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: “…This is a far cry from the Nazi era. Notwithstanding recent gains by anti-Semitic parties such as Hungary’s Jobbik and Greece’s Golden Dawn, Europe remains a relatively tolerant and inclusive continent that is more than capable of confronting the intolerance in its midst and providing safe and prosperous homes for people of all faiths. Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the Copenhagen attacks as an opportunity to repeat his call for Jews to abandon Europe en masse. “This wave of terror attacks can be expected to continue,” he said. “We say to the Jews, to our brothers and sisters, Israel is your home and that of every Jew.” This is the purest expression of Zionism, of course. But Mr. Netanyahu is a head of government, and to call for the deracination of Europe — or anywhere else — is an appalling notion with, shall we say, unfortunate echoes. (That Mr. Netanyahu would issue his call in the midst of an election campaign is particularly discreditable.) There have been Jews in Europe since the Roman Empire. They aren’t going anywhere, nor should they…It’s easy to imagine some very unsavory people welcoming Mr. Netanyahu’s call for a Judenfrei continent. Europe’s Jews should stand their ground and demand the protections and respect to which they are entitled,”National Post editorial. (National Post, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

 

 

On Topic Links 

 

 

What’s Next After Copenhagen?: David Harris, Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2015

A Perfect Storm Brews in the Middle East: David Ignatius, Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2015

Obama's Iran Policy and Netanyahu's Visit: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 18, 2015

Say It Like It Is: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2015

What ISIS Really Wants: Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, March, 2015

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

"An attack on Denmark's Jews is an attack on everyone," —Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. "The Jewish community is an important part of Denmark. We will stand together and continue the everyday life we know. We stand together as Danes," she added. After killing a Danish film director in a Saturday afternoon attack on a Copenhagen cafe and then a Jewish night guard at a synagogue, the 22-year-old gunman responsible for Denmark’s worst burst of terrorism in decades unleashed a final fusillade outside a four-story apartment building before dawn on Sunday. After a January rampage in the Paris area that killed 17 people, including four Jews, and police raids in Belgium a week later that the authorities said thwarted a major terrorist operation, Denmark became over the weekend the latest European country plunged into what Thorning-Schmidt [choosing not to use the word Islamic—Ed.] described as “a fight for freedom against a dark ideology.” (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2015 & CNN, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

“At the height of the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to Congress, J Street’s petition campaign that attempts to distance itself and American Jews from Israel’s duly elected prime minister is inflammatory and repugnant and exacerbates an already heated and politicized moment for U.S. Israel relations at a critical juncture in the West’s negotiations with Iran,” —Statement released by the Anti-Defamation League. The condemnation came two days after J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group, launched its petition denouncing Netanyahu’s claim that his controversial March 3 speech before Congress would be delivered on behalf of all Jews. “I’m a Jew. Bibi [Netanyahu] does NOT speak for me!” the petition read, adding that the Israeli prime minister “is not the spokesman for all Jews.” (Times of Israel, Feb. 12, 2015)

 

“That is a patriot, that’s a man who loves his people, that’s a man who protects his people, that’s a man who fights for his people, unlike our president,” —Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani,  contrasting U.S. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The remarks were made at an Iranian-American Community of Arizona symposium entitled “Countering Islamic Fundamentalism and a Nuclear-Armed Iran.” (Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

"Everyone knows [French Prime Minister Manuel Valls] is married to someone really good but who has an influence on him," —Roland Dumas, 92, who twice served as French foreign minister under Francois Mitterrand. Pressed to answer the question "Is he under a Jewish influence?" Dumas responded, "Probably, I would think so." Valls has been vocal in his defense of Jews in France, both before and after the January Islamist attacks that killed 17 people, including four Jews. On Monday, following the weekend attacks in Copenhagen which targeted a synagogue and free-speech event, Valls underscored the need for high security in France to defend against what he called "Islamo-fascism." He called upon Jews to remain in France, promising the "strongest possible" legal response after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called anew upon European Jews to emigrate to Israel after the Copenhagen attacks. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

