Month: March 2019

Daily Briefing Vol # 4523 – PRESIDENT TRUMP RECOGNIZES ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE GOLAN

PRESIDENT TRUMP RECOGNIZES ISRAEL’S SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE GOLAN

Atop the Golan, Thucydides Smiles: L. Scott Lingamfelter, The Washington Times, Mar. 6, 2019 — Since his arrival in Washington D.C., President Donald Trump has been regarded by establishment luminaries as diplomatically incongruent with the foreign policy apparatus.
What To Make Of A Historic Pro-Israel Presidency?: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Mar. 26, 2019 — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said something last week timed to the Jewish holiday Purim that made a lot of people snicker. When asked by an interviewer by the Christian Broadcasting Network if U.S. President Donald Trump had been “raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”
Good Move on the Golan Heights: Douglas J. Feith, National Review, Mar. 27, 2019 — President Trump didn’t spell it out, but there’s a sound rationale for America’s recognizing the Golan Heights as a permanent part of Israel.
Jews Must Never Be Afraid to Use Their Well-Earned Power: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 27, 2019 — Recent comments by members of Congress and their defenders once again raise the question: Are Jews too powerful?

On Topic Links:

Time to Ditch the Old Ways: JOL, Mar. 28, 2019 — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights will help bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Why Israeli Sovereignty Over the Golan Heights Matters: Dore Gold, The Jerusalem Center, Mar. 28, 2019, Video.
Trump: The First Jewish President of the United States: Joseph Taied, The Times of Israel, Mar. 22, 2019 — March 21, 2019 marked several big-league junctures in American-Israeli relations.
Expert Reverses Course, Says Trump’s ‘Most Pro-Israel President Ever’: Meyer Shimon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2019 — A week after raising doubts on President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a leading Mideast policy expert reversed course and affirmed Trump as “the most pro-Israel president ever.”

ATOP THE GOLAN, THUCYDIDES SMILES
L. Scott Lingamfelter
The Washington Times, Mar. 6, 2019

Since his arrival in Washington D.C., President Donald Trump has been regarded by establishment luminaries as diplomatically incongruent with the foreign policy apparatus. From his first days in office, diplomats viewed him as disruptive, brash and, frankly, a danger to the best interests of the United States. They were seeking someone who would exhibit a servile mansuetude to their established foreign policy preferences. Moreover, they wanted a meek shopkeeper who would embrace their methodology, not a bull in search of china shops.

Indeed, Mr. Trump’s daring and penchant for productive disruption has confounded career diplomats at Foggy Bottom and liberal national security think-tankers who lack the fortitude to tackle tough foreign policy challenges head-on. They — like the feckless Obama administration who saw the world as ripe for community organizing — fail to grasp its reality: A multi-polar, multi-dangerous globe needing clear-eyed and bold Churchillian leadership. Mr. Trump provides this in his willingness to make profound choices that court danger yet are accompanied by the glory and sublimity that results from bold, not timid, decision-making.

His critics are perplexed by his willingness to take stances and make decisions that actually move the fulcrum under complex problems, getting them off dead center, while positioning America to resolve — not simply preside over — foreign policy challenges that otherwise exist in a state of chronic indecision. Consider just one: The president’s recent decision to formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

An area of 690 square miles bordering Israel and Syria, stretching from the southeast corner of Lebanon to the northwestern shoulder of Jordan, the Golan Heights overlooks the Sea of Galilee offering any occupying military force a clear and unobstructed view of the peaceful villages and towns lying below. Prior to Israel’s occupation of the Golan, Syria possessed all of it. In 1965, this region was the launch point for Palestinian military raids into Israel. Two years later during the June 1967 Six Day War, Israel took possession of two-thirds of the Golan.

The Yom Kippur War that followed in 1973, saw the Syrian Army overrun much of the southern Golan, but it was eventually repulsed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The ceasefire that followed left almost all the Heights in Israeli hands. In 1981, Israel annexed about 500 square miles of the region, a move condemned by the United Nations, yet regarded by the United States as a de facto necessity for Israel’s security. Indeed, any Israeli leader today, military or political, conservative or liberal, would be thought to suffer from an incurable delusion were they to hand over the strategic Golan Heights to any hostile power, particularly one led by Iranian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, an avowed enemy of the Jewish state.

One can only marvel at why it has taken so long for the United States to recognize that ceding the Golan to Syria would be strategic lunacy and unimaginable military malpractice. Yet for almost four decades — following Israel’s common-sense decision to take the status of the Golan off the table with regard to future peace negotiations — the United States has danced around this issue. Israel was right. And now Donald Trump has wisely exhibited his own common sense in placing the imprimatur of the United States on that decision. There will be no volte-face now that America has made its position clear… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

WHAT TO MAKE OF A HISTORIC PRO-ISRAEL PRESIDENCY?
Jonathan S. Tobin
JNS, Mar. 26, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said something last week timed to the Jewish holiday Purim that made a lot of people snicker. When asked by an interviewer by the Christian Broadcasting Network if U.S. President Donald Trump had been “raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?”

Pompeo’s response went directly to the point: “As a Christian, I certainly believe that is possible.” He went on to say that he is confident that the Lord is at work here,” when he surveyed “the work our administration has done to make sure this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains.”

Many heard this and mocked (with good reason) the notion that Trump could possibly be compared to the heroine of the Purim story.

But so deep runs the contempt for Christian conservatives among some sectors of the chattering classes, as well as the foreign-policy establishment, that Pompeo’s willingness to speak of “the Lord” was enough to set eyes rolling.

Others, like Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, deplored the introduction of theology—even one that is favorable to Zionism and the Jewish people—into any discussion of foreign policy.

That was an opinion echoed in The New Republic. It published a scathing attack on Trump and Pompeo for seeking to carry out a “Christianization of U.S. foreign policy.” The magazine blasted the administration’s policies on Pompeo’s own evangelical faith. TNR and other voices on the left have often blamed Trump’s tilt towards Israel on a desire to curry favor with evangelicals.

As with every discussion of Christian support for Israel, Pompeo’s comments prompted some to regurgitate the familiar claims from some on the left that avowed Christian Zionists, like the secretary of state, are only supporting Israel because they wish to set off an apocalyptic scenario that would generate the return of the Christian messiah.

The support of evangelicals like Pompeo is sincere and rooted in a genuine concern for Israel’s well-being that is rooted firmly in biblical texts, not eschatological scenarios. The notion that Jews should be wary of Christians because of their theology is also absurd. Even if all of them were focused on what would happen after Jesus’ return, the idea that Jews, who don’t believe in such a possibility, should worry about what would happen then is ridiculous.

But the more important question to be asked is how Jews—the vast majority of whom, purport to care about Israel and its safety—can dismiss Trump’s record on this issue as being of either negligible importance or assert that his policies are actually bad for the Jewish state?

After this week’s signing by Trump of a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, the debate about his attitude towards Israel should be over. The timing of the declaration was almost certainly aimed at aiding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election campaign. But the recognition of Israel’s hold on the Golan sent a stronger message to Iran, whose forces and Hezbollah auxiliaries are occupying Syrian territory, than it did to Israel’s voters. It at least partially offset Trump’s ill-advised desire to pull U.S. troops out of eastern Syria and reinforced the administration’s tough stance against the Islamist republic.

Moreover, when placed in the context of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his unwillingness to accept—as did previous presidents—the Palestinian Authority’s intransigence and financial support for terrorism, and his pulling out of the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal with Iran brokered by his predecessor, there’s no longer any room to deny the depth of the support of this administration for the Jewish state.

This isn’t to argue that this one aspect of his administration must cancel out any other consideration when thinking about 2020. But it does mean that an honest discussion about Trump’s policy when it comes to Israel requires us to discard our partisan lens and understand that whatever his true motivation or how he arrived at his conclusions, what he has done has greatly strengthened Israel’s strategic position… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

GOOD MOVE ON THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
Douglas J. Feith
National Review, Mar. 27, 2019

President Trump didn’t spell it out, but there’s a sound rationale for America’s recognizing the Golan Heights as a permanent part of Israel. Syria has been an unhappy political experiment. It never secured for its multiethnic population freedom, prosperity, or domestic tranquility. Aided by Iran and Russia, the Bashar al-Assad regime has just won a long civil war through mass murder of its own civilians (including by use of prohibited chemical weapons) and by imposing on other countries millions of desperate, impoverished refugees. Under the circumstances, there is no compelling reason for local or world powers to remain committed to reassembling Syria as it existed before the civil war.

As a rule, preserving borders is a good thing, a contribution to peace and stability. But not always. Syria’s borders have spawned resentment and belligerence among the country’s leaders, who have never respected the lines. They have continually used their military forces or terrorist proxies to violate the sovereignty of Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. In light of the disastrous domestic and international history, it is reasonable to ask, What border changes might better serve the interests of Syria’s people, neighboring states, and the world in general?

Detaching the Golan Heights is a sensible part of the answer.

When Syria someday, with new leadership, seeks to reestablish official relations with the United States, it will now have to do so on the understanding that Israeli retention of the Golan is a closed issue. Syria’s new leadership would not then be asked to humiliate itself by ceding the territory but only to recognize that President Assad lost it permanently as one of the many consequences of the civil war.

Syrians know that the Assad regime prosecuted that war with brutality and is responsible for the awful results. These include hundreds of thousands of dead Syrian civilians, more than 6 million internally displaced people, and approximately 5 million international refugees. An additional result now is that the U.S. government will never again pressure Israel to come down from the Heights.

Why is the Golan strategic, and how did Israel take it over?

Rising like a steep, 3,000-foot wall from the northern and eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights look down onto all of northern Israel to the Mediterranean. Enemy artillery on the Golan could bombard those fertile Israeli lowlands with precision. In Israel’s early years, as in the pre-state era, Syrian gunners on the Heights often targeted Israeli farmers in the Galilee and Lake Hula areas.

In 1967, in alliance with Egypt and Jordan, Syria threatened to plunge down from the Golan Heights to strangle and overrun Israel. Skill, courage and luck allowed Israel to conquer the Heights. For the past 52 years, it has retained control, reducing the dangers of war. Only once, in 1973, did Syria try to win the Golan back by force. The number of non-Israelis living there under Israeli rule is small (approximately 20,000).

Syria’s borders do not have deep roots in religion, culture, or history. They reflect nothing profounder than the interests of France and Britain at a moment in the early 20th century. In the Middle East, some countries, such as Egypt and Persia, have long histories as independent powers. Syria is not one of them. Like most of the Middle East, it was a region of the Turkish Empire for 400 years until British forces conquered it in 1917–18 during World War I. The name “Syria,” like “Palestine” and “Mesopotamia,” was an ancient but indefinite geographical term. Until the 1920 post–World War I peace conference, there had never been a nation called “Syria.”

That conference awarded France the mandate to administer Syria until self-government could be achieved. At the same time, Britain received a similar mandate for Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and another for Palestine (now Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan). At that time, no borders for these mandate territories had yet been drawn.

To protect local Christians, France carved out of western Syria a new country, Lebanon. British officials bent Syria’s southern border so that the Jewish settlement of Metulla would be within Palestine. In 1923, an Anglo-French commission formally drew the Syria–Palestine border. This was the body that allocated the Golan Heights entirely to Syria, though an earlier agreement had put the Heights partially in Palestine…[To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

JEWS MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO USE THEIR WELL-EARNED POWER
Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Institute, Mar. 27, 2019

Recent comments by members of Congress and their defenders once again raise the question: Are Jews too powerful? This question, which has never been raised about other groups, manifests a double standard against the Jewish people. It must not be ignored. Here is my answer.

When I hear that Jews are too powerful, my response is, we are not powerful enough. When I hear that AIPAC is too influential a lobby, I say it must become even more influential. When I hear that Jews contribute too much money to support pro-Israel causes, I say we must contribute more. When I hear that Jews control the media, I ask “Why is so much of the media so anti-Israel?” When I hear that Jews have too much influence on the outcome of elections, I say we need to increase our influence. We aren’t doing enough. We must do more.

Jews have contributed enormously — disproportionately — to America’s success. Along with other immigrants, Jews have helped change our country for the better: academically, scientifically, economically, politically, militarily, medically, legally, technologically and in so many other ways. We have earned the right to act as first-class citizens. No other group is ever accused of having too much power and influence. That false claim — dating back to times and places where Jews had little or no influence — is an anti-Semitic trope that tells us more about the anti-Semites who invoke it that it does about the Jews.

History has proven that Jews need more power and influence than other groups to secure their safety. During the 1930s and early 1940s Jews had morality on their side, but they lacked the power and influence to save six million of their brothers and sisters from systematic murder. If Israel had existed then, with the powerful army it now has, the history of European Jewry might well have been different. If Jews had more political power in the United States during that time, the doors of our nation would not have been shut to our brothers and sisters seeking asylum from Nazism.

In the Middle East, Israel must have more military power than all of its enemies and potential enemies combined. As Benjamin Netanyahu wisely put it: “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.” Israel therefore must maintain, with or without the help of the United States, its qualitative military superiority in the region. And the region of its enemies has now expanded to Iran and Turkey, two Muslim, non-Arab, extreme anti-Israel nations with powerful armies. So, Israel must get stronger, not weaker, despite its current military superiority.

Elie Wiesel once said that the lesson of the Holocaust is that, “We must believe the threats of our enemies, more than the promises of our friends.” For me, an additional lesson is that Israel and the Jewish people must be more powerful than their enemies.

The Psalmists put it very well when they wrote, “hashem oz l’amo yiten; hashem yivarech et amo b’shalom.” I interpret this wonderful verse to mean that, “God will give the Jewish people strength, and only through strength will they achieve Shalom, peace.”

When anybody ever challenges Jewish power and influence, remind them that Jewish power is the best road to peace: that history has proven that Jews without power are vulnerable to the oldest prejudice known to humankind — a prejudice that may abate, as it did for several decades following the Second World War, but it always rears its ugly head as it is now doing in England, France, Eastern Europe and on the hard left in the United States. When Jewish power and influence are used in the cause of peace and justice — as it is today — there is nothing to be ashamed of. It should be a source of pride.

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Communiqué Vol # 863 – LA TENTATION ISRAÉLIENNE DES DRUZES DU GOLAN

LA TENTATION ISRAÉLIENNE DES DRUZES DU GOLAN

TRUMP SIGNE LE DÉCRET RECONNAISSANT LA SOUVERAINETÉ D’ISRAËL SUR LE GOLAN

“Cela aurait dû avoir lieu il y a des décennies”, a déclaré le président américain ; Damas et Moscou condamnent la décision américaine ; pour l’ONU, ça ne change rien
Par AFP, RAPHAEL AHREN et TAMAR PILEGGI 25 mars 2019,
Le président américain Donald Trump a signé lundi à la Maison Blanche, en présence du Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, le décret reconnaissant officiellement la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan.
En pleine campagne électorale dans son pays, M. Netanyahu a déclaré qu’Israël « ne renoncerait jamais » à la majeure partie du Golan syrien conquis par l’Etat hébreu lors de la guerre des Six Jours en 1967, avant d’appliquer la loi israélienne en 1981.
Le président des Etats-Unis a signé face aux caméras un décret reconnaissant la souveraineté d’Israël sur le Golan, comme promis la semaine dernière dans un tweet. « Cela aurait dû avoir lieu il y a des décennies », a-t-il déclaré, comme il l’avait fait fin 2017 en reconnaissant Jérusalem comme capitale de l’Etat hébreu.
Avant la signature, Trump a déclaré que cette démarche « permettait à Israël de se défendre » contre les « défis sécuritaires conséquents auxquels il fait face quotidiennement ». Il a déclaré qu’Israël « a conquis le plateau du Golan pour se protéger face à des menaces extérieures » comme celles qu’il vit au quotidien face à la Syrie, l’Iran et le groupe terroriste du Hezbollah, soutenu par l’Iran.
Selon le texte de la proclamation, « tout éventuel futur accord de paix dans la région doit prendre en compte le besoin d’Israël de se protéger de la Syrie et d’autres menaces régionales. Sur la base de ces circonstances uniques, il est donc impératif de reconnaître la souveraineté israélienne sur le plateau du Golan ».
La déclaration « proclame ci-dessus que les Etats-Unis reconnaissent que le plateau du Golan fait partie de l’Etat d’Israël ».
Le président américain a déclaré plus tard, dans le bureau ovale, qu’il avait étudié la question pendant « des années » et que « cela aurait dû être fait il y a, je dirais, plusieurs présidents. Mais pour une raison ou pour une autre, ils ne l’ont pas fait, et je suis honoré de l’avoir fait ».Trump s’est également engagé à maintenir sa fermeté à l’égard de l’Iran et déclaré que sa décision de restaurer les sanctions sur le régime à Téhéran avait « eu un grand impact ».
Le chef du gouvernement israélien a martelé en ce « jour historique » que son pays ne renoncerait « jamais » au Golan, remerciant chaleureusement, et à plusieurs reprises, le locataire de la Maison Blanche, pour son « incroyable soutien », lors d’une poignée de main appuyée. »L’Iran n’est pas le même pays que lorsque je suis arrivé au pouvoir », a-t-il dit.
« Israël n’a jamais eu un meilleur ami que vous », a redit Benjamin Netanyahu, qui se présente comme l’homme le mieux placé pour gérer les relations avec les Etats-Unis et son impétueux président.
« Votre décision de reconnaître la souveraineté israélienne rend justice à deux égards : Israël a remporté le plateau du Golan dans une guerre de légitime défense, et la relation du peuple juif à cette terre remonte à des générations. »
Netanyahu a ajouté que le plateau montagneux le long de la frontière syrienne était « inestimable » pour la défense d’Israël « et cette décision historique est très lourde de sens pour moi, pour nous et pour tous les Israéliens. »
« Votre proclamation intervient à une époque où le Golan est plus important que jamais pour notre sécurité, alors que l’Iran tente d’implanter des bases en Syrie pour frapper Israël. Depuis l’autre côté de la frontière, l’Iran a lancé des drones vers notre espace aérien, des missiles vers notre territoire », a continué Netanyahu.
« Monsieur le président, tout comme Israël s’est tenu fier en 1967 et en 1973, Israël se tient fier aujourd’hui. Nous avons la main et nous ne la perdrons jamais. »
Netanyahu était à Washington pour la conférence annuelle de l’AIPAC mais a écourté sa visite et annulé son discours après qu’une roquette a été lancée depuis la bande de Gaza, contrôlée par le Hamas, a détruit un maison au nord-est de Tel Aviv et fait 7 blessés. Netanyahu s’est envolé pour Israël après ses entretiens à la Maison Blanche.
« A l’heure où je vous parle, Israël répond avec force à cette agression », a déclaré Netanyahu depuis la Maison Blanche. « Israël ne tolérera pas ceci. Je ne le tolérerai pas », a-t-il ajouté.Le président israélien Reuven Rivlin a remercié Trump pour sa décision « brave et sans précédent ».
« C’est un amendement historique d’une importance inédite. L’histoire du peuple juif dans le Golan est pluri-millénaire, et le plateau du Golan est une partie indissociable de l’Etat d’Israël, crucial pour notre sécurité et pour notre existence en tant que peuple. J’espère que d’autres pays et dirigeants emboîteront le pas aux Etats-Unis et déclareront leur reconnaissance de notre souveraineté sur le Golan ».
« Je remercie également le président des Etats-Unis, Donald Trump, un véritable ami de l’Etat d’Israël, pour sa décision brave et sans précédent de reconnaître la souveraineté israélienne sur le plateau du Golan, ainsi que sa décision de reconnaître que Jérusalem est la capitale de l’Etat d’Israël », a déclaré Rivlin dans un communiqué. Le gouvernement syrien a qualifié lundi de « violente attaque contre l’intégrité territoriale de la Syrie » la reconnaissance américaine de la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan.
« Dans ce qui constitue une violente attaque contre la souveraineté et l’intégrité territoriale de la Syrie, le président des Etats-Unis a reconnu l’annexion du Golan syrien », a déclaré une source du ministère des Affaires étrangères à l’agence de presse officielle syrienne Sana. « Trump n’a pas le droit ni l’autorité légale pour légitimer l’occupation » israélienne, a ajouté la source au sein du ministère des Affaires étrangères syrien. Le soutien illimité de Washington à Israël fait des Etats-Unis le « premier ennemi des Arabes », a-t-elle encore affirmé, selon Sana.
Sur Twitter, le chef de l’opposition syrienne, Nasr Hariri, a estimé que la décision américaine allait « provoquer plus de violence et d’instabilité et aurait des répercussions négatives sur les efforts en vue de la paix dans la région ».La Russie, alliée du régime syrien, a dit craindre lundi « une nouvelle vague de tensions » au Proche-Orient à la suite de la reconnaissance par Washington de la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan.
« Malheureusement, cela peut conduire à une nouvelle vague de tensions dans la région du Proche-Orient », a averti la porte-parole de la diplomatie russe Maria Zakharova, citée par les agences de presse russes, lors d’une émission à la radio. « De telles choses, parce qu’elles se situent en dehors du champ légal et ignorent toutes les procédures internationales (…) ne peuvent malheureusement qu’aggraver la situation », a-t-elle ajouté.
« L’intention des Etats-Unis de reconnaître la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan conduit à une violation grossière du droit international, entrave la résolution de la crise syrienne et aggrave la situation dans tout le Proche-Orient », avait averti lundi le chef de la diplomatie russe Sergueï Lavrov lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec son homologue américain Mike Pompeo avant la signature du décret.
« La signature de (Donald) Trump est pratiquement un cadeau électoral à (Benjamin) Netanyahu qui est en difficulté avant les élections », a souligné le ministre turc lors d’un discours prononcé à Antalya. « Quoi que vous fassiez (pour Netanyahu) – qui divise jusqu’à son propre peuple, qui bombarde à Gaza, aujourd’hui, comme vous pouvez le voir, pour ce tyran, il n’y aura pas d’avantages. Les efforts de l’Amérique sont vains », a poursuivi Mevlut Cavusoglu, dont les propos étaient retransmis à la télévision turque. Cavusoglu a assuré que la Turquie « ferait jusqu’au bout tout ce qui est nécessaire » et œuvrerait avec la communauté internationale contre « les décisions unilatérales » prises au détriment du droit international.
Au Caire, le secrétaire général de la Ligue arabe, une organisation qui regroupe les Etats arabes, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, a jugé la décision de M. Trump « nulle et non avenue dans le fond et la forme ».
« Légaliser l’occupation est une nouvelle orientation de la politique américaine (…) Si l’occupation est un grand crime, la légitimer est un pêché qui n’en est pas moins grave », a déclaré M. Aboul Gheit, dans un communiqué. Il a ajouté que le rejet de cette politique américaine était une position arabe « unanime » qui sera réaffirmée au prochain sommet arabe de Tunis.
Le Koweït a estimé que la décision américaine n’aiderait pas à l’établissement de la paix et remettait en cause le rôle des Etats-Unis en tant que médiateur.La Jordanie a elle dénoncé une « décision unilatérale qui provoquerait davantage de tensions dans la région ».
A Beyrouth, le ministère des Affaires étrangères a rejeté une mesure qui « viole le droit international et nuit aux efforts pour une paix juste ». « Les hauteurs du Golan sont un territoire syrien et arabe et (…) aucun pays ne peut changer l’Histoire en transférant la propriété d’un territoire d’un pays à un autre », selon lui.
Le chef du Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, a dénoncé lundi soir la décision du président américain. « Ces positions américaines et ces décisions oppressives qui viennent de nulle part ne changeront pas les faits historiques et géographiques de la terre syrienne et les droits du peuple syro-arabe dans le Golan occupé », a déclaré Haniyeh dans un communiqué.
L’Arabie saoudite « exprime son rejet ferme et condamne la déclaration de l’administration américaine reconnaissant la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan syrien occupé », a rapporté lundi l’agence de presse officielle SPA.
Le Golan demeure « une terre arabe syrienne occupée » et le reconnaître comme israélien est une « violation de la charte des Nations unies et de la résolution internationale », a-t-elle ajouté.
« Il y aura des effets négatifs sur le processus de paix au Moyen-Orient, ainsi que sur la sécurité et la stabilité dans la région », indique-t-on encore.
Le statut du Golan « inchangé » pour l’ONU après la décision américaine
Le statut juridique du Golan reste inchangé après la décision du président américain Donald Trump de reconnaître la « souveraineté » d’Israël sur ce territoire du Proche-Orient, a indiqué lundi le porte-parole de l’ONU, Stéphane Dujarric.
« Pour le secrétaire général (Antonio Guterres), il est clair que le statut du Golan n’a pas changé. La politique de l’ONU à l’égard du Golan vient des résolutions adoptées par le Conseil de sécurité et cette politique, à nouveau, n’a pas changé », a-t-il souligné lors de son point-presse quotidien.
Prévues de longue date, des consultations à huis clos du Conseil de sécurité sur la force de l’ONU (Fnuod) déployée sur le plateau du Golan doivent se tenir mercredi à New York. Dès mardi, une réunion mensuelle publique du Conseil sur le Proche-Orient devrait aussi permettre aux membres de l’instance de l’ONU d’évoquer la décision américaine.
Lors des consultations mercredi, la position des Etats-Unis à l’égard de l’avenir de la Fnuod, dont le mandat arrive à échéance fin juin, sera « intéressante » à entendre, indique un diplomate pour qui un maintien de la force pourrait ne plus être compatible avec la nouvelle politique américaine attribuant ce territoire à Israël.
La Fnuod (Force des Nations unies pour l’observation du désengagement), dont le coût annuel est d’environ 60 millions de dollars, compte un millier de Casques bleus. Ils sont chargés depuis 1974 de contrôler une zone-tampon démilitarisée sur le plateau du Golan.
A l’ONU, la résolution renouvelant régulièrement le mandat de la Fnuod a la particularité (unique pour les opérations de paix) d’être co-rédigée chaque année par les Etats-Unis et la Russie.

