Tag: Israel Apartheid week


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


As IAW is With us Again:



Edward Beck

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 12, 2014


What a year it’s been on campus in the war for and against Israel on campus. Things are heating up on American campuses in a way we haven’t seen since the second intifada.


Three American and one international academic associations have developed a foreign policy for their association either to boycott Israeli scholars or academic institutions (with several more societies contemplating such actions this Spring).


Hillel’s new president, Eric Fingerhut, clarifying Hillel’s policies about what political programming is not acceptable in Hillel facilities caused significant dissension and rebellion at a number of campuses.

250 of American’s nearly 4,000 college and university presidents condemned academic boycott resolutions to one degree or another, while faculty held closed “academic conferences” on some of those very same campuses to try to plan and spread those actions to vulnerable and receptive academic colleagues around the globe.

Legislation is pending in the Congress and in several state legislatures to penalize academics and universities that participate in academic boycotts with both acceptance and rejection by Israel advocacy and other groups, both major and minor.

“Big Tent” academic approaches to difficult discussions are being decried and thwarted by extremist line-drawing, name-calling academics and polemicists with PhDs, from both the Left and the Right. Academics and polemicists of all stripes are claiming that academic boycotts and efforts to resist academic boycotts are threats to academic freedom. The list goes on, and will develop radically and exponentially as we head into Spring Break toward the end of the academic year since we can predict that the war will heat up between the end of Spring Break and before finals, as it always does on campus. These developments point to the fact that the Jewish community has never been more heatedly divided in facing significant intellectual and academic threats to the Jewish people, Judaism and Israel and that we really need to have some serious discussions among ourselves about unified approaches to these existential threats…                                          

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]





Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the Lowering of the Canadian Flag in Afghanistan: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister’s Office, Mar. 12, 2014— Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the lowering of the Canadian Flag by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

Reflecting on Wins, Losses as Canadian Troops Prepare for Afghan Pullout: Mathew Fisher, Montreal Gazette, Mar. 10, 2014 — An Egyptian court ban on Hamas activities could push the increasingly isolated Palestinian Islamist movement into another battle with Israel, analysts say.                  

U.S. General Warns of Perils in Leaving Afghanistan: Helene Cooper, New York Times, Mar. 12, 2014 — Egypt faces plenty of threats, from a growing insurgency in the Sinai to a shaky and still unstable presidential regime.

Twenty-Five Years After Soviet Afghanistan Withdrawal: Michael Rubin, Commentary, Feb. 12, 2014 — When the last war between Egypt and Israel was fought in 1973, Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi was almost 19 years old.


On Topic Links


Paranoia in Kabul: David Devoss, Weekly Standard, Feb. 24, 2014

Timeline: Involved since 2001, Canada Wraps Up its Mission in Afghanistan: Christina Commisso, CTV News, Mar. 11, 2014

Al-Qaida Plots Comeback in Afghanistan: Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press, Feb. 28, 2014
The Grinning Generals Who Highlight Flaws in our Afghanistan Exit: Rob Crilly, Telegraph, Feb. 20, 2014

Will 'Zero Option' in Afghanistan Cause Chaos?: Robert Burns, Associated Press, Feb. 28, 2014




Stephen Harper                      

Prime Minister’s Office, March 12, 2014


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the lowering of the Canadian Flag by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan:


“Today, the Canadian Flag was lowered at NATO’s International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul for the last time. Since 2001, Canada has deployed its largest military contingent in generations to the region, and now our mission in Afghanistan draws to a close.


“The end of the military mission and the lowering of the flag is a significant milestone in the fight against global terror. Over 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members have fought to defeat the threat of terrorism and to ensure the freedom of others, to build a stronger, safer world. In the course of this fight, many have paid the ultimate price. 


“Their courage and dedication has brought much pride to our country. I look forward to personally welcoming home the last contingent of Canada’s brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces when they return home on the final flight from Afghanistan on March 18. I also look forward at that time to announcing details of Canada’s plans to formally commemorate the mission in Afghanistan. Canada will continue to play an important role in supporting efforts that contribute to building a better future for all Afghans.”    



REFLECTING ON WINS, LOSSES AS CANADIAN                                       TROOPS PREPARE FOR AFGHAN PULLOUT                                        

Mathew Fisher                                                                        

Montreal Gazette, Mar. 10, 2014


In soldiers’ parlance, I did six tours in Afghanistan. Over 12 years, I spent more than three years in that benighted country, covering Canada’s longest war ever, beginning in Kandahar and Kabul, then Kandahar again and the end piece, which has been a training and mentoring mission in Kabul. As I witness Ukraine teeter on the brink of war over Russia’s designs on Crimea, the last handful of Canadian military trainers serving in Afghanistan are about to go home.


It was all so new and exciting in early 2002 when a battalion from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry lived among the ruins of Kandahar Airfield. The Pats were heavily involved in the hunt for Osama bin Laden in the mountains near the Afghan border with Pakistan. The darkest days followed Canada’s only decisive victory over the Taliban in Kandahar during the summer of 2006. The enemy learned from Operation Medusa. Never again did it concentrate its forces. From then on, the Taliban did most of its fighting with homemade landmines. For several years, Canada had no meaningful counter to this menace. But by sticking at it in the face of mounting casualties – like the boy who put his finger in that Dutch dike – the Canadians prevented Kandahar from falling to the Taliban.


The momentum shifted in favour of Canada and its Afghan allies in 2009 after the Manley report to Parliament got the troops the helicopters and drones they badly needed and insisted that additional NATO forces (Americans) must join the battle in Kandahar, which changed the battle space geometry. For the first time, Canada was able to concentrate its forces and attention on districts to the south and immediately west of Kandahar City. The designer of the “ink spot” strategy that evolved was Lt.-Gen. Jon Vance, now the second-ranking NATO officer in Italy and soon to become Canada’s top “operator” as commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command. Shrugging off praise for his Afghan strategy, Vance called it “Insurgency 101″ when I reached him the other day by telephone in Naples.


Vance had two combat commands in Afghanistan, so is well-placed to ponder the country’s future as Canada and NATO wind down their operations. Like me, the general has reservations about the Afghan government and wonders what might have been. “I am not convinced all of the Afghan political elite were honestly working towards the creation of a political movement that would be more powerful than the Taliban with an enlightening message for the people,” he said. “It seems to me there was not a wider catching on of those messages in the political architecture in Afghanistan so that the Taliban narrative got pushed out by a more positive Afghan narrative.” Vance’s point was that the Afghan government had a vital political role to play in the counter-insurgency. “You can’t be as effective as you want if the government is not there,” he said. “I don’t want too be too critical, to be too hard. They did not have enough white-collar capacity, for example. But I do wish that that part had been better.”

Vance and I differ somewhat over what Canadians think of the war and why. My view has been that Canadians were given an unnecessarily hysterical view of the situation by the media during the first half of the combat mission in Kandahar and heard far less about how Canada had turned the situation around during its last two years in the south. “Honestly, I am on the side of the ledger that the Canadian people did understand Afghanistan,” Vance said. “I think that they saw the nature of the Afghan conflict and found it difficult to arrive at a firm, satisfactory solution. That is pretty astute, because so did we.”


The roughest time for me, personally, in Afghanistan was when my colleague, Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald, died alongside four soldiers in a roadside bombing just after Christmas in 2009. Having had dinner with Michelle not long before that in Alberta, and seeing her flag-draped coffin getting loaded into an aircraft, I could not for a long time reconcile two such different memories. Vance’s “toughest emotional moment” in Afghanistan happened six months earlier when Cpl. Nick Bulger, who was travelling with the general, as he often did, was killed by another roadside bomb.


“Every casualty was a real kick in the stomach,” Vance said. “It hurt especially when everybody had done the right thing. They were superbly trained and nobody did anything wrong. The nature of war is that you can get killed or injured at any time. It is capricious.” That was the precise message that my father, who fought in Normandy, Belgium and Holland, imparted to me when I went off to war with the U.S. Marines in Iraq and the Canadians in Afghanistan. War’s caprices were something I reflected on during every one of the dozens of solemn ramp ceremonies that I attended for Canada’s war dead in Kandahar. They will be on my mind again when the Canadian flag is lowered for the last time in Afghanistan.




Helene Cooper                                                                               

New York Times, Mar. 12, 2014


The top American commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday that Al Qaeda would regroup and stage another attack on the West from Afghanistan if international troops completely withdrew from the country at the end of 2014. Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., said that as long as a new president of Afghanistan was in place by August, he was confident that a new security agreement would be signed to allow American and international troops to leave a residual force in the country, as military commanders would like, and as President Obama has said is his preferred option.


But General Dunford warned that if Afghanistan’s coming elections did not produce a new president by August, the residual force and the long-term stability of Afghanistan would be threatened. “The risk to an orderly withdrawal begins to get high in September, because of the number of tasks that need to be accomplished,” General Dunford said. “We still have plenty of flexibility to adjust in July.” He said that if Afghanistan signed a new security agreement with the United States, he would feel comfortable with a residual international force of between 8,000 and 12,000 troops. Those forces would train, advise and assist Afghan forces and also provide security for American commando operations. Under current Pentagon planning, about two-thirds of those forces would come from the United States.


President Obama announced two weeks ago that he had instructed the Pentagon to begin planning for a complete withdrawal of American forces because the departing president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was continuing to refuse to sign the security agreement. But in his testimony on Wednesday, General Dunford echoed fears expressed by other military leaders who have warned that a complete pullout of troops could end up negating 12 years of American fighting in Afghanistan. Without a core of Western troops remaining to support the Afghan government and continue training the security forces, General Dunford said, the chances are high that significant parts of the country will fall back under Taliban control, as they had been before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


Nonetheless, Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pressed General Dunford on why, after more than a decade of war, American forces should remain in Afghanistan. “Can you honestly tell the American people, can you tell the people in West Virginia, that we should be in Afghanistan, stay in Afghanistan, it’s our purpose to do that?” Mr. Manchin asked. “This one makes no sense to any West Virginian at all, not anywhere I go in my state.”

General Dunford insisted that if American forces went down to zero, it would be only a matter of time before the Taliban retook Afghanistan. “The deterioration of the Afghan forces begins to happen fairly quickly in 2015,” he said. “Units would run out of fuel, pay systems would not be completely operable, spare parts would not be available for vehicles and so we’d start to see decreased readiness in the Afghan security forces.” The hearing also touched on the crisis in Ukraine. Asked whether the United States could still get its equipment out of Afghanistan even if Russia cut off supply routes in retaliation for American sanctions against Russia, General Dunford said, “Yes.”                                                          




Michael Rubin                             

Commentary, Feb. 14, 2014


A quarter century ago tomorrow, the last Soviet tanks rolled across the “Friendship Bridge” into Termez, a small town in Soviet Uzbekistan. The nightmare which the Soviet experience in Afghanistan had become was finally over. Twenty-five years later, the Soviet experience still matters.


Washington D.C. in general and the White House in particular are infamous for convincing themselves that their own spin matters. As the United States prepares to withdraw most if not all of its forces from Afghanistan, political leaders and perhaps even some political generals will testify that the withdrawal confirms victory and a mission complete. They can spend hundreds of man hours crafting talking points and convince themselves that such things matter, but Afghans let alone the wider world interpret events through their own experience, not that of Washington spin artists.


Every Afghan tribal leader, village elder, and politician lived through the Soviet withdrawal and interprets current events through their own experience. So, what do they see? With the assistance of my colleague Ahmad Majidyar, I was asked to address this question at a presentation for a U.S. army unit. Here’s the core:


On one level, the goals of the Soviet Union and United States are remarkably similar on a macro level: Both seek the survival of the system they helped construct. The Soviets hoped to prevent outright Mujahedin victory, while the United States (and its NATO partners) seek to prevent outright Taliban victory. Both engaged similar efforts to advise, assist, and train. Policymakers in both cases were ambitious: The Soviets initially envisioned a 15,000-man advisory team, but ultimately settled for just a couple hundred. Likewise, it seems the United States might have to settle for far less than what its military strategies say is necessary.


Both the United States and Soviet Union faced similar obstacles: First was military stalemate. And, make no mistake, the United States and NATO are stalemated militarily by the Taliban, although that is largely because we have made a policy decision in the White House that we will not do what it takes to win. Both the United States and the Soviet Union also faced similar problems emanating from Pakistan, which had become a safe haven for the opposition.

Both Najibullah and Hamid Karzai had pursued a reconciliation strategy which led them to negotiate with the Mujahedin and Taliban respectively. In each case, the negotiations backfired as opponents smelled blood. Simultaneously, both the Soviet Union and United States have sought to bolster local and elite militias. This benefited security in the short term, but was corrosive in the long term. Regardless, both Moscow then and Washington now swore by the professionalism of their respective 350,000-man Afghan military. Such military, however, was heavily dependent on foreign assistance.


The Soviet Union and then Russia continued to provide about $3 billion in aid for each of the three years after the withdrawal, but as soon as the money ran dry, his regime and its military collapsed. The same will likely hold true for Karzai and the new Afghanistan Security Forces. A major difference, however, is that Afghanistan’s Najibullah-era air force could operate independently. Such cannot be said about Afghanistan’s air force today, which cannot function without ISAF assistance. That said, Karzai’s regime has international recognition. The Soviets had simply appointed Najibullah, who was therefore never able to claim internal legitimacy let alone win broad external recognition.


2014 will be a pivotal year for Afghanistan. The White House might hope for stability, but given the degree to which Afghans see history repeating, the opposite is much more likely true: As soon as the money runs out, expect the system to unravel. Momentum matters, and the first few defections will lead to a deluge. Many Afghans expect a civil war, or at least a multi-party civil struggle. How unfortunate this is, because it did not need to be this way.


Paranoia in Kabul: David Devoss, Weekly Standard, Feb. 24, 2014 —With a presidential election less than two months away, all eyes in Afghanistan should be on the coming vote.

Timeline: Involved since 2001, Canada Wraps Up its Mission in Afghanistan: Christina Commisso, CTV News, Mar. 11, 2014—Canada's military efforts in Afghanistan will end this month, with the withdrawal of the last 100 soldiers from Kabul, where they had been wrapping up training of Afghan National Security Forces.

Al-Qaida Plots Comeback in Afghanistan: Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press, Feb. 28, 2014 —Al-Qaida's Afghanistan leader is laying the groundwork to relaunch his war-shattered organization once the United States and international forces withdraw from the country, as they have warned they will do without a security agreement from the Afghan government, U.S. officials say.
The Grinning Generals Who Highlight Flaws in our Afghanistan Exit: Rob Crilly, Telegraph, Feb. 20, 2014 —So it's your first week in one of the most senior positions running international forces in Afghanistan. In the military jargon, you have just taken responsibility for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and are the deputy commanding general of American forces in the country. You might assume that your every move is subject to scrutiny.

Will 'Zero Option' in Afghanistan Cause Chaos?: Robert Burns, Associated Press, Feb. 28, 2014 —If President Barack Obama were to decide to leave no military advisory force in Afghanistan next year, would Afghan security unravel to the point of enabling a civil war, a Taliban takeover and a return of al-Qaida in such numbers as to pose a 9/11-type threat?









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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org


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


The Return of the Israel Apartheid Week Cult: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Feb. 25, 2014— In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike.

Egypt Ban Could Push Hamas Into New Fight With Israel: Philippe Agret & Adel Zaanoun, Times of Israel, Mar. 6, 2014 — An Egyptian court ban on Hamas activities could push the increasingly isolated Palestinian Islamist movement into another battle with Israel, analysts say.

Sisi’s Gas Pains: Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy,  Feb. 21, 2014 — Egypt faces plenty of threats, from a growing insurgency in the Sinai to a shaky and still unstable presidential regime.

Egyptian Field Marshal Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi: A Profile: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 27, 2014 — When the last war between Egypt and Israel was fought in 1973, Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi was almost 19 years old.


On Topic Links


The Big Boycott Bluff: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2014

The Bottom Line on Israeli Apartheid Week: Canadian Jewish News, Mar. 4, 2014

Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt After Mubarak and Morsi: New York Times, Jan. 27, 2014
Egypt to Revoke Citizenship of Nearly 14,000 Palestinians Affiliated With Hamas: Ariel Ben Solomon

, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2014

Disbelief After Egypt Announces Cures For Aids and Hepatitis C: Kareem Fahim & Mayy El Sheikh

, New York Times, Feb. 26, 2014



Jonathan Kay                                 

National Post, Feb. 25, 2014


In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike. Iran’s mullahs are set to execute a Canadian citizen for the crime of operating a web site they don’t like. The new Libyan regime is torturing Gaddafi loyalists. And Egypt’s rulers are prosecuting NGO leaders on trumped-up charges. And so next week, Canadian left-wing activists will congregate in Toronto to express their hatred of … you guessed it: Israel.


The events of March 5-9 will take place as part of the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), and will feature presentations such as “Cutting the Ties to Israeli Apartheid: Cultural and Academic Boycott,” and “Rhymes Of Resistance And The Sounds Of Existence — with poets Remi Kanazi, Red Slam and Chand-nee.” The IAW website is full of the usual rhetoric about Israel’s “criminal” actions. There is not a word of acknowledgement about how utterly ridiculous it is to run a week-long event vilifying Israel when right next door in Syria, the government has just exterminated more Arabs than were killed in both Intifidas, the 2008 Gaza conflict, and the 2006 Lebanon war combined.


The timing of IAW this year truly does represent something of a farce. The eyes of the entire world are focused on Syria and the Strait of Hormuz. Even West Bank Palestinians themselves now seem more concerned with building up their economy than with grand international gestures aimed at the Jewish state. And in the “occupied” Golan Heights, Druze Muslims have been stirring — not against Israel, but against the Assad regime that many once looked to for “liberation.” In the streets of Cairo, Sana’a and Tunis, no one is talking about Israel — only about when they will get the democracy they were promised. Only among cultish, single-minded anti-Israel activists has the news of the Arab Spring failed to circulate.


The word “cultish” is used here advisedly — because even some veteran anti-Israel activists are getting tired of the false mantras that circulate at IAW events. This includes no less an anti-Zionist than Norman Finkelstein (who has called Israel a “vandal state” that “relentlessly and brutally and inhumanly keeps these vicious, murderous wars”). Speaking to an interviewer earlier this month, he attacked the animating philosophy behind IAW — the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS) — as a “cult,” and an unsuccessful one at that.


National Post editorial writers have attended BDS events here in Toronto, and they all contain the same rousing assurances that the BDS movement will bring Israel to its knees. The self-consciously enforced spirit of viva la revolución solidarity that permeates these rallies reminds one of communist rallies in the days before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Year after year, we hear the same clichés about how the BDS movement is on the cusp of victory. Yet the Israeli economy continues to prosper, and the only groups that have fallen into line with the boycott call are scattered NGOs and low-tier universities. “All [the BDS] claims about ‘victories’ [against Israel]: These 10 fingers more than suffice to count their victories,” Mr. Finkelstein said this month. “It’s a cult. The guru says: ‘We have all these victories,’ and everyone nods their head.”


Of greater concern to Mr. Finkelstein, a former university professor and the author of many controversial books, is the sheer dishonesty that permeates the BDS movement. “We have to be honest: They [BDS activists] don’t want Israel. They think they’re being clever. They call it their three tiers. ‘We want to end of the occupation,’ ‘We want the right of return [for Palestinian refugees],’ ‘And we want equal rights for Arab citizens.’ But they know the result of implementing all three is — what? You and I both know: There’s no Israel. [If you ask them about it, they say] ‘Oh we’re agnostic about Israel.’ No. You’re not agnostic. You don’t want it [to exist].”


