Daily Briefing: A Change of the Guard at the EU: How Does This Bode for Relations with Israel? (July 19, 2019)

In a debate with MEPs, Ursula von der Leyen outlined her vision as Commission President. MEPs will vote on her nomination, held by secret paper ballot, at 18.00. (Source: Wikipedia)


Table of Content 


Remembering Yitzhak Shamir:  Moshe Phillips, Algemeiner, June 27, 2019 

Nike, Kaepernick and Looming Tribal Warfare: Philip Carl Salzman, Minding the Campus, July 10, 2019 

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Tough On Israel, Fond Of Iran: Jerusalem Wary Of Incoming EU Foreign Policy Czar
Raphael Arens
Times of Israel, July 3, 2019Israeli officials are warily following the changing of the guard at the European Union, where someone who has recently floated the idea of unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood and has expressed strong support for Iran was tapped to be its next foreign policy chief.On Tuesday, the European Council nominated Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles, a member of the country’s ruling Socialist Workers’ Party, as the EU’s top diplomat. German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU party, was also picked as the new president of the European Commission, one of the union’s key decision-making bodies, in a surprise decision.The Council made two other important nominations, though they will likely have a much smaller impact on EU-Israel relations: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was tapped to head the Council itself, and current International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde was nominated to preside over the European Central Bank. Since all appointments have yet to be confirmed by the European Parliament, Israel did not publicly comment on the matter. But officials in Jerusalem are seeing the reshuffle as a mixed bag at best.
Von der Leyen, a senior member of Merkel’s staunchly pro-Israel government, is seen as positively disposed toward the Jewish state. She last visited Jerusalem in May 2015, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed her warmly as “a friend of Israel.”While supportive of the Iran nuclear deal, which Israel rejects but is backed by virtually all European governments, the 60-year-old politician has been instrumental in Israeli-German arm deals, including the sale of submarines and other marine vessels, and the 2018 purchase of Israeli-made drones for $1.17 billion.By contrast, Borrell, a veteran statesman who has been in politics since 1993, is seen as very critical of Israel. “More difficult times [are] ahead between the EU and Israel I fear,” tweeted Bas Belder, a Dutch member of the European Parliament and veteran pro-Israel advocate. “It won’t be a piece of cake with him,” an Israeli diplomatic official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the press.
When Borrell was appointed Spain’s foreign minister last year, he quickly become a leading voice advocating for the recognition of a Palestinian state. “It is obvious [that] the situation in Palestine must not continue as it is,” Borrell said in September 2018. “If the EU is not able to reach a unanimous decision, then each to their own,” he said, indicating that Madrid would consider unilaterally recognizing Palestinian statehood.Borrell, who is expected to take over from Federica Mogherini in November, reiterated this position “time and again, so ideologically we know exactly where he comes from,” the Israeli official said. “More recently, he was the guy behind Spain’s vote in favor of the UN Human Rights Council report on the Gaza border,” he added. … [to read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]______________________________________________________

Europe Wants To Establish A Trade Conduit With Iran. Here’s What That Means
Nabih Bulos
Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2019 

As Iran presses on with its gradual dismantling of terms set by the 2015 nuclear deal, and while tensions with the U.S. increase ever higher, European signatories say a new financial mechanism can salvage the accord.

That mechanism, INSTEX, aims to provide Iran with an incentive to stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear agreement is formally known, despite the United States’ withdrawal last year. In May, on the anniversary of that withdrawal, Iran began a careful but escalating campaign of enriching and stockpiling uranium beyond the deal’s limits.
If INSTEX doesn’t compensate Iran for staying in the deal even as the U.S. levies additional sanctions, among other measures, Tehran has threatened to walk away from the accord altogether.

What is INSTEX?

At its heart, INSTEX — the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges — is a clearinghouse for trade deals between Iran and Europe that allows companies to avoid payment across borders.

First established in January by Britain, France and Germany, it’s headquartered in Paris and became operational last month. The mechanism avoids use of U.S. dollars. Iran established a mirror entity in April called the Special Trade and Finance Institute.

What does that mean?

Say you have a European company sending machinery to an Iranian importer, and an Iranian company sending pistachios to Europe. Normally, the Iranian importer in the first deal would have to send money to Europe and the European importer would send money to Iran.

Instead, INSTEX would match those two transactions: The European importer pays for the pistachios by giving money to the European exporter. The two Iranian companies pay each other in rials. This way there is no direct financial flow between Iran and Europe, but commodities can still travel to and from Iran.

Why is this important? In two words, “secondary sanctions.”

The U.S. has long used primary sanctions, such as asset freezes or trade embargoes that prevent U.S. companies from doing business in Iran. Secondary sanctions target foreign — non-U.S. — entities for engaging in commercial activities or providing material support to Iran.

Punishments can include denial of visas and import/export certificates, denying these foreign entities the use of American dollars or even cutting them out of the U.S. financial system and forbidding any U.S. party from doing business with them. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

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Remembering Yitzhak Shamir
Moshe Phillips
Algemeiner, June 27, 2019

The public longs for the good old days, when our leaders saw politics as a calling or a mission, not merely another job — one that’s a way station to becoming rich.”  — Moshe Arens in The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2008.

June 30th marks the seventh anniversary of the passing of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. At Shamir’s Jerusalem funeral in 2012, Shimon Peres, his longtime political adversary, had this to say: “Yitzhak Shamir was a fighter. For his people. For his country. For his way. Many times, we were at odds with one another. Our positions on the regional situation were different. But the two of us were convinced that we both were working as Israelis devoted to their country and who love their land.”

