republic of Iran: FDD, Feb. 13, 2019, Video — Houchang E. Chehabi, Professor of International Relations and History at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, spoke as part of a February 11, 2019 panel at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington D.C. on the Islamic Republic of Iran

Communiques -22 FEV- LA POLOGNE A DU MAL À ASSUMER SON PASSÉ

LA POLOGNE A DU MAL À ASSUMER SON PASSÉ

Négationnisme polonais: la crise diplomatique s’aggrave entre Jérusalem et Varsovie
par Shraga Blum
18 fev, 2019
Le gouvernement polonais actuel n’aime pas que l’on remue trop le passé historique de son pays concernant la Shoah, surtout après l’adoption de la Loi sur la Shoah qui réécrit officiellement l’histoire de cette sombre période. d’un point de vue polonais. Mais voilà, la vérité historique est une et elle est implacable: énormément de Polonais ont collaboré avec les nazis et ce n’est pas sans raisons que ces derniers avaient décidé d’établir la plupart des camps de concentration et d’extermination sur cette terre imbibée d’antisémitisme.
Après les propos du Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou à Varsovie, sur la participation de Polonais (et non DES Polonais) à l’entreprise d’extermination des Juifs, le nouveau ministre des Affaires étrangères Israël Katz a attisé la colère des dirigeants polonais en déclarant lundi matin que “comme l’avait dit à l’époque Itshak Shamir, les Polonais avaient bu l’antisémitisme au sein de leur mère” et que “la nécessité d’une alliance stratégique entre Israël et la Pologne ne pouvait se faire au détriment de la vérité historique”. Ce qui est parfaitement exact mais a entrainé une réaction de l’ambassadeur polonais en Israël Marek Magierowski qui a dénoncé “des propos honteux, racistes et inacceptables”.
Suite à cela, après avoir annoncé dimanche qu’il ne viendra pas en Israël mardi pour assister au sommet de Vishograd et qu’il se fera remplacer par son ministre des Affaires étrangères, le Premier ministre polonais Tadeusz Mazowiecki a carrément menacé lundi d’annuler la participation polonaise et a même évoqué l’hypothèse d’une rupture des relations diplomatiques avec Israël! Le porte-parole du gouvernement polonais a exigé des “éclaircissements précis de la part des autorités israéliennes après les propos du ministre des Affaires étrangères”.
De son côté, le vice-ministre polonais des Affaires étrangères Bartosz Cichocki a déclaré: “La Pologne est fière de prendre part aux efforts pour promouvois la paix et la démocratie au Proche-Orient ainsi que de soutenir le droit d’Israël à la sécurité. Mais nous ne laisserons pas passer ces propos de racisme anti-polonais”.
Lors de son interview sur Israël Hayom, le ministre Israël Katz s’est toutefois dit convaincu que les intérêts supérieurs des deux pays finiront par prendre le dessus et que la crise sera résolue. “Mais en tant que fils de rescapés de la Shoah, je resterai intraitable sur le souvenir de cette période”, a rajouté le ministre.
A propos de cette crise, le ministre de l’Education Naftali Benett a déclaré: “Durant la Shoah et même après la Shoah, de nombreux Polonais ont participé à des actes antisémites. De l’autre côté, il y a eu des Polonais qui ont été des Justes des Nations en sauvant des Juifs. Il est interdit de falsifier l’Histoire dans le but de ne pas froisser les relations diplomatiques”.
Plus ferme encore, Ayelet Shaked a dit: “Ce n’est pas nous qui sommes responsables de cette crise. Nous nous devons de nous en tenir à la vérité historique. Naftali Benett et moi-même nous étions opposés à la signature de la déclaration commune israélo-polonaise. Nous ne baisserons pas la tête face aux tentatives de réécrire l’Histoire de la part des autorités polonaises. Les relations avec la Pologne sont importantes mais nous privilégions la vérité historique même si c’est au prix d’une annulation de l’arrivée de la délégation polonaise en Israël”.

Loi polonaise sur la Shoah: “L’objectif: paralyser les recherches historiques.
L’Expresse par Clément Daniez
publié le 30/01/2018 à 18:00

Des parlementaires polonais veulent interdire l’expression “camps de la mort polonais”. L’historien Jan Grabowski dénonce une manoeuvre politique contre la vérité historique.
La chambre basse du Parlement de Pologne a adopté vendredi dernier une loi qui envisage de trois ans de prison l’attribution “à la nation ou à l’Etat polonais” d’une quelconque responsabilité dans l’extermination des Juifs du pays. Les sanctions éventuelles pour l’utilisation de l’expression “camp de la mort polonais” ont suscité de vives réactions en Israël.
Professeur à l’université d’Ottawa, auteur de plusieurs livres sur l’holocauste en Pologne, l’historien Jan Grabowski dénonce une volonté du pouvoir actuel de promouvoir une forme d’innocence nationale mensongère.
Quelles sont les origines de cette polémique autour de l’expression “camp de la mort polonais” ?
Jan Grabowski: Juste après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, en Pologne et en Occident, on a parlé de “camps de la mort polonais”, mais seulement pour décrire un emplacement géographique. Cela a pris une toute autre dimension ces deux dernières décennies, avec l’utilisation de cette expression par des journalistes américains ou israéliens. Ils s’en sont d’ailleurs excusés. Cela a suscité la colère en Pologne. Au delà de cette dimension géographique, l’expression est-elle juste sur le plan historique et politique?
Elle est entièrement injuste. Les camps sont de fabrication allemande et l’État polonais n’avait rien à voir avec eux. Le plus important dans cette loi, ce n’est pas le paragraphe sur les “camps de la mort”, mais celui qui vient après*. Selon cet article, les historiens, journalistes ou enseignants qui évoqueront publiquement la responsabilité ou la coresponsabilité d’une partie de la société polonaise dans la Shoah pourront être poursuivis et condamnés jusqu’à trois ans de prison. L’objectif, c’est de paralyser les recherches [non pénalisées en revanche par la loi] sur les aspects sombres de l’histoire polonaise en ce qui concerne l’extermination du peuple juif polonais.
De quels aspects parlez-vous?
Les recherches historiques montrent qu’il y avait un antisémitisme profond avant la guerre. Elles montrent également que l’implication (pendant la guerre) dans la collaboration pouvait être massive dans certaines régions polonaises, avec notamment des chasses aux juifs. Par exemple, on sait que 10% des juifs ont essayé de s’échapper des trains de la mort et que c’est à ce moment-là que le rôle des Polonais dans l’extermination est devenu important, car les Allemands n’étaient pas partout. C’est typiquement le genre de sujet visé par cette loi. Un professeur du secondaire qui voudrait l’évoquer risque d’être licencié.
Quel objectif poursuit le parti ultra-conservateur au pouvoir, Droit et Justice (PiS), à l’origine du projet de loi?
Les nationalistes mobilisent ainsi leur électorat et consolident leur pouvoir en alimentant l’idée que la Pologne est une forteresse assiégée. Pour eux, la question des mythes nationaux, en particulier celui de l’innocence nationale, est primordiale.
Quel est le regard dominant actuellement en Pologne sur l’extermination des juifs?
Un sondage a montré qu’à présent l’opinion majoritaire du pays estime que les souffrances des Polonais pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale furent au moins égales à celles des juifs. Cette vision a été favorisée par un courant triomphaliste dans l’éducation. Il conforte l’idée que les Polonais sont des victimes éternelles [de l’histoire]. Cette tendance est antérieure à l’arrivée au pouvoir des nationalistes. Il n’y a pas de différence prononcée entre gauche et droite sur ces questions, même si la droite fait preuve de plus d’activisme. Les politiques généralisent l’attitude des Justes polonais. C’est un mensonge historique, ils n’étaient en fait qu’une petite minorité [7000 au moins].
Il y a de quoi être désenchanté pour un chercheur comme vous…
Au niveau mémoriel, la Pologne se rapproche de pays comme la Russie ou la Turquie. C’est un phénomène qui touche actuellement d’autres pays de l’Est de l’Europe, comme la Hongrie. Nous sommes huit à travailler au Centre polonais de recherche sur l’Holocauste, sans financement, juste avec notre enthousiasme. Les nationalistes ont gagné la bataille et peu de gens nous écoutent. Mais notre tâche est importante et nous continuerons.

AUTEURS JUIFS “DE LA SHOAH: l’ÉTRANGE DÉCLARATION DU PREMIER MINISTRE DE LA POLOGNE
JOURNAL DE DIMANCHE
publié le 30/01/2018

LE GRAND ANGLE DIPLO – La polémique sur les propos tenus ce week-end par le Premier ministre polonais, sur le rôle des juifs pendant la Shoah, a redoublé lundi avec des échanges très virulents entre ses partisans et son opposition. Au micro d’Europe 1, la chronique du rédacteur-en-chef international du JDD, François Clemenceau.
Il faut rappeler, pour ceux qui n’ont pas suivi toute l’affaire, que le gouvernement polonais entend faire promulguer une loi qui vise à encadrer les commentaires sur le rôle de la Pologne pendant l’occupation nazie, notamment pour mettre fin à l’expression “camps de la mort polonais” comme si les autorités polonaises étaient complices de la barbarie nazie à l’égard des juifs exterminés en Pologne. Et donc, à Munich, en pleine conférence sur la sécurité, un journaliste israélien, dont une partie de la famille a été exterminée après avoir été dénoncée par des voisins polonais à la Gestapo, pose la question au Premier ministre polonais Mateusz Marowiecki : sera-t-il  victime de cette nouvelle loi qui met en cause des Polonais dans la perpétration de la Shoah?
Le Premier ministre lui répond ceci : “C’est important de savoir que ce genre de commentaires ne sera pas puni par la loi et ne sera pas considéré comme un crime le fait d’avoir dit qu’il y eu des auteurs d’exaction polonais, ou des auteurs juifs, ukrainiens ou russes et pas seulement des auteurs allemands”. Des “auteurs juifs” de la Shoah? Il y a eu alors comme un flottement dans l’assemblée, les gens se sont demandés s’ils avaient bien entendu, d’autres ont cru que le Premier ministre polonais avait fait un lapsus et qu’il allait s’excuser d’avoir confondu les victimes et les bourreaux. Et bien non.
La pression de l’Eglise catholique polonaise
Les autorités polonaises ont très mal réagi au fait que Benjamin Netanyahou dès le lendemain, à Munich, s’empare de cette affaire pour dénoncer une forme odieuse d’antisémitisme. Pour lui, cette nouvelle loi est la preuve que la société polonaise n’est pas capable d’affronter la vérité historique. Jacques Chirac avait su dire que c’étaient bien des policiers français qui avaient raflé les juifs pour les emmener au Vel d’Hiv. Non seulement le parti conservateur polonais au pouvoir n’y parvient pas mais il adopte même une loi qui vise en fait à promouvoir une autocensure dans ce débat.
C’est d’autant plus étrange que Mateusz Marowiecki a une partie de sa famille d’origine juive et même une tante qui vit en Israël après avoir échappé à la Shoah. Ce n’est pas comme si cette page de l’Histoire lui était totalement inconnue. Alors comment expliquer cette crispation incroyable? En grande partie par la pression de l’Eglise catholique polonaise.
Lundi, l’un des principaux journaux catholique du pays a titré en Une “le Premier ministre a dit la vérité”. On assiste à une ligne de clivage hallucinante qui déchire les chrétiens polonais. D’un côté l’institution catholique avec ses églises, ses écoles, ses relais d’opinion, notamment la puissante radio Marya financée par les grands groupes qui sont en affaire avec le gouvernement. Et de l’autre des millions de laïcs catholiques, dont une bonne partie ont mené le combat du syndicat Solidarité avec Lech Walesa et qui n’entendent pas voir la religion être instrumentalisée dans le combat politique. Ce sera donc intéressant de voir comment réagissent les uns et les autres lorsque le Tribunal constitutionnel, à la demande du président conservateur Andrea Duda, validera cette loi sur les “camps polonais” ou demandera à la voir modifiée.

