WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

The Implications of Mike Pompeo’s 12-Point Speech: Doron Feldman, BESA, May 23, 2018

The Western Nakba: Hating Israel: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, May 18, 2018

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide – It’s About Time: Israel W. Charny, Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2018

Malaysia: The Return of an Anti-Semitic Prime Minister: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, May 22, 2018

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Bernard Lewis was one of the great scholars of Islam and the Middle East in our time. We will be forever grateful for his robust defense of Israel…I will always feel privileged to have witnessed firsthand his extraordinary erudition and I gleaned invaluable insights from our many meetings over the years. I was also deeply moved by his wide-ranging conversations with my late father, Prof. Benzion Netanyahu.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bernard Lewis, renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East, died Saturday at age 101. Lewis is credited with coining the controversial term “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West in a 1990 piece in The Atlantic titled “The Roots of Muslim Rage.” (Haaretz, May 21, 2018) 

“Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East…This is just the beginning. The sting of sanctions will be painful. These will be the strongest sanctions in history when complete… You know, the list is pretty long, but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements…The length of the list is simply a scope for the maligned behavior of Iran. We didn’t create the list, they did…It is America’s hope that our labors toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran.” — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo laid out a list of changes the US is demanding of the Iranian regime — from respecting the sovereignty of the Iraqi government to pulling its troops out of Syria. He said Iran must also release all American prisoners and prisoners of US allies. A number of provisions relate to Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well, with Pompeo vowing that the country would have “no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever.” If not, “we will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them,” Pompeo ​said. (New York Post, May 21, 2018)

“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them…Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?…History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles.” — Ismail Kowsari, a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iranian media also carried a statement from the foreign ministry, which said Pompeo’s remarks revealed the “poor intelligence, weak oversight, analytical backwardness and confusion in decision-making processes in the United States.” The US, the statement went on, was “not entitled” to tell Iran what policies it should adopt in its own region, given that “all the problems facing the Middle East… emanate from the interference and encroachment of Washington and the medieval dictatorial governments of its allies.” Iran, by contrast, was bringing “stabilizing and anti-terrorism measures” to the world. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

“The fact that this shameful decision was made even after Hamas officials admitted that the vast majority of those killed were terrorists proves, once again, that nothing can separate this council from its hatred of Israel…The day this Council investigates the war crimes of Hamas is the day it can be called the Human Rights Council.” — Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon. Danon condemned the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday after it approved a decision to open an independent investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes on the Gaza border. Earlier this week, mass riots on the Gaza-Israel border led to 60 Palestinians being killed and more than 1,700 wounded. The demonstrations, known collectively as “The Great March of Return,” coincided with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The protests had been held every week since March 30, with more than 100 people being killed and thousands injured during that time. The scope of the violence hit its peak last Monday, culminating in the bloodiest day in Gaza since 2014. (Jerusalem Post, May 18, 2018)

“International investigations play into the hands of terrorists…International investigations play into the hands of terrorists…We are not talking about demonstrations. We are talking about Hamas using these demonstrations for terrorism, to send their Nukhba forces to fire at troops and try to kidnap soldiers…In the past we had waves of hostilities [in the West Bank] and we should be ready for that. It would serving their interest to put the Palestinian issue back into the international discourse.” — Former Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon. Ya’alon made the statement after the U.S. blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for an independent probe into the deadly violence which left more than 60 Palestinians dead on Monday. The call for the independent investigations was supported by the United Kingdom and Germany. (Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2018)

“In the wake of recent events in Gaza, it is clear that the terrorist organisation Hamas bears direct moral responsibility and culpability for the senseless loss of life…Hamas has long incited violence and intentionally used civilians, including vulnerable persons, children, and even infants as a smokescreen for its attempts to breach the Gaza-Israel border for the purpose of committing terrorist acts in Israel. Reports that Hamas itself proclaims that most of the Gazans killed were active members of Hamas demonstrate this fact. Credible reports state that Hamas has used Gaza’s civilian population, including women and children, as human shields, laying truth to Hamas’ longstanding policy of capitalizing on the deaths of Gazan civilians as political cover for its terrorist activities. It is clear that Hamas continues to be the source of enormous pain to Gazans, and a threat to the safety of civilians in both Gaza and Israel. Its actions require condemnation. Hamas’ stated aims of the destruction of Israel and the murder of Israelis lay bare its goal in fuelling these violent protests. Israel has every right to defend the integrity of its borders, as any country does, in the face of such activities. The bloodshed resulting from Hamas’ incitement is untenable, for both Israelis and Gazans. At this difficult time, we stand with Israelis in calling for an end to the incitement and violence…” — Statement by Canadian MPs Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt. (May 17, 2018)

