As Campus BDS Inanities Continue Here, Serious Events in the M.E. Indicate Radical Israeli-U.S. Reorientation: Frederick Krantz, CIJR, Dec. 8, 2017 — This Hanukkah issue of ISRAFAX confronts the sad descent of our university campuses into the vicious inanities of antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaigns.
Trump’s Truth-Telling on Jerusalem Marks an All-New Middle East: John Podhoretz, New York Post, Dec. 6, 2017 — “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” President Trump said in announcing America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Israelis Will Pay for Trump's Jerusalem Gambit: Noah Feldman, Bloomberg, Dec. 6, 2017 — From the standpoint of producing Middle East peace, President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech Wednesday can only be called irrational.
American Jews, Look in the Mirror: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2017— There are some unpleasant facts and bitter truths about a large component of Diaspora Jews that are being swept under the carpet.
Why Moving the Embassy Advances US Interests: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2017
Pushing-Back Against Palestinian Denialism: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2017
Trump, Often Polarizing, Draws Broad Jewish and Christian Support on Jerusalem: Sean Savage, JNS, Dec. 7, 2017
Why the 1947 UN Partition Resolution Must Be Celebrated: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, Nov. 27, 2017
CIJR, Dec. 8, 2017
This Hanukkah issue of ISRAFAX confronts the sad descent of our university campuses into the vicious inanities of antisemitic and anti-Israel BDS campaigns. Sustained by “speech codes” and so-called “diversity” quotas, pro-Palestinian propaganda, in fact, violates core academic values like free speech, free thought, and individual rights.
Insofar as such well-funded campaigns have a practical purpose, it is to delegitimate the Jewish state and so prepare it for destruction. (So far, thankfully, this purpose has been without any practical consequence.)
Yet at this very moment serious events involving real issues and power politics are underway in the Middle East, which may throw the heinous, and ultimately inconsequential, campus shenanigans into high relief. The outcome of moves currently underway may well result in a marked strengthening of Israel’s real regional strength and position.
As we go to press, President Trump is about to make good on campaign promises and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital (whether the Embassy will actually be moved there at this point remains moot). The fact of an impending move is confirmed by the squeals of protest and threats already issuing from P.A. head Abbas, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Arab League.
This move, in turn, reflects an improved Saudi Arabian Israel-Palestinian peace plan, issuing from the ascendancy of the reformist Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”), First Deputy Prime Minister, president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs., and the youngest minister of defense in the world.
This plan, while reinforcing Israel’s current, defensible, borders and reportedly recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, would create a Palestinian statelet by combining some West Bank areas, Gaza and, innovatively, territory in northern Sinai
Under MBS, Saudi Arabia has embarked on an aggressive, anti-Iranian foreign policy. Movement on Jerusalem and the Saudi-backed peace process should, therefore, be seen in conjunction with several other recent developments. Saudi-supported Lebanese President Saad Hariri, responding to Saudi pressure, first “resigned”, and then agreed to be recalled to office, calling in the process for an end to Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon and its interventionist role in Syria. Simultaneously, Israel—after warning Teheran not to build permanent bases–has attacked several suspected new Iranian military sites in that country with missiles.
Meanwhile, the situation of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen has deteriorated, after they assassinated their erstwhile ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh, who aligned with Iran-backed Houthi rebels against Yemeni President Abd–Rabbo Mansour Hadi, had recently called for opening “a new page” with the Saudi-backed Hadi. This earned him the title of “traitor” and led to his recent murder by the Houthis. (Saudi-backed Hadi has now called for unity in the battle against the Houthis and their Iranian backers.)
The common denominator connecting these recent events seems to be U.S.-led and Saudi- and Israeli- (and, indirectly, Egyptian- and Jordanian-) pushback against hitherto unopposed Iranian expansion in the Middle East. Having defeated the IS terrorist caliphate in Iraq (Mosul) and Syria (Raqqah), the US-backed coalition may finally be turning to deal with Iran.
