Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Tag: Europe

IN EUROPE, MACRON IGNORANTLY CRITIQUES NATIONALISM, MAY NAVIGATES BREXIT, AND ANTISEMITISM RISES IN GERMANY

The Mad, Mad Meditations of Monsieur Macron: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Nov. 20, 2018— Almost everything French president Emmanuel Macron has said recently on the topic of foreign affairs, the United States, and nationalism and patriotism is silly.

It May Not Be Enough, But Theresa May Has Done Her Best: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 16, 2018 — The drama of the British departure from the European Union is finally coming to a climax.

Can Organized Jewry in Germany Behave “Normally?”: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Nov. 6, 2018— Jews fulfill many functions and roles in European societies.

Hanukkah’s Legacy in America: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Nov. 29, 2018— The legacy of Hanukkah has played a major role in shaping the American ethos and state of mind, from the early Pilgrims through the Founding Fathers’ War of Independence and th+eir composition and ratification of the US Constitution, all the way until today.

On Topic Links

Chanukah and the Future of the State of Israel: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 30, 2018

Who Are Europe’s Most Important Politicians?: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Aug. 2, 2018

The Nazi Downstairs: A Jewish Woman’s Tale of Hiding in Her Home: Colin Moynihan, New York Times, Oct. 5, 2018

How the Jewish People Have Survived … And Why They Still Will: Tal Keinan, National Post, Sept. 25, 2018

                 

THE MAD, MAD MEDITATIONS OF MONSIEUR MACRON                                        

Victor Davis Hanson                                                                                                                               National Review, Nov. 20, 2018

Almost everything French president Emmanuel Macron has said recently on the topic of foreign affairs, the United States, and nationalism and patriotism is silly. He implicitly rebukes Donald Trump for praising the idea of nationalism as a creed in which citizens of sovereign nations expect their leaders to put the interests of their fellow citizens first and those of other nations second. And while critiquing nationalism, Macron nonetheless talks and acts as though he is an insecure French chauvinist of the first order.

The French president suffers from the usual dreams of some sort of European “empire” — Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler . . . Brussels? He probably envisions a new Rome steered by French cultural elites whose wisdom, style, and sophistication would substitute for polluting tanks and bombers, and who would play Greece’s robed philosophers to Europe’s Roman legions: “It’s about Europe having to become a kind of empire, as China is. And how the U.S. is.” But aside from the fact that the immigration-wary eastern and financially strapped southern Europeans are increasingly skeptical of northern European imperial ecumenicalism, can Macron cite any “empire” in the past — Persian, Roman, Ottoman, British — that was not first and foremost “nationalist”?

Would an envisioned non-nationalist “European empire” put the interests of the United States or China on an equal plane with its own? Would it follow U.N. dictates? Does Macron object to nationalism only because other nationalists are more powerful than he is, with his own brand of nationalism (whether defined as French or Europe Unionist)? And does he therefore seek competitive clout through a nationalist, imperial European project? Would nations not be nationalist singularly, but be nationalist collectively?

Macron is abjectly ignorant of history. He references the wearied bogeyman called “nationalism” that supposedly on autopilot caused the 20 million deaths of World War I. In fact, nationalism finally saved Western civilization from aggression. Recall French resilience at Verdun, British courage in Belgium, and American confidence and national pride in sending more than 2 million doughboys to Europe to stop a German kaiser from creating a German pan-European “empire.” Bolshevist internationalist dreams of a shared European Communist collective helped to ruin Russia, as Communists signed away much of industrialized European Russia to Prussian authoritarian occupiers under the Brest-Litovsk Treaty of early 1918.

What had nearly ruined Western civilization by 1918 was not nationalism per se, but rather authoritarian militarism, as embodied by Kaiser Wilhelm’s assumptions that Germany was economically, culturally, and militarily superior to its neighbors. In its cost-benefit analysis, Berlin therefore thought it would be profitable to take by force what Germany felt it naturally deserved.

Twenty years later, the very absence of British and French nationalism — whether symbolized by the Oxford Union debate of 1933 or the reluctance of French schools in the 1930s to reference the bloody heroics at Verdun — led to appeasement and a fatal reliance on a weak and a morally neutered League of Nations, a series of unenforceable arms-limitations treaties, and “international opinion.”

The League bragged of its collective wisdom and ethical clout, but it simply allowed Hitler to systematically violate the Versailles Treaty. And it stood by as Japan began annexing swathes of Manchuria, and as Italy sent its troop ships unimpeded through the Suez Canal, en route to creating its new Italian “empire” in Abyssinia. Stopping Mussolini demanded more than British “internationalism” and collectivism. It required nationalist confidence in his majesty’s vastly superior British fleet, whose battleships and carriers could have easily blown Mussolini’s expeditionary forces out of the Mediterranean before they were able to machine-gun, gas, and bomb poorly armed Ethiopians.

What saved Europe a second time, in World War II, was a rediscovery during the Blitz that the British were singular and proud people who were capable of rallying to the nationalist spirit of Winston Churchill; they no longer relied on the failed and appeasing internationalist diplomacy of Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, and the Earl of Halifax. What later restored continental Europe was the mobilized Americans who arrived confident in their country’s values and empowered by their national economic strength and frenzied patriotic civilian efforts at home.

Macron, as is faddish today in the era of Trump, sees nationalism as a toxic corruption of patriotism. That may be understandable given that in France’s recent past, Philippe Pétain (whose World War I career, ironically, was praised by Macron) hoped for an independent, nationalist, and colonial Vichy France, in league with Nazi Germany, a state empowered by anti-Semitism, racism, and colonialism.

So Macron suffers from the psychological condition known as projection in which one’s own faults and worries are fobbed off onto others as a way of assuaging one’s insecurities and guilt. Given that race-based authoritarian fervor in 1930s France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain derived from pseudoscientific ideas of genetic superiority, and the notion that citizenship was based on race, it may be natural that Macron is defensive on the topic of European-style “nationalism.” Perhaps it’s comforting to blame Europe’s prior race-based dictatorships on a more generic “nationalism” that all countries are supposedly prone to…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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IT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH, BUT THERESA MAY HAS DONE HER BEST

Conrad Black

National Post, Nov. 16, 2018

The drama of the British departure from the European Union is finally coming to a climax. Theresa May has never been a compelling or even particularly convincing prime minister, but she seems to have managed the Homeric feat of getting some sort of agreement with Brussels, which her edgy and nervous cabinet has partially supported. But the defection by Jacob Rees-Mogg, head of the European Study Group, which is a good deal less scholarly and more accomplished in the political martial arts than the name or its leader’s elegant demeanour would indicate, suggests a full leadership challenge to May is imminent. I suspect that the unambiguous leavers will tank May, and would find Boris Johnson (former mayor of London and foreign secretary) and Rees-Mogg equally acceptable, and that the remainers in the governing party, the former followers of prime minister David Cameron and his chancellor, George Osborne, would find Rees-Mogg more trustworthy and less abrasive than Johnson, and that Michael Gove, who had his falling out with Johnson after the Brexit vote, will swing it to Rees-Mogg.

The problem May has had is that neither her followers nor Europe thought she was really serious about leaving. Cameron certainly was not, and assured everyone that Britain would never vote to leave. So, having promised “full-on treaty change,” he got a piffling and conditional concession on benefits to migrants from Brussels, less as I wrote at the time, than Neville Chamberlain brought back from Munich. The country revolted and Cameron and Osborne were out. With one British prime minister having gone to the wall, the Europeans had to treat the whole business more seriously, and did finally make some substantive concessions to May. If Cameron had had these, he would have won his referendum. But as always happens in such contentious issues, the blood rises on both sides, and having voted narrowly to leave, the British are not now going to be satisfied with much beyond a common market with minimal political integration — the two-tier Europe I have always advocated, in Their Lordships’ House and when I was a London newspaper chairman.

In this sort of negotiation, the side threatening to break the association can only get the terms it needs to stay in the association if the other side is sure that they are not bluffing. If, as appears the likeliest outcome, May cannot hold her party, an unambiguous leaver will take her place and will say what is acceptable to Britain, failing which, the U.K. leaves Europe on March 29 and will not pay one euro of departure penalty. Au revoir, Auf wiedersehen, Arrivederci, and Vaya con Dios.

The basic problem with the European Union is that it attempts to put the whole continent, from Portugal to Poland and from Sweden to Greece, excepting only Norway and Switzerland, in a political straitjacket. The authorities in the so-called government of the European Union in Brussels answer neither to the toothless European Parliament in Strasbourg (the only legislature in the world since the last days of the Habsburg Empire that has more translators than lawmakers), nor to the major national governments of the Union (Germany, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain). Every sane person in Europe and elsewhere who has an interest in Europe, strenuously admires the spirit of continental fraternity, reconciliation and reciprocal cultural respect that now motivates all of the EU countries. A millennium and more of conflict along cultural lines, up to the horrible hecatombs of the World Wars that began in Europe and could be resolved only by the applied force of the United States, and in the Second World War the Soviet Union as well, has ended. All the distinguished civilizations that fought in Europe, and often in their overseas adventures also, have settled into a celebration, well-earned, of what their civilizations have done for all mankind (humankind if we must).

But politically, the European Union is an infestation in the Brussels government of the EU of bearers of ancient Belgian and Dutch grievances against the great European powers for their condescension and at times outrages, and they now take too much pleasure in telling the Germans, British, French and Italians what to do. The Germans are accustomed to regimentation and as the greatest power in Europe, possess the national weight to alleviate the burden if necessary. The French and Italians are not accustomed to regarding government as anything but an irritant, often oppressive, almost always stupid, usually transitory, and not an institution that deserves any more adherence than one’s self-interest requires. The British like to obey laws, but have never had meticulous official instruction on the minutiae of their lives and will not accept it now. Even King John did not try to exercise the authority of Brussels before signing the Magna Carta in 1215.

The British will not stand for this unceasing cascade of authoritarian directives from Brussels, purporting to decree everything from the number of newspapers in a delivery-person’s hand-off to a news agent, to how to stack vegetables in supermarkets, to a one-size-fits-all condom. The entire European project stumbled at the point where it had either to remain a common market among sovereign countries, or merge altogether into one mighty confederation with one currency and central government but with devolved powers to regional or previously national governments, or the two-speed Europe described above. In failing to make that choice and straddling, it ceased to be democratic…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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CAN ORGANIZED JEWRY IN GERMANY BEHAVE “NORMALLY?”                                          Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld                                                 

BESA, Nov. 6, 2018

Jews fulfill many functions and roles in European societies. For many centuries they served as scapegoats for majority populations, and anti-Semitism has long been an integral part of European culture. The Jews’ symbolic role as quintessential stranger has declined since the massive influx of Arabs and Africans into Europe, as has their characterization as somehow “exotic.”

Jews are often early indicators of societal problems. Regular verbal and physical attacks on Jews by Muslims have drawn attention to several of the many problems brought into Europe by significant segments of these immigrant groups. In the wake of the Holocaust, new roles have emerged. These include the Jew as the typical victim and Jews as the benchmark of society’s morality on some issues.

The murder of Jews by a Muslim in a Paris supermarket in January 2015 made more French Jews reflect on the idea of leaving their country. Manuel Valls, who was PM of France at the time, said: “France will not be France without the Jews.” The underlying message was clear: If Jews increasingly leave France because they feel threatened, a factor legitimizing French democracy would begin to disappear.

President Emmanuel Macron has also said that the experiences of French Jews can be indicators of the country’s overall wellbeing. At the annual dinner of the CRIF, the French Jewish umbrella organization, in March 2018, he said that anti-Semitism is the “opposite of the republic” and the “dishonor of France.”

The legitimizing role Jews have been assigned with regard to societal issues is most prominent in Germany. Since the 1990s, German governments have allowed Jews from Russia to immigrate into the country even though those immigrants had no historical connection with it. That influx numbered around 200,000, which made them by far the largest group in terms of origin in German Jewry.

The symbolism of Jews living in Germany is palpable. If Jews are increasingly present in the country despite its horrendous past under the Nazi regime, one can infer that Germany has become a “normal” democracy. This has led to occasional proud declarations that Germany is the only European country with a growing Jewish population. In recent years, Germany’s organized Jewry has been shrinking; it now numbers fewer than 100,000.

Nowadays, on average, four anti-Semitic incidents are reported per day in “normal” Germany. There are strong indications that the real figure is substantially higher. Official statistics falsely attribute almost all attacks to right-wing perpetrators, a fallacy that was exposed by the country’s Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Felix Klein. He said physical attacks against Jews by Muslims are far more numerous than what is recorded. Still, distorted statistics continue to be published.

A rather insignificant recent event seemed to perturb the supposed “normalcy” of Jewish existence in Germany. About 20 Jews created a Jewish section in the right-wing populist and anti-Islam AfD party. None of these people held positions in major Jewish organizations, but the German Jewish community was nevertheless aghast. Seventeen Jewish organizations came out against the Jewish AfD group. That is tantamount to almost one Jewish organization for each of its members. The umbrella organization, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called the AfD “racist and anti-Semitic.” That may be true for some of its leaders, but not for all of them, and certainly not for a sizable proportion of its voters.

Partly due to the overreaction of organized German Jewry, the initial meeting of the small Jewish AfD group garnered major national media interest. It might have been sufficient if the umbrella organization had issued a statement simply stating that a few individual Jews do not represent the community at large. Since the September 2017 elections, the AfD has been the third-largest party in the German parliament and thus the main opposition. It currently attracts about 15% of voters. The AfD is shunned by all the other parties, who accuse it of having racists and neo-Nazis in its midst. The AfD is presented as purely negative, creating the false impression that all the other parties are purely positive.

Yet there are signs that some Christian Democrat (CDU) politicians want to collaborate with the AfD. In Meissen, a town in the Federal State of Saxony, elections for the mayoralty took place in September 2018. In the second round, the AfD candidate withdrew in favor of the Christian Democrat, who was elected. The CDU lost heavily in the 2017 parliamentary elections, and their support in the polls has declined even further. Thus additional breaches of the boycott of the AfD can be expected in order to hold onto power in some locations. (The same pattern has already been seen with the Socialists [SPD], who have entered into coalitions with the extreme leftist party, die Linke. Die Linke has many former communists in its ranks.)

The Jewish AfD group’s initiators invited Beatrix von Storch, the deputy chair of the party’s parliamentary faction, to their opening meeting. She said that for many Jews, Muslim anti-Semitism is a big theme. She added that for those people, the AfD is a natural home. She also said the AfD is open to Muslims. If one analyzes the German reality, it is not the AfD that has created the greatest threat to the future of Jews in the country. The huge shadow over Germany was caused by the mainstream parties, the CDU and the SPD. Their joint governments let in millions of immigrants without much selection in recent decades, the majority of whom are Muslim…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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HANUKKAH’S LEGACY IN AMERICA                            

Yoram Ettinger

Algemeiner, Nov. 29, 2018

The legacy of Hanukkah has played a major role in shaping the American ethos and state of mind, from the early Pilgrims through the Founding Fathers’ War of Independence and their composition and ratification of the US Constitution, all the way until today.

Hanukkah sheds light on Judeo-Christian values, which have imbued the United States since the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. On October 16, 2018, the US Postal Services issued its annual Hanukkah stamp, portraying a menorah, which commemorates the 167 BCE rebellion of the Jewish Maccabees against the powerful and oppressive Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV.

On December 8, 2017, President Trump stated, during a candle-lighting at the White House, “The miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of Israel. … The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have endured unthinkable persecution and oppression, but no force has ever crushed [their] spirit and no evil has ever extinguished [their] faith.”

On December 14, 2016, President Obama held a candle-lighting at the White House, where he stated, “We take heart from the Maccabees’ struggle against tyranny, [that] even in our darkest moments, a stubborn flame of hope flickers and miracles are possible. … George Washington was said to have been stirred by the lights of Hanukkah after seeing a soldier with a menorah in the snows of Valley Forge.”

In December, 1993, a cinder block was hurled through a window of a Jewish family home in Billings, Montana, because the family had displayed a menorah. The response by the 80,000 residents of Billings was, “Not in our town.” The Billings Gazette published a full-page photograph of a menorah, which was photocopied by local businesses, and pasted on billboards and on windows of thousands of homes in Billings. In addition, scores of people marched on Billings’ main street, holding menorahs. And since 1994, an annual Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony has been held at the state capitol in Helena, Montana.

The West Point Military Academy displays a statue of Judah the Maccabee alongside other outstanding military leaders, such as Joshua, King David, Alexander the Great, Hector, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon.

In 2018, the US and Israel are Western democracies that adhere to the legacy of the Maccabees, displaying allegiance to liberty and morality, while refusing to retreat in the face of threats, pressure, and seduction. Both are unwilling to sacrifice long-term realism and conviction on the altar of short-term opportunism and gratification. And they stand defiant in face of ruthless and cunning rogue regimes, which benefit from the Western tailwind of appeasement, vacillation, wishful thinking, and oversimplification.

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends and Supporters: Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Chanukah and the Future of the State of Israel: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 30, 2018—History, the study of cause and effect in the annals of humankind, has been a serious challenge for honest historians.

Who Are Europe’s Most Important Politicians?: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Aug. 2, 2018—”Who is the most important European alive today?” I asked in early 2010. Dutch politician Geert Wilders, came my answer, because “he is best placed to deal with the Islamic challenge facing the continent.” I even raised the prospect of his emerging “as a world-historical figure.”

The Nazi Downstairs: A Jewish Woman’s Tale of Hiding in Her Home: Colin Moynihan, New York Times, Oct. 5, 2018 —A search for a lost masterpiece uncovered a woman’s harrowing account of escaping deportation, and possibly death, while spying on a Nazi at close range.

How the Jewish People Have Survived … And Why They Still Will: Tal Keinan, National Post, Sept. 25, 2018—Morning had already clanked to life when we walked into town. Tractors bouncing down the gravel main street kicked up dust that churned in the day’s first hot breeze, blending with the scents of Galilean summer rosemary, cypress and lavender, a fusion that has since animated Israel in my mind. I can recall it easily, even from the distance of the United States.

EUROPE’S OPEN BORDERS HAVE LED TO ANTISEMITISM, CRIME, & FAR-RIGHT RESURGENCE

The Situation in Germany Is Deteriorating for Jews — and Everyone: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Algemeiner, June 20, 2018— “The twelve years of national socialist rule was a speck of bird poop compared to the more than thousand years of Germany’s glorious past.”

The Migration Crisis Will Shatter Europe: Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail, June 25, 2018— As politicians wrangle behind closed doors, the MV Lifeline is in limbo.

Europe’s Vanishing Calm: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, June 7, 2018— The Rhone River Valley in southern France is a storybook marriage of high technology, traditional vineyards, and ancestral villages.

Parshat Balak: A People That Dwells Alone: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, June 28, 2018 — This is an extraordinary moment in Jewish history, for good and not-so-good reasons.

On Topic Links

Bureaucracy Preventing Ingathering of the Nicaraguan Exiles: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2018

The Palestine Pavilion – 1924-25: Saul Jay Singer, Jewish Press, June 20, 2018

Spain: Ground Zero for Europe’s Anti-Israel Movement: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, June 23, 2018

Sidestepping Standard Procedure, Austrian Chancellor Visits Western Wall: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2018

 

THE SITUATION IN GERMANY IS DETERIORATING        

FOR JEWS — AND EVERYONE                                                           

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Algemeiner, June 20, 2018

“The twelve years of national socialist rule was a speck of bird poop compared to the more than thousand years of Germany’s glorious past.” This graphic statement was made by Alexander Gauland, the co-chairman of the German extreme right-wing AfD party, at an official party conference earlier this month. A German government spokesman called Gauland’s remark shameful, and the statement also led to condemnations from a variety of politicians, media outlets, and others. It was criticized from within the AfD as well.

Gauland reacted by saying that he did not deny Germany’s responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis. He also remarked that his words expressed extreme repugnance for National Socialism, since he compared it to animal excrement. Yet as so often happens, this issue was treated largely as an isolated incident rather than seen in a much wider context.

The impact of Holocaust-related traumas reemerges regularly in Germany in many different ways. Now Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “welcome policy” on immigration has added another recurring problem: the partly insolvable challenges that will result from Germany’s massive refugee influx. Since September 2015, at least 1.3 million asylum seekers — mainly Muslims from countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan — have entered Germany. In the September 2017 elections, the AfD received 12.6% of the vote and became Germany’s third largest party. Without Merkel’s immigration policy, this right-wing anti-Islam party would probably have had difficulty passing the 5% parliamentary entrance threshold.

As a populist and nationalist party, the AfD promotes extreme national identity and rejects supranational Europeanism. Yet Gauland’s remark and the many negative reactions from his colleagues show that the party knows it must tread carefully. Still, popular support for the AfD continues to increase. A recent poll gave it 16% of voters’ support, close to that of the country’s declining second party the SPD socialists. German acquaintances keep telling me that numerous people in the mainstream intend to vote for the AfD. Part of the reason is that they see no other alternative to express their wish to stop the inflow of refugees.

Although Merkel has walked back her refugee policy somewhat, many Germans remain dissatisfied, partly because the media publicity about murders and other major crimes committed by Middle Eastern immigrants is widespread. The stable Germany of recent decades is changing and Germany is becoming a country in flux. Domestic and international problems have piled up rapidly. The government parties no longer have a majority in the polls. The national refugee agency BAMF is under scrutiny for a major scandal; the head of the agency has been fired. There are also important policy and personal tensions between the two Christian parties — Merkel’s CDU and the Bavarian CSU.

When it comes to Germany’s foreign relations, the situation is deteriorating as well. In Italy, a populist government wants to transgress the European Union’s financial rules. The United Kingdom is negotiating its departure from the EU. Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran has led Tehran to threaten to abandon its commitments under the deal unless the Europeans compensate it for American sanctions. The newly imposed US tariffs on steel and aluminum may soon be followed by tariffs on cars, which will hit Germany hard. Trump also has so little respect for Germany that he has even stated that the country’s citizens don’t support the government on the immigration issue.

A strong Germany is crucial for Israel’s position in Europe. Internal tensions can become bad for the country’s Jews. All one can conclude is that developments in Germany should be watched closely by both Israel and local Jewish organizations.