“The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis. But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk? Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.” — Bret Stephens. (New York Times, May 16, 2018)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES 

PARAGUAY PRESIDENT INAUGURATES JERUSALEM EMBASSY (Jerusalem) — Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes inaugurated his country’s new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, following the same move made by the U.S. and Guatemala. Prime Minister Netanyahu attended the inauguration ceremony at the Malha Technology Park, near the new Guatemalan embassy. Last week, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was in Israel to inaugurate his own country’s embassy in the capital, two days after the American embassy opened in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2018) 

ISRAEL THE FIRST IN THE WORLD TO CONDUCT STRIKES WITH F-35 JET (Jerusalem) —Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin revealed that the F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions, which he said made Israel the first country to use the American-made stealth aircraft operationally. The Israeli military later went further, saying that this was the first operational use of the fighter jet in the world, not only in the Middle East. The air force chief did not specify when those two attacks took place, but said the F-35 did not carry out strikes during Israel’s massive bombardment of Iranian targets in Syria on May 10. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

HAMAS: 50 OF THOSE KILLED IN GAZA MONDAY WERE MEMBERS (Gaza) — Fifty of the Palestinians killed in a protest in the border region between the Gaza Strip and Israel last week were Hamas members, a Hamas member said. Many Palestinians in Gaza have participated in protests in the border region to support the return of Palestinian refugees to their ancestral homes in Israel and pressure the Jewish state to lift its restrictions on the movement of people and goods out of the coastal enclave. The IDF described the protests as “a violent riot,” asserting that participants tried to enter Israel, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and placed a bomb near the border fence. (Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2018)

TRUMP MIDEAST PEACE PLAN TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH: REPORT (Washington) — Reports that the Trump administration is set to release its much-awaited Middle-East Peace Plan next month indicate that it will come as a disappointment to the Palestinians. A report cited five U.S. officials and a congressional aide who said that the plan, composed by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, should be made public by late June. The Palestinian Authority is already at odds with the White House over the opening of the US Embassy in Washington which led to President Mahmoud Abbas recalling the chief of the PA Mission in Washington last Monday. (Breaking Israel News, May 21, 2018)

ABBAS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL FOR THE THIRD TIME IN A WEEK (Ramallah) — PA President Mahmoud Abbas was taken to a Ramallah hospital for the third time in a week. Sources said that he was suffering from chest pains. A Palestinian official said had a fever. Last Tuesday Abbas, 83, underwent surgery in his ear which he described as “minor,” saying he was in good shape. On Saturday he was briefly taken to hospital again, with his office saying he had gone to follow up on the operation. Abbas has not designated a successor, and the Palestinians have not held presidential elections since 2005 because of the split between Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas, which rules Gaza. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

ABBAS SHOWN READING NEWSPAPER WITH ANTI-ISRAEL CARTOON (Ramallah) — Pictures of Abbas walking around the hospital and reading a newspaper were published in an apparent attempt to calm rumors that his condition was serious. The newspaper Abbas was reading prominently carried a large cartoon on its back page, facing the camera, showing an Israeli soldier taking a baby’s milk away from her and ramming poison down her throat instead. The cartoon referred to reports that 8-month-old Layla Ghandour died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops during violent protests on the Gaza border last week. A Gazan doctor said that Ghandour had a preexisting condition and that he did not believe her death was caused by the gas. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2018)

SYRIAN AND RUSSIAN FORCES LAUNCH ATTACK ON PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP (Yarmouk) — Syrian and Russian forces have launched a large-scale attack on a Palestinian refugee camp under the control of I.S. Pro-government troops fired a barrage of air strikes and surface-to-surface missiles into Yarmouk camp in southeast Damascus, as they rid the areas of jihadists. Air strikes have levelled more than 60 per cent of the camp, leaving the civilians that remain trapped in uninhabitable conditions. Before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Yarmouk was home to around 160,000 Palestinian refugees. More than 100,000 Syrians also lived in the area. (Telegraph, May 16, 2018)

