Tag: islamic terrorism


As ‘Attacks Beget Attacks’ in West Bank, Army Must Break Cycle of Terror: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2018— The last quarter of 2018 has seen a significant rise in the level of violence in the West Bank, with growing concerns of another outbreak like that in late 2015 and early 2016, which saw regular stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

A Distinct Lack of Jewish Outrage: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Dec. 13, 2018 — American Jews have often been bashed for being too Israel-centric.

Strasbourg Attack Fits Previous Model of Criminal-Terror Nexus in Europe: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 12, 2018— On Tuesday, Cherif Chekatt, 29, shot at a crowd next to a Christmas market in central Strasbourg killing two, while a third person was brain-dead and being kept alive on life support.

Confronting the Darkness of Hate Together: Alan Herman, CIJR, Dec. 13, 2018 — On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Remembrance Day, Doris Epstein and myself, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s Toronto Co-Chairs, drove out on a cold and windy Sunday night to Grace Life Centre in Scarborough.

On Topic Links

After Antisemitic Attacks, Are Jews Safer in the East Than the West?: Sean Savage, Algemeiner, Dec. 13, 2018

When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Dec. 13, 2018

A Painful Reminder: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Dec. 11, 2018

The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 13, 2018




Judah Ari Gross

Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2018

The last quarter of 2018 has seen a significant rise in the level of violence in the West Bank, with growing concerns of another outbreak like that in late 2015 and early 2016, which saw regular stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.

This past week has been particularly deadly, and the military is engaged in a delicate balancing act — launching a large-scale effort to interrupt the cycle of violence in an attempt to stave off a wider conflict in the West Bank, but at the same time trying to limit the potential to inflame already heightened tensions in the restive region.

On Sunday, Palestinian terrorists opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside the Ofra settlement, injuring seven people, including a 30-weeks pregnant woman whose baby was delivered prematurely and died three days later. An assailant stabbed two border guards in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday, lightly injuring them, before he was shot dead. Also on Thursday, a gunman shot dead two Israeli soldiers and seriously injured a third serviceman and a civilian woman at a bus stop outside the Givat Assaf outpost, near Ofra. And a Palestinian attacker stabbed a soldier and bashed his head with a rock, seriously injuring him, at a military outpost near the Beit El settlement on Friday.

On Thursday, Israeli troops also shot dead a 58-year-old Palestinian man who they said attempted to ram them with his car in the town of el-Bireh, outside Ramallah. The man’s family denies that he tried to deliberately hit the soldiers with his car, and the military is reportedly investigating the possibility that it was indeed an accident.

Adding to the past week’s heightened tensions, Israeli security forces shot dead a suspected terrorist, Ashraf Na’alowa, who is believed to have committed a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone in October, killing two of his Israeli co-workers; the army said he opened fire at the troops who came to arrest him in the city of Nablus in the predawn hours of Thursday morning. Soldiers also arrested some of the terrorists responsible for the Ofra shooting on Wednesday night — one was also killed — while others are still believed to be at large.

But the escalation of violence in the West Bank has been coming for several months. Following a rocky May, which saw an increase in attacks apparently tied to the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the summer was relatively calm, with between 64 and 88 acts of violence each month, mostly in the forms of Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli cars and other low-level attacks, according to figures from the Shin Bet security service.

Beginning in September, this started to change, with more and more attacks recorded each month in the West Bank. November saw over 100, according to the Shin Bet, and December appears to be on track to have even more and deadlier attacks. The military is also in the midst of several other manhunts in the West Bank. Except for Thursday’s Old City stabbing, all the assailants managed to flee the scene of the attacks.

This tendency of one attack to lead to a second is generally attributed to three main sources. In some cases, it is the result of established terror groups, notably Hamas, taking advantage of a volatile situation and directing operatives to carry out attacks. There are also lone copycats with no ties to organized groups — often young men from bad family situations — but who are inspired by an act of terrorism and set out to commit their own. And there are acts of revenge, a brother or cousin of an assailant recently shot dead by Israeli troops who commit attacks as a form of retribution. The past week has seen the first two, according to Israeli defense officials.

The Hamas terror group, which has scaled down its violent activities in the Gaza Strip as it tries to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel, has been stepping up its efforts in the West Bank. “Hamas is the most violent group in [the West Bank], and it is trying to carry out terror attacks all the time,” a senior officer in the IDF Central Command said Thursday. The Israeli military said it believes a Hamas cell conducted the terror attack in Ofra on Sunday and that the terror group may have also committed the shooting in nearby Givat Assaf on Thursday. Other attacks this week appeared to have been committed by lone assailants with no direct ties to terror groups.

Military officials and analysts explain the increased violence of the past week as “terror attacks beget terror attacks” — or in Hebrew, “pigua rodef pigua”: that one incident often prompts another and another, until the pattern can be broken. The Israel Defense Forces is now attempting to do just that, though it is no easy task, with the potential for violence to escalate if either too much or not enough action is taken.

In its effort to both hunt the terrorists who fled and break the cycle of violence, the IDF has sent additional infantry battalions to the West Bank and established a dedicated command unit to spearhead the searches. The military has set up checkpoints at the entrances and exits to Ramallah and other nearby towns and villages; carried out extensive arrest raids in the West Bank, arresting some 37 Hamas members, including senior leaders; and has stationed additional troops around the West Bank’s roadways and inside settlements to both prevent attacks and respond more effectively to those that do occur…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]



A DISTINCT LACK OF JEWISH OUTRAGE                                                             

Jonathan S. Tobin         

JNS, Dec. 13, 2018

American Jews have often been bashed for being too Israel-centric. But while there was a great deal to be said for arguments that the organized Jewish world needed to focus more on building up Jewish identity in America rather than live vicariously through Israel’s achievements and struggles, I’m beginning to think such criticism isn’t as valid as it once was.

In the last several weeks, Israelis have endured a massive rocket barrage from Gaza, the discovery of terror tunnels dug under their northern border by Hezbollah terrorists and a spate of deadly shooting attacks on Jewish civilians. Yet while hard-core pro-Israel activists follow these events closely, they haven’t generated much interest—let alone outrage—from the broader Jewish community, especially when compared to concerns about anti-Semitism in America.

Part of it has to do with a general numbness about such things that 70 years of conflict has engendered among those who observe Israel’s struggles from afar. Shootings, rockets and even the threat of an invasion by Hezbollah—Iran’s terrorist auxiliary in Lebanon—can be viewed as part of a narrative about a “cycle of violence” between Israel and its enemies that breeds a degree of complacence, if not apathy, even about such terrible events.

It’s also true that the policies of the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are generally unpopular among American Jews, even if he still retains broad support among Israelis, who appear likely to re-elect him next year. That has created a dynamic whereby all Israeli security concerns—whether on the strategic level, like the conventional and nuclear threats from Iran, or everyday terrorism from Hamas in Gaza—can be discounted or even to some extent ignored. For some critics of Israel, the strategic threats are seen as exaggerated because they conflicted, as was the case with Iran, with the position of popular U.S. politicians like President Barack Obama. Others see routine Palestinian violence directed at Israeli civilians as understandable, if not justified, because of their opposition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But it may also be more the result of a breakdown of a sense of Jewish peoplehood and identity due to assimilation than political disagreements. For those American Jews who are raised on universalist values, any sectarian or parochial concern can be seen as inherently racist. If that’s how you look at it, then you’re likely to view Israel’s troubles as either insignificant or illegitimate.

Of course, not all American Jews are apathetic. There are still many for whom support for Israel is the primary or even exclusive focus for their activism and even to some extent their identity. The same applies to some leading Jewish organizations that remain committed to bolstering the U.S.-Israel alliance and supporting the Jewish state in various ways.

Primarily, the idea that American Jews were obsessed about Israel to the exclusion of other concerns was always a myth. The energy and passion of pro-Israel activists often gave politicians the misleading impression that the conflict in the Middle East was the only thing Jews cared about it. But for most Jewish voters, the security of the Jewish state has always ranked rather low on their list of vital issues, if it made the list at all. Whatever they may think of Israel, after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October, American Jews are concentrating more on anti-Semitism. Though removed as we are from the rising tide of Jew-hatred that has swept from the Middle East and across Europe, there is no escaping the realization that even in a country where Jews are completely accepted, as they are in the United States, anti-Semitism is still present.

It’s understandable that the most deadly attack on American Jews in the history of the nation would concentrate our minds on threats to Jewish life here, whether from extremists on the far-right or from the left. But even as we contemplate that dismal reality—and spar about which form of anti-Semitism is more of a threat—it is vital that we recognize that what happens in the Middle East is an inevitable byproduct of the same hate that generates Jew-hatred on these shores. There are those who argue that foes of Israel are solely motivated by anger about the creation of a Jewish state in a region dominated by Islam, as well as by the dispossession of those who fled the country in 1948 during the War of Independence. They claim that the Palestinians have a genuine grievance rooted in things Jews did to them, rather than anti-Semitic myths about Jewish conspiracies.

But even a cursory examination of the arguments against Zionism shows that they are part of the same mindset of delegitimization of Jewish rights. That is why the Palestinian Arabs have consistently rejected every offer to share the country from the 1930s to the offers of statehood turned down by the Palestinian Authority in the last two decades. The rhetoric of even the moderate P.A. is just as steeped in the language of demonization of Jews as that of right- or left-wing anti-Semites in Europe or North America.

No matter what you think about Netanyahu or settlements, it’s important to remember that the Jews shot in the West Bank weren’t targeted because of their politics, but because they were Jews. The same is true for the ongoing efforts of Hamas and Hezbollah to threaten the existence of the one Jewish state on the planet. That’s why stories about rockets, tunnels and especially murderous shootings of Israelis deserve to be treated as more than just routine violence. It should merit attention from Americans. Israeli Jews are just as deserving of the right to live their lives in peace and security as Americans. And their enemies are motivated by the same kind of intolerance for Jewish rights as those who target Jews here. If you can’t work up any outrage about that, then you’re not paying attention to the truth about anti-Semitism.





Seth J. Frantzman                 

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 12, 2018

On Tuesday, Cherif Chekatt, 29, shot at a crowd next to a Christmas market in central Strasbourg killing two, while a third person was brain-dead and being kept alive on life support. Six more victims are fighting for their lives. As of press time Wednesday, French security forces are still hunting the suspect, who is known to counter-terrorism services. He initially fled in a taxi from the city of 270,000 which is located near the German border.

According to reports, the perpetrator acted alone although four people were detained in connection to the attacks. He used a gun and knife. Security has been increased at Christmas markets. According to BBC, he was on a “fiche S” watch list for “potential threats to national security.” He shouted religious extremist slogans during the course of the attack. This conjures up memories of the murder of 12 people in the 2016 Christmas market attack in Berlin. The perpetrator in the Germany attack, who was born in Tunisia in 1992, had been in prison in Italy where he was allegedly “radicalized.” German security services had warned of his terrorist connections in the spring of 2016, and he was supposed to be deported.

According to France 24, the suspect in the Strasbourg shooting was also known to police. Born in Strasbourg, he was confronted by soldiers who have been deployed in French cities as part of Operation Sentinelle. These soldiers were deployed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130. The Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said the suspect “sowed terror” at three places in the city. The reference to “three places” leaves more questions about what happened. It appears that the reference is to the suspect coming into contact twice with security forces and exchanging fire with them.

As with many attacks in Europe over the last several years, the Strasbourg suspect was already known to security and police. He had served a sentence and been convicted of 27 unspecified crimes in France, Switzerland and Germany, according to reports. In 2016 he was “flagged by anti-terrorist services,” France 24 reported. “He had been reported by the General Directorate for Internal Security.”

The intelligence agency had visited him in prison and taken account of his “religious proselytism.” Yet, even with this long rap sheet and being monitored by security forces, he carried out an armed robbery on Tuesday before the attack. During a search of his apartment, grenades were found which raises the question how a man who was well known for violent proclivities and apparently religious extremism was able to acquire his arsenal.

The attack took place one km. from the European Parliament, which has taken the attack in stride. Antonio Tajani, the president of the parliament, tweeted the parliament would not be intimidated. “Let us move on,” he wrote. But residents and others may want more answers. One man told the BBC that he had attempted to aid a victim of the attack, waiting for 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. “A doctor told us on the phone that it was senseless,” to continue to aid the dead victim. This leads to questions about why medical services took so long to reach the scene.

The attack in Strasbourg is among the most serious incidents this year in Europe, after a spate of ISIS-inspired attacks between 2015 and 2017. However the background of the alleged perpetrator appears to fit a much larger pattern, particularly in France. Mohammed Merah, the perpetrator of the Toulouse and Montaubon attacks, was born in Toulouse. A petty criminal, he then went to Afghanistan and Pakistan and was placed under surveillance in 2006, and again in 2009. He went to Egypt and Pakistan, and was followed by security service upon his return in 2011. Yet despite all this he was able to acquire weapons and between March 11 and 19 went on a spree of killing, targeting soldiers and then a Jewish school…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





Alan Herman        

CIJR, Dec. 13, 2018

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Remembrance Day, Doris Epstein and myself, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s Toronto Co-Chairs, drove out on a cold and windy Sunday night to Grace Life Centre in Scarborough. A Candlelight Vigil in commemoration of the victims of murders at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh was being held. Doris and I, along with Ann Samson of Congregation BINA, and Howard Kamen of Beth Torah were there to represent the Jewish community. The initiative was being organized jointly by proud Toronto Jewish leaders Shai Abraham and Ariella Daniels, and by Jay and Molly Banerjei of the Christian Music Festival. This vigil was a spontaneous reaction to the horrors of Pittsburgh and, for most of us, this was our first encounter with these Christian leaders. To say the least, we had no idea what to expect.

What struck me almost immediately, in addition to the large crowd that had turned up, was the diversity of the people in that audience. The audience was a distinct blend of Koreans, Filipinos, Jamaicans, Indo-Canadians, Sri-Lankans, French and Afghans. A sombre mood filled the air of the sanctuary, but informing it an excitement could also be felt. At the front of the room were eleven huge white Magen Davids, each with the name of a murdered congregant from Tree of Life. A lighted memorial candle was placed in front of each. Large Canadian and Israeli flags were proudly displayed in the background. The theme of the night was clear: I Stand With You.

Right off the top, Jay Banerjei began the night by marking the centenary of the end of World War I with a salute to the Veterans and a singing of O Canada. Immediately it not only reminded us of the many privileges we enjoy here in Canada, but it also acknowledged the unity of the audience as proud Canadians. From there, the evening began. Pastor after pastor, rabbi and community leader came to the front to express, through speech and song, their support and solidarity with the Jewish people. Grace Life Centre Choir, under the leadership of Pastor Andrew Eastman, sang Psalms 23, 121, 137; Molly Banerjei sang “One People”, a song that epitomized the spirit of the occasion. Striking performances also included solo vocalists and musicians; Ms. Nelly Shin sang Psalms and the Filipino dance ensemble “danced their way to Jerusalem”, raising the Israeli flag.

El male rahamim was sung by Howard Kamen, Cantor at Beth Torah Congregation. Spontaneously, the entire audience stood in honour of the Jewish victims. CIJR Co-Chair Doris Epstein, in her remarks, stated that antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem but rather one that starts with Jews does not end with Jews. “Fighting all forms of antisemitism is a matter of basic human decency, human rights and, in Canada, of the rule of law. Ann Samson from Congregation BINA explained the importance of combatting antisemitism “because history has a painful way of repeating itself”.

Shai Abraham, related an anecdote by Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov which interprets  the Hebrew Bible’s “love thy neighbour as thyself” as listening to and empathizing with one another, and acknowledging to all those who were present that evening that by their participation they were true neighbors, true friends. Molly Banerjei declared that this is not just a one-time event but a beginning of an ongoing, vocal and united movement to fight antisemitism and hate of all kinds. “This is just the first step,” she said. To conclude the evening, Howard Kamen led this audience of Jews and Christians in a passionate singing of HaTikvah, followed by a huge hora dance in the middle of the church.

Returning from this moving experience made me wonder, when was the last time I had heard such joy, enthusiasm, commitment and zeal for the Jewish people and Israel? I could remember Jerusalem auditoriums filled with thousands of youth, singing in Hebrew and waving flags during my long-ago Birthright Israel trip. I could remember the annual Israel Day rallies in Montreal that I looked forward to every year when I lived there. I also remember a sweltering summer’s day in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War when we rallied for Israel at Mel Lastman’s Square.

This vigil stands alongside these other proud memories. And it is just the start of a new alliance we, and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, shall continue to build. The fight against antisemitism, “the longest hatred”, is ongoing, and I look forward to having more to tell you in the months to come.


(Alan Herman and Doris Epstein are the

Canadian Institute for Jewish Research Toronto Co-Chairs)


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links

After Antisemitic Attacks, Are Jews Safer in the East Than the West?: Sean Savage, Algemeiner, Dec. 13, 2018—The October attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh put a renewed spotlight on antisemitism in the United States, which has seen an uptick in recent years. But deadly attacks on Jewish people and institutions are far from a new occurrence in Europe, where Jewish communities across the continent have faced threats from radical Islam and other homegrown extremist groups for years.

When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Dec. 13, 2018 —In 2002, Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, was said to have given a speech noting that the creation of the state of Israel had spared his followers the trouble of hunting down Jews at “the ends of the world.”

A Painful Reminder: Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom, Dec. 11, 2018—Every few weeks, the Israeli public receives a painful reminder that the most violent, deadly and complex sector is not the Gaza Strip or Lebanon, but Judea and Samaria. It happened two months ago, when two Israelis were murdered in a terrorist attack in the Barkan industrial zone, and it happened again Monday night, in the shooting attack at the bus stop in Ofra.

The Hamas Plan to Take the West Bank: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 13, 2018—It is clear by now that Hamas is behind some of the recent terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. These attacks serve the interests of Hamas and its friends and sponsors, especially the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization — and Iran.




2017 Was a Good Year for Europe’s Extremists: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, Dec. 22, 2017— On the surface, at least, Europe has not changed much over the past 12 months.

Has France Learned Anything From The Charlie-Hebdo – HyperCasher Terror Attacks?: Ari Lieberman, Frontpage, Jan. 10, 2018— On the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo-HyperCasher terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed 17 lives, France appears to have learned nothing from these outrages.

As Attacks On Jews Rise in Europe, Anti-Semitism is the New Cool: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Jan. 11, 2018— More disturbing than the alleged arson at a suburban Paris kosher supermarket on Tuesday – the third anniversary of the terror attack at the kosher Hyper-Cacher market, also outside Paris – is this: no one was terribly surprised.

Germany Was Determined to Expunge Dangerous Anti-Semitism. Now it's Back: Barbara Kay, National Post, Dec. 6, 2017 — Bad things that are tips of bad icebergs shouldn’t happen to good people.