“Oh, people, recently you have seen us on the hills of as-Sham and Dabiq’s plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time,” —Islamic State video released Sunday, reportedly showing the mass beheading of at least a dozen Egyptian Christians by fighters in a recently formed Libyan arm of the Islamic State group. Under the title “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” he emphasizes that the fighters are just one part of the broader Islamic State group. “Today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message,” the executioner continued. He implies that they are taking revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos and his burial at sea, saying, “The sea you’ve hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.” (New York Times, Feb. 15, 2015)

 

"We have been discussing this for months but now it has become urgent," —Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti. “The risk is imminent, we cannot wait any longer. Italy has national defense needs and cannot have a caliphate ruling across the shores from us." That threat would appear to be towards the Christian West as whole, but Italian politicians also are taking the view that the threat is a literal one towards Italy and in recent weeks Italian officials, including the country’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, have begun to echo some French politicians talking about the need for a possible intervention in Libya to curb the lawlessness and halt the rise of I.S. (Daily Beast, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

“We are calling upon the international community to understand our position,” —Badr Abdelatty, a spokesman for Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs. Abdelatty demanded that world powers offer “material and political” support for Egypt’s crackdown on domestic Islamists with the same firmness they urge in fighting Islamic State. “We should deal with all terrorist organizations with the same standard…that you cannot differentiate between less radical and more radical. This is nonsense,” he added. Egypt’s regime has detained tens of thousands of Brotherhood members and killed hundreds more under the banner of fighting terrorism. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

“What happened is a crime, a monstrous terrorist crime that our children have their throats cuts in Libya and not to react…We won't allow them to cut off the heads of our children.” —Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Egypt’s President called on Tuesday for a U.N. resolution endorsing an international military campaign against Islamic State in Libya, one day after he ordered cross-border airstrikes in retaliation for the mass execution of 21 Egyptian Christians. Sisi indicated the international coalition that helped depose longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 had ended its operations prematurely and opened a power vacuum in the North African nation into which radicals have rushed. “We abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners to extremist militias,” he said. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

“Are they not fighting ISIS? Why can’t they come to Nigeria?” —Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. “Look, they are our friends. If Nigeria has a problem, then I expect the U.S. to come and assist us,” he added. With his economy faltering and just five weeks to go before he faces a close election, the Nigerian President is appealing to the U.S. to send combat troops against his country’s most intractable problem: the Islamist insurgency Boko Haram. The president of Africa’s largest democracy said in an interview that he has been asking the U.S. since early 2014 to send combat soldiers along with military advisers to Nigeria to battle Boko Haram. Citing intelligence reports, he said Boko Haram were receiving “training and funds” from Islamic State. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13, 2015)

 

“Mr. Baird proudly signed a bomb destined for release by a Canadian plane. “Free Libya. Democracy,” he wrote. The minister then declared, after his lightning visit, “The one thing we can say categorically is that they [the rebels] wouldn’t be any worse than Col. Gadhafi.”… All that malarkey about democracy. All that guff about an orderly transition to a post-Gadhafi Libya. All that nonsense from Mr. Baird and so many others, including Canada’s opposition parties that twice acquiesced in parliamentary resolutions to extend the bombing missions without anyone asking questions: Okay, what next?” —Jeffrey Simpson. Canadian planes flew 446 missions in Libya, 10 per cent of NATO’s total. Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard of Canada also co-ordinated the air strikes. (Globe & Mail, Feb. 18, 2015)

 

“Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians,” —Pope Francis. “Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply because they were Christians,” the Pope exclaimed. The Pope condemned the purported beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, calling those killed “martyrs who belong to all Christians…The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard,” the pope said. “It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants,” he said, according to a Vatican transcript. “They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.” (Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

“I’ve been reporting on Christians in the Middle East for many years now, and the persecution has increased dramatically,” —Benjamin Weinthal. “They don’t have their own sovereign state like Israel, the only country in the region where there’s actually been a growth in the Christian population.” (The Blaze, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

