Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes On Topic Links

 

 

Media-ocrity of the Week: “It was a breach of protocol and diplomatic rules to accept the invitation without first notifying the White House,” New York Times, Jan. 29. Upon the announcement of Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress at the invitation of House Speaker Boehner, the White House complained that it was a breach of protocol and diplomatic rules to accept the invitation without first notifying the White House. In a surprising correction by the NYT, it appears that the administration had been informed well in advance of the invitation before Netanyahu accepted it. The correction, added on Jan. 30 in the online version of the article only, stated:  “Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.” (Breaking Israel News, Feb. 8, 2015)

 

 

On Topic Links 

 

Obama: We're No Better than Islamic State: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Feb. 6, 2015

Folks Do the Randomest Things: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, Feb. 11, 2015

Chart: The Decline of Europe’s Jewish Population: Adam Taylor, Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2015

Pre-9/11 Ties Haunt Saudis as New Accusations Surface: Ben Hubbard & Scott Shane, New York Times, Feb. 4, 2015

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"The major powers and Iran are galloping toward an agreement that will enable Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons, which will endanger the existence of the State of Israel," —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His comments came after U.S. Secretary of State Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Munich, where Kerry stressed Washington's commitment to seeing the deadline met. Netanyahu took aim at Kerry and Zarif, saying that their intention to complete a framework agreement by the end of March forces Israel to take action. "From this (commitment) stems the urgency of our efforts to try and block this bad and dangerous agreement. We will continue to take action and to lead the international effort against Iran's arming itself with nuclear weapons. We will do everything and will take any action to foil this bad and dangerous agreement that will place a heavy cloud over the future of the State of Israel and its security," Netanyahu said.  After meeting with Kerry, Zarif appeared to rule out any new extension to tough negotiations with world powers. (Ynet News, Feb. 8, 2015)

 

“They tell us, ‘We don’t want Iran to make atomic bombs’ — you who have made atomic bombs,” — President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Rouhani asserted that the nuclear weapons amassed by the U.S., and possessed by Israel have done little to ease their worries about vulnerability to attack. “Have you managed to bring about security for yourselves with atomic bombs?,” Rouhani asked rhetorically, “have you managed to create security for the usurper Israel?” The speech appeared to be part of an attempt to counter Iranian hard-liners who have suggested that Rouhani is too willing to compromise with the U.S. on the nuclear issue after decades of hostility and mistrust. Conservative Iranian lawmakers have proposed measures that could subvert the extension of an interim agreement that took effect last year, which has frozen much of the Iranian nuclear program while negotiators seek a permanent accord. Those negotiators, from Iran and the P5+1 powers, have given themselves until March 24 to reach the basics of a permanent agreement. (New York Times, Feb. 4, 2015)

 

“We achieved what we were looking for: revenge for Muath. And this is not the end. This is the beginning,” — Major General Mansour al-Jabour, Jordan’s air force chief. Last week, Islamic State released a video purporting to show Jordanian pilot Moaz al Kasasbeh being burnt alive in a cage as masked militants looked on. Jordan says it has carried out 56 airstrikes on I.S. targets in revenge for the murder. According to the Major General, the strikes, dubbed Operation Martyr Moaz in the pilot's memory, targeted I.S. weapon depots and military barracks. (Daily Mail, Feb. 8, 2015)

 

“I guess in a way we lost a pilot, but at the same time I think the government gained a collective support for fighting them, in Jordan and from all around too,” — Adnan Abu-Odeh, a former head of Jordan’s intelligence service. “Daesh have made a big error. When you are weakened as they have been, you try to make your supporters think you are strong by being more monstrous, but this time they went too far.” (New York Times, Feb. 4, 2015)

 

“We said we are going to take this all the way, we are going to go after them wherever they are and we’re doing that,” — Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. As part of the new campaign, Jordan is also attacking targets in Iraq, said Judeh. Up to now, Jordan had struck ISIS targets in Syria, but not Iraq, as part of a U.S.-led military coalition. (National Post, Feb. 5, 2015)