 

DES DRUZES DE SYRIE DEMANDENT LA PROTECTION D’ISRAËL

Publié le 9 mars 2018

Rencontre secrète entre des Druzes de Syrie et le premier ministre israélien
Le 27 février dernier, une délégation de Druzes de Syrie a rencontré Benyamin Netanyahu dans ses bureaux à Jérusalem. Elle a demandé la protection politique et militaire d’Israël pour sa communauté.
Deux des trois membres de la délégation venaient de la région d’As-Suwayda (ou Suyada), dans le Jebel druze, à une cinquantaine de km de Deraa dans le sud de la Syrie. La troisième personne, appartenant elle aussi à la communauté, vit au Venezuela et servait d’intermédiaire.
Après avoir rencontré un membre druze de la Knesset appartenant au Likoud, Ayub Qorra (les Israéliens écrivent Ayoob Kara), la délégation s’est rendue au bureau du Premier ministre israélien.
Les deux personnes venues de Syrie, pour se rendre en Israël, ont d’abord pris un avion jusqu’en Europe. De là, elles se sont envolées pour l’aéroport David-Ben-Gourion.
Cette allégeance de Druzes syriens à l’Etat hébreu suit une longue période de collaboration de la majorité de cette communauté avec les autorités de Damas. La recherche d’un nouveau protecteur révèle l’inquiétude croissante des Druzes de Syrie dans une région, le sud, où le régime de Damas est en difficulté face aux groupes islamistes et aux rebelles démocrates soutenus par les Etats-Unis.
Un rapprochement avec les Druzes de Syrie revêt une grande importance pour Israël
De leur côté, les Israéliens ont leurs raisons de recevoir avec empressement la démarche druze. Profitant des événements et du désordre prévalant en Syrie, ils ont du reste approché les populations du Jebel druze syrien et leur ont donné de l’argent à titre humanitaire. Ainsi, en l’espace de trois ans, ils ont fait parvenir 20 millions de dollars aux Druzes de la région d’As-Suwayda. La rencontre de Jérusalem, prenant néanmoins une importance stratégique remarquable, faisait suite à cette manœuvre israélienne.
IL Y A TROIS LECTURES COMPLÉMENTAIRES DE L’INTÉRÊT ISRAÉLIEN POUR LES DRUZES DE SYRIE.
1/ La motivation interne
Les Druzes forment en Israël une communauté de 100 000 âmes. On les trouve dans le nord du pays et sur le plateau du Golan, confisqué par les Israéliens à la Syrie lors de la guerre de 1967 (guerre des Six Jours) et annexé depuis 1981.
En outre, il faut savoir les Druzes israéliens pour la plupart très intégrés à la société israélienne. Ils sont les seuls non-juifs du pays à effectuer un service militaire, à la demande de la communauté elle-même. Ils sont nombreux dans les unités combattantes, en particulier dans les troupes de protection des frontières appelées MAGAV, et plusieurs servent comme officiers.
Les opérations de séduction israéliennes à l’égard des Druzes du Liban et de Syrie sont habituelles. Elles sont d’abord destinées à renforcer l’alliance interne des Druzes d’Israël et des autorités israéliennes. Elles donnent le sentiment à cette communauté qu’une relation stratégique forte existe entre elle et les juifs.
2/ L’explication stratégique
Les Israéliens nourrissent un état d’esprit de population assiégée. Tout ce qui se trouve de l’autre côté de leur frontière leur fait peur. Leurs comportements agressifs, les survols de leurs avions de combat au-dessus des pays voisins, sans compter les bombardements, autrefois au Liban aujourd’hui en Syrie, suscitent il est vrai des ressentiments à leur égard. De plus, tout en tenant un discours anti-israélien, les Iraniens et leur allié, le Hezbollah libanais, ajoutent à la paranoïa israélienne en se rapprochant de la frontière israélo-syrienne, à proximité du Golan.
Pour faire face à cet environnement, perçu comme hostile, Israël cherche des alliés dans la zone du territoire syrien proche de ses frontières. Dans ce but, il a déjà ouvert ses « check points » à des combattants rebelles blessés et les a soignés dans ses hôpitaux. Il a même été jusqu’à créer des canaux de communication avec des groupes islamistes. Certains responsables de ces derniers se sont rendus en Turquie, venant du sud de la Syrie, en passant par le territoire israélien. Néanmoins, cela n’a pas de signification stratégique croyons-nous.
Dans ce cadre, les Druzes de la région d’As-Suwayda apparaissent eux aussi d’un intérêt certain en raison leur proximité des frontières israéliennes.
3/ Le lien avec les Kurdes d’Irak.
Il existe aussi un projet israélien moins connu et passé sous silence par la plupart des experts. Celui-ci suppose le contrôle, direct ou indirect par Israël, du sud de la Syrie et d’une bande de territoire de ce pays jouxtant la Jordanie.
Avant la Révolution syrienne, une pareille idée pouvait paraître farfelue. Aujourd’hui, en raison du désordre syrien et de la division de fait de l’Irak, elle apparaît envisageable.
Nous sommes au courant de ce projet depuis 2004. Il consiste, pour les Israéliens, à développer une alliance stratégique avec les Kurdes d’Irak pour s’en approprier les ressources en hydrocarbures et en eau. Pour ce dossier, nous renvoyons nos lecteurs à l’étude que nous avons réalisée sur le sujet pour le « Centre de Recherches sur le Terrorisme depuis le 11 septembre 2001.
Si l’alliance avec les Kurdes d’Irak, en particulier avec la famille Barzani, a pris facilement forme pour Israël depuis l’attaque américaine contre Saddam Hussein du printemps 2003, reste le dilemme de l’acheminement de l’eau et du pétrole. Un rapide coup d’œil sur les cartes permet de comprendre qu’il n’existe qu’une seule voie possible, échappant à un interdit des autorités irakiennes, pour installer des pipe-lines : une bande de territoire syrien partant du Golan, longeant la frontière jordanienne puis la frontière irakienne jusqu’à l’accès aux territoires kurdes du nord de l’Irak.
Or, le Jebel druze de la région de As-Suwayda se trouve sur cet itinéraire.
Du Golan à As-Suwayda, les Druzes s’offrent sur un plateau
Au Proche-Orient, plusieurs minorités s’estiment non-arabes et, pour certaines d’entre elles, craignent les radicaux islamistes pour des raisons religieuses. Il y a les Kurdes et les Druzes, mais aussi certains chrétiens ou les yézidis. Pour ses intérêts, Israël est prêt à les utiliser, puis à les trahir, comme il l’a fait autrefois avec les chrétiens du Liban. Les Druzes devraient y penser !

VOTER OU NON AVEC LES ISRAÉLIENS, LE DILEMME DES DRUZES DU GOLAN OCCUPÉ

Le Point, Publié le 26/10/2018

A Majdal Shams, en contrebas des habitations à flanc de montagne, une affiche électorale interpelle les habitants: cette petite ville druze du Golan est appelée à voter mardi, une première depuis l’occupation par Israël de ce plateau syrien en 1967
Majdal Shams et les trois autres localités druzes du plateau du Golan, au nord-est d’Israël, sont censées élire leur conseil municipal le 30 octobre, comme les villes israéliennes. Mais ici pas de meetings, ni de tracts: les candidats se font discrets. L’un d’eux, Dolan Abou Saleh, se contente de recevoir quelques habitants dans son QG.
Le sujet “est très sensible”, justifie le quadragénaire.
Plus de 50 ans après qu’Israël a pris à la Syrie la majorité du Golan, beaucoup craignent que l’Etat hébreu cherche, avec ces élections, à faire entériner son annexion du plateau en 1981, jamais reconnue par la communauté internationale.
Quelque 23.000 druzes apatrides vivent encore sur la partie contrôlée par Israël. Ils ont perdu leur nationalité syrienne et beaucoup ont refusé la carte d’identité israélienne.
Dolan Abou Saleh l’admet: les appels à boycotter les urnes seront sûrement très suivis. Lui est proche du Likoud (droite), le parti du Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu, et pense que le scrutin est une chance pour les druzes du Golan, dont les villes et villages sont entourées de colonies où vivent quelque 20.000 Israéliens.
Lors de ses deux précédents mandats, M. Abou Saleh a été placé à la tête de Majdal Shams, principale localité druze, par des membres du conseil local, désignés par le ministère de l’Intérieur israélien.
Entre être nommé et être élu, il ne fait aucun doute que l’élection est plus démocratique”, dit-il.
Identité et pragmatisme
Seuls les druzes possédant la nationalité israélienne peuvent être élus maire, explique Wael Tarabieh, responsable du programme culturel au centre des droits de l’Homme Al Marsad, basé dans le Golan. Les autres ont le statut de “résidents permanents” et peuvent seulement voter aux municipales.
Al Marsad accuse les organisateurs du scrutin de violer l’article 43 de la convention de la Haye selon laquelle la force occupante doit respecter “les lois en vigueur dans le pays”.Mais ce sont pourtant des avocats druzes qui ont saisi la Cour suprême israélienne pour obtenir la tenue d’élections.
La guerre civile en Syrie a en effet profondément changé la nature du lien des druzes du Golan avec leur pays d’origine: si la plupart rêvaient jadis de retourner dans le giron de Damas et partaient faire leurs études dans les universités syriennes, certains, de la jeune génération, ont pris leurs distances avec la Syrie dévastée. Et se tournent avec pragmatisme vers Israël.
Les dirigeants religieux druzes, une branche hétérodoxe de l’islam chiite, ont appelé il y a trois mois à boycotter les élections. Ils donnent traditionnellement le ton au sein de la communauté.Sous la pression, trois candidats au poste de maire ont annoncé leur retrait ainsi qu’au moins sept colistiers sur diverses listes.
Dans les rues du village de Buq’ata, les portes se ferment face aux questions sur l’élection. “Nous ne participerons pas”, marmonne furtivement une vieille femme, vêtue de noir et le visage entouré d’un voile blanc, vêtement traditionnel des druzes.
Enfants du pays
“Notre identité est syrienne”, renchérit Amal Abou Chahine, 47 ans, désignant un drapeau syrien tracé à la peinture sur un mur derrière lui. “Cette élection n’est pas pour nous”.”Je suis pour les élections. On est avec Israël maintenant, la Syrie c’est fini !”, objecte un druze de 24 ans préférant rester anonyme.
Il n’ira pas pour autant glisser un bulletin dans l’urne. “Il y a des gens qui vont vérifier qui va voter ou non”, assure-t-il. Difficile d’être à contre-courant dans ces villages où tous se connaissent.
Dans sa maison au milieu des vergers de pommiers, Sameh Samara ne comprend pas les appels au boycott. Pour cet activiste politique, voter n’est qu’un moyen d’obtenir de meilleurs services et ne constitue en aucun cas une reconnaissance de la souveraineté d’Israël.
Il vaut mieux “choisir la bonne personne parmi les enfants du pays que d’avoir quelqu’un d’imposé, qui ne convient pas et qui n’est pas d’ici !”, explique-t-il.
M. Tarabieh est d’un tout autre avis. De son balcon d’où il peut contempler la petite ville de Majdal Shams, la frontière contestée est à environ 500 mètres. Derrière la barrière qui serpente dans les collines s’étend le territoire du Golan resté sous contrôle de la Syrie, où presque tous les habitants du plateau occupé par Israël ont laissé des proches.Pour lui, la tenue d’élections “est une façon de reconnaître la présence fondamentalement illégale d’Israël”.

 

Actualité

 

ÉLECTIONS : LE DILEMME DES DRUZES DU GOLAN : Times of Israël Staff, Times of Israël, 28 octobre 2018 – A Majdal Shams, en contrebas des habitations à flanc de montagne, une affiche électorale interpelle les habitants : cette petite ville druze du Golan est appelée à voter mardi, une première depuis 1967. Majdal Shams et les trois autres localités druzes du plateau du Golan, au nord-est d’Israël, sont censées élire leur conseil municipal le 30 octobre, comme les villes israéliennes. Mais ici pas de meetings, ni de tracts : les candidats se font discrets. L’un d’eux, Dolan Abou Saleh, se contente de recevoir quelques habitants dans son QG.

C’est un « miracle », confie un rescapé du tir de la roquette au moshav Mishmeret: Times of Israel Staff, Times of Israel, 25 mars 2019- Un Israélo-britannique du centre d’Israël qui a poussé certains membres de sa famille dans un abri anti-bombe peu de temps avant qu’une roquette ne frappe leur maison, a déclaré que c’était un « miracle » que tous aient survécu à l’attaque qui a rasé leur maison. « Nous sommes sous le choc, mais le plus important, c’est que tout va bien », a déclaré Daniel Wolf à la Treizième chaîne, depuis l’hôpital. « C’était traumatisant. Après l’explosion, il y avait le silence, la poussière et des cris ensuite. La destruction partout. »

Un garçon de 7 ans, légèrement blessé dans une attaque terroriste en Cisjordanie : Times of Israel Staff, Times of Israel, 25 mars 2019- Un jeune Israélien âgé de 7 ans a été légèrement blessé dans la soirée de lundi par des coups de feu tirés sur l’implantation de Beit El, située dans le centre de la Cisjordanie, près d’un village palestinien, a annoncé l’armée israélienne.Le jeune enfant a été transporté au centre médical de Shaare Zedek à Jérusalem après avoir été blessé à la main.

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Le « Communiqué Isranet » tente de transmettre une grande variété d’opinions sur Israël, le Proche-Orient et le monde juif à des fins d’enseignement et de recherche. Les articles reproduits et documents expriment les opinions de leurs auteurs et ne reflètent pas nécessairement le point de vue de l’Institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaïsme.

 

Daily Briefing Vol # 4522- SAUDI ARABIA: COUNTERING IRAN ON MULTIPLE FRONTS

SAUDI ARABIA: COUNTERING IRAN ON MULTIPLE FRONTS

Opinion: Pakistan Just Became Saudi Arabia’s Client State, and Turned Its Back on Tehran: Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, Haaretz, Feb. 24, 2019 — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have got the cold shoulder from protesting crowds in Tunisia and been publicly sidelined at the G20 conference last November, but he was treated to a hero’s welcome in Pakistan this week.
Saudi Gas Export Plan Shines New Light on Efforts to Isolate Iran: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Mar. 15, 2019 — Officially, both Saudi Arabia and the US, which withdrew last year from the 2015 international accord that curbs the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and imposed harsh economic sanctions, are demanding a change of Iran’s regional and defense policies rather than of its regime.
Some Palestinians Worry Saudis Reconciling with Israel: Adnan Abu Amer, Al-Monitor, March 22, 2019 — Palestinian-Saudi ties have grown stronger in recent weeks, which some Palestinians welcome and others reject.
Israel and the Gulf States: Some Things Change, Some Stay the Same: Dr. Joshua Krasnow, TV7 Publications, Mar. 25, 2019 — In the past month, there has been an upsurge in overt visits by senior Israeli officials in several Arab Gulf states with which Israel does not have official bilateral diplomatic relations, as well as in positive public statements by Gulf leaders regarding Israel.

ON TOPIC LINKS:

The Relationship Between Israel and the Gulf States, INSS, Jan. 28, 2019, Video — Dore Gold: It is clear as day that Israel and many of the Sunni Arab states have common interests.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt Oppose Bids Against Normalization Of Ties With Israel: Report: Press TV, Mar. 4, 2019 — Russia’s RT Arabic television news network reported on Monday that Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, the speaker of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly, together with his Emirati and Egyptian counterparts opposed a paragraph in the final communiqué of the 29th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Jordanian capital city of Amman, which demands an end to efforts aimed at normalizing ties with Israel and condemns all forms of rapprochement with the occupying regime.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel Collaborated to Weaken Turkey: Middle East Monitor, Jan. 9, 2019 — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel held a secret meeting to coordinate a plan which would see Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad reintegrated into the Arab League in an effort to weaken Turkey’s position in the region.
A New Turkey-Saudi Crisis Is Brewing: Birol Baskan, Middle East Institute, January 8, 2019 — Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations had been as good as they could get in the 2000s. In 2010, the kingdom even gave Turkey’s then-prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, its most prestigious award, the King Faisal Prize for Service to Islam. Since the eruption of the Arab Spring, however, relations between the two countries have gradually, but systematically, deteriorated.

