WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW”

On Topic Links

Palestinians Set to Reject US Peace Plan: Uri Savir, Al-Monitor, Mar. 25, 2018

Why Palestinians Need an Israel Victory: Daniel Pipes, The Australian, Mar. 24, 2018

Ben-Gurion and Bolton vs. the United Nations: Dr. Rafael Medoff, Jewish Press, Mar. 27, 2018

Why Did I Protest Against Corbyn? Look at his Long List of Evasions: Hadley Freeman, Guardian, Mar. 27, 2018

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

“Delaying it and watching (Iran) getting that bomb, that means you are waiting for the bullet to reach your head…So you have to move from today…We know the target of Iran…If they have a nuclear weapon, it’s a shield for them to let them do whatever they want in the Middle East, to make sure that no one attacks them or they will use their nuclear weapons.” — Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince renewed his attack on the Iran nuclear deal during a visit to the U.S., saying the agreement would delay but not prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He reserved his most forceful comments for Iran, Saudi Arabia’s political and religious nemesis. The two countries follow different sects of Islam and are locked in a regional struggle for power and influence that plays out across conflicts in Yemen and Syria, among others. (New York Times, Mar. 27, 2018)

“(John) Bolton now represents the greatest threat to the United States.” — Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Former ambassador to the UN John Bolton will replace Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, President Trump said last week. Demeaning Bolton as “an unhinged advocate for waging World War III,” Parsi claimed that his “first order of business will be to convince Trump to exit the Iran nuclear deal and lay the groundwork for the war he has urged over the past decade.” NIAC lobbied in favor of the JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal. Parsi added that Bolton’s appointment was “a slap in the face even to Trump’s supporters who thought he would break from waging disastrous foreign wars and military occupations.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 23, 2018)

“The Islamic Republic has managed to restore security in the region and it will be the same in future…The US will no doubt fail to achieve its objectives with regard to the regional issues and the Islamic Republic of Iran will, God willing, accomplish all its goals in the region.” — Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech marking the Persian New Year. The Islamic republic’s leader further claimed that Washington had no incentive to defeat I.S. and was incapable of stabilizing the region. Khamenei claimed Tehran was responsible for restoring security to the Middle East, thus defeating “the Americans’ plot.” (Jerusalem Online, Mar. 22, 2018)

“The motivation of our enemies has grown in recent years, but so too the might of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces)…Everyone in the Middle East would do well to internalize this equation.” — Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The IDF confirmed last week it carried out the 2007 airstrike in Syria that destroyed what was believed to be a nuclear reactor, lifting the veil of secrecy over one of its most mysterious operations. The strike was reminiscent of an Israeli attack in 1981 against a reactor being built in Iraq. The strike was later credited with preventing Saddam Hussein from acquiring weapons of mass destruction that could have been used in the Gulf War a decade later. (CBC, Mar. 21, 2018)

“The message from the 2007 attack on the reactor is that Israel will not tolerate construction that can pose an existential threat…This was the message in 1981, this is the message in 2007 and this is the future message to our enemies.” — Military chief Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Eisenkot, who at the time commanded Israel’s northern front along the Lebanese and Syrian borders, said it marked Israel’s most comprehensive attack in Syria since the 1973 Mideast war, and that everyone involved knew it could spark a new one. He said only a handful of top commanders were aware of the plans for Operation “Outside The Box.” (CBC, Mar. 21, 2018)

“Israel can deal with Syria independently and doesn’t need any help…If you go to farther ranges, and to a stronger and bigger country, coordination between the U.S. and Israel is much more important.” — Retired Chief of Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin. Yadlin said Israeli military forces are well within their comfort zone fighting against neighbors. It’s when the Israeli forces are tested against those bigger and stronger than themselves that the questions are raised. Yadlin emphasized “Israel should think that there will be cases that she will be left alone — and should develop the capability to deal with [a] nuclear threat by itself, independently.” (Jewish Press, Mar. 21, 2018)

“The time has come to change the name of the Council to the Council for Decisions against the Only Democracy in the Middle East.” — Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu attacked the UN Human Rights Council following its passing of five resolutions critical of Israel. The prime minister called the council a “circus of the absurd” and said their decisions are “detached from reality.” On Friday, the UNHRC adopted five resolutions critical of Israel’s behavior, while passing only two resolutions on Syria, and one each for South Sudan, Myanmar, Iran and North Korea. (Ynet, Mar. 24, 2018)