"This is a war the world cannot afford to lose…But to win it, all of us must be in it, to stand as partners in the fight against today's threats and to go beyond, to build the conditions for humanity to live together in peace,'' —Jordanian King Abdullah II. (USA Today, Feb. 5, 2015)

 

“Finally there’s a world leader who knows how to stand up to radical Islamists. Too bad it’s the king of Jordan and not the president of the United States…The king promises a “relentless” war against the al Qaeda offshoot because he understands these are not men much impressed by Nobel Prizes or lofty speeches. He’s not alone. At a time when the president refuses even to speak of radical Islam, the president of Egypt calls for a reformation so believers could purge their faith of its extremist scourge,”New York Post Editorial (New York Post, Feb. 4, 2015)  

 

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” — U.S. President Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. (Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2015) 

 

“The statement reflects [Obama’s] abiding disapproval of Western history and his fetish that Americans are always this close to mass ­Islamophobia — two topics where he’s far, far outside the mainstream. Instead of building a bridge, he throws a stick of ­dynamite. Having failed over six years to convince the nation that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, he drags up ancient Christian history to silence his critics. He’s moving the goal posts, which is another way of saying, “Shut up, I’m right.” It’s foolish to the point of stupidity, and reveals him to be disconnected from how most people see events. Islamists’ brutal beheadings of hostages and the horrific burning of the Jordanian pilot are, for the vast majority, a sign of unique depravity coming directly from an interpretation of Islam,”  — Michael Goodwin. (New York Post, Feb. 7, 2015)

 

“He has bent over backwards to try to separate this from Islam…Sometimes people try to keep an open mind. And when you have too open a mind, your brains can fall out,” —Deborah E. Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish History at Emory University. Lipstadt said the remarks at the prayer breakfast will rightly bolster critics who insist that Obama should simply say that the United States is at war with Islam. (New York Times, Feb. 6, 2015)

 

“Too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective,” — Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser. As Obama officially rolled out a new national security strategy for his final two years in office, his top foreign policy aide denounced “alarmism” over various international crises. “Yes, there is a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War. We cannot afford to be buffeted by alarmism in a nearly instantaneous news cycle,” Rice explained. The new security strategy asserts that the U.S. will continue to play a strong leadership role in the world but that it must recognize the limits of U.S. power as well. It argues that even as Washington confronts short-term threats, it should not lose sight of longer-term issues like climate change, trade, poverty, cyber-security and global health. (New York Times, Feb. 6, 2015)  

 

“It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris,” —Barack Obama, calling the terror attack on Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris last month an act of random violence, rather than a terror attack or an antisemitic attack. (Breitbart, Feb. 9, 2015)

 

“The adverb that the President chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be,” —White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Obama’s choice of the word “randomly” has been criticized, given that the Charlie Hedbo assassins were explicit about their ideological and antisemitic reasons for targeting a kosher grocery. Earnest’s comment didn’t help with Obama’s explanation. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

“There (sic) were not all victims of one background or one nationality,” —The State Department’s Jen Psaki, also refusing to explore the motivations of the killers who attacked Paris’ Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. All the victims were Jewish. This is the confusion that arises among those who are unwilling to confront the character of America’s enemies. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

“President Obama absolutely misspoke – if he wants to check the facts, he should talk to his special envoy on antisemitism at the State Department,” —Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Cooper, who is currently in Paris for talks with French Jewish leaders and government officials, added: “We’re talking about an explosion of antisemitism on this continent, and a convergence of antisemitic hate with terrorism. As we know, many Jews left France last year, well before the January attacks. Here in France, people in authority, especially the leaders of the country, have their eyes wide open to the nature of this problem and the seriousness of the situation. There’s nothing ‘random’ about the threats against Jewish targets, which is why the government has put 10,000 troops on the ground to protect the Jewish community.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

