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

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

The Danger of a Widening Iranian Corridor Through Syria: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Dec. 24, 2018

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?: Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, Tablet, Dec. 10, 2018

Women’s March, Sponsors Silent on Anti-Semitism Allegations: Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review, Dec. 20, 2018

Anti-Semitism Is an Integral Part of European Culture: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Dec. 20, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES 

“The decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria will not change our consistent policy — we will continue to act against Iran’s attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria, and to the extent necessary, we will even expand our actions there.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s decision to bring home the over 2,000 soldiers who had been working in northeastern Syria with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias in areas once held by ISIS drew a lukewarm response from Israel, which is concerned about Iran’s activities in its war-torn neighbor to the northeast. The Israeli leader went on to say that his country’s cooperation with the US would “continue in full and finds expression in many areas — operations, intelligence and many other security spheres.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 23, 2018) 

“Trump’s declaration on US forces withdrawal from Syria is a significant step, but there’s no reason to panic…2000 US troops came to Syria to fight against ISIS and had no authorities to act against Iran…Syria, Israel was and remains the only actor enforcing red lines on the Iranians. Israel has always been defending itself, and seeks no foreign forces’ defense. Not even by our greatest friend and ally, the U.S.” — Former Israeli Gen. Amos Yadlin. Yadlin remarked that “the important role of America is to push Iran diplomatically and by sanctions, and it’s important they continue, effectively and determinately.” Regarding the withdrawal itself, Yadlin said that is probably the U.S. President Donald Trump’s “drive to decrease U.S. presence and casualties, the U.S. people’s fatigue from the nation’s long wars, but perhaps mainly what looks like a ‘grand deal’ with Turkey.” (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 23, 2018) 

“The Jews in Israel kick people laying on the ground. In fact, Jews don’t kick men but also women and children when they fall on the ground…But as Muslims, will confront these people [the Jews] if they have courage to deal with us and we’ll teach them a lesson.” — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas, has long been a harsh critic of Israel and regularly likens its actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians to the mass Nazi murder of Jews during the Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later hit back at Erdogan, issuing blistering criticism of Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus and the Turkish military’s treatment of the country’s Kurdish minority as well as Kurds in neighboring Syria. “Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel,” the prime minister said in a statement. (Times of Israel, Dec. 2, 2018)

“I can say that today. In recent years I didn’t think it was right to talk about [it], [but] Israel’s deterrence in the region is very significant…For decades, we’ve been facing [the Syrian] front alone. The IDF operated independently throughout this period, including over the last few years with US and Russian forces present…the Russian presence in Syria created a new situation and was an influential factor in the way we operated. The way we prepared allowed us to operate for the sake of Israel’s security interests.” — IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot. Eisenkot referred to the US’ decision to withdraw forces from Syria, calling it a “significant event, but one that must not be exaggerated,” as Israel has maintained its freedom to act in the region. Referring to Operation Northern Shield, IDF’s campaign to expose and neutralize Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels, Eisenkot said that “it’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if hundreds of Hezbollah operatives had entered [Israel from Lebanon] through underground attack tunnels. We detected and prepared for this threat in secret.” The IDF also “acted successfully against the precision capabilities that [Hezbollah] tried to achieve and against their attempts to establish themselves on the Golan Heights front.” (United With Israel, Dec. 24, 2018)

“For almost 400 years, this country almost uniquely in the world has been a place of safety and security and a place where Jewish communities have thrived…In 2018, many in the Jewish community are questioning whether this will be the case into the future…And a disturbingly large number of young Jewish people are questioning whether they should remain in this country…Does the prime minister agree with me that 2019 has to be a year when we all stand up and be counted to ensure that those young Jewish people believe, and stay in this country, wishing to contribute and no longer fearing for their future?” — John Mann, a UK Labour MP questioning British Prime Minister Theresa May. Mann has been outspoken on the issue of antisemitism in his own party and British society at large. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

“Can I say to the honorable gentleman that I absolutely agree with him? Jewish people should be able to feel safe and secure in this country. I never thought I would see the day when Jewish people living in this country questioned whether they should stay in this country. I think this is a terrible state of affairs that we have come to…There’s no place for racial hatred in our society, it’s important that we all take every step to tackle it. … It is absolutely right when the honorable gentleman talks about the need for us all, every one of us, to stand up now, to stand up as we go into the new year, and say 2019 will be the year when we stand up and say there is no place for antisemitism or racial hatred in our society.” — British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