This Israel-supported Sunni political-military force has obvious implications not only for Iran’s Shiite-related imperialism but also for the Iranian nuclear project. Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not only licensed ultimate Iranian nuclear and missile development, it also agreed to, and indirectly funded, Iran’s regional political expansion.
Now, this is under attack, and behind it too lies the deepening North Korean crisis. Here direct action against either Teheran or Pyongyang (who have helped one another in both nuclear and missile development) can have practical, sobering, and reciprocal consequences for both rogue states.
A resumed and more realistic Saudi/Egyptian-backed peace process, conjoined with consistent pushback against, and blockage of, Iran’s expansionism, will also negatively affect three of the other major players in the region—Russia and Turkey, and Iraq.
Russia and Turkey have backed Assad and excluded the US from their Syrian “peace talks” in Astana, and both have played ball with Iranian expansionism. And a weak Shiite-dominated Iraq has fallen under Iranian domination. Russia acts like, but in fact is no longer, a Great Power, while Turkey–increasingly Islamist and authoritarian (and economically unstable)–has alienated its former ally, the U.S.
A defeat of Iranian expansionism in Syria and Yemen, conjoined with a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative and a clipping of Hezbollah’s Lebanese wings, would isolate and weaken both Russia and Turkey, and increase American influence in Iraq.
Although the Middle East is ever unstable and often disappoints projections, it is possible that we are looking at the beginning of a profound re-ordering of the region. If so, events there will throw into high relief the utopian dimensions of the BDSers’ dream of playing a role in Israel’s destruction. What may work here in ivory towers isolated by student ignorance, faculty hypocrisy, and administrative cowardice has little to do, ultimately, with the power relationships and civilizational values marking the “real” world.
North American society, unlike some of our campus play-pens, is deeply pro-Israel, and temporary Russian and Hezbollah-Iranian gains in the Middle East may well be erased as the US recovers the world and regional leadership roles formerly played during and after World War II and the Cold War.
And insofar as Israel’s, and the Jewish people’s, enemies are concerned, on campuses as well as in the Middle East, it is well for them to understand that propaganda lies, “safe spaces”, and "magical thinking" are not political facts. And that Jews, since 1945 and the re-founding of the state of Israel in 1948 are, like their Maccabean forebears who defended Jewish freedom against the Greeks, not powerless.
(Professor Frederick Krantz [Liberal Arts College, Concordia University] is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research and Editor of its ISRAFAX and Daily Isranet Briefing journals.)
New York Post, Dec. 6, 2017
“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” President Trump said in announcing America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Never have truer words been spoken, and they were delivered in the best speech Trump has ever given.
What Trump did was stunning. He could just have signed the waiver of the law passed in 1995 compelling the executive branch to move America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He did it six months ago, just like his three immediate predecessors did every six months since 1996. Or he could have not signed the waiver and simply said he was going to start the process of building the new embassy.
Instead, he called the international community’s seven-decade bluff and ended a delusion about the future that has prevented Palestinians from seeing the world and their own geopolitical situation clearly. It is a bold shift.
The idea that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital has been a global pretense for decades, including here in the United States. It’s a pretense because Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital from the moment the new country secured a future by winning a bloody war for independence waged against it by Arab nations after they rejected the UN partition of the old British mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
Under the plan, Jerusalem was to be an international city governed by the United Nations. But the Arab effort to push the Jews into the sea — an effort no other nation on Earth intervened in to prevent — left a divided Jerusalem in the hands of the Jews in the West and Jordan in the East. There would be no “international” Jerusalem because the Arabs made sure there could not be one.
So, in 1949, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion moved the government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The people which faithfully honored for 2,500 years the oath sworn by the Rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem — this people will never reconcile itself with separation from Jerusalem,” Ben-Gurion told the United Nations at the time. After Israel’s triumph in the Six-Day War in 1967, Jerusalem was unified and became, in the words spoken by every Israeli prime minister, the “eternal and undivided capital” of the Jewish state.
