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

 

On Topic Links  

 

Is Syria On the Way to Becoming a ‘Frozen Conflict’?: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2015

The Second Conquest of Afghanistan: Max Boot, Commentary, Sept. 28, 2015

Some Part of Our System For Producing Intellectually Responsible Adults Has Failed Alex Johnstone: Colby Cosh, National Post, Sept. 24, 2015

The NDP’s Anti-Israel Grassroots: Pat Johnson, National Post, Aug. 20, 2015

 

 

SUKKOT (FEAST OF TABERNACLES) GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED, 2015

Yoram Ettinger

Jewish Press, Sept. 27, 2015

 

1. The US connection: Columbus Day is celebrated around Sukkot. According to “Columbus Then and Now” (Miles Davidson, 1997, p. 268), Columbus arrived in America on Friday afternoon, October 12, 1492, the 21st day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, the Jewish year 5235, the 7th day of Sukkot, Hosha’na’ Rabbah, a day of universal deliverance and miracles. Hosha’na’ Rabbah is celebrated 26 days following the beginning of the Creation, and 26 is the numerical value of Jehovah (יהוה). Hosha’ (הושע) is the Hebrew word for “deliverance” and Na’ (נא) is the Hebrew word for “please.” The numerical value of Na’ is 51 (נ=50 and א=1), and Hosha’na’ Rabbah is celebrated on the 51st day following Moses’ ascension to Mt. Sinai, which marks the conclusion of the repentance process (of Yom Kippur).

 

2. Sukkot – the 3rd Jewish pilgrimage, following Passover and Shavou’ot (Pentecost) – is a universal holiday, inviting all peoples to come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as expressed in the reading (Haftarah) of Zechariah 14: 16-19 on the first day of Sukkot: “Then, the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up [to Jerusalem] every year to worship the Lord Almighty and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.” According to the Sukkah tractate of the Mishnah (the oral Torah), the 70 sacrificial bulls of Sukkot represent the pilgrimage of 70 nations to Jerusalem; a demonstration of universal solidarity and comity. Sukkot expresses the yearning for universal peace, highlighting the Sukkah of Shalom (peace). Shalom is also one of the names of God. Shalem (שלם) – wholesome and complete in Hebrew – is the ancient name of Jerusalem and of 32 towns (Salem) in the USA.

 

3. Sukkot has been celebrated for the last 3,300 years, commemorating the Exodus, liberty, the 40 years of wandering in the Sinai Desert, the construction of the Holy Tabernacle, the victories along the way – and the reentry – into the Land of Israel, as well as the reaffirmation of faith in God; thanking God for redemption, the harvest and the ingathering, reality-based optimism and the recognition of human limits (humility).

 

4. The origin/statute of Sukkot, which is launched on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei (Leviticus 23: 42-43): “Live in Sukkot (temporary and military dwellings; a ritual hut) for seven days; all Israelites are to live in such dwellings, so your descendants will know that I settled the people of Israel in Sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” The first stop of the Exodus was in Sukkota in the Sinai Desert. The meaning of the Hebrew root of Sukkah (סכה) is “wholesomeness” and “totality” (סך), “shelter” (סכך), “to anoint” (סוך), “divine curtain” (מסך) and “attentiveness” (סכת).

 

5. The four species of Sukkot: “On the first day [of Sukkot], you will take for yourselves a fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches, twigs of a braided tree and brook willows (Leviticus 23:40).” The 1 citron, 1 palm branch, 3 myrtle branches and 2 willow branches are bonded together, representing the unity through diversity of the Jewish people. They also represent the agricultural regions of the Land of Israel: the Negev and Arava (palm), the slopes of the Golan Heights, Upper Galilee and Mt. Carmel (myrtle), the streams of Judea, Samaria and the Galilee (willow) and the coastal plain (citron). They underline leadership prerequisites: solid backbone (palm branch), genuine humility (willow), compassionate heart (citron) and penetrating eyes (myrtle)…      

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                               

   

ENTER RUSSIA, EXIT U.S. CREDIBILITY

National Post, Sept. 29, 2015

 

The Western strategy on Syria is in ruins. The United States, Britain, Germany and NATO have accepted Russia propping up the bloody tyrant Bashar al-Assad and helping massacre his adversaries, not as part even of a bad plan but because they have no plan at all. The failure is largely an American failure. Its allies including Canada have neglected their defence budgets to the point that they cannot project force independently. So it’s America or bust. And bust it is.

 

Press accounts describe Russian President Vladimir Putin “forcing (U.S. President) Barack Obama to respond to bold moves on the geopolitical chess board,” as if the latter were a grandmaster grimly shoring up his position against one strategically cunning and tactically menacing stroke after another. But in fact Obama is not making any moves at all. The game seems to interest him so little there’s serious doubt whether he knows how the pieces move.