In fairness to the IAW activists who will be assembling on campuses in coming days, not all of them seek the outright destruction of Israel — though many certainly do. Some are merely naive undergraduates who truly do believe in two secure, peaceful states living side by side. Others are bored veterans of other activist movements, such as anti-racism and gay rights, looking to the Middle East to recapture the sense of moral purpose once provided by the (successful) fight against discrimination here in Canada. But all of them should understand that IAW and BDS are not what they seem: As some of Israel’s own fiercest critics themselves now admit, these are dishonest cults meant to enlist ill-informed activists in a campaign to destroy the Jewish state.



Times of Israel, Mar. 6, 2014


An Egyptian court ban on Hamas activities could push the increasingly isolated Palestinian Islamist movement into another battle with Israel, analysts say. The latest move marked a further deterioration in ties between Egypt and Hamas, which has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and is now the target of a sweeping crackdown by the military-installed government.


Since Morsi’s overthrow, the Egyptian authorities have destroyed hundreds of tunnels along the border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip which had been used to bring in fuel and construction materials, as well as weapons and ammunition. The loss of the tunnels has deepened the economic crisis in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006, and a senior Hamas official warned the court’s move could prompt a new confrontation with Israel. “The situation between Egypt and Hamas has reached the point of no return,” said Mukhaimar Abu Saada, political science professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University. “For Hamas, the choices are extremely limited: reconciliation with (Western-backed Palestinian) president Mahmud Abbas, or open confrontation with Israel to embarrass Egypt and win the sympathy of the Arab world,” he said. “The latter option would be costly and risky.”


On Tuesday, the Egyptian court banned Hamas from operating in the country and moved to seize its assets after accusing it of colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood to carry out attacks…Bassem Naim, an adviser to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya, told AFP the court ruling was “shocking”, and said he hoped it would not translate into “restrictions on people’s movement.” Egypt has severely restricted access through the border town of Rafah — Gaza’s only gate to the world that is not controlled by Israel — ostensibly for security reasons. Ezzat al-Rishq, a Hamas official close to the movement’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, said the ruling “will open the door to new (Israeli) aggression and war against Gaza”.


A fragile Egypt-mediated ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that ended a bloody eight-day conflict in November 2012 has brought more than a year of relative calm, with Hamas policing its borders to prevent rocket fire by rogue militants. Gaza-based political analyst Hani Habib downplayed the court ruling as “a formality which will have little additional impact,” saying border restrictions are nothing new and that Hamas has no offices or major assets in Egypt. But Adnan Abu Amr, a politics professor at Gaza’s Ummah University, said: “A final, definitive break between Egypt and Hamas would mean increased pressure on Gaza, meaning that it could blow up in Egypt or Israel’s faces.”


Political analyst Naji Sharab said the best option for Hamas would be to reconcile with Abbas’s Fatah party, its Palestinian rival based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. But that would require Hamas to moderate its core belief that Israel must be destroyed and accept US-brokered peace negotiations — which it has staunchly refused to do. Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, signed a 2011 reconciliation agreement in Cairo that was meant to heal divisions that boiled over when Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. But the agreement has never been implemented.



SISI’S GAS PAINS                                                                                     

Keith Johnson                                                        

Foreign Policy, Feb. 21, 2014


Egypt faces plenty of threats, from a growing insurgency in the Sinai to a shaky and still unstable presidential regime. But the dramatic reversal in the country's energy fortunes in recent years, and the stark challenges that poses for the economy could end up proving the biggest headache for strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Before the Arab Spring, Egypt turned its abundant reserves of natural gas, the third largest in Africa, into lucrative exports shipped to Europe and Asia. It sent gas by pipeline to neighboring countries, including Jordan and Israel. It had ambitious plans to further develop offshore natural gas resources, and was expanding its creaky electricity system on the back of natural-gas fired power plants.


Today, Egypt is scrambling to import natural gas just to meet skyrocketing domestic demand. Exports have plummeted: One of the two terminals that liquefied natural gas and shipped it to southern Europe has been shuttered since 2012; the other is wheezing, starved of gas for export by voracious demand at home. In a sign of just how quickly Egypt's once-advantageous position has changed, there are reportedly talks underway to import gas from Israel — less than two years after Cairo shut off exports headed there.


The abrupt reversal is a result of unsustainable economic policies, such as generously subsidized fuel prices at home that spur unbridled growth in gas consumption. And it's one big cause for concern about Sisi's ability to tackle the country's economic challenges. The energy crunch threatens the electric power sector and big portions of Egyptian industry. The IMF forecasts Egyptian growth of just 2.8 percent this year, among the lowest in the region, making it even tougher to cut into double-digit unemployment. Coupled with blackouts and energy shortages, that could conjure up a repeat of the tumult of 2011 and 2013, which led to the toppling of Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi. "The inevitable result is energy shortages and the concomitant social pressures that come with blackouts, lack of cooking gas, and fuel," Steven Cook, an Egypt expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Foreign Policy. "Sisi is going to have to confront these serious economic problems or he too will be confronted with people in the streets demanding change, and it won't just be the Muslim Brotherhood."


In 2009, Egypt exported 647 billion cubic feet of gas, mostly liquefied gas to satisfy demand in Europe, but also gas shipped by pipeline to Israel and Jordan. By 2012, gas exports had fallen to less than half, or 256 billion cubic feet; pipeline exports plummeted to one-tenth of their peak level. In 2013 exports continued to plunge. The latest government figures showed nearly a 50 percent decline in year-on-year exports in November. The impacts aren't limited to Egypt or its reeling fiscal situation. Spanish utility Gas Natural Fenosa, which started importing gas from an LNG terminal in Egypt a decade ago, has watched the terminal sit idle since 2012. British gas giant BG Group in January declared "force majeure" and took a $1.2-billion-dollar write-down on its Egyptian LNG operations because natural gas is being diverted from exports for domestic use. The company warned investors that it doesn't know how much, if any, Egyptian gas it will be able to export this year. Consuming countries, including Japan and India, that once imported Egyptian gas have had to find alternative supplies on the spot market.


What's to blame for the sudden turnabout? Gas production has declined in recent years, but that's only partly responsible for the crunch. More important has been the jump in domestic consumption of natural gas, which rose 25 percent between 2009 and 2012 and which has essentially doubled over the last decade. More consumption at home leaves less gas for export, even though gas sold to Europe and especially to Asia is worth billions of dollars a year, while gas fed into the domestic market is kept artificially cheap. Demand is growing so fast because Egypt, like other countries in the Middle East, heavily subsidizes the cost of energy, including fuel for transportation and natural gas for power generation. Energy subsidies alone represent about 10 percent of Egypt's GDP, according to the most recent budget. Natural-gas prices in particular have been kept low for industrial users, the power sector, and especially for households.


The Egyptian government is trying to tackle the cost of energy subsidies, especially as it struggles to rein in a budget deficit approaching 14 percent of GDP. In recent years, Egypt has tweaked the prices that big energy consumers, such as cement manufacturing plants, pay for gas, but the reforms didn't affect the cost of gas used in power generation, the biggest source of domestic demand. This year, backed by a grant from the World Bank, the country started work on a comprehensive reform of energy pricing, but experts say the country will be hard-pressed to roll back subsidies and ease fiscal pressure any time soon. Raising domestic energy prices would threaten social unrest; but spending billions subsidizing energy aggravates the deficit and removes a source of substantial export earnings. "In its attempt to correct energy market structure and distortions, the Egyptian government is caught between a rock and a hard place," concluded one report prepared by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation.


Ultimately, Egypt hopes to pull itself out of the energy crisis by boosting production from the promising reserves found offshore; BP announced a major new gas discovery last fall, for example. But raising production requires getting those international energy firms to invest, something that's proven devilishly difficult thanks to the domestic unrest, unfavorable contract terms for exploration, and the fact that Egypt owes foreign energy firms about $6 billion. Dwindling export revenues and increasing subsidies only add to that financial distress. In the meantime, to meet demand and bridge the supply shortfall in coming years, the Egyptian government is trying to import natural gas, a stark turnabout for a country that was a big supplier.  

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]                                                                




Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah                         

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 27, 2014


When the last war between Egypt and Israel was fought in 1973, Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi was almost 19 years old. Four years later, he graduated from the Military Academy and began an astounding career that brought him in 2012, after 35 years of service, to the top position as Commander in Chief of the Egyptian army and Egypt’s Minister of Defense and Military Production.

Sisi was born on November 19, 1954, and grew up in Gamaliya, Cairo’s old Islamic district. Sisi has been very secretive about his childhood and his origins. His official history begins with his graduation from Egypt’s Military Academy on April 1, 1977.1 His military career is a reflection of the strategic decision made by the late Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat to change Egypt’s course from a Soviet-oriented country and become an ally of the United States and the West. Sisi underwent key training in the U.S. and the UK. He attended a basic infantry course in the U.S. and later attended the Joint Command and Staff College at Kimberly in the UK in 1992. He was sent to the U.S. Army War College in 2006. In Egypt, Sisi completed a Bachelor of Military Sciences and then a Master’s degree from the Egyptian Staff and Command College in 1987. He later went to the Nasser Higher Military Academy in 2003.

Sisi’s career began in the mechanized infantry, where he was, successively, commander of  the 509th mechanized infantry battalion, chief-of-staff of the 134th mechanized infantry brigade, commander of the 16th mechanized infantry brigade, and finally chief-of-staff of the 2nd mechanized infantry division, before being nominated to the prestigious positions of chief-of-staff of the northern military zone in 2008 and afterwards as deputy director of the military intelligence and reconnaissance department (2011).


As such, Sisi was part of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Field Marshal Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, who ruled Egypt after President Mubarak’s resignation in January 2011 until the elections which were won by the Muslim Brotherhood, the best organized but least qualified party. This led to the election of Muslim Brother Mohammad Morsi as president. Morsi took advantage of a surprise terrorist attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula, and replaced the aging Tantawi with Sisi on August 12, 2012, in an unprecedented reshuffle of the military that was meant to signal the takeover of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a whole. Sisi was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General (Fariq Awwal) and also took the post of Minister of Defense and Military Production.


Eleven months later, in response to mass demonstrations calling for Morsi’s overthrow that took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo, as well as in other big Egyptian cities such as Alexandria, Suez, and Port-Said, Sisi presented an ultimatum that the demands of the anti-Morsi demonstrators be met by July 3, 2013. Morsi’s refusal to deal with the issue led to his replacement by a transitional government headed by Hazem el-Beblawi and an interim president, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mansour el-Adly. Sisi became the strong man, keeping his previous positions as head of the armed forces and Minister of Defense and Military Production. On January 27, 2014, Sisi was promoted to the highest rank in the Egyptian army – Field Marshal (Mushir in Arabic) – on the same day in which the Arab press leaked that Sisi had finally decided to run for the office of President of Egypt in the elections to be held in 2014.


Sisi enjoys unprecedented popularity in Egypt. He is viewed as a superhero who saved Egypt from anarchy, civil war, and the despotism of the Muslim Brotherhood. Between TV commercials used to advertise food products, groups on social networking sites, and posters in the street, Egypt has been witnessing “Sisi fever.” Talk shows and newspaper columns have been advocating the idea of the general running for president in order to fight the terrorist threat that they say the country is facing. Local media are also buzzing about the widespread support for a Sisi presidency.


In fact, Sisi has no real competitor. Most of the other potential candidates – Amr Moussa, Ahmad Shafik, Hamdeen Sabahi, Abd el Muneim Aboul Foutouh – have declared that if Sisi would run for president, they would retract their candidacies. Recently, a number of campaigns have been launched calling on the general to run for president. The campaigns are called “Complete Your Favor,” “A Nation’s Demand,” and “Al-Sisi for President.” Their aim is to circulate petitions with the hope that 30 million signatures will convince Sisi to run, just as millions of signatures convinced him to act against Morsi. However, now that he will probably be Egypt’s next president, the question remains: Who in fact is Sisi?…                                         

[To Read the Full Article, with Footnotes, Click the Following Link –ed.]                                     


The Big Boycott Bluff: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2014 —Isolation. Delegitimization. Economic squeeze. Boycott. Boycott. Boycott. Did someone say “boycott”?

The Bottom Line on Israeli Apartheid Week: Canadian Jewish News, Mar. 4, 2014—Israeli Apartheid Week is marking its 10-year anniversary this week across Canada, and as IAW organizers and supporters look back on their movement’s first decade, there’s no doubt it has fundamentally shifted the Israel conversation on campuses across this country and the world.

Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt After Mubarak and Morsi: New York Times, Jan. 27, 2014 —More than two years after the Egyptian uprising that ushered in Mohamed Morsi as the country’s first elected leader, he was deposed by the military. Explore key moments of his rule and the aftermath.
Egypt to Revoke Citizenship of Nearly 14,000 Palestinians Affiliated With Hamas: Ariel Ben Solomon

, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2014 —Egyptian security services began investigating Palestinians in order to revoke their Egyptian citizenship that was granted during the reign of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Disbelief After Egypt Announces Cures For Aids and Hepatitis C: Kareem Fahim & Mayy El Sheikh

, New York Times, Feb. 26, 2014 —At a news conference late last week, an Egyptian Army doctor confidently announced that the country’s military had developed a cure for the virus that causes AIDS, as well as hepatitis C, one of Egypt’s gravest public health threats.







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Daniel Greenfield
FrontPage Mag, March 5, 2013
Every year college campuses across the country hold a festival of hatred aimed at Jews and the Jewish State. Israeli Apartheid Week has become notorious for the targeted harassment of Jewish students, support for Hamas and even physical violence.
This year the David Horowitz Freedom Center has responded to Israeli Apartheid Week with Islamic Apartheid Week. Unlike Israeli Apartheid Week, which is based on a lie, Islamic Apartheid Week addresses the sexism, homophobia and religious bigotry threatening minorities in the Muslim world. To promote Islamic Apartheid Week, the Freedom Center attempted to place an ad in forty college papers.
The ad called “Faces of Islamic Apartheid” drew attention to the victims of Islamic sexism, homophobia and theocracy by briefly telling the stories of gay men hanged in Iran, women and girls murdered by their governments and their families for the crime of falling in love and the Christian Minister for Minorities Affairs in Pakistan’s cabinet who was murdered for trying to reform his country’s theocratic blasphemy laws.
These four women, three men and one little girl were the victims of Islamic Apartheid. Five of them have been murdered. Their memory lives on only when they are remembered. One has been on death row for six years. Telling her story may help save her life. The remaining two live under threat of death.
Instead of listening to their stories, the campus culture of political correctness drowned out their voices and apologized for even allowing their stories to be told.
Nine college papers turned the ad down, five of them in the University of California system which has been criticized for tolerating anti-Semitism. When the California State Assembly passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on campus and warned that no public resources should be used for anti-Semitic hate, the University of California objected on free speech grounds. However free speech for Israeli Apartheid Week did not translate into free speech for Islamic Apartheid Week.
Seven college papers took the advertisement. Of those papers, Tufts University’s Tufts Daily and Austin’s Daily Texan both ran apologies from their editors for even printing the ad.
Tufts Daily editor Martha Shanahan called the decision to run the ad an “editorial oversight.” Daily Texan editor Susannah Jacob denounced the attempt to tell the stories of victimized women and children as “hateful” and “an unspoken incitement to violence.”
Martha Shanahan spent two pages apologizing for the existence of the “Islamophobic and violently offensive” advertisement, the existence of Tufts Daily, its staff and her own existence. At no point during her long series of apologies, did Martha acknowledge that her paper had run four editorials in a single week from Students for Justice in Palestine attacking Israel and promoting hatred for the Jewish State. And in an unequal response to this, it also ran a brief letter from Tufts Friends of Israel distancing itself from the ad and politely suggesting that apartheid shouldn’t be used to refer to Israel.
Anthony Monaco, the President of Tufts University, took to Twitter to denounce the advertisement for vilifying Islam, but made no such denunciation of the Tufts Daily’s op-ed, “The Case for Israeli Apartheid” which (not coincidentally) appeared on the same day as the ad. At Tufts, no one apologizes for accusing democratic Israel of apartheid. There are only apologies when theocratic Iran and Pakistan are accused of practicing Islamic Apartheid.
When anti-Israel voices are outweighed 4-to-1 and the editor apologizes for publishing another perspective that would have made it 4-to-2 then the freedom of debate at Tufts University is in a very sad state. When that same editor prints editorials describing Israel as an apartheid state, but promises to put in place an entire system of oversight to make certain that no advertisement challenging Islamic Apartheid is ever printed again, then a system of censorship has been put into place silencing the voices of victims and encouraging their persecutors.
The Daily Texan’s Susannah Jacob claimed that the crosshairs over the faces of the victims were an incitement to violence when they were actually a way of bringing urgency to the violence that had been committed against them. And making it clear that she never even saw the advertisement that she was denouncing, Susannah described the ad as depicting six women, when it included two gay men, one Christian man and one little girl.
Susannah further distorted the truth about Islamic Apartheid when she described the pervasive sexism, homophobia and theocracy that these people fell victim to as “discrete incidents of violence by Muslims” being used “to implicate all Muslims” while ignoring the fact that five of the victims in the ad had been targeted by their governments or with government backing.
Can the Daily Texan’s editor honestly claim that Iran’s persecution of women and gay men or Pakistan’s persecution of Christians are “discrete incidents of violence”, rather than state policy? Could she find a single human rights organization that would agree with such a dishonest whitewashing of the terror under which millions live?
The responses to the advertisement have established once again that some forms of apartheid are privileged on campus and that some forms of persecution cannot be talked about. Demonizing the Israeli victims of Islamic terror is within the realm of campus free speech, but speaking about the vulnerable minorities in the Muslim world is not.
If the advertisement was wrong, then there would have been no need to censor it. False claims can easily be disproven. Five minutes with Google would have told every reader and editor whether there was any truth to the Faces of Islamic Apartheid.
It is never necessary to censor lies. It is only necessary to censor truth.
That is why the majority of campus papers – ten so far, including Harvard whose editors said they would not print it under any circumstances — refused to run this paid advertisement. It is why those few who did have begun making ritual apologies while lying about its contents. It is why the attacks on the advertisement have taken refuge in vague platitudes about offensiveness, without a single attempt at a factual rebuttal. It is why every response to the advertisement has consisted of claiming that speaking about Islamic bigotry is the real bigotry.
There were eight faces and eight names in the censored advertisement that the President of Tufts, the editors of Tufts Daily, the Daily Texan and the editors of ten college papers that turned down the ad, did not want their students to see or know about because it might disturb the manufactured campus consensus that they have constructed with great effort around Israel and Islamic terrorism.
These are the names. Amina Said. Sarah Said. Afshan Azad. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Shahbas Bhatti. Rimsha Masih. Mahmoud Asgari. Ayaz Marhoni.
They were repressed as individuals. Now their story is being repressed on the American campus.
Patrick Mascoe
DBMoment, March 5, 2013

It’s that time of year again (March 4th – 8th), when our institutions of higher learning take a week out of their busy schedules to collectively confuse the right to free speech with hate speech in order to promote and celebrate anti-Semitism week.   Oh, I know it’s officially called Israel Apartheid Week, but really, whatever you choose to call it, it’s nothing short of absurd. Originally started in 2005, by the Arab Student Collective at the University of Toronto, a number of Canadian and American academic institutions have chosen to blindly follow along.
According to the IAW website, the aim of Israel Apartheid Week is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global movement. Here in North America people have the right to free speech; however, the extremist nature of this event serves not to enlighten the uninformed but rather to promote hatred and intolerance within our university campuses.
Initially, the Toronto Arab Student Collective developed a rudimentary website used specifically to inform its followers of various IAW activities.  However, with the growth of the IAW movement a more sophisticated website entitled, the “Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) Movement” soon emerged claiming to represent the Palestinian National Committee.
Canadian historian David Lowenthal has spoken often about the fact that societies regularly invent false information and fabricate heritage.  This he tells us should not be confused with history.  Interestingly, in the Islamic world the concept of fabrication is known as al-taquiyya and according to Hebrew University professor and author, Raphael Israeli, it is used as a form of jihad to deceive ones’ enemies.    