Actualité

Alain Finkielkraut injurié: UNE ENQUÊTE OUVERTE, UN SUSPECT IDENTIFIÉ

Par:Le Figaro
Stephane Kovac
18/02/2019 à 10:56

Ni victime ni héros», mais d’abord «inquiet pour tous les Juifs de France». Cible, samedi, de virulentes insultes antisémites, en marge d’une manifestation de «gilets jaunes» à Paris, le philosophe Alain Finkielkraut ne porte pas plainte, mais «souhaite connaître l’identité des agresseurs»: «Ce n’est pas l’esprit de vengeance qui m’anime, mais j’ai envie de contribuer à la prise de conscience, explique l’académicien au Figaro. Il s’agit aujourd’hui de réfléchir à ce qui nous arrive, pour trouver la meilleure des parades.»
Le parquet de Paris a annoncé dimanche avoir ouvert une enquête pour «injures publiques en raison de l’origine, l’ethnie, la nation, la race ou la religion». Un suspect, «le principal auteur des injures», selon le ministre de l’Intérieur, a été identifié. D’apres la parisienne, l’homme serait connu des services de renseignement.
C’est un effroyable torrent de haine qui s’est déversé samedi après-midi sur le philosophe, alors qu’il rentrait chez lui après avoir raccompagné sa belle-mère. À tel point que des policiers ont dû s’interposer pour le protéger. «Barre-toi, sale sioniste de merde!», «Tu vas mourir», «Sale race», «Palestine!», «Rentre chez toi à Tel-Aviv!», peut-on entendre dans plusieurs vidéos tournées auprès de manifestants qui défilaient boulevard du Montparnasse. «Elle est à nous, la France!», vocifère un jeune homme barbu en agitant ostensiblement son keffieh palestinien. «Nous sommes le peuple!», renchérissent d’autres «gilets jaunes».
«Parce que la France ne leur appartient pas, qu’elle n’est pas cette haine, une enquête a été ouverte, a tweeté dimanche Christophe Castaner.Selon nos informations, le groupe d’étude sur l’antisémitisme de l’Assemblée nationale va organiser une réunion de son bureau mardi soir pour revenir sur ces événements. Emmenés par leur président, Sylvain Maillard (LREM), les députés réclameront «la reconnaissance officielle de l’antisionisme comme antisémitisme».
Alain Finkielkraut, lui, a «simplement besoin de savoir qui sont ces gens et ce qu’ils veulent». «Il ne faut pas tout confondre, insiste-t-il. Nous ne vivons pas le retour des années 30. C’est à un nouveau type d’antisémitisme que nous devons faire face. Ce sont des gens qui ont crié “Palestine”, qui m’ont traité de sioniste. Il y en a un avec une légère barbe qui me dit “Dieu va te punir”: ça n’est pas tout à fait le langage de l’extrême droite, c’est même la rhétorique islamiste.»«Peut-être y a-t-il des gens d’extrême droite qui s’accrochent aux wagons, comme des soraliens (proches de l’essayiste d’extrême droite Alain Soral, NDLR), qui rêvent d’agréger une France black-blanc-beur autour de la haine des Juifs, analyse-t-il. C’est la version hideuse de la convergence des luttes.» Ce n’est pas la première fois que le philosophe se fait agresser: «Cela m’était déjà arrivé en 2014 lors d’un rassemblement pro-palestinien, rappelle-t-il, ainsi qu’en 2016, lors d’une Nuit debout, où je me suis fait cracher dessus: c’était la même haine!»
La classe politique a, unanimement ou presque, exprimé son indignation. Jusqu’au chef de l’État: «Fils d’émigrés polonais devenu académicien français, Alain Finkielkraut n’est pas seulement un homme de lettres éminent mais le symbole de ce que la République permet à chacun, a tweeté Emmanuel Macron.
Les injures antisémites dont il a fait l’objet sont la négation absolue de ce que nous sommes et de ce qui fait de nous une grande nation. Nous ne les tolérerons pas.» D’autres personnalités politiques, telles que Thomas Guénolé, membre de La France insoumise, l’avocat Jean-Pierre Mignard, proche de François Hollande et ancien responsable du comité d’éthique de LREM durant la campagne de 2017, ou encore l’humoriste Yassine Belattar, nommé par Emmanuel Macron au sein du conseil présidentiel des villes, ont minimisé sur Twitter la portée de l’agression, mettant en cause certaines des positions d’Alain Finkielkraut. «Les haineux d’Internet, aujourd’hui, ne sont pas issus de Génération identitaire, réagit le philosophe, mais hélas de la gauche, extrême ou bien-pensante.»
Dans ce contexte, l’académicien s’interroge encore sur sa participation à l’un des rassemblements contre l’antisémitisme organisés mardi soir, dans plusieurs villes, à l’appel de 14 partis. «Cette nouvelle notoriété un peu absurde me donnerait une nouvelle place, alors que j’ai plutôt envie de me cacher, explique-t-il. Mais la question est surtout que je ne voudrais pas que ce rassemblement se fasse dans un grand malentendu: si c’est pour refaire la énième version de l’antifascisme, alors, on n’a rien compris.»

ANTISÉMITISME: PARIS APPLIQUERA LA DÉFINITION DEL’IHRA INTÉGRANT I’ANTOINISME
Par TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF
21 février 2019,

Emmanuel Macron a annoncé mercredi que la France allait mettre en oeuvre une définition de l’antisémitisme élargie à l’anti-sionisme, sans toutefois modifier le Code pénal, dans un discours prononcé lors du dîner du Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (Crif) à Paris.
« La France, qui l’a endossée en décembre avec ses partenaires européens, mettra en œuvre la définition de l’antisémitisme adoptée par l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de la Shoah » (qui intègre l’anti-sionisme, NDLR), a dit le chef de l’État, en martelant que « l’anti-sionisme est une des formes modernes de l’antisémitisme » – à l’instar de son discours lors de la 75e ceremnonie du vel D’hiv.
Il s’agit de recommandations, qui permettront de mieux former les agents publics, les policiers ou les enseignants à lutter contre l’antisémitisme, mais pas d’une modification des textes juridiques, a expliqué l’Elysée. Le président de la République avait fait part de cette décision un peu plus tôt au Premier ministre israélien, Benjamin Netanyahu, qui avait alors envoyé un communiqué à la presse.
Il ne s’agit pas de modifier le code pénal, encore moins d’empêcher ceux qui veulent critiquer la politique israélienne de le faire, non, ni de revenir sur des sujets que nous connaissons et qui sont ceux de la politique internationale (…), il s’agit de préciser et raffermir les pratiques de nos forces de l’ordre, de nos magistrats, de nos enseignants, de leur permettre de mieux lutter contre ceux qui cachent, derrière le rejet d’Israël, la négation même de l’existence d’Israël, la haine des juifs la plus primaire.
« Le président Macron a informé le Premier ministre qu’il allait adopter la définition de l’antisémitisme de l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste (IHRA), qui a fixé que l’antisionisme est une forme d’antisémitisme », a affirmé un communiqué du bureau de M. Netanyahu. Celui-ci a exprimé son « estime » pour cette décision, selon le communiqué.
Le président israélien Reuven Rivlin avait plus tôt apporté mercredi son soutien au président français et au philosophe français Alain Finkielkraut face aux actes antisémites, qu’il a qualifié d’ « affront » à la France.
Quelques minutes avant le discours de M. Macron, le président du Crif, Francis Kalifat, en avait fait la demande. « À l’unisson des autres pays européens, la France a voté en faveur de cette définition lors de son adoption par l’IHRA en 2016 et encore tout récemment fin 2018 dans la résolution du Conseil européen sur la lutte conte l’antisémitisme. Conformément aux recommandations du Parlement européen et du Conseil européen, plusieurs États membres l’ont déjà intégrée dans leurs propres textes de référence », avait-il dit.
« L’antisionisme aujourd’hui constitue le visage dissimulé de l’antisémitisme », a pour sa part déclaré le député Eric Ciotti (LR), qui salue cette décision mais estime « personnellement » qu’ »une résolution ne suffira pas » et demande « une traduction législative ».
Sur ce sujet, Gil Taïb et Joël Mergui ont dit leur satisfaction. « On demandait depuis des années la reconnaissance de l’antisionisme. Si les moyens sont mis en oeuvre pour que les paroles antisémites puissent être condamnées, c’est pour nous une avancée essentielle », a déclaré M. Taïeb.  Depuis plusieurs années, et la situation s’est encore aggravée ces dernier semaine notre pays – comme d’ailleurs l’ensemble de l’Europe et la quasi-totalité des démocraties occidentales – est confrontée à une résurgence de l’antisémitisme sans doute inédite depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale ».
« À nouveau, depuis plusieurs années, l’antisémitisme tue en France ». C’est bien que les visages peuplant ce soir nos consciences ne sont pas seulement ceux des héros que je viens d’évoquer mais bien ceux des martyrs récemment assassinés parce qu’ils étaient juifs », a-t-il poursuivi.
Quelles différences entre antisémitisme et anti-sionisme ?
« Il n’y a pas en France de définition officielle de l’antisémitisme, tout comme il n’y a pas de définition officielle, par exemple, du racisme anti-musulman ou envers les personnes asiatiques. Notre droit est fondé sur une conception universaliste et globale, pas sur un ciblage explicite de chaque religion », explique Frédéric Potier, le Délégué interministériel à la lutte contre le racisme, l’antisémitisme et la haine anti-LGBT (Dilcrah).
L’avocat Richard Malka abonde : « La loi n’utilise jamais le terme ‘antisémitisme’. De même qu’elle n’utilise jamais le mot ‘juif’ ou ‘musulman’ ou ‘catholique’ ».
L’antisémitisme est appréhendé par le droit pénal à travers la loi de 1881 sur la liberté de la presse, pour ce qui est des injures publiques, de la provocation publique à la haine et de la provocation publique à la discrimination fondées sur l’appartenance « à une ethnie, une nation, une race ou une religion déterminée ».
Pas de définition officielle non plus de l’antisionisme.
Selon la Chancellerie, les tribunaux peuvent déjà condamner des personnes qui, « sous couvert d’un anti-sionisme de circonstance, véhiculent en réalité un antisémitisme réel ». « A charge pour l’accusation d’établir que le mobile final vise bien à s’en prendre à un individu soit à raison de sa religion, soit à raison de sa nationalité ».
Une proposition de loi
Un texte qui « reprendra les propositions » faites dans un rapport remis en septembre au Premier ministre, dont une vise à renforcer la pression sur les opérateurs du Net, dans le cadre d’un renforcement de la lutte contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme sur internet, sera déposé « dès le mois de mai » par la députée LREM Laëtitia Avia, a annoncé le président.
« La députée Laëtitia Avia déposera dès le mois de mai, c’est-à-dire dès la première fenêtre parlementaire possible au Parlement, une proposition de loi pour lutter contre la haine sur Internet reprenant les propositions de ce rapport », a expliqué le président.« Nous devons à ce titre nous inspirer de ce que nous voisins allemandes. ont su faire de manière efficace et pragmatique : apporter des sanctions judiciaires, pénales et pécuniaires, appeler à la responsabilité des individus comme des plate-formes. Il s’agira de mettre fin aux stratégies d’éviction déployées par des sites étrangers qui, changeant régulièrement de serveurs, sont aujourd’hui très difficiles à bloquer. »
Ce texte « reprendra les propositions » faites dans un rapport remis en septembre au Premier ministre, qui vise à renforcer la pression sur les plateformes numériques dans le cadre d’un renforcement de la lutte contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme, a-t-il dit.
Cette loi imposera aux plateformes de retirer les contenus appelant à la haine « dans les meilleurs délais » et de « mettre en oeuvre toutes les techniques permettant de repérer l’identité » de leurs auteurs et enfin responsabilisera ces plateformes sur le plan juridique -une annonce saluée comme « fondamentale » par le président du Consistoire Joël Mergui et Gil Taïeb vice-président du Crif.
Gilles Taieb, co-auteur du rapport de septembre, a précisé à l’AFP « qu’on s’oriente sur un délai de 24 heures ».
Macron a accusé « des plateformes comme Twitter, pour citer des mauvais exemples, qui attend des semaines ou des mois pour donner les identifiants qui permettent de lancer les procédures judiciaires » et « parfois prend des jours, des semaines pour retirer les contenus ainsi identifiés ».
Il s’est prononcé en revanche contre l’interdiction générale de l’anonymat sur internet qui pourrait « aller vers le pire ».
Emmanuel Macron a demandé la dissolution d’ »associations ou groupements » racistes ou antisémites, à commencer par les organisations d’extrême droite Bastion social, Blood and Honour Hexagone et Combat 18.
« Parce que la période met en cause ce que nous sommes, la France doit tracer de nouvelles lignes rouges (…). J’ai demandé au ministre de l’Intérieur d’engager des procédures visant à dissoudre des associations ou groupements qui par leur comportement nourrissent la haine, promeuvent la discrimination ou appellent à l’action violente », a déclaré le chef de l’Etat, citant nommément les trois organisations « pour commencer ».
Enonçant une ligne de conduite « poursuivre, punir et éduquer », il a également annoncé avoir demandé au ministre de l’Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, « de procéder à un audit des établissement marqués par le phénomène de déscolarisation des enfants de confession juive ».
« Quand une telle déscolarisation se passe, elle dit quelque chose, parfois de ce que nous voulions ou ne pouvions voir, de ce qui ne se disait plus », a-t-il estimé.
« L’école doit jouer à plein son rôle de rempart républicain contre les préjugés et contre la haine, mais aussi contre ce qui en fait le lit: l’empire de l’immédiateté, le règne d’une forme de relativisme absolu. L’enseignement de la méthode scientifique, de la méthode historique sera renforcée. Tous les enfants de France seront sensibilisés au temps long des grandes civilisations », a-t-il souligné.
« L’antisémitisme n’est pas le problème des Juifs, c’est le problème de la République », a martelé le chef de l’Etat.
« La honte doit changer de camp », a martelé le chef de l’État, ajoutant, ému : « Nous sommes chez nous. Nous tous ». Cette déclaration entendait répondre au slogan « On est chez nous », largement scandé dans divers rassemblements d’extrême droite depuis plusieurs années.
La France a connu récemment une multiplication d’actes antisémites – +74 % en 2018. Mardi, 96 tombes ont été découvertes profanées dans un cimetière juif alsacien.
L’intellectuel et membre de l’Académie française Alain Finkielkraut a été violemment pris à partie samedi en marge d’un défilé des « gilets jaunes » par des manifestants, dont l’un a notamment utilisé le mot « sioniste ». Cela a suscité un débat en France sur le sens à donner à ce mot dans ce contexte.
Quelques jours plus tôt, des portraits de Simone Veil, rescapée d’Auschwitz et figure récemment décédée de la vie politique française, avaient été barrés d’une croix gammée. Et un arbre planté à la mémoire d’Ilan Halimi, un jeune juif torturé à mort en 2006, avait été retrouvé scié.
Des rassemblements contre l’antisémitisme se sont tenus mardi dans de nombreuses villes à travers la France, notamment place de la République à Paris où près de 20 000 personnes ont dénoncé ces actes.
« La masse n’était pas là, la foule n’était pas là », a ainsi regretté à l’antenne de la chaîne CNews l’avocat Serge Klarsfeld, connu pour sa traque d’anciens nazis. « L’antisémitisme, ça ne se guérit pas facilement, c’est un travail très long ».
En 2018, l’Agence juive estimait à 45 000 – un dixième de la communauté – le nombre des juifs de France ayant fait leur alyah, l’émigration vers Israël, en une décennie.
Dans son discours, le président du Crif, Francis Kalifat, avait lancé un appel aux musulmans et aux imams à lutter contre l’antisémitisme et à « en finir avec la justification religieuse de la haine des juifs ».
Il avait également dénoncé « l’antisémitisme de certains musulmans, l’antisémitisme de certains gilets jaunes ».
L’engagement du président français Macron d’adopter la définition de l’IHRA, reconnaissant ainsi que l’antisémitisme est un problème dominant qui doit être abordé de manière frontale et universelle, est une étape encourageante. Cependant, il ne s’agit que du début d’un long chemin à parcourir et nous devons tous continuer à être aussi vigilants que possible. Des actions, et non des mots, sont nécessaires pour éradiquer réellement ce problème. L’adoption de cette définition de l’antisémitisme doit être suivie de mesures concrètes pour légiférer et veiller à son application dans tous les domaines, » a déclaré Ronald S. Lauder, président du Congrès juif mondial, qui s’est dit prêt à aider le gouvernement français.

