WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

 

 

 

 

Contents: | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes   | On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

           

WATCH: Arab Minorities Celebrate Israeli Civil Rights, Refute Lies About Israel: United With Israel, October 22, 2017

Thanks to Obama, America is Two Steps Behind Iran in Middle East: John R. Bolton, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 24, 2017

Why the Israeli Air Force Destroys Its Enemies in Battle: Robert Farley, National Interest, Oct. 23, 2017

Honouring Lord Balfour, Who Made Israel Possible: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. The foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control." — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The U.S. is concerned that Iran will take advantage of gains against IS in Iraq and Syria to expand the influence it gained after the U.S. invasion in 2003. Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after IS seized a third of the country's territory, forming the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which receive funding and training from Tehran and have been declared part of the Iraqi security apparatus. A senior U.S. official said Tillerson had been referring to the PMF and the Quds Force, the foreign paramilitary and espionage arm of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). (Globe & Mail, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

"Exactly what country is it that Iraqis who rose up to defend their homes against ISIS return to? Shameful US FP, dictated by petrodollars." — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iraq's military, armed by the United States but supported by the PMF, ejected the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim I.S. from Mosul and other cities in northern Iraq this year. Several thousand U.S. troops are still in the country, mostly for training but also to carry out raids against IS. (Globe & Mail, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

"If it depended upon the United States, the Islamic State would still be expanding and winning in all of the countries of the region." — Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. Nasrallah also called on the Jews of Israel to return to the countries from which they came "to occupied Palestine." He warned "the Jews" not to push for a war with Syria or Lebanon, saying Israel would be trapped in a conflaguration that it would have no idea how to exit. The leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite militia that has spent decades fighting Israel, was speaking on the occasion of Ashura, a Muslim holiday. Addressing Israelis directly, he said if the Israel ventured into "an adventure" in Lebanon against Hezbollah, it would be wandering into something it knew how to get into, but not how to get out. Nasrallah said the Israeli government did not have “a correct assessment of where this war will lead if they ignite it.” (Ha’aretz, Oct. 1, 2017)

 

“Clearly, we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory…And there are, we believe, moderate voices among the Taliban, voices that do not want to continue to fight forever. They don’t want their children to fight forever. So we are looking to engage with those voices…There’s a place for them in the government if they are ready to come, renouncing terrorism, renouncing violence and being committed to a stable prosperous Afghanistan.” — Secretary of State Tillerson. Tillerson met with Afghanistan's president and Iraq's prime minister during unannounced trips to the region. “We did not support the Kurdish independence referendum,” Tillerson said at a news conference in Doha, before visiting Baghdad the next day. “We did not believe it was time given that the battle to defeat ISIS is still under way. And while there have been significant victories and significant progress in Iraq, that task is not yet complete.” Still, he said the Kurds have legitimate grievances that should be addressed within the framework of a unified Iraq. (National Post, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

“If Baghdad cannot guarantee the Kurdish people in Iraq the security, freedom and opportunities they desire, and if the United States is forced to choose between Iranian-backed militias and our longstanding Kurdish partners, I choose the Kurds. The clashes in Kirkuk are symptomatic of a deeper problem that the United States has failed to address for many years: Both within countries and between them, the regional order in the Middle East is rapidly collapsing. American power and influence is diminishing there, largely because over the past eight years the United States has withdrawn from the region. The resulting vacuum is being filled by anti-American forces.” — Republican Senator John McCain. (New York Times, Oct. 24, 2017)

 

“Seventy percent of the Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately…We are simply reverting to what we followed — a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions.” — Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bin Salman’s remarks indicated that he was committed to combating extreme interpretations of Islam. In a subsequent interview, he unexpectedly blamed Saudi Arabia’s arch enemy Iran for the kingdom's turn toward Wahhabism, an ultraconservative branch of Islam, which is being promoted by Riyadh both domestically and abroad. “What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. What happened in the region in the last 30 years is not the Middle East. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries — one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it,” said bin Salman. (Washington Post, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

“Mass immigration is “the most potent issue behind the rise of the far right in America and Europe” and “a core reason” why Donald Trump is president, contends Andrew Sullivan…The critical moment was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision “to import over a million Syrian refugees into the heart of Europe.” But “instead of adjusting to this new reality and listening to the electorate,” the Democrats “have moved ever farther to the left, and are controlled by ever-radicalizing activists.” Which is why he has “dwindling hopes” the Democrats “will be able to defeat Trump in 2020.” Indeed, the “concept of a nation whose citizens solely determine its future . . . is now deemed by many left-liberals to be a function of bigotry. This is the kind of madness that could keep them from power indefinitely.” — Editorial. (New York Post, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

Contents

 

SHORT TAKES

 