Whether the term is al-taquiyya or fabrication, the BDS website appears to have intentionally misinformed its readers regarding the wording of historical documents. According to the website, one of their main objectives is to have Israel adhere to United Nations Resolution 194.  The website phrases that request as follows, “Respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”  In truth, Resolution 194, never uses the word Palestinians but does state that, “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so.”    

The majority of countries voting accepted the resolution, but six Arab countries nonetheless rejected it.  Israel, who was not yet a member of the United Nations, did not have a vote.  This appears to be a substantial omission on the part of the BDS Movement.  By ignoring that particular information, and rewording the actual resolution, it appears they have intentionally portrayed Israel as the one who rejected resolution 194.
Another problem with both the BDS and IAW websites is that it limits contact and conceals authorship.  Websites of this nature are known as “cloaked websites.” According to City University New York professor Jessie Daniels, these are websites that often have a political agenda that makes it difficult to distinguish fact from propaganda.   Daniels states, “Cloaked websites deliberately seek to disguise the racism of the authors and the rhetoric used regularly mimics the language of civil rights in order to deceive.”
Both websites intentionally use the apartheid label to describe the state of Israel because it implies a comparison to the apartheid of South Africa where blacks suffered countless atrocities at the hands of their white oppressors.   Is this label accurate or embellished?    According to Oxford professor, Brian Klug, such a comparison is “profoundly unjust.”  Any comparison between Israel and South Africa is based on a “false” analogy with facts having been intentionally misrepresented so as to present Israel in a negative light.      

This might explain why the BDS and IAW organizers seem so selective when using the apartheid stamp.   If apartheid means the racial segregation or discrimination of one group over another then why is it that only Israel wears that label?  Islamic law breaks society down into two distinct groups, believers and non-believers.  Non-believers face suppression of religious beliefs, often cannot hold positions of authority, and have little protection under the law.  Legal segregation based on one’s religion is no different than apartheid based on racial segregation.  So, if Israel is an apartheid state and we view the rest of the Middle East by the same standards, then why is it that only Israel being labeled?
Herein lies the problem with the BDS website and activities like Israel Apartheid Week; it is hard to establish what purpose is really being served.  Is the true goal resolving injustice or is it about disseminating propaganda aimed at university campuses in order to promote intolerance?
Our universities need to be more responsible.  They should not be breeding grounds for hatred and violence.   Universities need to do more than just protect students’ right to free speech.  They also need to protect their right to learn and study in a safe environment, free of intolerance, discrimination, and violence.  


Stephen Schwartz
American Thinker, March 10, 2013
The funding of a significant pro-Iran lobby that funnels money to American universities was disclosed to the wider public for the first time during the U.S. Senate's recent confirmation battle over Chuck Hagel's successful nomination as secretary of defense. By far the largest grantor is the Alavi Foundation, now under federal investigation, which has given Harvard University $345,000 over nine years ending in 2011. Other institutions in the U.S. and Canada have also benefited from Iranian largesse.

Hagel, who represented Nebraska as a Republican U.S. Senator from 1997 to 2009, has long advocated a soft line toward the brutal theocratic regime, as exemplified by his call in 2007 for "direct, unconditional and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran."

He has participated in at least one Middle East Studies event organized by Tehran's tenured apologists and subsidized by the Iranian regime. As described by Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, Hagel addressed a March 2007 conference at Rutgers University co-sponsored by the school's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and the shadowy group that, as pointed out by the WSJ's Stephens and others, helped pay for the Rutgers AIC event: the Alavi Foundation.

Alavi is an arm of the Tehran government that has granted substantial sums to American and Canadian universities. Its 2010 Form 990, filed in compliance with its nonprofit status with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, listed assets of $39,082,555. Alavi's "Direct Charitable Activities" were limited to four, all school-related: "Farsi Schools in Various Universities and Schools," "Information Education Centers," "Publication and Book Distribution," and "Interest Free Loans to Education Centers." Its total grant outlay for that year was $2,148,630. The 2007 Form 990 from Alavi included a line for Rutgers, indicating that Alavi's investment in the Rutgers CMES and, presumably, the event with AIC and Hagel, was $72,500.

Alavi's support for the 2007 Rutgers event at which Hagel spoke offers a profile of its academic outreach. Hooshang Amirahmadi, currently a professor of development and international relations at Rutgers, was director of the CMES in 2007. He is also founder and president of the American Iranian Council. Amirahmadi was succeeded as head of the Rutgers CMES by Peter B. Golden, an emeritus professor with a background in Central Asian studies, whose views are cautious and measured.

But the recipient of choice for Alavi's financing of American Middle East Studies is Harvard, with its $345,000 in publicly reported gifts from the ruthless oppressors of Iran over nine years, with the tax form covering the remainder of 2011 unavailable at this time. As disclosed in other Alavi publicity, the foundation gave $40,000 to Harvard for its Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) in January 2011. This was followed by $10,000 later that year for a Harvard tutoring program by Mahdavi Damghani, a graduate in Shiite theology from Tehran University who has taught there from 1966 to 1985 and who now teaches at CMES, which received $24,000 from Alavi in 2012.

In its Form 990 documentation from 2004 to 2010, Alavi gifts to Harvard were:
• $41,000 (2004 and first quarter 2005;
• $36,000 (2005 to the end of March 2006;
• $36,000 in 2006 and early 2007;
• $41,000 in 2007 through the first quarter of 2008;
• $41,000 for the remainder of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009;
• $41,000 in 2009 and early 2010;
• $75,000 in 2010 and the first three months of 2011.

In 2011, Alavi cosponsored, with three Shia Muslim theological bodies, a conference at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut on "The State of the Study of Shi'ite Islam." The top featured speaker was Ingrid Mattson, the former president of the Muslim fundamentalist Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), who at that time taught at Hartford and now holds an Islamist-funded chair at Huron University College in Ontario. Mahmoud Ayoub, a native of South Lebanon and Hartford faculty member, also participated. Alavi provided Hartford with $47,000 to pay for the event, according to an announcement by the foundation. In 2012, according to a press release, Alavi gave Hartford $35,000 more to support Ayoub's teaching on Shiism.

Alavi's generosity north of the border includes $90,000 in 2011 and $30,000 in 2012 to McGill University's Institute of Islamic Studies, in Montreal, Quebec. A statement (in awkward English) accompanying the 2012 gift proclaimed:
In the past twenty-five years, Alavi Foundation has distributed over several millions of dollars in the form of grants to over thirty colleges and universities in North America. Support for Colleges and Universities is one of the Foundation's nine core programs.

Alavi is currently under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department. In 2009, its former president, Farshid Jahedi, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony obstruction of justice for destroying documents subpoenaed by the Treasury in 2008. American authorities were concerned that the Alavi Foundation disguised its relationship with Bank Melli Iran, an official Tehran financial institution. In the Alavi case, which remains unresolved, the U.S. government also sought to take over Iranian-controlled properties, including mosques and schools, in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, and California.

A third co-sponsor of the 2007 Rutgers meeting was the American Iranian Council (AIC), which keeps a low profile. Its honorary board includes America's most candid academic enthusiast for radical Islam, John Esposito, founder-director of Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). Hagel has taught as Esposito's colleague at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, though Hagel's profile page is, curiously, blank. A Georgetown press bulletin celebrating his Defense nomination states he is a "Distinguished Professor in the Practice of National Governance."

The controversy stirred up by Secretary Hagel's history as an apologist for the Iranian clerical rulers offers an opportunity — and obligation — to explore in greater depth Iran's infiltration of America's Middle East studies establishment from Harvard to Hartford and beyond. The U.S. must contend not only with Arabist and general Islamist activities on its campuses, but with Iranian propaganda sponsored by an apocalyptic despotism that seeks hegemony over its neighbors, the destruction of Israel, and intimidation of the West. It's past time to stem the flow of these tainted funds.



The current round of fighting between the IDF and Gaza terrorists is unprecedented in terms of the number of rockets and mortar bombs being directed at Israel. Since last Friday, the IDF has registered some 200 launches from Gaza and is characterizing the ongoing barrage as a “dramatic development in terms of the quantity and rate of the fire.”


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said that the IDF will continue to retaliate against terrorists in the Gaza Strip with great power, while blaming Iran for the crisis. “If it were not for Iran, these [Palestinian] extremists would not have their weapons, training or logistical support,” Netanyahu affirmed. Defense Minister Ehud Barak likewise warned that “The IDF would continue to protect Israeli citizens and will strike all those who rise to attack us.”


Schools were closed for a second consecutive day on Monday in all Israeli cities and towns located up to 25 miles from the Gaza border. According to Deputy Mayor of Beersheba, Heftsi Zohar, “Most of the schools in Beersheba don’t have enough shelters or safe areas, so we have decided to cancel classes.” Zohar described as unbearable conditions in the city and said that “life does not go on as normal…[when] citizens, especially children, are living under terror.” Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich compared the city to a “jungle,” and warned that “Today it’s the south dealing with the situation, but we know that there are missiles that could reach Rishon Lezion [Israel’s fourth largest city, located 12km south of Tel Aviv].”



Jerusalem Post, March 11, 2012

The latest round of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza is part of a pattern. Every few months, Islamist terror organizations loosely linked or opposed to Hamas launch attacks against Israel in an attempt to undermine Israeli military deterrence. Hamas plays the game of claiming that it is not directly connected to the attacks while doing little to prevent them. In this way, Hamas hopes not to provoke Israel while at the same time avoiding a direct confrontation with…Islamist terrorists attempting to continue their armed struggle against Israel.

The trigger for the latest conflagration was the targeted killing of Zuhair Qaisi, the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip. The IDF says Qaisi was behind the August 2011 gun and bomb attacks near Eilat that left eight Israelis dead. He was apparently planning a repeat performance, also to be launched from Sinai, a lawless no-man’s land nominally under Egyptian rule and home to Islamist terrorists and Beduin drugs and arms smugglers. But the IDF took the initiative, bombing a car carrying Qaisi and another top terrorist in the organization released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange.

In October 2011, there was another flare-up after Islamic Jihad fired a Grad rocket at Rehovot to mark the October 1995 assassination in Malta of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shkaki. Israel retaliated, killing five terrorists, including Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, the head of the Islamic Jihad’s rocket production facilities.

But even when there is no official “escalation,” the various terrorist organizations operating in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the anarchic Sinai have kept up a steady stream of fire directed at about a million civilians—men, women and children—living within range of Kassam rockets, mortar shells and Grad missiles.

Over the course of 2011, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PRC and other terrorist organizations fired 680 deadly projectiles of various types from the Gaza Strip at surrounding towns, kibbutzim and moshavim, a significant rise from the 365 fired during 2010. Sixteen-year-old Daniel Viflic was killed by Hamas terrorists who fired a Kornet anti-tank missile at the school bus he was riding in on April 7, 2011.

Israel significantly restored its deterrence after launching Operation Cast Lead—the 22-day military incursion in the Gaza Strip that began in December 2008 and ended in January 2009. But in the months since, there has been a steady deterioration of the security situation. Thousands of families now live under the constant threat of mortar, rocket and missile fire. Many lack proper bomb shelters.

True, the Iron Dome system has been a game-changer. Its three rocket-defense batteries—in Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon—have significantly improved Israel’s defense capabilities. Dozens of rockets and missiles that might have hurt or injured Israelis were shot from the air. This has given our leaders the breathing room to plan for the future. Israel would have no choice but to react on a much wider scale if one of the more-than-[200] recent mortar shells, rockets and missiles caused serious injuries or deaths.…

However, as Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz noted in November and reiterated in December on the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, a military offensive in Gaza will be launched “sooner or later.” Hamas cannot be allowed to continue to play the game of claiming it is not directly connected to the attacks while doing little to prevent them.…

Michael Freund

Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2012

Three years may have passed since the end of Operation Cast Lead, when Israeli forces entered Gaza to conduct a limited counter-terror campaign, but that hasn’t stopped Palestinian terrorists from transforming southern Israel into a shooting gallery.

Though you would never know it from much of the mainstream press, the thugs of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been turning up the heat, firing an increasing number of rockets and projectiles at Israeli cities, towns and villages. This mounting threat can no longer be ignored, and it is time for Israel to launch a wide-scale military offensive in Gaza to remove the danger once and for all.

Consider the following: In December 2011, Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists unleashed more than 40 rockets and shells into southern Israel, hitting Netivot and areas around Ashkelon and Beersheba. That averages out to more than one explosive projectile fired every day. And since the start of the year, dozens more have been launched against the Jewish state.…

This is simply intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue.… Instead of waiting for tragedy to strike, Israel should take the initiative and forestall such an eventuality by taking the battle to the enemy. After all, as various senior IDF officers have been warning, it is not a question of if, but when Israel will have to go back in to Gaza, where Hamas has been arming itself to the teeth.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference earlier last month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz labeled Gaza one of “the largest ammunition and weapon ‘storage facilities’ I know of.” Various reports have indicated that the terror group now has well over 5,000 rockets in its arsenal, including some with a potential range of 75 kilometers that are based on technology supplied by Iran. This means that Hamas could potentially hit Tel Aviv.

The Hamas arsenal is not merely a tactical nuisance. It poses a strategic threat which must be eliminated. A December 2011 study by Uzi Rubin of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies [see ‘On Topics’ below for the full report—Ed.] concluded that the rocket threat from Gaza has become “a significant threat to Israeli population centers, national infrastructure and central military installations.”

“The threat,” it noted, “initially affecting about 50,000 Israeli citizens in the Gaza envelope communities, has increased more than 20-fold and now threatens more than one million civilians in southern and central Israel. It is no longer mere harassment, but a strategic threat capable of inflicting severe civilian casualties and paralyzing Israel’s economy.”

Clearly, Hamas is not an organization one can reason with. Its avowed ideological aim is the destruction of Israel, and no amount of pressure, diplomacy or negotiation will persuade it to begin acting in a civilized manner. Whether we like it or not, military force is the only way to disarm and deter them. But unlike previous attempts, this time Israel must ensure that it gets the job done by toppling the Hamas regime, destroying the terrorist infrastructure and reasserting complete military control over the area.…

Will there be an international outcry if Israel enters Gaza? Of course. Whenever Israel takes action to defend itself, no matter how justified it might be, the halls of the United Nations resound with condemnation and criticism. But it is better to be accused unfairly than fired upon indiscriminately. So let’s put a permanent end to Hamas’ reign of terror, and restore to southern Israel the basic security it deserves.

Janice Arnold

Canadian Jewish News, March 12, 2012

After almost 18 months of regular anti-Israeli demonstrations on their block, some shopkeepers on Montreal’s St. Denis Street say their business is suffering and they are weary, even unnerved, by a situation that has no end in sight.

The picketing, which now takes place every Saturday afternoon, was launched by the group Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) in October 2010 to make St. Denis an “Israeli apartheid-free zone.” For a year now, the focus of the demonstrators has been Chaussures Naot, 3941 St. Denis St., across the street from another shoe store, Boutique le Marcheur, which was the initial target. Its owner, Yves Archambault, refused to yield to PAJU’s demand to stop selling Israeli footwear, a miniscule part of his stock.

“People are afraid to come in when they are standing there…,” said Naot’s manager, Ina.… “I suffer enough already. Nobody is going to protect my human rights.”

The tiny Naot store, which sells almost exclusively a line of shoes made in Israel, is owned by the Lissoos family of Toronto-based Solemates Inc. It has been on St. Denis for two years and employs five people, but Ina wonders how much longer that will be. “Of course, it’s affecting our business—big time,” she said. Saturday used to be the busiest day of the week.

The weekly barrage and the ill feeling it is creating among other business owners and residents are stressful for the staff. Last month, the company brought in a psychologist to counsel them. “We are the victim, but the neighbours are blaming us,” Ina said.

Usually about a half-dozen PAJU demonstrators stand on the sidewalk outside Naot for two hours holding a banner about five feet high dominated by a Palestinian flag. Sometimes, they shout or blow horns. “It’s scary,” she said. “The police come, but they say there is nothing they can do.”

Le Marcheur was helped by the Jewish community and other sympathizers who purposefully bought at the store, said pro-Israel activist Jack Kincler, but Naot and the neighbouring businesses have not had that support.

Kincler, who has joined the counter-boycott demonstrations from the beginning, is trying to organize a buying campaign benefiting these small businesses. He calls what PAJU is doing “economic terrorism” and believes Canada and Quebec must enact laws similar to those in United States that limit boycotts or France where they are illegal. “Week after week these small businesses are being harassed,” he said. “Why is there no protection of their right to do business in peace.”

Monic Dahan, owner of the Boutique Oz jewelry store next to Naot for 25 years, is visibly depressed by the situation. She wonders how much longer she can keep her five employees and provide work for eight outside artisans.… Jean-Philippe Plante, owner of the clothing store Boutique Panache, has only been there six months but is already discouraged.… The nearby Galerie du Plateau doesn’t open on Saturdays anymore.

The shopkeepers do receive unflagging moral support from Les Amis Québécois d’Israel, started by area resident Daniel Laprès as a Facebook group. It now has 187 “friends,” the majority francophone Quebecers like Laprès, a former adviser to federal Liberal cabinet ministers, and now a blogger and publisher who is critical of the political left.…

The Amis, on St. Denis every Saturday, usually far outnumber the PAJU picketers. They try to explain to passersby why Israel is not an apartheid state without adding to the commotion. Laprès believes the boycotters are disseminating “lies and slander” and fears the broader consequences of a PAJU “victory.” “Can we, in a civilized society, allow that sort of hate against a nation? Or the intimidation of hardworking people? We can’t afford such a campaign to succeed if we care about democracy and human dignity.…”

Kincler, an Israeli-born businessman, is collecting signatures on petitions to the federal and Quebec governments. The one addressed to the House of Commons calls for a legislated ban against boycotts that harass or threaten any store or business selling products legally in Canada, as well as those that hinder any business activity involving goods from a country with which Canada or Quebec has a bilateral trade agreement. The other asks the National Assembly to condemn boycott campaigns against products coming from countries with which a bilateral agreement exists, which includes Israel.…

Mark Tapson

FrontPage, March 9, 2012

Too often the media focus on—or even actively promote—the pro-Palestinian narrative that demonizes Israel. They report on the highly mobilized, relentless efforts to isolate and economically weaken the state of Israel. Much less often, if ever, do the media highlight stories of successful Israeli resistance to that onslaught.

Shanie Bar-Oz is the dynamic owner of a Vancouver bath-and-body boutique called Lavan Canada that sells unique Dead Sea-based products with natural scents. Prominently displayed both outside and inside the store are signs reading “Products Made in Israel.” Very enthusiastic about those Israeli-made products, Shanie, 33, unexpectedly came under fire from aggressive protesters from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions bullies.…

But when word got out about her being targeted, the supportive response was more overwhelming than the protests. Pro-Israel customers flocked to the store. Lavan Canada’s online orders increased as well. A Cambridge University student named Gili Brenner established a Facebook group called “We Are All Shani Bar Oz,” in support of the store owner.…

Indeed, Israel’s supporters everywhere need to wake up and actively support businesses like Shanie’s. Her story is an instructive and inspirational one of ongoing, street-level resistance to the Israel-hating bullies—resistance from her, her customers and her supporters. They refused to be bullied and they banded together to help the store prosper, to stand in defense of Israelis and Israel, and to outnumber her enemies.

I talked to Shanie Bar-Oz about the empowering experience.

Mark Tapson: How exactly did this controversy begin? What happened outside your store, Lavan Canada?

Shanie Bar-Oz: About three or four days prior to the first picket, I received an email from The Jewish Federation warning me of an impending demonstration against my store. The first picket was quite small, totaling about ten or twelve protesters carrying white signs, Palestinian flags and inciting chants. Thankfully, due to the prior warning, many local Jews and Israelis came out to support me and my store. This was not the case for the next two protests, which were intentionally kept secret.

MT: Who was behind the protests and why did they target your store?

