Tag: Hannukah


The Middle East’s Most Overlooked Refugees: Liat Collins, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 29, 2018— As a teenager growing up in London in the 1970s I was completely swept up in the fight for Soviet Jewry…

Putting Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries on the Global Agenda: Ashley Perry, JNS, Nov. 20, 2018 — Do you know what we commemorate on Nov. 30?

American Jewry’s Hanukkah Hypocrisy?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Jewish Press, Dec. 6, 2018— The New York Times’s coverage of Jewish topics has long been fodder for those who study both media bias and the complicated relationship between the newspaper and the members of the tribe that are among its most loyal readers.

Pearl Harbor: Seventy-Seven Years Later: Frederick Krantz, CIJR, Dec. 7, 2018 — We are remembering today the beginning of World War II for the United States, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy”, as FDR put it…

On Topic Links

‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Jews in Arab Lands Must be Addressed: Israeli Diplomat: Janice Arnold, CJN, Dec. 3, 2018

Jews from Islamic Countries are Migrants of the Clash of Civilizations: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 3, 2018

Why is the Story of the Jewish Refugees so Little Known?: Lyn Julius, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 24, 2018

10 Awesome Hanukkah Menorahs: Aaron S., Jerusalem Online, Dec. 5, 2018



Liat Collins                                    

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 29, 2018

As a teenager growing up in London in the 1970s I was completely swept up in the fight for Soviet Jewry, dedicating most Sunday afternoons to demonstrations outside the Soviet embassy and other sites to help promote the message “Let My People Go!” Much of the fight was personal, with campaigns focusing on certain figures who became well known as “refuseniks.” Decades later, seeing Natan Sharansky walking down a Jerusalem street on Shabbat still gives me a feeling of satisfaction.

The movements calling for the release of Soviet Jewry drew together Jews of different ages in different continents and in many ways served those of us in the Diaspora as a rallying point around which our Jewish identity gelled. It’s the sort of solidarity that is sadly lacking today, when Diaspora Jewish youth are as likely to be pitched against each other, in pro-Israel versus pro-Palestinian configurations, with the latter more interested in creating a Palestinian state than protecting the existing Jewish state, however they want to portray themselves.

At some point, I became aware of other distressed Jewish communities. While a broad spectrum of British Jews – like their co-religionists elsewhere – were fighting for Soviet Jews to be able to come out of the cold, few seemed aware that Jews in Damascus, Baghdad and other communities were literally dying to get out. It is sobering to recall that in those days, before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian Jews were completely free and many Israelis lived and worked in Iran.

Demonstrators for Soviet Jews held all sorts of publicity stunts; I remember a rally with pet dogs; a vigil in silence; and sitting down to block rush-hour traffic in London’s Piccadilly Circus. A few years ago I had the opportunity to show Sharansky some photos of me demonstrating on his behalf which he signed to my lasting pride “Thanks for marching for me. It worked. Am Yisrael Hai! [The People of Israel Live!]”

The work on behalf of Sephardi Jewry was much more low-key. I discovered a group called The Jews in Arab Lands Committee headed by the late Percy Gourgey MBE. Gourgey, born in India to an Iraqi-Jewish family, eagerly harnessed my youthful enthusiasm and together with a band of teenage friends I founded a student branch of the committee to help draw attention to the plight of our brethren and interest politicians and opinion makers in this little-known cause.

In many ways the fate of the remaining Jews in Arab lands was worse than that of Soviet Jewry. Drawing attention to a refusenik made the Soviet authorities realize there were international eyes following what they were doing and conditions might be improved as a result; drawing attention to a specific member of the Jewish community in Damascus was more likely to result in that person’s disappearance. Still, with a huge amount of dedication and daring, many of the Jewish community were ultimately able to escape to freedom. When a couple of years ago I met a man who had fled from Syria as a teen I felt the same sort of satisfaction as I had meeting Sharansky and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Today, I live in an area of Jerusalem’s Katamonim neighborhood fondly referred to as the “Kurdish enclave” thanks to the Kurdish and Iraqi Jews who compose the bulk of the local population. Further down the road there is a large pocket of Moroccan and Tunisian Jewish families, with more French-speakers moving in. Anyone who thinks that Israel is some kind of Woody Allen-style, Yiddish-dominated culture planted in the Middle East is in for a surprise on their first visit. The descendants of Jews from Arab lands now make up more than 50% of the Jewish Israeli population and when Israelis talk of “mixed marriages” they are usually (jokingly) referring to Ashkenazi-Sephardi ties.

There are plenty of Sephardi (and Yemenite) families who have lived in the Land of Israel for centuries, but the majority of Sephardim arrived after the creation of the state in 1948 – the non-Palestinian refugees who are largely overlooked. On November 29, the date that the UN in 1947 accepted the Partition Plan that would lead to the establishment of the State of Israel, the world body now cynically marks “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”

Symbolically, on November 30 Israel commemorates the expulsion of more than 800,000 Jews from Arab lands who came to Israel, started new lives in harsh conditions, and helped make the country the success it is today. Jews first settled in future Arab lands following the Babylonian conquest of the Kingdom of Judea, more than 2,500 years before Judea would be known as “The West Bank” – when its Jewish communities had more formidable enemies than pro-boycott advocates at Airbnb.

As Lyn Julius noted in an opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post this week, “More Jews (850,000) fled Arab countries than Palestinian refugees (approximately 711,000), and their exodus was one of the largest movements of non-Muslims from the region until the mass flight of Iraqi Christians… Mizrahi Jews, whose communities predate Islam by 1,000 years, have been written out of history.” In world opinion, the Palestinians alone are the victims. And the Palestinians spend more effort on perpetuating this status, with the very willing help of bodies like the UN, than in building a state of their own – a state the Arab world turned down in 1947, opting instead to try to wipe Israel off the map.

The Arab world also took revenge on the Jews living among them with devastating riots and anti-Jewish measures. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry statistics, since 1948: “In the North African region, 259,000 Jews fled from Morocco, 140,000 from Algeria, 100,000 from Tunisia, 75,000 from Egypt, and another 38,000 from Libya. In the Middle East, 135,000 Jews were exiled from Iraq, 55,000 from Yemen, 34,000 from Turkey, 20,000 from Lebanon and 18,000 from Syria. Iran forced out 25,000 Jews.” Today, only some 4,000 Jews remain in Arab countries. In other politically incorrect words, the Jews are the victims of ethnic cleansing…

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





Ashley Perry

JNS, Nov. 20, 2018


Do you know what we commemorate on Nov. 30? Sadly, for most Israelis and Jews around the world, it is just another day. However, according to a law passed in 2014 by Knesset member Dr. Shimon Ohayon (with the assistance of this author), this is now the date of the official day of commemoration for Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It should be an important day on the official global Jewish calendar because the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa are an essential part of Jewish history, even for those whose ancestors did not come from there.

One of the issues I was able and proud to raise during my time in government was of the ethnic cleansing of almost a million Jews from the Middle East and North Africa—communities massively predating Islam and the Arab conquest of the region in the seventh century, and the appropriation of their assets estimated in today’s prices to be many billions of dollars. Unfortunately, this history—the forced exodus of Jews who, along with their descendants, constitute the majority of Jews in Israel—is barely studied, mostly ignored and seemingly of little interest to the general population and even to Diaspora Jewry.

Apart from the great work of organizations like Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries and Harif, I was amazed that the issue had only seldom been raised in any meaningful way around the world. Growing up in a thriving Jewish community, attending a Jewish school, and being involved in the Jewish community and Zionist organizations, I am astounded now, thinking back, how little was taught about the long and illustrious history of the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa, and their subsequent expulsion. How many are taught about the Jewish communities of Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Yemen—to name but a few of many nations now completely without a Jewish presence?

While in government, we often raised this issue on the international stage and at the foreign ministry under the leadership of then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and even initiated a now annual event at the United Nations solely devoted to the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries with our partners in the World Jewish Congress and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. However, the more we pressed the issue, which by international, U.S. and Israeli law must be part of any resolution to our conflict, the more I understood that Jews in Israel and abroad are not even aware of it…

It is rarely part of any high-level Jewish or pro-Israel conference, barely touched in any pedagogic or educational syllabi, or addressed by any mainstream Jewish or pro-Israel organizations. Before we ask the world to recognize and address their moral, legal and historic rights, we should inform ourselves about the history of the communities, as well as their cleansing and extinction during the 20th century. For many around the world, Jewish history and culture is largely defined by the Jews of Eastern and Central Europe. Still, the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa bestowed great scholarship, cultural and economic successes on many occasions without parallel anywhere in the world.

It is an uphill battle and one our opponents do not want to become widely known because it flips on its head all standard notions about the conflict, including conquest, oppression and indigeneity. I know of an academic who tried to hold a purely historical conference on the history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa, and was turned away by dozens of American universities, even Jewish-studies departments, because the subject matter was considered “too controversial.”

Digest that for a moment: the 2,000- to 3,000-year history of Jewish communities—their achievements, their successes, their suffering. We should not allow the suffocation and extinction of these historic communities to be erased from the pages of history. We should share their stories and keep their memories alive, especially their destruction, which was largely ignored around the world. Please join us in making Nov. 30 not another day, but a vital date in our calendar where we are free to talk about history, rights, redress and justice.




Jonathan S. Tobin                                             

Jewish Press, Dec. 6, 2018

The New York Times’s coverage of Jewish topics has long been fodder for those who study both media bias and the complicated relationship between the newspaper and the members of the tribe that are among its most loyal readers. An article published the week before Hanukkah about the health risks associated with eating fried potatoes set off a debate as to whether the feature was a not-so-subtle dig at a holiday tradition. But whether you think the piece (which actually never mentioned Hanukkah or latkes) really was proof of anti-Semitism or just an unfortunate coincidence that should remind us that sometimes a fried potato is just a fried potato, the discussion was indicative of the suspicions that many Jews hold about the Times.

But there was little doubt that a Times op-ed published in its Sunday edition—the day the holiday began this year—would set alight the debate about its attitude to Jewish sensitivities. In the piece, novelist Michael David Lucas made a couple of accurate observations while attempting to pour cold water on Hanukkah celebrations, while also promoting a misunderstanding of both Jewish history and the struggle to preserve Jewish identity in our own day.

Lucas, who identifies as a “assimilated Jew,” was absolutely right about two things. One is that for many Jews, Hanukkah’s sole significance is as a counterweight to the dominance of Christmas in American popular culture. The other is that many of the otherwise non-observant Jews who embrace it—either on its own or as part of a “Chrismukkah” conflation of the two winter season holidays—know little or nothing about the history of the festival or what the conflict it discusses meant.

But he’s wrong to assert, even obliquely, that it is hypocritical for non-Orthodox or predominantly secular Jews to join in the Hanukkah fun. Lucas is right that Hanukkah is more important to American Jews than other more important religious observances. A survey published by the Jewish People and Policy Institute last week claimed that as many as 60 percent of American Jews light candles on Hanukkah, which is more than the 53 percent who fast on Yom Kippur or the 23 percent who light Shabbat candles, according to the 2013 Pew Survey on Jewish Americans. It’s also greater than the 32 percent of those identifying as Jews who have a Christmas tree.

He is also correct to point out that the main significance of Hanukkah to many Jews is that it is a Jewish answer to Santa Claus. That doesn’t just mean providing Jews with an excuse for taking part in the national obsession with December consumer spending. It also gives them a holiday for which they can demand equal time at public-school assemblies and municipal ceremonies in protest against the annual reminder that Jews are in the minority. For others, it is, merely as Lucas says of himself, an answer to the pleas of their children for Christmas…

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




Frederick Krantz                                               

CIJR, Dec. 7, 2018


“And some there be which have no memorial, who are perished as though they had never been.”

Ecclesiasticus 44:9

We are remembering today the beginning of World War II for the United States, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy”, as FDR put it..  Followed by its final termination four years later in the Pacific, World War II was the most destructive conflagration in the history of the world, then and since.

While many people think it began in 1939, with Hitler’s invasion of Poland, it in fact began many years before, with Japan’s aggression in 1931 (Manchuria) and 1937 (China).  And while the fighting and bloodshed finally ended in 1945 (in Europe with the Allies on the Elbe, the fall of Berlin to the Red Army, and in the Pacific, in August, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Tokyo’s final, formal surrender on the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor, in September), the war’s consequences, with and after the Cold War, are with us still.

The titanic struggle between the Allies, led by Great Britain and the US after the defeat of France and (as is often forgotten), by China in Asia, and the Axis, led by Germany and Japan (with Mussolini’s fascist Italy a subordinate player) would cost humanity well over 60,000,000 military and civilian deaths. These included over 6   million Jews, exterminated by the German Nazis as an integral part of their racial plan to impose an “Aryan” 1,000-Year Reich on first Europe and then the world).

While all the figures given here are approximate, and some vary according to the source, across WWII civilian casualties far exceeded military. Of some 70 million combatants on all sides, about 17 million were killed. The Soviet Union suffered the most civilian deaths, more than 21.5 million; China ca.15 million; Germany 4 million, Japan 2 million; Poland, with the highest per capita death rate, over 6 million dead (50% Jews), equal to 15% of the population.

France lost 600,000, the United Kingdom 65,000, Italy 800,000. Belgium, Holland  Greece and Yugoslavia,; the Scandinavian countries; Finland, Romania, and Hungary (German allies); Bulgaria and Albania and others—all suffered grievous civilian (and in some cases military) casualties.  Ca. 8 million Soviets (including partisans) and 3 million Germans, died on the Eastern front. British armed forces lost 380,000 men, Commonwealth and Imperial allies over 100,000 [Canada, 37,000], the USA 300,000 servicemen.  And over 1 ½ million Jews fought in all the Allied armies.

And millions more people suffered as refugees, forced laborers, oppressed and exploited or sacrificing, populations, in population transfers, and so on.  The cost of the massive destruction of cities, roads, rail-lines, buildings, churches, industrial plants, harbors, bridges, dams, and of the millions of tons of shipping destroyed (true of China, Philippines and other Pacific theater countries as well) is estimated at over $1.5 trillion, probably a very low figure.

The numbers of dead, military and civilian, are staggering and unimaginable (and far outweighed, it should be noted, by those wounded, physically and emotionally). World War II, counting only from 1939 (and not from the beginnings of Japanese aggression in Asia in 1931) lasted 2,174 days; deaths averaged 23,000 lives a day, 15 people were killed [many brutally and senselessly murdered] a minute, for six long years. *  Each death was in its own way a tragedy—multiply each by 60 million to begin to get a sense of the unimaginable human cost of this catastrophe. Europe still has not recovered from the demographic ravages of 1939-1945.

Why did Hitler lose? There are of course many intersecting reasons—Churchill’s leadership and the resilience of Great Britain’s then Empire, with its Commonwealth reinforcements (including Canada); Roosevelt’s pre-December 7, 1941 Lend-Lease aid; Germany’s two-front war after June, 1941, radicalized after the Allied landings in No. Africa and then Italy after November, 1942 and in Normandy in June, 1944 (four of every five Germans who died in combat in WWII died on the Eastern front).

The lack of cooperation between Germany and Japan was a key factor; Allied victory by late 1943 in the Battle of the Atlantic (aided by the breaking of the Germans’ Enigma code), the key role of America’s immense industrial power and production (including large-scale transfers of war materièl to the Soviet Union), and the massive Allied strategic bombing campaign against Germany, were other elements. The flight of Jewish and German emigré nuclear physicists to Britain and the U.S.  precluded rapid German development if an atomic bomb, and the obstinate endurance, courage and sacrifice of millions of ordinary Russian soldiers and civilians (see Vasily Grossman’s great Stalingrad novel, Life and Fate), reinforced by superb (and plentiful) equipment like the T34 tank, Stormovik attack-fighter, and Katyusha rocket artillery, also played key roles.

But as Andrew Roberts concludes in his magisterial The Storm of War. A New History of the Second World War, while stressing Hitler’s misplaced confidence in his own will and military genius and the German racialists’ disinterest in rallying “inferior” conquered peoples, “The real reason why Hitler lost the Second World War was exactly the same one that caused him to unleash it in the first place: he was a Nazi.”*

And so the Age of Global War, which began in fire, smoke and terror in China, Poland and Pearl Harbor ended in triumph in Berlin and Tokyo Harbor four years later, with the dropping of the first atomic bombs and the beginning of the Cold War. Let us never forget the heroes, civilian and military, who, in their millions, made the ultimate sacrifice that we might be free.

*Andrew Roberts, Storm of War (New York, Harper Collins, 2011), pp.579; 608.

(Prof. Krantz is Director & President of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research,

Editor of the Daily Isranet Briefing and the Israfax quarterly,

and a Professor of History at Liberal Arts College, Concordia University.)


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



On Topic Links

‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Jews in Arab Lands Must be Addressed: Israeli Diplomat: Janice Arnold, CJN, Dec. 3, 2018—Vivianne Schinasi-Silver calls herself “the last of the Mohicans,” the final generation to remember “the golden age” of the Jewish community of Egypt.

Jews from Islamic Countries are Migrants of the Clash of Civilizations: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 3, 2018—Every year, on 30 November, Israel and the Jewish world remember the 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab-Islamic countries. Many of them live among us in Europe, in Rome as in Paris, in Milan as in Brussels.

