WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

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Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

 

Finally Getting Serious About Identifying Islamists?: Daniel Pipes, National Review, May 23, 2016

A Fake Museum for a Fake Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, May 23, 2016

How the U.S. Tracked and Killed the Leader of the Taliban: Adam Entous & Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2016

Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Obsession: New York Times, May 19, 2016

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Peace is not achieved in international UN-style conferences, nor through international diktats that come of meetings of countries around the world sitting to decide our fate… Peace is achieved through direct negotiations where the Palestinian Authority would face a historic choice: recognize a Jewish state side by side with a demilitarized Palestinian state, or try to eliminate it.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu rejected the French initiative for a multinational conference to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, telling French Prime Minister Manuel Valls that direct negotiations were the only path forward toward a lasting agreement. The meeting with Valls came as part a two-day trip to the region by the French Premier, aimed at advancing his country’s plan for the summit in the face of opposition from Netanyahu. (Times of Israel, May 23, 2016)

 

“Direct negotiations with Mr. Netanyahu in the past have proven to be fruitless; why repeat the same mistakes? … Actions speak louder than words…Mr. Netanyahu's actions have shown that he's more interested in building illegal settlements than in reaching peace.” — Jamal Dajani, the director of communications for PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. The Palestinians rejected Netanyahu’s call to hold direct talks in Paris under the auspices of the French government. During his meeting with Valls, Netanyahu urged him to amend the initiative so that it instead becomes a platform for him and Abbas to hold talks in Paris without preconditions. (Jerusalem Post, May 24, 2016)

 

“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad. Get prepared, be ready … to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers … especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.” — Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, in an audio recording. A new message purporting to come from Adnani, the spokesman of Islamic State (I.S.), calls on followers to launch attacks on the US and Europe during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in early June. “The smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would if you were with us. If one of you hoped to reach the Islamic State, we wish we were in your place to punish the Crusaders day and night,” Adnani said. (Washington Post, May 15, 2016)

 

“Let the Jews bomb with their planes, they are not harsher on us than the Crusaders’ planes and Allah enabled us to persevere [against] those…. With Allah’s permission they will be overpowered, and then they will be taken to hell.” — I.S. article, identified by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute). I.S. threatened Israel in the article in its weekly newsletter, saying that unlike Hamas, the “war on Israel will not be limited by geographical boundaries or by international norms.” Israel has started to fight against I.S. in Sinai and Syria, it says, adding that the entire world is now an arena for the fight against all the “polytheist combatants, including the Jews,” who are legitimate targets. (Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2016)

 

“If the Supreme Leader’s orders [are] to be executed, with the abilities and the equipment at our disposal, we will raze the Zionist regime in less than eight minutes.” — Ahmad Karimpour, a senior adviser to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite unit al-Quds Force. A senior Iranian general on May 9 announced that the country’s armed forces successfully tested a precision-guided, medium-range ballistic missile two weeks earlier that could reach Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has repeatedly threatened to annihilate the Jewish state, and in September 2015 suggested Israel would not be around in 25 years. In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account on September 9, 2015, Khamenei addressed Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and added that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2016)

 

“Some of them pray, some of them don’t pray…But all of them kill…They are unbelievers and thieves…They kill Christians, but they also kill many Muslims. They kill people and take their property.” — Zarah Ali, a 20-year-old daughter of a Muslim farming family in Nigeria. Ali knows more about Boko Haram than most. She was its captive – twice. She escaped once, fled to Cameroon, and was captured again. She spent months under Boko Haram’s control. And despite the group’s Islamist ideology and its claims of allegiance to I.S., she scoffs at its professions of faith. In her months of captivity, she remembers how Boko Haram would gather the people of the occupied villages and preach to them about how to “slaughter” their enemies. In contrast to their religious pretenses, they often recruited followers with offers of money and threats of violence, she says. (Globe & Mail, May 18, 2016)

 