SB: A local group that calls themselves the “Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign.” They have targeted Lavan as an Israeli brand (all of my products are manufactured in Israel). They claim in their brochure that by manufacturing Dead Sea Mineral products, we support the alleged “mistreatment and oppression” of the Palestinian people in the area.

MT: What were the protests like? Were you concerned about your safety and your shop?

SB: As each protest comes and goes, they get larger in size and more organized. The number of protesters, signs, and props increase. They have a ten-foot-tall effigy of [Israeli Foreign Minister] Avigdor Lieberman, and images of Israelis as “apartheid vultures.” These vulture images, to me personally, are no different from the Nazis drawing Jews as pigs in the 1930’s.

They also brought a six-foot-tall wall that they use to block my display and divert pedestrians on the sidewalk away from my store. They also distribute vicious and slanderous pamphlets to the pedestrians and Lavan’s customers containing false claims about Lavan, as well as an edited version of our logo from “Body, Mind, and Soap” to “Bomb, Mine and Sell.”

Safety is always a concern during any protest. My employees are upset and scared, which is understandable considering there are people outside protesting our homeland’s existence. One protester said “Heil Hitler!” to one of Lavan’s supporters during the first protest.…

MT: How did the word start to get out that you were under assault? What was the response, when people learned you were being harassed?

SB: I wrote letters to the Jewish community and local Rabbis to let them know of my situation. They called for the counter-measure of a buycott. But the protesters would come unannounced. Unable to mobilize the Jewish and Israeli communities with so little warning, support on the day of the protests was small. They tried but they can only do so much.

I then went to the Israeli paper Ynet, which thankfully got Lavan’s story global recognition. The support I then received was incredibly empowering.…

MT: Was there any kind of official response from the Canadian or Israeli governments or local Jewish organizations?

SB: Yes. The Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Mr. Jason Kenney, visited the store to support Israel and my business, and the staff and myself personally [Minister Kenney made several purchases at the store to show his support—Ed.] I got the blessings of the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yuli Edelstein…and I spoke at great length with his VP to try to find some creative ideas to improve Israel’s image in the world. Also, the local Jewish centers motivated their people to come and support me and Lavan. The leading local Rabbis even replaced my mezuza, and came personally to the store to show their support.

MT: During Israeli Apartheid Week, are the protests outside your store getting worse?

SB: I have to be honest with you: I refuse to use Israel and apartheid in the same sentence. This is simply ridiculous and spreads ignorance. There is absolutely nothing Israel shares with apartheid. Israel is a very proud democracy that can be an inspiration to many other countries in the world.…

MT: What can your supporters do to help?

SB: I am extremely grateful and thankful for any form of support. Whether it be sharing my story, a Facebook page, coming into the store to make a purchase, or visiting our online store. Support in any form is what I was praying for. I think that any product made in Israel is a strong and proud ambassador of Israel. It just feels wrong that Israel is the only country in the world to have an “Anti-Week” against it. And now I hope that instead of being a target for hate we will be a symbol of success.


Michael Freund

Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2012

Today is Purim, one of the most joyful festivals on the Jewish calendar, when we celebrate the deliverance of our ancestors from a Persian plot to annihilate them. It is a day rife with ritual, from the reading of the Book of Esther to the giving of charity and the delivery of food parcels to friends. But of all the many practices that have come to embody the holiday, few are as inspired as the donning of costumes by young and old alike. For on Purim we disguise ourselves, masquerading as something that we are not, underlining the extent to which many of us spend our lives play-acting rather than being true to what we believe.

Indeed, the custom has become so popular that none other than Barack Obama himself decided to join in the fun this year, posing for the past few days as a staunchly pro-Israel president. Obama’s Purim costume was as adept as it was inspired. After all, it did not require a wig, eye-liner or even baggy pants. All that was necessary was for the president to pad his AIPAC speech with some soothing words about Iran and refrain from growling before the cameras when he greeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Like any good costume, Obama’s had the intended effect, initially making one forget the real person beneath.

At the AIPAC Conference in Washington, the US president spoke of the “unbreakable bonds” and “partnership” between the United States and Israel, insisting that his administration’s “commitment to Israel’s security has been unprecedented.” He even talked tough to the ayatollahs, warning that, “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.…”

For the uninitiated, it was almost enough to make one swoon. Obama invoked all the right themes, pledging to stand by the Jewish state and strongly hinting that he would not shy away from the use of force against Tehran. Gee, doesn’t he sound like someone we can really trust? But when you start to peer behind the mask, and look beneath the surface, a different and more accurate picture quickly begins to emerge.

Take, for example, his assertion that “Because of our efforts, Iran is under greater pressure than ever before.” Why, it was just three months ago that Obama was trying to convince Congress to soften sanctions on Iran. As Reuters reported on December 6, 2011, Obama administration officials lobbied against a bipartisan Senate proposal to slap penalties on foreign financial institutions doing business with Iran’s Central Bank. Obama’s obstructionism on the issue was so brazen it even led Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a cosponsor of the bill, to slam the administration.… So for the president now to take credit for the tightening economic vise around the Iranian regime is both disingenuous and misleading.

Similarly, Obama has repeatedly asserted of late that Israel has the sovereign right to defend itself.… Yet, in practice, he has been energetically trying to prevent Israel from doing just that. Last month, Obama reportedly sent his National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, to Jerusalem to deliver a stern message to the Israeli government: don’t attack Iran. And he has marched out a parade of senior officials in recent months to cast doubt on the efficacy of any such action by Israel.

Barely 48 hours after speaking to AIPAC, Obama adopted a different tone at a press conference held on Tuesday. Asked by a reporter about Iran, the president said rather ominously that a premature Israeli strike would have “consequences” for the United States.… “It is not just an issue of consequences for Israel if action is taken prematurely, there are consequences for the United States as well,” [Obama said].

At first glance, that may not sound all that menacing. But when the president of the United States issues such a warning, it is far more than just an analytical remark. It suggests that should Iran retaliate against the US because of any action taken by Israel, it is the Jewish state that can and will be blamed.

And this is the guy who says he has “got our back”? Obama is clearly in election mode, and he is looking to November with an eye on the Jewish vote. Fearful of losing Jewish support in critical states such as Florida, the president is now trying to position himself as an unqualified backer of Israel. But don’t let Obama’s Purim costume fool you.… In this case, what it cloaks is frightening indeed.

Barbara Kay

National Post, February 28, 2012

George Orwell once said, “England is the only great nation whose intellectuals are ashamed of their country.” Orwell never met Israeli intellectuals.

As the National Post noted in [a recent] editorial, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is declining in vigour on North American campuses. But at Israel’s four secular universities—Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Ben Gurion University (BGU)—robust anti-Zionism continues to flourish, as it has for decades.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War, and with mounting stridency, the majority of Israel’s already leftist intelligentsia have identified themselves with enemies sworn to their nation’s annihilation. Every day, anti-Zionist literature pours forth from Israel’s tenured radicals. Every week, an article condemning Israel as an apartheid nation appears. Every month, Israeli academics attend conferences expanding on the evils of the occupation and the moral bankruptcy of the Jewish state. Every year, Israeli historians make their annual pilgrimage to IAWs all over the world, including one at TAU.

The tone of their attacks can’t be rivalled outside Israel for viciousness. Under the auspices of the University of Haifa, for example, anti-Semitic discourse is distributed by ALEF, an anti-Israel chat forum. It includes endorsements of terrorism, calls for the extermination of Israel and even support for Holocaust deniers.

Occasionally, desperately seeking an original optic in the rabid pursuit of Israeli culpability, an academic arrives at a pathological summit of moral inversion. A 2007 Hebrew University PhD thesis in sociology identified the fact that Israeli soldiers don’t rape Palestinian women (even though Palestinian propaganda routinely accuses them of it) as a form of racism: “In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of organized military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences—just as organized military rape would have done.” This ludicrous libel was awarded a prize by the writer’s department.

Off-campus, Israeli elites join in the self-condemning chorus. Amnon Rubenstein, considered the father of Israeli constitutional law, calls for European courts to be given the authority to overturn Israeli law. Celebrated novelist David Grossman opines that the potential terrorism of Israelis is more grievous than the actual terrorism of Arabs. The sensitive, globe-trotting poet and novelist A. B. Yehoshua suggests Jews will only become “normal” by converting to Islam or Christianity.

One of Israel’s misfortunes was the premature birth of an intellectual class. Uniquely amongst the nations, Israel had its own university—Hebrew University—20 years before statehood. Many of the European intellectuals who formed its professoriat were already infected with anti-Zionism through their discipleship to philosopher Martin Buber, who spun utopian fantasies of a binational state with Arabs and Jews united in civic harmony.

For decades, these thinkers vented their spleen without opposition. That began to change in 2001, when a U.S.-based publication called the Middle East Quarterly…ran a major exposé of anti-Israel academics in Israeli universities, titled “Israel’s Academic Extremists.” A pent-up flood of indictment followed.

The issue was brought to a dramatic public head when pugilistic Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz received an honorary doctorate at TAU in 2010. In his address, Dershowitz denounced the monolithic domination of Israeli universities by homegrown Israel-bashers. He said teachers that intimidate students who disagree with them ideologically are no better than sexual harassers. The speech inflamed the intelligentsia. TAU academics, who brooked no limitations on their own freedom of speech, shrilly challenged Dershowitz’s right to criticize them, with alarmist references to history’s “dark regimes.”

But the speech had a salutary, galvanizing effect on patriotic non-academics. Public figures, journalists, students, university alumni and donors shook off their long, tolerant torpor. They began challenging the totalitarian grip of far-left anti-Zionists on Israel’s major universities.

Most encouraging was the development of a pro-Zionist youth group called Im Tirtzu—“If you will it”—referring to Zionist movement founder Theodore Herzl’s famous dictum, “If you will it, it is no dream.” Im Tirtzu is a vigorous presence today on most Israeli campuses, successfully documenting and disseminating such indecencies as leftist students at a BGU campus rally giving Heil Hitler salutes to pro-Zionist students.

To students of Jewish history, with its one constant feature of internal divisiveness, it is not at all surprising that both the world’s most passionate Zionists and anti-Zionists should be found…in Zion. There is truth in the old joke that Jews are exactly like everyone else—only more so.

Gerald M. Steinberg

Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2012

‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This adage might have occurred to the officials, donors and supporters of the New Israel Fund (NIF) when they learned that an official from Adalah—one of their major grantees—was scheduled to speak at this year’s “Apartheid Week” at an event sponsored by BDS Geneva.

NIF officials should not have been surprised by Adalah’s ongoing role in promoting BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) and other forms of political warfare. The organization has made no secret of its agenda, including the participation in the infamous NGO Forum of the 2001 UN Durban Conference. The NGO Forum’s “Final Declaration,” which is still posted on Adalah’s website, calls for the “complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.”

Expanding on this theme, Adalah’s so-called “Democratic Constitution” (2007) called for replacing the Jewish state with a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural” framework and for a redefinition of the “symbols of the state.” Jewish immigration would be restricted solely for “humanitarian reasons.” And following the publication of the Goldstone Report, Adalah joined Palestinian NGOs in urging governments to “re-evaluate their relationship with Israel.”

Such activities are in direct contradiction of NIF’s recently adopted funding guidelines and principles, which explicitly exclude groups that “work to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel” and other forms of anti-Israel demonization. But for some reason, the NIF funding for Adalah—$475,950 authorized in 2010—has continued.

For many years, the organization has had trouble implementing “red lines,” and in a number of cases, has been embarrassed and forced to backpedal before taking action. In 2004, the NIF awarded a fellowship to Shamai Leibowitz, who went to the US and promoted BDS, among other activities inconsistent with NIF’s declared objectives. (Last week, a current NIF fellow, Moriel Rothman, noted in an op-ed, “I have become deeply frustrated by the political manipulation of the Holocaust to distract from Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.”) NIF also provided seed funding for a radical NGO known as ICAHD, which violates nearly all of NIF’s guidelines and principles, only ending funding after the damage had been done.

More recently, it took two years for NIF to finally end support for the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), which is centrally involved in the BDS campaigns. Another group—Mada al-Carmel—which is also a major source of delegitimization and advocates for a “one-state” solution, was still listed in NIF’s latest published budget (for 2010), although incoming president Brian Lurie has stated that the funding has now ended.…

Although, or perhaps because, NIF is an extremely powerful political institution, with an annual budget of over $30 million, whose policies and activities affect the lives of all Israelis, its leaders are out of touch and very slow to react.…

When the contrast between NIF’s promotional claims and the reality of its political activities and funding is noted, they lash out angrily. For an organization claiming a “liberal and progressive” agenda, the NIF is particularly hostile to any form of criticism. When caught, as in each of the examples cited above, NIF’s public relations team resorts to vicious personal attacks against whistle-blowers.…

The “fool me” adage stops after the second occurrence, but NIF is now well beyond this.… Instead of lashing out, NIF has the opportunity to demonstrate that its guidelines are serious. Given the extensive public evidence of Adalah’s true agenda, if NIF chooses to not sever ties with the NGO, one would have to assume that NIF is knowingly being fooled and is happy to go along for the ride.

(Gerald M. Steinberg is president of NGO Monitor.)

David Harris

Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2012

The name Avi Shlaim may not be widely known on the street, but in the United Kingdom, and particularly in academic settings, it is. An emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford University, he has been a prodigious writer on the Middle East.

When it comes to Israel, where he once lived, Shlaim can barely contain himself, throwing any semblance of scholarship to the wind and working himself into a lather at its mere mention. Take, for example, his op-ed in The Independent, a British daily, earlier this week. Entitled “Obama Must Stand Up To Netanyahu,” and published on the day that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu met in the White House, Shlaim breathlessly mined the English language for ever more vituperative things to say about Israel.…

Here are some of the results: Benjamin Netanyahu is “a bellicose, right-wing Israeli nationalist, a rejectionist…and a reactionary.” His government is “the most aggressively right-wing, diplomatically intransigent, and overtly racist government in Israel’s history.” It is a government of “militant nationalists.” It “is in danger of drifting towards fascism.” He is “a jimcrack politician.” He is “the war-monger in chief.”

Isn’t that the same Netanyahu who, whatever his other alleged faults might be, has moved his Likud Party to accept a Palestinian state, introduced a partial freeze on settlements as a goodwill gesture to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, and played a part in the economic revival of the West Bank and security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority?

Oh, and Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, according to Shlaim, “regards diplomacy as the extension of war by other means.” Moreover, he is a “bitkhonist, a security-ist, who wants 100 percent security for Israel which means zero security for the Palestinians.” Isn’t that perchance the same Barak who, as prime minister, collaborated with President Clinton to offer Yasir Arafat a viable Palestinian state and the chance for enduring peace?…

Now, again, please bear in mind that we’re not just talking about anyone here, but about an emeritus professor at Oxford University. He has taught countless students from around the world and supervised who-knows-how-many dissertations. And we’re also talking about a widely-read newspaper in Britain that opted to publish this—let’s call it by its proper name—screed.

At a time when the U.S. and Israeli leaders meet in Washington to discuss the ominous challenge of Iran’s nuclear program, Shlaim assails Israel for every alleged misdeed, yet, oddly, or perhaps tellingly, fails to address the Iran question. Well, not exactly. He does claim Israel is trying “to drag America into a dangerous confrontation,” but doesn’t offer any solution of his own.

That might suggest he either doesn’t believe Iran has a nuclear program—which would put him at odds with the U.S. and European governments, not to mention the International Atomic Energy Agency—or he doesn’t feel it poses a threat to anyone. Wait, there is one more possibility. He might actually welcome the program as a response to the reviled Israel. Which is it?…

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2012

In June 2011, Peter Beinart, a former editor of the staunchly pro-Israel New Republic, published a controversial essay in the left-wing New York Review of Books headlined: “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” The article was a scathing condemnation of Israeli policies which he alleged were undermining democracy and violating human rights. He accused American Jewish leaders of slavishly toeing “extreme right-wing Israeli positions” and “refusing to defend democracy in the Jewish state.”

Beinart’s essay transformed him overnight into a darling of the left-liberal establishment and media, which abhor the Netanyahu government. He was feted as a courageous Jewish writer willing to stand up and castigate both Israeli and American Jewish leaders.… [Now he] has expanded his essay into a book based on the standard stereotypes and fallacies shared by most hostile far-left and “liberal” critics of Israel. Titled The Crisis of Zionism, it is scheduled for release next month.

Beinart is convinced that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is the “great Jewish question of the age” and his central call is for American Jews to join the choir condemning Israel. He informs us that he loves Israel and would teach his children to love it. Yet in the same breath he unequivocally condemns the Jewish “apartheid” state for breaching human rights, depriving Palestinians of dignity, and describes Israel’s settlement policy as a futile effort to retain occupation in a post-colonial age. He accuses the Israeli government of denying human rights to Palestinians “simply because they are not Jews,” comparing their treatment to that of African Americans before segregation was banned.…

The most demagogic aspect of Beinart’s distorted approach to Israel is his repeated depictions of Israel as a country consistently abusing human rights and undermining democracy. Yet despite facing existential threats from the day of its birth and harboring a substantial minority of Arabs whose radical extremists, including Knesset Members, ally themselves with terrorists and our genocidal enemies, the Jewish state remains one of the most vibrant democracies in the world—an especially stark contrast to the tyrannical Islamic states surrounding it.…

The greatest flaw in Beinart’s thesis is the constant repetition of the lie that “the mass of American Jews are to the left of organizations that speak in their name and almost always oppose US pressure on Israeli leaders and blame the Palestinians almost exclusively for the lack of Middle East Peace.” The reality is that American Jews may be liberal and traditionally inclined to vote for the Democratic Party, but at the grassroots level, in recent months they displayed far greater agitation than their leaders against President Obama’s biased diplomacy against Israel.

Beinart’s mantra, chanted repeatedly by the left-liberal media, is that…American Jewish youngsters have become alienated from Israel.… [However], one need only examine the annual American Jewish Committee opinion polls and the important recent Mitchell survey undertaken by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and The Israel Project. They reveal that 89 percent of American Jewish youngsters strongly support Israel, endorse decisions adopted by the democratically elected government of Israel and oppose the public criticism of Israel which Beinart advocates.…

The reality is that “liberals” who feel alienated from Israel are running against the grain of grassroots American Jews. They may get more media attention, but they represent a small albeit highly vocal minority. This is exemplified by the marginal impact of the primarily Soros-funded J Street.… Not surprisingly, J Street embraces Beinart and will be launching his book at their forthcoming national conference.

Reality on the ground and the flawed premises upon which Beinart bases his thesis will not detract from the praise he will receive from the left-liberal media whose hostility against Israel has regrettably become endemic. His book, like that of Walt and Mearsheimer, the maligners of the Israel lobby, will be another addition to the growing number of volumes demonizing the Jewish state.…


Today’s Briefing:



Efraim Karsh, Jerusalem Post, March 5, 2012



Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, March 6, 2012



Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2012



Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, March 6, 2012

Efraim Karsh

Jerusalem Post, March 5, 2012

In light of Israel Apartheid Week, which hit cities and campuses throughout the world recently, supporters of the Jewish state find it difficult to agree on the best response to this hate fest. Some suggest emphasizing Israel’s peacemaking efforts, others propose rebranding the country by highlighting its numerous achievements and success stories. Still others advocate reminding the world of “what Zionism is—a movement of Jewish national liberation—and what it isn’t—racist.” Each of these approaches has its merits yet none will do the trick.

Peace seeking and/or prosperity are no proof of domestic benevolence and equality. The most brutal regimes have peacefully coexisted with their neighbors while repressing their own populations; the most prosperous societies have discriminated against vulnerable minorities.… Nor for that matter is the apartheid libel driven by forgetfulness of Zionism’s true nature. It is driven by rejection of Israel’s very existence. No sooner had the dust settled on the Nazi extermination camps than the Arabs and their western champions equated the Jewish victims with their tormentors.

