WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: LONDON ATTACKER'S MOTIVE STILL A MYSTERY, POLICE SAY: “Police in Britain say they may never know why Khalid Masood killed four people and injured 50 in last week’s terrorist attack in London…“We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this. That understanding may have died with him.” said Neil Basu, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and senior national co-ordinator for U.K. Counter Terrorism Policing.” — Paul Waldie. (Globe & Mail, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

Contents: | Weekly QuotesShort Takes   |  On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

 

WATCH: Hillel Neuer Of UN Watch Rips Human Rights Abusers Condemning Israel (Video): Israellycool, Mr. 22, 2017

London Parliament Attack was Straight out of the ISIS Playbook: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Mar. 26, 2017

Just How out of Touch is BDS?: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Mar. 23, 2017

How Long Until my Honest Criticism of Islamism Constitutes a Speech Crime in Canada?: Barbara Kay, National Post, Feb. 7, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“Israel is committed to working with President Trump to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors…I want to thank the President for his strong support of Israel…We confront the same enemies and we defend the same values…These are the things that bring Americans and Israelis together and so does the pursuit of peace. Israel’s hand and my hand is extended to all our neighbors in peace.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a video speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference. (Jerusalem Online, Mar. 27, 2017)

 

“When it comes to the great challenges facing Israel and the United States, for the first time in many years, perhaps in many decades, there is no daylight between our two governments.” — Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer at the AIPAC conference. The greatest regional threat facing Israel and the US in the Middle East, Dermer stated, remains Iran. “We both recognize that the [July 2015] nuclear deal does not block Iran’s path to the bomb and that Iran’s appetite for aggression and terror has only grown since that deal was signed and sanctions were removed,” Dermer said. “We also recognize,” Dermer continued, “that the worst outcome that could emerge from the horrific violence in Syria would be to effectively cede parts of Syria to Iran and Hezbollah.” Furthermore, Dermer noted, “the rising tide of militant Islam which has engulfed the Middle East has also enabled a rare moment of opportunity to bring Israel and many in the Arab world closer together. In working together to thwart common dangers, there is a real prospect of building a genuine path towards reconciliation in the region — a path not based on empty hopes and dangerous illusions, but a path based on a clear-eyed understanding of shared threats as well as a common desire for a safer, more prosperous and more peaceful future.” (Algemeiner, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

“The days of Israel-bashing are over…For anyone who says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there is a new sheriff in town.” — US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, at the AIPAC conference. “I’m not there to play games and what I wanted to make sure of is that the United States started leading again,” Haley said. “I wear heels, it’s not for a fashion statement, it’s because if I see something wrong we’re gonna kick ’em every time,” she said. Referring to the UN’s anti-Israel bias, Haley noted, “I knew they said it was bad, but until you hear it and you see it, you just can’t comprehend.” Haley called the Obama administration’s abstention from the December 2016 UN Security Council vote on the anti-Israeli settlement Resolution 2334 “embarrassing” and “hurtful…Everyone at the United Nations is scared to talk to me about Resolution 2334…That happened, but it will never happen again.” The former South Carolina governor pledged there would be “no more freebies” for the PA until it returned to the negotiating table. Haley also criticized the Iran nuclear deal, saying all it did was “empower” the Tehran regime. (Algemeiner, Mar. 27, 2017)

 

“If you had a benign regime in Iran, all of the problems in the Middle East would be resolvable… We have to push back hard.” — ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Blair expressed his view that a “new way forward” was needed. “We’re not going to reach peace in the old way,” Blair said. “Up to now, people thought if you do a peace deal, then the circumstances will change. I think it’s the other way around…What I would like to see…is a new alliance in the Middle East — a strategic partnership with the leadership of the United States of America, in which we say this is what the battle in the Middle East is about. It’s against extremism, in favor of mutual respect across boundaries, race, faith and culture. And if we want the Middle East to succeed, we need to base this new partnership not just on interests, but on basic human values of dignity, respect and tolerance for all,” Blair said. (Algemeiner, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