 

We suppose a “realist” case could be made for allowing a hostile Russia to overextend itself in a Middle Eastern quagmire, much as the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan — a case that neatly overlooks the appalling human cost of such realpolitik, and the inevitable strategic blowback that follows. Whatever the cost of intervention, it must be measured against the cost of non-intervention: in Syria, as the Economist recently put, the cost has been “half the population dead or running.”

 

We consider the Syrian civil war a humanitarian and strategic disaster that requires intervention to protect civilian populations against both sides, the brutal dictator Assad and the brutal Islamist ISIL. So do the humanitarian groups urging Canada to take the lead in imposing a no-fly zone in Syria. But nothing can be done without determined American backing. And right now the United States is not following a mistaken strategy. It is simply failing to act.

 

Bold words are occasionally spoken. But no serious plans are drawn up to back them. Instead, each fresh setback is dismissed as unimportant, while underlying realities are blithely denied. Russia is depicted as a strategic partner rather than an implacable opponent and Putin as a man with whom one can do business although no business done with him ever turns out well. Assad’s hatred of ISIL does not make him an acceptable partner morally or pragmatically, while Putin’s call for a broad anti-terror coalition is cover for Russian efforts to undermine Western interests in the Middle East as elsewhere.

 

Yes, if Russia succeeds in “pacifying” Syria it might even help stem the flood of refugees, as those not killed might be prevented from leaving, or persuaded to settle grimly amid the ruins. But it will not erase the evil Assad has done, from using chemical weapons to indiscriminate bombing of civilians. Nor will it erase the impression of Western paralysis, strategic and intellectual, its inability to respond to Russian offensives, beyond erecting a screen of misleading rhetoric around various faits accomplis. So it might be fitting, on the anniversary of the Munich Accord, to ponder what has traditionally come of Western fecklessness and make-believe respecting tyrannical ambitions regarding far-away countries about which we know little.

 

The Western strategy on Syria is in ruins. It is time to face it, and find a new one: bolder, more decisive and less shameful. America’s allies must rearm. And in the meantime, they must persuade Washington that dithering followed by appeasement is as bad as it sounds.

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“In Syria, Iran is presented as part of the solution, when it is actually the problem…Iran supports [Syrian President Bashar] Assad enormously. Without Iran, there would be no Assad. The Assad regime survives thanks to Iran. The commander there is [Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards commander] Qassam Soleimani and his deputy commander is [Hezbollah Leader Sheikh] Hassan Nasrallah, and they do what needs to be done to preserve Assad.” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu intends to use his upcoming speech at the United Nations to tell the world that Iran remains the root cause for the unrest in the Middle East. (Times of Israel, Sept. 30, 2015)

 

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict (in Syria). But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo… Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out (ISIL). But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader.” — U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin traded barbs Monday in speeches at the United Nations General Assembly. Their remarks highlighted the strained relations between the two nations and stark differences in their approaches to resolving the Syrian conflict. (National Post, Sept. 28, 2015)

 

“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to co-operate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and Kurd militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.…We must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing on the basis of international law, and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism. Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are willing to resolutely resist those who just like the Nazis sow evil and hatred of humankind.” — Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2015)

 

“(Putin) is not the one who needs a deal. He has time on his side. It is us who needs a deal more…Whatever happens in Syria, we know that he will probably be a part of it…Meanwhile, we see that he is attempting to steer the conversation away from Ukraine entirely.” — A senior Western diplomat in Moscow this week, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The diplomat said there is a growing appetite for dialogue with Putin about the Syrian crisis, particularly as Europe faces an unprecedented flood of migrants, many fleeing the war in Syria. (Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2015)

 

"The (Islamic State) terrorists plan on killing several hundred million people. The west is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS…They are the most brutal and most dangerous enemy I have ever seen in my life. I don't see anyone who has a real chance to stop them. Only Arabs can stop IS. I came back very pessimistic." —Jurgen Todenhofer, a veteran German journalist who became the first to gain access as an embedded reporter with Islamic State. Todenhofer released his findings in a book called "Inside IS – Ten Days in the Islamic State." (Arutz Sheva, Sept. 25, 2015)

 

“The initial aim was to train between 5,000 and 6,000 fighters, and then 12,000 more…It turns out that only 60 of these fighters have been properly trained, and as few as 4 or 5 people actually carry weapons, while the rest of them have deserted with the American weapons to join ISIS.” —Vladimir Putin, gloating over the failure of the American programme to train anti-Assad rebels to fight I.S. on the ground. (Telegraph, Sept. 27, 2015)