Why is the Story of the Jewish Refugees so Little Known?: Lyn Julius, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 24, 2018—Seventy years ago, the newly-established State of Israel opened the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees. Many were Holocaust survivors from the displaced persons camps or remnant communities of Eastern Europe, but the biggest contingent seeking refuge in Israel came from Arab and Muslim countries.

10 Awesome Hanukkah Menorahs: Aaron S., Jerusalem Online, Dec. 5, 2018




Of Course Hezbollah was Tunneling Under the Border. Why Wouldn’t It?: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2018 — The IDF’s announcement Tuesday morning of an operation against Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanese territory into Israel is not necessarily a clear indication of an escalation with the Shiite terror group.

Israel’s Merkava Crowned One the World’s Deadliest Tanks: Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2018— Israel’s Merkava Mark IV tank has been crowned one of the five deadliest tanks in the world by the conservative American magazine the National Interest, alongside Russia’s T40 and the American M1 Abrams.

Pushing for an Israeli Victory Is the Only Way to End the Conflict with the Palestinians: Daniel Pipes, Ha’aretz, Dec. 2, 2018— From a practical political point of view, Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, and their idea to take a tougher stand toward Hamas just went down to defeat, if not humiliation.

An Ignorant ‘New York Times’ Trashes the Maccabees: Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 2018— In the latest puerile and asinine op-ed from The New York Times about Jews and Judaism, novelist Michael David Lukas seeks to dampen the joyous energy of the festival of Hanukkah by adding a bummer liberal twist.

On Topic Links

Israel Launches Operation on Lebanon Border to Destroy Hezbollah Attack Tunnels: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2018

Hizbullah’s Operational Plan to Invade the Galilee through Underground Tunnels: Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, Dec. 4, 2018

Israel Must Reevaluate Its Policy of Nuclear Ambiguity: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Dec. 2, 2018

President Rivlin’s First Light of Hanuka with Haredi Soldiers: David Israel, Jewish Press, Dec. 2, 2018



UNDER THE BORDER. WHY WOULDN’T IT?                           

Avi Issacharoff                                                                                         

Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2018

The IDF’s announcement Tuesday morning of an operation against Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanese territory into Israel is not necessarily a clear indication of an escalation with the Shiite terror group. Except that an examination of the breadth of regional developments, including these tunnels and in particular Hezbollah’s Iran-backed factories for precision rockets, prompts a worrying conclusion: The next war between Israel and Hezbollah is already at the door.

Hezbollah, in the wake of the dwindling civil war in Syria, is a stronger organization than it was before the violence erupted there seven years ago. True, it suffered major losses, with about 2,000 of its fighters killed and four times that number wounded, as it battled against rebels on behalf of the Assad regime. But on the battlefield, Israel is now facing a more dangerous enemy, trained and practiced from a prolonged ground war.

The Lebanon-based terror group has began rehabilitating its abilities against Israel in a number of ways. First, in rocketry. Hezbollah had a vast number of rockets before the Syrian civil war erupted, although most of them were not accurate. Now, under Iranian guidance in Syria and Lebanon, it is working to change that.

The factories for producing accurate missiles that Hezbollah is working to establish, with the assistance of Iran’s Republican Guards Corps, will give the Shiite terror organization impressive capabilities to damage Israeli infrastructure, both military and civilian — the kind of damage that will make the 2006 conflict, when it last battled Israel and rained down rockets on the north of the country, look like a walk in the park.

At the same time, Hezbollah is busy enlisting fresh fighters, training them, and equipping them with Iranian weapons and money. In addition, the organization is engaged in setting up a military infrastructure on the Syrian Golan Heights, under the noses of, and with the agreement of, Syrian authorities, yet ignored by Russia. In 2015, Israel allegedly hit Hezbollah senior commander Jihad Mughniyah, who was leading that project; apparently one of his brothers has taken over.

It now becomes clear that Hezbollah’s preparations for a land operation against Israeli, within the framework of the next war, did not cease even for a moment. The goal is not just directing heavy rocket fire at Israel but also attempting to take control of Israeli communities — scenarios that Hezbollah chiefs have called “conquering the Galilee.”

Like many others, I had heard endless explanations from senior and not-so-senior IDF officers that Hezbollah has no interest in tunnels because of the cost and difficulty of digging them in the northern terrain. The limestone bedrock is completely different from the sandy soil of the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas terror group has tunneled for years. It was also asserted that a ground operation launched under the cover of darkness, in the forested areas of the north, would be more effective and efficient than investing in tunnels. Residents in the north were told the same things by the IDF.

Yet Hezbollah plainly thought differently. With the wisdom of hindsight, it is hard to understand why it wouldn’t do just what it evidently has been doing. In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the IDF discovered that the “nature reserves” Hezbollah had set up on the northern border included a network of tunnels, carved out in that difficult hilly territory — drilled through the limestone bedrock. Therefore, it was eminently reasonable to imagine that Hezbollah would try to build attack tunnels into Israel.

Another relevant factor here is the departure of the Islamic State jihadist group from the Middle East arena, which has given Hezbollah more energy, resources, and motivation for a renewed confrontation with Israel. The extremist Sunni threat of IS has been almost completely wiped out; now it is possible to focus on efforts to harm Israel, under the close guidance of Iran. Hezbollah has taken over Lebanon and does whatever it wants there. Israeli threats to hit Lebanese infrastructure have made little impression on the group. It exists solely to serve its masters in Tehran.

A final point for consideration is that the IDF effort to uncover and counter the Hezbollah tunnels is not a military “operation” on the Lebanese home front. It is also not a daring commando raid. Rather, this is an engineering operation. True, it has the potential for escalation, but there does not seem to be a reason to worry about a war just because of an operation inside Israeli territory.

Which brings me, finally, to the Gaza Strip. Even the imperative for the work at the northern border by the IDF’s engineering corps and other units does not constitute a real reason to allow the transfer of money — $15 million to be exact, in Qatari cash, every month — to the Hamas coffers, as was apparently agreed after last month’s clashes between Israel and Hamas. With that policy, Israel is buying not quiet but the next escalation. Not from the north, but from the south.




Anna Ahronheim

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2018

Israel’s Merkava Mark IV tank has been crowned one of the five deadliest tanks in the world by the conservative American magazine the National Interest, alongside Russia’s T40 and the American M1 Abrams. Conceived by Maj.-Gen. Israel Tal following the Yom Kippur War, the Merkava is the IDF’s first indigenous main battle tank. The first Merkava I entered service in 1978 and saw its premiere action in the First Lebanon War in 1982.

The Merkava is also one of the first armored vehicles to be equipped with the Trophy Active Protection System (APS), the only fully operational and combat-proven APS against anti-tank guided missiles in the world. “Combined with a tiny general population in which even minor personnel losses were felt across society, the Israeli military envisioned a tank which prioritized defensive capabilities and firepower above all else,” read the report, stating that “the construction of an entirely new class of main battle tank by Israel, a tiny country, is certainly a major achievement.”

Praising the Merkava’s hybrid modular armor, the National Interest said the tank has “excellent protection” with its turret and frontal hull area “sharply faceted to present maximum armored protection at all angles, giving the turret a knife-like edge.” The Trophy system, developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries’ Elta Group, was praised by the National Interest as being one of the most important aspects of the Merkava.

Designed to detect and neutralize incoming projectiles, the Trophy system has four radar antennas and fire-control radars to track incoming threats such as anti-tank-guided-missiles (ATGMs), and rocket propelled grenades. Once a projectile is detected, the Trophy system fires a shotgun-type blast to neutralize the threat.

The Trophy has been installed on the Merkava tanks since 2009 and received its “baptism by fire” on March 1, 2011. In that incident it neutralized an RPG anti-tank rocket which had been fired from a short range toward an IDF Merkava Mark-IV tank close to the border with the Gaza Strip. The system has since proved its efficacy in several operations, especially during Operation Protective Edge, when IDF tanks were able to operate in the Gaza Strip without suffering any losses.

The Trophy system has not only been installed on the IDF’s Namer heavy infantry fighting vehicle and the new Eitan armored personnel carrier. In June, the US Army awarded a contract worth close to $200 million for the system to shield its Abrams tanks “in support of immediate operational requirements.” A new and lightweight version of the system neutralized more than 95% of munitions fired at it in tests conducted this summer ahead of testing for the US Army’s Stryker armored vehicle.

Israel has built more than 2,000 Merkavas and is currently developing the latest generation of the tank, the Merkava IV Barak, which is expected to be ready for trial runs by the IDF in 2020.

The new Merkava 4 Barak tank is designed as a “smart tank” with dozens of sensors and a task computer, which will present all information to both the crew inside the tank as well as the other tanks and vehicles present in the field.

The new tank’s computer-controlled fire control system will also be able to acquire and lock onto moving targets, including airborne platforms, while the tank itself is moving. The sensors, along with a 360-degree camera fitted outside the tank, will also allow troops to remain in the tank at all times and a new smart helmet designed by Elbit Systems will allow the commander of the tank to see exactly what is outside the tank, such as approaching terrorists or other threats.





Daniel Pipes     

Ha’aretz, Dec. 2, 2018

From a practical political point of view, Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, and their idea to take a tougher stand toward Hamas just went down to defeat, if not humiliation. That’s because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again showed his political skills; the first is now ex-defense minister, the second failed to become defense minister.

From a longer-term point of view, however, the duo raised an issue that for decades had not been part of the Israeli political discourse but, due to their efforts, promises to be an important factor in the future: that would be the concept of victory, of an Israeli victory over Hamas and, by extension, over the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians in general.

Victory – defined as imposing one’s will on the enemy so he gives up his war goals – has been the objective of philosophers, strategists, and generals through human history. Aristotle wrote that “Victory is the end of generalship.” Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian theorist, concurred: “The aim of war should be the defeat of the enemy.” Gen. James Mattis, the U.S. secretary of defense, finds that “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over.”

Palestinians routinely speak of achieving victory over Israel, even when this is fantastical: to cite one example, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas called his Hamas counterpart, Ismail Haniyeh, after eight days of violence with Israel that left Gaza badly battered in November 2012 to “congratulate him on the victory and extend condolences to the families of martyrs.”

Contrarily, in Israel, the notion of victory has been sidelined since at least the Oslo Accords of 1993, after which its leaders instead focused on such concepts as compromise, conciliation, confidence-building, flexibility, goodwill, mediation, and restraint. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immemorially articulated this attitude in 2007 when he stated that “Peace is achieved through concessions.”

This perverse understanding of how wars end led Israel to make extraordinary blunders in the fifteen years after Oslo, for which it was punished by unremitting campaigns of delegitimization and violence, symbolized, respectively, by the Durban conference of 2001 and the Passover Massacre of 2002.

Such nonsense ended during Netanyahu’s near-decade-long term as prime minister, but it has not yet been replaced by a sturdy vision of victory. Rather, Netanyahu has put out brush fires as they arose in Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Syria, and Lebanon. While agreeing with the concept of an Israeli victory when personally briefed, he has not spoken publicly about it.

Meanwhile, other leading figures in Israel have adopted this outlook. Former deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan called on the army “to return to the path of victory.” Former education and interior minister Gideon Sa’ar has stated that “The ‘victory paradigm,’ like Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ concept, assumes that an agreement may be possible in the future, but only after a clear and decisive Israeli victory … The transition to the ‘victory paradigm’ is contingent upon abandoning the Oslo concept.”

In this context, the statements by Lieberman and Bennett point to a change in thinking. Lieberman quit his position as defense minister out of frustration that a barrage by Hamas of 460 rockets and missiles against Israel was met with a ceasefire; he called instead for “a state of despair” to be imposed on the enemies of Israel. Complaining that “Israel stopped winning,” Bennett demanded that the IDF “start winning again,” and added that “When Israel wants to win, we can win.” On rescinding his demand for the defense portfolio, Bennett emphasized that he stands ‎by Netanyahu “in the monumental task of ensuring that Israel is victorious ‎again.”

Opponents of this paradigm then amusingly testified to the power of this idea of victory. Ma’ariv columnist Revital Amiran wrote that the victory the Israeli public most wants lies in such arenas as larger allocations for the elderly and unbearable traffic jams. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg, replied to Bennett that for her, a victorious Israel means winning Emmy and Oscar nominations, guaranteeing equal health services, and spending more on education.

That victory and defeat have newly become a topic for debate in Israel constitutes a major step forward. As media figure Ayalet Mitsch correctly notes, “even left-leaning Israelis think it’s time to win again.” Thus does the push for an Israeli victory move forward.




Shmuley Boteach

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 2018

In the latest puerile and asinine op-ed from The New York Times about Jews and Judaism, novelist Michael David Lukas seeks to dampen the joyous energy of the festival of Hanukkah by adding a bummer liberal twist. In Hanukkah, he claims, we are celebrating the defeat of the pallbearers of Western culture at the hands of intolerant fundamentalist guerrillas. The Maccabees, he essentially argues, were a bunch of rightwing nuts. It’s just an “eight-night-long celebration of religious fundamentalism and violence” he declares, one based not on doughnuts or menorahs, but on “subjugating assimilated Jews.”

Lukas isn’t the first to make this silly claim. A columnist for The Forward, just a few years ago, took it upon herself to sentence the Maccabees to the “wrong side of history.” The Washington Post listed “Hanukkah celebrates a fight for religious freedom” as one of its five Hanukkah myths. Those who make this argument seem to draw an implicit parallel between the Maccabees and the “other” fundamentalist death cults we see across the world today claiming divine commission to combat Western culture. They’re also parroting a theory that is according to both the Jewish and secular historical traditions, overwhelmingly baseless.

The Hasmonean revolt was not a fundamentalist- religious movement sworn to the destruction of liberal Western ideologies. It was, instead, a popular campaign to safeguard the freedom of a people to freely practice their faith and traditions regardless of the whims of an emperor. Unlike fundamentalist terrorist groups, which are born from intolerance of other faiths, the Maccabees fought to end the Greek intolerance of theirs. Moreover, the Maccabees did not wage war against a mostly benevolent superpower encouraging religious, political and cultural reforms. Their mission, rather, was to stymie the very deadly plans of a megalomaniacal, absolutist dictator who drew no limits on the level of oppression and exploitation he would thrust upon the powerless citizens of a tiny client-state.

BEFORE WE begin to explore the depth and depravity of Antiochus’ crimes, we must first establish the crucial fact that they represented a stunning departure from Hellenistic imperial norms. Crucial, because it proves that the Jews did not revolt against Hellenistic culture – which, by the time of the revolt in 167 BCE, had been around for at least six decades – but against a king who sought to enforce that culture both to the exclusion of all others and at the pain of death. In other words, the Maccabees revolted against a tyrant who sought to destroy Judaism.

After all, from the moment Hellenistic kings conquered ancient Israel, they brought their ideologies with them. That never seemed to bother the rabbinic Jewish leadership. On the contrary, the Jewish high priest Simon the Great – probably a New York Times-certified “extremist,” considering the rabbis of the Talmud laud him – offered the warmest imaginable welcome to Alexander the Great during the first Greek foray into Israel.

During that campaign, the kingdoms of Gaza, Tyre and Sidon waged futile battles to keep Alexander and his culture far out of their homelands. When he came to Jerusalem, however, Jewish tradition teaches that the Jewish High Priest Simon left the city to greet the Macedonian king. There, he begged that Alexander spare the Temple, which he described as a “house in which we pray for you and for your kingdom not to be destroyed.” This stunning symbol of Jewish-Hellenistic cooperation has been preserved not in the books of Hellenized Jews, but in the Pharisaic, rabbinically authored Babylonian Talmud (Yoma, 69a.) While this story stands in stark contrast to the narrative told by The New York Times and Lukas, it seems all but natural, once you accept that, for the Jews of ancient Israel, the existence of competing ideologies in their native homeland just wasn’t an issue. After Alexander’s death, and the division of his empire into Seleucid Syria, Ptolemaic Egypt, and Antigonid Greece, religious tolerance became a central tenet of Hellenistic rule in general, and of the Seleucids in particular.

According to the great Jewish historian Josephus, when King Ptolemy IV gained control over Jerusalem after the battle of Raphia in 217 BCE, he paid homage to his new Jewish subjects by offering sacrifices to their God in the Temple. Even when after flaunted Jewish cultural norms by forcing his way into the Holy of Holies, he elicited a moderate response from what appears to have been a moderate Jewish community…

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

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Chag Sameach!



On Topic Links

Israel Launches Operation on Lebanon Border to Destroy Hezbollah Attack Tunnels: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Dec. 4, 2018—The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday launched an operation to destroy a number of cross-border attack tunnels that it says were dug by the Iran-backed Hezbollah group into northern Israel from Lebanon.

Hizbullah’s Operational Plan to Invade the Galilee through Underground Tunnels: Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, Dec. 4, 2018 —One of the main lessons Hizbullah learned from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 was the necessity of changing the aims of its next war with Israel. The new goals included building up its defensive capabilities and developing methods of attack that would allow Hizbullah to fight the war within Israeli territory.

Israel Must Reevaluate Its Policy of Nuclear Ambiguity: Prof. Louis René Beres, BESA, Dec. 2, 2018—Given the upheavals cascading throughout the Middle East since 2011, Israel now faces a unique dilemma.