On Topic Links


Mass Migration: Uninvited Guests: Philip Carl Salzman, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 31, 2017

The Islamization of Germany in 2017: Part I January – June 2017: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 11, 2018

Study: Young Muslim Male Migrants Fuel Rise in Violence in Germany: World Israel News, Jan. 4, 2018

Beauty and Nausea in Venice: Daniel Pipes, American Thinker, Dec. 28, 2017





Cnaan Liphshiz

JTA, Dec. 22, 2017


On the surface, at least, Europe has not changed much over the past 12 months. In fact, when it comes to European politics, this year may appear mild in comparison to 2016, which saw several dramatic and shocking developments, such as Brexit, a refugee resettlement crisis and the terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day, France’s national holiday.


Across much of the continent in 2017, however, populists were blocked from reaching power by centrist parties. To the relief of the continent’s estimated 3 million Jews and other minorities with bitter memories of extremism, the European Union certainly saw no upsets of the scale of President Donald Trump’s succession of Barack Obama, or that of the liberal prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, over his conservative predecessor in 2015.


But a closer examination suggests that 2017 nonetheless has been a watershed year for the continent’s far-right and far-left movements. They have had unprecedented successes in a series of elections thanks to discontent, economic anxiety, nationalistic sentiment and xenophobia. The first upset came in March, when the Dutch anti-Islam Party for Freedom for the first time since its creation in 2006 became the country’s second largest, with 13 percent of the vote. Those elections also allowed the Denk party to enter parliament for the first time in the history of that far-left movement, which was founded by Muslim immigrants on a platform of resistance to integration and which Dutch Jews accuse of anti-Semitism.


In December, the Austrian Freedom Party, founded by a former SS officer in the 1950s, for the second time in its history joined the coalition government after garnering 26 percent of the vote in elections two months earlier. In September, the populist Alternative for Germany entered parliament for the first time with its best electoral result ever: 12.6 percent of the vote in the federal election. And in Bulgaria, the far-right Volya party entered parliament for the first time in elections that also saw the successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party double its voters to become the country’s second-largest.


But the real shocker came this spring in the two rounds of the presidential election in France, which is home to both Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations. In May, France’s National Front achieved its best electoral result ever when 34 percent of voters cast their votes for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential election won by Emmanuel Macron. In the first round in April, 19 percent of voters chose Jean-Luc Melenchon, a far-left candidate and communist activist who is calling for rewriting the constitution and a “redistribution of wealth.” Like Le Pen, Melenchon also seeks to take France out of the European Union and has been accused of fomenting racist hatred against Jews. The CRIF umbrella group of French Jews branded him “just as bad” as Le Pen last year.


Like nearly all of Europe’s far-right and anti-Muslim parties, the National Front has formally distanced itself from supporters and members who espouse anti-Semitism. But such declarations were generally met with suspicion by Jewish community leaders. In France, where wartime collaboration with the Nazis is still the subject of acrimonious debate, the gains of the far right and far left were widely seen as signs of the breaching of conventions held in place after World War II and the growing polarization in society. “We got lucky with Macron,” Pascal Bruckner, a well-known French philosopher who has written extensively on anti-Semitism, said during a panel discussion about populism at the Dec. 10 CRIF annual conference in Paris. “But this might not be the case next time, with potentially destructive consequences for France and Europe.”


To some observers, the growing popularity of the far right even among European Jews is indicative of the scope of the problem. In France, the National Front is believed to enjoy the backing of 13.5 percent of Jewish voters. The party was thought to have had few Jewish supporters before Le Pen took over the party from her father, the avowed anti-Semite Jean-Marie Le Pen, in a bid to rehabilitate its image.


In the Netherlands, Party of Freedom leader Geert Wilders polled 10 percent among Jewish voters despite his party’s support for a ban on the ritual slaughter of animals and his 2014 promise to make sure the Netherlands has “fewer Moroccans” – language that many Jews found racist and offensive. Bruckner spoke of the French elections as “a warning sign in which extremists came closer than ever before after World War II to ruling France.” “We’re seeing a breakdown of conventional politics,” he said. “Half of the French population wants out of the European Union, and they almost had their way.”


Many blame the revival of far-right parties in countries where bitter memories of Nazism had kept such movements at bay on leaders who admitted into the European Union at least 2 million refugees from the Middle East since 2015. Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the European Conference of Rabbis, said the far-right renaissance in Europe “is a counterreaction” to the pro-refugee policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took the lead in welcoming the immigrants…

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





Ari Lieberman

Frontpage, Jan. 10, 2018


On the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo-HyperCasher terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed 17 lives, France appears to have learned nothing from these outrages. On the contrary, it seems as though the French have doubled down on the very policies which spawned the attacks. France’s craven foreign policies, motivated in part by greed, appear to be catered toward appeasing Islamic tyrants. The government continues to fund Islamist or anti-Semitic NGOs – like the Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) – whose radical agenda is guided solely by xenophobia and Islamist supremacism. Its liberal immigration laws and politically correct approach to tackling Islamic extremism have all but transformed France into a bastion of anti-Israel and anti-Western hate.


Last week, France had an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the nation still had some spine by publicly siding with democracy protesters in Iran. Instead, France found itself in the company of democracy stalwarts like Russia, China and Turkey in siding with the repressive theocratic dictatorship. That morally inverted position should come as no surprise. Immediately following the signing of the Iran deal, France dispatched its foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to Iran to meet with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and various Iranian government dignitaries and business leaders in an effort to cash in early on potential business deals. The fact that Iran is the world’s premier state-sponsor of international terrorism had no bearing.  In France, morality plays second fiddle to economics. It’s the French way of doing things. It is a shortsighted position and one that will come back to haunt the Republic.


France continues to be one of Europe’s top financiers of anti-Israel hate groups. NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that has done a remarkable job in documenting the activities and finances of anti-Western NGO networks provides a detailed list of hate groups on its website which receive substantial financial assistance from the French government. Many of these groups seek to undermine and delegitimize Israel internationally while others call for its outright destruction. Yet France has no qualms about supporting such odious NGOs. In fact, its overt support for such groups further establishes its anti-Israel bonafides in the Muslim world and that’s good for business.


Since Charlie Hebdo, France has done virtually nothing to prevent Islamic extremism and antisemitism from proliferating throughout the country, a fact underscored by the recent torching of a Jewish-owned supermarket in Créteil (on the anniversary of the HyperCasher terror attack!) and the brutal murder of an elderly Jewish woman, beaten and thrown from a third floor balcony to her death by a Muslim terrorist. The French prosecutor’s office initially ignored the anti-Semitic nature of the crime and only belatedly acknowledged that her murder was motivated by antisemitism after public outcry.


The French government’s deployment of thousands of armed troops as part of Operation Sentinelle serves as mere window dressing and does nothing to address the root cause of France’s problems. Islamic terrorists who seek to murder will simply readjust their methods and tactics, and pursue softer targets. This was the case in Marseille when a Muslim man of North African descent arrived at the Saint-Charles station and slaughtered two young women with a knife. And it was the case when two knife-wielding Muslim terrorists, chanting their battle cry of “Allahuakbar,” burst into a church in the northern French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and slit the throat of an 86-year-old priest…


France must recognize the symbiotic relationship between criminal behavior and Islamic terrorism. The vast majority of those who committed acts of terrorism on French soil were recidivists. A recidivist who suddenly finds religion is a prime candidate for radicalism. French law enforcement needs to be cognizant of the fact that the prime venue for radical religious indoctrination is in prison and at mosques, where impressionable people, predisposed to violence are exposed to a toxic mix of hate speech and xenophobia. Imams who preach hate and incite to violence need to be imprisoned or deported and their mosques need to be shut down indefinitely. The practice of revolving door justice where repeat petty criminals are simply freed or issued ridiculously light sentences needs to stop.


France must also cease funding of NGOs that question the legitimacy of Israel. Let’s be perfectly clear, anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Those who espouse such pernicious views are simply masquerading as human rights organizations. The unfortunate reality is that these NGOs care little about human rights. Their sole purpose is to delegitimize and demonize Israel. In parallel to these domestic initiatives, France must dramatically alter its obsequious foreign policies, which cater to Islamic tyrants and gangsters. Sadly, given the current state of affairs in France, none of these recommendations will be pursued and France is destined to irretrievably drift further into the abyss.            




Abigail R. Esman

IPT News, Jan. 11, 2018


More disturbing than the alleged arson at a suburban Paris kosher supermarket on Tuesday – the third anniversary of the terror attack at the kosher Hyper-Cacher market, also outside Paris – is this: no one was terribly surprised. Shocked, yes; of course people were shocked – but not entirely surprised. How could they be, after a rash of anti-Semitic attacks and regular calls for "death to Jews" that have plagued Europe in recent months? At this point, in Europe, Jew hate has practically become the norm. The fire, which destroyed the shop, broke out in the early morning hours in the southern suburb of Creteil, where about a quarter of the population is Jewish. But the shop owner, who is Muslim, also found swastikas painted on the door a week ago, as did the owner of a neighboring market, which was also slightly damaged in the fire.


Such events are hardly new in France. In addition to the HyperCacher attack, in which Muslim terrorist Amedy Coulibaly gunned down four people after a standoff lasting several hours, in 2017, a Jewish woman was killed by a Muslim neighbor who pushed her out a window, and a Jewish family was robbed and held hostage, also in a Paris suburb. "You're Jews, so where is the money," the assailants allegedly said. Yet these are only the latest in a heinous string of attacks on French Jews, mostly, but not exclusively, by Muslims, including the 2012 massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Three children and a teacher were killed in that attack. In 2006, as many as 20 people participated in the kidnapping, torture and murder of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi. "We have a Jew," one said in a ransom call.


But France is not alone. Sweden, too, whose national Jewish population (18,000) is smaller than that of Creteil alone (23,000), has seen a disproportionate amount of anti-Semitic activity in the past few months. In December, Muslims hurled Molotov cocktails at Jewish teens at a synagogue party in Gothenburg and firebombs were planted at a Jewish cemetery in Malmo. At a Stockholm protest against President Trump's call to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the New York Times reports, "a speaker called Jews 'apes and pigs,'" a common anti-Jewish epithet among Muslim anti-Semites. And in Malmo, according to the Times, "Children at the Jewish kindergarten…play behind bulletproof glass."


This is not just because of Muslims, however. Even Sweden's mainstream media has attacked the Jews. A 2009 article in the respected Aftonbladet claimed that Israel regularly kidnapped and killed young Palestinians for their organs. In the Netherlands, where anti-Jewish chants filled the hot afternoons during pro-Gaza protests in 2014, it is not always the Muslims who are to blame. Indeed, as Muslim youth waved the ISIS flag and called for death to Jews in The Hague, the city's mayor, Jozias van Aartsen, refused to denounce them, insisting "no boundaries had been crossed."


More recently, Jewish groups have learned of the plight of 86-year-old Dutch Holocaust survivor Inge Prenzlau, who, after forced to work in her father's Amsterdam pill factory as a small girl, to prevent the Nazis from seizing it after he became ill, now receives a €140 monthly stipend from the German government – about $150. Germany does not tax this payment; but the new Dutch government has different ideas. "Pay up," they told her in December. The move outraged the renowned and outspoken Dutch author, Leon de Winter. The son of Holocaust survivors, De Winter posted on Twitter: "[The King] receives a tax-free royal salary, yet this 86-year-old Jewish woman must pay taxes over her so-called ghetto-compensation of 140 euros a month."


But there have been plenty of Muslim-related incidents as well. In December, for instance, a man wielding a Palestinian flag smashed the windows of a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam. And on New Year's Eve, a yet-unidentified man threw a rock at the window of the Amsterdam Chabad center. According to reports, security camera images confirm that the perpetrator was not the same person who attacked the restaurant last month. There's more. In Vienna, for instance, in 2015, a Jewish man living in a largely Jewish neighborhood was threatened with eviction if he did not remove the Israeli flag from his window. "It offends one of the neighbors," his landlord said…

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






Barbara Kay

National Post, Dec. 6, 2017


Bad things that are tips of bad icebergs shouldn’t happen to good people. But if they must, it’s as well they happen to people with influence to command respectful attention. Gordon Wasserman (since 2011 Baron Wasserman) grew up in Montreal, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, and joined the U.K. Home Office in 1967. He is presently a Conservative member of the House of Lords and Government Advisor on Policing and Criminal Justice. The “bad thing” happened to his grandson, “Oscar,” not his real name.


Lord Wasserman’s daughter Gemma and her family live in Berlin. Gemma’s husband, Wenzel Michalski, head of the German division of Human Rights Watch, was recently interviewed on German TV regarding violence Oscar endured at his now-former secondary school. It’s a disturbing story, fraught with multiple ironies. Here, according to Michalski’s TV account and my telephone conversation with Gemma Michalski, is what happened.


Oscar, 13, was enrolled in a public school the Michalskis had chosen for its vaunted commitment to diversity and anti-racism. The school population is about 80 per cent Muslims — mostly of Turkish, some of other Arab provenance — and 15 per cent ethnic Germans, with a sprinkling of Kurdish and African children. Oscar’s first four days went swimmingly. On the fifth day, in Ethics class, speaking about the world’s great faiths, the teacher asked if the students were familiar with any houses of worship. The answers came: “church,” “mosque,” “church,” mosque.” Oscar responded, “synagogue.” The teacher asked if he was Jewish; he said yes, and here his troubles began. A Muslim boy Oscar had befriended promptly told him — not in anger but as a matter of obvious fact — they could no longer play together because “Muslims and Jews cannot be friends” and “Jews are murderers.” From then on, slurs against Jews and Israel from otherwise perfectly nice boys and girls from working-class Muslim families were tossed off at him as a matter of course.


His parents requested immediate intervention from school authorities, but beyond sympathetic platitudes, the administration was curiously unresponsive. Oscar then became the butt of general bullying, which escalated to physical attacks. Still no action was taken. Gemma Michalski told me that after one serious beating by a Palestinian boy, the school’s social worker told her she was “pushy” for urging an action plan to deal with the problem and to “let it be.” Her suggestion was that since Oscar’s “presence was provocative” to his attacker, Oscar should try to avoid him. A tipping point arrived with “a mock execution” in which an older student pretended to kill Oscar with a realistic-looking gun and headlocked the boy to the point of unconsciousness.


Oscar left the school. Nobody was suspended or punished. As Michalski dryly notes in his understated manner to the interviewer, it is “regrettable that it was the victim that had to disappear from the other school while the others continued to enjoy its advantages.” Oscar now attends a private international school, where he is happy. Oscar’s experience was clearly not unique, as Michalski discovered when the story became known. From correspondence and people who approached them in public places, “we learned there were many many such incidents” happening “everywhere in Germany,” but the common denominator was a fear of going public with them, Gemma told me. In his family’s own case, Michalski said a few parents and a few of Oscar’s German classmates offered support, but they felt “powerless in the face of this anti-Semitic bullying.”


It is honourable of the Michalskis and Lord Wasserman to forego the privacy they would naturally prefer in the circumstances, exploiting their status to force public discussion on the issue. It must be forced, because Merkel’s government and Germany’s liberal elites, including much of the media, are desperate to prove that integration of Muslim immigrants and migrants will proceed apace with time.


Oscar’s experience shows that superficial integration with ethnic Germans is possible. But Jews are a sticking point when there are some Muslims coming to Germany from countries where for generations the government policy and the cultural fabric have been anti-Semitic. The word irony seems inadequate to convey the excruciatingly paradoxical outcome of Germany’s redemptive national impulse gone horribly awry: anti-Semitism; persecution; Holocaust; national guilt; expiation through generous immigration policies; imported anti-Semitism; persecution …


The Michalskis were told “that it wasn’t easy to suspend these children.” But so what if it is difficult? What is the use of boasting about anti-racism policies if, as Gemma Michalski put it to me, “the school won’t defend their values, which are our values”? If there is one country in the world outside of Israel where Jews have a right to feel safe, it’s Germany. The Michalskis did. Now not quite so much.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!





On Topic Links


Mass Migration: Uninvited Guests: Philip Carl Salzman, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 31, 2017—In our desire to insure an inclusive, humane, and tolerant society, we seem to have constructed a simplistic and inadequate picture of refugees and illegal immigrants.

The Islamization of Germany in 2017: Part I January – June 2017: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 11, 2018—The Muslim population of Germany surpassed six million in 2017 to become approximately 7.2% of the overall population of 83 million, according to calculations by the Gatestone Institute.

Study: Young Muslim Male Migrants Fuel Rise in Violence in Germany: World Israel News, Jan. 4, 2018—The recent influx of mostly young, male migrants from Muslim countries into Germany has led to an increase in violent crime in the country, according to a government-funded study published Wednesday.

Beauty and Nausea in Venice: Daniel Pipes, American Thinker, Dec. 28, 2017—"On or about December 1910, human character changed," wrote British novelist Virginia Woolf in 1924. "I am not saying that one went out, as one might into a garden, and there saw that a rose had flowered, or that a hen had laid an egg. The change was not sudden and definite like that. But a change there was, nevertheless."





‘Moderate’ Palestinian Factions Praise Rabbi’s Murder as an ‘Operation’: Steven Emerson, Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018— Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) framed Tuesday’s terrorist attack that killed a civilian father of six as a successful “operation,” Palestinian Media Watch reports.

Why There's Muslim Violence, But Not Christian Violence, in the Middle East: Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine, Dec. 27, 2017 — Because Israel is stronger than its Muslim neighbors, the latter have always been presented as frustrated "underdogs" doing whatever they can to achieve "justice."

Canada: Trudeau's Support for Islamists a Warning to America: Thomas Quiggin, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 9, 2018— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has an nine-year long record of supporting the Islamist cause while refusing to engage with reformist Muslims.

The Muslim World Must Confront the Underlying Problems in Islamic Theology: Ahmed Shah, National Post, Oct. 31, 2017— In April of this year, Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student from Abdul Wali Khan University — a university in Pakistan, the country of my birth — was accused of blasphemy by a mob of students, dragged out of his dorm room, stripped naked, beaten, and shot dead.


On Topic Links


After Killing, Army Unlikely to Heed Calls for Revenge Against Palestinians: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Jan. 10, 2018

Sharia for New Year's: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 7, 2018

Canada: Obsessed with "Islamophobia": Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 21, 2017

From “Lone Wolf” to “Known Wolf”: The Role of “Cultural Fuel” and “Personal Triggers”: Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, JCPA, January 7, 2018






Steven Emerson

Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018


Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) framed Tuesday’s terrorist attack that killed a civilian father of six as a successful “operation,” Palestinian Media Watch reports. Late on Tuesday, while driving near Nablus, Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot in the neck; the gunfire came from a passing vehicle. Shevach was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. A manhunt is underway for the perpetrator(s).


Fatah glorified the attack as a professional assassination from a “skilled and experienced” Palestinian. “The Nablus operation in numbers: The full duration of the operation: 30 seconds. The distance between the cars: 20 meters. The number of bullets that were fired: 22. The one who carried out the operation was skilled and experienced, and escaped the site. The result: a killed settler,” read a post on Fatah’s official Facebook account.


The official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, also ran an article referring to the attack as a “shooting operation,” making it sound like military activity, instead of what the incident really was — the murder of an Israeli civilian. Both Fatah and the PA called the victim a “settler.” Palestinian factions of all stripes consistently refer to Israelis as settlers regardless of if they live in pre-1967 Israel or the territories. This is a subtle, yet effective, way to legitimize and encourage attacks targeting Israelis wherever they reside. The PA even refers to murdered tourists visiting Israel as “settlers,” including US citizen Taylor Force, who was killed in Tel Aviv last year.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn Shevach’s murder. So far, there has been silence from Abbas. America’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also chimed in, highlighting the PA’s financial incentive system that continues to encourage terrorism. “An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family,” Ambassador Friedman tweeted.