 

“It is all about the future…There is no life left in Syria.” — Mohammed Khadra, a Palestinian refugee from Damascus who deserted the Syrian Army and fled to Turkey with $470 zipped into the pocket of his track pants. The vast majority of the nearly half-million migrants and refugees who have entered Europe by sea this year have arrived from Turkey, according to the United Nations. Turkish officials say they strive to stop illegal migration and have detained 57,000 travelers and 107 human traffickers this year. (New York Times, Sept. 26, 2015)

 

"You can tell the world I hate Finland. It's too cold, there's no tea, no restaurants, no bars, nobody on the streets, only cars." —22-year-old Muhammed, an Iraqi migrant, in Tornio, Finland. Hundreds of predominantly Iraqi migrants who have travelled through Europe to reach Finland are turning back, saying they don't want to stay in the sparsely-populated country on Europe's northern frontier because it's too cold and boring. Anti-immigrant sentiment may also be prompting some migrants to leave Finland. Early Friday, around 40 demonstrators — including one dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit — threw fireworks at a bus transporting asylum seekers to a new reception centre in the southern city of Lahti. Prime Minister Juha Sipila, who has offered to personally shelter refugees in his home, called the protests racist. (Yahoo News, Sept. 25, 2015 & New York Times, Sept. 25, 2015)

 

“When you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why, in fact, would you take that chance?…What I would like for somebody to show me is an improved Islamic text that opposes Sharia…If you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this.” — Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson. Last week, Carson said that he “would not advocate” putting a Muslim in the White House. (New York Post, Sept. 27, 2015)

 

"Now, once again, Israel’s existence is imperiled by an empty agreement that will allow the Iranian radical regime to become a nuclear power and give it billions of dollars for increased terrorist activities. The ayatollahs who rule Iran proudly proclaim and are busy plotting the destruction of the Jewish state…At the crucial moment, when lines were being drawn, and commitments put to the test, every single vote for or against the deal could have been the one to turn the tide. Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz is the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and had the power to influence this important vote one way or the other. She faced the same dilemma as Truman and Nixon, whether to give in to the powerful forces of the political establishment, or to stand up for what is true and right, and take the action necessary to ensure Israel’s safety. But what Wasserman-Schultz offered us was tears rather than action, emotion over substance. I have no doubt that she loves and cares about Israel. But who cares about her feelings? It’s what she does [vote for Obama's Iran deal] that matters." —Shmuley Boteach. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, announced on September 6 that she would support the nuclear agreement with Iran. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 24, 2015)

Contents

SHORT TAKES

 

TALIBAN SEIZE CONTROL OF KUNDUZ (Kabul) — Taliban militants seized control of most of the northern city of Kunduz, marking the first major Afghan city to fall to the insurgency in 14 years of war. Insurgents stormed the city from three sides early Monday, armed with AK-47 rifles and heavy machine guns and riding vehicles stolen from Afghan troops. The Taliban also stormed the prison in Kunduz, freeing more than 600 inmates—about 140 of whom are insurgents. The fall of the city marks a devastating blow to Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and its security forces, which have largely fought on their own since U.S. and allied forces mostly ended their combat role last year. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 28, 2015)

 

HAJJ STAMPEDE DEATH TOLL RISES TO 769 (Riyadh) — The death toll in a stampede at the annual hajj pilgrimage outside Mecca rose to at least 769, Saudi Arabia said. The worst disaster to befall the Islamic event in a quarter of a century occurred on Thursday as two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, outside the holy city. Shia Iran, which is locked in a series of proxy wars in Arab countries around the Sunni Muslim kingdom, said that at least 136 Iranians are among the dead, sparking protests and outrage in IranIran. At the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Rouhani used his address to the summit to demand an investigation into the tragedy. (CBC, Sept. 26, 2015)

 

SAUDI-LED AIRSTRIKES ON YEMEN WEDDING KILL MORE THAN 100 CIVILIANS  (Sana’a) — The death toll from Saudi-led airstrikes that hit a wedding party in Yemen has risen to 131, making it the deadliest single incident since the start of the country’s civil war. The UN says at least 2,355 civilians have been killed in fighting since March, when the coalition began launching airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied army units, who control the capital and are at war with the internationally recognized government as well as southern separatists, local militias and Sunni extremists. The Saudi-led and US-backed coalition apparently struck the wedding party by mistake Monday in al-Wahga, a village near the town of Mokha. (New York Post, Sept. 29, 2015)

 

