Tag: Hizbollah

HEZBOLLAH IN SYRIA, AL-NUSRA (AL-QAEDA) IN LEBANON —TWO COUNTRIES, ONE WAR?

 

Contents:                          

 

Download an abbreviated pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Iran’s Arms Supply to Hizbullah, International Dimensions: Dore Gold, JCPA, May 17, 2013—In an exceptional political signal, a senior Israeli official contacted Mark Landler of the New York Times and explained that the Israeli government was determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizbullah.

 

Nasrallah's Harangue: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2013—Hassan Nasrallah’s stirring and impassioned defense of Damascus despot Bashar Assad went far beyond the Hezbollah chief’s by-now expected bravado. This was something intrinsically different. Nasrallah is a proven master at toying with the emotions of both supporters and foes in Lebanon.

 

Syrian Devastation Is a Tale of Two Countries: Sam Dagher, Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2013 —By any measure Syria’s economy has been devastated by the uprising turned civil war, which entered its third year in March. But the fallout has been a tale of two Syrias. The regime has adapted to a shrinking economy as well as U.S. and European sanctions, while average Syrians bear the brunt of the pain.

 

Lebanon: Fault Line for Hezbollah's War on 'Takfiris' In Syria: Nasser Chararah, Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse, May 29, 2013 — With the fall of two rockets (a third failed to launch due to a malfunction) last week on the shiite-majority Chiyyah neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Lebanon has entered a new phase of rising tension that threatens to import the conflict in Syria between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Syria  opposition on the one hand and Hezbollah on the other.
 

Iran's Strategy in Syria: Will Fulton, Joseph Holliday & Sam Wyer, Real Clear World, May 3, 2013—The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted an extensive, expensive, and integrated effort to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power as long as possible while setting conditions to retain its ability to use Syrian territory and assets to pursue its regional interests should Assad fall.

 

On Topic Links

 

Kerry Getting Out-Foxed By Russia Over Syria: James P. Rubin, New Republic, May 29, 2013

The Folly of Waiting for a More Perfect Syrian Opposition: Shadi Hamid, The Atlantic, May 28 2013

Syrian Fault Lines in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley: Martin Armstrong, Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse,  May 29, 2013
In Jordan, Militias Form to Guard Against Potential Syrian Attacks: Taylor Luck, Washington Post, May 30, 2013

 

 

IRAN’S ARMS SUPPLY TO HIZBULLAH: INTERNATIONAL DIMENSIONS

Dore Gold

JCPA, May 17, 2013

 

In an exceptional political signal, a senior Israeli official contacted Mark Landler of the New York Times and explained that the Israeli government was determined to continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizbullah. The official, who remained anonymous throughout the report, added that if Syria  President Bashar al-Assad reacts to this policy by attacking Israel – either directly or indirectly through a proxy force – he will “risk forfeiting his regime, for Israel will retaliate.”

 

Israel’s policy of preventing the supply of advanced weapons to Hizbullah has been in place for some time, but in the past was primarily the responsibility of the Israeli Navy which intercepted Iranian weapons ships in the Mediterranean. According to U.S. sources, Israel has more recently concentrated this effort in Syria  territory. The Syrians may have had an interest in assuring that some of their more advanced weaponry not fall into the hands of the Sunni extremist groups they have been fighting that are linked to al-Qaeda, like Jabhat al-Nusra. Should the Assad regime retreat to Alawite areas near the coast, it would not want to see those advanced weapons in the hands of the Sunni forces, with whom it may be fighting for years to come.

 

But a new motive appears to have become far more predominant in recent weeks. Iran appears to have decided that it must prevent a situation arising in which it loses its grip on Syria, which has been characterized by an Iranian institute tied to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “35th district of Iran.” As a result, Iran appears to be providing itself with an option to take over Syria, if Assad falls. It has not only directly intervened by itself and deployed its own Revolutionary Guard forces on Syria  soil, but it has also sought to build up an expeditionary army made up of Lebanese Hizbullah and other Shiite militias from Iraq as well. Iran is training and equipping these forces. It is also providing Hizbullah with state-of-the-art weapons, partly as a reward for the services the organization is providing.

 

In the past, Israeli defense officials have said the supply of “game-changing weaponry” will not be tolerated and they have focused in their briefings on several specific types of arms transfers to Hizbullah:

 

a. Chemical weapons.

 

b. Iranian surface-to-surface missiles equipped with heavy warheads, like the Fateh 110, which has a highly destructive 600 kg. warhead as compared to the 30 kg. warhead on Hizbullah’s Katyusha rockets that it launched against Israel in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

 

c. Long-range anti-aircraft missiles, like the Russian-manufactured SA-17, which can limit the freedom of action of the Israeli Air Force if deployed by Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. The SA-17 uses a mobile launcher. Israeli diplomacy has been especially concerned with the Russian sale of even more robust S-300 anti-aircraft missiles by Russia to Syria, though there are no indications that Hizbullah is a potential recipient of this system.

 

d. Long-range anti-ship missiles, like the Russian supersonic Yakhont cruise missile, that has a range of 300 km. and can strike at Israeli offshore gas rigs in the Eastern Mediterranean. Russia recently sent a shipment of the missiles which will be added to an initial inventory of 72 missiles received first in 2011.

 

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2012, Lt.-Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, pointed to the Yakhont as a threat to the U.S. Navy as well: “DIA remains concerned with the proliferation of advanced cruise missiles, such as Russia’s supersonic Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile which Moscow sold to Syria and Vietnam. The 300-km.-range Yakhont poses a major threat to naval operations particularly in the eastern Mediterranean.”

 

There is another international context to Israel’s position on Iran’s weapons shipments to Hizbullah. At the end of the Second Lebanon War, the U.S. and France drafted the text of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted unanimously on August 11, 2006, with Russian and Chinese support. Article 15 states that the resolution prohibits all UN member states from allowing their nationals to engage in “the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related material of all types.”…

 

Those who recall the UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted against Iran’s nuclear program might not recall that they entailed an arms embargo on Iranian weapons exports as well. Thus, UN Security Council Resolution 1747, adopted on March 24, 2007, specifically stated in paragraph 5: “Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran.” …

 

Israel, in taking measures against this activity, is not only acting in accordance with its own security interests, but in a manner consistent with the repeated decisions of the international community. Unfortunately, since the UN never effectively implemented its own resolutions, Israel was left with no choice but to act in its own self-defense.

 

Iran continues to ignore these UN resolutions and flagrantly violates them. Israel is receiving strong international support from the U.S. and Britain for the stance it is taking against Iranian weapons supplies to Hizbullah. But clearly, should Israel come under criticism in the future, it can point to the fact of the failure of the international community to halt Iran’s airlift to its proxy forces like Hizbullah.

 

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NASRALLAH'S HARANGUE

Editorial

Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2013

 

Hassan Nasrallah’s stirring and impassioned defense of Damascus despot Bashar Assad went far beyond the Hezbollah chief’s by-now expected bravado. This was something intrinsically different. Nasrallah is a proven master at toying with the emotions of both supporters and foes in Lebanon. This time, though, and perhaps for the first time, he displayed genuine emotion.

 

It may have been Nasrallah’s usual braggadocio when he vowed to stay in the Syria  conflict “to the end of the road” and to bring victory to his beleaguered ally Damascus despot Bashar Assad. But the significant portions of his harangue were those in which he listed the consequences to Lebanon if Assad should fall.

Nasrallah predicted a catastrophic outcome, from his point of view, in such an eventuality. He said Lebanon would be the next to cave under. The subtext is that Hezbollah would collapse in the Lebanese content. His Shi’ite organization would, in other words, lose its stranglehold over Lebanon.

 

It was always apparent that Assad was Hezbollah’s patron and benefactor. But now Nasrallah had admitted in no uncertain terms that Assad is not merely an ally but an indispensable mainstay. Hence Nasrallah must do absolutely everything to keep Assad in power, because Nasrallah’s own power hinges on that. The fates of Assad and Hezbollah are one and the same. If Assad loses his struggle to maintain its sway over Syria, Hezbollah would lose its ability to maintain its sway over Lebanon. Hezbollah is not merely repaying a trusted confederate; Hezbollah is waging the ultimate fight for its power base in Lebanon….

 

Nasrallah keeps pouring more and more manpower into Syria and anti-Assad forces have now aimed their rockets at Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut. Just as Syria is considered a legitimate battleground for Hezbollah, so its Syria  enemies are likely to consider Lebanon a legitimate target for retaliation. Nasrallah has compelling reasons to fear that Assad’s defeat would send his enemies into Lebanon to root out the last vestiges of Assad’s prime accomplice, i.e. Hezbollah. This is not a conflict of choice for Hezbollah but a desperate fight to the finish.

 

Hezbollah’s investment in Assad’s preservation has now superseded all its other agendas – including its enmity for Israel. The attacks – attributed to Israel – on convoys transferring weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Lebanon appear to bother Nasrallah remarkably less than the fear for the future of the Assad regime. Hezbollah is not, of course, the only player in Syria’s immediate vicinity that has a vested interest in safeguarding Assad. The biggest stake in Assad’s well-being is held by the godfather of the pro-Assad axis – Iran. To a great extent Hezbollah is fighting as Tehran’s surrogate….

 

Nasrallah’s fiery oratory notwithstanding, his organization faces odds it never encountered in the past. It is not only pitted against Israel and domestic Lebanese opponents. The entire coterie of fanatic Sunni baddies from all around the Muslim world both castigates and actively opposes it. Hezbollah is more vulnerable and far weaker than at any previous juncture. This is a heartening development for Israel and a welcome byproduct from its policy of non-intervention.

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SYRIA  DEVASTATION IS A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES

Sam Dagher

Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2013

 

By any measure Syria’s economy has been devastated by the uprising turned civil war, which entered its third year in March. But the fallout has been a tale of two Syrias. The regime has adapted to a shrinking economy as well as U.S. and European sanctions, while average Syria s bear the brunt of the pain.

 

Economists and some Syria  government officials estimate the country’s gross domestic product, which stood at almost $60 billion in 2010 according to the World Bank, has shrunk by nearly 45 percent over the past two years. Since March 2011, the Syria  pound has lost 70 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar. The World Bank estimates inflation exceeded 50 percent last year.

 

So far the government remains able to pay salaries, provide basic services and subsidize essentials like bread in areas under its control, mostly in the central and western parts of the country. Syria is estimated to have had about $18 billion in foreign currency reserves on March 2011 and one Syria  economist believes the government can sustain itself for two more years if there are no dramatic changes in the current situation.

 

Iran and Iraq are now supplying the regime with almost all of its oil and gas needs, according to a senior official at Syria’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and a Syria  businessman in charge of organizing fuel truck convoys from neighboring countries and within Syria. Iran has extended to the regime this year credit lines of up to $4 billion to finance imports and oil and gas purchases, Syria  Central Bank Governor Adeeb Mayaleh told the official Tishreen newspaper Monday.

 

He also said Iran is finalizing a $4 billion loan to the regime. Syria has also set up barter deals with Baghdad. For example exports of Syria  cement to Iraq have skyrocketed in recent months according to figures compiled by a Damascus-based economist. The outside help is often coordinated by businessmen with close ties to the regime.

 

The streets of Damascus and other towns and cities under regime control appear normal. Markets and retail stores are well-stocked and businesses are functioning, albeit at a fraction of their capacity. But among average Syria s, the erratic exchange rate over the past few weeks, the dramatic rise in prices of many goods and talk that the government may lift subsidies estimated at half a trillion Syria  pounds ($3.3 billion) a year is setting off alarm bells.

 

“Intentions to Lift Subsidies…Last Mercy Bullet,” screamed a headline in the Syria  daily newspaper Baladna Monday. The paper estimated that prices of most goods have gone up on average by 240 percent since March 2011. Minimum monthly wages, meanwhile, have largely stayed the same, ranging from the equivalent of $200 to $300 depending on the exchange rate.

 

Much of the talk about ending subsidies has been fuelled by a government mandated increase this month in the price of gasoline (petrol) and cooking gas, which is distributed in metal jars. Another privately-held newspaper Al-Watan said Monday that there were sharp disagreements inside the current government over whether to increase salaries or lift subsidies.

 

The paper quoting a “source” present at a cabinet meeting earlier this month said that Qadri Jamil, deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs, was in favour of lifting subsidies and raising salaries of government employees by 200 percent.

 

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LEBANON: FAULT LINE FOR HEZBOLLAH'S
WAR ON 'TAKFIRIS' IN SYRIA

Nasser Chararah

Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse, May 29, 2013

 

With the fall of two rockets (a third failed to launch due to a malfunction) last week on the shiite-majority Chiyyah neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Lebanon has entered a new phase of rising tension that threatens to import the conflict in Syria between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Syria  opposition on the one hand and Hezbollah on the other. The rockets were fired from Bsaba in mount Lebanon toward Chiyyah, an Amal and Hezbollah stronghold.

 

The rockets were fired only hours after Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah announced in a speech the party’s decision to fight in Syria alongside the Syria  regime. This means that military cells that support the Syria  regime are present in Lebanon and can carry out attacks at any time they are ordered.

 

According to Lebanese security forces, the attack had been expected for several days. It was considered likely that Jabhat al-Nusra might retaliate for Hezbollah’s participation in the fighting in Syria. During the middle of last week, Hezbollah was concerned that Jabhat al-Nusra might target the liberation day celebrations held in Mashghara, Bekaa (liberation day is about the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the security zone it had established in Lebanon’s south). In the celebration, Nasrallah gave a speech on a giant screen and announced that his party is fighting in Syria….

 

Lebanese security sources expect the war between Hezbollah and Jabhat al-Nusra to escalate in the next few days. According to available information, Jabhat al-Nusra controls Lebanese and Palestinian Salafist groups in northern Lebanon, in the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern city of Sidon, and in Beirut and its suburbs, especially in the Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp.

 

For weeks, pro-Jabhat al-Nusra salafist groups in Lebanon have been training dozens of displaced Palestinians from Syria in at least two locations in the Ein al-Hilweh camp. Lebanese intelligence said that Osama al-Shehab, an al-Qaeda operative, supervises those two locations in Ein al-Hilweh camp.

 

According to a Lebanese security assessment, Jabhat al-Nusra can fight a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. There are hundreds of thousands of displaced Syria s who wish to see Syria  president Bashar al-Assad toppled and who live among the Lebanese Sunni community in Lebanon. Jabhat al-Nusra can use those displaced Syrians in its fight against Hezbollah.

 

Recently, there have been political and on-the-ground signs that the war between Jabhat al-Nusra and Hezbollah is heading toward becoming an open war in both Syria and Lebanon. Among those signs was when Nasrallah described the Islamist opposition in Syria as “takfiris.”…

 

Can there really be a war between the two sides in Lebanon?