Palestinian terrorists and their families receive far higher government payments than welfare recipients. Payments to released prisoners and jailed Palestinians are based on the length of a prison sentence, and their action’s severity. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money that a Palestinian prisoner gets.


According to statistics released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Palestinians conducted 54 terrorist attacks in 2017. Another 400 attacks were foiled. The vast majority of terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent years were perpetrated by individuals, not organized groups. According to the Israeli government, this phenomenon is largely motivated by the “PA’s strategy of ‘popular resistance’ (i.e., popular terrorism) adopted by the PA and Fatah at the Sixth Fatah conference in August 2009.”


If the assailants responsible for Rabbi Shevach’s death are brought to justice, their families should expect a hefty reward. The PA’s glorification of terrorism and perverse financial incentives system will only encourage more attacks.  






Raymond Ibrahim

FrontPage Magazine, Dec. 27, 2017


Because Israel is stronger than its Muslim neighbors, the latter have always been presented as frustrated "underdogs" doing whatever they can to achieve "justice." No matter how many rockets were shot into Tel Aviv by Hamas and Hezbollah, and no matter how anti-Israeli bloodlust was articulated in distinctly jihadi terms, that was always presented as ironclad proof that Palestinians under Israel are so oppressed that Muslims have no choice but to resort to terrorism.


Yet, as with all false narratives, the survival of this one relied on concealing the bigger, more complete picture, as captured by the following question: If Muslims get a free pass when their violence is directed against those stronger than them, how does one rationalize away their violence when it is directed against those weaker than them—for example, millions of indigenous Christians living in the Muslim world? According to reliable statistics published annually, some 40 of the 50 worst nations in which to be Christian are Muslim majority. Of the absolute worst 21 nations—18 of which are Muslim—"100 percent of Christians experience persecution."


The rationalizations used to minimize Muslim violence against Israel simply cannot work here, for now Muslims are the majority—and they are the ones violent and oppressive to their minorities, in ways that make Israeli treatment of Palestinians seem enviable. In other words, Christian persecution is perhaps the most obvious example of a phenomenon the mainstream media wants to ignore out of existence—Islamic supremacism, the true source of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Vastly outnumbered and politically marginalized Christians in the Islamic world simply wish to worship in peace, and yet they are still hounded and attacked; their churches are burned and destroyed; their women and children are kidnapped, raped, and enslaved. These Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens in race, ethnicity, national identity, culture, and language; there is generally no political or property dispute on which the violence can be blamed. The only problem is that they are Christian—they are non-Muslims—the same category Israelis fall under.


From here one also understands why what has been described by some authorities as a "genocide" of Christians at the hands of Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Egypt—Muslims who could care less about Israel and Palestinians—is one of the most dramatic but also least known stories of our times. The media simply cannot portray Muslim persecution of Christians—which in essence and form amounts to unprovoked pogroms—as a "land dispute" or a product of "grievance" (if anything, it is the ostracized and persecuted indigenous Christian minorities who should have grievances). And because the media cannot articulate such Islamic attacks on Christians through the "grievance" paradigm that works so well in explaining the Arab-Israeli conflict, their main recourse is not to report on them at all.


Such is the way for all apologists of Islam: to ignore or whitewash Muslim aggression—and then, in that vacuum, distort and present non-Muslim responses as the origins of the conflict. This is especially prevalent in the portrayal of history. Thus, Georgetown University's John Esposito claims that "Five centuries of peaceful coexistence [between Islam and Europe] elapsed before political events and an imperial-papal power play led to [a] centuries-long series of so-called holy wars [the Crusades] that pitted Europe against Islam and left an enduring legacy of misunderstanding and distrust." In reality, these "five centuries of peaceful coexistence" saw Muslims terrorize and conquer more than three-fourths of Christendom; but this inconvenient fact is seldom mentioned, for knowledge of it ruins the "Muslim-grievance" narrative, just as knowledge of modern day Muslim persecution of Christians ruins it. Either way, it is refreshing to see that the sun is breaking through the darkness of deceit that has for too long clouded Middle Eastern realities, including by presenting victims as aggressors and aggressors as victims.        









Thomas Quiggin

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 9, 2018


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has a nine-year long record of supporting the Islamist cause while refusing to engage with reformist Muslims. With respect to ISIS fighters returning to Canada, Trudeau has argued that they will be a "powerful voice for deradicalization" and that those who oppose their return are "Islamophobic." Furthermore, the Government of Canada is not adding the names of returning ISIS fighters to the UN committee responsible for the listing of international jihadists.


Many Canadians (and others) are starting to believe that Prime Minister Trudeau's position on reintegrating and deradicalizing ISIS fighters is unreasonable, if not delusional. Canada's "Centre for Community Engagement and Deradicalization" has no leader and no deradicalization centre. Nor does it appear to have plans for a program which could operate inside or outside of government. It is also not clear that the law of Canada could force a returning ISIS fighter to attend such a program, even if it did exist. In France, a similar government sponsored program was a failure.


Canada also has an unclear position on the arrest of returning ISIS fighters, with few facing any consequences to date. The number of ISIS fighters in Canada is unclear; estimates back in 2015 suggested that about 60 had returned. The Government of Canada has tried to claim that his number has not changed since 2015, despite the near total collapse of ISIS over the last several months.


Prime Minister Trudeau's earlier comments on politicians needing a position of "responsible neutrality" on the issues of wife beating and female genital mutilation render his current positions on Islamist groups such as ISIS even more troublesome. Perhaps most disturbing were Trudeau's comments to a gathering of Islamist front groups: he told them that he shared their beliefs, their set of values and their shared vision. Adding to this concern is his 2014 interview, as a Member of Parliament, to the Montreal-based newspaper Sada al-Mashrek. This paper is known to be Khomeneist in nature and supports Iran (as well as Hezbollah). In this interview, Trudeau told the paper that he would have a special immigration program that was more open to "Muslims and Arabs."


The degree to which Islamist extremism has spread in Canada can be demonstrated by the number of fighters who have travelled to ISIS. According to the Soufan Center, 180 Canadians went overseas to fight for "terrorist groups" (ISIS) in Iraq & Syria while only 129 Americans did the same. Given that the US population is about ten times that of Canada, the American number should have been closer to 1800 rather that the 129 reported.


Prime Minister Trudeau's position on Islamists should be of concern to both Canadians and Americans. While the history of Canada and American relations is largely positive, Islamist attacks against America have been attempted from Canada. Among these attempted attacks have been Ahmed Ressam in 1999, Chiheb Esseghaier in 2013 and Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, convicted of an attempted attack in New York City in 2016.


In addition to his support for Islamists, Prime Minister Trudeau appears to be re-engaging with Iran after the previous Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) closed the Embassy of Iran in Canada and deported all of its diplomats. During the 2015 federal election, Trudeau said he hoped Canada "would be able to reopen its mission" and he was "fairly certain that there are ways to re-engage." Progress to date on this has been uneven, but talks appear to be continuing.


Prime Minister Trudeau's support for the Islamist cause has been consistent since he was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2008. This position appears to have been reinforced since he became Prime Minister in 2015. In addition to his own position, Canada's Liberal Party also has an entryist problem as it has been targeted by Islamist groups.


Unfortunately for all concerned, the global Islamist ideology and its inherent problems of confrontation, oppression and violence are growing. Canada appears to be doing little to address these issues while accommodating those who form the ideological basis of the problem. Canada will not be able to plead ignorance or inability while facing accusations of complicity from any future American terrorist victims. The price of Canada's submission to the Islamists may indeed be high.







Ahmed Shah

National Post, Oct. 31, 2017


In April of this year, Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student from Abdul Wali Khan University — a university in Pakistan, the country of my birth — was accused of blasphemy by a mob of students, dragged out of his dorm room, stripped naked, beaten, and shot dead. Khan self-identified as a “humanist” and had portraits of Karl Marx and Che Guevera hanging in his room. He’d also advocated for Islamic reform. A video of the incident showed the perpetrators crying “Allahu Akbar!” as they beat Khan’s lifeless body with terrifying zeal. The perpetrators of this violence were not members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). They were university students.


Khan’s gruesome death convinces me that the ideology that inspired ISIS will not soon be defeated, even though ISIS is on the precipice of military defeat. Its forces recently lost control of their capital city of Raqqa to the U.S.-backed and predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, and, three months before that, lost their largest city, Mosul, to Iraqi government forces.


The Muslim world has tended to treat ISIS as an anomaly, to assert that ISIS is not Islam. This response is intellectually lazy. Muslim-majority countries must confront the underlying problems within aspects of Islamic theology.


ISIS did not usher in a new concept. The concept of an Islamic State is old — centuries old, in fact. ISIS’s goal has been simple: to unite the Muslim world under the black banner of the Khilafah (or Caliphate), and to establish their set of divine laws (Sharia) on Earth. If you are a student of Islamic history, you will recognize myriad examples of ambitious sultans, emirs and warlords — from Timurlane to Aurangzeb — who shared this same desire to establish an Islamic theocracy.


While many Muslim-majority countries do not have a problem with theocratic states, many — including Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim theocracy — have condemned ISIS as a terrorist organization. But these countries have often failed to specifically condemn the ideology that it operates on. They have not denounced, for example, ISIS’s criminal justice system as “un-Islamic.” Presumably, this is because many of these countries enforce very similar laws.


ISIS has been creative in its brutality, but the corporal punishments it inflicts are not conceptually novel. From stoning adulterers to amputating the hands of thieves, these punishments are all grounded in ancient Middle Eastern laws. Some of them are actually pre-Islamic (dating back to the times of Hammurabi in the 18th century B.C.E.), but are also mentioned in Biblical and Islamic traditions as part of Sharia. These punishments are also used by some Muslim governments, most notably Saudi Arabia and Iran, against citizens who commit these same crimes.


ISIS is known to inflict a particularly disgusting punishment on gay individuals, throwing them off rooftops or bludgeoning them to death. But this is simply ISIS’s recapitulation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Allah (God) rained down fire and stones on a homosexual city, resulting in the death of all its inhabitants. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, in 2017, there were 12 countries in the world where homosexuality remains punishable by death. All of these are Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Somalia. Unfortunately, it is hard to find an example of ISIS ruthlessness that is not sanctioned by Islamic texts. Even the execution of apostates or the taking of female sex slaves (known as Malakat Aymanukum, which literally translates to “those females whom your right hands possess”) can be justified by reference to religious texts.


It is not enough for people of Muslim background — myself included — to simply reject ISIS as a “non-Muslim” organization. We have a responsibility to own up to the ideological problems present in our midst. The problem has never been just ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood or Boko Haram. The problem is the tree that brings forth these fruits. This is the tree of Islamic fundamentalism and the ethnocentric and religious supremacist way of thinking that it demands from its adherents.


The Muslim community needs to reject intellectual laziness and embrace bold thinkers who are prepared to reform Islam and its traditions. Individuals like Irshad Manji, Maajid Nawaz and Tawfik Hamid, for example, have emphasized the importance of reinterpreting violent passages within Islamic scriptures to combat Islamic extremism. Muslim-majority countries also need to separate Mosque and State, to better allow freedom of expression and protect their religious minorities. Islam must be depoliticized: one’s religious decisions should be a personal matter, rather than a force used to control the masses.


Currently, the Muslim world is in a dark age, where freedom of thought is absent. The first step is to acknowledge that ISIS is indeed a Muslim problem that needs to be dealt with by Muslims. If we fail to do so, we risk seeing the lives of more people destroyed, both abroad and overseas.





On Topic Links


After Killing, Army Unlikely to Heed Calls for Revenge Against Palestinians: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Jan. 10, 2018—National and local politicians have led calls for the army to undertake aggressive action against local Palestinians in the wake of a deadly West Bank shooting attack Tuesday night, but it’s unlikely IDF brass will risk sparking a wider conflagration with a large-scale crackdown.

Sharia for New Year's: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 7, 2018—Last September, a man named Mark Feigin posted five comments on the Facebook page of an Islamic center. They were not Islam-friendly.

Canada: Obsessed with "Islamophobia": Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 21, 2017— In September, the Canadian parliament began its study on how to combat "Islamophobia" as decided upon in the M-103 motion. A parliamentary committee, the M-103 committee, was established for that very purpose.

From “Lone Wolf” to “Known Wolf”: The Role of “Cultural Fuel” and “Personal Triggers”: Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, JCPA, January 7, 2018— When a solitary 37-year-old Palestinian Arab, known both to the local Israeli community and to security forces as non-threatening, friendly and as having good relations with all drew a pistol and killed three Israelis in Har Adar in September 2017, many questions that challenged the traditional thinking of who is a potential terrorist were raised.





Is It Really About Jerusalem?: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 19, 2017— The protests that have swept the West Bank, Gaza Strip and large parts of the Arab and Islamic world in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital show that most Arabs and Muslims still have not come to terms with Israel's right to exist.

Jerusalem Deals in Reality: Jonathan Spyer, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 18, 2017— The neighborhood where I live, on the seam line dividing Jew and Arab in Jerusalem, can be a useful place to take the temperature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinian Grinches Stealing Christmas: Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2017— It came as no surprise that the Palestinian leadership responded angrily to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the obvious reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

A Palestinian State? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 15, 2017— In the history of international politics, there have been numerous ideas that proved both myopic and moronic.


On Topic Links


UN Defies Trump, Rejects US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital by 128-9: JNS, Dec. 20, 2017

Before Gaza Turns Into Somalia: Nadav Eyal, Ynet, Dec. 19, 2017

Palestinians: Arab Rulers are Traitors, Cowards: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 14, 2017

Abbas and Jerusalem: Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, Dec. 14, 2017





Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 19, 2017


The protests that have swept the West Bank, Gaza Strip and large parts of the Arab and Islamic world in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital show that most Arabs and Muslims still have not come to terms with Israel's right to exist. The protests also provide further evidence that many Arabs and Muslims, including, of course, the Palestinians, continue to view the US as an enemy and "big Satan" because of its support for Israel. Trump's announcement is just another excuse for Arabs and Muslims to vent their long-standing hatred for Israel and the US.


For the Palestinians, Trump's announcement simply provided the latest opportunity to step up their violent and rhetorical attacks and threats against Israel. As such, there is nothing new about the Palestinian protests that erupted after Trump's announcement. Palestinian terrorism against Israel is one of the oldest stories in the book. The many shapes it takes, from rock-throwing to stabbings to shootings to suicide bombings and rockets, began long before Trump's announcement and will continue long after it. Hardly a day passes without an incident of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


However, because most of the violent attacks do not injure or kill Israelis, they are ignored by the media. Clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli soldiers are as old as the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have even become part of the norm. Shootings and car-ramming attacks? Well, they have been taking place almost every week for the past few decades.


It is disingenuous, then, to claim that Trump's announcement triggered the latest spate of Palestinian violence. At most, the announcement catalyzed the Palestinians to amplify their ongoing terror attacks against Israel. The announcement has also contributed to exposing the Palestinians' long-standing vicious hatred of the US, regardless of who is sitting in the White House — a Republican or Democratic president.


The Palestinians are on record as failing to distinguish meaningfully between Republicans and Democrats, because the US is, in any event, supposedly "controlled by the Zionist lobby." Consider what political analyst Qais Qadri said during the last US presidential race: "There is no difference between the Republicans and Democrats with regards to their hostility towards the Palestinian cause. We are weaker than the Jewish lobby to cause any changes in American policy."


Thus, the Palestinian hostility towards the US has nothing to do with Trump himself, but rather concerns general American policies, especially US support for Israel. True, many of the Palestinians who took to the streets in the past week did burn effigies of Trump, but they also torched US flags and chanted slogans accusing the US as being an enemy of the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. This uproar is more about hating the US and Americans than protesting a purported change in the status of Jerusalem. Otherwise, why would a Palestinian shop owner hang a sign at the entrance to his business that reads: "Dogs and Americans Not Allowed to Enter"?


Or why would Palestinians launch a campaign to demand the closure of all American institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in helping the Palestinians build a viable future Palestinian state? That is just another example of how the Palestinians are shooting themselves in the foot to satisfy their craving to demonize the US. It is worth noting that the campaign against US institutions also states that the Palestinians' real goal is to "liberate Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river." In other words, this means that the true goal of the Palestinians is to destroy Israel.


This brings us to the issue of anti-Israel incitement, which has long been an integral part of the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel and Jews. This campaign, especially through the Palestinian media, began long before Trump's announcement; it gained momentum after that. It is hardly the case that Palestinians were teaching their children to accept Israel's right to exist and live with it in peace before Trump's announcement. On the contrary: for many years now, the Palestinians have been doing their utmost to indoctrinate their children and deny any Jewish attachment or history to the land.


This incitement reached its peak last week, when Palestinian Authority (PA) President delivered a speech before the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey. Abbas claimed that the Jewish history of Jerusalem is false and declared that there will be "no peace in the region and in the world" without a Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital. Even the left-wing lobbying Jewish group, J Street, condemned Abbas's "divisive and inflammatory rhetoric."


Yet, why do Abbas's remarks come as a surprise? He is simply reiterating the official, long-standing policy of the Palestinian Authority. Where has the West been when Palestinian leaders have declared outright, decade after decade, that Israel has no right to exist and Jewish history is nothing more than lies? This week, we received yet another reminder of how Palestinians deny Jewish history. The PA's Ministry of Information released a statement in which it dismissed the existence of the Western Wall, Judaism's most sacred site. Referring to the Western Wall by its Islamic name, the ministry said: "Al-Buraq was, still is and shall be a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic site."


This Palestinian denial of Jewish history did not start after Trump's announcement. In fact, it has nothing to do with the announcement and has always been the public position of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and all Palestinian groups and leaders…

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





Jonathan Spyer

Breaking Israel News, Dec. 18, 2017


The neighborhood where I live, on the seam line dividing Jew and Arab in Jerusalem, can be a useful place to take the temperature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2015, a wave of stabbing attacks against Israelis and Jews began.  This was the result of a campaign of incitement by Islamist groups according to which the government of Israel planned to change the status quo regarding the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.


A number of the stabbers came from close by, and for a while, a police roadblock appeared on the main street.  Petrol bombs were thrown at a Jewish house in the neighborhood in February 2016, at the height of that period of unrest. In late 2014, just after the Gaza war, Palestinian youths threw stones at police in the neighborhood, after the police shot dead a man who had tried to kill a prominent Jewish activist who led a campaign to demand Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount.


Since the announcement by President Donald Trump of US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel this month, however, the neighborhood has been quiet and serene.  People are going on with their everyday lives. The difference at ground level with previous periods of tension is notable and significant. Of course, the situation in a single seam line neighborhood cannot reflect the whole picture. The occasion has not passed without injury and loss of life.  Hamas declared three ‘days of rage’ following Trump’s announcement.  2 Palestinians were killed and 98 wounded in the subsequent demonstrations.