NEARLY A THIRD OF MIGRANTS IN GERMANY CLAIMING TO BE SYRIANS AREN’T FROM SYRIA (Berlin) — German officials said Friday that nearly a third of all asylum seekers arriving in Germany and claiming to be Syrian in fact come from other nations. So far this year, Germany has received 527,000 asylum seekers — more than any other nation in Europe. Tobias Plate, an Interior Ministry spokesman, acknowledged estimates Friday that roughly 30 percent of asylum seekers who claim to be from Syria are making erroneous claims, and come from other countries instead. Because of the civil war in that country, roughly 87 percent of Syrians are successfully winning asylum in Germany. (Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2015)

 

NDP CANDIDATE APOLOGIZES FOR NOT KNOWING WHAT AUSCHWITZ WAS (Ottawa) — Alex Johnstone, running in the federal election for the New Democratic Party (NDP), has apologized for a controversial remark she posted on social media several years ago, where she commented on a friend’s Facebook picture taken at the Auschwitz concentration camp museum that featured an electric fence and its curved concrete supports. "Ahhh, the infamous Pollish (sic), phallic, hydro posts," Johnstone’s comment reads. After the comment surfaced on satirical publication the True North Times, the Hamilton trustee claimed ignorance: “Well, I didn’t know what Auschwitz was, or I didn’t up until today.” Johnstone has temporarily stepped down from her role as vice-chairwoman of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. (CJN, Sept. 24, 2015)

 

LE PEN FACES TRIAL OVER MUSLIM NAZI COMPARISON (Paris) — Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s Front National (FN) party, will stand trial over historic comments she made comparing Muslim street prayers to the wartime occupation of France. Le Pen made the comments during her 2010 campaign to take over the FN’s leadership from the party founder, her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. According to France 24, when addressing a rally of supporters in Lyon she said: “I’m sorry, but for those who really like to talk about World War II, if we’re talking about an occupation, we could talk about the [street prayers], because that is clearly an occupation of territory.” (Breitbart, Sept. 23, 2015)

 

FOUR PALESTINIAN TEENS ARRESTED FOR DEADLY JERUSALEM ROCK ATTACK (Jerusalem) — Following an intensive multi-security agency search for the terrorists whose rock barrage led to the death of motorist Alexander Levlovitz in Jerusalem on Rosh Hashana, police announced that four Palestinian teenage suspects have been arrested. Levlovitz, a 64-year-old grandfather, died hours after losing control of his vehicle on the night of September 13 when its windshield was shattered by a rock thrown from an overpass. An investigation determined the rock was thrown by youths from the village of Sur Bahir. The four suspects are between the ages of 16 and 19 and are Israeli residents. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2015)

 

SODASTREAM OFFERS TO HIRE 1,000 SYRIAN REFUGEES IN ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) — SodaStream International, the internationally-recognized producer of carbonated water machines, said that it will give 1,000 Syrian refugees jobs at its new factory. “As a son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across our border,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum said. SodaStream originally operated out of Mishor Adumim, but BDS activists say they caused the company to leave Judea. In the process, the hundreds of Palestinians who worked in the factory lost their jobs. (Arutz Sheva, Sept. 20, 2015 & New York Post, Sept. 25, 2015)

 

TOURISM IN ISRAEL TRENDS BACK UPWARD IN 2015 (Tel Aviv) — Tourism in Israel in the past year has made a reported comeback from a downward spiral during and shortly after Operation Protective Edge last Summer. Many countries including the United States briefly banned flights from traveling to Israel, out of concern that planes were vulnerable to rocket fire from Gaza. Data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics show an increase in tourist entries for August 2015 compared to August 2014. This past August, there were approximately 213,000 tourists, which was 45% more than there were in August 2014. (Jewish Press, Sept. 27, 2015)

On Topic Links 

 

Is Syria On the Way to Becoming a ‘Frozen Conflict’?: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2015 — The latest moves on the regime side in the Syrian war suggest an effort by its allies, including Russia, to “freeze” the conflict rather than to continue it to victory. This is because victory in the form originally conceived of – the reconquest of the entirety of the country by the Assads – is clearly no longer achievable.

The Second Conquest of Afghanistan: Max Boot, Commentary, Sept. 28, 2015 —What used to be known as the Global War on Terrorism seems to be lurching from one defeat after another. In the Middle East, ISIS has taken control of cities from Palmyra to Mosul. Libya and Yemen and Syria and large swathes of Iraq have no effective governance, leaving their territory to be fought over between competing terrorist groups.