EX-LONDON MAYOR WHO SAID HITLER WAS ONCE A ZIONIST QUITS UK LABOUR (London) — Former London mayor Ken Livingstone quit the Labour Party, saying his 2016 suspension for alleged antisemitic comments had become a “distraction” to a party dogged by allegations that its leader Jeremy Corbyn is failing to tackle antisemitism in its ranks. Livingstone, the mayor of the capital between 2000 and 2008, denied that he had “brought the Labour Party into disrepute,” and that he was “in any way guilty of anti-Semitism.” Livingstone, 72, was suspended after saying that when Hitler won power in Germany, “his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.” (Times of Israel, May 21, 2018)

TORONTO SCHOOL REMOVES JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH BANNER (Toronto) — The principal of a Toronto public school removed a banner made by students for Jewish Heritage Month, a decision upheld by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The banner had hung at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, a Toronto high school with a large Jewish population, before being removed. When questioned by students and parents, Principal Reiko Fuentes told them that, although originally approved, the banner was “too controversial” because it resembled the Israeli flag. (B’nai Brith, May 23, 2018)

B.C. PREMIER HAILS IMAM WHO SLAMMED “MALEVOLENT JEWS” (Victoria) — B.C. Premier John Horgan is standing by its praise of a Vancouver imam who slammed “malevolent Jews” and “criminal Zionists” in a public prayer session and urged congregants to send weapons to Palestinians. Tarek Ramadan, of the Kingsway Mosque, made the comments in 2017. The Muslim Association of Canada described his remarks as “inappropriate” and said Ramadan would be suspended from delivering sermons. Nevertheless, Horgan lauded Ramadan’s “work as a community activist,” striving to “ensure our province is a place of acceptance and vibrancy.” (B’nai Brith, May 16, 2018)

U.S. ISLAMISTS CELEBRATE AN ANTISEMITE’S ELECTION (Kuala Lumpur) — Malaysia’s newly elected leader never kept his antisemitism a secret, yet his election is feted by U.S. Islamists. In 2003, Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad said that “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews.” He has also said, “I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.” Malaysia has been in the news following outrage by Hamas over the assassination there of a Hamas operative, and has been noted as a hotbed for Hamas activity. Despite the antisemitic rhetoric, U.S. Islamists feted the Malaysian’s return to government. Hussam Ayloush and Mongi Dhaouadi, officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) posted approvingly about Muhamad’s win. (IPT News, May 16, 2018)

REFUGEES ADMITTED TO THE U.S. HAS FALLEN, ESPECIALLY AMONG MUSLIMS (Washington) — The number of Muslim refugees admitted to the United States in the first half of fiscal 2018 has dropped from the previous year more than any other religious group, falling to nearly 1,800 compared with the roughly 22,900 admitted in all of fiscal 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The low point in Muslim admissions was set in the year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The number of refugees who enter the U.S. in fiscal 2018 is expected to fall below the previous year’s total (53,700) because President Donald Trump’s administration capped admissions at 45,000 this year. (Pew Research, May 3, 2018)

OIL GIANT TO PULL OUT OF IRAN (Paris) — Total SA, the first major oil and gas company to sign a deal with Tehran after the nuclear agreement in 2016, “will not be in a position to continue” its work in Iran in light of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord, the firm said. The French oil giant relies on US financial institutions. Trump’s announcement that he would snap back sanctions on Iran that were in place before the nuclear deal means that those banks would no longer be accessible to Total, or to any other companies, should they continue to engage in the Iranian marketplace. Total’s $2 billion deal with Tehran was in partnership with a subsidiary of Chinese company CNPC. The Chinese have indicated they will take over Total’s stake in the project should it choose to leave. (Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2018)

FOUR MEN SHOT DEAD AFTER I.S.-CLAIMED ATTACK IN INDONESIA (Jakarta) — Four men who attacked an Indonesian police headquarters with samurai swords were shot dead and one officer also died, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by I.S. rocked the country. The assault in Pekanbaru saw a group ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers with the swords. It was not clear if the incident was linked to other attacks which saw two families stage suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya. (Telegraph, May 16, 2018)