OPINION: PAKISTAN JUST BECAME SAUDI ARABIA’S CLIENT STATE, AND TURNED ITS BACK ON TEHRAN
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
Haaretz, Feb. 24, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have got the cold shoulder from protesting crowds in Tunisia and been publicly sidelined at the G20 conference last November, but he was treated to a hero’s welcome in Pakistan this week.

It was more of a savior’s welcome, bearing in mind the financial lifeline he threw to Prime Minister Imran Khan. And that aid was part of a significant bargain struck between Islamabad and Riyadh.

Khan has acquiesced to MBS’ pointed demand: to join the Sunni Muslim axis against Iran. That formalization of an anti-Tehran alliance that Pakistan has previously hesitated to endorse will have ripple effects both within Pakistan, and across the region.

The first leg of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Asia tour saw him strike $20 billion worth of deals in Pakistan. The financing comes as much needed relief for Islamabad, which is looking to dodge a thirteenth International Monetary Fund bailout amid a balance of payment crisis that is crippling the economy.

During the two-day trip that culminated on Monday, MBS further provided diplomatic support to Islamabad at a tense period of relations with India due to last week’s bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir, which killed over 40 Indian security officials. Just as India threatens war in retaliation, assurances Pakistan received from both Saudi Arabia and China bolstered its decision that there was no need to go after Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terror group that took responsibility, and whose leadership is still living openly inside Pakistan.

Where China has reiterated it has no plans to reconsider its veto on the move to designate JeM Chief Masood Azhar a terrorist by the United Nations, Saudi Arabia’s joint statement with Pakistan following MBS’s visit highlighted the need to “avoid politicization of the UN listing regime.”

MBS’s financial and diplomatic support comes in exchange for Pakistan’s increased involvement in the so-called Islamic Counter Terrorism Military Coalition (IMCTC). Islamabad was informed about its new role by former Army Chief General (retired) Raheel Sharif – who now commands the IMCTC – in the lead up to the MBS visit.

The IMCTC was formed in December 2015, nine months into Saudi military campaign in Yemen. At the time Riyadh was planning the execution of influential Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, which brought Saudi Arabia and Iran to a standoff, leading to a severing of diplomatic ties.

It also coincided with the peak of the Islamic State (ISIS)’s powers in Iraq and Syria, confident enough even to launch attacks in Saudi Arabia. That synchronicity gave the IMCTC cover as a military alliance designed to counter ISIS, disguising its counter-Iran aims, with the obvious feel-good factor of an unprecedented formation of Muslim states uniting to fight a group orchestrating Islamist terrorism across the world… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

SAUDI GAS EXPORT PLAN SHINES NEW LIGHT ON EFFORTS TO ISOLATE IRAN
Dr. James M. Dorsey
BESA, Mar. 15, 2019

Officially, both Saudi Arabia and the US, which withdrew last year from the 2015 international accord that curbs the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and imposed harsh economic sanctions, are demanding a change of Iran’s regional and defense policies rather than of its regime.

Yet statements in recent years by some Saudi leaders and US officials – as well a string of declarations at the recent US-sponsored Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Stability in the Middle East in Warsaw by officials of the Trump administration, as well as Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – suggested that regime change was on their radar.

President Donald Trump’s hard-line national security advisor John Bolton, a past advocate of regime change and a covert war to destabilize Iran, concluded an outline on the White House’s official Twitter account of Washington’s long list of grievances and accusations levelled at Iranian leaders by addressing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, directly. “I don’t think you’ll have too many more anniversaries,” Bolton said, as Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution.

Multiple indicators bolster the notion that the real goal of Saudi and US policy is regime change, prompted by the sanctions and a destabilization campaign that would foster unrest among Iran’s ethnic minorities.

These include statements by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and by Bolton before he became Trump’s advisor; a flow of funds from the kingdom to militant, ultra-conservative, anti-Shiite, anti-Iranian madrassas that dot the Iranian border in the troubled Pakistani province of Balochistan; US and Saudi support for an exile Iranian group that demands regime change in Tehran; and a string of recent attacks inside Iran.

However, Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it will invest US$150 billion to enable it to export three billion cubic meters of gas a year by 2030 suggests that imminent regime change may not be in the kingdom’s immediate interest.

Viewed through the lens of the timeline of Saudi Arabia’s gas plans, the kingdom is likely to benefit more from an Iran that is isolated and weakened for years to come, which would give Riyadh time to get up to speed on gas. That would serve Saudi Arabia’s gas plans better than an Iran that returns to the international fold under a new, more accommodating government. A potential destabilization campaign that is low-level and intermittent but not regime-threatening would serve that purpose…[To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

SOME PALESTINIANS WORRY SAUDIS RECONCILING WITH ISRAEL
Adnan Abu Amer
Al-Monitor, March 22, 2019

Palestinian-Saudi ties have grown stronger in recent weeks, which some Palestinians welcome and others reject.

On March 11, Manssour bin Mussallam, a Saudi citizen who is head of the Switzerland-based NGO the Education Relief Foundation, visited the West Bank. He was received by recently resigned Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who praised ongoing Saudi support for the Palestinian cause, and called on Arabs to visit more often.

Bin Mussallam met with Palestinian Minister of Education Sabri Saidam. A Palestinian official close to President Mahmoud Abbas told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Bin Mussallam’s visit focused on signing an educational partnership agreement with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and strengthening Palestinian relations with Saudi Arabia.” The two sides will form a joint action committee to carry out training programs and exchange visits.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Feb. 12 in Riyadh on a visit that hadn’t been unannounced publicly. He met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the current political situation and developments relating to the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem.

It appears the visits concern many Palestinian citizens, who oppose the Saudis’ growing coziness with Israel and fear the meetings could hasten the normalization of Arab-Israeli relations. Any Arab visit requires permission from and coordination with Israeli authorities, who control the border crossings. Some Palestinians argue that such coordination reflects a recognition of Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories.

“Palestinians are against the Saudi visit, as well as all visits by any Arab officials to their lands, because they pave the way to Arab-Israeli normalization,” Hani al-Masri, director general of the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies-Masarat, told Al-Monitor. “A Saudi-Israeli rapprochement has been taking place recently, and bin Mussallam’s visit couldn’t have happened without prior coordination with Israel.”

Abdel Sattar Qassem, a political science professor at An-Najah National University in Nablus, told Al-Monitor, “Bin Mussallam’s visit aimed to contain the Palestinian and Arab anger at any normalization with Israel should Saudi officials decide to visit Jerusalem under the pretext of praying [in the city’s holy sites]. With bin Mussallam’s visit, Saudi Arabia is attempting to obtain a formal Palestinian cover for possible future normalization with Israel.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

ISRAEL AND THE GULF STATES: SOME THINGS CHANGE,SOME STAY THE SAME
Dr. Joshua Krasnow
TV7 Publications, Mar. 25, 2019

In the past month, there has been an upsurge in overt visits by senior Israeli officials in several Arab Gulf states with which Israel does not have official bilateral diplomatic relations, as well as in positive public statements by Gulf leaders regarding Israel. The most significant was the visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu in Oman, the first overt visit in over twenty years by an Israeli prime minister to an Arab country without diplomatic relations with Israel. These developments have fueled euphoria and speculation in Israel about the possibility of increased normalization, or even diplomatic relations, with additional Arab states.

This paper will look at the strategic and political underpinnings of the recent uptick in overt relations between Israel and several Gulf States, and analyze their positions and interests, as well as those of major international and regional players; and make a cautious estimate regarding the likely next steps. (It will not examine in depth the United Arab Emirates or Kuwait, where no significant policy change has occurred or been indicated in the past few months).

What’s New?

The recent spate of overt visits includes those of:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a high-level Israeli delegation to Oman (October 26), without prior announcement by either country. The Prime Minister was accompanied by his wife, by the head of Israel’s foreign intelligence service, Mossad (who is reported to be the helmsman of the improved relations with the Gulf States, and to oversee deep covert cooperation with them), by the National Security Adviser, by the Director General of the Foreign Ministry and by other defense officials. Speaking to Cabinet colleagues after his return, Netanyahu said, “This visit comes against the background of diplomatic efforts that I have been promoting in recent years vis-à-vis the Arab countries. There will be more.”

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who visited Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament. Israel’s team won two gold medals in the tournament, and the Israeli flag was flown, and the national anthem played. The next day, in a surprising development, Regev was accompanied by Emirati officials to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a site regularly shown to world leaders visiting the country.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who visited Oman shortly after the Prime Minister, to participate in the World Road Transport Union World Congress, where he presented an American-supported regional rail project, called “Tracks for Middle East Peace”. This is based on the use of the Israeli port of Haifa, with Jordan serving as a regional rail hub attached to existing or planned regional rail infrastructure, to shorten transit times of goods from Asia to the Mediterranean. International and regional media made much of the fact that Katz also serves as Israel’s Intelligence Minister (though that office does not have an operational function).

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, who visited the UAE for a week in early November to participate in the International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai.

Economy Minister Eli Cohen was invited in early November to participate in the “Startup Nations Ministerial” conference, sponsored by the World Bank and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, to be held in Bahrain in April 2019… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Daily Briefing Vol# 4521- WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

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

On Topic Links

Watch: Israel Has A Right to Defend Itself! Says Trump During Golan Declaration Signing: United With Israel, May 25, 2019 –In the wake of a Hamas-launched rocket attack that destroyed a house outside of Tel Aviv, leaving seven Israelis injured, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an address with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his side.
Trump Recognition That Golan Heights Belong To Israel Shows His Strong Support Of Jewish State: Andrew Stein, Fox News, Mar. 26, 2019 — Speaking Monday at the White House, minutes before President Trump signed a proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the president that “Israel has never had a better friend than you.”
Hamas Has Developed A Vast Arsenal in Blockaded Gaza: Faras Akram, Miami Herald, Mar. 25, 2019 — A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday was one of the most powerful launched ever by Gaza militants, flying nearly 120 kilometers (70 miles) before it slammed into a house in central Israel, wounding seven people.
Finally, A Resolution That Actually Condemns Antisemitism: Liel Leibovitz, Tablet, March 26, 2019 — Earlier this month, after Rep. Ilhan Omar accused American Jews of dual loyalty and the Israel lobby of purchasing undue influence, the House passed a resolution that did not mention Omar by name and that condemned not only antisemitism but every other conceivable form of bigotry.

WEEKLY QUOTES

“The State of Israel took control of the Golan Heights in 1967 to safeguard its security from external threats. Today, aggressive acts by Iran and terrorist groups, including Hizballah, in southern Syria continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel. Any possible future peace agreement in the region must account for Israel’s need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats. Based on these unique circumstances, it is therefore appropriate to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim that, the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.” – President Donald Trump proclaims Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. (The White House, Mar. 25, 2019)

“In the long sweep of Jewish history, there have been a handful of proclamations by non-Jewish leaders on behalf of our people and our land: Cyrus the Great, the great Persian king; Lord Balfour; President Harry S. Truman; and President Donald J. Trump. You, Mr. President, you’ve done it not once, but twice: with your bold proclamation on Jerusalem and with your bold proclamation today on the Golan… Mr. President, just as Israel stood tall in 1967, just as it stood tall in 1973, Israel stands tall today. We hold the high ground and we shall never give it up.” -– Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanking Pres. Trump for his proclamation. (Prime Minister’s Office, Mar. 25,2019)

“It’s so significant in historical terms because 52 years ago we acquired that territory in a defensive war. There’s one thing to achieve a military victory, which our brave soldiers did. It’s another thing to translate that military victory into a diplomatic victory. It took us 52 years to do that, and I think it will formally be declared, that diplomatic victory, tomorrow at the White House, and the people of Israel are very grateful to President Trump.” – Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Dermer at the opening night of this year’s AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, as regards President Trump’s announcement that the US will recognize Israel’s control over the Golan Heights. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed the territory in 1981, a move that was not formally recognized by the U.S. and other nations who said its permanent status should be determined through negotiations. (The Hill, Mar. 24, 2019)

“All over the world, antisemitism is on the rise. On college campuses, in the market place, even in the halls of Congress. You know, there was a time when support for Israel was not a partisan issue here in Washington … But how things have changed. It’s astonishing to think that the party of Harry Truman, which did so much to help create the State of Israel has been co-opted by people who promote rank antisemitic rhetoric and work to undermine the broad American consensus of support for Israel… Recently, a freshman Democratic congresswoman trafficked in repeated antisemitic tropes; alleged congressional support for Israel reflected an allegiance to a foreign country … Antisemitism has no place in the Congress of the United States of America! And at a minimum, anyone who slanders those who support this historic alliance between the United States and Israel should never have a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives. The party that’s been the home of so many American Jews for so long, struggled to muster the votes to unequivocally condemn antisemitism in a resolution.” — Vice President Mike Pence at the AIPAC Convention in reference to the Democratic Party’s reaction to Omar’s antisemitic statements. Pence also expressed anger and frustration over the decision of many Democratic presidential candidates not to attend the AIPAC conference under pressure from the party’s far-left base. “As I stand before you eight Democrat candidates for president are actually boycotting this very conference… Anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land should not be afraid to stand with the strongest supporters of Israel in America. It is wrong to boycott Israel and it is wrong to boycott AIPAC.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 25, 2019)

“When someone accuses American supporters of Israel of dual loyalty, I say: Accuse me … I’ve been proud to help lead efforts in Congress to push back against the BDS movement. And I will push for a bipartisan resolution that puts Congress on record that BDS must be condemned.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said to a standing ovation at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC. (Algemeiner, Mar. 25, 2019)

 

“They say you can’t be a good progressive and supporter of Israel, and now they’re saying you can’t even be a good American and be a supporter of Israel. The intense hatred of Israel is creeping from the margins to the center of our national politics. [However,] we will respond. Our detractors think we’ll fold if we’re pushed. They don’t know what we’re made of.” — AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr at the opening of the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington. Without mentioning Omar by name, he said that comments questioning the loyalty of Americans who support Israel are no more than “defamation masquerading as discourse.” He warned of the impact that such statements have, saying that “critics are emboldened and energized” and the “false claims are taken at face value by new and broader audiences,” referring to the widescale impact of social media. Omar last month challenged “the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” (WIN, Mar. 24, 2019)
“We’ve felt the rise of antisemitism for years, and we also felt that the numbers coming from the Ministry of the Interior are very low compared to the reality… “[It’s] coming from the far-left, from the far-right, from radicalized Muslims — they are the ones who target French Jewish students in universities. These groups are very strong.” — Sacha Ghozlan, the president of the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) said, calling for comprehensive action to tackle antisemitism, after a new poll showed that nearly 90 percent of Jewish students in France encountered antisemitism on campus. Nearly one in five who decided not to report an antisemitic incident — which ranged from aggression and insults to the use of anti-Jewish tropes — said they were concerned that the perpetrator would target them again. Ghozlan added. “There is this feeling that … police just are not strong enough to prevent this act from happening.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 20, 2019)

SHORT TAKES

ROMANIA AND HONDURAS COMMIT TO JERUSALEM EMBASSY MOVE (Washington) – Speaking at the AIPAC convention, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila says that her country intends to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Romania currently serves in the rotating position of president of the European Union Council. Dancila also unveiled a plan to allow those who were forced out of Romania to apply for citizenship. Romania will also begin the process of Holocaust reparations, as well as provide worldwide access to archives from the Holocaust. Also, at the AIPAC event, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado said that his country would immediately set up a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. The diplomatic mission is meant as an interim step as Honduras reached an agreement with the U.S. and Israel to work on the opening of an embassy in the city. Brazil’s president said that it’s just a matter of time until his country’s Embassy moves to Jerusalem. But recent reports indicated that he is facing resistance from the “old guard” within the Brazilian establishment, and the Arab world. (WIN, Mar. 24, 2019)

FIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES READY TO RESTART IRAN DEAL (Washington)

— Responding to Al-Monitor, five candidates voiced their intention to rejoin the Iran deal. They include Sens. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). The other two are Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson, the site reports. One Democratic presidential hopeful who was more circumspect in his reply was Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. The Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, on May 8, 2018. (WIN, Mar. 24, 2019)

FAMILY OF 7 INJURED, PETS PERISHED IN GAZA ROCKE ATTACK ON CENTRAL ISRAEL (Moshav Mishmeret) — A missile launched from the Gaza Strip hit a private home in moshav Mishmeret in the Sharon area, just outside Tel Aviv. The house was destroyed and seven members of one family were injured: a 59-year-old woman who was moderately wounded and six others who lightly wounded that included a baby about six-months old and a three-year-old toddler. (Jewish Press, Mar. 25, 2019)

IDF DELIVERED A ‘POWERFUL BLOW’ AGAINST HAMAS (Gaza Strip) — Israel struck numerous terrorist targets across the Gaza Strip, including the offices of Hamas’ leader, Ismail Haniyeh. Israel stopped its attacks around 6:00 a.m., according to reports. Netanyahu cut his U.S. trip short in order to deal with the escalation brought on by Hamas’s rocket attack, which uncharacteristically struck deep into Israel, hitting an area north of Tel Aviv where it made a direct hit on a house, injuring seven people, including two children and an infant. (WIN, Mar. 26, 2019)

HAMAS OFFICIAL: IRAN ORDERED ROCKET ATTACK ON CENTRAL ISRAEL – REPORT (Gaza Strip) — A senior Hamas official, speaking anonymously to Israel Hayom, claimed that the rocket which struck a moshav in central Israel was ordered by Iran. Hamas reportedly gave its blessing for the rocket attack in hopes of disrupting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election campaign. He claimed that Iran “went over the heads” of Hamas leadership and ordered an Islamic Jihad cell operating out of the Gaza Strip to carry out the attack. While senior officials in both Egypt and Gaza confirmed that Iran had ordered the attack, they claimed that the Hamas leadership was aware of the plans to fire a rocket deep into Israeli territory. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 27, 2019)

ISRAEL’S DAVID’S SLING MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM SAID TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE SERIES OF TESTS (Israel) — According to the Hebrew news site Mako, the tests assessed the capabilities of the latest version of the defense system and simulated several scenarios that it could face in the field. The tests were jointly conducted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA). (Algemeiner, Mar. 11, 2019)

UN WATCH’S SHADOW RIGHTS SUMMIT TO TURN TABLES ON TYRANTS (Geneva) — — Dissidents and political prisoners’ families from around the globe have gathered in Geneva for a summit at the Palexpo conference center, aimed at giving a voice to victims of the world’s worst human rights abuses. The event is organized by an international coalition of 25 human rights NGOs, led by UN Watch. The summit organizers say they will focus on issues the UN session—under pressure by its powerful members—omitted from its agenda. Former political prisoners from China, Tibet, Turkey, Vietnam will join the family members of existing political prisoners in Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries that will be announced only at the session. (UN Watch Briefing, Mar. 24, 2019)

TOP LEBANESE OFFICIALS DISMISS VISITING US SECRETARY OF STATE POMPEO’S HEZBOLLAH WARNING (Beirut) — Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil openly challenged visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s description of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. At a joint press conference with Pompeo, Bassil portrayed Hezbollah — long designated as a terrorist group by the United States, Israel, the EU and others — as a legitimate partner in Lebanon’s national government. MPs affiliated with Hezbollah won 70 of the Lebanese parliament’s 128 seats in an election last year. The group has taken three of the 30 portfolios in the government formed in January by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, including the Health Ministry — the first time it has held a ministry with a significant budget. (Algemeiner, Mar. 22, 2019)

RAFI EITAN, ISRAELI MASTER SPY WHO CAUGHT EICHMAN, DIES AT 92 (Tel Aviv) — Eitan was perhaps most well-known for his role in the 1960 operation to capture Eichmann in Argentina and bring him to trial in Jerusalem, which remains one of the Mossad’s most historic missions. It brought to life the horrors of the Nazi “Final Solution” to commit genocide against the Jewish people, of which Eichmann was the architect. Later in life Eitan entered politics and served as a Cabinet member. (WIN, Mar. 23, 2019)

FATAH HAILS TERRORIST WHO KILLED TWO ISRAELIS AS ‘HEROIC MARTYR’ (Ramallah) — The Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, Fatah, celebrated the terrorist who killed two Israelis and wounded a third in the West Bank as a “perfect person” and a “heroic Martyr.” Omar Abu Laila stabbed IDF soldier Gal Keidan to death at the Ariel junction, then stole his weapon and opened fire on passing cars. Rabbi Achiad Ettinger was mortally wounded in the attack. Laila also shot Alex Dvorsky, who remains hospitalized, though his condition has improved. Laila was killed in a firefight with Israeli soldiers after being located. (Algemeiner, Mar. 20, 2019)