………………………………………………………………
7 DÉPUTÉS BRITANNIQUES QUITTENT LE PARTI TRAVAILLISTE POUR ANTISÉMITISME
PAR LPH Info
Guitel Benishay
FEV 20,2019

Sept députés travaillistes ont annoncé lundi, lors d’une conférence de presse, qu’ils démissionnaient du parti travailliste. Ces démissions s’inscrivent dans un contexte d’augmentation du nombre d’incidents antisémites signalés en Grande-Bretagne et d’une montée de l’inquiétude des juifs face à l’antisémitisme dans toute l’Europe.
Le dirigeant travailliste,  Jeremy Corbyn, soi-disant militant pour la paix mais dont la position anti-israélienne n’est pas un secret, a été accusé par les 7 députés  de ne pas avoir combattu l’antisémitisme au sein du parti, allégation qui pèse sur le politicien pro-palestinien depuis qu’il est devenu leader du parti en 2015 et même avant. En 2009, Jeremy Corbyn avait qualifié le Hamas et le Hezbollah « d’amis » et déclaré que le Hamas œuvrait en faveur de la paix et la justice. Il s’en est ensuite excusé. En 2012, il avait défendu une inscription murale antisémite, une posture suivie elle aussi de nouvelles excuses. En 2014, il a fleuri les tombes des terroristes palestiniens qui avaient assassiné des athlètes israéliens à Munich en 1972.
Il y a quinze jours, les députés travaillistes avaient adopté à l’unanimité une motion exigeant que la direction du parti fournisse des données détaillées par écrit d’ici le 11 février sur le traitement des plaintes concernant l’antisémitisme. La semaine dernière, les 7 députés  du Labour avaient contesté les chiffres de Corbyn, selon lesquels des centaines de plaintes pour antisémitisme avaient entraîné la suspension de plusieurs dizaines de membres. Ils avaient écris une lettre d’appel à la transparence concernant le traitement des plaintes antisémites. La lettre est restée morte.
Lors de la conférence de presse qu’ils ont donnée, les 7  députés ont fait, chacun leur tour, une déclaration pour expliquer leur départ, se disant «malades» devant l’antisémitisme dans le parti.
«Le parti que nous avons rejoint n’est plus le même, il a été pris en otage par l’extrême-gauche», a ainsi souligné Chris Leslie.
Les députés Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes et Ann Coffey ont donc décidé de quitter le Labor mais continueront à siéger au Parlement sous la bannière « Le groupe indépendant ».

Israël: ALLIANCE SCELLÉE ENTRE B.GRANTZ ET. Y. LAPID,LES DEUX PRINCIPAUX ADVERSAIRES DE NETANYAHOU
21/02/2019
I24 News

Les deux principaux adversaires de Benyamin Netanyahou, Benny Gantz et Yair Lapid ont décidé de présenter une liste commune aux prochaines élections législatives du 9 avril, ont-ils annoncé jeudi matin dans un communiqué.Dans le cadre de cette alliance, baptisée Bleu-Blanc (couleurs du drapeau israélien), les leaders des partis Résilience pour Israël et Yesh Atid ont convenu de partager le rôle de Premier ministre, en cas de victoire.
Les deux premières années du mandat, Benny Gantz occupera le poste, Yair Lapid sera lui, aux commandes du ministère des Affaires étrangères, avant d’être Premier ministre pour les deux années suivantes, tandis que l’ancien chef d’état-major sera ministre de la Défense.L’ancien chef de l’armée, Gabi Ashkenazi a annoncé qu’il se joindra à cette liste, sur laquelle figure également l’ex- ministre de la Défense Moshe Ya’alon, qui a lui aussi été à la tête du corps militaire.
“Motivés par une profonde responsabilité nationale, Benny Gantz, Yaïr Lapid et Moshé Yaalon ont décidé de créer une liste unifiée qui constituera le nouveau parti de gouvernement en Israël”, peut-on lire dans le communiqué de Yesh Atid.”Le parti mettra en place une nouvelle équipe de direction qui garantira la sécurité d’Israël et réunira les éléments divisés de la société israélienne”, poursuit le texte.Aucun des deux partis n’a pour l’heure apporté de détails supplémentaires concernant notamment le positionnement des membres de la liste.
M. Gantz s’est par ailleurs conformé à la demande de M. Lapid de ne pas se rallier à une coalition avec Benyamin Netanyahou, si le procureur général, Avichai Mandelblit, recommandait d’inculper le Premier ministre pour corruption.Les deux leaders annonceront officiellement leur union lors d’une déclaration commune prévue jeudi soir à 20H heure locale, et présenteront tous les détails de leur accord.
L’union des deux formations centristes fera ainsi front à la droite, tandis que selon tous les sondages effectués jusqu’à présent, le Likoud de Benyamin Netanyahou serait battu par le tandem Lapid-Gantz, si les élections avaient lieu aujourd’hui.Le parti du Premier ministre a immédiatement réagi à l’annonce des deux chefs de file des partis centristes, affirmant que “le choix est clair (pour les électeurs): soit un gouvernement de gauche Lapid-Gantz soutenu par un bloc de partis arabes, soit un gouvernement de droite dirigé par Netanyahou”.

Daily Briefing 4498- Universities provide a “safe space” for BDS harasses,Not ForJews

UNIVERSITIES PROVIDESAFE SPACEFOR BDS HARASSERS, NOT FOR JEWS

 

WIN Exclusive: Antisemitic Campus Group Turns Jewish Professor’s Life into Hell:  Atara Beck, World Jewish News, Feb. 21, 2019Michael Goldstein is an administrator and an adjunct professor of communications and government relations at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn – a part of City University of New York (CUNY). His father, in fact, the late Leon Goldstein, was the school’s president for 29 years and the man who built the college’s modern-day campus.

Supporting Faculty on Israel: Now More than Ever:  AsafRomirowsky and Alex Joffee, SPME, Dec. 16, 2018With the normalizing of antisemitism comes the normalizing of BDS. Professors and academics who support and advocate for BDS feel empowered and emboldened by the belief that their actions respond to the policies of current White House. Moreover, Israel is seen today as a right-wing issue, especially on campuses dominated completely by the political and cultural left.

In BDS Era, Book Provides Guidance for Parents of Jewish College Students:  Deborah Finebloom, Jewish Journal, Feb. 16, 2019 — Is anyone truly prepared for the meat grinder that is the college selection process?

Addressing The “Knowledge Gaps”:  Survey Aids Israel Advocacy:  Doris Strub Epstein, CIJR, Jan. 31, 2019 — The lines between those who are anti-Israel and those who are antisemitic are increasingly being blurred.  

On Topic Links

Universities Urged to Enforce Code Banning Politics in Lectures:  Michael Bachner, Times of Israel, Mar. 25, 2018

Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies: Ramallah on the Hudson:  A.J. Caschetta, Campus Watch, Nov. 19, 2018

Anti-Israel Sentiments Make Waves on Campus:  Rachel Fayne, The Jewish Times, Feb. 13, 2019

Study-Abroad Programs Enter the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  Gabby Deutch, The Atlantic, Oct. 12, 2018

                       Antisemitic Campus Group Turns Jewish Professor’s Life into Hell​​​​​                           Atara Beck​​​​​​​​​               World Jewish News, Feb. 22, 2019

Michael Goldstein is an administrator and an adjunct professor of communications and government relations at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn – a part of City University of New York (CUNY). His father, in fact, the late Leon Goldstein, was the school’s president for 29 years and the man who built the college’s modern-day campus.

Yet, as Goldstein wrote in an article published last week in the New York Daily News, he is the victim of “a systematic and pernicious campaign in which I have been targeted and harassed because of who I am and what I believe.” In this case, the “reason” for the attack, he says, is that he is “Jewish, politically conservative and I believe in Zionism, the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.”

In an attack in February 2018, the assailants, he explains in the Daily News piece, defaced a photo of his father with anti-Semitic graffiti, and he later learned that the incident occurred a day after Kingsborough Professor Katia Perea, a member of the radical Progressive Faculty Caucus (PFC), an unsanctioned group of faculty members, apparently told an administrator who refused her request to fire him, “I guess I will have to handle this myself.”

“This was my jarring introduction to the PFC and its unending campaign of harassment… It was also my introduction to the inertia of the Kingsborough and CUNY administrations,” he wrote, adding that the college refused to classify the incident as a hate crime and denied his requests for added security. This was just the beginning of an orchestrated, aggressive movement to destroy me,” he said.

In another attack – on May 31, 2018 – anarchists began banging on his windows while he was giving a lecture, he told World Israel News in an interview. They papered the campus with 1,000 flyers, sharing posts from his private Facebook page, including a photo of his 13-year-old daughter. They likely got hold of the material from students who are also Facebook “friends,” he surmises.

“I was literally in tears,” he said.

Finally, in October 2018, CUNY decided to open an investigation. According to Goldstein, the reason is that a self-described Communist newspaper published an anonymous article from PFC that included “horrific, antisemitic, anti-Zionist tropes against me…They published a series of articles about me, calling on students to rise up against me. They’ve been training students on campus.”

“The leader is Anthony Alessandrini, one of the founders of Students for Justice in Palestine,” Goldstein explained. They hold meetings every Friday night. Some Jewish faculty members who can’t attend, because of the Jewish Sabbath, have asked them numerous times to make it on another evening, but to no avail, he said. Indeed, Alessandrini has been called out by Canary Mission, which, according to its website, “documents people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews.”

Only after a Christian colleague experienced a vicious attack and demanded added security did the college finally agree to do the same for him, Goldstein said. “She feared for her life.”

This was after the Lawfare Project, a non-profit legal advocacy group that defends “the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and pro-Israel community, and fighting discrimination,” sent a letter to the CUNY chancellor, demanding protection for Goldstein. Asked why the college allows the abuse to continue, Goldstein told World Israel News, that “they’re afraid of litigation. As long as they can get away with delaying the issue, they’ll do that.”

As for his personal views, “I’m not anti-Muslim,” he stressed. “I’m against Islamic extremism. Most people who are good Muslims are against these crazies who bomb, stab. I’m against them attacking Jews, Christians, homosexuals – anybody.

“They’ve stripped me of my humanity this year. They destroyed me. I’m half the man that I was. I have sleepless nights. Every student I look at, I think they’re going to attack me. I don’t even leave my office. They’ve isolated me. I have to walk around campus with a public safety officer. I’ve gained 50 pounds. I used to wear a suit and tie every day, but now I just don’t have what it takes anymore.

“They’ve legitimized anti-Semitism,” he said. “If I was black, gay, Muslim, Latino or disabled, the university would have come to my rescue. It’s they who have attacked me, but it’s the university that enables them and emboldens them by their inaction. “My father built the college. He, like I did, loved the university and the students. He’s rolling in his grave now, seeing how these haters have been allowed to thrive and multiply.”

PFC’s “activities are not only directed towards me,” Goldstein notes. “Over the past year alone, at least five complaints by Jewish staff members have been filed against them internally with CUNY.”Goldstein said he has non-Jewish friends who were members of PFC but left because of the anti-Semitism. “They informed me about it, said it was set up like a Communist cell. They told me what was being said against Jews. They use the word Zionist, but it means Jews.” … [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

                 SUPPORTING FACULTY ON ISRAEL, NOW MORE THAN EVER

       Asaf Romirowsky

                                                      SPME, Dec. 16, 2018              

With the normalizing of antisemitism comes the normalizing of BDS. Professors and academics who support and advocate for BDS feel empowered and emboldened by the belief that their actions respond to the policies of current White House. Moreover, Israel is seen today as a right-wing issue, especially on campuses dominated completely by the political and cultural left. This allows every anti-Israel voice to be treated as normal and moral.

Faculty opposed to Israel are at the forefront of BDS, hiding behind the increasingly thin façade of academic freedom to launch systemic attacks on Israel, its supporters, and on the structure of the university itself.

Examples abound, from Rutgers women’s studies professor Jasbir Puar, who published an antisemitic blood libel as scholarship (and received an award from a professional organization for her calumnies), to University of Michigan American Studies professor John Cheney-Lippold, who refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wanted to study in Israel.

Facts and scholarship find no room in the world of BDS or identity politics. Feelings and politics shape everything related to Israel and, increasingly, related to the university as a whole. More and more, only one set of ideas is presented, in which Israel is the sole or greatest evil not only in the Middle East but the world, and which must be treated uniquely. Turkey’s jailing of tens of thousands of fellow academics does not register, much less China’s imprisonment of a million Muslims in reeducation camps. Such comparative analysis, the basis for all social science, is dismissed as mere “what-about-ism.”