There was rioting in Wadi Ara, inside the borders of Israel.  An Israeli security guard was stabbed and critically wounded at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station on Sunday. And in Gaza, the rocket launching activities of small militant groups are leading to a significant rise in tension. But attendance at the Jerusalem and West Bank protests has been notably poor – a few thousand across the entire area.  This week, the demonstrations have dwindled further.


What might explain the relatively minor dimensions of the protests? First of all, President Trump’s declaration was just that – a declaration.  With no immediate practical import. But there are other important factors.  In Jerusalem, Christmas and New Year bring with them throngs of tourists.  Palestinian traders and businesses in the east of the city stand to gain from their presence.  Many do not want to help fan the flames of a situation that will lead to the tourists staying at home.


The general quiet of recent months has brought with it opportunities for engaging in commerce, education. People are keen to preserve these opportunities. This situation is fragile, of course. A single incident could transform it. But for the moment, it is holding. One should also factor in the searing experience of the Second Intifada in the 2000-4 period. This was an armed insurgency, in which 3000 Palestinians and 1000 Israelis lost their lives.  Together with the close-by examples of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, it constitutes a stark warning of the abyss that can wait beyond a decision for revolt.


The relative quiet in Jerusalem and the West Bank is in contrast to the fury expressed further afield against Trump’s declaration. One of the salient features of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in contrast with other ethno-religious land disputes in the Middle East, is that it has an enormous symbolic significance for populations in the broader Arab and Muslim world and beyond who have no tangible and practical involvement with it. Those whose interest is in the conflict as a symbol are not, of course, held back by the pragmatic and practical considerations of those who actually live it.


There has in consequence been in recent days a wave of fury against Israel and Jewish targets far from Israel itself.  This has included attacks on synagogues in Gothenburg and Malmo in Sweden, angry demonstrations replete with anti-Semitic chanting in London, Berlin and beyond. A grim warning from Turkish President Recep Tayep Erdogan to Trump that Jerusalem is a ‘red line’ for Muslims, and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah telling a crowd (via video screen) in Beirut that the US announcement represented the ‘beginning of the end’ for Israel. The attempted suicide bombing in New York too may at least partially have been inspired by the suffering of Muslims in Gaza. At the most absurd end, even Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said his country’s armed forces were ready to play some (unspecified) role on behalf of Muslim and Palestinian claims in Jerusalem.


What is it about this conflict that makes it raise these emotions across the globe, in a way that the far bloodier neighboring conflicts in, say, Syria, Iraq or Yemen demonstrably fail to do? One explanation might be that these other conflicts are intra-Islamic affairs, while that between Israelis and Palestinians places a largely Muslim people against a largely Jewish one.  Another possible angle could be that Israel is associated with the democratic west, and hence its actions strike historic chords that are absent elsewhere. A third reason might be the traditional attitudes of contempt toward Jews that prevail according to all polling evidence throughout the Muslim world.


In any case, the reality is clear.  The embassies of Iran and Russia throughout Europe remain almost entirely untroubled by protests, despite the role of those countries in assisting Bashar Assad to murder hundreds of thousands of his own people over the last seven years.  US embassies throughout the Islamic world and Europe have, by contrast, in recent days witnessed furious crowds protesting Trump’s announcement. And while Jerusalem and the West Bank remain largely quiet, the fury further afield is unabating.


There is a third interesting layer to all this.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on December 11 noted that no Arab country had expelled its US ambassador or taken any active measures following the announcement.  Nor is any such action imminent or likely. In the tangible, decidedly non-symbolic world of Mid-East strategy and politics, as in the seam line neighborhoods of Jerusalem, the Trump declaration seems of secondary significance…

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








Lahav Harkov

Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2017


It came as no surprise that the Palestinian leadership responded angrily to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the obvious reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. But beyond the usual “day of rage,” rockets shot at Israeli preschools and firebombs thrown at passing Israeli civilians’ cars, the Palestinian Authority decided to make like the Grinch and steal Christmas, only proving that Trump was right not to fold to the whims of the side that has a pattern of violating religious freedoms, when it comes to a city holy to three religions.


Bethlehem, thought to be Jesus’ birthplace, and Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital, turned off their Christmas lights within an hour of Trump’s announcement. In Nazareth, the town where Jesus is thought to have grown up, now the largest Arab city in Israel, the Muslim mayor scaled back Christmas celebrations in identification with the Palestinians. And ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence’s planned visit to Jerusalem this week, now postponed, Adeeb Joudeh, the Muslim man whose family has held the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for generations, announced that he wouldn’t let Pence, a devout Evangelical Christian, enter.


This tactic of protesting by denying Christians their Christmas celebrations reaffirms that Trump did the right thing in declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital, and for his administration to say last Friday that it envisions the Western Wall within Israeli Jerusalem in a final-status deal. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claims that he is a defender of Christian Arabs in areas under his control. He repeatedly said that Jerusalem is a Muslim and Christian – but not Jewish – holy city in his speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation last week.


But the Palestinians’ track record, even before putting a damper on Christmas this year, should leave Christians skeptical. In 1950, the Christian population of the Bethlehem area was 86%, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Today, it’s only 12%, and Christians are only 2% of the Palestinian population, even though they were more than twice that a generation ago. The situation in Gaza, controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, is even worse. When Hamas took control in 2006, there were 6,000 Christians, and as of a year ago, there were 1,100. In Israel, the Christian population has stayed mostly stable at around 2%, growing by about 5,000 in the past 20 years.


Christians have been fleeing Palestinian-controlled territories, and it’s easy to understand why, in light of their systemic abuse. In 2002, terrorists affiliated with Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat raided and trashed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, holding monks hostage in the church, leading to a standoff with the Israeli Army. One of the Palestinian leaders of the raid later said they chose the church as a combat base intentionally in order to put make Israel look bad.


In Gaza, Palestinian Christians have been murdered for their faith, including Rami Ayad, a leader of the Gaza Baptist Church and the manager of the area’s only Christian bookstore. The church has been commandeered by Hamas for combat, because it’s one of the tallest buildings in Gaza City. After all that, the Palestinian leadership still claims that they are the best choice to control Christian holy sites. Jews, of course, have long known that our holy sites in Jerusalem cannot be entrusted to the Palestinians or other Arab nations…

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




Dr. Martin Sherman

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 15, 2017


In the history of international politics, there have been numerous ideas that proved both myopic and moronic. But few—if any—have proved more so than the ill-conceived idea of foisting statehood on the Palestinian-Arabs. Compounding the folly of this fatal fiasco is the fact that it was not only completely predictable—but persistently predicted. Particularly puzzling—indeed perverse—is the fact that any prospective Palestinian state is almost certainly likely to embody the very antithesis of the values invoked for its inception by the liberal-Left Establishment.


After all, there is little reason to believe that any such state would be anything other than a misogynistic, homophobic Muslim majority tyranny and a bastion for Islamist terror groups–whose hallmarks would be gender discrimination against woman/girls; persecution of homosexuals, prosecution of political dissidents, and suppression of non-Muslim faiths. Indeed, its liberal-Left devotees have certainly never provided any remotely compelling argument why it would not be. Neither has the empirical precedent set since the ill-considered 1993 Oslo Accords began the ill-fated process of prodding the unprepared Palestinian-Arabs towards self-government.


After all, since Arafat’s triumphant return to Gaza in July 1994, despite massive financial aid, almost unanimous international endorsement, and a series of Israeli governments, whose pliant leniency towards repeated Palestinian malfeasance exceeded the bounds of reason and common sense, the Palestinian-Arabs have failed to create anything remotely resembling a sustainable, productive society. Indeed, all they have managed to produce is a corrupt keptocracy under Fatah and a tyrannical theocracy under Hamas.


Thus, after a quarter-century, notwithstanding the huge advantages it enjoyed —that, arguably far outstrip those that any other national liberation movement has had at its disposal—the Palestinian-Arab leadership has little to show for its efforts. All it has brought its people is an untenable and divided entity, with a dysfunctional polity, barely capable of holding even municipal elections; and an emaciated economy, crippled by corruption and cronyism, with a minuscule private sector and bloated public one, patently unsustainable without the largesse of its alleged “oppressor”, Israel.


Gaza, where the misguided experiment in two-statsim was first initiated back in 1994, sparking a surge of deluded optimism, has now become its gravest indictment—for both Jews and Arab alike. For Arabs in Gaza, the specter of “humanitarian disaster” hovers over the general population, awash in untreated sewage flows, with well over 90% of the water supply unfit for drinking, electrical power available for only a few hours a day, and unemployment rates soaring to anything between 40-60%. Accordingly, there should be no surprise that a recent Palestinianpoll found that only 6% of Gazans had a positive perception of prevailing conditions in the enclave, while almost 80% considered them bad or very bad.


For Jews in Israel, ever since governance of Gaza has been transferred to the Palestinian-Arabs, it has been a hotbed of terror from which numerous deadly attacks have emanated. Israel’s unilateral 2005 evacuation of the entire area, with the demolition of over a score of thriving Jewish settlements and the erasure of every vestige of prior Jewish existence—including the exhuming of graves and the removal of graveyards for fear of desecration by Palestinian-Arab hordes—did little to temper the Judeophobic fervor of the Gazans.  Significantly, the only remnant of Jewish presence left by Israel were two dozen synagogues, which were all immediately razed to the ground by frenzied Arab mobs…

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



On Topic Links


UN Defies Trump, Rejects US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital by 128-9: JNS, Dec. 20, 2017—The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday defied warnings from the United States and overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and calling on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city.

Before Gaza Turns Into Somalia: Nadav Eyal, Ynet, Dec. 19, 2017—The “drizzle” of missiles from the Gaza Strip at Israel’s southern communities has been going on for more than a week now. For the residents and their children, who are forced to run into bomb shelters, it doesn’t feel like a drizzle but rather like ongoing torture.

Palestinians: Arab Rulers are Traitors, Cowards: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 14, 2017—Once again, the Palestinians are disappointed with their Arab brothers. A declaration of war on the US, in the Palestinians' view, would have been the appropriate response to US President Donald Trump's December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Abbas and Jerusalem: Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations, Dec. 14, 2017—The reaction to President Trump's decision on Jerusalem has varied widely in the Arab world. For example, the Saudi reaction has been moderate. It is well described by Rob Satloff in a report on his recent visit to Riyadh, which is entitled "Mohammed bin Salman Doesn't Want to Talk About Jerusalem."







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

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

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

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


On Topic Links


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

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

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

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




Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Dec. 12, 2017


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


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


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


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




Ksenia Svetlova

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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






Denis MacEoin

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 10, 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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






Ilan Berman

Al-Hurra Digital, Dec. 5, 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





On Topic Links


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

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

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

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




Mosque Attack is a Testament to Egypt’s Impotence in Sinai: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017— The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated.

Why Does ISIS Kill Muslims?: Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017— On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo.

Egypt's Peace Interest: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, Nov. 28, 2017— Forty years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, and after a long hiatus due to the "Arab Spring" and ensuing "Islamic winter" that hit the country, Egypt has returned to playing a leading role in the region.

For How Long Will the Peace Treaty with Egypt be Robust?: Efraim Inbar, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2017— Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem, that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.


On Topic Links


Islam and Freedom of Religion: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Oct. 25, 2017

In Egypt, Furious Retaliation but Failing Strategy in Sinai: Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017

Egypt-Israel Cooperation Likely to Increase after Sinai Massacre: United With Israel, Nov. 27, 2017

Remembering Anwar Sadat’s Legacy: Yehuda Yaakov, Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 2017







Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017


The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated. Rather than advanced military skills, the gruesome scene was testimony only to the moral blindness and cruelty of the perpetrators. First, they set off two bombs inside the mosque, which was thronged with Friday worshipers. Then, when the survivors streamed toward the exits, terrorists waited outside in all-terrain vehicles, picking off those who emerged.


In that fashion, some 305 people were killed and 128 wounded. Based on assessments on social media, before the attack, Bir al-Abd was a town of some 1,500 souls, meaning that about one in three of its residents was a casualty. As of Saturday evening, there had been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but the immediate suspicion falls on Islamic State’s Sinai Province, the group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Its leader, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Osama (his real name is Muhammad al-Isawi), took over after his predecessor, Abu Du’a al-Ansari, was assassinated in August 2016.


The pretext for Friday’s attack was likely the mosque’s affiliation with Islam’s mystical Sufi stream. It is known as the birthplace of Sheikh Eid al-Jariri, considered the founder of Sufism in the Sinai. The Islamic State, like al-Qaeda and other radical Sunni organizations before it, has denounced the Sufis. But for IS it isn’t merely about religious differences: In the past two years, the Sufis have worked in tight cooperation with Egyptian security forces in the peninsula in an effort to counter the Islamic State and curb recruitment among the local Beduin.


Recent months have also seen a clan war that has pitted several tribes (notably Tarabin) against the Islamic State. The spate of mutual killings, which has included beheadings (not only on the part of IS), may also be connected to Friday’s attack. Last May, tribesmen executed eight Sinai Province operatives in retribution for a car bomb the terror group detonated near a Tarabin encampment. Among the triggers for those incidents was Sinai Province’s effort to take control of smuggling along the border with the Gaza Strip and to stem the flow of cigarettes, which they forbid, into the Sinai. Those restrictions threatened the livelihood of the Tarabins, who responded with violence.


But beyond IS cruelty and inter-tribal strife, what this attack drives home – and not for the first time – is the extent of the difficulty facing the Egyptian army in its efforts to counter the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai. Indeed, the frequency of attacks in mainland Egypt has gone down of late, and even within the Sinai the military has been able to operate relatively unmolested. Yet, Egyptian intelligence has come up against obvious difficulties in its effort to gain a real foothold in the peninsula, including amassing sufficient human and technological assets to clamp down on terrorism there.


In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared a new military onslaught against the perpetrators. Hours later, reports emerged of airstrikes against terror targets and dozens of dead among the insurgents. The question is what prevented Egypt from taking such action before the attack, and why previous efforts in the wake of earlier attacks did not yield significant gains.


Egypt has long refrained from embarking on an extensive operation, in the vein of the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. Perhaps the cost of such a campaign would be prohibitive, or maybe it’s that as long as terrorism is more-or-less confined to the northeastern Sinai, Cairo doesn’t care as much. Eventually, though, those same terrorists who decimated the small town of Bir al-Abd will target vacationers on the sunny shores of the Red Sea, and then in Cairo itself.





Raymond Ibrahim

FrontPage Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017


On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo. They managed to massacre at least 305 people, 27 of whom were children. "The scene was horrific," said Ibrahim Sheteewi, an eyewitness. "The bodies were scattered on the ground outside the mosque. I hope God punishes them for this."


Not only is this considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt, but one of the strangest as well. As the NYT explains, "The scale and ruthlessness of the assault, in an area racked by an Islamist insurgency, sent shock waves across the nation — not just for the number of deaths but also for the choice of target. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the Islamic State has targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims but avoided Muslim places of worship." Indeed, whereas the bombing and burning of churches and the slaughter of Christians in Egypt at the hands of, not just ISIS, but Muslim mobs and murderers, is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Egypt, attacks on mosques in the name of jihad naturally are.


ISIS does not view its Muslim victims as true Muslims. One Muslim cleric from the region who requested anonymity best voiced the general view: "I can't believe they attacked a mosque." In the West, this selfsame shock of Muslim on Muslim terrorism is used to support the politically correct mantra that terror groups such as the Islamic State truly have nothing to do with Islam—otherwise they would not bomb mosques and kill fellow worshippers of Allah. Because the attack occurred late Friday—and, as of this writing, it is only Sunday, meaning still the weekend—capitalizing on this tragedy as a way to distance Islam from terrorism has not yet begun in the West; but, if precedent is any indicator, it soon will.


For example, last year during the closing days of Ramadan, a spate of terror attacks occurred in Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—all Muslim nations; these were followed by a media outpouring of "told you Islam wasn't responsible for terrorism," or, to quote Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, "Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act. They [Islamic State] do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism." Speaking after the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, Barrack Obama agreed: "ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death… Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim." After the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, which left 130 people dead, the UK's Independent published an article titled, "Paris attacks: Isis responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims." And the Daily Beast argued that, "Before the Paris horror, ISIS was killing Muslims on a daily basis. We Muslims despise these crazy people more than anyone else does…. But the number one victim of this barbaric terror group is Muslims. That's undisputed."


Along with distancing Islam from violence—real Muslims are not supposed to kill other Muslims in the name of jihad—this argument further clouds the issue of who is the true victim of Islamic terrorism: Why talk about the Muslim slaughter of non-Muslims—whether Western people, Israelis, or Christian minorities under Islam—when it is Muslims who are the primary victims most deserving of sympathy?


Killing 'fellow Muslims' doesn't make ISIS un-Islamic. The problem with this argument, however, is that the Islamic State does not view its victims as Muslims. Indeed, mainstream Sunni Islam—the world's dominant strand of Islam which 90 percent of the world's Muslims, including ISIS, adhere to—views all non-Sunnis as false Muslims; at best, they are heretics who need to submit to the "true Islam." This is largely how Sunnis view Shias and vice versa—hence their perennial war. While Western talking heads tend to lump them all together as "Muslims"—thus reaching the erroneous conclusion that ISIS is un-Islamic because it kills "fellow Muslims"—each group views the other as enemies.


A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad even validates this: "This umma [nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell." When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, "al–jama'a," that is, the group which most literally follows the example or "sunna" of Muhammad.


Overall, then, when Sunni jihadis slaughter Shias—or Sufis, Druze, and Baha'i—they do so under the exact same logic as when they slaughter Christian minorities, or European, American, and Israeli citizens: all are infidels who must either embrace the true faith, be subjugated, or die.


Concerning Sufis in particular, last January an ISIS commander situated in Sinai "outlined the group's hatred for Sufis and their practices, including the veneration of tombs, the sacrificial slaughter of animals and what he termed 'sorcery and soothsaying.'" The Islamic State has further referred to Sufism as a "disease" that needs to be "eradicated." Accordingly, a year ago, ISIS beheaded Sulayman Abu Hiraz, a Sufi cleric reportedly over 100 years old, on the charge of sorcery.


The argument that ISIS and other jihadi organizations kill fellow Muslims proves nothing. Muslims have been slaughtering Muslims on the accusation that they are "not Islamic enough" or the wrong "kinds" of Muslims from the start: So what can the open non-Muslim—such as the Western infidel—expect? Indeed, if anything, that ISIS kills other "Muslims" only further validates the supremacist and intolerant aspects of Sunnism, which is hardly limited to ISIS. Just look to our good "friend and ally," Saudi Arabia, the official religion of which is Sunni Islam, and witness the subhuman treatment Shia minorities experience. In the end, it's just jihad and more jihad, for all and sundry.






Prof. Eyal Zisser

Israel Hayom, Nov. 28, 2017


Forty years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, and after a long hiatus due to the "Arab Spring" and ensuing "Islamic winter" that hit the country, Egypt has returned to playing a leading role in the region. More specifically, in the Israeli context, Egypt is also an integral part of U.S. efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.


