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

Author: Isranet Publications


First Muslim Women in US Congress Misled Voters About Views on Israel: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2018— Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress.

Is Canada Knowingly Funding Extremism and Terrorism?: Tom Quiggin, IPT News, Oct. 18, 2018— Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a listed terrorist group.

Laïcité Can Help Block Advance of Political Islam: Lise Ravary, Montreal Gazette, Oct. 22, 2018 — “We must get involved in all domains where we can have more Islam …”

Congress Has the Chance to Combat Terrorist Use of Human Shields: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018 — Innocent civilian casualties are an inevitable legacy of any war.

On Topic Links

Don’t Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump’s Pro-Israel Policies – or Punish Netanyahu: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Nov. 8, 2018

Canada’s Welcome Mat for Jihadis Poses Threat to US: Clarion Project, Nov. 18, 2018

Jihad Jane’s Recruiter Sentenced to 15 Years: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Oct 31, 2018

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II: Daud Khattak, BESA, Nov. 19, 2018



MISLED VOTERS ABOUT VIEWS ON ISRAEL                                                                          Soeren Kern                                     

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2018


Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress. Most of the media coverage since their election on November 6 has been effusive in praise of their Muslim identity and personal history. Less known is that both women deceived voters about their positions on Israel. Both women, at some point during their rise in electoral politics, led voters — especially Jewish voters — to believe that they held moderate views on Israel. After being elected, both women reversed their positions and now say they are committed to sanctioning the Jewish state.

America’s first two Muslim congresswomen are now both on record as appearing to oppose Israel’s right to exist. They both support the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Both are also explicitly or implicitly opposed to continuing military aid to Israel, as well as to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — an outcome that would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Instead, they favor a one-state solution — an outcome that many analysts believe would, due to demographics over time, replace the Jewish state with a unitary Palestinian state.

Ilhan Omar, who will replace outgoing Rep. Keith Ellison (the first Muslim elected to Congress) in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, came to the United States as a 12-year-old refugee from Somalia and settled in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in the late 1990s. In her acceptance speech, delivered without an American flag, Congresswoman-elect Omar opened her speech in Arabic with the greeting, “As-Salam Alaikum, (peace be upon you), alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah.” She continued: “I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name. The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a hijab. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”

Omar faced some controversy during the campaign, including a disturbing report that she had married her own brother in 2009 for fraudulent purposes, as well as a tweet from May 2018 in which she refers to Israel as an “apartheid regime,” and another tweet from November 2012, in which she stated: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

After the tweets came to light, Omar met with members of her congressional district’s large Jewish population to address concerns over her position on Israel, as reported by Minneapolis’s Star Tribune. During a Democratic Party candidates’ forum at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park on August 6 — one week before Omar defeated four other candidates in the party’s primary — Omar publicly criticized the anti-Israel BDS movement. In front of an audience of more than a thousand people, Omar said she supported a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and that the BDS movement aimed at pressuring Israel was not helpful in trying to achieve that goal.

Pressed by moderator Mary Lahammer to specify “exactly where you stand on that,” Omar replied that the BDS movement was “counteractive” because it stopped both sides from coming together for “a conversation about how that’s going to be possible.”

Less than a week after being elected, however, Omar admitted that she supports the BDS movement. On November 11, Omar’s office told the website that she favors BDS against Israel: “Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized. She does however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.” On November 12, Omar told TC Jewfolk, a website catering to the Jewish community in the Twin Cities, that her position on the BDS movement “has always been the same” and pointed to her vote as a state lawmaker against House bill HF 400, which prohibits the state from doing business with companies or organizations that boycott Israel.

In a recent interview with the Star Tribune, Omar characterized the controversy over her tweets about Israel as an effort to “stigmatize and shame me into saying something other than what I believed.” In a July 8, 2018 interview with ABC News, for a segment entitled, “Progressive Democrats Increasingly Criticize Israel, and Could Reap Political Rewards,” Omar defended her tweets. She said the accusations of anti-Semitism “are without merit” and “rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.”

On September 22, Omar was the keynote speaker in Minneapolis at a fundraiser focused on providing monetary support for Palestinians in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. The US Department of State has officially designated Hamas a terrorist group. After the event, Omar tweeted: “It was such an honor to attend the ‘Dear Gaza’ fundraiser … I know Palestinians are resilient people, hateful protesters nor unjust occupation will dim their spirit.”

Writing in the New York Post, political commentator David Harsanyi noted that Omar’s rhetoric had anti-Semitic undertones: “Now, it isn’t inherently anti-Semitic to be critical of Israeli political leadership or policies. The Democratic Party antagonism toward the Jewish state has been well-established over the past decade. But Omar used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world….

In Michigan, meanwhile, Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, won a largely uncontested race for the open seat in state’s heavily Democratic 13th congressional district. In Tlaib’s acceptance speech, delivered with a Palestinian flag, she credited her victory to the Palestinian cause. “A lot of my strength comes from being Palestinian,” she said.

Like Omar, Tlaib has changed her positions on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During her race for the Democratic nomination in the state primary, Tlaib actively “sought out the support and received the endorsement of J Street.” J Street is a left-leaning organization that is highly critical of the Israel government, and through “JStreetPAC,” it also allocates financial support to those who back J Street’s policies. J Street endorsed Tlaib “based on her support for two states” with the JStreetPAC website claiming that she “believes that the U.S. should be directly involved with negotiations to reach a two-state solution. Additionally, she supports all current aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

After her primary win on August 7, however, Tlaib radically shifted her positions on Israel, so much so that Haaretz suggested that she pulled a “bait-and-switch.” In an August 14 interview with In These Times magazine, Tlaib was asked whether she supported a one-state or two-state solution. She replied: “One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work…. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.” Tlaib also declared her opposition to US aid for Israel, as well as her support for the BDS movement…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                    




Tom Quiggin

IPT News, Oct. 18, 2018

Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a listed terrorist group. The Criminal Code of Canada forbids funding terrorism, as well as forbidding the facilitation of those funding terrorism. But last Friday, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would send $50 million in the next two years to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This is in addition to the $110 million that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to UNRWA since 2016. UNRWA has been repeatedly accused of supporting extremism, promoting violence and not checking beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists provided by the police. The announcement made no reference to UNRWA’s alleged connections, and said the money is meant to help provide education and health services to Palestinians.

Funding UNWRA is not illegal in Canada, although given the agency’s reputation, it is a questionable use of taxpayer money. For instance, in August President Donald Trump withdrew $300 million in UNRWA funding. The U.S. government would no longer “shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs,” a U.S. State Department press release said, calling it an “irredeemably flawed operation.” In addition to funding UNRWA, the Trudeau government gave millions of taxpayers’ dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is forwarded to Islamic Relief Worldwide (UK), which has been repeatedly linked to Hamas…

The Canadian aid is funneled through government programs, including International Humanitarian Aid Program (2017), M103 Islamophobia Funding (2018), Canada Summer Jobs Program (2017 and 2018), Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund/Islamic Relief (May 2018), Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund CHAF, Canada’s Humanitarian and Development Assistance to Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s volunteer work and promotional video for Islamic Relief Canada.

In June, MP Iqra Khalid of Mississauga announced that $23 million Canadian dollars would help fund her M103 Parliamentary Motion on “Islamophobia.” The money, she said, would go to Islamic Relief Canada and a local boys and girls club. Other members of Parliament who appear to have played a role in directing money to Islamic Relief Canada include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Immigration and Refugees Minister Ahmed Hussen, Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, International Development Minister Bibeau and Parliamentary Secretary Omar Alghabra.

A variety of independent and credible sources have identified Islamic Relief Worldwide as funding extremist and terrorist activities. This includes American think tank studies and international actors. The following is a partial list of statements concerning the activities of Islamic Relief International. 1. In 2014 the United Arab Emirates produced a list of organizations they deemed to be terrorist entities. Among those was Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief UK. 2. In 2017, Bangladesh banned three organizations, including Islamic Relief, from working with Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar out of concern about potential radicalization in refugee camps. 3. In 2014, Israel banned Islamic Relief from operating in the occupied West Bank, accusing Islamic Relief Worldwide of being a source of funding for the Palestinian Hamas Islamist movement. That led the UK Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to remove Islamic Relief from its online donations page. The Financial Post of Canada similarly removed Islamic Relief from a charity page “since its international arm has been banned elsewhere (though not in Canada) for allegedly funneling funds to the terrorist organization Hamas.” 4. In 2015, the HSBC Bank of the United Kingdom closed Islamic Relief accounts citing fears that money could wind up with terrorist groups. 5. In 2012, the UBS cut ties with Islamic Relief due to concerns about counter-terrorist regulations.

The use of federally registered charities to fund terrorism is not a new practice. In the United States, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was considered the country’s largest Muslim charity until it was shut down in 2001 for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. Canada revoked the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN)’s charitable status in 2014 for similar Hamas support. The Islamic Society of North America in Canada has suffered four different charity revocations – two of which were for funding the Jamaat e Islami terrorist group.

What is different in this case, however, is how the money is getting directed down the path to terrorism. In the recent past, it was private citizens exploiting weaknesses in government oversight of registered charities. Now, however, it appears that Canadian MPs are using their positions to direct millions of dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is passed to Islamic Relief Worldwide, which is in turn passing money to extremist and terrorist groups. Given that it is generally known about Islamic Relief Worldwide’s terrorism financing connections, Canadian officials appear willfully blind. Even if they don’t know better, this practice violates Canadian law and Canadian values. An investigation could determine if the money could wind up in the hands of a terrorist organization.



LAÏCITÉ CAN HELP BLOCK ADVANCE OF POLITICAL ISLAM                                                   Lise Ravary

Montreal Gazette, Oct. 22, 2018

“We must get involved in all domains where we can have more Islam …” “The more we are present, the more women are seen wearing hijab, discussing it, explaining their approach, explaining who they are, the more we will create habits and things will change.” “We must control school programs and stop them from propagating values that do not conform to our principles.” “We must move into public schools, using empty spaces to dispense complementary religious learning.”

These words by Swiss-born global superstar Muslim preacher Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, explain why so many francophones see hijabs and niqabs as symbols of political Islam, or Islamism: using the tools of the state in order to further a religious agenda. Before being jailed in France to await trial on rape charges, Ramadan was a frequent visitor to Quebec, where he gave interviews to mainstream media and spoke to large crowds at the Palais des congrès.

Francophones read newspapers, books and magazines from France, where relationships between immigrants from North Africa and Français de vieille souche are bad for reasons that mostly don’t exist here. France failed at integrating les Maghrébins who moved there after her North African possessions became independent. Algeria, in particular, was not just a colony, it was a full-fledged French territory, its inhabitants French citizens. The terrible war of independence created a lot of hatred, bitterness and resentment before de Gaulle said “enough” in 1962.

Islamists continue to make inroads in France. Newspapers often report comments by radical imams on women, non-Muslims or Jews that make people’s hair stand on end. Salafist imams are regularly expelled and hundreds of mosques have been closed in recent years. More than 500 French Muslims joined ISIS. Who can forget Charlie Hebdo, le Bataclan and the people killed in Nice on Bastille Day?

Many francophones worry that Quebec will turn into France, where crowds pray in the streets, because Canada’s multiculturalism, they feel, promotes apartness instead of togetherness. As Ramadan said to L’Express: “We are in favour of integration as long as we control the content.” Although his speeches in Arabic have always been more strident and extreme than in French, he cultivated the image of bridge builder, a man of peace. People bought into his mystique. The sexual assault accusations have not stopped many Muslims from admiring Ramadan. Being the grandson of Hassan al-Banna confers a lot of prestige although he denies being a member of the Brotherhood.

Laïcité, which has never been explained to Quebecers, cannot and should not silence people like Ramadan, unless they promote hatred or incite violence. In itself, political Islam is not a crime. But many Quebecers feel that laïcité could at least prevent attempts to change things toward “more Islam.” However, this strategy did not work so well in France, where laïcité has been the law of the land since 1905. Yet, with laïcité, public schools could not set aside rooms for prayer, separate boys and girls — even non-Muslim — for gym, pull students from music lessons or sex education, or agree to some parents’ requests for segregated school yards.

Last spring, a public school in Montreal was set to rent out its premises for the annual “cérémonie du voile,” a Shiite ritual during which 9-year-old girls agree to wear the hijab forever. Many Muslims feel the girls are too young to take on such a commitment. Religions should be kept out of all state institutions, not only to stop people like Tariq Ramadan and other insidious promoters of Islamism from scoring political points, but also to allow the faithful to worship without having fingers pointed at them. Let’s not forget that many Muslims who emigrated here did so to escape Islamism.




TERRORIST USE OF HUMAN SHIELDS                                                               

Rabbi Abraham Cooper

The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018

Innocent civilian casualties are an inevitable legacy of any war. But the idea that armies would use civilians as human shields to protect armed combatants from the enemy’s bullets is considered by most civilized nations and adherents to International Law (1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and the 1998 Rome Statute) to be a War Crime.

During World War II, across Europe and in Asia, the Axis partners were accused of deploying human shields to secure military objectives, root out insurgents and in the Battle of Okinawa, use civilians in a ferocious battle the Japanese knew they would lose. Over 100,000 Okinawans perished.

Saddam Hussein took the deployment of human shields to a whole new level. In the lead up to the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Hussein detained hundreds of citizens of Western countries as human shields in an attempt to deter nations from launching military strikes. A number of these hostages were filmed meeting Hussein, and kept with him to deter any targeted attacks, whilst others were held in or near military, nuclear and industrial targets.

More recently, in 2016, Islamic State fighters began using human shields — hostages — in Fallujah. Fox News reported that the shields consisted of “several hundred” families — in other words, an entire neighborhood. USA Today reported that Islamic State thugs were “locking some families down inside the hospital building.” The Iraqi government and the UN also estimated at least 50,000 innocent people were trapped in Fallujah.

Which brings us to the new Capitol Hill initiative. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) have introduced an increasingly rare bipartisan bill to counter the use of human shields by Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. Why the need for the bill now? What can it achieve? Most of the examples of cited above about the use of human shields in the past took place in the heat of battle or as a desperation move on the eve of a military confrontation.

In our time, we are confronted with Iranian-backed terrorist groups who brazenly have established the deployment of human shields as a core tactic and strategy for present and future battles with the enemy. For months now, Hamas has been using children as part of orchestrated riots at the Gaza-Israeli border. When Israel soldiers rush to the area and see children, their first reaction is to hesitate targeting children. These traps have already cost the lives of an Israeli soldier.

Rather than condemn Hamas, as outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tried unsuccessfully at the Security Council and General Assembly tried to do, UN members always vote to condemn Israel for defending herself. This only encourages Hamas to put more children at risk. Every dead child is a social media bonanza. In early wars with Israel, Hamas used civilian infrastructures, including UNRWA schools to store missiles and launch them against the Jewish State. While using children as cannon fodder, the Hamas brain-trust found safe haven beneath a civilian hospital. Palestinian children have died building terror tunnels burrowing into Israeli communities…

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



On Topic Links

Don’t Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump’s Pro-Israel Policies – or Punish Netanyahu: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Nov. 8, 2018—The 2018 U.S. midterm elections were a mixed bag for U.S. partisans.

Canada’s Welcome Mat for Jihadis Poses Threat to US: Clarion Project, Nov. 18, 2018—Canada’s welcome mat for jihadis — including returning ISIS terrorists as well as numerous Islamists immigrants — is well known.  This not only threatens our northern neighbors but is an increasing threat to the U.S. as well.

Jihad Jane’s Recruiter Sentenced to 15 Years: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Oct 31, 2018—An Algerian man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for conspiring with Americans and others to recruit men and women in Europe and the United States to a terrorist cell to wage violent jihad in the West.

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II: Daud Khattak, BESA, Nov. 19, 2018—Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K) emerged in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, on the border of Pakistan’s volatile tribal region.


Will History Repeat Itself if the Right Brings Down a Likud Government?: Jeff Barak, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2018— Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows his history: Whenever a Likud-run government has been brought down by its erstwhile allies on the Right, the Left has returned to power.

Why Israel Doesn’t Want a War With Gaza: Mudar Zahran, American Thinker, Nov. 16, 2018 — The Israeli people are rarely as angry with their political leadership as they are today – and the reason for their anger is clear: they believe that their leadership has failed to take decisive military action against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

What is Hamas’s End-Game? Escalation Control: Dan Feferman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018— I almost entitled this piece “Hamas, What the Hell?!” but I thought better of it.

Palestinians Arresting Women; Where are the Media?: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 19, 2018 — Last August, the Palestinian Authority (PA) protested because Israel arrested a Palestinian woman from Hebron on charges of incitement and affiliation with Hamas.

On Topic Links

Let Me Get On With My Job: How Netanyahu Dwarfed his Political Rivals Within: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018

How Hamas Brought Israel to the Brink of Election Chaos: Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest, Nov. 16, 2018

Liberman: Bennett Flip-Flop Shows Why Hamas is Emboldened: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018

The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Nov. 15, 2018



RIGHT BRINGS DOWN A LIKUD GOVERNMENT?                                                                             Jeff Barak                                                           

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2018 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows his history: Whenever a Likud-run government has been brought down by its erstwhile allies on the Right, the Left has returned to power. Hence his determination to recapture control of his coalition and not be seen as having been forced into elections in March.

If there are to be early elections, it is crucial for the prime minister’s positioning that he is the person pulling the plug on his government, at a time of his own choosing, as opposed to losing a no-confidence vote in the Knesset and being kicked out of office.

In 1992, the hardline Yitzhak Shamir had to bring forward the date of the elections after two small right-wing parties left his coalition to protest against a plan to grant autonomy to the Palestinian population in West Bank and Gaza Strip. Fought against a background of a poorly performing economy, no progress in the peace process, and public protests against institutional corruption (unlike our present prime minister, Shamir himself was famed for his frugal lifestyle and disinterest in money), Yitzhak Rabin succeeded in forming the first Labor-led coalition for 15 years.

Seven years later, Netanyahu shared a similar fate to Shamir. Unable to win the right wing’s support for the Wye Agreement, which promised further Israeli withdrawals from populated areas in the West Bank, Netanyahu lost a vote of no confidence in the Knesset, forcing his government to disband. In the resultant elections, Netanyahu was decisively beaten by Labor’s Ehud Barak and turned out of office.

Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as defense minister threatens Netanyahu with a repeat performance of 1992 and 1999. Yet again, a Likud prime minister is being undermined by a political ally to the right of him. Liberman’s charge that Israel capitulated to terrorism in agreeing to a ceasefire with Hamas after the Palestinians fired almost 500 rockets into Israel is a deadly missile attack on Netanyahu’s credentials as Israel’s Mr. Security.

Netanyahu has always promised his supporters a vigorous response to Palestinian terrorism, but his current premiership has been marked by a surprising and welcome pragmatism. On the eve of the most recent round of fighting in Gaza, Netanyahu was busy telling reporters he was doing everything in his power “to prevent an unnecessary war.” On a national level, his decision to follow through on this by seeking a ceasefire and not stepping up Israel’s reaction to Hamas’ rocket attacks was the correct one to make, although it will cost him politically.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi gave the game away as to Netanyahu’s thinking, with his unscripted remarks that Hamas’ rocket attacks were “minor” in the sense they were not targeted at Tel Aviv. Unpalatable as this truth is, there is a huge difference in terms of the country’s national interest between rockets disturbing Israeli life in Gaza Strip periphery communities and one blowing up a plane on the runway at Ben Gurion Airport. Opposition politicians sanctimoniously declaring otherwise are guilty of shameless political cynicism.