“And lo, unto her did appear a host of Corbyn defenders, who did descend upon her mentions, and she was not sore afraid, because she was used to it. And the host did sing with one voice, ‘ungodly woman, thou foolest us not. We know the true reason thou despisest Saint Jeremy.’” — Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling. Rowling mocked the UK Labour party in a 16-part Twitter thread titled “The visitation of the Corbynites: a festive thread.” Turning to Labour’s antisemitism problem, she tweeted, “Yet must I protest, thou it breaketh my heart so to do, that this party of Labour, which I have so long loved, has become, under St Jeremy – ‘ ‘Speak not of the Jews!’ cried the host. ‘Why must thou speak so oft of the Jews?’ ‘Yea, I must speak,’ said she, ‘for when Jews no longer feel safe in Labour then I too must leave.’…“And one of the host did shout something about the Rothschilds,” Rowling continued, “and he was hastily hushed by his brethren, who did declare, ‘he is not one of ours, thou he sports a #JC4PM halo.’ And another did speak and he said, ‘it is not antisemitic to criticise Israel,’ and she did put her face in her hands and want to weep.” (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018) 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

ELECTIONS CALLED FOR APRIL 9 AS COALITION AGREES TO DISSOLVE KNESSET (Jerusalem) — Coalition leaders announced Monday that Israel will head to the polls within four months, with a general election set for April. Elections were previously slated for November 2019, and the announcement means that Knesset members will vote to dissolve parliament early. Opposition politicians said Netanyahu was going to the polls so as to be in a stronger position, as a re-elected prime minister, to battle possible indictments for corruption, as the attorney general weighs three corruption cases against him. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit is thought unlikely to decide on the cases ahead of the vote. (Times of Israel, Dec. 24, 2018)

POLLS PREDICT VICTORY FOR NETANYAHU’S LIKUD IN 2019 (Jerusalem) — In the upcoming general elections, Netanyahu’s Likud Party would receive between 27 and 30 seats in the Knesset, making it the largest party yet again, a sum of recent polls indicates. Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is predicted to receive between 15 and 18 seats. The Labor party is projecting roughly 11 parliament seats and a hypothetical new party by former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. (res) Benny Gantz would reach 15. The Jewish Home party is expected to grow slightly, reaching somewhere between 9 and 11 seats, as opposed to their current eight. (United With Israel, Dec. 26, 2018)

TERRORIST CAR RAMMING ATTACK FOILED (Jerusalem) — The Israeli military has neutralized a Palestinian who tried to ram his car into them in the West Bank, the IDF said Wednesday. “A Palestinian assailant from Nablus attempted to run over Israeli soldiers and civilians standing at a bus station in the Hativa Square, south of Nablus. IDF soldiers thwarted the attack,” the press service said. The attacker was reportedly killed and no Israelis were injured. The outlet further noted that Palestinian media identified the dead as 17-year-old Mohammed Ali el-Abassi. (Jerusalem Online, Dec. 26, 2018)

NETANYAHU GREEN LIGHTS NEW SETTLER HOMES (Jerusalem) — A day after announcing new elections, Netanyahu worked to advance and approve 2010 new settler homes. Separately he has fast-tracked the retroactive authorization of illegally built settler homes on private Palestinian property. The Prime Minister’s Office has also set up a special committee to examine such cases with an eye to legalizing them, based on the criteria of “good faith,” which is used to authorize such a construction within Israel, the state has informed the High Court of Justice. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 25, 2018)

ISRAEL RESUMES AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA WITH ATTACK OUTSIDE DAMASCUS (Damascus) — Israeli jets reportedly struck Hezbollah targets outside Damascus on Tuesday, reasserting Israeli airpower in Syria after several months of restraint following the accidental downing of a Russian military plane. The air raid was the first since Donald Trump announced he was pulling US troops out of Syria, prompting Israel’s government to say it would continue and expand its fight against Iran and its proxies in the country. The Israeli aircraft hit three Hezbollah arms depots south of Damascus. Syrian state media said three Syrian regime soldiers were wounded in the attack. (Telegraph, Dec. 26, 2018)

TRUMP WILL REPORTEDLY WITHDRAW HALF OF US TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) — The Trump administration is reportedly planning to pull roughly half of all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan — likely one of the first steps in ending the 17-year-long war in the country. About 7,000 American troops are expected to be brought home from the country in the coming months. The 14,000 troops currently in Afghanistan are split between counter-terrorism forces and soldiers that are training and advising Afghan fighters. President Trump made the decision at about the same time he decided to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria. (New York Post, Dec. 20, 2018) 

