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





MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: “HOW COULD MODERN ORTHODOX JUDAISM PRODUCE JARED KUSHNER?” “…the challenge for Jared Kushner (senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald J. Trump), and everyone in our extraordinarily privileged generation, is to remember our ancestors’ suffering and honor their memories by defending the weak, vulnerable and oppressed today. How could Kushner — a Modern Orthodox golden boy — fail to internalize that? How could he invite Donald Trump’s Cabinet to his house for Shabbat dinner only hours after his father-in-law’s executive order banning refugees from entering the United States? How could he pose in a tuxedo alongside his wife, Ivanka Trump, on Saturday night as that executive order wreaked havoc on innocent people’s lives simply because they hailed from the wrong countries? Kushner’s failure is not his problem alone; it should chill every Modern Orthodox educator, rabbi and parent in the United States. How could the Modern Orthodox community, a community that prides itself on instilling in its children Jewish knowledge and ideals, have failed so profoundly?” — Peter Beinart. (Forward, Jan. 31, 2017)


Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links


On Topic Links


Should Netanyahu Spurn Trump?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom, Feb. 15, 2017

Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Is the Right Move: Alex Vatanka, Realclearworld, Feb. 10, 2017

Trump Faces Critical Decisions Amid 1st Presidential Crisis: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Feb. 14, 2017

Why Israel is Still Only Scratching the Surface of Relations With Japan: Gilad Kabilo, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 8, 2017





“I’m looking at two states and one state…I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one…I think we’re going to make a deal.” — U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump said on Wednesday that the U.S. would no longer insist on a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump, appearing in a joint news conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, also told Netanyahu to “hold back” on settlement construction in the West Bank, “…as with any successful negotiation, both sides will have to make compromises…you know that, right?” Trump told Israel Hayom last week that more Israeli settlements “don’t help the process” and that he did not believe that “going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.” He also backed away from his campaign promise to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, saying that it is “not an easy decision” and “we will see what happens.” (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2017)


“If in the Trump-Netanyahu era, Israel decides to establish Palestine, there is no turning back…A historic opportunity will be missed…If in their statements after the meeting they mention, for the first time in Trump’s term, their obligation to forming Palestine or two states in one way or another, we will all feel it in our flesh for years to come…The earth will shake. International pressure, boycotts, reports against Israel, missiles, freezes, tying the hands of our soldiers in the fight against terrorism….all this will continue and intensify.” — Chairman of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett. Netanyahu met with Trump in Washington today. When Bennett and Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked called on Netanyahu to speak out against the creation of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu told them of a conversation with Trump in which the President told him he thinks he can make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. (World Israel News, Feb. 12, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2017)


“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve…Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution if that’s what the parties want or something else if that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them…We’re not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be.” — A senior White House official. On the eve of a summit between Trump and Netanyahu, the official said a two-state solution was not a necessary outcome of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. (Forward, Feb. 15, 2017)


"Both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a very big stake in wanting to demonstrate that whatever the problems were with the last administration, they're now gone…The Prime Minister probably comes in with an agenda very heavily focused on Iran…I think what he [Netanyahu] wants is some understanding — and awareness not just about enforcement of the deal but that more needs to be done to deter the Iranians." — Dennis Ross, former special Middle East coordinator under Clinton. Much of that focus concerns Iranian policy in the region and the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Tehran and the so-called P5+1, which Netanyahu opposed. During his campaign, Trump voiced strong opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and in recent weeks has taken to Twitter to directly threaten Iran. (ABC, Feb. 15, 2017)


“Wednesday at the White House: the summit of the embattled. After a combined 11 years as Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is under police inquiry that may soon turn into a criminal-corruption investigation. With the resignation of his national security adviser Monday, President Trump is facing his first serious White House crisis…But though they’ll be discussing a range of Mideast issues, the only one that really matters is Iran. Oh yes, the Palestinian issue will be on the agenda, and Foggy Bottom-types, media eggheads and others in the ever-growing peacemaking industry will very carefully study every word for signs of change or continuity…More immediately…it’s time to start pushing a new UN Security Council resolution that would outright ban Iranian missile testing. Pressuring Iran on missiles could also help Trump deal with the North Korean crisis, as the two rogue nations cooperate on ballistic-missile development. All this…will reassure many American allies.” — Benny Avni (New York Post, Feb. 14, 2017)