President Rivlin’s First Light of Hanuka with Haredi Soldiers: David Israel, Jewish Press, Dec. 2, 2018—President Reuven Rivlin lit the first candle of Hanuka Sunday evening, with soldiers from the IDF Haredi Tomer battalion of the Givati Brigade, the Hetz company of the Paratroops Brigade and the Netzah Yisrael battalion of the Kfir Brigade.


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.]





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.]




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.]




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!



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.


Nikki Haley’s Right: Time to Start ‘Taking Names’ at the U.N.: Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, Dec. 21, 2017— United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s recent threat — that the United States would be “taking names” of those who vote against it in the U.N. General Assembly — summed up everything liberals and the foreign-policy establishment hate about the Trump administration.

Moving Jerusalem From Heaven to Earth: Donna Robinson Divine and Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet, Dec. 18, 2017 — Heaven and earth are said to meet on Jerusalem’s sacred esplanade where the city’s most famous resident is called God.

Identifying the Enemy: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 21, 2017— Former US president Barack Obama’s last speech at the United Nations in September 2016 expressed deep disappointment with conflict around the world.

Dining with Bahrainis at a Jerusalem Mall: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017— It was a surreal experience on the first night of Hanukkah. I was invited to a dinner with interfaith visitors from the kingdom of Bahrain.


On Topic Links


Vote Shows Israel Making Little Headway at United Nations: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2017

Europe's Governments Fail the Jews – Again: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 20, 2017

The Secret Backstory of How Obama Let Hezbollah off the Hook: Josh Meyer, Politico, Dec., 2017

Tokyo Support Rally for Israel (Video): Youtube, July 31, 2014





Jonathan S. Tobin

National Review, Dec. 21, 2017


United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s recent threat — that the United States would be “taking names” of those who vote against it in the U.N. General Assembly — summed up everything liberals and the foreign-policy establishment hate about the Trump administration. That President Trump subsequently embraced Haley’s idea in a tweet, and threatened to cut off aid to those who thumb their nose at their American benefactor in U.N. votes, only made it worse. To those who remember President Obama’s devotion to multilateralism and support for international institutions, Haley’s and Trump’s statements reek of arrogance and contempt for world opinion.

But there are two things wrong with the liberal huffing and puffing. The first is that the administration’s threats are bound to be immensely popular even among Americans who aren’t Trump fans. The second is that it is high time that someone reminded the inhabitants of the U.N. that while the U.S. may be considered the dull child in the classroom in their realm, the balance of power in the real world is very different, even on issues where Trump has supposedly isolated the U.S., such as Jerusalem and the Arab–Israeli conflict.


Haley’s threat came in a letter sent to U.N. member countries in which she urged them not to support a General Assembly resolution condemning the U.S. for Trump’s statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Monday, Haley exercised America’s right to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution when a similar resolution received the approval of every other member except the U.S. Encouraged by the 14–1 vote, the Palestinian Authority and its allies will stage another vote in the GA today, which will undoubtedly pass by a huge majority, although (unlike a Security Council measure) it will have only symbolic significance.


But Haley isn’t taking the attempt to isolate the U.S. lying down. As she did in her eloquent defense of the American position before the Security Council, the ambassador said not only that Trump had done the right thing when recognizing Israel’s rights in Jerusalem, but also that other nations had no business telling the U.S. where to put any of its embassies.


Trump and Haley aren’t the first American leaders to ponder the irony of the U.S. distributing billions in foreign aid over the years to countries that have no compunction about condemning the U.S. every chance they get. Foreign aid takes a minuscule percentage of the federal budget and is, in many instances, both altruistic and very much in the interest of the United States. However, it remains unpopular. That is especially true when recipients not only lack gratitude for American largesse but actively resent their indebtedness to Washington.


Trump’s predecessor encouraged this attitude, since he often seemed more inclined to apologize for America’s sins, and to deprecate the presumption that it could teach the world a thing or two about freedom, than to make demands on international organizations. Career diplomats may loathe language they think makes the U.S. appear to be a bully. But one needn’t embrace Trump’s “America First” mantra — though the foreign-policy doctrine published under that name is more realist than isolationist — to understand that the U.S. has every right to call aid recipients and allies to account when they cross the line into unfair attacks on Washington.


Trump’s and Haley’s threats are appropriate, but they won’t be easy to carry out. Some of the nations who will cross the U.S. today in the Jerusalem vote are precisely those that even Trump wants to keep supporting. Egypt, which receives approximately $1.5 billion per year from the United States, sponsored the GA Jerusalem resolution. But since its military government is vital to efforts to resist Islamist terror, undermining it with an aid cut would be foolish.


But the disconnect between U.N. votes and real-world concerns is precisely why it is equally foolish to think that Trump’s Jerusalem decision has isolated the U.S., as the president’s domestic and foreign critics contend. Though the 14–1 Security Council vote and what will happen in the General Assembly make it appear as if the U.S. is standing alone with Israel, outside of international forums, it is actually the authors of these resolutions — the Palestinians — who are isolated…

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






Donna Robinson Divine and Asaf Romirowsky

Ynet, Dec. 18, 2017


Heaven and earth are said to meet on Jerusalem’s sacred esplanade where the city’s most famous resident is called God. But theological principles travel well beyond the splendor of these precincts turning ordinary struggles for power into battles between good and evil sanctified as much by ritual as by death.


If failing to remember its holiness is unusual, as the Psalmist says, forgetting the Jerusalem inhabited by ordinary people who work, attend school, open and close businesses is normal. As Israel’s national capital, the site of its parliament and most government offices, Jerusalem has become the symbolic battleground for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even though the sacred texts of Islam and Judaism could just as easily render the site a force for shared celebration and peace as for war. For notwithstanding the current chorus of political and religious leaders denying the legitimacy of Jewish claims and thereby casting doubt on their own canonical sources, Jerusalem’s sanctity for Islam derives from the special status first accorded it by Jews.


Into this mix stepped President Donald Trump, who announced the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with instructions to move the embassy from Tel Aviv into this most contested of holy cities. It is a long overdue move. A mark of sovereignty is the capacity to designate a capital city. Israel deserves nothing less. Nor does it adversely affect the so-called peace process. Nothing the President did with his declaration of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital precludes the realization of any of the principles of the Oslo Accords and the expected discussions concerning the possibility of part of Jerusalem becoming the capital of a Palestinian state should it ever be established.


Whatever the president's motivations, the timing of the declaration has some important consequences. First, it dismantles the UN Resolution (2334) passed in the last months of President Barack Obama's second term, which declared even the construction around Jewish holy sites, like the Wall, a violation of International Law. By contrast to proclamations issued by UNESCO, ignoring Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage—passed without opposition from European countries like France and Spain—President Trump’s declaration restores some balance to recognizing the reality of Israel as a Jewish state. Second, the American policy comes at a time when many of the Arab states are more concerned with Iran than with Israel and with a turmoil they are desperate to contain in a world no longer as beholden to their oil and natural gas as in the past.


Third, Trump is saying something profound about the so-called peace process that most pundits and even experts are unwilling to recognize or have forgotten. No American or foreign initiative has ever moved Palestinians and Israelis into a peace process. From the very moment of Israel's founding, there have been many efforts to bridge the gaps or forge a plan to bring the parties together. Only after the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) suffered defeats in Jordan and Lebanon, and then was marginalized in the 1980s by the Iran-Iraq War, did it embrace the idea of a political process. And even then, it was difficult to give up the idea of a resistance allowing, if not encouraging, violence against Israel or against what it termed its occupation of Palestinian lands.


Whether or not Arafat actually wanted to rule out the possibility of confronting Israel, he, in fact, called for jihad on a visit to South Africa less than a year after signing the Oslo Accords. Resistance was expected to strengthen international deference to Palestinian demands as a political settlement was pursued. That strategy played out in the second intifada, as Palestinian militants received stipends from other Middle Eastern countries willing and able to pay for the violence. But funds in the region are now tight and channeled to militants waging other battles in other lands. When the Palestinian plight is no longer the major source of Middle Eastern violence, it is also not a regional priority.


Finally, unlike the diplomatic activity set in motion by President Obama, this declaration signals that time may not be on the Palestinian side. The Obama administration tried to aid Palestinians by establishing preconditions that met their demands even before negotiations began. Indulgence of Palestinian hopes to reverse history and shrink Israel’s borders are no longer on offer from President Trump. And with the global shift of energy resources, such deference is no longer necessary.


There may be broad international encouragement for Palestinian leaders to stew in their rage against this declaration and the American policies it implies, but anger is not a strategy that can advance the Palestinian cause. Most importantly, this declaration moves Jerusalem from heaven to earth. If Jerusalem is a symbol and myth of spirituality and grandeur, no political power has a right to claim it. President Trump has recognized the real Jerusalem that is firmly planted on the ground, the one that Israelis—Jews, Christians, and Muslims—live in and with.         





David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 21, 2017


Former US president Barack Obama’s last speech at the United Nations in September 2016 expressed deep disappointment with conflict around the world. He seemed baffled by the stubborn refusal of the world to reform itself in his exalted image. All he could do was exhort lamely for “global brotherhood.”


How can there still be “deep fault lines in the international order,” Obama wondered aloud, with “societies filled with uncertainty, and unease, and strife? Hasn’t the very identity of man “made up of the flesh and blood and traditions and cultures and faiths from a lot of different parts of the world” served as a shining and irresistible example of blended global peace? How can it be that after eight years of his “visionary” leadership, Obama asked, people everywhere weren’t marching to the tune of his self-declared superior “moral imagination”? It is indeed a “paradox,” Obama declared.


After all, hadn’t he won the Nobel Peace Prize early in his tenure? Shouldn’t that have been enough for everybody else to follow suit and sing kumbaya, including the lions and the lambs? Alas, missing from Obama’s UN address – indeed from his entire presidency – was willingness to project power. In Obama’s view, there are no hard enemies. And if there were bad guys out there, Obama made it clear that under his watch America wasn’t really willing to confront the adversaries.


In fact, the words “enemy, “threat” and “adversary” did not appear even once in Obama’s 5,600-word address. They were not part of his lexicon, nor were concepts like “victory” for the West or “beating” the bad guys. He wouldn’t even name foes, like “radical Islam” or “Islamist terrorism.” And of course, Obama was ashamed of America’s “overbearing” record of decisive global leadership. Even in that final UN speech, he was apologizing for American megawealth, “soulless capitalism,” “unaccountable mercantilist policies,” insufficient foreign assistance, and “strongman” pushing of its liberal democratic preferences.


So it has fallen to the next US president to redirect US policy, based on less wayward beliefs and on more hard-nosed reassertion of Western interests. President Donald Trump has begun to do just that, this week unveiling a new National Security Strategy that triggers the process of rehabilitating US foreign and defense policy in the post-Obama era. It starts by naming America’s adversaries.


Trump’s blueprint warns of a treacherous world in which the US faces rising threats from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from explicitly labeled “rogue governments” like North Korea and Iran, and from other “jihadi extremist” elements. This is Step One in bringing America back to global leadership: Identifying the enemy. Trump’s 68-page document and accompanying speech also dare to hint at the tools of power that America is prepared to employ in order to secure a safe world for Americans. This explicitly includes “preventive war” (i.e., perhaps a preemptive strike on North Korea or Iran) and the rebuilding of America’s armed forces and its nuclear arsenal.


Obama eviscerated the US military and deemphasized nuclear weapons as a key to American defense. Trump is rebuilding the US armed forces and calls nuclear weapons “the foundation of our strategy to preserve peace and stability by deterring aggression against the US.” Even if you discount for Trump’s braggadocio, the security document is still a robust statement of American strategic realism; a necessary corrective to Obama-era enfeeblement and self-flagellation. There are enemies out there and the US has to lead in confronting them. In one fell swoop, Trump dismissed Obama’s blind faith in multilateralism and international organizations. He also formally rejected isolationism as the correct path for America, as well as hard-to-implement neo-con democracy promotion as a guiding principle for American policy. There are, of course, contradictions between Trump’s newly articulated defense worldview and his first-year record, so it remains to be seen whether the doctrine amounts to much.


Trump wants to promote American power and influence, but his pay-as-you-go version of alliances complicates Washington’s relations with its partners. He wants to be tough on Iran, but his talk of rolling-back Iranian hegemonic advances hasn’t yet amounted to much. Trump also has been as reticent as Obama to confront Vladimir Putin. The strategy paper’s description of the challenge posed by Russia seems at odds with Trump’s own refusal to criticize Putin for the latter’s seizure of Crimea, takeover of Syria, efforts to destabilize Ukraine, support for Iran, violations of a key nuclear treaty with the US, and meddling in US domestic politics.


Here in Israel, Trump’s strategy paper generated headlines for one sentence which unambiguously debunks what is known as “linkage theory” – the argument that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of the broader region’s instability. “For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region,” the blueprint reads. “Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems.”


Well, hallelujah. Finally a bit of realism from Washington, after a decade or more of unfriendly diplomatic orthodoxy that laid the primary responsibility on Israel for Mideast turmoil! It is the same realism tinged with a modicum of moral conviction that was on display last week when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He slapped down Palestinian denialism and effectively punished the Palestinian Authority for its rejectionism. He brushed aside Palestinian and radical Islamic threats of cataclysmic violence. By refusing to hold US policy hostage to threats and to the inability of the Palestinians to compromise, Trump is setting the stage for a more realistic Mideast diplomatic process.






Manfred Gerstenfeld

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017


It was a surreal experience on the first night of Hanukkah. I was invited to a dinner with interfaith visitors from the kingdom of Bahrain. The delegation from this Gulf state was hosted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC). Like many other Arab countries, Bahrain has no diplomatic relations with Israel and until recently it had boycotted Israel.  


On the way to the restaurant at the Jerusalem Mamilla Mall the Bahraini delegation passed the mall’s Chabad’s candle lighting festival. So many people attend these festivities that the visitors were almost prevented from passing through. I was told that several delegates danced together with the Chabad representatives and bystanders.  The Bahraini delegation included Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians. A Syrian Orthodox priest told me that the originators of his church were Jews. The gathering started with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles lighting the first candle of Hanukkah. He then passed the shamash, the lighting candle, to several Bahrainis who each touched the burning candle with it to participate in the lighting.


This unofficial delegation visited religious and other sites in Israel. It was only able to come because the authorities of the Arab Kingdom did not oppose the visit. The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, had invited Rabbi Marvin Hier who heads the SWC and Rabbi Cooper in February this year to visit him at the island’s capital, Manama. That meeting was not kept secret and even reported on local TV. Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, son of the Bahraini king came with a large delegation to the headquarters of the SWC in Los Angeles in September 2017. They also visited the SWC’s Museum of Tolerance and participated in a dinner attended by hundreds of interfaith leaders. When the Israeli national hymn Hatikvah was played, the prince and the delegation stood.


During that visit a declaration by the Bahraini king about religious freedom was released. It said: "Every individual has the freedom to practice their religion, providing they do no harm to others, respect the laws of the land, and accept responsibility, spiritually and materially, for their choices." Rabbi Hier said that the King of Bahrain now opposes the Arab states' boycott of Israel. The king also intends to allow citizens from his kingdom to visit Israel freely. There are still some Jews living in Manama, where there is a synagogue. According to a secret US cable published by Wikileaks, the King had mentioned to an American official that Bahrain had contacts with Israeli intelligence…


During the dinner I sat next to a Buddhist monk from Thailand who lives in Bahrain. He had been a monk for 17 years. He is the head of the local community of Thai Buddhists — which has some members from Sri Lanka — and has 2.000 followers. He didn't partake in the dinner because he never eats after lunchtime. A Hindu gentleman opposite me also didn't eat. He told me that he fasts for more than 24 hours, every 15 days. He is the sales and marketing manager of a Bahraini trading company. He explained that he starts every day with 2 hours of prayer. In Israel he visited a temple close to Ariel where there is a small Hindu community.


Next to him sat the priest of his temple in Bahrain. He said that he doesn’t fast and called the fasting man a “devotee.” In Israeli terminology this probably translates as ‘ultra-orthodox.” The priest also mentioned that out of the 350,000 Indians of various religions living in Bahrain, about 100,000 are Hindus. There are about 7 or 8 Hindu temples in the country. On a festive day his temple could be visited during the day by up to 15,000 people. The man sitting next to him, a business man, was the chairman of the temple.


On my other side sat an American-born universalist living in a village in Mid Java, Indonesia. He said that he considers himself a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian. He added that it was difficult to also be a Jew. We agreed that unless one was born into this faith, a lot of education was required to become a Jew.  Next to him sat the leader of the Bahraini delegation, Betsy Mathieson. She heads an organization, "Sharing the Humble Bahraini Way of Life."  It wasn't exactly like in the time of the Maccabees, but I considered this dinner a small miracle taking place on the first day of Hanukkah.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Vote Shows Israel Making Little Headway at United Nations: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 22, 2017—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy doctrine is based on a simple idea: Israel’s position in international organizations will improve as its bilateral relations with individual countries gets better.

Europe's Governments Fail the Jews – Again: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 20, 2017—The resolution at the UN Security Council, in which Egypt asked not to move the embassies to Jerusalem, as the United States  pledged to do two weeks ago, ended with 14 votes for the resolution against 1 – the US veto. For the first time in a year, the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resoluton aimed precisely at Israel.