For the most part, the Arab world has grown weary of the Palestinian issue. Most Arab countries are preoccupied with their own troubles, with problems that are more urgent and more important to them than helping the Palestinians resolve their internal disputes or the conflict with Israel.


For Egypt, however, this matter is neither distant nor irrelevant. From its perspective, pushing the peace process forward could help Egypt cope with a bevy of serious problems knocking on its doorstep. First, the threat of jihadist terrorism, which has hit the country repeatedly and just last week claimed the lives of hundreds of Sinai residents in a horrific slaughter at a mosque. In Egypt's view, Islamic State and its "Sinai branch" are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt proper. For Cairo, Islamic State is a terrorist organization that perpetrates attacks in the distant Sinai Peninsula, while the Muslim Brotherhood is a potentially lethal cancer eating at the heart of the Egyptian body.


Hamas is a sister movement of the Muslim Brotherhood and in the past has aided Islamic State in Sinai. Like Israel, Egypt recognizes reality and understands that Hamas will not suddenly disappear from the face of the earth. Egypt hopes that a peace process, preceded by an inter-Palestinian reconciliation process, would "contain" the Hamas threat and perhaps, in the long term, even pave the way for the Palestinian Authority to oust the terrorist organization from Gaza. The Egyptians are not naive, but their national interest is to lower the flames, and any progress or even discussion of peace can help them.


In contrast to his predecessor Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi is determined to improve the Egyptian economy, a requirement for ensuring the country's long-term stability. But for this to happen, Sissi needs an atmosphere of peace. Even more importantly, he needs generous monetary aid from the United States – Russia, after all, can provide weapons, not dollars.


Egypt used to be leader of the Arab world. Now, though, it looks on longingly as Iran and Turkey try to claim the leadership crown for themselves. Egypt's return to the helm of the Arab world and Middle East depends on how it fares against Iran and Turkey, unlike in the past when it largely depended on conflict with Israel. This too, requires a diplomatic process.


These are all good reasons for Egypt to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians; it certainly will not be upset if a peace agreement is reached.






Efraim Inbar

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2017


Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The move by Egypt, the largest and strongest Arab state, changed the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Sadat violated the Arab taboo against good neighborly relations with the Jewish state and opened the way for additional peace agreements. The defection of Egypt from the Arab military coalition eliminated the option of a two-front conventional war against Israel and saved the Israeli taxpayer billions of dollars. The heavy price paid by Israel to Egypt was total withdrawal from the Sinai and removal of settlements. But, in retrospect, it worked out well, turning Israel into “the land had peace for forty years.”


The peace treaty withstood many difficult tests: Israel’s strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1982, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the 1987 Palestinian uprising, Israeli measures against the Palestinian terrorism campaign since 2000 and the Israel-Gaza wars. Even the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt (2012-13) did not cancel the peace treaty.


Unfortunately, Israeli expectations for normal inter-state and people-to-people interactions were not realized. The rooted cultural and religious barriers to having good relations with the Jewish state have been too difficult to overcome. In the Arab world, Israel is mostly seen as an alien body. For Egypt, this has not changed after 40 years of formal peace. In the absence of drastic change in the Arab educational systems, these perceptions of Jews and their state will continue. Hopes for peaceful relations with Arab countries – such as between the US and Canada – are fanciful dreams. This insight should be taken into consideration when calculating the Israeli price for Arab peace offers.


Moreover, the robustness of the peace treaty is not self-evident. History teaches us that most wars break out in violation of a peace treaty. The survival of the peace treaty seems threatened by several developments. We have to remember that the change in Egypt’s position toward Israel was a result of Cairo gradually preferring the US to the Soviet Union.


Egypt realized that the US had greater leverage on Israel in its attempt to gain back the Sinai. However, its pro-American orientation is not a constant. Nowadays, the US seems to have become a less desirable ally. Its international standing has deteriorated and its Middle East policy, under presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, favors disengagement rather than involvement.


At the same time, Russia has become more influential in the region. Egypt seems to sense the change and now buys Russian weapons. It also purchased two Russian nuclear reactors, which has created a long-term dependency upon Moscow. A change in Egypt’s foreign policy orientation also affects its relations with Israel. The region, whose character is changing due to the ascendance of Iran, also provides reasons to worry.


States in the region are aware of a projected American weakness and are left with only two choices when facing an Iran that cooperates with Russia. They can form an alliance to curb Iranian influence (the choice of Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf States) or get closer to Iran (the choice of Turkey and Qatar). Egypt is usually seen as part of the Sunni moderate camp that fears greater Iranian clout. Egypt is much more dependent upon financial support from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Nevertheless, Egypt supported Bashar Assad in Syria – an Iranian ally. If the Gulf region falls under Iranian influence, Cairo might have to adopt a different posture and also look for support in Tehran. This might put an end to the peace treaty with Israel.


Finally, the large growth of the Egyptian military and its modernization is a source of concern. The growth of the Egyptian air force, navy and land forces remains a mystery, particularly with no enemy on Egyptian borders in sight. The investments in logistics infrastructure from Cairo eastwards and the building of tunnels under the Suez Canal seem to have no reasonable civilian rationale. Moreover, the demilitarization of Sinai, the most important stabilizing element in the peace treaty, has been eroded, as Israel agreed to the infusion of Egyptian units into the Sinai to fight the radical Islamic insurgency.


While an Egyptian-Israeli military confrontation is unlikely, we see the emergence of conditions that make an Egyptian attack easier. Everything must be done by Jerusalem to preserve the peace treaty with Egypt, but Israel should still prepare itself for worst-case scenarios.




On Topic Links


Islam and Freedom of Religion: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Oct. 25, 2017—Islam is difficult for Westerners to understand because we view it through our own cultural categories. Our categories have been formed by the post-Enlightenment and post-industrial revolution in the West. Modern Western society has been organized on the basis of occupational specialization and division of labour. This is why we see our societies divided among distinct spheres of activity: familial, economic, political, cultural, and religious.

In Egypt, Furious Retaliation but Failing Strategy in Sinai: Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017—After militants massacred 305 people at a packed mosque on Friday in a stunning assault on a sacred place, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi responded as he knows best.

Egypt-Israel Cooperation Likely to Increase after Sinai Massacre: Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2017—After terrorists killed more than 300 people during prayers at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Friday, experts say that weaknesses in the Arab country’s counter-terrorism operations will likely lead to increased Israeli-Egyptian security cooperation.

Remembering Anwar Sadat’s Legacy: Yehuda Yaakov, Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 2017—Forty years ago — on Nov. 19, 1977 — Egyptian President Anwar Sadat embarked on a groundbreaking visit to Jerusalem. The 1979 peace treaty he later signed with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin set in motion the unmistakable dynamic of the Israeli-Arab rapprochement we witness today.


Europe Begins to Appreciate the Reality of Islamic Terrorism: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2017— Until recently, most European governments avoided confronting the reality and true nature of Islamic terrorism.

Anti-Semitism in Europe: New Official Report: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 25, 2017— To some of us, it is hardly a secret that anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in Europe, or that the chief perpetrators are Muslims.

Antisemitism in US Superseded by 400-Year-Old Civic Foundations: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Aug. 30, 2017 — Contrary to European antisemitism, the recent episodes of antisemitism in the US — such as hundreds of white supremacists bearing torches and giving the Nazi salute — represent a negligible American minority, religiously, socially, ethnically and politically.

The Basel Congress’ Unexpected Result, 120 Years Later: Judea Pearl, Jewish Chronicle, Aug 30, 2017— One hundred and twenty years ago, on Sept. 3, 1897, a Viennese journalist named Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary: “In Basel I founded the Jewish state.”


On Topic Links


Anti-Semitism is an Integral Part of European Culture: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 6, 2017

Merkel's Historic Folly: Daniel Pipes, Achse des Guten, Aug. 22, 2017

Sarah Halimi: Beaten, Tortured and Killed — Yet France Turned a Blind Eye: Michel Gurfinkiel, Jewish Chronicle, Aug. 24, 2017

Undone Dunkirk: John Podhoretz, Weekly Standard, Aug 07, 2017





Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2017


Until recently, most European governments avoided confronting the reality and true nature of Islamic terrorism. The usual government response after each terrorist incident was to appease Muslim constituents by playing down the fact that it was inspired by Islamic fanatics and repeatedly chanting the mantra that “Islam is a religion of peace.”


Although all religions include both peaceful and aggressive components, an attempt to portray the dominant features of Islam today as peaceful is simply denial. While most Muslims living outside Islamic-controlled nations are lawful citizens, a significant proportion endorse the terrorist cause and only a handful pay lip service to condemn and distance themselves from the radicals. Genuinely moderate Muslims require great courage as they are not merely treated as pariahs but frequently face violent reprisals from their own kinsmen.


For many years, Muslims in Europe have resided in self-imposed ghettos where, in many cases, they have become a law unto themselves and police are fearful to intervene. Prior to the current mass migration, all efforts to integrate them had failed. Indeed, a good proportion of indigenous Muslim terrorists were second-generation offspring radicalized by local imams, many of whom, far from being impoverished, were educated and had decent jobs.


The problem escalated when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, in what many considered was a symbolic atonement displaying Germany’s remorse for the Holocaust, provided a haven and virtually unlimited entry to millions of Syrian and North African refugees. This backfired because the clear majority were more radical, anti-democratic and antisemitic than the existing Muslim communities. In addition, those who were rejected asylum were, in the vast majority of cases, never deported, which encouraged Islamists and economic migrants to come in ever-increasing numbers. Many with terrorist records operated freely. For example, Abdelbaki Essati, the imam who orchestrated the Barcelona and surrounding area attacks, had previously been convicted of terrorism and drug dealing. Yet an order for his expulsion was overturned by a judge in 2015 and he freely pursued his terrorist objectives.


Not only are massive numbers of Muslims pouring into Europe, but their birth rates are considerably higher than those of the host population and threaten to alter the demography of Europe. Now with Islamic State virtually defeated on the ground, the situation is likely to deteriorate further. The organization can be expected to intensify efforts to send large numbers of its murderous disciples, initially as sleeper cells, to await orders to perpetrate acts of terrorism in Western cities.


Aside from suffering terrorist incidents, many Western Europeans have been shocked at the extent to which their quality of life has been undermined by these refugees. Violent crime, rape and theft abound, especially in Germany, France, the Benelux countries and the UK. Yet, every effort has been made to understate the fact that this crime wave emanates overwhelmingly from the “refugees” and pressure has been exerted to prevent public discussion of the issue. Anyone criticizing practices in Islamic states, whether the oppression of women, execution of homosexuals, stoning of adulterers, honor killings, child marriages or female genital mutilation will immediately be accused of Islamophobia. The same applies to those condemning the behavior of local Muslims. The far Left, which claims to champion human rights but which has paradoxically allied itself with the Islamists, refuses to acknowledge and condemn their barbaric practices.


Muslims in Europe now represent a formidable force and have become politically influential in many key electorates, pressuring their representatives to promote their interests and frequently promoting Sharia law. Needless to say, the intensified epidemic of terrorism has finally obliged Europeans and the West overall to confront the fact that they are now on the front lines facing barbaric Islamic militancy. Until now, they criticized Israel for defending itself and fawned over terrorist leaders Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, even giving the former standing ovations at the United Nations.


It may now be dawning on them that as Europeans, they too must fight to retain the civilization they nurtured and that Israel is justified in its self-defense. Indeed, the wave of terrorism currently pervading Europe is an extension of the Palestinian terrorism against Israel, understated by most Europeans and referred to as “resistance.” They are now beginning to recognize that the threat from militant Islamic fundamentalism is a far greater danger to their way of life and even their survival than other sources of tension such as Russia, whose territorial ambitions cannot compare to Islamic extremism seeking global domination and threatening to undermine humanity…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   





Bruce Bawer

Gatestone Institute, Aug. 25, 2017


To some of us, it is hardly a secret that anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in Europe, or that the chief perpetrators are Muslims. But many politicians and news media have been so indefatigable in their efforts to obscure this uncomfortable fact that one is always grateful for official — or, at least, semi-official — confirmation of what everyone already knows.


It is a pleasure, then, to report that a new study, Antisemitic Violence in Europe, 2005-2015 — written by Johannes Due Enstad of the Oslo-based Center for Studies of the Holocaust and the University of Oslo, and jointly published by both institutions — is refreshingly, even startlingly, honest about its subject. Enstad notes that while anti-Semitic violence has declined in the U.S. since 1994, it has been on the rise worldwide. That, of course, includes Europe — most of it, anyway.


Examining statistics from France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia, Enstad points out that one of these seven countries "clearly stands out with a very low number" of anti-Semitic incidents despite its "relatively large Jewish population"; the country in question, he adds, "is also the only case in which there is little to indicate that Jews avoid displaying their identity in public." In addition, it is the only one of the six countries in which the majority of perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence are not Muslims. Which country is Enstad referring to? Russia.


That Russia is relatively free of anti-Semitic violence may sound surprising to anyone familiar with the words Cossack and refusenik, but it actually makes sense. Would-be Jew-bashers in Russia know that if they're arrested for committing acts of violence, the consequences won't be pretty. In western Europe, by contrast, the courts are lenient, the terms of confinement short, and the prisons extremely comfortable. And while Muslims know that they are a protected class in Western Europe, able to commit all kinds of transgressions with near-impunity, that is far from being the case in Putin's Russia.


If Muslims do not dominate the anti-Semitic crime statistics in Russia, who does? The answer: right-wing extremists. Although politicians and the media in Western Europe like to talk as if Jews (and others) in their countries are principally endangered by the far-right, Russia is, in fact, the only one of the seven countries in Enstad's study in which that group does play a significant role in anti-Semitic acts.


What about the other countries? Denmark has few Jews, and Norway even fewer, so these two countries play a relatively minor role in Enstad's study. That leaves Germany, Britain, France, and Sweden. Nearly 10% of French Jews say they have been physically attacked for being Jewish during the past five years; in Germany and Sweden the figure is about 7.5%, in Britain nearly 5%. Asked how often they "avoid visiting Jewish events or sites" for fear of danger, 7.9% of Jews in Sweden say they do so frequently, followed by their coreligionists in France, Germany, and Britain (where the number is only 1.2%). Asked if they "avoid wearing, carrying or displaying things" in public that would identify them as Jews, 60% of Swedish Jews say they do so "all the time" or "frequently," with, again, France, Germany, and Britain following in that order. Almost 50% of French Jews have considered emigrating because they feel imperiled in their own country; for Germany the figure is 25%, and for Sweden and Britain it is just under 20%.


Enstad weighs official statistics from all of the countries under examination, but finds that while those from most of the countries essentially jibe with the results of independent studies, those published by both Germany and Sweden are fishy, in some cases betraying an apparent effort by officials to massage the numbers to avoid certain uncomfortable facts. While an independent survey, for example, concludes that right-wing extremists make up a small minority of perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence in Germany, German police statistics blame most such violence on just right-wingers. Enstad, in his polite way, suggests that this discrepancy is the result of "a categorisation problem." Could it be possible, Enstad wonders, that "German police considers antisemitism a right-wing type of ideology and thus categorises most anti-Semitic attacks as right-wing, regardless of the perpetrator's ethnic or religious background?" Another problem is that German officials categorize some incidents — including the fire-bombing of a synagogue — as anti-Israeli, not anti-Semitic…

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




ANTISEMITISM IN US SUPERSEDED BY 400-YEAR-OLD CIVIC FOUNDATIONS                                               

Yoram Ettinger                       

Algemeiner, Aug. 30, 2017


Contrary to European antisemitism, the recent episodes of antisemitism in the US — such as hundreds of white supremacists bearing torches and giving the Nazi salute — represent a negligible American minority, religiously, socially, ethnically and politically. These episodes defy the civic, moral and religious foundations of America, as well as the US political, media and civic discourse, which has demonstrated high esteem for Judaism from the era of the early Pilgrims through the Founding Fathers until today.


The Colonial Origin of the American Constitution, by University of Houston Prof. Donald Lutz, highlights “the continuity from the [November 11, 1620] Mayflower Compact to the American state and national constitutions of the late eighteenth century, [which] clearly evolves from basic symbols in the Judeo-Christian tradition… Protestants writing [constitutional] documents viewed their work as equivalent to the Jewish biblical covenants… between God and his chosen people… The political compact eventually evolved into what we now recognize as the American form of constitutionalism.” For example, the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties — the first modern day compilation of civil and religious liberties — which inspired the 1791 US Bill of Rights, “drew heavily on the Pilgrim Code of Law proposed by John Cotton in 1636, which was based on Mosaic principles.”


In fact, this week’s Torah portion (“Shoftim,” Deuteronomy 16:18 — 21:9) inspired a cardinal distinction of the US constitution: a government of laws, not of men. Moreover, the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy inspired the 1629 Salem Covenant, the 1637 Providence Agreement, 1650 Connecticut Code of Laws, the 1680 New Hampshire General Laws and Liberties, the 1701 Pennsylvania Charter of Liberties and additional codes of civil liberties compiled by the early Pilgrims, setting the Founding Fathers on the constitutional course.


In 2017, conservative Republican Vice President Mike Pence revealed that his faith is largely guided by the Jeremiah 29:11 verse, which hangs above his mantle: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In 2014, liberal Democratic President Barack Obama quoted Exodus 22:21 (“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”), in order to justify his decision to act unilaterally in deferring deportation of up to five million illegal immigrants.


In 2017, there are eight statues and carvings of Moses and the Ten Commandments in the US Supreme Court, in addition to similar monuments in the chamber of the House of Representatives, the National Archives and additional government offices throughout the country. The Library of Congress features Micah 6:8 in its main reading room: “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”


The Story of Hebrew, by Dartmouth University Prof. Lewis Glinert, indicates that the first book written and printed (in 1640) in the British North America, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was Bay Psalm Book, a translation of the book of Psalms, documenting the prominent stature of the Old Testament and Hebrew among the early Pilgrims. “Familiarity with Hebrew was quite common among the intelligentsia and the better-trained of the clergy… Harvard’s first two presidents were Hebrew scholars, as were the first president of King’s College (later Columbia) and Ezra Stiles, the first president of Yale… a world-renowned intellectual, the leading American-Hebraist of the era and a prominent supporter of the American Revolution… The study of Hebrew marched hand-in-hand with the enlightenment principles of the American founding… [President Stiles] learned much about Hebrew from his friend, Rabbi Hayyim Carigal from [the original] Hebron.”


While there is only one Hebron in the Land of Israel — King David’s first capital — there are 18 Hebrons in the US, representing the thousands of locations across America bearing Biblical names.  This reflects the state of mind of the early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers, who considered themselves to be “the modern-day Chosen People” and viewed the New World as “the modern-day Promised Land.” They established the 400-year-old foundation (since 1620) for the special affinity of the American people for the Jewish state, and America’s high esteem for the Old Testament, which dwarf the significance of supremacists and any other form of anti-Israel or antisemitic sentiments.