“There have been many times in our history when the United States has been more welcoming than Canada…There was a period of time when Chinese were excluded from the right to immigrate to Canada. So were other Asians, Sikhs, Hindus, and people from all over Asia. Eastern Europeans were discriminated against. Southern Europeans were discriminated against in the 1920s and 1930s.” — Liberal Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather. Housefather was speaking last week during a Commons debate on Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending travel to the U.S. for non-U.S. citizens from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. The MP said the decision by the Trump government to do so is an American one, but that he was shocked by it. But Housefather also said Canada has been far from perfect in accepting refugees. Housefather added that at a time when Jews were trying to escape Hitler’s Germany, “the doors of Canada were closed to Jewish refugees.” The MP explained that in 1939, the ship, the St. Louis, filled with 907 Jewish refugees with valid visas to enter Cuba, were turned away by that country, as well as the U.S. and Canada. “I hope one day a Canadian government will apologize for what happened with the St. Louis,” Housefather said. (The Suburban, Feb. 8, 2017)


“The United States was disappointed to see a letter indicating the intention to appoint the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister to lead the UN Mission in Libya. For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the determinant of our allies in Israel.  The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.” — US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced that he would be naming former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as a special representative for Libya. Haley rejected the idea and warned that the US would veto the appointment. (Algemeiner, Feb. 12, 2017)


“We been hearing much about the new “post-fact” world of American politics, supposedly midwifed by Donald Trump’s miraculous ascension to the U.S. presidency. However, insofar as post-fact can be anything more than a cute and convenient meme for still weeping, ash-cloaked Hillaryphiles, it has been around much longer than Trump, and has surely had more virtuoso practitioners… Excesses of truth-bending and fact-denying are equally as common in protest politics as at the ballot box, in street-demonstrations as in high office…A leader of Toronto’s franchise of the U.S. Black Lives Movement, Yusra Khogali, with the angry zest that only activists can mimic successfully, called our Prime Minister a “white supremacist terrorist.”…There is exaggeration; there is hyperbole; there is full polemic; and there is just plain bitter idiocy. If Justin Trudeau, a one-man rainbow coalition in a well-tailored suit is a “white supremacist terrorist” then Ghandi was Hitler’s illegitimate son, and Mother Theresa was an incontinent axe murderess.” — Rex Murphy (National Post, Feb. 10, 2017)







PALESTINIAN WOUNDS 6 ISRAELIS IN MARKET ATTACK (Jerusalem) — A Palestinian man opened fire and stabbed shoppers with a screwdriver at a market in central Israel wounding six people. The attacker, from the Nablus area, was arrested soon after the shooting Thursday in Petah Tikva. Last week an explosion killed two Palestinians along the Gaza border with Egypt in what appeared to be a strike on cross-border smuggling tunnels. Palestinian officials said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli military denied any involvement. (Jewish Press, Feb. 6, 2017)


HAMAS ELECTS SINWAR AS GAZA CHIEF (Gaza) — Yahya Sinwar, considered one of Hamas’s most ruthless leaders, has been elected as the terror group’s leader in the Gaza Strip. Sinwar, 55, is seen as an unpredictable hardliner who inspires the loyalty of Hamas’s military wing. He will replace Ismail Haniyeh, who is running for the leadership of Hamas’s political bureau to succeed Khaled Mashaal. Sinwar, sentenced to life in 1989 for murdering Palestinian collaborators with Israel, spent 22 years in Israeli prisons before being released in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The election of Sinwar signals the ascendance of the terror group’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, which now holds more sway in the Strip than the political leadership. (Times of Israel, Feb. 13, 2017)