AFGHANISTAN MOSQUE BOMBINGS LEAVE 72 DEAD (Kabul) — Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 72 people including children. One bomber walked into a Shi’ite mosque in Kabul as people were praying and detonated an explosive. At least 39 people died in the blast. I.S. claimed responsibility for the attack. Shi’ite Muslims have suffered a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, many of them claimed by the Sunni Muslim militants.  Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in central Ghor province. (Global, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

AT LEAST 54 KILLED IN EGYPT AFTER POLICE OPERATION AMBUSHED (Cairo) — At least 54 policemen were killed when a raid southwest of Cairo was ambushed Saturday. The ensuing firefight was one of the deadliest for Egyptian security forces in recent years. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore all the hallmarks of I.S. A local affiliate of the extremist group is spearheading an insurgency whose epicenter is in the Sinai Peninsula. The country has been under a state of emergency since April, following a spate of suicide bombings targeting minority Christians that have killed more than a 100 since December. The attacks were claimed by I.S. (CBC, Oct. 21, 2017)

 

SYRIAN ROCKETS FALL IN GOLAN HEIGHTS (Damascus) — The IDF on Saturday destroyed three Syrian artillery cannons after four rockets landed in the Golan Heights. The rockets fell in an open area and did not cause damage or injuries. On Thursday, a rocket fired from Syria hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The rocket landed in an open field, and no injuries or damage were reported. Israeli army units returned fire, striking a Syrian army position. Earlier last week, a Syrian surface-to-air missile battery opened fire on Israeli aircraft flying over southern Lebanon. Israeli Air Force planes returned fire, destroying the surface-to-air missile battery which had attacked them. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 21, 2017)

 

10 I.S. TERRORISTS KILLED IN SUSPECTED ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE (Damascus) — At least 10 members of a jihadist faction linked to I.S. were killed Monday by suspected Israeli air strikes in southern Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit the town of Sahm al-Jolan in the west of Daraa province. 10 fighters from the Jaish Khaled Bin Walid group were killed, along with two women believed to be the wives of the fighters. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the report. The Observatory said the strike came several months after 16 fighters from the group were killed in suspected Israeli air strikes in the same area. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

AT LEAST 67 BODIES FOUND AFTER I.S. 'MASSACRE' IN SYRIA TOWN (Damascus) — The bodies of at least 67 Syrian civilians, many summarily killed by I.S., have been discovered in a central town in Syria that government forces retook from the extremists over the weekend. A Syrian official described the attack as a "shocking massacre," saying the search for and documentation of those killed in the town of Qaryatayn is still underway. I.S. has been retreating across Syria, days after having been defeated in Raqqa, the one-time "capital" of the group's caliphate. (CTV, Oct. 23. 2017)

 

KURDS OFFER TO SUSPEND INDEPENDENCE VOTE (Erbil) — Kurdish authorities in Iraq offered on Wednesday to put an independence drive on hold, stepping up efforts to resolve a crisis in relations with Baghdad via dialogue rather than military means. But an Iraqi military spokesman suggested an offensive — launched to wrest back territory after Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in a disputed referendum in September — would continue regardless. Baghdad declared the referendum illegal and responded by seizing back the city of Kirkuk, the oil-producing areas around it and other territory that the Kurds had captured from militant group Islamic State. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the KRG should cancel the vote's outcome as a pre-condition for talks. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

MCGILL SSMU BOARD MEMBER BANNED FOR BEING JEWISH (Montreal) — A Jewish member on the Board of Directors of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) in Montreal was removed from his position due to his involvement with the Jewish community. The decision was made at Monday’s Fall General Assembly. According to those who attended the meeting, students voted against having the Jewish member sit on the board, doing the same to two other board members seen as being supportive of Israel and the Jewish community. The students’ votes supported a campaign launched by a group that called for the removal of board members who support the anti-BDS initiative at McGill, reportedly calling it a “Jewish conflict of interest.” (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

"CZECH DONALD TRUMP" WINS LANDSLIDE VICTORY (Prague) — Populist tycoon Andrej Babis and his Eurosceptic political party have won the Czech Republic's parliamentary election — by a landslide — making the "politically incorrect" billionaire businessman the main contender to become prime minister after coalition negotiations. Babis's anti-establishment party ANO (which stands for "Action of Dissatisfied Citizens" and is also the Czech word for "yes") won nearly 30% — almost three times its closest rival — in elections held on October 20. The election outcome, the result of popular discontent with established parties, is the latest in a recent wave of successes for European populists, including in Austria and Germany. (Gatestone Institute, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