And yet the international fiction that Jerusalem is not only not Israel’s capital but isn’t even to be considered formally part of Israel has persisted for 50 years now. Nominally, the idea is that Palestinians need to be allowed to believe they’ll secure sovereignty over at least a part of Jerusalem for them to pursue a final peace deal with the Israelis. And so most of the world has chosen to act as though Israel has no legal dominion over any part of Jerusalem.
That is, in a word, insane. Jerusalem is now home to 860,000 people — 10 percent of Israel’s population, nearly double that of its second city, Tel Aviv. Every one of them, Jew and Arab, is a citizen of the state. (The city is 60 percent Jewish and 35 percent Muslim.) It is the locus of Israel’s government, where the parliament sits, where the prime minister lives and where most government agencies are located.
The pretense has been allowed to continue for two reasons. The more rational reason is this: There has always been fear that any change in Jerusalem’s status might ignite a violent Palestinian response, retard peace efforts and inflame the “Arab street” throughout the Middle East. So why create a crisis when the status quo is at least stable? Then there are those who simply believe Israel is a bad actor deserving of international scorn and isolation and should not be allowed to get away with it — it, in this case, being Jerusalem. Trump rightly scorns the latter view and has an answer for the former: “This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.”
The Palestinians need to accept reality. They continue to act as though they will get what they want through rejection and resistance and rage. “It is time,” Trump said, “for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midsts. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence.” The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel for what it is and what it has become has been the greatest bar to peace. And there are reasons to believe the so-called Arab street has bigger problems to concern itself with right now than Israel’s capital…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Bloomberg, Dec. 6, 2017
From the standpoint of producing Middle East peace, President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech Wednesday can only be called irrational. It raises the risk of Palestinian violence that could derail peace efforts by his son-in-law Jared Kushner. It makes it harder for crucial U.S. allies like the Saudis to side with Trump and push the Palestinians to a deal. It won’t make Israel feel more secure. And it will hearten right-wingers in the U.S. and Israel whose endgame is actually to avoid a two-state solution.
Yet there is one possible silver lining to the coming storm — a consequence of the decision that may affect the calculus of the peace process more positively. Trump, intentionally or not, is signaling to all concerned that he is unafraid of backing Israel in ways that go further than the traditional pro-Israel U.S. stance.
That’s a huge threat to the Palestinians — if peace talks fail, Trump could be prepared to support Israeli annexation of more of the West Bank. And it’s an implicit promise to the Israelis that also contains an implicit threat: Given how generous Trump is being to Israel, its leaders had better agree to whatever deal Trump will seek to impose on them — or else.
To see why Trump’s move is so extraordinary, you have to understand that the recognition of “Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital amounts to a recognition of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem — and its subsequent expansion of the Jerusalem municipality far beyond the cities’ traditional limits to include multiple Palestinian villages and newly built Jewish neighborhoods.
If recognizing Jerusalem as the capital only meant acknowledging that the Knesset and the rest of Israel’s governing institutions are there, it wouldn’t be quite so big a deal. They’ve been in the western part of the city since Israel’s independence in 1948. Countries presumably have the right to choose any city they want as their capital. And no one realistically thinks that West Jerusalem shouldn’t be part of Israel under a final status agreement. The tricky part is that, since 1967, Israel has considered East and West Jerusalem to be a single, unified city, at least as a legal matter. (Lots of differences exist on the ground.) The act of annexing Jordanian territory into Israel has not been recognized by the international community, including the U.S.
Israel has deepened the problem by successive further expansions of Jerusalem that themselves have come with further annexation. Today, the Jerusalem border extends almost all the way to Bethlehem, south of the city. When you drive from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, there’s almost no noticeable break until you get to the Israeli security barrier and cross into Palestine. And from Bethlehem, you can see new Jerusalem neighborhoods looming on nearby hills.