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THE MIGRATION CRISIS WILL SHATTER EUROPE

Margaret Wente

Globe & Mail, June 25, 2018

As politicians wrangle behind closed doors, the MV Lifeline is in limbo. The Lifeline is a rescue ship that picked up 234 migrants off the Libyan coast last week. Normally it would have docked in Italy. But Italy’s new hard-line government turned it away. No one wants the passengers, who are mostly young African men. Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has already threatened to deport hundreds of thousands of migrants unless Europe gets serious about sharing the burdens of intercepting and processing them. Last week, he posted a video on his Facebook page in which he called the passengers of the Lifeline “human meat.”

Attitudes have hardened on migration across Europe – not only in Hungary and Poland, which have had little tolerance for foreigners, but also in France and even tolerant Sweden. The top two issues in most countries are immigration and terrorism, pollsters find. Experts can lecture all they want about how immigration, terrorism and crime are really pseudo-problems, whipped up to serve the interests of the populists. But the truth is that Europe’s leaders have failed miserably to come up with any common solution to the migration problem. That’s why support for national populists is rising and why centre-right parties are shifting farther right.

The absolute numbers of asylum seekers have fallen dramatically since 2015 – the year of the great surge to Germany. Even so, as the Financial Times says, “The impact of migration on European politics has become truly poisonous.” In Sweden, the once-shunned anti-immigrant right is heading for a breakthrough in September’s elections. In Germany, Angela Merkel’s job is in jeopardy if she can’t manage to placate her coalition partners in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, who are being challenged by the far right. They’re threatening to close the borders if they don’t get new assurances on immigration – a move that would be a devastating blow to the European Union’s open-borders policy.

Anti-immigration sentiment in Germany is also fuelled by violent crime. Recently, a young Iraqi man was apprehended for the violent rape and murder of a 14-year-old German girl – a graphic reminder to many people that the government can’t control who is living within its borders. “The government should beg for forgiveness from Susanna’s parents, ” said Bild, a popular daily newspaper.

Ms. Merkel is pushing for a common approach and united solutions to Europe’s migration problems. But that’s looking like a lost cause. The idea of “burden-sharing” – which would require every country to take its fair share of asylum claimants – has been a flop, because countries such as Hungary and Bulgaria believe their fair share is zero. Asylum claimants themselves are only interested in going to northern countries with good welfare benefits. Other ideas involve massively beefing up policing of Europe’s external borders – if only they can figure out who will pay and what will become of the migrants who are intercepted. The Italians are now proposing “reception centres” – perhaps located in Europe, or perhaps North Africa, where people can be housed (or detained, depending on your point of view) while their claims are processed.

None of these solutions address the bigger problem, which is that there is today a near-infinite supply of both economic migrants and asylum seekers, that the distinction between the two can be somewhat arbitrary and that hundreds of millions of people in the most decrepit and dysfunctional places on Earth are now equipped with cellphones that allow them to see how the First World lives. Africa’s population, now about 1.25 billion, is expected to double by the year 2050. That’s a lot of overloaded dinghies.

Even in the case of genuine refugees – of which the world has some 62 million at the moment – it’s clear that the welcome mat has grown thin. The reality is that the post-Cold-War paradigm doesn’t work anymore. The 1951 Refugee Convention “was never designed for huge masses of people outside of the West,” writes political scientist Ivan Krastev in his penetrating book, After Europe. His message: Don’t blame the far-right fringes for Europe’s discontent. Blame the oblivious elites. “The inability and unwillingness of the liberal elites to discuss migration and contend with its consequences, and the insistence that existing policies are always positive sum (i.e., win-win), are what make liberalism for so many symbolic with hypocrisy,” he writes. Can liberalism survive the challenge? We’ll find out. Meanwhile, another refugee ship is adrift on the Mediterranean, looking for a place to land. There will be many more.

                       

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EUROPE’S VANISHING CALM                  

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review, June 7, 2018

The Rhone River Valley in southern France is a storybook marriage of high technology, traditional vineyards, and ancestral villages. High-speed trains and well-designed toll roads crisscross majestic cathedrals, castles, and chateaus. Traveling in a Europe at peace these days evokes both historical and literary allusions. As with the infrastructure and engineering of the late Roman Empire right before its erosion, the Continent rests at its pinnacle of technological achievement.

There is a Roman Empire-like sameness throughout Europe in fashion, popular culture, and government protocol — a welcome change from the deadly fault lines of 1914 and 1939. Yet, as in the waning days of Rome, there is a growing uncertainly beneath the European calm. The present generation has inherited the physical architecture and art of a once-great West — cathedrals, theaters, and museums. But it seems to lack the confidence that it could ever create the conditions to match, much less exceed, such achievement.

The sense of depression in Europe reminds one of novelist J. R. R. Tolkien’s description of the mythical land of Gondor in his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings. Gondor’s huge walls, vaunted traditions, and rich history were testaments that it once served as bulwark of a humane Middle-earth. But by the novel’s time, the people of Gondor had become militarily and spiritually enfeebled by self-doubt, decades of poor governance, depopulation, and indifference, paradoxically brought on by wealth and affluence.

Europeans are similarly confused about both their past and present. They claim to be building a new democratic culture. But the governing elites of the European Union prefer fiats to plebiscites. They are terrified of popular protest movements. And they consider voters little more than members of reckless mobs that cannot be properly taught what is good for them.

Free speech is increasingly problematic. It is more dangerous for a European citizen to publicly object to illegal immigration than for a foreigner to enter Europe illegally. Elites preach the idea of open borders. But people on the street concede that they have no way of assimilating millions of immigrants from the Middle East into European culture. Most come illegally, en masse, and without the education or skills to integrate successfully.

Oddly, less wealthy Central and Eastern Europeans are more astutely skeptical of mass immigration than wealthier but less rational Western Europeans. Europeans claim to believe in democratic redistribution, but apparently not on an international level. They are torn apart over a poorer Mediterranean Europe wishing to share in the lifestyles of their northern cousins without necessarily emulating the latter’s discipline and work ethic.

Germany wishes to be the good leader that can live down its past by virtue-signaling its tolerance. Yet Berlin does so in an overbearing, almost traditional Prussian fashion. It rams down the throat of its neighbors its politically correct policies on Middle Eastern immigration, mandatory green energy, virtual disarmament, mercantilist trade, and financial bailouts. Rarely has such a socialist nation been so hyper-capitalist and chauvinist in piling up trade surpluses.

The world quietly assumes that the rich and huge European Union cannot and will not do much about unscrupulous Chinese trade practices, radical Islamic terrorism, or Iranian and North Korean nuclear proliferation. Such problems are left to the more uncouth Americans. That unspoken dependency might explain why many Europeans quietly concede that the hated Donald Trump’s deterrent foreign policy and his economic growth protocols could prove in the long term a better deal for Europe than were the beloved Barack Obama’s lead-from-behind and redistributionist agendas.

The European Union’s sole reason to be is to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 20th century, in which many millions of Europeans were slaughtered in world wars, death camps, and the great Communist terror in Russia. Yet paradoxically, the European reaction to the gory past often results in an extreme Western sybaritic lifestyle that in itself leads to decline.

European religion has been recalibrated into a secular and agnostic political correctness. Child-raising, if done, is often a matter of having one child in one’s late thirties. Buying a home and getting a job depend more on government ministries than on individual daring and initiative. Yet the more credible European lesson from the last century’s catastrophes is that too few 20th-century European democracies stayed militarily vigilant. In the 1930s, too few of them felt confident enough in Western democratic values to confront existential dangers, such as Hitler and Stalin, in their infancy. Atheistic nihilism and a soulless modernism — not religious piety and a reverence for custom and tradition — fueled German and Italian fascism and Russian Communism. Contrary to politically correct dogma, Christianity, military deterrence, democracy, and veneration of a unique past did not destroy Europe.

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PARSHAT BALAK: A PEOPLE THAT DWELLS ALONE

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jewish Press, June 28, 2018

This is an extraordinary moment in Jewish history, for good and not-so-good reasons. For the first time in almost 4,000 years we have simultaneously sovereignty and independence in the land and state of Israel, and freedom and equality in the Diaspora. There have been times – all too brief – when Jews had one or the other, but never before, both at the same time. That is the good news.

The less-good news, though, is that Anti-Semitism has returned within living memory of the Holocaust. The State of Israel remains isolated in the international political arena. It is still surrounded by enemies. And it is the only nation among the 193 making up the United Nations whose very right to exist is constantly challenged and always under threat. Given all this, it seems the right time to re-examine words appearing in this week’s parsha, uttered by the pagan prophet Balaam, that have come to seem to many, the most powerful summation of Jewish history and destiny:

From the peaks of rocks I see them,

from the heights I gaze upon them.

This is a people who dwell alone,

not reckoning themselves one of the nations. (Num. 23:9)

For two leading Israeli diplomats in the twentieth century – Yaacov Herzog and Naphtali Lau-Lavie – this verse epitomised their sense of Jewish peoplehood after the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. Herzog, son of a Chief Rabbi of Israel and brother of Chaim who became Israel’s president, was Director-General of the Prime Minister’s office from 1965 to his death in 1972. Naphtali Lavie, a survivor of Auschwitz who became Israel’s Consul-General in New York, lived to see his brother, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, become Israel’s Chief Rabbi. Herzog’s collected essays were published under the title, drawn from Balaam’s words, A People that Dwells Alone. Lavie’s were entitled Balaam’s Prophecy – again a reference to this verse.

For both, the verse expressed the uniqueness of the Jewish people – its isolation on the one hand, its defiance and resilience on the other. Though it has faced opposition and persecution from some of the greatest superpowers the world has ever known, it has outlived them all.

Given, though, the return of Anti-Semitism, it is worth reflecting on one particular interpretation of the verse, given by the Dean of Volozhyn Yeshiva, R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv, Russia, 1816-1893). Netziv interpreted the verse as follows: for every other nation, when its people went into exile and assimilated into the dominant culture, they found acceptance and respect. With Jews, the opposite was the case. In exile, when they remained true to their faith and way of life, they found themselves able to live at peace with their gentile neighbors. When they tried to assimilate, they found themselves despised and reviled.

The sentence, says Netziv, should therefore be read thus: “If it is a people content to be alone, faithful to its distinctive identity, then it will be able to dwell in peace. But if Jews seek to be like the nations, the nations will not consider them worthy of respect.”[2]

This is a highly significant statement, given the time and place in which it was made, namely Russia in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. At that time, many Russian Jews had assimilated, some converting to Christianity. But Anti-Semitism did not diminish. It grew, exploding into violence in the pogroms that happened in more than a hundred towns in 1881. These were followed by the notorious Anti-Semitic May Laws of 1882. Realising that they were in danger if they stayed, between 3 and 5 million Jews fled to the West.

It was at this time that Leon Pinsker, a Jewish physician who had believed that the spread of humanism and enlightenment would put an end to Anti-Semitism, experienced a major change of heart and wrote one of the early texts of secular Zionism, Auto-Emancipation (1882). In words strikingly similar to those of Netziv, he said, “In seeking to fuse with other peoples [Jews] deliberately renounced to some extent their own nationality. Yet nowhere did they succeed in obtaining from their fellow-citizens recognition as natives of equal status.” They tried to be like everyone else, but this only left them more isolated.

Something similar happened in Western Europe also. Far from ending hostility to Jews, Enlightenment and Emancipation merely caused it to mutate, from religious Judeophobia to racial Anti-Semitism. No-one spoke of this more poignantly than Theodore Herzl in The Jewish State (1896):

We have honestly endeavored everywhere to merge ourselves in the social life of surrounding communities and to preserve the faith of our fathers. We are not permitted to do so. In vain are we loyal patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow-citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame of our native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade and commerce. In countries where we have lived for centuries we are still cried down as strangers … If we could only be left in peace … But I think we shall not be left in peace.

The more we succeeded in being like everyone else, implied Herzl, the more we were disliked by everyone else. Consciously or otherwise, these nineteenth century voices were echoing a sentiment first articulated 26 centuries ago by the prophet Ezekiel, speaking in the name of God to the would-be assimilationists among the Jewish exiles in Babylon: You say, “We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.” But what you have in mind will never happen. (Ez. 20:32)…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Bureaucracy Preventing Ingathering of the Nicaraguan Exiles: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2018—While the political situation in Nicaragua rages out of control, a small community of Jews and non-Jews in the process of conversion is struggling to make aliyah to Israel. Their lives are threatened but the doors for them to return to their people are jammed shut with paperwork.

The Palestine Pavilion – 1924-25: Saul Jay Singer, Jewish Press, June 20, 2018—After WWI, Great Britain was highly motivated to stage an international exhibition.

Spain: Ground Zero for Europe’s Anti-Israel Movement: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, June 23, 2018—Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, has approved a motion to boycott Israel and slander it by declaring the city an “Israeli apartheid-free zone.” The move comes days after Navarra, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, announced a similar measure.

Sidestepping Standard Procedure, Austrian Chancellor Visits Western Wall: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2018—Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited the Western Wall on Sunday, the first time in recent memory a leader of a European Union country visited the holy site, even for what is being billed only as a “private visit.”

 

“ISLAMIZATION” OF TURKEY & EUROPE CHALLENGES WESTERN VALUES

Emerging Islamist Political Clout Accelerates Europe’s Self-Islamization: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Apr. 17, 2018— Forget the beheading videos, the ISIS propaganda on social media, even the terrorist attacks themselves.

Belgium: First Islamic State in Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2018— The French acronym of Belgium’s ISLAM Party stands for “Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality”.

The Islamization of Turkey: Rauf Baker, BESA, Apr. 22, 2018— Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament…

Hard Truths About an Ancient Doctrine: Machla Abramovitz, Michpacha, Mar. 14, 2018 — Last December‚ about two hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the media was in a tizzy.

On Topic Links

Struggling to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, France Wants to ‘Reform’ Islam: James McAuley, Washington Post, Apr. 18, 2018

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2018

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Apr. 15, 2018

 

 

EMERGING ISLAMIST POLITICAL CLOUT

ACCELERATES EUROPE’S SELF-ISLAMIZATION

Abigail R. Esman

IPT News, Apr. 17, 2018

Forget the beheading videos, the ISIS propaganda on social media, even the terrorist attacks themselves. Europe, says counterterrorism expert Afshin Ellian, is Islamizing itself, and in the process, the Western values on which its democracies are built are increasingly put at risk.

Take, for instance, Belgium’s ISLAM Party, which now hopes to participate in the country’s October local elections in 28 regions. (Its name serves as an acronym for “Integrité, Solidarité, Liberté, Authenticité, Moralité.) Its ultimate aim: transforming Belgium into an Islamic state. Items high on its agenda include separating men and women on public transportation, and the incorporation of sharia law – as long as this does not conflict with current laws –according to the party’s founder, Redouane Ahrouch. His own behavior, however, suggests that his respect for “current laws” and mores has its bounds: He reportedly refuses to shake hands with women, and in 2003, he received a six-month sentence for beating and threatening his wife. Currently, the Islam Party has two elected representatives in office – one in Anderlecht, the other in Molenbeek – both regions that happen to be known as hotbeds of extremism.

Or consider DENK, Holland’s pro-Islam party founded in 2015 by Turkish-Dutch politicians Selçuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu. The party platform, which supports boycotts and sanctions against Israel, also discourages assimilation, calling instead for “mutual acceptance” of multiple cultures. Non-Muslims, for instance, would apparently be required to “accept” the Muslim extremist father who beats his daughter for refusing an arranged marriage, or for becoming too “Westernized” for his taste. It’s his culture, after all. DENK also calls for a “racism police force” to monitor allegedly racist comments and actions. Those found guilty would be placed in a government “racism register,” and banned from government jobs and other employment.

So far, such pro-Islamist views have served the party well. In local Dutch elections last month, DENK (which means “think” in Dutch) gained three seats in Rotterdam, totaling four seats among 45 total and edging out Geert Wilders’ far-right Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), which fell from three seats to one. In Amsterdam, which also has 45 seats, a full 50 percent of Dutch-Moroccans and about two-thirds of Dutch-Turks gave the party a three-seat win in its first election there, as well. Many of these voters, according to post-election analyses, moved to DENK from the center-left Labor Party (PvdA), clearly feeling more at home with a more overtly pro-Muslim politic.

Similarly, France’s Union of Muslim Democrats (UDMF) has taken a number of voters from the Green Party by promising to defend Muslims. UDMF’s online program statement condemns burqa and headscarf bans. What’s more, in its pretense of supporting what it calls the “sweet dream of Democracy, Union and Human Rights,” the party loudly (though rightly) condemns “anti-Muslim speeches” that “lead the most psychologically fragile people to commit acts of unprecedented violence.” Examples of such “unprecedented violence” follow: a German white supremacist, who killed an Egyptian woman wearing a veil in 2009, and the stabbing of a French Muslim in Vaucluse. “Heavy weapons attacks have exploded in Europe since the beginning of the year against Muslim places of worship,” the statement reads.

What the party statement does not mention anywhere are the attacks by Muslims in Paris and Nice that together killed 240 people between January 2015 and July 2016; the attack by a Muslim extremist on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012; and the kidnapping and heinous torture of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew, in 2006. These are among other acts of “unprecedented violence” by Islamists.

UDMF also calls for protection of the family and its “essential role in the education of children,” while citing Article 14 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child which calls for respecting “the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.” From here, the party demands the “right and duty of parents….to guide the child in the exercise of the above-mentioned right.” Implied here is the demand that parents be allowed to treat their children as they see fit according to their religious beliefs – including to beat daughters who refuse an arranged marriage, becoming “too Westernized,” and so on.

Most disturbing are the large numbers of Muslims who have all flocked to parties like DENK and UDMF throughout Europe. Rather than moving towards more secular, traditionally democratic political movements, Europe’s Muslims are apparently increasingly distancing themselves from the “European” side of their identity and identifying more with Islam and the Muslim community. And this, too, is part of Europe’s “self-Islamizing,” the result of taking too unsure a hand, too ambivalent a position, on the issue of assimilation.

Indeed, as Ellian points out, European institutions have enabled this cultural separation. Photographs taken last November during a meeting of the Muslim student union at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit revealed that men and women sat on opposite sides of the auditorium aisle. Such events are common, according to journalist Carel Brendel, who first reported on the incident. “Yet the administrations [of these schools] do little or nothing about it, despite the fact that their own rules forbid” such gender separation,” he told the Investigative Project. Brendel has also exposed links between the Amsterdam police and Abdelilah el-Amrani, a Muslim Brotherhood-connected imam invited by the police department to lead last year’s annual Iftar dinner marking the end of a day’s fast during Ramadan. El-Amrani, Brendel said, also oversees a group of interconnected organizations, including an Islamic school that came under investigation last year for having separate entrances for boys and girls.

Worth noting about the event, according to Brendel, is that no other government body sponsors a religious ceremony. Nor does any Dutch government agency, let alone the police, host a Passover Seder or observe any other religious event with the public. In addition, and perhaps more alarming, a spokesperson for the Rotterdam police posted to Twitter that day that “police will be difficult to reach tonight, due to various Iftar meals.” City security and the safety of citizens, in other words, was being compromised in the name of a religious celebration.

Elsewhere, other signs of self-Islamization can be found in the rise of other Muslim parties in Austria as well as a failed effort in Sweden; a proposed ban on the British press against identifying terrorists as Muslim; the proliferation of sharia courts in the UK; and the repeated efforts by some Canadian officials to legalize sharia – a debate that recently has been revived. While all of this involves political movements, it stands as a reminder of what the ideology behind the “war on terrorism” is really all about: an attack against our culture. We need to do better at protecting it.

Contents

BELGIUM: FIRST ISLAMIC STATE IN EUROPE?

Giulio Meotti

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2018

The French acronym of Belgium’s ISLAM Party stands for “Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality”. The leaders of the ISLAM Party apparently want to turn Belgium into an Islamic State. They call it “Islamist democracy” and have set a target date: 2030.

According to the French magazine Causeur, “the program is confusingly simple: replace all the civil and penal codes with sharia law. Period”. Created on the eve of the 2012 municipal ballot, the ISLAM Party immediately received impressive results. Its numbers are alarming. The effect of this new party, according to Michaël Privot, an expert on Islam, and Sebastien Boussois, a political scientist, could be the “implosion of the social body”. Some Belgian politicians, such as Richard Miller, are now advocating banning the ISLAM Party.

The French weekly magazine Le Point details the plans of the ISLAM Party: It would like to “prevent vice by banning gaming establishments (casinos, gaming halls and betting agencies) and the lottery”. Along with authorizing the wearing the Muslim headscarf at school and an agreement about the Islamic religious holidays, the party wants all schools in Belgium to offer halal meat on their school menus. Redouane Ahrouch, one of the party’s three founders, also proposed segregating men and women on public transport. Ahrouch belonged in the 1990s to the Belgian Islamic Center, a nest of Islamic fundamentalism where candidates for jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq were recruited.

The ISLAM Party knows that demography is on its side. Ahrouch has said, “in 12 years, Brussels will principally be composed of Muslims”. In the upcoming Belgian elections, the ISLAM Party is now set to run candidates in 28 municipalities. On first glance, that looks like a derisory proportion compared to 589 Belgian municipalities, but it demonstrates the progress and ambitions of this new party. In Brussels, the party will be represented on 14 lists out of a possible 19. That is most likely why the Socialist Party now fears the rise of the ISLAM Party. In 2012, the party succeeded, when running in just three Brussels districts, in obtaining an elected representative in two of them (Molenbeek and Anderlecht), and failing only narrowly in Brussels-City.

Two years later, during the 2014 parliamentary elections, the ISLAM Party tried to expand its base in two constituencies, Brussels-City and Liège. Once again, the results were impressive for a party that favors the introduction of sharia, Islamic law, into Belgium. In Brussels, they won 9,421 votes (almost 2%). This political movement apparently started in Molenbeek, “the Belgian radicals’ den”, a “hotbed of recruiters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”. Jihadists there were apparently plotting terror attacks all over Europe and even in Afghanistan. The French author Éric Zemmour, facetiously suggested that instead of bombing Raqqa, Syria, France should “bomb Molenbeek”. At the moment in Molenbeek, 21 municipal officials out of 46 are Muslim. “The European capital,” wrote Le Figaro, “will be Muslim in twenty years”.

“Nearly a third of the population of Brussels already is Muslim, indicated Olivier Servais, a sociologist at the Catholic University of Louvain. “The practitioners of Islam, due to their high birth rate, should be the majority ‘in fifteen or twenty years’. Since 2001… Mohamed is the most common name given to boys born in Brussels”.