"Since last September, our movements have become very limited for fear of the security situation, and there are some members of the community who preferred to leave Yemen," —Yemen’s chief rabbi Yahya Youssef. A few worried families are all that remain of Yemen's ancient Jewish community, and they too may soon flee after a Shi'ite Muslim militia seized power in the strife-torn country this month. Harassment by the Houthi movement caused Jews in recent years to largely quit the northern highlands they shared with Yemen's Shi'ites for millennia. Around six Yemeni Jews from the same family arrived in Israel on Friday. "We don't want to leave. If we wanted to, we would have done so a long time ago," Yahya said. Jews evacuated from the Houthi stronghold of Saada province in 2009 to the government-guarded compound have dwindled from 76 to 45. A group of 26 others live in a city north of the capital. Their total number is down from around 200-300 just a few years ago and now makes up a tiny fraction of Yemen's 19 million-strong population. Yemen's Jewish community numbered over 40,000 until 1949, when Israel organized their mass transfer to the newly-established state. (Yahoo News, Feb. 15, 2015)

 

“We’re witnessing a moment of growing tension and growing hate in Europe, and the anti-Semitism is an expression of something more that is going wrong,” — Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, the director of the American Jewish Committee in Paris. (New York Times, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

TWO 'ACCOMPLICES' CHARGED OVER COPENHAGEN SHOOTINGS (Copenhagen) — Two men were charged on Monday as accomplices of the suspected Islamist terrorist who shot dead two people in a double attack in Copenhagen. The men denied helping the 22-year-old suspect, Omar el-Hussein, obtain guns and hiding him for several hours after the first attack on a free speech debate, where he killed a filmmaker. El-Hussein, of Palestinian descent but born in Denmark, died in a shootout with police on Sunday as he returned home after the second attack on a girl’s Bat Mitzvah at a synagogue. He pretended to be a drunken member of the party to get past police but was stopped by a Jewish volunteer security guard, whom he shot dead before fleeing on foot. (Telegraph, Feb. 16, 2015)  

 

CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER MAY FACE ARGENTINA BOMB PROBE (Buenos Aires) — An Argentine prosecutor has asked a federal judge to investigate President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over allegations she helped cover up Iranian links to a deadly 1994 bombing. Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita inherited the case from Alberto Nisman, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances. The president denies the allegations, with the government calling the probe an "anti-democratic attack". The attack on a Jewish centre killed 85 people. Iran denies being involved. Before his death, Nisman had published a report on the attack on the Amia Jewish centre. (BBC, Feb. 13, 2015)

 

IRAN’S AYATOLLAH SENDS NEW LETTER TO OBAMA (Washington) — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has responded to overtures from President Obama seeking better relations by sending secret communications of his own to the White House. The Iranian cleric wrote to Obama in recent weeks in response to an October presidential letter that raised the possibility of U.S.-Iranian cooperation in fighting Islamic State if a nuclear deal is secured, according to an Iranian diplomat. The supreme leader’s response was “respectful” but noncommittal, the diplomat said. Iran has denied the report that Khamenei wrote a letter to Obama, the Islamic Republic's official news agency reported. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13, 2015 & Fox News, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

SAUDI ARABIA CLOSES EMBASSY IN YEMEN (Sana’a) — Saudi Arabia has suspended operations at its embassy in Yemen, as the security situation in the country deteriorates. It is the first Arab country to suspend its diplomatic mission. The U.S. and many Western embassies have also closed. The Saudis have long played a key role in Yemen, but their influence has been shaken by a recent political takeover by the Houthis, a Shia rebel group. The Houthis ousted the US-backed government last week. Al Qaeda and other Sunni militants have stepped up attacks against the Houthis. The Ansar al-Sharia group, which is linked to AQAP, has captured an army base in southern Yemen. (BBC, Feb. 13, 2015)

 