 “We complain [Obama] doesn't have a strategy in the war on radical Islam. The reason he doesn't have a strategy is because he thinks there is no need for a strategy because it is random violence. People shoot up delis, people go around in other places and do stuff. They attach an ideology afterwards as a way to make it look legitimate. He thinks, and he says it openly, this is like the fighting of crime in a city. There is no unifying ideology in the criminals of a city. You go after one after another, you use a drone on one, you arrest another, you shoot a third. But you don't have to have a strategy,” —Charles Krauthammer (Real Clear Politics, Feb. 9, 2015)

 

"What happened in France will happen, too, in Belgium…and from Belgium, IS will conquer all of Europe," —Letter from Islamic State to Belgian media. Less than a month after the Charlie Hebdo murders and the slaughter of four Jews in Paris, Islamic State has sent a warning to Belgium. "This," they wrote in the letter, "is only the beginning." This is Europe now, poised at a moment when, while antisemitism is at record highs in France and the UK, Muslim groups call for "anti-Islamophobia" policies and boycotts against Israel, and when Belgian police have arrested 15 people in the town of Verviers (population 56,000) and several others throughout the country, all since the Paris terrorist attacks that ran from Jan. 7-Jan. 9. (Investigative Project on Terrorism, Feb. 9, 2015)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

AID WORKER IS CONFIRMED DEAD (Washington) — Kayla Jean Mueller, the last U.S. hostage known to be held by Islamic State, was confirmed dead by her relatives and the White House on Tuesday. Mueller’s parents received private communications from I.S. over the weekend, including photographs. I.S. asserted that she had been killed in a Jordanian airstrike in Syria. However, U.S. officials said it was impossible to ascertain from the photos whether she had been killed in the recent strikes as the group claimed. During her captivity, U.S. intelligence officials had assessed that I.S. didn’t intend to kill her. U.S. officials also believe Mueller was forced to convert to Islam and marry an I.S. leader, part of the reason why they assessed she wouldn’t be killed. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

HOUTHI REBELS TAKE OVER YEMEN'S GOVERNMENT (Sana’a) — Yemen's Shiite rebels proclaimed a formal takeover Friday, dissolving parliament in a dramatic move that completes their power grab in the region's poorest nation where an al-Qaida terrorist offshoot flourishes. Angry demonstrators protesting the rebels' move have raised fears of a full-blown sectarian conflict between Yemen's new rulers and the disenfranchised Sunni majority. The unrest could strengthen Yemen's al-Qaida branch, and complicate U.S. counter-terrorism operations. While Houthi rebels are bitter enemies of al-Qaida, they also are hostile to the U.S., and frosty to the predominantly Sunni Saudis. The region's Shiite powerhouse, Iran, looms as a potential key backer. (Huffington Post, Feb. 6, 2015)

 

NEW ALLEGATIONS RENEW OLD QUESTIONS ABOUT SAUDIS, 9-11 (Riyadh) —Some U.S. officials have been urging Obama to release secret files they say document links between the Saudi government and the Sept. 11 attacks. Now, unsubstantiated court testimony by Zacharias Moussaoui, a former al-Qaida member serving life in federal prison, has renewed the push by those who want a closer look into whether there was official Saudi involvement with the Sept. 11 hijackers. The controversy comes at a consequential moment in the relationship between the U.S. and the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has a new king, and the two wary allies are working closely to confront Islamic State, the turmoil in Yemen and Iran's nuclear aspirations. (Huffington Post, Feb. 7, 2015)

 

NIGER ADDS ITS TROOPS TO THE WAR ON BOKO HARAM (Dakar) — With the regional war against Boko Haram widening, Niger’s Parliament has agreed to send troops to join the fight. The unanimous vote reflects the shock produced by four attacks in Niger in less than a week, including an explosion at a market in the country’s east that killed a number of civilians. Chad, Cameroon and Benin have also agreed to contribute troops to an 8,700-member force. Attacks by the group, which is based in Nigeria, have increasingly spilled across borders in the region. (New York Times, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