“It’s time to recognize that Putin is an existential threat to the free world and then to start building a strategy…In chess you need to decide your strategy before you move. If you don’t, it’s a recipe for disaster. By annexing Crimea, Putin wiped off the pieces from the board. You can pretend you’re still playing chess, and that’s what the West did… We don’t have politicians in the free world who can think in the long term, so they’re all playing a short-term game which gives a competitive advantage to Putin.” — Former world chess champion and opponent of Vladimir Putin’s regime Gary Kasparov. Kasparov also warned Israel against expecting any reciprocal gestures from Putin for selling arms to Moscow. “Russia has been constantly supplying the fiercest enemies of the State of Israel so the answer is obvious. Putin is an enemy. The problem is that while for instance the US can walk away, Israel cannot walk away from the map…Putin’s goal is diametrically opposite to what Israel wants, which is peace and stability and a balance of interests, whereas Putin wants chaos,” he said. (Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2016)

 

“Look, if somebody said they weren’t going to buy from a business because the owners were gay, you guys would go crazy…If somebody said they weren’t going to buy from a business because they came from Pakistan or they’re Sikh, people would go nuts. But somehow, because they’re Jewish or from Israel, oh, it’s free speech all of a sudden? Come on.” — Ontario Conservative MP Tim Hudak. Ontario’s parliament rejected a bill that would have prevented the province from conducting business with companies that support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Provincial lawmakers voted against the bill, dubbed the “Standing Up Against Anti-Semitism in Ontario Act,” by a vote of 39 to 18. Liberal and left-leaning NDP members largely voted against the measure. The bill was introduced by Hudak and a Liberal MP, Mike Colle. Hudak called BDS an “insidious new face of anti-Semitism.” (Times of Israel, May 21, 20160

 

“I would like you to imagine two people…On the one side, picture a sophisticated university professor, who believes that Israel is the root of all evil. On the other, a young man from Hebron, taught to hate from a young age, and motivated by Islamic extremism. At first glance, they have little in common. Sure, neither is too keen on Israel. But they come from different backgrounds, move in different circles, and express themselves in different ways. The professor acts out his hostility towards Israel through leading BDS campaigns: Organizing boycotts of Israeli academics. Using intimidation to prevent Israeli voices from being heard. And spreading bile and lies about Israel in his classroom. The young man’s hatred is expressed through taking a knife or gun, and going out to murder Israelis. While he dare not admit it, the BDS leader has more in common with the terrorist, than with genuine human rights activists. Their shared goal is simple and explicit: The destruction of the state of Israel.” — MK Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Minister of Public Security. Erdan said that though the tools of the proponents of BDS and Palestinian terrorists are different, “They are united in their goals, their language of hate and their victims.” (Algemeiner, May 22, 2016)

 

“Palestinian newspapers praised Baha Alyan, one of the terrorists who murdered my father, as a “martyr and intellectual.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the families of the attackers and praised them as “martyrs.”… As long as Palestinian leaders nurture a culture of hate, encouraging school children to go out and kill, more violence is inevitable. By encouraging hatred, they distance all of us from the love and belief in peaceful coexistence for which my father stood.” — Micah Lakin Avni. Avni’s father, Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Connecticut, was on a bus in Jerusalem last October when two young Palestinian men boarded and began shooting and stabbing passengers. Two passengers were killed and 16 injured. Richard Lakin died two weeks later. Lakin fought for civil rights in America. In 1984 he emigrated to Jerusalem, where he taught English to Arabs and Jews. In 2007 he published a book called Teaching as an Act of Love summarizing his life’s work and educational philosophy. The message of his book is that every child is a miracle that should be nurtured with love. (Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2016)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

NETANYAHU STRIKES NEW COALITION DEAL (Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Netanyahu clinched a coalition deal on Wednesday that will make far-right opposition legislator Avigdor Lieberman defence minister and broaden a thin governing majority in parliament. The pact between Netanyahu's Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, Lieberman's ultranationalist party, will give the four-term Prime Minister control of 67 of parliament's 120 seats, up from his current majority of 61. Netanyahu has said the coalition deal, which prompted Moshe Yaalon, a Likud member and former general, to quit as defence minister in protest on Friday, would stabilise the government and enable policymaking. (CBC, May 25, 2016)