ISLAMIC STATE ATTACKS IRAQI BASE USED BY U.S. (Baghdad) — Islamic State fighters wearing Iraqi military uniforms and suicide vests attacked an Iraqi air base where U.S. military advisers are training Iraq’s security forces, the most direct attack on a base used by U.S. forces since the current conflict began. The attack came a day after I.S. took control of a town near the base, the first new territorial gain by the group in Iraq in many weeks. On Friday, a group of 20 to 25 I.S. fighters, many dressed in Iraqi army uniforms, attacked the edge of the huge al-Asad Air Base before being repelled by Iraqi security forces, said Rear Adm. John Kirby. Most of the I.S. fighters, Adm. Kirby said, were killed but he couldn't provide a specific overall casualty report. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13, 2015)

 

PAKISTANI TALIBAN KILL THREE IN SUICIDE ATTACK AT SHIITE MOSQUE  (Islamabad) — At least three people were killed and two wounded on Wednesday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a Shiite mosque on the outskirts of Islamabad. Jundullah, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. Fahad Marwat, a spokesman for the group, said that it was meant as revenge for the Pakistani military’s continuing operations in North Waziristan, a northwestern tribal region that is a militant stronghold. The attack comes just a day after a suicide attack in Lahore. Five people were killed and 23 were wounded in the attack. There has been a spike in terrorist attacks in recent weeks, especially against Shiites. Last week, Taliban militants stormed a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, in the northwest. At least 19 people were killed in the attack, during the busy Friday Prayer. (New York Times, Feb. 18, 2015)

 

OBAMA TO HOST SUMMIT ON "VIOLENT EXTREMISM" (Washington) — In a world where innocent civilians are killed daily, and Islamic terrorists behead Muslims and Christians and recruit educated teenagers to battlefields, can a few days of White House conversations help prevent “violent extremism”? The White House for months has touted plans for a summit to tackle the global causes, preventions and defenses against extremists. If that suggests this week’s event devoted to “best practices” lacks urgency or even a tight focus – it will feature multiple sub-topics, loads of speeches, venues at the White House and the State Department, and representatives from five dozen countries – here’s how the administration describes it: “Through presentations, panel discussions, and small group interactions, participants will build on local, state, and federal government; community; and international efforts to better understand, identify, and prevent the cycle of radicalization to violence at home in the United States and abroad.” (Real Clear Politics, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

HUNDREDS OF TOMBS DEFACED IN FRENCH JEWISH CEMETERY (Paris) — France's interior minister said Sunday several hundred tombs had been defaced at a Jewish cemetery in the northeast of the country, in what he called "a despicable act". Police had cordoned off the isolated cemetery as crime scene investigators were sent to the site. "Around 300 tombs have been defaced," said a source close to the investigation, adding that there had been no reports of anything written on the tombstones.  It is not the first time that a Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union has been targeted. In 1988, around 60 Jewish steles were knocked over, and 54 tombs were wrecked in 2001. (I24, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

DENMARK’S JEWISH RADIO STATION SHUTS DOWN (Copenhagen) — Last night, for the first time in its history, Denmark’s sole Jewish broadcast station Radio Shalom did not air. Its programming, a mix of Jewish news, culture and music, was shut down by its proprietor on the advice of the country’s security services. Radio Shalom is not the only Jewish institution to shutter its doors in the wake of the shooting at Copenhagen’s synagogue that left one dead and several others wounded. Copenhagen’s Caroline School, one of the oldest Jewish schools in the world, has closed down as well. In August, it forbade its students from wearing Jewish religious symbols in the hopes of deterring anti-Semitic attacks, only to have the school vandalized two weeks later. (Tablet, Feb. 17, 2015)

 