“If [the] US creates a situation that continuation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action would damage Tehran’s national interest, then Iran is completely ready to come back to the situation it had prior to the JCPOA even more powerfully than before.” — Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. Zarif said Iran was “committed to the promises it has made” and that the regime’s supreme leader had stipulated that Iran “is not to break them.” But, he warned, it could do so very quickly if the agreement falls through, and the restored nuclear program would be more advanced that the one mostly frozen by the deal. “During the past couple of months, with the efforts made by skilled Iranian scientists and experts, we have succeeded [in making] operational the most advanced centrifuges, that were just an idea at the time of approving the JCPOA,” Zarif said. The new centrifuges “would enrich uranium 20 times faster and more efficiently,” and that “the technical know-how has now been indigenized.” He accused the US of failing to fulfill its commitments under the deal, but said “pursuing the JCPOA is still justifiable for Iran” for economic reasons. (Times of Israel, Mar. 21, 2017)

 

“Hamas will continue in the path of Yassin for the liberation of all of Palestine — we will not surrender even a morsel (of the land).” — Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar. Speaking at an event marking the anniversary of the death of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004 in Gaza City, Yahya Sinwar said Hamas would not allow the State of Israel to exist on even a “morsel” of land. Despite drafting a new manifesto as part of an attempt to moderate the terror group’s image, Hamas has not changed its commitment to Israel’s elimination. Although the new platform raises the possibility of a temporary Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, it will not formally replace Hamas’s 1988 founding covenant, which calls for the destruction of Israel and for “confronting the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews through jihad” and argued that “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people.” (Times of Israel, Mar. 22, 2017)

 

"Another of the husband's rights is not to be refused when he summons his wife to bed. If the husband wants her, she must consent, in order to protect his faith from the temptations that lurk everywhere…In order for both husband and wife to avoid Allah's curses, the wife must obey her husband and fulfill his needs…The (husband) has another right over his wife: She must not go out of the house without his permission. This is the husband's right according to the shari'a. What about the state law? I am not talking about that now. You are a woman who married according to the shari'a, so if your husband tells you not to leave the house–don't leave the house! 'How come he's allowed to prevent me?' you ask…That's one of his rights. Allah granted him this right. So don't leave the house without his permission!" — Montreal Imam Wael Al-Ghitawi, in a lecture posted on the YouTube channel of Montreal’s Al-Andalous Islamic Center. (Memri, June 16, 2016)

 

“There is nothing irrational in having a reasoned or limited fear towards a group publicly committed to terrorism, and self-declared perpetrators of it, in the name of Islam. Nor is there bigotry, Islamophobia, in seeing the declared connection with Islam in these kinds of terror acts. If there is an Islamic connection, and it is declared, even insisted upon, by the actors themselves, it is surely not phobic both to see the connection, and heed the declaration. Then too, there is the rhetorical or forensic deployment of the term. A person who criticizes Islam, or who reasonably makes a connection between current terrorism and certain groups within Islam will, in some circles, very quickly be labelled Islamophobic. No one likes to be called a bigot, and thus people — under fear of such a charge, mute their speech, trim their thoughts and withhold honest criticism because of the weight of this word, Islamophobe, being placed on their shoulders. Plainly put, sometimes the charge of Islamophobia is merely a harsh and dishonest way of shutting down an argument, or expelling all discussion. Who argues with bigots?” — Rex Murphy. Canada’s parliament has approved M-103, a nonbinding motion that calls on the government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” by a margin of 201-91. (National Post, Mar. 24, 2017)

 