HIGH-RANKING AL-SHABAAB MEMBER KILLED IN U.S. AIRSTRIKE (Nairobi) — The Somali government confirmed Friday that a high-ranking member of the al-Shabaab terrorist group was killed last month in a U.S. airstrike. Abdi Nur Mahdi, commonly known as Yusuf Dheeg, was killed in the Jan. 31 strike outside the southern town of Diinsoor. Dheeg was in charge of al-Shabaab’s external operations and had been involved in planning the September 2013 attack on a shopping mall in neighboring Kenya. That attack killed some 67 people. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 6, 2015)

 

SIX CHARGED WITH SUPPLYING MONEY, EQUIPMENT TO TERRORISTS (St. Louis) —Six Bosnian immigrants have been accused of sending money and military equipment to terrorist fighters overseas, including I.S. and al-Qaeda in Iraq. An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis said the defendants donated money themselves and in some cases collected funds from others and sent the donations overseas. It says two of the defendants used some of the money to buy U.S. military uniforms, firearms accessories, tactical gear and other equipment, which was shipped to people in Turkey and Saudi Arabia who forwarded the supplies to terrorists. (New York Post, Feb. 7, 2015)

 

EGYPTIAN GETS 25 YEARS FOR ROLE IN EMBASSY BOMBINGS (New York) — An Egyptian lawyer was sentenced Friday to 25 years behind bars for conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa that left 224 people dead — including 12 Americans. While imposing a maximum sentence, a Manhattan federal judge pointed out that Adel Abdel Bary benefitted from an “enormously generous plea bargain” that should have him out of jail in eight years when factoring in 17 years of time already served. Before pleading guilty to making a threat to use an explosive device and conspiracy to murder Americans, Bary had faced life in prison on more than 200 counts of premeditated murder for the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. (New York Post, Feb. 6, 2015)

 

ROTHERHAM LEADERS CONDEMNED FOR IGNORING REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE (London) — The British government severely criticized legislators in the town of Rotherham for a culture of “complete denial” that led to a long-running ring involving the sexual abuse of up to 1,400 children from 1997 to 2013. A report into the scandal found grounds for possible criminal indictments. An earlier inquiry, published last August, found that gangs of men, mostly of Pakistani descent, had gradually seduced girls, many of them white, for years. Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, taken to other cities, beaten and intimidated, the inquiry found. Reports from the council’s own youth service were regularly ignored, the latest report said, sometimes out of concern that the council not appear racist. (New York Times, Feb. 4, 2015)

 

PUTIN OFFENDED HE WASN'T INVITED TO AUSCHWITZ MEMORIAL (Moscow) — The decision not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to a ceremony marking seventy years since the liberation of Auschwitz was a mistake that will have harsh consequences on the US and EU's relations with Moscow, according to diplomats. A number of world leaders took part in the ceremony at the camp in Poland. However, the Polish government initiated the decision not to invite Putin. The intentional move to exclude him from an international event meant to memorialize a central event of WWII – an event that was carried out by the Red Army, who liberated Auschwitz – was taken by Putin as an slight that undermines the Russian narrative of the war. A spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, however, said Putin had no reason to feel snubbed since no heads of state were specifically invited to the Jan. 27 event. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2015 & New York Times, Jan. 13, 2015)

 

NETANYAHU MAY CHANGE CONGRESS SPEECH FORMAT AFTER CRITICISM (Jerusalem) — Israeli officials are considering amending the format of Netanyahu's planned address to Congress to try to calm some of the partisan furor the speech has provoked. Netanyahu is due to address a joint session of Congress about Iran's nuclear program on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections, following an invitation from John Boehner. Boehner's invitation has caused consternation in both Israel and the U.S., largely because it is seen as Netanyahu working with the Republicans to criticize Obama's policy on Iran. It is also seen as putting Netanyahu's political links to the Republicans ahead of Israel's ties with the U.S., while serving as a pre-election campaign booster. Israeli officials are considering whether Netanyahu should speak to a closed-door session of Congress, rather than in a prime-time TV address. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2015)