“To the Arabs, indeed Zionism seems as hideous as anything the Nazis conceived in the way of racial expansion at the expense of others,” read a 1945 pamphlet by the Arab League, the representative body of all Arab states. A pamphlet published by the PLO shortly after its creation in 1964 stated: “The Zionist concept of the ‘final solution’ to the ‘Arab problem’ in Palestine, and the Nazi concept of the ‘final solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’ in Germany, consisted essentially of the same basic ingredient: the elimination of the unwanted human element in question.” Indeed, it was the Palestinian terror organization that invented the apartheid canard in the mid-1960s, years before Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

This charge, of course, is not only completely false but the inverse of the truth.… Israel actually is the only apartheid-free state in the Middle East—a state whose Arab population enjoys full equality before the law and more prerogatives than most ethnic minorities in the free world, from the designation of Arabic as an official language to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal days of rest.

By contrast, apartheid has been an integral part of the Middle East for over a millennium, and its Arab and Muslim nations continue to legally, politically and socially enforce this discriminatory practice against their hapless minorities.

Why then should an innocent party be under constant pressure to “come clean” while the real culprits are not only left unscathed but also given a worldwide platform to blame others for their own crimes? Rather than engage in incessant apologetics and protestations of innocence, something Jews have been doing for far too long, Israel should adopt a proactive strategy, call a spade a spade and target the real perpetrators of Middle East apartheid: the region’s Arab and Muslim nations.

Arab/Muslim apartheid comes in many forms:

• Religious intolerance: Muslims historically viewed themselves as distinct from, and superior to, all others living under Muslim rule, known as “dhimmis.” They have been loath to give up this privileged status in modern times. Christians, Jews and Baha’is remain second-class citizens throughout the Arab/Muslim world, and even non-ruling Muslim factions have been oppressed by their dominant co-religionists (e.g. Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia, Sunnis in Syria).

• Ethnic inequality: This historic legacy of intolerance extends well beyond the religious sphere. As longtime imperial masters, Arabs, Turks and Iranians continue to treat long-converted populations, notably Kurds and Berbers, that retained their language, culture and social customs, as inferior.

• Racism: The Middle East has become the foremost purveyor of anti-Semitic incitement in the world with the medieval blood libel widely circulated alongside a string of modern canards (notably The Protocols of the Elders of Zion) depicting Jews as the source of all evil.…

• Gender discrimination: Legal and social discrimination against women is pervasive throughout the Arab-Islamic world, accounting for rampant violence (for example domestic violence or spousal rape are not criminalized) and scores of executions every year, both legal and extra-judicial (i.e. honor killings). Discrimination against homosexuals is even worse.

• Denial of citizenship: The withholding of citizenship and attendant rights from a large segment of the native-born population is common. Palestinian communities in the Arab states offer the starkest example of this discrimination (in Lebanon, for example, they cannot own property, be employed in many professions, move freely, etc.).…

• Labor inequality: Mistreatment of foreign workers (especially household servants), ranging from sexual abuse to virtual imprisonment and outright murder, is widely tolerated throughout the Middle East, especially in oil-exporting countries that host large expatriate labor forces.

• Slavery: The Arabic-speaking countries remain the world’s foremost refuge of slavery, from child and sex trafficking in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to actual chattel slavery in Sudan and Mauritania.…

• Political Oppression: Many Middle Eastern regimes are little more than elaborate repressive systems aimed at perpetuating apartheid-style domination by a small minority: Alawites in Syria; Tikritis in Saddam’s Iraq; the Saudi royal family; the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan.…

It is time to denounce these discriminatory practices and force Arab/Muslim regimes to abide by universally accepted principles of decency and accountability. This will not only expose the hollowness of the Israel delegitimization campaign but will also help promote regional peace and stability.…

(Efraim Karsh is director of the Middle East Forum.)

Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, March 6, 2012

The following is excerpted from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s March 5 speech to AIPAC.

…Tonight, I’d like to talk to you about Iran.… I want to explain why Iran must never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.… [Israel is] determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; we leave all options on the table; and containment is definitely not an option. The Jewish state will not allow those who seek our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal.…

Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons.… Incredibly, some are prepared to accept an idea only slightly less preposterous: that we should accept a world in which the Ayatollahs have atomic bombs. Sure, they say, Iran is cruel, but it’s not crazy. It’s detestable but it’s deterrable. My friends, responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the belief that the world’s most dangerous regimes won’t use the world’s most dangerous weapons. And I promise you that as Prime Minister, I will never gamble with the security of the State of Israel.

From the beginning, the Ayatollah regime has broken every international rule and flouted every norm. It has seized embassies, targeted diplomats. It sends its own children through mine fields; it hangs gays and stones women; it supports [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s brutal slaughter of the Syrian people; it is the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism: it sponsors Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa, even South America.…

In 1983, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 240 US Marines. In the last decade, it’s been responsible for murdering and maiming American soldiers in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Just a few months ago, it tried to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States in a restaurant just a few blocks from here.… Iran accuses the American government of orchestrating 9/11, and that’s as brazen as denying the Holocaust, and it does. Iran calls for Israel’s destruction, and they work for its destruction—each day, every day, relentlessly.

I say all his to make one point clear: this is how Iran behaves today, without nuclear weapons. Think of how they will behave tomorrow, with nuclear weapons.… There’s been plenty of talk recently about the costs of stopping Iran. I think it’s time we started talking about the costs of not stopping Iran.

A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically increase terrorism by giving terrorists a nuclear umbrella.… Iran’s terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas will be emboldened to attack the United States, Israel, and other countries because they will be backed by a power that has atomic bombs.… A nuclear-armed Iran could choke off the world’s oil supply and could make real its threat to close the Straits of Hormouz. If you’re worried about the price of oil today, imagine how high oil prices could get once a nuclear-armed Iran starts blackmailing the world.

If Iran gets nuclear weapons, it would set off a mad dash by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. The world’s most volatile region would become a nuclear tinderbox waiting to go off. And here’s the worst nightmare of all, with nuclear weapons, Iran could threaten all of us with nuclear terrorism. It could put a nuclear device in a ship heading to any port or in a truck parked in any city, anywhere in the world.

I want you to think about what it would mean to have nuclear weapons in the hands of those who lead millions of radicals in chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” When you think about that you’ll reach a simple conclusion: for the sake of our prosperity, for the sake of our security, for the sake of our children, Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

Of course, the best outcome would be if Iran decided to abandon its nuclear weapons program peacefully. No one would be happier than me and the people of Israel if Iran dismantled its program. But so far, that hasn’t happened. For fifteen years, I’ve been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country and to the peace and security of the entire world.

For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy. It hasn’t worked. For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn’t worked either.… Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer. As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, some commentators would have you believe that stopping Iran from getting the bomb is more dangerous than letting Iran have the bomb. They say that a military confrontation with Iran would undermine the efforts already underway; that it would be ineffective; and that it would provoke an even more vindictive response by Iran.

I’ve heard these arguments before. In fact, I’ve read them before. In my desk, I have copies of an exchange of letters between the World Jewish Congress and the United States War Department. Here are the letters. The year was 1944. The World Jewish Congress implored the American government to bomb Auschwitz. The reply came five days later: “Such an operation could be executed only by diverting considerable air support essential to the success of our forces elsewhere…and in any case, it would be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources.…” And here’s the most remarkable sentence of all, and I quote: “Such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.” Think about that—“even more vindictive action”—than the Holocaust.

My Friends, 2012 is not 1944. The American government today is different.… But here’s my point: The Jewish people are also different. Today we have a state of our own. And the purpose of the Jewish state is to defend Jewish lives and to secure the Jewish future. Never again will we not be masters of the fate of our very survival. Never again. That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. My Friends, we deeply appreciate the great alliance between our two countries. But when it comes to Israel’s survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate.…

Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2012

Should Israelis and pro-Israel Americans take President Obama at his word when he says—as he did at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington, D.C., on Sunday—“I have Israel’s back”?

No. Here is a president who fought tooth-and-nail against the very sanctions on Iran for which he now seeks to reap political credit. He inherited from the Bush administration the security assistance to Israel he now advertises as proof of his “unprecedented” commitment to the Jewish state. His defense secretary has repeatedly cast doubt on the efficacy of a U.S. military option against Iran even as the president insists it remains “on the table.” His top national security advisers keep warning Israel not to attack Iran even as he claims not to “presume to tell [Israeli leaders] what is best for them.” Oh, and his secretary of state answers a question from a Tunisian student about U.S. politicians courting the “Zionist lobbies” by saying that “a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention.” It seems it didn’t occur to her to challenge the premise of the question.

Still, if you’re looking for evidence of Mr. Obama’s disingenuousness when it comes to Israel, it’s worth referring to what his supporters say about him. Consider Peter Beinart, the one-time Iraq War advocate who has reinvented himself as a liberal scourge of present-day Israel and mainstream Zionism. Mr. Beinart has a book coming out next month called “The Crisis of Zionism.” Chapter five, on “The Jewish President,” fully justifies the cover price.

Mr. Beinart’s case is that Mr. Obama came to his views about Israel not so much from people like his friend Rashid Khalidi or his pastor Jeremiah Wright. Instead, says Mr. Beinart, Mr. Obama got his education about Israel from a coterie of far-left Chicago Jews who “bred in Obama a specific, and subversive, vision of American Jewish identity and of the Jewish state.”

At the center of this coterie, Mr. Beinart explains, was a Chicago rabbi named Arnold Jacob Wolf.… In the early 1970s, [Wolf] founded an organization that met with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization—this being some 20 years before Arafat officially renounced terrorism. In the early 1990s, Wolf denounced the construction of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. And, in 1996, the rabbi “was one of [Mr. Obama’s] earliest and most prominent supporters” when he ran for the Illinois state Senate. Wolf later described Mr. Obama’s views on Israel as “on the line of Peace Now”—an organization with a long history of blaming Israel for the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mr. Obama had other Jewish mentors, too, according to Mr. Beinart. One was Bettylu Saltzman, whose father, developer Philip Klutznick, had joined Wolf in “his break with the Israeli government in the 1970s.” Ms. Saltzman, writes Mr. Beinart, “still seethes with hostility toward the mainstream Jewish groups” and later became active in left-wing Jewish political groups like J Street.…

Ms. Saltzman also introduced Mr. Obama to David Axelrod, himself a longtime donor to a group called the New Israel Fund. For a flavor of the NIF’s world view, a WikiLeaks cable from 2010 noted that an NIF associate director told U.S. embassy officials in Tel Aviv that “the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”

Other things that we learn about Mr. Obama’s intellectual pedigree from Mr. Beinart: As a student at Columbia, he honed his interests in colonialism by studying with the late pro-Palestinian agit-Prof. Edward Said. In 2004, Mr. Obama “criticized the barrier built to separate Israel and its major settlements from the rest of the West Bank”—the “barrier” meaning the security fence that all-but eliminated the wave of suicide bombings that took 1,000 lives in Israel.

We also learn that, according to one of Mr. Beinart’s sources, longtime diplomat Dennis Ross was brought aboard the Obama campaign as part of what Mr. Beinart calls “Obama’s inoculation strategy” to mollify Jewish voters apprehensive about the sincerity of his commitments to Israel.…

The important question here isn’t about American-Jewish attitudes toward Israel. It’s about the president’s honesty. Is he being truthful when he represents himself as a mainstream friend of Israel—or is he just holding his tongue and biding his time? On the evidence of Mr. Beinart’s sympathetic book, Mr. Obama’s speech at AIPAC was one long exercise in political cynicism.

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, March 6, 2012

…Obama’s speech [to AIPAC last Sunday morning] was notable for a number of reasons. First, this was the first speech on an Israel-related theme that Obama has given since the 2008 campaign in which he did not pick a fight with Israel. And it is due to the absence of open hostility in his address that Obama’s supporters are touting it as a pro-Israel speech.

While he didn’t pick a fight with Israel on Sunday, his speech did mark a clear attempt to undermine Israel’s strategic position in a fundamental—indeed existential—way. As many commentators have noted in recent weeks, Israel and the US have different red lines for the Iranian nuclear program.… From Israel’s perspective, Iran’s nuclear program will reportedly become unstoppable as soon as the Iranians move a sufficient quantity of enriched uranium and/or centrifuges to the Fordow nuclear installation by Qom. Since Israel reportedly lacks the ability to destroy the facility, Israel’s timeline for attacking Iran will likely end within weeks. The US reportedly has the capacity to successfully bomb Fordow and so its timeline for attacking Iran is longer than Israel’s.

The reason this is important is because it tells us the true nature of Obama’s demand that Israel give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to work. When one recognizes Israel’s short timeline for attacking, one realizes that when Obama demands that Israel give several more months for sanctions to work, what he is actually demanding is for Israel to place its survival in his hands.…

To understand just how dangerous this would be it is worth considering the other issues Obama covered in his speech. Obama’s speech essentially boiled down to three assertions, which he argued prove that he is the best friend Israel has ever had and therefore can be trusted to ensure its survival.

First, Obama asserted that military cooperation between Israel and the US has grown to unprecedented levels under his leadership. Second he claimed that his administration has served as Israel’s stalwart defender in the UN and generally when it comes to the Palestinian issue. Finally, he argued that he can be trusted to defend Israel from a nuclear armed Iran because of the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran by the US and the international community since he entered office.

The alleged expansion of US-Israel military cooperation under Obama’s watch has served as a regular talking point for Obama administration officials. The claim is convenient because it is based on classified information unavailable to the general public. You and I have no way of knowing if it is true. But what we do know is that under Obama’s leadership, senior US military and defense officials have made repeated statements that are openly hostile to Israel. Then defense secretary Robert Gates called Israel “an ungrateful ally.” Current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demanded that Israel “get back to the damned table” with the Palestinians. General Dempsey and his predecessor Michael Mullen have spoken disparagingly of Israel and its military capabilities.…

Aside from these rather uncooperative comments, under Obama the US has adopted policies and taken actions that have endangered Israel militarily on all fronts and in fundamental ways. With Obama at the helm the US not only stood back and allowed Hezbollah and Iran to take over Lebanon. The US has continued to supply the Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese military with sophisticated US arms.

Under Obama, the US intervened in Egypt’s internal politics to empower the Muslim Brotherhood and overthrow Hosni Mubarak. The transformation of Israel’s border with Egypt from a peaceful border to a hostile one is the direct consequence of the US-supported overthrow of Mubarak and the US-supported rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. These are indisputable facts. Their military repercussions are enormous and entirely negative.

Then there is Syria. For more than six months, Obama effectively sided with Bashar Assad against his own people who rose up against him. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Assad a reformer.… By failing to act against Assad, the Obama administration is effectively acting as the guardian of Iran’s most important regional ally. That is, far from enhancing Israel’s military posture, Obama’s behavior towards Syria is enhancing Iran’s military posture.…

As to Iran, while Obama touts the new anti-Iran sanctions that have been imposed since he took office as proof that he can be trusted to take action against Iran, the fact is that Obama has been forced to implement sanctions against his will by the US Congress and Europe. So too, Obama still refuses to implement the sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank that Congress passed against his strong objections earlier in the year.… Obama’s behavior has served to help rather than hinder Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities.

Beyond Israel’s immediate borders, and beyond Iran, Obama’s behavior towards Turkey has had a destructive impact on Israel’s military position and strategic posture. Obama has said that Turkey’s Islamist, anti-Semitic Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is one of the five foreign leaders he is closest to.… Erdogan gained Obama’s trust at the same time that he ended his country’s strategic alliance with Israel and began directly funding the Hamas terrorist organization.… What is notable about Obama’s relationship with NATO member Turkey is that he has not used his relationship with Erdogan to influence Erdogan’s behavior. Instead he has rewarded Erdogan’s behavior.

Obama’s self-congratulatory statements about US assistance to the development of Israel’s missile defense systems ring depressingly hollow for two main reasons. First, the military cooperation agreement between Israel and the US for the development of the Iron Dome anti-mortar and rocket shield was concluded and financed under President George W. Bush due to the peripatetic actions of Senator Mark Kirk. Obama inherited the program. And in his 2012 budget, Obama reduced US funding of the project. The second reason is because his actions as President have increased Israel’s need to defend itself from Palestinian mortars and rockets from Gaza.…

This brings us to Obama’s statements about his support for Israel at the UN and towards the Palestinians. The fact is that it is Obama’s hostile position towards Israel that fuelled the Palestinians’ rejection of negotiations with Israel. As Mahmoud Abbas told The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl, Obama’s demand for a Jewish building freeze convinced him that he has no reason to hold talks with Israel.… The fact is that the Palestinians only sought a UN Security Council resolution condemning Jewish construction in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria because Obama made them think that he would support it. It was Obama after all who called Israeli settlements “illegitimate,” and demanded an abrogation of Jewish building rights outside the armistice lines.

The same is the case with the Palestinian decision to have the UN accept “Palestine” as a member. In his September 2010 address to the UN General Assembly Obama called for the establishment of a Palestinian state within a year. It was his statement that made the Palestinians think the US would back their decision to abandon negotiations with Israel and turn their cause over to the UN. So in both cases where Obama was compelled to defend Israel at the UN, Obama created the crisis that Israel was then compelled to beg him to defuse. And in both cases, he made Israel pay dearly for his protection.

The fact is that Obama’s actions and his words have made clear that Israel cannot trust him, not on Iran and not on anything. The only thing that has been consistent about his Israel policy has been its hostility. As a consequence, the only messages emanating from his administration we can trust are those telling us that if Obama is reelected, he will no longer feel constrained to hide his hatred for Israel. What these messages make clear is that if our leaders are too weak to stand up to Obama today, we will pay a steep price for their cowardice if he wins the elections in November.


Jonathan Kay

National Post, February 25, 2012

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike. Iran’s mullahs are set to execute a Canadian citizen for the crime of operating a web site they don’t like. The new Libyan regime is torturing Gaddafi loyalists. And Egypt’s rulers are prosecuting NGO leaders on trumped-up charges. And so next week, Canadian left-wing activists will congregate in Toronto to express their hatred of…you guessed it: Israel.

The events of March 5-9 will take place as part of the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), and will feature presentations such as “Cutting the Ties to Israeli Apartheid: Cultural and Academic Boycott,” and “Rhymes Of Resistance And The Sounds Of Existence—with poets Remi Kanazi, Red Slam and Chand-nee.” The IAW website is full of the usual rhetoric about Israel’s “criminal” actions. There is not a word of acknowledgement about how utterly ridiculous it is to run a week-long event vilifying Israel when right next door in Syria, the government has just exterminated more Arabs than were killed in both Intifidas, the 2008 Gaza conflict, and the 2006 Lebanon war combined.

The timing of IAW this year truly does represent something of a farce. The eyes of the entire world are focused on Syria and the Strait of Hormuz. Even West Bank Palestinians themselves now seem more concerned with building up their economy than with grand international gestures aimed at the Jewish state.… In the streets of Cairo, Sana’a and Tunis, no one is talking about Israel—only about when they will get the democracy they were promised. Only among cultish, single-minded anti-Israel activists has the news of the Arab Spring failed to circulate.

The word “cultish” is used here advisedly—because even some veteran anti-Israel activists are getting tired of the false mantras that circulate at IAW events. This includes no less an anti-Zionist than Norman Finkelstein (who has called Israel a “vandal state” that “relentlessly and brutally and inhumanly keeps these vicious, murderous wars”). Speaking to an interviewer earlier this month, he attacked the animating philosophy behind IAW—the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS)—as a “cult,” and an unsuccessful one at that.…

“All [the BDS] claims about ‘victories’ [against Israel]: These 10 fingers more than suffice to count their victories,” Mr. Finkelstein said this month. [According] to Finkelstein…“We have to be honest: They [BDS activists] don’t want Israel. They think they’re being clever. They call it their three tiers. ‘We want to end of the occupation,’ ‘We want the right of return [for Palestinian refugees],’ ‘And we want equal rights for Arab citizens.’ But they know the result of implementing all three is—what? You and I both know: There’s no Israel.…”

[Everyone] should understand that IAW and BDS are not what they seem: As some of Israel’s own fiercest critics themselves now admit, these are dishonest cults meant to enlist ill-informed activists in a campaign to destroy the Jewish state.