 

In his speech last Saturday [May 25], Nasrallah said that they would fight only in Syria and asked his Lebanese opponents who wish to fight Hezbollah to do so in Syria and keep Lebanon outside the fight. But some of Nasrallah’s supporters were critical of his speech. One of them told al-monitor, “Nasrallah may have made a mistake in revealing his weak spot. So [his opponents] may choose to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon, which Nasrallah is trying to keep out of the fight.” The same source told Al-Monitor that Hezbollah can fight on two fronts at the same time.

 

On the same day when the two rockets fell on Chiyyah, another rocket was fired toward Israel. This raised questions on whether the two incidents are connected. Some said that the party that launched the rockets in the morning is the same one that fired the rocket on Israel in the evening as a message to the Lebanese government that if you don’t pressure Hezbollah to pull out of Syria, the Syria  opposition will blow up the security situation in Lebanon, whether internally or by means of re-activating the Israeli front.

 

Since the beginning of this week, many Lebanese have started feeling afraid because of all these developments. Economic activity has markedly slowed since the developments started.

 

Nasser Chararah is a contributing writer for al-monitor's Lebanon pulse and for multiple arab newspapers and magazines.

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IRAN'S STRATEGY IN SYRIA

Will Fulton, Joseph Holliday & Sam Wyer

Real Clear World, May 3, 2013

 

The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted an extensive, expensive, and integrated effort to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power as long as possible while setting conditions to retain its ability to use Syrian territory and assets to pursue its regional interests should Assad fall.

 

The Iranian security and intelligence services are advising and assisting the Syrian military in order to preserve Bashar al-Assad's hold on power. These efforts have evolved into an expeditionary training mission using Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces, Quds Force, intelligence services, and law enforcement forces. The deployment of IRGC Ground Forces to conflict abroad is a notable expansion of Iran's willingness and ability to project military force beyond its borders.

 

Iran has been providing essential military supplies to Assad, primarily by air. Opposition gains in Syria have interdicted many ground resupply routes between Baghdad and Damascus, and the relative paucity of Iranian port-visits in Syria suggests that Iran's sea-lanes to Syria are more symbolic than practical. The air line of communication between Iran and Syria is thus a key vulnerability for Iranian strategy in Syria. Iran would not be able to maintain its current level of support to Assad if this air route were interdicted through a no-fly zone or rebel capture of Syrian airfields.

 

Iran is also assisting pro-government Shabiha militias, partly to hedge against Assad's fall or the contraction of the regime into Damascus and a coastal Alawite enclave. These militias will become even more dependent on Tehran in such a scenario, allowing Iran to maintain some ability to operate in and project force from Syria….

 

Iraqi Shi‘a militants are also fighting in Syria in support of Assad. Their presence became overt in 2012 with the formation of the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, a pro-government militia that is a conglomerate of Syrian and foreign Shi‘a fighters, including members of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraq-based Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata'ib Hezbollah. Like other paramilitary forces operating in Syria, these militants escalated their involvement as the conflict descended into civil war. The open participation of Iraqi Shi‘a militants in Syria is an alarming indicator of the expansion of sectarian conflict throughout the region.

 

The Syrian conflict has already constrained Iran's influence in the Levant, and the fall of the Assad regime would further reduce Tehran's ability to project power. Iran's hedging strategy aims to ensure, however, that it can continue to pursue its vital interests if and when the regime collapses, using parts of Syria as a base as long as the Syrian opposition fails to establish full control over all of Syrian territory.

 

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Kerry Getting Out-Foxed By Russia Over Syria: James P. Rubin, New Republic, May 29, 2013—Secretary of State John Kerry has gotten off to a fast start as America’s chief diplomat, already racking up a half a dozen sessions with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

 

The Folly of Waiting for a More Perfect Syrian Opposition: Shadi Hamid, The Atlantic, May 28 2013—Today, the debate over Syria focuses once again on the composition of the Syrian National Coalition. And while the United States, Europe, and Saudi Arabia push the opposition to expand its ranks to include more liberals, the Assad regime continues to make significant gains against rebel forces, who report a loss of morale and lack even the most basic equipment.

 

Syrian Fault Lines In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley: Martin Armstrong, Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse,  May 29, 2013—In a former classroom in Arsal, Sekra al-Ahmad, 60, gently grips the forearm of her grandson. With her other hand she gently applies a lotion to a shallow wound near the child’s elbow, the result of government shelling that claimed the life one of Ahmad’s other grandchildren in Qusair.

 

Jordan, Informal Militias Form To Guard Against Syrian Attacks: Taylor Luck, Washington Post, May 30, 2013—Mohammed Hamad and his cousins, many handling a firearm for the first time, awkwardly balanced Kalashnikov rifles on their shoulders and shot practice rounds into watermelon targets here at the edge of the Yarmouk Valley separating Jordan and Syria.

 

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MCGILL U. SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO CONFER PHD. ON PRO-TERRORIST, ANTI-ISRAEL RACIST BUTLER

“Understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.” — Judith Butler, 2006

 

“The loss of demographic advantage for the Jewish population in Israel would surely improve prospects for democracy in that region,” — Judith Butler, 2012

 

Contents:                          

 

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

McGill Students for Israel and Hillel Mcgill Statement: McGill Students for Israel, Facebook, May 22, 2013—McGill Students for Israel would like to express its deep dismay and disappointment on your decision to confer upon Judith Butler an honorary McGill degree.

 

McGill's Judith Butler Bungle: Gil Troy, The Daily Beast, May 24, 2013—When I first heard that McGill University, my university, was awarding Professor Judith Butler an honorary doctorate, I winced, quietly. Butler is a caustic critic of Israel, with a blind spot for terrorist totalitarians. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that she is a respected scholar. And, frankly, I never wanted to be one of those hair-trigger activists who bellows predictably at every anti-Israel affront.

 

McGill Awarding Honorary Doctorate to Divisive Ideologue: Barbara Kay, National Post, May 23, 2013—Universities must be careful in the awarding of honorary doctorates. What seems like a safe choice at the time can come back to haunt a university later. Sometimes even five minutes later. McGill University will be awarding philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler of the University of California at Berkeley an honorary doctorate on May 30. The choice has stirred up controversy and no small degree of dismay amongst many students and some staff at McGill.

 

Judith Butler: More Palestinian than the Palestinians: Alan Johnson, World Affairs Journal, Oct. 16, 2012—In 2006 the rock star left-wing academic Judith Butler said that “understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.” (See 16:24 in this video.) Butler’s remark expressed all that’s wrong with the new style of “Palestinian solidarity work.”

 

On Topic Links

 

Anti-Israel Event at Brooklyn College Promotes Hate, Represses Dissent: Danielle Avel, Breibart, Feb. 19, 2013

Judith Butler Shouldn't Be Honoured by McGill University: Lauryn Oates, Huffington Post, May 27, 2013
 

 

MCGILL STUDENTS FOR ISRAEL AND HILLEL MCGILL STATEMENT

McGill Students for Israel
Facebook, May 22, 2013

 

Dear Chancellor Steinberg,

 

McGill Students for Israel would like to express its deep dismay and disappointment on your decision to confer upon Judith Butler an honorary McGill degree. An honorary degree “reflects McGill University’s highest aspirations and ideals”, and the recipient “…will serve as an inspiration and role model to our students, graduates and our community as a whole [and] to enhance the reputation of McGill University”. ” This is why we are so distressed that you have chosen to award an individual who calls for the boycott of the State of Israel and its dismantlement as a Jewish state.

 

Butler has called Hamas and Hezbollah, recognized terrorist organizations, “progressive” organizations that are part of the global left, later clarifying that “They are “left in the sense that they oppose colonialism and imperialism, but their tactics are not ones that I would ever condone.” A cursory examination of these organizations reveals the totalitarian and oppressive nature of Hamas and Hezbollah, who have their own brand of religious imperialism. In the aftermath of the Israeli army’s withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000, over 6,500 Southern Lebanese fled to Israel, rightly fearing for their lives as Hezbollah waged a merciless media campaign against citizens from the South, with Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah saying, “We will enter their bedrooms, pierce their stomachs, slaughter them and slice their throats.”

Hezbollah has not only launched attacks on Israeli civilians inside Israel, but has also attacked Jews outside of Israel, such as in the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in which 87 people were killed and 100 injured, and the 2012 suicide bombing of a passenger bus carrying Israeli civilians in Bulgaria.

 

Hamas’ charter calls for the genocide of the Jewish people and borrows from the Czarist anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Its misogyny, homophobia (homosexuality is a crime in Hamas-ruled Gaza), glorification of terror and death, and lack of respect for basic human rights are well documented.  Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, more than 12, 8000 rockets and mortars have been fired indiscriminately at Israeli towns.

Are these the highest aspirations and ideals of McGill University? 

Ms. Butler is a leader in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to isolate Israel culturally, economically and academically, with the ultimate goal of eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. The BDS campaign opposes peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and rejects the internationally endorsed two state solution. BDS actively opposes any form of cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian governments.

 

Is this something that McGill believes should inspire its graduates?

 

We consider the honor McGill is about to bestow on Professor Butler astounding and deeply offensive.  We urge you to rethink this decision. Butler’s support of Hamas and Hezbollah is an affront to the values that McGill holds dear as an institution of higher learning, and is offensive to those who have suffered from the tyrannical rule and terrorist attacks of these organizations. Her leadership of the BDS campaign to de-legitimize and demonize Israel does not consist of an accomplishment that McGill should celebrate.

 

Respectfully, McGill Students for Israel & Hillel McGill

 

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MCGILL'S JUDITH BUTLER BUNGLE

Gil Troy

The Daily Beast, May 24, 2013

 

When I first heard that McGill University, my university, was awarding Professor Judith Butler an honorary doctorate, I winced, quietly. Butler is a caustic critic of Israel, with a blind spot for terrorist totalitarians. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that she is a respected scholar. And, frankly, I never wanted to be one of those hair-trigger activists who bellows predictably at every anti-Israel affront.

 

However, on reconsideration, inspired by a powerful statement by McGill Students for Israel, I have decided to challenge the McGill honorary doctorate committee’s foolish decision, aware that the university will not change its mind—and hoping no protestors will disrupt commencement or repudiate McGill overall. I am not fighting my university, whose ideals I cherish. I am, however, fighting to uphold those very ideals for which McGill stands, along with all great universities.

 

Controversy focuses on Butler’s general support for boycotting Israel and, particularly, her remarks at a “teach in” on war, when she said, “Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important. That does not stop us from being critical of certain dimensions of both movements.” Her follow-up explanation was that they are “‘left’ in the sense that they oppose colonialism and imperialism, but their tactics are not ones that I would ever condone.”

 

The only thing “anti-imperialist” about these movements is that they use that label to mask their desire to destroy Israel. Her welcome telegraphs a show of solidarity with these two organizations because of that defining ideological stance.

 

Both times she failed to denounce the Hamas-Hezbollah religious zealotry, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism and genocidal aims. Her need to prettify these terrorist organizations as “social movements,” her reductionist insult to progressivism by suggesting that these brutal anti-democratic movements are at all progressive because they are imperialist meaning anti-Israel, reflects a moral obtuseness and intellectual sloppiness that has made many intellectuals enablers of Islamist terrorists and Palestinian rejectionism.

 

The McGill committee’s Butler blind spot reflects a broader intellectual malady today. This week, even the Wall Street Journal described the rioters in Sweden as angry youths without mentioning words like “immigrants” or Islamists. That is like covering the Watts or Rodney King Los Angeles riots without mentioning race.

 

Of course, we must not demonize any religion, race, or ethnic group. The objection to boycotting begins with its essentialist bigotry that attacks Israel as an entity rather than Israeli policy. Too many academics like Butler have been ideologically colonized by a form of totalitarianism which is intellectually imperialist—imposing a foreign regime of dos and don’ts, of likes and dislikes, that distort the truth, simplify the complex, reward the violent, and doom peace efforts.

 

Academics used to push politicians to see truth clearly—in all its messiness. Today, politicized professors like Butler push students to cloud the truth through their particular political prism. That McGill, like so many other universities, honors such academic saboteurs insults all truth seekers, left and right.

 

This is not about Butler’s right to free speech or her right to be wrong. An honorary doctorate rewards exceptional role modeling; tenure rewards good scholarship. As the McGill Students’ statement notes, an honorary degree “reflects McGill University’s highest aspirations and ideals,” celebrating the recipient as “an inspiration and role model to our students, graduates and our community as a whole to enhance the reputation of McGill University.”

 

Hmm. My McGill—our McGill—is about the noble, consistent ideals John Peters Humphrey and others from McGill Law School defined when writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Not Butler’s amoral, sloppy, politically correct identity politics.

 

My McGill—our McGill—is about the sacrifices 5568 men and women of McGill made defeating totalitarianism in World War II not the weak intellectual fig leafs Butler provides today’s totalitarians.

 

My McGill—our McGill—is about the exemplary impact of an Irwin Cotler in fighting for human rights worldwide, not the damage a Judith Butler does in rationalizing Islamists’ human wrongs by uniting in anti-Israel zeal.

 

My McGill—our McGill—is about the tremendous bridge-building efforts of a Jim Torczyner, whose McGill Middle East Program in Civil Society and Peace Building has been fighting poverty, ignorance, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia with creative anti-poverty programs and joint social work studies involving Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and Canadians for decades now. Not the bridge-burning efforts of Butler and her BDS comrades who polarize an already divided Middle East.

 

My McGill—our McGill—is about a scholarly tradition since 1821, which encourages complex thinking rather than the simplistic sloganeering of Butler’s boycotters, which reduces the messy Israel-Palestinian conflict to a black and white, good-guys versus bad guys fight.

 

And my McGill—our McGill—is about the courageous leadership in the fight against anti-Semitism spearheaded by our outgoing principal Heather Munroe-Blum, who said calls for McGill to boycott Hebrew University go “against everything McGill stands for. It suggests a cowardice that I, as Principal of this great university, categorically reject.” How tragic that one of her last acts as principal will reward someone who epitomizes that cowardice.

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MCGILL AWARDING HONORARY DOCTORATE TO DIVISIVE IDEOLOGUE

Barbara Kay

National Post, May 23, 2013

 

Universities must be careful in the awarding of honorary doctorates. What seems like a safe choice at the time can come back to haunt a university later. Sometimes even five minutes later. McGill University will be awarding philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler of the University of California at Berkeley an honorary doctorate on May 30. The choice has stirred up controversy and no small degree of dismay amongst many students and some staff at McGill.

 

According to McGill’s own definition, an honorary degree “reflects McGill University’s highest aspirations and ideals.” The recipient “…will serve as an inspiration and role model to our students, graduates and our community as a whole [and will] enhance the reputation of McGill University.”

 

I don’t think Judith Butler fits a single word of that description. Although a respected intellectual in the small hothouse world of radical feminists, Butler’s greater claim to fame arises from her fixation with (in her eyes) Israel’s crimes against humanity. She is a leading figure in the international campaign to delegitimate Israel.

 

Butler advocates for the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), singling Israel out from all other nations as a perpetrator of evil. The BDS campaign opposes the two-state solution to peace in the Middle East. Its ultimate goal is to replace Israel with a one-state “solution,” whereby Israel would be dissolved as a national Jewish homeland.