The Secret Backstory of How Obama Let Hezbollah off the Hook: Josh Meyer, Politico, Dec., 2017—In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

Tokyo Support Rally for Israel (Video): Youtube, July 31, 2014— July 31, 2014, rally support for Israel was held  Israel embassy in Japan front. In Tokyo.









Hanukkah 5778: The Festival of Lights: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Dec. 12, 2017— Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Hebraism over Hellenism, a mass uprising of the Jewish people against totalitarianism and anti-Semitic bigotry.

Egypt and Israel: Love Your Neighbor?: Ksenia Svetlova, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017— Israeli and Egyptian flags merged one into another were at the center of the stage, the president of Israel and others spoke about true friendship, true alliance, true hope.

Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai?: Denis MacEoin, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 10, 2017— The massive November 24 terrorist attack by Islamic State on a Sufi mosque in a town of little importance, Bir al-Abd, in northern Sinai, resounded across the world.

Egypt's Population Bomb: Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, Dec. 5, 2017— It's the most important Middle Eastern news story that no one is talking about.


On Topic Links


Sites of the Maccabees: Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2017

A Look at Egypt-Russia Relations as Putin Visits Cairo: Fox News, Dec. 11, 2017

Whirlwind Putin Tour Highlights Moscow’s New Reach in Mideast: Neil Macfarquhar and Anne Barnard, New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017

Muslim Brotherhood Calls for Uprising Against US: Clarion Project, Dec. 11, 2017




Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Dec. 12, 2017


Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Hebraism over Hellenism, a mass uprising of the Jewish people against totalitarianism and anti-Semitic bigotry. Hanukkah celebrates the first serious attempt in history to proclaim and assure the principle of religious liberty.


The primary aim of the Maccabees was to preserve their own identity and way of life, which was in danger of extermination, and to safeguard for Israel the possibility of continuing its traditional aim. It was a fight against an enemy seeking to destroy Judaism, and a victory against extinction. It was also a victory for humanism, light, and justice.


Chag Urim Sameach to all of CIJR’s friends and supporters, and to the entire House of Israel. Happy Hanukkah! Love and peace for the entire world.


(Baruch Cohen, who recently turned 98, has been CIJR’s Research Chairman for thirty years)




Ksenia Svetlova

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017


Israeli and Egyptian flags merged one into another were at the center of the stage, the president of Israel and others spoke about true friendship, true alliance, true hope. The festive ceremony that marked 40 years since Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel was inspiring indeed. One small thing put a shade on an otherwise perfect event. Not even one guest from Egypt, apart from the honorable Ambassador Hazem Khayrat, was there to celebrate Sadat’s visit to Israel and the peace accord that followed. Not even one public event on that occasion took place in Cairo.


Sometimes the same events mean different things to different people. As the Israelis celebrate 40 years of peace – peace with some problems, but still peace – in Egypt many prefer to distance themselves from what the general public still perceives as unthinkable: normalization of relations with Israel. Many Egyptians feel that the part of the Camp David accords that was dedicated to the Palestinian issue was never fulfilled, and that the contacts with Israel should be reduced to the necessary minimum.


It’s important to stress that this necessary minimum includes military cooperation between the two frenemies. During the last few years, since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power in 2013, relations had improved dramatically. The extremely dangerous situation in northern Sinai obliged the leaders of the two countries to work together against the Islamist insurgency on the peninsula.


They also agreed to close ranks on specific issues related to security in Gaza, such as the tunnels that were used to smuggle weapons from Egypt to Gaza and terrorists from Gaza to Egypt. Never before had an Israeli prime minister and an Egyptian president worked so closely with each other, never before could their military discuss issues so freely and work together against security threats. The representatives of the National Security Council who participated in one of the discussions on the issue at the Knesset actually said that they prefer the military aspect of relations to any other issue, noting the importance of security coordination between the two countries.


Does this mean that since military cooperation is going well, Israel can be satisfied with that and just let go of even a semblance of bilateral relations – diplomacy, commerce, culture etc.? It’s easy to wave off the discussion on normalization of relations with Egypt by stating that the peace with Egypt was always cold, while animosity toward the Jewish state was always the bon ton among the intellectuals and media. However, as it often happens in the Middle East, things can always get worse if unattended and in most cases, they will.


It seems that 40 years since the historical visit, the ice keeps piling on the already frosty relations between the two countries, which keep growing apart in all but one sense, the military. In any other aspect of relations, we witness a dangerous withdrawal from even modest successes of the past. Today there is no connection between the civil societies – the anti-normalization vibe in Egypt is still very powerful. No academic cooperation is taking place, no visits of prominent intellectual figures such as Saad ad-Din Ibrahim or Ali Salem occur. The Israeli ambassador to Egypt was absent for nine months and returned to the country only after enormous efforts and long negotiations.


Trade between the two countries is non-existent, and even the QIZ (special free trade zones established in collaboration with Israel) are on decline. The Israeli businessmen who used to travel to Egypt regularly fear instability, and the Egyptian companies shy away from direct cooperation with Israel, afraid of backlash from boycott supporters in their own country. The cooperation in natural gas production has become less promising as well, for the Egyptians have discovered their own enormous gas field. This discovery might jeopardize the already signed deals, but there is something more to it – the very negative attitude to this cooperation on the Egyptian street.


Tourism from Israel to Egypt has almost stopped due to security reasons and only the golden shores of southern Sinai experience a modest renaissance during the Jewish holidays. And there is of course the media. After some timeout in anti-Israeli attacks, it seems that more and more outlets are going back to what they know so well – conspiracy theories where Israel plays the major roles, blaming Israel for cooperation with ISIS and what not.


All of that means that the circle of Egyptians who are exposed to Israel and Israelis is shrinking alarmingly – no trade, no academic exchange, no tourism, no civil society cooperation. The only Egyptians who get to work with Israelis come from very specific circles in the army, while everybody else is oblivious to Israel-Egypt relations.


Certainly, a renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians that would end in signing a peace treaty between the sides could jump-start the relations not only between Jerusalem and Cairo, but also among Jerusalem and Amman, Riyadh, Abu-Dabi and other Arab capitals. This would change the existing equation between Israel and the Arab world and provide a positive background for normalization.


The question is what will happen if there will be no progress between Israel and the Palestinians in the near future. What if the current situation of no-peace/no-war continues for a few more years? How would it affect the state of relations between Israel and its partners in the Arab world, Egypt and Jordan? There is no doubt that a serious move toward true normalization can only be made when something happens in the Palestinian arena, but until this occurs Israel must do much more. For this it will need a functioning and independent Ministry of Foreign Affairs, some perseverance and possibly some aid from the country that at the time negotiated the peace between Israel and Egypt, the United States.


The key actors in foreign policy in DC should be aware that today the Israeli-Egyptian peace is being emptied of its real meaning, that the situation is deteriorating despite the close military cooperation, and that some of it has to do with statesmen’s indifference to other components of the peace – trade, culture, civil society, diplomacy. Israel and Egypt are too important to each other to just give up. Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat didn’t.






Denis MacEoin

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 10, 2017


The massive November 24 terrorist attack by Islamic State on a Sufi mosque in a town of little importance, Bir al-Abd, in northern Sinai, resounded across the world. Despite the presence of members of the security services, the al-Rawda mosque also serves as the local headquarters of a prominent Sufi Brotherhood founded by the local al-Jarir clan, a branch of the powerful Al-Sawarkah tribe. The number of dead, somewhat over 300, were shockingly high, yet not higher than the tolls in two earlier Islamic State massacres. In 2014, IS fighters killed 700 men of the Shu'aytat tribe in Dayr al-Zur. "Over a three-day period, vengeful fighters shelled, beheaded, crucified and shot hundreds of members of the Shaitat tribe after they dared to rise up against the extremists." In 2016, a series of bombings in Karrada, a Shi'i district of Baghdad, took some 347 lives.


Islamic State — though defeated in Syria and Iraq — remains a major threat in many parts of the world. Its fighters returning to Europe have carried out attacks in Brussels and Paris, and yet others have been welcomed back by naïve government agencies who hope to make them into innocent citizens again by rewarding them with benefits and housing.


In a stunning list of attacks, CNN has identified Islamic State as a global threat: Since declaring itself a caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed "State" has conducted or inspired over 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries in addition to Iraq and Syria, where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed and wounded thousands of people.


The massacre at Bir al-Abed is not the first time Islamic State has attacked a Sufi shrine or mosque, nor is it the first time Sufi Muslims have been attacked by Salafi hardliners. Everything and everyone deemed by IS leaders to be "unIslamic" or "insufficiently Islamic" are eligible to be killed or demolished. Ancient sites in Syria; Shi'i Muslims, their mosques and shrines in Iraq; and Yazidis in northern Syria and Iraq have all been the objects of major attacks, in many ways echoing similar massacres by the Wahhabis of Arabia in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.


It is easy to trace the recent attack to deep-seated Islamic intolerance, both scriptural and traditional. But the massacre in Sinai raises particular concerns missed by much of the media outside Egypt itself. Fundamentalist Muslims certainly do regard Sufis, Shi'is, Ahmadis, and believers in post-Islamic movements such as the Baha'is, or even followers of reformist trends of Islam as apostates worthy of death as much as they regard Hindus, Buddhists, Yazidis, Sikhs and others as targets for Muslim outrage.


Sufism, however, is more difficult to define, especially in Egypt. The Sufi form of Islam is not and has never been a sect that has broken away from the mainstream faith. Sufis believe in exactly the same things other Muslims believe. Its intellectuals and poets down the centuries have developed mystical and metaphysical ideas that have elevated Islam above its basic origins, producing some of the most outstanding thinkers in the religion. But many of these mystics have served as authorities on Islamic law, as judges, and as government officials.


From the 12th century, Sufis established growing numbers of religious brotherhoods that took Islamic practice in new directions. Sufis perform the daily prayers in mosques the same as all other Muslims. Sufis fast and go on pilgrimages just as anyone else. In the past, they would fight in jihad wars alongside (and even in advance of) others, often building their sacred centres on the borders. Most Sufis are Sunnis: there are very few Shi'i brotherhoods.


In due course, Sufism spread to every corner of the Muslim world, with particular concentrations across North Africa and the Indian sub-continent. The originally Moroccan Shadhili order remains influential as far as South Asia, the Indian Ocean, and Indonesia. One of its several branches is based in Yemen, with followers in Pakistan, India, and Myanmar. Another branch has followers in Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, and the United States.


In 19th-century Egypt, virtually every Muslim belonged to one Sufi order or another. Clearly, it is not a negligible sect. In modern Egypt, 20% or more of the Muslim population belongs to a brotherhood, but Egyptians in general visit Sufi shrines on festivals, pray at the tombs of Sufi saints, and engage with Sufis without any great sense of difference, sharing mosques, schools, clubs, and more simply as fellow believers in Islam. According to Jonathan Brown, writing for the Carnegie Foundation: "Sufism should be seen as the default setting of Muslim religious life in Egypt"…

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






Ilan Berman

Al-Hurra Digital, Dec. 5, 2017


It's the most important Middle Eastern news story that no one is talking about. Earlier this Fall, Egypt's state statistics agency, the Central Agency for Popular Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), formally released the findings of its 2016 national census. The results shed important new light on the challenges now confronting the government of president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo.


The central conclusion of the CAPMAS survey is that Egypt's population is ballooning. Over the past three decades, the country's population has essentially doubled, rising from 48 million in 1986 to nearly 95 million at the end of last year. Moreover, the pace of this growth appears to be quickening. In the decade between 1986 and 1996, the census notes, Egypt's population grew by just over 11 million souls. In the subsequent decade (1996-2006), it grew by an analogous amount: nearly 13.5 million. But in the ten years since, it has accelerated, growing by some 22 million, and this surge shows no signs of slowing.


This growing cohort, moreover, is among the youngest in the Middle East. More than 1/3rd of all Egyptians (some 36 million souls) are below the age of 15, and one in five is between 15 and 24 years old. Those statistics make Egypt a charter member of the so-called "youth bulge" that dominates society and politics throughout the greater Middle East.


The implications, both for Egypt and for the region, are profound. The most immediate is economic. Back in 2013, a principal justification for the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Mohammed Morsi was its chronic failure to stabilize the country's ailing economy. The unspoken promise was that a new regime, headed by an "old guard" of seasoned warrior-statesmen with General Sisi at the helm, could and would do much better.


But nearly four years on, the Sisi government is struggling to keep the country's economic ship of state afloat. Efforts to pare down extensive existing subsidies on everything from foodstuffs to fuel (a core condition of the massive $12 billion bailout provided by the International Monetary Fund last Fall) have lagged over worries of sustained social unrest. The national rate of inflation, however, has nonetheless soared, peaking at more than 35 percent this summer – its highest point in decades. Most significantly, from a demographic perspective, the country's job market remains deeply inadequate. At just under 12 percent, the national unemployment rate in Egypt today is only marginally better than the 12.7 percent joblessness that prevailed while Morsi was in office. This statistic, in turn, is weighted heavily toward the country's most vulnerable national constituency. A 2016 study by the Brookings Institution found overall youth unemployment in Egypt to rank at a staggering 30 percent – with the country's most educated youngsters being the most disadvantaged.


This failure is not simply an economic problem. It also represents a distinct security threat, because the growing cohort of idle young Egyptians is optimal fodder for extremist groups. That's a dynamic that the Sisi government can ill-afford. Since assuming power in 2013, the new regime in Cairo has faced what is essentially a three-front counterterrorism fight. The first involves Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the powerful Islamic State regional franchise that has ensconced itself in the Sinai (and which continues to pose a real danger to Egyptian security, as recent events have tragically demonstrated). The second is situated to Egypt's west, where the Islamic State has established a major (and expanding) foothold amid Libya's ongoing political disorder. The third and final front is domestic, posed by parts of the Muslim Brotherhood that have adopted a more radical, confrontational stance toward the Egyptian state since their ouster from political power in 2013.


Each of these problems could become significantly worse in the near future, if augmented by the growing cadre of young Egyptians without a tangible economic stake in the country's future. For its part, the Egyptian government is well aware of the destabilizing potential of the country's population boom. President Sisi himself has described the country's surging population as a potential threat to the state on a par with terrorism. And in recent weeks, authorities in Cairo have issued new recommendations and launched legislative initiatives relating to population control in an effort to mitigate the problem in the years ahead.


What isn't in evidence yet, however, is a national strategy designed to cope with the current challenge – one that meaningfully engages and occupies the country's growing, youthful citizenry. And without one, Egypt's population boom could become a population bomb in the not-so-distant future, with dire consequences for the state and for the larger region.





On Topic Links


Sites of the Maccabees: Jewish Press, Dec. 12, 2017

A Look at Egypt-Russia Relations as Putin Visits Cairo: Fox News, Dec. 11, 2017—Relations between Russia and Egypt have rapidly grown over the past three years, with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi forging a multi-faceted relationship that features economic, military and political cooperation.

Whirlwind Putin Tour Highlights Moscow’s New Reach in Mideast: Neil Macfarquhar and Anne Barnard, New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017 —President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia undertook a whirlwind tour to his new allies in the Middle East on Monday, underscoring the extension of Russia’s influence in the region and the continuing shrinkage of the United States’ role.

Muslim Brotherhood Calls for Uprising Against US: Clarion Project, Dec. 11, 2017—The Muslim Brotherhood is launching today a solidarity call with all Palestinian factions and Islamic movements to ignite an uprising throughout the Islamic world against the Zionist occupation and the American administration in support of the occupation and against the rights and freedoms of the peoples.





Hanukkah 5777: The Festival of Lights: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Dec. 22, 2016 — The message of Hanukkah is clear to anyone who reads the Biblical books of the Maccabees.

Why Does the Hanukkah Menorah Have Nine Branches?: Steven Fine , Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2016 — The menorah—“lamp stand” in Hebrew—has been the pre-eminent symbol of Jews and Judaism for millennia.

Why Diplomats Are Agog at Trump’s Ambassador to Israel: Vivian Bercovici, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 2016 — President-elect Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, the attorney David Friedman, has been received in some quarters with contempt and disbelief.

Israel Is Ready for a Reset at the U.N.: Danny Danon, New York Times, Dec. 21, 2016 — In January, an important world leader will take office when António Guterres of Portugal replaces Ban Ki-moon as secretary general of the United Nations.


On Topic Links


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Greeting for the New Year: Prime Minister’s Office, Dec. 21, 2016

Chanukah and Divine Emanations: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 22, 2016

A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel: Editorial, New York Times, Dec. 16, 2016 

Read Peter Beinart and You'll Vote Donald Trump: David Friedman, Arutz Sheva, May 6, 2016



Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Dec. 22, 2016


The message of Hanukkah is clear to anyone who reads the Biblical books of the Maccabees. Only by following the lessons of our history can we rekindle the Hanukkah spirit, our tradition, and give the Jewish People the hope, the strength, and the will to be a light unto the nations.


We must never let history repeat itself. We should, and we will, go on, one generation after the other until the end of days. Nothing is more miraculous than the survival, both physical and spiritual, of Am Israel, the Jewish People. The waves of hatred against the Jewish People, and the State of Israel, teach us that we must remember: NEVER AGAIN! Am Israel chai!


The Jewish People live, today and forever! Our fight is not only a fight against our enemies, but it is also fight for Jewish Values, For Judaism! The lights of Hanukkah will forever illuminate the way for future generations.