The ISLAM Party is working in a favorable environment. According to the mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, all the mosques in the European capital are now “in the hands of the Salafists”. A few weeks ago, the Belgian government terminated the long-term lease of the country’s largest and oldest mosque, the Grand Mosque of Brussels, to the Saudi royal family, “as part of what officials say is an effort to combat radicalization”. Officials said that the mosque, was a “hotbed for extremism”. A confidential report last year revealed that the police had uncovered 51 organizations in Molenbeek with suspected ties to jihadism. Perhaps it is time for sleepy Belgium to begin to wake up?

 

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                                      THE ISLAMIZATION OF TURKEY

          Rauf Baker                            

                BESA, Apr. 22, 2018

The Turkish regime is gradually transforming into a developed, complicated, and more dangerous version of the al-Qaeda organization. The rhetoric and approach seem convergent or even identical. The difference is that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is leading a country of significant geopolitical importance, not a militant group scattered across Afghanistan’s mountains.

If al-Qaeda succeeded in spreading fear across the globe through its terrorist operations, one can only imagine the extreme damage Erdoğan can cause to the MENA region and even the world, particularly in view of his increasing political paranoia and totalitarianism. As he seeks to stay in power indefinitely following a referendum that granted him sweeping powers to run the country largely uncontested, Erdoğan is trying to leave a legacy that will last for decades. To that end, he is using the education system as a repository in which to sow seeds to be harvested later.

The Islamization of the state has been going on systematically, quietly, and slowly for many years, but its pace has increased since the coup attempt in July 2016, with a focus on the education system. Last year, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Erdoğan made substantial changes to school curricula, amending more than 170 topics. The Ministry of Education eliminated evolutionary concepts such as “natural selection” and added subjects related to “jihad”. Erdoğan’s government fired more than 33,000 teachers and closed scores of schools over claims that they had ties with those involved in the coup attempt. At the same time, it increased the number of religious schools (“imam hatip”).

The ministry described the changes as “an emphasis on a values-based education” that promotes Erdoğan’s goal of raising a “pious generation”. AKP MP Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı stated last year that “it is useless to teach math to students who do not know jihad”. Prior to the overhaul, the number of students in 537 religious secondary schools reached 270,000 in 2012. In 2017, there were 1,408 and 635,000 students. When we add the 122,000 students attending religious schools in the open education system, the number of students in all religious schools in Turkey reaches 757,000.

Erdoğan has noticeably increased the number of Islamic references in his speeches. He made “jihad” the fountainhead of the war on the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria, using verses from the “Al-Fath”chapter of the Koran. That chapter uses the Prophet Muhammad’s victory over his enemies to justify military operations. Friday prayer sermons called for “jihad” against the Kurds. When the Turkish army captured Afrin, Erdoğan did not hesitate to call his troops “Islam’s last army”.

Two months ago, during a televised congress of his party, Erdoğan invited a little girl in military uniform onto the stage and told her she would be “martyred” if she were killed while fighting. Several weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ described Erdoğan as a leader “who exerts himself for the sake of God”. Last year, Şevki Yılmaz, a columnist for the government mouthpiece “Yeni Akit” and a close confidante of Erdoğan’s, described al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden as a “national hero”. Yılmaz also said voting “yes” to the constitutional referendum to replace the parliamentary system with a presidential one would be to act as the “Ababeel” did. In the Koran, the Ababeel were heavenly birds sent by God to throw rocks on an army that marched upon Mecca intending to demolish the Kaaba.

All the above comes in parallel with a growing number of public attacks on women under the pretext of that they are wearing “inappropriate clothes”. A video circulated on December 31, 2016 showed two bearded young men handing out leaflets to passersby in the city of Izmir on the prohibition of New Year’s celebrations in Islam. The issue does not only affect Turks. Around half a million Syrian students in Turkey are influenced by Erdoğan’s education policy. Authorities ignore, and sometimes encourage, practices of Syrian school administrations in Turkish cities that focus on religious topics, employ veiled women only, prohibit teachers from wearing nail polish, and enforce a strict Islamic dress code for female students…

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

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HARD TRUTHS ABOUT AN ANCIENT DOCTRINE

Machla Abramovitz

Michpacha, Mar. 14, 2018

Last December‚ about two hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the media was in a tizzy. Pundits were breathlessly prognosticating that the White House move would ignite an explosion of pent-up rage on the Arab street.

Meanwhile, Dr. Harold Rhode went on the radio in Washington, D.C., to explain to a local audience that despite dire warnings to the contrary, he didn’t anticipate any violent outbursts from the Muslim world. Time proved the historian and Islamic affairs expert correct: Except for some staged skirmishes in the West Bank and boilerplate criticism out of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the Middle East remained shockingly quiet.

“Jerusalem is only important to Muslims when non-Muslims control it,” Rhode says now, in conversation with Mishpacha. “Had that not been the case, Jordan would have proclaimed it their capital when it was under their control. For Sunni Muslims, the issue of Jerusalem is less religious than political, and for Shiites, it’s all political. Right now, the Muslim street, for the most part, is fed up with its leadership and is sick and tired of being taken advantage of by them for political purposes.”

If anyone could have predicted this outcome, it’s Harold Rhode. His decades of study and living among Muslims in the Middle East has attuned him to how the Muslim world thinks. Rhode received his PhD in Islamic history from Columbia University, specializing in the history of the Turks, Arabs, and Iranians. He studied overseas for years in universities in Iran, Egypt, and Israel. In the 1980s, he went to work as an advisor on the Islamic world for the US Department of Defense.

The Jerusalem issue has exposed deep divisions between the Muslim street and its leadership, but other internal struggles being played out within the Islamic world are of even greater significance to the West. Rhode points out that Jerusalem has always been a focus for other nations, and today, the Palestinians are only part of the crowd. Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issues harsh rhetoric about Jerusalem as a way of reasserting his country’s historic leadership of the Sunni world. And of course, the Iranian regime is obsessed with the Holy City. Harold says a prominent mullah admitted to him personally that according to Shiite tradition, Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. Why then this obsession? He says the ayatollahs hope to exploit the issue to gain dominance in the centuries-old conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.

“Iran, a Shiite country, is using Jerusalem as a tool against the Sunnis,” he explains. “Because the Sunnis, who cannot tolerate Jews running Jerusalem, have not been able to wrest Jerusalem from the Jews, the Shiites say they will do the job for them. For that purpose, the Iranians established Hezbollah and are empowering Hamas. Tehran believes that Israel’s inability to destroy Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War showed the Sunnis that Shiism is the way.”

The entire geopolitical landscape shifted, however, with President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That announcement, Rhode says, dealt a severe blow to Tehran’s ability to assert itself within the Arab world, exposing it as weak. That, together with the president’s refusal to certify the Iran Deal, has terrified the Iranian government; they don’t know what’s coming next. “For the last five months, Iran hasn’t attacked any US ship in the Gulf,” Rhode points out. “They haven’t attacked anyone. They are petrified, which is good.”

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Struggling to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, France Wants to ‘Reform’ Islam: James McAuley, Washington Post, Apr. 18, 2018—Speaking alongside the flag-draped coffin of a police officer killed in a terrorist attack in southern France, President Emmanuel Macron last month lay blame on “underground Islamism” and those who “indoctrinate on our soil and corrupt daily.”

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2018—March 1. The Spreewald Elementary School in Berlin’s Schöneberg district hired security guards to protect teachers and students from unruly students. Around 99% of the pupils at the school have a migration background. “Within the past year, the violence has increased so much that we now had to take this measure,” said headmaster Doris Unzeit.

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018—The Muslim Brotherhood has managed to weather many storms during nine decades in Egypt. Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak all tried to contain and suppress the Islamist movement, which ultimately seeks a global Muslim Caliphate.

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Apr. 15, 2018—I co-pioneered the study of violence against women in the late 1960s. I focused on women living in North America and Europe who had been psychiatrically diagnosed and hospitalized; were the victims of rape, sexual harassment, incest, intimate partner battering, pornography and prostitution.

IN EUROPE, ANTISEMITISM PERSISTS AMONG MUSLIMS & LEFT; ANTI-IMMIGRATION PARTIES CONTINUE TO RISE

France: Soon with No Jews?: Guy Millière,Gatestone Institute, Apr. 7, 2018— A year ago, in Paris, on April 4, 2017, Sarah Halimi, an elderly Jewish retired physician, was horribly tortured and murdered in her home in Paris, then thrown from her window by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”)

The Next British PM Might Be an anti-Semite, Like Some Leftist Friends: Robert Fulford, National Post, Apr. 13, 2018 — “Britain’s next prime minister might well be an anti-Semite.”

The Rise of Western Civilizationism: Daniel Pipes, Australian, Apr. 14, 2018— Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament…

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, Apr. 8, 2018— The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean.

On Topic Links

Romania to Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Netanyahu Promises Six More to Follow: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, Apr. 20, 2018

Abusing Anne Frank’s Memory: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 12, 2018

Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution: Ivan Krastev, Foreign Affairs, May 2018

It Backed Israel Before Balfour: Corbyn Stance is Stark Shift From Early Labour: Robert Philpot, Times of Israel, Apr. 17, 2018

 

 

FRANCE: SOON WITH NO JEWS?

Guy Millière

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 7, 2018

A year ago, in Paris, on April 4, 2017, Sarah Halimi, an elderly Jewish retired physician, was horribly tortured and murdered in her home in Paris, then thrown from her window by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”) . She had reported to the police several times that she was the victim of anti-Semitic threats — in vain.

Less than a year later in Paris, another elderly — and disabled — Jew, Mireille Knoll, was raped, tortured and murdered in her apartment by another Muslim extremist. Mrs. Knoll, a Holocaust survivor, had also contacted the police to say that she had been threatened. Again, the police did nothing. For months, the French justice system tried to cover-up the anti-Semitic nature of Sarah Halimi’s murder; the judge in charge of Mireille Knoll’s case at least recognized the anti-Semitic nature of her murder at once.

Both women were victims of an anti-Semitic hatred that is rising quickly in France. French Jews live in constant insecurity. The men who murder them evidently do not hesitate to break into homes and attack elderly women; they seem to know they can threaten their future victims without fear of arrest. More often than not, the police do not even record the complaints of Jews who go to the police station, but simply note in the daybook that a Jew claiming threats came and went.

The French authorities say they are fighting anti-Semitism, but they never speak of the only anti-Semitism that today in France kills Jews: Islamic anti-Semitism. If the murderer is a Muslim, he is usually described as suddenly “radicalized”. The word “radicalized” is now used to describe Muslim killers. It allows those who use it to avoid the words “Muslim” or “Islam”. The French mainstream media also use the same language as the French authorities. When a killer’s neighbors are interviewed, they usually say he was “a nice guy”. There was almost no news coverage of the murder of Sarah Halimi when it took place. There was more on the murder of Mireille Knoll, but almost none referred to the cause of her murder. The fear that neutralizes French politicians and journalists is: Being accused of “Islamophobia”.

In all the uncountable number of books on the danger and the consequences of anti-Semitism published in France since World War II, only one deals specifically with the hatred of Jews in the Muslim world. The author, Philippe Simonnot, a former journalist for the daily Le Monde, actually justifies this hatred. He alleges (incorrectly) that Jews who lived in Muslim countries were well treated, but then betrayed Islam by not fighting alongside Muslims at the time of Western colonization; that the creation of Israel has been a crime against the poor “Palestinians”, and that Muslims have the right to collectively punish Christians and Jews. These ideas are not marginal. In France, they are widespread.

Each time, an anti-Semitic crime is committed by a Muslim on French territory, French politicians and journalists try to hide who the criminal is or what his motivations were. Often, they explain that the criminal is also a “victim.” When a criminal leaves a message stating that he acted to avenge the suffering of “Palestinians”, French politicians and journalists almost unanimously repeat that what happens in the Middle East must stay in the Middle East, and then that a “just solution” must be found to “Palestinian suffering”. They ignore that, despite all of Israel’s efforts to treat Arabs humanely, every French report on Israel starts with denouncing Israeli soldiers as ruthless killers, supposedly happy to humiliate Arabs.

Today, France is the only country in the Western world where Jews are murdered simply for being Jews. Since 2006, eleven French Jews have been killed — men, women, children. At the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, in March 2012, children aged three, six and eight were shot to death at point blank range. Giulio Meotti wrote: “If they had been Muslims, their stories would have become a universal warning against intolerance, racism, ethnic and religious hatred … Politicians would have given their name to streets and schools.” But they were Jews, so in France, the anti-Semitism is not named.

A few weeks ago, at the annual dinner organized by the Jewish organization CRIF in Paris, President Emmanuel Macron said that France is at war with anti-Semitism. In the aftermath of the murder of Mireille Knoll, he said the same thing. For decades, all French Presidents have used virtually the same sentences. Macron repeated many times that “without Jews, France would no longer be France”. What appears to be taking place, however, is precisely that: a France with no Jews.

In two decades, more than 20% of French Jews have left the country. According to a survey, 40% of the Jews still living in France want to leave. Although Jews now represent a little less than 0.8% of the French population, half of the military and police deployed in the streets in France stand guard in front of Jewish schools and places of worship.

French Jews see that what remains of the Jewish presence in France is being erased. They know that they have to hide their Jewishness and that even if they are street-wise and carefully lock their door, risks are everywhere. They also know that what happens to them does not interest the rest of the French population. The French National Assembly has 577 members. Only one of them tirelessly and courageously draws attention to what is happening: Meyer Habib. He represents the French living in the Middle East and was elected thanks to the support of the French Jews who now live in Israel but still have their citizenship. Without them, he would have no chance of being elected…

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

 

Contents

THE NEXT BRITISH PM MIGHT BE AN ANTI-SEMITE,

LIKE SOME LEFTIST FRIENDS

Robert Fulford

National Post, Apr. 13, 2018

“Britain’s next prime minister might well be an anti-Semite.” Theodore Dalrymple, an English psychiatrist and distinguished author, began a recent article with that striking speculation. He wasn’t kidding. He was discussing what some in U.K. politics call “the Labour Party’s Jewish problem,” embodied in the person of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader and, conceivably, the next prime minister.

As Dalrymple explained, we can’t say whether Corbyn’s anti-Semitism is a sincerely held prejudice or merely a matter of electoral calculation — there are far more Muslims than Jews in Britain. “But either way, his failure to condemn anti-Semitism in his own party and his penchant for consorting in friendly fashion with extremist anti-Zionists of genocidal instincts” have created among British Jews more anxiety than anyone since Sir Oswald Mosley, the much (and correctly) maligned British fascist leader of the 1930s.

If not an anti-Semite himself, Corbyn is quite tolerant of anti-Semitism in others, including his fellow Labourites. Or perhaps he doesn’t think this issue deserves his attention. Corbyn maintains good relations with Jewdas, a group self-described as “Radical Voices for the Alternative Diaspora.” They are Jews but anti-Zionist. They organize trips under the name Birthwrong, a reference to an official Jewish program, Birthright, which sponsors student trips to Israel. Birthwrong caters to “anyone who’s sick of Israel’s stranglehold on Jewish culture.”

Corbyn dismayed many Jews when he defended a blatantly anti-Semitic mural in the East End of London. It depicted stereotypical hook-nosed Jewish bankers manipulating the world’s finances on a Monopoly board supported on the backs of the poor. Corbyn championed the artist on the ground of freedom of speech, later explaining that he didn’t notice the offensive Jewish stereotypes.

The controversy swirling around him is part of a broader political phenomenon, the persistent appearances of anti-Semitism on the left. Dislike of Jews has afflicted many leftish people in the past — and even over on the tyrannical left, Stalin looked with lethal suspicion on Jews. But now that ancient hatred shows up frequently, not only in British Labour but also among leftish Democrats in the U.S. and the NDP in Canada.

One explanation lies in the almost universal notoriety of colonialism. To many leftish people, conditioned to despise any form of Western imperialism, Israelis can look like conquerors and Palestinians like their helpless colonial victims. The campaign to boycott Israel draws its strength from the way it presents itself as virtuous and focuses on the less attractive of Israel’s policies. It’s also a way of disguising a semi-secret Jew hatred as international benevolence.

In the U.S., activists on the left have a way of applauding fellow leftists even if they are bigots. This leads to anti-Semitism by association. Leftists may be judged not by their own actions but by the people they praise. Whom do they learn from? Whom can they tolerate? Tamika Mallory, an organizer of the anti-Trump national women’s march, can barely restrain her enthusiasm for Louis Farrakhan, leader for the past four decades of the Nation of Islam. He blames Jews for the African slave trade and speaks of “that wicked state of Israel.” Mallory has tweeted, “Thank God this man is still alive and doing well.” The NDP invited her to address its recent biennial convention.

Richard Marceau, the senior political adviser for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said he found the Mallory invitation troubling: “While there is a vocal and active minority of NDPers who have some kind of unhealthy anti-Israel obsession,” the NDP doesn’t embrace Farrakhan’s views. But at that same convention, 14 of the 45 resolutions on world affairs submitted by NDP riding associations were either pro-Palestinian or critical of Israel, supporting Marceau’s claim of an “anti-Israel obsession.”

Diana Richardson, a liberal Democrat and a New York State assemblywoman from Brooklyn, was accused recently of delivering an anti-Semitic rant during a caucus meeting in Albany. She’s said to have blamed Jews for gentrification in her constituency, an odd version of the blame-the-Jews slogan used for generations by anti-Semites. The state Republican chairman told the New York Post she should resign from the state assembly for “her hateful, anti-Semitic comments.”

Perhaps the connection between leftists and anti-Jewish bigotry was best explained in a few words attributed to August Bebel, a 19th-century carpenter in Germany who rose to national prominence in politics. “Anti-Semitism,” he said, “is the socialism of fools.” Thinking about Jeremy Corbyn adds a fresh relevance to that ancient adage.

Contents

   

THE RISE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATIONISM

Daniel Pipes                                     

Australian, Apr. 14, 2018

Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament, increases his governing supermajority and endorses his tough policy of excluding illegal immigrants, especially from the Middle East. His success dramatizes a new reality across Europe and in Australia: a novel kind of party has emerged, disturbing the political scene and arousing impassioned debate.

Examples of this phenomenon include the other three members of the Visegrád group (Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia) as well as Austria’s four-month old government. Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, sees western Europe following the Visegrád group: “In the Eastern part of Europe, anti-Islamification and anti-mass migration parties see a surge in popular support. Resistance is growing in the West, as well.” In France, the National Front emerged as the second strongest party in last year’s presidential elections, in Italy, a muddled situation could lead to an Orbán-like government, while Cory Bernardi’s Conservatives and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation have made their mark on the Australian scene. Indeed, like-minded parties have quickly become a significant force in some twenty countries.

An initial problem is how correctly to name them in general. The media lazily lumps these parties together as far-right, ignoring their frequent leftist elements, especially in economic and social policy. Calling them nationalist is wrong, for they neither bellow calls to arms nor raise claims to neighbors’ lands. Populist misses the point because plenty of populist parties such as La France Insoumise (Rebellious France) pursue nearly opposite policies.

Best is to focus on their key common elements: rejecting the vast influx of immigrants and especially Muslim immigrants. Non-Muslim immigrants also cause strains, especially those from Africa, but only among Muslims does one find a program, the Islamist one, to replace Western civilization with a radically different way of life. Turned around, these parties are traditionalists with a pro-Christendom, pro-European and pro-Western outlook; they are civilizationist. (This definition also has the benefit of excluding parties like the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece, that despise traditional Western civilization.)

Enlightened opinion generally reacts with horror to civilizationist parties, and not without reason, for they carry a lot of baggage. Some have dubious origins. Staffed mainly by angry political novices, they feature dismaying numbers of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim extremists, Nazi nostalgists, power-hungry cranks, economic eccentrics, historical revisionists, and conspiracy theorists. Some proffer anti-democratic, anti-European Union, and anti-American outlooks. Far too many – and especially Orbán – have a soft spot for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

But civilizationist parties also bring critical benefits to the political arena: realism, courage, tenacity, and a civilizational critique necessary if the West is to survive in its historic form. Therefore, contrary to many friends and allies, I favor working with most civilizationist parties, advocating critical co-operation rather than rejection and marginalization. Four reasons drive this decision: First, civilizationist parties pose a lesser danger than do Islamists. They are traditionalist and defensive. They are not violent, they do not seek to overthrow the constitutional order. Their errors are correctable. Arguably, they are less dangerous even than the Establishment parties which permitted immigration and shirked Islamist challenges.

Second, they respond to political realities. The lure of power has already inspired some civilizationist parties to mature and moderate; for example, the founder of the National Front in France was expelled from his own party by his daughter due to his persistent antisemitism. This sort of evolution entails personnel fights, party divisions, and other drama; however inelegant, these are part of the growing process and, so, have a constructive role. As they gain governing experience, the parties will further evolve and mature. Third, parties focused on civilizationism cannot be dismissed as ephemeral. They emerged quickly and are steadily rising in popularity because they represent a sizeable and growing body of opinion. As they relentlessly approach power; it is better they be engaged with and moderated than be reviled and alienated.

Finally, and most critically, civilizationist parties have a vital role in bringing their issues to the fore: without them, other parties usually ignore immigration and Islamist challenges. Conservative parties tend to overlook these issues, in part because their big business supporters benefit from cheap labor. Leftist parties too often promote immigration and turn a blind eye to Islamism. To appreciate the role of civilizationist parties, contrast Great Britain and Sweden, the two European countries most lax in dealing with culturally aggressive and criminally violent forms of Islamism. Lacking such a party, these issues are not addressed in Great Britain; immigration and Islamist inroads progress almost unimpeded. Prime ministers might provide excellent analyses, but their words lack practical consequences and problems such as the sex-grooming gangs go unaddressed…

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

             

THE FUTURE OF GREEK-ISRAELI RELATIONS

Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos

BESA, Apr. 8, 2018

The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean. A rapprochement with Greece, traditionally at odds with Turkey, made theoretical sense but was practically difficult due to the Greek sympathy with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause. Careful diplomacy was thus required.

While some discussions on the matter began in Athens in the spring of 2009, the turning point occurred in 2010. Prime Ministers George Papandreou and Benjamin Netanyahu opened a new chapter in the bilateral relationship by meeting in Moscow in February of that year. Two important visits soon followed: one by Papandreou to Jerusalem in July and one by Netanyahu to Athens in August. As a matter of principle, Papandreou was in favor of a multidimensional Greek foreign policy, and he was interested in the security and economic benefits that could accrue from a rapprochement with Israel. More importantly, Greece counted on Israel’s support during a particularly tough and unpredictable period for its national economy. This support was played out in both Europe and the US on several occasions.