Some Part of Our System For Producing Intellectually Responsible Adults Has Failed Alex Johnstone: Colby Cosh, National Post, Sept. 24, 2015 —The many-tentacled social media terror stalking our federal election candidates has made an appearance in Hamilton, Ont., striking indirectly but fiercely at NDP candidate and school trustee Alex Johnstone. On Tuesday, a satirical website called True North Times uncovered a 2008 Facebook comment in which Johnstone had cracked an inopportune penis joke under a friend’s photo of a concrete fence post at the reconstructed Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

The NDP’s Anti-Israel Grassroots: Pat Johnson, National Post, Aug. 20, 2015 —Part of the Conservative party’s strategy against the New Democrats in this election includes the website Meetthendp.ca, which aggregates controversial statements by NDP candidates. Already the site has led to one Nova Scotia New Democrat being relieved of his candidacy — and presumably the Tories are saving their best fodder for later in the long campaign.

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

Exposing The UN's Dirty Little Secrets:  Daniel Schwammenthal, The Commentator, Feb. 24 2013

France to Return Art Stolen By the Nazis: Kim Willsher, Telegraph, Feb. 24, 2013

New Implant is Alternative to Spinal Fusion: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, Feb. 27, 2013

 

 

“Real apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing are occurring on our watch, yet these people have become so obsessed with the end of Zionism that the suffering of others had become a side show. Protest the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia and you'll have my respect. Protesting against an Israeli theater group is pathetic.”Kasim Hafeez, a British-born pro-Israel Muslim in an op-ed article in Ynet News. (Ynet, Feb. 20, 2013)

 

“A political lie of a variety well known in the twentieth century and scarcely exceeded in all that annal of untruth and outrage. The lie is that Zionism is a form of racism. The overwhelming truth is that it is not.”Daniel Patrick Moynihan, coming to the defense of Zionism in his effort to block UN resolution 3379, passed by the General Assembly in November 1975, declaring Zionism to be a form of racism. Moynihan further proclaimed that, in the approval of this resolution, the “abomination of anti-Semitism…has been given the appearance of international sanction,” and that the General Assembly had granted “symbolic amnestyand moreto the murderers of  million European Jews.”  The resolution was ultimately repealed in 1991 with 111 countries voting for the motion to repeal. (National Review, Feb. 11, 2013)

 

"To many who know little or nothing about Hollywood or the falsity of such Jewish stereotypes, there’s a much higher potential for the ‘Jews control Hollywood’ myth to be accepted as fact. It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimize anti-Semitism. It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs."Abe Foxman of the ADL, in response to a Seth McFarlane comedy routine at the Oscars which suggested that  in order to "work in this town" (Hollywood) he [had to] be Jewish. He then [went] on to say, "I was born Theodore Shapiro and I would like to donate to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever." (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2013)

 

"[Palestinian] children grow up learning that Jews are 'Satan with a tail'… Adults hear that Jews are evil and not to be trusted. It is perhaps not surprising that the [Palestinian] hatred is growing. The messenger is a [PA] government that receives large amounts [of money] from Norway."Norwegian state-owned TV, NRK in a recent program on Palestinian Media Watch's findings concerning the direct connection between the Palestinian Authority's promotion of hatred and terror glorification and the Norwegian funding of the PA, at 300 million kroner a year ($52,628,700). (Palestinian Media Watch, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

Iran is closer than ever to achieve enrichment for a nuclear bomb.”a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu’s office in response to a recent UN report indicating that Iran has made significant progress in upgrading it’s nuclear capabilities. Furthermore, the statement said, the report’s findings “prove that Iran continues to advance to the red line” that Israel considers intolerable. (Montreal Gazette, Feb. 22, 2013)

 

“After [Mohamed] Merah the French are afraid of terrorism. They are afraid that you can have one or two or three Merahs. And they could be right; no one really knows.”Marc Trévidic,  France’s most prominent investigative judge dealing with terrorism, commenting on the potential spillover effects of the French government’s intervention against Islamists in Mali. “The field of suspects is much larger, so the situation gives me a little fear. We’re fighting groups that are less powerful and organized than before, but which are much more difficult to detect. The young Muslims I see in my office have developed a kind of paranoia,” he said. “They are sure that we want to fight Islam, that we’re against Islam. They were born in France and were not practicing Muslims, but now they pray and they are sure we are against Muslims.” (New York Times, Feb. 24, 2013)

 

“Bashar al-Assad and the security and military leadership responsible for the state of Syria today must step down and be considered outside this political process. They cannot be part of any political solution for Syria and must be held accountable for their crimes.”Syrian opposition coalition in a statement contradicting recent statements by its leader, Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, who had said he was open to talks with members of Mr. Assad’s government about a political solution to end the conflict. (New York Times, Feb. 23, 2013)

 

“This new document… shows we are no longer dealing with an isolated local problem, but with an enemy which is reaching across continents to share advice.”Bruce Riedel, a 30year veteran of the CIA, now the director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, commenting on an al-Qaeda tipsheet left behind by Islamist fighters fleeing French troops in Mali. The tipsheet provided advice on how to best avoid drone detection, amongst other things.