“Opponents of Donald Trump, of which Jews comprise a significant percent, continue to work to undermine the president and his administration. Jews have traditionally been in the forefront of social and political activity, and the current wave of anti-Trump animus is no exception. Jewish elected officials, labor leaders, educators and religious leaders are energetically involved in opposing Donald Trump. Thus it is refreshing to read an opinion piece in today's New York Post by a Jewish woman, who wrote an open letter to "Rabbis of liberal congregations in New York City." In her letter, she states correctly that the latest spree of anti-Semitic threats were laid at the door of Donald Trump, however incorrectly, holding him and his right-wing appointees responsible. However, as has been proven during the past few weeks including two days ago, those arrested for the threats do not fit the profile of the assumed perpetrators, that is, right-wing, white supremacists. One turned out to be a left-wing Hispanic man, and another is an American-Israeli Jewish teenager. With this in mind, the letter ends with the statement, we "need to take anti-Semitism and threats to our community spaces seriously." It continues, "But this didn't begin with Donald Trump, and it won't end with him. Now is the time to admit this and to stand together in opposition to anti-Semitism. It's time for Jewish leaders to disentangle their justified concern for the safety of Jews from their desire for a different president. Weakening Jewish unity and politicizing threats to Jews won't do anyone much good." — Americans For a Safe Israel. (AFSI, Mar. 24, 2017)

 

“Taken together — and suspending judgment on which side is right on any particular issue — it is deeply encouraging that the sinews of institutional resistance to a potentially threatening executive remain quite resilient. Madison’s genius was to understand that the best bulwark against tyranny was not virtue — virtue helps, but should never be relied upon — but ambition counteracting ambition, faction counteracting faction. You see it even in the confirmation process for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s supremely qualified and measured Supreme Court nominee. He’s a slam dunk, yet some factions have scraped together a campaign to block him. Their ads are plaintive and pathetic. Yet I find them warmly reassuring. What a country — where even the vacuous have a voice. The anti-Trump opposition flatters itself as “the resistance.” As if this is Vichy France. It’s not. It’s 21st-century America. And the good news is that the checks and balances are working just fine.” — Charles Krauthammer. (National Post, Mar. 24, 2017)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

ISRAELI-AMERICAN TEEN ARRESTED IN ISRAEL FOR JCC BOMB THREATS (Jerusalem) — A Israeli teenager who also has U.S. citizenship was arrested on suspicion of carrying out more than 100 bomb threats on Jewish institutions in the U.S. Israel arrested the 19-year-old suspect at his home in on Thursday. He also is accused of a series of threats made in Europe, Australia and New Zealand in the past six months. He also is reported to have called in threats to the Israel Police two months ago regarding Israeli educational institutions. His motives are unknown, according to reports. The teen’s attorney said that the teen has had a brain tumor since the age of 14, and has been homeschooled since then.  The teen reportedly used advanced technology and voice-altering equipment to call in the threats to more than 100 JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions. (JTA, Mar. 23, 2017)

 

HAMAS CLOSES GAZA-ISRAEL BORDER IN RESPONSE TO COMMANDER’S KILLING (Gaza) — Hamas closed the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel following the assassination of Mazan Fukha, one of its commanders. The border crossing was closed Sunday in an effort to prevent the assassin or assassins from leaving Gaza. Hamas reportedly also closed the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.  Fukha was assassinated on Friday night outside of his Gaza home, according to reports. Hamas is blaming Israel’s Mossad spy agency for his death. Fukha, who Israel says founded Hamas in the West Bank and helped coordinate terror attacks against Israelis, was jailed in Israel after being found responsible for suicide attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis during the second Intifada. He was released from prison in Israel in 2011 as part of the massive Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. (JTA, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

U.S. ‘PROBABLY HAD A ROLE’ IN MOSUL DEATHS, COMMANDER SAYS (Mosul) — The senior U.S. commander in Iraq said on Tuesday that an American airstrike most likely led to the collapse of a building in Mosul that killed scores of civilians this month. But the commander indicated that an investigation would also examine whether the attack might have set off a larger blast from explosives set by militants inside the building. Iraqi forces have been eager for the help of U.S. air power as they take on the toughest phase of battle to retake Mosul. Officials have said that 500 Iraqi troops were killed and about 3,000 wounded in taking the eastern half of the city. (New York Times, Mar. 28, 2017)