STANFORD SENATE PASSES ISRAEL DIVESTMENT MEASURE (New York) — The Undergraduate Senate of Stanford University passed an Israel divestment bill Tuesday that had been defeated last week. The resolution calls for Stanford trustees to divest from companies that “violate international humanitarian law by: maintaining illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation…” Last week, Stanford students voted on a resolution that called for the university to cease investing in companies that operate out of the West Bank and Gaza. That measure was struck down when it failed to pass the necessary 66 percent of the vote, garnering just 64% with nine votes for, five against and one abstention. Two student senators requested a motion to reconsider the resolution, saying the anti-divestment bloc had created a hostile environment that prevented them from voting “with clarity,” the group Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine said. (Times of Israel, Feb. 18, 2015)

 

93-YEAR-OLD ‘AUSCHWITZ GUARD’ HIT WITH 170,000 MURDER CHARGES (Munich) — A German court says a 93-year-old man has been charged with 170,000 counts of accessory to murder on allegations he served as an SS guard at the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland. The defendant, whose name wasn’t disclosed in line with privacy laws (according to Thomas Walter, an investigator with Germany’s Central Office for investigating Nazi crimes, the defendant’s name is Oskar Groening—Ed.), allegedly served in Auschwitz from January 1942 to June 1944, the Detmold state court said in a statement Monday. He’s alleged to have been assigned to the Auschwitz I camp, but also to have helped supervise new prisoners, largely Jews, as they arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the part of the camp complex where most of its 1.1 million victims were killed. (New York Post, Feb. 16, 2015)

 

DIVERS FIND LARGEST TREASURE OF GOLD COINS EVER DISCOVERED IN ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) —The largest treasure of gold coins discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbor in Caesarea National Park, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Tuesday. IAA officials uncovered almost 2,000 gold coins from the Fatimid period (eleventh century CE) in different denominations: a dinar, half dinar and quarter dinar, of various dimensions and weight. the earliest coin exposed in the treasure is a quarter dinar minted in Palermo, Sicily in the second half of the ninth century CE. Most of the discovered coins belonged to the Fatimid caliphs and were minted in Egypt and North Africa. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 2, 2015)

 

On Topic Links 
 

 

What’s Next After Copenhagen?: David Harris, Algemeiner, Feb. 17, 2015 —Once again, the jihadists have attacked, this time in Copenhagen.

A Perfect Storm Brews in the Middle East: David Ignatius, Washington Post, Feb. 16, 2015—Mistrust between the Obama administration and Benjamin Netanyahu has widened even further in recent days because of U.S. suspicion that the Israeli prime minister has authorized leaks of details about the U.S. nuclear talks with Iran.

Obama's Iran Policy and Netanyahu's Visit: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 18, 2015—Unfortunately, there are many sources of tension between the Obama administration and Netanyahu’s government.

Say It Like It Is: Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2015 —I’ve never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems, but when I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won’t go to pay for this?

What ISIS Really Wants: Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, March, 2015 —What is the Islamic State? Where did it come from, and what are its intentions?

 

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-ocrity of the Week

 

 

ISRAEL’S FADING DEMOCRACY

 Avraham Burg

 

“Mr. Netanyahu’s great political “achievement” has been to make Israel a partisan issue and push American Jews into a corner. He has forced them to make political decisions based on calculations that go against what they perceive to be American interests. The emotional extortion compels Jews to pressure the Obama administration, a government with which they actually share values and worldviews, when those who love Israel should be doing the opposite: helping the American government to intervene and save Israel from itself. [Our emphasis—Ed.]

 

“In the early years of statehood, the meaning of the term “Jewish” was national and secular. In the eyes of Israel’s founding fathers, to be a Jew was exactly like being an Italian, Frenchman or American….Israel arose as a secular, social democratic country inspired by Western European democracies. With time, however, its core values have become entirely different. Israel today is a religious, capitalist state. Its religiosity is defined by the most extreme Orthodox interpretations. Its capitalism has erased much of the social solidarity of the past, with the exception of a few remaining vestiges of a welfare state.