40 YEARS IN PRISON FOR JIHADI PLANNING ‘THE NEXT 9-11’ (New York) — The man who confessed to plotting the next 9-11 was sentenced to 40 years in prison for planning multiple attacks in New York City. Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 20, had “planned to detonate bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system, and to shoot civilians at concert venues,” said Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “El Bahnasawy aspired, in his words, to ‘create the next 9/11′.” El Bahnasawy, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in 2016 while traveling from Canada to New York. (Clarion Project, Dec. 23, 2018)

JEWISH MUSEUM SHOOTING SUSPECT APPEARS IN COURT (Brussels) — A man accused of shooting dead four people at a Jewish museum in Belgium in 2014 after fighting alongside extremists in Syria appeared in court, as preparations began for his trial next month. French national Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, is accused of “terrorist murder” for gunning down the four in the Brussels Jewish museum in May 2014. His alleged accomplice, Nacer Bendrer, 30, also appeared in court. The slaying was one of the first in Europe involving so-called foreign fighters — often young, radicalized people who trained or fought with the Islamic State group or other extremists — who returned home to commit atrocities like the November 2015 Paris attacks. (Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2018)

U.K. BRINGS IN ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY TO END GATWICK DRONE CHAOS (London) — The military equipment being used to stop further drone disruption at Gatwick Airport is believed to be capable of jamming signals to the rogue devices as well as tracking them. The Israeli-developed Drone Dome system is believed to be among the technology deployed at the airport by the British Army, and can detect and jam communications between a drone and its operator. The system, which is said to have a range of several miles, uses four radars to give 360-degree detection in order to identify and track targets. (Times of Israel, Dec. 22, 2018)

SEVENTH “SHIMSHON” DELIVERED TO THE IAF (Haifa) — On Sunday, a ceremony was held at the Nevatim Airbase to mark the arrival of the seventh “Shimshon”, C-130J Super Hercules military aircraft, that had landed on Friday, December 21st. The “Shimshon” aircraft, made by the American Lockheed Martin, first arrived in Israel in 2014 and joined the heavy airlift array, which frequently operates in cooperation with Israel’s infantry and ground units. The aircraft improves the capabilities of the IAF and the heavy airlift array. Besides its military use, the Hercules is also used to fight wildfires. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 24, 2018)

UNRWA TWEETS IN SUPPORT OF TERRORIST, THEN DELETES IT (Jerusalem) — UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, posted a tweet glorifying a Palestinian terrorist, then deleted the tweet, blaming what it alleged was “brief, unauthorized access” to its Twitter account. The tweet was documented by the Geneva-based watchdog UN Watch. UNRWA’s tweet had glorified Ghassan Kanafani as a “famed” Palestinian writer, when in fact he was spokesman and right-hand man to the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, when it orchestrated the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972, in which 26 were killed and 80 injured. (Arutz Sheva, Dec. 25, 2018)

WOMEN’S MARCH LOSES DONOR, AFFILIATES OVER ANTISEMITISM CONCERNS (Washington) — First, two high-profile liberal actors broke from the national Women’s March because of a pattern of antisemitism involving march leaders. Then a number of local Women’s March organizers either broke with the group or made it clear that they operated independently after a Tablet investigation provided detailed accounts of the antisemitism repeatedly exhibited among March leaders Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez. The National Organization for Women (NOW), perhaps the most prominent feminist organization in the country, also announced it would no longer provide financial support “until the current questions regarding leadership are resolved.” (IPT News, Dec. 26, 2018)

LAST WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING FIGHTER DIES (Jerusalem) — The last surviving resistance fighter from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 passed away in Jerusalem at the age of 94. Simcha Rotem, born Kazik Ratajzer in Warsaw in 1924, joined the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Combat Organization in 1942, after having been a member of a Zionist youth movement in his teen years and suffering the bombing of his home by the Germans. Rotem fought when the Nazis began to liquidate the ghetto in 1943, believing that it was better to die fighting than to be killed in Treblinka. After the war, Rotem made aliyah to Israel in 1946. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of Poland’s highest honors, for his part in the anti-Nazi war effort. (Breaking Israel News, Dec. 25, 2018)

HAMAS COMPARES PALESTINIAN TERRORISM TO WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING (Gaza) — The Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas compared itself to Jews who revolted against the Nazis during the Holocaust, amid a public relations effort on the 31st anniversary of its establishment. “If the Palestinian resistance is considered acts of terror, Can we call Nelson Mandela, who resisted the apartheid repression a hero? What can we call the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by the Jewish population against the Nazi repression?,” Hamas wrote on Twitter. Hamas often uses the term “resistance” as a euphemism for acts of violence against Israelis, including civilians. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