SARAH HALIMI’S LAWYERS, RELATIVES, EXPRESS FURY AS PROSPECT OF CRIMINAL TRIAL IN FRENCH ANTISEMITIC MURDER CASE AGAIN RECEDES (Paris) — Lawyers representing the family of the Jewish doctor murdered during a frenzied antisemitic assault inside her Paris apartment in 2017 expressed anger at the news that the accused killer may yet escape a criminal trial. Bloch was responding to widespread reports in the French media that accused killer Kobili Traoré, now 29, was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial for his crime in a new psychiatrist’s report commissioned by the investigating judge in the case. Traoré beat and kicked Halimi savagely while reportedly shouting the Arabic words “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) and “Sheitan” (“Satan”), then hurled her bloodied body out the window. (Algemeiner, Mar. 20, 2019)

UK LABOUR ANTISEMITISM CRISIS INTENSIFIES AS JEWISH GROUP TIED TO PARTY PLANS NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE AGAINST CORBYN (London) — The Jewish Labour Movement in the UK is planning to hold a no-confidence vote next month against the controversial head of the nation’s Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn. Since Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015, the party was wracked by antisemitism scandals, some touching the far-left MP himself. Polls indicate that some 80 percent of British Jews consider him to be antisemitic. Last month, nine Labour MPs left the party, citing antisemitism as one of the main reasons for their decision. (Algemeiner, Mar. 19, 2019)

NEW GROUP SEEKS TO BOLSTER SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL IN US CONGRESS (Washington) — A new organization was established with the goal of bolstering support for Israel in the US Congress — a task that has received greater impetus following the election last November of several lawmakers with unsympathetic views toward the Jewish state. The group, Pro-Israel America, announced 27 initial endorsements of 2020 congressional candidates — 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans — who it described as “strong advocates for the US-Israel alliance.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 19, 2019)

BERLIN JEWISH MUSEUM SAYS IT HAS ‘NO SPECIFIC PLANS’ TO COOPERATE WITH IRAN, FOLLOWING CRITICISM OF MEETING WITH TEHRAN REGIME ENVOY (Berlin) — The Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) confirmed that it has no plans for cooperation with the Iranian government, following a controversy around a recent meeting between the institution’s director and one of the Tehran regime’s diplomats stationed in Germany. While the JMB insisted that the meeting between Schäfer and Moujani was private, the Iranian diplomat published a lengthy account of their discussions on a German-language Iranian website, along with a photo — since removed — of the two men sitting together. Among the points emphasized by Moujani during the meeting was his unsubstantiated allegation that exiled Iranian Jewish families and Israeli entities such as the University of Haifa had “plundered” the Jewish communal artifacts currently in their possession. (Algemeiner, Mar. 19, 2019)

ISRAELI MINISTER ‘OPTIMISTIC’ ABOUT FUTURE OF TIES WITH CHINA (Jerusalem) — Speaking with the official Chinese state-run press agency Xinhua, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegi — a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party — said he was “optimistic” about the future of the relationship between the two nations. According to Xinhua, bilateral trade between Israel and China totaled around $14 billion in 2018. (Algemeiner, Mar. 17, 2019)

ZIONIST STUDENT GROUP ACCUSES UC BERKELEY MIDDLE EAST CENTER OF ANTI-ISRAEL ‘INDOCTRINATION’ (California) — In an online statement, Tikvah: Students for Israel maintained that the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) — a National Resource Center under the US Department of Education’s Title VI program — has held more than two dozen Israel-related events since 2016, each one of which “has maliciously attempted to portray the democracy of Israel in a negative light.” The group pointed to a series of recent discussions, including one earlier this month on “The Israel Lobby and Antisemitism,” where participants “publicly defended Ilhan Omar’s antisemitic comments and accusations of global Jewish conspiracies,” according to Tikvah. Despite this alleged focus on Israel, CMES refused to co-sponsor an upcoming campus talk with former Israeli Knesset member and Ambassador Danny Ayalon, Tikvah charged. “CMES is engaging in an anti-academic policy of indoctrination, and there is no room to view their one-sided hateful narrative as anything but an abuse of their platform.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 18, 2019)

HOLOCAUST DENIER DAVID IRVING PROMOTING NEW GUIDED TOUR OF NAZI DEATH CAMPSITES, HITLER’S HQ (Poland) — The notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving has announced that he will lead a tour of Nazi death and concentration camp sites in Poland later this year. Since his reputation as a historian was destroyed by his failed libel action in the British High Court against the American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in 2000, Irving has supplemented his income with World War II-related historical tours in Europe, as well as sales of his reissued books and occasional speaking tours of the US. According to his website, Irving’s next American tour is scheduled for the spring. (Algemeiner, Mar. 18, 2019)

Daily Briefing Vol #4520- WITH CONFLICTS HEATING UP ON THREE BORDERS, HOW PREPARED IS THE IDF TO RESPOND?

WITH CONFLICTS HEATING UP ON THREE BORDERS, HOW PREPARED IS THE IDF TO RESPOND?

Is the IDF Ready for War?: Shmuel Even and Sason Hadad: INSS Insight No. 1152, March 25, 2019 — The public debate about the readiness of the ground forces for war intensified following the report issued in September 2018 by Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick before concluding his term as IDF ombudsman in January 2019. This classified report followed the ombudsman’s report issued in mid-2018.
Why Israel Fears Iran’s Presence in Syria: David Kenner: The Atlantic, Jul. 22, 2018 — In some ways, Israel has never been more powerful. It boasts a close relationship with the Trump administration, a powerful and nuclear-armed military, and an air force capable of striking enemies hundreds of miles away.
The IDF’s Anti-Tunnel Operation Is Not About Tunnels: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2019 — Of course, the soldiers in Operation Northern Shield are investing nearly all of their time eliminating Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels.
Technology and Conventional Warfare Merge Under Israeli Eyes: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2018 –Last week the Iron Dome faced off against the largest number of rockets ever fired by Hamas in a single 24-hour period.

On Topic Links

Hamas’s “New Campaign” in Gaza, One Year Later: Michael Milstein, INSS Insight No. 1145, Mar. 8, 2019 — The current campaign along the Gaza border, which began nearly one year ago, differs fundamentally from other struggles Israel has faced in this arena over the last decades.
Inside the Hezbollah Tunnel that Israel Never Found: Richard Hall Meleeta, The Independent, Dec. 5, 2018 — The entrance to the tunnel is hidden by a canopy of oak trees that cover the mountainside. Inside, dim lamps lead the way down a narrow passageway into a warren of small rooms where the air is cool and damp.
5 Weapons That Make It Clear Israel Dominates the Sky: Zachary Keck, The National Interest, Apr. 14, 2019 — Time and again during its short existence, Israel has demonstrated that it has the most powerful military in the Middle East.
Israel Military Strength: GFP (Global Fire Power) 2019 – For 2019, Israel ranked 16 (of 137) out of the countries currently considered for the GFP review. It holds a Pwrindex rating of 0.2964 (o.oooo being perfect.)

IS THE IDF READY FOR WAR?
Shmuel Even and Sason Hadad
INSS Insight No. 1152, March 25, 2019

The public debate about the readiness of the ground forces for war intensified following the report issued in September 2018 by Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick before concluding his term as IDF ombudsman in January 2019. This classified report followed the ombudsman’s report issued in mid-2018. Brick argued that the ground forces were not ready for war, and in a radio interview on January 11, 2019, strongly criticized the IDF organizational culture. He warned that airpower, intelligence, and cyber capabilities would not suffice to stop missile fire against the home front in the next war, and that ground maneuver deep within enemy territory, perhaps on several fronts simultaneously, would be necessary. Brick made clear that within the framework of his job, rather than only looking into soldiers’ complaints, he had personally investigated the root causes, drawing on his rich combat experience in the ground forces.

In the wake of this criticism, then-Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot appointed a committee to investigate the readiness of the ground forces for war (henceforth “the committee”), headed by IDF Comptroller Brig. Gen. Ilan Harari. In summarizing the committee’s findings, Harari said that the ground forces had been significantly improved in recent years and stated: “We declare the ground forces ready and prepared for war.” However, the committee also pointed out significant lapses in certain aspects of the readiness of these forces. Findings included: lags in integrating the Command and Control System in reservist regiments; shortfalls in logistical transport, namely a major shortage of trucks for conveying ordnance and other supplies and the transportation of armored fighting vehicles; slow procurement of advanced tanks and APCs; a need to increase weapons stockpiles in certain areas; shortfalls in appointing personnel to available posts in combat support roles, both in the regular military and the reserves; lags in reserves mobilization; training environments that in some cases do not simulate combat scenarios; and insufficient dialogue between commanders and the junior officer corps. Maj. Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrahi, who headed the steering committee of Harari’s committee, argued that the successes of Iron Dome had given rise to a mistaken perception among decision makers that wars could be won without ground maneuvers; Mizrahi contended that no war in Lebanon could be won without ground maneuver. Given the shortfalls uncovered by the review, and the need for further buildup, the committee recommended a large budgetary supplement for bolstering the ground forces (some $2 billion annually over five years), in addition to the budget in the Gideon Plan.

Brick’s criticism was also discussed in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Sub-Committee for Readiness and Maintaining National Security, headed by MK Omer Bar-Lev. In December 2018, the Bar-Lev committee rejected Brick’s argument that the IDF was not ready for war, with the counter-argument that the problems cited were familiar and were appropriately addressed by the Chief of Staff, guided by a reasonable order of priorities. It issued its own report on IDF readiness, drawing on its reviews over recent years. Among its findings were that six division commanders who were interviewed gave their units a score of 8 out of maximum of 10 points for readiness, while eight reserve regiment commanders gave a score of 9. As part of its recommendations, the Bar-Lev committee placed a top priority on raising salaries of senior non-commissioned officers and suggested that the deputy Chief of Staff be made responsible for ensuring that the shortfalls found by the various committees be followed up and rectified. The panel further demanded that operational plans – specifically, the timetables for combat mobilization – are coordinated with estimates that implementation could well occur while under massive fire targeting traffic routes, induction centers, and emergency supply depots… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

WHY ISRAEL FEARS IRAN’S PRESENCE IN SYRIA
David Kenner
The Atlantic, Jul. 22, 2018

In some ways, Israel has never been more powerful. It boasts a close relationship with the Trump administration, a powerful and nuclear-armed military, and an air force capable of striking enemies hundreds of miles away. At the same time, it is a small country with limited infrastructure: It has one international airport, a handful of major power stations, and an electrical grid that Israeli experts have already warned is vulnerable to attack.

Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, have obtained advanced missiles that are designed to exploit those weaknesses. For Israeli security officials, the nightmare scenario is that these weapons may become accurate enough to hit Israel’s civilian and military infrastructure, paralyzing daily life in the country. The threat they pose has already drawn Israel deeper into the Syrian conflict and promises to fundamentally alter the next war with Hezbollah—a war that could come sooner than expected.

Since the beginning of the Syrian war, Israeli warplanes have struck Hezbollah arms convoys more than 100 times. A Syrian government offensive is sweeping through the southwest of the country, threatening to spark a further escalation. Syrian regime forces are approaching Israel, which has sent reinforcements to its side of the border to contain any spillover violence. Recently, Israel shot down two Syrian military drones that crossed into Israeli territory. While Iranian-backed fighters have played a low-profile role in the offensive, officials in Jerusalem remain worried that they could quietly move in once the Syrian government regains control.

The United States, Russia, and Israel are reportedly negotiating a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict that would establish a buffer zone free of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli border. Yet the threat from Hezbollah’s long-range missiles will remain. “Our concern is not Iran by the border. Our concern is Iran in Syria,” Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and current deputy minister, told me. “Pulling Iranian forces away from the border doesn’t help you very much when [they] have a missile that can travel 200 kilometers.” Underscoring that point, on May 10, Iran and its allies fired 32 rockets at Israel from the Golan Heights; most landed short of the border or in unpopulated areas, and the rest were intercepted by Israel’s missile-defense system. The Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the attacks marked a “new phase” in the conflict with Israel.

Since Hezbollah’s last war with Israel in 2006, it has expanded its rocket and missile stockpile. With Iran’s help, its arsenal is also now far more technologically advanced. Israel’s missile-defense systems can counter some threats but would likely be overwhelmed by the sheer number of rockets and missiles that Hezbollah can now fire. “In the event of a war, the Israeli population will absorb blows that it has not experienced in decades,” Ofer Zalzberg, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Israel and Palestine, told me.

In Lebanon, I met with Hajj Mohammed, a short, stocky veteran Hezbollah fighter. During the 2006 war, he fired constant barrages of short-range Katyusha rockets from south Lebanon into northern Israel. With Israeli jets prowling the skies, it was dangerous work. But Hezbollah was prepared: The Lebanese militia had concealed its launchers under concrete bunkers, rigging them to rise up using a hydraulic system, fire, and then disappear in the ground again. This system allowed Hezbollah to fire a steady stream of rockets for the duration of the war, forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to flee their homes.

While Hajj Mohammed was only too happy to relive the glories of 2006, his focus is fixed on the future. “Since 2006 until today, the game has changed entirely,” he said. “This time we have already chosen the targets, and we’ll make it rain missiles with pinpoint accuracy.”

Foreign-intelligence assessments appear to lend credence to Hajj Mohammed’s bravado. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official told me that Hezbollah’s arsenal includes at least 100,000 rockets and missiles, 10 times the number the group had in 2006. These weapons likely include the Iranian-made Fateh-110 missile, scud missiles, guided surface-to-air missiles that could target Israeli warplanes, and an increasingly sophisticated drone program, the official said. Israeli military officials, meanwhile, have warned that Hezbollah could fire 1,200 rockets a day in a future conflict—up from the roughly 100 rockets a day 12 years ago… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

THE IDF’S ANTI-TUNNEL OPERATION IS NOT ABOUT TUNNELS
Yonah Jeremy Bob
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 4, 2019

Of course, the soldiers in Operation Northern Shield are investing nearly all of their time eliminating Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels.

But this week we learned loud and clear from IDF intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heyman that the real primary goal of the month-old IDF operation is deterrence. Not only that, but we learned that the next main goal of the operation is setting the stage for any future conflict with Hezbollah.

Israel hopes to grab the moral high ground and, by unearthing Hezbollah’s duplicity in building cross-border attack tunnels, establish legitimacy for the massive destruction that the IDF may need to bring down on Lebanon in a potential future war.

Eliminating Hezbollah tunnels themselves does end aspects of the threat the powerful force could pose in a future conflict, but as Heyman said, Israel may not be capable of eliminating all of the attack tunnels at this time. “I want to emphasize that we are not talking about an operation whose goal is to destroy the attack tunnel capability of Hezbollah, but rather… to thwart Hezbollah’s primary attack plan,” he said in Tel Aviv.

Heyman said that Hezbollah’s plan had been to invade villages on the northern border to take the fighting into Israel. His message was that by severely blunting Hezbollah’s attack-tunnel abilities, even if some abilities remained, it would be heavily discouraged from even a limited invasion. How many more cross-border attack tunnels does Hezbollah have, and what is the point of eliminating only some of the tunnels?

While defense sources have told The Jerusalem Post that Hezbollah’s attack tunnels were always single digits, which would mean at most only a few have not yet been uncovered, there is reason to be skeptical. First of all, during the 2014 Gaza war, initial IDF estimates regarding how many attack tunnels Hamas had and how long it would take to clear them were gross underestimates. A small number of tunnels, which the IDF initially said could be cleared in a matter of days, eventually ballooned to 31 attack tunnels, which took around 50 days to eliminate.

Daphné Richemond-Barak, author of the book Underground Warfare and a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, told the Post: “There could definitely be more tunnels. It is very likely. The fact that we found five – five is a lot and very few. It’s a lot because it’s a significant security threat, but its very few because, given what we know about the threat and given Hezbollah’s, Hamas’s and Israel’s history underground,” the number seems low.

She also said that “going out on a major operation and making lots of media noise” – maybe “five tunnels justifies it, but the noise created expectations of an even graver threat… and even more tunnels.”

Richemond-Barak said she would feel safer with the tunnel situation if the IDF was crossing into Lebanon in a targeted fashion to get rid of tunnels also near the border, which possibly connect to cross-border tunnels or may be hooked up to them in the future… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

TECHNOLOGY AND CONVENTIONAL WARFARE MERGE UNDER ISRAELI EYES
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2018

Last week the Iron Dome faced off against the largest number of rockets ever fired by Hamas in a single 24-hour period. It performed impressively, stopping more than 100 of the 460 fired, targeting those headed for populated areas and letting others fall harmlessly.

I had a front-row seat next to Kfar Aza. Years ago, due to the threat of Qassam rockets and mortars, we wouldn’t have felt so secure, so close to Gaza and danger. But instead, a theater of war played out around us at night, with dozens of little yellow dots, the rockets from Gaza, reaching skyward, and the white light of the Iron Dome Tamir interceptors searching them out.

Israel is a pioneer in these kinds of systems, especially those that are increasingly filling gaps and niches between the tactical level and larger level. Recently, I visited two companies that are pioneering technologies in this field.

One of them is called CONTROP Precision Technologies, a privately-owned company that specializes in what it calls “development and production of electro-optical and precision motion control systems and surveillance, defense and homeland security applications.” The other company, RADA Electronic Industries, specializes in design, development and production of defense electronics, especially tactical land radars.

It’s hard to visualize most of these systems or understand how they are applicable, because of the jargon and technical specifications involved in them. The best way to think of it is to recall all the movies you’ve seen about war recently. Whether it was Eye in the Sky about military personnel bickering about a drone target, or episodes of Homeland, there’s always a scene with people sitting in a room with computers watching some target somewhere. What all of this technology is doing is making it possible to locate targets more easily or defend borders from threats.

In most of history, war was primarily a contest between people with handmade weapons. If they were lucky, they had access to animals, such as war elephants or horses. When societies were organized, they mass-produced weapons and had complex military formations. By the time of the First World War, technology had made killing more deadly, and machines such as tanks were being produced… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.}

Daily Briefing Vol # 4519- ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES CELEBRATES 30 YEARS IN SPACE

ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES CELEBRATES 30 YEARS IN SPACE

 

The Space Race in the Middle East: Col. (Res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, JNS, February 25, 2019 — A team of Israeli scientists launched what will be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon on Feb. 22, 2019.
Space: Israel’s Final Frontier: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2019 — Space is exciting,” says Opher Doron, when describing the look on the faces of kids who visit Israel Aerospace Industries to learn about how Israel is pioneering in the great unknown. “It’s a big wow,” for them.
Did You Know Israel Sent A Rocket Into Space in 1961?: Rachel Neiman Israel 21C, February 26, 2019 — Israelis were bursting with pride on Friday, February 22, 2019, when the first “blue-and-white” spacecraft successfully blasted off in the first ever privately-funded Moon mission.
Outer Space Tech Used By Israeli Startup To Find Water Leaks On Earth: Federico Maccioni, The Times of Israel, Feb. 24, 2019 — Israeli startup Utilis has developed a way to detect leakages of fresh water as it makes its way through the national water infrastructure — by taking a look at the Earth’s surface from outer space, adopting a technology that was originally developed to look for water on Mars and Venus.

ON TOPIC LINKS:

Chutzpah, Dreams and Ingenuity Behind Israel’s First Moonshot: Viva Sarah Press, NoCamels, February 18, 2019 — The first Israeli spacecraft to be sent to the moon, Beresheet, will be launched in the early hours (Israel time) of February 22, 2019 from Cape Canaveral Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced at a press conference in Ramat Gan on Monday.
Going Where No Israeli Has Gone Before: Erol Araf, Canadian Jewish News, Feb. 12, 2019 — Albert Einstein foresaw as early as 1923 that a future Jewish state would have to rely on science and technology to thrive in a desolate and arid land. Today, that vision has become a reality.
Israel Discusses Joining European Space Agency Under ‘Special Arrangement’: Shoshana Solomon, Times of Israel, Jan. 29, 2019 — Israel and the European Space Agency are discussing ways for Israel to join the agency under a “special arrangement,” the director general of the ESA said Monday.
South Korea to Buy Updated Missile Defense Radar Systems from Israel: Space Daily, Nov 28, 2018 — South Korea is pressing ahead with plans to buy two Israeli early warning radar systems, announcing on Tuesday it would buy the updated Green Pine radars for $292 million.

 

THE SPACE RACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Col. (Res.) Dr. Shaul Shay

JNS, February 25, 2019

A team of Israeli scientists launched what will be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon on Feb. 22, 2019. The craft, named “Beresheet” (Hebrew for “in the beginning” and the first portion of the Torah) was built by an Israeli nonprofit company called SpaceIL, which raised $100 million for its mission, much of it through philanthropic donations. “Beresheet” was lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Once “Beresheet” touches down, in several weeks in Mare Serenitatis, a basaltic plain on the northern hemisphere of the moon, it will measure the magnetic field of the moon to help understand how it formed.