Chag Urim Sameach!
Am Israel Chai!
Happy Hanukkah 5777!

Baruch Cohen is CIJR’s Research Chairman






WHY DOES THE HANUKKAH MENORAH HAVE NINE BRANCHES?                                                           

Steven Fine                                                                                                 

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2016


The menorah—“lamp stand” in Hebrew—has been the pre-eminent symbol of Jews and Judaism for millennia. It is the oldest continuously used religious symbol in Western civilization. Yet at this time of year, many people—Jews and non-Jews alike—find themselves puzzled about it. Why is there a nine-branched menorah for Hanukkah (which begins this year on the evening of Dec. 24) rather than the more familiar seven-branched one, as in the seal of the State of Israel?


Since biblical times, the seven-branched menorah has symbolized Judaism. It first appears in Exodus, as a lighting fixture within the Tabernacle, a sort of portable temple used by the Israelites during their desert wanderings. The menorah is described in Exodus in minute detail, based on a heavenly prototype.


For many Jews in antiquity, the menorah’s seven branches represented the five visible planets, plus the sun and the moon, and its rounded branches suggested their trajectories across the heavens. One ancient Jewish thinker, Philo of Alexandria, compared the “harmony” of the menorah’s branches to “an instrument of music, truly divine.” Others noted that seven is a key number in Judaism—one need only mention the biblically ordained week.


So the seven-branched menorah evolved into the most important “branding” icon of Judaism. It was stamped on coins, engraved on tombs and inscribed on sundials, jewelry and synagogue furnishings. The Romans considered the menorah so recognizable a Jewish symbol that they depicted it on the Arch of Titus in Rome to illustrate the spoils that they had carried away after conquering Jerusalem in A.D. 70.


So why nine branches for the observance of Hanukkah? The holiday’s menorahs come in all shapes and sizes and may be lighted with either olive oil or wax candles (both of which burn pure flames). The defining characteristic of a Hanukkah menorah is eight lights in a row, with a ninth lamp off to the side or above, separated from the other eight. The ninth lamp is called a shamash, a “servator,” and it symbolically differentiates the eight holy flames from other, mundane light sources. It is usually used to light the other eight.


Each night of Hanukkah, an additional lamp is lighted—one the first night, two the second and so on until all eight are ablaze on the holiday’s final night. The eight (plus one) lamps of the Hanukkah menorah represent a tradition that dates all the way back to the earliest history of this minor, albeit richly symbolic, Jewish festival.


The first-century Jewish historian Josephus called Hanukkah the “Festival of Lights.” It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem during a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees against the Seleucid Greeks in 164 B.C. The Temple, the holiest site in the world for Jews, was restored and the seven-branched menorah lighted. This event occurred on the winter solstice, in late December—making the lighting of festive lamps a natural way to celebrate the shortest day of the year.


The Maccabees designed the festival of Hanukkah (Hebrew for “dedication”) as an eight-day celebration modeled on earlier temple-dedication ceremonies—first by Moses after the completion of the Tabernacle and then by King Solomon, who dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem just after 1000 B.C.


The most famous explanation for the eight-day festival appears in the Babylonian Talmud, which infuses the Maccabees’ victory with divine purpose. The Talmud says that although the victorious Maccabees had only enough sacred olive oil available to burn for a single night, it miraculously lasted for eight.


Judaism associates the lighting of lamps on Hanukkah, one for each night, with the lighting of the seven-branched Temple menorah by the Maccabees in 164 B.C.E., and many Jews use the word “menorah” to describe both lamps. This connection may create some confusion, but it also links every lighting of a nine-branched Hanukkah menorah in a Jewish home with the great day when the Maccabees rekindled the Temple menorah more than 2,100 years ago—giving a symbol-rich holiday even more power.







Vivian Bercovici

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 2016  


President-elect Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, the attorney David Friedman, has been received in some quarters with contempt and disbelief. Mr. Friedman’s presumed failings are said to be many. As a lawyer, he has no diplomatic or foreign policy experience. He is a right-wing “extremist,” supposedly because he supports expanding settlements and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


At its core, criticism of Mr. Friedman reflects the erroneous notion that only professionally trained diplomats can do the job. That is simply false. Modern diplomacy—which I experienced as Canada’s ambassador to Israel—is an anachronistic system of entitlement and privilege aligned with the aristocratic sensibilities of the late 19th century. The “foreign service” model that prevails today was the institutional response to a surfeit of well-bred, indolent men needing something to do. So they were sent abroad to underwrite fancy parties and salons, in the name of the King, Queen or Republic.


Two world wars made a hash of the old order, but Western diplomats have held fast to their entitlements. They indulge a posh lifestyle that mostly disappeared from the private sector as governance standards were enhanced. It is difficult to explain layers of servants and personal drivers to shareholders, never mind taxpayers.


Diplomats used to be important emissaries for their governments. Today that role is greatly diminished. Communication is instant and world leaders are overexposed, like rock stars on MTV. Forty years ago presidents and prime ministers might have attended one international meeting each year; today they are on a summit treadmill. They phone one another and cultivate personal relationships. Diplomats are often sidelined and left to churn out reports that circulate in a bureaucratic vortex.


Diplomacy still turns on the exercise of geopolitical power, as it always has, and on trade, which has changed completely in 50 years. Yet tradition-bound foreign services disdain the sullied world of commerce. In their world view, they—and they alone—are destined to solve the great issues of our time. As a result, there is a notable deficit of business acumen, one of the key elements of modern diplomacy, in many foreign services. Private-sector talent and experience are desperately needed but maligned when recruited.


I know neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Friedman other than through the media. But I do know that Mr. Friedman has been selected to represent America’s democratically elected president. He will serve at the pleasure of Mr. Trump and represent the president’s policies. Mr. Friedman is not anointed to go rogue and indulge in personal fantasies.


When I was appointed as Canada’s ambassador to Israel in 2014 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I was attacked by the press much as Mr. Friedman is today. The star political anchor of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation slammed my appointment.


Why? Because I am Jewish and was therefore supposedly biased toward Israel. This was seen as vitiating any competence or skill I might have brought to the job. As a private-sector lawyer with an extensive business background, I was declared—often by cranky retired diplomats purporting to represent the views of their former colleagues—to have no relevant experience. But this simply made plain their ignorance of what goes on in professions in the real world.


Today, Messrs. Trump and Friedman are excoriated for expressing serious intent to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Some argue this would ignite Muslim fury and global mayhem. But it raises the question: How, exactly, does locating the embassy in West Jerusalem—which is not disputed territory—in any way predetermine the outcome of any negotiations regarding East Jerusalem? It doesn’t. This is a fallacy propagated by rejectionists of Israel and accepted unquestioningly by the international diplomatic community.


The effect of political appointments to diplomatic posts is critical. It signals to foreign governments (as well as domestic interests) that the relationship is a priority for the elected leader. It also allows the officeholder to select an envoy that he or she deeply trusts.


Professional diplomats resent the affront that such appointments represent. They reject “outsiders” for leapfrogging the system, for their access to the top, for their perceived impunity, for their utter unsuitability to the exalted foreign service. Mr. Friedman may be many things. But the notion that only those who have passed the foreign-service examination are worthy of an ambassadorship is laughable.


Mr. Trump was elected by the American people on a platform of change. Those who bring change, by nature, shock the system. The world of diplomacy—in the Middle East and elsewhere—could use more of them. Which is to say, it could use more David Friedmans.






ISRAEL IS READY FOR A RESET AT THE U.N.                                                   

                             Danny Danon                              

New York Times, Dec. 21, 2016


In January, an important world leader will take office when António Guterres of Portugal replaces Ban Ki-moon as secretary general of the United Nations. As he assumes his post, he should know that Israel is ready to work together on repairing our fractious relationship with the United Nations and finally becoming a full partner in the world’s most important international forum.


There is good reason for skepticism about the prospects for such a change. The hostility toward Israel of an automatic majority in the General Assembly is well documented. In 2015 alone, the assembly passed some 20 resolutions condemning Israel — far more than any other country. Like all truly democratic countries, Israel has always been open to legitimate constructive criticism. Yet our critics in the General Assembly single out my country for unwarranted and excessive attention, while giving a pass to some of the world’s most brutal and despotic regimes like Syria and North Korea.


Despite these difficulties, Israelis have not despaired of the parliament of nations. Now there is a real opportunity to lay out practical steps that Israel and the new secretary general can take to reset this fraught history.


For Israel, the expectation from the United Nations can be summarized in one word: equality. We want to be treated no different from its 192 other member states. In particular, hatred against the Jewish people should be treated like hatred against all other groups.


Recently, there has been an increase in anti-Semitic statements at the United Nations. Ambassadors have used its forums to accuse Israel of everything from harvesting the organs of slain terrorists to committing a “final solution” against the Palestinian people. In one case, a United Nations under secretary general has made coded comparisons of Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust (a common anti-Semitic trope).


The silence that met these incidents has been deafening. In the name of a false impartiality, no real action was taken against such hate. The new secretary general should pursue a different path, putting officials on notice that bias and hate will not be tolerated, and warning ambassadors who spread modern-day blood libels that they will be shunned at the United Nations.


Equality also means ending unfair support for one side in one of the world’s oldest conflicts. The Palestinian cause receives disproportionate attention and budget appropriations at the United Nations. To be sure, Palestinian people deserve whatever aid and assistance they need from the United Nations. But there is a superfluity of bodies, and agencies too often depart from their humanitarian mission to fuel a cycle of violence by inciting hatred.


Here, too, Mr. Guterres can act, by taking a long, hard look at these bodies and their budgets. Where there are cuts to be made, they should be — including to jobs that do nothing to further the principles of the United Nations but simply malign one member state. Where the secretary general’s powers do not extend to budgets, he should use his bully pulpit to end Turtle Bay bureaucracies that are dedicated to advocacy against Israel.


Equality for Israel also involves a positive agenda. Last June, my election to chairman of the General Assembly’s legal committee — as the first Israeli to head one of its permanent committees — turned into a protracted political battle. Candidates for such positions from every other member state are adopted by consensus. Not Israel. Instead, we had to individually lobby each country to win the 109 votes that enabled my election.


It is within Mr. Guterres’s power to fix this if he is willing to see Israel as a potential full partner at the United Nations. To do so, he must eliminate efforts to classify Israel as a second-class member, directing all bodies to remove the de facto bylaws that deny Israel equal access to participation in the United Nations.


Once it is treated as an equal, Israel wants nothing more than to build on the successful areas of cooperation it has established at the United Nations. Over the past two years, the United Nations has doubled its purchase of goods and services from my country — a sign of growing recognition among the international community of the value of Israeli companies and service providers. When it comes to humanitarian efforts, Israel was proud to be the largest contributor (per capita of population) toward the international efforts to eradicate the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


More than this, Israel stands ready to contribute to the core areas of United Nations operations: peace and security.


The United Nations’ World Health Organization recently ranked the Israel Defense Forces’ field hospital as the best in the world. These brave Israelis serve in disaster zones around the world, providing lifesaving care. We look forward to a day when even more lives can be saved if Israel’s capabilities are incorporated regularly into United Nations missions.


Our security forces, too, are global leaders by many metrics, from safeguarding civilian lives to female participation in combat units. We know that our personnel, technology and experience would be much-needed additions to the United Nations “blue helmets.” Mr. Guterres can help make this happen.


Israel was the first country in the world whose establishment was directly linked to a United Nations decision. We want nothing more than to play a full part in helping this august body live up to its founding charter: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” If Mr. Guterres is ready to implement these just and overdue changes, then Israel is ready to meet the challenge.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supproters: Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameah!

CIJR Will Be Closed on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016



On Topic Links


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Greeting for the New Year: Prime Minister’s Office, Dec. 21, 2016—To all of our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Chanukah and Divine Emanations: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 22, 2016 —History, the study of cause and effect in the annals of humankind, has been a serious challenge for honest historians. In many ways, interpreting history is conjecture. What motivates many historians, more than what actually occurred, is what they would like to believe happened.

A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel: Editorial, New York Times, Dec. 16, 2016—In appointing David Friedman as the next ambassador to Israel, Donald Trump voiced a desire to “strive for peace in the Middle East.” Unfortunately, his chosen representative would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, heighten regional tensions and undermine American leadership.

Read Peter Beinart and You'll Vote Donald Trump: David Friedman, Arutz Sheva, May 6, 2016—Several weeks ago, I was “outed” as one of Donald Trump’s two advisors on the relationship between the United States of America and the State of Israel.







Baruch Cohen: HANUKKAH 5775: The Festival of Lights that Never Dim

The kindling of lights  at Hannukah remembers the history of the Jewish People. Their legacy is to share a commitment to Jewish values. We light candles to review our faith in ourselves, in each other, in our people, and in our State of Israel. Hanukkah is the festival of Am Israel, the festival of a strong and independent Jewish People. Yet as the festival of liberty, Hanukkah celebrates more than the independence of our People–it glorifies the right to freedom of all peoples.


Hanukkah affirms the universal truth that the only effective answer to aggression and oppression is the uninterrupted, positive assertion of the principles and values—Jewish values—that oppression threatens. These values, freedom, justice, righteous resistance, inspired by the Maccabean movement, were not simply an abstract and academic rejection of tyranny and oppression. They expressed a desire to safeguard  a strong, independent identity and way of life. Hannukah was a fight for Judaism, a military uprising against oppression which went hand-in-hand with a powerful desire for a restoration of the Jewish People, of Am Israel.


After the dark nights of the Holocaust, today’s Maccabees in Israel and Diaspora must ensure that our flame, the Jewish freedom flame, the light of Hanukkah, forever illuminates the way to the future for all generations.


We Diaspora Jews are in the front lines, called upon to unite with our sisters and brothers in Israel and the world over to ensure that our fight against darkness, hate, antisemitism and evil will, as ever and forever, prevail.


AM ISRAEL CHAI! The Jewish People Lives!

Hag Urim Sameach
Hag Hanukkah Sameach
Happy Festival of Lights and Joy


(Baruch Cohen, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, is Research
Chairman of CIJR, and a member of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center)



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




The Festival Of Lights 5774: Baruch Cohen, Nov. 29, 2013 — The first Hanukkah was celebrated in Jerusalem in the year 164 BCE on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.

Chanukah Guide For the Perplexed, 2013: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2013 — For the first time – and never again – the first day of Chanukah will be celebrated on Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, Nov. 28, 2013.    

UN Condemns Israel 6 Times, Declares “Year of Palestine”: Hillel Neuer, Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2013 — The U.N. General Assembly is poised to condemn Israel in six resolutions today, the most significant of which declares 2014 as a “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.”                                  

The UN and Israel: A History of Discrimination: Joshua Muravchik, World Affairs, Nov/Dec, 2013 — Unfortunately . . . Israel [has] suffered from bias—and sometimes even discrimination” at the United Nations, said none other than the UN’s highest official, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, speaking in Jerusalem in August.                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Banality of Robbing the Jews: Sarah Gensburger, New York Times, Nov. 15, 2013 — The recent discovery of more than 1,400 prized paintings in the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, an art collector whose father collaborated with the Nazis, has brought the pillage of the Jews back into the limelight.


On Topic Links


From “Four Score” to “Yes We Can!”: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2013                                                                 

An Outbreak of Lawlessness: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2013

Teaching About the Holocaust in a Small Town in Romania: Raphael Vago, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 7, 2013

Exile, Prejudice, Victory: A Jewish Thanksgiving Story From the New World: Steve Brodner, Tablet, Nov. 27, 2013



THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS 5774                                                    Baruch Cohen  

Nov. 29, 2013


                                                                       In Loving Memory of Malka z’l


The first Hanukkah was celebrated in Jerusalem in the year 164 BCE, on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.


To understand the meaning of Hanukkah, we must look into the ancient world, and see some of the similarities that exist between that period and our present day lives.  Hanukkah in fact celebrates the victory of Hebraism over Hellenism. The victory of the camp of light over the camp of darkness. A flame rising from the camp of freedom and democracy – against the principles of totalitarianism, and bigotry.


The primary aim of the Maccabees to preserve their own identity in face of Syrian Greek religious oppression, to safeguard Israel's role as a “light unto the nations.” It was not only a struggle against the danger of physical extermination, but one to affirm the value and joy of Judaism.


The Jewish people have a long history of surviving in defiance of savage murder and aggression. Our roots are in ancient, and modern,  Israel, our old/new homeland, and our defense today, as then, lies with our heroic Maccabees, today the IDF, Israel's Defense Force . Our brave Israeli soldiers are the shield of the Jewish people in our ongoing fight for freedom, democracy, independence, and security–for the Jewish state, the land of Israel, and the entire Jewish people.


The splendor of our Fathers' lives!  Hod avinu chai! Hag Hannukah Sameach! Happy Festival of Lights 5774 to all CIJR's supporters and friends, to the Jewish people, and to all men and women of good will!!


CHANUKAH GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED, 2013                                 Yoram Ettinger

Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2013


1.  For the first time – and never again – the first day of Chanukah will be celebrated on Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, Nov. 28, 2013. Since the Jewish calendar is based on a 19 year cycle (when a “leap month” is added – seven times – to the shorter Jewish year) and Thanksgiving is part of a 7 year cycle, they coincide every 133 years.  However, Thanksgiving was formally adopted by President Lincoln in 1863, and therefore it could not coincide with Chanukah 133 years ago, in 1861. Moreover, due to the moving gap between the Jewish lunar calendar (with 29-30 day months) and the general Gregorian solar calendar, they will not coincide before the year 79,811….


