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MEDIA-OCRITY OF THE WEEK: "There is something innately regal about Chelsea [Clinton]—a kind of grace that doesn't seem practiced, or trotted out just for public consumption. She's a person of substance for sure, a young woman who, while measured in her manner, has a fierceness of conviction, and a calling to make the world a better place,"— Robbie Myers, Elle Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. Chelsea Clinton is featured as Elle’s cover story for May. (Globe & Mail, Apr. 14, 2015)
Putin Returns: Tom Rogan, National Review, Apr. 13, 2015
The Middle East Turmoil and Israel's Security: Efraim Inbar, Middle East Forum, Apr. 13, 2015
Prof. Deborah Lipstadt on the Holocaust and ‘Utter Bankruptcy of the Iranian Regime’: Voice of Israel, Apr. 14, 2015
'Deterioration of European Holocaust Memorial Sites Must Be Reversed': Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2015
"This sale of advanced weaponry to Iran is the direct result of the dangerous deal on the table between Iran and the P5+1. Can anyone still seriously claim that the deal with Iran will enhance security in the Middle East?" —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the delivery of a sophisticated air defense missile system to Iran, potentially complicating negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program and further straining ties with Washington. The deal, worth an estimated $800 million to Russia, also reinforced Israeli and Arab fears that a nuclear pact and the subsequent lifting of sanctions would ignite the Iranian economy, making it a more formidable regional power. No timetable was announced for delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missiles. (New York Times, Apr. 13, 2015 & IMRA, Apr. 14, 2015)
"The proposal puts Iran on the path to being a nuclear-arms state, and I think once Iran becomes a nuclear-arms state, this will lead inevitably to some kind of military confrontation. It may not be initially with the United States, but I think that's virtually inevitable…I think if we choose to go down the path of this deal, it is likely that we could be facing nuclear war," —Republican Sen. Tom Cotton. Cotton is the senator behind a letter to the Iranian leadership warning that future presidents may not honor any deal that President Obama signs with Tehran. "If we agreed to the kind of proposal the Obama administration has made, then military confrontation may be further off, but it might also be nuclear," he added. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2015)
“If Iran is nuclearized, everyone’s values and way of life will be endangered…If the Middle East is nuclearized, the 21st century will become a century of nuclear terror and nuclear horror. The deal that Obama announced…does not do enough to prevent this. Does an agreement that allows Iran to keep 6,100 spinning centrifuges really lock under 1,000 locks and bolt behind 1,000 bolts the Iranian nuclear project? Does an agreement that allows Iran to maintain research and development capabilities and an underground facility on Fordow really fully take advantage of Iran’s economic frailty in order to ensure the dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure?” —Ari Shavit, correspondent with the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and author of the 2013 book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. (Algemeiner, Apr. 12, 2015)
"The Cold War has been over for a long time…And I'm not interested in having battles frankly that started before I was born," —U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama held a historic formal meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama City, the first between US and Cuban leaders in over half a century, pledging to 'turn the page' and develop a new relationship between the two countries. The two leaders met Saturday at the Summit of the Americas, which this year included Cuba for the first time. (Fox News, Apr. 12, 2015)
“If you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing,” —former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. (Weekly Standard, Apr. 8, 2015)