   “These are not dumb techniques. It shows that they are acting pretty astutely.”Col. Cedric Leighton, a 26-year-veteran of the United States Air Force, who helped set up the Predator drone program. “What it does is, it buys them a little bit more time — and in this conflict, time is key. And they will use it to move away from an area, from a bombing raid, and do it very quickly.” (National Post, Feb. 22, 2013)

 

 “A non-militarized Palestinian state, together with security mechanisms that address Israeli concerns while respecting Palestinian sovereignty, and a U.S.- led multinational force to ensure a peaceful transitional security period. This coalition peacekeeping structure, under UN mandate, would feature American leadership of a NATO force supplemented by Jordanians, Egyptians and Israelis. We can envision a five-year, renewable mandate with the objective of achieving full Palestinian domination of security affairs on the Palestine side of the line within 15 years.”from a 2009 report, co-authored by newly sworn-in US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and released by the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP), on whose board Hagel serves. The report recommended, among other things, the imposition of a “peace agreement” on Israel despite the potential for alienating the American Jewish constituency. (Breibart, Feb. 24, 2013)

 

"From early on, people are taught in religious schools that slaves are the masters’ properties, who are passed along as inheritance and where the condition of slavery is transmitted from parent to child, where women slaves must submit their bodies to their masters."Abidine Merzough, a man born as a slave to slave parents in Mauritania, speaking at UN Watch’s annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Some 20 percent of Mauritanians, about 600,000 people, are still slaves. Mauritania uses Sharia to justify a racist system where Arabs exploit the country's black African population.  (The Commentator, Feb. 24, 2013)
 

“Despite his admission and his regret, Jonathan continues to serve a sentence unprecedented in American history [for the crime he committed]. His health is fleeting and the remainder of his life is diminishing.”Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau in a letter to US President Barack Obama in anticipation of the latter’s visit to Israel in March. He noted that Pollard would soon mark the unfortunate milestone of 10,000 days in prison. “Let him live the rest of his life with his wife, Esther, in the State of Israel that granted him citizenship. This action would be seen as a humanitarian gesture by the seekers of freedom in the world.” Lau wrote. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 23, 2013)

 

“The opening of the [Canadian] Office of Religious Freedom is a positive step forward in helping to secure fundamental freedoms across the globe and we were pleased to be part of the original consultation process. Canada has an obligation to display moral leadership and do its part to protect vulnerable communities around the world. Today’s announcement…will hopefully be the first step in a series of important initiatives by the Office to further the rights of religious minorities.”Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, commenting on the Canadian government’s recent announcement establishing the new ‘Office of Religious Freedom’. (B’nai Brith Canada, Feb. 19, 2013)

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

U.S. SET TO SEND DIRECT AID TO SYRIAN REBELS—(Paris)  America is poised to provide direct assistance for the first time to rebel forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian regime, in an attempt to end a stalemate in the country's bloody two-year civil war. John Kerry, the new US secretary of state, signaled yesterday that Washington is actively considering a shift in policy that would send financial aid and equipment such as armored vehicles, body armour and night vision goggles to Syria's opposition council. There was however no indication that weaponry would be supplied. "We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the transition the Syrian people seek and deserve," Mr Kerry said in Paris, after meeting Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister. A White House spokesman confirmed the move. (Telegraph, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

CHUCK HAGEL SWORN IN AS US DEFENSE SECRETARY—(Washington) After rocky confirmation process, Republican described by his own party as showing 'troubling lack of judgment on critical issues' finally takes office. Chuck Hagel took charge of the US Defense Department on Wednesday after a bruising confirmation fight – and two days before billions in budget cuts are scheduled to hit the military. The Republican, who still faces skepticism and anger from some former Senate colleagues of his own party, was sworn in after a deeply divided chamber voted Tuesday to confirm him. The vote was one of the closest seen in the House – 58-41. The twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran now faces $46 billion in automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that will hit the Pentagon on Friday unless a deal can be made by the Obama administration and Congress to avoid them. But no talks on an agreement appeared to be under way.  (Israel News, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

IRAN ROCKET EXPERTS HELPING MILITANTS IN GAZA—(Tel Aviv)  Expert rocket makers dispatched from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have in recent days arrived in the Gaza Strip, senior Palestinian security sources have told the Israeli news outlet Walla!  on Tuesday. According to the report, the sources said that they are in Gaza to help Hamas and the Islamic Jihad develop long-range missiles. Israeli security and diplomatic sources have reportedly confirmed the Palestinian claims that there is an Iranian presence in Gaza, but did not elaborate. Walla! quoted the Israeli sources as saying that Iranian agents have previously visited the Gaza Strip as well. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2013)