Academics opposed to Israel demand not only a monopoly on the university but impunity from criticism. After the Cheney-Lippold affair, a variety of academic BDS supporters came out in his defense and decrying the University of Michigan’s tepid response. So did several academic organizations, including the American Association of University Professors and the Middle East Studies Association, along with BDS groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace and local Arab American representatives. Michigan’s Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies even held a BDS event, including a “teach-in,” with support from a host of other departments.

Dozens of Michigan faculty members also signed an angry letter demanding the university not punish Cheney-Lippold and claiming that the right to deny students letters of recommendation for study in one place and one place only, Israel, is a function of their academic freedom and right to free speech. Professional responsibilities to students, or the rights of students who perform well to receive letters of recommendation from their faculty members in order to study wherever they choose, do not enter the discussion.

BDS cuts to the heart of what universities are supposed to be. Is a university an impartial platform at which students can receive an education as well as support to go on with their lives and careers wherever they choose, or is it a political platform shaped exclusively by the views of an angry minority of Israel-hating faculty? Academics who support BDS demand that their politics directly shape the world and the lives of their students while eschewing all responsibility and even criticism. John K. Wilson, the co-editor of the AAUP’s blog, “Academe,” told Insider Higher Ed that “it is morally wrong for professors to impose their political views on student letters of recommendation,” but still argues that the professor should not be punished. There are almost no consequences, except writ large, when institutions like Evergreen State or the University of Missouri, which experienced similar unhinged anger from faculty and students over racial issues, found their enrollments plummeting and state legislators questioning the wisdom of supporting their bitter politics…. [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

                                                                       

IN BDS ERA, BOOK PROVIDES GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS OF JEWISH            COLLEGE STUDENTS

Deborah Finebloom,

                                                 Jewish Journal, Feb. 16, 2019

Is anyone truly prepared for the meat grinder that is the college selection process? It’s all-consuming, sucking the entire family into its vortex for months or even years: which schools to apply to, the endless tours and interviews, the essays, references and financial-aid applications, followed by months of nail-biting until the life-changing thumbs ups or thumbs downs.

(One searing memory is of my 17-year-old son setting fire to a particularly condescending rejection letter and, with a few choice words he must have picked up on the school bus, proceeding to flush its ashes down the toilet.)

A decade ago, after slogging through the process, if your child was accepted into a selective college, you’d breathe a sigh of relief, cash in your investments and have something to crow about when you run into your neighbor at the supermarket. But that was before anti-Israel fever reared its ugly head on many North American campuses, as wildly popular today as was goldfish-swallowing in the 1950s, and draft-card (and bra) burning in the 1960s and ’70s.

Coming to the rescue of concerned and confused parents is Jerome Ostrov’s “Finding the Right School in the Era of BDS and Intersectionality: A Jewish Parents’ Guide to Colleges: 2018-19 Academic Year.” The hefty tome (an oversized volume of no less than 444 pages) demystifies for parents much about the college selection process (for those clueless about what differentiates early and rolling admissions for example), but first and foremost, it’s an invaluable guide to protecting your child from the anti-Israel and, increasingly anti-Semitic, forces eating away at the fabric of many North American universities.

In these pages, the author, a retired lawyer who’s done his homework over the years studying America’s colleges and universities (and visiting 125 of them in the process), introduces parents to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. Long story short: In the last three years, 56 resolutions have been introduced into student governments recommending their schools withdraw from any business or academic relationship with Israeli companies, universities, hospitals, research projects, etc. (At some schools, even a brand of hummus served in dining halls with the Israeli name Sabra has triggered protests). More than half of these BDS resolutions have passed, and new ones are introduced each month.

Colleges that have passed such resolutions include Columbia University/Barnard College (which tops many a “Worst Schools for Jewish Students” list); Tufts University; the University of Maryland; the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; no fewer than five University of California campuses; George Washington, New York and Northeastern universities; and such heartland institutions as the Ohio State University, and the universities of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin…. [To read the full article click the following Link – Ed.]

                                                                                         

   

ADDRESSING THE KNOWLEDGE GAP:  SURVEY AIDS ISRAEL ADVOCACY

      Doris Strub Epstein

                                                                   CIJR, Jan.31, 2019

​​​​​

The lines between those who are anti-Israel and those who are antisemitic are increasingly being blurred.  That was a conclusion of a ground-breaking survey commissioned by La’ad Canada last September that asked 1500 people from across Canada key questions regarding what they think about Israel and Jews, including BDS.

The telephone survey, conducted by the research and strategy firm Campaign Research, ascertained that only 12 percent of respondents were familiar with what BDS was, and of those who were aware, 19 percent agreed with its objectives.  Of this latter group – the majority of who were males between the age of 18 – 24 – 45 percent favoured imposing further boycotts, divestment, and sanctions even if Israel were to meet its “obligations under international law.” Included among these “obligations” was withdrawal from the occupied territories, removal of the separation barrier in the West Bank, full equality for Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel and promotion of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

“If you’re still calling for BDS after Israel does everything BDS is asking for, clearly the issue is not about co-existence, it must be about something else,’ says Sam Eskenasi, Director of Advocacy for La’adCanada.  “That something else is very likely antisemitism.”

At a January 31st conference entitled “What Do Canadians Think About Israel,” held at Toronto’s Beth David Synagogue, La’ad’s Eskenasi, and Lauren Isaacs from Hasbara Fellowships Canada discussed the results of this survey and about how their organizations help “fill the knowledge gaps” and “take control of the narrative.”

The conference was organized by the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR), an academic pro-Israel think-tank, that has been educating the public about Israel for over 30 years through lectures, academic conferences, and daily briefings that analyze the political happenings of the day concerning Israel.

All three outreach organizations target students on university campuses, amongst other demographic groups. Poll results such as these that expose the underlying motivations behind many BDS supporters help students distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. Still, the challenges for Israel advocacy groups remainsignificant. “We’re winning the ground war but losing the media war,” Isaacs says.

She offered suggestions on how to advocate for Israel.  “Connect [the subject of] Israel to current “hot button” topics.  Facts may be important. Emotions, though, are more powerful and drive decisions. Personalize your arguments.”  

Dr. Daniel Rickenbacher, the upcoming Assistant Director of Research and Operations, CIJR, adds.  “As in every generation, we must address issues that are important to young people, such as the right to sexual self-determination, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law, which are all trampled on by Israel’s enemies but guaranteed in Israel.  Its an absurdity that the friends of a bigoted, extreme right movement, such as Hamas, should be supported on campus by self-declared Liberals or Progressives.”

La’ad Canada was founded in 2017 by young professionals who saw the need for an advocacy organization focused on the next generation of Jewish Canadians.  Reaching millennials, La’ad believes, requires a different approach from that which worked for their parents and grandparents who fought for Soviet Jewry, and the fledgling State of Israel. Millennials only know Israel as a superpower and cannot perceive a time when its very existence was at stake and the persecution of Jews a daily occurrence. The challenge for Israel advocates is to breach this illusion of invincibility in ways that speak emotionally and intellectually to today’s youth.

Doris Stub Epstein is Co-chair, CIJR, Toronto

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters:  Shabbat Shalom!

On Topic Links

Universities urged to enforce code banning politics in lectures:  Michael Bachner, Times of Israel, Mar. 25, 2018A proposed ethics code for academic institutions that drew ire last year over a clause that would prevent lecturers from promoting specific political agendas or boycotts of Israel in class has been approved and will come into force by the beginning of next year.

Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies: Ramallah on the Hudson:  A.J. Caschetta, Campus Watch,Nov. 19, 2018 The Trump administration may have closed the PLO’s Mission in Washington, D.C., but its Morningside Heights Mission is open for business.

Anti-Israel Sentiments Make Waves on Campus:  Rachel Fayne, The Jewish Times, Feb. 13, 2019Relations between Jewish and Muslim students at Georgia State University have been strained lately.

Study-Abroad Programs Enter the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  Gabby Deutch, The Atlantic, Oct. 12, 2018Twice this semester, University of Michigan instructors have made headlines for their opposition to Israel.

Daily Briefing- Brexit Blues Feb 21,2019.

  • BREXIT BLUES

Brexit Endgame: Parliament Sends Contradictory Messages as Deadline Nears: Amanda Sloat, Brookings, Jan. 30, 2019 —

On January 29, two months to the day before the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU), the British Parliament prepared to take charge of the Brexit process.

What Europe Thinks of Brexit: Christopher Caldwell, Spectator USA, Jan. 31, 2019 — In Paris in December, I sat with a journalist friend in a café on the Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui and listened to him explain to me why a no-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for Britain.
Europeans Can’t Understand the Existential Drive Behind the British Wish to Leave The EU: Thomas Kielinger, The Spectator, Feb. 9, 2019 –What can the EU do to help the Britons out of their Brexit quagmire?
British Jews Apply for German Nationality as Brexit Looms: Kirsten Grieshaber, AP, Jan. 29, 2019- Simon Wallfisch grew up in London as the grandson of an Auschwitz survivor who had sworn to never return to the country that murdered her parents and 6 million other Jews.

On Topic Links

EU Economies Are Faltering, And the Costs of Brexit Are Exaggerated: Ashoka Mody, Briefings for Brexit, Feb. 6, 2019, Podcast. At the 15 min. point, Mr. Mody speaks about Brexit.
Convulsions Over Brexit and the Struggle for The Western Nation: Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2018
Britain And Israel Sign Trade Continuity Agreement to Take Effect After Brexit: The JC, Feb. 18, 2019
Divided Kingdom: How Brexit is Remaking the UK’s Constitutional Order: Amanda Sloat, Brookings, Oct. 18, 2018

BREXIT ENDGAME: PARLIAMENT SENDS CONTRADICTORY
MESSAGES AS DEADLINE NEARS
Amanda Sloat
Brookings, Jan. 30, 2019
In January 29, two months to the day before the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU), the British Parliament prepared to take charge of the Brexit process. It considered a series of amendments on alternative approaches to the unpopular deal that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU. Yet rather than seizing control, Parliament adopted a non-binding motion opposing a no-deal Brexit and rebuffed measures that could have avoided that outcome. It also called for the Irish backstop to be replaced by “alternative arrangements,” which the EU has repeatedly said it will not do. These votes result in a contradiction: if Parliament does not ratify a withdrawal agreement with a backstop, there will be no deal. Despite the legislative drama, little has changed, and this cycle will repeat on February 13. The U.K. is creeping ever closer to a no-deal Brexit on March 29.

On January 15, the House of Commons defeated May’s Brexit deal. As required, May delivered a statement on January 21 that addressed the bill’s defeat and outlined her next steps—including greater engagement with Parliament on the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU, stronger guarantees for workers’ rights, and protection of the Irish border in a manner supported by Parliament. May also tabled a motion that Parliament could amend as a means of considering other options.

On January 29, Parliament finally had the opportunity to debate and vote on its own proposals. MPs put forward numerous amendments, with Speaker John Bercow selecting seven for consideration. Parliament adopted by narrow margins the last two amendments it considered:

No-deal amendment: Proposed by Conservative former Environment Minister Caroline Spelman, this amendment said the U.K. would not leave the EU without a deal. In a 318-310 vote, MPs adopted this advisory motion that is not binding on the government.

Amendment to replace Northern Ireland backstop: Proposed by senior Conservative MP Graham Brady and supported by May, this proposal enabled MPs to express their unhappiness with the Irish backstop and called for it to be “replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border.” (For background on these Northern Ireland issues, see this earlier blog post.) It also said the advocates of this amendment wanted to leave the EU with a deal and would support May’s plan if this change were made. This amendment passed by a 317-301 margin.

Meanwhile, Parliament rejected by comfortable margins several other amendments, including: Official Labour amendment: Proposed by opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, this amendment sought to prevent a no-deal Brexit by ensuring that Parliament could vote on options preventing this outcome (including a permanent customs union with the EU).

Amendment to Article 50: Proposed by Labour MP Yvette Cooper, this amendment would have required Parliament to vote on a measure asking the EU to extend Article 50 (the legal process governing the U.K.’s withdrawal that currently expires on March 29) until the end of 2019 if May failed to secure a deal by February 26. Some opponents included Labour members who represent Leave-supporting constituencies. Following its defeat, the British pound dropped 0.6 percent against the U.S. dollar… [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

Contents

WHAT EUROPE THINKS OF BREXIT
Christopher Caldwell
The Spectator USA, Jan. 31, 2019

In Paris in December, I sat with a journalist friend in a café on the Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui and listened to him explain to me why a no-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for Britain. It had to do with an article his newspaper had published about the Mini. You might think they were typically British cars, he said, but the plant where they were made in Cowley belonged to BMW! The steering wheels were assembled in Romania! The tail lights came from Poland!

So? I asked. Brexit was about leaving the EU, not making globalization un-happen. Who do you think wants to close the Mini plant? Britain does not want to damage its export sector any more than Romania or Poland wants to shut down a factory that provides the livelihoods of thousands.

But this explanation, so reasonable sounding to me, made no impression on my friend. Almost all elite Brexit opinion, in Europe as in Britain, is built on the premise that somebody on the other side of the Channel is going to do something profoundly against his own self-interest. These kilometers-long traffic jams at Dover that are supposed to strike fear into us. Should they happen, won’t someone do something about them? How long would they last? An afternoon? Three days?

Last weekend, before votes on the amendments were due, France’s newspaper of record Le Monde tried to rise to the occasion. It opened its editorial pages to distinguished French historians who advanced two seemingly contradictory opinions about Britain: a) it is an absolutely horrible country, and b) it is essential that France, through the European Union, continues to bind this awful nation’s fate forever to its own.