In June 2011, for instance, The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu had used his reputation as a leader with a good grasp of economic matters to encourage Israel’s friends to be supportive of the Greek efforts. When Papandreou resigned at the end of October 2011, Netanyahu did not change his approach. Hosting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras two years later, he encouraged Israeli investors and businesspeople to go to and invest in Greece. Military cooperation has been also remarkable since the ice was broken. Between 2010 and 2012, no fewer than 13 joint Greek-Israeli military exercises were conducted. According to a paper published by the Hudson Institute, bilateral cooperation in the zone between Israel and Crete (a distance of about 1,400 km) has allowed Israeli pilots to engage in bombing drills and the aerial refueling needed to cover a distance equal to that separating the country from Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. Further to this, Reuters informs us that Israel has trained in Greece against the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system.

Greek-Israeli relations have improved further during the administration of the leftist SYRIZA party. Despite the stance of its leader and current premier Alexis Tsipras while in opposition, he has proven to be a real friend of Israel. Ambassador Arye Mekel calls this “impressive and surprising”. Not only is the Greek PM interested in closely cooperating with Israel but he sometimes supports Israeli positions at the EU. In November 2016, Greece defied an EU order on labelling settlement goods. Tsipras is also showing sensitivity in the fight against anti-Semitism, which remains a problem in Greece. Eight years after the initial rapprochement between Greece and Israel, the bilateral partnership is stronger than ever. Israeli companies are interested in participating in the Greek privatization program, and military exercises – also under the NATO aegis – are multiplying. The January 2018 visit of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to Athens and Thessaloniki was another indication of the excellent status of the bilateral relationship.

The Greek main opposition, the conservative New Democracy party, is ahead in all opinion polls, and it will certainly continue the pro-Israel path of previous governments if it wins the next election. George Koumoutsakos, the head of New Democracy’s international affairs department, paid an official visit to Israel in mid-March 2018 and said that Greek-Israeli relations “could acquire strategic depth in favor of economic progress, stability and peace in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean.” The head of the party’s defense affairs department, Vassilis Kikilias, also visited Israel a few days after Koumoutsakos in another sign of continuity…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Romania to Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Netanyahu Promises Six More to Follow: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, Apr. 20, 2018 —After meeting last week with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely last week,  a Romanian politician has announced their nation will be moving their embassy to Jerusalem. This will make Romania the fourth nation to do so and the first European Union country to break ranks and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abusing Anne Frank’s Memory: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 12, 2018 —Anne Frank has probably become the best known Jewish person murdered during the Shoah. Her memory is also one of the most abused. This maltreatment has a long history. New examples emerge frequently.

Eastern Europe’s Illiberal Revolution: Ivan Krastev, Foreign Affairs, May 2018—In 1991, when the West was busy celebrating its victory in the Cold War and the apparent spread of liberal democracy to all corners of the world, the political scientist Samuel Huntington issued a warning against excessive optimism.

It Backed Israel Before Balfour: Corbyn Stance is Stark Shift From Early Labour: Robert Philpot, Times of Israel, Apr. 17, 2018—Avi Gabbay’s decision last week to break links with Jeremy Corbyn may have little practical effect – the British Labour leader’s contemptuous brush off indicates how little he cares about the relationship – but it has huge symbolic value.

TRUMP’S COURAGEOUS & LONG-OVERDUE JERUSALEM DECLARATION WAS A HIGHLIGHT OF 2017

2017 Brought a Few Signs of Hope in an Otherwise Brutal and Dreary Year: Terry Glavin, National Post, Dec. 27, 2017— When Islamic State marauders roared across Iraq’s Nineveh Plains in July, 2014, they burned the churches, desecrated shrines, toppled crosses and destroyed ancient manuscripts.

The Conflict Over Jerusalem Is All Obama’s Fault: Alan Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 20, 2017 — The Teva collapse resulted in a “lost year” for Israeli equities compared to other Developed Market indexes.

Discretion in Dealing with Europe’s Populist Parties: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, December 26, 2017 — Populist and nationalist parties are emerging as powerful political forces. They are likely to profoundly influence domestic and foreign policies in virtually every European country.

13 of the Biggest Health Breakthroughs in Israel in 2017: Nicky Blackburn, Israel 21C, Dec. 26, 2017— 1: An Israeli researcher devised a synthetic compound to disable the enzymes that allow cancer cells to metastasize.

 

On Topic Links

 

The 10 Most Insane UN Anti-Israel Actions of 2017: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Dec. 21, 2017

Meet The Top 10 Most Influential Israelis In International Business, Science, and Culture in 2017: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, Dec. 28, 2017

Happy New Year 2018: Dry Bones Blog, Dec. 28, 2017

Goodnight 2017…: Ariella Dreyfuss, Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2017

 

 

2017 BROUGHT A FEW SIGNS OF HOPE

IN AN OTHERWISE BRUTAL AND DREARY YEAR

Terry Glavin

National Post, Dec. 27, 2017

 

When Islamic State marauders roared across Iraq’s Nineveh Plains in July, 2014, they burned the churches, desecrated shrines, toppled crosses and destroyed ancient manuscripts. About 200,000 Christians fled, and most of them ended up in displaced persons’ camps in Iraqi Kurdistan or in makeshift refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. In Mosul, St. Paul’s Cathedral remained standing, but it was turned into a jail.

 

In one of the few hopeful moments of 2017 — an otherwise brutal and dreary year — a Christmas Eve mass was celebrated for the first time in four years at St. Paul’s. Local Muslims joined the Chaldean Catholic congregants in the service. Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako delivered a homily on interfaith peace and toleration.

 

By last October, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by a U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition which includes 850 Canadian Forces personnel, had routed the Islamic State from its last major strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Now, Christians are beginning to trickle back to the ash heaps where their churches once stood in Mosul, and to all their ancient parishes in the surrounding towns and villages. That’s one useful thing the civilized world managed to accomplish in 2017. There’s not much else to crow about.

 

Syria remains a nightmare of human desolation. With half the population displaced and the country’s infrastructure destroyed, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Khomeinist Iran continue to arm and bankroll the criminal regime of Baathist mass murderer Bashar Assad, who goes on dropping bombs on civilians while a peace-talks parody continues in Geneva.

 

The United Nations continues to prove its bloated uselessness, perhaps nowhere more obscenely than in Yemen, which is currently in the throes of the worst outbreak of cholera in human history: nearly a million people are now infected. Another eight million people are on the verge of starvation. More than 10,000 people have been killed by bullets and bombs in a Saudi-Khomeinist proxy war that erupted in Yemen two years ago, and yet it took a tournament of backroom arm-twisting competitions last September just to get the UN Human Rights Council to agree to look into the disaster. Meanwhile, at the UN General Assembly, the thing everyone has been setting their hair on fire over lately is the Trump administration’s pledge to make good on a Clinton-era promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, which just happens to be the capital of Israel.

 

And while Chaldean and Assyrian Christians were putting on a brave face for Christmas in Iraq this year, Xi Jinping’s police state was marking the holidays in its own way in Beijing. On Boxing Day, the satirist Wu Gan, famous for his flamboyant street protests against corrupt officials and the Communist Party’s abuse of power, was sentenced to an eight-year jail term on charges of subversion. Amnesty International’s Patrick Poon points out that Beijing has established a tradition of sentencing human rights activists while foreign journalists, diplomats and international observers are distracted by the holidays.

 

On Boxing Day last year, human rights champion Dhen Yunfei was dragged before a court on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for organizing a memorial tribute to the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989. It was on Christmas Day in 2009 that Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in jail for his part in composing a pro-democracy manifesto. Liu died last July of multiple organ failure due to a liver cancer that prison authorities claimed they didn’t know about until just weeks before he succumbed. At the time, Reporters Without Borders’ Secretary-General Christophe Deloire disputed the official story: “We can clearly state that Liu Xiaobo was murdered by the lack of care,” he said.

 

A low point in Canada’s year on the “world stage” in 2017: at exactly the moment Liu died under heavy guard in a hospital in the northeast city of Shenyang, Governor-General David Johnston was hamming it up and smiling for the cameras while shaking hands with Xi Jinping at a formal dinner in Beijing. Another low point: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s obsequious pleadings for “free trade” favours during his visits in Beijing last month, tarted up in the usual pretty lies about “strengthening the middle class” and “growing the Canadian economy” and “regular, frank dialogue on human rights issues like good governance, freedom of speech, and the rule of law.” Upbraided for his impudence, Trudeau was instructed to mind his own business and was sent on his way.

 

Another one: In his address to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in September, Trudeau said nothing about the crisis in Yemen, or about China’s increasingly totalitarian thuggery and its perfection of artificial-intelligence thought control and its persecution of Uyghur Muslims, Christians, feminists and human rights lawyers, or about Myanmar’s bloody ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. Instead, Trudeau enumerated Canada’s long and dismal history of trespasses upon the dignity and the rights of Canada’s indigenous peoples. In another context, that would be all well and good. But the point of it at the UN General Assembly was to say nothing to cause any of the UN’s 193 voting member states to take offence and hold a grudge and fail to cast a vote for Canada in the contest with Ireland and Norway for a useless non-voting chair around the UN’s disgraced Security Council table for the 2021-22 term. It is in this fashion that the liberal world order recedes into barbarism and imbecility…

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

                                                                                   

 

Contents

THE CONFLICT OVER JERUSALEM IS ALL OBAMA’S FAULT

Alan Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 20, 2017

 

The US acted properly in vetoing a misguided UN Security Council resolution designed to undo President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. First, it is beyond the jurisdiction of the United Nations to tell a sovereign nation what it can and cannot recognize. If Turkey, for example, were to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine,” there is nothing the UN could or would do. (Of course, most UN members would applaud such a move.)

 

Second, the resolution fails to recognize that it was the December 2016 Security Council resolution — the one engineered by lame duck President Barack Obama — that changed the status of Jerusalem and complicated the efforts to achieve a compromise peace. Before that benighted resolution, Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital were widely recognized as part of Israel — or at worst, as disputed territory.

 

Everyone knew that any peace agreement would inevitably recognize that these historically Jewish areas were an indigenous part of Israel. They were certainly not illegally occupied by Israel, any more than Bethlehem was illegally occupied by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Both Jerusalem and Bethlehem had originally been deemed part of an international zone by the United Nations when it divided the British mandate into two states for two people — a decision accepted by the Jews and rejected by all the Arab nations and the Palestinian Arabs in the area. Jordan then attacked Israel and illegally occupied the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, prohibiting any Jewish access to these holy areas, as well as to the university and hospital. Jordan also illegally occupied Bethlehem.

 

In 1967, Jordan illegally attacked Israel. Jordan shelled civilian areas of Jerusalem. Israel responded and liberated the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital, thereby opening these sites to everyone.

 

That has been the status quo for the last half century, until Obama engineered the notorious December 2016 Security Council resolution that declared the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to be illegally occupied by Israel, thus changing the status quo. This unwarranted change — long opposed by United States administrations — made a negotiated peace more difficult, because it handed the Jewish holy places over to the Palestinians without getting any concessions in return, thus requiring that Israel “buy” them back in any negotiation. As the former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority once told me, “If we have the Wall, we will demand much to return it to Israel, because we know Israel will give much to get it.”

 

By declaring this disputed territory illegally occupied by Israel, the Security Council enabled the Palestinian Authority to hold the sites hostage during any negotiation. That vote changed the status quo more than the declaration by President Trump. The Trump declaration restored some balance that was taken away by the Obama-inspired Security Council resolution of a year ago.

 

Why did Obama change the status quo to the disadvantage of Israel? Congress did not want the change. The American people did not support the change. Many in the Obama administration opposed it. Even some members of the Security Council who voted for the resolution did not want the change. Obama did it as lame duck revenge against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he hated. His motive was personal, not patriotic. His decision was bad for America, for peace and for America’s ally, Israel. He never would have done it except as a lame duck with no political accountability and no checks and balances.

 

Before that Security Council resolution changed the status quo, I did not support a unilateral recognition of Jerusalem by an American president, outside the context of a peace process. But once that resolution was passed and the status quo changed, I strongly supported President Trump’s decision to restore balance.

 

President Trump has been criticized for vetoing a resolution that has the support of every other Security Council member. That has been true of many anti-Israel Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The United States often stands alone with Israel against the world, and the United States and Israel have been right. The bias of the international community against the nation state of the Jewish people has been long-standing and evident, especially at the United Nations. Abba Eban made the point years ago when he quipped that if Algeria presented a resolution that the earth was flat and Israel flattened it, the vote would be 128 in favor, 3 opposed and 62 abstentions. Recall the infamous UN General Assembly resolution declaring Zionism to be a form of racism. It received overwhelming support from the tyrannical nations of the world, which constitute a permanent majority of the United Nations, and was rescinded only after the United States issued threats if it were to remain on the books.

 

This entire brouhaha about Jerusalem — including the staged tactical violence by Palestinians — is entirely the fault of a single vengeful individual who put personal pique over American policy: Barack Obama.          

                                                                       

 

Contents

DISCRETION IN DEALING WITH EUROPE’S POPULIST PARTIES

Isi Leibler

Israel Hayom, December 26, 2017

 

Populist and nationalist parties are emerging as powerful political forces. They are likely to profoundly influence domestic and foreign policies in virtually every European country. There are many, including a substantial number of Jews, who, recalling the 1930s, now feel an ominous sense of déjà vu. They regard these populist parties as incubators for anti-Semitism, as well as anti-Muslim sentiment. The reality is that, until recently, these parties in France, Austria, Germany and Hungary included a considerable number of neo-Nazis and Holocaust revisionists. Any Jewish cooperation with such groups would have been an unthinkable desecration of the memory of Holocaust victims.

 

Today the situation has changed dramatically. The main source of support for these populists has come from those who consider the flood of Muslim migrants to be detrimental to the quality of their lives, with a massive increase in crime and social chaos that threatens their entire social order. In addition, there is the increased threat of both imported and homebred terrorists, from which no European city or province is immune.

 

Some of the voters for these nationalist parties are pro-Jewish and support Israel as a bastion of the free world. Over the past decade, they have begun purging their ranks of anti-Semites and publicly state that they intend to eradicate all anti-Jewish elements. Needless to say, that does not preclude fascists or Nazis voting for them. In the same way, the fact that racists and fascists may support Trump does not mean that his administration is fascist. Nor have far-left anti-Semites or communists taken control of the Democratic Party by voting for it.

 

The recent election of a right-wing government in Austria highlights the situation. It is noteworthy that Austria failed to prosecute Nazi war criminals, has an unenviable record of anti-Semitism and until recently claimed to be victims of the Nazis, denying any involvement in the Holocaust. The populist right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), a partner in the new coalition, was formed in 1956 by a former SS officer. Until the departure of Jorg Haider in 2005, no self-respecting Jew or democrat would contemplate associating with this party, which openly praised Nazis and was unequivocally anti-Semitic.

 

In April 2005, Heinz-Christian Strache was elected leader, dramatically transforming the party by focusing on the concept of Heimat (homeland) – its anti-immigration and social welfare platform. In last year’s presidential election, the FPO candidate, Norbert Hofer, won the first round with 35%, and nearly won the runoff election with close to 50% of the vote. When Strache’s party became a partner in the new government headed by Sebastian Kurz, the local community comprising 10,000 Jews and international Jewish communities condemned the party as fascist and racist and called for a boycott. The local Jewish community also objected to the FPO’s anti-immigration platform, despite the fact that the majority of Muslim “refugees” harbor anti-Semitic attitudes and beliefs.

 

Israel found itself in a dilemma: It traditionally supports Diaspora communities facing anti-Semitism but this case is complex because the new Austrian chancellor backs Israel and pledged that his coalition would combat anti-Semitism. Israel decided to maintain relations and direct contact with Kurz and his government but instructed officials to avoid interaction with FPO ministers, including the head of the party, restricting them to liaising with the professionals working in the FPO-controlled ministries.

 

I have fought against anti-Semitism throughout my entire public life without distinguishing between Left and Right. However, I believe that, despite the FPO’s dubious past, Israel is acting against its best interests by boycotting it. Today, the FPO is essentially a nationalist anti-immigration party which claims that hordes of radical Muslims are making Austrians feel like aliens in their own country. Strache represents a new generation. With the broadening of FPO support, he seeks to distance the party and purge it of the anti-Semites and fascists and concentrate on becoming a popular anti-immigration party. In fact, Strache openly courts Jews and Israel.

 

The government program published by the FPO and Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party rejects “political Islam” which can “lead to radicalization, anti-Semitism, violence, and terrorism.” It proclaims that combating anti-Semitism in Austria is one of the government’s principal objectives and that Nazism was “one of the greatest tragedies in world history.” The country that, until recently, claimed to be a victim of Nazism, now vows to commemorate those who underwent “terrible suffering and misery” arising from the Anschluss, Austria’s 1938 annexation into Nazi Germany. The new government also explicitly commits itself “to Israel as a Jewish state” – a major departure from previous Austrian policy – and calls for a “peaceful solution in the Middle East, with special consideration for Israel’s security interests.”…

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

 

 

Contents

 

13 OF THE BIGGEST HEALTH BREAKTHROUGHS IN ISRAEL IN 2017

Nicky Blackburn

Israel 21C, Dec. 26, 2017

 

1: Compound kills energy generating system of cancer. An Israeli researcher devised a synthetic compound to disable the enzymes that allow cancer cells to metastasize. When cancer cells leave the primary tumor and spread to other organs, they reprogram their energy-generating system in order to survive in harsh conditions with a shortage of nutrients like glucose.

 

Prof. Uri Nir of Bar-Ilan University identified an enzyme called FerT in the energy-generating mitochondria of metastatic cancer cells – an enzyme normally only found in sperm cells (which need to function outside the body they came from). When he targeted FerT in lab mice, the malignant cells soon died. Using advanced chemical and robotic approaches, Nir’s lab team developed a synthetic compound, E260, which can be administered orally or by injection, causing a complete collapse of the entire mitochondria “power station.” “We have treated mice with metastatic cancer and this compound completely cured them with no adverse or toxic affect that we can see,” reported Nir, adding that normal cells were not affected. Phase 1 clinical trials are planned over the next 18 months.

 

2: Personal menu to help avoid diabetes. In 2015, two researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel released a groundbreaking study showing that specific foods and food combinations affect each individual’s blood-sugar level differently. That discovery was incorporated into a made-in-Israel app, DayTwo, which helps pre-diabetics and diabetics who are not insulin dependent choose dishes that can best balance their individual blood-sugar levels. The algorithm predicts blood-glucose response to thousands of foods based on gut microbiome information and other personal parameters. High blood sugar is linked to energy dips, excessive hunger and weight gain as well as increased risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

 

To use the app, which went on sale in the US in 2017, users need to answer a questionnaire about their medical history, physical characteristics, lifestyle and diet. A stool-sample kit is then FedExed to the user, who sends it on to DayTwo’s lab. There the microbiome DNA is sequenced and the data is plugged into an advanced machine-learning algorithm. In about six to eight weeks, users receive a microbiome report and a six-month plan of personalized meal recommendations to help balance blood sugar.

 

3: World’s first bone implants. In August and December, doctors at Emek Medical Center in Afula performed rare bone implants – one on a man missing part of his arm bone and the second on a man missing five centimeters of his shinbone, both as the result of car accidents. Normally, the human body cannot restore bone segments, but revolutionary tissue-engineering technology developed by Haifa-based Bonus BioGroup enables growing semi-solid live bone tissue from the patient’s own fat cells.

 

The tissue is then injected back into the patient’s body in the expectation that the missing bone fragment will be regenerated in around six weeks without any danger of implant rejection or the complications of traditional bone transplants. “This surgery is truly science fiction; it changes the entire game in orthopedics,” said Dr. Nimrod Rozen, head of orthopedics at Emek, who carried out the experimental procedure. In the future, the Bonus BioGroup regeneration technology could be used for a variety of bone-loss conditions, including bone cancer, for which there is currently no solution…

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

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Happy New Year & Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

The 10 Most Insane UN Anti-Israel Actions of 2017: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Dec. 21, 2017—The list you’ve all been waiting for. While there were a myriad of other bona fide anti-Israel resolutions, reports and statements produced in 2017 by U.N. agencies and officials, I regret that I could only include ten.

Meet The Top 10 Most Influential Israelis In International Business, Science, and Culture in 2017: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, Dec. 28, 2017—Israelis are recognized leaders in any number of fields including technology, medical research, innovation and humanitarian aid.

Happy New Year 2018: Dry Bones Blog, Dec. 28, 2017

Goodnight 2017…: Ariella Dreyfuss, Times of Israel, Dec. 26, 2017—It has certainly been an interesting 2017 in the Israeli Hi-Tech world, here is a rundown of 5 highlights, in case you missed them.

                                                              

 

 

CHRISTIANS & OTHER NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES HAVE GRIM FUTURE IN M.E. OUTSIDE ISRAEL

Dhimmis No More Christians’ Trauma in the Middle East: Daniel Pipes, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 21, 2017 — A new strain of thought has developed in Sunni Muslim thinking: ethnic cleansing. It’s not genocide, but it involves expelling non-Sunni populations.

How Roger Waters Stole Christmas: Bradley Martin, Christian Post, Dec. 12, 2017— Pink Floyd founder and anti-Israel activist Roger Waters announced that he will perform a closed-circuit pre-Christmas show to be broadcast in Bethlehem's Manger Square, scheduled to take place later this month.

Europe: The Islamization of Christmas: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 24, 2017— This year's Christmas season has been marked by Islam-related controversies in nearly every European country.

Condemning the Jewish State in Jesus' Name, Theologian Gary Burge is Making a Comeback: Dexter Van Zile, Jerusalem Journal, Dec. 15, 2017 — For a while, it looked like Gary Burge’s career as a prominent anti-Zionist in the United States had come to an end and that he was going to suffer a fate similar to his theological twin across the pond in England, Anglican Priest Stephen Sizer.