Nevertheless, a prime minister cannot afford to be seen as weak on countering terrorism. Liberman’s resignation, combined with Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s constant attacks on the IDF’s weak response to events in Gaza, will inevitably erode Netanyahu’s standing among his base. The demonstrations against the ceasefire in the Likud-supporting heartland of Sderot will definitely have set off the political warning bells in the prime minister’s Balfour Street residence.

On top of this, Netanyahu also risks fighting early elections at exactly the time when Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is liable to make his decision regarding an indictment in the various corruption cases surrounding the prime minister. Despite the prime minister’s insistent denials there is nothing to these charges, he certainly does not want to be going to the polls under the cloud of a criminal indictment.

But unlike 1992 or 1999, Netanyahu is not facing a serious opponent with real leadership credentials. As former IDF chiefs of staff, both Rabin and Barak could outperform Netanyahu in the security arena. Both men also offered the country a chance of real change, which Rabin delivered with the breakthrough Oslo Agreements with the PLO and Barak with his courageous unilateral withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon.

Unfortunately, there is no one in today’s opposition with a similar profile to either Rabin or Barak, nor is there one dominant party able to challenge the Likud’s standing as Israel’s largest party.

Now that Liberman has fired the first bullet in the 2019 election campaign, Israel’s center and center-left parties have a short window of opportunity to rally behind one leader – a returning Ehud Barak? Tzipi Livni? (Yair Lapid is too lightweight for the role and Avi Gabbai is a political nonentity) – and form one party to rival the Likud and bring down Binyamin Netanyahu. If they fail to do so, then Netanyahu will most likely break the pattern of 1992 and 1999 and re-emerge as the country’s next prime minister, despite having lost the support of his right-wing allies.         




Mudar Zahran

American Thinker, Nov. 16, 2018

The Israeli people are rarely as angry with their political leadership as they are today – and the reason for their anger is clear: they believe that their leadership has failed to take decisive military action against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

As witnessed by the world a few days ago, Hamas began shooting rockets at southern Israeli towns and villages. In total, more than 500 rockets were launched, and in response, Israel undertook very precise, decisive and surgical military air strikes, hitting some of Hamas’s most significant facilities and military installations. This brought about a very quick cease-fire, a cease-fire that has come as a disappointment for many Israelis – especially those who bore the brunt of the attacks. Apparently, the Israeli public wanted military actions that would either annihilate Hamas, or, at least, serve as a deterrent that would force it to stop shooting rockets into Israel.

The call for tough military action against Hamas is so strong that Netanyahu’s Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned in protest after the Prime Minister settled for a quick cease-fire despite Hamas’s defiance, millions of dollars in damage, and more financial support from Iran. Apparently, the Israeli public was further provoked when they saw Hamas celebrating the ceasefire, jubilantly declaring it a “victory” against Israel specifically, and Jews, generally. While militant Hamas operatives celebrated, many Israeli politicians, writers, and commentators are fed up and spitting bullets over what they perceive as the Prime Minister’s inherent weakness in combating terrorism. As a result, hundreds of Israelis from the targeted southern villages protested publicly against the ceasefire.

While the anger of many Israelis is understandable, the facts on the ground clearly explain Netanyahu’s decision to agree to a quick ceasefire – a ceasefire that saved lives on both sides. Simply put, Hamas wants war. It is my experience that when an enemy is so determined to get into an armed conflict, one must be very careful not to give the enemy what they want. Additionally, we have to realize this: those pushing the Hamas buttons are heavily financed by Iran, through the mother group, the Muslim Brotherhood, who is also deeply in bed with Iran. Therefore, it is no stretch of the imagination as to why Hamas started provoking Israel: The military actions started shortly after US sanctions on Iran took effect. In fact, unprovoked, Hamas did not have any apparent reason to start fighting; to the contrary, things were going well for Hamas.  On the very day Hamas began firing rockets, they received $15 Million from Saudi Arabia and $60 Million from Qatar to pay its public servants who have not received pay checks. As a result, a joyous atmosphere was dominant in Gaza.

At this point, evidence shows that it is safe to say that Hamas operates upon orders from its Iranian mentors. Iran is already feeling the pain caused by the US-imposed sanctions, and with more sanctions likely to come in the future, they are lashing out – and Israel is their best bet to rally support for them. In other words, Iran needs a war as a diversion from its predicaments, and to tell the US that it could cause trouble and must be left alone, otherwise full scale war will break out.

That said, Netanyahu clearly could have launched a war that would have brought him tremendous public support and strengthened his political position with the Israeli public. Nonetheless he did not give in to public pressure, and did what he felt was right based on military intelligence, because he knew the outcome would hurt Israel’s interest in the long run. The world has to recognize that if Iran got the war it wanted, it would have been the best thing that could happen for them. To make matters worse, their puppets in Hamas really don’t care how many of my people are killed in the process. That is because their terrorist leaders are millionaires hiding in bunkers. In other words, Hamas didn’t have much to lose, while Iran had a lot to gain – and Netanyahu understands this.

On the other hand, Hamas fulfilled its ‘handshake agreement’ with their bosses, and eventually agreed to a ceasefire, against their wishes. In support of this, an Egyptian military intelligence source confided in me yesterday, saying that Egypt conveyed a stern message to Hamas. He told me that the message said the following: “Unless you stop, President Trump will allow Israel to annihilate you”. This scared Hamas to the core, and forced them to agree to the ceasefire.

As for Netanyahu, he has risked his public approval ratings and political career for the sake of his nation’s interest. This is true diplomacy and should be supported around the world.  As an Arab, Palestinian, Jordanian and a Muslim, I could not help but think how Arab leaders regularly sacrifice their people for political gain while an Israeli leader is risking his entire political career to save his people. This…is the difference between a politician, and a statesman.




WHAT IS HAMAS’S END-GAME? ESCALATION CONTROL                                      

Dan Feferman

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018

I almost entitled this piece “Hamas, What the Hell?!” but I thought better of it. So, I’ll ask in another way: What is Hamas’s end-game? The answer is: escalation control. In recent months, Hamas has encouraged tens of thousands of miserable and frustrated Gazans to vent their domestic anger not at them, but rather at the Gaza-Israel border. Protesters cut through the fence, torched thousands of tires, threw rocks, shot at soldiers and then realized they can terrorize Israel, Iron Dome and all, with kites and children’s balloons hooked up to flaming Molotov cocktails.

Why? To pressure Israel to relax the blockade it currently maintains on Gaza, together with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The ruthless and crafty terrorist-group-turned-government of the coastal enclave well understands that Israel will not commit mass killing of mostly unarmed Palestinians on its border and that despite its technological and military superiority, it has not yet found an answer to floating fire bombs and favorable winds. Hamas is also well aware that Israel – despite the bluster of its far-right politicians – has no interest in another war in Gaza, and certainly has no interest in reconquering the strip and establishing military control. Hamas well understands that for Israel, it is the lesser evil of many bad options in Gaza.

According to press reports and official comments from Israeli officials, the sides finally reached an agreement recently (through third-party mediators, of course) for a long-term cease-fire in which the protests, balloons and rockets would stop in exchange for Hamas gaining access to a port of its own (possibly in Cyprus), work permits for Gazans to enter Israel, and a relaxation on the embargo. The last piece of the puzzle included Egyptian pressure on the Palestinian Authority to allow such a dynamic, despite that it would grant Hamas the legitimacy it so craves while sidelining Ramallah, pushing it further away from its illusory control over what happens in Gaza. Just to make sure, Hamas also demanded last week, in full mafia form (and got) Israel to accept and even help facilitate the transfer of $15 million in cash (literally, three suitcases in a car) each month from Qatar to help pay Hamas salaries, after Ramallah stopped paying those. Electricity in the Strip is already up from four to eight hours a day since Qatari cash and fuel began entering the impoverished territory through Israel.

So, if Hamas got what it wanted, what does it get from such an unprecedented escalation (Hamas fired more rockets in one day than ever before)? And why now? What the hell, Hamas?! The short answer is: Escalation control, and because it can. While Hamas’s leadership has begrudgingly accepted that they will not be able to defeat and destroy Israel in the conceivable future, they are also acutely aware that Israel will do almost anything to avoid a full-on invasion of Gaza that would result in toppling Hamas’s rule. Such an operation would be extremely costly in Israeli lives, could take many months if not longer to restore order, and would draw significant international criticism as it would most likely result in thousands of Palestinian casualties. While many Israelis say they are in favor of such an operation now, it would become increasingly politically unpopular as the months go by and the casualty count inevitably climbs.

Since Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, it has instigated three extended conflicts against Israel, characterized by rocket and mortar fire and the digging and utilization of terror tunnels. Having largely neutralized these threats through technological innovation, Israel retaliated each time through aerial and artillery strikes, carefully choosing targets either for their symbolic or military value. The aim in each round of fighting has been to limit Hamas’s war-making ability, reestablish deterrence, and gain escalation control. In other words, Israel has aimed to set the rules of the game; Hamas sought to challenge those rules and establish rules of its own. The two sides, despite a total asymmetry of capabilities, have stumbled, more or less, onto the same playing field. Rockets beget air strikes – that is agreed. But as it turns out, rockets and mortars fired on Israeli border communities beget symbolic air strikes against pinpoint targets replete with advanced warnings (“knock on the roof”) to minimize civilian casualties, or only against the launch-team. Rockets at Ashkelon equal more significant air strikes against high-value targets (as happened last night – Israel struck 160 targets). Hamas already warned the next phase will be to extend rockets to Beersheba and Ashdod, which would invite targeting even higher value targets. Rockets on Tel Aviv will force the ground invasion neither side wants. Apparently, attempts to breach the border fence or incendiary balloons do not pass the threshold for a serious Israeli retaliation. Hamas already succeeded in establishing those rules and Israel has, more or less, accepted them.

According to the IDF Spokesperson, a covert Israeli military unit on a routine mission over the weekend deep in Gaza stumbled upon a Hamas force, resulting in a fire fight in which a senior Israeli officer and seven Hamas members, including a senior military figure were killed. So why risk a major escalation now that could cancel all the significant gains Hamas made? Simple. The 460 rockets fired into Israel, including an anti-tank missile that hit a bus (that just minutes before was full of young soldiers) are Hamas trying to gain an upper hand in the game for escalation control. An Israeli military operation deep in Gaza that ends up killing a senior Hamas leader equals hundreds of rockets, and Hamas wants to make sure Israel thinks twice before trying that again. As the sides reportedly reach a fragile cease-fire to end this two-day exchange, it seems that so far, and at least this time, Hamas has succeeded in controlling the escalation scale, and thus further weakening Israeli deterrence. Until next time.



PALESTINIANS ARRESTING WOMEN; WHERE ARE THE MEDIA?                                       Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 19, 2018

Last August, the Palestinian Authority (PA) protested because Israel arrested a Palestinian woman from Hebron on charges of incitement and affiliation with Hamas. The 42-year-old woman, Lama Khater, is also known as a strong critic of the President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. Khater’s scathing attacks on Abbas and his government, however, did not stop the Palestinian Authority from condemning Israel and demanding her immediate release.

This was not the first time that the Palestinian Authority has condemned Israel for arresting a Palestinian woman who voiced criticism of Abbas and his policies. Last year, the Palestinian Authority condemned Israel for arresting Khaleda Jarrar, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, one of several PLO terrorist groups. Jarrar was arrested by Israel for membership in a terrorist group and incitement.

The incidents concerning Khater and Jarrar came to mind this week as Palestinian sources revealed that Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank arrested two Palestinian women. The first woman, Majdoleen Marab’eh, was arrested in the West Bank city of Qalqilya after she criticized the Palestinian Authority’s controversial social security law. The law, which has sparked a wave of protests among Palestinians, calls for deducting 7% of private sector employees’ monthly salaries for a social-security fund and setting the retirement age for men and women at 60 years.

The second woman recently arrested by the Palestinian security forces is Suha Jbara, a mother of three from a village near Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians in the West Bank. According to Palestinian sources, the 31-year-old Jbara was arrested on November 2, when more than 25 Palestinian security officers raided her home and arrested her in front of her three children. The sources said she was suspected of transferring donations collected from Palestinians in the West Bank to the families of Palestinians killed and wounded by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.

Her father, Badran, said she was first taken to a Palestinian Authority detention center in Ramallah where, after a brief interrogation, she was transferred to the PA’s notorious Jericho Prison. He said that although his daughter suffers from a heart disease, she has been denied medical treatment and was being held in harsh conditions. A lawyer appointed by her family has since been banned from seeing her. Jbara’s family has expressed deep concern about her health. “We’re very concerned about her condition because she’s being held in harsh conditions,” the family complained. “Her three children, aged 12, 9 and 8, have since been crying, and are refusing to eat and go to school.”

“In the past few days, there is widespread outrage on social media over the arrest of Suha Jbara,” said Obada Subeih in a blog in the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network. “Undoubtedly, the Palestinian Authority has become a heavy burden on the Palestinian people. The charges attributed to her are a moral scandal for the Palestinian security forces and the Palestinian political leadership in Ramallah.” Several Palestinians took to social media to express extreme consternation over the arrest of Jbara, and described her imprisonment as “disgraceful.” They also launched several hashtags demanding her release and calling on the International community to exert pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop targeting women. These appeals, however, have thus far fallen on deaf ears. The Palestinian media in the West Bank, which is directly and indirectly controlled by Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, has ignored the arrest of the two women…

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


On Topic Links

Let Me Get On With My Job: How Netanyahu Dwarfed his Political Rivals Within: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018 —It was over for Benjamin Netanyahu. He’d agreed on an informal truce with Hamas after 500 rockets had been fired at Israel, and his defense minister, the volatile Avigdor Liberman, had resigned in a seething firestorm of anger and recrimination.

How Hamas Brought Israel to the Brink of Election Chaos: Seth J. Frantzman, National Interest, Nov. 16, 2018—Hamas didn’t achieve a military victory. But toppling the defense minister is a kind of victory because it shows that Hamas can shake Jerusalem’s politics at the very top.

Liberman: Bennett Flip-Flop Shows Why Hamas is Emboldened: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel, Nov. 19, 2018 —Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday that the decision by leaders of the Jewish Home party to drop their ultimatum and remain in the coalition was emblematic of Israel’s inability to follow through on its military threat against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Nov. 15, 2018—The discourse that tends to swirl in the wake of events like this week’s sharp Gaza escalation generally revolves around a clichéd discussion about “the loss of deterrence.”



Why Israel Let Hamas Win: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018— Israel’s security cabinet’s decision Tuesday afternoon to walk away from the war Hamas initiated Monday and to accept a “ceasefire” is frustrating and infuriating.

Praising Netanyahu’s Caution: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Nov. 15, 2018 — People demonstrated in the streets of Sderot on Tuesday, and who could blame them?

In the Middle East, You Win With Fear: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018 — The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltrations, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons.

A Rude Awakening for the Palestinian Dream: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 7, 2018— When something is built on an unstable foundation, it is only natural for its long term survival to be at risk.

On Topic Links

Israel Heads Toward Elections as Jewish Home Says it Will Leave Coalition: Raoul Wootliff, Times of Israel, Nov. 16, 2018

Netanyahu Showed Why He Is ‘King Bibi’ By Agreeing To Gaza Cease-fire: Charles Bybelezer, Media Line, Nov. 15, 2018

Barring a Miracle, War with Gaza is a Matter of When, Not If: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Nov. 13, 2018 Restore Deterrence in Gaza Now: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2018



Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 2018

Israel’s security cabinet’s decision Tuesday afternoon to walk away from the war Hamas initiated Monday and to accept a “ceasefire” is frustrating and infuriating. Hamas shot nearly 500 projectiles into Israel in under 24 hours. It blew up a bus with a Kornet anti-tank missile. Sixty Israelis were wounded, several critically. One civilian was killed. Numerous homes were destroyed.

Israel has never experienced any rocket onslaught from Gaza remotely as intense as what Hamas and Islamic Jihad shot off on Monday and Tuesday. And yet, rather than respond with equal – or better yet – far greater force and teach Hamas and Islamic Jihad a lesson they would long remember, the security cabinet sufficed with a couple hundred pinpoint air attacks, and then accepted the IDF’s advice and opted for the ceasefire. In so doing, they left the residents of southern Israel virtual hostages of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who have retained the capacity to attack them at will.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s sudden resignation on Wednesday may help his little party Yisrael Beitenu get reelected to Knesset in the next elections. But if it does, then Liberman will have won his political survival at Israel’s expense. Hamas is entirely justified in presenting Liberman’s resignation as proof that it defeated Israel this week.

Winners don’t quit. Losers do. But beyond being frustrating and infuriating, the cabinet’s decision is a cause for deep concern. Why did the cabinet opt to stand down in the face of Hamas’s unprecedented onslaught? Leaving concerns about the prospect of war in the north with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria out of the picture for a moment, there are on the face of things, two basic explanations for the cabinet’s decision. First, maybe the WhatsApp jokes making the rounds are right. Maybe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers are a bunch of stupid chickens. Liberman effectively accused them of stupidity and cowardice at his press conference Tuesday afternoon when he announced his resignation.

But there is no evidence that Netanyahu is stupid. To the contrary. As for fear, there is ample evidence that if he and his ministers were fearful, they have good reason to be deeply worried. This brings us to the second and more realistic reason to view the cabinet’s decision to stand down in the face of Hamas’s aggression as a bright red warning light. The source of that concern is the IDF’s General Staff.

Israel does not seek to overthrow the Hamas regime in Gaza. And for good reason. The price of a war to overthrow Hamas would be exorbitant both in terms of the human and monetary cost of war. And the return would be dubious at best. Israel doesn’t have an army big enough to spare three divisions to control a post-Hamas Gaza. The other option often touted by the far Left is that Israel pay the price of overthrowing Hamas and then hand Gaza over to the PLO. The PLO, though, is no less hostile than Hamas. Israel has no interest whatsoever in empowering the PLO by giving it Gaza.

Given the absence of a better alternative to Hamas in Gaza, rather than work to overthrow the terror regime, Israel has focused its efforts on keeping Hamas as weak as possible. And so, since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Israel’s effective strategy for dealing with the terror regime can be equated to mowing the grass. Every time Hamas becomes too powerful, Israel finds itself in another round of war with it. The purpose of Israel’s operations is to cut Hamas down to size and walk away, until the next round of war.

But this week, Hamas made clear that Israel needs to mow it down. A terror regime capable of sending 500 projectiles into Israeli territory in less than 24 hours and destroying a bus with an anti-tank missile is a terror regime that has become too powerful. So why didn’t the cabinet order the IDF to mow the grass in Gaza? Why didn’t our leaders order the IDF to kill Hamas commanders Yahye Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh? Why didn’t they order the IDF to destroy the rocket launchers and the crews that operate them? Why didn’t they order the IDF to destroy Hamas’s bases and missile depots? There are two possible explanations for their decision not to give these orders. Taken separately and together they point to an acute problem with the IDF’s senior ranks that requires immediate attention.

One explanation has been highlighted by retired senior IDF commanders and Yediot Aharonot’s military commentator Yossi Yehoshua. This explanation argues that the cabinet decision to stand down on Tuesday owed to the General Staff’s refusal to take the actions necessary to cut Hamas down to size. The General Staff’s refusal, they say, stems from the role lawyers are now playing in the IDF’s targeting decisions. Since Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, military lawyers have been attached to fighting units down to the battalion level. These attorneys are allegedly prohibiting required action by claiming that strategically significant and operationally vital actions like killing Hamas commanders and bombing rocket launching units constitute war crimes…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]



Jonathan S. Tobin                                                                                                                  

JNS, Nov. 15, 2018 

People demonstrated in the streets of Sderot on Tuesday, and who could blame them? They had spent days running back and forth to bomb shelters and safe rooms, enduring the tension and dangers of being subjected to hundreds of rockets fired at their town, as well as the rest of southern Israel, by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza.