“But the price of a seat with a useless vote at the useless UN Security Council comes with the surcharge of conscripting Canadian soldiers in UN peacekeeping operations undertaken only in those hellholes that Xi, Putin and Trump have chosen. So, forget about Myanmar’s genocidal campaign against the minority Rohingya, which Beijing is content to enable and applaud. Never mind about the vast mortuary the butcher Bashar Al-Assad continues to make of what remains of Syria, which the Kremlin is happy to compound. Forget about Turkish caliph Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rampages in Afrin, which Washington is happy to overlook, even as the Turks slaughter America’s own erstwhile Kurdish allies there.” — Terry Glavin. The Canadian government intends to send peacekeeping troops and an aviation task force to the UN mission in Mali for a year-long deployment. Canada is deploying two Chinook helicopters to provide transport and logistics, and four Griffon helicopters to offer escort and protection services. (National Post, Mar. 21, 2018)

“I want to state clearly that the University does not endorse — and I personally oppose — the action advocated in the referendum, which echoes, in part, the language and sentiment of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement…In general, our University should be extraordinarily wary about such boycotts, given our core values of academic freedom and our commitment to the free exchange of ideas, uncertainty about the impact of such efforts, and concerns that we may be unfairly singling out one government and the citizens of the country in question.” — President Eric Kaler of the University of Minnesota, after a non-binding referendum targeting companies that do business with Israel was approved by students earlier this month. Kaler argued that the ballot — which also sought to penalize the companies for “violating Indigenous sovereignty,” and “maintaining and establishing private prisons and immigrant detention centers” — effectively “convolutes three issues.” Kaler pointed out that “the global BDS movement does not seem to distinguish between opposition to the policies of the government of Israel and opposition to the existence of Israel.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 20, 2018)

“The holiday of Passover represents the festival of freedom for the Jewish people, who left slavery in Egypt and came to freedom here in Israel…To be here in Israel for Passover is a very special moment for me. Every Pesach, at the end of the Haggadah we say ‘Le’Shana Habah B’Yirushalayim’ – Next Year, in Jerusalem. This year, because of the great efforts of our administration, particularly our president, when we say ‘Le’Shana Habah B’Yirushalayim’, it has a special meaning.” — The United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in a special video message ahead of the Passover holiday which begins Friday evening. The United States is expected to officially transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to the Arnona neighborhood in Jerusalem in May, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. (Arutz Sheva, Mar. 26, 2018)

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

4 DEAD INCLUDING SUSPECT IN I.S.-CLAIMED ATTACK IN FRANCE (Paris) — A gun-wielding extremist went on a rampage Friday in southern France, killing three people as he opened fire on police and took hostages in a supermarket. After a standoff, the 25-year-old attacker was slain as elite police forces stormed the market. They were aided by a heroic police officer who had offered himself up in a hostage swap and suffered life-threatening wounds as a result — one of 16 people injured in the day’s violence. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack near Carcassonne. It was the deadliest attack in France since Emmanuel Macron became president last May. (CTV, Mar. 23, 2018)

FRENCH AUTHORITIES ARREST TWO IN MURDER OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR (Paris) — The brutal murder of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor has been called an antisemitic hate crime by French authorities, who have arrested two suspects in the killing. Two suspects, both in their 20s, including one who had known Mireille Knoll, were charged with stabbing her to death. Knoll’s body was found partially burned, after the killers set her apartment on fire. The prosecutor’s office pointed to antisemitism. The murder of Knoll comes a year after the killing of Sarah Halimi, who was beaten and thrown out of a window by a neighbor, who shouted “Allahu Akbar.” (Tower, Mar. 27, 2018)

UK JEWS ACCUSE CORBYN OF FAILING TO CURB ANTISEMITISM (London) — 1,500 Jewish protesters gathered outside Britain’s Parliament on Monday, accusing opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of allowing antisemitism to spread in his party. Demonstrators at the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD) event were met with counter-protests by Jewish Corbyn supporters, leading to heated exchanges and minor physical confrontations. An open letter from the BOD, Anglo-Jewry’s main representative organization, accused the veteran leftist of siding with antisemites “again and again.” Corbyn, who denies the charges of antisemitism against him. (Times of Israel, Mar. 26, 2018)

UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA REJECTS BDS A THIRD TIME (Ottawa) — The University of Ottawa rejected for the third time a motion to endorse BDS. The Board of Administration of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) rejected the motion after having already disapproved a similar motion in November. BDS was also defeated at a general meeting of the SFUO earlier in March. In late 2017, SFUO leadership also attempted to revoke the club status of Hillel Ottawa and the Israel Awareness Committee, the only two registered Jewish clubs on campus. (Arutz Sheva, Mar. 26, 2018)

CATHOLIC EDUCATOR MAKES HOLOCAUST STUDIES MANDATORY (Louisville) — A Catholic teacher helped convince the Kentucky legislature to make teaching about the Holocaust mandatory in public schools. The state Senate unanimously passed the Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act. New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and California are states that require some measure of Holocaust and genocide education. The bill requires every public middle and high school in the state to include in their curriculum instruction on the Holocaust and other acts of genocide. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 27, 2018)