 

“If this trend continues, all vestiges of democracy will one day disappear, and Israel will become just another Middle Eastern theocracy…. As in Northern Ireland or South Africa, where citizens no longer spill one another’s blood, it will eventually become clear that many Israelis are not willing to live in an ethnic democracy, not willing to give up on the chance to live in peace, not willing to be passive patriots…I believe that creating two neighboring states for two peoples that respect one another would be the best solution. However, if our shortsighted leaders miss this [two state] opportunity, the same fair and equal principles should be applied to one state for both peoples.[Our emphasis—Ed.]  

 

[Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset, New York Times, Aug. 5, 2012—what the NYT does not tell the reader is that Avraham Bur, formerly a Labour MK, was an activist with the left-wing organization Peace Now. In 2003 he published an article in the left-leaning paper The Guardian entitled  “The End of Zionism”, soon after which he resigned from the Knesset and public life. He has since left Israel and resides abroad. —Ed. )

 


 

Weekly Quotes

 

"It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation,"—Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, referring to a visit to Auschwitz death camp late last month by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It was "a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy." coming "at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy," Reuters reported that al-Bandak laid a wreath at Auschwitz. (JTA, Aug. 2, 2012)

 

"The problem is not hasbara; the British public may not be expert[s] but they are not stupid,"—British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, saying [that] the Jewish state is today viewed "as the Goliath and it is the Palestinians who are seen as the David." adding that "There is a growing concern about the lack of progress towards peace."and that Israelis and their supporters should be concerned about the erosion of popular support for the Jewish state due to  “ongoing settlement building, conditions in the West Bank and restrictions placed on the Gaza Strip” (Jerusalem Post, August 3, 2012)

 

“It appears that despite a series of steps taken by Israel, the Palestinian Authority nevertheless continues in a very negative pattern of behavior”—an [Israeli] government official.memo “We think we have taken some bold steps, but that the Palestinians have refused to pick up the ball, and refuse to cease behavior that we see as hostile,”  Israel has made a number of goodwill gestures lately toward the Palestinians…agreeing to start negotiations…on developing the Gaza Marine gas field off the Gaza Strip coast, signing…an economic accord with the PA aimed at enhancing trade, an advancing of NIS 180 million of tax money so salaries could be paid, and transfering in May to the PA of the bodies of some 90 terrorists. “The Palestinians have to make a decision,” the official continued. “Do they want to go ahead with cooperation—and there is so much to be gained by that—or do they want to continue with unilateral steps, and reflexive anti-Israel actions.” (Jerusalem Post, August 3, 2012)

 

…[W]hile it was justified to “make clear Israel’s designation of Jerusalem as its capital is not recognized by the international community, we accept that it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv—the country’s financial and diplomatic centre—is the capital. The style guide has been amended accordingly.”— The Guardian in response to Honest Reporting’s legal proceedings against it for designating Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital in it’s style guide. (Honest Reporting, August 7, 2012)

 

“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”— Sen. Barack Obama (D—Illinois) (AIPAC conference, June 4, 2008)
 

“Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles. But for an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel. We’re part of the great fellowship of democracies.  We speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. We serve the same cause and provoke the same hatreds in the same enemies of civilization.”— Mitt Romney in his Jerusalem address. (Jerusalem Post, July 29 , 2012)

 

“As the Levy Report correctly notes, Israel is not engaged in ‘military occupation’ in relation to the communities in Judea and Samaria,”—American Jewish leaders in their letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu. “In our opinion, the individuals who have urged you not to accept the findings of the Levy Report under the pretext that Israel’s status as a Jewish and democratic state could somehow be compromised by its adoption are doing a disservice to the State of Israel. Despite assertions to the contrary, the conclusions of the Levy Report do not ‘place…the prestige of Israel as a democratic member of the international community, in peril.’ We categorically reject this absurd declaration and sincerely hope and pray that you do the same.” (Jewish Press, Aug. 4, 2012)

 