But their reaction to news of a ceasefire between Israel and its foes didn’t bring the usual joy and relief. They were mad that, once again, Hamas had terrorized and held hundreds of thousands of Israelis hostage — and gotten away with it. More to the point, they blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing them and the country by refusing to respond more forcefully to the 450-plus rockets fired on the country. They said he had not only abandoned them, but encouraged Hamas to repeat this dismal process the next time it suited them. Nor were these demonstrators alone in castigating Netanyahu. Some members of his coalition sniped at him for what they considered timorous behavior.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced Netanyahu, and went so far as to resign because of the prime minister’s failure to escalate the conflict against Hamas. Lieberman’s motives were transparently political since he opposed military action only weeks ago. His goal was to position himself to Netanyahu’s right if the country goes to early elections. But opposition leaders also joined in the Bibi-bashing, giving some on the left the rare opportunity to criticize him from the right for allowing a dangerous security situation to develop, and then not resolving it in a satisfactory manner. Most embarrassing was the way his critics in the Knesset and the media used video clips of Netanyahu saying the same things about former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s similar policies towards Gaza when Netanyahu was in the opposition.

But being hoisted on his own petard in this manner didn’t appear to faze the prime minister. Nor should it. The world looks a lot different from the perspective of being the person who must make life-and-death decisions, as opposed to those who can criticize from the sidelines.

The impulse to say enough is enough about the terrorist state in Gaza is almost irresistible. As long as Hamas rules the independent Palestinian state in all but name only, there will always be a dagger pointed at Israel’s throat. While Hamas agrees to ceasefires and now speaks of being willing to accept an agreement in which Israel would be forced back to the 1967 borders, it isn’t interested in peace. Its goal, made painfully obvious by the violent mass protests conducted every Friday at the border with Israel since March, is the elimination of the Jewish state. Long-term peace with it is impossible.

Why then doesn’t Netanyahu seek a final reckoning with it, rather than forcing Israelis to endure weeks like the last one, punctuated every few years by a massive counter-attack — like the operations launched in 2008, 2012, and 2014 — that always stops short of deposing Hamas? Though he is routinely denounced as an opponent of peace, when it comes to the use of military force, Netanyahu is one of the most cautious prime ministers Israel has known. The reasons are part personal and part strategy.

As a young man, like his brother Yonatan, the slain hero of the 1976 Entebbe rescue, Netanyahu served in an elite military unit often sent to do the most difficult and dangerous tasks. He understands the cost of battle and has only ordered troops into battle after every possible alternative is exhausted. Over and above his sure grasp of Israel’s diplomatic and military situation, the fact that he spends Israel’s most precious resource — the lives of its soldiers — only with great reluctance is part of the reason why he is trusted by most Israelis.

More than that, Netanyahu doesn’t believe that sending the army into Gaza is in Israel’s best interests. He knows that even a decisive knockout blow against Hamas would likely make the situation even more unbearable for the Israeli people. The fact is that Israel is in a “no win” situation with respect to Gaza. The fault for this belongs to the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who withdrew every soldier, settler, and settlement from the strip in 2005. Though he vowed that if Gaza became a terror base, Israel would strike back and re-occupy it, his successors realized that such a vow was easier said than done.

The cost of such a campaign would be prohibitive in terms of Israeli casualties, and catastrophic when one considers how many Palestinians would be sacrificed as human shields as Hamas made its last stand. The opprobrium that would be directed at Israel from a hypocritical international community that regards the Jewish state as the only one on the planet that doesn’t have a right to defend itself would be a problem. But the real concern would not be foreign criticism, but the fact that the aftermath of even a successful military effort would leave Israel with the issue of governing Gaza. Maintaining an occupation would also be costly. So would an attempt to install the rule of the Palestinian Authority there. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas desperately wants to get control of Gaza, but is only willing to do so by fighting to the last Israeli.

Netanyahu also realizes that, as bad as it is, the status quo — both with respect to Gaza and the West Bank — is better than the available alternatives, all of which would present a greater danger to Israel, and make a Palestinian state more, rather than less, likely. Rather than satisfying the need of his people for a resolution of the Gaza problem, the prime minister is playing the long game. He understands that standing pat and waiting — however long that wait must be for the Palestinians to give up their century-long war on Zionism — without making foolhardy choices to give up territory or to launch wars with unpredictable consequences is the smartest strategy.

The frustration of the residents of Sderot and other Israelis under fire is real and understandable. But as painful as it may be, those who care about the Jewish state and understand the complex politics around it should also acknowledge that Netanyahu is right to avoid another war if at all possible.               




Prof. Efraim Inbar

Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2018

The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltrations, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons. This means that a so-called “agreement” or truce is not a viable option. We cannot trust Hamas to keep the calm. Only when Hamas is afraid of IDF retaliation, which has yet to come, will calm prevail. Israelis tend to overlook the fact that in the Middle East, it is fear, above everything else, that governs how people act.

Unfortunately, from time to time, we must give our enemies a violent reminder, lest they continue terrorizing us. The very fact that Hamas continues its actions unabated shows a lack of deterrence, without which no truce is worth the paper it is signed on. Expecting Hamas to honor agreements with the Jewish state it wants to annihilate is inexcusably naive. Extortion that leads to an “agreement” is a prelude to more extortion.

The assumption that boosting the quality of life for Gazans will reduce Hamas’ violence and hatred is fundamentally flawed. There is no place on this planet where there is a direct correlation between quality of life and terrorism. This holds true in the Palestinian case as well.

Recent polls show that Gazans are actually less hostile toward Israel than are their brethren in Judea and Samaria, where the quality of life is better. Perhaps the suffering in Gaza has taught them that prolonged conflict with Israel comes with great pain. While it is true that it takes time to change the behavior of large groups of people, what ultimately makes a population embark on a new political path is the degree to which it suffers. Germans suffered immensely during the two world wars and have since shed their violent past. Egypt also realized that a peace deal with Israel trumps more violence.

The goal of war is to inflict pain on the other side, to make it change its behavior. There is no point in giving Hamas candy while it fights against us. The exact opposite is true: It should be forced to pay a heavy price for its aggressive behavior. This is the message Israel should be sending Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and other enemies. To survive in the Middle East, Israel has to make it clear that it will inflict unimaginable pain on anyone who attacks it.

Israel is naturally reluctant to re-occupy the Gaza Strip. It would also serve no purpose to try to engineer its political system. Israel would not benefit from bringing the hostile Palestinian Authority back to the Gaza Strip. Likewise, it is understandable why Israel does not want to be dragged into a protracted military campaign when its eyes are trained on the most important threat: Iran. That said, the IDF can ratchet up the pressure by several notches without conquering the Gaza Strip, in order to send Hamas the message that more conflict will result in more pain.

Despite the events of this week, Israel must continue with its incursions into the Gaza Strip and even widen their scope. We must prove that we are not afraid of using ground forces to punish those who want us dead. The fear of casualties, however important, should not come at the expense of Israeli deterrence, which is essential for establishing long-term calm on the border and preventing future fatalities.

Only a crushing and devastating blow to Hamas will pave the way for a truce that would not be a victory for the terrorists. Such a truce would survive much longer than a half-baked truce that survives only several months until another extortion scheme.



A RUDE AWAKENING FOR THE PALESTINIAN DREAM                                          

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Arutz Sheva, Nov. 7, 2018

When something is built on an unstable foundation, it is only natural for its long term survival to be at risk. It is also natural for it to be in need of constant support just to keep from falling. The belief that it will eventually be able to stand on its own two feet causes people to lend their support, but only egregious fools continue to do so if there is no hope of its ever being independent, because in that case, everythiing those supporters have invested is doomed to be irretrievably lost.

The Palestinian Authority is in exactly that position today and this article will expound on the reasons it has no hope of every being able to become a viable and independent entity. The prime reason for this situation is the very reason the PA was founded. In 1993, the Israeli government tried to find someone who would accept responsibility for eliminating the terror network created by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, someone willing to be rewarded for anti-terrorist activity by being granted the authority to rule the area and administer the lives of the Arabs living there. This was the “deal” concocted by the Israelis, and the “contractor” who accepted the challenge was the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. The Israeli government actually believed that Arafat was serious about eliminating terror and establishing an autonomous administrative system for running those territories.

Of course, this deal was doomed to failure from the start due to the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and also the government of Israel. The Arab residents considered the Palestinian Authority (PA), the governing arm of the PLO, to be the operative arm of Israeli policy, an organization collaorating with Israel by means of the coordinated security system that exists up until this very day.

“Security coordination” to the Palestinian Arab mind is a laundered word for cooperation, meaning PA security forces attempt to apprehend the terrorists that belong to organizations other than their own and hand them over to Israel. Many of the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza see this as no less than treason. In order to cover up that perceived betrayal and silence its critics, the PA employs thousands in both real and artificial jobs (the kind where the worker does not have to do anything in order to be paid) . For the sake of earning a livng, people are willing to shut their mouths and utter not a word about what they really think of the PA and the reasons for its existence.

No matter, members of the PA know exactly in what esteem the authority is held by the public. To combat this and in order to create legitimacy for themselves and the PA,  they invented a national ethos whose purpose was establishing a state under conditions to which Israel could never agree: the “right” of return for millions of “refugees” to Israel and insistence on Israel’s relinquishing Jerusalem. These impossible demands were raised knowing full well that Israel would never agree to them, and that there would never be a Palestinian Arab state, so that Israel could continue to remain the eternal enemy.  Anyone who thinks that a Palestinian Arab state adjoining Israel would live in peace with it does not comprehend the basic tenet of the Palestinian dream – fanning the flames of Israel-hatred, encouraging terror against its citizens and blaming it for all the ills of Arab society.

That is why – according to the PA media – Israel is the result of a European colonialist venture originating in Europe’s desrie to rid itself of the Jews, the Jews are nothing but cosmopolitan communities with no homeland, Judaism is a dead, not living religion, the Jews have no history in the lands belonging to “Falestin.” In addition, the Palestinian Arabs are victims of a Euroean conspiracy and their legitimate goal is to free all of “Falestin” from the “river to the sea.” Therefore “peace” with Israel can never be more than a temporary ceasefire, with the final goal the destruction of the Jewish state.

Over the past 25 years, more and more Israelis have begun to understand the failed “Oslo Accords” deal their government signed, and that is why the Israeli left, which engineered this fatal mistake, has gradually lost much of the public support it had during the initial euphoric period after the agreements were signed. The “Arab Spring” – which is more reminiscent of a wintery swamp filled with fire, blood and tears – helped the Israelis awaken from the dream of “a new Middle East” described in utopian terms by Oslo Accords master architect, the late Shimon Peres.

Today, it is clear that all Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas wanted and Abbas still desires is the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state on the ruins of the Jewish one. It is hard to find any enthusiasm among Israelis for continuing to pump oxygen into the artificial entity known as the Palestinian Authority, whose only source of life is the money it gets from other countries and pours into salaries for its employees and the murderous terrorists serving sentences in Israeli prisons…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!


On Topic Links

Israel Heads Toward Elections as Jewish Home Says it Will Leave Coalition: Raoul Wootliff, Times of Israel, Nov. 16, 2018—The Jewish Home will leave the coalition, bringing down the government and forcing new elections, senior sources in the Orthodox-nationalist party told The Times of Israel Friday.

Netanyahu Showed Why He Is ‘King Bibi’ By Agreeing To Gaza Cease-fire: Charles Bybelezer, Media Line, Nov. 15, 2018—For his entire tenure, the knock on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been that he reflexively chooses the path of least resistance based exclusively on electoral calculations.

Barring a Miracle, War with Gaza is a Matter of When, Not If: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Nov. 13, 2018—In the past 24 hours nearly 500 Hamas rockets have pummelled civilian targets in southern Israel, the most intense assault ever launched by the terrorist-run government in the Gaza Strip.

Restore Deterrence in Gaza Now: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 29, 2018—All of us abhor military confrontation or war, which inevitably leads to casualties. Today Israel faces a major threat from Hamas in the south; Iran and Hezbollah could become involved if we go for the military option.




David Horovitz

Times of Israel, 15 juin, 2018

Avec la démission du ministre de la Défense Avigdor Liberman, Benjamin Netanyahu occupe désormais les trois postes les plus élevés du gouvernement israélien : Premier ministre, ministre des Affaires étrangères et ministre de la Défense.

La façon dont Liberman aurait décrit la gouvernance d’Israël à ses collègues au cours des dernières 24 heures, cependant, est que les décisions les plus cruciales d’Israël sont depuis longtemps celles de Netanyahu et Netanyahu seul, le Premier ministre garantissant automatiquement une majorité dans ce qui est censé être le principal organe décisionnel, le conseil des 12 membres du gouvernement chargé de la sécurité du pays.

« Tout n’est qu’un tour de passe-passe », se serait plaint Liberman à des collègues non cités, selon Hadashot TV dans la nuit de mercredi. « Nous siégeons au cabinet, ou nous menons des consultations de sécurité, et les décisions sont prises ». Mais il n’y a pas de véritable débat, et il est impossible que des propositions qui diffèrent de celles de Netanyahu puissent être approuvées », a-t-il indiqué.

Lors de la réunion du cabinet de sécurité de mardi, qui a duré 7 heures, M. Liberman aurait dit qu’une chose remarquable s’était produite : Naftali Bennett, qui cherche maintenant à succéder à Liberman en tant que ministre de la Défense, a « soutenu ma proposition » – qui était apparemment qu’Israël n’accepte pas un cessez-le-feu, mais continue plutôt à viser les groupes terroristes à Gaza. « Mais nous n’avons pas demandé de vote parce qu’il n’y avait pas de majorité pour nous… Toute la bande, Kahlon, Gallant, Erdan et Katz, tous alignés avec Bibi. »

En se défendant, les collaborateurs de Netanyahu ont été cités dans la même émission comme affirmant que la décision du Premier ministre de mettre fin à l’escalade des combats qui durait depuis 48 heures était convaincante car il avançait des arguments « extrêmement concrets » en faveur « de la nécessité d’un calme immédiat à ce stade ». Alors que l’“irresponsable” Liberman « se comportait comme un politicien » en quittant son poste super sensible, pour mieux se positionner en vue des prochaines élections. Netanyahu et la majorité ministérielle, ces collaborateurs non identifiés, ont dit avoir « fait un choix politique ».

Quel que soit le narratif que vous choisissez de croire, ils soulignent tous deux la position incontestée de Netanyahu aux commandes de l’Etat d’Israël. Et un sondage instantané réalisé par Hadashot, immédiatement après l’annonce de la démission de M. Liberman, indique à peu près la même chose.

Mercredi a été l’un des jours politiques les plus sombres pour Netanyahu – le Premier ministre de droite, abandonné par son ministre de la Défense Liberman, plus à droite, défié par Bennett, son partenaire encore plus à droite, pour ne pas avoir assez longtemps ou durement frappé le Hamas. Le Hamas se réjouit de sa prétendue victoire. Et des centaines d’Israéliens dans le sud manifestent dans les rues, certains scandant « Bibi, rentre chez toi » et déclarent qu’ils ont définitivement perdu confiance en lui.

Pourtant, l’enquête télévisée, pour laquelle aucune marge d’erreur ne fut au départ disponible, a montré que le Likud de Netanyahu, qui détient 30 sièges à la Knesset actuelle, a perdu un seul de ses sièges, passant à 29. Il lui resterait donc encore 11 sièges de plus que son plus proche rival, Yair Lapid du parti Yesh Atid avec ses 18 sièges, et toujours le mieux placé pour former la prochaine coalition.

Liberman, dont Yisrael Beytenu détient actuellement cinq sièges, n’a augmenté que de deux sièges pour passer à sept, alors que le ministre sortant de la Défense aurait dû être tout en haut de l’affiche. Le parti HaBayit HaYehudi de Bennett est en hausse, mais de seulement trois sièges, passant de huit actuellement à 11.

Avec le départ de Liberman, Netanyahu fait face à un dilemme aigu : capituler devant l’ultimatum de Bennett et le nommer ministre de la Défense, ou encore convoquer des élections.

Il est beaucoup trop habile et expérimenté en politique pour se reposer sur ses lauriers, même en ce qui concerne les chiffres peu fiables des sondages instantanés ou les protestations de centaines d’Israéliens en colère. La même enquête a révélé que 74 % des Israéliens étaient insatisfaits (contre 17 % satisfaits) de la manière dont il avait géré la dernière crise à Gaza. Mais il sait que sa position reste extrêmement forte et qu’il n’y a actuellement aucun politicien qui représente une menace crédible pour lui.

Il est peut-être un peu plus préoccupé par une deuxième question posée par les sondeurs, qui portait sur la façon dont les Israéliens voteraient si l’ancien chef de cabinet Benny Gantz entrait en politique à la tête d’un nouveau parti, comme on le suppose de plus en plus.

Le parti inexistant de Gantz remporterait 15 sièges, selon l’enquête, et ramènerait le Likud à 24, une chute très inquiétante. Mais les anciens chefs d’état-major sont régulièrement très populaires avant d’entrer en politique, et invariablement beaucoup moins dès qu’ils commencent à faire des discours politiques.

Ce qui compte vraiment pour Israël et pour les Israéliens, alors que deux jours de quasi-guerre ont fait place mercredi à des démissions politiques, des revendications et des controverses, est de déterminer si Netanyahu a réellement de bonnes et concrètes raisons pour avoir statué tard mardi après-midi que nous avions plus à perdre qu’à gagner en poursuivant ce conflit.

Dans ce contexte, il convient de noter que, de l’avis général, l’appareil de sécurité n’a pas fait pression énergiquement en faveur d’une opération plus vaste à Gaza.

La réalité quotidienne est de plus en plus difficile pour le sud d’Israël, le Hamas étant non seulement prêt et capable, mais aussi manifestement disposé à faire pleuvoir des roquettes et à forcer un grand nombre d’Israéliens à s’abriter dans des abris anti-aériens au moment de leur choix. Et de ponctuer ses attaques par de plus petits tirs de roquettes, d’importantes émeutes sur la frontière et des incendies criminels dans les villes, les villages et les champs du sud.

Si le Premier ministre, ministre des Affaires étrangères et ministre de la Défense trouve un moyen de changer cette sinistre réalité, il n’aura rien à craindre sur le plan politique.

Ils ne sont peut-être pas très contents de Netanyahu en ce moment, mais c’est toujours vers lui que les Israéliens se tournent pour trouver une solution pour Gaza. La nature de cette solution, après une nouvelle série de violences douloureuses et infructueuses avec les terroristes de Gaza, reste cependant aussi difficile à discerner que jamais.




Times of Israel, 11 nov., 2018

De longues files de Palestiniens se sont formées vendredi à Gaza pour toucher des arriérés de salaire ou des aides financés par le Qatar, dans un nouvel effort visant à dissiper les tensions dans et autour du territoire soumis à d’importantes restrictions. L’Autorité palestinienne a pour sa part critiqué l’envoyé – qui a amené l’argent dans des valises – le qualifiant de « gangster » et de « trafiquant ».

Au total, ce sont 90 millions de dollars qataris qui doivent être distribués en six mensualités de 15 millions, selon les autorités, principalement pour payer au moins partiellement les fonctionnaires du groupe terroriste islamiste au pouvoir dans l’enclave.

Des dizaines de Palestiniens se sont en effet pressés dans la matinée devant les guichets des bureaux de poste, exceptionnellement ouverts vendredi et samedi, exhibant ensuite plusieurs billets de cent dollars après plusieurs mois de paiements sporadiques des salaires dans la bande assiégée.