THE BASEL CONGRESS’ UNEXPECTED RESULT, 120 YEARS LATER                                                

Judea Pearl

Jewish Chronicle, Aug 30, 2017


One hundred and twenty years ago, on Sept. 3, 1897, a Viennese journalist named Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary: “In Basel I founded the Jewish state.” He then added a curious note: “If I were to say this out loud today, everybody would laugh at me. In five years, perhaps, but certainly in fifty, everybody will agree.” This was two days after he returned from Basel, Switzerland, where, against all odds, he managed to put together the First Zionist Congress — the event that symbolizes the Jewish claim to self-determination.


Herzl had good reasons to feel elated about Basel: 208 delegates from 17 countries, the elite of European press, all dressed in solemn tuxedos, packed Basel’s casino to discuss his proposed solution to the “Jewish Problem.” For three days, delegates listened to fiery speeches, debated and finally came up with as clear a definition of Zionism as one can possibly articulate: “Zionism seeks to establish for the Jewish people a publically recognized, legally secured homeland in Palestine.”


Sure enough, upon returning to his office at the Neue Freie Presse newspaper in Vienna, Herzl’s co-workers greeted him with obvious mockery, as the “future head of state.” But that was the least of the problems Herzl had to face; skepticism, sarcasm and opposition loomed all over the world. The Vatican issued a letter protesting the “projected occupation of the Holy Places by the Jews.” (Sound familiar?) The Ottoman authorities had their suspicions aroused and began to restrict the manner in which Jews were acquiring land in Palestine, especially near Jerusalem.


But the worst opposition came from fellow Jews. Orthodox rabbis condemned Herzl’s attempt to hasten God’s plan of redemption, while Reform rabbis saw it as interference with their vision of becoming a moral light unto the nations by mingling among those nations. Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the French philanthropist who supported Jewish agricultural communities in Palestine since the 1880s, was adamantly against efforts to obtain international legitimization of Jewish national claims. He feared (justifiably) that such efforts would lead to tougher Ottoman restrictions, and that Jews like him would be subject to charges of dual loyalty.


Ahad Ha’am, the most influential Jewish intellectual of the time, wrote about his time in Basel that he felt  “like a mourner at a wedding feast.” His motto was, “Israel will not be redeemed by diplomats, but by prophets.” He could not forgive Herzl for luring the world jury with false hopes of a diplomatic solution. But the cleavage between Herzl and Ahad Ha’am was much deeper. Ahad Ha’am claimed it is futile and possibly harmful to argue the Jewish case in diplomatic courts when the Jewish people are spiritually unprepared for the task. What must be done first, he wrote, is “to liberate our people from its inner slavery, from the meekness of the spirit that assimilation has brought upon us.”


Herzl, on the other hand, understood that the very act of bringing the Jewish question to the international arena, regardless of its outcome, would change the cultural ills of the Jewish masses and rally them to the cause. In retrospect, he was right. There were several forerunners of Jewish self-determination (for example, Moses Hess, Yehuda Alkalai, Leon Pinsker, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and Ahad Ha’am himself), but their writings were directed inward,  toward the intellectual cliques in the Jewish shtetl; their overall impact was therefore meager. Bringing the Jewish claim to an international court created the cultural transformation that Ahad Ha’am yearned for — the shtetl Jew began to take his own problem seriously and the Zionist program became one of his viable options.


History books make a special point of noting that Herzl’s predictions were miraculously accurate. Israel was declared a state on May 14, 1948, 50 years and eight months after Herzl wrote: “In Basel I founded the Jewish state.” However, I believe Herzl in effect founded the Jewish state much earlier. True, Herzl’s specific plan to persuade the Ottoman sultan to allocate land for a Jewish state was sheer lunacy and led to painful disappointments. But transforming Jewish statehood into an item on the international political agenda was a monumental achievement — it maintains this position today.


Moreover, the idea that Jews are reclaiming sovereignty by right, not for favor, completely changed the way Jews began to view their standing in the cosmos. It transformed the Jew from an object of history to a shaper of history. This new self-image was the engine that propelled history toward a Jewish statehood already in the early 1900s. The 40,000 Jews who made up the Second Aliyah (1904-1914) were different in spirit and determination from the 35,000 Jews who came earlier with the First Aliyah (1882-1903). At their core, they knew they were building a model sovereign nation and that Zionism is the most just and noble endeavor in human history. They established kibbutzim, formed self-defense organizations, founded the town of Tel Aviv and turned Hebrew into a practical spoken language. This spirit of hope, purpose and immediacy emanated from the Basel Congress, not from the utopian “in time to come” Zionism of Ahad Ha’am.


The diplomatic efforts that led to the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent ideological immigration of the Third Aliyah (1919-1923) all were direct products of the Zionist movement and made statehood practically inevitable. The miracle of Israel was planted indeed in 1897…

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


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


Anti-Semitism is an Integral Part of European Culture: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 6, 2017—The recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Budapest – the first visit of an Israeli Prime Minister since the fall of communism – received much international publicity.

Merkel's Historic Folly: Daniel Pipes, Achse des Guten, Aug. 22, 2017—I expect that when the evolution of European civilization is studied in the future, August 2015 will be seen as a key moment. The decision to allow unlimited immigration into Germany has had profound implications for Europe by raising this issue in a more acute way than ever before, creating divisions both among native Europeans who are for and against large-scale immigration and between native and new Europeans.

Sarah Halimi: Beaten, Tortured and Killed — Yet France Turned a Blind Eye: Michel Gurfinkiel, Jewish Chronicle, Aug. 24, 2017 —Almost five months ago, on April 4, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman called Lucette Attal-Halimi and known by her Hebrew name, Sarah Halimi — a retired doctor and the head of a kindergarten — was attacked in the middle of the night at her home on Vaucouleurs Street, in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, apparently tortured to death and finally thrown out of a third-floor window.

Undone Dunkirk: John Podhoretz, Weekly Standard, Aug 07, 2017—There are few events in the history of war comparable to the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from the French beach at Dunkirk in the late spring of 1940.





Iran Out to Remake Mideast With Arab Enforcer: Hezbollah: Ben Hubbard, New York Times, Aug. 27, 2017— For three decades, Hezbollah maintained a singular focus as a Lebanese military group fighting Israel.

With Win Over Islamic State, Hezbollah Gains New Sway in Lebanon: Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 31, 2017— Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia has branded the recent expulsion of Islamic State’s militants from their main stronghold in the country as a “great victory” akin to forcing out Israel’s occupation forces in 2000.

Israel and Hezbollah: The Battle Before the Battle: Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2017— During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli military actions were limited by the broader diplomatic situation.

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri Joins With Hezbollah to Con Donald Trump: Tony Badran, Tablet, Aug. 2, 2017 — The day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with President Trump at the White House, a member of his delegation saluted Hezbollah on social media from Washington.


On Topic Links


Victory for Israel in the Security Council: Nitsan Keidar, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 30, 2017

Why Did Syria, Hezbollah Bus ISIS Fighters Near Iraq?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2017

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Aug. 31, 2017

The Next War Against Hezbollah: Strategic and Operational Considerations: Udi Dekel and Assaf Orion, INSS, 2017





Ben Hubbard

New York Times, Aug. 27, 2017


For three decades, Hezbollah maintained a singular focus as a Lebanese military group fighting Israel. It built a network of bunkers and tunnels near Lebanon’s southern border, trained thousands of committed fighters to battle Israel’s army and built up an arsenal of rockets capable of striking far across the Jewish state. But as the Middle East has changed, with conflicts often having nothing to do with Israel flaring up around the region, Hezbollah has changed, too.


It has rapidly expanded its realm of operations. It has sent legions of fighters to Syria. It has sent trainers to Iraq. It has backed rebels in Yemen. And it has helped organize a battalion of militants from Afghanistan that can fight almost anywhere. As a result, Hezbollah is not just a power unto itself, but is one of the most important instruments in the drive for regional supremacy by its sponsor: Iran. Hezbollah is involved in nearly every fight that matters to Iran and, more significantly, has helped recruit, train and arm an array of new militant groups that are also advancing Iran’s agenda.


Founded with Iranian guidance in the 1980s as a resistance force against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah became the prototype for the kind of militias Iran is now backing around the region. Hezbollah has evolved into a virtual arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, providing the connective tissue for the growing network of powerful militias. Months of interviews with officials, fighters, commanders and analysts from nine countries, and with members of Hezbollah itself, bring to light an organization with new power and reach that has not been widely recognized. Increasingly, Iranian leaders rely on it to pursue their goals.


Iran and Hezbollah complement each other. Both are Shiite powers in a part of the world that is predominantly Sunni. For Iran, a Persian nation in a mostly Arab region, Hezbollah lends not just military prowess but also Arabic-speaking leaders and operatives who can work more easily in the Arab world. And for Hezbollah, the alliance means money for running an extensive social services network in Lebanon, with schools, hospitals and scout troops — as well as for weapons, technology and salaries for its tens of thousands of fighters. The network Hezbollah helped build has changed conflicts across the region. In Syria, the militias have played a major role in propping up President Bashar al-Assad, an important Iranian ally. In Iraq, they are battling the Islamic State and promoting Iranian interests. In Yemen, they have taken over the capital city and dragged Saudi Arabia, an Iranian foe, into a costly quagmire. In Lebanon, they broadcast pro-Iranian news and build forces to fight Israel.


The allied militias are increasingly collaborating across borders. In April, members of a Qatari royal hunting party kidnapped by militants in Iraq were released as part of a deal involving Hezbollah in Syria. In southern Syria, Iranian-backed forces are pushing to connect with their counterparts in Iraq. And in the battle for Aleppo last year — a turning point in the Syrian war — Iranian-supported militants hailed from so many countries their diversity amazed even those involved. “On the front lines, there were lots of nationalities,” said Hamza Mohammed, an Iraqi militiaman who was trained by Hezbollah and fought in Aleppo. “Hezbollah was there, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis – everyone was there, with Iranian participation to lead the battle.”


The roots of that network go back to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Iran called on Hezbollah to help organize Iraqi Shiite militias that in the coming years killed hundreds of American troops and many more Iraqis. Recent wars have allowed Iran to revive and expand the web, and some of the groups Hezbollah trained in Iraq are now returning the favor by sending fighters to Syria.


More than just a political alliance, Hezbollah, whose name is Arabic for Party of God, and its allies have deep ideological ties to Iran. Most endorse vilayat-e-faqih, the concept that Iran’s supreme leader is both the highest political power in the country and the paramount religious authority. They also trumpet their goal of combating American and Israeli interests, while arguing that they fill gaps left by weak governments and fight Sunni jihadists like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Many wonder what these tens of thousands of experienced fighters will do after the wars in Syria and Iraq wind down. Hezbollah leaders have said they could be deployed in future wars against Israel…

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






Yaroslav Trofimov

Wall Street Journal, Aug. 31, 2017


Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia has branded the recent expulsion of Islamic State’s militants from their main stronghold in the country as a “great victory” akin to forcing out Israel’s occupation forces in 2000. Now the question for Lebanon and the wider region is whether Hezbollah—dedicated to the elimination of Israel and considered a terrorist organization by Washington—translates this triumph of arms into lasting political gains.


On Saturday, parallel operations by Lebanon’s army from inside Lebanon and by Hezbollah fighters advancing from Syria cleared out Islamic State’s redoubt in the mountainous Qalamoun region straddling the border. Controversially, a deal struck by Hezbollah allowed hundreds of Islamic State militants to move to the extremist group’s remaining territory in eastern Syria. The decision, which was criticized by Hezbollah’s political opponents inside Lebanon, prompted the U.S. to launch two U.S. airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday aimed at stopping the convoy carrying the fighters and their families.


Iran-backed Hezbollah lost much of its luster in the wider Middle East once it sided with the Syrian regime after the revolution there erupted in 2011. But as the increasingly bloody Syrian conflict flooded tiny Lebanon with refugees—and Sunni extremists—the group has managed to position itself as the defender of the region’s minorities, particularly Christians. That, in turn, has generated domestic support well beyond Hezbollah’s Shiite home base. Such an ability to build a broader consensus at home has provided Hezbollah, whose militia is one of the Middle East’s most formidable fighting forces, with unparalleled political sway. After a two-year delay, the group’s preferred candidate, Christian former army chief Michel Aoun, was elected as Lebanon’s president in October 2016.


Long-postponed elections for a Lebanese parliament that would name a new government are slated for May 2018, and the giant victory rally Hezbollah is slated to hold in the eastern town of Baalbek on Thursday is widely viewed as the kickoff of a campaign to broaden its power—and its alliances. Hezbollah’s achievement in Qalamoun “will be regarded not only as the growth of its military might, but also of its political influence,” said Imad Salamey, director of the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. “This victory will add to Hezbollah’s ability to gain influence within its own Shiite community and will also strengthen its Christian allies.”


Not everyone agrees. Many Lebanese were upset with how Hezbollah unilaterally negotiated with Islamic State—an approach that seemed to undermine the authority of the Lebanese army and the Lebanese state.  “Hezbollah has behaved as a parallel state,” said Basem Chabb, a Christian lawmaker and a member of the Sunni-led coalition of current Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “And now that ISIS is out of the way, even some of its Christian allies may become alarmed.” Regardless of such resentment, nobody in Lebanon today appears in a position to resist Hezbollah’s strategic choices, especially now that its status has been consolidated by the outcome of its Qalamoun campaign. “After this, opposing Hezbollah’s political will in Lebanon will be even more difficult. Hezbollah is gaining additional cards in Lebanese politics,” said Ali Abdallah Fadlallah, an expert on the group and a professor at the American University in Beirut.


One added complication is Lebanon’s relationship with Washington. President Donald Trump described Hezbollah as “a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region” during his meeting with Mr. Hariri in July, and U.S. officials are looking for ways to punish the group as part of a broader campaign to roll back Iranian influence in the region. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, meanwhile, recently praised Mr. Trump for his determination in fighting Islamic State, and for having described the militant group as a creation of the Obama administration…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                




ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH: THE BATTLE BEFORE THE BATTLE                                                              

Jonathan Spyer                               

Jerusalem Post, July 22, 2017


During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli military actions were limited by the broader diplomatic situation. The expulsion of Syria from Lebanon had taken place a year earlier. The government of then-prime minister Fuad Siniora in Beirut was considered one of the few successes of the US democracy promotion project in the region. As a result, pressure was placed on Israel to restrict its operations to targets directly related to Hezbollah activity alone.


Ten years is a long time. Today, the view in Israel is that the distinction between Hezbollah and the institutions and authorities of the Lebanese state has disappeared. But while the government of Lebanon is no longer a particular protégé of the US and the West, the position taken in Western capitals regarding the Lebanese state and, notably, its armed forces remains markedly different from that taken in Jerusalem. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) continues to be a major beneficiary of US aid.


This gap in perceptions reflects different primary security concerns. For Israel, altering this perception in the West before the next conflict with Hezbollah is a primary strategic task. So what are the facts of the case? One of the basic expectations of a functioning state is that it exercise a monopoly on the use of violence within its borders. From this point of view, the Lebanese state ceased to function some time ago. As the 2006 and subsequent events graphically demonstrated, Hezbollah and its patrons could operate an independent foreign and military policy without seeking the permission of the official authorities in Beirut.


What has happened in the intervening decade, however, is that Hezbollah and its allies, rather than simply ignoring the wishes of the state, have progressively absorbed its institutions. The events of May/June 2008 in Beirut finally demonstrated the impotence of “official” Lebanon in opposing the will of Hezbollah and its allies. Then, on the official political level, Hezbollah and its allies prevented the appointment of a Lebanese president for two years, before ensuring the ascendance of their own allied candidate, then-Gen. Michel Aoun, in October 2016. For good measure, the March 8 bloc of which Hezbollah is a part ensured for itself eight portfolios in the 17-person Lebanese cabinet. Of these, two are directly in the hands of Hezbollah.


So at the level of political leadership, it is no longer possible to identify where the Lebanese state begins and Hezbollah ends. And the organization has long enjoyed a de facto, physical dominance, both within Lebanon and in terms of its actions across and beyond its borders (against Israel, in its intervention in the Syrian civil war, and in its involvement with other pro-Iranian militia groups in Iraq and Yemen). What of the issue of security cooperation between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces? No serious observer of Lebanon disputes that open cooperation between the two forces has increased over the last half decade. The background to this is the threat of Sunni jihadist terrorism from Syrian Salafi groups engaged in the Syrian civil war. A series of bombings in Shi’a south Beirut and in border communities triggered the joint effort by Hezbollah and the LAF.


Of course, the bombings were taking place as retaliation by Syrian Salafi groups for Hezbollah’s own involvement in the war in Syria on the regime side. The Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah cooperated on the level of intelligence sharing and scored a number of successes in locating and apprehending Salafi cells on Lebanese soil. As a result of the increasingly overt cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia ended its military assistance to the LAF, canceling a $3 billion pledge in February 2016. The cancellation was a tacit admission of defeat by the Saudis, an acknowledgment that their project of exerting influence and power in Lebanon through their clients had failed.


The US, however, has continued its relationship with the LAF, which was the recipient of $200 million in assistance from Washington last year. Last December, the US dismissed Israeli assertions that M-113 armored vehicles displayed by Hezbollah in a triumphant parade in the town of Qusayr in Syria came from LAF stocks. The Lebanese Armed Forces, according to a statement by John Kirby, then-State Department spokesman, has an “exemplary record” in complying with US end-use guidelines and restrictions.


A statement by President Aoun in February appeared to confirm the situation of cooperation between the forces. Aoun told the Egyptian CBC channel that Hezbollah’s arms “do not contradict the state… and are an essential part of defending Lebanon. As long as the Lebanese army lacks sufficient power to face Israel, we feel the need for Hezbollah’s arsenal, because it complements the army’s role.” The difference of opinion between the US and Israel in this regard is of growing importance because of the emergent evidence of hitherto unreported Hezbollah activities. In particular, there is deep disquiet in Israel regarding revelations of an Iranian- supported, homegrown Hezbollah arms industry. This, combined with what may be the beginnings of a slow winding down of the Syrian war, raises the possibility of renewed tensions with Hezbollah.


This does not mean that war is imminent. But from an Israeli point of view, the gap in understanding and perception between Washington and Jerusalem on the Lebanese Armed Forces, and by definition on the current nature of the Lebanese state, is a matter requiring urgent attention. It is currently one of the missing pieces in the diplomatic structure which alone can make possible the kind of war that Israel will be wanting to fight next time round, should Hezbollah attack or provocation come. This is intended to be a war on a scale and dimension quite different from 2006. The intention will be to dismiss any distinction between Hezbollah and the Lebanese state, and to wage a state-to-state war against Lebanon, on the basis that the distinction has become a fiction. This would involve an all-out use of military force that will be intended to force a relatively quick decision…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                       




LEBANESE PM SAAD HARIRI JOINS WITH HEZBOLLAH TO CON DONALD TRUMP                                                                 Tony Badran

                                                 Tablet, Aug. 2, 2017


The day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with President Trump at the White House, a member of his delegation saluted Hezbollah on social media from Washington. Last Wednesday, former minister and current adviser to the Lebanese president (a Hezbollah ally), Elias Bou Saab, tweeted a salute to “every resister”—a euphemism for Hezbollah fighter—and “every soldier” fighting in the outback of the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal, on the border with Syria. Later that same day, Bou Saab, who is the executive vice president of the American University in Dubai, and is widely seen in Lebanon as a sympathizer of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, posed for a picture with a journalist from the pro-Hezbollah TV channel NBN. The journalist posted the photo on her Facebook page. It shows Bou Saab and the journalist on a street in Washington, holding a placard with another salute to Hezbollah. It reads: “From the outback of Washington, a salute to the heroes in the outback of Arsal.”