 

On Topic Links

 

Countering Christmas Jihad: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Dec. 19, 2017

Christian Reaction to Trump's Jerusalem Speech: Are We Headed to a Major Reset in Jewish-Christian Relations?: Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Christian Post, Nov. 30, 2017

America’s 20 Most Influential Pro-Israel Evangelical Christians: Eliana Rudee, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 24, 2017

Critics Highlight Iran’s Persecution of Christians as Foreign Minister Zarif Issues Christmas Greetings: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 24, 2017

 

 

 

DHIMMIS NO MORE CHRISTIANS’ TRAUMA IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Daniel Pipes

Breaking Israel News, Dec. 21, 2017

 

A new strain of thought has developed in Sunni Muslim thinking: ethnic cleansing. It’s not genocide, but it involves expelling non-Sunni populations. Its spread means that non-Muslim minorities have a grim future in Muslim-majority countries; and some may have no future there at all. I shall trace the origins of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East, note its impact especially on Christians, and consider responses to it.

 

To begin, let us look at the standing of non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries before 1800. Muslims viewed non-Muslim in two categories: monotheists recognized by Islam as adhering to a valid faith (this being mostly Jews and Christians) and polytheists (especially Hindus) lacking that recognition. The former category, our topic here, are known as People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab). Muslims were relatively tolerant of People of the Book – but only if they accepted becoming dhimmi (protected persons) who acknowledged the rule of Muslims and the superiority of Islam; in other words, if they accepted an inferior status. They had to pay special taxes (called jizya) could not serve in the military or the police or, more generally, exercise authority over Muslims. Sumptuary laws abounded; a Christian or Jew should walk or go by mule but not on a horse and should defer to a Muslim on the street. (Of course, actual practice differed from one country to another and from one era to another.)

 

The recognized place granted to religious minorities made Muslim-ruled countries quite unlike premodern Christendom. Christians under Muslim rule enjoyed better conditions than Muslims under Christian rule; in 1200 or so, one would much rather be a Christian living in Muslim Spain than a Muslim living in Christian Spain. Likewise for Jews: Mark R. Cohen observes that “the Jews of Islam, especially during the formative and classical centuries (up to the thirteenth century), experienced much less persecution than did the Jews of Christendom.” But we must not romanticize the dhimmi status. Yes, it offered a degree of tolerance, cohabitation, and deference – but these were premised on the assumption of Muslim superiority and non-Muslim inferiority. It could also be abused at whim by Muslims. No modern citizen would accept the disabilities that accompanied living as a dhimmi.

 

Indeed, the dhimmi status came crashing down in modern times, which is to say after 1800, as European powers (British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and others) overwhelmed nearly the whole Muslim world. Even those few countries – Yemen, Arabia, Turkey, Iran – that escaped direct European control felt Europe’s predominance. Christian imperialists flipped the dhimmi status on its head, favoring Christians and also Jews, both of whom showed greater willingness to accept the new rulers, learn their languages and skills, work for them, and serve as intermediaries to the Muslim-majority population. Naturally, majority Muslim populations resented this heightened status of Christians and Jews.

 

When European rule came to its inevitable end, Muslims on returning to power put the minorities roughly back in their place – and worse, for the dhimmi status had earlier been discarded and was not to be revived. Unsure of themselves, the new rulers generally looked darkly at Peoples of the Book, angry at their having serviced the imperialists and suspicious of their abiding connections to Europe (and in the Jewish case, new ones to Israel). One could say that the second-class dhimmi status now became a third- or fourth-class post-dhimmistatus. The break-up of the Ottoman Empire witnessed more persecution of Christians and Jews than perhaps ever before, starting with the Armenians of Turkey in the 1910s and culminating with recent Christian traumas in Iraq and Syria.

 

Before continuing with the Christian experience, a few side words on the Jewish one. Ancient Jewish communities disappeared as a result of the collapse of the dhimmi status and the creation of Israel in 1948. Jews decamped or were pushed especially out in the 20-year period after World War II. The small but lively Jewish community of Algeria offers perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the post-imperial changes. The Jews there had so connected themselves to French rule that the entire Jewish community fled the country along with the French rulers in July 1962.[i] In 1945, the Jewish population in Muslim-majority countries numbered about a million; today, it hovers between 30,000 and 40,000, nearly all of whom live in Iran, Turkey, in Morocco. No more than a handful live elsewhere: maybe 60 Jews in Egypt, 9 in Iraq, and even fewer in Afghanistan; these nearly defunct communities of the elderly will no longer exist within a few years.

 

As the expression goes, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.” And now is the Christian turn. Christians are now recapitulating the Jewish exodus. From 1500 to 1900, Christians made up a consistent 15 percent of the Middle East’s population, according to David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson. In 1910, that number had dipped to 13.6 percent, according to Todd M. Johnson and Gina A. Zurlo; and in 2010, Christians had been reduced to a meager 4.2 percent, or less than a third as large as a century earlier. The downward trend, of course, is steeply continuing. As the journalist Lee Smith puts it: “Being Christian in the Middle East has never been easy, but the wave of uprisings that has swept the region over the past year has made the situation for the region’s Christian minority almost unbearable.” The examples are alarming, and in many ways unprecedented in the long history of Muslim-Christian relations…

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

                                                                       

 

Contents

HOW ROGER WATERS STOLE CHRISTMAS

Bradley Martin

Christian Post, Dec. 12, 2017

 

Pink Floyd founder and anti-Israel activist Roger Waters announced that he will perform a closed-circuit pre-Christmas show to be broadcast in Bethlehem's Manger Square, scheduled to take place later this month. "I have to sadly accept the reality that I'm banging my head against the brick wall of the occupation," said Waters. It would appear all that banging has made Waters' head comfortably numb. Waters has been deemed an anti-Semite by the Anti-Defamation League who has performed with a giant pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with a Star of David. It is doubtful that this show is meant to encourage peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

 

But Waters would do well to remember that performing a pre-Christmas show in Bethlehem is in extremely poor taste. In Bethlehem, along with the rest of the Palestinian-controlled territories, the Christian population is facing the very real threat of extinction. In the birthplace of Jesus, Christians once comprised more than 70 percent of the city's population. Today, Christians constitute less than 15 percent of the population. Under the Palestinian Authority, Christian holy sites are routinely desecrated and destroyed. The PA has shown contempt for Christian holy sites, as exemplified when Yasser Arafat turned the Greek Orthodox monastery near the Church of the Nativity into his own personal domicile during his visits to the city.

 

However, the most outrageous act of desecration in Bethlehem occurred in the Church of the Nativity itself. In 2002, an estimated 180 PA gunmen took over the church, holding the priests, nuns and monks hostage. The terrorists looted the church of its food and valuables. Catholic priests at the site said that some of the Bibles in the church were used as toilet paper, while many valuable sacramental objects were looted.

 

When the hostages were released and the terrorists left the church, it was found that altars, religious objects and furniture were fouled by urine, cigarette butts, and human excrement. Churches, monasteries and convents throughout the Palestinian-controlled territories are frequently desecrated and destroyed, most recently in 2016, when the ruins of an 1,800-year-old Byzantine church in Gaza City was bulldozed by Hamas in order to make room for a shopping mall.

 

Christians are subject to systemic discrimination by both the PA and Hamas. This is to be expected, since Islam is the official religion of both governments. As a result, Christians have been relegated to dhimmi status, a somewhat tolerated but inferior class. The PA's judicial system does not ensure the equal protection of Christians, with injustices such as forced conversions to Islam, physical violence, and even murder. Palestinian Muslims are allowed to seize Christian property with impunity. Due to this ethnic cleansing, the Christian population in the Palestinian-controlled territories dropped from 15 percent of the population in 1950 to less than 1.3 percent today.

 

While Christians under Palestinian rule literally have their backs to the wall, the situation in Israel is quite the opposite. Since the Jewish State declared independence in 1948, the Christian population has enjoyed a five-fold increase, to an estimated 158,000 citizens. According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Christian Arabs fare the best in terms of education when compared to any other religious group in Israel. Christians are to be found in every facet of Israeli civil and political life, exercising considerable influence in Israeli society that is disproportionate to their minority status. Salim Joubran, a Maronite Christian and Israeli Supreme Court judge, was in charge of overseeing Israel's 2015 legislative election. While Joubran retired earlier this year, another Israeli Arab Christian (George Karra) presideson Israel's Supreme Court.

 

Though Waters is apparently oblivious to the bleak reality facing Palestinian Christians, he continues to engage in anti-Semitism. Rather than raise awareness and condemn the ethnic cleansing of Christians under Palestinian rule, Waters prefers to bash Israel every chance he gets. Rock 'n' roll, at its best, is supposed to be about tolerance, peace and love. Does Waters truly want to commemorate this Christmas with even more bigotry and indifference to the suffering of others?

 

Bradley Martin is Deputy Editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

           

                                                                       

Contents

EUROPE: THE ISLAMIZATION OF CHRISTMAS

Soeren Kern

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 24, 2017

 

This year's Christmas season has been marked by Islam-related controversies in nearly every European country. Most of the conflicts have been generated by Europe's multicultural political and religious elites, who are bending over backwards to secularize Christmas, ostensibly to ensure that Muslims will not be offended by the Christian festival. Many traditional Christmas markets have been renamed — Amsterdam Winter Parade, Brussels Winter Pleasures, Kreuzberger Wintermarkt, London Winterville, Munich Winter Festival — to project a multicultural veneer of secular tolerance.

 

More troubling are the growing efforts to Islamize Christmas. The re-theologizing of Christmas is based on the false premise that the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus (Isa) of the Koran. This religious fusion, sometimes referred to as "Chrislam," is gaining ground in a West that has become biblically illiterate. In Britain, for instance, the All Saints Church in Kingston upon Thames recently held a joint birthday celebration for Jesus and Mohammed. The "Milad, Advent and Christmas Celebration" on December 3 was aimed at "marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed and looking forward to the birthday of Jesus." The hour-long service included time for Islamic prayer and was followed by the cutting of a birthday cake.

 

The prominent Christian blog "Archbishop Cranmer" rebuked the church for its lack of discernment: "Note how this event is 'Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed,' but not looking forward to the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mohammed gets his prophethood, while Jesus gets neither his prophethood nor his priesthood; neither his kingship nor his messiahship. It's the exalted Prophet Mohammed along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of his claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims (if they hadn't already been alienated by the haram [forbidden by Islam] celebration), which wouldn't have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?"

 

The blog added that exalting Mohammed in churches effectively proclaims that Mohammed is greater than Jesus: "Every time a church accords Mohammed the epithet 'Prophet,' they are rejecting the crucifixion, denying the resurrection of Christ, and refuting that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, for Mohammed denied all of these foundational tenets of the Christian faith."

 

Previously, a passage from the Koran denying that Jesus is the Son of God was read during a service at a Scottish Episcopal Church in Glasgow on Epiphany, a festival commemorating the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. One of the Queen's chaplains, Gavin Ashenden, referred to the Koran reading as "blasphemy." He added that "there are other and considerably better ways to build 'bridges of understanding'" with Muslims.

 

In London, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, a parliamentary group composed of members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, issued a report, "A Very Merry Muslim Christmas," aimed at drawing attention to the "humanity" of Muslims during Christmas. The report states:   "Too often, Muslim charities come to our attention because of negative media coverage… What we hear even less about is the 'Muslim Merry Christmas.' The soup kitchens, the food banks, the Christmas dinners, the New Year clean-up — work Muslim charities will be busy doing during the Christmas period."

 

In Scotland, the regional government was accused of "undermining" Britain's Christian heritage by promoting "winter festivals" for ethnic minorities while ignoring Christmas. Scotland's International Development Minister, Alasdair Allan, pledged nearly £400,000 ($535,000) to fund 23 events during the winter months. He described them as "key dates in our national calendar" and said the "exciting and diverse" program would help Scots "celebrate everything great about our wonderful country during the winter months." None of the events, however, has any connection to Christmas. A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said:

 

"It is deeply disappointing that the Scottish Government has chosen not to recognize the religious reality of Christmas in its Winter Festival events. Over half of the population stated their religion as Christian in the last census. Catholics, and other Christians, may quite rightly wonder why this publicly-funded Festival does not include any events designed to help Scots celebrate the birth of Christ which is undoubtedly the most significant celebration in the winter months." Gordon Macdonald, of Christian charity CARE, added: "It is part of the general secularization that has been taking place within the Scottish Government for a number of years where our Christian heritage and value system has been undermined as a direct result of government policy."

 

In Denmark, a primary school in Graested cancelled a traditional church service marking the beginning of Christmas in order not to offend Muslim pupils. Some parents accused the school of having double-standards: it recently held an event called "Syria Week" in which children immersed themselves in Middle Eastern culture. Ignoring parents, the school board sided with the school: "The board backs the school's decision to create new traditions [emphasis added] that involve children and young people." Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who attended the school as a child, said the decision should be reversed. Health Minister Ellen Trane Norby added: "Danish primary schools have a duty to spread education — and teaching the cultural values and knowledge connected to Christmas is an essential part of that."…

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

 

Contents

CONDEMNING THE JEWISH STATE IN JESUS' NAME,

THEOLOGIAN GARY BURGE IS MAKING A COMEBACK

Dexter Van Zile

Jerusalem Journal, Dec. 15, 2017

 

For a while, it looked like Gary Burge’s career as a prominent anti-Zionist in the United States had come to an end and that he was going to suffer a fate similar to his theological twin across the pond in England, Anglican Priest Stephen Sizer. This past Easter, Sizer retired. His long career in the pulpit was marred by a number of unforced errors, such as promoting the notion that Israel was responsible for 9/11 and participating in a Holocaust-denial conference organized by, of all countries, Iran. After these debacles, his superiors in the Anglican Church finally told him to stop talking about the Arab-Israeli conflict altogether. They had had enough.

 

To add insult to injury, the folks at InterVarsity Press in both the United Kingdom and the United States decided that they too had enough and stopped printing his books which promoted the notion that God had abandoned the Jewish people and therefore no longer had any right to live in the Holy Land. For his Anglican superiors, Sizer’s retirement must have been a relief. For a while it looked like Burge, who made similar arguments about the illegitimacy of Jewish claims to the land in his notoriously counter-factual book, Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians, might suffer a similar fate to Sizer.

 

Instead, Burge, who retired from Wheaton College, an Evangelical school in Illinois in 2016, is enjoying a boomlet of sorts. Recent thrust for his reignited star include an article in The Atlantic and an appearance on National Public Radio. Burge, now teaching at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was given a platform by these outlets to articulate his response to the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s December 6, 2017 acknowledgement that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and that the U.S. will eventually move its embassy to the Holy City.

 

Predictably enough, Burge expressed concerns about the action, telling folks that not every Evangelical supports Trump’s decision and that the Evangelicals who do are making a mistake if they root their support in their reading of the Bible. In The Atlantic article, Burge argues that Jews who live in Israel really have no connection to the Israelites in the Bible and therefore, really don’t have any claim to the land of Israel. Moreover, he says, conservative Evangelicals who support Israel may not understand that the modern state of Israel isn’t anything like biblical Israel. After all, he asserts, “[W]hen you build a bridge from biblical Israel to modern Israel, there is an enormous gap in history and theology.”

 

These are interesting arguments for an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA to be making. Given the enormous gap of history and theology between Christ’s declaration that Peter was the rock upon which he would build his church and the founding of the PCUSA in 1983, one could just as easily argue that his denomination’s claim to salvation is as broken and attenuated as Burge says the Jewish claim is to Jerusalem.

 

A lot has happened over the past 2,000 years. But God is free and sovereign. If he can find a way to grant salvation to Presbyterians despite what has happened in the realm of Christianity over the past 2,000 years, maybe he can also use the modern secular state of Israel to demonstrate the firmness of His Promises to Jews in the 21st Century. If he can extend his promise of salvation to Christians in spite of all that has happened since the anointing of St. Peter as the leader of his church 2,000 years ago, maybe he still has a place in his heart for the Jews…

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

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Countering Christmas Jihad: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Dec. 19, 2017—"Soon on your holidays," a sentence that would typically befit the celebrations of the Christmas festivities, was turned into a terrifying threat posted recently on an ISIS-related network vowing to attack major European cities during the Christmas holidays.

Christian Reaction to Trump's Jerusalem Speech: Are We Headed to a Major Reset in Jewish-Christian Relations?: Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Christian Post, Nov. 30, 2017 —President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was met with enthusiasm by most American Jews. Christian reaction to the announcement, however, has been an eye-opener, and might have greater impact upon future Jewish-Christian relations than the President's announcement will ultimately have on the politics of the Middle East.

America’s 20 Most Influential Pro-Israel Evangelical Christians: Eliana Rudee, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 24, 2017—Newsmax has recently published its 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America list, ranking pastors, teachers, politicians, athletes, and entertainers “from all walks of life whose faith leads them to live differently and to help others in a variety of ways.” Breaking Israel News wondered: How many of these prominent Christians use their influence to support Israel through investment and advocacy? Below, find BIN’s exclusive list of the top 20 pro-Israel Christians in America.

Critics Highlight Iran’s Persecution of Christians as Foreign Minister Zarif Issues Christmas Greetings: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 24, 2017—Iran’s foreign minister encountered an angry response on Sunday when he took to Twitter on Christmas Eve to wish a “happy and peaceful Christmas to all.” Citing a verse from the Quran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – a key architect, with former US Secretary of State John Kerry, of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – declared: “May Christ’s universal message of peace be embraced in the coming year.”

                                                              

 

 

ERDOGAN SEEKS GREATER ROLE FOR ISLAM IN TURKEY AND WEST

Turkey Islamizes Denmark with More Mosques: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 20, 2017— "Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.'

Erdoğan’s Kurdish Gambit: Burak Bekdil, BESA, Nov. 15, 2017— In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, the main Kurdish insurgency group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), ended a ceasefire it had declared two years prior.

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017 — On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park…

Portents of Quagmires in Syria: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017— Is the war in Syria won?

 

On Topic Links

 

Turkey: Trial of Banker is Plot Schemed by US-Based Cleric: Suzan Fraser, Fox News, Nov. 30, 2017

Turkey Rejects "Moderate Islam": Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 30, 2017

Some Urgent Questions About Turkey: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017

Turkey’s Bluster Exposes its Delusions of Grandeur: Simon Waldman, Globe and Mail, Oct. 11, 2017

                                                           

 

 

TURKEY ISLAMIZES DENMARK WITH MORE MOSQUES

Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 20, 2017

 

"Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.' Islam can only be one thing," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 9. "Recently the concept of 'moderate Islam' has received attention. But the patent of this concept originated in the West… They are now trying to pump up this idea again. What they really want to do is weaken Islam…"

 

Erdogan is working on strengthening Islam in the West, something he does, among other ways, by building Turkish mosques in Western countries. It is hardly surprising that he does not want the West to "weaken Islam", but at the moment there seems little risk of that happening. The establishment of Turkish mosques in Western countries appears to be proceeding apace with very little opposition. Conversely, building Western churches in Turkey is inconceivable.

 

Erdogan clearly sees Turks living in the West as a spearhead of Islam. "Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don't assimilate yourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of our culture and our identity", Erdogan told Turks in Germany as early as 2011. This year, he told Turks living in the West: "Go live in better neighborhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you."

 

Erdogan is evidently working to ensure, by continuously building new mosques and expanding old ones across Europe, that Muslims will indeed be the future of the continent. One Western country where Erdogan is ramping up Islam is Denmark. Two new Turkish mosques are about to open in the Danish cities of Roskilde and Holbæk; in the past year, two Turkish mosques opened in the cities of Fredericia and Aarhus. New Turkish mosques were opened in Ringsted and Hedehusene in 2013; and in Køge the existing mosque opened a cultural center. There are 27 Turkish mosques in Denmark; eight of them are expanding or wish to expand.

 

The new mosque in Roskilde, complete with minarets, is owned by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). The inclusion of minarets is due to second- and third-generation Turkish immigrants, who wanted the mosque to look like a "proper mosque". "It is a general trend in all of Europe that Diyanet is expanding physically with new mosques, and through [the mosques] also religiously, politically and culturally" said professor Samim Akgönül, of the university of Strasbourg. He has analyzed the Friday sermons that Diyanet sends to mosques all over Europe; his analyses show that the sermons are full of political and nationalistic messages favoring Erdogan's regime.

 

According to Tuncay Yilmaz, chairman of the board of Roskilde's Ayasofya Mosque, "Diyanet is not political, I can promise you that. Obviously they belong to the Turkish state, but they are independent of the government". That statement is false. Diyanet is an agency of the Turkish government — and an extremely active one. As Gatestone's Burak Bekdil has noted:

 

"In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15… Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine".

 

In Denmark, nonetheless, the newest Turkish-state mosque was welcomed with open arms. The mayor of Roskilde, Joy Mogensen, who knew that the Turkish government owned the mosque, participated in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone in February 2016. She claims that the very fact that she and the city's bishop were invited to the ceremony meant that there were "good people" in the mosque working for "integration" — otherwise they would not have allowed "a Christian woman like myself without a headscarf" to participate in their ceremony…

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

 

 

                                                                       

Contents

ERDOĞAN’S KURDISH GAMBIT

Burak Bekdil

BESA, Nov. 15, 2017

 

In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, the main Kurdish insurgency group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), ended a ceasefire it had declared two years prior. Just a few months earlier, there had been hope for peace. Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fiercest critics praised him when he bravely launched a difficult process meant to finally bring peace to a country that had lost 40,000 people to ethnic strife. His government negotiated with the Kurds and granted them broader cultural and political rights, which his predecessors had not. The PKK would finally say farewell to arms.

 

Instead, it took up arms once again. Since July 2015, Turkish (and Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish) cities have again become battlegrounds in an almost century-old Turkish-Kurdish dispute. Kurdish militants have attacked security forces countless times since then, while the Turkish military has buried fallen soldiers and raided Kurdish guerrilla camps in northern Iraq as well as inside Turkey. Reports of casualties on both sides are a regularity most Turks now grudgingly ignore.

 

Erdoğan, an Islamist, had miscalculated again. He had thought he could solve the dispute through his usual “religious lens.” He would use Islam as the glue to keep Muslim Turks and Muslim Kurds united, because after all, why should they fight? They are all Sunni Muslims. Erdoğan believed Islam had to take a central role if a historic end to the conflict was to be achieved – one in which the Kurds would surrender their arms and live peacefully with their Turkish Muslim brothers. He wished, accordingly, to restructure Turkey along multi-ethnic lines, but with a greater role for Islam. But he relied too much on religion to resolve what is essentially an ethnic conflict. The experiment resulted in sprays of bombs, suicide attacks, bullets, rockets, and coffins.