Israel is the leading force in the regional “space race” and the current “moon mission” will prove a significant milestone, but Israel is not alone and several countries in the region including Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt are developing their own “space programs.”

The Middle East is characterized by conflicts between the regional powers. The space competition is part of the completion for regional dominance and considered as a fundamental component of national security.
Israel and Iran are among only about 10 countries in the world that are capable of building their own satellites, launching them from their territories and maneuvering them in space.

Iran

Iran has said that it plans to send two satellites, “Payam” and “Doosti,” into the orbit. On Jan. 15, Iran failed to put into orbit the satellite, “Payam,” after it was unable to reach the required velocity. Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari said the rocket carrying the satellite “failed to reach the required speed in the third stage, even though it succeeded in the first two stages of the launch.”

On Feb. 6, Iran appears to have attempted a second satellite launch despite U.S. criticism that its space program helps it develop ballistic missiles. Satellite imagery of a space launch center in northern Iran suggests a second attempt to launch a satellite has failed. Satellite images released on Feb. 6 showed a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province. Images from next day showed the rocket was gone with what appears to be burn marks on its launch pad. Iran has not acknowledged conducting such a launch.

Iran, which considers its space program a matter of national interest and pride, has said its launches and missile tests were not violations and would continue. On Feb. 16, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif revealed that his country failed again to launch a satellite into space. Speaking to NBC News, he said that it was the second failed attempt in the past two months.

Iran usually displays space achievements in February during the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. This year’s 40th anniversary comes amid Iran facing increasing pressure from the United States under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Iran’s plans for sending satellites into orbit demonstrate the country’s defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia

Iran’s adversary, Saudi Arabia, has boosted efforts to expand its space program through the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). Unlike Iran, Riyadh has no budgetary constraints impeding its long-term space ambitions and can rely on the support of the United States, France, China and Russia.

On Feb. 5, Saudi Arabia successfully launched the first Saudi satellite for communications (SGS-1). The satellite was launched by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center on an Ariane 5 rocket… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

 

SPACE: ISRAEL’S FINAL FRONTIER

Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Feb. 21, 2019

Space is exciting,” says Opher Doron, when describing the look on the faces of kids who visit Israel Aerospace Industries to learn about how Israel is pioneering in the great unknown. “It’s a big wow,” for them. “They are talking about Mars nowadays and exploration, comets, landings. So, space is exciting. It is the ultimate technology. It brings together everything in tech – from physics, engineering and launchers and loaders, you name it and it’s there.”

Today Israel is aiming to be the fourth country to get to the moon. It is also developing nano-satellites – little satellites the size of a milk carton – and Israel is pioneering high-resolution photos from satellites designed specifically to aid environmental research. In an era when space programs in some Western countries seem to be ossifying, Israel is doing what it tends to do best: being innovative and self-sufficient.

Today IAI is celebrating 30 years in space. The origins of the space program begin in the 1980s when Menachem Begin was prime minister. The Israel Space Agency was created in January 1983 under the Science Ministry, which was itself a fledgling ministry. IAI built Israel’s first satellite, the Ofeq-1. The 157-kg. satellite was launched on a Shavit rocket at Palmahim, south of Tel Aviv. It was launched westward because of Israel’s hostile neighbors to the east and entered a low earth orbit, circling the earth every 90 minutes. Israel became the eighth country to put its own satellite into space. “Thirty years is a long time for everything and a good time to look back and forward,” says Doron. Israel has achieved a lot since then. The space sector is booming, he says.

“We have launched a large number of satellites and we have some of the best satellites in the world up in space, providing amazing resolution and fantastic coverage of large areas.” These can provide sharp high-quality images and they are cost effective. In terms of cost and weight, Israel is a world leader, he says.

The satellites Israel has launched have outlived their expected life spans. Some were designed for four years and survived for 15 years. “So, Israel can now look with great detail wherever it needs to look and that is an important part of national strategy. The program achieved not only the goals set out for it in the large picture but also surpassed expectations in quality and number.”

The Ofeq line of reconnaissance satellites that first entered service some 30 years ago is still providing Jerusalem with the best available intelligence. For instance, when the Ofeq-10 entered orbit in April 2014, then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said that it was a testimony to the “impressive ability of the State of Israel to develop and lead on the technological front.” It would improve the State of Israel’s intelligence capabilities, he said, “and enable the defense establishment to better deal with threats that are near and far at any time of the day, in all types of weather.” In September 2016, the Ofeq-11 became the latest of these reconnaissance satellites to enter orbit.

These satellites have had very important real- world implications. When Ofeq-7 blasted into the night sky from Palmahim in June 2007, Reuters noted that the “spy satellite would provide high-quality surveillance over enemies such as Syria and Iran, rivaling the capabilities of the United States.” Soon after its launch, according to the Sunday Times (London), the satellite was diverted from covering Iran to looking at Syria.

“High quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes” were soon coming back. It made it “easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.” The facility in question was the al-Kibar site, the nuclear reactor that the Syrian regime was developing. Based on North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor 1 the site was bombed on September 6, 2007, destroying Syria’s plans. On September 7, an Israeli satellite photographed the damaged site. The photos were published only 10 years later, in September 2017, but show clearly the importance of Israel building and launching its own satellites to defend against threats.

IAI’s space division and much of the cutting-edge technology that Israel is working on is housed in a complex in Yehud, not far from Ben-Gurion International Airport. To enter the warehouse where the satellites are housed, one must don a white smock, a head covering and sterile fabric to cover the shoes. Inside an air-conditioned room are a variety of satellites, some of them mock-ups or models. Some of the little nano-satellites, which look like a toy a kid could play with, sit in a case. At the far end of the room, one sees a group of people huddling next to what looks like a lunar lander from the 1960s. And indeed, it is part of Israel’s SpaceIL program at IAI, which, if it reaches the moon, will make Israel the fourth country (after the US, China and Russia) to get there.

It is supposed to be launched at Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Weighing only 600 kilograms, it is not as large as the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, which weighed 4,000 kg. The SpaceIL mission began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which was announced in 2007. For a prize of $30 million, a privately funded team had to land a robot on the moon, and have it travel 500 meters and transmit back images. But by January 2018, it became clear that no team had been able to launch a mission to the moon by the March 2018 deadline and the cash prize offer appeared to be ended.

But SpaceIL decided to keep moving forward. In a July press conference, Morris Kahn, president of the non-profit organization SpaceIL, said that after eight challenging years, “I am filled with pride that the first Israeli spacecraft, which is in its final construction and testing phases, will soon be making its way to the moon.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

 

DID YOU KNOW ISRAEL SENT A ROCKET
INTO SPACE IN 1961?

Rachel Neiman
Israel 21C, February 26, 2019

Israelis were bursting with pride on Friday, February 22, 2019, when the first “blue-and-white” spacecraft successfully blasted off in the first ever privately-funded Moon mission. The initiative marks the next step in the Israel Space Agency’s stated goal to “increase Israel’s relative lead in this field and position the country amongst the leading nations involved in space research and its exploitation.”

The notion that this tiny silver of a country could be a leader in space flight and exploration is rooted, in part, with the Israeli Air Force. In September 1948, at the height of the War of Independence and the IAF’s battles against the Egyptian Air Force, the first edition of the IAF magazine featured a United Press article entitled “What Do You Think About Flying to Mars.”

Even before that, the Hebrew – and Yiddish- language periodicals frequently published articles about space exploration, while science fiction inspired children to look to the skies, as in “The Flight to Mars,” a 1947 book by author Yitzhak Avnon about a boy and his dog who flew to the Red Planet in a rocket ship. Early Hebrew-language science-fiction books and games inspired children to look to the skies.

In 1957, in the run-up to the Jewish New Year, children’s weekly magazine Davar Le Yeladim published a story written by “Uri” (Uriel Ofek) with pictures by “Nahum” (the well-known artist and illustrator Nahum Gutman). In doggerel rhyme, the heroes of “Magen David to the Moon,” two young kibbutzniks named Gad and Rami, reflect on the year gone by and wonder how they can “contribute to research.” They hit upon the idea of building a kite that can fly to the Moon. Although some grown-up foreign scientists attempt to compete by launching a rocket, in the end the boys win a gold medal. The heroes of “Magen David to the Moon” build a kite that can fly to the Moon and end up winning a gold medal.

The story became real only a few months later with the October 1957 launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite. Just as this event thrust the United States into high gear to win the space race, so Israel was galvanized into action. The IAF magazine devoted almost its entire December issue to Sputnik.

More significantly, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion expressed interest in space exploration. At the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, with Sputnik three weeks into its orbit, Ben-Gurion said: “There is no doubt that the most important event which took place during the holidays was the successful launch of an artificial moon into the atmosphere by Russian scientists … This perhaps opens up a new era in man’s dominion over cosmic space.”

The Israel Air Force magazine devoted almost its entire December 1957 issue to the Sputnik launch. Ben-Gurion knew that the USSR’s potential to control the skies overhead posed a real threat to Israel, as the Egyptian Air Force had access to advanced technologies from Russia. In addition, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, at that point president of the United Arab Republic (the union of Egypt and Syria from 1958 to 1961) had recruited German rocket scientists– former Nazis– to work on Egypt’s armaments program.

These factors were, in part, the impetus for creating Israel’s space program. In 1960, the National Council for Space Research was established in Israel, headed by Prof. Ernst David Bergmann. On July 5, 1961, the first Israeli missile, the Shavit 2, a two-stage missile for meteorological research, was launched into space from Palmahim Beach… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

 

OUTER SPACE TECH USED BY ISRAELI STARTUP
TO FIND WATER LEAKS ON EARTH

Federico Maccioni
The Times of Israel, Feb. 24, 2019

Israeli startup Utilis has developed a way to detect leakages of fresh water as it makes its way through the national water infrastructure — by taking a look at the Earth’s surface from outer space, adopting a technology that was originally developed to look for water on Mars and Venus.

The World Bank has estimated that 32 billion cubic meters of fresh water are lost every year worldwide, and that the amount of water that gets wasted even before reaching the final customer in the developing world is enough to supply 90 million people with their water needs. The financial costs of such losses are also huge, both for water utilities and the public.

The ability to use SAR (Synthetic-Aperture Radar) to detect water in the ground has been around for a while and universities and research organizations have been trying to use it to identify water on other planets for years. Utilis’ founder and CTO Lauren Guy, who worked on similar projects while pursuing his master’s degree at Ben Gurion University, set out to use this technology for the detection of underground treated water in an urban environment, Utilis CEO Elly Perets said in a phone interview.

Israeli startup Utilis presents water utilities with reports of water leakages in their pipes, with whom it has partnered, Perets said. The raw non-optical images can cover 3,500 square kilometers at once, giving Utilis the ability to access information on water distribution systems that are in place. The technology analyzes the images looking for the spectral signature of water.

Underground water leaks are hard to find. The most common method since the 1970s is to listen to pipes with headsets to detect the noise of underground flowing water, “like a doctor listening to your bloodstream,” Perets said.

This blind search allows water utilities to detect only one to two leaks per week, while Utilis’ diagnostic detection system allows investigation teams to find five to twelve leaks in a day, according to Perets.
The spectral signature can show potable water underground, distinguished from rainwater thanks to its salinity level, as detected by the radar. Also, Utilis’ team is able to tell that the water highlighted by the spectral signature comes from a leaking pipe because it can “identify the interaction between the water and the soil,” Perets explained.

By knowing the position of pipes, Utilis is then able to provide its customers – entities managing water utilities, such as municipalities or private companies paid to perform this task — with online Geographic Information System reports in which the exact locations of possible leakages are overlaid on a map showing streets and pipes. The reports are provided via a web app or Utilis’ app for smartphones, available on both the App Store and Google Play.

Utilis also provides customers with a second app called U-Collect where customers can report their findings from the location of the suspected leak, by uploading photos for documentation or adding personal notes. These inputs are automatically transferred to an online dashboard, where they can be reviewed and additional statistics are presented, Perets said.

“We don’t pay the full price (of water) because through the entire chain, it gets sponsored and costs much less than it should,” he said. However, all this investment can be useless if leaks are not repaired quickly… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Daily Briefing Vol # 4518 – TODAY’S UNIVERSITIES: IN DESPERATE NEED OF REPAIR

TODAY’S UNIVERSITIES: IN DESPERATE NEED OF REPAIR

Repairing America’s Broken Universities: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Mar. 20, 2019 — When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
Why Postmoderns Train—Not Educate—Activists: Stephen Hicks, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, Mar. 20, 2019 — Postmodernism is a sprawling movement centered on the conviction that the modern world’s most distinctive achievements—among them the rise of science, technology, individualism, universal rights, democratic-republicanism, and liberal capitalism—should be treated with suspicion or outright contempt.
Can Higher Education Be Saved?: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Jan. 8, 2019 — America is schizophrenic about its major universities and, to a lesser extent, its undergraduate colleges.
BDS Prosecution Efforts at UCLA and UCI: Edwin Black, BESA, Feb. 2, 2019 — Organized disruptors – both students and non-students – who shut down a pro-Israel gathering at University of California Los Angeles in May 2018 might not be prosecuted, according to information from LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s

On Topic Links:

Democrats Just Introduced Their Own Anti-BDS Resolution: Batya Ungar Sargon, The Forward, Mar. 21, 2019 — House Democrats have introduced a new bi-partisan resolution opposing the boycott of Israel, known as BDS, and reaffirming their support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Subversion in the Garb of Social Justice: Sumantra Maitra National Review, April 9, 2018 —
Lola Olufemi was bitter that she had been targeted. Led by Olufemi, an officer in the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), a group of activist students had started a petition to “decolonize” the university’s English curriculum, inspired by “support” from the Marxist, post-colonial academic Dr. Priyamvada Gopal.
Cambridge Rescinds Its Offer to Jordan Peterson: Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, Mar. 21, 2019 — Cambridge has rescinded the offer of a visiting professorship to Jordan Peterson.
Cornell, Harvard Drop GRE for English Ph.D.: Scott Jascitt, Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 18, 2019 — The English department at Cornell University on Friday announced that it would no longer require applicants to its Ph.D. program to submit Graduate Record Examination scores.
Higher Ed’s Bribery Scandal Is Decadent and Depraved. Here Are 8 Truly Tasteless Allegations: Jack Stripling, The Chronicle of Higher Education Mar. 13, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday revealed a sweeping bribery scheme that prosecutors say allowed wealthy parents to secure admission for their children into some of the nation’s most highly selective universities.

REPAIRING AMERICA’S BROKEN UNIVERSITIES
Daniel Pipes
Middle East Forum, Mar. 20, 2019

When the FBI informs us, that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.

He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.

Treadgold reports a deep rot: Faculty search committees routinely screen out the most capable candidates, fearing to be shown up by them; he even suggests that they would turn down Albert Einstein. Instead, they usually favor “only black, Hispanic, and female applicants who hold the sorts of views that the universities approve.” Not surprisingly, graduate students prepare obscure, jargon-laded theses, hoping to win the favor of lazy search committees with their “few fashionable publications.” Professors bribe students with high grades to win positive evaluations from them. Administrators (i.e., “professors uninterested in teaching and research”) have doubled in number over recent decades.

“The University We Need” cover.

Worse yet is the ideological groupthink: “The dominant opinion considers fighting racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression to be so vital that it supersedes everything else” – including serious scholarship and proper teaching of the young (resulting in “mediocre courses on unrelated subjects”). Leftist dogma – an insistence on judging the past by today’s standards, celebrating allegedly oppressed groups, replacing facts with “narratives,” and prostrating before “social justice” – reigns at nearly all institutions of higher learning.
All this matters, Treadgold argues, because what begins at the university spreads to the country as a whole; just look at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit or the radical Democrats in the House of Representatives. Indeed, “We need good universities in the same way that we need reliable electricity and safe drinking water.”

But where to find them? Attempts to fix existing institutions, as John Silber of Boston University learned the hard way, fail; no matter how dedicated and capable, a president cannot lastingly turn a university around. Instead, Treadgold envisions building a major new university from scratch.

This new university will feature real debate, not safe zones; temporary, not permanent administrators; excellence, not conformity; diversity of ideas, not of skin color; general education, not idiosyncratic courses (“Mummies, Zombies, and Vampires” anyone?); study tours abroad, not foreign campuses; strong departments, not interdisciplinary studies; and true scholarship, not postmodern claptrap.

Treadgold’s vision even includes the smallest specifics: “Narrow beds” at his planned campus “should help discourage overnight stays.” He proposes a location 25 miles outside of Washington, D.C., accessible to the corridors of power without being overwhelmed by them.

A narrow dormitory bed.

Of particular interest, he calls for a focus on topics that other universities avoid as too controversial, such as “climate engineering, the consequences of family breakdown, and the philosophical inconsistencies of collective guilt.” He predicts this newcomer will challenge the staid world of elite universities, upset the status quo, and create a new standard of quality. [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

WHY POSTMODERNS TRAIN—NOT EDUCATE—ACTIVISTS
Stephen Hicks
The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, Mar. 20, 2019

Postmodernism is a sprawling movement centered on the conviction that the modern world’s most distinctive achievements—among them the rise of science, technology, individualism, universal rights, democratic-republicanism, and liberal capitalism—should be treated with suspicion or outright contempt.

Most of us encountered old-fashioned indoctrinators in our education. Indoctrinators think this way: There is the One Truth. I am in possession of it. So important is it that students must believe it. Alternative ideas are a waste of time—and a temptation to unformed minds—and should be shunned. So as a teacher I will use my authority and my power to instill only the correct ideas.

Our modern ideal of liberal education fought a long battle against that view. Truth matters, yes, but it is often complex, and exposure to contending theories and their leading advocates is the best way for students to sort it out. Students also need to develop their own strength of mind to be able, independently and with confidence, to handle the new, complex issues they will encounter all their lives.

John Stuart Mill’s now-classic statement of the liberal-education ideal argued passionately that students must learn not only the best answers but also their contenders, and that a trained mind will know not only the reasons for the best answer but also the strongest criticisms of it. And not only that, they will know the best arguments for the contender positions and how to respond to them.

Institutionally, then, Mill argued that schools should hire teachers from diverse viewpoints—for only by exposure to the expert and passionate articulation of varied viewpoints will students get a first-rate education.

Liberal education won the debate and prevailed—but most of us are surprised by our generation’s resurgence of angry activism led by large numbers of students and recent graduates who are confrontational and completely uninterested in debate. (And who seem to disbelieve that there’s anything that needs debating.) They are the products of a new-fashioned indoctrination, one that results from the groundwork laid by two generations of postmodern ideology.

Philosophers Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, and others cast a suspicious eye upon “truth” and substituted group-relativized “narratives”—lamenting that those narratives are usually in brutal conflict with each other. We cannot escape our “ethnocentric predicament,” Rorty claimed: “We must, in practice, privilege our own group.” Others asserted that race or gender or class divides were more fundamental.

That is the first step: Truth is out, and racial/gender/class/ethnic-group conflict prevails. But then, what is the purpose of education?

Foucault was explicit about the implications of the death of truth. Shortly after leaving the Communist Party, he tells us, he followed the lead of his semi-mentor Jean-Paul Sartre: “Sartre renounced all philosophical speculation properly speaking and invested his own philosophical activity in behavior that was political.”

That is the second step: We should politicize education.

But what kind of politics? For the first-generation postmoderns, orthodox Marxism was no longer tenable. Something new was needed—something, as deconstructionist Derrida put it, “in the spirit of Marxism”—but without its clunky baggage. Keep Marxism’s themes of exploitation and oppression and its relentless antagonism toward current civilization—but abandon its faith in science, its claim that economics is fundamental, and its belief that the inevitable march of history would bring the revolution. Only subversive Action Now! would effect the transformation.

The next-generation postmodernists got busy. They had learned from Foucault, Rorty, and Derrida that they should abandon truth for narratives, individuals for groups, and politicize the classroom with some sort of quasi-Marxism. And then Herbert Marcuse and Jean-François Lyotard taught them to work within the system rather than positioning themselves as revolutionaries imposing from the outside. Join the system’s leading institutions and, from inside positions of power, rework its ethos… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

CAN HIGHER EDUCATION BE SAVED?
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review, Jan. 8, 2019

America is schizophrenic about its major universities and, to a lesser extent, its undergraduate colleges. On the one hand, higher education’s professional schools in medicine and business, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs in math, science, and engineering, are the world’s best. America dominates the lists of the top universities compiled in global surveys conducted from the United Kingdom to Japan.

On the other hand, the liberal arts and social sciences have long ago mostly lost their reputations. Go online to Amazon or to the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, and the books on literature, art, and history are often not the products of university professors and presses.