‘DIARY OF ANNE FRANK’ PASSAGES TO BE READ AT ALL ITALIAN SOCCER MATCHES (Rome) — A passage from “The Diary of Anne Frank” will be read before the start of all soccer matches in Italy after fans of one Rome team plastered a stadium with stickers showing the teenage Holocaust diarist wearing the uniform of a rival city club. Fans of the Lazio club posted the stickers around Rome’s Olympic Stadium showing Anne Frank wearing the shirt of the Roma team. The teams share the stadium. Roma is often associated with being left wing and Jewish. Lazio President Claudio Lotito said that in response to the incident, his club will take 200 fans every year to visit Auschwitz. (JTA, Oct. 24, 2017)

 

ISRAELI DELEGATION STORMS OUT OF CONFERENCE (St. Petersburg) — The Knesset delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) 137th Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia walked out of a plenary session after the organization approved a series of anti-Israel proposals. Among the proposals approved were calls for the release of convicted Palestinian terror leaders Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat, and a rebuke of Israel for holding members of the Palestinian National Council representing Hamas in administrative detention. A speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly shouted at the Israeli lawmakers that they were “child killers” and to “get out of the hall.” (United With Israel, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

ISRAEL APPROVES 176 NEW JEWISH HOMES IN EAST JERUSALEM (Jerusalem) — Jerusalem authorities on Wednesday approved a major expansion of a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, signing off on plans to add 176 homes, the city’s deputy mayor said. The expansion would create the largest Jewish enclave inside an Arab neighborhood of the city, NGOs said, by allow the Nof Zion neighborhood to add the new housing units to 91 existing homes. Nof Zion is located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. (Times of Israel, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

PALESTINIAN ARRESTED AFTER STEALING TRUCK FOR RAMMING ATTACK (Ramallah) — Police on Thursday arrested a resident of Ramallah who was driving a stolen truck. He later admitted he had intended to carry out a terror attack with it. After being reported about the stolen vehicle, police located it in Rishon LeZion and began to chase the suspect. He refused to pull over, instead trying to flee the scene and hitting a police car and a private car. In his questioning, the driver admitted he had stolen the truck in order to use it to run over IDF soldiers. (Jerusalem Online, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

PALESTINIAN DROPS LARGE ROCK ON ISRAELI BOY, 12, IN HEBRON (Hebron) — A Palestinian man threw a large rock at a young Israeli boy playing in a spring in the West Bank city of Hebron, knocking him unconscious. The 12-year-old boy then fell into Abraham’s Well spring, located in the flashpoint city’s Jewish enclave. He was taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, where he required 10 stitches in his scalp. Footage from an army security camera appears to show the man hurling the rock into the spring from above before running away. (JTA, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

MEMORIAL TO SADDAM HUSSEIN UNVEILED IN WEST BANK (Qalqilya) — The Palestinian city in Qalqilya in the West Bank has unveiled a memorial to the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. The memorial depicts on one side a saluting Saddam in military uniform alongside the Iraqi and Palestinian flags. On the other side of the memorial, Saddam is shown brandishing a gun. The memorial bears the slogan “Saddam Hussein – The Master of the Martyrs in Our Age,” as well as “Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea,” which was one of the slogans regularly used by the dictator. (Algemeiner, Oct. 20, 2017)

 

ISRAELI JUDO TEAM NOT ALLOWED TO FLY TO TURKEY (Istanbul) — The Israeli judo team, which was supposed to fly to the United Arab Emirates via Istanbul for an event, was stranded at Ben Gurion Airport after Turkish Airlines refused to allow them on its plane. The 12 Israeli jukokas were supposed to receive their visas to the UAE in Istanbul. The team will now have to travel to Amman to receive the visas instead. The Israeli judo team will not be allowed to compete under the Israeli flag during the event and will not be allowed hear their national anthem, “Hatikvah," should they win. Among Israel’s delegation is Or Sasson, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. During those games, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands with Sasson. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

GERMANY PROBES KUWAIT AIRWAYS FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ISRAELIS (Berlin) — Germany is investigating whether Kuwait Airways, in violation of air traffic laws, has refused to sell tickets to Israelis. The probe follows a lawsuit filed by The Lawfare Project against the airline for alleged discrimination against an Israeli who sought to fly from Frankfurt to Thailand last summer but was denied a ticket purchase because of Israeli nationality.  According to a statement from The Lawfare Project, “Pressure is mounting on the Gulf state’s national airline to stop discriminating against would-be passengers purely on the basis of Israeli nationality. Cases have already been brought against Kuwait Airways in the United States and Switzerland, leading to the cancellation of the airline’s JFK-London Heathrow flight path.” (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 25, 2017)

 

AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY CANCELS EVENTS LINKED TO BDS (New York) — The American Jewish Historical Society has canceled two events associated with a Jewish group that supports BDS. The society announced last week that it was canceling a panel on the Balfour Declaration and a reading of a play. The panel, on the UK’s 1917 declaration of support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, featured two pro-Palestinian activists and was co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports BDS. The society also canceled the dramatic reading of “Rubble Rubble,” whose author, Dan Fishback, is a member of JVP. The play, according to the event description, is partially about “an American Israeli settler [who] welcomes her anti-Zionist nephew for a visit.” (JTA, Oct. 11, 2017)