« Je suis venu chercher 400 dollars, au titre de mon salaire de juillet », dit Fadi Abou Safia, fonctionnaire de 35 ans, au principal bureau de poste de Gaza City.

Mohamed Abed al-Hadi, 27 ans, est venu, lui, collecter 700 shekels versés aux Palestiniens blessés dans les violences des derniers mois, « une belle somme au vu des conditions dans lesquelles nous vivons ».

Depuis des mois, des dizaines de milliers de fonctionnaires ne sont plus payés que sporadiquement, ajoutant aux tensions dans l’enclave palestinienne éprouvée par les guerres, les restrictions israéliennes et égyptiennes, la pauvreté et les pénuries.

L’argent est entré dans l’enclave palestinienne via Israël dans la soirée de jeudi, amené par l’envoyé du Qatar à Gaza, Mohammad al-Emadi, selon une source gouvernementale dans la bande.

Le Qatar a également fait savoir qu’il verserait 100 dollars à chacune des 50 000 familles pauvres de Gaza, ainsi que des sommes plus importantes aux Palestiniens blessés dans des affrontements le long de la frontière avec Israël.

Cette opération de transfert de fonds autorisée par Israël entrerait dans le cadre d’un accord qui verrait le Hamas, à court de liquidités, mettre un terme à des mois de manifestations violentes à la frontière e échange d’un allègement d’une partie du blocus imposé par Israël à Gaza.

Israël et l’Egypte ont largement fermé leurs frontières avec Gaza après que le Hamas, un groupe terroriste islamiste violent qui cherche à détruire Israël, a pris le contrôle de l’enclave, qui se trouvait alors aux mains de l’Autorité palestinienne, lors d’un coup d’Etat. Les deux pays affirment qu’il est nécessaire d’empêcher le trafic d’armes vers et depuis la bande.

Malgré l’accord, il y a encore eu des manifestations vendredi le long de la frontière, même si elles ont été plus modestes que ces dernières semaines.

Des centaines de Palestiniens se sont rassemblés en différents points, mais pour la majorité à relative distance de la barrière gardée par les snipers israéliens, et les affrontements ont été limités, ont constaté des journalistes de l’AFP et des témoins.

Singulièrement, un convoi diplomatique qatari approchant les manifestants à l’est de la ville de Gaza a essuyé des jets de pierres et a rapidement rebroussé chemin.

Selon des informations, les Palestiniens ont également lancé des dispositifs explosifs aux soldats israéliens et deux hommes ont tenté d’ouvrir une brèche dans la frontière. L’armée a répond par des gaz lacrymogènes et des moyens de dispersion d’émeutes. Le mouvement de protestation a fait, du côté palestinien, au moins un mort et 37 blessés, a annoncé le ministère de la Santé dirigé par le Hamas.

L’entreprise d’apaisement fait grincer des dents de part et d’autre, notamment du côté de l’Autorité palestinienne du président Mahmoud Abbas.

Ahmed Majdalani, haut-responsable de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine, en Cisjordanie, s’est fait l’écho de cette colère.

Ce qu’a fait l’ambassadeur du Qatar, « trafiquant de l’argent » à Gaza dans des valises, s’apparente à des « agissements de gangster », a dit Ahmed Majdalani à l’AFP.

« L’OLP n’a pas souscrit à l’accord qui a aidé au transfert de cet argent au bénéfice du Hamas de cette façon », a-t-il ajouté.

Interlocutrice palestinienne historiquement reconnue de la communauté internationale, l’Autorité se juge court-circuitée et redoute une reconnaissance de fait et la pérennisation du contrôle du Hamas sur Gaza.

Un tel accord ne peut que nuire aux initiatives égyptiennes de réconciliation entre le Hamas et l’AP et il est susceptible d’aider le groupe terroriste à consolider son contrôle sur Gaza, a déploré Majdalani.

Même si Israël a donné son feu vert à l’entrée des fonds au sein de l’enclave côtière, le ministre de la Défense, Avigdor Liberman, a lui aussi critiqué cette initiative.

« C’est une capitulation devant le terrorisme et en effet, Israël achète un calme à court-terme avec de l’argent tout en sapant gravement la sécurité à long-terme », a-t-il commenté, des propos repris vendredi par le Yediot Aharonot.

Dans un autre accord approuvé par Israël, le Qatar a commencé à acheter du carburant supplémentaire à destination de la seule centrale électrique de Gaza, permettant une réduction de la pénurie à un niveau jamais connu au cours de ces dernières années.

L’Egypte et les Nations Unies mènent des négociations indirectes pour conclure une trêve à long-terme entre le Hamas et Israël. Le groupe terroriste a combattu trois guerres contre l’Etat juif depuis 2008.

Faisant la tournée des manifestations qui ont eu lieu vendredi, le leader du Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, a nié qu’un accord avait été passé avec Israël mais il a indiqué que le groupe oeuvrait avec l’ONU, l’Egypte et le Qatar à mettre un terme au blocus.

Des affrontements meurtriers ont accompagné le mouvement de protestation majeur le long de la frontière entre Israël et Gaza qui a commencé le 30 mars, faisant naître par moment la crainte d’une nouvelle guerre ouverte entre l’Etat juif et le Hamas.

Israël accuse le Hamas, qui a juré la destruction d’Israël, d’avoir orchestré les manifestations et de les utiliser comme couverture pour commettre des attentats contre les soldats stationnés à la frontière.





I24, 13 nov., 2018

Un accord de cessez-le-feu a été conclu entre Israël et les factions palestiniennes à Gaza, mardi après-midi, sous l’égide de l’Egypte.

“Les efforts de l’Egypte ont permis d’aboutir à un cessez-le-feu (…) et la résistance le respectera aussi longtemps que l’ennemi sioniste le respectera”, ont annoncé dans l’après-midi les factions palestiniennes dans un communiqué conjoint.

Alors qu’Israël avait indiqué suspendre ses pourparlers avec la médiation égyptienne et l’ONU sur un accord de trêve avec le Hamas, la délégation egypto-onusienne a indiqué qu’elle se rendrait dans la bande de Gaza et dans l’Etat hébreu mercredi.

En Egypte, intermédiaire historique à Gaza, le ministère des Affaires étrangères a appelé Israël, dans un communiqué après cette annonce, à “cesser immédiatement toutes les formes d’actions militaires”.

Selon une source diplomatique ayant eu connaissance de l’accord, Israël et le Hamas se sont engagés à retourner “aux dispositions de l’accord de 2014”, après la guerre meurtrière qui les avait opposés durant l’été de cette année-là.

Cette source a cependant souligné que la situation restait “très précaire” et pouvait exploser “de nouveau”.

Les habitants du sud du pays ont protesté mardi soir contre l’accord de cessez-le-feu.

Tout au long de la journée de mardi, les tirs de roquettes palestiniennes et les frappes israéliennes de représailles se sont poursuivis sans interruption.

Israël a riposté à l’envoi de plus de 460 roquettes et frappé plus de 160 positions terroristes dans l’enclave côtière, a annoncé l’armée.

Des dizaines de milliers d’habitants des localités du sud d’Israël ont passé la nuit de lundi à mardi au rythme ininterrompu des sirènes les précipitant vers les abris ou les y maintenant.

Des dizaines d’Israéliens ont été légèrement blessés, essentiellement par des éclats, ont rapporté les secours.

La plupart des roquettes envoyées depuis la bande de Gaza sont tombées dans des zones inhabitées, a indiqué l’armée. Cependant, plusieurs bâtiments ont été directement touchés, dont l’un à Ashkelon.

Peu après l’annonce du cessez-le-feu, le Koweït et la Bolivie ont demandé une réunion d’urgence du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU mardi pour discuter des violences, selon des diplomates.




David Horovitz

Times of Israel, 12 nov., 2018

En l’espace de deux heures, depuis 16h30, lundi après-midi, le Hamas et d’autres groupes terroristes à Gaza ont tiré plus de 200 roquettes sur le sud d’Israël.

La salve a été si intense qu’il a fallu attendre de longues minutes avant qu’un jeune soldat israélien, âgé de 19 ans et grièvement blessé par un missile anti-char tiré sur un bus près de la frontière, puisse être évacué en toute sécurité vers un hôpital.

À la tombée de la nuit, les tirs de roquettes ont continué – et ont pénétré plus loin sur le territoire israélien. Les sirènes d’alarme ont retenti à Ashkelon; une maison a été touchée de plein fouet. Le maire de Beer Sheva a ordonné l’ouverture des abris anti-bombes de la ville au moment où des roquettes ont commencé à tomber près de sa municipalité. Dans la ville frontalière de Sdérot, prise pour cible elle aussi comme si souvent par le passé, un habitant s’est plaint lundi après-midi dans une interview à la radio militaire : “C’est une vraie zone de guerre ici.”

L’incident à l’origine de cette dernière escalade s’est produit tard dans la journée de dimanche. Une unité des forces spéciales de l’armée israélienne participant à une opération d’infiltration à Gaza (dont les détails restent sous censure militaire) a apparemment été repérée et attaquée. Un officier supérieur israélien a été tué; ainsi que sept membres du Hamas et d’autres groupes terroristes.

Immédiatement après cet incident, le Hamas a tiré plusieurs roquettes sur Israël, dont certaines ont été interceptées par le système de défense antimissile Dôme de fer. Mais l’espoir d’une fin des tensions a été brisé par la pluie de roquettes tirées par les terroristes de Gaza depuis lundi après-midi.

Le Premier ministre Benjamin Netanyahu a sans nul doute cherché à éviter que cela ne dégénère en conflit plus profond, comme en 2014. Les autorités sécuritaires israéliennes ont également fait des efforts pour éviter une nouvelle série de combats. Israël a même autorisé le transfert vers Gaza de 15 millions de dollars en espèces en provenance du Qatar au cours du week-end pour soulager la pression économique sur l’enclave. Une décision prise en toute connaissance de cause : l’afflux de ces fonds pouvait permettre au Hamas de libérer d’autres ressources afin de se consacrer à son objectif premier – détruire Israël.

Depuis sa féroce prise de pouvoir à Gaza en 2007, le Hamas, un groupe terroriste islamiste, a consacré toutes ses ressources à la construction de roquettes, au creusement de tunnels et à la préparation de ballons et d’autres dispositifs incendiaires utilisables contre Israël. Depuis huit mois, il encourage par ailleurs les émeutes violentes de la “Marche du retour” à la frontière avec Israël. Des heurts qui permettent aux émeutiers de poser des bombes près de la clôture, et parfois, de franchir la frontière. Le but de ce mouvement est dans son nom : le Hamas veut pousser des millions de Palestiniens à un “retour” en Israël, afin d’écraser le seul État à majorité juive dans le monde.

Israël, il faut le répéter, ne dispose d’aucune présence militaire dans la bande de Gaza, une zone prise à l’Égypte lors de la Guerre de 1967. L’armée israélienne a quitté Gaza et déraciné les 7 à 8 000 civils juifs qui y vivaient dans des implantations en 2005. Mais une bande de Gaza exempte de juifs ne suffit pas au Hamas. Il veut toutes les terres de la mer Méditerranée au Jourdain.

Les émeutes, les tunnels et les tirs de roquettes s’apparentent à du chantage. Le Hamas promet que si Israël ne met pas fin au blocus sécuritaire qu’il maintient à Gaza, les Israéliens devront continuer à subir des attaques à la roquette et au mortier, à craindre la menace de tunnels terroristes transfrontaliers, à redouter les ballons incendiaires qui brûlent leurs champs.

Mais si Israël lève le blocus sécuritaire, le Hamas en profitera pour importer davantage d’armes afin de causer encore plus de dégâts. Nécessairement.

Malgré des affrontements réguliers depuis la guerre de 2014, Israël s’est efforcé d’éviter les pertes humaines et les dégâts qu’un conflit plus important aurait causés.

Israël sait aussi que “vaincre le Hamas” peut sembler simple, mais est en réalité extrêmement complexe. Le défi militaire est profond, bien qu’il ne soit absolument pas impossible à relever pour les forces militaires israéliennes. Mais Israël ne veut pas reconquérir Gaza et devenir responsable de deux millions de Palestiniens hostiles.

Pourtant, le Hamas ne s’arrêtera pas et ne changera pas.

Tôt ou tard, il devra être vaincu. Dans la bataille entre un État souverain qui est obligé d’assurer la sécurité de ses citoyens et une organisation terroriste cynique et impitoyable, soutenue par l’Iran et vouée à la destruction d’Israël, il ne peut et ne doit y avoir qu’un seul gagnant.





Le Soleil, 7 nov., 2018

«En 1939, le Canada a refusé 907 réfugiés juifs perçus comme indignes d’avoir un foyer ou notre aide, a-t-il dit aux Communes dans une déclaration solennelle. Je présente en direct les excuses officielles du gouvernement du Canada aux passagers du MS Saint-Louis et à leur famille pour cette injustice.»

Le MS Saint-Louis avait quitté l’Allemagne avec plus de 900 juifs qui fuyaient le régime nazi, dans l’espoir de trouver refuge à Cuba, d’abord, puis aux États-Unis, mais ces deux pays ont refusé d’accueillir le navire dans leurs ports. Alors que le paquebot s’approchait de Halifax, des Canadiens ont tenté de convaincre le gouvernement libéral de Mackenzie King d’accepter leur demande d’asile; les responsables fédéraux ont refusé.

Quatre pays d’Europe – le Royaume-Uni, la Belgique, la France et les Pays-Bas – ont finalement accepté de les accueillir, et la plupart des passagers se sont dispersés sur le continent. Mais l’année suivante, lorsque les nazis ont envahi la Belgique, la France et les Pays-Bas, 254 des passagers du MS Saint-Louis ont été tués.

Près de 80 ans plus tard, le premier ministre Trudeau a offert «des excuses attendues depuis trop longtemps aux réfugiés juifs que le Canada a refusés».

«Alors que nous nous battions pour la démocratie à l’étranger, nous étions en train d’abandonner les victimes d’Hitler chez nous, a-t-il dit. Ce que nous étions prêts à faire là-bas, nous n’étions pas prêts à le faire chez nous.

«J’espère sincèrement qu’en présentant ces excuses, nous pourrons mettre en lumière ce douloureux chapitre de notre histoire et nous assurer de ne jamais oublier ses leçons, a souhaité le premier ministre. L’antisémitisme, la xénophobie et la haine n’ont pas leur place dans notre pays ni ailleurs dans le monde.

«Nous devrions avoir honte de l’histoire du Saint-Louis et du mauvais traitement qu’ont subi les juifs avant, pendant et après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, a soutenu M. Trudeau. Lorsque le Canada a choisi de tourner le dos aux réfugiés il y a plus de 70 ans, le gouvernement n’a pas seulement omis d’aider les plus vulnérables : il nous a tous nui.

«Il y a plus de 70 ans, le Canada vous a tourné le dos. Mais aujourd’hui, les Canadiens font le serment que maintenant et pour toujours : «Plus jamais»», a conclu le premier ministre en s’adressant à la communauté juive.

Il y aura 80 ans en fin de semaine, les nazis amorçaient un peu partout en Allemagne la tristement célèbre «nuit de cristal», un vaste «pogrom» contre les juifs qui est considéré comme précurseur de la Shoah. Selon M. Trudeau, de tous les pays alliés, c’est le Canada qui a accueilli le moins de juifs entre 1933 et 1945. Et parmi ceux qui ont été admis au Canada, quelque 7000 ont été détenus comme prisonniers de guerre, aux côtés d’Allemands capturés sur les champs de bataille, a déclaré le premier ministre.

Judith Steel se souvient qu’elle tenait la main de son père lorsqu’elle a senti quelqu’un d’autre lui prendre la main; ce geste l’a sauvée du train qui conduira le lendemain ses parents dans le camp de concentration nazi d’Auschwitz, où ils sont morts. C’est précisément ce cruel destin que ses parents espéraient éviter lorsqu’ils avaient embarqué sur le Saint-Louis en 1939. Présente à Ottawa mercredi, Judith Steel a estimé que ces excuses «enlèveront de ses épaules une partie de cette lourdeur».

Cela fait des mois que les excuses du gouvernement canadien sont soigneusement planifiées, mais la mort par balle de onze fidèles dans une synagogue de Pittsburgh, il y a près de deux semaines, donne une signification toute particulière au geste. «Le drame du Saint-Louis était alimenté par l’intolérance et la haine, qui dressent à nouveau leur tête hideuse», a estimé une autre survivante, Eva Wiener, aujourd’hui âgée de 80 ans.

Le premier ministre a d’ailleurs évoqué l’attentat de Pittsburgh dans ses excuses mercredi : «Les récents attentats visant la communauté juive témoignent du travail qu’il nous reste à faire. Nous devons toujours nous dresser contre les attitudes xénophobes et antisémites et contre la haine sous toutes ses formes.»

Les chiffres les plus récents de Statistique Canada révèlent qu’en 2016, c’est la communauté juive qui était la cible la plus fréquente des crimes haineux visant une religion.

Steve McDonald, directeur des politiques au Centre consultatif des relations juives et israéliennes, espérait la semaine dernière que ces excuses ouvriraient un débat sur «ce que nous pouvons tous faire pour lutter contre l’antisémitisme – indépendamment de notre passé -, et en particulier sur ce que le gouvernement et les élus peuvent faire».

«L’antisémitisme vise directement les juifs, mais il ne concerne pas que les juifs et ce n’est pas un problème juif.»

L’histoire du Saint-Louis a suscité un regain d’intérêt l’année dernière lorsque des photos et des récits de victimes ont été diffusés sur les médias sociaux après la décision du président des États-Unis, Donald Trump, de fermer les portes à des immigrants et des réfugiés de certains pays.



Times of Israel, Nov. 9, 2018

L’Allemagne commémore vendredi, 80 ans après, la « Nuit de cristal », ces pogroms, meurtres, arrestations et saccages annonciateurs de l’extermination des Juifs, dans un contexte de crainte d’un regain d’antisémitisme.

Les dirigeants allemands ont mis en garde vendredi contre la résurgence de l’ »antisémitisme préoccupant » et l’essor de l’extrême droite.

« L’Etat doit agir de manière conséquente contre l’exclusion, l’antisémitisme, le racisme et l’extrémisme de droite », a jugé la chancelière Angela Merkel lors d’un discours dans la plus grande synagogue d’Allemagne, à Berlin.

La dirigeante, tout de noir vêtue, a montré du doigt ceux qui « réagissent par des réponses prétendument simples aux difficultés » de l’époque actuelle, une référence à l’essor des populismes et de l’extrême droite en Allemagne comme en Europe.

Dans ce lieu de culte profané par les nazis il y a 80 ans jour pour jour, le président du Conseil central des Juifs, Josef Schuster est allé encore plus loin en invectivant le parti d’extrême droite Alternative pour l’Allemagne (AfD) qui siège depuis un an au Bundestag, qualifiant ses membres d’ »incendiaires moraux ».

Certains cadres de ce parti ont tenu des propos polémiques sur l’Holocauste et le devoir de mémoire en Allemagne. Ils tiennent aussi un discours islamophobe visant essentiellement les centaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile arrivés dans le pays depuis 2015.

  1. Schuster a ainsi qualifié de « honte pour notre pays » les agressions commises contre les juifs mais aussi contre les réfugiés musulmans.

Quelques minutes plus tôt, lors d’une cérémonie à la chambre des députés, le président allemand Frank-Walter Steinmeier avait  dénoncé l’émergence en Europe d’un « nouveau nationalisme » nostalgique, selon lui, d’ »un vieux monde parfait qui n’a en réalité jamais existé ».