2.  David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the Jewish State, stated: “The struggle of the Maccabees was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. The meager Jewish people did not assimilate, as did many peoples.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. The Hasmoneans overcame one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history due to the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment ….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).


3. Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates a Land of Israel national liberation struggle, unlike Passover (the Exodus from Egypt), Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavuot/Pentecost (on the way from Egypt to the Land of Israel) and Purim (deliverance of Jews in the Persian Empire). Chanukah is the longestJewish holiday (8 days) with the most intense element of light (8 consecutive nights of lighting candles).


4. The critical Chanukah developments occurred, mostly, in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria: Mitzpah (also the Prophet Samuel’s burial site), Beth El (Judah’s first headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Elazar and Beit  Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed) and the Judean Desert.  Unified Jerusalem was the Capital of the Maccabees. Thus, Chanukah is not a holiday of “occupied territories”; Chanukah highlights the moral-high-ground of Jews in their ancestral land.


5. Shimon the Maccabee – who succeeded his brothers, Judah and Yonatan – defied an ultimatum by the Syrian emperor, Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A, Chapter 15, verse 33), who demanded an end to the “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron. Shimon declared: ”We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation.”


6.  The name Maccabee (מכבי or מקבי) is a derivative of the Hebrew word Makevet (מקבת), Power Hammer, which described Judah’s tenacious and decisive fighting capabilities. Or, it could be a derivative of the Hebrew verb Cabeh (כבה), to extinguish, which described the fate of Judah’s adversaries. Another source of the name suggests that Maccabee, מכבי, is the Hebrew acronym of “Who could resemble you among Gods, Jehovah” (מי כמוך באלים יי). However, the saga of the Maccabees was written, during ancient times, in Latin, which sometimes pronounces C like a TZ.  Hence, Maccabee could be the Latin spelling of the Hebrew word Matzbee, the commander.


7.  Chanukah’s historical context is narrated in the Books of the Maccabees and the Scroll of Antiochus. Alexander The Great – who held Judaism in high esteem and whose Egyptian heir, Ptolemy II, translated the Torah to Greek — died in 323 BCE following 12 glorious years. Consequently, the Greek Empire disintegrated into five provinces, and 30 years later into three kingdoms: Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. The Land of Israel was militarily contested by Syria and Egypt. In 198 BCE, Israel was conquered by the Syrian Antiochus III, who considered the Jewish State as an ally. In 175 BCE, a new king assumed power in Syria, Antiochus (IV) Epiphanies, who wished to replace Judaism with Hellenic values and assumed that Jews were allies of Egypt. In 169 BC, upon his return to Syria from a war against Egypt, he devastated Jerusalem, massacred the Jews, forbade the practice of Judaism (including the Sabbath, circumcision, etc.) and desecrated Jerusalem and the Temple. The 167 BCE-launched rebellion against the Syrian (Seleucid) kingdom featured the Hasmonean (Maccabee) family: Mattityahu, a priest from the town of Modi’in, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Elazar. The heroic (and tactically creative) battles conducted by the Maccabees, were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers.

[To Read The Full Article Follow This Link – ed. ]




Times of Israel, Nov. 27, 2013


The U.N. General Assembly is poised to condemn Israel in six resolutions today, the most significant of which declares 2014 as a “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.” In a related development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has categorically rejected the now-famous UN interpreter’s criticism of anti-Israel bias, caught on an open microphone, through his spokesperson’s response to a reporter’s question seeking the UN chief’s views on the now-famous gaffe, the video of which Prime Minister Netanyahu played to his cabinet meeting last week. As seen on the YouTube video, publicized by UN Watch today, Ban’s spokesperson on November 19th told journalists that “the Secretary-General respects the right of the Member States as they move forward on their resolutions” which, he insisted, “need to be upheld by all countries.”


Given that Ban Ki-M oon has himself criticized the singling out of Israel by UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council, I am disappointed that he is rejecting and refusing to acknowledge the simple truth of the UN interpreter’s candid and entirely correct observations. After all, if the secretary-general could voice disappointment at the Human Rights Council’s “decision to single out Israel as the only specific regional item on its agenda, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world,” why can’t he endorse the virtually identical sentiment expressed by the interpreter at this year’s absurd amount of General Assembly resolutions singling out Israel?

Today’s cluster of condemnations will be adopted as the UN observes its annual “Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” which was held four days earlier than usual due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The event is usually held on November 29, to effectively mourn the day the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Beyond the hypocrisy of adopting six resolutions on Israel and none on egregious abusers of human rights such as China, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, there is a particular absurdity in the content of the resolutions. We have a resolution condemning Israel for its actions on the Golan Heights yet none on Syria’s massacre of 100,000 of its own people; the same text also absurdly asks Israel to immediately hand the population in the Golan over to the murderous rule of Syria’s Assad regime. There are also resolutions recognizing the self-determination of the Palestinians, even though the UN already recognized Palestine as a state; yet there is no resolution on the right to self-determination of the Tibetans, who really could use such a text.


There will be massive politicization in 2014 at the UN now that it has been declared a year for “Palestinian solidarity.” The resolution requests the UN “to organize activities to be held during the year, in cooperation with Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations.”


THE UN AND ISRAEL: A HISTORY OF DISCRIMINATION                      Joshua Muravchik

World Affairs, Nov/Dec, 2013


“Unfortunately . . . Israel [has] suffered from bias—and sometimes even discrimination” at the United Nations, said none other than the UN’s highest official, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Jerusalem in August. Back at headquarters a week later, Ban withdrew the substance of the comment without denying he had made it. The retraction was less surprising than the original assertion, which was remarkable because of the identity of the speaker, not for what was said, the reality of which is about as well concealed as the sun on a cloudless noon.


Israel’s status as a pariah state at the United Nations reflected a change in the world body dating from the 1970s. In its early decades, the UN was dominated by the Cold War competition between East and West, but between 1952 and 1968 these two blocs became outnumbered by a third, as the UN’s rolls increased from eighty-two to one hundred and twenty-six member states. Most of the new members were former colonies that had recently won their independence, and they formed what became the leading bloc at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement. The dearest cause of the NAM was anti-colonialism, which put the West in the dock. Thus, the new bloc was non-aligned far more emphatically with the West than with the Communist world. Indeed, while the Soviet Union was held at arm’s length by the NAM, other Communist states, some of them Soviet-allied, such as Cuba and Vietnam, played leading roles in the organization.


The new anti-Western, anti-American zeitgeist of the UN, and the dominance of the NAM, with President Nasser of Egypt among its leaders and many Arab and other Muslim states among its members, reshaped the body’s stance toward the Middle East and its central “conflict.” It became the principal instrument for advancing Arab claims and actions against Israel, including even legitimating Palestinian terrorism.


Thus, in October 1974, fourteen years before the Palestine Liberation Organization even nominally forswore terrorism, the General Assembly voted to invite the organization to send a spokesman to take part in its deliberations. No one who was not a representative of a government—except the pope, and even he was the head of a quasi-state—had ever before been granted such a privilege, but the vote was overwhelming, one hundred and five to four, with only the United States, Israel, and two Latin American governments opposed.

Not a single European or other major industrial state joined America in resisting this extraordinary move. Most of them abstained, although a handful voted with the majority, largely because the PLO had proved so adept at playing on European fears. Harris Schoenberg, an author who represented the NGO B’nai B’rith at the UN, interviewed various European delegates who told him that “PLO spokesmen had undertaken to halt and actively seek to prevent further Arab aerial piracy and terrorist attacks in countries other than Israel if permitted to participate in the General Assembly debate.”


The assembled delegates heard Yasir Arafat proclaim the necessity of getting at the “historical roots” of the issue, namely, “the Jewish invasion of Palestine [that] began in 1881,” and addressing it with a “radical . . . antidote,” rather than “a slavish obeisance to the present.” The “present” from which Arafat wished to banish “obeisance” was the very existence of Israel. He pledged his “resolve to build a new world . . . a world free of colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, and racism in each of its instances, including Zionism.” This harangue was received with a standing ovation unique in its intensity. An alliance of Communist and third-world states was after the scalps of its chosen enemies. The United States, in the throes of losing its agonizing war in Vietnam, resisted with diminished strength, often unable to rally even its Western allies.                                                                                                                                            [To Read The Full Article Follow This Link – ed. ]              



Sarah Gensburger

 New York Times, Nov. 15, 2013


The recent discovery of more than 1,400 prized paintings in the Munich residence of Cornelius Gurlitt, an art collector whose father collaborated with the Nazis, has brought the pillage of the Jews back into the limelight. Yet the bulk of anti-Semitic looting during World War II was at once much more banal and more widespread. In Paris, the plunder of Jewish possessions began with the arrival of German troops in June 1940. At first, it applied only to art collections. But as soon as the Final Solution was devised in January 1942, the confiscations spread to the entire Jewish population, most of which comprised poor immigrants from Eastern Europe. Stripping Jews of their belongings was part and parcel of the effort to destroy them; pillage was an essential tool of extermination.


But what would be done with these items? Could they be reused, or were they too Jewish for that? Were the dishes and the blankets that had been touched by Jews fit for use by Aryans? In Berlin in February 1942, Hitler himself ordered Alfred Rosenberg, who had been overseeing the looting of artworks throughout Western Europe, to entirely empty the apartments of Jews who had been deported or arrested, or had fled. The spoils would then be sent back to the Reich. This widespread plunder, known as Möbel Aktion, occurred in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. From 1942 to 1944, at least 70,000 dwellings were emptied; in Paris 38,000 apartments were stripped bare by French moving companies at the request of the German authorities. It took 674 trains to transport the loot to Germany. Some 2,700 train cars supplied Hamburg alone.

Everything was taken: toys, dishes, family photos, tools, light bulbs. The goods were placed in crates and taken to warehouses and sorting centers specifically established for this purpose in the heart of Paris. Pianos were stored in the cellars of the Palais de Tokyo in the 16th arrondissement. Porcelains and fabrics went nearby, to Rue de Bassano. Books and musical scores were gathered at 104 Rue de Richelieu, furniture at the Quai de la Gare. The plunder of the Jews spread far beyond the famous Jeu de Paume and Louvre museums, the main gathering sites for looted art. With German soldiers busy fighting on the Eastern Front, the Nazis in Paris were short-staffed for the sorting and crating required for Möbel Aktion. So they turned three warehouses into work camps. And they resorted to Jewish prisoners from the Drancy internment camp, a vast cluster of lodgings under construction just outside the city, and an antechamber to Auschwitz.


From 1943 to 1944, nearly 800 Jewish men and women worked — ate, slept, lived — among these objects. Some saw their own possessions or those of family members pass before their eyes, and at that moment understood that they, too, had been slated for internment or deportation. The contents of each apartment were divided into two groups. Damaged objects or personal ones, like papers or family photos, were burned almost daily in a bonfire at the Quai de la Gare. The other items were sorted and classified by category, rather than source. A saucepan taken from one family would be added to a stack of other saucepans rather than kept in the original set. Stripped of their provenance, items lost their identity. Belongings became goods. The supervisors of Möbel Aktion set aside the most appealing items — porcelain, fine linens, fur coats — for themselves and their friends. Former prisoners from the sorting work camps later described regular inspections by German soldiers; they would come to shop “just like at the Galeries Lafayette,” the Parisian department store. Detainees who had been tailors, cobblers or leather workers before their arrest were forced to make luxury clothes for the Nazi dignitaries and their wives. Shipments of spoons, dishes, clothes and other items were regularly sent on to Germany. They were distributed to German civilians as compensation for losses caused by the Allied bombings or to support their immigration eastward, where they were sent to populate newly conquered territories.


But the systematic looting and redistribution of everyday goods of little value and often in poor condition suggest a motivation that goes well beyond economic calculation in a time of hardship. Indeed, several Nazi services, including those of Hermann Göring, regularly questioned the financial rationale of Möbel Aktion. If the project endured nonetheless it’s because one of its fundamental objectives was to destroy all trace of the Jews’ very existence. Since the end of the war, the French and German governments have offered some indemnities, though often partial, to the small number of looted owners or their descendants who have asked for compensation. The goods themselves could not be retrieved. Unlike stolen works of art — some of which were preserved and continue to resurface — the colossal spoils of that other, mundane looting have vanished. Either they have been destroyed, or they remain with German families, who to this day probably have no idea where they came from.     




On Topic


From “Four Score” to “Yes We Can!”: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2013 — Seven score and 10 years ago, Abraham Lincoln delivered his sacred speech on the meaning of free government.

An Outbreak of Lawlessness: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2013 — For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.

Teaching About the Holocaust in a Small Town in Romania: Raphael Vago, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 7, 2013— Knesset Member Shimon Ohayon’s recent article, “Teaching about the Holocaust as an antidote to rising hate in Europe”

Exile, Prejudice, Victory: A Jewish Thanksgiving Story From the New World: Steve Brodner, Tablet, Nov. 27, 2013— In 1642, a ship of Jewish émigrés left a colony in Recife, Brazil, headed for New Amsterdam.


On Topic Links


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La fête de Hanoukka :

un rappel de l’incroyable courage du Peuple Juif pour défendre Jérusalem

Souhail Ftouh

identitejuive.com, 12 décembre 2012


A partir de ce samedi 8 décembre au soir au dimanche 16 décembre 2012 le Peuple juif célèbre la fête de Hanoukka, une fête que l’on célèbre le 25 Kislev en commémoration de la victoire miraculeuse des Hasmonéens sur les Syro-Grecs dirigés par Antiochus Epiphane et de la ré-inauguration du saint Temple de Jérusalem avec le miracle de la fiole d’huile.


Cette coutume commémore la reconquête de l’Israël du IIè siècle avant J.C., dirigée à l’époque contre le roi gréco-syrien : Antochius. Il avait profané le Temple de Jérusalem et voulait imposer au Peuple Juif l’adoration de divinités grecques.


Judas Maccabée incita ses compatriotes juifs à se révolter. Une poignée de Juifs prend alors, en 165 avant Jésus-Christ, la tête d’une révolte contre le dictât cruel d’Antiochus. Après des mois de combats acharnés, ils réussirent à chasser les Syriens de Jérusalem, les armées grecques sont mises en déroute et les Juifs réinstaurent un service juif au Temple. Hanouka est célébrée en l’honneur de cette victoire.


C’était la victoire des faibles contre les forts : les Hasmonéens , armés par les enseignements de la Thora, se sont battus par idéal. Grâce à leurs prières, ils ont vaincu les épées, les javelots et les flèches. Ils ne souciaient ni de conquête, ni de butin. Leur seul désir était de libérer Jérusalem, de pouvoir, à nouveau, prononcer le Hallel et chanter la gloire divine. Ainsi, dès leur arrivée à Jérusalem, ils chassèrent les prêtres païens qui avaient fait des sacrifices à leurs idoles sur l’autel juif.


Grâce à une petite fiole d’huile, les Juifs victorieux ont pu de nouveau allumer la Menorah et adorer leur ville sainte.


En effet un autre miracle avait eu lieu ; une petite fiole contenant assez d’huile pour une seule journée qui avait été trouvée dans les débris du Temple de Jérusalem après sa destruction, avait miraculeusement permis d’illuminer le chandelier pendant huit jours… C’est pour cela que pendant Hanoukka, la fête des lumières, chaque famille juive est censée allumer une bougie d’un chandelier à huit branches, chaque soir de la semaine.


La fête de Hanoukka reste un rappel de l’incroyable courage du peuple juif pour défendre Jérusalem, site sacré pour le judaïsme. Quand on a la foi et qu’on porte dans son cœur l’amour pour cette ville qui touche le cœur des Juifs plus que d’autres, aucune force ne pourra arracher cette ville aux mains des Juifs. Une ville qui symbolise jusqu’à aujourd’hui l’héroïsme et le sacrifice sans lesquels Jérusalem n’aurait pu être réunifiée.


II y a une vérité qui est intangible ; le Peuple juif existe depuis plus de trois millénaires, il a traversé de multitudes d’épreuves, certaines nations ont essayé de le supprimer et elles ont généré beaucoup de malheurs pour le Peuple juif. Mais ces civilisations ont disparus depuis, mais ce peuple est toujours là.


Le Peuple Juif est le peuple le plus indestructible, après tout ce qui a été fait pour essayer de l’éteindre, Pogroms, Shoah, et je ne parle même pas des massacres au Moyen Age, mais les Juifs sont toujours là !


Si les prêtres juifs du Temple, les Cohanim à l’époque de Hanouka, se sont concentrés sur leurs forces spirituelles pour vaincre les troupes syriennes d’Antiochus c’est parce que jamais ils n’ont baissé la tête et jamais ils n’ont cédé au désespoir.


La véritable puissance du Peuple d’Israël repose donc sur sa foi incandescente et son amour d’Hachem. Cette flamme lui a permis de vaincre tous les ennemis et toutes les servitudes. Aujourd’hui encore, la force du Peuple juif réside dans sa foi concernant la terre d’Israël et Jérusalem comme capitale une et indivisible. Malgré tous les discours de haine qu’on véhicule contre eux, le courage des Juifs est toujours intact pour défendre leur petit morceau de terre. C’est d’ailleurs ce même courage qui a transformé ce désert en un beau pays.