“Given the irreversibility of the huge Israeli civilian presence in Judea and Samaria and continuing Palestinian rejectionism, Western governments must reassess their approach to resolving the Israeli—Palestinian conflict. They should acknowledge that no final—status solution is imminent. And consequently, instead of lamenting that the status quo is not sustainable, the international community should work together with the parties to improve it where possible and make it more viable.”—Dany Dayan chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.. (New York Times, July 25, 2012)

 

“We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon—period,”—US Secretary of Defense Panetta to  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  “We will exert all options in the effort to ensure that that does not happen.” But Israeli officials seemed unwilling to accept Panetta’s assurances that President Obama has their backs, media reports say.  “Obama will not attack Iran—never,” Netanyahu was quoted as telling Shaul Mofaz, the opposition leader. “In his second term, Obama will care even less about us than he cares now.”… Some Israelis believe that Obama was trying to make sure Israel wouldn’t attack Iran before the November election.  AnyUS attack would only come in another year or two, after Iran more fully develops its nuclear program reports in Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth say. (New York Post, Aug. 5, 2012)

 

“There will be neither diplomatic progress nor an accord with the Palestinians as long as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains in power,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday.  Liberman, in a meeting with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, slammed the PA for a letter it sent to the EU on July 24, urging it to reconsider its relations with Israel. The letter, coinciding with the annual EU—Israel Association Council meeting, urged the EU not to grant Israel “any upgrade whether it be official or practical,” and not to give the country any preferential treatment, nor allow further integration into the EU.  Liberman termed the letter “slanderous,” and said it accused Israel of theft and exploitation of natural resources, closing off the Gaza Strip, destroying projects in Israeli—controlled Area C of the West Bank and settler violence.   “The style and sprit of the letter,” Liberman said…was “better suited to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Der Stuermer.” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2012)

 

“Liberman’s statements reveal a mentality interested in killing the peace process and fueling conflict and wars,” Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh was cited as saying by official PA news agency WAFA. Abbas, speaking at Al-Najah National University in Nablus on Wednesday, warned of the diplomatic repercussions of a continued stalemate in peace talks with Israel. “Israel neither halted settlement activities, nor recognized the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 as occupied territory," he said, according to the Ma'an new agency. "Thus, the only choice we have is to go to the UN equipped with a united Arab stance.” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 8, 2012)

 

Short Takes

 

SINAI ATTACK TESTS NEW EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT'S RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL(Israel) Several high-ranking officials inside Israel's government and numerous independent experts said Monday that the terrorist attack on the Israel-Egypt border is the best evidence yet that the two countries are both threatened by lawlessness in the Sinai Peninsula. Hillel Frisch, a senior research fellow at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, noted that the attack "will strengthen [Egyptian President Mohamed] Morsi's commitment to be a status-quo actor, which is a big, big thing strategically. He runs a state, and there are greater enemies to the Egyptian state than Israel. In that sense, it's a game-changer."  The attack brought several early signs of cooperation and coordination. An Israeli brigadier general and his Egyptian counterpart met near the border to discuss the investigation. Israel handed over to Egypt the armored car and the bodies of those killed. (New York Times, Aug. 6, 2012)

 

EGYPT ARMY KILLS SINAI MILITANTS IN BORDER ASSAULT(Sina) Egyptian military forces and jets killed 20 terrorists in the Sinai region bordering Israel in the early hours of Wednesday, striking back after armed men attacked several security checkpoints, an army commander in Sinai told Reuters. "We have succeeded in entering al—Toumah village, killed 20 terrorists and destroyed three armored cars belonging to terrorists. Operations are still ongoing," he told Reuters. The military is responding to attacks that began Sunday, which the government blamed partly on Islamists. Sixteen border guards were killed in the Sunday assault.(Egypt Independent Aug. 8, 2012)

 

IAI MOVES UP ARROW-3 TEST—(Israel) Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced Monday that it will soon hold the first full—scale test firing of the Arrow-3 missile…meant to intercept long-range missiles, even those carrying unconventional warheads. Today, two Arrow-2 missile batteries are protecting Israel against ballistic missiles. IAI has accelerated the development of the Arrow-3 ballistic missile defense system, partially with the help of US funding. (Israel Defense.Aug. 6, 2012)