« Nous sentons dans notre société (…) que les fossés se creusent », a mis en garde devant la chambre des députés le président de la République allemande, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Le chef de l’Etat a fustigé devant les députés, dont ceux du parti d’extrême droite AfD, le « langage de la haine » qui cherche des « boucs émissaires » parmi les migrants, accueillis en nombre en Allemagne depuis 2015, et les musulmans.

Des mots lourds de sens 80 ans après, là aussi jour pour jour, les saccages par les nazis de milliers de synagogues et commerces tenus par des Juifs en Allemagne et en Autriche.

« Je tenais la main de mon père. J’ai vu la synagogue en feu et j’ai demandé ‘Pourquoi les pompiers ne viennent pas ?’ Je n’ai pas eu de réponse », a témoigné de cette nuit Charlotte Knobloch, ancienne présidente du Conseil central des juifs d’Allemagne, à l’antenne de la ZDF.

Plus de 1 400 lieux de culte incendiés dans toute l’Allemagne, des magasins tenus par des Juifs saccagés et pillés, au moins 91 personnes tuées et des milliers déportées : pour les historiens, ce qui s’est passé en Allemagne et en Autriche les 9 et 10 novembre 1938 marque le passage de la discrimination des juifs à leur persécution puis leur extermination par les nazis.

La propagande affirme alors qu’il s’agit d’une éruption de violence spontanée après le meurtre d’un diplomate à Paris. Mais elle a en réalité été planifiée au plus haut niveau de la hiérarchie nazie.

Le signal a été donné par Joseph Goebbels, ministre de la Propagande, et les destructions exécutées par des SS, SA, Jeunesses hitlériennes. La « Nuit de cristal » ou Nuit du « verre brisé » diffère ainsi des pogroms en Europe de l’est au XIXe siècle.

Cette commémoration, qui se télescope avec le centenaire de l’Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale et de la fin de l’Empire allemand, intervient dans un contexte trouble en Allemagne.

Il y a tout juste un an entrait au Bundestag une formation d’extrême droite, l’Alternative pour l’Allemagne (AfD). Et en août, la ville de Chemnitz (ex-Allemagne de l’Est) était le théâtre de manifestations et violences xénophobes.

« Aujourd’hui, nous voyons à nouveau la violence dans les rues », s’alarme auprès de l’AFP Felix Klein, commissaire du gouvernement contre l’antisémitisme, qui s’inquiète de la « radicalisation des discours en Allemagne ».

Le président français Emmanuel Macron s’est lui dit « frappé » le 31 octobre par la ressemblance entre la situation actuelle en Europe, « divisée par les peurs, le repli nationaliste », et celle des années 1930.

« Regardez comme en cinq ans la situation a évolué en Turquie, au Brésil, aux Etats-Unis, en Syrie et même ici en Allemagne, avec Chemnitz », abonde Uwe Neumärker, directeur de la Fondation en mémoire des Juifs d’Europe assassinés.

Il est un des concepteurs d’une exposition consacrée à la « Nuit de cristal » au musée berlinois Topographie de la Terreur, situé sur l’ancien site de la Gestapo et de la SS.

« En novembre 2018, nous ne sommes pas au bord du précipice d’une autre Nuit de Cristal, mais il est de notre devoir d’empêcher que de telles atrocités ne se reproduisent », met aussi en garde le Congrès juif mondial.

De nombreux Allemands commémorent cette Nuit en polissant ou en déposant des fleurs sur les « Stolpersteine« , des milliers de petites plaques de laiton incrustées entre les pavés pour identifier les victimes et leur adresse.

En 2017, des plaques avaient été volées, alimentant la crainte d’une résurgence de l’antisémitisme, une réalité infamante pour un pays dont l’identité s’est bâtie sur la repentance pour l’Holocauste.

Une forme d’antisémitisme nouvelle pour l’Allemagne fait en effet régulièrement les gros titres, celui prêté à de nombreux migrants arabo-musulmans qui ont afflué depuis 2015.

Mais l’essor de l’extrême droite allemande a aussi remis au premier plan un antisémitisme national. L’AfD a multiplié les polémiques liées au nazisme, jugeant en particulier que l’Allemagne devait cesser son repentir pour l’extermination des juifs. Des militants d’extrême droite voulaient manifester vendredi à Berlin mais le rassemblement a été interdit.

L’inquiétude ne cesse donc de grandir au sein de la communauté juive allemande, forte d’environ 200 000 personnes.

Le nombre de crimes et délits à caractère antisémite est resté néanmoins stable dans les statistiques de police, avec environ 1.400 cas recensés chaque année depuis 2015. Plus de 90 % des affaires sont attribuées à l’extrême droite.

Nous vous souhaitons Shabbat Shalom!


Bring Asia Bibi to America: Clifford D. May, Washington Times, Nov. 13, 2018— Eight years ago this month, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to be hanged on the charge of blasphemy.

Desperate Pakistani Christians Languish in Thailand: Doug Bandow, National Review, Oct. 29, 2018— Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is a large, bustling, chaotic metropolis.

Taliban Slaughter Elite Afghan Troops, and a ‘Safe’ District Is Falling: Rod Nordland, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2018— One pickup truck after another arrived at the government compound in a district capital in Afghanistan on Sunday, pulling around to the back of the governor’s office to unload the dead, out of sight of panicked residents.

The Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan: Daud Khattak, BESA, Oct. 1, 2018— The Islamic State (ISIS) temporarily managed to win over disgruntled elements among the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban alongside youth from the remote districts…

On Topic Links

The West Must Offer Immediate Asylum to Asia Bibi: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 14, 2018

Violence Continues as Pakistani Islamists Protest Christian Woman’s “Blasphemy” Acquittal: IPT News, Nov 2, 2018

The Talib Across the Table: Editorial, Weekly Standard, Nov. 12, 2018

Freeland Orders Internal Review of Afghan Aid: Globe & Mail, Nov. 8, 2018




Clifford D. May

Washington Times, Nov. 13, 2018


Eight years ago this month, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to be hanged on the charge of blasphemy. She has spent the years since on death row. Now, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has overturned her conviction on grounds of insufficient evidence. So this sad story turns out to have a happy ending, right? C’mon, you knew it wasn’t going to be that simple.

Let’s begin in 1947, before Ms. Bibi, now 53 years old, was even born. British India was partitioned into two independent nation-states, one with a Hindu majority, one with a Muslim majority. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder, intended for his country’s minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmadis and Christians among them — to enjoy full citizenship, with human and civil rights guaranteed. His vision was not realized. Less than a decade later, Pakistan became an Islamic Republic, one that has become increasingly intolerant. In 1986, President Zia ul-Haq made blasphemy a capital offense.

Year after year, Pakistan’s minorities, subject to increasing discrimination and persecution, have been emigrating. Asia Bibi, her husband and their five children are among those who have remained. On a hot June day in 2009, while working on a farm near Lahore in the Punjab Province, she was asked to fetch water for a group of Muslim women. One of the women refused to drink from the cup she brought them, saying that because it had been touched by a non-Muslim, it was unclean. Ms. Bibi is alleged to have told the Muslim women that Jesus “died on the cross for the sins of mankind,” and then asked: “What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?”

The Muslim women complained to the authorities who promptly arrested her for insulting Islam. Punjab’s governor, Salmaan Taseer, a vocal opponent of blasphemy laws, visited her in prison, and argued that it would be a gross injustice to execute her. On Jan. 4, 2011, Mr. Taseer was shot multiple times at close range as he was getting into his car following lunch. His assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadrihe, was a member of the elite police unit assigned to protect him. The killer explained to a television crew that arrived on the scene: “I am a slave of the Prophet, and the punishment for one who commits blasphemy is death.” Hundreds of clerics expressed support for him and called for a boycott of Mr. Taseer’s funeral.

Following Ms. Bibi’s acquittal last week, violent protests erupted around the country. Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, a former cricket star, warned demonstrators not to “test the patience of the state.” It is by no means certain, however, that Mr. Khan will stand up to the Islamic supremacists. His government has not yet agreed to allow Ms. Bibi to leave Pakistan, obvious though it is that for her to stay would be perilous. She is now reportedly under protective custody at an undisclosed location. According to the Huffington Post, her “appeal to Britain for asylum has been denied because her arrival in the country may stir civil unrest.” If true, that represents a British surrender to jihadists — not least, the thousands who now hold U.K. citizenship.

A modest proposal: President Trump should invite Ms. Bibi to come to America and request asylum. To do so would be just, moral and wise. Just and moral because her life is in peril based on the fact that she is a Christian living in one of the many unfree Muslim-majority countries from which Christians are, in this century, being “cleansed.” Wise because Mr. Trump is being reviled — unjustifiably, in my opinion — for refusing to open America’s doors to “caravans,” facilitated by a group called Peoples Without Borders, heading north from Central America. The president believes that the United States cannot integrate the tens of millions of people who — understandably, in my opinion — want to leave countries ruled by despots and/or incompetents, and enjoy the liberties and opportunities that America provides.

I don’t see how it is either wrong or heartless to insist that the United States have laws concerning immigration, and that those laws be enforced. Surely, American citizens have both a right and a responsibility to decide how many immigrants — “migrants” is an intentionally misleading term — we take in, and who should be at the front of the long line. The American welfare state is not so strong that its back can’t be broken. What happens then?

Some European countries are reportedly considering offering asylum to Ms. Bibi and her family. But just last month, the European Court of Human Rights affirmed the conviction of an Austrian woman for “disparagement of religious precepts,” a sophisticated way of saying she had insulted Muhammad (by critically discussing his marriage to Aisha, who was 6 years old when wed). The court called that defamation, adding that it “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate,” and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace.” The Austrian woman was given a choice between paying a 480 euro fine and spending 60 days in jail. She was not sentenced to be hanged, as would be the case in Pakistan. I find that less than entirely reassuring.



Doug Bandow                                                                                                       

National Review, Oct. 29, 2018 

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is a large, bustling, chaotic metropolis. The friendly, informal nation of Thailand draws visitors from around the world. Filling some backstreet neighborhoods are impoverished Pakistani Christians, stranded in the Thai capital while hoping to gain religious asylum elsewhere…

The problem reflects domestic failures in Pakistan, especially social and legal discrimination and persecution, often violent, against religious minorities. Islamabad is formally an American ally but in practice has constantly challenged U.S. interests. The domestic political system is unstable, corrupt, and dominated by the military. Religious minorities suffer: not just Christians, but Ahmadis, Hindus, and others as well. Pervasive persecution has driven Pakistanis abroad in search of asylum. Noted the Global Minorities Alliance: “An increase of attacks against minorities in Pakistan . . . has led to Christians heavy-heartedly fleeing their country,” many to Thailand.

There’s not much the U.S. government can do to ease Christians’ plight in Pakistan, other than press Islamabad to protect the lives, dignity, and liberties of all their peoples. But Washington could accept the few thousand Pakistanis stuck in Bangkok, essentially people without a country, unable to go either forward or backward. Even the Trump administration should welcome religious minorities fleeing Islamist oppression.

Pakistan long has been inhospitable to anyone other than Sunni Muslims. General-turned-president Muhammad al-Zia-ul-Haq ruled from 1978 to 1988; he consolidated power by playing to radical Islamist sentiments, shifting the nation away from the original secular vision of founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The latter promised: “Minorities, to whoever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion, faith, or belief will be secure.” Alas, that sentiment died years ago, and the furies Zia loosed now are ravaging the country. Christian-persecution watchdog group Open Doors ranked Pakistan as the world’s number-five persecutor on its World Watch List. Islamabad lags behind only North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sudan.

The British All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief recently detailed the awful state of religious liberty in Pakistan. The MPs’ report noted: “Pakistan presents a particularly bleak environment for individuals wishing to manifest their right to freedom of religion or belief.” Important issues, the group pointed out, include lack of political representation, blasphemy laws, inadequate protection of religious minorities and their defenders, and brutal threats against women, adults, and children.

The problem is twofold: There is both state and private persecution. The APPG warned that the result is “a dangerous environment for any adherent of a religious belief not deemed ‘orthodox’ by those around them to practice their right to manifest their beliefs.” Of course, not everyone suffers equally. The report noted “the likelihood of persecution depends on factors such as their encounters with and actions amongst people of other/different faiths or beliefs,” as well as other issues. One action that makes anyone vulnerable is conversion: “If a Muslim makes a decision to become a Christian — becoming an apostate and, in turn, blaspheming against the Prophet — and their conversion becomes public knowledge, their life will be at risk.”

Last year the Global Minorities Alliance produced a report entitled “Are Christians in Pakistan Persecuted?” The answer was an obvious yes. Pakistan has the world’s second-largest Muslim population, trailing only Indonesia. More than 96 percent of Pakistan’s population is Muslim; just 1.5 percent are Christians, who nevertheless constitute the largest minority group. The GMA found that they, along with other religious minorities, “are routinely marginalized and are often condemned to a life of poverty, disadvantage and the fear of persecution.”

Jinnah’s inclusive vision “was never fulfilled,” concluded GMA. Even under Zia the situation deteriorated, after the introduction of blasphemy laws in the 1980s. The situation worsened again under President Pervez Musharraf, after he backed the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom rated Pakistan a “country of particular concern,” and the State Department put Pakistan on its “Special Watch List.” State’s annual religious-liberty report repeats the sad saga of pervasive discrimination, brutality, and persecution. False blasphemy charges often led to mob violence, the “basic rights” of Ahmadis were denied, and the “authorities often failed to intervene in instances of societal violence against religious minorities.”

Such general descriptions do not give a true sense of the ubiquitous and oppressive nature of religious persecution in Pakistan. Umair Javed, a columnist for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, writes that “violence against minority groups is deeply embedded within political and social processes in Pakistan.” These reports identify several instances of attacks on Christians. Christian women are subjected to forced marriages and conversions. Asia Bibi, an illiterate field worker and mother of five, has been imprisoned since 2009 on charges widely believed to false, made by co-workers angry that she shared their cup when drinking water…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]                  





Rod Nordland

New York Times, Nov. 12, 2018

One pickup truck after another arrived at the government compound in a district capital in Afghanistan on Sunday, pulling around to the back of the governor’s office to unload the dead, out of sight of panicked residents. Soldiers and police officers, many in tears, heaved bodies of their comrades from the trucks and laid them on sheets on the ground, side by side on their backs, until there were 20 of them.

The dead all wore the desert-brown boots of Afghanistan’s finest troops, the Special Forces commandos trained by the United States. Four days earlier, the soldiers had been airlifted in to rescue what is widely considered Afghanistan’s safest rural district, Jaghori, from a determined assault by Taliban insurgents. Early on Sunday, their company of 50 soldiers was almost entirely destroyed on the front line. And suddenly, Jaghori — a haven for an ethnic Hazara Shiite minority that has been persecuted by extremists — appeared at risk of being completely overrun by the Taliban…

A small team of journalists …went into Jaghori’s capital, Sang-e-Masha, on Sunday morning to report on the symbolic importance of what everyone expected to be a fierce stand against the insurgents. Instead, we found bandaged commandos wandering the streets in apparent despair, and officials discussing how they could flee an area almost entirely surrounded by the Taliban. By the end of the day, we were on the run, too.

Officials told us that more than 30 of the commandos had been killed, and we could see, on the streets and in the hospitals, 10 other wounded commandos. An additional 50 police officers and militiamen were also killed in the previous 24 hours, according to the militia’s commander, Nazer Hussein, who arrived from the front line with his wounded to plead for reinforcements. “This is genocide,” Commander Hussein said. “If they don’t do something soon, the whole district will be in the Taliban’s hands.”

The disaster prompted a protest by Hazaras in Kabul, who railed against what they said was government inaction, but even that took a deadly turn. The demonstration had just ended on Monday when a suicide bomber struck, killing three women and three men, one of them a police officer, according to a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

Jaghori’s 600,000 people are poor and live in an isolated part of the central highlands, an area that has no paved roads or electric lines, with terraced wheat fields and abundant orchards of almond and apple trees. But the district is famous for how peaceful it had been. Most people say they cannot remember the last time there was a murder or serious robbery. And the district’s education record is aspirational for the rest of the country: Schooling is nearly universal among girls, and much higher than the Afghan average for boys. (Nationally, less than a fourth of Afghan girls complete high school.)

Many of Afghanistan’s most prominent women are from Jaghori, where the sight of girls riding bicycles and even driving vehicles — virtually unknown in major Afghan cities — is common. In recent years, though, Jaghori District has largely been cut off from the rest of the country, since it is in Ghazni Province, much of which is controlled by the Taliban, and the main roads leading to the district have been blocked by the insurgents. Three years ago, a small airstrip was put in, but scheduled air service has yet to begin. People who have managed to get out of Jaghori are usually smuggled by drivers along remote tracks. That trip used to cost about $50 a person. In the past week, it has increased to $350.

A week ago, the Taliban broke a longstanding truce and attacked Jaghori from three directions in what appears to be a determined effort to take the district, as the insurgents have done elsewhere with increasing frequency, inflicting steadily rising death tolls on government forces. Nazer Hussein, a militia commander, arrived to plead for reinforcements. “If they don’t do something soon, the whole district will be in the Taliban’s hands,” he said.  “The Taliban attacked us because this is where all the schools are, and because here there are even more girls in school than boys,” said Mubarez Nabizada, who works for the charity Shuhada, which runs orphanages and a hospital…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]




THE ISLAMIC STATE’S FUTURE IN AFGHANISTAN                                                 

Daud Khattak

BESA, Oct. 1, 2018

The Islamic State (ISIS) temporarily managed to win over disgruntled elements among the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban alongside youth from the remote districts in Afghanistan’s east soon after restructuring and renaming itself Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K) in 2014. IS-K’s initial victories against the Taliban and the Afghan government on both the battle and propaganda fronts rang alarm bells in world capitals, particularly among the weaker neighboring Central Asian states.

The group’s emergence and battlefield successes also panicked the Afghan Taliban, the insurgent group monopolizing violence in Afghanistan. For a while, their status as the sole non-state actor to take on the Afghan government and the international community in that country was challenged. However, over the passage of months, IS-K’s propaganda lost its appeal among common Afghans and Pakistanis as the group mostly reversed its battlefield gains in eastern Afghanistan. One of the prime reasons for these reversals is the group’s incompatibility with the region.

The majority of IS-K’s senior leadership was removed from the scene within months of the groups’ emergence in eastern Afghanistan in the second half of 2014. Hafiz Saeed Khan, Rauf Khadim, and Shahidullah Shahid, the founding members, were killed in drone strikes and special forces operations within a year of its announcement. The latest blow was the elimination of top commander Abu Saeed Orakzai, aka Saad Arhabi, who was killed in a joint operation by Afghan and coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan in late August. Arhabi was the fourth IS-K chief killed since the group’s establishment.

Apart from the eastern Nangahar province, Jawzjan in Afghanistan’s north was reckoned as the other stronghold of the Syria-based group. However, droves of IS-K fighters and commanders, both local and foreign, surrendered to the Afghan government in early August after a year-long siege by the Taliban. The surrender came less than a month after the killing of IS-K’s top leader, Taliban renegade Qari Hekmat, in a US airstrike in the same area. The rapid successive losses of senior commanders have kept IS-K from developing into a well-coordinated group like the Afghan Taliban despite its fighting skills and extreme brutality.

Apart from the Afghan government and the coalition troops, the IS-K’s biggest challenge on Afghan turf is the Taliban, the group that has monopolized violence since its ouster from power in late 2001. The Afghan Taliban draw their inspiration from the life and struggle of Mullah Muhammad Omar, the self-proclaimed Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Faithful), who led the Taliban movement in the mid-1990s and seized Kabul from the warlords to establish a hardline regime in the country.