“The March of the Living reminds us what happens when the world is silent…We will never be silent again. And when it comes to antisemitism, the Hungarian government must never be silent,” —World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder. Lauder criticized Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party in his keynote address in front of thousands Sunday at this year’s March of the Living in Budapest, in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. “Today, when the world looks at Hungary, it does not see its great culture. It does not see its beautiful cities. It does not remember its great and glorious past,” continued Lauder. “Today, the world sees Hungary and they see Jobbik. They see an extremist party that promotes hate. There are statues of shoes along the Danube. They are there as a memorial to the Jewish people who were murdered there. No one has the right to spit in those shoes. No one. In this great city we send one clear message to the entire world: The Hungarian Jewish community is alive and well. And the Hungarian Jewish community is not going anywhere. We march today to say: We are here. We are alive. And here we will remain.” About 560,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, most of them in 1944. Today, Hungary’s Jewish community numbers around 100,000. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2015)
“Hitler wanted to destroy us not because we are physically strong, but because we are morally strong…We paid a high price but we won’t unease that. To be a Jew means still to follow the moral call and keep our children Jewish,” —Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, in a special messgage on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Algemeiner, Apr. 15, 2015)
CONGRESS AND WHITE HOUSE STRIKE DEAL ON IRAN LEGISLATION (Washington) — A Senate committee voted unanimously Tuesday to give Congress the power to review a potential Iran nuclear deal after a June 30 negotiating deadline, in a compromise with the White House that allows President Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the pact before it can be completed. The bipartisan bill is likely to move quickly to the full Senate after the Foreign Relations Committee voted 19 to 0 to approve the measure. It would give Congress at least 30 days to consider an agreement after it was signed, before Obama could waive or suspend any congressionally mandated sanctions against Iran. (Washington Post, Apr. 14, 2015)
LIBERAL JEWS TURN ON OBAMA OVER IRAN DEAL (Jerusalem) —Top political and intellectual leaders of the Israeli left are coming out against Obama’s capitulation to Iran. Israel’s Zionist Union opposition issued an official press release on April 2 criticizing the Iran deal. Meanwhile, Haaretz editor Aluf Benn, himself a virulent critic of Netanyahu, wrote that Netanyahu’s call for the international community to insist that Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist was taken directly from the campaign rhetoric of Labor Party chairman Yitzhak Herzog. (Algemeiner, Apr. 12, 2015)
OBAMA’S APPROVAL AMONG US JEWS DOWN 23 PERCENTAGE POINTS (Washington) — American Jews’ approval of President Obama has dropped 23 percentage points since 2009, and the gap between Jewish approval and general U.S. approval of Obama—which has been marked by higher Jewish approval—is narrowing, a new Gallup poll found. The survey revealed that in the first quarter of this year, 54 percent of American Jews approve of Obama’s job performance, compared with 46 percent of all Americans. The gap of eight percentage points between those numbers is lower than what Gallup called a 13-point gap over the course of Obama’s presidency. American Jewish approval of Obama peaked at 77 percent in 2009, according to Gallup’s figures. The new data comes against the backdrop of skepticism over the recently reached framework nuclear deal with Iran. (JNS, Apr. 12, 2015)
MAJORITY OF ISRAELIS BACK JEWISH PRAYER RIGHTS AT TEMPLE MOUNT (Jerusalem) — A new poll shows a majority of Israeli Jews favor prayer rights for Jews on the Temple Mount, something currently forbidden by police restrictions. Access for Jews and other non-Muslims is strictly controlled at the site, and police prohibit non-Muslim prayer as well as any outward demonstrations of non-Muslim worship in accordance with the demands of the Jordanian Islamic trust, or Wakf, which administers the area. According to the poll 37 percent agreed that the government should allow free access to adherents of all religions who wished to pray at the Temple Mount. Another 36% said that specific prayer hours should be established for different religious groups, while 20% said the government did not need to establish free access for all religions. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2015)
ALLEGED MASTERMIND OF MUMBAI ATTACKS LEAVES PAKISTAN JAIL (Islamabad) — Indian leaders are strongly protesting a Pakistan court's release of the suspected mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead. Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, said to be the operations chief for Lashkar-e-Taiba—the terror group blamed for the deadly attacks—was released on a court order that he be free pending trial. He still faces terrorism charges over the Mumbai attacks but the trial has not yet started. India has repeatedly urged Pakistan to more actively pursue the case, and Pakistan faced renewed pressure following the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar in December, which left more than 140 people dead, mainly schoolchildren. (Fox News, Apr. 10, 2015)