 

PALESTINIANS TO OPEN EMBASSY IN SWEDEN AS ABBAS VISITS (Stockholm) —PA President Abbas arrived in Stockholm Tuesday as Sweden readied to open the first Palestinian embassy in Western Europe. Abbas, who is visiting Sweden for the first time since it became the first European country to recognize Palestine, called on other countries to follow Stockholm’s lead. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said with statehood, the Palestinians would now be held to different standards: “According to our view, Palestine is from now on a state. Therefore our expectations from Palestine and its leaders are going to grow.” Löfven announced $180 million in increased aid to the Palestinians, which will be dedicated to fighting corruption, advancing human rights and gender equality. Sweden is the only major EU country to have recognized Palestine. (Times of Israel, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

PA ANNOUNCES TOTAL BAN ON MAJOR ISRAELI PRODUCTS (Ramallah) —The products of six of the biggest Israeli companies will now be absolutely barred in the territories currently under Palestinian control. The Israeli companies banned under the latest dictate are the chocolate and candy company Elite; Tnuva, which produces cheese and other dairy products; the beverage companies Prigat and Jafora (which includes Shweppes and RC Cola, in Israel); and Osem, which produces snacks and soups, as well as other food products. All of the companies are located within the Green Line. (Jewish Press, Feb. 10, 2015)

 

U CAL STUDENT BODY URGES DIVESTMENT FROM ISRAEL, US (Los Angeles) — The University of California Student Association passed two resolutions Sunday calling on the institution to “withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments” from several governments, including Israel, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, and the US. According to the student body, the aforementioned governments have violated the universal right “to life, liberty, and security of person; to education; to privacy, family [and] home; to own property, and… [not to] be arbitrarily deprived of property.” The resolution stated that the US “is engaged in drone strikes that have killed over 2,400 people in Pakistan and Yemen, many of them civilians.” The second resolution was devoted entirely to human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories. (Times of Israel, Feb. 9, 2015)

 

 

On Topic Links 

 

Chart: The Decline of Europe’s Jewish Population: Adam Taylor, Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2015 —A bloody attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris last month has caused many French Jews to reconsider their lives in France…

Pre-9/11 Ties Haunt Saudis as New Accusations Surface: Ben Hubbard & Scott Shane, New York Times, Feb. 4, 2015—During the 1980s and ’90s, the historic alliance between the wealthy monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the country’s powerful clerics emerged as the major financier of international jihad, channeling tens of millions of dollars to Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere.

Obama: We're No Better than Islamic State: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Feb. 6, 2015  —As the world reacts with shock and horror at the increasingly savage deeds of the Islamic State (IS)—most recently the immolation of a captive—U.S. President Obama's response has been one of nonjudgmental relativism.

Folks Do the Randomest Things: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, Feb. 11, 2015 —I don’t understand why folks are giving President Obama and his spokes-minions such a hard time over his insistence that Ahmedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who just happened to be Muslim committing terrorism that had nothing to do with Islam, was just “randomly” picking out folks in Paris to kill when he randomly came upon a grocery that just happened to be Jewish and, coincidentally, to have Jews in it, whom he randomly killed.

 

Rob Coles, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme,   www.isranet.org Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284. mailto:ber@isranet.org

 

 

 

 

 

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WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

Media-ocrities of the Week

 

THEN:

GURI WEINBERG, SON OF MURDERED ISRAELI OLYMPIAN, SPEAKS OUT

 

In 1996, I, along with other Munich orphans and three of the widows… met with Alex Gilady. Gilady [an Israeli who] has been a member of the IOC’s Radio and Television Commission since 1984.  I have known Mr. Gilady since I was a kid; in fact, I grew up with his daughter…so we arrived with high hopes. Gilady informed us that a moment of silence was not possible because if the IOC had a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes, they would also have to do the same for the Palestinians who died at the Olympics in 1972. 