SUICIDE BOMBER STRIKES SHIITE SHRINE, KILLING AT LEAST 29 PEOPLE (Kabul) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near a major Shiite shrine in Kabul last week, killing at least 29 people on the first day of celebrations for the Persian new year. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the latest in a long string of attacks on Shiite targets in the past several years, seen as attempts to create sectarian tensions between majority Sunni Afghans and minority Shiites. The attack also left at least 50 people injured. (National Post, Mar. 21, 2018)

HOUTHI REBELS FIRE MISSILES TOWARD SAUDI CITIES, 1 DEAD (Riyadh) — A rebel group in Yemen said it fired a volley of ballistic missiles toward cities in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, where at least one person was killed. The Saudi military said it had intercepted seven missiles, including three aimed at Riyadh. The multipronged attack Sunday — toward cities in southwestern Saudi Arabia, near the border with Yemen, as well as Riyadh — represented a sharp escalation of the Houthi campaign. It imperiled a fledgling effort by a new U.N. envoy to broker peace talks to end the war. The attack came on the third anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen. (Washington Post, Mar. 25, 2018)

AT LEAST 14 DEAD IN CAR BOMB IN SOMALI CAPITAL (Mogadishu) — At least 14 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a car bomb blast near a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The explosion occurred on Makka Almukarramah road, a target of attacks in the past by the extremist group al-Shabab, who claimed responsibility for the blast. The group frequently attacks Mogadishu’s high-profile areas such as hotels and military checkpoints. A truck bombing in October killed 512 people in the country’s deadliest-ever attack. Al-Shabab was blamed. Thursday’s blast comes almost exactly a month after two car bomb explosions in Mogadishu killed at least 21 people. (Washington Post, Mar. 22, 2018)

NIGERIAN POLICE: BOKO HARAM TO FREE 1 MORE KIDNAPPED GIRL (Maiduguri) — Islamic extremists who abducted 111 girls last month in Dapchi, Nigeria are releasing one more girl, police said. Leah Sharibu, 15, was held back when 105 of her classmates were freed by Boko Haram extremists after negotiations. She remained a prisoner because she is Christian and refused to convert to Islam, her mother said. Boko Haram extremists stormed Dapchi village on Feb. 19, abducting the schoolgirls. The mass abduction caused a fresh round of outrage in Nigeria, and evoked painful memories of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok in 2014. (National Post, Mar. 24, 2018)

GAZAN TERRORISTS CAPTURED 12 MILES INSIDE ISRAEL (Jerusalem) — Three Arabs armed with knives and hand grenades entered Israel from the Gaza Strip and were arrested about 12 miles inside Israel. This is the second time in four days that Gaza Arabs have been able to penetrate Israel’s border fence. On Saturday, four Arabs entered Israeli territory through the security fence along the Gaza Strip border near Kibbutz Kissufim, carrying bags containing bottles of flammable materials. They tried to set fire to engineering vehicles and returned to the Gaza Strip unharmed. (Jewish Press, Mar. 27, 2018)

TAMIMI TO SERVE 8 MONTHS IN PRISON (Jerusalem) — Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was filmed slapping an IDF soldier in December, was sentenced to eight months in prison after reaching a plea bargain with the prosecution. In addition, the teen also received a fine of 5,000 shekels. The Palestinian is set to be released in July, as four months of her sentence were already served. Meanwhile, her mother Nariman was charged with incitement on social media and assault and was sentenced to eight months in prison and a fine of 6,000 shekels, while her cousin Nour, who participated in the incident, was charged with assault and sentenced to 16 days. (Jerusalem Online, Mar. 22, 2018)

ABBAS GREETS TERRORIST RELEASED FROM PRISON (Jerusalem) — PA President Abbas was among the hundreds of east Jerusalem residents who came to greet a terrorist who was released from Israeli prison last week. Rajaei Haddad, a resident of Jerusalem’s Old City, was part of the terror cell that murdered Gabriel Hirschberg in an attack on HaGai Street in November 1997. Upon his return home from prison, he was welcomed with a huge reception in the al-Ram neighborhood. According to the MEMRI Institute, Haddad received a dignified and sympathetic personal welcome from the Palestinian leader. Haddad spent 20 years in an Israeli prison for his complicity in a terror attack. (Ynet, Mar. 19, 2018)

HAMAS ANNOUNCES ‘SHEIKH YASSIN FREEDOMS AND HUMAN RIGHTS’ AWARD (Gaza) — Last week, Hamas announced the Sheikh Ahmed Yassin Award for Public Freedoms and Human Rights. Yassin was a founder and prominent leader of Hamas, who was dubbed by Israel the “mastermind of Palestinian terror” and a “mass murderer.” The Israeli government accused Yassin of direct responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks on civilians, and of being behind dozens of suicide attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians. Yassin was killed in an Israeli attack on March 22, 2004—hence the award launching on Thursday, 14 years later. (Jewish Press, Mar. 23, 2018)