HAMAS MEMBER DIES IN TUNNEL COLLAPSE (Gaza) — A member of Hamas’s military wing was killed Monday when a tunnel he was digging in collapsed. Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said that Ahmad Asa’ad Shahada, 22, “met his lord as a martyr, God willing, after a tunnel of the resistance collapsed.” Last year, 22 members of Hamas were killed “preparing equipment,” the majority in tunnel collapses. Gaza terrorists have dug dozens of tunnels, many reaching across the border into Israel, to launch attacks in the Jewish state. Israel destroyed many of them during its 2014 war with Hamas, but Hamas has since been rebuilding the network. (Times of Israel, Feb. 13, 2017)


RUSSIAN AIRSTRIKE ‘ACCIDENTALLY’ KILLS THREE TURKISH SOLDIERS IN SYRIA (Damascus) — A Russian warplane “accidentally” hit a building in Syria with Turkish soldiers inside, killing at least three troops and wounding 11. Meanwhile, in a reflection of how complex the Syrian theatre of war has become, Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters and Syrian government allied troops briefly clashed on the outskirts of an Islamic State-held town. It was the first such confrontation since the Turkey-backed offensive began in northern Syria last August. Turkey and Russia recently repaired ties that were strained by Turkey’s downing of Russian jet two years ago. In December, the two countries brokered a cease-fire for Syria and in January they sponsored peace talks in Kazakhstan. (National Post, Feb. 9, 2017)


AT LEAST 20 DEAD AFTER SUICIDE BOMBER STRIKES AFGHANISTAN’S SUPREME COURT (Damascus) — A suicide bomber struck an entrance to Afghanistan‘s Supreme Court killing at least 20 people in the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s judiciary. 41 people were wounded, including 10 in critical condition. No one immediately claimed the attack, which bore the hallmarks of the Taliban. The insurgents have been at war with the U.S.-backed government for 15 years and have increasingly targeted the judiciary since the execution of six convicted insurgents last May. Shortly after the executions, a suicide bomber targeted a minibus carrying court employees in Kabul, killing 11 people in an attack claimed by the Taliban. (Global, Feb. 7, 2017)


SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS AT LEAST 13 AT PROTEST RALLY IN PAKISTAN (Lahore) — A suicide bomber plowed a motorcycle into a group of police escorting a protest rally in Lahore, killing at least 13 people and wounding nearly 60 in an attack claimed by a Taliban faction. A group called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Pakistani military operations against Islamists along the Afghan border. The group, which claimed a number of large attacks last year, has repeatedly targeted security forces and religious minorities. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13, 2017)


VALENTINE'S DAY CELEBRATIONS BANNED IN PAKISTAN CAPITAL (Islamabad) — A day before Valentine's Day, a Pakistani judge banned all celebrations in Islamabad, saying they are against Islamic teachings. The judge ruled on a petition seeking to ban public celebrations of the Western holiday, a court official said. The ban applies only to Pakistan’s capital as the Islamabad high court has no jurisdiction beyond the city. Islamist and right-wing parties in Pakistan view Valentine’s Day as vulgar Western import. However, the annual homage to romance on Feb. 14 has become popular in recent years across the Middle East and also in Pakistan. (Toronto Sun, Feb. 13, 2017)


FRENCH POLICE THWART ‘IMMINENT ATTACK’ WITH RAID ON BOMB LAB (Paris) — Anti-terrorism forces arrested four people in southern France, including a 16-year-old girl, and uncovered a makeshift laboratory with the explosive TATP and other ingredients for fabricating a bomb. A police official said the teen had pledged loyalty to I.S. TATP, which can be made from readily available materials, was used in the November 2015 attacks in Paris and the March 2016 attack in Brussels carried out by I.S. Two other men were arrested, a 33-year-old and a 26-year-old, along with the teenage girl. Police said one of the suspects was believed to be planning a suicide attack but that the investigation had not yet uncovered a specific target. (New York Post, Feb. 10, 2017)