 

BRITISH JIHADI SUICIDE BOMB GANG GUILTY OF PLOTTING TERROR ATTACK—(London, UK)  The ringleaders of an al-Qaeda-backed British jihadi group – Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27 – have been found guilty of plotting the worst terror attack on UK soil. The Birmingham-based gang planned to use eight suicide bombers, armed with guns, to cause "mass death" and "carnage" on the streets of Britain and wanted to carry out "another 9/11." Targets included an unnamed synagogue. Naseer and Khalid traveled to Pakistan for terror training, where they made martyrdom videos to be released by al-Qaeda after they had blown themselves up. The gang raised more than £20,000 by claiming to be collecting for Muslim Aid to fund their atrocity. (Telegraph, Feb. 21, 2013)

 

'58% RISE IN ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS IN FRANCE IN 2012'—(Paris) France saw an increase of 58 percent in anti-Semitic incidents in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to a report by the French Jewish community. The report released Tuesday by the SPCJ, the security unit of France’s Jewish communities, showed that 614 anti-Semitic acts were documented in the republic last year compared to 389 in 2011. "2012 has been a year of unprecedented violence against Jews in France,” according to the report, which referenced the shooting murders of a rabbi and three Jewish children on March 19 by an Islamist radical at a Jewish school in Toulouse. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 20, 2013)

 

COURT ORDERS GAZA TUNNELS DESTROYED—(Cairo)A Cairo court ruled that the Egyptian government must destroy all tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. The labyrinth of tunnels is an infamous smuggling route for arms trafficking. It is also believed that 30% of the goods that reach the Gaza Strip, as well as over 1.5 million people a year, make their way through the tunnels in an attempt to bypass the blockade that has been imposed by Israel and Egypt for more than seven years. The underground maze stretching beneath Rafah, Sinai and Gaza is said to include 450 main tunnels and 750 sub-tunnels. (Israel News,  Feb. 27, 2013)

 

SYRIAN REBELS ATTACK HIZBULLAH POSITIONS IN LEBANON—(Beirut) Syrian rebels started to attack Lebanon's Hizbullah on Feb. 21, after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) chief of staff issued a warning to Hizbullah to stop shelling territory held by the insurgents. "We have bombed the territories of Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria. The Free Syrian Army will continue bombing these positions," said Col. Hisam al-Avvak of the Group of Free Officers, which operates under the umbrella of the FSA. (Hurriyet News, Feb. 21, 2013 )

 

SYRIAN REBELS CLAIM TO KILL HEZBOLLAH DEPUTY CHIEF—(Beirut) Hezbollah's deputy chief, Naim Qassem, was killed Tuesday when Syrian rebels bombed a convoy consisting of high-ranking Syrian government officers near the Lebanon border, news portal Now Lebanon quoted the Free Syria Army as saying on Wednesday. “It has been confirmed… that Hezbollah’s number two man died after [receiving] a serious injury,” the Free Syria Army posted on its Twitter account. Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal quoted the Syrian rebels as saying mines placed on the Beirut-Damascus highway had detonated as the convoy returned from a high-level security meeting in Lebanon. The explosion reportedly took place near the town of Jdeidet Yabous near the Lebanon-Syria border. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

OXFORD STUDENTS REJECT ISRAEL BOYCOTT CALL—(London) A controversial motion calling for a boycott of Israeli institutions, goods and produce at Oxford University was unequivocally defeated by students on Wednesday [Feb 27]. Students at the prestigious university voted against the motion at Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU), with 69 votes against, 10 for and 15 abstentions. A margin of seven to one. Oxford University’s collegiate system is made up of 38 colleges and six private halls founded by various Christian denominations. Each college has a “junior common room” that votes at the OUSU. The number of votes each college has is determined by the size of the college. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

TALKS RESULT IN  EASED SANCTIONS FOR IRAN(Almaty, Kazakhstan) World powers offered broader concessions than ever to Iran in attempts Wednesday [Feb. 27] keep alive diplomatic channels that seek to rein in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and prevent it from building an atomic weapon. The offer was hailed by Saeed Jalili, Iran’s top official at diplomatic talks in Kazakhstan, who said it represented a “turning point” by world powers to compromise on Tehran’s uranium enrichment program. The deal allows Iran to keep a limited amount of highly enriched uranium — but not make any more — stops short of demanding the full shutdown of an underground nuclear facility, and offers to remove some trade sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy. Still, a senior US official said, crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial industries would remain in place as negotiations continue. (Times of Israel, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