I.S. EXECUTES EGYPTIAN SOLDIER (Cairo) —Islamic State executed an Egyptian soldier over the weekend, in the Sinai. The specific terror group was Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which began as an independent Jihadi group in the Sinai, and has sworn allegiance to Islamic State. The soldier, identified as Ahmed Fatchi Abu Al-Futah, was captured by I.S. in the beginning of the month when an Egyptian military post was attacked, killing fifteen Egyptian soldiers. (Jewish Press, Apr. 11, 2015)
SPANISH I.S. CELL PLANNED BEHEADINGS, ATTACKS ON JEWS (Madrid) —A gang suspected of links to the Islamic State planned possible kidnappings, an execution and attacks on Jewish shops and public buildings in Spain, a judge said Friday. Judges in Madrid questioned the suspects, including a woman and a 17-year-old, who were arrested in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region. Officials said that five of the suspects were Moroccans, five Spanish and one Paraguayan. They said the cell had already sent at least four recruits to Syria and Iraq. (Arutz Sheva, Apr. 11, 2015)
JUDGE ACCUSES MOROCCAN FORMER OFFICIALS OF GENOCIDE IN WESTERN SAHARA (Jerusalem) — A Spanish judge has ruled that eleven Moroccan former officials should stand trial on charges of genocide in connection with killings and torture in the former Spanish protectorate of Western Sahara from 1976 to 1991. The judge ruled that there was evidence of crimes that amounted to genocide against the Sahrawi people during the period when the territory was annexed and controlled by Morocco. He specifically called for seven of the former Moroccan military and political officials to be arrested and extradited to Spain. Morocco invaded and forcibly annexed Western Sahara in 1976 and fought a long war against a pro-independence movement, the Polisario Front, forcing several hundred thousand Sahrawis to flee into exile. (New York Times, Apr. 10, 2015)
HUNGARY'S JOBBIK PARTY WINS KEY SEAT (Budapest) — A political party accused of antisemitism in Hungary has won its first by-election, raising the prospect of a lurch to the far-Right in Hungarian politics. Lajos Rig, the candidate from Jobbik, narrowly defeated the Fidesz candidate for the Tapolca seat in Hungary. Jobbik’s success leaves it vying with the centre-Right Fidesz, led by Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, for control of the Right-wing vote in Hungary. The party has long been accused of peddling a populist mix of antisemitic and anti-gipsy sentiment, and in the run-up to Sunday’s election, Rig shared an article on Facebook accusing Jews of using gipsies as a “biological weapon” against Hungarians. (Telegraph, Apr. 13, 2015)
JEAN-MARIE LE PEN PULLS OUT OF REGIONAL ELECTIONS (Paris) — Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s National Front, has bent to the will of his daughter by stepping back from running in upcoming regional elections. Le Pen’s decision defuses a potentially explosive crisis for the party and his family after Marine Le Pen—who succeeded her father as president of the far-right party in 2011—slammed him for repeating comments belittling the holocaust and said she would oppose him running on a National Front ticket. Since taking over from her father in 2011, Ms. Le Pen has toned down the controversial rhetoric that characterized Mr. Le Pen’s leadership. The strategy proved successful as the party chalked up a string of successes in local elections. (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 13, 2015)
UKRAINE RECOGNIZES MILITIA THAT COLLABORATED WITH NAZIS (Kiev) —Ukraine’s parliament has extended official recognition to a nationalist militia that collaborated with the Germans during WWII. According to a bill passed on Thursday, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, an ultra-nationalist faction that sought to establish an independent Ukrainian state, would be eligible for official government commemoration. While the group engaged in warfare against both the Soviet Union and the Nazis, it also collaborated with Germany and took part in actions against local Jews. The issue of Nazism has been central to the recent Ukrainian-Russian conflict, with Moscow accusing the administration in Kiev of neo-Nazi and fascist tendencies. Ukraine has made efforts to deflect such criticism and its Foreign Ministry announced that it was planning on appointing a special envoy tasked with preventing and combating antisemitism and xenophobia. (Jerusalem Post, Apr. 13, 2015)