LE PEN: FRENCH JEWS WHO HOLD DUAL CITIZENSHIP WILL BE FORCED TO LOSE ONE (Paris) — French Jews who also hold Israeli citizenship will have to give up one of their nationalities if Marine Le Pen wins the presidential election this spring. The leader of the anti-immigration Front National said she would bar the French from holding the citizenship of countries outside the EU, except for Russia, which she described as part of “the Europe of nations.” After Le Pen made the statement, her lead in the opinion polls rose a couple of points to about 25 per cent. Le Pen said dual U.S nationals would also have to forgo their U.S. citizenship, despite her support for Trump and her backing of his executive order restricting travel to the US from seven mainly Muslim nations. (National Post, Feb. 11, 2017)


LE PEN’S FATHER CHARGED FOR ‘OVEN’ PUN (Paris) — Jean-Marie Le Pen, 88, founder of Front National and antisemitic father of the party’s presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen has been charged with inciting hatred for an antisemitic pun he made back in 2014. The pun was made at the expense of French-Jewish singer Patrick Bruel. When Le Pen was asked about his opinion of Bruel he said, “Écoutez, on fera une fournée la prochaine fois” (“Listen, we’ll take care of that batch next time,”) except Le Pen used the verb “fournée” for batch, inferring “furnace,” as in the ovens. Le Pen for his part claimed he had no idea Bruel was Jewish. In 2015 the party revoked his membership. He sued and lost, although the court did permit him to hold on to his title of honorary president. (Jewish Press, Feb. 12, 2017)


SSMU REJECTS MOTION CALLING ON SADIKOV TO RESIGN (Montreal) — The board of directors of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) rejected a motion by a vote of 5-4 calling for the removal of Igor Sadikov from the board. Sadikov, who is on the SSMU board of directors, has been the subject of much scrutiny after a tweet he posted urging his supporters to “punch a Zionist today.” Sadikov defended his tweet as, “Opposition to the adherents of a political philosophy,” but “not an attack against Jewish students.” Following the publication of Sadikov’s tweet, the SSMU held a meeting to discuss the issue, during which a Jewish member, Jasmine Segal, said she was targeted for identifying as a Zionist and for calling Sadikov’s tweet “hateful.” In response, one student suggested that Zionists should not be able to serve on the SSMU. (Times of Israel, Feb. 13, 2017)


QUEBEC IMAM PRAYS FOR THE ANNIHILATION OF THE JEWS (Montreal) — At the end of his sermons at Al Andalous Islamic Center in Montreal, Quebec Imam Sayed AlGhitawi recited supplications to Allah to support the mujahideen (Muslims who engage in jihad) in Palestine and to inflict total destruction on the Jews. The following are excerpts from Sayed AlGhitawi’s supplications in 2014: “O Allah, give victory to our brothers who engage in Jihad for Your sake in everywhere…O Allah, give victory to our brothers who engage in Jihad in Palestine…O Allah, give them victory over their enemy…O Allah, destroy the accursed Jews…O Allah, show us the black day you inflict on them…O Allah, make their children orphans and their women widows.” (CIJ, Feb. 8, 2017)


GROUP ASKS TRUDEAU TO DEFEAT MOTION CONDEMNING ISLAMOPHOBIA (Ottawa) — An interfaith group is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to defeat a motion that condemns Islamophobia. The Muslim Jewish Dialogue of Toronto wrote to Trudeau saying motion M-103, which has not passed Parliament, and Petition E-411, which has, “are antithetical to the Canadian values we cherish…Like all religious groups, Muslims are already protected under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and criminal law. They do not need a separate law which is supported by groups that have close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and in essence are trying to put in place a form of sharia blasphemy law,” they state. Motion M-103 features several clauses urging the government “to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear, condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism.” (CJN, Feb. 10, 2017)