 

Butler has called the recognized terrorist organizations of Hamas and Hezbollah “progressive.” She has said that “understanding Hamas and Hezbollah as social movements that are on the global left is important.” Social movements? When she suffered blowback for what was widely perceived as terrorism laundering, she protested her words had been taken out of context, stating in an August, 2012 letter to the Jerusalem Post that “I do not endorse practices of violent resistance and neither do I endorse state violence.” In other words, adding insult to injury, she espouses the more pernicious, morally equivalent assignment of equal blame for terrorism to both Hezbollah and the state of Israel.

 

Although a pioneer of Queer Studies and an advocate for gay rights in the West, like many extreme leftists, Butler upholds double standards where persecution of gays is concerned. She denounced a gay organization in Germany as Islamophobic for criticizing Muslim violence against gays.

 

But quite aside from her offensive political views, Butler should not be honoured because she is a terrible writer. In 1999, The New Criterion, a highbrow cultural magazine, cited Butler for especially bad writing, one of a “triumvirate of absurd figures” .

 

In an essay, “The Professor of Parody,” renowned philosopher Martha Nussbaum raised the issue of Butler’s style, calling it “ponderous and obscure” and “dense with allusions to other theorists, drawn from a wide range of different theoretical traditions…It bullies the reader into granting that, since one cannot figure out what is going on, there must be something significant going on, some complexity of thought, where in reality there are often familiar or even shopworn notions, addressed too simply and too casually to add any new dimension of understanding.”

 

Most famously, in 1998, philosophy professor Denis Dutton’s journal Philosophy and Literature awarded Butler first prize in its “Bad Writing Competition,” which claims to “celebrate bad writing from the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles.” Butler received the award for this 94-word  sentence that was published in the journal Diacritics:

 

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

 

So let’s tally up. We have an honoree who represents the most controversial aspect of the most toxic and divisive issue roiling campuses all over the world. We have extreme ideology that offends a wide swath of the McGill community. And we have egregiously bad writing that offends true scholars. Is Judith Butler really “an inspiration and role model” to students? The answer is no. And the question is: What was Chancellor Arnold Steinberg thinking in issuing this invitation?

 

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JUDITH BUTLER: MORE PALESTINIAN THAN THE PALESTINIANS

Alan Johnson

World Affairs Journal, Oct. 16, 2012

 

In 2006 the rock star left-wing academic Judith Butler said that “understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.” (See 16:24 in this video.) Butler’s remark expressed all that’s wrong with the new style of “Palestinian solidarity work.”

 

Viewing the two-state solution as a sell-out, Butler attacks the PA application to the United Nations for recognition. The bid’s only value, she argues, is that it allows the left to jump up and down on the grave of the “sham of the peace negotiations” and celebrate the “break with the Oslo framework.” She wags her finger at Salam Fayyad and Mahmoud Abbas. By seeking a deal with Israel they are “abandon[ing] the right of return for diasporic Palestinians” and “potentially abandon[ing] Gaza.” If they succeed, “half of all Palestinians may well be disenfranchised.”

 

The Guardian newspaper sounded the same note when it published the leaked “Palestine Papers” from the Olmert-Abbas Annapolis talks, with distorted editorial gloss, and called Palestinian negotiators “craven” for engage seriously in final status talks. The London Review of Books routinely denounces Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, as a collaborator. “Fayyad’s critics,” wrote Adam Shatz, “call him a ‘good manager of the occupation,’ a ‘builder of apartheid roads,’ ‘the sugar daddy who got us hooked on aid,’ and it’s all true.”

 

The Palestinian national movement is being policed from the “left,” and from the coffee shops and seminar rooms of London and New York by people who consider themselves more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Butler gives an outraged “No!” to Abbas. She will not “sacrifice the right of return for millions of Palestinians outside the region.” But think about that “No!” It is a program for the dismantling of the Jewish state. “The loss of demographic advantage for the Jewish population in Israel would surely improve prospects for democracy in that region,” she writes (optimistically, shall we say) in her new book, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. As Leon Wieseltier wrote in the New Republic back in 2003, “the one state solution is not the alternative for Israel. It is the alternative to Israel.”

 

The new style treats negotiations as useless. Butler claims the Oslo years have seen only “the indefinite deferral of all ‘permanent status issues’—effectively establishing the occupation as a regime without foreseeable end.” Quite as if there never was Camp David at which Ehud Barak offered the shop, ’67 borders more or less, settlements uprooted; nor the Clinton-era proposals which Barak accepted and Arafat rejected; nor Annapolis at which Olmert offered all of that and more, including a shared capital in Jerusalem.

 

Another part of the new style is to pose an entirely literary “alternative” to the two-state solution. Butler talks of “Palestinian self-determination … without external interference,” “the right of return for diasporic Palestinians,” “the one-state solution.” Refusing to travel to Israel, so with no feel for Israeli society, and with a prose style that secured her first prize in the “Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest” Butler’s answers are, literally, literary. More importantly, Butler gets wrong what the conflict is actually about. Two highly developed and distinct societies, Israeli and Palestinian, each based on a powerful sense of national identity, must divide the land. When there are strong desires for national self-determination, the one-state idea collapses. Brit Shalom, the bi-national Zionist movement of the 1920s, could not know this. We can’t not know it.

 

To divide the land, each people needs to feel confident and secure if it is to make excruciating compromises. For that, each people must feel itself to be understood as a permanent feature of the Middle East. Butler’s one-statism does the opposite. It proposes to resolve a national question by denying the right to national self-determination of both peoples.

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Anti-Israel Event at Brooklyn College Promotes Hate, Represses Dissent: Danielle Avel, Breibart, Feb. 19, 2013—The most disturbing part of the evening occurred early on. In the midst of Judith Butler’s soft-spoken rant, the audience was utterly silent until a voice near the door exclaimed, “This is an oppression of freedom of speech, this an oppression.” Looking over, I noticed Jewish students being removed from the room and thought to myself, “I guess kippas are not allowed.”

 

Judith Butler Shouldn't Be Honoured By McGill University: Lauryn Oates, Huffington Post, May 27, 2013—I've been ashamed here and there over some of the output that comes out of my latest alma mater, the University of British Columbia, all of it belonging deep within the dump heap that is the pseudo-scholarship of post-modernism, but my first alma mater, good ol' McGill University, seems to be clambering on board more and more with the trending Nonsense Studies disciplines, and its associated culture of victimhood, identity politics, and relativisms. 

 

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Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

Address by President Shimon Peres to the European Parliament: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 Mar 2013
Taking Refugees Off the Table: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, March 13, 2013
PollardNow.org Petition Over 154,000 Signatures: Israel National News, Mar. 13, 2013

 

 

ISRAEL’S NEXT GOVERNMENT AGREED: 4 PARTIES, 68 MEMBERS(Jerusalem) Six weeks of coalition talks drew toward a successful conclusion Wednesday evening, when the Likud finally conceded the Education Ministry to Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, and Lapid reportedly accepted the other terms of Likud’s compromise offer. The necessary legal documents were to be drawn up and signed Thursday, leaving Netanyahu free to formally inform President Shimon Peres on Saturday night — the final day of the six weeks allocated to him — that he has mustered a Knesset majority. The coalition will comprise four parties: Likud-Beytenu (31 seats), Yesh Atid (19), Jewish Home (12) and Hatnua (6), for a total of 68 members in the 120-seat Knesset. (Times of Israel, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

 

 

“Like many Canadians I am concerned with the rise of anti-Israel activities on campuses across Canada, culminating in the so-called 'Israeli Apartheid Week' (IAW), which is often promoted in a manner that disregards the rights and safety of Jewish students and professors. Universities are meant to offer an environment in which academic discourse can take place freely. Jewish faculty and students have the right to engage in this debate without feeling the need to conceal their identity, or to self-censor.
   The irony of this week cannot be overlooked.  While singling out the only liberal democracy in the Middle East for condemnation, the organizers of IAW ignore Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's brutal slaughter of his own people and the suppression of basic human rights in many countries around the globe. Debate over Israeli policy is legitimate and encouraged through academic dialogue. However, there is a point at which well-intentioned debate is overrun by hatred and intolerance, creating a toxic environment that prevents meaningful dialogue on important issues from taking place.

   The organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week use the cover of academic freedom to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel. In reality, this week is nothing more than an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel and her supporters as racist. This week runs contrary to Canadian values of tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding. I call on all Canadians to reject anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance, which are unacceptable and completely contrary to Canada’s fundamental values.”Jason Kenney, Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. (Citizenship Immigration Canada, Mar. 7, 2013)
 

“I am writing to commend you for your clear and forthright statement concerning "Israeli Apartheid Week", which is about to infest our campuses. This vicious antisemitic movement is the antithesis of what the universities it focuses on should stand for: mutual respect and the objective search for truth.  IAW speakers' vicious, propagandistic hatred of Israel and Jews abuses the precious democratic concept of freedom of expression and the scholarly principle of academic freedom. It is made possible, as well, by an appalling professorial and administrative silence, an abdication of both educational, and moral, responsibility. We can all be proud of Canada's leading role in supporting democratic Jewish Israel. In this regard it is to be hoped that your courageous statement will play a role in rallying the forces of freedom and human dignity on our campuses, as well as in society at large.”Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, in an email to Jason Kenney, Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. (CIJR, Mar. 8, 2013)

 

“Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity.”Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at the “Fifth Alliance of Civilizations Forum” in Vienna’s Hofburg Palace. (Hurriyet News, Feb. 28, 2013)

"This is a dark and mendacious statement the likes of which we thought had passed from the world."Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, condemning Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement about Zionism and its comparison to fascism. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feb. 28, 2013)

“A clear voice must be raised against the violation of human rights by the Iranian regime, against a regime that hangs people without bringing them to court, that throws journalists into prison without trial, that fires live bullets at civilian demonstrators. A moral voice will encourage the Iranian people in their fight for freedom, in their struggle against misery.”Shimon Peres, President of Israel, speaking to the European Parliament in Brussels. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mar. 12, 2013)

[The] “demand for the right of return [of Arab refugees to Israel] was actually intended to achieve the purpose of annihilating Israel.”Egyptian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Salah al-Din (1949).

   “[T]he Arab countries do not want to resolve the problem of the refugees. They want to leave them like an open wound, as a weapon against Israel. The Arab rulers don’t care at all if the refugees live or die.”Alexander Galloway, a senior official in UNRWA (1952), quoted by Ben-Dror Yemini in The Story Of Arab Apartheid. (Front Page Magazine, June 3, 2011)

 

"To the Arabs, indeed Zionism seems as hideous as anything the Nazis conceived in the way of racial expansion at the expense of others."from a 1945 pamphlet by the Arab League, the representative body of all Arab states.
   "The Zionist concept of the 'final solution' to the 'Arab problem' in Palestine, and the Nazi concept of the 'final solution' to the 'Jewish problem' in Germany, consisted essentially of the same basic ingredient: the elimination of the unwanted human element in question."from a pamphlet published by the PLO shortly after its creation in 1964, quoted by Ephraim Karsh in “The Middle East's Real Apartheid.” (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 5, 2012)

 

“Many UNRWA camps are decorated with keys. Young Palestinians are taught that these keys will one day open doors for them. But in reality these keys lock them in, in perceptions of the past and frustrations that they will never be able to realize."Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, speaking last week [Mar.6] at a small gathering of former officials, diplomats and lobbyists in New York City’s Harvard Club, who were meeting to initiate changes to the UN definition of who is a Palestinian “refugee”. Currently, Palestinian refugee status is handed down from one generation to another, the only refugee population for which this is allowed. While there remain only an estimated 50,000 original Palestinian refugees the UNRWA definition allows for about 5 million, 40% of whom are citizens of Jordan. This “insane” policy is “the major hurdle to peace,” Prosor added, [and] “without talking about this problem, there won’t be peace.” (Times of Israel, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

"From early on, people are taught in religious schools that slaves are the masters’ properties, who are passed along as inheritance and where the condition of slavery is transmitted from parent to child, where women slaves must submit their bodies to their masters."Abidine Merzough, a man born as a slave to slave parents in Mauritania, commenting on that country’s ongoing practice of slavery under sharia law while attending UN Watch’s Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.  (The Commentator, Feb. 24, 2013)

 

“It was one of those clear examples of crossing that line from legitimate criticism of Israel into hate and anti-Semitism. Am I gonna cry at night? … No, but I think on campus we’re supposed to have a more academic atmosphere. If I disagree with the drop [tuition] fees campaign, at least that is something they [the Student Union] are doing for [all] students. But when you get into polarizing foreign policy issues that go against your own rules of singling out people on campus, I think that’s when we see the problem.”Eitan Gilboord, president of the Campus Conservatives and Israeli Student Association clubs at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto, commenting on the anti-Israel “Gaza Teach-In” held on campus using Student Union funds.  (National Post, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“I think Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu understands the importance of the issues surrounding Har Hazeitim [Mount of Olives] and the significance of the sensitivities involved concerning the historic site and for the unity of Jerusalem. We have made dramatic progress in recent years…to assure visits to loved ones and Jewish figures from throughout the ages take place without fear and endangerment. These efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in the wanton destruction of graves of some of the 150,000 Jews who are buried there, including three of our prophets, foremost Torah scholars, heads of hassidic dynasties, and many of our national leaders over the ages, including prime minister Begin.” However, these efforts are “overshadowed by the continued violence on the approaches to Har Hazeitim, most notably the Ras al-Amud Square, and the road that leads from Har Hatsofim to Har Hazeitim.”Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to The Jerusalem Post on Monday [Mar. 11]. (Jerusalem Post, Mar.11,2013)

                                                                                                                                           

“[W]ith tensions on the Korean peninsula rising, experts point out seven years of UN sanctions have done nothing to derail Pyongyang [North Korea]’s drive for a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States. They may have even bolstered the Kim family by giving their propagandas maestros ammunition to whip up anti-US sentiment and direct attention away from government failures.”Choe Sang-Hun in the New York Times. (New York Times, Mar. 11, 2013)

 

“Anyone still not convinced of the need to stop Iran from getting a nuke should watch the behavior of North Korea.  Its threat of ‘all-out war’ against South Korea and vow to turn Washington into a ‘sea of fire’ is Exhibit A of how madmen gain a sense of immunity once they have the bomb.  North Korea gets away with its outrageous provocations because of its ability, and apparent willingness, to use nuclear weapons. Imagine how Iran’s madmen would act if they get a nuke. Its impossible to without shuddering, which is why that day must never come to pass.”Michael Goodwin, in an op-ed in the New York Post. (New York Post, Mar. 10, 2013)

 

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

 

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CATHOLIC CHURCH CHOOSES NEW POPE(Vatican City) Cardinals elected a new pope to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Wednesday, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff. In a remarkably fast conclave, they named Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, who took the name Francis, as pontiff. (Times if Israel, Mar. 13, 2013)

