WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

How Israel’s Calls for Countries to Move their Embassies Has Boomeranged: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2018

Top Lebanese Politicians, Commentators Excoriate Hezbollah for Escalating Tensions With Israel Over Border Tunnels: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018

The BBC’s Spotty Coverage of Terrorism in Israel: November 2018: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018

Europe Wake Up!: Daniel Pipes, Controverso Quotidiano (Italy), Dec. 15, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“(The Lebanese military) very often cooperates with Hezbollah…It certainly doesn’t challenge Hezbollah. And it often directs its weapons against us…The Lebanese Army has been a total failure in this regard…They failed to take action to control their own territory. They failed to take action to prevent the use of their territory against the territory of a neighboring state. And they failed to dislodge the tyrannical Hezbollah. They haven’t even tried.” — Prime Minister Netanyahu. Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on the attack tunnels Hezbollah dug across the Lebanese-Israeli border, Netanyahu urged the international community to take decisive action against the Shiite terrorist group. Netanyahu called Hezbollah’s tunnel-digging an “act of war,” and accused the Lebanese Armed Forces of doing nothing to counter those acts. While Beirut did not know about the tunnels while they were being dug, its military now knows but still fails to act, he maintained. (Times of Israel, Dec. 19, 2018) 

“The paradox of current U.S. policy of “preserving the stability” of a country whose politics and armed forces are directly controlled by an Iranian terror group has created an open political farce. The two pillars of Washington’s policy of “stability” in Lebanon, UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), have been shown to be at best an embarrassing failure. At worst, they show the institutions of the Lebanese state to be actively shielding and facilitating Hezbollah’s military buildup. Not only were the tunnels that Israel is now destroying dug literally under UNIFIL’s nose, but Beirut Airport, where the Iranian flights are landing, is guarded by the LAF.” — Tony Badran. (Tablet, Dec. 13, 2018)

“Hezbollah’s 15,000 long-range, guided missiles are a problem, with which Israel will eventually deal with. I foresee the possibility of a massive Israeli assault in Lebanon. Because Hezbollah installs these missiles in villages and towns and next to hospitals – as they do in Gaza – this will result in a large-scale PR problem because specific civilian structures must be destroyed to root these missiles out. The challenge with Hamas is different…The IDF is responding in a limited way. I don’t like this…We must confront these terrorists vigorously. It’s the only way to handle things in the Middle East. Still, it’s not deterministic that we are going to war, even though the Middle East can erupt at any time even when it’s not intentional. I hope the government and the IDF will be able to change the rules of the game. The rules as they exist now are not in our favor.” — Former IDF Chief of Staff General Moshe (“Boogie”) Ya’alon, interviewed by Machla Abramovitz following his keynote address at the 30th anniversary gala of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR). (Community, Dec. 2018) 

“To our regret, within this positive news they made a mistake…There is no division between the east of the city and west of the city. Jerusalem is one whole, united. Israel‘s control over it is eternal. Our sovereignty will not be partitioned nor undermined. And we hope Australia will soon find the way to fix the mistake it made.” — Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel‘s minister for regional cooperation. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Canberra formally recognizes “West Jerusalem” as Israel‘s capital but reaffirmed his country’s support for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem under a two-state peace deal. Israel signaled displeasure with Australia’s recognition of west Jerusalem as its capital, saying it was a mistake to gainsay Israeli control over the whole city. A year ago, US President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, leaving open the question of its final borders. (Algemeiner, Dec. 16, 2018)

“The abandonment of Jihad leads to humiliation and death. Hence, resistance is the pinnacle of life. A person who lives under occupation, and who does not resist, is in fact dead…When did Israel withdraw from southern Lebanon? It wasn’t a result of negotiations — not in Madrid and not in Washington. It retreated as a result of resistance. When did it retreat from Gaza? After the [Second] Intifada in 2000 and the heroic resistance. Today we are being called and preparing to force Israel to retreat from Jerusalem and from the West Bank. Allah willing, this is on the way to its retreat from all of Palestine.” — Khaled Mashaal, former leader of the Hamas terror group. Mashaal called on West Bank Palestinians to prepare for “guerrilla warfare” in the West Bank and ongoing “resistance” to force Israel to retreat from the territory. Mashaal said this would be a step on the way to its retreat from “all of Palestine.” Speaking on Al-Jazeera, Mashaal, in a play on René Descartes’ famous philosophical proposition, said: “The Palestinians say ‘I resist, therefore I am.’” (Times of Israel, Dec. 15, 2018)