IMAGES INDICATE IRAN PURSUING ‘PLAN B’ FOR NUKES(London)  New satellite images reveal that an Iranian nuclear site that has been kept away from the inquiring eyes of UN inspectors is operational and apparently producing materials that could eventually be used to make an atomic bomb. Fresh photographs of the Arak facility, published late Tuesday [Feb 26] by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, indicate that heavy water production has commenced at the site. Arak is a heavily guarded facility that contains two main sections: a nuclear reactor and a heavy water production plant. The heavy water section of the facility has been off-limits to international inspections for the past 18 months. The images show a large number of anti-aircraft batteries protecting the Arak site. Most of the missiles are on the western side of the complex, facing toward Israel and the direction from which an Israeli airstrike would likely emanate, the report said. (Times of Israel,  Feb. 27, 2013)

 

DISPUTED JEWISH TEXTS TO STAY IN RUSSIA, PUTIN SAYS—(Moscow) A disputed collection of Jewish writings will remain in Russia because returning it to a New York-based group would set a precedent paving the way for more such claims dating back to Soviet times, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. Dispute over the Jewish books and documents claimed by the Chabad-Lubavitch group adds to tensions between Moscow and Washington, which have seen ties deteriorate over human rights and security issues since Putin's return to the Kremlin in May. "The Schneerson Collection belongs to Russia," Putin said in a grand new Jewish museum in Moscow, in referring to texts held in Russian libraries and archives, some of them confiscated by the Soviet Union from Nazi forces during World War Two. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 19, 2013)

 

SEARCH FOR JEWS OF KAIFENG—(Jerusalem) In recent decades, a vast resurgence of a large variety of religious, ethnic and cultural identities has been sweeping China. The wave of interest in old traditions has had a major effect on the descendants of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng. With no synagogue or rabbi since the mid-19th century, until very recently the Jews of Kaifeng had almost completely assimilated into the Chinese world around them. In recent years, some members of the community have begun to examine and explore their Jewish roots. Interest in the faith of their ancestors and increasing contact with Jews from Israel and elsewhere has even led some of the community members towards conversion to Judaism. This talk by scholar Gideon Elazar is based on a visit with the community in Kaifeng under the auspices of the organization "Shavei Yisrael" during the holiday of Sukkot, and an analysis of their history and current situation in the context of contemporary China.  (The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Video, Feb 14, 2013)

 

NEW IMPLANT IS ALTERNATIVE TO SPINAL FUSION—(Tel Aviv)  One of the most common causes of back pain is spinal stenosis of the lower back – a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Fixing the problem usually involves spinal fusion, an operation to permanently join two or more vertebrae bones so there is no movement between them. The Israeli company Premia Spine is offering a unique and – it believes – better option. Its trademarked TOPS (Total Posterior Solution) System aims to revolutionize the spinal implant market. “We believe patients suffering from spinal stenosis can also get joint replacement rather than fusion,” CEO Ron Sacher. “We’ve developed an implant that recreates all functions of the posterior spinal column…[including] control over twisting, bending and flexing.” The titanium-sandwiched implant not only gives patients normal, pain-free mobility, but it also protects adjacent levels of the spine from similar degeneration – a common unwanted side effect of fusion surgery.  (Israel 21 C, Feb. 27, 2013)

 

FRANCE TO RETURN ART STOLEN BY THE NAZIS—(Paris) The French government has launched a new bid to return paintings stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners – or, given the seven decades that has passed – their descendants. President Francois Hollande's administration is setting up a group of experts and curators to pro-actively track down families, rather than simply waiting for them to come forward. The group, which will start work next month, will carry out its detective work with the help of a new computerised database compiled of digital scans of thousands of pages of relevant documentation currently gathering dust in archives. French museums currently hold some 2,140 art pieces that are thought to have been looted from Jewish families, including paintings by famous names such as Cezanne, Degas, Van Dyck, Ingres, Pissarro, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, and Tiepolo. (Telegraph,  24 Feb 2013)

 

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France to return art stolen by the Nazis: Kim Willsher, Telegraph, Feb. 24, 2013The French government has launched a new bid to return paintings stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners – or, given the seven decades that has passed – their descendants.

New Implant Is Alternative To Spinal Fusion: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, Feb. 27, 2013Israel’s Premia Spine has a transformative solution for spinal stenosis inspired by the success of total hip and total knee replacement.

Exposing The UN's Dirty Little Secrets:  Daniel Schwammenthal, The Commentator, Feb. 24 2013A gathering of the tortured in Geneva shames the UN Human Rights Council by giving victims not perpetrators a platform to tell their story.

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-82843

 

 

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