ALMOST A MILLION PALESTINIANS ALLOWED INTO ISRAEL IN 2012(Jerusalem) More than 930,000 Palestinians traveled to Israel in 2012, according to the Israeli Civil Administration. The figures include tens of thousands of family visits, traveling in Israel, receiving medical care in Israeli hospitals, and commerce and employment for Palestinian workers and merchants in Israel. This marks a rise of 98.5% in total. The Civilian Administration has upgraded the infrastructure of  passageways, increasing inspection sections, adding manpower, and improving service. (Israel Defense, Mar. 11, 2013)

ISRAEL'S BOLD NEW QUEEN(Jerusalem) Almost 30 years since the first clandestine Israeli airlift of Ethiopian Jews,  Ethiopian-born Yityish "Titi" Aynaw, 21, was just crowned Miss Israel., Israel's most beautiful woman. The past few years have been trailblazing ones for Ethiopian-born Israeli women. In 2011, Hagit Yaso was the first Ethiopian-born winner of the Israeli version of "American Idol." In 2012, Belaynesh Zevadia was appointed Israel's first Ethiopian-born ambassadorto Ethiopia. (Tablet, Mar. 13, 2013)

MORE LOCUSTS SWARM INTO ISRAEL(Revivim) Additional bands of locusts entered Israel on Tuesday, marking a week since the first wave of bugs flew across the Sinai border. Aerial and ground spraying has largely worked in eradicating the swarms, the Agriculture Ministry stressed. Locusts are not harmful to humans, and they only pose a threat to agriculture in large swarms. The chemicals used to combat the locusts are "soft pesticides." They have no effects on other animals and leave no residue. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 13, 2013)

EGYPT BANS FILM ON EGYPTIAN JEWS(Cairo) The director of the film "On Egypt's Jews" film Amir Ramses has said that the National Security Agency banned the film in Egypt. Ramses said that the NSA’s ban violated the powers of the country’s censorship authorities. "This is an encroachment on the powers of the censorship authority. The film had been displayed as it already gained the [censorship authority] approval without remarks. It was displayed in the [Panorama European Film] Festival, in addition to being displayed in more than one festival," Ramses wrote on his Facebook account. [He] lashed out at the National Security Agency, which he said was “as authoritarian” as the Interior Ministry and the equivalent of the former State Security Investigation Services under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. (Egypt Independent, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

UK DIPLOMAT FLEES PROTESTS AT WEST BANK UNIVERSITY(Ramallah) British Consul-General Sir Vincent Fean was forced to flee Birzeit University near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Tuesday, after student protests broke out. The senior diplomat was at the university to discuss Britain's foreign policy in the Middle East, and to meet with Birzeit President Dr Khalil al-Hindi. But he cut short his visit and departed abruptly after the protests erupted. Dozens of students shouting, "Get out of Birzeit!" attacked Fean's car as it left the campus. "His intention had been to engage in an open dialogue with the student community about the UK’s policies in the Middle East," the British Consulate-General said in a statement. (Jerusalem Post. Mar. 6, 2013)

 

ISRAEL PREPS FOR OBAMA'S FIRST VISIT WITH OPERATION "UNBREAKABLE ALLIANCE"(Tel Aviv) Israel is preparing to go into near-lockdown mode with a security mission dubbed "Unbreakable Alliance" for President Obama's upcoming visit. Air Force One lands on March 20, and for 48 hours Israel will be on a high state of alert. The presidential party will then board 12 Blackhawk helicopters to fly to Jerusalem. "This is a huge security operation, in which thousands of police officers, Israel Security Agency agents and U.S. Secret Service agents will be participating," a senior police officer said. "Success, as far as we're concerned, means zero mistakes."  (Washington Times, Mar. 11, 2013)

 

SPANISH TOWN TO HOLD FIRST SEDER SINCE 1492—(Ribadavia, Spain) A town in northern Spain is preparing to hold its first Passover Seder since 1492. The ritual dinner will take place in the old center of the town of Ribadavia on March 25, the first Seder night, and is being organized by the municipality’s tourism department in partnership with the Center for Medieval Studies, a Ribadavia-based association that researches the history of Iberian Jews prior to their expulsion during the Spanish Inquisition that began in 1492. Historian Abraham Haim, the center’s honorary president, will conduct the Seder, according to a report by La Voz de Galicia, a local newspaper. The public is invited; a seat costs about $40, the newspaper said. The city expects a few dozen people will attend. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

SHIN BET: HAMAS INCREASING SUICIDE BOMB EFFORTS(West Bank) Hamas in Gaza has increased efforts to set up terrorist cells in the West Bank, and ordered new recruits to create and fire rockets at Israel from the West Bank, to kidnap and kill a soldier, and to prepare suicide bombings, the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] said Wednesday [Mar. 13]. On the surface, the four-month truce between Israel and Hamas appears to be holding well since the cessation of last year's eight-day conflict, but behind the scenes, senior Hamas officials in Gaza are increasing their efforts to carry out deadly attacks on Israelis, the Shin Bet added. The intelligence came partly from the questioning of security suspects who have been arrested days before planning to act, the domestic security agency said. It named Hamas interior minister in Gaza, Fathi Hammad, as a figure behind many of the efforts to carry out atrocities. Hammad has often called out for the continuation of terror attacks in Israel. (Jerusalem Post, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

EGYPT, GIVING CITIZEN ARREST POWERS(Cairo) The Sunday announcement by Egyptian Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah that citizens have the right to arrest "vandals" has caused a firestorm of controversy. "Egypt's prosecutor-general urges all citizens to exercise the right afforded them by Article 37 of Egypt's criminal procedure law issued in year 1950 to arrest anyone found committing a crime and refer them to official personnel," said a statement issued by the prosecutor-general's office.  Another statement issued on Monday by the prosecutor-general's office said that "the statement of the prosecutor-general did not include granting 'judicial arrest' powers to citizens, but rather granting the judicial arrest to officers as defined officially in the law."  Nevertheless, the statements of the prosecutor-general opened an angry debate about security issues in the face of an ongoing police strike in a number of governorates. (Al Ahram, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

SCHALIT SIGNS PETITION URGING OBAMA TO FREE POLLARD(Tel Aviv)  Former kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit became the latest well-known Israeli to sign a petition Monday calling upon US President Barack Obama to commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard. The petition has been signed by nearly 150,000 Israelis, including Nobel prize winners, dovish authors, and politicians from across the political spectrum. Schalit urged his Facebook friends to sign the petition. “Freedom is a great gift and a right,” Schalit wrote. “Thank you to those who worked on my behalf. Now join to save Pollard.” (Israel National News, Mar. 13, 2013)

 

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Address by President Shimon Peres to the European Parliament: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 Mar 2013I stand here before you, burning memories in my heart, great hopes in my soul. I carry profound pain concerning the past. And look with confident eyes to the future. I immigrated to Israel in 1934, at the age of 11. In 1942, most of the inhabitants of my town were burned alive. Had my family delayed their emigration by 8 years, we would have been exterminated.

Taking Refugees Off the Table: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, March 13, 2013A new effort is underway, backed by Israel, to tackle ‘the major hurdle to peace:’ how the UN defines a Palestinian refugee. “There was never a thorough debate about what is a Palestinian refugee,” explained Steve Rosen, a former top AIPAC official now affiliated with the Middle East Forum, and an organizer of the event together with Australian real estate developer Bob Magid.

PollardNow.org Petition Over 154,000 Signatures: Israel National News, Mar. 13, 2013The petition is located at www.PollardNow.org and reads in part "Jonathan Pollard has now served 28 years of a life sentence in American prisons. A few short weeks from now, he will mark his 10,000th day in jail."

 

 

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

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Search For Jews Of Kaifeng: The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Video, Feb 14, 2013
The Time for a Final Status Agreement Has Passed: Dore Gold, Algemeiner, Feb. 18, 2013

The Hezbollah Connection in Syria and Iran: Bernard Gwertzman, Council on Foreign Relations,  Feb. 15, 2013

 

 

"I am hoping for a peace deal based on two states for two people, as per the parameters I outlined during my speech at Bar Ilan University. Today Israel extends its hand once more for peace. We want a peace process, and we hope that it will yield results."— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,  at a press conference announcing Tzipi Livini as his first coalition partner.

 

 

"He has blamed the Jews for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! He has argued that the Jews got even with the Catholic Church for its anti-Israel positions by arranging for the media — which they, of course, control, he said — to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal. He then compared the Jewish controlled media with Hitler, because they are 'protagonists of what I do not hesitate to define as a persecution against the church.'”—Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor, in a letter to the editor of the Miami Herald responding to a list published last week after the resignation of [Pope] Benedict, which identified Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras as a possible successor to the current pope. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 18, 2013

“I did not betray my Judaism in the pact with Iran because we are trying to solve the AMIA bombing case [in Buenos Aires]. The move was inspired by the deep humanistic tradition of Judaism and thinking always about the victims and the relatives of the victims.”Argentinean  Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman, responding to criticism over Argentina’s agreement to involve Iran in the investigation of the bombings of the Jewish community and the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which have been generally attributed to Iran itself. (Jewish Press, Feb. 18, 2013)
 

“These talks [with Iran] can only make progress if the Iranians come to the table determined to make and discuss real offers and engage in a real dialogue. Countries that have peaceful programs do not have problems proving to people that they are peaceful.”—US Secretary of State John Kerry in a joint press conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ahead of their meeting at the State Department. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 14, 2013)

 

"We do not see stability in Lebanon. With regards to the West, from afar they see things from another perspective. European states are saying: 'Let us focus on what is happening in Mali and Syria.' For us, this Arab Spring seems to have become a winter, when we look at what is happening in this troubled region of the world. These conflicts are not confined to Syria and Mali. Tunisia is returning to violence, things have not calmed down in Libya, Egypt is on the verge of a new phase of confrontation and things are still boiling in Iraq. Westerners do not want to see Lebanon in a similar situation, something that would only cause them more headaches."—Lebanese Deputy Speaker Farid Makari, in response to questions concerning the EU’s likelihood of listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization following Bulgaria’s determination that Hezbollah was responsible for the attack against Israelis on European soil. (Al-Monitor, Feb. 10, 2013)

“The majority of Syrian refugees are pro-revolution, so they go to areas where they are welcome. But now these areas are full and they started to go to other places. We are worried. We cannot cope with the refugees we have here already and if fighting increases in Damascus, we won’t be able to manage. The damage in Syria is so great, it will take years until the refugees can go back. Even though most of them are from my sect, I want them to go. They are creating problems.”—Fadi Chamieh, a member of the Humanitarian Association Collaboration, an umbrella organization that coordinates humanitarian aid to Syrians arriving in southern Lebanon. (Now Lebanon, Feb. 18, 2013

 

“The chemical weapons issue is important. [However] it is tangential to the overall issue of Israel's enemies possessing long range missile capability and other advanced technological weapons systems [such as anti-aircraft missiles]. Stemming the flow and technological upgrade of these rockets and missiles is a top priority for Israel’s military and intelligence community.” —Michael Ross, former Mossad operations officer. (Now Lebanon, Feb. 15, 2013)

 

“OPEC is about to collapse, and they know it. All the political power of the Arab world accumulated since 1973 is about to explode. This is a change in the global rules of the game that goes far beyond the borders of the Middle East. This process creates opportunities for a new energy world and sophisticated gas market with competition between the new oil and the old oil, between the new gas and the old gas. The new rules of the game will be set by the coordination of the economic interests of the US and China, and Israel should start getting ready for that.”Shraga Biran, a Tel Aviv-based lawyer and entrepreneur with diverse energy interests, who heads the Institute for Structural Reforms, a think tank that promotes structural and political reforms based on technological advances. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 15, 2013)

 

“So in addition to a piece of paper, we need actual security on the ground. This means that when we speak about our Palestinian neighbors, we must have a credibly, thoroughly demilitarized Palestinian state. We have to have that. Otherwise, we'll have a replication of what happened in Lebanon and in Gaza. And this is not a simple task. It requires very, very stringent conditions, and it requires very tough negotiations. And the second thing is: we want to have a peace that is based on mutual recognition. Mutual recognition means not only that we recognize them, but that they recognize us. We have the Jewish nation-state of Israel here. It's high time that the Palestinians recognize that.”Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors.(Israel National News, Feb. 19, 2013)

 

“People tend to misunderstand the relationship between Hezbollah and Iran, which has changed over time [and] is now extremely close. The U.S. intelligence community has publicly described this as a “strategic partnership.” But people don’t fully appreciate Hezbollah’s ideological commitment to the concept of “velayat-e faqih,” or guardianship of the jurists, which holds that a Shiite Islamic cleric should also serve as supreme head of government. For Hezbollah, this means the Iranian leadership is also their leader — not for every foot soldier, but for Hezbollah’s senior leaders absolutely.”Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Council on Foreign Relations, Feb. 15, 2013)
 

“If Hamas takes positions in the [PA] government, it will be very difficult if they do not do what is necessary, including recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and all of those other things that we regularly state.”Olivia Nuland, U.S. State Department spokesperson, to a reporter who asked if unity between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority would be a positive step following a recent declaration by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ that reconciliation talks with Hamas are progressing and that he will head a new unity government. (Jewish Press, Feb. 19, 2013

 

“I’m here because of the strategic and moral imperative to leave no stone unturned, to exhaust every path and to be in any government that commits itself to bringing peace.”—Tzipi Livni, former Israeli foreign minister, upon being the first to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition.