“Israel is a thriving, strong, prosperous country…It has always wanted peace with its neighbors. It has clearly demonstrated its willingness to make big sacrifices for peace, including giving up large areas of land. But Israel will not make a peace agreement at just any price, and it shouldn’t. No UN resolutions, antisemitic boycotts, or terrorist threats will ever change that. Throughout its existence, and even today, Israel has been surrounded by threats to its security. It would be foolish for it to make a deal that weakened its security. And yet, even in the face of constant threats, Israel has become one of the leading nations in the world. Israel wants a peace agreement, but it doesn’t need one.” — US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, in remarks delivered at her final appearance at the Security Council’s monthly meeting on the Middle East. Haley, who will leave her post at the end of December, did not reveal specific details of the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan set to be unveiled by the Trump administration. Instead, speaking in generalities, she claimed the plan “embraces the reality that things can be done today that were previously unthinkable.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 18, 2018)

“Today, young, far-left candidates who reject any of Israel’s defensive measures against Palestinian aggression, or even its very right to exist, are welcomed into the (Democratic) (P)arty…Ilhan Omar, now representing Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, calls Israel an “apartheid state,” supports BDS…and believes that Israel conspires to prevent international criticism of its actions. During the last Israel-Gaza war, she outrageously tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them to see the evil of Israel.” Then there is Palestinian-American socialist and BDS activist Rashida Tlaib, who ran unopposed in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and recently spoke at an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rally in Detroit. She is a close associate of Dawud Walid, a local CAIR director, who stated in a sermon, “Who are those who provoked the wrath of Allah? It’s the Jews; it’s the Jews!” At her victory celebration, Tlaib delivered her acceptance speech with a Palestinian flag close at hand.” — CIJR Fellow Machla Abramovitz. (Community Magazine, Dec. 2018)

“The election of these two women represents a worrying trend…They may be exceptions; still, I worry that their vile anti-Israel and anti-Semitic opinions become mainstreamed and made palatable.” — Political Scientist and CIJR Fellow Julien Bauer. Bauer believes that should the Democratic Party continue tilting to the left and conferring power on these radicals, they will assuredly lose the next election. “Most Americans are centrists, and don’t relate to their far-left progressive agenda,” Bauer said. (Community Magazine, Dec. 2018)

“It’s a shonda [travesty] that a state such as New York elected Kirsten Gillibrand as Senator when she is drifting away from any support for Israel.” — Political Scientist and CIJR Fellow Harold Waller. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a potential 2020 Presidential candidate, is significantly reshaping the Democratic Party’s attitudes towards Israel. Gillibrand actively supports Women’s March leaders such as Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour who are proudly anti-Zionist, if not outrightly antisemitic. Sarsour recently proclaimed Zionism and feminism incompatible. Gillibrand also justifies her relationship with anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan who compared Jews to termites and recently chanted “Death to America” while in Iran. Despite this shift away from Israel, most US Jews continue to vote Democratic. Waller explains, “Liberal US Jews loathe Trump and remain committed to the domestic agenda of the Democrats. Many don’t fully appreciate the extent to which the Democratic Party moved away from the pro-Israel cause.” (Community Magazine, Dec. 2018)

“I have instructed the police to act in every way to restore our sovereignty on the area of the Temple Mount, which has been badly damaged…and to allow as many Jews as possible to visit the Jewish people’s most sacred place…I believe the time has come to reexamine the restrictions that are imposed on Jews who ascend the Temple Mount, to assess what is really necessary from a security viewpoint and what is practiced as a result of a discriminatory status quo that became entrenched over the years and that has no real justification.” — Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Speaking at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Erdan addressed the topic of the Temple Mount and the right of Jews to worship there. Erdan’s comments may signal the beginning of a change in Israeli policy, one that would herald a restoration of Jewish rights at Israel’s holiest site. (Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2018)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

