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Media-ocrities of the Week: “Mr. Shaloudy was a resident of Silwan, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in territory that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war and later annexed, a step that has not been recognized internationally. An influx of right-wing Jewish settlers who have acquired property in the area in recent years have made the neighborhood a flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” —Isabel Kershner, reporting on the story of an Arab that rammed his car into a crowd of Jews killing two people, including a three month-old baby. Mr. Shaloudy, the Arab man who killed two people, is described as a “resident of Silwan, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood”. He sounded like a peaceful neighbor living among his people. The article painted the Jews as “right wing.” On what basis? That they moved into a “predominantly Palestinian neighborhood”? That they moved into houses that “has not been recognized internationally” to be part of Israel? They took no actions that warrant being called “right wing”. (Jewish Press, Oct. 28, 2014)
“Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem,” —headline the Associated Press ran following the terrorist attack in Jerusalem. As Jonah Goldberg pointed out in National Review, AP then changed the headline to “Car slams into east Jerusalem train station.” Finally, after widespread outrage on social media, they changed it to “Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station.” (Algemeiner, Oct. 23, 2014)
Bibi and Barack on the Rocks: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 27, 2014
Political Correctness and Islam: Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2014
Historic Justice: A Kurdish State Now: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2014
New York Jews Protested ‘Klinghoffer’ While it Passed Silently in London: Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2014
"Tragic attacks, which took place in both Canada and Israel, remind us all of the threats posed to our democracies and to our freedoms by radical ideas, beliefs and motives. It also reminds us of the need to defend ourselves from extreme violence, tyranny and aggression," —MK Ronen Hoffman, Israeli chairman of the Canada-Israel Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group. Hoffman wrote a letter of support and condolences following the terrorist attacks in Montreal and Ottawa last week. Hoffman wrote that both Israel and Canada must defend itself from extremists, and that he prays and hopes for better times in both countries. Last week, on the same day as an Arab terrorist drove into a Jerusalem light rail station, injuring a dozen people and killing a three-month-old, a man shot a soldier at the Canadian National War Monument in Ottawa and then continued shooting in a parliament building. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 28, 2014)
“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickens**t,” —a senior Obama administration official, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu by his nickname. This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it's ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. “The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickens**t Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.” (Atlantic, Oct. 28, 2014)
“They’re killing us…we need the international community to stand with us. We need help to provide for our people.” —Canon Andrew White, vicar of Baghdad’s St. Georges, Iraq’s only Anglican church, during a recent visit to Israel. The “Vicar of Baghdad” has quit Iraq after death threats and the beheading of children attached to his church by Islamic terrorists. “We need the international community to stand with us. We need help to provide for our people,” he added. White believes the only answer to the terrorism and killing by the Islamic State is American “boots on the ground.” Asked whether I.S. could be reasoned with, Canon White said, “No…ISIS is driven by that passion that Iraq has gone very, very wrong. Among terrorists, often they have lost something big. And the Sunnis have lost ultimately their power, their responsibility and their significance. Under the Saddam Hussein regime they had essence; now they have nothing. We can kill a few ISIS people from the clouds; we can kill some of our innocent civilians; but we can’t really bring about change” until “American ground troops,” enter the fray. Canon White said U.S. President Barack Obama made the mistake of pulling out of Iraq before the country could guarantee the safety of the people. “ISIS are going around causing their chaos with American weapons, in American tanks, in American armored vehicles and their Humvees because that man Obama left us. And we are seeing our people killed because of that mistake,” he said. And if U.S. ground forces do not come? “Radical Islamist extremists will increase in authority and power,” he said. “They’re already ruling much of the country. What they will not be able to rule is areas in the south because the Shiites will not allow them to because that is where their holy shrines are. Religion means they will not let their most holy places be destroyed.” (National Post, Oct. 24, 2014)
“Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for,” —petition signed by a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, demanding that the administration rescind an invitation to comedian Bill Maher to deliver the keynote commencement speech in protest of his remarks against Islam. “Bill Maher’s public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities,” the petition explained. Maher recently made headlines after he engaged actor Ben Affleck in a heated debate about Muslims. On Maher’s HBO talk program Real Time, the comedian, Affleck, and noted atheist Sam Harris debated whether Islam was “a religion of peace,” with Maher and Harris offering a dissenting view. An incensed Affleck replied that their sentiments were “gross and racist.” Students at Berkeley, long regarded as a bastion of liberalism, appear to side with Affleck. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 28, 2014)
“Would the Met present an opera based on the ‘Death of Robert Kennedy Jr.’ by the Palestinian ‘freedom fighter’ Sirhan Sirhan? Why doesn’t the liberal establishment ever speak about Robert Kennedy’s assassination as a Palestinian terrorist act?” —Robert Feinberg, in a letter to the New York Post. The John Adams opera The Death of Klinghoffer opened last week at New York’s Metropolitan Opera amid accusations that the 1991 work is antisemitic and glorifies terrorism. Faced with controversy, the Met agreed to include a message from the Klinghoffers’ daughters, Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, in its playbill and on its website. (New York Post, Oct. 26, 2014)
“It is not a Holocaust museum, it is a museum of life. It is a place that commemorates what was, what will never be again, and the hope for a different future,” —Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, at the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Rivlin described Poland as the place that nurtured the creative soul of the Jewish people. “To our great sorrow, it is also the largest graveyard of the Jewish people,” he said. “This was the birthplace of the shtetl, and this is where it died,” he continued, speaking of the Nazis herding the Jews of Poland into ghettos, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the heroism of the fighters, and the Jews marching to their deaths wearing prayer shawls and yellow stars. Rivlin said he was representing not just himself, but “an entire nation – a nation whose collective journey delves deep into the foundations of Jewish and human existence and into the depths of evil. As a Jew, even if you were not born in Poland, the very name, Poland, gives rise to a shuddering in your body and a longing in your heart.” Even though Jews were removed from Poland, he said, Poland was not removed from the Jews. “We cannot erase history, a history so rich, so painful,” he said. Although Poland occupies a significant place in Jewish history, Rivlin made it clear that the saga of the Jewish people did not begin in Warsaw, nor did it end in Auschwitz. “The saga of the Jewish people began in the land of Israel, and it will always remain in Israel against all odds,” he declared. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 28, 2014)
“Be it resolved, that SSMU publicly condemns a) the recent destruction of schools, universities, and hospitals, and all violence against civilians in Gaza and other Palestinian occupied territories; b) the siege on Gaza; and c) the continued illegal expansion of settlements,” —Motion calling on SSMU (Students’ Society of McGill University) to stand in solidarity with the people of the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The anti-Israel motion, presented at SSMU’s General Assembly on October 22, failed and was postponed indefinitely. (McGill Daily, Oct. 23, 2014)
TORIES SET TO INTRODUCE BILL BEEFING UP CSIS’S ABILITY TO MONITOR CANADIANS (Ottawa)— The federal government said it would introduce a bill Monday afternoon to boost the ability of the country’s spy agency to monitor Canadians. The government originally planned to put the bill forward last Wednesday, before a gunman stormed Parliament Hill, sending MPs and Hill employees into an extended lockdown and abruptly ending the day’s business. At the time, the government said the legislation would include: Allowing CSIS to obtain information on Canadians fighting abroad with terror groups through the “Five Eyes” spy network, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Letting CSIS more easily track Canadians engaging in terrorist activities abroad, and similarly helping a Five Eyes country track its nationals working with terror groups in Canada. (National Post, Oct. 27, 2014)
ISRAEL AIR FORCE WORLD’S BEST; ARMY TOP IN MIDDLE EAST: STUDY (Jerusalem)— The Israeli Air Force is “the best in the world,” and the Israel Defense Forces are the best ground fighters in the region, according to research by two major military analysts, Business Insider (BI) reported Monday. The army rankings do not take into account allies outside of the Middle East, such as the United States, Russia, China, or Iran. The authors pointed out that the IDF, with a $15 billion defense budget, 176,500 active front-line personnel, 3,870 tanks, and 680 aircraft, has had, since the Jewish State’s creation in 1948, to constantly evaluate a complex matrix of foes, both state and non-state actors, in a highly unstable region. Despite rising diplomatic and political friction between the Israeli government and the Obama administration, military ties are reportedly strong, and Israel has agreed to purchase a second F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadron, in the wake of the latest visit to the US by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. (Algemeiner, Oct. 28, 2014)