ABOUT 20 RABBIS ARRESTED DURING PROTEST OVER TRUMP TRAVEL BAN (New York) — About 20 rabbis affiliated with a liberal Jewish group were arrested last week after blocking the street near the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan to protest the executive order. Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, a rabbinical group that organized the protest, said it was meant to show that many Jews opposed the ban. “We remember our history, and we remember that the borders of this country closed to us in 1924 with very catastrophic consequences during the Holocaust,” Rabbi Jacobs said. “We know that some of the language that’s being used now to stop Muslims from coming in is the same language that was used to stop Jewish refugees from coming.” (New York Times, Feb. 6, 2017)


NFL PLAYERS PULL OUT OF ISRAEL TRIP (New York) — At least two more National Football League players, including a member of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, have pulled out of a goodwill trip to Israel. Martellus Bennett, a tight end for the Patriots, reportedly pulled out of the trip over the weekend. He joined his brother Michael, a Seattle Seahawks defensive end, who announced he would not join the trip because he objects to being co-opted as a “goodwill ambassador”. Last week, a group of activists recently wrote an open letter urging the players to “consider the political ramifications of a propaganda trip organized by the Israeli government”. (Arutz Sheva, Feb. 14, 2017)


INDIA TURNS TO ISRAEL FOR HELP WITH WATER POLLUTION (Tel Aviv) —India’s capital, Delhi, has turned to an Israeli firm to clean a major drainage stretch of one of the most polluted rivers in the country, the River Yamuna. Almost the entire household and industrial effluents of the national capital region are dumped into the water of the river. Israeli firm Ayala Water and Ecology Ltd. has been asked to formulate a detailed plan to clear up the Bhalswa to Surghat stretch of the supplementary drain. Ayala Water and Ecology has specialized knowledge in phytoremediation, a natural method using shrubs to remove and destroy contaminants in soil, water and constructed wetlands. (Jewish Press, Feb. 12, 2017)


AC TO LAUNCH TEL AVIV-MONTREAL ROUTE (Montreal) — Air Canada is introducing twice-weekly direct flights from Tel Aviv to Montreal from June until October, after the Jewish High Holy Day season. Another Canadian airline, Air Transat, previously announced that it is also offering direct flights between Montreal and Tel Aviv starting June. Air Canada is also increasing the frequency of its Tel Aviv-Toronto route to seven weekly flights. Other airlines likely to enter the Israeli civil aviation market include Japan Airlines, which has received approval for a Tel Aviv-Tokyo route; Air India, which has expressed interest in operating direct flights to Israel; and Australian airline Qantas. (Globes, Feb. 14, 2017)




On Topic Links


Should Netanyahu Spurn Trump?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom, Feb. 15, 2017—After eight years of barely concealed hostility between the leaders of the United States and Israel, the prospect of a new era of better relations has raised expectations for today's meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But while Netanyahu is likely to get a warmer welcome at the White House than he ever received from President Barack Obama, not all American Jews are enthusiastic about the anticipated lovefest.

Targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Is the Right Move: Alex Vatanka, Realclearworld, Feb. 10, 2017—The Trump administration is said to be considering listing a powerful state actor in Iran as a terrorist organization. Indeed, listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, would be unprecedented and would constitute the biggest escalatory step by Washington against Tehran in years.

Trump Faces Critical Decisions Amid 1st Presidential Crisis: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Feb. 14, 2017—Mark the time and date: At precisely 12:40 p.m. on Feb. 14, on the 25th day of the Trump administration, a Democrat dealt from the bottom of the deck to play the Watergate card: “What did the president know and when did he know it?” demanded Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Why Israel is Still Only Scratching the Surface of Relations With Japan: Gilad Kabilo, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 8, 2017—This week, a bilateral investment treaty was signed between the Japan and Israel. The agreement, signed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon after two years of negotiations, is another milestone in Israel’s newly blossoming relationship with the eastern nation. This upgrade is a central part of Israel’s “pivot to Asia,” preceded by bilateral visits of the respective prime ministers and many cabinet and trade officials from both sides.