Few believe any more that current liberal-arts programs have prepared graduates to write persuasively and elegantly, to read critically and to think inductively while drawing on a wide body of literary, linguistic, historical, artistic, and philosophical knowledge. In fairness, that is no longer the aim of higher education. When students at tony colleges present petitions objecting to free speech or the right of guests to give lectures, they are usually full of grammatical errors and often incoherent.

Colleges, with some major exceptions (Hillsdale most pre-eminently), simply do not ensure the teaching of such skills any more. Of course, there remain wonderful classes, courageous deans who buck trends, and hardworking faculty who teach splendidly and have received modest compensation and little credit for their yeoman work. But they are a minority and a shrinking one at that.

By and large, the bachelor’s degree, even in a liberal-arts major, no longer certifies that a graduate will be able to read, reason, compute, or draw on a body of knowledge far more effectively than those without an undergraduate degree. The decline of the university has been an ongoing tragedy since the 1960s, but the erosion has accelerated because of ideological bias and its twin, incompetence. Here are five major recent and additional catalysts.

I. Debt

Students owe about $1.5 trillion in student loans, much of it at interest rates higher than those of contemporary mortgages. At least a half-trillion dollars cannot and won’t be paid back. It is hard to know whether unsustainable college mortgages are a reflection or a cause of university decline, or both.

But the crushing student debt plays a variety of pernicious roles in wider society. Students postpone marriage and child-rearing, a trend that is negatively affecting U.S. demography. Home ownership is put off, in favor of living at home in prolonged adolescence, ending the old idea of becoming an adult in one’s early twenties. Most of today’s pejoratives, such as “snowflake” or “social justice warrior,” originate from the reality that on-again-off-again college debt has arrested the development of adult men and women and consumed their twenties.

Much of the debt is due to federally guaranteed loans that were sold to students, and looked on by them, as a virtual loan—more as a grant not necessarily to be paid back. And universities saw the loan guarantee as a green light to jack up their costs higher than the annual rate of inflation. Thanks to such huge cash influxes into campuses, students got Club Med rec centers and well-appointed apartments, while administrators hired a costly legion of diversity and inclusion officers, whose chief duties were to monitor faculty thought, indoctrinate students, and protect their superiors from charges of intersectional racism, sexism, homophobia, nativism, and xenophobia. Perhaps the last hired diversity czar can turn out the lights at another insolvent private liberal-arts college.

Staggering student debt came at a time when major research universities no longer measured their endowments and income in the millions, but in some cases the many billions. In other words, some institutions did very well, even as most students did not.

Any alumni donations that are not strictly targeted should be seen as a waste of philanthropy; they function like toxic drugs to an end-stage addict. And the most frightening idea for most elite academic socialists is that the government might tax endowments over $5 billion or adopt some sort of professional-sports nostrum in which the richest campus franchises must share with the poorest.

II. The Therapeutic Curriculum

Most college courses in literature and history — despite their sometimes anachronistic and traditional titles — focus on “diversity.” That is, they present a play or novel, or a past historical period or event, in terms of how it adversely portrayed or affected the poor, women, and minorities. The larger agenda is ideological: to instruct how the superior present can craft remedies to ensure that incorrect thinking and the biases throughout history and literature do not contaminate contemporary life and society.

What is often forgotten is that political correctness comes at a price of not learning a language, or reading the plays of Shakespeare, or mastering the basic outlines of the Civil War or World War II — given that for youth learning is so often a zero-sum game with only limited hours in the day for study and reading… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

BDS PROSECUTION EFFORTS AT UCLA AND UCI
Edwin Black
BESA, Feb. 2, 2019

Organized disruptors – both students and non-students – who shut down a pro-Israel gathering at University of California Los Angeles in May 2018 might not be prosecuted, according to information from LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office. Instead, they will be called to a confidential but mandatory proceeding called a “City Attorney Hearing,” an alternative to prosecution that can be described as a “warning” not to repeat the conduct. One legal expert compared it to a “deferred prosecution,” but stressed that a full trial could still result.

Victims generally do not appear at such a hearing, the City Attorney’s office explained, and generally no criminal record attaches to the accused. Still, the prosecutor retains the right to issue charges later if he feels the illegal conduct has recurred or may recur.

Los Angeles conducts hundreds of such closed-door hearings each year to dispose of minor misdemeanors arising from, for example, neighbor disputes, domestic disharmony, or curfew violations.

South of Los Angeles, in Orange County, newly installed prosecutor Todd Spitzer is still undecided about prosecuting rambunctious disruptors of a pro-Israel event at University of California Irvine that also took place last May, according to official university sources. Spitzer’s office has asked for additional police investigation to develop more facts.

With or without actual prosecution, the two incidents and the Jewish community’s response have potentially changed the landscape for belligerent disruption of pro-Israel events on California campuses, which last year were arguably among the most pernicious in the nation. Those involved in the two California events – the affected students and the Jewish communal groups who rose up to invoke prosecutions – expressed a range of reactions on whether justice has been either minimally obtained or seriously delayed.

StandWithUs and Brandeis Center for Human Rights pivotally intervened to jump-start the criminal referral process on both UC campuses. Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs CEO, commented, “It shows good progress that the [Los Angeles] authorities are holding the disruptors accountable for attempting to remove the freedom of speech from those they disagree with.” Alyza Lewin, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, added, “We are gratified by this development. At long last, the universities are holding responsible the perpetrators of these egregious event disruptions. We trust this will deter similar behavior in the future and demonstrate that universities must take such criminal conduct seriously.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

COMMUNIQUE VOL# 62- Quand la Haine D’Israël Et La Haine De l’Occident Vont De Paire

LA HAINE DES JUIFD’ISRAEL ET DE LA CIVILASTION OCCIDENTALE 

PUBLIÉ PAR GUY MILLIÈRE LE 22 MARS 2012

On sait désormais qui a tué les militaires français abattus la semaine dernière. On sait qui a tué trois enfants juifs et un rabbin. On sait que c’est un islamiste.

On sait qu’il a fait plusieurs séjours au Pakistan et en Afghanistan pour se former au djihad et nouer des contacts avec des groupes terroristes. On sait qu’il y a fait de la prison pour avoir posé des bombes dans la région de Kandahar, et qu’il s’est évadé grâce aux talibans. On sait qu’il y avait une mouvance autour de lui : on parle dans la presse étrangère d’une quinzaine de personnes. On sait qu’il avait amassé des explosifs et des armes de guerre. On sait qu’il a été condamné par la justice une quinzaine de fois et avait, pour le défendre, le même avocat que Jean-Marc Rouillan. On sait qu’il y a en Europe des dizaines d’individus comme lui qui constituent des cellules dormantes ou des solitaires prêts à passer à l’acte. On sait que l’individu en question, Mohamed Merah, était sous « surveillance policière » et que les dossiers de son passé terroriste en Afghanistan avaient été transmis à la police française. On sait donc qu’un djihadiste sous « surveillance policière » en France, et doté d’un passé éloquent et de dossiers chargés, peut amasser des armes de guerre et des explosifs sans que la police s’en inquiète outré mesure et on sait que, bien que des djihadistes soient dans la société française, avec des idées djihadistes et des armes, on ne dispose pas même d’un seul policier pour veiller sur l’entrée d’une école juive. On sait même que des plaintes ont été déposées contre le djihadiste tueur de Toulouse par des voisins sans qu’il y soit donné suite, et qu’il a fallu six jours pour déchiffrer moins de six cents adresses IP à de fins limiers (les adresses de ceux qui ont regardé la petite annonce qui a été fatale au premier soldat tué), et que cette extrême lenteur a coûté la vie aux victimes du collège Ozar Hatorah.

On sait aussi que des hommes politiques peuvent se comporter dignement l’espace d’un instant, mais que d’autres ne peuvent pas même garder leur dignité le temps d’une soirée : les propos de François Bayrou lundi sur le climat de « stigmatisation », sur « le fait de montrer du doigt les uns et les autres en fonction de leur origine » ont été lamentables.

On sait que les hommes politiques qui se comportent dignement le temps d’une soirée peuvent se comporter moins dignement et ne pas du tout s’interroger sur leurs responsabilités, sur les relations de cause à effet qui peuvent conduire au déchaînement de la barbarie.

Et on sait que les bien pensants de tous bords font bien davantage que ne pas s’interroger sur leurs responsabilités et sur les relations de cause à effet : ils disséminent l’anesthésie, le mensonge et la falsification.

Dès la tuerie atroce de Toulouse connue, on a vu se mettre en marche la cohorte des chiens de garde. Des doutes ont été émis sur le caractère antisémite de la tuerie. La piste islamiste n’a été évoquée par personne, sinon par Gilles-William Goldnadel sur iTélévision. L’extrême droite a, par contre, été abondamment citée et placée d’emblée sur le banc des accusés, sans le moindre milligramme de preuve. Marine Le Pen a été accusée nommément ainsi que, par allusions, Nicolas Sarkozy. Des psychiatres ont été convoqués pour évoquer la possibilité qu’il s’agisse d’un malade mental.

Il a fallu que l’évidence soit là dans toute sa cruauté pour que la cohorte se taise un peu, mais on peut compter sur les membres de la cohorte pour reprendre leur discours en l’adaptant un peu. On vous dira qu’il faut veiller à préserver la « cohésion nationale », et au nom de cette préservation, on ne parlera très vite plus d’antisémitisme, mais de « racisme » en général, et puisque le tueur est musulman, on mettra en garde contre le « racisme islamophobe », en insistant sur une évidence flagrante : l’islam est toujours, partout et en tous lieux une religion de paix, d’amour, de tolérance et de fraternité.

Quiconque émettra des doutes sera cloué au pilori de manière immédiate. On ajoutera, bien sûr, qu’il ne faut pas importer les conflits du Proche-Orient sur le sol français. On précisera, cela ne saurait tarder, qu’il faut accélérer le « processus de paix » pour que les esprits s’apaisent. On dira même que Mohamed Merah était un brave garçon bien sympathique qui a pris un virage étrange et « tragique ».

On ne dira pas ce qui doit l’être, et que je dirai ici.

Il n’existe pas de « cohésion nationale » dans un pays lorsqu’y prolifèrent les zones de non droit, lorsque des Juifs peuvent se faire agresser simplement parce qu’ils portent une kippa sur la tête, lorsque des parents juifs doivent mettre leurs enfants dans une école juive pour qu’il ne se fassent pas harceler ou insulter, lorsque les écoles juives sont les seules écoles du pays à devoir prendre des mesures stricts de sécurité qui parfois, hélas, on vient de le voir, se révèlent insuffisantes, et lorsque le plus souvent, on se tait sur ces phénomènes inadmissibles.

Il existe du racisme en France, c’est incontestable, mais il existe surtout un antisémitisme qui ne cesse de regagner du terrain, et qui peut déboucher sur des crimes atroces : je pense aux victimes de Toulouse, bien sûr, mais je pense aussi à Ilan Halimi ou à Sébastien Selam. Près de quatre cents actes d’agression antisémites ont eu lieu en France en 2011, soit plus d’un par jour et, comme me le disait voici peu Sammy Ghozlan, nombre d’agressions antisémites ne sont pas déclarées à la police ou sont classés sans suite.

QUAND LA HAINE DES JUIFS ET DE L’OCCIDENT S’AVANCE SOUS LE MASQUE DE L’ANTIFASCISME
Par : Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine
EUROPE ISRAEL NEWS
Juin 02, 2015
Atlantico : Vous dénoncez avec vigueur la complaisance de trop nombreux intellectuels à l’égard de l’islam radical ou « identitaire ». Vous nous refaites La Trahison des clercs de Julien Benda ?
Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine : Lulien Benda fustigeait en 1927 l’étrange fascination de ses pairs pour le fascisme, leur « religion du particulier » et leur « mépris de l’universel ». Il se trouve que je suis une historienne du fascisme et j’observe une rhinocérisation analogue depuis le 11-Septembre, si ce n’est qu’elle se déploie désormais… au nom de l’« antifascisme » ! Consternant.
Par crainte d’alimenter « l’islamophobie » et pour cause de substantif amalgamant, l’Europe pensante s’est illustrée dans le déni et l’art de se crever mentalement les yeux face à l’émergence du nouveau totalitarisme : l’islamisme.
Après les massacres de janvier 2015, on aurait pu croire que ces esprits faux devenus fous se tapiraient dans la honte — décence minimale oblige. Et bien non ! Ils ont réussi à nous faire retomber dans « l’avant-Charlie » aussitôt après : voilà que le 11 janvier serait une « imposture » et qu’il ne s’agit déjà plus de combattre l’islam radical ou antisystème des banlieues et leurs compagnons de route, mais le Front national, le « Parti de l’ordre » et les « islamophobes »… Le président François Hollande vient d’en remettre une couche dans son discours au Panthéon en parlant, avec un pluriel hautement confusionniste, « de devoir de vigilance face aux haines de la démocratie » — trois poncifs en une proposition, un exploit !
Alors oui, nous assistons à une nouvelle et gravissime déraison des clercs.
Où risque de nous emmener cette pente régressive ?
Droit dans le mur, ou plutôt vers une Europe submergée par la vague nationale-populiste qui monte partout.
Magnifique « première » : ce sont cette fois nos élites somnambules et enivrées par leur politiquement correct qui risquent de porter l’extrême droite au pouvoir et de faire ainsi advenir le politiquement abject.
Il est suicidaire de continuer à ne pas prendre en charge les angoisses identitaires, l’insécurité culturelle et les inquiétudes qu’inspire l’islam à plus de la moitié des Européens.
Ces derniers sont déjà désemparés par une mondialisation qui les détrône et les déprime tant ils ont le sentiment d’y avoir perdu la maîtrise de leur destin. Cette conjoncture est très dangereuse. Les gens — à commencer par les musulmans éclairés qu’on méprise —, voient bien que des discordances opposent souvent le corpus de valeurs européen à celui porté par une partie de l’immigration musulmane — sur la laïcité, l’égalité des sexes, le droit d’être différent de sa différence, le primat de l’individu autonome sur le groupe culturel d’origine, le blasphème, un délit abrogé en France depuis 1791.
Un seul exemple parmi beaucoup d’autres de ce clivage dérangeant : dans les années 2000, quand les caricatures de Mahomet enflammaient déjà le monde arabe, huit musulmans sur dix en Europe de l’Ouest incriminaient le non-respect de leur religion. Proportion inversée chez les non-musulmans qui pointaient au contraire l’intolérance des fidèles du Prophète. Nous avons perdu une bonne décennie de rattrapage pédagogique. Depuis, le bébé est tombé dans le bain.
À se demander si les aveugles n’espèrent pas secrètement le retour de la bonne vieille « bête immonde » pour s’épargner d’épuisantes contorsions devant cet islamo-fascime qui ne cadre pas avec leur catéchisme binaire et rance : d’un côté une Europe ontologiquement coupable, de l’autre des « damnés de la terre » forcément innocents. On ne saurait en tout cas mieux s’y prendre. Le Mal surgit de ce qu’ils croyaient être le « camp du Bien » ?
Ils répondent en interdisant aux faits toute incursion dans l’univers de leurs croyances idéologiques. C’est le règne de la pensée magique. Ces antiracistes égarés sont presque aussi effrayants que les islamistes enragés.
Vous vous estimez encore de gauche ? Vous êtes sûre qu’elle ne vous a pas perdu, vous aussi ?
Je n’ai jamais abandonné l’héritage universaliste de la gauche : c’est elle qui m’a abandonné avec beaucoup d’autres intellectuels qualifiés de « néo-réactionnaires » (traduction : des défenseurs de l’héritage des Lumières) — un comble !
La vérité, c’est que la gauche a rompu avec elle-même en délaissant le combat pour la liberté et l’égalité des droits individuels au profit de la théologie multiculturaliste, du culte des particularismes et de la relativité des valeurs. Bref, elle nous fait du lepénisme à rebours. Religion du particulier, mépris de l’universel, disait Benda… Nous y sommes derechef. Du coup, j’avoue que la droite républicaine modérée me semble plutôt mieux armée pour traiter les grands problèmes du jour.
Parce que l’accès à la réalité du fondamentalisme lui est facilité par l’absence de surmoi tiers-mondiste, d’où sa lucidité face à la recrudescence de la haine des Juifs et de l’Occident quand elle émane de prétendus « déshérités ». Et parce qu’en valorisant davantage la responsabilité, elle évite cette rhétorique de l’excuse qui commence à friser l’indécence : Merah était un enfant des cités, mais les trois soldats d’origine musulmane qu’il a assassiné — des hommes debout et des Français exemplaires —, l’étaient aussi.

3) LORSQUE L’ANTI-AMÉRICANISME ET L’ANTISÉMITISME EUROPÉENS CONVERGENT, interview d’Andrei S. Markovits par Manfred Gerstenfeld
EUROPE ISRAEL NEWS
Décembre 27, 2011

Le psychiatre israélien Zvi Rex a raison de dire que les Allemands ne pardonneront jamais Auschwitz aux Juifs.
Par analogie, je dirais que les Européens d’origine, de même, ne pardonneront jamais aux Américains d’être ceux qui leur rappellent quotidiennement que ce sont eux – de concert avec l’Armée Rouge – qui ont vaincu le Nazisme, et non les Européens eux-mêmes.
« L’antisémitisme en Europe remonte à un millier d’années. L’antiaméricanisme comme discours et idéologie, a émergé il y a plus de 200 ans, parmi les élites européennes. Beaucoup d’Européens perçoivent l’Amérique et les Juifs comme les parangons de la modernité qu’ils ont en aversion, ne lui faisant aucune confiance : elle fait circuler l’argent, la soif de profit, elle est urbaine, universaliste, individualiste, mobile, sans racines, inauthentique, et serait, de ce fait, hostile à établir des traditions et des valeurs. L’antiaméricanisme et l’antisémitisme sont les seules idoles que partagent l’extrême-gauche européenne et l’extrême-droite, y compris les néo-Nazis ».
Andrei S. Markovits est Professeur de politiques comparatives et d’études allemandes de l’institut collégial Karl W. Deutsch, à l’Université du Michigan d’Ann Arbor. Il est arrivé aux États-unis en 1960, mais a passé l’essentiel de son adolescence à Vienne, avant de retourner à New-York en 1967 pour suivre des cours à l’Université Columbia où il a obtenu les cinq diplômes de son parcours universitaire.
Il affirme : « Il n’est pas toujours évident de comprendre quels liens émotionnels et quelles identités collectives partagent les Européens. On n’a pas même besoin d’être témoins des crises relatives à l’Euro pour remarquer que la solidarité entre les Allemands et les Grecs est plutôt faible.
Mais une caractéristique importante qu’aussi bien les Allemands et les Grecs ont en commun, est de ne pas être Américains. Aucune identité n’a jamais surgi sans une forte identité adverse.
Ainsi, l’antiaméricanisme permet aux Européens de forger une identité européenne, perdue jusqu’à ce jour, qui doit advenir si jamais le projet européen réussit. Les effusions et éloges des Européens, à l’annonce de l’élection d’Obama n’excluent en rien les antipathies ancrées des Européens envers l’Amérique, qui ont bénéficié d’une amplification et d’une légitimité sans précédent, durant la Présidence Bush. En effet, même en prenant Obama pour un quasi-Européen, l’affection superficielle des Européens pour Obama a parfaitement coexisté avec leur mépris continuel pour l’Amérique. »
« L’antiaméricanisme et l’antisémitisme se rapportent l’un à l’autre et, sur le plan empirique, sont presque toujours en proximité étroite. Le chevauchement entre eux s’est accentué depuis la fin de Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Tous deux sont des « ismes », ce qui indique qu’ils sont institutionnalisés et d’usage commun, en tant qu’idéologie moderne. En tant que tels, leurs discours ont leur propre sémantique. »
« Même si ces deux préjugés européens se chevauchent, ils ont aussi d’énormes différences. L’antisémitisme a tué des millions de gens, alors que l’antiaméricanisme européen n’a jamais tué que très peu, sinon aucun Américain. Il n’y a jamais eu de pogrom contre des Américains. La violence, en règle générale, n’a jamais été plus loin que la destruction d’une propriété et la mise à feu de nombreux drapeaux américains. On n’a jamais constaté d’accusation de crimes rituels, à propos des Américains.