 

“Now, really, it’s time — it’s time. We are pressuring the international community to act because it’s time to act.”—Carla del Ponte, a United Nations human rights investigator, and member of the United Nations Human Rights Council commission investigating Syria, which reported that violence in Syria was worsening, “aggravated by increasing sectarianism”. (New York Times, Feb. 19, 2013)

 

“As currently defined and negotiated, a conflict-ending settlement is practically unachievable; even if signed it will not be implemented and even if implemented it will not be sustained.”—Hussein Agha, an adviser to Palestinian leaders over the last two decades, and Robert Malley, a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council, in the New York Review of Books (2009), as quoted by Dore Gold, former advisor to Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu. (Algemeiner, Feb. 18, 2013)
 

 

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LIVNI BECOMES FIRST MEMBER OF NETANYAHU-LED GOV'T—(Jerusalem) Tzipi Livni became Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's first official coalition partner on Tuesday after the two former rivals reached an agreement over outstanding governmental issues for the upcoming Knesset. Livni will be Israel's next justice minister, while her party's number three, Amir Peretz, will be the environmental protection minister. Perhaps most importantly, Netanyahu apparently has allowed Livni to take charge of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. She will also appoint a special staff for the talks, but as a caveat, Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molcho will be a member of the negotiating team. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 19, 2013)

 

 

THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIAN ARMENIANS FLEE SYRIA—(Yerevan, Armenia) An estimated 7,000 of Syria's Christian-Armenian community have arrived in Armenia since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Sarkiss Rshdouni escaped the fighting in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo months ago but cannot shake memories of what he witnessed. "I was with a friend when I heard gunshots," said Rshdouni, who is among hundreds of thousands of people who have fled the war in his country. "It was fast — second by second, the sound was getting closer. I saw mass shooting, people running." Aleppo is home to more than 80% of Syria's Armenian community, and those who are still there remain at the center of the battle for control of the country. (USA Today, Feb. 13, 2013)

 

BULGARIA SEEKS EU ACTION ON HEZBOLLAH (Brussels) Bulgaria's foreign minister, Nickolay Mladenov, called for Hezbollah to face consequences for its link to the July 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, adding momentum to a push by some European countries to isolate the Lebanese group. The Bulgarian government has linked Hezbollah's military wing to the bomb attack last July, which killed five Israelis and a local bus driver. Monday's call for action from the Bulgarians likely will add pressure on holdouts in the EU to take official action against Hezbollah. "We need to take measures to make sure that such activity doesn't go without consequences," Mladenov told reporters Monday on his way into a meeting of European Union foreign ministers. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 18, 2013)

 

U.S. CALLS ON IRAN TO FREE TWO LEADERS (Washington) The U.S. formally called for the release from house arrest of Iran's two top opposition leaders in a blunt statement that indicated a policy shift regarding Tehran as it approaches national elections. The politicians, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have been detained by Iranian security services for two years after charging the government of rigging 2009 presidential elections, in which both men were candidates and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. The White House at the time offered only muted condemnation of Tehran's handling of the presidential vote. Iranian political and human-rights activists charged the U.S. with playing down the Iranian government's abuses. Now, however, the State Department warned Tehran against suppressing its political opponents ahead of Iran's next presidential election, which is scheduled for June. (Wall Street Journal, Feb 14, 2013)

 

IRANIAN REPORTED KILLED NEAR SYRIAN BORDER(Beirut) At least one senior Iranian official was reported killed in an attack while driving from Syria to Lebanon on Wednesday [Feb. 13],  in separate and at times conflicting reports that drew attention to suspicions of Iran’s role in the Syrian civil war. The Iranian Embassy in Lebanon reported that Hossam Khosh Newes, an Iranian development official working in Lebanon, was killed by “armed terrorist groups” — a phrase used by Syria and its allies as a blanket description of opposition forces — in an attack on his car on the Lebanese side of the border with Syria after he had come from Damascus. (New York Times, Feb. 13, 2013)

 

IRAN NUCLEAR FUEL MOVE MAY AVERT MID-YEAR CRISIS (London) Iran appears to have resumed converting small amounts of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, diplomats say, slowing a growth in stockpiles of material that could be used to make weapons. Tehran could otherwise have amassed sufficient stock by June to hit a "red line" set by Israel. Iran averted a potential crisis last year by converting around 100 kg. of its 20%-enriched uranium into fuel – prompting some analysts to believe it was deliberately keeping below the threshold for potential weapons-grade material set by Israel, while still advancing its nuclear technology. (Reuters, Feb. 10, 2013)
 

EGYPT BLOCKING SMUGGLING ROUTES IN SINAI(Rafah) Over the past 10 days, Egyptian soldiers have set up checkpoints in Sinai, stopped incoming trucks, and confiscated merchandise headed for Gaza through the smuggling tunnels, the Safa news agency reported Monday [Feb. 17]. Tunnel owners said the Egyptians have dug a well opposite the border with Gaza and installed hoses leading into the tunnels. Some tunnel owners have begun employing pumps to empty the water. Egyptian forces have discovered over 225 smuggling tunnels under the border with Gaza, military spokesperson Col. Ahmed Mohamed Ali said Sunday. "Each tunnel has several exits, including inside Egyptian houses." (Times of Israel, & Ma'an News-PA, Feb. 11, 2013)

 

ISRAEL PERMITS CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS FROM TURKEY INTO GAZA(Ankara) In a move described as a gesture of goodwill toward Turkey, Israel has authorized the passage of Turkish trucks through Gaza carrying materials for the construction of the Turkish-Palestine Friendship Hospital. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is expected to visit Gaza to inaugurate the hospital within a year. Permission for passage came as part of Israel’s decision to soften its embargo over Gaza after terminating military operations into the enclave last fall and starting a fresh round of talks between Israelis and Palestinians over a gradual lifting of sanctions under Egyptian mediation. (Hurriyet Daily News, Feb. 11, 2013 )
 

ARAB COUNTRIES WITHHELD DONOR MONEY BECAUSE OF P.A. REFUSAL TO NEGOTIATE WITH ISRAEL(Ramallah) According to Palestinian Al Quds media, several ‘heavyweight’ Arab countries have [reportedly] been pressuring PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to step down because of his firm stance towards negotiations with Israel. Abbas and other PA officials have criticized Arab countries who pledged to donate $100.000.000 a month to alleviate the severe financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority. Until now that money has not arrived. Palestinian sources now reveal that the refusal to transfer these funds to the PA is connected to Abbas’ refusal to enter negotiations with Israel. (Missing Peace, Feb. 9, 2013)

 

METEOR SMASHED RUSSIAN SYNAGOGUE’S STAINED WINDOWS(Chelyabinsk)

The Russian meteor shower that caused widespread damage Friday [Feb. 15] smashed the stained glass windows of a synagogue in Siberia Friday morning. Yechiel Michel Levitin, director of the Or Avner Jewish day school in Chelyabinsk, located 1,000 miles east of Moscow, said a miracle saved one congregant from injury when he left his seat to find out the cause of blasts that were heard seconds before. When he returned, he found a piece of a stained glass window on his seat. (Jewish Press, Feb. 17, 2013)

 

ISRAEL TO AWARD OBAMA PRESTIGIOUS MEDAL DURING VISIT—(Jerusalem) Israel will award President Barack Obama the country's Presidential Medal of Distinction during his upcoming visit. Israeli President Shimon Peres' office said Monday that Obama will be recognized for his "unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens." Obama has often had a tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Jewish state's West Bank settlement policies and the lack of peace process with the Palestinians. But Peres and the committee behind the award noted Obama's overall friendship and backing of the Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel's Presidential Medal of Distinction is comparable to the France's "Legion of Honor" or the "Order of Canada." (Newsmax, Feb. 18, 2013)

ISRAEL: NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR TEST SHOWS SANCTIONS ALONE WON'T STOP IRAN'S ATOMIC PROGRAM—(Jerusalem) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that North Korea's recent nuclear test shows that "sanctions alone will not stop" Iran's atomic program. He said Western sanctions against Tehran "have to be coupled with a robust, credible, military threat. If they are not, then there is no chance to stop them." He says Iran will top his agenda when President Barack Obama visits Israel next month. (Washington Post, Feb. 18, 2013)

 

IDF TO SET UP FIELD HOSPITAL ON SYRIAN BORDER—(Golan Heights) The Israel Defense Forces is preparing to erect a field hospital near Israel's border with Syria on the Golan Heights in order to treat wounded Syrian nationals. The decision was taken after Israeli troops evacuated seven wounded Syrians to an Israeli hospital after they had approached the border and appealed for help. The field hospital will enable Israel to provide further medical assistance without having to bring the Syrians into Israel for treatment. (Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2013)

ISRAEL SUPPLIES TURKEY WITH NEW MILITARY EQUIPMENT—(Tel Aviv) Israel has supplied advanced electronic warfare systems to the Turkish Air Force, marking the first transfer of military equipment since relations between the two countries deteriorated in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010. The deal was confirmed on Monday by a senior Israeli defense source who said it was approved due to American pressure as well as Israeli attempts to improve relations with Turkey. Boeing, which supplied Turkey with four new Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, ordered electronic warfare systems for the Turkish aircraft from ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. (Ha'aretz, Feb. 18, 2013)

 

ISRAEL PROPOSING ALTERNATIVE TO SUEZ CANAL—(Ashdod)  Israel is close to finalizing the route of a rail alternative to the Suez Canal as instability in Egypt has added to the urgency of a project to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. Last month 40 people were killed in protests in the three big Egyptian cities lining the canal, and some shipping groups had to suspend work for several days. President Morsi has warned of a “collapse of the State” if protests continue. Fees for using the canal are Egypt’s only reliable source of foreign currency, bringing in about $5 billion (£3.22 billion) of revenue a year. (Times of London, Feb. 16 2013)

ASSAD REGIME FIRES SCUDS AT CITIES, FSA THREATENS HEZBOLLAH IN LEBANON—(Demascus)  While Syrian oppositionists are reporting the use of Scud missiles by the Assad regime against population centers held by rebel forces, the Free Syrian Army is threatening to attack Hezbollah within Lebanese territory if it does not desist from aiding the Assad regime. On Tuesday, the Free Syrian Army gave Hezbollah a 48-hour time-frame to stop shelling Syrian villages from within Lebanon before “returning fire” toward Hezbollah-held villages in eastern Lebanon. Hezbollah denied direct involvement in fighting within Syria, but a member of the FSA speaking to A-Sharq Al-Awsat said the Lebanese Shiite movement was assisting local Shiites in Syria with training, supplies and fire cover from positions within Lebanon. (Times of Israel, Feb. 20, 2013)

 

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The Time for a Final Status Agreement Has Passed: Dore Gold, Algemeiner, Feb. 18, 2013In light of developments over the last few years, there has been a growing realization in Israel that the chances of reaching a complete final status agreement with the Palestinians are presently extremely small. This is not just an ideological position coming out of certain quarters in Israel, but it is also the professional view of practitioners who have been involved in the political process itself.

 

 

Search For Jews Of Kaifeng: The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Video, Feb 14, 2013 A wave of interest in old traditions in China has had a major effect on the descendants of the ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng. This talk by scholar Gideon Elazar is based on a visit with the community in Kaifeng under the auspices of the organization "Shavei Yisrael" during the holiday of Sukkot, and an analysis of their history and current situation in the context of contemporary China.

 

The Hezbollah Connection in Syria and Iran: Bernard Gwertzman, Council on Foreign Relations,  February 15, 2013In recent days, U.S. and Mideast officials have reported that Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group, are making military preparations for the sectarian chaos likely to engulf a post-Assad Syria. Counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt says that Hezbollah has closely aligned itself with Iran's Quds Force, an elite paramilitary group linked directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, while fighting alongside the Assad regime.

 

 

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

 

 

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Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

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Appreciation: King of No-Man’s Land: Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 11, 2013

Canadian Suspect in Bulgaria Bus Bombing Related to Terrorist who Died Planting Explosives: Stewart Bell, National Post,  Feb 12, 2013
ZOA Chief: US Jews Shied Away From Hagel Row: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2013

 

 

 

“We will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace.”—U.S. President Barack Obama in his State of Union speech, to a standing ovation. He did not, however, mention the Palestinians in his reference to a lasting peace. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2013)

 

“[Pope] Benedict XVI has profoundly bolstered the positive trajectory of Catholic-Jewish relations launched by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, worked closely with John Paul during his 26 year papacy, developing a historic new relationship between Catholic and Jews as “loving brothers and sisters” after centuries of tragedy. Pope Benedict XVI reconfirmed the official Catholic position that God’s covenant with the Jewish people at Sinai endures and is irrevocable. He said that the Catholic Church should not try and convert Jews.”—Abraham H. Foxman, Anti Defamation League national director, who had five audiences with the pope during his nearly eight years as pontiff, in a statement of praise following Benedict’s sudden resignation on Feb. 11. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2013)

 

“We had gone to a remote beach half an hour from Honolulu. The waves there were high, huge breakers about four meters high, and as the minutes passed, the waves got stronger and even higher. As we neared the children we saw that they had been swept out to sea and were being pounded by the huge waves. On the shoreline we saw the mothers watching powerless as their children were drowning in front of them. Yair [Naftali] and I, who were at that point together in the water, tried with all our might to reach the group to try to get them away from the strong waves.”—Tzvika Elias, one of three Israelis, including Yair Naftali and Gabi Liptz who took 40 grueling minutes to save eight children aged 12 to 14 years old from drowning in huge surf off the coast of Honolulu. They were hailed as heroes by the childrens’ parents. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 10, 2013)

 

“AJC, AIPAC, ADL [and] the Conference of Presidents never came out and said we oppose this man because he is horrible on Iran, he is horrible on terrorism, horrible on Israel, horrible on fighting radical Islam. I was called by major Jewish leaders, personally called, and [they] told me to stop our campaign against Hagel.”—Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America on Tuesday [Feb 12] in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. Klein said that his counterparts at other organizations said that he was “making this a Jewish issue,” which they considered “bad for the Jews.” The fact that he got these calls, he says, shows that “we are still a frightened group of Jews even as successful as we are in America.” (Jerusalem Post, Feb 13, 2013)

 

"Egyptian prosecutors are investigating a popular television comedian for insulting the president. That could never happen here [in the U.S.]. When do popular television comedians insult the president?"—National Review’s The Week. (National Review, Jan.24, 2013)

 

"Syria is basically disintegrating as a nation, similar to how Lebanon disintegrated in the '70s into ethnic components, and as Iraq did. It's going to be very hard to put Syria the nation back together."—Paul Salem, director of the Beirut-based Mideast Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2013)

 

"The Iranian president [should] respect Bahrain as a brotherly Arab nation, and not interfere in the affairs of Gulf states."—Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar University, considered the world's seat of Sunni learning, to Iranian President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad, a Shia Muslim, on his historic visit to Egypt, Tuesday [Feb 5]. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5, 2013)

 

"[A]ncient history of Palestine bore witness to the invasion of the Israelites, led by Joshua, and to their battle with the Canaanites and the Palestinians. King David fought the Canaanites and the Palestinians and built his kingdom on part of the Palestinian land."—from a Palestinian textbook taught in Palestinian Authority schools. (Israel Hayom, Feb. 10, 2013)

“Argentina’s move did more than evoke shock and concern in Israel… It was clear to all that the Iranians and their Hezbollah minions were involved in the attack” and  bringing the Iranians into the so-called “truth commission” was equivalent to “inviting the murderer to participate in a murder investigation.”—Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon responding to the Argentinean government’s announcement that it had struck a deal with Iran to jointly investigate the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in March 1992 in Buenos Aires which killed 29 and wounded 242 people and a second bombing in July 1994 which targeted the Jewish community center (AMIA) killing 85 and injuring hundreds. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 10, 2013)

 

"I am going to do everything in my power to make sure there will be civil marriages in Israel. The complete dominance of the Orthodox rabbis in Israel over divorces and marriages is an insult."—Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid leader, addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations in Jerusalem, Tuesday [Feb 12]. (Ynet News, Feb. 12, 2013)

 

“My brother was assassinated. I am desperate and depressed. I accuse Rachid Ghannouchi [leader of the influential Islamist Ennahda Party] of assassinating my brother.” —Abdelmajid Belaid, brother Tunisian secular opposition leader, Shokri Belaid, 48, murdered outside his home in Tunis on Feb 6. (National Post, Feb 7, 2013)

 

The Syrian government "must read history and grasp its immortal message: It is the people who remain and those who put their personal interests before those of their people will inevitably go."—Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, addressing an Islamic summit in Egypt Feb. 6. (National Post, Feb 7, 2013)

“We have a very poisonous situation at hand [in Canada]. I have no reason not to believe that it’ll turn violent one day, it’s just a matter of time and numbers…. The Muslim population is growing and, with that, people are bringing in their issues. The danger that is going to happen in the future is that they’re going to make every tragedy in the Muslim world into a Jewish conspiracy. They’re going to make the Jewish community, who have nothing to do with this, look like the villains in Canada. The US and Israel are the scapegoats of every tragedy, whether it’s a tsunami, an earthquake or a human tragedy brought about by Muslims themselves. [It’s happening in] Shia mosques because of the Iranian influence [and in] Sunni mosques because of the Wahhabi influence.”—Sohail Raza, director, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, a group of self-described moderate Muslims attempting to push back against the rising tide of Islamist anti-semitism. (Jewish Tribune, Feb. 7, 2013)

“The verdict under shariah for those who seek corruption on earth is to be fought, or crucified, or have their arms or legs cut off or be exiled from earth. Strike with an iron fist. Otherwise, the country will be lost at your hand and they’ll say it is your fault. They’ll say Islam doesn’t know how to rule and that it’s the Islamists who wrecked the country.”—Wagdi Ghoneim, a hard line Egyptian cleric in a video statement pleading with President Mohammed Morsi to crack down heavily on opposition groups protesting outside the presidential palace.