My mother said, “But no Palestinian athletes died.” Gilady responded, “Well, there were Palestinians who died at the 1972 Olympics.” I heard one of the widows say to Gilady, “Are you equating the murder of my husband to the terrorists that killed him?” Silence.

 

Then Ilana Romano burst out with a cry that has haunted me to this day. She screamed at Gilady, “How DARE you! You KNOW what they did to my husband! They let him lay there for hours, dying slowly, and then finished him off by castrating him and shoving it in his mouth, ALEX!” Without a hint of empathy, Gilady excused himself from our meeting.

 

NOW:

LEBANESE JUDO TEAM REFUSES TO PRACTICE ALONGSIDE ISRAELIS

 

On Friday, July 27, prior to the official opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Lebanese judo team refused to practice next to the Israeli team and Olympic organizers. The organizers promptly placated the Lebanese team and set up a separation screen to split the gym in half. “We started to practice. They came and they saw us—they didn’t like it and they went to the organizers.” said a spokesman for Israel’s Olympic Committee, [This]. prompted [an] angry [response] from an Israeli official who said “What? they can’t see us, but they will smell us.”

 

One of the fundamental principles of “Olympism,” as outlined in the Olympic Charter, states:

“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” ….Earlier in the week, when the IOC refused to include a moment of silence to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the terrorist murders of 11 Israeli Olympians, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, sent a letter to IOC chairman Jacques Rogge thanking him for his position, writing: “Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples. It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples.” And yet “separating and spreading racism between peoples” is exactly what occurred in the practice center for the judo teams in London. (London Telegraph, Reuters & CAMERA alert, July 27& 30, 2012)

 

Weekly Quotes

 

“I believe that the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: It is a force for good in the world.”—U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a foreign policy address in Jerusalem. In the speech, he also said, pointedly: “We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel voice their criticisms. And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 1, 2012)
 

‘‘As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, [actually $31,400, Ed.] and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, [actually $2,900, Ed.] you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,’’”And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”Mitt Romney at a fundraiser on his recent visit to Israel, much to the great chagrin of  Saeb Erekat, , a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who replied, ‘‘It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation.’’ (Israel Hayom & Boston Globe, July 30 & 31, 2012)

 

“He [the Israeli] has stolen my culture, turned it into technology, burned my customs and traditions, and taken what I have, leaving me devoid of initiative.”—Ibrahim Al-Fani, an official at the Al-Quds Institute of Research and Documentation, in an interview on PA TV in December 2010,We must put together a cultural team and prevail over the Israelis in disseminating [our] culture, for they have no culture. You know that the Hebrew language is not [really] the Hebrew language, since it is taken from Aramaic. All the universities in the world know this. They stole the Aramaic language and codified it, and it became Hebrew. (cited in Israel Hayom, July 31, 2012)

 

“Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program. This must change, and it must change quickly because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.”—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem with visiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at his side. “We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Period …We will exert all options.” In an apparent nod to Netanyahu’s call for the U.S. to. couple sanctions with a more credible threat of military action. Panetta added that “We have to exhaust every option, every effort, before we resort to military action.” At the same time, Panetta made clear [that] Israel—and Israel alone—has the right to decide if and when to strike Iran if it believes its security is threatened, “We respect Israel’s sovereignty and their independence. And their effort to decide what is in their national security interest is something that must be left up to the Israelis,”(Wall Street Journal, Aug. 1, 2012)

 