Britain — ‘the leading slave-power of the 18th century’, according to one of these historians — ‘would have had to stop fighting [the Nazis] in 1943 if not for American aid,’ according to another, and now merely aspires to be like Singapore, ‘the “nation of shopkeepers” of the 21st century.’ This vision of free trade ‘cannot disguise the wish to revive a “white” and xenophobic Empire’, said a third. It would nonetheless be a shame to lose Britain from the EU, since Le Monde has it on good authority that ‘in the pubs, they serve more espressos than “English breakfasts”’.

Throughout the past weekend, the continental media were thus raving about the heroes of Remain. Here was a feature on Speaker John Bercow, with his charming bumper-sticker (‘Brexit aux chiottes!’ as Le Parisien renders it). There was the Francophone Dominic Grieve, the Unbowed Conservative, as Le Monde styled him. ‘Whether you call him a miracle or an anomaly of British–style bipartisanship,’ the paper’s correspondent wrote, ‘this pragmatic European, this workhorse, sits on the same side of the chamber as the Europhobic dilettante Boris Johnson, whom he detests.’ … [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]
Contents

EUROPEANS CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE EXISTENTIAL DRIVE BEHIND THE BRITISH WISH TO LEAVE THE EU
Thomas Kielinger
The Spectator, Feb. 7, 2019

What can the EU do to help the Britons out of their Brexit quagmire? Until very recently, the answer would have been ‘little, if anything’. There is a deal on the table, which Theresa May herself pronounced to be non-negotiable. Well, parliament directed her — and by implication, the EU — to think again and to reconsider the vexed question of the Irish backstop. Does anybody on either side of the channel really want to wreck the future relationship between the UK and the EU over the unsolved issue of the Irish border, as well as risk creating renewed enmity along it? God forbid.

The EU’s reluctance to come forward with a compromise is of course rooted in the inability of Europeans to understand the existential drive behind the British wish to leave in the first place. They simply can’t conceive of their British partner, so beloved across a hugely Anglophile continent, wanting to ditch its cosy alliance for the purpose of going it alone again in the world.

Everybody was somehow goaded into thinking that the term EU makes for a joint identity, erasing intrinsic differences of national characteristics. Wrong. There remains a significant gulf between the sceptered isle and the continental approach to history. A seafaring nation and continentals sing from quite different hymn sheets.

On the eve of Trafalgar Lord Nelson told his captains, ‘Something has to be left to chance. Nothing is certain in a sea fight.’ The English, wrote Orwell, are ‘inveterate gamblers.’ It boils down to the same thing. On the high seas you have to trust to fortune as well as to your skills and your confidence in this blessed plot. The British character emerged from a combination of guts and risk-taking, with sovereignty and a ‘free hand’ as the ultimate aspiration.

As a result, the country has never subscribed to a supranational body with rights to adjudicate in its own affairs. At least not ad infinitum. Forty-five years of belonging to the European community has just about exhausted the British willingness to go along with an outfit which remained alien to its national psyche.

You may think I’m speaking like an unreconstructed Brexiter. Far from it. While I understand the forces of British history, having studied them over long years, I fear that Brexit may be a ‘inveterate gamble’ too far — and doubt whether the EU, led by France and Germany, can extricate the Brits from their quicksand… [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

Contents


BRITISH JEWS APPLY FOR GERMAN NATIONALITY AS BREXIT LOOMS
Kirsten Grieshaber
AP, Jan. 29, 2019
​​​​​
Simon Wallfisch grew up in London as the grandson of an Auschwitz survivor who had sworn to never return to the country that murdered her parents and 6 million other Jews.
But more than 70 years after the Holocaust, Brexit has prompted Wallfisch and thousands of other Jews in Britain to apply for German citizenship, which was stripped from their ancestors by the Nazis during the Third Reich. “This disaster that we call Brexit has led to me just finding a way to secure my future and my children’s future,” said Wallfisch, 36, a well-known classical singer and cellist who received his German passport in October. “In order to remain European, I’ve taken the European citizenship.”

Many Britons whose ancestors came from other parts of Europe have been claiming citizenship in other EU member states so they can keep ties to the continent. But for Jews whose families fled Germany to escape the Nazis, the decision has meant re-examining long-held beliefs about the country.

The German Embassy in London says it has received more than 3,380 citizenship applications since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 under article 116 of the German Constitution, which allows the descendants of people persecuted by the Nazis to regain the citizenship that was removed between 1933 and 1945. In comparison, only around 20 such requests were made annually in the years before Brexit.

Wallfisch’s grandmother, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, was 18 in December 1943 when she was deported to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in occupied Poland where more than 1 million Jews were murdered. She survived because she was a member of the camp’s girls’ orchestra. As a cellist, she had to play classical music while other Jews were taken to the gas chambers.

In November 1944, she was taken to Bergen-Belsen — the concentration camp where diarist Anne Frank died after also being transferred from Auschwitz at about the same time — where she was eventually liberated by the British army in April 1945.

Lasker-Wallfisch immigrated to Britain in 1946, got married and had two children. Her career as a famous cello player took her around the world, but it took decades until she overcame her hatred enough to set foot on German soil again in the 1990s. In recent years, Lasker-Wallfisch, 93, has become a regular visitor, educating children in Germany about the Holocaust and speaking last year during the German parliament’s annual Holocaust memorial event.

On Sunday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Lasker-Wallfisch, her grandson Simon and her daughter Maya Jacobs Lasker-Wallfisch performed for the first time together on stage at the Jewish Museum Berlin in commemoration of their family. They played music with other members of their extended family and read letters from the past as a tribute to those who survived and those who perished in the Shoah.

Before the show, the three generations sat together on the red couch in the museum’s dressing room and told The Associated Press about the emotional thoughts that went into the younger two’s decision to take German citizenship. “We cannot be victims of our past. We have to have some hope for change,” said Maya Jacobs Lasker-Wallfisch, a 60-year-old London psychotherapist who is Simon’s aunt and is still waiting on her German citizenship to be approved. “I feel somehow in a strange way triumphant. Something is coming full circle.”… [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

Contents

On Topic Links

EU Economies Are Faltering, And the Costs Of Brexit Are Exaggerated: Ashoka Mody, Briefings for Brexit, Feb. 6, 2019, Podcast. At the 15 min. point, Mr. Mody speaks about Brexit — The prize-winning Indian economist Ashoka Mody explains why the EU is facing long-term economic decline, and why the economic costs of Brexit have been greatly overstated.
Convulsions Over Brexit and the Struggle for The Western Nation: Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2018 — The West is convulsing as a new world order struggles to be born. Nowhere is that convulsion currently proving more agonizing and potentially catastrophic than in the United Kingdom.
Britain And Israel Sign Trade Continuity Agreement to Take Effect After Brexit: The JC, Feb. 18, 2019 — The UK and Israel have signed a trade continuity agreement to take effect after Brexit, with the Department for International Trade saying the move would “deliver significant savings and help to safeguard British jobs”.
Divided Kingdom: How Brexit is Remaking the UK’s Constitutional Order: Amanda Sloat, Brookings, Oct. 18, 2018 — In June 2016, British voters decided in a referendum to leave the European Union, though clear majorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland preferred to remain.

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” FEB 20TH 2019

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

 

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

 

On Topic Links

Watch: How the World Council of Churches’ Anti-Israel Activities Were Exposed: United With Israel, Feb. 18, 2019
Netanyahu Achieves Major Diplomatic Triumph in Warsaw: David Isaac, World Israel News, Feb. 18, 2019
Caroline Glick: Ilhan Omar & Co. Were Elected Because of Their Racism, Not In Spite of It: Caroline Glick, Breitbart, Feb. 17, 2019
If Not Now, When? Gideon Taylor, Colette Avita, Jerusalem Post, February 18, 2019

WEEKLY QUOTES

“The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law. Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, U.S. behavior is putting international law on the shelf,” — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zasrif said at the Munich Peace and Security Conference on the Middle East. In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel Online, he also rejected Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks accusing the Islamic Republic of antisemitism akin to the Nazis, calling them “laughable,” and insisted that “Iran has always supported the Jews. We are just against Zionists. The Holocaust was a disaster.” (Haaretz, Feb. 17, 2019)
“You have just heard foreign minister Zarif. Do not be deceived by his eloquence. Do not be fooled by his lies. As IDF former Chief of Staff, I saw first-hand precise information regarding what is really happening in Iran. Hence, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the regime Mr. Zarif represents is an evil one… It is no secret that Prime Minister Netanyahu is my political rival. We disagree on many issues. But make no mistakes – we are both devoted sons of the same nation. When Israel’s security is under threat, there is no daylight between us…. When it comes to defending Israel- we are united. I am standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the fight against Iran’s aggression. I am certain he will do the same when I will be the Prime Minister of Israel.” — Benny Gantz, Founder of the newly formed Israel Resilience Party at the Munich Security Conference. He also called Hezbollah “the most dangerous terror organization in the world. Those in Europe who seek peace, security and stability- must take action and fully designate Hezbollah as the terror organization that it is. Inaction is unacceptable. We have all seen the tragedy in Syria […] But the good news is that in many ways pragmatic Arabs and Israelis are closer than ever before. Many in the Arab world have realized that Israel is not part of the problem but part of the solution.” (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 17, 2019)
“If Israel makes a mistake that sparks a new war, they can rest assured that this will bring about their elimination… They will be annihilated before the Americans get here. They should look for cemeteries outside of occupied Palestine. No technical obstacles are preventing us from increasing the range, the precision, or the destructive power of our long-range missiles. This also applies to our powerful propellants. We are not facing any technical obstacles with any of these,” — IRGC Deputy Hossein Salami in an interview on Channel 2 TV (Iran). (MEMRI, Feb. 4, 2019)

“Objectively speaking, Hitler wins. But as far as we’re concerned, we should erect a statue of Hitler for what he did to the Jews.” — Egyptian researcher and poet Mohamed Gad El-Zoghby was asked in a February 9, 2019 interview on Safa TV (Saudi Arabia/Egypt) who was worse: Adolf Hitler or Imam Khomeini. El-Zoghby accused Imam Khomeini of collaborating with the Jews and praised Hitler for supporting the Arab cause in Palestine. (MEMRI, Feb. 9, 2019)
“I see the ballistic missile program, I see Iran in Yemen and above all I see Iran in Syria … The only question that stands between us on this issue is, do we help our common cause, our common aim of containing the damaging or difficult development of Iran, by withdrawing from the one remaining agreement? Or do we help it more by keeping the small anchor we have in order maybe to exert pressure in other areas?” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Munich Security Conference, for which she drew lengthy applause. (AP, Feb. 16, 2019)
“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them…. …. The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!” – US President Donald Trump on Twitter. Trump’s comments come as the area that ISIS now controls shrunk to just 700 square meters, according to a commander with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). (CNN, Feb. 17, 2019)
“This is exactly the intention, to move the next coalition of the State of Israel to the center-right, not to the extreme right.” — the head of the Institute for National Security Studies, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin said in an interview with Reshet Bet, responding to whether the US will be supporting Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party in the April election. Regarding the Jared Kushner Peace plan, an outline of which was revealed at the Warsaw Summit, he added, “I think that Netanyahu, as an experienced statesman, understood that he is going to get the Trump plan not in the summer but immediately after the elections.” (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 17, 2019)
“I am very happy to report that the process of stabilizing relations with Israel is at its height,” Venezuela’s self-declared leader Juan Guaida told Israel Hayom in an interview. A formal announcement on reestablishing ties and opening a new Venezuelan embassy in Israel would come “at the proper time.” Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez fostered ties with the Palestinians as well as Iran. Israeli leaders said Caracas’s posture prompted a flight of Venezuelan Jews. (Reuters, Feb. 12, 2019)
“As the situation in Syria stabilizes, Hezbollah is returning its forces to Lebanon. Despite the many casualties it took, the organization is coming back with extensive combat experience. They are no longer a guerrilla group, but a real army. They fought there in companies and battalions, very similar to armies. They operate in civilian areas and are ready to use large quantities of anti-tank missiles. This is a challenge the IDF must train for.” — Col. Dudu Sonago, the 401st Brigade of the IDF’s Armored Corps during a large-scale military drill in the Jordan Valley to prepare soldiers for potential future fighting against Hezbollah in Lebanon. (Algemeiner, Feb. 15, 2019)
“I have become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party. I have come to the sickening conclusion that it is institutionally antisemitic.” – Wavertree MP Luciana Berger speaking as to why she and six other Labour MPs resigned from the party. Opposition to leader Jeremy Corbin’s approach to Brexit and claiming that the party’s shift to the “hard left,” were other reasons cited. In a direct challenge to Corbyn, the seven centrist MPs said they were courting others from across parliament to join their group, saying “enough is enough” in keeping silent over their doubts about the Labour leader’s fitness for office. The seven lawmakers are Leslie, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey. They will continue to sit as members of parliament under the banner “The Independent Group.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 18, 2019)

Contents
SHORT TAKES

PRESIDENT TRUMP NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE (Tokyo) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recommended President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, in response to a request from the US government, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi for his easing of tensions with North Korea. There are 304 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 out of whom 219 are individuals and 85 are organizations. (Jewish Press, Feb. 17, 2019)
ONE THIRD OF BRITISH VOTERS BELIEVE LABOUR PARTY LEADER JEREMY CORBYN IS ANTISEMITIC: POLL (London) — A YouGov poll shows that 34 percent of voters consider Corbyn antisemitic, while 32 percent said they didn’t know. Only 24 percent said unequivocally that he is not. Asked if the Labour Party is antisemitic, 24 percent of those surveyed answered yes. (Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2019)
ANTISEMITIC POSTERS FOUND OUTSIDE TUFTS HILLEL (Massachusetts) — More than a dozen anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posters were discovered outside the Hillel at Tufts University bearing images of militarized pigs, including at least one consisting of a caption that reads “DESTROY ISRAELI APARTHEID FORCES AND AMERIKKKAN PIGS WHICH FUND IT. FREE PALESTINE.” University president Anthony Monaco, in an email to the Tufts community did not explicitly label the posters as anti-Israel or antisemitic, rather as “disturbing and hurtful” to the school. (JNS, Feb. 13, 2019)
VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE WHO SPEWED ANTISEMITIC RHETORIC HAS A RADICAL PAST (Virginia) – Ibraheem Samirah, a 27-year-old Virginia General Assembly candidate apologized for past social media posts excoriating Jews and Israel but continues to shade his involvement with groups which would like to see Israel eliminated, a sentiment that was prominent in his life. The posts, first published Feb. 7 by Big League Politics, claimed that sending money to Israel was “worse” than sending money to the Ku Klux Klan and wishing that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would burn in hell. (IPT News, Feb. 18, 2019)