IS-K, on the other hand, shows allegiance to Abu Bakar Baghdadi, the leader of its ISIS parent organization, with little regard for the Taliban’s spiritual chief. Religious differences apart, the two groups are the antithesis of one other politically as well. An IS-K victory is reckoned as a loss for the Taliban, who would never allow an “alien” group to set up shop in an area they have retained and kept under their exclusive influence for the past 17 years. More than the Afghan government or the coalition forces, it is the Afghan Taliban who are resisting the IS-K presence in both the eastern and northern parts of Afghanistan.

Apart from intra-group grievances over the distribution of authority and other petty disputes, many commanders and fighters from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban joined IS-K in the hope of gaining access to the huge financial support they believed (or were made to believe) was coming from ISIS. Even local thugs and criminals joined the group in some remote towns and villages to gain power and get access to the cash. At the very beginning, unemployed youth who joined the group were offered better monthly payments than Afghan policemen or soldiers, with the promise of still more in the days ahead.

However, hopes began to fade with the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. IS-K would have continued to flourish, at least in areas where the group had established a foothold in the early stages, had they received sufficient sums from their Middle East-based patrons to support their jihadist activities in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. But that channel dried up very early on…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]


On Topic Links

The West Must Offer Immediate Asylum to Asia Bibi: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 14, 2018—Asia Bibi’s case looks as if it is coming from “another, medieval world.”

Violence Continues as Pakistani Islamists Protest Christian Woman’s “Blasphemy” Acquittal: IPT News, Nov 2, 2018—Thousands of Islamist demonstrators in Pakistan continue to violently protest the acquittal of Asia Bibi…

The Talib Across the Table: Editorial, Weekly Standard, Nov. 12, 2018—The Obama Administration’s decision in 2014 to trade five imprisoned Taliban fighters for Bowe Bergdahl…

Freeland Orders Internal Review of Afghan Aid: Globe & Mail, Nov. 8, 2018— Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is ordering an internal review of Canadian aid to Afghanistan to determine whether taxpayer money has been wasted on questionable projects and to ensure more oversight.


AS WE GO TO PRESS: ISRAEL, HAMAS REPORTEDLY AGREE TO CEASEFIRE — Israel and Hamas reportedly agreed to a ceasefire Tuesday after over 460 rockets were fired from Gaza to southern Israel. The ceasefire comes after close to 48-hours of escalated hostilities between Israel and Palestinian factions. The IDF said over 100 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. While the majority of others fell in open territory without causing damage or injuries, another 20 or so fell in the cities of Ashkelon, Sderot, and several other border vicinity communities. A 40 year-old man was killed Monday in Ashkelon after an apartment building sustained a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza. The rocket barrages came after a deadly IDF raid in the Gazan city of Khan Younis on Sunday killed an elite IDF officer and seven Hamas militants, including the battalion commander of Khan Younis. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 13, 2018)


Muhammad Bin Salman: For Better or for Worse?: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, Nov. 2, 2018— King Salman’s announcement that Prince Muhammad has been put in charge of reorganizing Saudi intelligence…

How Saudi ‘Donations’ to American Universities Whitewash Islam: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 11, 2018— Why would the center of illiberalism, religious fanaticism, and misogyny ever sponsor the center of liberalism, secularism, and gender equality?

Massive Missile Attack on Israel after Qatar Funds Hamas: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 13, 2018— Last week, as efforts were underway to achieve a new truce between Hamas and Israel, this author asked a legitimate and straightforward question: Can Hamas be trusted?

Opportunities Abound Should Israel and Gulf Nations Cooperate: Ellen R. Wald, Arab News, Nov. 2, 2018— Events in Oman and the UAE this past week give us an opportunity to consider anew the relationship between Gulf countries and Israel, and particularly the potential for rapprochement and cooperation through the prism of the aspirations of the citizenry.

On Topic Links

Some ‘Modernizer’: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2, 2018

The Unknown Turkish Refugee Crisis: Nikolaos Lampas, BESA, Nov. 1, 2018

Turkey Demands ‘Immediate End’ to Israeli Retaliatory Strikes: David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 13, 2018

Militarization of Mediterranean Rises with Exploration Disputes: Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Nov. 8, 2018 


MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN: FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE?                                                    

Dr. James M. Dorsey                                                           

BESA, Nov. 2, 2018

King Salman’s announcement that Prince Muhammad has been put in charge of reorganizing Saudi intelligence – at the same time that the kingdom admitted for the first time that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been killed within the grounds of its Istanbul consulate – signaled that the crown prince’s wings are not being clipped, at least not yet, and not publicly.

With little prospect for a palace coup and a frail King Salman unlikely to resume full control of the levers of power, Prince Muhammad, viewed by many as reckless and impulsive, could emerge from the Khashoggi crisis – which has severely tarnished the kingdom’s image and strained relations with the US and Western powers – defiant rather than chastened by international condemnation over the journalist’s killing.

A pinned tweet by Saud Al-Qahtani, a close associate of Prince Muhammad who was among several recently fired senior officials, reads: “Some brothers blame me for what they view as harshness. But everything has its time, and talk these days requires such language.” While this could be Prince Muhammad’s motto, his domestic status and mettle are likely to be put to the test as the crisis unfolds. Ankara might leak further evidence of what happened to Khashoggi, or it might officially publish whatever proof it has.

Turkish leaks or officially announced evidence would likely fuel US Congressional and European parliamentary calls for sanctions, possibly including an arms embargo, against the kingdom. In a sharp rebuke, President Trump responded to Riyadh’s widely criticized official version of what happened to Khashoggi by saying that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”

A prominent Saudi commentator and close associate of Prince Muhammad, Turki Aldakhil, warned in advance of the Saudi admission that the kingdom would respond to Western sanctions by cozying up to Russia and China. This could certainly happen if Saudi Arabia is forced to seek alternatives to shield itself against possible sanctions. This does not, however, mean that Prince Muhammad would not brazenly attempt to engineer a situation in which the Trump administration has no choice but to fully reengage with the kingdom.

While pundits are suggesting that Trump’s Saudi-anchored Middle East strategy, which is focused on isolating Iran, crippling it economically with harsh sanctions, and potentially forcing a change of regime, is in jeopardy because of the damage Prince Muhammad’s international reputation has suffered, Tehran could in fact prove to be a window of opportunity for the crown prince. “The problem is that under MBS, Saudi Arabia has become an unreliable strategic partner whose every move seems to help rather than hinder Iran. Yemen intervention is both a humanitarian disaster and a low cost/high gain opportunity for Iran,” tweeted former US Middle East negotiator Martin Indyk, referring to Prince Muhammad by his initials.

“Trump needed to make clear he wouldn’t validate or protect him from Congressional reaction unless he took responsibility. It’s too late for that now. Therefore I fear he will neither step up [n]or grow up, the crisis will deepen and Iran will continue to reap the windfall,” Indyk said in another tweet. If this was an unintended consequence of Prince Muhammad’s overly assertive policy and crude and ill-fated attempts to put his stamp on the Middle East prior to the murder of Khashoggi, it may, in a twisted manner, serve his purpose.

To the degree that Prince Muhammad has had a thought-out grand strategy since his ascendancy in 2015, it was to ensure US support and Washington’s reengagement in what he saw as a common interest: projection of Saudi power at the expense of Iran. Speaking to The Economist in 2016, Prince Muhammad spelled out his vision of the global balance of power and where he believed Saudi interests lie. “The United States must realize that they are the number one in the world and they have to act like it,” the prince said. In an indication that he was determined to ensure US re-engagement in the Middle East, Prince Muhammad added: “We did not put enough efforts in order to get our point across. We believe that this will change in the future.”

Beyond the shared US-Saudi goal of clipping Iran’s wings, Prince Muhammad catered to President Trump’s priority of garnering economic advantage for the US and creating jobs. Trump’s assertion that he wants to safeguard $450 billion in deals with Riyadh as he contemplates possible punishment for the killing of Khashoggi is based on the crown prince’s dangling of opportunity…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]





UNIVERSITIES WHITEWASH ISLAM                                                                             

Raymond Ibrahim

Breaking Israel News, Nov. 11, 2018

Why would the center of illiberalism, religious fanaticism, and misogyny ever sponsor the center of liberalism, secularism, and gender equality? This is the question that crops up when one considers the largesse that human-rights-abusing Saudi Arabia bestows on the leading universities — those putative bastions of progressive, free thinking — in the United States. According to a recent report in the Daily Caller, “elite U.S. universities took more than half a billion dollars from the country [Saudi Arabia] and its affiliates between 2011 and 2017. Saudi Arabian interests paid $614 million to U.S. universities over a six-year period, more than every country but Qatar and the United Kingdom.”

What would cause Saudi Arabia, which represents much that is regressive and barbarous — from having elite units dedicated to apprehending witches and warlocks, to legitimizing pedophilia — to become a leading financial supporter of America’s liberal arts? Certainly, it is not because the Saudis are randomly lavish with their money and award gifts to all and sundry. Reports often criticize citizens of the kingdom for being “stingy” and not spending on worthy and humanitarian causes.

“These gifts and contracts,” the report continues, “in some instances, are intended to influence students’ and faculty experts’ views on the kingdom.” While this explanation may make sense to Western sensibilities which tend to think only in terms of nation-states, in reality, Saudi Arabia is influencing “views” on Islam.  After all, the desert kingdom is modeled after the principles of Islam arguably more than any other Muslim nation in the world.  Saudi society and politics are virtually synonymous with Islamic society and politics—or, in a word, Sharia.

Much of this has to do with the desert nation’s unique place in Islam: Muhammad and Islam were born in what is today “Saudi Arabia,” making Peninsular Arabs the descendants of Islam’s first Muslims, who conquered much of the post-Roman Christian world in the seventh century, transforming it into the Muslim, Arab-speaking world…Their Saudi descendants are not “Wahhabis”—a strawman term created by Saudi funded Western academics—but dedicated Muslims.   Walking in the footsteps of their Arabian forefathers and prophet, they seek to empower and spread Islam. That is, after all, the widely believed reason why Allah bestowed so much oil wealth beneath their feet: for them to use it to resuscitate Islam’s “glorious” heritage and their role as leaders.

The importance of Islam to Saudi Arabia — and vice-versa — is well captured on the website of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC: For centuries the people of the Arabian Peninsula have possessed a strong identity based upon the tenets of Islam. Saudi Arabia… adheres to Islam, honors its Arab heritage and tradition, and presses vigorously forward in the service of Islam… The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the heartland of Islam, the birthplace of its history, the site of the two holy mosques and the focus of Islamic devotion and prayer. Saudi Arabia is committed to preserving the Islamic tradition in all areas of government and society….. The Holy Qur’an is the constitution of the Kingdom and Shari’ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system.

That Saudi Arabia’s identity is “based upon the tenets of Islam; ” that it “presses vigorously forward in the service of Islam,” and that the “Qur’an is the constitution of the Kingdom, and Shari’ah (Islamic law) is the basis of the Saudi legal system” — should all make clear that the Saudi worldview is antithetical to the spirit of Western liberal education.

Capital punishment in the desert kingdom still takes place (as seen in this video of a hysterical woman being incrementally beheaded); child-marriage and slave-like conditions are rampant; “apostates” are persecuted and sometimes sentenced to death; churches and other non-Muslim houses of worship are strictly banned, and Christians quietly worshipping in their homes are regularly arrested, imprisoned and tortured. Saudi Arabia even has online a fatwa, an Islamic-sanctioned opinion — in Arabic only— entitled, “Duty to Hate Jews, Polytheists, and Other Infidels” (my translation here). It comes from the fatwa wing of the government, meaning it has the full weight of the government behind it. Written by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), former grand mufti and highest religious authority in the government, it still appears on the website…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]          





Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 13, 2018

Last week, as efforts were underway to achieve a new truce between Hamas and Israel, this author asked a legitimate and straightforward question: Can Hamas be trusted? The conclusion was that a real truce between Israel and Hamas can be achieved only after the Palestinian jihadi terrorists are removed from power, and not rewarded for violence and threats. Days later, Hamas itself provided proof as to why it cannot be trusted with any deal, including a truce.

Since yesterday, Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip have been firing hundreds of rockets into Israel. The current barrage began hours after Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli commandos inside the Gaza Strip, killing an Israeli officer and moderately wounding a soldier. In response, the Israeli army killed seven terrorists, including a top Hamas military commander — Sheikh Nur Baraka.

The Israeli commando unit was not inside the Gaza Strip to kill or kidnap anyone. They were there as part of a routine covert operation to foil terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. The commandos, all the same, were attacked by Hamas terrorists who did try to kill or kidnap some of them. The soldiers of the elite Israeli unit managed to return to Israel under the cover of Israeli airstrikes called in to aid their exfiltration.

What is clear is that it was Hamas, not Israel, that initiated the armed clash with the Israeli force. It was Hamas that attacked the Israeli soldiers, killed the officer, and then rushed to accuse Israel of launching a “new aggression” against the Gaza Strip. When the Israeli soldiers tried to defend themselves and killed seven terrorists with return fire, Hamas accused Israel of committing a “despicable crime” against Palestinians.

It is worth noting that the Hamas attack on the Israeli commandos came hours after a Qatari envoy left the Gaza Strip. The Qatari official, Mohammed El-Amadi, had arrived in the Gaza Strip last week carrying suitcases stuffed with $15 million in cash. The money was delivered to Hamas leaders so that they could pay salaries to thousands of their employees in the Gaza Strip. The Qatari financial grant was delivered to the Gaza Strip with Israel’s approval. The Qatari envoy even entered the Gaza Strip through Israel’s Erez border crossing.

Why did Israel facilitate the transfer of the Qatari cash to the Gaza Strip? Israel has been — and still is — trying to avoid an all-out war with Hamas. Israel is not afraid of Hamas. Israel simply does not want the Palestinian civilians living under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip to pay another heavy price for the foolish acts of their leaders. Israel, in fact, has repeatedly expressed a desire to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians there.

In recent years, Israel has been actively working to support reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli measures include the upgrading of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza to more than 800 truckloads of building materials and other goods to enter Gaza on a daily basis, and facilitating the passage of more than 3.4 million tons of materials into Gaza since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. Earlier this year, Israel presented to the EU, US, UN, and the World Bank various projects that were approved by the Israeli government to develop infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, promote energy solutions and create employment opportunities for the Palestinians there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended last week’s deal with Qatar by saying it was aimed at preventing a “humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu said that he would do “whatever I can” to keep Israelis living in communities adjacent to the border with Gaza safe, while at the same time working to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Hamas took Qatar’s $15 million cash grant, paid its employees, and days later has resumed its terrorist attacks against Israel. This is Hamas’s way of saying thank you to the Qataris and Israelis who have been working hard to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip and avoid another war — one that is likely to cause more suffering to the two million Palestinians living there.

Hamas has clearly interpreted the goodwill gesture of Israel and Qatar as a sign of weakness. Hamas leaders have even gone on the record as saying that the $15 million grant was the “fruit” of the weekly violent riots that it has been organizing along the border with Israel since March. Shortly after the Qatari envoy delivered the grant to the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum used those very words: he boasted that the Palestinians were finally reaping the fruits of their violent protests along the Gaza-Israel border.

Hamas’s stance is reminiscent of its reaction to the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Then, Hamas and other Palestinians also interpreted the Israeli “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip — intended to give Gaza the chance to become a Singapore on the Mediterranean — as a sign of Israeli weakness and retreat. A few months later, Hamas even won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election — largely because it claimed that it had forced Israel to pull out of the Gaza Strip by conducting suicide bombings and rocket attacks. Hamas told Palestinians back then: vote for us because we drove the Jews out of the Gaza Strip through the armed struggle.

The renewed Hamas attacks on Israel serve as a reminder that the terrorist group is not interested in a real truce. Hamas wants millions of dollars paid to its employees so that it can continue to prepare for war with Israel while not having to worry about the welfare of its people. Qatar’s $15 million cash grant has failed to stop Hamas from launching hundreds of rockets into Israel. On the contrary, the money has only emboldened Hamas and increased its appetite to continue its jihad to eliminate Israel. All the money in the world will not convince Hamas to abandon its ideology or soften its position toward Israel…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]




ISRAEL AND GULF NATIONS COOPERATE                                                                 

Ellen R. Wald

 Arab News, Nov. 2, 2018

Events in Oman and the UAE this past week give us an opportunity to consider anew the relationship between Gulf countries and Israel, and particularly the potential for rapprochement and cooperation through the prism of the aspirations of the citizenry. The entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is preening for economic breakout — the promise that comes from an educated class and ambitious people. Gulf countries who choose to work with Israel could gain an advantage over those who do not. After all, Israel has the Middle East’s most dynamic economy, best higher education system and a cultural experience that aligns easily with the rest of the region.

In the last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman and an Israeli judo team competed in Abu Dhabi. The Israeli team celebrated the Jewish Sabbath in Abu Dhabi and, when two Israeli judokas won gold medals, the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, was played without incident. At the same time, Middle East events have reminded us all that we are foolish to deny the existence or sovereignty of another nation. We know that countries and populations need not approve of everything that happens in another country.

Egypt and Jordan have had peace and cooperation with Israel for 40 years and 24 years, respectively. Both Egypt and Jordan have benefited through the economic exchange most of all. Tourism from Israelis has been a success, and international visitors to Israel can now easily add side trips to Giza or Petra. There are other trade benefits as well. For instance, Israel supplies Egypt with natural gas, just as Israel would be a natural customer for Gulf region oil. Even now, Israel buys oil from Iraqi Kurds that is transported through Turkey. As Egypt, Jordan and other groups have benefited from relationships with Israel, Gulf countries could find even more opportunities.

Israel has the highest gross domestic product per capita in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, a G-20 country, has the largest economy in the region, and the Emirati economy is also slightly larger than Israel’s. However, according to the World Bank, Israel has the world’s 31st largest economy and the largest non-hydrocarbon economy in the Middle East. It is known globally for its tech industry. There was even a bestselling 2009 book about it called “Start-up Nation.” Israel is also a leader in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. By the start of this decade, Israel was the fourth-largest pharmaceutical exporter to the US, ahead of the UK, Canada, China and India. The partnership opportunities for Gulf businesses and engineers abound.

Israel is also home to several of the best universities in the Middle East, according to Times Higher Education. Israel has two universities listed in the top 250, four in the top 500, and six in the top 800. No other Middle Eastern country has as many universities so highly ranked. Moreover, in the last seven years the number of Arab (Palestinian) students at Israeli universities has grown by 78.5 percent, according to Israel’s Council for Higher Education. Today, 16.1 percent of students at Israeli universities are Arab (Palestinian), so the cooperation could be seamless. There is a great opportunity for the exchange of students and scholars in engineering, sciences, medicine and entrepreneurship…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link: Ed]



On Topic Links

Some ‘Modernizer’: Reuel Marc Gerecht, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2, 2018—The modernizing rulers of the Arab Middle East date from the early 19th century, with Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who forcibly indentured the peasants of the Nile valley to farm cash crops, and Ahmad Bey of Tunisia, who in 1846 became the first Muslim ruler to abolish slavery.

The Unknown Turkish Refugee Crisis: Nikolaos Lampas, BESA, Nov. 1, 2018—According to data from the Greek Asylum Service, over the past two years, the number of asylum applicants from Turkey has grown from 189 in 2016 to 2,463 in August 2018. This represents an increase of approximately 1,300%. Moreover, according to Eurostat, approximately 25,000 Turkish citizens applied for asylum in European countries between 2016 and 2017.