ALLEGED IS SUPPORTER ACCUSED OF URGING PRINCE GEORGE ATTACK (London) — An alleged supporter of I.S. went on trial in London, accused of encouraging attacks on 4-year-old Prince George. Prosecutors say 32-year-old Husnain Rashid provided an “e-toolkit for terrorism” on an online channel he ran under the name the Lone Mujahid. The prosecutor told a jury that Rashid encouraged attacks on a range of targets, including “injecting poison into supermarket ice creams and targeting Prince George at his first school.” Rashid, a mosque teacher from northwest England, is accused of encouraging “lone wolf” attacks and providing advice on using bombs, chemicals and knives. (CTV, May 23, 2018)

TURKISH BANKER IN IRAN SANCTIONS-BUSTING CASE SENTENCED (New York) — A Turkish banker who was convicted of taking part in a billion-dollar conspiracy to violate United States sanctions on Iran was sentenced to 32 months in prison, a far shorter term than prosecutors had sought. The trial of the banker, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, depicted high-level corruption in Turkey, riveted the Turkish public and strained that country’s relations with the United States. Atilla was the deputy general manager for international banking at Halkbank, a Turkish state bank that American prosecutors alleged was at the center of the broad sanctions-evasion scheme. (New York Times, May 16, 2018)

ISRAEL TO DEBATE RECOGNIZING ARMENIAN GENOCIDE (Jerusalem) — Israel’s parliament will debate recognizing the Armenian genocide, amid a diplomatic spat with Turkey over the deaths of Palestinians in clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza border. It is the first time in years that the foreign ministry has not objected to a debate on the Ottoman massacre of some 1.5 million Armenians in  during World War One. Israel has refrained from formally recognizing the genocide due to its diplomatic ties with Turkey and Azerbaijan. But the fragile Israel-Turkey relationship was thrown into disrepair last week as Ankara condemned the deaths of 60 Palestinians in Gaza border clashes as a “massacre”, withdrawing its ambassador from Israel and kicking out Israel’s envoy a day later. (I24, May 22, 2018)

PHILIP ROTH, AWARD-WINNING NOVELIST, DIES AT 85 (New York) — Philip Roth, who charted post-World War II America in self-referential literary novels with themes of sex, politics and secular Judaism, has died. He was 85. Roth burst into consciousness in 1969 with “Portnoy’s Complaint,” a satiric psychoanalyst’s couch monologue set in Newark, New Jersey, Roth’s own hometown. Because it depicted secular Jews, much of Roth’s early work, especially “Portnoy’s Complaint,” was interpreted by some as an attack on traditional Judaism. Gershom Scholem wrote in Haaretz that Portnoy “is the book for which all anti-Semites have been praying.” (Bloomberg, May 23, 2018)

On Topic Links

The Implications of Mike Pompeo’s 12-Point Speech: Doron Feldman, BESA, May 23, 2018—Mike Pompeo’s assertive and exhaustive 12-point speech of May 21, 2018 was an important step in the realization of the Trump Doctrine. Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation, the former CIA director unveiled the administration’s nuclear nonproliferation strategy against Iran, which strives to exert constant pressure on Tehran so as to goad it into a new nuclear deal without resorting to armed force.

The Western Nakba: Hating Israel: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, May 18, 2018 —After the clashes in Gaza that cost the lives of 62 Palestinians Arabs (a Hamas official, Salah Bardawil, said on television that 50 of the victims were members of the terrorist group), a series of diplomatic crises have taken place. While the African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa, compared Israel to Nazis, Turkey humiliated the expelled Israeli ambassador at the airport.

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide – It’s About Time: Israel W. Charny, Jerusalem Post, May 22, 2018—The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem welcomes warmly the proposed recognition by Israel of the Armenian Genocide. The genocide of course was against the Armenian people, but also included millions of other peoples, especially the Assyrians and Greeks. The guiding motif was to remove all non-Islamic peoples, and even more so to be rid of all those who were not “real Turks.”

Malaysia: The Return of an Anti-Semitic Prime Minister: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, May 22, 2018—Ninety-two-year-old Muhammad Mahathir has come out of retirement. He has won the Malaysian parliamentary elections and become the country’s prime minister once again. Mahathir has a long record of extreme anti-Semitic statements. One in particular stands out because it was made at a gathering of almost all the Muslim countries.