Although recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital doesn’t necessarily entail formal recognition of Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, it certainly suggests that the Trump administration is willing to come very close — far closer than any prior U.S. administration. That carries meaning for the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators alike. It hints that Trump is willing to threaten the Palestinians with endorsement of Israeli annexation of more Palestinian territory — a nightmare from the Palestinian perspective. The fact that Trump is so blatantly pro-Israel suggests that the Palestinians had better bend over backward to accept whatever deal is on offer, lest the consequences be dire…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2017
There are some unpleasant facts and bitter truths about a large component of Diaspora Jews that are being swept under the carpet. The reality is that many of those who classify themselves as Jews live in an environment in which being Jewish has become associated with endorsing a meaningless universalism dominated by liberal mumbo jumbo.
An ever-increasing number of American Jews in this category describe themselves as secular but lack the cultural and national characteristics of their secular predecessors who rejected religion but in most cases retained a national identity. Having said that, some of their secular predecessors were Bundists, and until the creation of Israel, most American Jews were non-Zionist.
Today’s middle-aged Jews grew up in a postwar world where antisemitism was receding and many concluded that it was becoming extinct. The generation born between 1950 to 1980 was not exposed to the vicious antisemitism that their parents endured in the prewar era. In addition, with the passage of time, the horror of the Holocaust and what it implied for the Jewish people has become a dim historical memory rather than a collective experience. This generation of American Jews never experienced the pre-State of Israel feeling of powerlessness. This was further accelerated by the decline of Jewish education, with most youngsters not having even a rudimentary knowledge of their Jewish heritage or culture.
The greatest factor affecting today’s Jews is the massive acculturation that has taken place due to the open society in which they live, where, in contrast to the past, prejudice does not inhibit intermarriage. Today it is estimated that over 70% of non-Orthodox Jews intermarry – an astronomical figure. Surveys show that the vast majority of children of intermarried couples are hardly conscious of their Jewish identity. The relevance of Israel as a haven from persecution simply does not resonate today as it did with previous Jewish generations. According to a recent Pew survey, only 43% of American Jewish youth have visited Israel and as many as 31% said that they had no attachment to Israel.
We must therefore acknowledge that a substantial and growing proportion of American Jews cannot be relied upon for support, and that for many younger Jews, concern for Israel’s security has become a low priority. Indeed, for some, displaying an anti-Israel attitude is considered chic and a means of socially integrating into the liberal community where opposition to Israel is required for eligibility. This has led some Jews, utterly ignorant of their heritage, to express their Jewish identity by attacking Israel and becoming darlings of anti-Israel agitators on college campuses and in the left-wing media.
This disturbing trend was accelerated by then-US president Barack Obama, who created a rift between many of his Jewish supporters and Israel. They remained silent while he treated Israel like a rogue state and fawned over Iran. Today, a considerable number of Jewish students choose to identify with the Black Lives Matter movement or endorse terrorist sympathizers like Linda Sarsour as preferable to supporting Israel. Some even prattle about keeping all Jews in the “big tent” and justify dialogue with anti-Israel Jews and those who actively campaign for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Why Moving the Embassy Advances US Interests: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Dec. 7, 2017—Here are seven reasons why moving the US embassy to Jerusalem was a wise decision: 1. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem — as proscribed by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act — represent President Trump’s resolve to focus on US interests, defy Arab pressure/threats, and overrule the politically-correct bureaucracy of the State Department.
Pushing-Back Against Palestinian Denialism: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2017—The Palestinians have no one to blame except themselves for President Donald Trump’s declaration regarding Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The same goes for European leaders, who were so busy this week condemning Trump’s move.
Trump, Often Polarizing, Draws Broad Jewish and Christian Support on Jerusalem: Sean Savage, JNS, Dec. 7, 2017—It’s not often that the American Jewish community is united on issues pertaining to President Donald Trump, or on any political topics for that matter. But Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — and his expression of the intent to move the US embassy to that city — drew widespread support from Jewish organizations, dovetailing with the expected backing of Christian Zionist groups.
Why the 1947 UN Partition Resolution Must Be Celebrated: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, Nov. 27, 2017—Earlier this month, the governments of Britain and Israel marked the centenary of the Balfour Declaration with much fanfare. From London to Jerusalem, prime ministers, parliamentarians, and protesters weighed in. The world’s major media outlets ran extended analyses, while historians (myself included) enjoyed their fleeting few minutes of fame.