 

PROF. ACCUSES ISRAEL OF SPARING PALESTINIANS IN ORDER TO CONTROL THEM (New York) — A professor is publishing a new book accusing the Jewish state of physically debilitating Palestinians in order to control them. The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, authored by Jasbir Puar — associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers — argues in part that the “IDF have shown a demonstrable pattern over decades of sparing life, of shooting to maim rather than to kill.” According to Puar, this is part of a “logic long present in Israeli tactical calculations of settler colonial rule—that of creating injury and maintaining Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated in order to control them.” The Right to Maim is set to be published by Duke University. (Algemeiner, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

ISRAEL ENGAGEMENT GROUP PULLS SUPPORT FOR EVENT ON ISRAELI MINORITIES (San Francisco) — The Stanford Israel Association (SIA), a student group at the California-based university, pulled its support for a program highlighting the stories of Israel’s minority populations. SIA cited “a combination of procedural issues and concerns raised by the University regarding past behavior by the organization due to speak,” Reservists on Duty (RoD). The event, “Stories From Israeli Minorities,” was scheduled to take place later at the campus’s Hillel facility. Instead, Stanford Chabad stepped in to host RoD, and the event went on as planned. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim IDF delegation was on campus to counter “Israeli Apartheid Week” events at the university. (JTA, Oct. 17, 2017)

 

ISRAEL JOINS THE UN SPACE COMMITTEE BUREAU (Jerusalem) — An Israeli representative has been elected to the bureau of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Keren Shahar, the Director of the Treaties Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will serve as Israel’s representative on the bureau. COPUOS is charged by the UN with governing the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity, reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, encouraging space research, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space. Israel joined the 84-member organization in 2015. (Jewish Press, Oct. 18, 2017)

 

ISRAEL CULTIVATES ALLIES AT FIRST CHRISTIAN MEDIA SUMMIT (Jerusalem) — More than 130 journalists from 30 countries converged in Jerusalem this week for Israel’s inaugural Christian Media Summit, which was sponsored by the Israeli government’s Press Office. Among the topics discussed at the conference were Israel’s role as a model of religious tolerance and co-existence, as well as countering the inherent biases that the Jewish state often faces in international legal forums, such as the United Nations, and in the mainstream media. (Algemeiner, Oct. 22, 2017)

 

NETANYAHU TO GO TO LONDON FOR BALFOUR CENTENNIAL (Jerusalem) — Prime Minister Netanyahu will travel to London to take part in events marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Netanyahu is expected to meet with British PM Theresa May and other officials during the trip. May has rejected Palestinian demands that Britain apologize for the Declaration – the document issued on Nov. 2, 1917, that helped pave the way for the establishment of Israel – saying the declaration was “one of the most important letters in history.” Numerous events, both pro and con, are scheduled in the coming days to mark the declaration’s centennial. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn turned down an invitation to attend a dinner commemorating the anniversary. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 23, 2017)

 

On Topic Links

 

WATCH: Arab Minorities Celebrate Israeli Civil Rights, Refute Lies About Israel: United With Israel, October 22, 2017—Israel-haters and their misinformed followers claim that Israel is an apartheid state that mistreats its Arab citizens and doesn’t provide them with the same basic rights as Jewish Israelis. Watch as Arabs from Muslim, Bedouin, Druze, and Christian backgrounds share their personal stories as Israeli citizens, refuting anti-Israel claims with cold, hard facts in support of Israel. An amazing watch!

Thanks to Obama, America is Two Steps Behind Iran in Middle East: John R. Bolton, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 24, 2017 —The fall of Raqqa, capital of the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, is unarguably an important politico-military milestone, albeit long overdue. Nonetheless, ISIS, a metastasized version of Al Qaeda, remains a global terrorist threat, and prospects for Middle Eastern stability and security for America's interests and allies are still remote.

Why the Israeli Air Force Destroys Its Enemies in Battle: Robert Farley, National Interest, Oct. 23, 2017—Since the 1960s, the air arm of the Israel Defense Forces (colloquially the IAF) has played a central role in the country’s defense. The ability of the Israeli Air Force to secure the battlefield and the civilian population from enemy air attack has enabled the IDF to fight at a huge advantage. At the same time, the IAF has demonstrated strategic reach, attacking critical targets at considerable distance.

Honouring Lord Balfour, Who Made Israel Possible: Barbara Kay, National Post, Oct. 24, 2017—This coming November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which with its portentous words, “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” may be the most consequential foreign-policy statement in modern history.