Zvi Mazel

Jerusalem Post, January 27, 2012

Western countries, it appears, deluded themselves about the so-called Arab Spring and the compatibility of Islam and democracy.

Since Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979, it has received $70 billion from the United States in military and civilian grants. Civilian grants were intended to help improve education, infrastructure and develop the economy, as well as further democracy. Grants to the army were meant to ensure the stability of the country and help Egypt sustain its role as a leader of the Arab world against Iran and terror organizations.

Hundreds of modern F-16 planes, Abrams tanks and other state-of-the-art materiel replaced outdated Soviet-era equipment. Joint exercises were held; thousands of officers were sent to the US for advanced training, in the hope that they would discover and appreciate the merits of democracy.

During the long rule of Hosni Mubarak the army was often called “the silent partner.” Generals did not try to interfere in the ruling of the country, though they quietly started taking over greater and greater segments of the economy. First military industries then industrial and trade companies; the army now holds about one third of the economy.…

Army leaders were careful not to let Islamist militants into their ranks. They remembered only too well the Sadat assassination, carried out in 1981 by a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement during a military parade. Mubarak, who had survived that day, was convinced that by favoring his generals and letting them enrich themselves he would ensure their continuing loyalty and support.

Yet it took only one week of violent street demonstrations in Cairo for America to abandon its ally of 43 years and for President Barack Obama to tell Mubarak to go. Obama probably thought that freed of the chains of dictatorship, a new regime would turn to democracy and strengthen its ties with America. It was a very bad miscalculation.

There was an outpouring of hatred towards the United States; worse, extremist Islamic parties won 75 percent of the seats of the new parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood…defeated democracy by knock-out.

What now? America watches impotently as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)…accused the American University of Cairo, situated not far from Tahrir Square, of fomenting troubles.… The generals may have been trying to deflect criticism in a time-honored Egyptian manner by throwing the blame on another—and America made a convenient scapegoat.

Then came the December raid on 17 NGOs, including well known American civil organizations. Documents were seized, offices closed in what was seen as a deliberate provocation against America.… Though Egypt insists that it is a purely legal issue and that the organizations did not have the necessary permits to operate…it is not a satisfactory explanation: instead of launching the raids with no advance warning, why not first warn the United States that if the organizations did not register within a given number of days or weeks, sanctions would be taken? In the meantime 43 NGO employees, including 19 American citizens, are being prevented from leaving the country.…

The SCAF appears unfazed by the turn of events, as if it has come to the conclusion that channeling against the hated Americans the frustration of increasingly disillusioned masses who have yet to see some positive results of the revolution is a sound political move. Both the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists, who view American democracy as their most dangerous enemy, support them. When Congress threatened to cut off aid, public opinion polls showed that 71% of the Egyptians declared that Egypt did not need that money and that they could get the same amount from Arab states, a position which was backed by Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri as well as by the head of Al-Azhar University.

However, and at the same time, Issam Alarian, one of the leaders of the Brotherhood, warned that should the Americans stop their aid, it would lead to a review of the peace treaty with Israel.…

What happened to the much touted friendship between American top brass and their Egyptian counterparts? What about a little gratitude for the considerable sums poured into Egypt to help the country’s development and the modernization?…

To sum up: far from leading to greater openness and democracy, the ouster of Mubarak has led to brutal oppression and an open rift with the United States.… As for the Muslim Brothers,…they see in democratic America a major stumbling block on the road to setting up an Islamic regime in Egypt and doing away with the peace treaty with Israel.

Barry Rubin

Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2012

Dear readers, I’d like to share a secret. Every day I read articles, or some form of writing, by people who claim to be experts on the Middle East. I have read them on land; I have read them at sea; I have read them in the air. And they will never surrender to reality. Here are the two main causes of error:

1. They think the Middle East is just like the West, so they can extrapolate from their own experience. When someone say[s], “If I were Yasser Arafat, I’d…” my response [is always]: You are not Arafat or [Ayatollah] Khomeini or Saddam Hussein or whatever, and unless you have some understanding of how they actually think—and not your own Western idea of what they should think—there’s no sense in discussing it.

2. They think the Middle East is just what they’d like it to be. Peace? Easy. They have a plan. My response: I’d love to hear your plan but I’m all booked up to hear Middle East peace plans for the next three years. I’ll put you on the waiting list and get back to you.

By the same token, they sometimes lie to make things seem better. You can’t criticize the Palestinian Authority—or the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Turkish regime, etc.—even by telling the truth about them, because that would damage the cause of “peace.” They don’t understand that not telling the truth is the best way to undermine any chance for peace, or any understanding of why there is no peace.

The Middle East is so strange in Western terms, so different, that unless you are really aware of those differences, please pick something else to be an expert on. And that brings me to a case in point that I have before me right now.

The Wafd is a “liberal,” “moderate” Egyptian party, right? It is the biggest non-Islamist party in Egypt’s parliament with 7.6 percent (pretty pitiful, huh?) of the seats. So if you are a Western reporter, policymaker, or “expert” you would say that it is one of the great hopes—perhaps the greatest—for moderate, liberal Egyptian democracy, right?…

But how many “liberal,” “moderate” parties have had: A deadly shoot-out between two factions over control of their headquarters; An alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood—which might be renewed; A deputy leader who explains that September 11 was a US-Zionist plot, the Holocaust never happened, and Anne Frank was a phony?

And now this article, courtesy of the party’s official newspaper, appearing on January 27, 2012.… In brief, the article charges that a small US Navy Medical Research Unit in Cairo that conducts research on tropical and Third World diseases is in fact engaged in plotting to send “Medicines, pesticides, food products and seeds [to Egypt], after these have been dangerously tampered with, so as to harm the Egyptians’ health.… [These are] biological weapons, which, if deployed, could exterminate the entire Egyptian nation, or any other nation.…” It goes on to suggest that various disease epidemics in Egypt were caused by the United States and charges that the US “sees the Egyptian children as an opportunity to test new medicines…causing increases in infertility, mental retardation and disability among Egyptians born in recent years.…” And all this is done “in accordance with America’s will, which has Israel standing forcefully behind it.…”

This one article is a rich source of knowledge about Egypt and the Arabic-speaking world, not so much in terms of health issues but in terms of political and intellectual structures. Of course, there are the common conspiracy theories and the idea that the Zionists are everywhere, but that’s only the beginning of the issue. Don’t be fooled into thinking that conspiracy theories are silly, funny, archaic ideas that don’t mean anything precisely because they are inaccurate.

Here are some of the implications: 1. An American attempt to help Egypt is portrayed as a harmful and aggressive activity; 2. The priority for the nation is to fight foreign conspiracies, not to fix domestic shortcomings; 3. Since internal problems are blamed on outsiders they are thus made impossible to solve. Science and modernity are viewed not as solutions but with suspicion, as attempts to destroy one’s own society through imperialist takeover, social transformation, and atheism.…; 4. If Americans are so evil then it makes sense for people to become terrorists and to slay or drive out the horrible villains.…

Together these four symptoms block progress, inflame hatred and extremism and produce conflict. This is a common pattern in the Middle East whether aimed against Israel, the United States, or the West in general.…

So, in short, the Islamists are not “moderate,” and many of the alleged moderates are not moderate. Hence, the hopes for moderation and real democracy is limited by the small numbers of those who hold them. We were told not so long ago that the young, social-media using kids who made Egypt’s revolution would dominate the country thereafter. Question: What percentage of the vote in parliamentary elections did the young, social-media using kids who made Egypt’s revolution get? Answer: 1.3 percent.

(Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research and International Affairs (GLORIA) Center.)

National Interest

Bruce Riedel, February 10, 2012

In the year since Hosni Mubarak was toppled, most of our attention has rightly been focused on Cairo and the Nile heartland of Egypt.… But there have also been important developments in Egypt’s eastern frontier, the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel.

The Sinai has long been at odds with Cairo. The Bedouin population that lives in the arid and forbidding desert has long felt neglected by the government in Cairo and ignored by the Egyptian mainstream. Smuggling and crime are rampant among the tribes. Several acts of terror against Western and Israeli tourists along the Gulf of Aqaba in the last decade were blamed on the Bedouin.…

During the revolution last February, police stations in the Sinai were abandoned or attacked and looted by disaffected Bedouins. A shadowy new organization emerged that went by several different titles, including al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula and Ansar al-Jihad. It took credit for attacks on the Egypt-Israel natural-gas pipeline that crosses the Sinai.

At the end of July, dozens of armed men attacked the police station in El Arish, the capital of the peninsula. In the wake of this attack, pamphlets were circulated announcing a “Statement from al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.” The statement called for creating an Islamic emirate in the Sinai, implementing sharia law, breaking the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, halting discrimination against the Sinai’s Bedouin tribes and demanding Egyptian military intervention on behalf of the Hamas regime in Gaza. The mix of global jihadist demands with local Bedouin grievances suggested the long-repressed Bedouin population of the Sinai had been radicalized by al-Qaeda activists or at least sympathizers. A video surfaced soon after repeating the demands.

In response to the violence and chaos, the Egyptian military sent a couple thousand more troops and police into the Sinai to restore order, at least in El Arish. Under the terms of the 1979 peace treaty, Egyptian military forces in the peninsula are limited in numbers and equipment, so Cairo had to get Israeli approval for the troop deployment.

None of al-Qaeda’s official media outlets has recognized the jihadists in the Sinai as a formal branch of al-Qaeda. And yet Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian who has replaced Osama bin Laden as emir of al-Qaeda, has publicly congratulated those jihadists who blew up the pipeline and has called for more attacks on Israeli targets in his audio commentaries on the Egyptian Revolution. Many Zawahiri supporters are among those released in the jailbreaks in Egypt last year, and he has long tried to rebuild the infrastructure of the terror underground he led in Egypt in the 1990s.…

Now the group in the Sinai using the name Ansar al-Jihad has formally pledged its loyalty to Zawahiri and recognized him as the legitimate successor to bin Laden. It released a message in late January to Zawahiri supporting him as the leader of their jihad. This month, the group attacked the Egyptian-Israeli natural-gas pipeline for the twelfth time since the revolution.

For Israel, the chaos in the Sinai means the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and intelligence community must reorient scarce resources to the South. For the last few decades, the Sinai was quiet and the border peaceful. That changed last year with a major Palestinian terror attack on the border and the mob sacking of Israel’s embassy in Cairo. The IDF is already building up its capabilities in the Negev adjacent to the Sinai and must strengthen its intelligence resources devoted to Egypt as a whole and the Sinai in particular.

The Sinai is the land bridge between Africa and Asia; it is also the gateway to Gaza and Israel from Egypt.… For Zawahiri and al-Qaeda, the emergence of a sympathetic jihadist infrastructure in Sinai would be a strategic gain in a pivotal arena. Even a relatively small number of terrorists hiding in the remote mountains of the central Sinai would be a dangerous threat to the stability of the region. They could target the pipeline, the border, tourists at Sharm el-Shaykh and even American troops serving with the twelve-nation-strong Multinational Force Organization that is charged with monitoring the peace agreement in Sinai. If al-Qaeda can open a new front here, it will be a danger to peace and stability in the region as a whole.…


Israel Kasnett

Jerusalem Post, February 17, 2012

This week is the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week—the start of an annual campaign that seeks to delegitimize Israel and, according to the official website, “educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement.…”

The events will take place from February 20 to March 10 in Europe, February 26 to March 3 in the US, March 5-11 in Arab countries and South Africa, [and March 5-9 in Canada]. The website encourages activists to “Join us in making this a year of struggle against apartheid and for justice, equality, and peace.”

To be clear, these activists are not pro-Palestinian as they claim, but rather are anti-Israel. In their blind vigor to delegitimize Israel, they fail to understand that a Palestinian society that kills its own young girls in “honor killings” is not just. A society that treats its own women as second-class citizens is not interested in equality. A society that glorifies suicide bombers is not interested in peace.

And there is no logical reason these activists should take any more interest in the Palestinians than they do in the causes of others. There are millions of people around the globe suffering from far worse, but these so-called activists have decided to launch a BDS campaign on the one democracy in the Middle East solely because it is Jewish. These are people who are not concerned that the Palestinians do not have a state of their own. Rather, they are concerned with the fact that the Jewish people do.

Anti-Israel events such as Israel Apartheid Week are damaging since they reinforce, for those who are easily swayed, the false notion that Israel is an apartheid state and deserves to be sanctioned by the international community.… Thankfully, numerous pro-Israel groups today…have managed to stem the influence that anti-Israel groups have on unsuspecting students.… Will pro-Israel activists change the minds of those who are bent on defending Palestinians unconditionally? The answer is no. But activists can steer the argument in the right direction.…

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.…” Good luck to all of you on campus who fight for Israel daily. Don’t ever give up. You are the Diaspora IDF.

David M. Weinberg

Israel Hayom, January 22, 2012

“Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are,” goes the old adage. If that’s the case, Israel, America and the Western world are in big trouble. U.S. President Barack Obama has just named the semi-dictator of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as one of the five world leaders with whom he has a “friendship and bond of trust.” Woe be to us.

Obama told TIME Magazine that his diplomatic endeavors had been more effective because he shared “trust and confidence” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Erdogan, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, in that order.…

Israeli media, of course, played up the fact that Obama did not list Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.… But that, unfortunately, is not surprising, and it misses the point. The point—and the shocker—is that Obama does feel a kinship to Erdogan, one of the most anti-Western, anti-Israel, pro-Islamist and nasty leaders on the globe.

Erdogan has led a major reorientation in Turkish foreign policy away from the West and towards the West’s worst enemies, including Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Everyone knows that he has crashed Turkish-Israel relations, which are seen as a burden within the framework of the new Turkish foreign policy. Erdogan hardly lets a week pass without disparaging or criticizing Israel or the Jews. This undoubtedly fits well with the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments prevalent in the Muslim world. But Erdogan is Obama’s friend, with whom Obama shares a “friendship and bond of trust.”

Erdogan has curtailed freedom of the press, the freedoms of academia and the independence of the judiciary in his own country, as he attempts to build a centralized, authoritarian presidential system to suit his ambitions. Human rights in Turkey have gone from bad to worse.…

Turkey has become a very unreliable member of NATO. Led by the AKP (Erdogan’s political party), the Turkish Parliament denied permission to U.S. troops to use Turkish territory to open a northern front against Iraq in 2003. During the Georgian crisis in the summer of 2008, Ankara was slow in responding to American requests to send ships into the Black Sea via the Bosporus Strait. An even more flagrant deviation from NATO values has been the nascent military relationship and “strategic partnership” (Erdogan’s words) between Turkey and China, including the unprecedented inclusion of Chinese warplanes in a 2010 Turkish military exercise, called Anatolian Eagle, that had previously included the U.S. and Israel.…

Turkey further deviated from the Western consensus by hosting Sudanese Islamist President Omar Hassan al-Bashir twice in 2008. Bashir was charged with war crimes and genocide in Darfur. Since then, Erdogan has hosted Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Ankara and backed Hamas.

Erdogan has visited Iran numerous times since 2009 and has sided with Iran on the nuclear issue, declaring Turkish support for Tehran’s “peaceful nuclear program” and voting repeatedly against American-initiated sanctions against Iran.… Erdogan has agreed to establish a $2 billion crude oil-refinery in northern Iran in defiance of the U.S., and voted against every attempt to censure Iran for building secret uranium enrichment facilities. Turkish banks openly cooperate with Iranian banks to circumvent Western sanctions.…

Erdogan is so unhinged when it comes to Israel that in 2009 he preposterously accused Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of threatening to attack the Gaza Strip with a nuclear weapon. More recently, he has threatened Israel with war over gas fields in the Mediterranean.

Turkey is an important country whose foreign policy reorientation changes the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of the radical Islamist forces. It is negatively affecting the pro-Western orientation of the Central Asian republics. It is considerably weakening the Western strategic alliance, and working assiduously to undermine Israel’s safety and security. Erdogan is directly responsible for this. But of all the world’s leaders, one of the five Obama feels closest to is Erdogan.… Unbelievable.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

Jerusalem Post, January 23, 2012

In the wake of Gov. Rick Perry’s withdrawal from the Republican presidential race, pundits argue[d] over the reasons for his rise and fall. But one thing is for certain: Perry was the only candidate who told the truth about Turkey’s support for anti-Israel Islamic terrorists.

Perry was roundly criticized after he remarked, in the January 17 candidates’ debate, that Turkey “is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.” In response, The US State Department called Turkey “a stalwart ally” of the United States that “plays a very positive and constructive role in the region.” The New York Times…asserted flat-out that Perry’s statement was “inaccurate” and characterized Turkey’s governing party as “moderate.” Huffington Post columnist Dorian de Wind mocked Perry as an “uninformed Texas cowboy.”

But within hours, Gov. Perry’s critics were left with more than a little egg on their faces as the foreign minister of Iran, the world’s leading terrorist state, arrived in Turkey for a visit aimed at further strengthening the already-friendly relations between the two countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi announced in Ankara that trade between his terrorist regime and Turkey, which had been just $5 billion annually in the past, hit $15 b. in 2010 and will reach $30 b. by 2015. Salehi, by the way, has met his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, no less than 11 times in the past 12 months. How is that “positive and constructive”?

The truth about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government is that they have become experts at playing both sides of the fence—making “moderate” noises when Western ears are listening, while collaborating with Islamic terrorists and terrorist regimes whenever they can get away with it.

Thus while the United States has been struggling to find ways to stop Iran’s nuclear development, Erdogan has been defending the Iranians. During his visit to Tehran…in October 2009, he denounced Western sanctions against Iran as “arrogant.…” Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad reciprocated by praising Erdogan for his “clear stance against” Israel.

In December 2010, Erdogan traveled to Libya—Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya—to receive the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.” Erdogan was not the least bit embarrassed to accept such an award from one of the world’s worst human rights abusers.… He told reporters that relations between Turkey and Libya were “growing,” and that there was “much Turkish investment” in Gadaffi’s Libya. Three months later, the US was leading the NATO assault on Turkey’s Libyan friends.

Turkey’s support for the Hamas terrorists has been consistent, passionate and unequivocal. The Turkish government sponsored the May 2010 flotilla that was intercepted while attempting to bring prohibited materials to the Hamas regime in Gaza. Erdogan’s claim that the flotilla participants were peaceful civil rights activists crumbled as the whole world watched the chilling YouTube video of the Islamic extremists on board trying to beat an Israeli soldier to death with baseball bats. Other Israeli soldiers were stabbed and nearly drowned. Erdogan said it was the Israeli soldiers who were “terrorizing” the Muslim baseball players.…

[Erdogan also] told PBS’s Charlie Rose last May: “I don’t see Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas is a political party. And it is an organization. It is a resistance movement.…” According to media reports last month, Turkey intends to give Hamas $300 million in aid. And [in January], Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh received the red carpet treatment on an official state visit to Turkey.…

Those who befriend Iran and finance Hamas have made it clear that they are with the terrorists. Just like Rick Perry said.

Yesim Erez

Pajamas Media, February 1, 2012

Both U.S. policy and Middle Eastern Islamists have repeatedly held up the “Turkish model” as an ideal.… During the last year, Western governments and mass media have urged new, post-revolutionary Arab governments to follow the ‘Turkish model” as a way of achieving a moderate democracy. The problem with this approach is that the Turkish model is not so moderate, democratic, or admirable.

Since achieving power almost a decade ago, the AKP has built, step-by-step, a Putin-style permanent regime by knocking over institution after institution, changing laws to give itself more power, and intimidating opponents.