Les deux mille ans d’exil ont appris au Peuple juif à être en adhésion avec ce pays et à savoir que leurs enfants seront toujours prêts à se battre car ils sont simplement déterminés à survivre. Aujourd’hui heureusement Israël est suffisamment fort pour se défendre devant le matraquage systématique et le bourrage de crâne incessant des nouveaux nazis qui contestent Jérusalem comme capitale définitive d’Israël.


La liberté d’Israël sera toujours un fait, car les Israéliens d’aujourd’hui ne toléreront pas que les monstres soient vainqueurs. Tout comme leurs ancêtres, les Hasmonéens, ils portent toujours cette flamme qui leur a permis de vaincre tous leurs ennemis et toutes les servitudes.


Aussi souhaitons-nous à la veille de Hanoukka, un nouveau commencement pour Israël pour UN Seul et Même Roi, le Saint béni d’Israël.


Très joyeuse fête de Hanoukka. Que la lumière de ces bougies illumine tous nos cœurs !


(Ftouh Souhail, avocat et journaliste tunisien, est connu pour avoir publié plusieurs articles à l’appui d’Israël dans divers médias)


Réflexions sur Hanoucca

Guy Millière

dreuz.info, 12 décembre 2012


C’est présentement la fête juive de Hanoucca.


Je suis depuis des années très proche et très respectueux de tout ce qui concerne le judaïsme et le peuple juif, et je suis, depuis des années, particulièrement sensible à la signification de Hanoucca. J’y suis un peu plus sensible cette année dans la mesure où je me suis rendu voici peu à Nice pour une cérémonie décernant des Menoras d’or, organisée par le B’nai Brith. J’ai eu l’honneur d’être l’un des récipiendaires, et j’ai désormais chez moi, en bonne place, la Menora qui m’a été remise.


Je suis particulièrement sensible à la signification de Hanoucca parce que c’est une fête qui renvoie à un soulèvement au sein du peuple juif en un moment où son identité et sa survie en tant que peuple juif étaient menacées. Le soulèvement, on le sait, était celui des Maccabées contre l’hellénisation forcée infligée au peuple juif par les Séleucides, au deuxième siècle avant l’ère chrétienne. Ce soulèvement a sauvé le peuple juif et son identité. Il n’a pas empêché les déchirures ultérieures, la dispersion, les conquêtes de la région par d’autres empires, mais il a constitué un marqueur crucial.


Je suis particulièrement sensible à la signification de Hanoucca parce que nous sommes en un temps où, une fois de plus, l’identité et la survie du peuple juif sont menacés.


En disant cela, je pense à Israël, bien sûr. Et je sais qu’Israël est un pays fort et solide, à même de résister à ceux qui aspirent à le détruire, qu’ils utilisent les voies directes du djihad et parlent comme les dirigeants du Hamas ces jours derniers à Gaza, ou qu’ils utilisent des voies plus indirectes et plus sournoises, tels les dirigeants de l’OLP devenue l’Autorité palestinienne.


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Mais je dois constater que la propagande anti-israélienne, le travail de sape incessant mené par de multiples falsificateurs et opportunistes sans éthique ni honneur, ont porté leurs fruits : l’Europe est désormais, essentiellement, à l’exception d’un pays près, un continent anti-israélien, en position de dhimmitude avancée, prêt à se vendre pour une poignée de dollars venus du Qatar ou d’un autre émirat, pétrifié par la peur de l’islam et de l’islamo-terrorisme. Les Etats-Unis sont en train de fléchir, et les positions « pro-palestiniennes » progressent chez les Démocrates de manière inquiétante.


Je dois constater aussi que le futur s’annonce sombre pour les Juifs en Europe, ce qui signifie que le futur s’annonce sombre pour l’Europe elle-même.


Je dois noter que nous sommes très peu à défendre encore certaines valeurs pourtant essentielles et que, parce que nous le faisons, nous sommes insultés, condamnés au boycott et aux marges qui, dans un contexte de type totalitaire, constituent la dissidence (dois-je le dire : en Union soviétique, on appelait déjà les défenseurs du droit naturel des êtres humains, de la liberté de parole et de pensée et des idéaux juifs et chrétiens des « fascistes », comme le fait, par exemple, le Nouvel Observateur aujourd’hui en France).


Je dois constater en outre, et cela me consterne et me révolte, que le présent est moins sombre pour les Juifs aux Etats-Unis, mais qu’une part majeure de ceux-ci se conduisent comme ceux qui se soumettaient à l’hellénisation au temps des Séleucides. Ceux-là ont voté pour Barack Obama. Ceux-là peuvent parler comme Rahm Emanuel ou comme les membres de J Street, cette association créée pour contrer l’AIPAC et qui se situe sur la gauche de Shalom Arshav, et à hauteur de paillasson pour dignitaire crapuleux de Ramallah. Ceux-là fêtent Hanoucca en ce moment sans discerner, semble-t-il, qu’ils trahissent chaque jour l’esprit de Hanoucca. Ceux-là fêtent Hanoucca sans comprendre que l’esprit de Hanoucca devrait impliquer qu’ils ouvrent les yeux, qu’ils regardent ce qui est en train de se passer en Europe et ce qui est en train de se passer au Proche-Orient.


Ceux-là ne semblent pas voir que lorsqu’Israël est isolé, Israël est menacé, et que lorsqu’Israël est menacé, c’est le peuple juif et le judaïsme qui sont menacés. Ils ont la possibilité et les moyens de se lever, et ils ne se lèvent pas.


Je n’ai pas à les juger et je ne les juge pas. Je dirai seulement qu’ils ont renoncé. Et j’ajouterai comme Norman Podhoretz l’a fait en écrivant Why Jews Are Liberal, qu’ils ne sont plus juifs, et ont choisi une autre voie. Pas très digne, à mes yeux.


J’ajouterai que si Israël est un pays fort et solide, il existe aussi en Israël des gens qui, bien au delà de ce qui sépare la droite de la gauche, se conduisent eux-mêmes comme s’ils n’étaient plus juifs et comme s’ils avaient eux suivi une autre voie, pas très digne elle-même. Un auteur les a décrit comme constituant la « république de Tel Aviv », par comparaison avec la république de Weimar, en laquelle des intellectuels qui se pensaient brillants, dissertaient au nom de grands principes abstraits, sans voir que l’enfer était à leur porte. Les membres de la république de Tel Aviv sont dignes des intellectuels de Weimar. Les pires parmi eux peuvent aller jusqu’à écrire, comme Shlomo Sand, que le peuple juif n’existe pas ou que la terre d’Israel n’a jamais existé. Je vois en eux, et je l’écris, des ennemis de l’intérieur pour Israël, des gens qui contribuent à la propagande anti-israélienne et au travail de sape incessant des falsificateurs et opportunistes que j’évoquais plus haut.


J’espère en l’émergence de descendants spirituels des Maccabées, des gens qui, sans nécessairement prendre les armes, se dresseront : parce qu’ils verront, précisément, qu’Israël, le peuple juif et le judaïsme sont menacés. Aujourd’hui. En cet instant. Il en existe en Israël. Il en existe en Europe et en Amérique du Nord.


Et je suis résolument à leur côté.


J’espère que des gens qui ne sont pas Juifs, comme moi, sauront discerner que, dès lors qu’Israël, le peuple juif et le judaïsme sont menacés, c’est ce qui fonde l’humanité en l’être humain, et ce que la civilisation occidentale a en elle de plus fécond et de plus grand, qui se trouve menacé.


Je suis résolument à leur côté aussi. Leur combat est mon combat, et c’est le combat que je mène depuis des années déjà.


Les dictateurs, c'est mieux que les islamistes élus

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 11 décembre 2012

Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert


Qui est le pire, le Président Mohamed Morsi, l'islamiste élu cherchant à appliquer la loi islamique en Egypte, ou le président Hosni Moubarak, l'ancien dictateur déchu pour avoir tenté d'initier une dynastie? De façon plus générale, un ordre libéral, démocratique a-t-il plus de possibilités d'émerger avec des idéologues islamistes qui triomphent par la voie des urnes ou avec des dictateurs cupides qui n'ont en vue que leur propre survie et leur exercice du pouvoir?


Les actions récentes de Morsi fournissent une réponse, établissant que les islamistes sont encore pires que les dictateurs.


Cette question a été soulevée dans un débat intéressant pour le compte de Intelligence Squared US au début d'octobre lorsque Reuel Marc Gerecht, de la Fondation pour la Défense des Démocraties, et Brian Katulis, du Centre pour le Progrès Américain, ont soutenu que "les islamistes élus c'est mieux que les dictateurs" , tandis que Zuhdi Jasser, du Forum islamique américain pour la démocratie, et moi-même, soutenions le contre-argument. Eh bien, personne n'a vraiment argumenté «pour» personne. L'autre équipe n'a pas approuvé les islamistes, nous n'avons pas, bien sûr, célébré les dictateurs. La question était plutôt quel type de gouvernant est le moindre de deux maux, et peut se battre pour imposer la démocratie.


Katulis a blâmé les dictatures pour favoriser «les sortes d'idéologies» qui ont conduit au 11 septembre et Gerecht a insisté sur le fait que les juntes militaires, et non les islamistes, sont généralement «le vrai danger …. La seule façon que vous avez d'obtenir un ordre plus libéral dans le Moyen-Orient c'est à travers les gens de religion» qui votent pour avoir les islamistes au pouvoir. Katulis a fait valoir que les élus islamistes changent et se transforment, devenant de moins en moins idéologiques et plus pragmatiques ; ils évoluent en réponse à la prise de conscience de la rudesse de la politique qui les fait retomber sur terre pour se concentrer sur les «besoins essentiels» tels que la sécurité et l'emploi.


En Irak, Gerecht a affirmé avoir observé «un véritable raz –de- marée de gens qui étaient autrefois des islamistes purs et durs qui …sont devenus des démocrates assez profondément convaincus, pour ne pas dire libéraux». Quant à l'Egypte, il a noté d'un ton approbateur, mais de façon inexacte que "Les Frères musulmans ont de graves débats internes parce qu'ils n'ont pas compris comment gérer [leur succès]. Or nous ce que nous voulons c'est qu'ils règlent la question en se disputant pour aller de l'avant»


Jasser et moi avons répondu à ce catalogue d'inexactitudes (les juntes militaires ont conduit au 11 septembre?) et de vœux pieux , prenant leurs désirs pour des réalités (les vrais croyants feront des compromis sur leurs objectifs? Une immense vague, véritable raz-de-marée, d'islamistes irakiens sont devenus libéraux?) en affirmant d'abord que les idéologues sont «des dictateurs cortico-dépendants»qui ne se modèrent pas en atteignant le pouvoir, mais se préparent à attaquer, construisent les bases pour rester indéfiniment au pouvoir. Deuxièmement, les idéologues négligent les questions mêmes sur lesquelles nos adversaires ont mis l'accent- la sécurité et l'emploi – en faveur de l'application des lois islamiques. Les dictateurs cupides, en revanche, faute d'idéologie et de vision, n'ont pas une vision de la société et peuvent donc être convaincus de s'orienter vers le développement économique, les libertés personnelles, un processus politique ouvert, et la règle de droit (par exemple, la Corée du Sud).


Et voilà, Morsi et les Frères musulmans ont suivi exactement notre scénario. Depuis qu'il a pris le pouvoir en août, Morsi (1) a mis à l'écart l'armée, s'est ensuite concentré sur l'enracinement et l'expansion de sa suprématie, notamment en émettant une série d'ordres le 22 novembre par lesquels il s'arrogeait des pouvoirs autocratiques et en répandant les théories du complot sioniste à propos de ses adversaires. Il a ensuite (2) donné un coup de boutoir par une constitution orientée islamiste le 30 novembre et a appelé à un brusque référendum le 15 décembre. Absorbé par ces deux tâches, il a pratiquement ignoré les multiples problèmes qui affligent l'Egypte, en particulier la crise économique imminente et le manque de fonds pour payer la nourriture importée.


La prise de pouvoir de Morsi a stimulé les Egyptiens anti-islamistes pour unir leurs forces comme c'est le cas dans le «Front de salut national» et se confronter aux islamistes dans les plus violents combats de rue jamais vus en six décennies, le forçant à retirer partiellement ses ordres du 22 novembre. Ironie du sort, après avoir habilement mis de côté l'armée en août, le fait pour Morsi d'avoir été trop loin a créé des circonstances qui ont renvoyé l'autorité ultime aux généraux, qui peuvent intervenir pour ou contre lui. En choisissant des sympathisants des islamistes comme officiers supérieurs et en offrant des privilèges militaires renforcés dans le projet de constitution, il a, selon toute vraisemblance gagné leur soutien. La loi martiale est probablement pour bientôt


En seulement trois mois, Morsi a montré qu'il aspirait à de plus grands pouvoirs dictatoriaux que ceux de Moubarak et que son régime laissait présager être une calamité encore plus grande pour l'Egypte que ne le fut Moubarak. Il a parfaitement justifié le point de vue de Jasser et mon point de vue: c'est mieux d'avoir des dictateurs que des islamistes élus. Comme je l'ai noté dans le débat, les Occidentaux devraient claquer la porte au nez aux dictateurs idéologiques comme les islamistes tout en faisant pression sur les dictateurs cupides pour permettre [le développement] de la société civile. Cela offre la seule porte de sortie de la fausse alternative entre les deux formes de tyrannie.


La diplomatie israélienne face à une réalité unilatérale

Dore Gold

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 9 décembre 2012


Jusqu’à ce jour, l’Etat d’Israël a focalisé sa politique sur la nécessité de faire avancer les négociations de paix avec les Palestiniens, et de ce fait, Jérusalem a fait de nombreuses concessions. Aujourd’hui, à la lumière de la résolution en faveur des Palestiniens adoptée à l’ONU, l’Etat juif devrait résister à ne pas résister à ses revendications légitimes pour assurer sa sécurité.


La direction palestinienne avait répandu au cours des derniers mois une rumeur selon laquelle Mahmoud Abbas reprendrait le chemin de la négociation juste après le vote de l’ONU. Certains observateurs avaient même écrit qu’il renoncerait aux conditions préalables qu’il avait imposées en 2009, à savoir: le gel de la construction dans les implantations et notamment dans les quartiers juifs de Jérusalem. Ainsi, les Palestiniens ont présenté leur initiative aux Nations-Unies comme un tremplin positif et constructif vers la bonne voie.


Le 12 novembre dernier, suite à une rencontre avec les ministres des Affaires étrangères de la ligue arabe, Mahmoud Abbas déclare : « nous sommes prêts à reprendre les pourparlers ». Selon le correspondant de l’agence Reuters au Caire, à la veille du vote à l’Assemblée générale, il avait promis de revenir sans délai à la table des négociations.


En fait, Mahmoud Abbas n’a pas voulu reprendre le processus de paix sachant parfaitement que durant cette dernière décennie il n’a pas réussi à arriver à un accord avec Israël.


Déjà en 2009, il avait révélé au « Washington Post » que même la généreuse proposition finale de l’ancien Premier ministre Ehoud Olmert ne pouvait aplanir les divergences pour pouvoir parvenir à un accord de paix. Abbas sait aussi que de véritables négociations avec Israël exigeraient en revanche des concessions palestiniennes. Cependant et depuis 2006, le Hamas est devenu une force montante dans la vie politique palestinienne. Il s’est renforcé après la chute du président Hosni Moubarak au détriment du Fatah et de l’Autorité de Mahmoud Abbas.


En observant la conduite des Israéliens et des Palestiniens nous constatons que chaque partie agit sur un plan diplomatique différent. Les Israéliens représentant divers partis politiques se sont préoccupés par la réussite des négociations. Ils ont essayé de comprendre ce qui est nécessaire pour les Palestiniens pour parvenir à un accord et souvent ils ont proposé des concessions préalables.


Ainsi, lorsque les Palestiniens ont exigé un retrait total de la Cisjordanie vers les lignes d’avant juin 1967, des hommes politiques israéliens ont suggéré d’offrir aux Palestiniens un territoire de la même dimension, sans aucun rapport avec le tracé final de la frontière. Cette flexibilité était destinée à prouver un acte de bonne volonté et présentait l’Etat d’Israël aux yeux de la communauté internationale comme capable de faire des concessions majeures.


Malgré tout, Mahmoud Abbas a adopté une approche unilatérale, et déjà en janvier 2009, lorsqu’Ehoud Olmert était toujours au pouvoir, le ministre palestinien de la Justice s’est directement adressé à la Cour pénale internationale demandant de définir l’Autorité palestinienne comme Etat. Nul ne le doute qu’il visait déjà l’ONU.


Ainsi, Mahmoud Abbas exige depuis des conditions préalables sachant que les Israéliens les rejetteront par avance. Il est conscient que l’approche unilatérale servira d’outil à long terme pour sensibiliser les chancelleries et en particulier les occidentaux.


C’est bien pour cette raison là qu’il na jamais abandonné l’option onusienne et a transformé l’Assemblée générale en tribune pour pouvoir adopter des résolutions hostiles à Israël.