 

EGYPT'S MUBARAK RELEASED (Cairo) — Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak returned home following his release from custody after legal proceedings that took years since his 2011 ouster. The 88-year-old Mubarak was acquitted by Egypt's top appeals court on March 2 of charges that he ordered the killing of protesters during the 2011 popular uprising that led to his ouster. The order to release Mubarak was the latest in a series of court rulings in recent years in Egypt that acquitted some two dozen Mubarak-era cabinet ministers, top police officers and aides charged with graft or in connection with the killing of some 900 protesters during the uprising. (CBC, Mar. 24, 2017)

 

250 FEARED DEAD IN NEW MIGRANT BOAT SINKING (Athens) — 250 people are feared to have drowned after a migrant ship sank in the Mediterranean. A rescue boat found two partially submerged rubber dinghies off Libya. Despite rough winter seas, migrant departures from Libya on boats chartered by people traffickers have accelerated in recent months from already-record levels. Over 5,000 people have been picked up by rescue boats since last week, bringing the number brought to Italy since the start of 2017 to over 21,000, a sharp rise on the same period in previous years. By the end of 2016 more than 4,000 men, women and children have died in the Mediterranean, according to international organizations, as Europe continues to struggle with its worst migration crisis since World War II. (I24, Mar. 23, 2017)

 

MAN IN ANTWERP, BELGIUM, TRIES TO DRIVE INTO CROWD (Antwerp) — A French resident tried to drive over pedestrians on a crowded shopping street in the Belgian city of Antwerp on Thursday, and a rifle and several knives were found in the vehicle. With tensions already high in Europe after a similar attack involving a vehicle near Parliament in London, Belgian prosecutors identified the suspect only as Mohamed R., in keeping with traditional practice — a 39-year-old French resident of North African ancestry. No injuries were reported. It was one day after Belgium observed the first anniversary of the deadliest attack on its soil, when suicide bombers in Brussels assaulted the main airport and a subway station, killing 32 people. (New York Times, Mar. 23, 2017)

 

JEWS OUTRAGED AT ANTISEMITIC IMAM’S SERMON IN MONTREAL (Montreal) — Police are investigating the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in Montreal’s Saint-Michel neighborhood which last December hosted an Imam who preached the killing of Jews. The outrage erupted after the video carrying the Imam’s sermon surfaced online. The video was posted to the mosque’s YouTube channel, and shows Jordanian scholar Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr, an invited guest at the mosque, reciting in Arabic the verses from the by now renowned hadith where trees and stones say: “O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The hadith describes the end of times, when stones and trees will ask Muslims to kill Jews. (Jewish Press, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

M.B. FRONT GROUP SEEKING REMOVAL OF LISTING AS A "TERRORISM ENTITY" (Ottawa) — The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) has been listed as a terrorism entity in Canada since 2014. It was also identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group during testimony to the Canadian Senate. The listing as a terrorism entity followed the revocation of their charitable status after a multi-year investigation showed that IRFAN had been funding Hamas. IRFAN was the successor organization to the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services which had also been funding Hamas. On February 24, IRFAN applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision to maintain the terrorist entity listing. (Gatestone Institute, Mar. 27, 2017)

 

UK CHANGES STANCE ON ISRAEL AT UN (Geneva) — In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister May’s government changed the UK’s vote at the U.N. Human Rights Council on what it called a “perverse” resolution condemning Israel for allegedly maltreating the Druze residents of the Golan Heights. In past votes on the same text — introduced annually by Syria’s Assad regime, and more recently by the Islamic group acting as a surrogate — the UK had abstained, together with EU states. The UK also declared that if the UNHRC doesn’t change its anti-Israel bias, they will begin to vote No on all five of the annual resolutions concerning Israel. (UNWatch, Mar. 28, 2017)