Bou Saab’s boss, Hariri, was only slightly more reserved in his public alliance with the Lebanese terror army—aka “the resistance.” After his press conference with President Trump, in which the U.S. president described Hezbollah as a regional menace and long arm of Iran, the prime minister told Lebanese reporters, “We fight ISIS and al-Qaida. Hezbollah is in the government and part of parliament and we have an understanding with it.” An understanding with Hezbollah sounds about right. Hariri’s visit with Trump was part of a coordinated, multifaceted information campaign to swindle the U.S. government into continuing its military support and extending political cover for the evolving pro-Iran order in Lebanon and Syria. Everyone—Hariri, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and its supporters and publicists in Washington—is in on the con. Everyone benefits—except, of course, the people who continue to suffer and die in the region.


Let’s trace back the timeline of the Hariri-Hezbollah campaign, whose primary aim was apparently to game Donald Trump and his generals. At the end of June, the LAF raided a Syrian refugee camp in the Arsal region in northeastern Lebanon, near the Syrian border. The raid was accompanied by a large, coordinated PR effort to whip up patriotic fervor, in which Syrian refugees were used as props. A few days later, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah emerged with a televised address in which he announced the imminent start of the battle around Arsal. A few days after that, military operations begin, with Hezbollah receiving air support from the Assad regime on the Syrian side and artillery support from the LAF on the Lebanese side, demonstrating the high level of coordination between these two forces, which are fast becoming one under Iranian leadership. The timing of this operation—or demonstration—was hardly accidental, either: Hariri was making his pitch in Washington for continued support to Lebanon and the LAF, and for watering down U.S. sanctions against Hezbollah.


The second act of the Lebanese con game began while the Hariri delegation was still in Washington. The Lebanese foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, a close Hezbollah ally who accompanied Hariri, tweeted the LAF’s next move from Washington: Attack the second pocket held by a so-called ISIS affiliate outside Ras Baalbeck, north of Arsal. In an interview in Washington, Hariri explained how, “the army is going to take over the whole thing, and Hezbollah is going to withdraw, because the fighting is going to continue with ISIS, and we believe this is the real battle.” In other words, Washington was supposed to see that, Hezbollah’s joint operation with the LAF in Arsal notwithstanding, ISIS is the real enemy—and it’s the LAF that will handle this next, crucial battle. The LAF should, therefore, receive more U.S. money and weapons, regardless of its political obedience to a terrorist group with the blood of hundreds of Americans on its hands.


By the time Hariri’s interview came out, the brief operation in Arsal had already ended—with a negotiated settlement with the group formerly known as the Nusra Front. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, a Hezbollah ally who heads Lebanon’s General Security, handled the negotiations. The Nusra fighters received safe passage out of the area to Idlib province and exchanged prisoners and bodies with Hezbollah. That Hezbollah’s show focused only on the Nusra pocket near Arsal and avoided the second, ISIS-held pocket farther north was by design. The strategy here was not directed at either of these groups, but at Washington. The Nusra pocket had been involved in these negotiations for a while, but Hezbollah forced the issue—early in the operation, a mediator, a local municipal official from Arsal, was targeted in his car and killed, with some accusing Hezbollah of the murder—at this precise moment, in order to set up a binary choice for Hariri to present in Washington: the LAF vs. ISIS.


No sooner had Hariri wrapped up his visit than the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington put out a report on why, because of this supposed looming battle with ISIS, the United States should continue, even increase, its support for the LAF. Tying a neat ribbon on the Lebanese information campaign, the report, written by a promoter of the pro-LAF policy who works closely with the LAF command, completed Hariri’s pitch: Supporting the LAF is not just necessary because the LAF will soon fight ISIS, but also because Hezbollah otherwise would win the so-called battle of narratives with the Lebanese state, which it, in fact, controls. It’s a spectacular con…

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



On Topic Links


Victory for Israel in the Security Council: Nitsan Keidar, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 30, 2017— Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, on Wednesday welcomed the adoption of a new UN Security Council resolution regarding the mandate of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Why Did Syria, Hezbollah Bus ISIS Fighters Near Iraq?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2017— In 2009, before the Syrian civil war, a bus ride from Homs to Deir al-Zor on the Euphrates River would take around five or six hours. There was a stop for refreshments just outside of the historic city of Palmyra. Now fighters from Islamic State are taking that bus route.

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Aug. 31, 2017— In defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah and its Iranian patron, with the assistance of the Bashar Assad regime, are filling Lebanon with surface-to-surface projectiles, and aiming them at population centers and strategic sites in Israel.

The Next War Against Hezbollah: Strategic and Operational Considerations: Udi Dekel and Assaf Orion, INSS, 2017— The IDF does not hide the fact that it is preparing for war in Lebanon. These preparations take the form of learning and applying the lessons of the Second Lebanon War while incorporating the modifications required in light of changes in the region’s strategic reality, especially in Israel’s northern theater.






Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It.: Benny Avni, The Daily Beast, Aug. 28, 2017 — Jared Kushner's second visit to the Mideast is widely perceived as a Seinfeld-like show about nothing—and the Israelis love it.

Russia Feels American Pressure: Emil Avdaliani, BESA, August 16, 2017 — Recent tensions between Moscow and Washington could drive the two superpowers to a deadlock.

On Radical Islam, Trump Has Lost His Focus: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 11, 2017 — Candidate Donald Trump vowed to take a fresh approach to Islamic extremism.

Trump’s Foreign Policy: The Conservatives’ Report Card: Bret Stephens, New York Times, July 21, 2017 — If you’re a liberal judging Donald Trump’s foreign-policy record at the six-month mark, it’s not hard to guess the grade you’d give him.


On Topic Links


Keep Telling the Horrific Truth About North Korea: Benny Avni, New York Post, Aug. 15, 2017

U.S. Policy in Lebanon Is Now Helping Hezbollah and Iran: Matthew R.J. Brodsky, Weekly Standard, Aug. 16, 2017

Name-Calling Critics Fail to Refute ZOA’s Concerns About McMaster: Morton A. Klein, Elizabeth Berney and Daniel Mandel, Algemeiner, Aug. 27, 2017

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 14, 2017






Benny Avni

The Daily Beast, Aug. 28, 2017


Jared Kushner's second visit to the Mideast is widely perceived as a Seinfeld-like show about nothing—and the Israelis love it. Seeking President Trump’s “ultimate deal”—peace between Israelis and Palestinians—Kushner arrived in Jerusalem and Ramallah this week, where few could point to any progress made in promoting a deal between the parties. White House officials say they're keeping mum on progress by design, but commentators in the Israeli and Palestinian press claim there is little substance behind the first son-in-law’s diplomacy.


And that's just fine by Israeli government officials, who quietly express hope that Kushner's latest trip, and perhaps future ones as well, will yield no earth-shaking results. “Past American administrations jumped into the peace process pool before checking if there’s any water in it; we jumped after them and cracked our heads,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told The Daily Beast. He commended Kushner’s go-slow approach, saying, “Perhaps he’ll realize there’s no water in this pool, and so there's no reason to jump in.”


Publicly, after meeting with Kushner, Jerusalem and Ramallah officials made statements that were remarkably similar, using words diplomats have long employed to obscure content. Privately, however, several Israeli officials say they expect no progress. Further, they're grateful the Trump administration, unlike previous ones, exerts no pressure on them to make major concessions. Political conditions are far from optimal for a meaningful peace process. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under unprecedented pressure, as investigations of various alleged wrongdoings mount against him. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, is unpopular and weak.


While Kushner and international negotiator Jason Greenblatt do their best not to discuss the substance of their talks—saying they would rather conduct quiet diplomacy—critics note that not too long ago Kushner told White House interns, in a conversation that was leaked to the press, that there may be “no solution” to the Israeli Palestinian problem. Dayan—a former leader of Yesha, the West Bank settler movement—said that rather than seeking a final deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian dispute once and for all, Kushner should seek smaller victories. Dayan cited a deal reached recently about water-sharing between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “You won’t get a Peace Nobel for things like that, but they may be more achievable" and helpful, he told The Daily Beast.


The Palestinians fear that kind of approach would muddy their goal: to be recognized as an independent state. In a recent State Department briefing, spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to endorse the two state solution, a formula expressed by three prior administrations that calls for the creation of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state next to the Jewish state of Israel. “We are not going to state what the outcome has to be,” Nauert said, adding, “It has to be workable to both sides.” Palestinians were outraged. Even as Kushner met for several hours with Abbas in Ramallah Thursday, demonstrators, said to be organized by Abbas’ own lieutenants, gathered outside the presidential headquarters, known as the Muqata, with some reportedly carrying anti-Trump signs, including one depicting the president as being led on a leash by daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner.


A White House official close to the negotiations noted however that Abbas has threatened—as he’s often done in the past—to resign and dissolve the Palestinian Authority if Kushner declined to push hard on the peace process. But then, the official said, "Abbas didn’t pull out,” which indicates that the talks are substantial after all. “This shows it’s not about nothing," the official added. The official asked to speak on background as part of Kushner’s and Greenblatt’s expressed desire to keep the content of the negotiations under wraps. This, the official said, may be the reason many feel no progress is being made, but it is a deliberate strategy.


Past administrations “put process ahead of results. It was about a road map, time lines, impositions of deadlines,” the official said, adding that past diplomacy “suffered from a constant effort to show some achievement,” which doomed it to failure as the parties pushed back against public statements in Washington. Critics however say that the current diplomatic ambiguity may lead to failure. “You have to say publicly where you want to go,” said Gilead Sher, a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. Kushner, he says, is undermining progress by not stating what the American goal is. “When no one knows which way America is sailing, it’s impossible for all to steer their boats," he added…

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






Emil Avdaliani

BESA, August 16, 2017


Recent tensions between Moscow and Washington could drive the two superpowers to a deadlock. On July 30, Russia retaliated against the US by ordering 755 American diplomats to leave the country. Moscow’s move came after Washington toughened its own anti-Russia sanctions (although the Russian move was intended more as a countermeasure against former US President Barack Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in late 2016).


Moscow cannot afford to impose serious countersanctions, as they would cause greater harm to the much-troubled Russian economy than they would to the US. Consider, for example, the case of NASA, which depends largely on Russian engines. Stopping their export could cause significant difficulties for the US aerospace industry, but for the Russian economy, it would represent a loss of approximately $1 billion in revenues in a couple of years.


The relationship, troubled as it is, has not necessarily hit rock bottom. On August 1, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “the [US-Russia] relationship was at a historic low since the end of the Cold War, and it could get worse.” On August 3, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev tweeted that any hope for improvement in relations was lost with Trump’s sanctions. There are reasons for Moscow to be worried. American politicians openly state how supportive the US will be towards eastern European countries and Georgia in the event that Russia increases its military capabilities in the region. This US resolve was highlighted recently when VP Mike Pence visited Estonia, Georgia, and Montenegro.


A steady US/NATO military and security buildup is underway in eastern Europe and the South Caucasus. Georgia, for example, hosted the biggest military exercises ever held on its soil, in which US forces took part along with other allies. Washington has also outlined its position that any progress with Moscow would depend entirely upon the latter’s ceasing its military and financial support for pro-Russia separatists in east Ukraine, Georgia’s breakaway territories of Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.


Rather than compromise, the Russians have in fact expanded their military bases in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and other breakaway territories across the former Soviet space. As an international relations realist, Putin knows the only hope of pressuring Washington is to gain an advantage in other theaters where Moscow has significant political leverage. However, despite strained relations, Moscow and Washington still share similar – if limited – perspectives in several areas. Syria is first among several potential points of cooperation. Russia and the US share a vision of defeating ISIS, and there was even a joint announcement of a ceasefire in southwestern Syria in early July. To both countries’ credit, the ceasefire still holds.


East of the Syrian battlefield, Afghanistan could be another theater for cooperation. Russia fears a spillover of militancy from both the Taliban and ISIS across the Afghan border into Central Asia, and would not oppose a US presence in Afghanistan as a bulwark against it. Yet another geographic area of possible Russian-American cooperation could be the Korean peninsula, where the situation is heating up. The Pyongyang leadership is rigorously pursuing its nuclear program and has made significant progress in successfully testing its ICBM. Both Moscow and Washington are concerned that North Korea’s military capabilities could deal a final blow to the policy of non-proliferation.


However, there are limits to these areas of converging interests. In Syria, for instance, Russia’s grand strategy of linking the Syrian crisis with the Ukrainian one in order to gain diplomatic advantage in negotiations with the west has failed. In Afghanistan, the US suspects Moscow of providing military support to the Taliban, while in North Korea, Washington does not openly rely on Russian support. Washington recently criticized both Moscow and Beijing for not doing enough to stop the North Korean nuclear program.


Russian-US relations have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. There do exist several theaters in which the two superpowers can work together, but there are significant limits that will block any breakthroughs. There is thus little possibility for any rapprochement between the two powers across the former Soviet space. Different geopolitical readings on Ukraine, Georgia, and wider eastern European security make near-term progress in Russia-US relations improbable at best.                      




ON RADICAL ISLAM, TRUMP HAS LOST HIS FOCUS                                                                              

Ayaan Hirsi Ali                                         

Wall Street Journal, Aug. 11, 2017


Candidate Donald Trump vowed to take a fresh approach to Islamic extremism. He ditched the politically correct language of the Obama administration by declaring that we were mired in an ideological conflict with radical Islam, which he likened to the totalitarian ideologies America had defeated in the 20th century. Mr. Trump also promised, as part of his immigration policy, to put in place an “extreme vetting” system that screens for Islamic radicalism. He vowed to work with genuine Muslim reformers and concluded with the promise that one of his first acts as president would be “to establish a commission on radical Islam.”


Mr. Trump has had more than six months to make good on these pledges. He hasn’t gotten very far. The administration’s first move—a hastily drafted executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries—backfired when it was repeatedly blocked in court. Worse, subsequent moves have tended to run counter to Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges. Aside from a new questionnaire for visa applicants, there has been no clarity regarding the promised “extreme vetting” of Muslim immigrants and visitors. The promise to work with and empower authentic Muslim reformers has gone nowhere. The status of the promised commission on radical Islam remains unclear. Perhaps most discouragingly, the administration’s Middle Eastern strategy seems to involve cozying up to Saudi Arabia—for decades the principal source of funding for Islamic extremism around the world.


Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems. But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest. Is all hope of a revamped policy on radical Islam lost? Not necessarily. Prominent members of Congress—among them Sens. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Reps. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) and Trent Franks (R., Ariz.)—understand that Islamism must be confronted with ideas as well as arms.


And this need not be a partisan issue. In the early years after 9/11, Sens. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) worked together to analyze the threat of Islamist ideology. Even President Obama’s former representative to Muslim communities, Farah Pandith, who visited 80 countries between 2009 and 2014, wrote in 2015: “In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence . . . Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams.” In 2016, addressing the Council on Foreign Relations, Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) sounded the alarm over Islamist indoctrination in Pakistan, noting that thousands of schools funded with Saudi money “teach a version of Islam that leads . . . into an . . . anti-Western militancy.” We have already seen one unexpected outbreak of bipartisanship in Washington this summer, over tightening sanctions on Russia in retaliation for President Vladimir Putin’s many aggressions.


I propose that the next item of cross-party business should be for Congress to convene hearings on the ideological threat of radical Islam. “Who wants America on offense, with a coherent and intelligible strategy?” Newt Gingrich asked in 2015, when he called for such hearings. Then as now, if the executive branch isn’t willing—if the president has forgotten his campaign commitments—lawmakers can and should step up to the plate.                                                                          





THE CONSERVATIVES’ REPORT CARD                                                                   

Bret Stephens

                      New York Times, July 21, 2017


If you’re a liberal judging Donald Trump’s foreign-policy record at the six-month mark, it’s not hard to guess the grade you’d give him. An F is too generous for your taste. An F-minus? How about a negative F? What if you’re conservative? Here your grade will depend on what kind of conservative you happen to be.


(1) You’re a Trumpkin. What’s not to like? Wasn’t it Machiavelli — or some other Italian with a similar-sounding name — who said, “it is much safer to be feared than loved”? Isn’t it about time that Bashar al-Assad fears us? Isn’t it about time we have an American president who couldn’t care less whether he’s loved in Paris or Brussels — capitals our soldiers once liberated only so that they could repay us with freeloading and condescension? And isn’t it about time we throw our weight around the world on our own behalf, and not for the sake of some make-believe “international community”? Grade: The easiest A since you took “rocks for jocks” in college.


(2) You’re not a Trumpkin, but you’re happy Hillary Clinton isn’t president. Well, what did you expect? We all knew he was a policy neophyte, with some bad ideas but reasonably decent instincts. And, on the whole, his instincts are serving us well. What, you have an objection to Jim Mattis at Defense, John Kelly at Homeland Security, Mike Pompeo at C.I.A. and H. R. McMaster as security adviser? The Clinton team would have consisted of Brookings Institution types trying to extend the Obama administration’s legacy of American retreat — of appeasing adversaries, alienating allies, and turning us into a country whose enemies didn’t fear us and whose friends didn’t trust us. It’s been only six months, and Trump still has a lot to learn. But he’s jettisoned some of his worst ideas — on NATO being obsolete, for instance — while taking a more muscular approach against the Islamic State, Iran and North Korea. Grade: B.


(3) You’re the sort of conservative who doesn’t believe we should grade college students on a curve, much less our commander in chief. Yes, Machiavelli did say it was better to be feared than loved. But the great Florentine also said, “a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred.” The United States has had unpopular presidents. But not one — not Richard Nixon in the Watergate crisis; not George W. Bush at the worst moments of the Iraq war — inspires the sort of hatred that Trump does.


Much of this is self-inflicted. Trump didn’t need to start his presidency by infuriating the president of Mexico on the eve of a planned visit to Washington, or by comparing the American intelligence community to Nazi Germany, or by throwing a tantrum with the prime minister of Australia. He didn’t need to demand that Seoul pay for missile defenses that would protect American troops in the event of war with North Korea, or toy with our NATO allies as he mulled whether to reaffirm our mutual-defense obligations.


Trump could have avoided all of this. He didn’t, either because his personality is defective or because he thinks humiliation is an appropriate tool of presidential power. Character is destiny, conservatives used to think. We are living this destiny.


Conservatives must also wonder what happened to the “conservative” foreign policy they were promised in the campaign. The administration certified this month that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal; according to the Institute for Science and International Security, it isn’t fully. We were supposed to support our allies in Syria fighting both the Islamic State and Assad; we ditched them. We were supposed to get serious about the threat from Russia. In Hamburg this month, Trump again showed how eager he was to oblige his man-crush in the Kremlin, this time at the expense of Israel.