 

MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS IN SYRIA TARGET ASSAD’S HEARTLAND (Damascus) — A series of coordinated terrorist attacks on Monday in cities near Syria’s Mediterranean coast have killed nearly 150 people. There were seven nearly simultaneous explosions in two seaside cities, Jableh and Tartus. A series of car bombs and suicide bombers targeted bus stations, hospitals and other sites. The Russians may have been targets, as Russia has a naval base near Tartus and an airbase near Jableh. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attacks. Some analysts considered that unlikely, pointing out that I.S. has been operating mostly in eastern Syria, and had not previously operated in western Syria. (Breitbart, May 24, 2016)

 

TALIBAN ELEVATE DEPUTY AFTER MULLAH AKHTAR MANSOUR'S DEATH (Kabul) — The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that their former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week and that they have appointed a successor. The insurgent group said its new leader is Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, one of two of Mansour's deputies. It said he was chosen at a meeting of Taliban leaders, believed to have been held in Pakistan. Mansour was killed in Pakistan on Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a U.S. drone. The U.S. and Afghan governments said Mansour had been an obstacle to a peace process that had ground to a halt when he refused to participate in peace talks this year. Instead, he intensified the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year. (CBC, May 25, 2016)

 

FOURTH MEMBER OF I.S. 'BEATLES' IDENTIFIED (Baghdad) — The last member of the group of British jailers who supervised the torture and killing of Western hostages held by I.S. has been identified as a 27-year-old Londoner who traveled to Syria in 2012. El Shafee Elsheikh, a U.K. citizen whose family fled Sudan in the 1990s, was one of four jailers dubbed the “Beatles” by their prisoners because of their British accents. The cohort’s most prominent figure was Mohammed Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John,” whose videotaped beheadings of American and British hostages became a global emblem of I.S. brutality. Emwazi, 27, was killed last year in a U.S drone strike in Syria. (Washington Post, May 23, 2016)

 

HAMAS PLANS 13 PUBLIC EXECUTIONS IN GAZA STRIP (Gaza) — Authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip are planning to carry out a series of public executions. The terror group has carried out previous executions in Gaza, although rarely in public and mainly of people accused of collaborating with Israel. Sunday’s announcement involved those convicted of criminal offenses. Thirteen men, most convicted of murder connected to robberies, are currently awaiting execution. The last public executions in Gaza were in 2014 during the last war with Israel, when a Hamas firing squad shot dead six men before Gaza City’s main mosque. All execution orders must in theory be approved by PA President Abbas before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognizes his legitimacy. (Times of Israel, May 22, 2016)

 

FRENCH BANKING GIANT CLOSES BDS ACCOUNT (Paris) — French banking giant Credit Mutuel recently shut down a BDS-linked account, allegedly over the potential for it to get into hot water given that boycotts of Israel are illegal under French law. Credit Mutuel has an office in New York, meaning that the company could have fallen foul of an anti-BDS campaign currently going through the New York legislature, according to the Jerusalem Post. At the beginning of May another European banking giant, the Erste Group in Austria, closed down a BDS-linked account. The Vienna-based BDS group attributed the closure to "political pressure." (I24, May 19, 2016)

 

SWISS PARLIAMENT LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO ANTI-ISRAEL NGOS (Bern) — The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has allocated funds in the millions to anti-Israel NGOs linked to terrorism and working in support of the BDS movement, according to a report in Switzerland’s Basler Zeitung. The story, headlined “Resistance in Parliament against money for Israel-critical campaigns,” stated that MP Christian Imark had introduced a motion supported by 41 lawmakers from across the political spectrum calling on the FDFA to stop all direct or indirect funding to organizations that sponsor “racist and anti-Semitic actions” or are involved in BDS campaigns. The move could bring about a sea change in Swiss funding for scores of anti-Israel NGOs. (Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2016)

 