 

LIBYA JEW RETURNS TO UK POST—BENGHAZI JAILING—(Libya) Businessman Raphael Luzon, a former Libyan Jew, returned to the UK safely on Sunday after security forces in Benghazi imprisoned and interrogated him for several days.  Luzon said his ordeal began in Benghazi on July 22 when “suddenly a friend sent me a text warning me to be careful that security forces are looking for me,” he recalled. “I immediately called the Italian consul who came to my hotel, but when I went to the lobby to meet him he was surrounded by 12 to 15 armed men.” Asked why he had been arrested, Luzon said he was still not sure.  “I don’t know why, but privately I’ve been told that there is a big fight between the groups and everybody wanted to be the one that arrested and released me,” he said.(Jerusalem Post July 31, 2012)

 

HOLOCAUST DENIER APPOINTMENT IRKS ROMANIAN JEWS—(Romania) Jewish parliamentarian Aurel Vainer criticized the government for making Dan Sova its new liaison to parliament, saying the Social Democratic politician’s comments last March that “No Jew suffered on Romanian territory” during World War II made him unsuitable for the job. “Historical data show that a total of 24 Jews were killed during the Iasi pogrom by the German army,” Sova said. He went on to praise Ion Antonescu, Romania’s wartime fascist dictator who was in league with Berlin and was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, for supposedly protecting the country’s Jewish community. Sova was dismissed from his position as spokesman of the Social Democratic Party following his remarks and sent to the Holocaust museum in Washington for re-education by party leaders. (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2012)

 

IT’S OFFICIAL: GENOCIDAL SUDAN RUNNING FOR U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL —(Geneva) The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch condemned the candidacy of Omar Al-Bashir’s Sudanese regime, despite the International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, as confirmed by a United Nations website. “Electing Sudan to the international community’s highest human body is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,”— said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. (UN Watch, Aug. 7, 2012)

 

THE RELIGIOUS SILENCE ON CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION—(New York) Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani marked his 1,000th day of incarceration this month in Lakan, a notorious prison in northern Iran. Mr. Nadarkhani is charged with the crime of apostasy and faces a death sentence for refusing to recant the Christian faith he embraced as a child…[B]ut his story is barely known…. The principal reason…is [because] the various church leaderships either ignore or dance around the issue of the persecution of Christians. “If churches don't speak up forcefully, then it is unrealistic to expect the world's democratic governments to do the same. At their annual convention this month, Presbyterians in America approved a divestment campaign targeting Jewish communities in the West Bank. Pastor Nadarkhani wasn't even mentioned. At the Episcopalian convention days later, resolutions about Gaza and the Israeli—Palestinian peace process were tabled, but the imprisoned Iranian pastor’s ordeal went unremarked. As for the bombings of churches in Africa and Asia, it's as if they never even happened.” (Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2012)

 

THE BLUE-AND-WHITE FLAG ON THE ‘RED PLANET’—(Israel) Israeli software was crucial to the development of the Curiosity rover now exploring the possibility of life on the red planet….PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software, used by companies to determine how their designs and products will stand up under real—life conditions…is used today in just about every manufacturing industry…. Siemens, one of the biggest providers of the software, does all its PLM work in Israel…the company’s Israeli CEO Zvi Feuer: “We develop PLM solutions for many of the largest companies around the world.”  One of Siemens’ international customers is JPL [Jet Propulsion Laboratory], which is running the Mars Science Lab mission. Siemens PLM Israel helped develop the system needed to figure out how to ensure that Curiosity could stand up to the harsh conditions on Mars and continue operating in the face of the wind and dust, which appear to be a major feature of the Martian atmosphere. “This is one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments,” said Feuer, “and we are honored to have had a part in it.” (Times of Israel, Aug. 8, 2012)