NATION OF ISLAM LEADER LOUIS FARRAKHAN UNLEASHES TORRENT OF VERBAL ATTACKS ON JEWS (Chicago) – Speaking at the Saviours’ Day event at the United Center in Chicago. Louis Farrakhan’s speech was rife with antisemitism, according to an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report. Among his other remarks, he claimed that anti-black racism ‘was started by Jewish rabbinical leaders’ in ancient times, and that Jewish racism towards Africans is ultimately responsible for the ‘enslavement… colonization…dehumanization…[and] denial of self-determination’ to black people throughout history.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 18, 2019)

GERMAN REPORT: ASSAD REGIME RESPONSIBLE FOR 98% OF 336 CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACKS IN SYRIA (Berlin) — The Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), a non-profit think tank established in 2003 in Berlin, estimates that some 90% of all confirmed chemical attacks were launched after the August 2013 threat by President Obama that should the Assad regime use chemical weapons again, it would cross a red line and change his policy regarding military intervention in Syria. It also points an accusing finger at the Russian military for aiding and participating in these war crimes. (Jewish Press, Feb. 17, 2019)

FIRST DAY ON THE JOB, NEW FOREIGN MINISTER KATZ INSULTS POLAND (Jerusalem) — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will not attend the planned Monday meeting of the leaders of central European EU members in Israel because of what the new substitute foreign minister Yisrael Katz said concerning the role of the Poles in the extermination of Jews during WW2. During an interview with Israel’s 24-News, he quoted Yitzchak Shamir who said that “Poles suckled antisemitism with their mother’s milk.” (Jewish Press, Feb. 18, 2019)

GIANT NAZI SWASTIKA ADORNS STAIRCASE IN KIEV MALL, LATEST IN UKRAINE ANTISEMITISM (Kiev) — A facsimile of the Nazi flag with a giant swastika in the middle was painted on to a central staircase in the middle of the Gorodok shopping mall in the Ukraine capital city of Kiev several hours before Ukrainian nationalists marched through central Kiev brandishing the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol. (Jewish Press, Feb. 18, 2019)

A RARE 1,900-YEAR-OLD COIN FROM THE TIME OF THE BAR KOCHBA REVOLT UNEARTHED (Lachish region) — Coins of this type that bears the name Shimon – Bar Kochba’s first name – were minted during the Bar Kochba revolt from 132-135 CE, during which Jewish rebels managed to regain some autonomy from Rome. The “second year” is either the year 133 or 134 CE. (Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2019)

U.S. REVIVES SECRET PROGRAM TO SABOTAGE IRANIAN MISSILES AND ROCKETS (Washington) — The U.S. has accelerated a secret program to sabotage Iran’s missiles, according to current and former administration officials. Two failed Iranian attempts to launch satellites in the past month were part of a pattern. Over the past 11 years, 67% of Iranian orbital launches have failed, compared to a 5% failure rate worldwide for similar space launches. U.S. officials described a far-reaching effort, created under President George W. Bush, to slip faulty parts and materials into Iran’s aerospace supply chains. (New York Times, Feb. 13, 2019)

THOUSANDS RALLY AGAINST ANTISEMITISM AFTER SPIKE IN ATTACKS (Paris) – Political leaders from all parties, including former Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, gathered in Paris filling the Place de la Republique to decry antisemitic acts with one common slogan: “Enough!” People also lined the streets of cities from Lille in the north to Toulouse and Marseille in the south. President Emmanuel Macron paid respects at one of the 96 desecrated graves in the village of Quatzenheim, near the eastern city of Strasbourg. (NBC News, Feb. 19, 2019)
SECURITY CABINET DEDUCTS HALF A BILLION SHEKELS FROM PA TAX FUNDS (Jerusalem) – Security officials presented data showing that in 2018, the Palestinian Authority transferred the above-stated amount to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and their families and to released prisoners. Additional deductions will be made linking PA payments to terrorism. The amount frozen will be updated, as per the information received, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Jewish Press, Feb. 17, 2019)

PRESIDENT RIVLIN LAUNCHES FIRST ISRAELI SPACECRAFT TO THE MOON (Cape Canaveral) — Eight years of intensive work by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries will come to fruition with the launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, this Thursday. The spacecraft, named Bereishit (Genesis), will carry a time capsule, which has a huge database saved on special disks that can be removed from the spacecraft. There are hundreds of digital files, including the Bible and details about SpaceIL, the building of the spacecraft, Israeli national symbols, cultural items and materials collected by the public over the years. The time capsule will remain on the moon after the mission is completed. (Jewish Press, Feb. 17, 2019)
MEDICAL AL STARTUP HEALTHYMIZE TAPS INTO VOICE ANALYSIS TECH TO MONITOR HEALTH (Jerusalem) — With its personalized, artificial intelligence-based voice analyzing software, Healthymize turns smart devices into remote patient monitoring devices for voice-affecting diseases such as asthma, pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It automates labor-intensive phone monitoring to manage chronic patients, giving healthcare professionals the ability to assess the speech of a patient at any time. (No Camels, Jan. 23, 2019)
FOREIGN INTERVENTION NOTED IN ISRAEL’S ELECTIONS (Jerusalem) — Several senior security officials, including ISA (Shabak) chief Nadav Argaman and several Israeli cyber consultants, have taken note recently of apparent attempts by several foreign countries to interfere in the upcoming Israeli elections via cyber and IW (Information Warfare) attacks. Below the radar, there is evidence that at least one country – Saudi Arabia may be attempting to interfere via more traditional methods that includes hiring PR teams, advertising agencies, and policy advocacy and lobbying companies. (BESA, Feb. 17, 2019)
CANADIAN CAPTURED IN SYRIA ADMITS TO ROLE IN ISIS EXECUTION VIDEOS (Syria) — Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed, who was detained by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on Jan. 13, acknowledged his role in the ISIS videos Flames of War and Flames of War 2, the Rojava Information Centre said. (Global News, Feb. 16, 2019)
FORMER US INTELLIGENCE AGENT CHARGED WITH SPYING FOR IRAN (Washington) — Monica Witt, 39, a U.S. Air Force counterintelligence agent who had studied Farsi, carried out covert missions in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. An indictment made public on Wednesday accused Witt of defecting to Iran in August 2013 to work with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in betrayal of the U.S. (New York Times, Feb. 13, 2019)
On Topic Links
Watch: How the World Council of Churches’ Anti-Israel Activities Were Exposed: United With Israel, Feb. 18, 2019 — The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) – a project of the World Council of Churches (WCC), one of the biggest ecumenical organizations in the world – is a political project disguised as a human rights group.
Netanyahu Achieves Major Diplomatic Triumph in Warsaw: David Isaac, World Israel News, Feb. 18, 2019 — In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-fought diplomatic effort to bring about international pressure on Iran there have been many impressive moments.
Caroline Glick: Ilhan Omar & Co. Were Elected Because of Their Racism, Not In Spite of It: Caroline Glick, Breitbart, Feb. 17, 2019 — Rep. Ilhan Omar is an antisemite and, as the actions of the congressional Democratic leadership last week made clear, hating Jews is a perfectly acceptable position in today’s Democratic Party.
If Not Now, When? Gideon Taylor, Colette Avita, Jerusalem Post, February 18, 2019 — The turmoil surrounding the canceled visit to Israel this week of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki provides a very timely reminder of a key aspect of Poland’s relationship with the past.

WITH THEIR EYES ON 2020, DEMOCRATS STRUGGLE TO DEFINE THEIR IDENTITY

WITH THEIR EYES ON 2020, DEMOCRATS STRUGGLE TO DEFINE THEIR IDENTITY

 

Can the Democrats Ever Get Over Their Anti-Israel Bias? Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Feb. 12, 2019 — Whew, that was a close call. But now that Democrats have pulled back from the brink of unchecked antisemitism, they can return to their regularly scheduled programming of routine anti-Israel bias.

Marc Thiessen: Schultz calls Dems Out for How Radical They’ve Become, Marc Thiessen, NWF Daily News, Feb. 3, 2019 — Democrats are furious at former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz for announcing that he may launch an independent campaign for president.

As the Russia Hoax Begins to Unravel, the Gaslighting BeginsAdam Mill, The Federalist, Feb. 17, 2019 — In episode 171 of “Seinfeld,” George Costanza makes up a story about having a house in the Hamptons in order to avoid attending an event with his dead fiancée’s parents, the Rosses.

Why did Republicans Vote Against their Own Bill on Antisemitism?: Ron Kampeas, JTA,  Feb. 14, 2019 — Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives were in the odd position Wednesday of voting against a bill that included an initiative to combat anti-Semitism, a measure they initially insisted was in the national security interests of the United States.

 

On Topic Links

 

George Will: Klobuchar could break Minnesota’s presidential losing streak, George Will, Trib Live, Jan. 30, 2019

Green New Deal would destroy American Dream, create American Nightmare, Justin Haskins, Fox News, Feb. 16, 2019

Senate Panel to Investigate Meetings Between Russians and Obama Officials, Andrew Blake, The Washington Times, Feb. 16, 2019

Democrats are tearing themselves apart over Amazon, Marc Theissen, New York Post, Feb. 17, 2019

 

                            Can the Democrats Ever Get Over Their Anti-Israel Bias?                                                                    Michael Goodwin                                                                                                    New York Post, Feb. 12, 2019

 

Whew, that was a close call. But now that Democrats have pulled back from the brink of unchecked antisemitism, they can return to their regularly scheduled programming of routine anti-Israel bias.

The vile tweets of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar about Jews, money and dual loyalty were forcefully repudiated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, though their decision to merely scold her means Omar remains on the Foreign Affairs panel and has a prominent perch from which to peddle her BDS B.S.

Any doubt that Omar will do just that was erased in her defiant “apology,” which included another snide reference to AIPAC where she compared its lobbyists to those of the NRA and oil industry. “It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it,” she concluded about all three. She also continues to retweet complaints from others who charge they, too were falsely accused of antisemitism after criticizing AIPAC, a sign she considers herself the victim of what, Jewish power?

The problem going forward for Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has multiple tentacles, and they overlap in Omar. She succeeded Keith Ellison, who freely associated with Louis Farrakhan, as did other Democrats, meaning a significant number of elected officials are comfortable with the most notorious antisemite in America. Recall the long-suppressed photo of a grinning Barack Obama with Farrakhan. Imagine if Donald Trump or any other Republican had . . . you get the point. Another new Dem, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, once wrote a column for Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam publication. And some supporters with her when she declared her intention to “impeach the motherf–ker,” meaning Trump, believe Israel has no right to exist.

To be clear, not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, and as a nation state, it should generally be held to the same rules and norms we expect from others. While there’s not always a bright line between legitimate criticism and veiled antisemitism, a consistent one is when someone says Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state or demands policies that would lead to the same outcome. As a test, the next time you hear someone make such comments, ask what other countries also have no right to exist. Chances are you won’t get an answer, just an assault on Israel over its treatment of Palestinians or some other supposed injustice against mankind.

And let’s not waste time discussing the United Nations, where the general tone is that the world would be a better place if Jews would disappear. Even the antisemites among Democrats don’t go that far, at least publicly. But much of the party, and many of its young members, are guilty of singling out Israel for condemnation while ignoring the same practices by other nations. Or, conversely, they criticize other nations — say, for harsh treatment of gays or making women second-class citizens — without acknowledging that Israel is an excellent exception in the Mideast.

Most revealing is that many Dems will never make a strong, straightforward case for Israel. Any defense of it is begrudging and often whittled to nothingness with criticisms of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or of Israeli settlements or the ultra-Orthodox. In their own ways, these Democrats resemble NeverTrump Republicans, who must acknowledge something nice about the president. They’ll do it, but they’d rather bite off their tongues.

This persistent double standard reflects a bias so common, it is no longer noteworthy. Especially on college campuses and other far-left hangouts, Israel is just a colonizing power, a bullying nation of white interlopers oppressing non-whites. The comparisons to South Africa’s apartheid system are routine — and ridiculous.

Ridiculous because they deny history, as if Jews just showed up in Jerusalem after the Holocaust. Those who spew such nonsense are also ignorant of the Bible — or perhaps they see the Bible as an oppressors’ version of history.

They also understand nothing about the dynamic economy Israel has created, a mighty engine that goes beyond the well-documented tech industry. The first time I was there, in 2000, there were concerns about fresh water, especially with Syria trying to divert water on the Golan Heights. Now Israel is a leader in desalination projects. And it has made the desert bloom by treating sewage water and reusing it for irrigation.

With its offers of a two-state solution rejected for nearly two decades by Palestinians, Israel has forged remarkable diplomatic and security alliances with Arab states. And it has developed trading relations with China among others in Asia. Democrats dare not admit or admire any of these accomplishments, nor can they acknowledge the real cause of the Palestinians’ plight: the failure of their leaders to take yes for an answer to Israel’s offer for a separate state.