   “They are going there to get raped. These are devils named women…. They speak with no femininity, no morals, no fear…. Learn from Muslim women, be Muslims.” Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah, another hard line cleric who, on Egyptian TV, justified a string of mob sexual assaults on women protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. (National Post,Feb. 8, 2013)

 

“We all recognized, first of all, the right of Israel to exist and second, we realized that the prevailing antisemitism in some of the Muslim Diaspora in Canada, particularly, is impeding our thought process. Some Muslim groups show hatred towards our fellow community, the Jewish community, [and] that’s not the right approach. We feel that our community should denounce any sort of antisemitism in Canada. We need to keep our eyes and our ears tuned for these kinds of activities so we can confront hatred against Jews [because] that’s not the way we should live in a civilized world.” — Tahir Gora, general secretary of the Muslim Canadian Congress, founder and director of Canadian Thinkers Forum, and recent founder of a new group, Muslim Committee Against Antisemitism.   (Jewish Tribune, Feb. 7, 2013)

 

Mr President, when I spoke with you in 2010, I asked why the US administration condemns repressive practices in Iran while remaining silent when Arab regimes engage in the same violations. Over recent months, statements by your administration have similarly failed to address violations and have even blamed protesters and victims for violence committed in the context of demonstrations. Indeed, the stances of your administration have given political cover to the current authoritarian regime in Egypt and allowed it to fearlessly implement undemocratic policies and commit numerous acts of repression.”—Bahieddin Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, in an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama published in Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly. .

   “Is not anyone in the [U.S.] Department of State aware that Egypt is now run by an Islamist zealot from the bowels of the Muslim Brotherhood whose goals differ profoundly from those of Americans?” —Daniel Pipes, president of Middle East Forum, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

   The US cannot “end funding [arms to Egypt] even if it wanted to, because of the way the foreign aid is structured.” There is financing that allows them to “fund weapons systems over a multi-year period. If congress freezes this, then US businesses get hit, which are producing $1.3 billion in arms per year.”—David Schenker, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2013)

 

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POPE BENEDICT XVI ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION(Vatican City) Pope Benedict XVI's unprecedented announcement today [Feb 11] that he will resign Feb. 28 brings to a close one of the shortest papacies in history, for which the pontiff will leave a legacy as a leader with views in line with church tradition, but also as one who worked during a controversial reign to advance religious links cross the globe. The pope's decision, which he announced in Latin today during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, makes him the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years. (ABC News, Feb. 11, 2013)

 

EGYPT STRANGLING GAZA BY FLOODING SMUGGLING TUNNELS(Gaza City) Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime has been flooding Hamas smuggling tunnels for three days in a move that may be aimed at punishing Sinai terrorists who threaten Cairo’s authority but also may be a warning to Hamas of who is the boss. The smuggling tunnels have long been a source of up to one-third of goods and merchandise, including diesel fuel, for Gaza. They also are a vehicle for terrorists to travel between Gaza and the northern Sinai and for the flow of advanced arms and explosives. It is estimated that up to 35% of the tunnels have been closed down as a result of Egypt’s move.(Jewish Press, February 13th, 2013)

 

OTTAWA CONFIRMS CANADIAN 'DUAL NATIONAL' INVOLVED IN BULGARIA BUS BOMBING(Ottawa) The federal government is confirming that a Canadian dual national based in Lebanon has been linked to the bombing of a bus filled with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said he learned last week of the Canadian citizen’s alleged involvement in the matter, although details about his links to Canada remain unclear. (Globe and Mail, Feb. 5, 2013)

 

OBAMA WILL MAKE FIRST TRIP TO ISRAEL AS PRESIDENT THIS SPRING(Washington) U.S. President Barack Obama will go to Israel in the spring, marking his first visit to the staunch U.S. ally since becoming president. The White House has not released the date of Obama’s trip or details about Obama’s itinerary, but Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the trip had been scheduled for March 20. “The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria,” said National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor. (National Post, Feb. 5, 2013)

 

MERKEL LOSES MINISTER: SCHAVAN STEPS DOWN AMID PLAGIARISM SCANDAL (Berlin) German Education Minister Annette Schavan announced her resignation on Saturday, just days after a university moved to strip her of her Ph.D. title in a plagiarism scandal surrounding her doctoral dissertation, whose subject was "the formation of conscience”. She announced her decision during a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Annette Schavan offered me her resignation last night," Merkel said, adding that she had accepted the resignation with deep regret. "She knows that brains are the capital of people in this country. And she knows that good study conditions are just as important as promoting excellence." (Spiegel, Feb. 9, 2013)

SENATE PANEL APPROVES HAGEL NOMINATION AS PENTAGON CHIEF—(Washington) A Senate panel approved Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama's new secretary of defense on Tuesday, setting the stage for a vote on his confirmation by the full Senate, possibly this week. After acrimonious discussion of the former Nebraska Republican senator, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 14-11 along party lines to advance Hagel's confirmation to succeed Leon Panetta as the civilian leader at the Pentagon. (Reuters, Feb 11 2013)

U.S. MEMO DETAILS RULES FOR APPROVING DRONE STRIKES(Washington) An unclassified U.S. Justice Department memo reveals that the Obama administration has had more lenient rules than publicly known for when drone attacks can be launched to kill U.S. citizens working abroad with terrorists. The government does not need evidence that a specific attack is imminent, the newly disclosed Justice Department white paper says, only that the targeted suspect is involved in ongoing plotting against the United States. "The threat posed by al-Qaida and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat," the document says (Vancouver Sun, Feb. 6, 2013)

 

IRAN AND HIZBULLAH BUILD MILITIA NETWORKS IN SYRIA IN EVENT THAT ASSAD FALLS(Damascus) Iran and Hizbullah, its Lebanese proxy, are building a network of militias inside Syria to protect their interests in the event that President Assad's government falls. A senior Obama administration official cited Iranian claims that Tehran was backing as many as 50,000 militiamen in Syria. "It's a big operation….The immediate intention seems to be to support the Syrian regime.” (Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2013)

 

TEAM WANTS ISRAEL TO BE THIRD COUNTRY TO REACH MOON(Tel Aviv) A team of scientists and space enthusiasts is aiming to make Israel the third country to reach the moon. Team SpaceIL has developed a nanorocket, and is entering the Google Lunar X Prize – a global lunar competition whose prize is a whopping $30 million. SpaceIL’s ship is designed to be the smallest spacecraft in the world, built using the latest nanotechnology, and the first ever nano-spaceship to land on the moon. The competition requires entrants to successfully land a robotic spacecraft on the moon. The spacecraft must then travel across the surface of the moon, and send data back to Earth. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2013)

 

ISRAELI TEAM WINS ICE HOCKEY WORLD CUP HOSTED BY TURKEY (Istanbul) The Israeli ice hockey team took home the winning title in the U-18 World Championship, which was hosted in Turkey’s Kocaeli. South Africa placed second after losing 3-1 to Israel in the finals while Turkey finished third. An awards ceremony closed out the tournament with Turkey’s Ice Hockey Federation President Orhan Duman attending. The Israeli team made headlines when Turkish fans attempted to rile them up during their match against Turkey on Feb. 10 in İzmir, which they won by an impressive 6-1. (Hurriyet Daily News, Feb. 11, 2013)

 

ISRAEL PUTS CONFLICT ASIDE TO SAVE PALESTINIAN LIVES(Jerusalem) According to a 2012 World Health Organization report, Israel approved 91.5 percent of Palestinian applications from Gaza to receive medical care in Israel proper. In total, 210,469 Palestinians received medical treatment inside Israel proper in 2012. Many democratic states don’t provide so much medical assistance to the civilian populations who are citizens of nations that they are in conflict with. Yet Israel has adopted a different approach, to value all human lives, including the lives of Palestinian civilians, despite the adversarial comments and actions taken by their leadership. (United With Israel, Feb 11, 2013)

NORTH KOREA TESTS NUCLEAR WEAPON(London) The seismic magnitude of an "explosion-like event" in North Korea on Tuesday [Feb. 12] was roughly twice as large as that of a 2009 nuclear test in the country, an international nuclear test monitoring agency said. "We can assume this is roughly twice as big in magnitude," Lassina Zerbo, director of the international data center division of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) told a news conference. (Reuters, Feb 12, 2013)

 

SARAH BRAVERMAN, PIONEER PARATROOPER, DIES AT NINETY-FIVE(JerusalemSarah Braverman, z”l, a founder of the IDF Women’s Army Corps, passed away on Saturday at the age of ninety-five. Surika, as she was known, was one of the first women to join the Palmach, the elite striking arm of the Hagana militia, the forerunner of the Israeli army. She was also one of only three women among a select group of thirty seven volunteers from the Yishuv, Israel’s pre-state Jewish community, who, with Hannah Senesh, were parachuted into Nazi controlled territory during the Second World War. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 10, 2013)

 

JEWISH PHILOSOPHER RABBI DAVID HARTMAN DIES(Jerusalem) Rabbi David Hartman, z”l,  founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute, died on Sunday morning at eighty-one. Hartman was considered to be one of the pioneers of liberal Orthodox Judaism who deeply influenced Jewish thought and education, as well as thousands of people in Israel and around the world. Hartman established the Shalom Hartman Institute in 1976, named after his father, and developed an approach that departed from more traditionally conservative Orthodoxy. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 10, 2013)

 

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Appreciation: King of No-Man’s Land: Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 11, 2013

Having contrasted between two schools of Jewish thought, the medieval one which said God can take no human form, and an earlier one that said God could possess “an emotional interior,” David Hartman took sides. The earlier school, he explained, allowed him “to cite God’s shift from being a figure of complete and total authority to a figure who works in concert with human beings.”

Canadian Suspect in Bulgaria Bus Bombing was Related to Terrorist who Died Planting Explosives: Stewart Bell, National Post,  Feb 12, 2013  A Canadian suspected of organizing the bombing of a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria is a relative of the unidentified terrorist who died while planting the explosives.

ZOA Chief: US Jews Shied Away From Hagel Row: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2013American Jews are “frightened of making an issue seem more important to Jews than others,” said Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein on Tuesday. In Israel as a member of a delegation organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Klein sat down to speak with the Jerusalem Post in the lobby of Jerusalem’s Inbal hotel to provide his take on the issues facing organized American Jewry.

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

'PA Promotes Hatred, Terror Towards Israelis, Jews': Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 6, 2013
Argentina-Iran Deal Makes a Mockery of Justice: Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald, Jan. 30, 2013

How Water Became a Weapon in Arab-Israeli Conflict: Yochanan Visser, Jerusalem Post, Feb.3, 2013

 

 

"It is rather quaint to be lectured about settlements from the representative of a country which has ethnically cleansed the northern part of Cyprus and illegally settled 200,000 Turks in that territory."—an Israeli official, on Monday in response to yet another anti-Israel tirade by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who said that, “Israel has now been rendered by the international community a ‘pariah’ status for its expanding illegal settlements.” Turkey's leaders have become the "laughingstock of the international community with their self-righteous discourse," said the official, accusing Turkish leaders of “brazen hypocrisy.” (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2013)

"The attack in Burgas was only one of a series of recent terrorist operations against civilians in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia. All this is happening in parallel to the deadly support given by Hizbullah and Iran to the murderous Assad regime in Syria. The attack in Burgas was an attack on European soil against a member country of the EU. We hope that the Europeans draw the necessary conclusions as to the true character of Hizbullah."—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement in response to the Bulgarian government's announcement placing blame on Hizbollah for the terrorist bombing in Burgas. (Israel Prime Minister's Office, Feb. 5, 2013)

“If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment [often death] for apostasy, Islam would not exist today.” —Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the most respected leaders of the Sunni world, recently on Egyptian television. (Gatestone Institute, Feb 5, 2013)

 

"The idea of establishing a 'truth commission' on the AMIA tragedy that involves the Iranian regime would be like asking Nazi Germany to help establish the facts of Kristallnacht," —David Harris, American Jewish Committee, commenting on a  deal struck between Argentina and Iran to jointly investigate a 1994 terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which according to Argentine prosecutors and Interpol was masterminded by top Iranian officials. (Miami Herald, Jan. 30, 2013)

“I could not agree more with the decision of the Israeli government to withdraw from this particularly disgraceful UN body [UN Human Rights Council]. I find it appalling and hypocritical in the extreme that the Council's "fact-finding mission" report would dare call for sanctions against Israel, even as they routinely ignore the grossest human rights violations of many of its member states, half of whom deserve to be investigated well before Israel.” Nachman Shai, a member of Israel's Knesset for the Labor Party. (Ha'aretz, Feb. 1, 2013)

“The Palestinian Authority continues to promote incitement… and a culture of hate, terror, and non-acceptance toward Israelis and Jews. The Palestinians have a full system of indoctrination, including government-sponsored television programs, PA youth magazines and summer camps.”—Yosef Kuperwasser, the deputy director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, presenting Israel’s response to an American-funded study that asserted that instances of demonization and dehumanization of Jews in Palestinian school books are “rare.” (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 6, 2013)

“There’s an unexplained feeling in our hearts, an overwhelming excitement, emotionally and spiritually. For over 2,000 years, we have been waiting for this moment. We know that we are the hopes of many generations. We are the ones who have the privilege of finally stepping foot back in the Land of Israel.”—Ephraim Manlun, a recently arrived member of the B’nei Menashe community from northeast India who came on the first flight of a renewed wave of aliya for this ancient Israelite tribe. (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 4, 2013)

“The continuation of conflict, and the differences among the various political groups on the management of the country’s affairs, may lead to the collapse of the [Egyptian] state.” Egyptian Gen. Al Sisi, in comments posted to the [Egyptian] military’s Facebook page, in response to the ongoing violence that has resulted in at least 60 people killed during protests against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The General added that the violence and political deadlock “threaten the future of coming generations.” (Globe and Mail, Jan. 30, 2013)