 

The parliamentary elections that took place on June 7, 2015 marked a radical shift for Erdoğan from his usual religious nationalism to ethnic nationalism (both of which have always been part of his ideological policy calculus, to varying degrees). On that date, his Justice and Development Party (AKP), after having sought peace with the Kurds for the previous two years, lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since it came to power in November 2002. With 41% of the national vote (compared with 49.8% in the 2011 general elections), the AKP won eighteen fewer seats than were necessary to form a single-party government in Turkey’s 550-member parliament. More importantly, its seat tally fell widely short of the minimum number needed to rewrite the constitution in such a way as to introduce an executive presidential system that would give Erdoğan almost uncontrolled powers.

 

Amid a fresh wave of Kurdish violence, Erdoğan gambled on new elections, calculating that the uptick in instability and insecurity would push frightened voters towards single-party rule. His gamble paid off. The elections of November 1, 2015 gave the AKP a comfortable victory and a mandate to rule until 2019. His new ethnic nationalist and anti-Kurdish policy won hearts and minds among Turkish nationalists. They then proceeded, two years later, to support constitutional amendments that paved the way for Erdoğan’s ultimate goal of one-man rule.

 

Between June 7 and November 1, 2015, Erdoğan’s AKP increased its votes by nearly nine percentage points. More than four points of that rise came from votes from its nationalistic rival, the Nationalist Movement Party, which shares more or less the same voter base with the AKP. Even some Kurds, weary of renewed violence, shifted from a pro-Kurdish party (for which they had voted on June 7) to the AKP (on November 1).

 

Since 2015, Erdoğan has been enjoying the fruits of his newfound ethnic nationalism. He has ordered the security forces to fight the PKK “till they finish it off,” and has pursued hawkish politics via the judiciary he controls. Several leading Kurdish MPs are now in jail on terrorism charges. More than 1,400 academics who signed a petition “for peace” have been prosecuted and/or dismissed from their universities. Talking about Kurdish rights is now almost tantamount to bombing a square in Istanbul.

 

Across Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi borders, Erdoğan has also recalibrated his policy in line with a reprioritizing of security threats. A Kurdish belt along Turkey’s southern borders is now perceived as the top threat – worse than ISIS, or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s pro-Shiite (and therefore anti-Sunni, anti-Turkish, and anti- Erdoğan) regime in Damascus, or the growing Shiite military presence in northern Iraq (Hashd al-Shaab). In the hope of countering what he considers the worst of all possible threats, Erdoğan is now a reluctant partner in the Russia-Iran-dominated Shiite theater in northern Iraq and Syria.

 

In Erdoğan’s view, the emergence of a near-state Kurdish actor in Mesopotamia would be an existential threat to Turkey. Hence his radical retaliation against the Iraqi Kurdish referendum of September 25, along with his reluctant alliance with Tehran and Tehran-controlled Baghdad. But there is more for Erdoğan to calculate. When he devises his policy calculus towards the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, he must also keep an eye on the Turkish Kurds, whose votes he will need in 2019 when Turks go once again to the ballot box. Election 2019 will be the most historic race in Erdoğan’s political career – an election he knows he cannot afford to lose. He needs every single vote, from Islamists to liberals to nationalists to Kurds. And that makes things tricky…

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

 

 

Contents

IN ERDOGAN’S POST-COUP TURKEY, ANTI-SEMITISM IS ON THE RISE

Sophia Pandya

Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017

 

On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park, apparently a testament of Turkey’s acceptance of other faiths…At the garden’s inauguration ceremony in 2004, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised that he would “remove any remaining obstacles to religious freedom in Turkey,” and stated that Turkey would be “the guarantor of peace and brotherhood in its region.” Unfortunately, that was a blatant lie.

 

According to the recently published US State Department’s Turkey 2016 International Religious Freedom Report, Turkey, along with China and Saudi Arabia, represses its religious minorities. Since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the Turkish-Jewish community has been grappling with an uptick in anti-Semitic acts. This reflects populist (now-president) Erdoğan’s power-hungry pivot towards fascism and nativism, which involves unifying Turks through identifying scapegoats (Jews, Kurds, Alevis, and the Gülen Movement) to blame for the country’s problems. While he immediately blamed the Sufi-inspired Gülen Movement for the plot, social media users and journalists also pointed at other religious minorities, including the Ecumenical Patriarch, and, unsurprisingly, the Jews. In fact, the tension has caused many Jews to leave Turkey for Israel or elsewhere, or at least to apply for foreign passports in case a quick departure becomes necessary.

 

This is tragic, given the long and stable presence of Jews in the Anatolian region, which served as a haven for small confessional groups such as the Jews, who were granted refuge there by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II during the 1492 Spanish Inquisition. During the Ottoman period, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Bosnians and other minority communities, lived under Ottoman rule as part of the millet system, in which non-Muslim minority groups had separate legal courts and thus were able to govern themselves. During WWII, Turkey served as a safe transit and refuge for Jews fleeing the Holocaust, saving lives. Given that the global Jewish population is estimated (as of 2016) at around 14 and a half million, it is significant that approximately 18,500 Jews still reside in Turkey today, especially since Turkey is a Muslim majority country. Most live in Istanbul, and are Sephardic Jews, whose Ladino-speaking ancestors were allowed refuge during the Spanish expulsion, although a few are Ashkenazi.

 

Yet anthropologist Marcy Brink-Danan refers to the prevailing myth—that Jews have always lived free of discrimination in the Anatolian region—as the “tolerance trope.” During the Ottoman period Jews were respected, along with Christians, as “people of the book,” or ehl ul kitab in Turkish. However, this did not grant them equality to the Muslim majority, but rather religious accommodation, as “different yet protected” people. While the treatment of non-Muslim citizens was better than that of minorities elsewhere, it was not equitable. While Muslim men received the title of “Sir” or “Pasha,” (efendi or paşa), non-Muslim men were referred to simply by their trade. In 1942, Jews and other non-Muslims in Turkey were forced to pay a “wealth tax,” which functioned to financially weaken and thus marginalize them.

 

Despite celebrating (in 1992) 500 years of refuge in Turkey from the Spanish Inquisition, the Jewish community has continually faced degrees of discrimination in Turkey, also due largely to the legacy of ethnocentric and nationalistic Kemalist policies. The Republic of Turkey (established in 1923) was constructed on ideas of ethnic Turkish superiority. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the nation’s founder, used social engineering strategies towards unifying the state, which emphasized its homogeneity and “pure” Turkishness. This included the systematic violation of minority rights, expulsions, population exchanges, and the suppression of language, minority religions, and non-Turkish ethnic identities. In 1930, Atatürk’s Justice Minister Mahmut Esat Bozkurt (1882-1943), stated, “Those who are not of pure Turkish stock can have only one right in this country, the right to be servants or slaves.”

 

Indeed, even today many Jewish institutions in Istanbul are unmarked and protected by barbed wire and armed guards. When Turkish Jews wear or display Judaica they often do so privately, i.e., wearing a Star of David inside clothing, or hanging mezuzot inside their homes. Their indigenousness and loyalty to Turkey are challenged, and they are increasingly vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks. For example, in 1986, twenty-two Jews were killed by Palestinians at Neve Shalom (ironically, this translates from Hebrew to “oasis of peace”), the largest synagogue in Istanbul. Subsequent attacks on synagogues include the 1992 Quincentennial anniversary attack, carried out by Hezbollah, which again took place at Neve Shalom (but with no casualties). In 2003, two car bombs exploded, one outside of Neve Shalom while approximately 400 people were inside, and the other at the back of Beit Israel Synagogue, while filled with 300 people. The blasts killed at least 20, and injured around 300 others. As recent as April of 2013, Turkish police foiled plots by al-Qaeda to bomb a synagogue in Istanbul’s Balat district. According to a 2014 poll carried out by the Anti-Defamation League, as much as seventy percent of Turkish citizens hold anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews.

 

After July 15, the source of new anti-Semitic attacks does not emanate externally (i.e. Hezbollah) but from ordinary Turks, many of whom, newly emboldened to transcend “holding an attitude,” have loudly engaged in fomenting a toxic and dangerous environment for ethnic and religious minorities. The Turkey 2016 International Religious Freedom Report cites numerous instances of anti-Semitic discourse, including threats of violence, in social media and even in government-friendly media. The Neve Shalom Synagogue was again attacked by ultranationalists on July 22, 2017. Ironically, when Erdoğan attributed the putsch attempt to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement he inspired, this only made things worse for Jews. Some anti- Gülen forces have labelled the Muslim cleric a “crypto-Jew,” whose mother is a Jew (she is not). In December, 2016, a columnist from the government-backed Sabah, a prominent newspaper, wrote that Gülen “quickly smells of money and power. Because he is a Jew.” According to former parliamentarian Aykan Erdimir, the situation for religious minorities has “gone from bad to worse within the last year…

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

 

Contents

PORTENTS OF QUAGMIRES IN SYRIA

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017

 

Is the war in Syria won? The images broadcast this week from Sochi, the Russian vacation town on the Black Sea coast, were pictures of victory – for the bad guys. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood beside his Syrian client, President Bashar Assad, who licked Putin’s boots, as well he should have. Assad owes his regime and his life to Putin.

 

The next day, Putin was joined by his allies – the presidents of Iran and Turkey. Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the pilgrimage to Sochi to stand at Putin’s side and declare victory in the war and dedicate themselves to the cause of “peace and reconciliation” in post-war Syria. To achieve their lofty goals of peace and reconciliation, Putin and his partners declared that, in the near future, Sochi will be the sight of a peace conference where all the relevant factions in Syria will be represented. The parley they described is set to take place parallel to – and one assumes at the expense of – the sixth round of Syrian reconciliation talks scheduled to take place under UN auspices next week in Geneva.

 

Several Israeli commentators viewed Putin’s Sochi talks precisely as he wished them to. Ehud Yaari, Reshet/Keshet’s veteran Arab affairs commentator declared: The US is finished in the Middle East! The capital of the Middle East is now located in Sochi, he proclaimed in back-to-back newscasts. In certain respects, Yaari is right. Things are looking good these days for the axis of evil. Wednesday was a particularly good day for Iran. Not only did Rouhani do his victory dance with Putin and Erdogan, but as they were showering themselves in triumph in Sochi, Iran’s Lebanese puppet, Saad Hariri, was returning to Beirut after his misadventures in Saudi Arabia. As expected, Hariri canceled the resignation he announced dramatically a week-and-a-half earlier in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after accusing Iran and its Hezbollah army of controlling Lebanon. On the surface, Hariri’s return is a boon for Iran. If he had remained in Saudi Arabia, Iran would have lost its fig leaf. Hariri’s duty as prime minister is to snow the West into believing that his government and the Lebanese Armed Forces are a counterweight to Iran and Hezbollah, even though they are controlled by Iran and Hezbollah…

 

As for Erdogan, he arrived in Sochi a spent force. Erdogan is perhaps the biggest loser of the war in Syria. He was the principal sponsor of the anti-Assad opposition that morphed into Islamic State. Erdogan’s cooperation owes mainly to his lack of better options. The US stopped supporting his campaign in Syria two years ago. Since the failed military coup against him in July 2016, Erdogan has become ever more hostile to the US. This hostility informed his recently concluded deal with Putin to purchase Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system. The S-400 threatens every fighter craft in the US arsenal. US officials have responded to his move by seriously considering the possibility of canceling the sale of 100 F-35s to Turkey.

 

Turkish expulsion from NATO – once a taboo subject – is now regularly discussed in Washington policy circles. The main reason Erdogan has sided with Putin in Syria is because the US has sided with Syria’s Kurds. Erdogan views the Syrian Kurds as a threat to the stability of his regime. He expects Putin to support his determination to destroy Kurdish autonomy in Syria. If Putin fails to meet his expectations, Erdogan may abandon his new friends. Or he may stick with them and just become ever more dependent on Putin. Whatever the case, he won’t be empowered by his membership in Pax Putin…

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

 

 

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Turkey: Trial of Banker is Plot Schemed by US-Based Cleric: Suzan Fraser, Fox News, Nov. 30, 2017—A senior Turkish government minister on Thursday branded the New York trial of a Turkish bank executive on charges of violation of sanctions against Iran as a new attempt by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to harm Turkey's government.

Turkey Rejects "Moderate Islam": Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 30, 2017—At a conference on women's entrepreneurship, held in Ankara on November 9 and hosted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected the concept of "moderate Islam".

Some Urgent Questions About Turkey: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017—Turkey has been a vital ally of the United States since World War II. It fields NATO’s second-largest army, after America’s, and anchors the alliance’s eastern flank. It hosts military bases that are central to American operations in the Middle East, including Incirlik, where some 50 tactical nuclear weapons are stationed, and serves as a bridge between the Muslim world and the West. After Recep Tayyip Erdogan took office in 2003 and began reforms, Turkey seemed on course to becoming a model Muslim democracy.

Turkey’s Bluster Exposes its Delusions of Grandeur: Simon Waldman, Globe and Mail, Oct. 11, 2017—Turkey is embroiled in yet another spat with a western country. This time, Turkey arrested a U.S. consular employee for alleged links to the Gulen movement, followers of Turkish Islamic preacher and U.S. resident Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara claims is behind last July's attempted coup. Calling the move arbitrary, the United States suspended non-immigrant visa applications, and Turkey reciprocated.

NEVER FORGET: WEST’S FAILURE TO SAVE JEWS AFTER KRISTALLNACHT, & BRAVE CANADIANS WHO FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM AT PASSCHENDAELE

79th Anniversary of Kristallnacht: Efraim Zuroff, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 8, 2017— November 9 marks the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,”…

We Should Never Forget the Horror — and Heroics — of Passchendaele: Christopher Sweeney, National Post, Nov. 9, 2017 — The village of Passchendaele in Belgium is today as it was nearly 100 years ago, a small, relatively insignificant rural village east of the medieval city of Ypres.

Commemorating the ANZAC liberation of Beersheba: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 30, 2017— Today Australia is indisputably Israel’s best friend in the world – in every respect.

Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Oct. 27, 2017— “In the spring of 1932 desperate officials, anxious for their jobs and even their lives, aware that a new famine might be on its way, began to collect grain wherever and however they could.

 

On Topic Links

 

Woman Learns Grandfather was Notorious Nazi Criminal in 'Schindler's List': Christine Dunn, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 8, 2017

Night Falls: German Jews React to Hitler’s Rise to Power: Robert Rockaway, Tablet, Nov. 8, 2017

Kristallnacht: When America Failed the Jews: Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, Nov. 9, 2017

The Roots of Revolution: Joshua Rubenstein, New York Times, Oct. 20, 2017

                                                           

 

 

79TH ANNIVERSARY OF KRISTALLNACHT                                                      

Efraim Zuroff

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 8, 2017

 

November 9 marks the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,” a major milestone in the persecution of Jews under the Third Reich and an unusually important event which took place in full public view, but whose significance was unfortunately not fully understood at the time.

 

The story ostensibly begins with the expulsion from Germany in late October 1938 of approximately 17,000 Polish Jews, whose Polish citizenship had been revoked by the Polish government. The Poles refused to allow them to enter and they were stranded on the German-Polish border under extremely difficult conditions. Among those expelled was the Grynszpan family from Hanover, whose son Herschel was living in Paris at the time. Incensed by the suffering of his parents and the others, he bought a gun, walked into the German Legation in Paris on November 7, and asked to see an embassy official. He was taken to the office of third secretary Ernst vom Rath, whom he shot and badly wounded. (Ironically, at that time vom Rath was under suspicion by the Gestapo for expressing anti-Nazi sympathies, largely based on the mistreatment of Jews in Germany.)

 

Two days later, on November 9, vom Rath died of his wounds. That date also marked the anniversary of the Nazis’ failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, and at the gathering in Munich to mark that event, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels gave a fiery speech calling for spontaneous violence against the Jews. In his words, “[T]he Fuehrer has decided that… demonstrations should not be organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.” Thus vom Rath’s murder served as the excuse for the outbreak of massive “spontaneous” violence against Jews and Jewish institutions throughout the Third Reich, which at that time included Austria.

 

The results were horrific. One thousand six hundred Jews were murdered (the official report by Heydrich listed only 91), approximately 1,500 synagogues were destroyed, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, more than 7,000 Jewish shops and department stores were vandalized or destroyed. In short, a horrific blow to German Jewry, who, adding insult and economic ruin to injury, were forced to pay a fine of one billion marks (about $400 million at 1938 rates) as a punishment. The Nazis obviously viewed Kristallnacht as an opportunity to seriously advance their goal of the elimination of Jews from German society, which at that time they sought to achieve via expulsion and emigration. The question is, what gave them the sense that there would be virtually no severe consequences for such a dramatic assault on Jewish life and property?

 

To answer that question it is important to note two critical events which took place during the four months prior to Kristallnacht. The first was the Evian Conference convened in France, from July 6 to July 15, 1938, by president Franklin D. Roosevelt, ostensibly to solve, or at least alleviate, the plight of the increased numbers of Jewish refugees seeking to flee persecution by Nazi Germany. It was attended by representatives of 32 countries and 24 voluntary organizations, but was doomed to failure even before it began, since the invitations assured the participating countries that none of them would be asked to change their existing immigration quotas, which were the key element limiting the immigration of German and Austrian Jews.

 

In addition, Britain and the United States made a deal that no mention of Palestine would be allowed on the agenda and in return, the British would not bring up the fact that the United States was not even filling its existing quotas, let alone increasing them. While many delegates expressed sympathy for the Jews living under Nazism, the only countries willing to admit large numbers of Jews were the Dominican Republic and later Costa Rica. On the other hand, the Australian delegate, trade and customs minister T.W. White, bluntly explained that as his country had “no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one.”

 

To understand the full impact of the failure of the Evian Conference, it must be emphasized that at this point the Nazis had still not decided to implement the Final Solution and were encouraging Jewish emigration from the Reich. In fact, Hitler responded to news of the conference by saying that if other nations would agree to admit the Jews living in the Reich, he would help them depart “even on luxury ships.” The second event was the Munich Agreement of September 29-30, 1938, in which England and France agreed to allow Germany to annex portions of the territory of Czechoslovakia inhabited by Germans (Sudetenland), which included most of the country’s border defenses, fortifications and heavy industrial districts, a decision which left the country practically defenseless…

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

 

Contents

WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET THE HORROR

— AND HEROICS — OF PASSCHENDAELE

Christopher Sweeney

National Post, Nov. 9, 2017

 

The village of Passchendaele in Belgium is today as it was nearly 100 years ago, a small, relatively insignificant rural village east of the medieval city of Ypres. Yet the name Passchendaele continues to send shivers down the spine of all who know or come to know of its horrors.

 

The battle was part of the broader Third Battle of Ypres fought between July 31 and Nov. 10, 1917, which resulted in nearly 400,000 British and Imperial (Australian, Canadian, Indian, New Zealand and South African) casualties. The battle featured all of the characteristics that have become synonymous with the First World War; mud, destruction, wasted human life, and negligible results. For these reasons, Canada was a reluctant participant in this battle but dutifully suffered over 16,000 casualties in a matter of just over two weeks (by today’s population, this would mean nearly 65,000 casualties). Between Oct. 26 and Nov. 10 of this year, Canada will be observing the 100th anniversary of the bloody Battle of Passchendaele, a battle which, shamefully, is now barely known by Canadians. We should know of it.

 

The Canadian Corps, having already experienced the horrors of the Ypres salient in 1915, had no interest in returning there from France, but it had no choice. The British and non-Canadian Imperial forces, which in August 1917 had boldly sought to secure important Belgian channel ports occupied by the Germans, had by October ground to a halt ridiculously short of their goal. The new goal was “simply” to capture the ridge on which Passchendaele was located so as to hold the higher, dryer ground for the oncoming winter. But they needed fresh troops to do so, and the only ones available were the Canadians who had been rebuilding themselves after the 1917 battles at Vimy and Hill 70. It was now unfortunately our turn to be thrust into the cauldron. Lt.-Gen. Arthur Currie, commander of the Canadian Corps, immediately saw the difficulties of this mission and gloomily predicted that Canada would suffer 16,000 casualties — he was almost dead-on in this assessment (if you excuse the pun).

 

The Canadians were sent to the low outlying area east of the village of Passchendaele with the mission to take the ridge … in waist-deep mud, a moonscape of water and corpse-filled shell craters, against heavily entrenched German defences on the rise. Through intricate planning, based carefully on learning from the failures of others, and massive artillery support, including attacks being precipitated by closely manned “creeping barrages” of shells (by this time, all cutting-edge hallmarks of Canadian fighting on the front), the Canadians succeeded in taking Passchendaele on Nov. 10, 1917. Like at Vimy and at Hill 70, the Canadians had succeeded where all others had failed. Patriotic pride in this accomplishment roared across the country, tempered only by the tragedy of the massive loss of lives.

 

The Canadians were soon relieved of their position and brought back to the rear to lick their wounds, and to rebuild their strength. The best that could be dubiously claimed of this “victory” was that the Germans had suffered more losses “per capita” (not even in raw numbers) than the British and Imperial troops in the Third Battle of Passchendaele. Such was the definition of victory in the First World War. However, barely five months later, the British were required to perform a strategic retreat from the area around Passchendaele, with heavy losses, to better consolidate their defences against Germany’s last threatening offensive of the war, launched in March of 1918. All of the fighting by Canada, and others, had been for naught — all of the land gained had been lost.

 

At the time the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge in April of this year, my brother and I re-traced the steps of my great-grandfather, Martin Sweeney, who was fighting with the Victoria Rifles of Montreal during the battle. We followed his route from the magnificently restored town of Ypres (destroyed during the war) out to Passchendaele and located the approximate spot where he, and five others, had been killed by a shell on Nov. 5, 1917, two days before the final assault on Passchendaele had begun. For the first time, we realized that our long-lost great-grandfather had been within easy eyesight of the ruined town of Passchendaele, over which almost one million men on both sides had been fighting for the previous three months, before he was killed. Surprisingly, this gave us some solace, for he would have known that the Canadians were near their goal and about to achieve victory (correspondence from this battle tells us the Canadians were now deeply confident of their own fighting ability).

 

Martin’s name is amongst the 6,928 Canadian names on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres (a must visit for anyone in that part of the world) dedicated to those who lost their lives in Belgium, and for whom there is no known grave. In viewing his name on the monument for the first time, years ago, with my late father, we knew, sadly, that we were the first of Martin’s ancestors to ever visit his memorial. I still wonder what he, as a 44-year-old man with three grown children, was doing at the Battle of Passchendaele.