US ‘QUICKLY’ PULLING OUT TROOPS FROM SYRIA (Washington) — The United States will withdraw its troops from Syria. The stunning move will have extraordinary geopolitical ramifications and could fuel Israeli concerns that its enemies — primarily Iran — could gain a further foothold in the neighboring country through its various proxies. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there…” Trump tweeted. About 2,000 US forces are in Syria, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting IS. A US presence in Syria is seen as key to pushing against Iranian influence in the country and across the region. Israel has been working itself to keep Iran from gaining a foothold in Syria, an effort that has been complicated by Russia. (New York Times, Dec. 19, 2018)

TURKEY VOWS TO TAKE ON US-BACKED KURDISH MILITIA IN SYRIA (Ankara) — Turkey will launch a new operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria “within a few days,” President Erdogan said. In recent months, Turkey has shelled Kurdish positions across the border in Syria and has threatened to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. Turkey has been incensed by U.S. support for the Kurdish-led forces. It has been frustrated by delays in the implementation of an agreement that was reached between Washington and Ankara that would effectively push the Kurdish militia out of the Syrian town of Manbij. (Washington Post, Dec. 12, 2018) 

2 ISRAELI SOLDIERS KILLED IN WEST BANK SHOOTING (Jerusalem) — Two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others seriously injured in a shooting attack near a bus stop in the West Bank. The attack on Thursday occurred at a bus stop outside of the Givat Asaf settlement, about a mile down the same road from the settlement of Ofra. Ofra was the site of a shooting that left seven people, including a pregnant woman whose prematurely delivered baby died, wounded. (JTA, Dec. 13, 2018) 

IDF FINDS FOURTH HEZBOLLAH ATTACK TUNNEL (Jerusalem) — The Israeli military uncovered a fourth cross-border attack tunnel that it says the Hezbollah terror group dug into Israel from Lebanon. The IDF refused to specify where the tunnel was found. The IDF filled the tunnel with explosives — as it did with the three other tunnels it exposed — to ensure that it could not be used to carry out an attack. The attack tunnels were found as part of the army’s ongoing Operation Northern Shield, an effort to find and destroy passages dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon. (Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2018)

AIRBNB REFUTES CLAIM IT REVERSED SETTLEMENT BAN (New York) — Airbnb posted a statement explaining that it was boycotting West Best settlement listings. It issued the statement after Israel’s Tourism Ministry met with Airbnb officials in Israel. After the meeting, the ministry said that Airbnb “announced it won’t implement its decision not to list vacation rentals in Judea and Samaria.”  The Tourism Ministry insisted that its statement had come directly from Airbnb. Airbnb’s Israeli spokesperson said the company was now in dialogue with the government with regard to its settlement policy. Until that dialogue is finished, no further action will be taken to implement the policy. Airbnb in November stated it planned to boycott West Bank settlement listings. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 17, 2018)

U.S. NAVY MAY STOP DOCKING IN HAIFA AFTER CHINESE TAKE OVER PORT (Haifa) — The US Navy has acknowledged that its longstanding operations in Haifa may change once a Chinese firm takes over the civilian port in 2021, prompting Israel’s national security cabinet to revisit the arrangement. Haifa, the nation’s largest port city, regularly hosts joint US-Israeli naval drills and visits from American vessels. But a 2015 agreement between Israel and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) – a company in which the Chinese government has a majority stake – has raised intelligence and security concerns that are only now prompting an interagency review. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 15, 2018)