SWASTIKA, FECES FOUND AT KENT STATE (Columbus) — Police are probing an incident of vandalism involving a swastika at Kent State University in Ohio. Custodians at the school found a swastika on a glass window at Satterfield Hall, alongside feces on the floor and broken microwaves. The swastika and feces have since been removed.  An ADL report released earlier this year revealed an 89 percent rise in antisemitic incidents on campuses between 2016 and 2017. (Algemeiner, Dec. 19, 2018)

FUNDRAISING SITE DONORBOX SHUTS DOWN BDS ACCOUNT (New York) — The U.S. fundraising website Donorbox temporarily suspended the account of the BDS National Committee due to alleged terrorist ties and false claims over its nonprofit status. Donorbox announced the move after receiving evidence behind these claims, including backing U.S.-designated terrorist groups such Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The company said it will investigate the allegations. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2018)

EGYPTIAN SOCCER STAR SALAH MAY QUIT TEAM IF ISRAELI PLAYER JOINS (Liverpool) — Egyptian super-star Mohamed Salah has allegedly threatened to leave Premier League football club Liverpool if Arab-Israeli soccer player Moanes Dabour joins the team, Israeli media reported. According the report, Salah said that he will leave Liverpool should Dabour be signed. In the past Salah, refused to shake hands with Israeli players with the pretext of tying his shoes during a game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and FC Basel, his team at the time. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 25, 2018)

STAR NBA PLAYER LEBRON JAMES APOLOGIZES FOR ‘JEWISH MONEY’ POST (Los Angeles) — Lebron James, the star player of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, has deleted and apologized for an Instagram story he posted over the weekend in which he sang along to a song by rapper 21 Savage that includes a blatantly antisemitic lyric. James included a caption of the lyric – “We been getting that Jewish money, everything is kosher” – in his Instagram story. The controversy was James’ second in a week, after he lashed out several days earlier at team owners for having a “slave mentality” toward players, particularly the African-American ones. (Israel Hayom, Dec. 24, 2018)

JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL ANNOUNCES FIRST FEMALE CEO (Jerusalem) — For the first time in its 90-year history, the Jewish Agency for Israel will have its first female CEO and director general. Amira Aharonovich was named by Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog to the senior position. Aharonovich, 47, will become acting CEO and director general on Jan. 1, as her promotion is subject to formal confirmation by the Jewish Agency executive and board of governors, scheduled to meet in February. She will replace longtime CEO Alan Hoffmann. (Jewish Press, Dec. 22, 2018)

ISRAEL RANKS AS THIRD MOST EDUCATED COUNTRY (Jerusalem) — Israel is the third most educated country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). OECD calculated the percentage of each country’s population between the ages of 25 and 64 who have completed a degree beyond high school – including both academic and vocational programs. 50.9 percent of Israelis in the target age bracket have a higher-education degree. The U.S. came in at 5, with only 46.4 percent of its population in the target age group having completed a higher-education program. Japan is 2 (51.4%) and the most educated country in the world is Canada (56.7.%). (Israel 21C, Dec. 20, 2018)

THOUSANDS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM WITH WANING CHRISTIAN POPULATION (Bethlehem) — Thousands of international visitors descended on Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas in the city feted as the birthplace of Jesus. While Christian tourism from abroad may be booming, the West Bank and Gaza’s local coreligionists have seen their numbers dwindling in recent years. Palestinian Christians currently make up just under 1% of the overall Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Authority Central Bureau of Statistics. There are 46,850 Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and 1,138 residing in the Gaza Strip, the PA body said in a report published in February. (Times of Israel, Dec. 25, 2018)

On Topic Links

The Danger of a Widening Iranian Corridor Through Syria: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Dec. 24, 2018—In responding to President Trump’s surprise announcement of a withdrawal of all US forces from Syria on Wednesday, Israeli PM Netanyahu issued a brief statement that contained two messages.

Is the Women’s March Melting Down?: Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, Tablet, Dec. 10, 2018—On Nov. 12, 2016, a group of seven women held a meeting in New York.

Women’s March, Sponsors Silent on Anti-Semitism Allegations: Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review, Dec. 20, 2018—It has been a week and a half since Tablet magazine detailed extensive allegations of anti-Semitism and financial corruption on the part of the Women’s March leadership.

Anti-Semitism Is an Integral Part of European Culture: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Dec. 20, 2018—On December 10, 2018, the Fundamental Rights Agency released a study on anti-Semitism in 12 EU countries entitled Experiences and Perceptions of Anti-Semitism. Branded the largest-ever survey on anti-Semitism, its figures have been quoted by many media outlets in various countries without attaching any critique to those figures.