“The [Syrian] government controls nothing any more, except through shelling and artillery,”—Abu Abdul Jabr  a bearded rebel leader and former interior decorator “They can make a massacre but that is it. He said he believed the fight for Aleppo would be finished by the end of Ramadan, the holy fasting month, in mid-August. “We have the resolution to fight. It means with us one month on the streets is equivalent to five years in military services. The troops don’t have the strength to match us and are defecting whenever they can.” (National Post, Aug. 1, 2012)

 

“I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle East peace process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including (the) Israeli people.”—Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi Tuesday in a letter Israel said it had received.  Morsi’s spokesman Yasser Ali told Reuters “The letter that the media reported to have been sent from President Mursi to Israel was fake. President Mursi has not sent anything to Israel,”. An official from Peres’s office said the letter was authentic. “It was received by the Egyptian ambassador and handed over (to Peres’s office). The denial was to be expected, given the letter’s high publicity in Israeli and Egyptian media,” the official said (Boston Globe, July 30, 2012)
 

 “Israel is not a victim, and even when civilians are killed, the occupying Israeli policy is to blame.”MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) told Channel 10. Zoabi said on Thursday that Israeli policy was responsible for the terrorist attack that killed five Israelis in Bulgaria on July 18 “If there was no occupation, no repression and no blockade, then this wouldn’t have happened,” she said during an interview at Haifa’s Gordon College of Education. (Jerusalem Post, July 27, 2012)

 

“We carry a message of peace to the world.”—Mohamed Morsi in his inauguration speech as President-elect of Egypt, emphasizing “the state of Egypt’s commitment to international treaties and agreements.” Encouraging as these statements may be, the Post notes Morsi, as a candidate from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, may have some difficulty reconciling them with the tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood, as set forth by Mustafa Mashhur, Muslim Brotherhood leader from 1996 to 2002, in his book Jihad is the Way. In it he defines Israel and Israelis as “the criminal, thieving gangs of Zion,” and says “that the problems of the Islamic world, such as Palestine… are not issues of territories and nations, but of faith and religion. They are problems of Islam and the Muslims, and they can be resolved neither by negotiation nor by recognizing the enemy’s right to the Islamic land he stole.” (Jerusalem Post, July 31, 2012

 

“There’s a different leader in Syria now,” she explained. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he is a reformer.” Secretary of State HilaryClinton’s comments, from March 27, 2011, in response to CBS’s Bob Schieffer on why the U.S. was prepared to intervene against Moammar Gadhafi but not against Assad:  She “clarified” her comments a few days later when she said: “I referenced the opinions of others. That was not speaking either for myself or for the administration.” (Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2012)

 

“To the Jewish martyrs of the Vélodrome d’Hiver, we owe the truth about what happened 70 years ago,”—France’s President François Hollande said last Sunday at the site of the the Winter Velodrome arena from which Jews were deported in WWII, which was demolished long ago. “The truth is that the crime was committed in France, by France.” In publicly saying this, Hollande broke with his mentor and the hero of the French left, former French President François Mitterrand, who, refusing to acknowledge broad French responsibility for the operation said, in 1992 “Let us not ask for an accounting from the Republic.” (New York Times, July 29, 2012)

 

Short Takes

 

ISRAEL, PA REACH AGREEMENT ON TAXES AND TRANSFER OF GOODS—Several months of secret meetings between Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resulted in an agreement reached on Tuesday evening that Steinitz hailed as “an important step in strengthening the economic ties between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” This will help foster trade between Israel and the PA, as well as to help strengthen the Palestinian tax system and…its financial base. Additionally, the agreement will enable both sides to more effectively fight smuggling and tax evasion. “The new arrangements are part of our overall stated policy to support the Palestinian society and to strengthen their economy,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fayyad said that the agreements “will help to strengthen the economic base of the Palestinian Authority…also improve the economic relations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.” (Times of Israel, August 1, 2012)

 