NIGERIAN POLICE ARREST 51 BIAFRAN DEMONSTRATORS CLAIMING TO BE JEWISH (Lagos) — The Police in Umuahia, Nigeria, arrested 51 persons suspected of membership in the illegal Biafran separatist organisation Indigenous People of Biafra, who claim to be Jewish. They held a procession in Umuahia, and were carrying placards with inscriptions written in “Jewish Language,” presumably Hebrew. Igbo Jews are members of the Igbo people of Nigeria who practice a form of Judaism. The Igbo Jews either adopted Judaism in recent centuries, or are descendants of the Jews of Bilad el-Sudan, West African Jewish communities who were connected to known Jewish communities from the Middle East, North Africa, Spain and Portugal. (Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2018)

MORE THAN 160 COUNTRIES SIGN MIGRATION PACT (Geneva) — UN members adopted a deal aimed at improving the way world copes with rising migration, but almost 30 countries stayed away from the ceremony in Morocco. The pact, meant to foster co-operation on migration, was agreed in July by all 193 UN members except the U.S., but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting last week. Ten countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, have pulled out. Six more, among them Israel and Bulgaria, are debating whether to quit. Since July, the accord, which addresses issues such as how to protect migrants, integrate them and send them home, has been criticized by mostly right-wing European politicians who say it could increase immigration from African and Arab countries. (Globe & Mail, Dec. 10, 2018)

PARIS WOMAN’S NOSE BROKEN IN ALLEGED ANTISEMITIC ASSAULT (Paris) — A French-Jewish woman told police that two teenagers hurling antisemitic insults robbed and hit her on a main street of Paris suburb, breaking her nose. The woman, aged 20, said in her complaint to police that the incident happened in the heavily Jewish suburb of Sarcelles. Prying her cellphone out of her hands, the two assailants, whom she said were black, hit her face while saying: “Are you afraid, you Jewess?” she told police. France has reportedly seen an increase of 69 percent in the number of antisemitic incidents in the first 10 months of 2018 over the corresponding period last year. (Times of Israel, Dec. 19, 2018)

HOLOCAUST COBBLESTONE MEMORIALS STOLEN FROM STREET IN ROME (Rome) —20 small bronze cobblestones in Rome that serve as Holocaust memorials was uprooted and stolen. Police are regarding the theft of the Stolpersteine, or Stumbling Stones, as “theft aggravated by racial hatred,” according to Italian media. There are no suspects. The Stolpersteine project was begun in the 1990s by German artist Gunter Demnig. Brass plates, like cobblestones, are placed in front of the homes of people deported during the Holocaust, bearing the name, year of birth, and fate of the person memorialised. (Jewish News, Dec. 11, 2018)

SPANISH POLICE ARREST THREE BEHIND NEO-NAZI WEBSITE (Barcelona) — Spanish police announced the arrest of three men they said ran the Spanish section of  “one of the most influential neo-Nazi websites” in the world. The arrests were in Barcelona, Tarragona and Saragossa. Police said they had tracked down to Switzerland “the leader and ideologue of this section, a Spanish citizen considered a leading international neo-Nazi, with a network of more than 50,000 subscribers.” The suspects, aged from 21 to 23, had used false identities and servers based abroad to try to avoid detection, said the statement. (Times of Israel, Dec. 15, 2018)

MAN WEARING KEFFIYEH PHOTOGRAPHED WAVING MACHETE OUTSIDE SYNAGOGUE (Los Angeles) — A suspect was arrested after a man in a keffiyeh was photographed waving a machete in front of a sign outside a synagogue in Los Angeles. Images of the incident, which took place outside the Chabad of North Hollywood center, were circulated widely over the weekend. The eerie photos, reminiscent of Islamic State propaganda videos, were captured by a local resident.  Last month, a man was arrested for assaulting Orthodox Jewish women in the Los Angeles area. The suspect was believed to be behind a string of incidents in the North Hollywood-Valley Glen vicinity in which Orthodox Jewish women had their wigs ripped from their heads in public. (Algemeiner, Dec. 16, 2018)

CHARLOTTESVILLE KILLER CONVICTED OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER (Charlottesville) — A neo-Nazi who drove his car into a group of protesters, killing one, during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was found guilty of murder. James Alex Fields, 21, has been convicted of killing activist Heather Heyer when he plowed his Dodge Challenger into her and others during the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017. Fields is an avowed supporter of neo-Nazi beliefs. A jury found that Fields acted with premeditation when he backed up his car before barreling down a narrow street crowded with counterprotesters. He killed the 32-year-old Heyer and injuring 35 others. (New York Post, Dec. 7, 2018)