Now, the last two surviving institutions, [the military and the judiciary], have received this treatment. Top military officers have been forced to resign, and scores have been arrested and imprisoned on flimsy charges. In 2010 the AKP pushed through a series of constitutional amendments that included increasing the number of members in Turkey’s Constitutional Court—its equivalent of a supreme court—from eleven to seventeen, allowing the AKP to achieve a majority of its own supporters. The size of the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK), the body that approves judges and prosecutors, was increased from seven to twenty-two appointees. AKP filled the positions with partisans, ensuring itself absolute power over the judiciary branch of government in Turkey.

Under the AKP, Turkey has become a world leader in imprisoning journalists, students, and politicians of opposing viewpoints exercising their rights to free speech. According to the International Center for Prison Studies, the number of people in Turkey’s prisons doubled between 2006 and 2010. Close to half of them are being held without trial.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2011 “Global Gender Gap Report” measuring the gap between men and women in economic participation, educational attainment, health, and political empowerment, Turkey bottomed at 122 out of 135—down from 106 in 2006, and heading in the direction of Saudi Arabia.…

Since Western governments and media don’t criticize [Erdogan’s] regime, it can claim that it has increased Turkey’s prestige and power in the world. But central to this strategy is the conquest of all national institutions, like the mass media. In 2009, for example, the Dogan Media Group—one of the largest media enterprises to be accused of being “anti-government”—was slapped with a tax fine of about $3 billion, an amount that exceeded its market value. The fine is held over its head as a way of achieving a more positive stance toward the government.…

If the current Turkish regime is the model for the entire Middle East or Muslim world, this is a rather questionable model.…

Kemal Kılıçdaroglu

Washington Post, February 5, 2012

Many in Washington have been debating whether Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) could be a model for the Arab Spring.… But the reality in Turkey makes clear that the AKP model does not hold.

On Nov. 9 I visited the Silivri prison where hundreds of journalists, publishers, military officers, academics and politicians are being held. Trials were opened in 2007 on charges that an ultranationalist underground organization had plotted for years to overthrow the government. Many of those indicted have been detained for years without trial. There has not been a single conviction to date. Justice is at stake—and, so far, has been flagrantly denied. At work is an insidious attack on the rule of law by Turkey’s governing party. These trials could have been an occasion for Turkey to achieve a much-needed catharsis for correcting past wrongs, but they have been turned into instruments to silence the opposition and suppress freedoms.

Among those being held are eight opposition members of parliament. Turkey’s high election board declared that these people were qualified to stand for elections, and all won seats in parliament. That they are incarcerated violates their rights under Turkish law as elected representatives of the people.

A universal norm of the rule of law is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Another is that evidence leads to the arrest of a suspect. In today’s Turkey, however, people are treated as guilty until proven innocent. One gets arrested; then authorities gather evidence to establish an infraction. Presumed guilt is the norm. Sadly, all opponents of the government are viewed as potential terrorists or plotters against the state.

The AKP is systematic and ruthless in its persecution of any opposition to its policies. Authoritarian pressure methods such as heavy tax fines and illegal videotaping and phone tapping are widely used to silence opponents. Even more disturbing is the AKP’s claim that such things are being done in the name of democratic progress. The latest government target is the primary vestige of our democracy, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which I lead.

While at the Silivri center in November, I likened the conditions to those of a concentration camp and said that prosecutors and judges were not meting out justice and did not deserve to be called upholders of justice. This month, I learned that the prosecutor’s office had opened an inquiry into my comments, contending that I was “seeking to influence a fair trial” and “insulting public officials.…” Clearly, an effort to single out the leader of the main opposition party ratchets up the pressures on freedom of expression.…

It all boils down to this: In today’s Turkey, when one criticizes the justice system, one is prosecuted. When one appeals to the courts, one is penalized. But here is why I stand behind my words: I have the right and duty to be critical of all that is wrong in my country. It is my inalienable right to point to injustices and to ask for justice. If the courts are not performing their duty, one can, and should, stand up and say so.…

Turkey today is a country where people live in fear and are divided politically, economically and socially. Our democracy is regressing in terms of the separation of powers, basic human rights and freedoms and social development and justice. Citizens worry deeply about their future. These points are, sadly, reflected in most major international indexes…which rank Turkey quite low in terms of human rights, democracy, freedoms and equality.…

A nation plagued by multiple forms of division and polarization is doomed to failure. Tactics such as oppression, preying on fear and restricting freedoms can help sustain a government’s rule for only so long. Never in history has a government succeeded in ruling permanently through authoritarian measures. Oppression does not endure; righteousness does. Turkey will be no exception.

(Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP),
the main opposition party in Turkey.


In anticipation of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s upcoming Sunday, 6 November 2011 International Conference, “Combatting the Delegitimation of Israel,” this week’s Daily Briefings will focus on the global effort to demonize the lone democracy in the Middle East. The series will provide insight into the pervasive, “soft war” being waged against the Jewish State—in the media, in Europe, at the UN, on and off North American campuses, and in Israel itself. It will also convey relevant ways of combatting, and ultimately defeating, this dangerous propaganda campaign.

Highlighting each Briefing will be a selection of articles written by participants in CIJR’s International Conference. A video of the Conference will be posted on CIJR’s website, www.isranet.org. (For registration information call [514] 486-5544 or write Yvonne@isranet.org.)



Richard Landes
Telegraph, October 21, 2011

One of the supreme ironies among the European moral stances has to do with their discourse on the death penalty. It is a standard trope of European contempt for the USA that it still has a death penalty, a sign of its cowboy nature and its retardation in the moral progress of nations.

And yet when that same Europe turns its gaze on the Middle East, the country they have the most contempt for is the only country in the entire region to reject capital punishment, and they have the most admiration for a “country” that among a widespread political culture that extensively uses torture and execution for the maintenance of public order, shows perhaps the most contempt for the lives of its own peoples and its enemies.

Normally, this would not be even worth mentioning. Most people would just roll their eyes while others complain about Zionist imperialists trying to divert attention from their oppression of the Palestinians. But if you want to understand the “hostage-for-prisoner-exchange” that just took place in Israel and the Western media’s coverage of the event, then you need to pay attention to the issue.

Israel first outlawed the death penalty in 1954, thus reversing the Mandate Law, which, in most other instances, Israel took over from the British. They based themselves both on rabbinic precedent (concerns for both respecting the image of God in man and the unattainable burden of proof) and modern liberal sentiment. In doing so, they became the first modern Western democracy to ban the death penalty, followed a decade later by Britain (1965), Sweden (1972), Canada (1976) and France (1981).

Note that Israel passed this law five years after the creation of a polity dedicated to equality before the law for all its citizens, a move that earned them the ferocious hostility of their neighbors in the Arab Muslim world. Normally, when countries attempt these egalitarian revolutions and find themselves surrounded by hostile enemies, they have, by year five, descended into mass executions of their own citizens (French Revolution in their fourth year, Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, almost immediately). Israel, on the other hand, outlawed the death penalty even for Arab terrorists who were captured while killing Israeli civilians. Israel has only executed one person, Adolph Eichmann, held responsible for the extermination of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.…

Palestine, on the other hand, represents almost the polar opposite. This is a place in which killing daughters and wives and homosexuals for shaming the family with (even suspected and loosely interpreted) inappropriate sexual behavior is a regular feature of society, where “collaborators” are summarily executed, where official statistics for executions put the PA at a rate of formal, legal execution that cedes only to China, Iran, N Korea, Yemen and Libya.

The trade of over a thousand Palestinians for one Israeli highlights the radical differences between the cultures. As Hizbullah’s [leader] Nasrullah put it after a prison exchange in 2004: “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.”

If a European, concerned about the nature of the aggressive Islam that has begun to crop up in his cities, citing for example Sharia zones, wanted to understand the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he might spend a moment visiting the sites of Palestinian anti-Zionists, where this profoundly perverse culture teems. But of course, that would be politically incorrect. To spend any time pointing out the problems here constitutes the highest level of politically incorrect Islamophobia.

So instead of helping Europeans understand what’s at stake, most of the media and the NGO community have spun this story as one of violations of human rights on “both sides” with a heavy focus on Israeli misdeeds. The prisoners were considered “equal” and Israel primarily held accountable by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of enemy combatants when, in reality, the only one protected under these conditions was Shalit, a uniformed soldier kidnapped on his own soil in non-combat situation, and the thousand Palestinian prisoners where convicted in a court, primarily of crimes related to terror attacks on civilians.

Thus, The New York Times’s Robert Mackee could speak glibly about the “joy of parents on both sides” at the return of prisoners, and the UN could voice its concern that the prisoners Israel released might be subject to illegal forced transfer: “Returning people to places other than their habitual places of residence is in contradiction to international humanitarian law.” The UN’s concern for the full exercise of free will by convicted mass murderers illustrates the problem. Humanitarian discourse has been turned on its head to protect the ugliest players in this particular game…all the while implying that Israel, in its haste to get its own soldier back, trampled their rights and violated humanitarian law. Not surprisingly this led Ban Ki Moon to a moment of moral vertigo where he denounced the violation of everyone’s rights.…

In acquiescing with a narrative in which hatred and murder are considered legitimate expressions of “resistance” to “occupation,” Western human rights activists—including many journalists—have degraded humanitarian language at the same time as they have allowed into the public sphere a discourse of genocidal hatred. They have excluded any sympathy for Israelis who defend themselves from the onslaught they have shut out from their and their audiences’ consciousness.

It may seem cost-free to Westerners, but it’s not. In misreading the nature of the threat Israel faces, in adopting a degraded language of human rights to protect the greatest enemies of human rights on the planet, in adopting a corrupted advocacy journalism that masquerades as empirically accurate, they embrace all the kinds of techniques that put them in danger when faced with the same enemy.

(Richard Landes, an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Boston University,
is presenting a paper at CIJR’s November 6th Montreal International Conference.)


Joseph Klein
FrontPage, October 31, 2011

The “international community” is always quick to blame Israel for any reprisals it takes against Palestinian terrorists. Accusations of “collective punishment,” “disproportionate force,” and “extrajudicial targeted assassinations” are regularly hurled at Israel from the chambers of the dysfunctional Human Rights Council and other United Nations bodies, including the UN Security Council. Yet when Israel seeks even the mildest of rebukes from the Security Council for continued rocket attacks launched against Israeli civilians from Hamas-controlled Gaza, it is met with stone-faced silence.

Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor has just sent yet another letter dated October 29, 2011 to the Security Council calling “attention to a very serious escalation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.” On that very day, wrote Ambassador Prosor, major cities throughout southern Israel were bombarded with a barrage of dozens of rockets and mortars launched from the Gaza Strip. These attacks killed one Israeli civilian and injured a number of others.…

“The scenes coming out of Southern Israel today should shock and appall the international community and all decent people,” wrote the Israeli ambassador. “There is no question that the terrorists who carried out these attacks intended to deliberately target innocent civilians.”

Ambassador Prosor’s latest letter came just two days after he had sent a letter to the Security Council complaining of rocket attacks that had been launched from Gaza on October 26th, which struck near Ashdod. The letter fell on deaf ears, which is the most likely fate of his most current letter as well.

“Two days ago, I wrote to the Security Council and expressed my Government’s concern about the escalating violence emanating from Gaza, alerting the international community about the dangerous potential for civilian casualties,” Ambassador Prosor reminded the Council in his October 29th letter. “The Council did not utter a single word of condemnation. Today one Israeli civilian was murdered and others lay injured in hospitals this evening as a result of the escalating rocket fire—and we still only hear silence from the Security Council.”

Indeed, as Ambassador Prosor pointed out, the Security Council has failed to take any steps to ensure compliance with the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1860, passed on January 9, 2009, that called for a cease-fire in Gaza and an end to “illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition.…”

At a time when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to convince the Security Council that he represents a government worthy of becoming a member state of the United Nations, he remains silent as terrorist attacks continue to be launched from a Palestinian territory he is utterly incapable of controlling.…

Before the Security Council proceeds to a final decision on the Palestinians’ application for UN member state status, it should respond affirmatively to Israeli Ambassador Prosor’s plea to “act with a common purpose against the escalating violence flowing from Gaza” and to condemn continued Palestinian terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Ambassador Prosor has put the Security Council and the Palestinians on notice. There will be “serious consequences for continued rocket fire,” he said. “Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.”

If the Security Council puts its head in the sand as expected, it will bear full responsibility for the consequences.


Catherine Chatterley
National Post, March 3, 2011

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW)…is a Canadian invention. The first event was held at the University of Toronto in 2005. The following year, it included Montreal and Oxford. In 2007, it grew to eight cities; in 2008, to 24 cities; in 2009, to 38 cities; last year, to over 40 cities. This year, IAW [was] held in over 55 cities worldwide.

While the event is new, the ideology at the heart of IAW is not. The accusation that Zionism is racist and imperialist by nature is as old as Israel. The Soviet Union was a leading proponent of this conception of Zionism; and it drew on the long history of leftist antisemitism, identifying Jewish nationalism and capitalist imperialism with Judaism and the Jewish bourgeoisie.

Within a year of Israel’s establishment, Stalin began to see Zionism as a serious threat to the Soviet Union. Zionism was perceived to be working in tandem with American imperialism, both in the Middle East and as a conspiracy inside the U.S.S.R.. From 1949 until his death in 1953, Stalin engaged in a full assault on the Jews of the Soviet Union, who were then considered “bourgeois nationalists” and a Zionist fifth column. Following the Six-Day-War in 1967, Soviet anti-Zionist rhetoric regularly used Nazi analogies, accusing Israel of behaving like Hitler.…

In his most recent history of anti-Semitism, entitled A Lethal Obsession, Robert Wistrich illustrates how the Soviet strategy to isolate and delegitimize Zionism precipitated UN Resolution 3379 in 1975, which stated that “Zionism is a form of racism and racist discrimination.” Two years earlier, UN Resolution 3151 had condemned “the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism.”

UN Resolution 3379 was annulled in 1991, the same year that the Soviet Union collapsed, but its echoes were heard again at Durban I, the World Conference Against Racism, held in 2001 under UN auspices. Charged with discussing a number of controversial subjects including slavery and reparations, much of the conference was dedicated to the so-called racist crimes of Zionism. Iran and Syria inserted six references to Zionism as a form of racism into the draft documents produced before the official conference (which were eventually removed). The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was distributed to delegates by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee of South Africa.

Four years after Durban I, in 2005, Israeli Apartheid Week was born in Toronto. That July, 170 Palestinian civil-society organizations released an official call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (better known as BDS) against Israel. The document clearly stated that the call was modelled on the example of the South African struggle against Apartheid.…

This is the model chosen by pro-Palestinian activists today to dismantle so-called “Zionist racism” in the Middle East. By framing Israel as a racist apartheid state, BDS is presented as an entirely appropriate and morally correct plan of action. If Israel can be characterized as the new South Africa, it will have fewer and fewer supporters.…

As with the original anti-apartheid movement, the goal of IAW is explicitly political. And yet the rhetoric of IAW is left open enough to incorporate: (1) critics of Israel who still support a two-state solution; (2) those who support the dismantling of the current Jewish State and its replacement with a single (highly theoretical) secular democratic state; and (3) those who support the destruction of Israel by any means necessary. All three camps are included amongst supporters of IAW and the BDS campaign, and therefore the lines are often blurred between harsh criticism of the state of Israel, outright condemnation of its continued existence, and calls for its eradication. This is a serious problem, and one that appears to be designed quite consciously by IAW and the BDS movement.…

What we need, in response, is high-quality academic programming on university campuses that both unpacks and counters Israel Apartheid propaganda, and that actually engages with the difficult reality of the conflict. I would suggest that it is fundamentally irresponsible to allow IAW and its supporters to re-define Zionism as a racist form of European colonialism when in actual fact it is an emancipatory movement for Jewish self-determination—one that developed a new urgency and legitimacy with the wholesale systematic annihilation of Jewish Europe by a real form of racist European imperialism, better known as National Socialism.

(Catherine Chatterley, founding director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA), will be presenting a paper in Montreal at CIJR’s November 6th International Conference.)


Dr. Yasser Dasmabebi
FrontPage, October 26, 2011

I have come to realize just how difficult it may be to decipher news about the Middle East, Islam, Israel, the Arab World, and all these powerful and explosive issues of our times for those who rely on such media stalwarts as The New York Times, The Washington Post, theLos Angeles Times, the major television networks, cable news, etc. for their information. For example, how is a person to ascertain whether the slayer of a family is a terrorist or a militant or a gunman or an assailant or an activist or a freedom-fighter?

So, purely as a public service, I have organized the following glossary of the most pertinent terms and expressions, as typically used in the above-mentioned news sources. I hope,insha’allah, the reader will find it helpful to unravel the Gordian Knot of language that is today’s (and yesterday’s and tomorrow’s) Middle East!

Aggression: Killing people who are trying to kill you.

Al Qaeda: the terrorist group that, according to American security sources, embodies the world-wide Islamist movement, and that is either “significantly degraded” or is still “extremely dangerous,” depending on which government official is doing the talking.

Apartheid: The political/social system of the one and only country in the Middle East that integrates Jews, Beduins, Arabs, whites, blacks, Muslems, Ethiopians, Russians, Christians, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Bahai, et al.

Apes & Pigs”: See “Jew” below.

Arab Emir: Military dictator.

Arab King: Military dictator.

Arab President: Military dictator.

Arab Prime Minister: Military dictator.

Arab Spring: Replacement of one dictatorship with another, with the help of Western money and media cheerleading.

Arab Street: Enraged mobs chanting and screaming their hatred, determined to annihilate Israel and the Jews. They can often be seen burning American and Israeli flags, passing out candies and firing guns into the air in response to successful murders of Westerners (closely related to):

Arab Humiliation: The pervasive feeling on the Arab street generated by their failure to annihilate Israel and the Jews in several wars. Many opinion-makers, Middle East experts and op-ed writers argue that Arab humiliation is at the root of the Middle East conflict; i.e., “If only the Jews would let themselves be destroyed, the Arab street would feel better about themselves, and then there would be peace.”

Ayatola: Persian dictator. Spiritual leader of that faith that desires to ignite nuclear holocaust in order to bring about the arrival of the Mahdi. (See “Mahdi” below.)

Bias: An expression of support for the existence of Israel.

Caliphate: The unification of lands ruled in the name of Islam, ruled by a Caliph. (See “Arab King,” “Arab President,” etc. above.)

Compromise: To give something palpable, such as land, in return for a promise not to keep on trying to annihilate you.

Developing Country: A country that is not developing.

Disproportionate Response: Winning.

Diversity: The condition in which all cultures are viewed as equally and inherently virtuous, except for the culture of the West, which is viewed as evil by virtue of imperialism, colonialism and endemic racism (see “Racist” below).

Emergency Laws: The law.

Father of the Palestinian People: An Egyptian man, raised by his uncle, Hitler’s buddy, and one of the world’s most successful kleptocrats. (See “PLO” below.)

Fatwa: A pronouncement of a mullah that sanctions murder, but only of disagreeable people, like inadequately covered women, Salman Rushdie, etc.

Female Genital Mutilation: That ritual of which Western feminist organizations seem, by virtue of their silence, to approve.

Hamas: The democratically elected government of Gaza whose founding charter calls for genocide.

Hezbollah:The democratic group whose purpose is saving Lebanon from Israeli aggression, and whose founding charter calls for genocide.

History: Having nothing whatsoever to do with what has actually happened, but rather being what has come to be called “narrative,” i.e., “storytelling.” For one example, allusions to the “Ancient Nation of Palestine;” and for another, almost all the Muslem accomplishments President Obama enumerated in his momentous Cairo speech (also see “Rewriting History” below).

Holocaust: That genocide that did not happen, but that the Jews orchestrated in order to steal Arab land, and that of which the Jewish presence in Palestine is worse than.

Honor Killings: The cultural imperative to murder one’s daughter/sister/niece for humiliating male members…(see “Shariah” below).