U.S. BUSTS IRANIAN HACKING SCHEME (Washington) — The Justice Department revealed charges against an Iranian hacking ring that spent years pilfering research from over 100 American universities and government agencies. DOJ specifically targeted the Iran-based Mabna Institute, which it says was founded “to assist Iranian universities and scientific and research organizations in stealing access to non-Iranian scientific resources.” Over the course of four years, prosecutors say, hackers working for the Mabna Institute stole at least 31 terabytes of data from 144 U.S. universities, totaling $3.4 billion in intellectual property. The group also cracked into 176 foreign universities. (Politico, Mar. 23, 2018)

RENOWNED SPEAKER WHO FIGHTS EXTREMISM TO ADDRESS UN WATCH GALA (Geneva) — Maajid Nawaz, a former recruiter for hardline Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir, now a leading counter-extremism activist, author, and radio host, will speak at UN Watch’s 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner, on May 7, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. Nawaz is a leading critic of Islamism and a campaigner for liberal democratic values. In 2008, he founded the Quilliam Foundation, a pioneering counter-extremism organization which works to combat the ideological underpinnings of terrorism and provide policy recommendations to governments. UN Watch’s Gala will feature Nawaz and former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. For tickets email: gala@unwatch.org. (UN Watch, Mar. 22, 2018)

AIR INDIA MAKES HISTORY BY FLYING TO ISRAEL VIA SAUDI AIRSPACE (Tel Aviv) — The direct maiden flight of Air India to Tel Aviv from New Delhi arrived on Thursday, ending a decades-old overfly ban by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s decision to permit Air India to use its airspace has enabled the airline to take a shorter route. It will cover the distance in 7.15 hours, 2.10 hours less than the time taken by the only other airline that flies between the two countries — Israel’s national carrier El Al. Many Arab and Islamic nations do not recognize Israel and, therefore, disallow airlines from using their airspace for flight services to that country. (Times of India, Mar. 23, 2018)

RARE TROVE OF COINS MINTED BY JEWISH REVOLT DISCOVERED (Jerusalem) — Archeologists unearthed a trove of rare bronze coins dating from the last years of the Roman-Jewish War (66-73CE) in a cave near the south wall of the Temple Mount. The discovery was part of the Ophel excavation and included dozens of bronze coins as well as fragments of pottery from the rebellion of the Jews of Israel against Roman rule. Archeologists believe the coins were left by Jewish residents of Second Temple Jerusalem who sought refuge from the Roman siege in a cave. In February, the Ophel excavation uncovered a 2,700 year old seal which may have belonged to the Prophet Isaiah. (JNS, Mar. 27, 2018)

CAIRO GENIZAH PROJECT REVEALS 11TH CENTURY PASSOVER HAGGADAH (Cairo) — An ancient Haggadah from the Cairo Genizah, probably from the 10th-11th centuries CE, opens a window to the Jewish customs of the Middle Ages: the Passover Seder guidelines are written in Judeo-Arabic (Arabic in Hebrew letters). The Cairo Genizah is a collection of some 350,000 Jewish manuscript fragments that were found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo. These manuscripts outline 1,000 years of Jewish North African history and comprise the largest and most diverse collection of medieval manuscripts in the world. In honor of Passover, two pages from one of the ancient Haggadahs found in the Genizah are presented in the JTS library in New York. (Jewish Press, Mar. 28, 2018)

On Topic Links

Palestinians Set to Reject US Peace Plan: Uri Savir, Al-Monitor, Mar. 25, 2018—Despite growing tensions with the Palestinians, US President Donald Trump still intends to reveal a US peace plan for the Middle East. The plan will apparently be divulged right after the US Embassy moves to Jerusalem and after Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Why Palestinians Need an Israel Victory: Daniel Pipes, The Australian, Mar. 24, 2018—The moment is right for fresh thinking in order to dispatch the old and stale Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Ben-Gurion and Bolton vs. the United Nations: Dr. Rafael Medoff, Jewish Press, Mar. 27, 2018 —Presumably, David Ben-Gurion would have disagreed with John Bolton on a number of issues. But the Israeli founding father likely would have appreciated the incoming National Security Advisor’s strong skepticism regarding the United Nations.

Why Did I Protest Against Corbyn? Look at his Long List of Evasions: Hadley Freeman, Guardian, Mar. 27, 2018—It was a politely furious protest. I’ll talk about the politeness first. I arrived a few minutes late to Parliament Square for the demonstration against … well, let’s say the somewhat cavalier attitude towards antisemitism displayed by various members of the Labour party, and specifically the most senior member of the Labour party.