Turkey Demands ‘Immediate End’ to Israeli Retaliatory Strikes: David Rosenberg, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 13, 2018— The Turkish government demanded Israel end its air campaign in the Gaza Strip following a massive wave of rocket and mortar attacks from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

Militarization of Mediterranean Rises with Exploration Disputes: Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, Nov. 8, 2018— Tensions are rising quickly in the eastern Mediterranean over sharing hydrocarbon reserves in the area.



Terrible Tehran: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2018— On Monday, the US restored and strengthened the sanctions it had lifted under the 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Despite Farrakhan’s Urging, Iranians not Giving in to Hate: Benny Avni, New York Post, Nov. 6, 2018— Iran’s true believers are sticking with the mullahs’ Pavlovian response to President Trump’s newly reimposed sanctions. Increasingly, however, many Iranians no longer are.

Washington Can Roll Back Iran’s Influence. Here’s How.: Alireza Nader & Bassam Barabandi, Weekly Standard, Oct. 31, 2018 — The U.S. campaign against the Soviet Union during the latter years of the Cold War holds some important lessons for Washington’s current policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

How the First World War Changed Jewish History: Anna Isaacs, Moment, June 16, 2015— Though World War II overshadows World War I in American Jewish consciousness, Professor Daniel Schwartz argues that it was the latter that shifted the arc of Jewish history…

On Topic Links

Bolton: There Will be Even More Sanctions on Iran: Arutz Sheva, Nov. 9, 2018

Nasrin Sotoudeh and the Struggle for Human Rights in Iran: Irwin Cotler, Weekly Standard, Oct. 18, 2018

Why America Had to Join World War I: Andrew Roberts, New York Post, Nov. 9, 2018

11 November: Armistice Day and Jewry: The Centennial: Larry Domnitch, Jewish Press, Nov. 11, 2018


TERRIBLE TEHRAN                                                                                                          


Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2018

On Monday, the US restored and strengthened the sanctions it had lifted under the 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions, targeting Iran’s oil, banking and industrial sectors “are the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the beginning of the week.

Even with temporary exceptions to eight oil importers – China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea – more than 20 nations have already cut their oil imports from Iran, reducing purchases by more than one million barrels per day, Pompeo said. The sanctions also prohibit countries from conducting business with 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries; more than 200 people and vessels in its shipping sector; the country’s national airline, Iran Air; and more than 65 of its aircraft, the US Treasury said.

Israeli officials – from Gilad Erdan and Danny Danon to Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett – fell over themselves running to heap praise on US President Donald Trump for reversing US policy on Iran. Bennett, in particular, tweeted a fawning “Thank You for Making the Ayatollahs Scared Again” in homage to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

But nobody was happier than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Any way you look at it, the decision by Trump to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action brokered by former president Barack Obama bears the personal influence and efforts of the Israeli leader. He has tirelessly battled against the agreement with Iran, arguing that it wouldn’t prevent the regime from developing nuclear weapons – and that only stiff economic sanctions would halt Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and its support for global terrorism.

Netanyahu raised the wrath of the Obama administration and liberal American Jews by telling a 2015 joint meeting of Congress in Washington that instead of stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Obama’s plan “would all but guarantee” that it does, in turn setting off a regional arms race. His much anticipated, props-filled annual speeches at the United Nations General Assembly have focused almost entirely on the Iranian threat – and since the deal went into effect, how Iran was violating the agreement.

Netanyahu found a sympathetic and like-minded ear in Trump, who already during his campaign for president, regularly skewered the “bad” deal with Tehran. On Monday, Netanyahu congratulated Trump, calling the heightened sanctions “a great day for the future of Israel” and praising the US president for “a courageous, determined and important decision.” He also touted his involvement in turning the Iran agreement on its head. “You know that for many years I have devoted my time and energy to the war against the Iranian threat. In this matter I went almost against the whole world. Today we see the results of this long and continuous struggle,” he told the Likud faction in the Knesset.

However, the struggle is far from over. The return of beefed up sanctions is no guarantee that the Iranian threat is going to be eradicated from the world arena. A defiant Tehran has pledged to buck the new obstacles and continue its global trade. Although the new penalties in effect could have a major impact on Iran’s ability to export its nefarious goals via Hezbollah and its proxies in Syria, a regime with its back to the wall is a dangerous regime. It’s nice to think that Iran will roll over and play dead, surrendering to the weight of sanctions. But if anything is apparent, it’s that the country’s leadership cares less about its people than its power.

The US and Israel can take a moment to bask in the satisfaction of success over rescinding the dubious nuclear agreement with Iran. But everyone needs to remember that the Iranian people are not the enemy. Every effort needs to be made to reach out to them and encourage the citizens of the beleaguered country to demand change, reconciliation with the West and the end of religious fanaticism, nuclear ambitions and the export of terrorism. The sanctions are a good start, but they are not the endgame.                   Contents


DESPITE FARRAKHAN’S URGING, IRANIANS NOT GIVING IN TO HATE                                         Benny Avni

New York Post, Nov. 6, 2018

Iran’s true believers are sticking with the mullahs’ Pavlovian response to President Trump’s newly reimposed sanctions. Increasingly, however, many Iranians no longer are. On Sunday, Tehran flew in Louis Farrakhan to help spread its go-to “It’s all America’s fault” message. And the Nation of Islam leader played his role like a violin — even flaunting foreign-language skills. “Death to … ” Farrakhan intoned in Farsi, addressing a Tehran University audience. “America,” answered the obedient crowd.

That chant has been an Iranian staple since the seizure of the US Embassy 39 years ago, so to celebrate the anniversary of the American hostage taking, while also marking the re-imposition of US sanctions, the regime asked Farrakhan to join in. And the man who recently professed to be “anti-termite,” referring to Jews, also led cheers of “Death to Israel,” the country the regime wants off the map.

Along the years, Farrakhan cozied up to Libya’s Muammar Khadafy, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and other US enemies. A frequent visitor to Tehran, he looked natural Sunday next to former Revolutionary Guards chief Moshen Rezaee, who recently threatened a violent response to US sanctions. “The American government is plotting against you every day,” Farrakhan said in his speech at the university. “Because it is impossible to change the way of thinking of Islamic Iran, they never sleep and are always working to create an internal enemy in Iran.”

Fine. Farrakhan’s amen corner, including followers like Linda Sarsour, may fall for this distorted thinking. And his regime-friendly message may ring true for many Iranians as well. But clearly not all of them. Iranians now increasingly dismiss the notion that the sole cause of their problems is the Great Satan. Many, apparently, have no interest in the ritual burning of the Stars and Stripes.

Consider: To mark Sunday’s hostage-taking anniversary, the authorities painted floors at entrances to universities, government offices and hotels with Israeli and American flags. Walking in, people were called on to trample them, using their feet to show disdain to the enemy (a common Arabic practice). Guess what? “Many young men and women refused to walk on the American and Israeli flags and found ways to go around them,” reports Masih Alinejad.

Alinejad is the Iranian-born, Brooklyn-based author of “The Wind in my Hair,” a best-seller about the battle she inspired against Iranian laws mandating traditional Islamic head cover for women. Like many in her homeland, she’s leery of the newly re-imposed sanctions, but, she says, people are nonetheless refusing to join in “Death to America” chants. Her Iranian social media followers, she told me, sent her several video clips showing students actually going out of their way to sidestep the flags. Posted on her Instagram account and narrated in Farsi, one video received 1 million hits. Even for Alinejad, whose social media posts are widely followed in Iran, this is an unusually large number.

“This is a new phenomenon,” she says. “Everyone I talk to is worried about the economic impact of the sanctions,” and yet “people are refusing to buy into the regime’s talking points.” Given a lack of reliable data, it’s hard to quantify just exactly how many Iranians are sick of the “Death to” chants, compared to those standing by the flag burnings. But economic hardship in Iran, which started long before America walked out on the Obama team’s nuclear deal and started threatening sanctions, has brought regime opponents to the streets.

Poverty-stricken remote villagers, taxi and truck drivers, environmentalists, women’s-rights supporters, even upscale, traditionally regime-supporting merchants at the Tehran bazaar all now chant against their theocratic rulers. They cite corruption, mismanagement, involvement in foreign wars and oppression at home rather than faulting Israel or America. Sure, some will continue to scapegoat America. But for the many Iranians disenchanted with the regime, sanctions can reinforce a reality: The Islamic Republic’s revolutionary ideology is fast taking them to nowhere. And they realize another truth, too: Their real oppressors aren’t Israeli or American — but the clerical regime and fellow travelers like Louis Farrakhan.




Alireza Nader & Bassam Barabandi

Weekly Standard, Oct. 31, 2018

The U.S. campaign against the Soviet Union during the latter years of the Cold War holds some important lessons for Washington’s current policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Much like the Soviet Union was, the Iranian regime is beset with a host of internal and external challenges. Iran’s theocracy lacks legitimacy, popularity, and even the ability to govern the country effectively. Iran’s environmental devastation, water shortages, and near economic collapse point to the regime’s grave failings. And while Iran appears ascendant in the region, it has achieved its supremacy in Syria and Iraq at a grave expense to its own people.

Popular dissatisfaction with the regime’s costly involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Gaza was one of the chief causes of the December 2017 Iranian uprising against the regime. The Islamic Republic’s continued aggression in the region puts its own existence at greater risk. This gives the U.S. tremendous leverage to increase economic pressure against Tehran as it counters the regime’s regional influence. But to do so, Washington must revise its policies in key places such as Syria and Iraq so it can contain and roll back Iranian influence.

Syria is Iran’s most vulnerable foreign adventure. The Assad regime appears on the cusp of victory with Iran’s position in the Levant seemingly strong and secure. Tens of thousands of Iranian trained troops roam Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon at will, part of the vast Iranian military structure that doesn’t recognize international borders. Yet Iran’s victory in Syria may prove pyrrhic in the long term. In addition to suffering thousands of casualties, Iran has spent billions protecting the Syrian regime. And it needs to spend billions more in order to rebuild Assad-controlled parts of Syria and maintain its dominant role in the country. Yet Tehran must contend with a collapsing economy at home, Russian supremacy in Syria and Moscow’s potential betrayal of Iranian interests, and Israeli attacks against Iranian military installations. The U.S. should be commended for maintaining its military presence in Syria in order to counter Iran, but it could do a lot more to increase the pressure on Tehran and compel it to pull its troops out of the Levant.

First, the U.S. should maintain support for some anti-Iranian Syrian forces fighting the Assad regime even if Assad’s defeat is not imminent; Iran may have largely “won” the conflict in Syria, but it should be denied stability in areas occupied by its allies and proxies. The U.S. should divert trade and investment from Assad-held areas, a policy it has already set in motion; but for its policy to be more effective, Washington should ensure that critical border areas such as Deraa remain under control of the opposition to the Assad regime. Moreover, the U.S. should prevent normalization of ties between Damascus and regional and foreign powers. Finally, Washington should figure out how to encourage defections from Iranian-commanded Shi’a Afghan, Pakistani, and Arab forces numbering thousands in Syria. Many of these fighters are in Syria not because of religion or ideology, but due to financial hardship and desperation. Alternative sources of revenue may convince many to abandon Iran’s mission and return to their home countries.

Iraq presents another important opportunity for the U.S. to roll back Iranian influence. Baghdad is often presented as a pliant junior partner to Tehran, and while Iran does hold many levers of influence, its ability to manipulate its neighbor is not ironclad. Iran’s main source of leverage is its close ties to Shiite religious parties that hold sway in Baghdad. Washington may think that it has no choice but to share power with Tehran in Iraq given that the majority of Iraqis are Shiite. But the Iraqi Shiites are not monolithic in their views of Iranian influence; powerful political figures such as Muqtada al Sadr see Iran with suspicion and are willing to work with other domestic and foreign actors to offset Iranian power. Washington’s ability to choke off Iran’s banking ties with Iraq and disrupt illicit economic activities across the border can be used to demonstrate a key choice for pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite groups. Iraqi groups wedded to the Islamic Republic’s ideology and money may be harder to break off, but as the September 2017 anti-Iranian riots demonstrated, there is enough resentment of Iran which can be exploited by sophisticated American information operations.

Iranian power in the Middle East, once ascendant, is under tremendous pressure and is vulnerable to U.S. pressure. The Iranian population will no longer passively tolerate the Islamic Republic’s export of the revolution and emptying of Iranian pockets for the regime’s narrow interests. And although Iran has built an impressive regional military network, the upkeep of its proxy armies will prove unsustainable in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions on November 5. The regime must either feed its population or its insatiable appetite for power abroad; it no longer has the resources to do both. Hence a U.S. pressure campaign that emphasizes information operations and defections while pushing against Iranian influence in both Iraq and Syria may pay great dividends for American policy-makers.




Anna Isaacs                                               

Moment, June 16, 2015

Though World War II overshadows World War I in American Jewish consciousness, Professor Daniel Schwartz argues that it was the latter that shifted the arc of Jewish history — by fanning virulent anti-Semitism, and by motivating the British-Zionist alliance that led to the creation of the State of Israel.

Schwartz spoke with Moment senior editor George E. Johnson about how fears of Jewish disloyalty fueled deportations and massacres in Eastern Europe during and after the war, how the Jewish Legion helped conquer Ottoman Palestine for the British, and why World War I was a turning point for European Jewry.

Daniel Schwartz is an associate professor of history and director of the Program in Judaic Studies at George Washington University. He specializes in modern Jewish and European intellectual and cultural history.

How many Jews fought in World War I?

This is a watershed. The number of Jews who are soldiers for different sides far exceeds any precedent to that point. Approximately a million and a half Jews fought in World War I for their respective countries. On the Allied side, at least 500,000 Jews served in the Russian Army, notwithstanding widespread Russian anti-Semitism and distrust of Jews. After the United States enters the war, U.S. forces get something like 250,000 Jewish soldiers. About 40,000 or so throughout the British Empire fought for Britain. And about 35,000 soldiers for France.

On the side of the Central Powers, nearly 100,000 Jews served in the German Army and 12,000 were killed in action. German Jews were very determined to prove their loyalty to Germany, to the Kaiser. The overall population of German Jews at the time was probably around 500,000. So you had close to 20 percent of the total Jewish population serving. In the Austro-Hungarian Army there were around 275,000 Jews.

What made Jewish participation so significant?

In the debates about Jewish emancipation — granting Jews equality — dating back to before the French Revolution, the question was, “Can we really trust Jews to be good soldiers? Can we really trust them to be patriots?” The argument was made that, “Look, Jews will be more loyal to their fellow Jews than they will be to people in this particular nation.” World War I certainly is not the first time that Jews fight on opposite sides. There had been the Franco-Prussian war of 1871. In the American Civil War, Jews fought for both sides, as they did early in the 19th century in the various Napoleonic Wars. But nothing approaching this scale.

How did World War I affect Jewish history?

World War I is absolutely a turning point. You could say it’s a turning point in western history more generally, but also in Jewish history, because two of the most impactful events of the Jewish 20th century — the Holocaust and the creation of the state of Israel — are almost unimaginable without World War I. By the second decade of the 20th century, modern anti-Semitism, which had emerged in the late 19th century, seemed, for the most part, to have petered out as a political movement. But World War I gave it new life. The German experience in the First World War — its defeat, its humiliation by the Allies, and the scapegoating of Jews for the economic, social and political turmoil that followed — set in motion the events leading to Holocaust.

Similarly, Zionism also is a late 19th century movement that as of 1914 seems to have run into a brick wall. The Ottomans are implacably opposed to Zionism, basically preventing Zionists from immigrating, at least from purchasing land. Even though the war itself is initially damaging to Zionism and to the Yishuv [early Jewish settlers of Palestine], the alliance and the Balfour Declaration that comes from it enable the movement to develop. This is something that could not have been anticipated in 1914.

Why isn’t World War I recognized as such a turning point for European Jewry?

This is quite astonishing. I’ve always been struck by the degree to which this catastrophe seems to fly under the radar today. The war was an absolute catastrophe for the Jews of Eastern Europe. The total death toll for Jewish civilians in Eastern Europe between 1914 and 1921 was more than 100,000, and I have seen estimates that as many 600,000 Jews who lived in the Russian Pale of Settlement or Austrian Galicia were uprooted. Ansky, the famous Russian-Jewish writer who toured through Galicia during the war, wrote a book after the war called Churban Galicia. They called it a churban — a destruction. But this didn’t become cemented in the collective memory. People often recall that in 1881-1882 there were major pogroms in Eastern Europe after the assassination of Czar Alexander II. “Kishinev” (the site of a major pogrom in 1903) is a name that was embedded in the collective memory. And then of course, the Holocaust. But this massive catastrophe in the interim doesn’t have a name, like a Kishinev, that has stuck. And it is not remembered to the same extent.

Why were the consequences of the war so grave for Eastern European Jews?

On the Eastern Front, one moment the Russians are invading, then the Germans or the Austro-Hungarians are successfully counter-attacking. And it goes back and forth. This is critical because the Eastern Front was basically located right smack in the heartland of East European Jewry. You have millions of Jews living in these areas who are immediately and direly affected by the war. Whole communities were destroyed and never reconstituted. As the Russian soldiers attacked — or retreated, for that matter — they created tremendous refugee crises. They often would expel Jews. There was this fear that the Jews were not loyal. And so they pushed them east behind Russian lines, sometimes with as little as 24 to 48 hours’ notice. Or Jewish populations would attempt to escape to the west because they heard about all the brutality — both deportations and massacres. My paternal grandmother, who died earlier this year at the age of 100, was from Eastern Galicia and remembered having to leave her home with her mother and her grandparents and take shelter in refugee camps, as did thousands of Jews. They were running away from the Russians…

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


On Topic Links

Bolton: There Will be Even More Sanctions on Iran: Arutz Sheva, Nov. 9, 2018—US National Security Adviser John Bolton reiterated on Friday that more sanctions were possible on Iran, AFP reported. His comments came four days after a new round of US measures on Tehran entered into force.

Nasrin Sotoudeh and the Struggle for Human Rights in Iran: Irwin Cotler, Weekly Standard, Oct. 18, 2018—“I realize they had arrested me for my work on human rights, the defense of women’s rights activists, and the fight against the death penalty. Still, I will not be silenced.” With this courageous cri de coeur, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh launched her hunger strike.

Why America Had to Join World War I: Andrew Roberts, New York Post, Nov. 9, 2018 —The centenary of the armistice that ended World War I on Nov. 11 inevitably raises questions about the United States’ involvement in that conflict, which cost the lives of 50,585 Americans and wounded 205,690.

11 November: Armistice Day and Jewry: The Centennial: Larry Domnitch, Jewish Press, Nov. 11, 2018—On November 11, at 11:00 a.m., 1918, the guns which had pounded the Earth into oblivion in search of human targets for four seemingly interminable horrendous years, were finally laid down. Humanity could breathe again.  

CIJR Montreal Gala 2018

For More photos please click the link at the bottom of the this page, to view the complete album of the CIJR 2018 Gala.

    Left to Right:  Prof. Frederick Krantz- Director CIJR, Rotem Segev – Israeli Deputy Consul General, Keynote Speakers: Elliot Abrams, General Moshie Yaalon, MNA David Birnbaum, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, Jack Kincler-CIJR National Board Chairman

Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director of Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

Left to right:  Prof. Frederick Krantz, director CIJR; Jack Kincler, National Chairman CIJR, Jack Sofer (IDF veteran 1960-63)) General Moshe Yaalon; Mike Yuval (IDF veteran 1960 – 63)); Dr. William Novick (IDF veteran – 1948) and Assaf Drori (IDF veteran – 1972 – 76)

Left to right: Julie Klein,Carole and Herbert Feifer, Pamela Feifer , Daniel Levine

  Left to right:  Prof. Frederick Krantz- Director CIJR, Elliott Abrams,Aaron Remer, Jack Kincler- National Chairman CIJR

      Left to right:  Dr. William Billick, General Moishe Yaalon,Carole and Herbert Feifer.