Human Rights: The credo by which murder committed by a person from a country which used to be called “Third World” (now considered racist terminology) is good (see “Resistance” below); retaliatory killing by a person who is either from a developed country, a white person or most especially a Jew, is bad (see “Agression” above).

Human Shields: Integral part of Hamas & Hezbollah military strategy.

Islamic Republic: Military dictatorship.

Israel: Occupied territory (see “Zionist Entity” below).

Israeli Prime Minister: Hawkish, right-winger, hard-liner.

Jerusalem: City holy to Islam in which the Jews have no history.

Jew: The source of all decadence and evil in the world; descendent of apes and pigs.…

[For a continuation of this text please see On Topics below—Ed.]





Phyllis Chesler
FrontPage Blog, March 8, 2011


The mob roars its hoarse, ear-splitting chants. “Death to the Jews,” “Death to Zionism,” “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free.” Keffiyas abound: On heads, over faces, around shoulders. The Arab “street” is on the move—in Toronto, Montreal, Amherst, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, St. Louis, Houston, Berkeley, and in Oxford, Belfast, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, and many other Western cities.…

Yes, it is that time of year again. March is not only Women’s History Month. It is also the month in which Israeli Apartheid Week is appearing in 55 cities around the world. I use the word “appearing” advisedly. This is political theatre at its worst (or at its diabolical best), the kind of Living Theatre (pace, Judith Malina, I am not writing about your Living Theatre) that is meant to end with a genocidal attack on the Jewish state or, at the very least, its dismantling. There is no such thing as truth, everything is relative, there is no reality, only theatrical subjectivity. One of Berkeley’s Apartheid Week activities is “Resistance Through Rhymes,” a free concert and presentation including various hip-hop artists.

Oh, I am such an alarmist. So selfish, so provincial. The Arab Muslim Middle East is on a major meltdown; even as I write, Daffy Gaddafi is brutally massacring his own people, and here I go again, concerned with the Jews. There are eighty million non-Jews in Egypt alone, and here I am, concerned with the fate of, at most, 13-14 million Jews world-wide, of whom a mere six million live in Israel. Have I no shame?

But Israel is the symbol of what’s best about the West: the rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to dissent, individual rights, human rights, gay rights.… Allow me to say, not once, but a hundred times: Israel is not now and has never been an Apartheid or Nazi nation state. It is nothing—absolutely nothing–like the former South Africa.…

The Israel = Apartheid charge is not only anti-Semitic and therefore racist; it is ridiculous on its face. How can Israel be an apartheid state when there is no legal separation between Arabs and Jews in Israel? Unlike black South Africans under apartheid, Arabs (“the Palestinians”) are citizens. Fourteen of the 120 members of the current Knesset are Arabs. Arabs can work in the same offices, learn in the same schools, receive medical treatment in the same hospitals, and relax on the same beaches. Yes, there is some discrimination against Muslim and Christian Arabs, (as well as discrimination against Jews from Arab countries), and some de facto racial segregation in Israel—just as there is in America, Canada and Europe, and in every other country where Israeli Apartheid Week events will be taking place.

Please realize: The Arab, mainly Muslim Middle East, is almost entirely “judenrein;” Jews have been ethnically cleansed from these lands. For that matter, Christians, cannot worship openly and are savagely persecuted. Muslims who convert to Christianity are honor murdered. Finally, both Jews and Palestinians are denied citizenship, residency, and certain jobs in the Arab Muslim countries of the Middle East.

These week-long/nearly month long Israeli Apartheid Week pageants provide no such balance, no context, no historical or moral perspective. They fail to note that Muslim-majority countries are religious supremacists; that Muslims feel “persecuted” when infidels have rights of any kind, and have persecuted, exiled, force-converted or slaughtered Hindus, Sikhs, Ba’hai, Zoroastrians, Christians, and Jews—who are also peoples of color.…

How and why has Israeli Apartheid Week come into being and remained in existence for six years? The monied Saudi Lobby, the former Soviet Lobby, the Arab League Lobby; the influence of Edward Said’s work on the post-colonial anti-racist western academy; the world-wide rise and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Liberation Movement, Hamas, Hezbollah and Khomeinism; the anti-American and pro-”Palestinian” Western Left (with its penchant for theatrical politics)–have all played a part in this grotesque tragedy.

In addition, Charles Jacobs, President of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, has suggested that the extraordinarily ugly, and really out-of-control anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hatred on American campuses is due, in part, to the failure of American Jewish organizations to both acknowledge and combat it. And to a long-term, patient, and little-noticed Arab-American strategy. Jacobs writes:

“In 1990, (more than 20 years ago), James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, explained on Jordanian TV how the Arab Lobby can and will match Jewish political and organizational success in America. Zogby and his allies recognized that the campus and the media, unlike Capitol Hill, are two battle grounds that Arabists could win by allying themselves with the American left. In both venues they already had beachheads and feet on the ground. The campus was in transition politically, influenced by ‘60s tenured radicals who had adopted the dogma of post-colonialism, and its Palestinian version, Professor Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism.’” Moreover, America was experiencing a significant increase in foreign born Muslim students as well as increased Muslim immigration (many from countries with a culture of vicious anti-Semitism). Zogby focused on forming alliances with Marxist professors, die-hard socialist activists, African- American student groups, gay-lesbian groups and, most importantly, Jewish progressives.

Zogby’s strategy, together with massive Arab funding, has quite clearly worked. The world now believes that the most important and most persecuted group alive are the Palestinians and that the Israelis oppress and torment them, are the sole cause of their enormous suffering, and that Israel is, indeed, an Apartheid nation state.

However, the real victim is not the barefoot Palestinian peasant but the Jewish state. Israel is engaged in an asymmetrical battle for its very existence.… The propaganda war against Israel, especially as personified by Israeli Apartheid Week has grown grotesquely out of hand. It will not be simple or easy to reverse.…


Barbara Kay
Pajamas Media, March 4, 2010


In the aftermath of what emerged…as a wildly successful Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canadians are basking in an uncharacteristically bullish glow of national pride.… [However], hard on the winged heels of an inebriating Olympics…with nation rivaling nation through positive, amicable achievement, there slouched into Canada (amongst other countries) a rough beast that shames the very idea of man as political animal: the annual eight-day immiseration known as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW).

IAW is something like a multi-site Olympiad itself, except that in this cheerless, failure-glorifying anti-Olympiad, the world does not come together. Instead, it is prised apart in a scapegoating orgy of thinly disguised Jew-hatred.

On this front, ironically without spending a cent, by dint of political courage and real leadership, Canadian politicians have begun in earnest to take ownership of a long-empty moral podium by addressing the escalating pathology of anti-Semitism fueling IAW and reaffirming Israel’s legitimacy—and more, Israel’s importance to Western interests.

Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) has for some years now been a well-oiled engine of hate belching toxic black smoke as it chugs in full-throated spate across a good part of the academic globe. It may have reached a tipping point of its own making in Canada (whose University of Toronto campus “boasts” the dubious distinction of having provided the venue for this continent’s first IAW). Indications of this tipping point are not making their way to public podiums via the obvious spokespeople: university presidents and their boards of governors. Academics and their administrators—with honorable exceptions—have been traditionally timid about standing up to campus thugs, preferring to hide behind the rubric of academic freedom to allow hate speech, while refusing to exercise their own academic freedom to condemn it.…

Fear, not justice, drives university administrations, and so these bodies are too often the last place to look for political boldness in dealing with organized bigotry. For too long, indeed, anywhere was the last place to look for political courage in staring down the obscenity of IAW. So it has come as a pleasant surprise to fair-minded Canadians that recently politicians of all stripes have felt emboldened to step up to the radioactive plate of expressed solidarity with Israel and/or expressed disassociation with Israel-haters.

In late February the province of Ontario’s legislature issued a denunciation of IAW. Progressive Conservative party legislator Peter Shurman, its promoter, stated: “The term Israeli Apartheid Week incites hatred against Israel, a democratic state that respects the rule of law and human rights, and the use of the word ‘apartheid’ in this context diminishes the suffering of those who were victims of a true apartheid regime in South Africa.”

The motion received unanimous support from all sitting members of the provincial parliament (MPPs), including—and this surprised many Canadians—members of the staunchly socialist New Democratic Party (NDP)…[whose] elected members’ views on the Middle East range from merely hostile to virulently anti-Israel. So if provincial NDPers felt free to join in this motion, then the denunciation was not an aberration, but an indicator that the times they are a-changin’ in Ontario, Canada’s bellwether province.…

Apart from rabid anti-Semites and true politicopaths, there would be a natural limit to how many times even the most “progressive” amongst our left-leaning elites can listen to the same frothing-at-the-mouth diatribes against Israel, the same demonstrably odious canards of “apartheid,” “terror state,” and “Nazis” leveled against a demonstrably democratic state, without feeling intellectually soiled by their complicity with the evil of anti-Semitism demonstrably fueling the IAW phenomenon.

One senses an air of the general public being fed up, causing a trickle-down of self-doubt to circulate among the reflexively Israel-bashing herd of political correctniks. One feels a turning in the zeitgeist, the dawning realization even among the dullest-witted sympathizers of the Palestinians that their so-called anti-Zionist militants in the IAW movement, who have never been at pains to disguise the anti-Semitism driving their political campaign, are finally becoming an embarrassment to their rank-and-file leftist shills.

Clinging to their tattered rags of political dignity, IAW’s erstwhile useful idiots are beginning to tire of dancing like trained monkeys to their zealous organ-grinder’s grotesque polka: “It’s about Israel, not Jews.” Fewer and fewer passers-by are attentive to that superannuated jingle, or throwing even small change into that rusty tin cup.…

Today, a little confused, I must confess I am having difficulty adjusting to the new reality of Canadian leadership…on the Israel file. I have rubbed my eyes a few times, but there they are: Canadian political leaders at the podium, wearing the gold medal for courage, integrity, and good judgment, and for this brief, shining moment at least, history is playing the Canadian national anthem.

(Barbara Kay is a weekly columnist in the comment pages of the National Post.)


Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPage Blog, March 5, 2010


Every year at about this time, radical Islamic students—aided by radical anti-Israel professors—hold an event they call “Israel Apartheid Week.” During this week, they try to persuade students on campuses around the world to demonize Israel as an apartheid regime. Most students seem to ignore the rantings of these extremists, but some naïve students seem to take them seriously. Some pro-Israel and Jewish students claim that they are intimidated when they try to respond to these untruths. As one who strongly opposes any censorship, my solution is to fight bad speech with good speech, lies with truth and educational malpractice with real education.

Accordingly, I support a “Middle East Apartheid Education Week” to be held at universities throughout the world. It would be based on the universally accepted human rights principle of “the worst first.” In other words, the worst forms of apartheid being practiced by Middle East nations and entities would be studied and exposed first. Then the apartheid practices of other countries would be studied in order of their seriousness and impact on vulnerable minorities.

Under this principle, the first country studied would be Saudi Arabia. That tyrannical kingdom practices gender apartheid to an extreme, relegating women to an extremely low status. Indeed, a prominent Saudi Imam recently issued a fatwa declaring that anyone who advocates women working alongside men or otherwise compromises with absolute gender apartheid is subject to execution. The Saudis also practice apartheid based on sexual orientation, executing and imprisoning gay and lesbian Saudis. Finally, Saudi Arabia openly practices religious apartheid. It has special roads for “Muslims only.” It discriminates against Christians, refusing them the right to practice their religion openly. And needless to say, it doesn’t allow Jews the right to live in Saudi Arabia, to own property or even (with limited exceptions) to enter the country. Now that’s apartheid with a vengeance.

The second entity on any apartheid list would be Hamas, which is the de facto government of the Gaza Strip. Hamas too discriminates openly against women, gays, Christians. It permits no dissent, no free speech, and no freedom of religion.

Every single Middle East country practices these forms of apartheid to one degree or another. Consider the most “liberal” and pro-American nation in the area, namely Jordan. The Kingdom of Jordan, which the King himself admits is not a democracy, has a law on its books forbidding Jews from becoming citizens or owning land. Despite the efforts of its progressive Queen, women are still de facto subordinate in virtually all aspects of Jordanian life. Iran, of course, practices no discrimination against gays, because its President has assured us that there are no gays in Iran. In Pakistan, Sikhs have been executed for refusing to convert to Islam, and throughout the Middle East, honor killings of women are practiced, often with a wink and a nod from the religious and secular authorities. Every Muslim country in the Middle East has a single, established religion, namely Islam, and makes no pretense of affording religious equality to members of other faiths.

That is a brief review of some, but certainly not all, apartheid practices in the Middle East. Now let’s turn to Israel. The secular Jewish state of Israel recognizes fully the rights of Christians and Muslims and prohibits any discrimination based on religion.… Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel (of which there are more than a million) have the right to vote and have elected members of the Knesset, some of whom even oppose Israel’s right to exist. There is an Arab member of the Supreme Court, an Arab member of the Cabinet and numerous Israeli Arabs in important positions in businesses, universities and the cultural life of the nation. A couple of years ago I attended a concert at the Jerusalem YMCA at which Daniel Barrenboim conducted a mixed orchestra of Israeli and Palestinian musicians. There was a mixed audience of Israelis and Palestinians, and the man sitting next to me was an Israeli Arab, who is the culture minister of the State of Israel. Can anyone imagine that kind of concert having taking place in apartheid South Africa, or in apartheid Saudi Arabia?…

Israel is a vibrant democracy. “[Applying the word “Apartheid” to Israel] does not serve the cause of peace, and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong.” The current “Israel Apartheid Week” on universities around the world, by focusing only on the imperfections of the Middle East’s sole democracy, is carefully designed to cover up far more serious problems of real apartheid in Arab and Muslim nations. The question is why do so many students identify with regimes that denigrate women, gays, non-Muslims, dissenters, environmentalists and human rights advocates, while demonizing a democratic regime that grants equal rights to women (the chief justice and speaker of the Parliament of Israel are women), gays (there are openly gay generals in the Israeli Army), non-Jews (Muslims and Christians serve in high positions in Israel) and dissenters, (virtually all Israelis dissent about something).

Israel…has sacrificed more for peace than any country in the Middle East. Yet on many college campuses democratic, egalitarian Israel is a pariah, while sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, terrorist Hamas is a champion. There is something very wrong with this picture.


Avi Weinryb

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, December 2008


…Israel Apartheid Week’s (IAW) origins can be traced back to the University of Toronto (U of T) in 2004, when student groups sympathetic to the Palestinian cause sought to delegitimize the democratic State of Israel. By early 2005, the university’s Arab Students Collective (ASC) had initiated its first annual event. Authorized by the University of Toronto administration, IAW has since developed into an annual international occurrence targeting Israel and Zionists with malevolent and grossly misrepresentative accusations. The ASC has been joined by a variety of planning partners, including the Coalition Against Israel Apartheid, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights.

As the chief mouthpiece for anti-Zionism in the university world, the organizers of IAW seek to shape the opinions of future leaders of Western society and industry by distributing information which portrays Israel as an undemocratic state that tramples on the rights of its own citizens and disrupts the lives of its neighbors. Israel is presented as an illegal occupier of land, and a failed experiment in Jewish nationhood which must be terminated. The organizers strive to encourage a global campaign of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against the Jewish state.

The University’s Stance

The University of Toronto’s early and largely unchanged approach to IAW can be found in the Vice-Provost’s Students’ Report (2004-05), as presented to the University Affairs Board. The key statement in the article upholds IAW’s right to operate on campus:

Upon review of the group’s plans, the administration determined that it had no reason to believe that the events would exceed the boundaries for free speech as articulated in the Statement on Freedom of Speechand other relevant University policies.… The ability to question, examine and comment on issues of the day, even when such commentary may be repugnant to some, is central to the mission of the University.…

In a more recent pronouncement regarding freedom of speech on campus, University [of Toronto] President David Naylor addressed the issue in February 2006, when a statement was published on the President’s website a week before that year’s IAW events. He reiterated that “the university is very deeply committed to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.…”

[However], in a statement released one month [after the 2006 IAW], President Naylor…[somewhat revised his position], adding that [IAW had caused] situations in which individuals [were] targeted on the basis of their identity, [and] though not qualifying as an actual hate crime, [the incidents had] caused the university “grave concern.…”

The Inadequacy of the Organized Jewish Community’s Response

The response of the organized Toronto Jewish community was and continues to be inadequate.… Shaun Hoffman, a former Vice-President and Israel Affairs chair at Hillel at the U of T (2006-07)…[claims] that “there was much pressure placed on the students and staff of Hillel by the Jewish community to successfully combat IAW, though assistance from community organizations was either of no help, or not coming at all.”

This stands in stark contrast to the organization and teamwork of the twenty-five groups that organized IAW at Toronto universities in 2008 (including the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University).… [More worrisome, is the fact that] some organizations that consider themselves Zionist do not approach IAW with any desire to counter it at all.

[For example], Hillel at the University of Toronto has a key influence on Jewish campus life. [However], the local Jewish Federation, United Jewish Appeal (UJA), which is the principal financial benefactor of Hillel, [only] permits a non-confrontational non-approach to the annual event. [Accordingly], Hillel does not actively respond to accusations against Israel, or to the protests on campus. Instead, the campus group creates feel-good programming about Israel which, while obviously important, does not directly address the dissemination of misinformation on campus which directly target Israel.…

As a Jewish campus group, Hillel at the University of Toronto puts a considerable amount of money into funding educational programs about Israel. Students can take part in seminars and Israel advocacy training. Yet this training has not been put into action against IAW with official Hillel approval. Hoffman reasons that: “Hillel, the organization which is best equipped to offer a decisive response to IAW in terms of resources and manpower, is ultimately handcuffed by a pluralistic maxim inextricably linked to the organization. The result is a type of super-soft advocacy that offers no real counter to the allegations leveled during IAW.…”

Hillel at the University of Toronto operates under the umbrella of Hillel of Greater Toronto, a non-profit organization run by non-student staff that influences and shapes programming in individual Toronto Hillel chapters. In the past, Hillel student leaders have had to alter their response to IAW to fall in line with the philosophy of the parent organization. This is a common occurrence in North America: philanthropy fuelled Jewish communal non-profit organizations have their say on the type of programming offered by their student group beneficiaries.

The University’s Failure

…The University claims that it monitors all IAW events in order to ensure compliance with university policies. One example of this policy is the aforementioned Statement on Freedom of Speech. It declares that “the values of mutual respect and civility may, on occasion, be superseded by the need to protect lawful freedom of speech.…” [However], lawful freedom of speech was [likely] violated in 2005 when…a mock refugee camp constructed in [U of T’s] Sydney Smith Hall foyer was adorned with [lifelike Arabic recruitment] posters calling on camp residents to support or join the terror group Islamic Jihad. This group was banned by the government of Canada in November of 2002, [and] according to Canada’s criminal code…it is an offence to engage in an activity for the benefit of a terrorist group.…

When President David Naylor of U of T was pushed…to respond to [this]…he wrote that “The University does not sponsor, organize, or even implicitly endorse these events.…” Writing in the National Post newspaper, George Jonas remarked, “So U of T only provides a roof and a postal code for a blatantly racist event.… It’s just that U of T doesn’t sponsor it.…”

Israel Apartheid Week has now become a regular event at the University of Toronto. Jewish students know it is [March] when flyers featuring abrasive illustrations appear all over campus advertising a bevy of anti-Israel demonstrations.… Even though speakers on campus deny Israel its right to exist and accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing are tossed about, the University of Toronto continues to give the organizers a venue and thereby a platform for this continued abuse of freedom of speech.

This is likely to be a sore point in years to come, when the university looks back and wonders how it could have misjudged so badly. This is the case now when…the administration remembers the [U of T] medical school’s Jewish quota system which was enforced until the 1960s. Eventually the permissive approach to Israel Apartheid Week will stand as another example of a failed policy within the University’s history—a failure which launched a hate event that has since spread to campuses worldwide.…