LABOUR MEMBER SUSPENDED FOR CLAIMING JEWS COMMIT ‘GENOCIDE’ IN UK (London) — The British Labour Party suspended yet another member for antisemitic comments after he posted an article online claiming that “Jews control Britain and are committing genocide on us.” Musabbir Ali, a former campaign officer from East London, was suspended last Thursday. He is one of approximately 20 members to be suspended in recent months. Ali posted on Twitter a link to a blog post titled “Timeline of the Jewish Genocide of the British People.” The blog claims that Jews “financed Oliver Cromwell’s overthrowing and beheading of Stuart King Charles I after he refused them control of England’s finances” and accuses such British leaders as Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and Tony Blair of being “Jewish puppets.” (Times of Israel, May 13, 2016)

 

MOB DISRUPTS ISRAELI FILM AT UC IRVINE (Los Angeles) — Anti-Israel student protesters at the University of California Irvine chanted “Long live the Intifada” as they disrupted a screening of the Israeli film Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front last Wednesday. The disruption forced campus police to escort mostly female Jewish students who felt threatened by the protest safely out of the room in which the movie was being shown. According to local media, about 50 protesters were shouting profane slogans at Israel and the UC Irvine Police. The film is about Israeli soldiers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect their homeland from the constant threats and violence its citizens face. The screening was taking place just days after pro-Palestinian students at the school and UCI’s Muslim Student Union organized their annual “anti-Zionism week”. (Breitbart, May 21, 2016)

 

BDS IS ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL AND DISCRIMINATORY, SPANISH TRIBUNAL RULES (Madrid) — Citing anti-discrimination laws, a Spanish constitutional tribunal recommended scrapping a municipality’s motion calling for a boycott against Israel. The recommendation came after ACOM, a Spanish pro-Israel lobby, sued the northern municipality of Gijon for declaring itself “a space free of Israeli apartheid.” Gijon is located 290 miles north of Madrid. A similar motion was defeated last week by a majority of delegates in Tarragona, an eastern Spanish city. Tarragona is the fifth Spanish municipality where BDS motions have failed in recent weeks, while motions supporting an Israel boycott have passed in four Spanish municipalities. Spain’s government has repeatedly expressed its opposition to BDS, which is illegal in neighboring France because it is deemed discriminatory. (JTA, May 24, 2016)

 

SANDERS TAPS CRITICS OF ISRAEL FOR DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM COMMITTEE (Washington) — The Democratic Party platform drafting committee is top heavy with veterans of political battles over Israel. Democrats named the committee a day after reports emerged that Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Party’s presidential nomination, wants the platform to elevate the issue of Palestinian rights. Three of the Sanders backers on the committee — Cornel West, a philosopher and social activist; James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, and Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress — are known in part for their criticisms of Israel. West is a prominent BDS backer and Zogby has spoken forcefully against attempts to marginalize the movement. Ellison has called for greater consideration of Palestinian rights, but also has close ties to his home state Jewish community and says Israel’s security must be taken into account. (Forward, May 24, 2016)

 

NEW PALESTINIAN MUSEUM MISSING ONE THING: EXHIBITS (Ramallah) — A $24 million Palestinian Museum of Art, History and Culture that opened last week showcases a beautiful building with sweeping views. All that's missing are the exhibits. Still, Palestinians went ahead with a celebration marking the empty museum's debut to “tell the world, the entire world, that we are here, that we are still here, and we will continue to be here to build our independent state," said PA President Abbas. The 43,000 square-foot space was designed by the Dublin-based architectural firm Heneghan Peng. Completion of the exhibits has been delayed, in part because the museum's director resigned last year over disagreements with the museum's management. (Times of Israel, May 17, 2016)

 

ISRAEL, ONTARIO INK $87M WORTH OF SCIENCE AND TECH DEALS (Tel Aviv) — Companies from Israel and Ontario signed 18 deals valued at $87 million in Tel Aviv last week, during a visit from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The deals focused on science and technology, and included one between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev with Zenyatta Ventures to develop earthquake-resistant concrete and another between Insightec and Ontario’s University Health Network for removing brain tissue non-surgically. During her visit, Wynne also has met with Michael Hayden, Teva Pharmaceutical’s president of global R&D. (Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2016)

 