The rejections and insults of President Mahmoud Abbas toward Trump have added to his people’s misery — yet there is no challenge to his leadership, or even a free vote. So where is the American left’s outrage about the violence and intimidation of ordinary Palestinians? As for Hamas, what advice do college leftists have for how Israel should deal with a terror group whose charter pledges to eliminate the Jewish state? After all, these college snowflakes can’t even bear to hear a thought they don’t agree with, yet they act as if they have the answers to Mideast peace.

That is the Democrats’ ultimate problem. Their party is now largely secular, angry and radical, and moving away from its Judeo-Christian roots. The trends are more pronounced now than they were 10 years ago, and we can only imagine where the party will be 10 years from now.

Against this madness, give Trump his due. He embraces Israel for the miracle and strategic ally it is, and boldly moved our embassy to Jerusalem. And so far, when it comes to standing with Israel, the Dems looking to challenge him in 2020 offer no competition.

 

              Marc Thiessen: Schultz calls Dems Out for How Radical They’ve Become

        Marc Thiessen

                                                 NWF Daily News, Feb. 3, 2019               

 

Democrats are furious at former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz for announcing that he may launch an independent campaign for president. They fear he will split the anti-Trump opposition and help reelect the president. But what angers them even more is that Schultz is calling Democrats out for how radical their party has become.

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., recently floated her new wealth tax, Schultz called it “ridiculous.” When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said we should “eliminate” private health insurance, Schultz said, “That’s not American.” When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., proposed a 70 percent marginal tax rate, Schultz dismissed it, saying “I don’t think we want a 70 percent income tax in America.” Indeed, Schultz has ripped the entire Democratic socialist agenda, declaring “Free Medicare-for-all, government-paid free college for all — first of all, there’s no free. I mean nothing is free.”

No wonder Democrats are fuming. Instead of debating Republicans, they may spend the next two years fighting a liberal independent who is slamming their far-left policies.

Indeed, the neosocialist turn national Democrats have taken is precisely why Schultz decided to run as an independent. He calculated that he could not win the Democratic nomination running as a conventional, centrist Democrat. “I no longer feel affiliated [with the Democrats] because I don’t know their views represent the majority of Americans,” he says.

Schultz is right. In fact, a recent Pew Research poll found that 53 percent of Democrats want the party to move in a more moderate direction, not embrace the radical policies of Ocasio-Cortez. That is precisely what the party needs to do if it wants to beat President Trump. Democrats should be trying to win back the millions of once-reliable Democratic voters who twice cast their ballots for Barack Obama but switched to Trump in 2016.

But instead of tacking to the center to win back voters, Democrats are embracing leftist policies such as government-run health care, government-funded college for all, a government-funded job guarantee and a “Green New Deal.” Together, these programs would cost $42.5 trillion — about twice the national debt. And they are claiming they can pay for it all by taxing the very rich. That’s impossible, and Americans know it. But it is what the most rabid elements of their party are demanding.

This is the problem with our politics today. Both sides have decided that the way to win is no longer to persuade those in the middle, but rather to throw red meat to their hardcore supporters and get them more worked up than those on the other side. Lost in the shuffle are millions of reasonable, persuadable citizens who are left to choose between two unpalatable alternatives.

These are the new “forgotten Americans,” and Schultz is betting they are looking for a leader. He calculates that there is an underserved population of voters who hate today’s radical, polarized politics and want competent centrist leadership.

His candidacy would pose an existential threat to Democrats in 2020, so they will attack him as an out-of-touch billionaire who does not care about working people. It won’t work. As a chief executive, he took ground-breaking steps to make sure his employees shared in Starbucks’s success, giving his baristas stock compensation, offering full tuition at Arizona State University for an online bachelor’s degree and providing even part-time workers with health plans. Schultz is betting this record and a platform of moderately liberal yet fiscally responsible policies can win the presidency.

Is he right? Probably not. There is a reason no independent has ever won the presidency. But Schultz is a visionary entrepreneur who saw a latent demand for a $3 cup of coffee before anyone else. Maybe he is also a visionary political entrepreneur who sees the latent demand for centrist leadership that everyone else is ignoring.

We will soon find out. Until then, he is doing the Democrats a favor by calling them back from the brink of fiscal and political insanity. After Schultz slammed Harris’s call to eliminate private insurance, Harris’s campaign backtracked, saying she has also supported more moderate options. Ocasio-Cortez and the neosocialists are pulling the Democratic Party to the left. Perhaps by threatening their prospects in 2020, Schultz can pull them back in the other direction. For that reason alone, he would do the American people a great service by running.

 

Contents

   

          As the Russia Hoax Begins to Unravel, the Gaslighting Begins                                                                                          Adam Mill

 The Federalist, Feb. 17, 2019

 

In episode 171 of “Seinfeld,” George Costanza makes up a story about having a house in the Hamptons in order to avoid attending an event with his dead fiancée’s parents, the Rosses. He soon learns they know of his deception, but the Rosses nevertheless accept an invitation to the fictitious house. George picks them up and begins driving towards a house that doesn’t exist. Both the Rosses and George maintain the pretense until George drives to the end of island past the last house in the Hamptons. George silently pleads for the Rosses to put an end to the charade. The lie’s momentum took on a life of its own as the players all continued acting their parts long after the truth was known.

The episode comes to mind as the media has started backing away from the Russia collusion hoax. Like Costanza, many of the media perpetrators seem to know a reckoning is coming. Politico warned Trump haters, “Prepare for disappointment.” Other examples of expectation managing can be found, such as here, here, here, and here. Mueller’s long-time top deputy at the FBI recently warned, “A public narrative has built an expectation that the special counsel will explain his conclusions, but I think that expectation may be seriously misplaced.”

Most recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that after almost two years of investigation, it has uncovered no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Attorneys assigned to the Mueller team have quietly begun to slip away before the outcome of the investigation is made public (here, here, and here).

This is unsurprising. The Russia hoax is crumbling, and people can’t run away fast enough. We’ve seen signs from the very beginning that many of the people who promoted the Trump-Russia collusion smear have always known it was a hoax. These signs have been in plain sight. Here is an incomplete list.

  1. Because They Said So

On May 19, 2017, FBI agent Peter Strzok wrote FBI lawyer (and his paramour) Lisa Page his assessment of the Trump-Russia collusion accusations after nearly a year-long investigation: “There’s no big there there.” In June 2017, the following month, CNN’s Van Jones was secretly recorded saying, “The Russia thing is just a big nothingburger. There’s nothing there you can do.” Bob Woodward of Watergate fame has been saying for some time that there’s no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Michael Isakoff of Yahoo news, who did some of the early Trump-Russia reporting, has admitted that many of the Trump-Russia claims are “likely false.”

  1. There’s No Hurry, In Spite of a ‘National Emergency’

According to the conspiracy boosters, the leader of a hostile foreign power is using blackmail (kompromat) to control President Trump (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). In this last link, the New York Intelligencer asks whether our president would be meeting with his “counterpart or his handler” in a summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. If that’s true, then Putin has control of both the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals!  Yet the special counsel has allowed President Trump to complete more than half of his first term without filing a report with Congress. The Washington Post opined, “No, the Mueller investigation isn’t taking too long.” The piece compared the length of the Mueller investigation to a selection of prior investigations.

This list included Iran-Contra (six years, eight months); Henry Cisneros’s mistress payments (11 years); and the Clinton Whitewater scandal (also six years, eight months). None of those scandals involved the accusation that a Russian agent occupied the White House. Tellingly, the Post equates the urgency of the Russia collusion investigation to the Iran-Contra affair. Why isn’t the Washington Post demanding that Mueller immediately arm the public with the facts? If they truly believed their own narrative, they’d be thundering that Mueller’s lackadaisical pace leaves the nation in grave jeopardy…. [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

 

                                                                                          Contents

    

              Why Did Republicans Vote Against Their Own Bill on Antisemitism?

       Ron Kampeas

                                                                  JTA, Feb. 14, 2019

 

They voted for it before they voted against it. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives were in the odd position Wednesday of voting against a bill that included an initiative to combat anti-Semitism, a measure they initially insisted was in the national security interests of the United States.

The bill itself would end U.S. assistance for Saudi Arabia in the war it is pursuing in Yemen. But the measure also included a motion, pushed by Republicans, saying it was in the national security interest to oppose boycotts of “countries friendly to the United States” — i.e., Israel. The motion, put forth by Rep. David Kustoff, R-Tenn., was seen by many as a pill that would be especially hard for Democrats to swallow. Senate Democrats had just taken heat, after all, when many in the party voted against an Israel assistance bill because it included anti-boycott legislation that would penalize entities that call for a boycott of Israel. Dissenting Democrats said that such laws impinge on free speech; Republicans said the Democratic opponents were appeasing the anti-Israel crowd.

And motions like these, known as a “motion to recommit,” are usually the minority’s last-bid attempt to embarrass the majority by forcing it to oppose mom-and-apple-pie sentiments. “It is in the national security interest of the United States to combat antisemitism around the world,” Kustoff, a former prosecutor thundered, quoting the motion. His GOP colleagues applauded and cheered. “I ask all members to stand in solidarity with Jews around the world and support the motion to recommit.”

If Kustoff had intended to bait the Democrats into opposing the anti-boycott motion, it didn’t work. After he resumed his seat, the acting speaker, Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., asked for speakers in opposition. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., rose and said, “I do not oppose.” There were surprised murmurs. “I accept this resolution and I agree with everything Mr. Kustoff just said,” Engel said. Rep. Eliot Engel didn’t take Kustoff’s bait Wednesday. (Screenshot from C-Span) Engel, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, had just given the green light to his Democratic colleagues to vote for what the caucus might under different circumstances have believed was a poison pill…. [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link —Ed.] 

Contents

On Topic Links

George Will: Klobuchar could break Minnesota’s presidential losing streak: George Will, Trib Live: Jan. 30, 2019 — Surely the silliest aspirant for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination is already known: “Beto,” aka Robert Francis, O’Rourke is a skateboarding man-child whose fascination with himself caused him to live-stream a recent dental appointment for — open-wide, please — teeth cleaning.

Green New Deal would destroy American Dream, create American Nightmare: Justin Haskins, Fox News, Feb. 16, 2019 — The nonbinding Green New Deal resolution supported by socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York and many fellow Democrats in Congress – including some running for president – makes absolutely no sense. It is a fantasy based on hopes and dreams with no basis in reality.

Senate Panel to Investigate Meetings Between Russians and Obama Officials:  Andrew Blake, The Washington Times, Feb. 16, 2019 — The Senate Finance Committee is probing meetings reportedly held in 2015 between two of former President Barack Obama’s top economic officials and Maria Butina, a Russian national who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to covertly influence U.S. foreign policy, the panel said Friday.

Democrats are tearing themselves apart over Amazon:  Marc Theissen, New York Post, Feb. 17, 2019 — Democrats are fighting mad — at each other. For once, President Trump is not the prime target of their rage.

 

GERMANY’S QUESTIONABLE TRACK RECORD OF SUPPORTING ISRAEL AND THE JEWS

cijr@isranet.org          www.isranet.org        514-486-5544

 

Friday, Feb. 15. 2019 Volume XI, No. 4,494 Yom Shishi, 10. Adar, 5779  

P.O. Box 175 • Station H   Montreal Quebec H3G 2K7     514-486-5544      cijr@isranet.org    www.isranet.org’S

 

GERMANY’S QUESTIONABLE TRACK RECORD OF SUPPORTING ISRAEL AND THE JEWS

 

Why Political Divisions in Germany Have Implications for Jews and the Middle East:  Noah Philips, Algemeiner, Dec. 5, 2019 — The decline of bipartisan political centrism in Germany portends significant changes — not only for Germany itself but for other countries as well. While the right-wing Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party is still far from dominating the German electorate, its increasing public support will force the eventual party in power to act more favorably towards the right, in comparison to the more leftist policies of departing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Angela Merkel’s Legacy and the Jews of Germany:  Manfred Gerstenfeld, JNS, Jan. 3, 2019 — While she has always shown great empathy for Germany’s Jews, her 2015 decision to open the country’s gates to migrants led to the influx of approximately a million and a half people (so far), mainly from Muslim countries, which has, in turn, strengthened longstanding anti-Semitism in Germany. Helmut Kohl, who was CDU chancellor from 1982-98, enabled the strengthening of the German Jewish community through major immigration from Russia. Merkel’s legacy, by contrast, may well be a substantial diminishment of the German Jewish community through emigration.

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.

German Prevention of EU Support for Israel Echoed at the UN:  Jenny Aharon, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2018 — After reports were published about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lobbying efforts urging Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, to not move Romania’s embassy to Jerusalem, questions about how far these efforts go started to arise.

 

On Topic Links

 

France and Germany: “We Are Committed to the Emergence of a European Army” Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2019

Israeli-Born Rap Pioneer in Germany Explains How Antisemitism Drove Him from Music Scene He Helped Create:  Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2019

How German schoolbooks present Israel:  Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 13, 2019

New York Times Food Section Joins the Boycott-Israel Movement:  Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Feb. 7, 2019

 

                   

                   Why Political Divisions in Germany Have Implications

                                        for Jews and the Middle East                                                       

                                                                  Noah Philips

                                                      Algemeiner, Dec. 5, 2019                                                                                                          

The decline of bipartisan political centrism in Germany portends significant changes — not only for Germany itself but for other countries as well. While the right-wing Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party is still far from dominating the German electorate, its increasing public support will force the eventual party in power to act more favorably towards the right, in comparison to the more leftist policies of departing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. And with German political discourse centered around regional issues of the Middle East due to Berlin’s intricate involvement in such conflicts, the political trends of the country are likely to have a significant impact on the future of that region.