OBAMA SNUBS ISRAELI DEFENCE MINISTER (Washington)— Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was denied meetings with top U.S. officials during his visit to Washington last week. While Ya'alon did see Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, the officials said the White House and State Department rejected Israeli proposals for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, national security adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry. This week's refusals come amid increasingly strained U.S.-Israel relations, particularly over criticism of Kerry by several members of the Israeli cabinet, including Ya'alon. Several months ago Ya’alon was quoted as describing Kerry as "obsessive and messianic." Ya'alon later apologized for the remarks, stating that he had no intention of "offending" Kerry. In a more recent incident, Kerry blamed Israel for the rise in global jihadism, insisting that Israel "humiliated" the Palestinian Arabs and that it has led to a "loss of dignity," leading to a recruitment draw toward ISIS. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 25, 2014)
UNREST IN JERUSALEM SIMMERS MONTHS AFTER END OF GAZA WAR (Jerusalem)— Unrest escalated the day after a Palestinian driver rammed into a crowded train station and killed a 3-month-old Israeli girl, punctuating a surge in violence in the city over the past few months that hasn’t been seen since the first Palestinian uprising 25 years ago. Israelis and Palestinians staged angry demonstrations on Thursday over the killing in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem a day earlier. Holding signs calling for revenge, dozens of Israeli youths crowded the light rail station that Israel said was targeted by Abdel Rahman Shaloudi, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, in an act of terrorism. “Arabs, beware,” they chanted. “Jewish blood is not worthless.’’ Masked youths clutching stones stood Thursday under banners for the Gaza Strip’s Islamist Hamas rulers near Shaloudi’s home in the cramped streets of impoverished Silwan. The youths praised him as a martyr, and vowed retaliation. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 25, 2014)
IRAQ CAR BOMBINGS LEAVE 38 PEOPLE DEAD, DOZENS WOUNDED (Baghdad)— Two car bombings in Iraq, including one where a suicide attacker drove a Humvee into a checkpoint manned by Iraqi troops and pro-government Shia militiamen, killed at least 38 people Monday. The deadliest attack struck the outskirts of the Sunni town of Jurf al-Sakhar. Most of those killed were members of the Shia militia. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the bombings bore all the hallmarks of an attack by the Islamic State group. Islamic State group militants lost control of the town Sunday, when Iraqi soldiers and the Shia militia retook it from the Sunni extremist group. Since August, airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition has targeted the group as Iraqi and Kurdish security forces work to retake territory it seized. (CBC, Oct. 27, 2014)
ISIS USING CHLORINE GAS BOMBS, POLICE SAY (Baghdad)— 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 80 kilometres north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: ISIS extremists. The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by Islamic State on the battlefield. It is one of three crude chlorine attacks that Iraqi forces say have occurred since the extremists seized vast tracts of Iraqi territory this summer, although details on the other two incidents remain sketchy. ISIS’ reported chlorine attacks appear to have been largely ineffectual. The attack on the police officers is the only one officially documented. Chlorine, a common component in industry, is sold legally, but its use as a weapon violates the Chemical Weapons Convention. (National Post, Oct. 24, 2014)
ISLAMIST PARTY IN TUNISIA CONCEDES TO SECULARISTS (Tunis)— The secular Nidaa Tounes party won the largest number of seats in Tunisia’s parliamentary elections on Monday, defeating its main rival, the Islamist party Ennahda, which just three years ago swept to power as the North African nation celebrated the fall of its longtime dictator in the Arab Spring revolution. Though just a few official results had been released on Monday night, Ennahda’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, called Beji Caid Essebsi, the 87-year-old leader of Nidaa Tounes, on Monday evening to congratulate him. The swing away from Ennahda, a large, well-organized party built along the lines of the Muslim Brotherhood with deep roots throughout the country, to Nidaa Tounes surprised many. Nidaa Tounes is a newly formed alliance of former government officials, left-wing politicians and secularists, who came together in 2012 in opposition to the Islamists. (New York Times, Oct. 27, 2014)
ISLAMISTS ON VERGE OF CAPTURING LIBYA’S OILFIELDS, EGYPT WARNS (Cairo)— Egypt is warning terrorist groups are poised to seize control of Libya’s oilfields, as the country’s foreign minister appealed for an expansion of the campaign against jihadists fighting for the Islamic State to tackle extremism threatening North Africa. Sameh Shukri, the Egyptian foreign minister, used a visit to London to push for a new approach from Britain and the West to Islamist violence in Egypt and its neighbours. Egypt has supported the Libyan government against Islamist militias that now control most of the country’s big cities and large swaths of territory, though not yet the oilfields capable of producing 2.7 million barrels a day. Given the shared ideological roots of the Muslim Brotherhood and violent Islamist movements, the Egyptian foreign minister said the fight could not be won in Iraq and Syria alone. (National Post, Oct. 27, 2014)