 

On this 100th anniversary of the muddy, bloody Battle of Passchendaele, it is vitally important that we commemorate the sacrifices of those who came before us, for those who fought for Canada, and the timeless cause of freedom. For make no mistake, Canada at Passchendaele, like elsewhere during the First World War (and, for that matter, all our other wars), was fighting not for plunder or gain, or out of ignorance (as some modern interpreters would have us believe), but for the freedom of others. We declare at Remembrance ceremonies, almost by rote, that “we will remember them.” In this year marking the 100th anniversary of Vimy, Hill 70 and Passchendaele, it has never been more important to “remember them.”

                                                                       

 

Contents

COMMEMORATING THE ANZAC LIBERATION OF BEERSHEBA

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 30, 2017

 

Today Australia is indisputably Israel’s best friend in the world – in every respect. The origins of this relationship have their genesis a century ago with the spectacular victory of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) that liberated Beersheba on October 31, 1917 and paved the way for the conquest of Jerusalem. This was followed two days later by the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, which preceded the British Mandate and subsequently served as the basis for the establishment of a Jewish state.

 

The Battle of Beersheba was a turning point in the war against the Ottoman Empire after successive failures to capture Gaza. It was the first time Australians and New Zealanders were highlighted as having effected a critical impact. The stunning charge of the ANZAC Light Horse Brigade that overcame the Turkish defenses was hailed as a milestone of military bravery comparable to that of the Light Brigade at Balaklava in 1854 and is remembered as the last great cavalry charge, establishing ANZAC as the best cavalry force in the world. It represented Australia’s first outstanding achievement as a fighting force, predating the 1918 Western Front victories.

 

With the disaster at Gallipoli in 1915-1916, where over 8,000 Australians needlessly lost their lives, many initially predicted that this attempt was doomed to failure and represented yet another example of military incompetence and willingness to cynically sacrifice soldiers. Beersheba was heavily fortified, making the town a virtual fortress, and the battle was considered a last-ditch effort to defeat the Ottoman Empire in the region.

 

Late in the afternoon of October 31, following an order by their commander, Sir Harry Chauvel, 800 Australian light horsemen, brandishing bayonets, galloped directly into machine-gun fire, many dismounting and engaging in hand-to-hand combat, surprising the Turks who did not imagine that the Australians would act so brazenly. Galloping over 2 kilometers at top speed, they overcame the stunned Turkish defenders in less than an hour. Thirty Australian horsemen were killed and 36 wounded. Over 500 Turks were killed and 1,500 surrendered.

 

It was a glorious victory, a turning point in the struggle enabling General Edmund Allenby to defeat the Ottomans in Palestine. It also heralded the beginning of an extraordinary close relationship between Australia and Israel. On the personal and individual level, it was enhanced by Australian soldiers temporarily stationed in Palestine at the outset of World War II who developed good relations with the Jews. Old timers still relate nostalgically to the friendship extended by the Australians as tensions were rising with the British mandatory officials.

 

This week the Australian and Israeli governments will jointly celebrate the centennial anniversary of the heroic Light Brigade’s extraordinary role in Beersheba. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a major entourage of ministers, officials, descendants of the ANZACs, and over 100 Australian horsemen, as well as private citizens from both countries will participate in commemorative ceremonies. These will include a joint Australian-New Zealand service at the war cemetery, the opening of an ANZAC museum, and a re-enactment of the charge by the Australian Light Horse Brigade.

 

It is anticipated that huge numbers will attend what promises to be a spectacular event highlighting the Australian-Israeli relationship. Australian Jewry enjoys an outstanding Jewish lifestyle and can be considered a jewel in the crown of the Diaspora. Jews were among the first boatloads of convicts transported to Australia in the 18th century. The first military commander of Australian forces serving during World War I was Sir John Monash, a proud Jew who was also the founding president of the Zionist Federation of Australia.

 

In the 1930s, the Jewish community was declining and rapidly assimilating but over the course of time it became reinvigorated by Holocaust refugees and survivors. Most of the newcomers were passionately Zionist and created a unique network of Jewish schools ranging from secular Zionist to Chabad, from Modern Orthodox to Reform and even a Bundist Yiddish school. From the 1980s, the community expanded further with the immigration of large numbers of Russians and South Africans…

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

 

Contents

COMMUNISM THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES

Bret Stephens

New York Times, Oct. 27, 2017

 

“In the spring of 1932 desperate officials, anxious for their jobs and even their lives, aware that a new famine might be on its way, began to collect grain wherever and however they could. Mass confiscations occurred all across the U.S.S.R. In Ukraine they took on an almost fanatical intensity.”

 

I am quoting a few lines from “Red Famine,” Anne Applebaum’s brilliant new history of the deliberate policy of mass starvation inflicted on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s. An estimated five million or more people perished in just a few years. Walter Duranty, The Times’s correspondent in the Soviet Union, insisted the stories of famine were false. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reportage the paper later called “completely misleading.” How many readers, I wonder, are familiar with this history of atrocity and denial, except in a vague way? How many know the name of Lazar Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s principal henchmen in the famine? What about other chapters large and small in the history of Communist horror, from the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to the depredations of Peru’s Shining Path to the Brezhnev-era psychiatric wards that were used to torture and imprison political dissidents?

 

Why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines? Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? Do the same people who rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts? These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial about the legacy of Communism a century after its birth in Russia. No, they are not true-believing Communists. No, they are not unaware of the toll of the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields. No, they are not plotting to undermine democracy.

 

But they will insist that there is an essential difference between Nazism and Communism — between race-hatred and class-hatred; Buchenwald and the gulag — that morally favors the latter. They will attempt to dissociate Communist theory from practice in an effort to acquit the former. They will balance acknowledgment of the repression and mass murder of Communism with references to its “real advances and achievements.” They will say that true communism has never been tried. They will write about Stalinist playwright Lillian Hellman in tones of sympathy and understanding they never extend to film director Elia Kazan.

 

Progressive intelligentsia “is moralist against one half of the world, but accords to the revolutionary movement an indulgence that is realist in the extreme,” the French scholar Raymond Aron wrote in “The Opium of the Intellectuals” in 1955. “How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy?” On Thursday, I noted that intellectuals have a long history of making fools of themselves with their political commitments, and that the phenomenon is fully bipartisan.

 

But the consequences of the left’s fellow-traveling and excuse-making are more dangerous. Venezuela is today in the throes of socialist dictatorship and humanitarian ruin, having been cheered along its predictable and unmerry course by the usual progressive suspects. One of those suspects, Jeremy Corbyn, may be Britain’s next prime minister, in part because a generation of Britons has come of age not knowing that the line running from “progressive social commitments” to catastrophic economic results is short and straight. Bernie Sanders captured the heart, if not yet the brain, of the Democratic Party last year by portraying “democratic socialism” as nothing more than an extension of New Deal liberalism. But the Vermont senator also insists that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud.” Efforts to criminalize capitalism and financial services also have predictable results.

 

It’s a bitter fact that the most astonishing strategic victory by the West in the last century turns out to be the one whose lessons we’ve never seriously bothered to teach, much less to learn. An ideology that at one point enslaved and immiserated roughly a third of the world collapsed without a fight and was exposed for all to see. Yet we still have trouble condemning it as we do equivalent evils. And we treat its sympathizers as romantics and idealists, rather than as the fools, fanatics or cynics they really were and are. Winston Churchill wrote that when the Germans allowed the leader of the Bolsheviks to travel from Switzerland to St. Petersburg in 1917, “they turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus.” A century on, the bacillus isn’t eradicated, and our immunity to it is still in doubt.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Woman Learns Grandfather was Notorious Nazi Criminal in 'Schindler's List': Christine Dunn, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 8, 2017—Jennifer Teege did not learn about her family's dark secret until she was close to 40 years old. It happened in the central library in Hamburg, Germany, her hometown.

Night Falls: German Jews React to Hitler’s Rise to Power: Robert Rockaway, Tablet, Nov. 8, 2017 —When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany on Jan. 30, 1933, he gained the authority to implement his racist ideology toward Germany’s Jews, who then numbered 535,000 out of a general population of 67 million.

Kristallnacht: When America Failed the Jews: Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, Nov. 9, 2017—On November 11, 1938, a front-page story appeared in The New York Times. It read: “A wave of destruction, looting, and incendiarism unparalleled in Germany since the Thirty Years War and in Europe generally since the Bolshevist Revolution swept over Great Germany today as National Socialist cohorts took vengeance on Jewish shops, offices and synagogues for the murder by a young Polish Jew of Ernst vom Rath, third secretary of the German Embassy in Paris.”

The Roots of Revolution: Joshua Rubenstein, New York Times, Oct. 20, 2017—As we mark the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s triumph, Chamberlain’s book broadens our understanding of the roots of the Bolshevik Revolution, describing how German Idealism, which first emerged from Immanuel Kant’s reaction to the French Revolution, came to inspire philosophers and cultural figures throughout 19th-century Europe and Russia.

 

 

YOM KIPPUR 5778: THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

The Shofar's Call: Yom Kippur 5778: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Sept. 29, 2017 — The shofar, New Year’s symbol, blows…

Yom Kippur Thoughts: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Press, Sept. 28, 2017— Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment.

From Poland to Lithuania: A Writer’s Search for Her Jewish Past: Charly Wilder, New York Times, Sept. 18, 2017— I think I was in an iced-over bus lot in northeastern Poland, standing in front of a mound of desecrated gravestones, when I first had the feeling that Jewish heritage travel in Europe might be a mistake.

On Becoming an American: Ben Cohen, JNS, Sept. 20, 2017— This week, I became an American citizen.

 

On Topic Links

 

Yom Kippur: Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 29, 2017

The Most Interesting Jews of 5778: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Sept. 29. 2017

Israeli Identity: What Has Changed This Year?: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Sept. 29, 2017

A Chorus of Mazel Tovs in Uganda: Merissa Nathan Gerson, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017

 

THE SHOFAR'S CALL: YOM KIPPUR 5778

Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Sept. 29, 2017

 

In Loving Memory of Malca z”l

 

The shofar, New Year’s symbol, blows

The long-drawn call for all humanity!

A call for peace that’s yet to be

Addressed to all humanity.

 

Within the little synagogue the lights are dim

We hear the shofar sound–

Piercing a silence that seems

To pray, for you and me, its call

A prayer for you and all.

 

A call for a peace yet to be,

A long-drawn note to all humanity:

The tone resounds,

And mankind knows

It is the call for love,

For a humanness yet to be…

 

All around the air is hushed!

We hear the shofar’s blast redound:

From my heart, may peace abound!

 

(Baruch Cohen, CIJR’s Research Chairman, will soon be celebrating his 98th birthday)

                                                                       

 

Contents

YOM KIPPUR THOUGHTS

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jewish Press, Sept. 28, 2017

 

Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment. At no other time are we so sharply conscious of standing before God, of being known by Him. But it begins in the strangest of ways.

 

Kol Nidre, the prayer that heralds the evening service and the beginning of the sanctity of the day, is the key that unlocks the Jewish heart. Its melody is haunting. As the cantor sings, we hear in that ancient tune the deepest music of the Jewish soul, elegiac yet striving, pained but resolute, the song of those who knew that to believe is to suffer and still to hope, the music of our ancestors that stretches out to us from the past and enfolds us in its cadences, making us and them one. The music is sublime. Tolstoy called it a melody that “echoes the story of the great martyrdom of a grief-stricken nation.” Beethoven came close to it in the most otherworldly and austere of his compositions, the sixth movement of the C Sharp Minor Quartet, opus 131. The music is pure poetry but the words are prosaic prose.

 

Kol Nidre means “all vows.” The passage itself is not a prayer at all, but a dry legal formula annulling in advance all vows, oaths and promises between us and God in the coming year. Nothing could be more incongruous, less apparently in keeping with the solemnity of the day. Indeed, for more than a thousand years there have been attempts to remove it from the liturgy. Why annul vows? Better, as the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis argued, not to make them in the first place if they could not be kept. Besides, though Jewish law admits the possibility of annulment, it does so only after patient examination of individual cases. To do so globally for the whole community was difficult to justify.

 

From the eighth century onwards we read of gaonim, rabbinic leaders, who condemned the prayer and sought to have it abolished. Five centuries later a new note of concern was added. In the Christian-Jewish disputation in Paris in 1240, the Christian protagonist Nicholas Donin attacked Kol Nidre as evidence that Jews did not feel themselves bound by their word, a claim later repeated by anti-Semitic writers. In vain, Jews explained that the prayer had nothing to do with promises between man and man. It referred only to private commitments between man and God. All in all, it was and is a strange way to begin the holiest of days.

 

Yet the prayer survived all attempts to have it dislodged. One theory, advanced by Joseph Bloch in I917 and adopted by Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz, is that it had its origins in the forced conversion of Spanish Jews to Christianity under the Visigoths in the seventh century. These Jews, the first Marranos, publicly abandoned their faith rather than face torture and death, but they remained Jews in secret. On the Day of Atonement they made their way back to the synagogue and prayed to have their vow of conversion annulled. Certainly some such reason lies behind the declaration immediately prior to Kol Nidre in which the leaders of prayer solemnly grant permission “by the authority of the heavenly and earthly court” for “transgressors” to join the congregation in prayer. This was a lifting of the ban of excommunication against Jews who, during the year, had been declared to have placed themselves outside the community. That, surely, is the significance of Kol Nidre in the Jewish imagination. It is the moment when the doors of belonging are opened, and when those who have been estranged return.

 

The Hebrew word teshuvah, usually translated as “penitence,” in fact means something else: returning, retracing our steps, coming home. It belongs to the biblical vision in which sin means dislocation, and punishment is exile: Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden, Israel’s exile from its land. A sin is an act that does not belong, one that transgresses the moral boundaries of the world. One who acts in ways that do not belong eventually finds that he does not belong. Increasingly he places himself outside the relationships – of family, community and of being at one with history – that make him who he is. The most characteristic sense of sin is less one of guilt than of being lost. Teshuvah means finding your way back home again.

 

That, on this night of nights, is what Jews do. The synagogue is full of the faces of those who rarely visit it. During the year – albeit less dramatically than their medieval predecessors – they may have been Marranos, hidden Jews. They have worn other masks, carried different identities. But on Yom Kippur night the music of Kol Nidre has spoken to them and they have said: here is where I belong. Among my people and its faith. I am a Jew. In ancient Israel, there were holy places. The land itself was holy. Holier still was the city of Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem the holiest site was the Temple. Within the Temple was the supremely sacred place known as the Holy of Holies. There was holy time. There were the festivals. Above them was the Sabbath, the day God himself declared holy. Above even that was the one day in the year known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths, the most holy day of all: the Day of Atonement.

 

There were holy people. Israel was called “a holy nation.” Among them was a tribe of special sanctity, the Levites, and within it were individuals who were holier still, the kohanim (priests). Among them was one person who was supremely holy, the high priest. In ancient times the holiest man entered the holiest place on the holiest day of the year and sought atonement for his people. Then the Temple was destroyed. Jerusalem lay in ruins. Devastated, too, was the spiritual life of Israel. There were no sacrifices and no high priest. None of the rites of the Day of Atonement, spelled out in the Book of Leviticus, could be performed. How then could sins be purged and the people of Israel annually restore their relationship with God?

 

One saying has come down to us from that time, a sentence that rescued Judaism from the ruins. Its author, Rabbi Akiva, lived through the destruction. His early years were spent as an illiterate shepherd. Tradition tells us that he fell in love with Rachel, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem. She agreed to marry him on condition that he studied and became a Torah scholar. Her father disinherited her, but she remained devoted to Akiva, who eventually became the supreme scholar of his day and one of the architects of rabbinic Judaism. He died, a martyr, at the hands of the Romans.

 

Rabbi Akiva was a remarkable man. It was at his insistence that the Song of Songs was included in the biblical canon. He framed a number of enactments to foster love as the basis of marriage. He said, “Beloved is mankind, for it is created in the image of God,” and declared that “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is the fundamental principle of Judaism. But above all he could see through catastrophe. When others wept at the destruction of the Temple, Rabbi Akiva preserved a spirit of hope, saying that since it had been prophesied, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which had also been prophesied, would also come to pass. “Whatever God does is for the best.” About the Day of Atonement he said this: “Happy are you, O Israel! Before whom are you purified and who purifies you? Your Father in heaven, as it is said: ‘And I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be purified’ ” (Ezekiel 36:25).

 

Israel did not need a Temple or a high priest to secure atonement. It had lost its holiest place and person. But it still had the day itself: holy time. On that day every place becomes a holy place and every person a holy individual standing directly before God. By turning to Him in teshuvah it is as if we had brought an offering in the Temple, because God hears every cry that comes from the heart. When there is no high priest to mediate between Israel and God, we speak to God directly and he accepts our prayer. So it has been for almost two thousand years.

 

So we fast and remove our shoes and dress in white shrouds. We spend the day in prayer and confession as if each of us stood in the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem, because God heeds not who or where we are, but how we live. And though we no longer have a Temple and its offerings, we have something that is no less a powerful prayer: the “service of the heart.” Hear our voice, Lord our God, Have pity and compassion on us, And with compassion and favor accept our prayer…

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

 

Contents

FROM POLAND TO LITHUANIA:

A WRITER’S SEARCH FOR HER JEWISH PAST                                                          

Charly Wilder

New York Times, Sept. 18, 2017

 

I think I was in an iced-over bus lot in northeastern Poland, standing in front of a mound of desecrated gravestones, when I first had the feeling that Jewish heritage travel in Europe might be a mistake. I had been walking with a guide and an interpreter, both Polish men in late middle age, through Makow Mazowiecki, a small town about 45 miles north of Warsaw. This was where two of my great-grandparents were born in the late 19th century, when Jews made up nearly half the local population.

 

Like the vast majority of American Jews, I descend from Yiddish-speaking Europeans who settled along the Rhine River around the first millennium. Known as Ashkenazi Jews (Ashkenazi being an old term for German), they later moved to the edges of the Russian Empire, the so-called Pale of Settlement, an area spanning much of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldova, where Jews were allowed to reside.

 

All eight of my great-grandparents immigrated around the turn of the century from the Pale to the United States. They settled in New Jersey, where my father grew up, and Kansas City, Mo., where my mother, and later my brothers and I, were raised among the mowed lawns and flush supermarkets of Midwestern suburbia. “They lived in shtetls,” my parents would say, using the Yiddish diminutive for town. “Backward, mud-caked, poverty-stricken little villages surrounded by anti-Semites.” Or something along those lines.

 

It wasn’t until recently, after a decade of living in Europe, that I decided to find out more about my ancestors, to travel to the places they were from and see what, if anything, remained of the shtetl world they had left behind. In this, I wasn’t alone. Jewish heritage tourism has been growing steadily since the fall of the Iron Curtain, when the former Pale of Settlement began to open up to Western tourists. The influx of foreign interest has encouraged a re-examination of Jewish history, especially in larger urban centers. New museums, most notably Warsaw’s phenomenal Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, but also smaller institutions throughout Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic nations, cater to visitors of Eastern European Jewish descent.

 

“It’s a tremendous change,” said Tomasz Cebulski, a Polish Holocaust scholar whom I contacted early in my heritage quest. “Within the last 25 years in this country, it’s like day and night,” said Mr. Cebulski, whose company, Polin Travel, offers Jewish heritage tours and genealogical services. He attributes the change partly to the lifting of taboos around discussion of Judaism and the Holocaust — but also to growing interest in ancestral research. In addition to hundreds of booming genealogical resources like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, there are numerous sites geared to Jews, most notably JewishGen, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the New York-based Museum of Jewish Heritage, with more than 20 million records and links to country-specific Jewish record archives, like Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland.org).

 

But like most genealogical quests, mine started the old-fashioned way, through talking to relatives. My mother knew a few facts. Samuel Frank Wengrover, her maternal grandfather, was a tailor from Makow Mazowiecki. After arriving in New York around the turn of the century, he moved to Alabama and opened a tailor shop. It was almost immediately burned down by Klansmen types. “So he picked up and moved to Kansas City and tried it again,” my mother said. My father knew that his mother’s family, the Russaks, moved around the same time from Lodz, Poland, to the Jewish section of Paterson, N.J. The whole family had once been Orthodox, but had forsaken religion and “turned into Communists.” Of his father’s Lithuanian parents, he knew almost nothing.

 

I set up an account on Ancestry.com and began building a tree, adding facts the website extracted from now-digitized public records. At the same time, I started reaching out through the JewishGen databases to people who had searched similar name-and-place combinations. That’s where I found Kathy Herman. I had never heard of her, but she turned out to be my second cousin on the Russak side. Her grandfather, Benny, was the brother of my great-grandfather Joe. She was the first to tell me the names of their parents: Moishe Meyer Russak and Mindel Stetin. “Family lore is that she was raped by a Cossack, and my grandfather killed the guy,” she wrote in an email. “They hanged my grandfather by his hair (I don’t even really know what that means), and then the Russaks had to get Benny out fast.” That, Kathy said, is why the Russaks moved to the United States. Not exactly “Fievel Goes West,” but I was hooked. She had two addresses in Lodz where the Russaks had lived. Armed with these anecdotal scraps and scant genealogical documents, I was off. Old Country or bust.

 

In Warsaw I met a man who has been working for decades as a fixer for Jewish visitors researching their Polish roots. It’s a job that often stirs resentment in Poland, especially since the current right-wing government came to power, said the fixer, a retiree with kind eyes and a talkative, disheveled demeanor who asked that his identity be concealed. Widespread anti-Semitism persists, he said, and there is fear, especially in remote, provincial areas — shtetl country — that the descendants of Polish Jews will come back and claim their stolen property. “Keep in mind that Poland before the Second World War was like the United States. We had a huge mixture of minorities, and the Jews made up 10 percent of the prewar Polish population,” he said, as we drove past fields of black currants, lindens and the occasional roadside taverns, until we reached Plock…

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

 

Contents

ON BECOMING AN AMERICAN                                           

                                                          Ben Cohen        

JNS, Sept. 20, 2017

 

This week, I became an American citizen. As I intently studied my naturalization certificate after the oath-taking ceremony, it struck me how fortunate I am to be accepted into this nation on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, of all occasions. I should stress that my own story is rather routine and uninteresting. I came to the US from the United Kingdom with my family, I had a job and a home in New York, and as the years went by, I progressed from a work visa to a “green card” to full citizenship. Along the way, I did nothing more dramatic than fill out lots of forms and attend periodic interviews with immigration officials.