 

Announced in the wake of a Bavarian regional election that saw immense losses for the centrist German bloc, Chancellor Merkel’s planned resignation in 2021 marks the conclusion of a unique era of bipartisanship in Germany. The rapid rise of the right-wing Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party, coupled with the persistence of staunch left-wing parties like the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has fostered a heavily divided political atmosphere in Germany. The common ground established by the centrist Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) nationally has largely been abandoned in favor of a “winner take all” mentality.

 

The AfD and the up-and-coming right wing in Germany have largely stood in support of Israel, opposing such movements as BDS and advocating expanded ties between the two countries. Yet despite seeming common ground between Israel and the AfD, the antisemitic history of the party would likely serve as a hindrance to a robust AfD-Israeli partnership — both economically and diplomatically. A leader of the party, Alex Gauland, while speaking at a party-youth event, called the Holocaust “a speck of bird s**t” compared to the whole of German history. At a separate engagement, Gauland stressed the importance of a relationship with Israel, illustrating a contradiction within the AfD between feelings towards Jews, and feelings towards Israel.

 

Other party members have been photographed beside Nazi propaganda and other obscene antisemitic imagery. And while party leaders have taken care to condemn such displays, the party has received harsh condemnation from Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, and prominent Jewish leaders like Ronald Lauder, who described the party as “abhorrent.” The denunciation of the AfD by leading Israeli and Jewish groups worldwide — as well as by members of Israel’s own diplomatic corps — makes an official relationship with an AfD government unlikely. On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu formed a close diplomatic relationship with Merkel, who in 2008 became the first German Chancellor to address the Knesset. Israel would be well advised to keep its distance from the AfD.

 

In recent years, Merkel had endorsed a controversial open-border policy, permitting entry to vast swathes of migrants. This policy has caused a fractious rift in German politics and has been credited as a leading reason for the poor polling of Merkel’s CDU and the left-wing parties — as well as for the double-digit increase in support of AfD candidates. Although Germany’s position has changed in recent years, the country’s politics are still reverberating from Merkel’s initial policy.

 

Seven AfD state parliamentarians recently traveled to Syria and declared the war-torn state safe, concluding that refugees now residing in Germany should be returned home. This would be dangerous, as a mass return of Syrian refugees would almost certainly trigger a response from the regime of Bashar Assad, who has employed extremely violent tactics — including chemical attacks — against civilians and may do so again. From a humanitarian standpoint, a send-them-home ideology at the forefront of German leadership would be very troubling…. [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

 

   

                                     

                                 Angela Merkel’s Legacy and the Jews of Germany

                                                         Manfred Gerstenfeld

                                                             JNS, Jan. 3, 2019

                                         

While she has always shown great empathy for Germany’s Jews, her 2015 decision to open the country’s gates to migrants led to the influx of approximately a million and a half people (so far), mainly from Muslim countries, which has, in turn, strengthened longstanding antisemitism in Germany. Helmut Kohl, who was CDU chancellor from 1982-98, enabled the strengthening of the German Jewish community through major immigration from Russia. Merkel’s legacy, by contrast, may well be a substantial diminishment of the German Jewish community through emigration.

 

As of a few weeks ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is no longer chair of the Christian Democrat Party (CDU), and she will not stand for the chancellorship—a position she has held since 2005—after the next elections. As her tenure at Germany’s helm draws to a close, the media has started to analyze her performance and speculate about her legacy.

 

This is thus a good moment to begin to look at Merkel’s legacy with regard to Germany’s Jews. Previous CDU leader Helmut Kohl, who served as chancellor from 1982-98, enabled an estimated 170,000 Russian Jews to immigrate to Germany. As a result of that policy, Germany once again has a significant Jewish community. The country’s organized Jewish community currently has close to 100,000 members (which is, however, barely more than 0.1% of Germany’s population).

 

In terms of rhetoric, Merkel has been consistently supportive of Germany’s Jews. In November 2018, she spoke at the major Berlin Rykestrasse synagogue on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, saying, “Jewish life is blossoming again in Germany. An unexpected gift to us after the Shoah … but we are also witnessing a worrying antisemitism that threatens Jewish life in our country.” She added, significantly, that violence against Jews committed by far-right militants or Muslims was on the rise in Germany.

 

A year ago, Merkel would not have mentioned Muslims as among those guilty of antisemitic acts, though they have, in fact, been responsible for a substantial proportion of them for years. That changed in December 2017, when Muslims burned a homemade Israeli flag in Berlin. The video went around the world and created associations with the far more serious book-burnings that took place under Hitler’s government.

 

Several politicians then started acknowledging Muslim antisemitism, and after some time, Merkel had to do the same. Still, German statistics on antisemitic incidents remain heavily manipulated. Antisemitic acts committed by unidentified individuals are routinely, and often incorrectly, attributed to the extreme right.

 

At the end of 2018, a study was published by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) titled Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism. The study provided data on how self-defining Jews in 12 European Union countries see and experience Jew-hatred. The report provides important relative data, even if in absolute terms it is not statistically significant. Though somewhat behind France on this issue, Germany was one of five countries where the great majority of interviewees saw antisemitism as a big problem…. [To read the full article, click the following Link – Ed.]

 

Contents

   

          Pop Islam: How Germany is Tackling the New Islamic Antisemitism                                                                                                 

                                                                  Dr. Daniel Rickenbacher

                                                   Fathom, Jan. 14, 2019

 

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. The attack was caught on video, causing a scandal. [1] In the same month, two antisemitic rappers of Muslim background received the Echo music award, the German equivalent of the American Grammy. In one of their more innocuous songs they had sung: ‘My body is more defined than that of Auschwitz inmates.’ The ensuing controversy led to the abolition of the Echo awards. [2] Many observers and politicians, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, expressed the view that Islamic antisemitism in Germany was a relatively recent phenomenon, starting in earnest with the arrival of more than a million immigrants of mostly Muslim background in 2015.[3] This view, however, is quite wrong.

 

In fact, Islamic antisemitism has been a problem in Germany for at least two decades. In 2000, when a synagogue in the German city of Düsseldorf was firebombed, then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called for ‘an insurgency of decent people’ against German right-wing extremism. When the police discovered that the perpetrators were not German neo-Nazis but two young antisemites of Moroccan and Jordanian descent, this inconvenient fact was largely ignored by politicians and the media.[4] Since then, there have been a legion of incidents where Jewish children were bullied, Jewish soccer players attacked on the field or groups of tourists harassed by Muslim antisemites – occasionally prompting headlines and condemnations by politicians. Stephan Kramer, the General Secretary of the Central Council of the Jews, the Jewish umbrella organisation in Germany, observed already in 2007 that the ‘the violence in the Muslim camp is comparable to that in the extreme right.’ [5] Apparently, these words had little consequence.

 

German police and judiciary have generally been weak in responding to antisemitic acts of violence as well as to inflammatory rhetoric. During the Gaza war in summer 2014, mostly young Muslim and Arab anti-Israeli demonstrators in downtown Berlin were filmed shouting ‘Jew, Jew, coward pig, come out and fight alone![6] The police failed to intervene, claiming that these slogans did not represent incitement.[7] During the same period, three Palestinians committed an arson attack against a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal. A German court later found the three perpetrators were not motivated by antisemitism, ruling that they only sought to raise awareness for Gaza. They received mild probation sentences. [8] Despite the gravity of these incidents, experts have been warning that the reality could in fact be a lot worse. Only a small number of antisemitic incidents are actually reported to the police or to Jewish communities. [9]

 

Are these manifestations of antisemitism only isolated incidents or do they reflect a wider problem of antisemitism among Muslims in Germany? Research has left little doubt as to the answer. Numerous studies consistently indicate that Muslims living in western-European countries, including Germany, are several-fold more antisemitic than Christians and people from non-religious backgrounds. The number of Muslims in Europe agreeing with antisemitic statements generally hovers around 40 per cent for the entire group and around 70 percent for those of fundamentalist and Islamist persuasion. [10] This has been known for some time.  Research has left little doubt as to the answer. Numerous studies consistently indicate that Muslims living in western-European countries, including Germany, are several-fold more antisemitic than Christians and people from non-religious backgrounds. The number of Muslims in Europe agreeing with antisemitic statements generally hovers around 40 per cent for the entire group and around 70 per cent for those of fundamentalist and Islamist persuasion.[10] This has been known for some time. Already in 2007, a study ordered by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior found that almost 40 per cent of German Muslims agreed with the statement that Jews were ‘arrogant and greedy’, while 16 per cent of the non-native population did so. Among Muslims with an affinity for Islamism, more than 70 per cent were also found to be also antisemitic.[11] Antisemitism also seems to be more widespread among Muslims of Arab origin than with different ethnic backgrounds…. [To read the full article, click the Link – Ed.]

                                                                                          Contents

   

    

 

            German Prevention of EU Support for Israel Echoed at the UN

Jenny Aharon

                                             Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2018

 

After reports were published about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lobbying efforts urging Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, to not move Romania’s embassy to Jerusalem, questions about how far these efforts go started to arise. One reason Merkel pressured Iohannis to not move Romania’s embassy to Jerusalem is that such a step would have reinforced the notion that the EU as an entity doesn’t have a single foreign policy, not only on Israel but also on other matters.

 

As we have seen on many occasions unrelated to Israel, High Representative of European External Action Service (EEAS) Federica Mogherini, has repeatedly issued statements of which other EU institutions were not unequivocally supportive. This added to the frustrations of many supporters of “Federal Europe” who keep seeking a united Europe, not merely as a single market but as a single block on all affairs.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron has equally strengthened his commitment to the European Union when he stated that a single army should be established to protect the EU against Russia, China and the US.

Obviously, Macron’s move is a reaction to Trump’s policies. The US is withdrawing support from the Paris agreement, the Iran deal, trade agreements and pressures the European member states to comply with their part in the NATO budget. Understandably, this made EU elites rush toward a more united EU in the hope to forestall the new challenges imposed by Trump. While the Brexit deal is also weakening the EU’s position in the eyes of world powers, it is more crucial than ever for the EU to strengthen the illusion of a united European front.

 

One of the ways to strengthen this illusion is to get rid of a divided vote at the UN General Assembly. This division was clearly seen at the anti-Trump Jerusalem resolution in December 2017. Although Federica Mogherini has been clear on EU’s position regarding the embassy move, six EU states (the V4 states + Romania + Latvia) abstained at the anti-Trump Jerusalem resolution, defying EU position.

 

Furthermore, more recently, at the resolution to approve Palestine as chair of the largest UN group dealing with development (G77), as many as nine EU states (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Austria and Croatia) abstained. That’s a third of EU member states.

Surprisingly, Romania, as one of the six EU states that have abstained at ‘the anti-Trump Jerusalem’ resolution, did not abstain at ’the Palestine as chair’ resolution. Romania broke, unexpectedly, its short tradition of voting behavior in line with the V4 states and Latvia.

 

 

In fact, Romania was one of the EU states seriously considering the embassy move to Jerusalem. Hence, the sudden 180º turn made alarm bells ring.

 

All became clear when reports were published of Merkel’s lobbying efforts to stop the Romanian embassy move. The Romanian support for the resolution installing Palestine, a non-state, as chair of the largest UN group, is hardly a coincidence. And last week things became even clearer. Nine biased resolutions were adopted against Israel. Eight received full support from all EU states. Not even one of the 28 states (soon to be 27) abstained.

 

In contrast, only one resolution, stating that Israel is committing human rights violations in the territories, received abstentions from nearly 80 countries including all EU states. Even Sweden and Luxembourg, which never fail to vote in favor of anti-Israel resolutions, suddenly voted along with all the rest of EU states and abstained. As a matter of principle, Sweden and Luxembourg address their complaints against Israel under the highly discriminatory Item 7 at the UN Human Rights Council, which makes an abstention at the General Assembly even more unusual. Suddenly, both countries are not convinced anymore that Israel is committing human rights violations.

 

Nine resolutions were adopted against the state of Israel in one single day while no EU state stood up against any of the biased resolutions. This isn’t new. The abstentions never really counted as support even if they were meant to be a token of support. In fact, the EU states supporting Israel by abstentions did so as they could not afford to deviate too much from Germany’s and EU’s policies. In other words, the abstentions seemed to be the perfect middle way. Regrettably, according to the nine biased resolutions of last week, this middle way practice seems to be over. All EU states voted in line with Germany’s stance. No one deviated from it, not by abstaining and not by no-show.

 

There is one plausible explanation for the latest EU voting behavior: Brexit, Poland’s PiS and Hungary’s Fidesz governments are all subjects that divide the EU. The elites are trying to tackle them and overcome those issues. On the matter of foreign policy, EU member states have many disagreements on a number of subjects, but Germany has decided that Israel will no longer be one of them. In other words, there will be no support for Israel coming from any EU state on the international stage unless Germany says otherwise. The latest EU vote at the UN made this abundantly clear.

 

                               CIJR wishes all our friends and supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

France and Germany: “We Are Committed to the Emergence of a European Army“: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2019 — French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have signed a new Franco-German friendship treaty aimed at reinvigorating the European Union, which has been buffeted by the European debt crisis, mass migration and Brexit — as well as innumerable conflicting interests and priorities among its 28 member states.

Israeli-Born Rap Pioneer in Germany Explains How Antisemitism Drove Him from Music Scene He Helped Create:  Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2019 — An Israeli-born pioneer of rap music in Germany has announced that he is quitting the local hip-hop scene he helped to foster, citing rising antisemitic sentiment as the reason.

How German schoolbooks present IsraelManfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 13, 2019 — Many German schoolbooks present Israel negatively. The more studies appear on anti-Semitism in Germany, the darker the picture becomes.

New York Times Food Section Joins the Boycott-Israel Movement:  Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, Feb. 7, 2019 — The New York Times, which favors trade with Iran and Cuba, has recently been throwing its institutional weight behind the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.