IDF UNVEILS ‘IRON DOME OF THE SEAS’ (Haifa) — The IDF offered a glimpse on Wednesday of the so-called “Iron Dome of the Seas” – a new maritime missile-defense system modeled after the highly successful Iron Dome, which has intercepted thousands of rockets fired at Israel by Hamas from the Gaza Strip in recent years. The new missile-defense system, called Tamir Adir, conducted a successful interception at sea, the IDF announced. The Tamir Adir, which literally means “hidden and mighty,” fires a targeted Tamir interception missile, just like the Iron Dome. The “Iron Dome of the Seas” joins Israel’s “underground Iron Dome” – still in development – designed to counter the threat of Hamas terror tunnels infiltrating Israel from Gaza. (Breaking Israel News, May 19, 2016)

 

REWALK TECH TO HELP STROKE, MS VICTIMS GET MOVING (Jerusalem) — The ReWalk system, developed in Yokne’am, Israel, has done wonders for quadriplegics, providing them with a method of being able to walk again – or even run a marathon, as several paralyzed individuals have done while wearing the ReWalk exoskeleton suit. Now, a version of the system will be used to help a much larger cohort – individuals who have difficulty moving about due to stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), old age, or other reasons. ReWalk allows paraplegics to walk, almost the same as an able-bodied person. The system has been extensively studied and tested in Israel, the US, and Europe, and is in use by people around the world. (Times of Israel, May 23, 2016)

 

EVIDENCE OF HIDDEN NAZI NUCLEAR BOMBS SAID FOUND IN GERMANY (Berlin) — An amateur historian in Germany believes he has found evidence of Nazi nuclear bombs hidden underground near Chemnitz, located in Eastern Germany south of Berlin. 70-year-old Peter Lohr claimed he found the mysterious objects originally in 2012, using 3D technology, in an abandoned tunnel network. The Nazi nuclear weapons program was officially stopped in 1942, however it was rumored to have continued in secret. For years amateur historians have hunted for World War Two artifacts, just last year Polish authorities claimed to have found a tunnel containing a Nazi train filled with gold. It was later reported that though the tunnel existed, the train report was fabricated. (Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2016)

 

AMSTERDAM TO PAY JEWISH COMMUNITY $11M FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR TAXES (Amsterdam) — The city of Amsterdam will give its Jewish community $11 million as compensation for taxes imposed on Holocaust survivors who returned home to the Dutch capital following World War II. Upon their return the survivors were made to pay a tax because their homes were left empty during the Holocaust. They also had to pay back taxes for the years they had been taken away from the city, as well as insurance fees. The city said it would pay the $11 million — an estimate of the total taxes paid by survivors following the war. The city has suggested the money be put toward a Holocaust memorial monument or community programs. (Jewish Journal, May 24, 2016)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Finally Getting Serious About Identifying Islamists?: Daniel Pipes, National Review, May 23, 2016 —After the jihadi attacks in Paris in January and November 2015, the French intelligence agency Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI, General Directorate for Internal Security) began to scrutinize personnel at the city’s airports.

A Fake Museum for a Fake Palestine: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, May 23, 2016—150 years ago, Mark Twain visited Muslim-occupied Israel and wrote of “unpeopled deserts” and “mounds of barrenness,” of “forlorn” and “untenanted” cities. Palestine is “desolate,” he concluded. “One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.” The same is true of the Palestinian Museum which opened with much fanfare and one slight problem. While admission is free, there’s nothing inside for any of the visitors to see except the bare walls.

How the U.S. Tracked and Killed the Leader of the Taliban: Adam Entous & Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2016—U.S. spy agencies zeroed in on Mullah Akhtar Mansour while he was visiting his family in Iran, laying a trap for when the Taliban leader crossed the border back into Pakistan.

Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Obsession: New York Times, May 19, 2016—The United States and Russia are now proposing to drop food and other emergency aid from the air if President Bashar al-Assad of Syria does not allow trucks to deliver supplies to his besieged cities. Airdrops are a risky and desperate move — costly, hard to deliver accurately and, if poorly targeted, a threat to kill or injure the people they are supposed to help.