“What is happening now in Egypt is natural in nations experiencing a shift to democracy. Nations take time to stabilize and in some countries that took many years. It has only been two years in Egypt and, God willing, things will stabilize soon.”—Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to reporters during a brief visit to Germany on Wednesday.[Jan. 30] (Washington Post, Jan. 31, 2013)

"There is no question when you start passing MANPADs [anti-aircraft missiles that can be carried by a single person] around, that becomes a threat—not just to military aircraft but to civilian aircraft. That is an escalation." Leon Panetta, outgoing U.S. Defence Secretary to The Wall Street Journal commenting on the recent interception of a boat off the coast of Yemen carrying MANPADs said to have been supplied by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 2, 2013)

“The report disregards the thousands of suicide bombings, knifings, and other terrorist attacks committed by Palestinian Arab groups, failing to acknowledge how this violence brought about Israeli security measures in the territories that did not previously exist. The reality is that the HRC’s fact-finding enterprise is dedicated chiefly to attacking but one country: Israel. In the entire history of the HRC, there have been seven one-sided inquiry missions on Israel, and only five on the rest of the world combined. Mass atrocities committed by Iran, China, or Sri Lanka, for example, have never been subjected to a single HRC inquiry. In a week when the UN legitimized genocidal Sudan, by electing the regime as vice-president of a top human rights body, it is now focusing its scarce time, resources and moral outrage on yet another biased, politicized and one-sided report against Israel.”—Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, commenting on the UN Human Right’s Council recent report which said that Israel was violating international humanitarian law under the Fourth Geneva Convention and that Israeli settlements are “a mesh of construction and infrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” (National Post, Jan 31, 2013)

“a kind of weapon for the Palestinians.”—Christine Chanet, a French judge and head of the UN panel behind the UN Human Rights Council report on Israel, characterizing a possible use that could be made of the report by the Palestinians if they decide to take Israel to the International Criminal Court, as they have repeatedly threatened to do. (National Post, Jan 31, 2013)

“Israel’s preference would be if a Western entity would control these weapons systems. But because it appears the world is not prepared to do what was done in Libya or other places, then Israel finds itself, like it has many times in the past, facing a dilemma that only it knows how to respond to.”—Tzachi Hanegbi, incoming Israeli Member of Knesset close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  (National Post, Jan. 31, 2013)

“America keeps silent. The way we see it as Arabs: If you are silent, then you are agreeing with what is happening.”—Abdulkader al-Saleh, leader of the military wing of Al Tawhid, the largest antigovernment fighting group operating in and near Syria’s most populous city, Aleppo .
  “All the world has abandoned us. If the revolution lasts for another year, you’ll see all the Syrian people like Al Qaeda; all the people will be like Al Qaeda.”—Abdel-Aziz Salameh, Al Tawhid’s political leader. (New York Times, Feb. 2, 2013)

“I don’t expect any serious strategic repercussions. There’s very little sympathy in the region for Syria and Iran, and I don’t think they’ll get any traction by escalating the conflict. Hezbollah is not going to retaliate either, and that would’ve been the easiest way for Syria to bring pressure on Israel.”—Gary Gambill, associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, commenting on recent Israeli airstrikes in Syria.
   “Syria is in such a bad state right now that an Israeli retaliation to a Syrian action would be harsh and could topple the regime. Therefore Syria is not responding.”—Moshe Maoz, a professor emeritus who specializes in Syria at Hebrew University.
   “There’s a huge imbalance of power, obviously in favour of the Israelis. It’s not a war Syria could win and it knows that.”—Bessma Momani, political science professor at the University of Waterloo and fellow at the Brookings Institution. (National Post, Feb. 1, 2013)

“While the world is discussing where and when the next meeting with Iran will be, Iran is rapidly advancing towards obtaining a nuclear bomb. The international community cannot allow Iran to arm itself with a nuclear weapon.”—a senior official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in response to Iran’s announcement that it was planning to increase its uranium enrichment. (National Post, Feb. 1, 2013)

 

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BULGARIA: HEZBOLLAH BEHIND BOMBING THAT KILLED FIVE ISRAELIS(Sofia) After 7-month probe, Bulgarian interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, announced Tuesday [Feb 5] that two Hezbollah terrorists were involved in the Burgas suicide bombing of a bus transporting Israeli tourists from airport. "We have established that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah," Tsvetanov said. "There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects." The conclusions of the Bulgarian investigation may open the way for the European Union to join the United States in branding the Iranian-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization since there is now a clear connection to an attack on EU territory.(Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2013)

NGO MONITOR: FOREIGN GOVERNEMTS FUNDING ISRAELI NGOS(Jerusalem)  Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor released a report analyzing submissions made by NGOs to the Israeli registrar of non-profits in Israel in 2012, as legislated under the NGO Transparency law. The reports for 2012 show that a total amount of 34,355,579 NIS ($9,161,000 CA) annually is being provided to 30 NGOs from a number of foreign governments. NGO Monitor highlights in our analysis the use of foreign government money to fund political advocacy NGOs based in Israel. As of January 27, 2013, 13 political advocacy NGOs reported grants from foreign governments totaling 21,671,115 NIS, these groups include B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Gisha, and Yesh Din. (NGO Monitor, Feb. 4, 2013)

OBAMA TO VISIT ISRAEL ON PASSOVER EVE TO PUSH PEACE(Jerusalem) President Barack Obama is planning to visit Israel, the PA and Jordan this spring, probably in March, the White House said yesterday, hinting at a new American effort to restart Israel-Palestinian peace efforts.  Israel’s Channel 10 News cited a source in Washington that said the president will visit Jerusalem on March 20th—the week just before Pesach. (Jewish Press, Feb. 6, 2013)

 

HUNGARY ORDERS HOLOCAUST DENIER TO VISIT AUSCHWITZ(Budapest) A court in Hungary ordered a Holocaust denier to serve a most unconventional punishment. He was instructed to visit either the Budapest Holocaust memorial center, the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp or the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel. Gyorgy Nagy, a 42-year-old unemployed computer technician, is the first Hungarian convicted under the country’s Holocaust denial law, which came into effect in February 2010. Nagy was arrested at a political rally in Budapest in 2011 when the local police read on the banner he was holding: “The Shoah didn’t happen.” The court also gave him an 18- month suspended jail sentence. If Nagy chooses to visit the local Holocaust memorial center, he will have to visit the place three times, and write down his thoughts and observations after his visits in order to complete his sentence. Holocaust denial is a crime in Hungary punishable by a maximum three-year sentence.(Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2013)

ISRAELIS UNHAPPY WITH STUDY OF THEIR TEXTBOOKS(Jerusalem) A [US] State Department-funded study to be released Monday [Feb 4] on how Israelis and Palestinians depict each other in textbooks says both sides are locked into narratives that portray the other side as the enemy and erase it from maps, yet do not dehumanize each other. The study was boycotted by Israel's Education Ministry, which refused to cooperate. The ministry called the study biased and said it was based on a false comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian school systems. Passages related to peace were extremely rare in Palestinian books, present in only 2% of those examined. Such passages were present in 25% of the books used in Israeli public schools. (Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2013)
 

EGYPT’S DIESEL RESERVE ONLY ENOUGH FOR THREE DAYS (Cairo) Egypt’s strategic reserve of diesel fuel — used for trucks and group transport vehicles — can meet demand only for three days, according to an official at the Ministry of Supply and Domestic Trade, who added that the shortage would be resolved soon. “Though the strategic reserve of diesel fuel has dropped from five days to three days, it has helped curb the […] crisis,” Magdy Wasfy, director of the ministry’s subsidy department, told state-run news agency MENA on Tuesday. Since the January 2011 uprising, Egypt has suffered chronic fuel shortages, resulting in long lines of vehicles outside oil stations. (Egypt Independent, February 5, 2013)

IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD LANDS IN EGYPT ON HISTORIC VISIT(Cairo) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Egypt on Tuesday on the first trip by an Iranian head of state since the 1979 revolution, underlining the thaw in relations since Egyptians elected an Islamist head of state. President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood politician elected in June, kissed Ahmadinejad as he disembarked from his plane at Cairo airport. The leaders walked down a red carpet, Ahmadinejad smiling as he shook hands with waiting dignitaries. .(Jerusalem Post, Feb. 5, 2013)

ALEPPO EXECUTIONS: SEVENTY-NINE BODIES PULLED FROM SYRIA RIVER(Aleppo)At least seventy-nine Syrian men and teenage boys, each with a single bullet hole to the head, have been found dead in a river in Aleppo in the biggest mass execution of the country’s two-year civil war. It was impossible to be certain who was responsible for their deaths. But those identified, at least half the total by nightfall, were from rebel-held districts, and locals blamed government checkpoints on the other side of the river. Most of them were young men, some dressed in military fatigues, and others in civilian clothes. The corpses of two young boys, no older than 11 and 15, were among the dead.  (The Telegraph, Jan. 29, 2013)

SEPARATE CARS FOR WOMEN ON TRAINS STARTING WEDNESDAY (Cairo) The Egyptian Railways Authority is set to enforce women’s-only train cars on several popular routes to and from the capital starting Wednesday. [Feb 6] The move is part of its efforts to curb sexual harassment, which is rampant across the country. Egyptian women are already afforded private metro cars in Cairo, which comprise the only public transportation that separates genders. In 2008, an Egyptian court dismissed a lawsuit filed by two lawyers demanding the end of women’s-only cars on the grounds that separating the sexes violates gender equality.  The court ruled that allocating cars to women did not fall under its jurisdiction and added that Islamic law emphasizes respect for women, which obligates the state to protect them. (Egypt Independent, Feb. 5, 2013)

NAZI PLUNDER TRIGGERS FUROR ART DEALER’S ANCESTORS FIGHT FOR MASTERPIECES(Berlin) The heir to a prominent Jewish art dealer who fled Adolf Hitler’s Germany urged the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to relinquish paintings by Paul Klee and Juan Gris that he says were lost due to Nazi persecution. Alfred Flechtheim was one of the earliest collectors of Pablo Picasso in Germany and among the best-known art dealers in Europe before the Second World War, representing Klee, George Grosz and Max Beckmann as well as the French Cubists. His great-nephew Mike Hulton, a medical doctor based in California, first contacted the Dusseldorf museum that houses the two works in 2008. (Bloomberg News,  Jan. 29, 2013)

IRAN PLANS TO VASTLY INCREASE PACE OF URANIUM ENRICHMENT(Vienna) In a defiant move ahead of nuclear talks, Iran has announced plans to vastly increase its pace of uranium enrichment, which can make both reactor fuel and the fissile core of warheads. Eager to avoid scuttling those negotiations, world powers are keeping their response low-key. Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency of its intentions last week, and the IAEA informed member nations in an internal note seen by The Associated Press on Thursday. The brief note quoted Iran as saying new-generation IR2m “centrifuge machines …will be used” to populate a new “unit” – a technical term for an assembly that can consist of as many as 3,132 centrifuges. (National Post, Jan 31, 2013)

EXHIBITION DETAILS HITLER’S RISE(Berlin) On the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to always fight for their principles and not fall into the complacency that enabled the Nazi dictator to seize control. Opening the exhibition Berlin 1933 – The Road to Dictatorship at the documentation centre Topography of Terror, on the former grounds of the SS and Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, said the rise of Hitler had been made possible because "the majority had, at the very best, behaved with indifference. The co-operation of the German elite and broad swaths of society" had allowed it, she said, speaking almost precisely to the minute that Paul Hindenburg, then the president of the Reich, had sworn Hitler in as chancellor eight decades before. (The Guardian, Jan. 31, 2013)

CANADIAN EXTREMISTS MORE LIKELY HOMEGROWN: 'SECRET' CSIS REPORT(Ottawa) Violent Canadian extremists are more likely to be citizens than immigrants, according to a “secret” study by the federal intelligence service. And these radicals tend to be relatively young and well-integrated members of society. These findings appear in “A Study of Radicalization: The Making of Islamist Extremists in Canada Today,” a 21-page study released to The Globe and Mail under the Access to Information Act. Canadian-born radicals now “represent a plurality” of those identified as violent extremists. In fact, none of the radicals studied by CSIS were “assessed to be poorly integrated into Canadian society.” It adds that “the low incidence of refugee claimants would suggest that immigration trauma is not a significant driver for radicalization in Canada.” (The Globe and Mail Feb. 2 2013)
 

RABBI MARTIN PENN PASSES AWAY AT SIXTY-THREE. (Montreal) CIJR notes with sadness the passing of Rabbi Martin Penn, in Montreal, on Monday, 21 January 2013, at age sixty-three. Rabbi Penn was one of the leader's of Montreal's Free Soviet Jewry movement, and at his passing he was co-rabbi of Congregation Shomrim Laboker. A fine scholar and religious leader, Rabbi Penn first fought back after a debilitating stroke, and then valiantly struggled against cancer.  "May his memory forever be a blessing", Yish hassid v'zadik.

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'PA Promotes Hatred, Terror Towards Israelis, Jews': Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 6, 2013Israel attacks study comparing Palestinian and Israeli textbooks, while Washington tries to distance itself from report. “The Palestinian Authority continues to promote incitement… and a culture of hate, terror, and non-acceptance toward Israelis and Jews,” government officials told foreign journalists on Tuesday.
 

Argentina-Iran Deal Makes a Mockery of Justice: Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald, Jan. 30, 2013—Argentina has crossed a line by making a sweet deal with Iran to jointly investigate a 1994 terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which according to Argentine prosecutors and Interpol was masterminded by top Iranian officials.

 

How Water Became a Weapon in Arab-Israeli Conflict: Yochanan Visser, Jerusalem Post, Feb.3, 2013—The conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is fought on many fronts nowadays. This is the result of a change in strategy decided on by the current Palestinian Authority leadership in 2008. A 2008 report by The Palestinian Strategy Group, which advises the PA, called “Regaining the Initiative” formed the basis of this strategic overhaul in PA politics vis-à-vis Israel.