ACID ATTACKS AGAINST IRANIAN WOMEN PROMPTS PROTESTS (Isfahan)— A spate of acid attacks against women and girls in the Iranian city Isfahan has been met with street rallies and social media protests. At least eight such attacks — which are generally carried out by assailants on motorbikes who fling acid into their victims' faces — have occurred in recent weeks, with some Isfahan residents saying they suspect the number is higher. The group of motorcyclists are reportedly throwing acid on women whose hejabs, the veils to be worn over the hair in the Islamic Republic, do not meet this gang’s standards. Rallies to denounce the attacks have been held in several cities including Isfahan, in central Iran, and the capital, Tehran. Mindful of past crackdowns, however, the demonstrators generally disperse quickly when confronted by police. (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 27, 2014)
IRAN'S HANGING OF REYHANEH JABBARI CONDEMNED (Tehran)— Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was hanged in a Tehran prison on Saturday morning. She had been convicted of killing a man she said was trying to sexually abuse her. Jabbari was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former intelligence ministry worker. Both the US State Department and British Foreign Office condemned the execution. After her arrest, Jabbari had been placed in solitary confinement for two months, where she reportedly did not have access to a lawyer or her family. She was sentenced to death by a criminal court in Tehran in 2009. Amnesty International said she was convicted after a deeply flawed investigation. Although Jabbari admitted to stabbing Abdolali Sarbandi once in the back, she alleged that there was someone else in the house who actually killed him. The United Nations says Iran has executed about 250 people this year. (BBC, Oct. 25, 2014)
NORTH KOREA CLOSER TO BUILDING NUCLEAR MISSILE, PENTAGON SAYS (Pyongyang)— North Korea probably has the capability to produce a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a rocket, a top U.S. commander said Friday, moving it closer to building a nuclear missile. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, said North Korea now is capable of building a miniaturized nuclear warhead, a step needed to complete development of a nuclear-tipped missile. Such nuclear warheads would be small enough to fit on a ballistic missile and would be a major improvement to Pyongyang’s weapons technology. Gen. Scaparrotti said he believes North Korea also has developed a launcher that could carry an intercontinental ballistic missile with a miniaturized warhead. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2014)
IRISH SENATE CALLS FOR RECOGNITION OF 'PALESTINE' (Dublin)— Ireland's upper house of parliament on Wednesday passed a motion calling on the Dublin government to recognize “the state of Palestine.” Much like last week’s vote in Britain, the move is a symbolic one that is unlikely to change policy. The motion called on the "government to formally recognize the state of Palestine and do everything it can to help secure a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that citizens of both states can live in peace and security." It had cross-party support and passed without a vote. The British and Irish moves came after Sweden pledged its commitment to recognize a Palestinian state on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2014)
SIR NICHOLAS WINTON HONOURED BY CZECHS FOR SAVING CHILDREN FROM NAZIS (Prague)— Sir Nicholas Winton was 29 when he arranged trains to take the children out of occupied Czechoslovakia, and for foster families to meet them in London. The 105-year-old was given the Order of the White Lion by the Czech president during a ceremony at Prague Castle. The remarkable mission of the man dubbed the "British Schindler" began in 1938 after the Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland, the name for areas of pre-war Czechoslovakia. Winton visited refugee camps outside Prague and decided to help children secure British permits in the same way children from other countries had been rescued by kindertransports. He organised a total of eight trains from Prague to London and helped to find foster families for the refugees. A ninth train – the largest, carrying 250 children – was prevented from leaving by the outbreak of World War Two. None of those children is believed to have survived. When asked what he made of today's world, Sir Nicholas responded: "I don't think we've ever learnt from the mistakes of the past… The world today is now in a more dangerous situation than it has ever been and so long as you've got weapons of mass destruction which can finish off any conflict, nothing is safe any more." (BBC, Oct. 28, 2014)
Bibi and Barack on the Rocks: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 27, 2014 —The relationship between the Obama administration and the government of Israel is beginning to look like one of those longtime marriages you encounter all the time.
Political Correctness and Islam: Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2014—For much of the past 13 years, ever since al-Qaida attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the West has found itself confronting an increasingly dangerous foe in the form of jihadist terror.
Historic Justice: A Kurdish State Now: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 23, 2014 —The borders of most of the Arab countries east of the Mediterranean were delineated in the period following WWI, on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. The borders were fixed on the basis of British and French interests and the ties those two countries had formed with local groups.
New York Jews Protested ‘Klinghoffer’ While it Passed Silently in London: Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2014—Abe Foxman will soon be retiring as head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
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