ARCHIVES SHOW SOVIET MIDDLE EAST ROLE—Secret files from the former Soviet Union, known as the “Bukovsky archives” show that Cold War nuclear disarmament campaigns across Europe were largely funded by the Soviet bloc. “The money was channelled through communist parties or other pro-Soviet organizations. Baroness Catherine Ashton was the treasurer for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament from 1980 to 1982”. Highly secretive about its sources of funding, the CND refused to submit its accounts to independent audit. Finally forced to do so under enormous pressure, auditors discovered that 38 percent of their annual income was untraceable. “Will Howard, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, was responsible for this part of the fund-raising.  Baroness Ashton is now the E.U. foreign policy chief, leading negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran. Whatever the outcome, we may surely thank the Kremlin for that, too.”
(Tablet, June 20, 2012)

 

GOLAN DRUSE MAN INDICTED FOR PASSING INFO TO SYRIA—A Druse resident of the Golan Heights was charged Monday with passing intelligence information on Israeli military positions to Syria. Earlier this month the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested Dr. Iad Johary, who admitted that between 2005 and 2008 he was in touch with various Syrian intelligence operatives while he was studying medicine in Syria. The Shin Bet said Johary admitted to providing information about the locations of IDF bases in the North, IDF training areas in the Golan Heights, IDF patrols along the Syrian border and security measures at the Kuneitra crossing He also identified residents of the Golan Heights who opposed the Syrian regime. (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2012)

 

MUSLIM BROTHERS PLOTTING OVERTHROW OF GULF STATES—Dubai’s chief of police has warned of an “international plot” to overthrow the governments of Gulf Arab countries, saying the region needs to be prepared to counter any threat from Islamist dissidents as well as Syria and Iran. “There’s an international plot against Gulf states in particular and Arab countries in general…This is preplanned to take over our fortunes,” Chief Dahi Khalfan told reporters …”The brothers and their governments in Damascus and North Africa have to know that the Gulf is a red line, not only for Iran but also for the Brothers as well.”

(Jeruslaem Post, July 26, 2012)

 

ISRAELI SURGEONS FIX LATVIAN BOY’S RIGHT HAND—Kyril, a 12-year-old boy from Latvia whose congenital defect made it impossible for him to eat, scratch or do anything else with his right hand, is now able to function normally and return home, thanks to surgeons at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Kyril suffered from brachial plexus palsy, a defect that occurs in one in 3,000 to 5,000 births. The surgeon, Dr. Mark Edelman, head of the pediatric orthopedics department at Rambam, turned the boy’s wrist 65 degrees around and set it in its new location with six screws. (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2012)

 

INDIA, US LEARNING FROM ISRAEL’S BORDER SECURITY—In August, a delegation from India will arrive to study the various technologies used by the IDF to secure the borders with the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Egypt, and which could be implemented as part of India’s own fence with Pakistan and Bangladesh. India is interested in beefing up its border security to prevent future incidents like the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Israel’s primary concern is with the growing number of terror attacks along the Egyptian border.  The US Department of Homeland Security is testing the ELM-2112 family of “persistent ground surveillance radars”, developed by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and used by the IDF to detect intruders before they reach the border. Five different versions detect individuals at ranges from 300 m. up to 20 km., and vehicles at up to 40 km.  (Jerusalem Post, July 3, 2012

 

JEWISH GROUPS DEMAND ONTARIO BLOCK HATE RALLY—In an effort to stop an “anti-Semitic hate rally” from taking place on government land next month, two Canadian national Jewish organizations are lobbying Queen’s Park in Toronto. The International Day of Al-Quds, to be held on August 17 and 18, is a pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist day of protest initiated by Iran’s Grand Ayatollah in 1979. Events are planned for Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. “Speakers at last year’s Toronto event likened Israel to a cancer, waved yellow Hezbollah flags and hoisted images of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader of the Islamic Revolution”. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs videotaped the protest and presented footage to Queen’s Park last month as evidence the group is spreading hate and shouldn’t have permission to protest there. (National Post, Aug. 1, 2012)