 

But there were 199 other people in the room with me, from 60 different countries, and with vastly different experiences that, nonetheless, led us all to this single moment. As I wound my way to my seat, climbing as delicately as possible over the outstretched knees and handbags on the narrow floor between the rows in the auditorium, I said hello to individuals I learned were originally from New Zealand, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines. When we went up to the stage to collect our naturalization certificates, it felt as if the entire world had been locked in the embrace of American democracy: a fellow from Cote d’Ivoire, another from Mali, a young woman from Bangladesh, an older woman from Ukraine, even a couple of people from Israel, just moments after we all swore the same oath of allegiance before the same flag.

 

For me, taking the oath was the most powerful part of the ceremony — the clearest reminder that America is built upon the idea of liberty, and the most compelling signal to all of us present we were now participants in the American republic. Consider, if you will, the last clause of the oath: “…and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” Is there any pithier expression of the idea that we are, as humans, bestowed with individual consciousness, along with an innate ability to think and speak freely and make our own decisions, so long as the circumstances allow? Does any country represent and respect that idea better than the United States?

 

More than two centuries after the American Revolution, we accept this idea as commonplace. But that ceremony reminded me of just how revolutionary it is. Thomas Paine — a son of Norfolk, England, who came to these shores in 1774 — wrote in his splendid pamphlet, “Common Sense,” that the “independence of America, considered merely as separation from England, would have been but a matter but of little importance, had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practice of governments.”

 

These principles have been considered utopian, but I believe they also reveal a fundamental truth about how humans should be governed. We are imperfect, we are selfish, we will always clash, but we have as well common principles and common beliefs that bring us together — the task of government, therefore, is to reconcile those two poles in a manner that is lawful and liberal in the classical sense of that term. For all the bitterness of our current politics, who wants to live in a society where beliefs and opinions are imposed from above? I’d rather be free to pick my way through the drek of social media than have my access blocked by the government. I’d rather be free to express disappointment in the society I live in — silly and unjustified or eloquent and persuasive — than be compelled by my rulers to toe the line. That is a key element of the historic promise the US continues to offer.

 

In his speech to the UN on Tuesday, President Donald Trump quoted John Adams, the second US president, observing the American Revolution was “effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.” That collective sense of freedom — which breeds furiously divergent opinions, rather than dull uniformity — is what led the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville to note in 1831 that America’s free press contained “such a strange mixture of good and evil that, without its presence, freedom could not thrive and with its presence good order could hardly survive.”

 

That ever-present tension, perhaps, is part of freedom’s very nature ­– yet as the years have progressed, “good order” has become more stable at no discernible cost to our revolutionary liberties. And it’s that same good order that allows us to take for granted what our forefathers in foreign lands certainly did not: the right to spend a peaceful Rosh Hashanah with one’s family in a land with no established religion. This year, I will do that as an American for the very first time. Shanah Tovah.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters an Easy Fast & Shabbat Shalom!

Contents

On Topic Links

 

 

Yom Kippur: Guide for the Perplexed: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Sept. 29, 2017—1. Yom Kippur is one of the six main annual Jewish fasting days: (a) The 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei is Yom Kippur, an annual day of repentance for one’s misconduct toward fellow human-beings – in order to minimize future missteps – the cleansing of one’s behavior, recognition of one’s fallibilities, forgiveness of fellow human-beings’ misconduct.

The Most Interesting Jews of 5778: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Sept. 29. 2017—It's become a Rosh Hashanah tradition for newspapers to publish lists of the "most influential" or "most prominent" Jews. The lists are mainly a potpourri of the wealthy, powerful, organizationally well-positioned or pop-culture famous.

Israeli Identity: What Has Changed This Year?: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, Sept. 29, 2017—External threats to our existence as Israelis create an awareness of a common fate. It is tempting to focus on such threats, because they provide a comfort zone in which security-political experts can ask the familiar question: how will we continue to defend our existence over the coming year? By concentrating on this question, we have found a way to repress basic questions about Israeli identity.

A Chorus of Mazel Tovs in Uganda: Merissa Nathan Gerson, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2017—Seven years ago, Shadrach Mugoya Levi drove three hours from his rural village of Magada in the Namutumba District of Uganda to find a woman named Naomi. His friends had insisted he meet her. When he arrived at her house, her mother answered the door and said: “No, my daughter is too young.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISLAMISM, TERRORISM & THE FUTURE OF EUROPE

An Onslaught of Islamist Violence Is Europe's New Normal: Sam Westrop, Daily Caller, Apr. 24, 2017 — Following similar attacks in London, Stockholm, Paris, Nice, Berlin and Israel, Europe is waking up to the fact that these abrupt acts of murder — using knives, guns and cars — are the new norm.

Europe’s Rising Islam-Based Political Parties: Abigail R. Esman, Algemeiner, Apr. 23, 2017 — For the past several months, eyes across the world have been trained on the growing far-right movements sweeping Europe and America — from the neo-Nazi groups in Germany and the United States, to the increasing popularity of France’s National Front. But another, far less noticed — but sometimes equally-radical movement — is also emerging across Europe: the rise of pro-Islam political parties, some with foreign support from the Muslim world. And the trend shows no sign of stopping.

The Muslim Brotherhood Has Earned Its Terrorist Designation: Cynthia Farahat, The Washington Times, Apr. 23, 2017 — In an April 11 Brookings Institution report titled "Is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization?" senior fellow Shadi Hamid states that the Trump administration's proposed designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group "could have significant consequences for the U.S., the Middle East, and the world."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate: Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 7, 2017 — We are in a secure room at a sprawling university, but the queasiness in my chest takes a while to go away. I’m talking to a woman with multiple fatwas on her head, someone who has a greater chance of meeting a violent end than anyone I’ve met (Salman Rushdie included). And yet she’s wholly poised, spectacles pushed back to rest atop her head like a crown, dignified and smiling under siege.

 

On Topic Links

 

If You Still Think There Is Such Thing As a Moderate Muslim, Watch This and Think Again…: Israel Video Network, Apr. 27, 2017

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2017: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 28, 2017

The Purge of a Report on Radical Islam Has Put NYC at Risk: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Apr. 15, 2017

Is Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Still the Loyal Opposition?: Nur Köprülü, The Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2017

 

AN ONSLAUGHT OF ISLAMIST VIOLENCE IS EUROPE'S NEW NORMAL

Sam Westrop                                              

Daily Caller, Apr. 24, 2017

 

Last Thursday, in an attack that has started to feel routine, Karim Cheurfi opened fire on French police on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, killing a police officer. Cheurfi then wounded two others before he was shot and killed. Police later found a note in which he expressed support for the Islamic State, which later declared him their "soldier." Following similar attacks in London, Stockholm, Paris, Nice, Berlin and Israel, Europe is waking up to the fact that these abrupt acts of murder — using knives, guns and cars — are the new norm.

 

Over the last five years, there has been a noticeable change in jihadist methods. During the 2000s, Al Qaeda and other violent Islamist groups were preoccupied with large explosions –terrorist acts that took months of planning, networks of contacts, sources of funding, and supplies of explosive material. The effects, when successful, produced enormous casualties and made for dramatic television. But these plots were also ripe for discovery by law enforcement: large money transfers were noticed, explosive materials were tracked, conspirators were surveilled and Muslim informants exposed whole Islamist cells.

 

On the other hand, acquiring a gun, picking up a knife, or simply getting into your car requires hardly any planning at all. Islamists have realized that ersatz terror may kill fewer people than showpiece terror, but its effects are just as terrifying and its success rate is far higher. Islamist low-tech terrorism was first advocated seriously in 2010. Al-Qaeda in Yemen (led by the late American Islamist, Anwar Al-Awlaki) encouraged Muslims to get in their pick-up trucks, which they referred to as "Ultimate Mowing Machines," and "mow down the enemies of Allah."

 

Then, in 2014, ISIS called on Western Muslims to use vehicles, knives – anything to hand: "If you are not able to find an I.E.D. or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."

 

Cheurfi was born in France, and had a long criminal record. From 2001, he was imprisoned for 11 years after shooting at two police officers from a stolen car. He was not identified as a possible Islamist until December 2016, according to Le Monde, after police were warned that he was planning an attack. In February, he repeated the threats on a messaging app, and was questioned by police. Then, in March, he attempted to contact ISIS fighters in Syria. By that point, he had been included on a list of 16,000 Islamists the security services deemed potential violent extremists.

 

Europe faces an onslaught. France, in particular, has far more potential terrorists than security service resources to stop them. Along with more effective counter-terrorism work, the only possible long-term solution for Europe, is to actively stamp out all violent and non-violent Islamist influence, and back reformist Muslims instead.

 

Over the past few decades, Europe's radicalization problem has been severely exacerbated by the attitudes of government towards their Muslim communities. European state multiculturalism policy regards its citizens not as individuals, but as blocs — or communities — delineated by ethnicity, race and religion. In order to interact with these communities, governments need intermediaries to manage them. Among European Muslims, where there is no organized clergy, only the Islamists have had the wherewithal to proclaim themselves representatives of the dozens of different, fractious political and religious Islamic sects. To run the communities, governments have handed these Islamist leadership groups taxpayers' money, political power, and influence over schools, hospitals, prisons, chaplaincy programs, among other things.

 

Consequently, an entire generation of European Muslims have grown up attending Islamist-run mosques, schools and community centers. Islamist politicians are elected to government offices, Muslim prisoners are placed in the care of Islamist chaplains, and Islamist charities move money to and from the Middle East – much of it partly subsidized by European taxpayers. In strictly secular France, its multiculturalism policy funds ethnic groups rather than religious ones. But because the clear majority of French Muslims are from North Africa, taxpayer subsidy of these communities ends up being claimed by the Islamists as well.

 

For Karim Cheurfi, radicalization was not necessarily the result of slick propaganda videos produced by Islamic State, or a particularly convincing contact on social media. His introduction to Islamism was offline – it occurred simply by virtue of the fact he was a European Muslim, surrounded and politically represented by a community under the thumb of Islamist ideologues.

 

For Europe to survive, the Islamists must be squashed. Funding must be cut off, both from Western governments and foreign Islamist regimes. Extremist mosques must be shut down, extremist foreign clerics should be deported, and moderate, anti-Islamist Muslims must be funded and supported. Most importantly, Western Europe must stop organizing its Muslim citizens into homogenous religious and ethnic blocs, ripe for radicalization.

 

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EUROPE’S RISING ISLAM-BASED POLITICAL PARTIES

Abigail R. Esman

Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017

 

For the past several months, eyes across the world have been trained on the growing far-right movements sweeping Europe and America — from the neo-Nazi groups in Germany and the United States, to the increasing popularity of France’s National Front. But another, far less noticed — but sometimes equally-radical movement — is also emerging across Europe: the rise of pro-Islam political parties, some with foreign support from the Muslim world. And the trend shows no sign of stopping.

 

Holland’s Denk (“Think”) party, established and led by two Turkish immigrants, is among the most significant. Denk won three seats in the Dutch parliament last month, becoming the country’s “fastest-growing” new party, according to the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. Its platform is to replace ideas of integration with “mutual acceptance” — a charming but antiquated idea in a culture where one group accepts gay marriage and the other is taught that homosexuals should be shoved off of tall buildings. It also proposes the establishment of a dedicated “anti-racism” police force.

 

While not the first of such Islamic parties in European politics, Denk’s March 15 election victory has made it an inspiration to others. Islamist parties now see a new chance for success, while political aspirants across Europe are making plans to start similar parties of their own. Hence, while the focus of this week’s French elections will be on Marine Le Pen’s National Front, many European Muslims will also be watching the Equality and Justice Party (PEJ), led by French-Turk Sacir Çolak.

 

Like Denk, this French party claims to be a voice for the downtrodden, fighting “inequalities and injustices,” according to a report by the Turkish Anadolu news agency. But also like Denk, PEJ has been accused of representing Turkey’s president — a man who has spoken out against assimilation and integration, and called on European Turks to reject Western values. And the PEJ is not alone in France:

 

The French Union of Muslim Democrats (UDMF), founded in 2012, made headlines when it entered the 2015 electoral race. Its platform seemed more moderate than many of its fellow Muslim parties across Europe; UDMF founder Nagib Azergui has insisted in interviews that he respects the secular foundation of the French republic, and advocates philosophy and civic education classes that would help mitigate against the recruitment efforts of Muslim extremists. The party does, however, seek to establish sharia-compliant banks, and calls for Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Further, UDMF seeks to re-install the right of Muslim girls to wear headscarves in public schools, a move that could be seen as a gesture towards re-introducing religion into the secular sphere.

 

Austria, too, has seen a rise in Islamic political parties, such as the New Movement for the Future (NBZ), which, like Denk and the PEJ, was founded by Turkish immigrants. Unlike the others parties, however, NBZ has made little effort to hide its loyalty to Turkey. Following the failed 2016 Turkish coup, for instance, its leader, Adnan Dinçer, called on Austria to respect Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s clampdown and the mass arrests that followed. It is worth noting, however, that Austria’s far right has been particularly virulent in its anti-Islam activity, calling for Islam itself to be banned from the country. Such motions inevitably bring forth counter-movements from the targeted groups, and it was those actions that inspired Dinçer to form the NBZ.

 

But it was Denk’s success, above all, that inspired Lebanese-Belgian activist Dyab Abou Jahjah to establish his newest political effort: a party (to date, unnamed) aimed at “Making Brussels Great Again, a la Bernie Sanders,” according to an interview in the Belgian newspaper de Morgen. This would be a third attempt at political relevance for Jahjah, who first came into the public eye in 2002 as the founder of the Brussels-based Arab-European League, a pan-European political group that aimed to create what he called a Europe-wide “sharocracy” — a sharia-based democracy.

 

In 2003, the AEL organized a political party, RESIST, to run in the Brussels elections; it received a mere 10,000 votes. Now, Jahjah, who also runs an activist group called Movement X, hopes to run in Brussels’ 2018 elections. While his party has yet to declare a platform, his anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian and anti-European rants on Facebook and elsewhere give an indication of his plans. So, too, did a recent blog post in which he wrote: “we must defeat the forces of supremacy, the forces of sustained privileges, and the forces of the status-quo. We must defeat them in every possible arena.”

 

And he is not alone. Days after Denk’s win, fellow Belgian Ahmet Koç announced his own initiative, the details of which are also yet to be determined. But some things are easy enough to predict on the basis of his past: the Turkish-Belgian politician was thrown out of Belgium’s socialist party in 2016 for supporting Erdogan’s efforts to censor Europeans who insulted him publicly. He also called for Belgian Turks to rise up against the “traitors” of the 2016 coup.

 

Both Koç and Jahjah will have to reckon with the ISLAM party, which has already established itself in the Brussels area. Founded in 2012, ISLAM–which is as an acronym for “Integrité, Solidarité, Liberté, Authenticité, Moralité”— is unapologetically religious. Its leaders pride themselves on following the koran, not party politics. With branches already in place in the Brussels districts of Anderlecht, Molenbeek (the center of Belgian radicalism) and Luik, the party now plans to expand throughout the Brussels region.

 

So far, none of the existing parties has had a great deal of success — and the emerging parties have yet to make their platforms known, let alone acquire active supporters. But as Denk founder Tunahan Kuzu proudly announced after the March elections, a new voice has now gained power in European government. But what that voice ultimately will be, and the strength of its commitment to secular and democratic values, remains yet to be seen.      

 

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THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD HAS EARNED ITS TERRORIST DESIGNATION

Cynthia Farahat

The Washington Times, Apr. 23, 2017

 

In an April 11 Brookings Institution report titled "Is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization?" senior fellow Shadi Hamid states that the Trump administration's proposed designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group "could have significant consequences for the U.S., the Middle East, and the world." Among many astounding claims in the report, the three most misleading among them begin with his statement that the Muslim Brotherhood is a "non-violent Islamist group," that "there is not a single American expert on the Muslim Brotherhood who supports designating it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization," and that President Trump's advisors were enlisting Americans in what Mr. Hamid calls "civilization struggle."

 

First, there is overwhelming evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood is indeed a violent terrorist organization. The Brotherhood's slogan is "'Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Thus, it shouldn't come as a surprise that nearly every Sunni terrorist group in the world was either fully or partially founded by active or former Brotherhood operatives. Brotherhood-linked terrorist organizations include ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya. Moreover, the Brotherhood also has active militias such as the "95 Brigade," a Brotherhood terrorist group founded in 1995, which is currently operating under the direction of the Brotherhood Guidance office. The Brotherhood also has a well-funded transnational multi-lingual propaganda machine, which makes it more dangerous.

 

In a series of interviews with al-Jazeera TV, Osama Yassin, a minister in former President Mohammed Morsi's cabinet, revealed that the 95 Brigade engaged in the abduction, beating, and torture of "thugs" and threw Molotov cocktails at its opponents. The brigade's operatives were also implicated in the killing of anti-Brotherhood protestors. In March 2014, for example, two Brotherhood operatives were sentenced to death after an online video clip showed them killing a teenager by throwing him from a building.

 

Under Mr. Morsi's leadership, current Brotherhood leaders were personally involved in torture. During an interview with al-Jazeera TV in 2011, Brotherhood leader Safwat Hegazy bragged about his involvement in torturing a man whom he suspected was a police officer.

 

Egyptian Ambassador to Venezuela Yehyia Najm is among the numerous victims of what is known in Egypt as the "Brotherhood's Slaughterhouses." Ambassador Najm stated that the room where he was held captive and tortured with 49 other people, was "like a Nazi camp." This is Mr. Shadi Hamid's idea of a "non-violent group."

 

Second, Mr. Hamid's claim that there are no American experts on the Muslim Brotherhood who support its designation as a terror group, is wrong. The Middle East Forum, one of the America's most renowned think tanks that specializes in Middle East and Islamic terrorism studies, supports the Brotherhood's terror designation. Also, Mr. Trump's advisor, Walid Phares, one of America's most respected experts on Islamic terrorism and the Middle East, supports the Brotherhood's terror designation. Andrew C. McCarthy III, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others, also supports the Brotherhood terror designation. Yet, Mr. Hamid chooses to ignore them, as he also chooses to ignore other facts. Brotherhood-linked terrorist organizations include al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Hamas.

 

Third, Mr. Hamid claimed that, "This language works to enlist Americans to join the "civilizational struggle" — an idea once reserved for those from the farthest fringes of the far right in the United States, now held by people in the very center of American power: the White House."

 

Mr. Hamid may have borrowed the term "civilization struggle," or "A'mali Jihadia Hadaria" (civilization jihad operation), from the Muslim Brotherhood's International Apparatus. The nihilistic term first appeared in a 1991 document titled "The Explanatory Memorandum," which outlined the Muslim Brotherhood's strategic goals for North America. This memorandum was entered as evidence in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial in 2008, the largest terror financing case in U.S. history.

 

This wouldn't be the first time the Brookings Institution engaged in misleading disinformation on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, a Brookings Institution article stated that the fourth of the Muslim Brotherhood's 10 thawabet (precepts) in its bylaws specified that "during the process of establishing democracy and relative political freedom, the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to abide by the rules of democracy and its institutions." Hamid's report was published by the Qatar-financed Brookings Institution.

 

This is a bold misrepresentation of the fourth precept. According to the Brotherhood's own standards and internal bylaws, the fourth precept is violent jihad and martyrdom, which the Brotherhood states is an obligation of every individual Muslim, as well as the collective obligation of their organization. There is a civilization jihad or struggle as Mr. Hamid called it, but it's waged against America and the Western world by the very people he is defending. To answer Mr. Hamid's question as to whether the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, the answer is yes, indeed it is a terrorist organization.

Mr. Trump's administration needs to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group. Congress should also require think tanks to disclose any foreign funding received while lobbying Congress. These financial disclosures will help combat disinformation campaigns targeting lawmakers, including reports like Mr. Hamid's.

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AYAAN HIRSI ALI, ISLAM’S MOST ELOQUENT APOSTATE

Tunku Varadarajan

The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 7, 2017

 

The woman sitting opposite me, dressed in a charcoal pantsuit and a duck-egg-blue turtleneck, can’t go anywhere, at any time of day, without a bodyguard. She is soft-spoken and irrepressibly sane, but also—in the eyes of those who would rather cut her throat than listen to what she says—the most dangerous foe of Islamist extremism in the Western world. We are in a secure room at a sprawling university, but the queasiness in my chest takes a while to go away. I’m talking to a woman with multiple fatwas on her head, someone who has a greater chance of meeting a violent end than anyone I’ve met (Salman Rushdie included). And yet she’s wholly poised, spectacles pushed back to rest atop her head like a crown, dignified and smiling under siege.

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia in 1969, is Islam’s most eloquent apostate. She has just published a slim book that seeks to add a new four-letter word—dawa—to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West and “could well bring about the end of the European Union as we know it.” America is far from immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy before it is too late.”

 

Ms. Hirsi Ali has come a long way from the days when she—“then a bit of a hothead”—declared Islam to be incapable of reform, while also calling on Muslims to convert or abandon religion altogether. That was a contentious decade ago. Today she believes that Islam can indeed be reformed, that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims themselves—by those whom she calls “Mecca Muslims.” These are the faithful who prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was “originally promoted by Muhammad” before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion took a militant and unlovely ideological turn …

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

Contents

On Topic Links

 

If You Still Think There Is Such Thing As a Moderate Muslim, Watch This and Think Again…: Israel Video Network, Apr. 27, 2017—It is not Islamophobic to note the tragic fact that, at this time in history, the Muslim world is dominated by bad ideas and bad beliefs. That is why millions of so-called moderate Muslims do not rise up to denounce Islamist terror – because the word “moderate,” as we understand it, doesn’t really apply.

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2017: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 28, 2017— "What is clear is that the financing of mosques by foreign actors must stop." — Jens Spahn, a member of the executive committee of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

The Purge of a Report on Radical Islam Has Put NYC at Risk: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Apr. 15, 2017— The NYPD has had a stellar track record of protecting the city from another 9/11, foiling more than 20 planned terrorist attacks since 2001. But some worry the department is losing its terror-fighting edge as it tries to please Muslim grievance groups.

Is Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Still the Loyal Opposition?: Nur Köprülü, The Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2017— The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, the key Islamist movement in the country, has had a long-standing symbiotic relationship with the monarchy and, until recently, was not considered a threat to the survival of the Hashemite Kingdom. But the rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the growth of militant Islamist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) have alarmed the monarchy and led to a drastic shift in the nature of its relations with the Brotherhood from coexistence to persecution.