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

Contents:  Weekly Quotes |  Short Takes

 

Download Today's Isranet Briefing.pdf

 

On Topic Links

 

A Native and a Zionist: Ryan Bellerose, The Metropolitain, Jan. 24, 2013
Exposing the Palestinians' Anna Baltzer: Lee Kaplan, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 29, 2013
Deadly Riots Erupt Across Egypt on Anniversary of  Revolution: David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Jan. 25, 2013

 

 

“France’s foreign minister said this month that his country was fighting to prevent the creation of an Islamist terrorist enclave ‘at the doorstep of France and Europe.’ If Mali is on France’s doorstep, Gaza is in Israel’s living room. Make no mistake, France’s principled stand should be commended. We only ask that France and all the countries who are supporting its principled stand today, support Israel tomorrow when we fight Islamic terrorism on our borders.”—Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, in comments at the UN Security Council’s monthly open debate on the Middle East. Referring, furthermore, to the November 2012 UN vote to create a non-voting “State of Palestine” Prosor said, “The only Palestinian state in these halls is the Palestinian state of denial. Last month’s resolution did not confer Palestinian statehood. It did not constitute recognition of a Palestinian state. The change in terminology and titles risks creating a false impression of Palestinian statehood when no such state exists.” (Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2013)

“[I]n our view, any reference to the ‘State of Palestine’ in the United Nations, including the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that ‘Palestine’ is a state. Only direct negotiations to settle final status issues will lead to this outcome.”—Susan Rice, American Ambassador to the UN, on the occasion of the first Palestinian address to the Security Council since the U.N. General Assembly voted to upgrade the Palestinians from U.N. observer to non-voting member state. (Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013)
 

"I do not understand the meaning of this expression [diplomatic terrorism], but, frankly, yes, we are waging diplomatic war against Israel for our rights, to isolate Israel's policy in our land and delegitimize Israel on our land."—Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a speech on the occasion of  the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. [Jan. 24]. (Elder of Ziyon,  Jan. 24, 2013)

 “Many of our best friends are telling us…'Don't worry, if worst comes to worst the world will inevitably (help)….It cannot be taken for granted. It's on the screens all around the world, tens of thousands of [Syrian] people slaughtered by their own leader and the world doesn't move."—Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.(Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2013)
 

“The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?  It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”—Hilary Rodham Clinton, American Secretary of State, responding angrily to a question at the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi debacle in September 2012 where four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, were killed by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in a pre-planned attack. (Times of Israel, Jan. 23, 2013)

 

"It [Iran] would definitely use it [a nuclear bomb] against Israel or against any other enemy state. The [Iranian] regime thinks that if it has several atom bombs, [that] will grant it an insurance policy…They believe that the world would treat them the way it treats North Korea."—Mohammed Razza Hidari, a former representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, who defected two years ago in Oslo, Norway, speaking to Israel's Channel 2 television on Friday [Jan. 25]. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 25, 2013)

 

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”—British Liberal Democrat MP David Ward, upon signing the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment in the House of Commons. In a further statement to The Commentator Ward said, "The Holocaust was one of the worst examples in history of man's inhumanity to man. When faced with examples of atrocious behaviour, we must learn from them. It appears that the suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated." The Liberal Democrat party has denounced Ward's statements, saying, “This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable.” (The Commentator, Jan. 25, 2013)

“Not at all hopeful. I think it’s nothing. You saw how it ended in Libya. It ended in a kind of mess, you know. It will happen elsewhere, too. It [will] come and go, and we’ll be back where we started. Chaos, one-man rule, which is how these things usually end in the Muslim world.”—author V.S. Naipaul, in an interview with Isaac Chotiner, commenting on the Arab Spring.  (New Republic, Dec. 20, 2012)

 

"What is surprising about this is that not only was this a public amputation, but that photos of it were distributed by official press agencies, and that they showed a machine that we had until yet never seen images of. We have noticed that the authorities have recently been making more and more publicity surrounding cases of corporal punishment. Every time we get closer to an election, the number of these incidents increases. And we're getting quite close to the presidential election [slated for June]. I believe this is a strategy to instil fear in the population so as to avoid any protests.”—Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson for Iran Human Rights based in Norway, commenting on the public amputation of an alleged thief’s fingers in Shiraz, Iran, using a new machine invented for that purpose. (American Thinker, Jan. 27, 2013)

 

“I cannot emphasize enough the challenges that we are all facing, both in Jordan and Lebanon, and it’s only going to get worse. What we’re asking from the international community is not just to help us with the refugee problems and their challenges as they face this harsh winter, but also stockpiling in Jordan so that we can move supplies across the borders to keep people in place.”—King Abdullah of Jordan, commenting on the increasing influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (New York Times, Jan. 26, 2013)

“This is the beginning of another revolution. The Egyptian pound is down against the dollar. Our economy is even worse now than it was under Mubarak. Morsi behaves like a dictator. Something must be done.”—Ahmed Attif, an anti-Morsi demonstrator in Tahrir Square, where he hawked Palestinian scarves because his usual work in a bazaar disappeared when tourism dropped.
   “We begin again because no other course of action is open to us,” Mr. Ahmed said. “Life is worse for us in every way today. We don’t trust the police. Most of us have serious economic problems and no chance to solve them.” —Mohammad Ahmed, a demonstrator at Tahrir Square.(National Post, Jan. 26, 2013)

“This is not a minister of defense, it’s a minister of chaos. [Choosing Chuck Hagel] makes it seem Mr. Obama is just a joke, American power is just a joke. What we hear from your country makes us so confused. What [potential] American defense minister will say he will never go to war? Such a statement from a high-level politician will…push Iran to understand there is no serious position in America.”—Mithal al Alusi, a former Iraqi Parliamentarian who has championed counter-terrorism cooperation and normalized relations between Iraq and Israel, in an interview with the Algemeiner. (Algemeiner, Jan. 27, 2013)
 

"For the Morsi I know, any cooperation with Israel is a serious sin, a crime. Anti-Israeli rhetoric is a cornerstone of the Brotherhood's ideology.”—Abdel-Jalil el-Sharnoubi, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has known Mohammed Morsi for 13 years and believes that behind the Egyptian president's veneer of goodwill towards Israel lies a deep-seated hatred. He explains that Morsi is a "master of disguise." With respect to Egypt itself, Sharnoubi said,  “They [the Brotherhood] will infiltrate all areas of our society: government offices and ministries, schools and universities, as well as the police and the military. They will eliminate their enemies. The Brotherhood will never give up its power without a fight."  (Der Spiegel, Jan. 28, 2013)

 

 

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HAMAS TO ESTABLISH MILITARY ACADEMY FOR SCHOOLKIDS(Gaza City) Hamas plans to establish a military academy in the Gaza Strip to train and educate schoolchildren. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced on Thursday [Jan 24] that the military academy, the first of its kind in the Gaza Strip, would prepare the children for the “phase of liberating Palestine.” He said that children in grades 7-9 could join the school and graduate with a diploma or a BA in military affairs. Haniyeh made this announcement during a ceremony in the Gaza Strip marking the birth of the prophet Muhammad. More than 10,000 schoolchildren attended the ceremony, which included a “military parade” by some of the teenagers. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013)

 

ARABS DESECRATE JOSEPH'S TOMB, AGAIN(Shechem, Samaria) Visitors to the Tomb of Yosef in Shechem were shocked to discover Wednesday night yet another instance of major Arab vandalism to the holy site. Arabs trashed furniture, destroyed books, and defaced the site with anti-Semitic graffiti, and there was evidence that they had tried to burn the structure down. In addition, human and animal waste was found all over the floor of the site. Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said tonight "Only barbarians do these horrid things to desecrate this holy place." (Arutz-7, Jan. 24, 2013)

 

NO ISRAELIS KILLED BY WEST BANK TERROR IN 2012, FIRST TIME SINCE 1973(Jerusalem) For the first time since 1973, no Israelis were killed in terror attacks in the West Bank in 2012, according to a report published Thursday by the Israel Security Agency. However, in 2012 there were 578 terror attacks in the West Bank as opposed to 320 incidents in 2011. 10 Israelis were killed during security-related incidents in other parts of the country: 6 by rocket attacks, 2 by shooting, and 2 from terrorist attacks near the Israel-Egypt border. 2,327 rockets and 230 mortar shells were fired from Gaza in 2012. Also, 8 rockets were fired at Israel from Sinai. There were 11 attempts to fire anti-aircraft weaponry at IDF planes, compared to 1 such attempt in 2011. (Ha'aretz, Jan 24, 2013)

 

IRAN, SYRIA AND NORTH KOREA DEVELOPING BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS (Washington) Dangerous biological weapons are being developed by the nexus of Iran, Syria and North Korea. Among the more than 16 biological agents that Iran reportedly is developing are anthrax, Ebola, encephalitis, biological toxins, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), cholera, smallpox and plague. Worse yet, Iran, with North Korea's help, has genetically altered the smallpox virus in ways that may make current vaccinations ineffective. (Washington Times, Jan. 24, 2013)

 

ISRAEL GIRDS FOR ATTACKS AS SYRIA FALLS APART(Jerusalem) Israel deployed at least one Iron Dome missile defense battery in northern Israel on Sunday [Jan 27] amid reports of intense security consultations regarding the possibility of Syrian chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist rebels or being transferred to Hizbullah. "If there will be a need, we will take action to prevent chemical weapons from being transferred to Islamic terror organizations," Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio. (New York Times, Jan. 27, 2013) [Latest reports indicate that two Iron Dome batteries were moved into northern Israel. – Ed.]

 

ISRAEL STRIKES AT SYRIA-LEBANON BORDER(Jerusalem) Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border on Wednesday, sources told Reuters, after Israelis warned their Lebanese enemy Hezbollah against using chaos in Syria to acquire anti-aircraft missiles or chemical weapons.  "The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon," said one Western diplomat, adding that the consignment seemed unlikely to have included chemical weapons. Its load probably included high-tech anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 30, 2013)

 

PALESTINIAN INFILTRATED INTO SHAVEI SHOMRON FOR SANCTUARY (Shavei Shomron, Israel) On Tuesday [Jan. 29] a Palestinian managed to infiltrate into the town of Shavei Shomron, about 40km due east of Netanya in Shomron.  He was caught by the town’s local security team. Apparently he did not infiltrate into the town to commit a terror attack. The Palestinian was involved in a family feud in his village and ran to the settlement for sanctuary. (Jewish Press, Jan. 29, 2013)

 

THE GENIUS OF IRANIAN INDUSTRY(Tehran) It seems that cutting off the fingers of thieves the old-fashioned way was messy. Iranian ingenuity came to the rescue and now the mullahs have a machine that cuts off the fingers of thieves. Quick, efficient, and ruthless. One of Iran's official press agencies published photos showing the public amputation of a thief's fingers on Wednesday [Jan. 23] These show a man getting his finger chopped off with a machine resembling a rotary saw. According to the INSA press agency, the man shown getting his finger cut off was charged with robbery and adultery by a court in the south-western city of Shiraz. He was also accused of being at the head of a criminal organization. On top of losing one of his fingers, he was sentenced to three years in prison and 99 whip lashes. (American Thinker, Jan. 27, 2013)

 

HISTORY MADE AS NATURAL GAS FLOWS FROM SHIP TO HADERA(Hadera)

History was made on Saturday evening as natural gas began flowing to its power stations from a regasification ship hired by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC). The ship, anchored about ten kilometers from the Hadera coast, was connected last week to a marine buoy and as of Saturday night, natural gas began flowing from the LNG (liquid natural gas) ship through an underwater pipeline directly to the Company's power stations throughout the country. The LNG, which is imported from Trinidad, is cheaper than imported oil. This marks an important step in the development of Israel’s new offshore natural gas. The Tamar field is due to begin producing gas in April this year. (Israel National News, Jan. 28, 2013)

 

IRAN LAUNCHES MONKEY INTO SPACE(Tehran) Iranian state TV says the country has successfully sent a monkey into space, in what is described as another step toward Tehran’s goal of a manned space flight. Monday’s report said the monkey was sent up in a Pishtam, or Explorer, rocket to a height of 120 kilometers (72 miles). The monkey returned safely. The US and its allies worry that technology from the space program could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads. (Times of Israel, Jan. 28, 2013)

RUPERT MURDOCH APOLOGIZES FOR LONDON SUNDAY TIMES CARTOON(London) Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of Britain's Sunday Times, has issued an apology for the cartoon that was published by the Times Sunday, calling the image "grotesque" and "offensive." The cartoon depicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a large-nosed Jew, hunched over a wall, building with Palestinian blood-cement as they writhe in pain within the wall. (Algemeiner, Jan. 28, 2013)

UNHRC POSTPONES ISRAEL'S REVIEW OVER BOYCOTT(New York) The United Nations Human Rights Council postponed its periodic review of Israel's human rights record on Tuesday [Jan. 29], after Jerusalem said it would boycott the proceedings due to what it perceives as a bias against it. The Council stated that the review would take place no later than November 2013.  UN Watch's Hillel Neuer slammed the Council, saying that "a jury of brigands is not justice, it’s a travesty. We regret that today's resolution failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the council's systematic bias against Israel," he said.  (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 29, 2013)
 

IRAN SENTENCES U.S. PASTOR TO EIGHT YEARS FOR CHRISTIANITY—(Tehran) An American pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has been jailed in Iran since September, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, the U.S. State Department said Sunday. Abedini's attorney, Nasser Sarbazi, said his client, who is of Iranian origin but lives in Boise, Idaho, was tried in the Revolutionary Court on charges of attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes. State Department Spokesman Darby Holladay said, "We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion." (Washington Post, Jan.  , 2013

ANCIENT TIMBUKTU MANUSCRIPTS TORCHED BY ISLAMISTS(Timbuktu, Mali) The historic manuscripts of Timbuktu, including one written in Hebrew, are, reportedly, no more. They were destroyed by Islamic terrorists in the African nation of Mali. The library, which contained thousands of priceless manuscripts from ancient times, was put to the torch as the rebels fled the French and Malian troops who were closing in on the Saharan city. At least one of the manuscripts, buried beneath the sand or in caves for centuries in wooden trunks and boxes, was written in Hebrew. The manuscripts covered women’s rights, medicine, music, poetry, geography, history, religion and even astronomy. Researchers had managed to digitize only a small percentage of the manuscripts. (Arutz Sheva, Jan. 28, 2013)

NORWAY: FAILED BOYCOTT, RECORD IMPORTS FROM ISRAEL(Oslo) In spite of boycotts, Norway has never bought so many goods from Israel as in the last year. “These figures show the lack of success when it comes to boycotting Israeli goods”, says Ola H. Grytten, a professor of economy, to Dagen News.   Interim figures covering Norwegian foreign trade in 2012 show imports from Israel estimated at a value of 762 Million NOK; an increase of 5.5 percent, compared to the year before. On the other hand, total imports to Norway only increased by 1.5 percent. The largest category of goods from Israel is electrical appliances, valued at 129 Million NOK, one million more than in 2011. (Israel What, Jan. 16, 2013)

 

 

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A Native and a Zionist: Ryan Bellerose, The Metropolitain, Jan. 24, 2013—I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians for Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist.

Deadly Riots Erupt Across Egypt on Anniversary of  Revolution: David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Jan. 25, 2013— Violence erupted across Egypt on Friday as tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Tahrir Square to mark the second anniversary of the country’s revolution with an outpouring of rage against the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood. At least seven protesters and two police officers were killed in clashes in Suez, the state news media said.

Exposing the Palestinians' Anna Baltzer: Lee Kaplan, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 29, 2013—Will Oxford Endorse a Fraud? Anna Baltzer — apparently neither a Fulbright Scholar, nor a descendant of Holocaust survivors, nor an alumna of the Birthright Program — appears to be just a fraud and a fabulist. So why is Oxford having her speak January 31st? 

 

 

 

Ber Lazarus
, Publications Editor
 Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
/L'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax: (514) 486-8284

 

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