Jack Kincler: National Chairman CIJR

Rabbi Kook – Founder of generations of Israel, Maayan, Dida Brku

Generations of Israel Students

Attendees enjoying Dinner following Gala Ceremony

Dr. William Novick, Recipient of the Certificate of Honor

Generations of Israel Presentation.

Rotem Segev – Israeli Deputy Consul General

Lenore Krantz, Ori Bauer & Daughter

Yosef ,Ira,& Sandra Robinson


Bill Drori & wife, Helen Hakak

Couple representing Generations of Israel

Dr Mark Rabinovitch , Dida Berku, Julius Suss, Mitchell Brownstein

For those interested in Additional Photos please follow the link :





The Connection Between WWI Armistice and WWII Kristallnacht: Ben Cohen, JNS, Oct. 19, 2018— Two grimly sobering anniversaries fall in November.

This November 11th, Remember Canada’s Heroic 100 Days: J.L. Granatstein, National Post, Nov. 8, 2018 — Most Canadians know something of the battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

A Kristallnacht Lesson: Mordecai Paldiel, Times of Israel, Nov. 8, 2018— As we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the carnage known historically as Kristallnacht, orchestrated by the Nazi regime, we are faced with another horrendous attack on innocent Jews, this time by a lone psychotic anti-Semite targeting Jews at prayer in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

What Americans Must Do After Pittsburgh to Thwart Antisemitism: Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Algemeiner, Nov. 6, 2018 — “Some people don’t like other people just because they’re Jews,” declared a main character in the 1947 Oscar-winning American classic, “A Gentleman’s Agreement.”

On Topic Links

The Courage and Folly of a War That Left Indelible Scars: Alan Cowell, New York Times, Nov. 9, 2018

80 Years After Nazi ‘Kristallnacht’ Pogrom, One Jewish Girl’s Holocaust Diary Sounds Warning Against Revival of Antisemitism: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Nov. 6, 2018

Why I Don’t Want an Apology for the St. Louis: Sally Zerker, CJN, Oct. 10, 2017

Trudeau Warns Against Modern Anti-Semitism in Apology for Turning Away Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazis: Steven Chase, Globe & Mail, Nov. 7, 2018


                             THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WWI ARMISTICE

                                                 AND WWII KRISTALLNACHT                                                                                            Ben Cohen

                                                            JNS, Oct. 19, 2018

Two grimly sobering anniversaries fall in November. On the 9th and 10th, we will mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht—the orgy of murder and violence that devastated Jewish communities across Nazi Germany in 1938. The following day, Nov. 11, we will mark the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I—the most devastating military conflict the world had so far experienced.

These two events, occurring exactly 20 years apart, were intimately connected. Some historians argue that the 20th century really began with World War I, which buried the geriatric Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, and set the stage for the modern totalitarian systems of communism and fascism—directly paving the way for the rise in Germany of National Socialism and its unprecedented war on the Jews.

In all senses one can think of, there was a dramatic transformation in the position of Europe’s Jews between the end of the “Great War,” as it was dubbed, and the Nazi Holocaust that consumed nearly two-thirds of their number. For one thing, the record of Jewish military service in the war rather gruesomely demonstrated that Jews were also loyal, grateful citizens of the countries in which they lived. Given that French-Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus had been convicted of treason in an anti-Semitic show trial only two decades earlier, that record was even more striking.

More than 50,000 Jews fought on the British and Commonwealth side, 100,000 with the Germans and 300,000 with Austria-Hungary—many thousands of whom lost their lives in the process. From outside Europe, more than 200,000 Jews were among the approximately 5 million American service personnel in 1917, when the United States joined the Allied side.

When it came to Jewish civilians, the toll in the eastern half of Europe was particularly brutal, with hundreds of thousands of Jews deported to the Russian interior or murdered in bloody pogroms. Those ravages led several thousand Jews to join the ranks of the Bolshevik Revolution and even serve in its senior posts, but by the mid-1920s, the ruling Communist Party was no longer a polyglot underground organization. It was, in dramatic contrast, a ruling bureaucracy undergoing a profound process of “Russification.”

The experience of World War I left some Jewish communities feeling more integrated and secure, while others were exposed as highly vulnerable, or even decimated out of existence. It also made realistic the proposal of a national home for the Jewish people, an end-goal the British government regarded “with favor” in its Balfour Declaration of 1917. On Nov. 11, 1918, then, the world’s Jews could spy the promise of redemption on all the political paths—liberal-assimilationist, revolutionary, Zionist—that were available to them. Hardly any of them believed that mass extermination was awaiting them within a generation. To have even suggested such a thing to one of the 7,000 Jews decorated by Germany for their war service would probably have been insulting.

But as the polarizing settlement that ended World War I finally crumbled with Hitler’s launching of World War II, the old libels against the Jews—that they were tribally disloyal, that they profited from war both economically and in terms of political influence—returned with a vengeance. The British writer George Orwell noted the reluctance of his own government to combat such slanders. “To publicize the exploits of Jewish soldiers, or even to admit the existence of a considerable Jewish army in the Middle East, rouses hostility in South Africa, the Arab countries and elsewhere,” he wrote during World War II. “It is easier to ignore the whole subject and allow the man in the street to go on thinking that Jews are exceptionally clever at dodging military service.”

But the British were far from alone in falling for the myth that Jews are at their most disloyal in times, like wartime, when everyone else is at their most loyal. That trope was among the many anti-Semitic fabrications of the Nazis, whose dehumanizing propaganda campaigns and notorious racial laws discriminating against Jews exploded in the violence of Kristallnacht. More than 100 Jews were murdered on the streets of Germany during those hours of fire and broken glass, while 30,000 more were deported to camps whose names—Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Dachau—are now indelibly associated with the Holocaust.

These are the basic facts that the forthcoming commemorations of these two events will reflect. For Jews, these are occasions for profound historical reflection, in a year that has already witnessed the seventieth anniversary of the State of Israel’s creation. Both anniversaries are occasions to ponder how the crooked road of Jewish emancipation, whose benefits these days still far outweigh the persistence of anti-Semitism, felt for those who came before us.                              Contents    

THIS NOVEMBER 11TH, REMEMBER CANADA’S HEROIC 100 DAYS                                                J.L. Granatstein

National Post, Nov. 8, 2018

Most Canadians know something of the battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The victory there saw the Canadian Corps take a key enemy position, and the great Canadian memorial atop the ridge has been the scene of national commemorations and countless individual pilgrimages. Fewer Canadians know about Ypres in April 1915 when the raw soldiers of the Canadian Division fought through the first dreadful German gas attack. And even fewer know about the battle of Passchendaele in the autumn of 1917 when the Canadian Corps struggled through a morass of mud and suffered some 16,000 casualties to take a worthless rise of land in the flat Flanders fields.

But almost no Canadians know anything about the Hundred Days of 1918 when the Canadian Corps, led by Lt.-Gen. Sir Arthur Currie, fought the most significant battles in Canadian military history. From Aug. 8 to the signing of the Armistice on Nov. 11, the 100,000 men of the four Canadian infantry divisions defeated one-quarter of the German army on the Western Front in a great succession of terrible struggles.

Beginning at Amiens, France, the Canadians, Australians, British and French smashed through the German lines, gaining up to 14 kilometres on the first day. The Canadians, the “shock troops of the British Army,” as historian Shane Schreiber dubbed them, had been moved some 60 kilometres in secrecy to the Amiens front, each soldier ordered to “Keep Your Mouth Shut!” Then with tanks, artillery, aircraft and infantry working together in a near-perfect combined arms attack that featured both disinformation and surprise, the Canadians attacked. “Within 10 minutes of the start,” Gunner Bertie Cox remembered in an extraordinary account of the attack on Aug. 8, “the tanks, by the hundreds, and the cavalry, by the thousands, were passing our guns. It made an awful pretty picture to see the tanks and cavalry looming up in the mist, over the crest, just about dawn. The field guns began to pass at a gallop too, not to mention the infantry by the hundreds of thousands. By 5 a.m., the prisoners began to go by and this procession continued all day. … We spent a considerable part of the day checking them over, getting souvenirs. … They nearly cleaned us out of cigarettes and emptied our water bottles.” It was, declared another soldier, “the best executed and best picked out plan that was ever pulled off.” True enough. It was also what German strategist Gen. Erich Ludendorff called “the black day of the German Army in the war.”

Three weeks later at the end of August and the beginning of September, the Canadians, having moved north, fought their way through the Drocourt-Quéant Line near Arras, driving ahead through machine-gun bunkers and heavily defended strongpoints. The fighting was brutal and terribly costly to both sides, but the men of the Corps broke the enemy line.

Then at the end of September, Gen. Currie’s men fought their tactical masterpiece and crossed the Canal du Nord. Currie had sent two divisions across a dry portion of the canal, then fanning them out to roll up the enemy positions. The Corps’ engineers threw up bridges across the canal under fire, and tanks, guns and more infantry went across. The fighting over the next week was especially difficult for the weary Canadians. “Never have I felt so depressed as I felt after that battle,” young brigade commander J.A. Clark recalled. “It seemed impossible to break the morale and fighting spirit of the German troops. We felt that this Boche could not be beaten,” he continued, “certainly not in 1918. He fought magnificently and in a most determined fashion. He discouraged a great many soldiers in the Corps.” The enemy was broken but far from beaten, and the infantry battalions in Clark’s brigade had been shattered in the fighting in front of Cambrai.

Still, in what Gen. Currie called the Corps’ hardest fighting of the war, the Canadians pressed the Germans back to Cambrai, their major transportation and supply hub in northern France. On Oct. 9 and 10, they seized the city, dousing the fires the retreating enemy had set. There was one last set piece battle at Valenciennes, close to the French-Belgian border, where a single Canadian brigade attacked Mont Houy under the heaviest Canadian artillery barrage of the war and routed the German defenders. The pursuit then began, the enemy fleeing eastward, leaving behind only machine-gun teams to slow the chase. On Nov. 10, the Canadians were at Mons, Belgium, the symbolic town where the British Expeditionary Force had first faced the invading Germans in August 1914 and had been forced to retreat. The Canadians liberated Mons just as the Armistice brought the Great War to a close.

In truth, the Armistice was really a German surrender. There was no “stab in the back” as Adolf Hitler and others in Germany would proclaim. The German army had been defeated on the field of battle by the Allies, and the Canadian Corps had played a distinguished, costly role in the victory. The Hundred Days cost Canada some 15,000 dead and 30,000 wounded, almost one fifth of the 240,000 Canadian casualties suffered in four years of war. And yet, somehow no one in Canada today seems to know of the Hundred Days, its great and important victories all but forgotten…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                    Contents



Mordecai Paldiel

Times of Israel, Nov. 8, 2018

As we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the carnage known historically as Kristallnacht, orchestrated by the Nazi regime, we are faced with another horrendous attack on innocent Jews, this time by a lone psychotic anti-Semite targeting Jews at prayer in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Let us reflect on the significance of this large, government-staged pogrom on November 9-10, 1938 targeting the Jewish population across Germany, including the annexed regions of Austria and the Czech Sudetenland. Jewish homes and businesses were vandalized, 270 synagogues destroyed, close to 100 persons killed, and 30,000 Jewish men carted off to concentration camps. In the context of the atrocities committed during the height of the Holocaust, these figures may be appalling, but, perhaps not shocking. Taking a step back, it is important to acknowledge that this did not take place with the backdrop of the Holocaust, but rather in the midst of civilized and still at peace Europe. If anyone, up to then, had doubts as to how far the Nazi regime would go to force all Jews out of the country by the use of acts of terror, the violent physical attacks of Kristallnacht left no one further in doubt about the intentions of Hitler and his henchmen. It also left no doubts about the anemic pushback from the international community.

Kristallnacht can be seen not just as a horrid day in history that foreshadowed the attitudes and events of the Holocaust, but also as a testing of limits to observe both if and how the international community would take action. Sadly, the response of the Western democratic nations to this flagrant challenge to the very foundations of humanity was not forthcoming. The Evian Conference, held July 1938 convening 32 nations, was unable to form a unified response to accommodate Jewish refugees fleeing persecution, and signaled to the Nazis that the world’s countries were sympathetic, but not prepared to open their own doors to Jews.

Months after Kristallnacht, several events only heightened this conviction in the mind of Hitler. In May 1939, the St. Louis boat with a cargo of more than 900 Jews confirmed for emigration to the United States was denied landing off the coast of Florida. The boat was forced to return its human cargo to the shores of Europe; many of these passengers were later engulfed in the Holocaust. That same year, following the Kindertransport example of England, Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York and Representative Edith Rogers of Massachusetts failed to have Congress approve a bill to allow 20,000 Jewish children from Germany access to the United States. Even with the assurance that the Jewish community would be solely responsible for bearing the cost of hosting and caring for the children, the US government refused to intervene. That same year, US Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, proposed allowing Jewish refugees into Alaska to help develop the natural resources of that territory, adding that it would not impinge US immigration laws, since these laws would not apply to the non-State Alaska. It would be both a humanitarian gesture as well as a boost to the economy of Alaska. It was rejected by the President.

All these aforementioned steps of refusal to save even a limited number of Jews were signals interpreted by the Nazi regime that, in spite of words of protest, the nations of the world were not invested in the welfare of Jews. For the Nazis it meant only one thing: that they could escalate their anti-Jewish measures beyond the large-scale pogrom of Kristallnacht to mass murder as publicly proclaimed by Hitler in January 1939 that indeed began in June 1941 when Germany invaded Russia.

In the words of the 18th century British political philosopher Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It is not intention nor discussion that brings strong enough repudiation for evil, but action. Kristallnacht was not just the start of organized violence against Jews in Germany—in fact, with a different international reaction, it could have been the end of it. Instead, it was the hall pass for such violence and hatred. While it is easy to dismiss Kristallnacht as a different time, place, and political climate, we know all too well that anti-Semitism remains a dangerous force in our world and in our free nation. Let the anniversary of Kristallnacht be a reminder to the civilized world and younger generations to act against evil regimes who flout the elementary rules of civilized conduct before they cause untold damage, and hurt millions of innocent people.




TO THWART ANTISEMITISM                                          

Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

                                                Algemeiner, Nov. 6, 2018

“Some people don’t like other people just because they’re Jews,” declared a main character in the 1947 Oscar-winning American classic, “A Gentleman’s Agreement.” The crematoria at Auschwitz had not yet cooled down, but there were Americans who couldn’t abide the thought of Jews sharing their country clubs, neighborhoods, or college classrooms. Those were the challenges for American Jews back then, but today we no longer worry about “gentlemen.” After Pittsburgh, we’re on guard against the next lone wolf psychopath, armed with hate and bullets, empowered and validated by his invisible social media bigoted “friends.”

For us Jews it’s (still) the best of times — and, as we bury our dead in Pittsburgh, the worst of times. According to Pew, we are the single most admired religious group in America. On the other hand, the FBI confirms that we are the #1 target of religion-based hate in the United States. Simon Wiesenthal said that “hope lives when people remember.” Let us remember who is responsible for keeping antisemitism alive in our time, lest we be powerless to resist it.

The Pittsburgh gunman is responsible for his heinous deeds. Yet such extremism does not operate in a vacuum. Here are some points to ponder after the Pittsburgh massacre recedes from the headlines. We offer them as professionals who have struggled with antisemitism worldwide for decades. Social media outlets like Gab market hate. Hiding behind a freedom of speech mantra, they deny any moral responsibility for the platform they offer to the worst misusers of the privilege of that freedom, eerily similar to ISIS, whose online marketing campaigns spawn lone wolf terrorist attacks on both sides of the Atlantic.

Good people used to drive the haters underground. No longer. In major capitals — London, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm — it is dangerous for Jews to wear the Star of David or a kippah in public. Police and politicians look the other way as (mainly) Islamist extremists bully and pummel Jews on the streets of Europe. Important institutions are rife with winking at antisemitism, or even worse. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad calls Jews “hooked-nosed,” and boasts that he is “glad to be labelled antisemitic.” On a recent visit to the UK, Mohamad was welcomed to Imperial College and Oxford by the heads of these institutions. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is awash with Jew-hatred, but he could be the UK’s next leader.

An unholy alliance of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, funded by Iran, uses antisemitism as a tool to turn the world against Israel. Their propaganda has found enthusiastic support in academia and even churches, so that today over 150 million Europeans believe Israelis treat Palestinians the way Nazis treated Jews. Young Americans hear much of the same on campuses dominated by progressives who detest power and “privilege,” especially of Israel and the United States. Anti-Zionism has flourished as a tool for gutless Jew haters: “We don’t hate Jews. Only Zionists.” Now, there is lots of room to criticize Israel without being antisemitic in the slightest. But when that criticism demonizes or subjects Israel to a double standard, the road to antisemitism has been crossed.

Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Myanmar, China — millions are dying, or living in exile, or incarcerated in internment camps for their religious beliefs, but the lion’s share of UN resolutions contemptuously pile on the Jewish state. The Jewish people’s historic links to their key religious sites have been denied. For close to two thousand years, the Church (followed by various churches) taught and encouraged antisemitism. That has changed for the better in some denominations, and in some areas. But old attitudes die hard. Rather than show special sensitivity to Jew-hatred, some churches still feed into it. The over-the-top hostility of some church groups to Israel is a case in point.

The Quakers, who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, are today no friends of Jews. Mennonites in South America actively aided Hitler in his campaign to demonstrate pure Aryan superiority. (Their contempt for Israel translates in the popular mind into a rejection of Jews and Judaism.) Many other church groups aid and abet the virulent Jew-hatred of Palestinian groups by standing by them as allies, without calling them out for the antisemitism constantly spewed in their mosques and textbooks.

And, of course, there is the right-wing antisemitism of the Pittsburgh murderer, encouraged and similar to what we saw in Charlottesville. Tragically, the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre is not — cannot — be a one-off, any more than 9/11 was, even if never repeated. It will change the way Jews live for the foreseeable future. Houses of worship, citadels of peace, will look more like TSA portals to airports. So things are bad and could get even worse. What can we do to try to stem the tide? Don’t underestimate the sheer volume of age-old Jew-hatred. It did not disappear after the Holocaust. It never disappeared from polite society…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]



On Topic Links

The Courage and Folly of a War That Left Indelible Scars: Alan Cowell, New York Times, Nov. 9, 2018—During World War I, millions died, empires crumbled, nations were formed and maps were redrawn in ways that reverberate mightily a century later.

80 Years After Nazi ‘Kristallnacht’ Pogrom, One Jewish Girl’s Holocaust Diary Sounds Warning Against Revival of Antisemitism: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Nov. 6, 2018—For the global community of Holocaust scholars and educators, the 80th anniversary of the Nazi pogrom against Germany’s Jews commonly known as “Kristallnacht” — which falls this Friday and Saturday — could scarcely come at a more pertinent moment.

Why I Don’t Want an Apology for the St. Louis: Sally Zerker, CJN, Oct. 10, 2017—On Sept. 27, at the inauguration of the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted that his government is considering apologizing for the 1939 MS St. Louis incident, when Canada turned away a boatload of Jews who were seeking asylum from Nazi persecution. To which I say: no, I don’t want an apology. And here’s why.

Trudeau Warns Against Modern Anti-Semitism in Apology for Turning Away Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazis: Steven Chase, Globe & Mail, Nov. 7, 2018—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized Wednesday for a shameful episode in Canada’s history, when this country turned away more than 900 German Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi terror and persecution.