NAZI-HUNTERS SLAM U.S. FOR NOT PROSECUTING EX-SS COMMANDER (Jerusalem) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center has criticized the U.S. over its failure to prosecute a member of a notorious Nazi unit. The Simon Wiesenthal Center annual report, released Monday, lowered its ranking of the US’s Nazi-hunting efforts from A to B. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Center’s Israel office, said the ranking was in part because the U.S. took no action against Michael Karkoc. An AP investigation in 2013 found that Karkoc, a commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of atrocities, has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II. (New York Post, Apr. 13, 2015)
20 FRENCH MAYORS TO VISIT ISRAEL FOR YOM HASHOAH (Jerusalem) — 20 French mayors will visit Israel next week to commemorate Yom HaShoah (Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day). The mayors all come from towns that have commemorated residents who have been designated as Righteous Among the Nations, an honor bestowed by the state of Israel to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. On their visit to the Jewish state, the mayors will be welcomed and hosted by the mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, and will meet with the descendants of Holocaust survivors and Righteous Among the Nations. They will also be able to meet with Israeli companies, including in the high-tech sector, that are interested in doing business in France. (JNS, Apr. 9, 2015)
YOM HASHOAH REPORT SHOWS 400 PERCENT RISE IN ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS (Jerusalem) — Since the beginning of 2014, there has been an unprecedented increase of 400 percent in the number of antisemitic incidents in Europe and around the world, as compared with 2013. The data, collected by Israel’s NRG website and the Forum to Coordinate the Fight Against Antisemitism, shows that there is real concern for the future of world Jewry, and particularly European Jewry. According to the report, the intensity and nature of the antisemitic wave that erupted in Europe last summer during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge indicated cooperation between extreme leftists and immigrants from Arab countries that hold Islamist views. In the U.S., the main growth came in the form of anti-Israel activity on college campuses across the country. Moreover, the internet, social media and mobile applications have become effective tools to spread antisemitic messages. (Algemeiner, Apr. 15, 2015)
ALMOST HALF OF ISRAELIS SAY ANOTHER HOLOCAUST IS POSSIBLE (Jerusalem) — Nearly half of Israelis believe another Holocaust is possible, according to a report released Monday by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel. The annual study, released ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins on the evening of April 15 this year, found that 46 percent of Israelis believe a second Holocaust can happen. And a similar number of Israel’s 189,000 Holocaust survivors, or 47%, agree. Some 46% of survivors also say that future generations will not remember the Holocaust after they are gone. The average age of a Holocaust survivor in Israel is 83.3. (Times of Israel, Apr. 13, 2015)
Putin Returns: Tom Rogan, National Review, Apr. 13, 2015 — After his recent absence, President Putin is back in business, now selling Russia’s advanced S-300 air-defense system to Iran. It’s a transaction that will shake up the Middle East.
The Middle East Turmoil and Israel's Security: Efraim Inbar, Middle East Forum, Apr. 13, 2015 — The Middle East is in great turmoil. The statist order that underpinned the region for a century has collapsed.
Prof. Deborah Lipstadt on the Holocaust and ‘Utter Bankruptcy of the Iranian Regime’: Voice of Israel, Apr. 14, 2015—Ahead of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, renowned Holocaust scholar Prof. Deborah Lipstadt tells VOI’s Judy Lash Balint that Iran’s denial of the Holocaust illustrates the “utter bankruptcy” of its regime.
'Deterioration of European Holocaust Memorial Sites Must Be Reversed': Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2015—In 2011, over a one year period, Dr. Florence Luxenberg-Eisenberg and friend and colleague Dr. Ann Hansen travelled to 13 Holocaust memorial sites in Poland, Germany, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic to analyze the countries’ preservation standards of death camps and cemeteries for her doctoral thesis.
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