But the deeper flaw of Trump’s foreign policy isn’t psychological. It’s philosophical. The Trump administration is the first to make an open break with the anti-isolationist postwar consensus of Harry Truman, Arthur Vandenberg and Dean Acheson. “The world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage,” McMaster and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. Mark this as the shift from internationalism to transactionalism; from a values-based foreign policy rooted in Alexis de Tocqueville’s notion of “self-interest, rightly understood” to an approach that might be called neo-Maguirism, after “Jerry Maguire.” To wit: “Show me the money!”


It’s not that the administration has done everything wrong, at least by conservative lights: It’s always possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason. But if serious conservatives believe in anything, it’s that we really are, as Lincoln said, “the last best hope of earth,” and that our foreign policy should be equal to that hope. That’s “hope,” Donald, not “joke.” Grade: O.M.G.




On Topic Links


Keep Telling the Horrific Truth About North Korea: Benny Avni, New York Post, Aug. 15, 2017—Equating President Trump’s tough North Korea talk with Kim Jong-un’s bluster, as the president’s critics have done over the past week, is dumb — not least because it’s clear Trump’s tack is working. The White House’s hard-edged messaging knocked Pyongyang’s dynastic tyrant out of his comfort zone.

U.S. Policy in Lebanon Is Now Helping Hezbollah and Iran: Matthew R.J. Brodsky, Weekly Standard, Aug. 16, 2017—The U.S. is deploying special forces on the ground in Lebanon to provide training for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) for missions that partner with Hezbollah—Iran’s most valuable terrorist ally—against ISIS.

Name-Calling Critics Fail to Refute ZOA’s Concerns About McMaster: Morton A. Klein, Elizabeth Berney and Daniel Mandel, Algemeiner, Aug. 27, 2017—The Zionist Organization of America’s August 2017 report detailed US National Security Chief General H.R. McMaster’s troubling record regarding Iran, Israel and radical Islamist terrorism.

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 14, 2017—One of the most important chapters in the war on terror is being rewritten — with a moral inversion. Islamic terrorists who were arrested and deported have become "liberal causes célèbres", while agents of the CIA who questioned them are not only being condemned but also financially crushed by punishment and legal bills — for having tried, legally, to save American lives.









The Media Miss the Mark on Afghanistan: Peter Metzger, National Review, June 23, 2017 — The press is missing something lately.

The Terror Problem From Pakistan: Rahmatullah Nabil and Melissa Skorka, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2017— With the Trump administration considering how to break the stalemate between Taliban-allied groups and the government of Afghanistan, terrorists detonated a car bomb in Kabul on May 31, killing more than 150.

To Win Afghanistan, Get Tough on Pakistan: Husain Haqqani, New York Times, July 6, 2017— President Trump’s review of American policy in Afghanistan should involve adopting a tougher approach to Pakistan.

Canada Rewards Terrorists; Israel Punishes Them: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, July 4, 2017— Two news stories concerning terrorism should make Canadians realize that not only are we being governed under the doctrine of "sock and awe," but that our values have turned upside down in a bizarro world, one of our own making.


On Topic Links


ISIS, Despite Heavy Losses, Still Inspires Global Attacks: Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, July 8, 2017

The Islamic State of Al-Qaeda: A.J. Caschetta, The New English Review, July 2017

Trudeau Skips the Theme Socks for His Scheming Khadr Apology: Rex Murphy, National Post, July 7, 2017

No Justice, ‘No Value’ for Women in a Lawless Afghan Province: Mujib Mashal and Zahra Nader, New York Times, July 8, 2017





                             Peter Metzger

                                                  National Review, June 23, 2017


The press is missing something lately. The media myopia for the on-again-off-again Russia matters of late has drawn important attention away from one actual, ongoing threat: a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the possibility of a renewed terrorist safe haven there. A toppled Kabul would provide a sanctuary in the Khorasan for al-Qaeda and the rapidly growing Islamic State presence — both clear and present threats to the United States that we fail to see covered in the media. Journalists’ nearsighted focus on all things Russian has blinded them to the intensifying dangers in the Middle East.


Recently, al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a new but familiar statement calling for Muslims to wage jihad in defense of Islam regardless of country of origin. Notably, al-Qaeda released the message with an English transcript. The terror network seems to be taking a page from the Islamic State playbook in terms of mass communications and calling for jihadist global unity. So too has the heir apparent to al-Qaeda leadership and son of Osama bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, begun to release targeted statements encouraging jihad. Al-Qaeda is, unfortunately, alive and repackaging itself for 21st-century extremists.


That brings us to the current state of affairs in Afghanistan — the same country that served as a pre-9/11 hub for al-Qaeda under Taliban rule. Less than three weeks ago, on May 31, a truck bomb destroyed an entire city block in Kabul, resulting in a staggering 150 deaths. It was a tragedy for our allies in the Afghan capital, and it evinces the badly faltering infrastructure in Afghanistan.


In the days following the attack on May 31, protesters took to the streets of Kabul to call for answers from President Ashraf Ghani. Several protesters died as Afghan police attempted to regain control. The following day, terrorists launched three separate attacks during the funeral of one of the protesters, the son of an Afghan official. In the northeastern province of Nangarhar, the fight with the Islamic State has ramped up significantly in 2017. On April 13, the United States executed a strike in Nangarhar, employing the much-touted “Mother of All Bombs” against Islamic State fighters. On multiple occasions in April and again this month, U.S. servicemen have been killed in the same province while conducting combat operations, also against Islamic State operatives.


All this to say that the security situation in Afghanistan is not stable, although it seems that few notice in the wake of the media’s Russian fixation. Should the government of Afghanistan fall, the Afghan Taliban would almost certainly regain control. The Taliban have had an increasing presence since Obama ordered the force withdrawal of 2014. By some reports, the Taliban now control or contest as many as 40 percent of the districts in Afghanistan.


“So what?” some might ask. The reason it matters is that if the Taliban again gain a foothold in Kabul and in the governance of greater Afghanistan, terror networks will once again have a safe haven — just as al-Qaeda did after their ouster from Sudan in 1996 and in the pre-9/11 years during the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and, later, on the USS Cole. The resurgence of the Taliban would be a near threat to our national security, and it would appallingly devalue the sacrifices our military and intelligence community have made in Afghanistan for almost 16 years to ensure that jihadist organizations have no such asylum.


As the media and partisans chase their tails on all matters Russian, they seem to be missing the critical news that Afghanistan appears to be drifting toward the brink of collapse — all while our allies in the Afghan government and their citizens continue to suffer at the hands of terrorists. In the eyes of too many reporters, the Kabul bombing in the middle of the capital’s diplomatic corridor, the deaths of more Afghans in the days after the bombing, and the escalating conflict against the Islamic State are far less newsworthy than the many fantastical notions of “Russian collusion.” The unbalanced coverage does not reflect the importance to our national security of stability in Afghanistan. That hard-won stability is under threat; the media should not avert its gaze.                                                   





Rahmatullah Nabil and Melissa Skorka

Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2017


With the Trump administration considering how to break the stalemate between Taliban-allied groups and the government of Afghanistan, terrorists detonated a car bomb in Kabul on May 31, killing more than 150. Afghan intelligence blamed the violence on Haqqani, a terror network with close ties to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. The attack demonstrates that Washington needs to focus on the threat from Haqqani, which has also consolidated militant factions across strategic regions of the war zone.


Haqqani’s ties to Pakistan make political solutions essential. Islamabad has shown no sign it is genuinely willing to end its support of terror proxies and reconcile with the Kabul regime. Yet the success of the administration’s recent decision to deepen U.S. involvement in the Afghan war will depend on whether Haqqani can be defeated, co-opted, or separated from the ISI, which for decades has relied on militant proxies to further Pakistani interests in Afghanistan.


Since 9/11, Haqqani has evolved from a relatively small, tribal-based jihadist network into one of the most influential terrorist organizations in South Asia. It is largely responsible for the violence in Kabul and the most notorious attacks against the coalition. It masterminded the 19-hour siege on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in 2011, and allegedly facilitated an assault on a U.S. Consulate near the Iran border in 2013 and a 2009 suicide bombing of a U.S. base in Khost province, which killed seven CIA operatives. The group also holds five American hostages in Pakistan. Since the 2013 death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, Haqqani has become the only group with the cohesion, influence and geographic reach to provide Pakistan with “strategic depth”—a territorial buffer on its western border.


Pakistan denies sponsoring terror proxies and continues to work with the U.S. in counterterrorism against certain anti-Pakistan groups. But Western and Afghan officials say Islamabad also sponsors terrorism in order to undermine Afghanistan and India. In 2011 Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Haqqani a “veritable arm” of the ISI.


Haqqani is a central element of the strategic challenge that faces the U.S. and its allies. The network’s expanding operations in northern and southeastern Afghanistan, and especially in Kabul, over the past decade have enabled its Taliban affiliates to “control or contest” territory accounting for about one-third of the Afghan population, or nearly 10 million. That’s a higher proportion of the population than Islamic State controlled in Syria and Iraq at the height of its power in 2014, according to CNN’s Peter Bergen. The militants’ wide reach makes it hard for NATO forces to build enduring partnerships with Afghan civilians.


As the debate intensifies over how the U.S. should respond in Afghanistan, Washington must also change its approach to Pakistan. As a first step, the president should appoint an envoy who would lead diplomatic and intelligence efforts to buttress the Kabul regime against terrorism. The envoy would also sharpen the focus on Pakistan in bilateral diplomacy with countries that have good relations with Islamabad, such as China, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. The envoy would also oversee relations among Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia and India, focusing on the formulation of political solutions. A U.S. alignment with India would more effectively check Pakistan, while improved U.S. relations with China, cemented over shared concerns about escalating violence and economic security, could pressure Islamabad and its proxies into a political settlement.


The U.S. should also press Pakistan to stop providing sanctuary to terrorists. That would require Washington to consider publicly exposing the extent to which officials at the highest levels of the Pakistan military and ISI support terror. Such moves against an ostensible ally would be unusual and would require advanced measures to protect intelligence sources and methods. But the U.S. has tolerated Pakistan’s duplicity for 16 years, and it hasn’t worked.


Equally important, the Afghan National Security Forces are unequipped for infiltration by Haqqani factions. The U.S. and NATO allies should increase political intelligence and military resources to ease into a strengthened combat-support role, training and mentoring the Afghan forces. A more adaptive political-military NATO campaign would help reduce the threat from Haqqani, eventually enabling Afghan troops to move from defense to offense against increasingly capable adversaries.


Without a broader shift in the U.S. approach to build a more peaceful regional order, the Kabul terror attack may be a harbinger of a more dangerous war to come—one in which Haqqani would play a more important role in the Afghan conflict and global jihad than any other militant network in the region. Pakistan must account for its support of terrorists and face incentives to act more like an ally that would benefit from increased stability in South Asia and beyond.





Husain Haqqani

New York Times, July 6, 2017


President Trump’s review of American policy in Afghanistan should involve adopting a tougher approach to Pakistan. Although the Taliban are said to control or contest 40 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, Taliban leaders operate from the safety of Pakistan. United States incentives since the Sept. 11 attacks have failed to dissuade Pakistan from supporting the Taliban, and Mr. Trump must now consider alternatives.


Reading Pakistan correctly has not always been easy for American officials. Pakistan was a key American ally during the Cold War, the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan and the post-Sept. 11 operations against Al Qaeda. But for Pakistan the alliance has been more about securing weapons, economic aid and diplomatic support in its confrontation with India. The United States and Pakistan have both disappointed each other because of divergence in their interests in South Asia.


The George W. Bush administration erred in ignoring the regrouping of the Taliban in Pakistan after their defeat in Afghanistan in the aftermath of Sept. 11, considering Pakistan’s cooperation in capturing some Qaeda figures as sufficient evidence of its alliance with the United States. President Barack Obama’s administration tried to deal with a resurgent Taliban with a surge in troop numbers for a specific period. Mr. Obama deployed armed drones to strike at Taliban targets inside Pakistan, but that proved insufficient in dealing with the leadership living in the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Peshawar.


Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military dictator, had secretly authorized the drone strikes, and some of the drones operated from bases inside Pakistan — a policy that continued under his civilian successors. Under his rule, Pakistan audaciously denied having anything to do with the Afghan Taliban or its most sinister component, the Haqqani network.


But the United States presented evidence of Pakistan’s links to Afghan militants just as Pakistan transitioned from military to civilian rule in 2008. As Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States for the new civilian government, I urged Pakistan’s civil and military leaders to engage with Americans honestly instead of sticking to blanket denials. Islamabad’s response was to argue that Pakistan does, indeed, support insurgents in Afghanistan, but it does so because of security concerns about India, which is seen by generals and many civilian leaders as an existential threat to Pakistan.


But that excuse is based on exaggerations and falsehoods. India has no offensive military presence in Afghanistan and there has never been any evidence that the Afghans are willing to be part of India’s alleged plan for a two-front war with Pakistan. Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, recently asked India to train Afghan military officers and repair military aircraft after frustration with Pakistan, which failed to fulfill promises of restraining the Taliban and forcing them to the negotiating table.


Pakistan’s leaders question Afghanistan’s acceptance of economic assistance from India even though Pakistan does not have the capacity to provide such aid itself.


It seems that Pakistan wants to keep alive imaginary fears, possibly to maintain military ascendancy in a country that has been ruled by generals for almost half of its existence. For years Pakistani officials falsely asserted that India had set up 24 consulates in Afghanistan, some close to the Pakistani border. In fact, India has only four consulates, the same number Pakistan has, in Afghanistan. Lying about easily verifiable facts is usually the tactic of governments fabricating a threat rather than ones genuinely facing one. As ambassador, I attended trilateral meetings where my colleagues rejected serious suggestions from Afghans and Americans to mitigate apprehensions about Indian influence in Afghanistan.


While evidence of an Indian threat to Pakistan through Afghanistan remains scant, proof of the presence of Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan continues to mount. Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s leader, reportedly died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013 and his successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in an American drone strike in Baluchistan Province in Pakistan last year.


The United States should not let Pakistan link its longstanding support for hard-line Pashtun Islamists in Afghanistan to its disputes with India. Both India and Pakistan have a lot of blood on their hands in Kashmir and seem in no hurry to resolve their disagreement, which is rooted in the psychosis resulting from the subcontinent’s bitter partition. The two countries have gone through 45 rounds of summit-level talks since 1947 and have failed to reach a permanent settlement.


Linking the outcome in Afghanistan to resolution of India-Pakistan issues would keep the United States embroiled there for a very long time. The recent rise in Islamophobia in India and a more aggressive stance against Pakistan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not detract from recognizing the paranoiac nature of Pakistan’s fears. The Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban.


The Trump administration should now consider taking away Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, which would limit its priority access to American military technology. Aid to Pakistan should be linked to a sequence and timeline for specific actions against Taliban leaders. Sanctions against individuals and institutions involved in facilitating Pakistan-based Taliban leaders and pursuing Taliban reconciliation talks without depending on Pakistan could be other measures signaling a firmer United States stance.


Moving away from an incentive-based approach would not be punishing Pakistan. The United States would be acting as a friend, helping Pakistan realize through tough measures that the gravest threat to its future comes from religious extremism it is fostering in its effort to compete with India. Negotiating a peaceful settlement with the Taliban also remains desirable, but it is important to remember the difficulties 21st-century negotiators face while seeking compromise with seventh-century mind-sets.





Tarek Fatah

Toronto Sun, July 4, 2017


Two news stories concerning terrorism should make Canadians realize that not only are we being governed under the doctrine of "sock and awe," but that our values have turned upside down in a bizarro world, one of our own making. first to Israel, where on Monday the government revealed it has filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against the family of a terrorist who drove a truck into a group of military personnel killing four Israeli soldiers.


Attacker Fadi al-Qunbar was shot dead shot and killed in January, and the matter would have rested there. But this time Israel has made the landmark decision to sue against any inheritance the terrorist left to his family. The lawsuit, which is expected to be the first of many similar cases, demands a total of more than $2.3 million. Israel's Minister of the Interior Arye Dery told the Haaretz newspaper, "From now on, anyone who plots, plans or considers carrying out a terrorist attack will know that his family will pay a heavy price for his deed."


Not so in Canada. On the same day as the terrorist Fadi al-Qumbar was being penalized by Israel, in Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government announced that convicted terrorist Omar Khadr, who in October 2010 had pleaded guilty to "murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, spying, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism," was to receive a $10M "compensation" for his troubles and an official apology from the Government of Canada.


Mr. Khadr, now 30, was 15 in July 2002 when he lived in an Afghan compound with a group of bomb-building Islamic jihadis planting roadside explosives. Afterwards, U.S. troops stormed the house and this is where a grenade thrown by Khadr killed Sergeant Christopher Speer, a medic who was helmet-less and dressed in Afghan clothing. It is true that at the time Omar Khadr committed his act of terror and murder, he was only 15 years old, but in the context of the war against civilization by Islamic terrorists, be they from the Taliban, ISIS, Al-Shabab, or Boko Haram, the vast number of volunteers who have taken up arms and carried out war crimes are in their teens.


For bleeding-heart liberals whose guilt-ridden frame of mind cannot comprehend beyond the storybook picture of the child soldiers hired by African war lords, this may be a shock, but the ultimate hero of Muslims in the part of the world Omar Khadr was photographed making IEDs, is the 8th century 17-year old Arab invader of India called Muhammad Bin Qasim, and from Kabul to Karachi every child jihadi wishes to emulate the rape and plunder of this Arab jihadi. We are not dealing with the God's Army in Uganda or the Liberian child soldiers of the 1990s. The Muslim boys who go to fight jihad do so not under any pressure, but for the lure of entering Paradise and meeting the opposite gender for the first time. This may sound bizarre to the non-Muslim, but trust me, this is not fiction nor propaganda.


But there may still be some poetic justice in the end. Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sargent Speer, moved to finalize a default civil-suit judgment against Omar Khadr. The court granted the plaintiffs a total of US$134.1 million in damages. It would be sweet revenge if the $10M "compensation" went straight from Omar Khadr's pockets to Sgt. Speer's widow.



On Topic Links


ISIS, Despite Heavy Losses, Still Inspires Global Attacks: Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, July 8, 2017—Three years ago, a black-clad cleric named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a mosque pulpit in the Iraqi city of Mosul and addressed the world as leader of a new terrorist state.

The Islamic State of Al-Qaeda: A.J. Caschetta, The New English Review, July 2017—With Iraqi forces now controlling most of Mosul and the siege of Raqqa underway, many are predicting the imminent demise of the Islamic State. ISIS propagandists argue that the caliphate can withstand the loss of territory, but without a "state" to fight for, many jihadis will look elsewhere for support and inspiration.

Trudeau Skips the Theme Socks for His Scheming Khadr Apology: Rex Murphy, National Post, July 7, 2017—How and when Canadians were let in on the Trudeau government’s lavish settlement and accompanying official apology to Omar Khadr are its most curious and telling elements.

No Justice, ‘No Value’ for Women in a Lawless Afghan Province: Mujib Mashal and Zahra Nader, New York Times, July 8, 2017—There are three versions of how Tabaruk, a mother of six, died this spring during a journey through treacherous snow-covered mountains in Afghanistan.