That Shamir’s resting place would be in Jerusalem is certainly most fitting. The slogan of the LEHI underground that he led in the 1940s was a quote from Psalm 136: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem.”

Shamir’s involvement in leadership roles in the Zionist movement spanned nearly his entire adult life: underground fighter, intelligence officer, Soviet Jewry activist, politician, statesman, and prime minister. Shamir was all of these and much more.

Shamir dedicated his life to the realization of the Zionist dreams of Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. But did the public ever really get to know the real Yitzhak Shamir? He did not seek publicity, and did not like to talk about himself.
Shamir was born in 1915 in Belarus. When he was still a student, he threw himself heavily into the militant activities of the Betar Zionist youth movement. It was there that he was first exposed to the philosophy that would form the ideals that served him as his focus for the rest of his life.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky taught the young members of Betar both military strategy and military discipline. Jabotinsky demanded a spirit of dedication to the development of a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel, and his young followers were educated to believe that sacrifice for the establishment of a Jewish state was an honor and a duty.

Shamir decided to immigrate to the British-controlled Palestine Mandate in 1935. In Tel Aviv, Shamir joined other Zionist activists he knew from Poland, and became an Irgun underground fighter. When Avraham “Yair” Stern led a group of his followers out of the Irgun and formed the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, also known by its acronym LEHI, Shamir left with him. Menachem Begin had not yet arrived in the Mandate to lead the Irgun’s revolt against the British.

The goal of LEHI was to force the British to quit the Mandate, and thus allow a Jewish state to be formed. Shamir was arrested and imprisoned by the British for his underground activities. Shamir escaped from the British, and in doing so helped to make the “Stern Gang” even more legendary. After the February 1942 assassination of Stern by British CID (Central Investigation Department) officers, Shamir became one of the three-man Central Committee that would lead LEHI for the next six years. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
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Nike, Kaepernick and Looming Tribal Warfare
Philip Carl Salzman
Minding the Campus, July 10, 2019

Today, many people, in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the West, have rejected liberal democracy in favor of “woke” identity politics and cultural Marxist “social justice.” Following the Marxist vision of society as a division of classes, with the oppressed victims struggling against the privileged oppressors, identity politics has expanded the class struggle from proletariat versus capitalist to females versus males, people of color versus people of white, LBGT++ versus heterosexuals, and Muslims versus Christians and Jews. Ex Se, Plurimos: from one, many.

For those who are properly “woke,” their supremacist interests lie solely with the interests of their tribe, whether the feminist tribe, the black, Hispanic, or Asian tribes, the LBGT++ tribes, or the Muslim tribe. Those excluded from the tribe–males, whites, straights, non-Muslims–must be suppressed and sidelined, so that “victims” will triumph over “oppressors.” These identities supersede the identity of American or Canadian, and citizenship is viewed as an exclusionary privilege to be negated. The “woke” tribes unite to oppose national borders, claiming that borders are the old oppression against people of color and Hispanics.

Tribes historically, and in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are regional security organizations. They are commonly found in remote deserts and mountains and serve as an alternative to state organizations. The famous Arab example is Bedouin. The tribes and their many subgroups—from families to small lineages, to medium and large lineages, to tribal sections—are based on identity as descendants from common male ancestors.

Descent group members must unite and support one another, in opposition to groups with different ancestry, often a brother of their own apical ancestor. Groups are contingent, activated according to who is in conflict. Whether family vs. family, lineage vs. lineage, or section vs. section, “balanced opposition,” as anthropologists call it, is the required relation between descent groups. It is the balance of force that serves as a deterrent to aggression.

Tribal peoples remained on the geographical periphery of states, because pre-industrial states were exploitive and oppressive, extracting wealth from their subjects to support the elite while providing little benefit. Tribal peoples chose freedom from state imposition and united together to provide security for themselves. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

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On Topic Links:

Ursula von der Leyen: Who is the First Woman President of the EU Commission?:  Jon Stone, Independent, July 16, 2019 — Ursula von der Leyen was never the name on everyone’s lips: The 60-year-old defence minister, who was relatively unknown outside of Germany until two weeks ago, was narrowly approved by MEPs on Tuesday.

EU’s Mogherini: Iran Breaches Not ‘Significant’ Enough To Escalate:  Rym Momtaz, Politico, July 15, 2019 — The EU’s foreign policy chief played down Tehran’s breaches of the Iran nuclear deal on Monday, but admitted the pact is facing its most difficult moment since it was signed in 2015.

Israeli Lawsuit Targets European Effort To Bypass Sanctions On Iran:  JNS, July 15, 2019 –A new Israeli legal initiative could make it difficult for European countries to do business with Iran. The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was established by Germany, Great Britain and France with the goal of bypassing harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, and facilitating the transfer of money to the Islamic Republic.

EU Against Relocation of Embassies to Jerusalem:  Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, July 11, 2019 — The European Union (EU) tried to prevent the continued trend of member states opening representative offices in Jerusalem but the initiative failed, Kan 11 News reported on Wednesday.

What’s Happening To European Jews Better Wake Up America: Avi Abelow:  Israel Unwired, July 18, 2019 — Although antisemitism in Europe is nothing new, it has only gotten worse. These statistics reveal the frightening truth. European Jews are targeted.
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The title to this week’s French-language briefing is  L’État d’Israël à l’écoute du Malaise des Juifs Éthiopiens.  To access the briefing, please visit https://www.isranet.org/

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