« Une autre différence majeure est relative à la puissance. Depuis le dix-neuvième siècle, l’Amérique est devenue un pays de plus en plus puissant. Sa capacité militaire a été déterminante durant la Première Guerre Mondiale et elle était déjà considérable avant cette époque. Les Juifs n’ont de pouvoir que dans l’imagination pervertie de leurs ennemis. »
« Cependant, après la guerre des Six-Jours de 1967, on a perçu Israël comme ayant beaucoup plus de pouvoir qu’il n’en avait réellement. L’image du Juif fort et redoutable est apparue et les similarités avec celle des Américains se sont accrues dans l’esprit de beaucoup d’Européens. A force d’identifier Israël comme cette entité toute-puissante, les Européens peuvent manifester ouvertement leur ressentiment et recourir à la caractérisation de l’essence d’Israël et de son existence elle-même dans des termes et des tonalités assez similaires avec l’ancien antisémitisme européen tombé en désuétude. »

Les Arabes réduits à l’impuissance sont désormais présentés comme les victimes des Juifs surpuissants. Une expression de l’antisémitisme européen consiste à présenter les Juifs – qui devraient être les agressés – comme les agresseurs. En ce qui concerne Israël, il existe une dimension supplémentaire qui n’est pas, de prime abord, pertinente dans le cas de l’antiaméricanisme. L’Europe entretient une relation essentielle non-résolue avec son propre passé. La constante analogie entre les Israéliens et les Nazis est viscérale chez les Européens. En s’adonnant à cette pratique, les Européens s’absolvent de leur propre histoire. En même temps, ils parviennent à accuser leurs anciennes victimes de se comporter comme leurs pires criminels. »

« Aucun autre conflit plus ou moins comparable n’a atteint à ce point, en Europe, la véhémence et l’acuité que celui entre Palestiniens et Israéliens ; pas plus, les massacres de masse en Tchétchénie, ni ceux lors des nombreuses guerres en Ex-Yougoslavie, ni les meurtres de Musulmans aux mains des Serbes et des Croates. »
« Depuis la Seconde Guerre Mondiale – et particulièrement depuis l’avènement de la Nouvelle Gauche à la fin des années 1960 – l’antisémitisme de gauche a avancé opportunément sous le masque de l’antisionisme. Cependant, la haine de la gauche européenne contre Israël est devenue beaucoup plus puissante au cours des dernières 15-20 années pour une raison cruciale : C’est le langage et le discours de la gauche – et non celui de la droite – qu’adoptent les courants dominants en Europe. »
« Si quiconque devait faire la liste des principaux symboles qui définissent le cœur, ce qu’être de gauche signifie, ces temps-ci, être un progressiste, il ne fait aucun doute qu’une antipathie active envers Israël et les États-unis se trouverait inscrite sur cette liste. Ces deux hostilités planeraient sans doute tout près du sommet, plutôt qu’en fin de liste.
Le fait désolant, c’est qu’une détestation et un mépris d’Israël et des États-unis sont devenus aussi essentiels pour s’affirmer progressiste que la redistribution des revenus, la défense des droits des travailleurs, la protection de l’environnement, le plaidoyer en faveur des gays et des lesbiennes, et le féminisme ».

Actualité

 

TRÈS TRISTE NOUVELLE: LE RAV AHIAD ETTINGER HY”D A SUCCOMBÉ À SES BLESSURES

LPH INFO
Par Shraga Blum
Mars 18, 2019

Le rav Ahiad Ettinger hy”d, très gravement blessé dimanche lors de l’attentat d’Ariel a finalement succombé à ses blessures. Malgré tous leurs efforts, les médecins n’ont pas réussi à le sauver.
Sa famille a publié le communiqués suivant: “C’est avec une immense peine que sa famille annonce le décès du rav Ahiad Ettinger hy”d, qui est tombé pour la Sanctification du Nom sous les balles d’un misérable assassin. Le rav Ahiad hy”d avait fait preuve d’un immense courage lors de l’attentat en rassemblant ses forces pour tenter de neutraliser le terroriste. Nous remercions l’équipe médicale et le personnel soignant de l’hôpital Beillinson, les secouristes du Magen David Adom, les services de sécurité de Samarie ainsi que toutes celles et ceux qui ont prié depuis dimanche pour sa guérison”.
Le rav Ahiad Ettinger hy”d (47) laisse derrière lui son épouse et douze enfants.
Son beau-frère a raconté comment le rav Ahiad Ettinger hy”d avait vu le terroriste de loin, avait ensuite fait demi-tour avec sa voiture pour tenter de le renverser et avait même tiré dans sa direction. Mais le terroriste a réussi à s’enfuir non sans avoir tiré en direction du rav, le touchant à la tête.

IMPORTANT SOMMET QUADRIPARTITE À JÉRUSALEM

Mars 20 2019
LPH INFO
Par Shraga Blum

Le secrétaire d’Etat américain Mike Pompeo est arrivé mercredi en Israël où il entame une tournée dans la région. Il s’est déjà entretenu en tête à tête avec le Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou et les deux hommes se rendront jeudi au Kotel ainsi que dans les Tunnels du Kotel.
Mike Pompeo a également assisté au sommet tripartite Israël-Grèce-Chypre qui a lieu cette année à Jérusalem, réunissant le Premier ministre Binyamin Netanyahou, le Premier ministre grec Alexis Tsipras et le président chypriote Níkos Anastasiádis. C’est la première fois qu’un représentant extérieur à cette structure assistait à cette réunion. A ce sommet important étaient également présents le ministre israélien de l’Energie Youval Steinitz, le ministre des Transports et (par interim) des Affaires Etrangères Israël Katz, plusieurs ministres concernés chypriotes et grecs, les ambassadeurs en Israël des trois pays invités ainsi que les ambassadeurs d’Israël à Athènes et Nicosie.
Dans son discours de bienvenue, le Premier ministre israélien a rappelé que cette alliance date d’il y a quelques années déjà et qu’elle est devenue l’une des alliances les plus solides de la région si ce n’est du monde. “Nous coopérons sur presque tous les sujets, depuis les pompiers jusqu’à l’énergie” a souligné Binyamin Netanyahou. Il a également insisté sur l’importance du projet de gazoduc EastMed: “Ce gazoduc sera bénéfique pour nos économies, il renforcera la stabilité et le bien-être de nos citoyens et variera les sources d’approvisionnement en énergie de l’Europe”.
Après avoir adressé des paroles de bienvenue à Mike Pompeo, le chef du gouvernement israélien a souligné l’importance de sa présence à ce sommet ainsi que du soutien américain à ce projet grandiose.
De son côté, le chef de la diplomatie américaine a dit combien cette alliance entre ces trois pays était importante pour la région: “La Russie, l’Iran et la Chine tentent de renforcer leur empreinte au Moyen-Orient. Les Etats-Unis voient dans l’alliance entre vos trois pays un élément très important dans la garantie de la stabilité régionale. Les pays appartenant à la liberté de marché travailleront ensemble pour le succès du Moyen-Orient”.

 

TRUMP VEUT RECONNAÎTRE LA SOUVERAINETÉ D’ISRAËL SUR LE GOLAN

Radio Canada
jeudi 21 mars 2019

Le président américain s’est tourné vers Twitter pour plaider en faveur d’une reconnaissance américaine du Golan, conquis, puis annexé par Israël, comme territoire israélien. La position de Donald Trump, allié indéfectible d’Israël, marque un virage politique majeur pour la diplomatie américaine dans ce dossier sensible.
« Après 52 ans, il est temps pour les États-Unis de reconnaître totalement la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan, qui est d’une importance stratégique essentielle pour la sécurité de l’État d’Israël et la stabilité de la région! » a écrit le président américain sur Twitter, au moment même où le secrétaire d’État, Mike Pompeo, se trouvait à Jérusalem.
La déclaration de Donald Trump a immédiatement été saluée par le premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Nétanyahou, qui pourra se targuer d’une victoire diplomatique, à moins de trois semaines des élections législatives en Israël.
Le plateau du Golan a en partie été occupé par l’armée israélienne lors de la guerre des Six Jours en 1967, après avoir chassé les forces syriennes. Israël l’a annexé en 1981, s’attirant alors les condamnations de l’ONU. Par la suite, la communauté internationale n’a jamais reconnu cette annexion.
L’administration Trump avait donné des indices en faveur de ce revirement diplomatique au cours des derniers mois. Un rapport du département d’État publié il y a 10 jours évoquait les territoires « contrôlés » plutôt qu’« occupés » par Israël pour désigner le Golan, la Cisjordanie et la bande de Gaza, comme le veut la diplomatie américaine depuis des décennies.
En novembre dernier, Washington a pour la première fois voté contre une résolution de l’ONU considérant l’annexion israélienne du Golan « nulle et non avenue ». C’est le seul pays à avoir voté contre aux côtés d’Israël.
Israël a récemment accusé le Hezbollah, l’un de ses ennemis, d’établir secrètement dans le Golan syrien, près du territoire sous son contrôle, un réseau militaire commandé par une figure du mouvement chiite libanais.
Riche en eau, le plateau du Golan, également frontalier du Liban et de la Jordanie, surplombe la Galilée et le lac de Tibériade du côté contrôlé par Israël et commande la route vers Damas du côté syrien.
Au milieu des années 1960, l’enjeu de l’eau constituait l’une des principales causes du contentieux israélo-syrien, Damas accusant Israël d’avoir détourné les sources du Jourdain.
Nétanyahou jubilee
« Alors que l’Iran cherche à se servir de la Syrie comme d’une plateforme pour détruire Israël, le président Trump reconnaît courageusement la souveraineté israélienne sur le plateau du Golan. Merci, président Trump », a écrit Benyamin Nétanyahou sur Twitter.
« Vous avez fait l’histoire », lui a-t-il dit ensuite lors d’un entretien téléphonique, d’après le bureau du premier ministre.
L’OLP craint un bain de sang
Le secrétaire général de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine, le négociateur Saeb Erekat, a pour sa part dénoncé les intentions du président Trump. « De quoi demain sera-t-il fait? De déstabilisation et de bain de sang dans la région », a-t-il prédit sur Twitter.
Le plaidoyer de Donald Trump a en revanche été accueilli avec enthousiasme par le sénateur républicain Lindsay Graham, qui est l’un de ses plus ardents partisans.
« Je tenterai […] de faire en sorte que le Congrès vous suive », a-t-il indiqué sur Twitter.
En décembre dernier, trois sénateurs républicains ont présenté une résolution non contraignante visant à faire reconnaître la souveraineté d’Israël sur le Golan, en représailles à l’« assassinat de civils » et l’« utilisation d’armes de destruction massive », mais aussi pour contrer la menace que pose l’Iran à la sécurité d’Israël et des États-Unis.
L’ancien ambassadeur américain en Israël Martin Indik, qui a par le passé agi comme négociateur dans les pourparlers de paix entre Israéliens et Palestiniens, a déploré un « geste gratuit » de la part du président Trump.
Poutine utilisera ce prétexte pour justifier l’annexion de la Crimée par la Russie; la droite israélienne l’utilisera comme prétexte pour l’annexion de la Cisjordanie par Israël.
Martin Indik, cité par le New York Times
Un soutien sans cesse renouvelé
Attendu à la Maison-Blanche en début de semaine prochaine, le premier ministre israélien a réitéré avec insistance sa demande pour une reconnaissance du Golan comme territoire israélien au cours des dernières semaines.
Au pouvoir depuis une décennie, M. Nétanyahou met inlassablement en avant sa relation privilégiée avec le locataire de la Maison-Blanche et s’en sert d’argument de campagne, présentant les gains israéliens comme des succès personnels dont ses concurrents seraient incapables.
Ce n’est pas la première fois que le président Trump prend ainsi parti pour Israël de façon aussi marquée.
En décembre 2017, les États-Unis ont rompu avec près de sept décennies de diplomatie américaine et internationale en reconnaissant unilatéralement Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël, , au grand dam notamment des dirigeants palestiniens. Le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, avait alors gelé les relations avec l’administration Trump.
Les États-Unis avaient inauguré leur ambassade à Jérusalem, auparavant à Tel-Aviv, cinq mois plus tard dans un climat tendu. Selon le ministère de la Santé de Gaza, l’armée israélienne avait tué 58 Palestiniens dans la bande de Gaza au cours de manifestations monstres dénonçant cette décision.
Le gouvernement américain a également cessé son aide financière à l’Autorité palestinienne, ainsi que ses contributions à l’agence de l’ONU pour les réfugiés palestiniens (UNRWA).
Au début du mois, les États-Unis ont fermé leur consulat général à Jérusalem, qui faisait office d’ambassade de fait auprès des Palestiniens. Il a été absorbé par l’ambassade américaine. Les États-Unis sont ainsi devenus l’une des seules grandes puissances à ne pas avoir de représentation diplomatique consacrée spécifiquement aux Palestiniens.
Les conseillers de Donald Trump disent avoir élaboré un nouveau plan de paix pour le Proche-Orient, qui devrait être dévoilé après les élections israéliennes.

 

Nous vous souhaitons Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

Daily Briefing Vol # 4517 -ISRAEL – AFRICA RELATIONS: SETTING A POSITIVE NEW TONE

A History of Africa-Israel Relations: Tania Kraemer, DW, April 18, 2019 — In the late 1950s, Israel was a young emerging state at the same time that several African countries were becoming independent from their colonial rulers.
The Open Secret of Israeli-Moroccan Business Is Growing: Sebastian Shehadi, Middle East Eye, Nov. 5, 2018 — “Secret” Israeli-Moroccan business is increasingly visible, despite the North African country sharing no official relations with Israel and growing calls in Morocco against “economic normalisation”.
Israel’s Ex-Envoy in West Africa Discusses Increasing Diplomatic Relations: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 1, 2018 — In the last days of the Obama administration, Egypt sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning Israel for the “construction and expansion of settlements.”
New Life in Israel-Africa Ties at the UN: Melanie Kent, AJC, June 16, 2018 — June 13, 2018 was a roller coaster of a day for those seated in the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York. An emergency special session had been called in response to the recent violence at the Gaza border, one of the largest escalations since 2014.

ON TOPIC LINKS:

Map Shown by PM shows Israel Having ‘Potential’ Relations with Mali, Niger: Raphael Arens, Times of Israel, Feb. 20, 2019 — On Monday evening, Netanyahu addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’ annual Israel mission in a Jerusalem hotel. During his 30-minute speech, he talked participants through a slide show about Israeli achievements in various fields, including diplomacy.
Israel On Its Way to Making Breakthroughs in Relations with African Nations: Israel Kasnett, Jewish Journal, Dec. 10, 2019 — Chadian President Idriss Déby’s historic visit to Israel last month did not occur in a bubble.
The Positive History of Israeli-African Relations: Benji Shulman, The Algemeiner, June 6, 2018 — Just last month Israel scored another big diplomatic win in Africa, when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin successfully toured Ethiopia.
Somalia: Israel and Somaliland – Long-Lost Brothers?: Dalsan Radio Mogadishu, Nov. 22, 2018 — Israel faces many adversaries that don’t recognize it or its right to self-determination; Somaliland is also unrecognized as a state by most countries.

A HISTORY OF AFRICA-ISRAEL RELATIONS
Tania Kraemer
DW, April 18, 2019

In the late 1950s, Israel was a young emerging state at the same time that several African countries were becoming independent from their colonial rulers. “From an Israeli perspective, there was something really exciting in forging links with new countries which had to engage in the process of state-building and nation-building,” says Naomi Chazan, an expert in African-Israeli relations in Jerusalem.

At that time, Israel’s foreign minister Golda Meir, who later became Israel’s prime minister, set about promoting a diplomatic initiative with newly established African states. “It was a very familiar sentiment to Israelis at that time. Israel could sense and feel the challenges in Africa and identify with them very closely,” says Chazan.

In 1957, Israel recognized Ghana’s independence. In 1958, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) was established to support the emerging independent African states. In 1963, it established its first embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. “Israel was a young nation in a hostile neighborhood, looking for more friendly neighborhoods around the world, and Africa was one of them,” says Gil Haskel, deputy director of MASHAV. From then on, Israel sent aid workers, military advisers and its know-how to African states.

The honeymoon period between Israel and African countries only lasted until the late 60’s. In 1967, Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza-Strip and the Golan Heights after the Six Day War reset its relations with Africa, as Israel began to be perceived as a colonizing state.

After the Israeli-Arab war in 1973, many sub-Saharan countries broke off diplomatic ties and shifted to a more pro-Arab alliance. The African Union granted Palestinians non-member observer status at AU summits but did not extend this to Israel. “The assumption that good bilateral relations will translate into support for current Israeli policies ignores the over 50 years of [self-determination for] African independence,” says Naomi Chazan. “There is one thing on the continent, and that is the right to self-determination.”

But during 1970s, when most African nations renounced their diplomatic ties with Israel, development programs continued — albeit on a smaller scale. And military and intelligence cooperation continued with some of Africa’s autocratic regimes. Although it had previously condemned the regime, Israel also strengthened its ties with the Apartheid regime in South Africa, which still hampers its relationship with that country.

Complex relations

African-Israeli relations have weathered ups and downs, as well as periods of diplomatic disinterest. But in recent years, Israel has renewed its interest in the continent: In 2009 then foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has visited several African countries, mainly in east Africa. “Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said in 2016, declaring his new diplomatic initiative with African nations as one of his top priorities.

“The reason why Africa is gaining so much importance in our foreign policy is its growing economic and political importance,” says Yoram Elron, deputy director general and head of the Africa division at Israel’s foreign ministry. “The other component is the instability of northern African countries that are of concern to us.”… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

THE OPEN SECRET OF ISRAELI-MOROCCAN
BUSINESS IS GROWING
Sebastian Shehadi
Middle East Eye, Nov. 5, 2018

“Secret” Israeli-Moroccan business is increasingly visible, despite the North African country sharing no official relations with Israel and growing calls in Morocco against “economic normalisation”. Many Moroccan and Israeli companies are resorting to increasingly complex commercial channels

Recent statistical discrepancies are a good start. Although Morocco’s official trade data has never made mention of Israel whatsoever, Israeli records shows $37m worth of commerce with Morocco in 2017, according to data released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) this year. This means that, out of Israel’s 22 African trading partners, Morocco is among the four top nations from which it imports, and ninth in terms of exports, according to CBS. However, with $149m worth of trade between 2014 and 2017, this partnership is not new.

More unusual is Israel’s first overt foreign investment into the Arab world, with Israeli agricultural technology giant Netafim setting up a $2.9m subsidiary in Morocco last year, thereby creating 17 jobs, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times data service that has monitored cross border greenfield investment worldwide since 2003. Greenfield investment is when a company builds its operations in a foreign country from the ground up.

This development may fit into broader regional trends. Arab-Israeli relations are improving, for one, due to a growing alliance against Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Oman is a good example of these warming relations.

Long-standing ties

Netafim’s investment is the most visible example of the longstanding and “clandestine” economic ties between Israel and Morocco, two countries that have shared historically warm ties compared to other Arab-Israeli relations.

However, public opposition in Morocco against normalisation with Israel keeps these ties under wraps. For example, in 2016, government ministers denied any trade or investment links with Israel. Mohamed Abbou, then the head of foreign trade at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, told parliament: “Morocco has no commercial relations with this entity [Israel] . . . and is keen to fight the entry of all Israeli goods to Morocco. The government has never granted any license for anyone to import dates or any other Israeli products.”

This is despite the fact that Israel’s Netafim has operated in Morocco since at least 1994 through an affiliate, Regafim. Today, under its own name, its Moroccan Facebook page currently has more than 26,000 likes. Founded on an Israeli kibbutz in 1965, Netafim is the global leader in drip-irrigation systems, a technology that it pioneered. According to its website, it has 4,300 employees and provides equipment and services to customers in more than 110 countries….[To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

ISRAEL’S EX-ENVOY IN WEST AFRICA
DISCUSSES INCREASING DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Dec. 1, 2018

In the last days of the Obama administration, Egypt sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning Israel for the “construction and expansion of settlements.” Under pressure from the incoming Trump administration, the Egyptians withdrew the resolution on a cold Thursday night. It was December 22, just days remained until Trump would be in office and Israel hoped the resolution wouldn’t be passed.

At Israel’s embassy in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, ambassador Paul Hirschson had packed up and gone home for the night. He recalls how “literally hours before voting, the Egyptians withdrew the proposal.” The resolution was important for Senegal because the country was one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. It also chairs the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Hirschson understood that Senegal would vote for the resolution but when he went home to the modest ambassador’s residence on Thursday night, things seemed to be moving in the right direction. “It’s important to note Senegal wasn’t on its own, they had indicated they wanted to upgrade the relationship [with Israel]. And this isn’t how friends behave.”

Senegal’s President Macky Sall had just returned from a historic visit to Paris. The Jewish state had made it clear it didn’t want the Senegalese to sponsor the resolution, although Jerusalem fully understood they would vote for it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was livid and sought to respond harshly to Dakar. Soon Hirschson was on a plane home, recalled for “consultations.” He informed the Senegalese that Israel was canceling a trip by Senegal’s foreign minister scheduled for January 2017. Israel also suspended activity by Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV).

If in the past Israel has accepted that countries it has relations with would sponsor resolutions condemning it at the UN, December 2016 was a new day. In January, Trump would be in office. Now the world would see, Israel takes these things seriously.