 

US HOUSE AND SENATE INTRODUCE BILLS AGAINST BOYCOTTS OF ISRAEL (Washington) — Republican and Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress introduced legislation that would penalize governmental organizations and foreign countries seeking to boycott, divest and sanction the State of Israel. The bill would amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include in its prohibitions on boycotts against “allies of the United States” those fostered by NGOs against Israel. The bill states that US policy will be to oppose the UNHRC resolution of March, 2016, “which urges countries to pressure their own companies to divest from, or break contracts with, Israel, and calls for the creation of a ‘blacklist’ of companies that either operate, or have business relations with, entities that operate beyond Israel’s 1949 armistice lines, including east Jerusalem,” it reads. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

IRAN SLAMS 15 U.S. COMPANIES WITH SANCTIONS (Tehran) —Iran announced that 15 U.S. companies have been sanctioned due to their relations with Israel. According to the statement released by Iran’s Foreign Ministry, the companies support Israel and the “terrorist actions of the country’s government.”  The ministry stated that the companies’ assets in Iran will be seized and Tehran will refuse to approve visa requests for the employees of the companies. The companies that will be affected by the sanctions include Raytheon, Daniel Defense, Re/Max and Oshkosh. However, this decision is largely symbolic because these companies do not do business with Iran. (Jerusalem Online, Mar. 26, 2017)

 

SUPPORT AMONG ISRAELI JEWS FOR WEST BANK PULLOUT DECREASING (Jerusalem) — Support among the Israeli Jews for a withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state is decreasing. The poll — conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — found that only 36 percent of Israeli Jews back a pullout from the West Bank as part of an agreement, compared to 60% in 2005. Support for the “Clinton Parameters” — described as a “demilitarized Palestinian state without settlement blocs, full Palestinian security control of the West Bank, Jerusalem divided and the capital of both states, the Temple Mount in the hands of the Palestinians, while Israel receives the Western Wall” — has dropped to 29%, from 59% in 2005. (Algemeiner, Mar. 28, 2017)

 

BIZARRE STUNT AT AUSCHWITZ CARRIED OUT BY ANTI-WAR ACTIVISTS (Warsaw) — A Polish prosecutor says that 11 people who slaughtered a sheep at Auschwitz last week, stripped naked and chained themselves together were peace activists protesting wars across the world. The bizarre stunt at the former Nazi German death camp, which also involved unfurling a banner with the word "Love," occurred by the gate with the infamous inscription "Arbeit Macht Freit" (Work Will Set You Free). The stunt was carried out by four women and seven men aged 20-43. (Fox News, Mar. 29, 2017)

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

WATCH: Hillel Neuer Of UN Watch Rips Human Rights Abusers Condemning Israel (Video): Israellycool, Mr. 22, 2017 —It had to be said. And when it was, it was said really well.

London Parliament Attack was Straight out of the ISIS Playbook: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Mar. 26, 2017—Using vehicles to mow down pedestrians, as horrified Londoners witnessed Wednesday, is a terrorist tactic right out of the ISIS playbook. Instead of driving heavy trucks, the terror group’s followers are now using smaller vehicles with similar devastating effect — making it even harder to detect and foil such brutal attacks.

Just How out of Touch is BDS?: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Mar. 23, 2017—Even if they have suffered some recent setbacks among academic umbrella groups, the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is an increasingly loud presence on university campuses and among activist organizations in Washington, D.C.

How Long Until my Honest Criticism of Islamism Constitutes a Speech Crime in Canada?: Barbara Kay, National Post, Feb. 7, 2017—Words matter.  We’ve heard the dictum often since the Quebec City mosque massacre. Yes, they do. In fact, the statement “words matter” matters. In my experience it is either a rebuke to those who argue for the widest possible latitude in speech freedoms, or a preamble to proposing speech limitations.