THE WEEKLY STANDARD WILL CEASE PUBLICATION (New York) — The Weekly Standard, a primary voice of conservative Washington, is ceasing publication after 23 years. The magazine’s parent company cited a steep decline in subscriptions and revenues. But editorial leadership had clashed with ownership in some instances over its critical coverage of Trump. Started by John Podhoretz and William Kristol, The Weekly Standard offered an alternative to the National Review hegemony of right-wing publications. It grew into a dominant organ of neoconservatism and a leading voice in favor of intervention in Iraq, helping to define politics in the George W. Bush era. (New York Times, Dec. 14, 2018)

ISRAEL’S ALEPH FARMS UNVEILS ‘WORLD’S FIRST’ LAB-GROWN STEAK (Tel Aviv) — Israeli clean meat company Aleph Farms has unveiled the first slaughter-free steak grown from animal cells to deliver “the full experience of meat with the appearance, shape, and texture of beef cuts,” the company said, essentially what it says is the first prototype of lab-grown steak in the world. 3D technology enables it to mimic traditional cuts of beef in both structure and texture, but without beef’s environmental impact, heavy resource requirements, or contribution to climate change. Aleph Farms was co-founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen. (No Camels, Dec. 12, 2018)

PATRIOTS STAR WEARS SPECIAL CLEATS TO HONOUR PITTSBURGH VICTIMS (Boston) — New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman wore special cleats in honor of the victims of the shooting attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As he showed in a tweet, Edelman’s cleats bore the words “In memory of The Tree of Life” written in Hebrew, the logo of the Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation — the synagogue targeted in the mass shooting in October — and an Israeli flag, with the hashtag #strongerthanhate. His tweet also listed in alphabetical order the 11 victims of the October 27 attack. Edelman’s father is Jewish. (Ha’aretz, Dec. 18, 2018)

HAMAS PRAISED THE MURDER OF AN INFANT. IS THE UN READY TO CONDEMN NOW? (Jerusalem) — On December 9th, two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a bus station, wounding a 21-year-old pregnant woman, her husband (a Canadian-Israeli citizen) and five others. The baby of Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran has died. Hamas lauded the terrorists as “heroes” and urged other Palestinians to follow suit. Yet, when presented with a first opportunity to condemn Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted against denouncing Palestinian terror. If you are frustrated with the anti-Israel bias at the UN, sign a B’nai Brith petition to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by clicking the following link—ed. (B’nai Brith, Dec. 12, 2018)

 

On Topic Links

How Israel’s Calls for Countries to Move their Embassies Has Boomeranged: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 16, 2018—Canberra’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Saturday can best be seen as the return flight of a boomerang — a tool that likely originated among Australian Aborigine hunters.

Top Lebanese Politicians, Commentators Excoriate Hezbollah for Escalating Tensions With Israel Over Border Tunnels: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018—A growing number of Lebanese politicians and political commentators are openly accusing Hezbollah — the Iranian regime’s Shi’a proxy — of endangering their country’s security in the wake of the discovery of tunnels dug by the terrorist organization under the border with Israel.

The BBC’s Spotty Coverage of Terrorism in Israel: November 2018: Hadar Sela, Algemeiner, Dec. 12, 2018—The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks during November 2018 shows that throughout the month, a total of 645 incidents took place: 106 in Judea and Samaria, eight in Jerusalem, two within the “green line,” and 529 in the Gaza Strip sector.

Europe Wake Up!: Daniel Pipes, Controverso Quotidiano (Italy), Dec. 15, 2018Controverso Quotidiano: You have written much recently about Europe’s nativist-nationalist-populist-far-right parties, which you call civilizationist. Why do you use this term? Daniel Pipes: Because none of the other words you used describes these parties precisely; their focus is on preserving Western civilization, making civilizationist most accurate.