I’d been in Senegal in March 2016, hosted by Hirschson to see the incredible work Israel was doing in West Africa. It was a whirlwind tour. We met a former prime minister, a former presidential candidate and the minister of agriculture, and toured Dakar. The city is one of Africa’s great cultural and economic hubs. Reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean and shaped like an anvil, it is a link with the West and hosts security cooperation operations designed to keep West Africa safe from the threat of terrorism in neighboring countries. It is also home to a unique MASHAV-supported project helping Senegalese learn drip irrigation. Before I left, we visited agricultural projects Israel was supporting, small farms east of Dakar in the plains of Senegal, nestled beneath the giant baobab trees. Two years later, I wanted to see what Hirschson had learned in West Africa and how Israel’s relations were proceeding.

Senegal is a Muslim-majority country, but its unique form of Islam, centered on large Sufi brotherhoods, makes it a special place where Islam in Africa has created a fascinating culture … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

NEW LIFE IN ISRAEL-AFRICA TIES AT THE UN
Melanie Kent
AJC, June 16, 2018

June 13, 2018, was a roller coaster of a day for those seated in the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York. An emergency special session had been called in response to the recent violence at the Gaza border, one of the largest escalations since 2014. The drama here wasn’t about the end result—the status quo on Israel-related resolutions at the UN is a landslide against Israel. Rather, it was caused by voting on an amendment to the day’s resolution, voting that dramatically exposed the fraying edges of the usual consensus.

A U.S. amendment condemned the terrorists of Hamas and—stunningly—received a majority. Then, when the Secretary General noted that a two-thirds majority was required for the amendment to pass, an appeal of his decision lost by only six votes.

Because the UN is a space where the battle over storylines—an essential component of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself—is fought, this was a moral victory for Israel, if not a technical one.

That important anti-Hamas majority had been reached by a margin of just four votes, three of them African: Liberia, Togo, and South Sudan sided with Israel, and 12 other African nations gave their tacit support by abstaining. These African votes suggest a new and altered landscape for Israel and Africa at the UN, part of a gradual shift that AJC has helped generate.

Voting in perspective

Some context: African countries have a long history of voting quite consistently on Israel-related issues at the UN—and not in Israel’s favor. In the General Assembly each country gets one vote, which means that Africa’s 54 countries, with over a quarter of those votes, weigh in heavily. What makes this percentage even more significant is that these countries mostly vote together as a bloc: the African Group. Such voting by consensus creates a kind of magnetism, so that countries that may be otherwise inclined or ambivalent end up toeing the party line rather than risk alienation from various voting blocs. United, the African Group is a force to be reckoned with, and it is deeply invested in keeping it that way.

So, who sets the tone on Israel? Generally, North African leadership, especially Egypt, as well as Algeria, Tunisia, and traditionally Libya and Sudan, have carried the banner here. Other heavyweights on the continent such as Nigeria and South Africa shape the conversation too—the latter increasingly so. Almost all African countries are also members of two unofficial voting blocs at the UN, making up about 40 percent of both the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77. Both groups are strongly and actively anti-Israel, NAM in the political sphere and the G77 on economic issues. Decisions in the African Group are closely connected to positions of the African Union, outside the UN. African nations make up nearly half the membership of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which, in a parallel way, tracks closely with the positions of the Arab Group—without a doubt the major player on Israel-related issues at the UN. The EU, not always a reliable vote for Israel, also impacts African votes. “On the Israel issue, the EU is viewed by many as a moral compass, although it is more a political compass,” says Felice Gaer, director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

The CIJR wishes all its friends and supporters a HAPPY PURIM!

Daily Briefing Vol # 4516- WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

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

On Topic Links

US Presidential Hopeful Gillibrand has ‘Mixed Record’ on Israel: David Jablinowitz, World Israel News, Mar. 18, 2019) — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) officially joined the 2020 presidential race on Sunday, issuing an announcement video stating that “we need to remember what it feels like to be brave.”
Iran Inches Closer Toward its Goal of ‘Wiping Israel Off the Map’: Majid Rafizadeh, United with Israel, Mar. 17, 2019 — Iran’s military activities and clear public threats to annihilate Israel continue to grow in frequency and intensity.
Experts Reveal Major Fallacies in UN Inquiry on Gaza Report: Eliana Rudee, JNS, Mar. 18, 2019 — In a testimony delivered on Monday morning at the United Nations, top American general Lt. Col. Geoffrey S. Corn (ret.) and renowned British commander Col. Richard Kemp refuted a U.N. Human Rights Council report released that accuses Israeli soldiers of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” on the Gaza border.
WATCH: Israel Nabs 6 Medals in Abu Dhabi at 2019 Special Olympics: United With Israel, Mar. 18, 2019 — Israeli athletes continue to perform at peak levels at international competitions across the globe.

WEEKLY QUOTES

“Israel mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshipers in Christchurch and condemns the brazen act of terror in New Zealand. Israel sends its condolences to the bereaved families and its heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter in response to the murder of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17, 2019)

“New Zealand may be halfway around the globe, but it’s the same story of hate and violence against people peacefully praying to their Creator… I can’t stop crying for those left behind, especially the children — children who are old enough to understand that there is loss, but don’t understand the meaningless and utterly insane hatred that spawned it. Remembering the look on your children’s faces when you told them that their grandmother is dead from hatred haunts you every day. No one — no matter one’s religion, age, color, anything — should be harmed in any way while peacefully praying in a house of worship. To the families that are reeling, I want to say that we in the Jewish community are your siblings; we are all children of Abraham. We are appalled at this attack and mourn your loss deeply.” — Marnie Fienberg — whose mother-in-law was one of the 11 Jews murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, also by a white supremacist assailant — wrote in NOW Magazine. (WIN, Mar. 18, 2019)

“Hamas, as usual, is celebrating and Abu Mazen, who properly joined with all civilized people in condemning the terrorist attack in Christchurch, is now deafening in his silence. Israelis attacking Palestinians are condemned, prosecuted and incarcerated by the Israeli government. Palestinians attacking Israelis are celebrated, compensated and venerated by the PA leadership and/or Hamas. And there lies the problem.” — US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted criticizing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for not condemning a deadly West Bank attack that killed two Israelis. He said that the Palestinian celebration of terror is “the problem.” (The Times of Israel, Mar. 18, 2019)

“I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days. I am particularly alarmed by the brutal beating of journalists and staff from the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and the raiding of homes. The long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal. I call on all Palestinian factions to engage in earnest with Egypt in order to implement the Cairo Agreement (2017) in full. The United Nations will continue its efforts to avoid escalation, relieve the suffering of people in Gaza, lift the closures, and support reconciliation.” — Statement by United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, on Gaza protests. (Reliefweb, Mar. 17, 2019)

“If Israel decides to start a wide-scale operation in Gaza, [Egypt] won’t stop the Israeli attacks. Even if Israel ends your rule in Gaza by assassinating every single one of you and reconquer[ing] Gaza, Egypt and its allies won’t lift a finger to stop the Israeli response. You’re endangering our lives. Gazans’ blood is on your hands.” — said a senior Egyptian negotiator at the meeting, according to Israel Hayom. (World Israel News, Mar. 17, 2019)

“To pass resolution after resolution against Israel while ignoring China, Russia or Cuba is a horrendous hypocrisy. It speaks to the integrity of the Human Rights Council that we already know what the decision will be even before the vote. It speaks to the sincerity of the Human Rights Council that its agenda is determined by those who respect its mandate the least… [The UNHRC] not only singles out Israel, but it does so on a permanent basis … that a single country and a single people merit such attention … This is not just a sign of bigotry, this is a sign of intellectual and moral decay. [It is] an institution whose entire worldview is dominated by the fear and fantasy of Jewish criminality. It has lost the ability to be rational, to understand cause and effect, and to make positive change.” — US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 19, 2019)

“One thing the viewers should know, this president [Donald Trump] and this administration is often castigated as Islamophobic, but I move in the Muslim word, in Egypt, in Oman, in Jordan, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where this president is beloved. This president and the Republican Party going back to George Bush is very dearly held. Today is the anniversary of Halabja, the massacre of 180,000 Kurds at the hands of Saddam Hussein. That only change would [be] because of a Republican president. So, it is very important not to lose so much perspective that we start believing our entire government is Islamophobic. That is not the case… In this country in the United States, we have Islamists Muslim brotherhood front groups that are claiming Muslims are victims. We just saw a few weeks ago the exploitation of this narrative in the trivialization of antisemitism. Antisemitism occurred in Congress and the reaction was when there was outrage that this was somehow hate directed at a Muslim who is spewing Islamist ideology. So, we have to be extremely clear about the language, clear about the narrative.” — Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a Muslim doctor being interviewed on CNN.(Daily Wire, Mar. 18, 2019)

“If Robert Mueller had any evidence of that and hasn’t shown it to us, he would almost be guilty of treason. If Nancy Pelosi really believes that Donald Trump is serving the interest of Russia and decides, oh, we’re going to take our time in removing him from control over the nuclear arsenal and the executive branch and the military, until we feel like we are ready to do it, you would wonder, does Putin have something on Pelosi too. Why would you leave in place somebody controlled by the Kremlin for two years if you really believed it, if you really have that evidence for it?” — Glenn Greenwald, editor of The Intercept, during an interview with Laura Ingraham of FOX News. (Realclearpolitcs, Mar. 19, 2019)

“In looking for the sources of the antisemitic and anti-Israel bigotry in the Newton curriculum, we discovered a few bad apple teachers who view their teaching positions as giving them license to promote their personal political agendas. We are also looking closely at a common pattern with these politicized teachers — most, if not all, have taken professional development courses developed with foreign funding by the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.” – Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) Executive Director Ilya Feoktistov after filing a lawsuit on behalf of Newton, Massachusetts taxpayers in Middlesex Superior Court against the Newton School Committee, Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman, the principals of the Newton high schools, and certain high school history teachers. Plaintiffs are asking for a court order that would compel Newton school officials to stop indoctrinating students with antisemitism, and bigotry against Israel, and Islamist religious dogma as part of the high school history curriculum. (Jihad Watch, Mar. 19, 2019)

SHORT TAKES

GERMANY’S PARLIAMENT FAVORS MERKEL’S ANTI-ISRAEL U.N. VOTING PATTERNS (Berlin) — Political representatives in Germany’s Bundestag overwhelmingly rejected a resolution by the Free Democratic Party to urge Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to reverse its anti-Israel voting record at the United Nations. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) MPS Bijan Djir-Sarai and Frank Müller-Rosentritt introduced the pro-Israel resolution calling on the federal government “in the bodies and specialized agencies of the United Nations (such as the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council or UNESCO) to dissociate from unilateral, primarily politically motivated initiatives and alliances of anti-Israeli Member States, and protect Israel and legitimate Israeli interests from unilateral condemnation.” (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 16, 2019)

GERMANY REVOKES VISA, ASKS CONVICTED ARAB TERRORIST RASMEA ODEH TO LEAVE (Berlin) — German officials banned Convicted Arab terrorist Rasmea Yousef Odeh from engaging in political activities and asked her to leave the country over fears of causing incitement against Israel, according to a report posted by DW News. Odeh, 72, is a Jordanian who was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization and who has called for a worldwide boycott of the State of Israel. She was scheduled to speak at a cultural community center in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. (Jewish Press, Mar. 16, 2019)

IRANIANS ARRESTED IN BUENOS AIRES WITH POORLY FORGED ISRAELI PASSPORTS (Buenos Aires) – Authorities in Buenos Aires have arrested two Iranians suspected of traveling on fake Israeli passports, according to local Argentinean media. Police are treating the two, a man and woman, as possible terror suspects, and have raised the alertness level. (Times of Israel, Mar. 17, 2019)

A GRENADE ATTACHED TO A TOY PLANE FOUND IN ESHKOL (Eshkol near Gaza) — A Styrofoam model airplane with an attached hand grenade was found on Highway 234 in the Eshkol Region near Gaza. Police sappers are handling the device. (Ynet, Mar. 17, 2019)

HAMAS ORDERS GENERAL MOBILIZATION TO CONFRONT GAZA STRIP DEMONSTRATIONS (Gaza) — Hamas has carried out a general mobilization of all its security forces, including the military wing of the organization, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in order to confront the demonstrators in the Gaza Strip. The official PA news agency WAFA reported that Hamas militias raided the homes of PLO activists in the Gaza Strip and detained dozens of people involved in the popular movement against high prices and tax hikes, according to witnesses. According to the same sources, Hamas perceives for the first time a threat to its rule and has decided to suppress the demonstrations and end them at any cost. (Jewish Press, Mar. 17, 2019)

MULTIPLE TERROR ATTACKS NEAR ARIEL, KILLED TWO (Ariel) — A shooting occurred at Tzomet Ariel (Ariel Junction) and then shortly after, at the Gitai Avisar junction near Ariel in the Shomron (Samaria). The terrorist approached a soldier at the Ariel Junction, stabbed him and grabbed the wounded soldier’s weapon. The soldier, who was killed in the attack, is identified as 1st Sergeant Gal Keidan (19) from Be’er Sheva. The terrorist opened fire on three vehicles. A second person, Rabbi Achiad Ettinger (47) was shot and wounded. He later succumbed to his injuries. He was the father of 12 (ages 1 to 20), and from the town of Eli. (Jewish Press, Mar. 17, 2019)

PITZER COLLEGE PRESIDENT VETOES MOVE BY UNIVERSITY’S COUNCIL TO SUSPEND STUDY ABROAD IN ISRAEL (Claremont, California) — By a margin of 67-28, with eight abstentions, the College Council at Pitzer College voted on Thursday to suspend the school’s study-abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel. However, college president Melvin L. Oliver, said he would not implement the recommendation. Introduced by anthropology and history Professor Daniel Segal, who had a pro-BDS record and who accused Israel in 2016 of “state-sponsored and university-supported abuse of the human rights of our Palestinian sisters and brothers,” the motion said that “Pitzer would suspend the study-abroad program in Haifa until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech; and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities.” The measure was supported by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), an advocate of BDS. (Jewish Press, Mar. 16, 2019)
TWO SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN ATTACK ON ARGENTINE CHIEF RABBI (Buenos Aires) — Argentine police on Saturday arrested two individuals suspected of assaulting Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, who was attacked in his home on February 26. The suspects are leaders of a gang that robs homes in that part of Buenos Aires. Two weeks ago, upon his discharge from hospital, Rabbi Davidovich said that he did not know what the cause of the attack on him was. (Jewish Press, Mar. 17, 2019)

NYU STUDENT BLAMES CHELSEA CLINTON FOR NEW ZEALAND MASSACRE, DONALD TRUMP JR. COMES TO HER DEFENSE (New York) — In the immediate aftermath of the New Zealand mosque massacres on Friday, the younger Clinton was confronted by a student while attending a New York University (NYU) interfaith vigil for the victims of the terror attacks on the two mosques. A Twitter user by the name of “@Esor_Fasa” uploaded a video of a confrontation between NYU senior Leen Dweik and Clinton at the vigil on Friday night. “This, right here, is a result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you have put out into the world,” Dweik told Clinton in the video. “And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.” The student was referring to Clinton’s comments last month about the antisemitic rhetoric used by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a Muslim who criticized the support many members of Congress maintain with Israel. Clinton joined the condemnations against Omar saying that “we should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in antisemitism.” In response, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that “it’s sickening to see people blame Chelsea Clinton for the New Zealand attacks because she spoke out against antisemitism. We should all be condemning antisemitism and all forms of hate. Chelsea should be praised for speaking up. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.” (WIN, Mar. 18, 2019)

US BARS ENTRY TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT INVESTIGATORS (Washington) — The United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere and may do the same with those who seek action against Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. Pompeo, acting on a threat delivered in September by U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, framed the action as necessary to prevent the international body from infringing on U.S. sovereignty by prosecuting American forces or allies for torture or other war crimes. (AP, Mar. 15, 2019)

POLL: EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR TRUMP REMAINS HIGH (U.S.) — A Pew Research Center poll taken in January indicates that two years into his presidency, U.S. President Donald Trump’s biggest fans are still by far white evangelical Protestants. Although support has dropped nine points since his inauguration, 69 percent of this religious demographic still approves of the way Trump is handling his job as president. This compares quite favorably to other white Protestants, who have held steady at some 48%. It marks a huge difference with black co-religionists, whose confidence in the president has not budged in two years, remaining at a measly 12%. Other non-whites are also less-favorably disposed to the president, with only 26% of non-white Catholics approving of Trump’s performance. (WIN, Mar. 19, 2019)
DRIP IRRIGATION COMPANY NETAFIM WINS $100 MILLION IRRIGATION CONTRACT IN INDIA (Israel) — Israel-based drip-irrigation company Netafim announced it has secured a $100 million irrigation contract in India. Considered a pioneer in smart irrigation, Netafim will install precision irrigation systems in 100 villages across India as part of four large community irrigation projects. Netafim was founded in southern Israeli Kibbutz Hatzerim in 1965. The company has made a name for itself developing water-efficient irrigation systems that deliver water directly to the plant instead of the soil. Today, Netafim employs over 4,500 people in 17 manufacturing plants and operates in over 110 markets through 29 subsidiaries. Netafim itself is a subsidiary of Mexico-based pipes and chemicals company Mexichem SAB de CV, which bought an 80 percent stake in the company in February 2018 at a $1.9 billion company valuation. (Algemeiner, Mar. 12, 2019)

ISRAELI MINISTER ‘OPTIMISTIC’ ABOUT FUTURE OF TIES WITH CHINA (Jerusalem) — Speaking with the official Chinese state-run press agency Xinhua, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegi — a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party — said he was “optimistic” about the future of the relationship between the two nations. According to Xinhua, bilateral trade between Israel and China totaled around $14 billion in 2018. (Algemeiner, Mar. 17, 2019)

ZIONIST STUDENT GROUP ACCUSES UC BERKELEY MIDDLE EAST CENTER OF ANTI-ISRAEL ‘INDOCTRINATION’ (California) — In an online statement on Tuesday, Tikvah: Students for Israel maintained that the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) — a National Resource Center under the US Department of Education’s Title VI program — has held more than two dozen Israel-related events since 2016, each one of which “has maliciously attempted to portray the democracy of Israel in a negative light.” The group pointed to a series of recent discussions, including one earlier this month on “The Israel Lobby and Antisemitism,” where participants “publicly defended Ilhan Omar’s antisemitic comments and accusations of global Jewish conspiracies,” according to Tikvah. Despite this alleged focus on Israel, CMES refused to co-sponsor an upcoming campus talk with former Israeli Knesset member and Ambassador Danny Ayalon, Tikvah charged. “CMES is engaging in an anti-academic policy of indoctrination, and there is no room to view their one-sided hateful narrative as anything but an abuse of their platform.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 18, 2019)

HOLOCAUST DENIER DAVID IRVING PROMOTING NEW GUIDED TOUR OF NAZI DEATH CAMP SITES, HITLER’S HQ (Poland) — The notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving has announced that he will lead a tour of Nazi death and concentration camp sites in Poland later this year. Since his reputation as a historian was destroyed by his failed libel action in the British High Court against the American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in 2000, Irving has supplemented his income with World War II-related historical tours in Europe, as well as sales of his reissued books and occasional speaking tours of the US. According to his website, Irving’s next American tour is scheduled for the spring. (Algemeiner, Mar. 18, 2019)

LEBANON ARRESTS CANADIAN CITIZEN FOR ‘SPYING FOR ISRAEL'(Lebanon) — Lebanese intelligence said Tuesday a Lebanese-Canadian dual national had been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel. There were no details on exactly when or where he was detained. The statement said the 40-year-old man confessed to being recruited in 2013 by a Lebanese fugitive it said belongs to an Israeli spying network described as “unit 504”. He was ordered to recruit Lebanese agents to spy on the Hezbollah movement and collect information on missing Israeli airman Ron Arad, a navigator whose plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and was thought to have been handed over to the Shiite group. Lebanon and Israel remain technically in a state of war, with occasional skirmishes along their shared ceasefire line. (Arutz Sheva, Mar. 19, 2019)

IRAN ASKING CANADA FOR EXTRADITION IN A FINANCIAL CASE (Tehran) — Iran’s General Prosecutor says that Tehran has referred to Interpol the case of a woman in Canada accused in his country’s petrochemicals scandal and expects extradition. The news website of Iran’s Judiciary quotes Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri as saying that an arrest warrant for Marjan Sheikholeslami has been issued and sent to Interpol, and he hopes “they will cooperate”. The trial of several defendants in Tehran is underway, accused of exporting government owned petrochemicals through front companies and using the funds to make personal profits before returning it to the government. Such trades were arranged with the knowledge of the authorities through private companies to circumvent international sanctions in the past. (Radio Farda, Mar. 13, 2019)
KEY CONCEPTS: Reclaiming The Language of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Israel Studies; Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2019; Word Crimes

The CIJR Wishes all its friends and supporters a happy upcoming Purim