En fait, Mahmoud Abbas combine divers éléments pour délégitimer l’Etat d’Israël et le lien historique indéfectible du peuple juif à Jérusalem et à sa terre trois fois millénaire. Un ouvrage officiel publié récemment par l’Autorité palestinienne met en relief le terme « colonialisme » lorsque qu’on se réfère à Israël, et cela afin de déterminer le sionisme comme un mouvement « raciste » et non un projet d’autodétermination et indépendance du peuple juif.


Dans ce contexte, Israël devrait « changer de disquette » car la tactique antérieure qui était peut être bonne pour une période déterminée lors des négociations ne peut correspondre aux intérêts israéliens dans un scénario d’unilatéralité.


Israël ne sera pas non plus en mesure de mener une campagne internationale contre un retour aux lignes d’avant juin 1967 sans qu’il n’explique les dangers qui pourraient s’abattre sur lui.


En conclusion, Israël aura du mal à obtenir un consensus au sein de la communauté internationale sur la nouvelle construction autour des blocs d’implantations, s’il n’explique pas clairement et systématiquement qu’il existe en Cisjordanie certaines zones auxquelles l’Etat juif ne pourra jamais renoncer!




Stewart Weiss

Jerusalem Magazine, December 23, 2011

There is no life at Buchenwald. Its gray barracks contain only fear and dread; fear of what tomorrow will bring, the dread of what waits beyond the door. Barbed-wire fences and watchtowers surround the entire compound; the steady rat-atat of machine guns can be heard fulfilling their masters’ tasks. Down the road are the gas chambers; the smoke and smell they emit forming clouds of death that hang over each bunk like a malevolent fog.

But Building 103 at Buchenwald is different from the rest. It looks exactly like its neighbors but it is not the same. It has a certain life within it, for it holds the religious Jews in Buchenwald. They arrived here shortly after Kristallnacht: rabbis and sextons, cantors and teachers. This barracks is their community now, and as new prisoners enter Buchenwald, the religious among them are routed here. The residents of Building 103 are not immune to German persecution. They are regularly beaten, subject to selection, deprived of food and sustenance like all the others at the camp. Those who cannot work or become ill are sent to the gas chambers; those who fail to answer loudly or quickly enough at roll call are promptly whipped.

Yet beyond the daily regimen of suffering, there is a kind of life—religious life—in Building 103. The residents say prayers each day, using a makeshift tallit (prayer shawl) made from a bed sheet. They learn Torah, maintaining a nightly routine of study with the scholars among them. Together they form a surreal congregation suspended between life and death, Heaven and Hell. Their holy rituals give them a certain inner strength, a higher purpose to life beyond just being fuel for the maniacal Nazi murder machine.

Why these Jews are allowed to maintain their religious activities, such as they are, is a matter of great debate.… No official Nazi edict sanctions their religious behavior. It is more an absence of repression, a blind eye and lack of response to the goings-on in the barracks. There is always the fear that they might suddenly be interrupted in the midst of prayer, or informed upon by a spy planted among them. But for a long time, it seems an unofficial arrangement has passed between Building 103 and the Reich.

As winter comes to Buchenwald, the days grow shorter and the nights longer. The inmates who work in the forests are shepherded back to the camp by nightfall, and now have more time in which to talk among themselves. They know Hanukka is coming and they have a bold, completely outrageous thought: Could they actually celebrate a Jewish holiday?

While they have been able to pray and study, they have never actually observed a Jewish Holy Day. There was no wine upon which to recite kiddush on Shabbat, no matza on Passover, certainly no etrog to smell and bless on Succot. True, some had refrained from food and drink on Yom Kippur, but this was a passive gesture to the day, not a real celebration.

As night lengthens and the discussions grow, there is a sense of courage and excitement at the prospect of observing, in a real way, the upcoming days of Hanukka. The debate is fierce: How dare we risk our lives? And yet, if we could somehow celebrate in this obscene place, how could we not take that chance?

Finally, as Hanukka grows closer, they decide to submit the issue to binding arbitration by the resident scholar, Reb Herzel, a Talmudic master who had once led his own yeshiva. He chose to teach his students until the very day the Germans seized him, rather than escape to freedom earlier. His courage and intellect are acknowledged by the entire camp, and they willingly submit the issue to him for judgment.

Reb Herzel buries his face in his hands, deep in thought as he ponders the matter. The hungry and hopeful faces of the assembled watch in silence, aware they stand on the precipice of a momentous decision. Finally, he rises and delivers his verdict: “Because this is a life-and-death matter, I find no law absolutely compelling us to observe Hanukka here. Yet the hanukkia symbolizes our determination that the flame of Judaism within us can never be snuffed out, no matter how powerful the enemy we face. If we were somehow granted the means to observe this holiday, we would re-create the miracle of Hanukka, and in the merit of this action we might be saved. As no Jew may command another to become a martyr, each of us must choose.”

The vote is unanimous. Little by little, a hanukkia takes shape. Iron bars taken from nine beds form the branches of the hanukkia. Atop each bar is attached the end of a spoon, recessed to hold a drop of oil. The men agree to take the bit of margarine they receive once a week with their bread and hide it in the cold earth beneath the floor. The hanukkia is carefully hidden; the inmates count the days until Hanukka.

The first night of the holiday arrives. Roll call comes and goes uneventfully, the inmates retire to their beds and feign sleep as the camp lights are extinguished. At midnight, they gather in the center of the room as a close watch is kept at the window. The hanukkia is quietly removed from a mattress and erected in the center of the bunk. The stored-up margarine is taken from beneath the floor, a precious bit placed in the little metal cup atop the first branch. A shoelace acts as a wick; one of the men working in the camp kitchen has, at great risk, stolen a few matches. The honor of lighting the first candle is given to the youngest among them, 16-year-old Shmuel, representing all the children unable to celebrate Hanukka.

In hushed tones, the Jews recite the three blessings, and Shmuel lights the lamp. The glow of that fire reflects the faces of men who pray for a miracle, who have somehow reached beyond this place of misery to the homes of their youth, where Hanukka was synonymous with joy and singing. For just a brief, glowing moment, there is no Buchenwald, no Nazi terror; only faith and the eternity of the Jewish people. The residents go to sleep that night with empty stomachs, but their spirits are satiated.

This happy scene is repeated on the second, third and fourth nights as well. On the fifth night there is a tremendous snowstorm, which the Jews take as a good omen, a sign that God is coating the camp in a white shroud of purity in recognition of their having fulfilled a great mitzva. As they prepare to light the fifth candle, they say the 118th Psalm, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and revel in it.”

Suddenly, without warning, the door bursts open. Several Nazi guards rush into the barracks. They order the Jews to lie face-down on the floor, and seize the hanukkia. Several of the men, including Reb Herzel, are taken to the center of the compound and summarily executed, the sounds of the Shema prayer mingling with the gunshots. Their bodies are left lying there, a warning to the other Jews in the camp and a tribute to Nazi “justice.”

Back in the bunk, no one can speak. Once again, the eyes are hollow and transparent, as if the souls had disappeared along with the hanukkia. At the window, young Shmuel looks out upon the bodies, tears streaming down his face. He shakes his fist with rage and finally screams, “They will not defeat us!”

He lets his tears fall upon the fingertips of his right hand, and while they are still wet, he presses them tight upon the icy window. The bitter cold freezes them fast to the glass. With the defiant yell of a Maccabee, Shmuel recites the blessings upon lighting the hanukkia. Then, with one final cry, he tears away his fingers from the windowpane, leaving five bits of blood and flesh on the window where his fingers had been.

The fifth candle has been kindled.

Gil Shefler

Jerusalem Post, December 21, 2011

The large, torch-carrying crowd assembled under the imposing Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Tuesday was reminiscent of a different era, darker era. But these were not Nazi stormtroopers, and the year was not 1933. Rather, it was 2011 and the gatherers were taking part in a large Hanukka ceremony.

“We’re standing at the same spot where Adolf Hitler announced his plan to annihilate European Jewry,” said Chabad Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel of Berlin, who organized the event.…

About 1,000 people, including US Ambassador to Germany Phillip Murphy and several other dignitaries were in attendance.… During the gathering Jewish students simultaneously lit candles and torches symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness.

The Brandenburg Gate was built by Prussian King Fredrick William II in 1788. When the Nazis came to power they used it to stage marches and rallies, including Hitler’s swearing-in ceremony as chancellor in January 1933. After the war, the gate stood in a virtual no-man’s land straddling the border between East and West Berlin. It was where then-US president John F. Kennedy delivered his Ich bin ein Berliner speech and US President Ronald Reagan called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.…

[Today] the gate…is only a stone’s throw away from a large museum remembering the Jews murdered by the Nazis and their allies in the Holocaust.… “If the purpose of the menorah is light over darkness, there’s no stronger place to express this than here,” [Tiechtel] said.

Michael Freund
Jerusalem Post, December 21, 2011

As Jews around the world gather to celebrate Hanukka, the festival of lights, it is only natural that we look back with pride at what our ancestors were able to accomplish.

Over two millennia ago a small band of freedom fighters rose up against the Seleucid tyrant Antiochus and his despotism, determined to reinstate our national sovereignty and salvage our religious identity. Thanks to Divine providence, Matityahu the high priest and his intrepid sons prevailed, defeating the enemy, cleansing the Temple and re-establishing Jewish rule. As a result, the Maccabees rightfully earned their place in the annals of Jewish heroism, setting an inspiring example of spiritual resolve and military fortitude for generations of Jews to come.

Tuesday night, as we lit the first candle, I stared at the light and considered what the Maccabees had achieved with one pressing question on my mind: how would they view us? Would the Maccabees, who sacrificed everything for the sake of preserving the Jewish way of life, be proud to see what the Jewish people and the modern State of Israel have become?

From a strictly political and martial perspective, the answer would appear to be obvious. Surely Judah the Maccabee and his brothers would rejoice to see a reborn Jewish state, free and independent, with a potent military that is the envy of the region. They would undoubtedly marvel at Israel’s accomplishments on the battlefield against overwhelming odds, seeing in them some undeniable parallels with their own victories over the Syrian-Greeks.… The IDF is the living embodiment of Judah the Maccabee’s fighting spirit, carrying on his legacy of national dignity and self-respect.

But as much as the Maccabees would have taken delight in Israel’s prowess, I can’t help but feel they would be terribly disappointed by a number of the Jewish state’s policies.

Take, for example, Israel’s treatment of the Temple Mount, which lies at the very heart of the historical events that Hanukka commemorates. In deference to our Muslim neighbors, Israel imposes a series of shameful restrictions on Jewish visitors to this holiest of sites. Jews ascending the Mount are not allowed to bring a prayer book or Bible with them, nor are they permitted to pray. Indeed, Jews are occasionally detained by police for moving their lips on their Mount, as this could be interpreted to be an act of prayer. On the other hand, the Muslim Wakf, which effectively controls the site, has done as it pleases, carrying out illegal archaeological digs and destroying priceless relics from Temple times right under Israel’s nose.

I think Matityahu and his sons would have a hard time understanding why the Temple Mount they fought so hard to liberate and purify is now routinely debased thanks to a weak-willed Jewish government. After all, it was the restoration of the Temple and its service that was the driving force behind their revolt.…

And then there is Israel’s nasty habit of turning over territory to our enemies. Take, for example, the ignominious withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, which would certainly have astounded the protagonists of the Hanukka story.

In the year 145 BCE, the Hasmonean king Jonathan, Judah the Maccabee’s brother, attacked Gaza and forced its population to sue for peace, as recounted in the First Book of Maccabees (11:62). His brother Simon, who succeeded him, later captured Gaza and pacified its population, which had been agitating against the Judean kingdom. He sent Jews to settle Gaza, and even built himself a home there, sending a clear message that the Jews were there to stay.

Contrast this with our own expulsion of thousands of Jews from Gaza, and the inexplicable forbearance that our government shows in the face of rocket attacks emanating from the area. The Maccabees would be appalled!

Matityahu and his sons took up arms because Judaism and its core beliefs, as well as the Jewish people, were under assault from both within and without. They were driven by a firm belief in the justness of their cause, which gave them the wherewithal to confront the existential threats facing the Jewish nation. In our own time, even that has eroded, as many of our fellow Israelis seem to have lost sight of the fact that we are engaged in a clear struggle between good and evil.

What ensured the Maccabean success was their obstinate and uncompromising commitment to Jewish values and principles, and it is this trait that we must seek to re-embrace. Enough with retreat, enough with withdrawal and appeasing our foes. Let’s learn from the Maccabees and start worrying a little less about what the world might think, and a little more about how to build and defend the Land of Israel.

Just as the candles that we kindle each night stand ram-rod straight, giving off light in defiance of their surroundings, so too must Israel now do the same. That, perhaps more than anything, is what the heroes of Hanukka would have wanted.

Arlene Kushner

FrontPage, December 20, 2011

Is the US State Department capable of getting it right when addressing deprivation of human rights endured by Jewish people? Its conduct with regard to the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem gives serious pause.

On the slopes of the Mount of Olives (Hebrew: Har Hazeitim), in eastern Jerusalem, lies a 2,500 year-old Jewish cemetery, bearing a legacy of enormous import and sanctity. Among those buried in its 150,000 Jewish graves are prophets, Zionist leaders, rabbis, writers, and an Israeli prime minister.

From 1948, when eastern Jerusalem was captured by Jordan, until its liberation by Israel in 1967, no Jews were permitted at the site; horrendous damage was done to the cemetery during those years. Although restoration has been taking place since 1967, until recently action to protect the site had been insufficient. That is now changing as the Israeli government has become more vigorously involved and the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim has been established.

Yet vandalism still regularly occurs at the cemetery. Arabs drop cinderblocks from the top of the Mount down the hillside, in a frequently successful effort to crack headstones. Additionally, mourners and those visiting graves of loved ones are often harassed by Arabs throwing stones and require an armed Israeli security escort. Not infrequently, those mourners and visitors are American citizens.

Enter Jeff Daube, Director of the Israel Office of the Zionist Organization of America, and a leading member of the International Committee. Alarmed by what he had learned about the situation, he wrote a letter on November 10, 2010, to the U.S. General Counsel and Chief of Mission in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein. Observing that as “the consulate’s good offices are meant to represent the U.S. in Jerusalem…it appears the Mt. of Olives falls within your diplomatic purview.” Daube requested, on behalf of “outraged U.S. and Israeli citizens,” that the Consul General “issue a condemnation of this ongoing sacrilege and violence,” and call upon local Arab leaders and the PA to issue condemnations of the acts of desecration and harassment.

On November 12, 2010, Daube was invited to a meeting with Jonathan Cullen, Political Officer, and Matthew Welsh, Officer of Religious Affairs, at the Consulate. After the situation was discussed, it was agreed that these officers would visit the site with Daube on January 5, 2011. But when the consulate officers subsequently learned that they were to be accompanied by Israeli security personnel, they explained to Daube that regulations forbid consulate personnel from participating in any event involving Israel-funded security. This is to avoid implicit U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem. As Daube declined to be responsible for escorting American officials on the site without security protection, there the issue rested.

This spring, Daube, who lives in Israel, visited Washington DC. Twice—on May 10 and June 1—he met at State with John Buzbee, Director of the Bureau of Near East Affairs/Israel-Palestinian Affairs. At the first meeting, with regard to the Mount of Olives, Daube made three requests: 1. That the State Department issue a condemnation of the violence and grave desecrations; 2. That the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem prevail upon the PA to release a condemnation in Arabic; 3. That the problem be addressed in the State Department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

During the second meeting, Buzbee reported with satisfaction that the draft of the report on religious freedom was on his desk and, indeed, the problem on the Mount was included. In mid-November, Secretary Clinton held a press conference announcing the release of the report for 2010. On checking, Daube learned that the relevant text in that report reads: “The desecration of Muslim and Jewish cemeteries in Jerusalem continued throughout the reporting period. Jewish tombstones on the Mount of Olives cemetery were vandalized, and the Jerusalem Municipality demolished tombstones in the Muslim Mamilla cemetery it deemed were constructed illegally.”

The State Department has a solid reputation for adopting a stance of moral equivalency regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues: When releasing a statement critical of Arabs, its officials behave as if duty-bound to find something equally critical to say about Israelis. While allegedly this is done to avoid the semblance of a pro-Israel tilt, this policy actually generates an anti-Israel bias because Israeli and Arab behavior are simply not equivalent. This is stunningly obvious with regard to this particular report.…

Earlier this year, the Israel Land Authority discovered that the northern branch of the Islamic Movement had been planting fake tombstones in the Mamilla Cemetery as part of a “land war.” Official inspectors at the site found tombstones that bore no evidence of graves beneath. After extensive documentation had been gathered, the Authority declared that they were dealing with “…fraud on a massive scale. Five hundred tombstones…were placed in the graveyard.…”

Working with antiquities officials to insure no actual graves were disturbed, the Authority removed the fake headstones. It is a distorted description of this action, without proper context, that found its way into the State Department report.

Neither Secretary of State Clinton nor other officials within the State Department have issued public condemnation of the deprivation of religious freedom endured by Jews on the Mount of Olives. The guess would be that—while this issue merits public condemnation—Secretary Clinton is inhibited by her concern that Arab sensibilities not be offended.